The Real Estate Forfeiture Settlement Is A Mirage

February 11, 2012

In one of his articles yesterday at Firedoglake, David Dayen mentioned that the settlement agreement has not been reduced to writing.

That is astonishing.

Let me repeat. That. Is. Astonishing.

The biggest problem with settlement agreements in particular, and all agreements in general, is reaching a so-called ‘meeting of the minds’ regarding the details and ‘chiseling them into stone’ by reducing them to writing. As I used to warn my clients when I was practicing law, we do not have an agreement until it has been reduced to writing, thoroughly reviewed, and signed by each of the parties. That has obviously not happened in this case.

Experience has taught us that humans dealing in good faith make mistakes, no matter how careful they are, and the potential for mistakes, misunderstandings and subsequent disagreements about the terms of an agreement cannot be overestimated. That potential becomes a certainty when one or more parties to an agreement is dealing in bad faith.

That, my friends, is why we have a law called the Statute of Frauds, which requires that certain types of agreements be in writing or they are invalid and unenforceable.

For example, contracts regarding the sale of real estate must be in writing or they are invalid and unenforceable.

Given the absence of a written agreement and the vagueness regarding its terms, which is virtually incomprehensible to me, I cannot help but wonder if everyone involved in the settlement talks is being less than candid when they say an agreement was reached.

Obama would not be the first person to declare publicly that an agreement had been reached when, in fact, that was a false statement.

Why would he do that?

To pressure reluctant parties to settle. It is a variation on the old ploy, “I have scheduled a press conference in two hours at which I intend to announce that we have reached a global agreement that settles all claims in this case and provides desperately needed relief to homeowners. These discussions have gone on long enough. Agree to these terms now because they are not going to get better and if you do not, I will announce publicly that we would have had a deal except for you. Then you can explain to your constituents why there is no deal.”

Recall that he wanted to announce a global settlement during his SOTU address.

Why would the attorneys general agree?

A better question to ask would be how could they could not agree, given the severe financial limitations of state budgets these days and the practical impossibility of assembling and compensating a team of hundreds of dedicated professionals to work for many years investigating and prosecuting the numerous interstate and international crimes that have been committed. We are talking about millions of people who were defrauded during a period of close to twenty years and probably documents numbering in the hundreds of millions, if not billions. Imagine the resources that would be required to investigate and, figuratively speaking, get your arms around this vast coast-to-coast conspiracy that eventually went international in the form of exotic financial instruments of mass destruction that may yet still blow-up the world economy.

Practically speaking, only the Department of Justice has the capacity to investigate and prosecute the heinous crimes committed by the criminal banksters, and that has not and will not happen because Obama, Holder, and Breuer have decided not to do it.

This is why we have not seen a realistic and credible effort by any organization to thoroughly investigate this case. The little investigation we have seen by dedicated professionals working alone or in small groups has produced a few snapshots of wrongdoing in individual cases and resulted in a few lawsuits and indictments of low-hanging-fruit underlings, but that is all.

Having been involved in defending people in many complicated paper-intensive white collar racketeering and fraud cases, I do not believe the state attorneys general had the ponies they needed to ride in the race.Obama called their bluff and they caved.

I respect those who tried to do something, but I am not happy about their decision to not only acquiesce in approving of this apparent settlement agreement, but to try and sell it publicly. We are not stupid and we deserve to know the truth.

The truth is that Eric Holder, Lanny Breuer, and Barack Obama are corrupt and the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. The Department of Justice has refused to investigate and they casually brush aside all questions by saying no provable crimes were committed.

Come on, now. How in the hell could they know that, if they have not investigated the case? It is long past time to, figuratively speaking, slam them up against the wall, call bullshit, and hold them politically accountable for their lies. They insult our intelligence when they tell us that no provable crimes were committed.

I am an experienced trial lawyer with knowledge and experience defending people charged with white collar crimes and I know what it takes to prove a case. I am calling them on their bullshit.

I suspect Obama desperately needed two things: Money and a favorable settlement for the banks.

If you have been paying attention, you would know that Wall Street donations to Obama’s campaign for reelection have slowed to a trickle and he cannot win reelection without substantial financial support from the criminal banksters.

He needed to do something dramatic to open the spigot and restore the flow of their cash into his coffers.

He also needed to find a way to conceal their identities and how much they were giving so that we the people would not know that the money was a payoff for effectively cutting off bank liability for Forfeiture Gate.

What else has happened recently, aside from this ridiculous unwritten settlement agreement with a few numbers waved around that kind of sound impressive until one considers the vast scope of this criminal conspiracy?

Obama announced that he ‘regrettably’ must accept Super PAC money in order to compete with Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for president. Super PACs are instruments of mass electoral corruption because there are no limits on the amount of money they can contribute and their donors can remain anonymous. That means the criminal banksters can anonymously pay him off with millions.

When I step back and look at this deal, I do not see an enforceable deal. I see the mirage of a deal. I do not believe anything has changed. The forfeitures relying on forged documents will continue. The states will get some bankster cost-of-doing-business bribe money to shut-up and few, if any, homeowners will ever see the ridiculous and insulting $1800 bribe.

And that, my friends, is yet another monstrous con.

Classic Obama extend and pretend.

And to the state attorneys general, I say: Tell us the truth and save your self-respect and professional reputations. Do not go down with this con.


To The State Attorneys General: Reject The Obama Administration’s Settlement Proposal

February 7, 2012

Our system of government will not survive unless we the people believe that it will respect, abide by, and enforce the Rule of Law, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights against all violators, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, or class.

We rely on the Department of Justice and our various state attorneys general to protect our inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They and the police departments they supervise and rely upon to investigate and prosecute crimes, are the law enforcement arms of our federal and state governments.

At the expense of we the people who are victims of the biggest financial fraud committed in history, the Obama Administration’s proposed settlement of the real estate forfeiture crisis protects the banks that willfully and intentionally committed the crime. Moreover, the crime continues and there is no assurance that it will stop if the state attorneys general agree to the proposed settlement.

This situation is upside down and all wrong because the proposed settlement protects and rewards the criminals who committed the biggest financial fraud in history. If this case settles, how can anyone who is not a member of the 1% have any faith that our government will enforce the Rule of Law, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights against all violators, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, or class?

The answer is self-evident.

We have reached a critical turning point in our history. If the state attorneys general adopt this outrageous and obscene settlement proposal, what little faith people still have in our federal and state governments will evaporate like the morning dew as the Sun rises bringing massive civil unrest and increasingly violent revolution.

Millions of people have been irreparably harmed, including people who were fraudulently induced to purchase intentionally overpriced homes with little or no money down financed by adjustable rate mortgages that would later skyrocket beyond their ability to pay the monthly payments and institutional investors, particularly pension funds, suckered into buying worthless mortgage backed securities. In search of ever higher profits for shareholders and mult-imillion dollar bonuses for CEOs and upper management, the TBTF banks have severely compromised and probably destroyed a working legal system governing real estate transactions to prevent frauds that was developed over hundreds of years reducing risk by protecting the integrity of sales so that buyers and sellers knew what they were purchasing and whether there were any restrictions on their use of the property or clouds on title. The system was relatively simple. Transactions were recorded in the counties where the properties were located and any member of the public could review who owned what, where it was located, the exact dimensions of property, and whether there were any encroachments, easements, other restrictions, or liens attached to it. There were legal and equitable remedies and insurance, if something went wrong, so that disputes could be resolved reasonably and equitably without violence. In service to their greed to avoid billions of dollars in recording fees and to facilitate the bundling of mortgages into mortgage backed securities to be sliced and diced into ever more exotic financial instruments of mass destruction for sale, the TBTF banks replaced this working legal system with MERS, which is little more than than a legal spreadsheet indicating who owns what. Meanwhile, most of the notes, mortgages, and other documentation no longer exist such that it is virtually impossible to verify the terms of any sales, including limitations on the use of property, the terms of the financial transactions, and who owns the note.

We use the criminal law to punish and deter others from committing similar acts of serious wrongdoing. There is no reasonable question any longer that the TBTF banks committed serious financial wrongdoing by willfully and intentionally engaging in a widespread conspiracy for profit by which they have destroyed the legal real estate recording system and caused trillions of dollars in losses.

The bankers who perpetrated this horrific financial crime must be held accountable by the criminal laws and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) in 18 USC 1961 is the perfect vehicle with which to prosecute them. If ever there were criminal enterprises worthy of being put out of business, the TBTF banks are such enterprises.

There is no mystery to the process because the Department of Justice has written the book on how to successfully prosecute criminal organizations using the RICO statute. I know what I am talking about because I have defended people they have prosecuted.

Under threat of long prison sentences if they do not cooperate and testify against higher-ups, flip the less culpable defendants with easy cases to prove (i.e., the robo-signers and their bosses for forgeries and false statements under oath) and move up the tree of rot branch by branch building your case against the big boys.

Then you take them down. Hard.

The distressed homeowners also need principal write-downs to current fair-market value with credit for all payments made.

As I said at the beginning. We the people rely on the government to protect our inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If our federal and state governments through the Department of Justice and the state attorneys general sign-off on this settlement proposal, they will have joined the criminal predation leaving us with no recourse except to defend ourselves by fighting back with all means at our disposal.

It’s your move.


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