February 3, 2012
Attorney General Kamala Harris
Office of the Attorney General
1300 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Attorney General Harris,
We appreciate and applaud the steps you have taken to ensure that justice is served to address system-wide mortgage, foreclosure and securities fraud in the State of California by implementing the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force, and by backing away from the 50-state foreclosure settlement deal currently being pushed by the banks and the Obama administration.
We urge you in the strongest of terms to remain steadfast in your refusal to accept this deal. Instead, we urge you to implement an immediate moratorium on foreclosures so you can complete your own investigation and prosecutions of fraud and securities fraud. If the banks do not comply with this moratorium, we urge you to issue injunctions.
We urge you to sue the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) for deceptive practices (as a suit brought by Attorney General Beau Biden in Delaware has done), and bar MERS from:
1) initiating any foreclosure actions in the company's name, or via MERS in the name of a trust,
2) recording, assigning or taking any other actions on CA mortgages until the company has been audited and corrected, and insist that MERS:
3) correct the chain of title on CA mortgages recorded in county offices,
4) pay a $10,000 civil penalty for each consumer violation here
We urge you to follow in Nevada's footsteps and support requiring banks, servicers and trustees to provide an affidavit proving a clear chain of title or face felony charges. Should the California Assembly and Senate enact a similar law, it would strengthen your enforcement authority over foreclosure fraud. The NV law has caused foreclosures to drop 88% since it went into effect in October.
We applaud your stand against the national settlement deal being brokered by the banks that makes a mockery of justice and fails to serve the communities of honest Californians. We agree that the deal is not good enough for California. It fails to serve the local governments that have watched 400 years of property law be destroyed. It fails to serve those who have been defrauded of their homes and lifesavings.
Lenders used fraud as a business model to create a system that guaranteed record profits and bonuses, while leaving a scorched earth of foreclosures and underwater mortgages.
Lenders put the 'lie' in liars loans, not the borrower, explains William K. Black, professor and former regulator who investigated the Savings & Loan crisis.
Credit rating agencies worked in collusion with the big banks to pass off toxic assets as highest-grade investments.
Fund managers gambled with the capital of mortgages and pension funds, putting those funds at undue risk.
The economic catastrophe that has resulted from these abuses has plunged the people of America into a plight unparalleled since the Great Depression.
In 2011, California was home to 38 of the top 100 worst hit zip codes — dominating the list of the top 100 zip codes hit hardest by foreclosures
Before any foreclosures resume, we need to see justice is served for bank-driven fraud and securities fraud. Specifically:
1) Completion of full investigation and prosecutions of lenders / banks / insurance providers / ratings agencies for mortgage, foreclosure and securities fraud throughout the system, including MERS and the companies it works with.
2) No "get out of jail free" settlement.
3) Correction of the property records.
4) Civil and criminal penalties commensurate with the vast scale of the crimes.
The financial industry through its dominance of the political and economic life of the nation executed a massive theft of private and public money. This historic crime of grand larceny and fraud must not be swept under the rug of history. It must be addressed, corrected and prevented from recurring.