Long time readers are familiar with my fascination with antique sports cars. One of my pals, Jan, is a well known Porsche collector who is also affiliated with the International Automotive Appraisers Association (IAAA). Its a hobby for him, and he specializes in the rehabilitation and appraisal of antique sports cars. He has rebuilt and appraised everything from celebrity Bugattis to classic Ferraris to modern supercars.

I call Jan "landed gentry" — he’s owned a major car rental firm (sold it), develops real estate, buys/sells land and houses. He is quasi-retired, leaving him plenty of time to play with his many fine automobiles — and for us to discuss the housing market collapse.

Amongst our many discussions, we have gone over the issue of housing appraisal fraud. So when the IAAA newsletter sent out the tale (below) to its members as a warning against fraud, conflict of interest, and corruption, it got his attention — and he forwarded it to me. His comments were: "This is even worse than the nightmare of corruption you described."

Let me hasten to add that many appraisers were offended by the corruption of colleagues in their industry, especially those greased by the worst elements among mortgage brokers and real estate agents. In 2005, more than 8,000 appraisers — roughly 10 percent of the industry — signed a petition asking the federal government to take action; the White House and Federal agencies demurred, and appraisal fraud continued unabated. Eventually, Phony and Fraudy cut a deal with NYS AG Cuomo to stop enabling the appraisal fraud.

Which brings us to the now defunct Indy Mac, and the below diatribe about the criminality, corruption, and rampant appraisal fraud that was the CountryWide spinoff’s stock in trade.

The original piece was published by Vernon Martin at the Appraiser’s Forum (http://appraisersforum.com). His story is utterly fascinating, and it deserves wider distribution.

Martin was the chief commercial appraiser for Indy Mac from October 15, 2001, to when he was terminated six months later for failing to look the other way or actively engage in fraud. Most of the details below are culled from the public record of his wrongful termination litigation, which was eventually settled in Martin’s favor.

My quick overview of the conflicts, fraud, and criminality at Indy Mac —

Fraud:

• Underwriting loans based on appraised values well above purchase prices;

• Fabricating rent rolls for commercial properties to be appraised;

• Over-stating Construction work as 80% complete versus 15% in actuality;

• Attempting to change discounted cash flow models for subdivisions in order to increase appraised value;

Criminality:

• Attempted intimidation of Appraisers;

• Providing false information to appraisers;

Conflict of interests:

• Appraising a development where the land was being purchasing from David Loeb, IndyMac’s Chairman of the Board;

• On one transaction, the CEO’s father and father-in-law were
commercial construction inspectors for the firm; the loan officer was
the CEO’s brother (a former police officer with no loan experience);

That’s just the overview.

Amazingly, these events took place before the enormous Housing and Construction boom from 2003-06. One is left to imagine just how insane the place must have been during that period. I’d love to find the details, and given the enormous lending losses — $8B and counting — we can only begin to imagine what sort of rampant fraud took place. I hope the FDIC releases a full report of their investigation of the collapse of Indy Mac. (Gee, I wonder how Senator Schumer caused THOSE problems back in 2001? CNBC should know better than to publish trash such as this.)   

You really need to read the entire piece to get a feel as to just how much of a criminal enterprise Indy Mac was before it went under.Is it any surprise the entire firm, and not just any individuals, are under FBI investigation for Fraud?

~~~

These things have a tendency to disappear, so I am capturing a PDF and the text (after the jump) in case it somehow vanishes.

~~~

>

Previously:
Idiots Fiddle While Rome Burns (July 2008) 
http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2008/07/idiots-fiddle-w.html

Source:
My experience at IndyMac
Vernon Martin, Certified General Appraiser
Appraiser’s Forum, 07-14-2008, 12:41 AM

http://appraisersforum.com/showthread.php?t=141764

Appraisal fraud: your home at risk
Appraisers say they’re being pressured by lenders to inflate their estimates of home values
Sarah Max
CNN/Money  June 2, 2005: 9:56 AM EDT
http://money.cnn.com/2005/05/23/real_estate/financing/appraisalfraud/index.htm

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac agree to new appraisal standards
Walter Hamilton
L.A. Times, March 04, 2008   
http://articles.latimes.com/2008/mar/04/business/fi-appraise4

My experience at IndyMac- General Real Estate, Mortgage, and Economic Discussions – Appraisers Forum PDF  Download my_experience_at_indymac.pdf

IndyMac fraud probe launched; FBI looking into firm, not individuals
Lara Jakes Jordan, The Associated Press 07/16/2008 09:08:13 PM PDT 
http://www.dailynews.com/business/ci_9901941

Vernon Martin       
Certified General Appraiser
My experience at IndyMac
________________________________________

I’ve shared some tidbits with you in the last month about my
experience at IndyMac as their chief commercial appraiser from October
2001 to the end of March 2002. Now that IndyMac has been seized by FDIC
and their legal staff presumably unemployed, I will tell the rest of
the story. Some people tell me that it must have been hell for me, but
I look back on it as an adventure, like sailing into the “Perfect
Storm”, a perfect storm of corruption and incompetence, and living to
tell about it.

I first became acquainted with IndyMac through OTS appraisal
examiner Darryl Washington, MAI. Darryl used to examine my appraisal
department each year when at Home Savings of America, which was
acquired by WAMU in 1998. During the summer of 2001, I had a chance
encounter with him at a jazz concert. I asked him what he had been up
to, and he told me that he had just completed the first examination of
IndyMac Bank, which had just received its savings and loan charter only
a year before. He said, “Vern, they could use a guy like you.”

Several weeks later I saw the chief commercial appraiser position
for IndyMac Bank posted on Monster.com. I responded with a cover letter
that started with “Darryl Washington of the OTS suggested that I
contact you….” Apparently, that was the right way to start the letter.
IMB’s chief credit officer called me soon, asking “do you know Darryl
Washington?’ I said “Yes, he examined my department annually at Home
Savings.” His next question was “Do you know how to deal with him?” I
assured the chief credit officer that I was used to dealing with the
OTS and Darryl and that I could get IMB into compliance with OTS
appraisal regulations.

After 3 interviews, IMB wanted me to start right away, because the
OTS was returning in November. I started on 10/15/01 and had a month to
familiarize myself with their commercial lending practices until the
OTS showed up.

At the end of my first week, there was an urgent need to field
review an appraisal of a subdivision in the Sacramento area. I went up
there on the weekend, but also took along some other recent appraisal
reports from the Sacramento area. One of the other appraisal reports
concerned me. A residential subdivision had been appraised as “80%
complete”, but when I visited it, it had only been rough-graded,
probably no more than 15% complete. When I returned to the office on
Monday I asked who the construction inspector was for that region. I
was told that there were two inspectors for the Sacramento area; one
was CEO Mike Perry’s father and the other one was Mike Perry’s
father-in-law. The loan officer on the deal was Mike Perry’s younger
brother, Roger, who had recently been hired. His previous experience
had been as a cop. Thereafter I heard of favoritism towards relatives
of Mike Perry and “FOMs”, and the chief credit officer advised me to
take special care of Mike Perry’s brother. (“FOM” was IndyMac jargon
for “Friend of Mike”.)

I reported my Sacramento findings in a private memo to the chief
credit officer, who then distributed it to the senior managers at the
construction lending subsidiary known as the Construction Lending
Corporation of America (CLCA). The senior credit officer from CLCA, the
manager who most resembled Tony Soprano, was the one to call me. He
asked “Are you sure you saw what you said you saw?” in a rather
chilling manner. He said he had been on site with Roger Perry and had
seen things differently. After that call, I asked the chief credit
officer why CLCA’s senior credit officer would want me to recant my
report. He told me that the senior credit officer received sales
commissions for every loan made, which seemed to me like a blatant
conflict of interest.

All appraisals were ordered by the loan officers from a list of
approved appraisers maintained by LandAmerica. I was not allowed to
order appraisals, but I recognized many names on the LandAmerica list
as well known, reputable appraisers. What I began to observe, however,
was that loan officers were learning which appraisers were more
“flexible” than others. My areas of concern were extraordinary
assumptions, lack of feasibility analysis, and false information given
to appraisers.

As an example, I read an appraisal of a vacant, former Costco
warehouse which had been purchased for $2 million several months
before, but was appraised for $17 million based on a fabricated rent
roll composed of tenants that had never signed a lease or a letter of
intent. Only one tenant actually moved in. I told the loan officer that
I could not accept the appraisal report, as it was hypothetical. He
wanted me to approve it, any way, with the understanding that no funds
would be disbursed until the prospective tenants could be verified. I
told him that I wasn’t going to approve a hypothetical appraisal. The
loan was funded, any way.

My only substantive encounter with CEO Mike Perry was in November
2001. I was summoned late to an impromptu meeting of senior executives
in the board room. When I arrived, the meeting was already underway.
The tone of the meeting was very different than senior executive
meetings at other companies I had worked for. Mr. Perry, a man in his
thirties, was spinning ideas and executives who were 10 or 20 years his
senior were behaving like “yes men”, competing to agree with his ideas.
There were lots of raised hands and enthusiastic participation. He
seemed to be enjoying this, in an immature, megalomaniacal way.

Then he turned to me with an idea. He asked me if I, as the chief
commercial appraiser, had the regulatory authority to change the
discounted cash flow models in each subdivision appraisal, which might
have the effect of changing appraised values. I said that I could
possibly do it, but why? He smiled and said "Don’t housing prices
always go up?" (Was he really too young to remember the early 1990s?)

I told him that it wasn’t a good idea, because we were already
hiring competent appraisers who had more local knowledge than I had.
Unless I could show that their analysis was flawed, it would be
inappropriate for me to change the appraisals. That answer seemed to
anger him. At the end of the meeting, the chief credit officer tried to
introduce me to him, but he turned his back on me.

I later learned that Mike Perry was hired as CEO of IndyMac at the
age of 30 when it was spun off by Countrywide. He had been an
accountant at Countrywide and a protégé of Countrywide founders David
Loeb and Angelo Mozilo.

When the OTS arrived mid-November, my review duties were handed over
to LandAmerica. I was to spend full time responding to findings from
OTS examiner Darryl Washington. In the ensuing month it became
increasingly obvious that the main reason I was there was to refute OTS
findings and serve as window dressing for an institution that scoffed
at or was wholly ignorant of federal regulations. Many, if not most, of
the senior executives had come over from Countrywide, which was an
unregulated mortgage bank.

One of the craziest violations of OTS regulations was underwriting
loans based on appraised values well above purchase prices. For
example, a prominent Sacramento developer purchased a piece of land for
$18 million, a price most reasonably supported by the comps, but it was
appraised and underwritten at a value above $30 million, the rationale
being that this developer added value to the property just by buying
it. This does not satisfy the USPAP and federally accepted definition
of market value, however. The appraisal firm was the same one used for
the supposedly 80% complete subdivision.

I was present at several confrontational meetings between the OTS
and FDIC examiners and CLCA executives. It seemed that IMB was intent
on refuting every finding and using me towards that end. I was
criticized for not arguing enough with the examiners.

After the examination was over, there was an unsolicited appraisal
report waiting for me on my desk. A piece of land next to an airport
had recently been purchased for $24,375,000 and was almost immediately
appraised for more than $65 million based on the owner’s plans to build
an airport parking lot. This was three months after September 11th,
2001 and average parking lot occupancy at this airport had declined
from 73% to about the low fifties. The appraisal lacked a sales
comparison approach and its feasibility analysis was based on
pre-September 11th data. The feasibility analysis was done by the same
consultant who caused the city of Los Angeles to lose millions on the
parking garage at Hollywood and Highland. The appraisal was done by an
unapproved appraiser who had previously caused my previous employer,
Home Savings, to set up a $17 million loan loss reserve on a hotel he
appraised for $450 million and the loan defaulted within a year. The
report was delivered less than a week after it was ordered by the IMB
loan officer, leading me to suspect that it had already been completed
for someone else, most likely the borrower. I told CLCA executives that
I could not accept the report and that I considered it to be biased. I
tried to get the appraiser to change the report, but he immediately
called the chief lending officer, who must have then instructed him to
ignore my request.

Despite my stated objections to the appraisal report, the chief
lending officer told the Loan Committee that I had ordered and approved
the appraisal, and they funded a $30 million loan. Thereafter, there
was sustained pressure on me to approve the report. I responded that I
would have to write my own report, since the original appraiser would
not make changes. This bought me time. Meanwhile, the airport, who had
previously owned 80% of the parking spaces in the area, was suing the
developer and erected a fence to keep people from walking from the
parking lot to the terminals.

The chief lending officer also pressured me to accept another
unsolicited appraisal of a Sacramento-area subdivision. This report was
based on an “extraordinary assumption” that a road led to the subject
property. When I went up to Sacramento to see the property, there was
no road.

In January I went to Sparks, Nevada, to review an appraisal of the
last phase of a condominium project. The first phase, with condos on
the golf course, was a success, but the last phase was on the opposite
side from the golf course and actually sloped below grade. The
appraiser made an $8000 downward adjustment for each unit, and I
questioned whether $8000 was adjusting enough. That provoked warnings
from several executives, including the chief credit officer. The
developer was buying the land from David Loeb, IndyMac’s Chairman of
the Board (and co-founder of Countrywide), and I was warned that
challenging this deal could get me fired. Soon after, the chief credit
officer came to my office with a representative from human resources to
announce that my initial 90-day probation would be extended for another
90 days, as CLCA executives had complained about my lack of cooperation
with them. The HR rep had a look of horror on her face the whole time
he delivered this message.

I finally finished my own airport parking lot appraisal report in
late March, the same week that the Bush Administration laid off most of
the OTS examiners. I don’t know which event precipitated my
termination. My appraisal of the airport parking lot estimated the
stabilized value at $37 million in year 2003 and the value upon
completion as $31 million in 2002. These appraised values were
considered insufficient to support the $30 million loan.

IMB gave me two weeks’ notice of my impending termination and
offered me $25,000 severance pay if I turned over all documents and
signed a non-disclosure agreement. I told them that state law required
me to keep records of all of my appraisals and reviews, and that
$25,000 was not enough. After a few days of seeing that I was not
cooperating, I was summoned to a final meeting with the chief legal
officer and “chief people officer”. A written statement indicated that
I was being terminated for having a “communication problem”. I asked
for examples of my communication problem, but none were presented. (I
later recounted, during a deposition, that I was left alone with the
chief legal officer for a few minutes of awkward silence. I then asked
him, “Doesn’t it bother you that I am being fired for a communication
problem without any evidence against me?” He said, “Not at all.” This
cracked up my attorney.) After the meeting, I was escorted back to my
office by a large security guard to collect my personal belongings, and
then I was escorted out of the building, with my toothbrush in my left
hand and my toothpaste in my right hand.

During these last days I contacted OTS about the abuses going on at
IMB and said I had documentary evidence. They flew in to Burbank to
meet me and they debriefed me for a couple of hours. They were upfront
about how the flow of information had to be one way, from me to them,
and not vice versa. I had to call my friends at IMB to find out how OTS
was responding. The OTS paid a special visit to IMB and called for an
internal audit to investigate my allegations. The first audit was
considered a whitewash, and the OTS called for a re-audit.
Interestingly enough, there was even a document produced that
supposedly indicated my approval of the appraisal of the “80% complete
subdivision”.

The second audit corroborated most of my allegations and the OTS
called for certain personnel changes. The president and senior credit
officer of CLCA were ousted; the chief lending officer had his loan
approval privileges removed. Chairman of the Board David Loeb suddenly
and coincidentally retired at the same time. He died 5 months later.

Interestingly enough, at about this same time, I read in the press
of IMB receiving a “corporate governance” award from some organization,
for having an impartial and effective board of directors.

I had an excellent attorney. Besides suing for wrongful termination,
he showed me that I could actually sue for discrimination. Many states,
including California, have laws that prevent discrimination against
employees who are upholding public policy, which was the very reason
that got me fired. Other bank appraisers should take note of this.
USPAP and OTS appraisal regulations are public policy.

In interrogatories sent to IndyMac during the litigation, they were
once again asked to demonstrate evidence of my “communication problem”.
The only evidence provided was a memo from me about a borrower “trying
to deceive us” and a memo from a loan officer complaining that I
actually called Union Pacific Railroad concerning one of his deals, a
subdivision being built close to a railroad right-of-way. I was told by
the loan officer that the track was no longer used, but Union Pacific
disclosed to me that it was still being used once a day during the
evening hours.

Interestingly enough, in the six months of unemployment and
underemployment which followed my termination, I rented many videos,
one of which was “The Insider”, the real-life story of Dr. Jeffrey
Wygand, who blew the whistle on the tobacco industry to Sixty Minutes
and was also fired, coincidentally, for having a “communication
problem.”

Most of this information is already publicly disclosed in my
lawsuit, filed 7/15/02 in Los Angeles Superior Court, Case Number
BC277619, for anyone wanting further details. As for the results of
that lawsuit, the only thing I can legally say is that “the matter has
been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of both parties”.

Category: Credit, Legal, Real Estate

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

68 Responses to “My Experience at Indy Mac: Fraud, Corruption, Criminality”

  1. Jeff says:

    Commercial real estate is the next shoe to drop. Mark it down.

  2. Unsympathetic says:

    BR, I almost wonder why the equally-defunct Countrywide isn’t being investigated with the same intensity.

  3. Steve Barry says:

    I just met a guy, 24, who was a sub-prime broker for a large bank in Connecticut. He would call the bank’s existing customers, armed with their credit report, and offer to roll all their debts into a lower monthly mortgage payment…of course this was an ARM, set to reset to 12% in few years, but don’t worry…you will re-fi before then. The house got a great appraisal and the loan was made at 100% LTV.

    Fast forward…mortgage going to reset…prices have fallen…can’t get 100% LTV anymore…sub-prime industry gone…mortgage resetting…BK city!

    And I see now ABK pricing AAA rated tranches at 40 cents on the dollar. Hate to say this…this country has become a giant ponzi scheme. Thanks Greenspan…moral hazrd run amok.

  4. Stuart says:

    from AcrosstheCurve blog… note the reference to WaMu…!?! Indymac is not the only one full of it… “it” can stand for alot of different “items”. lol

    “Corporate Bond Update
    July 25th, 2008 10:37 am
    The corporate bond market is virtually closed with very little trading. The IG 10 is about a basis point tighter and the better than expected economic data this morning has imparted a firm tone to the cash market.WAMU continues to take a drubbing in CDS. The quotes are real but they are starting to get wider. The CDS is now 19 ½ /21 ½ . They closed last night around 13/14 and earlier this morning I had them 16/17″

  5. tradahmike says:

    In an arms-length real estate market, you have 1) Buyers who are vetted for their qualification to receive 100,000s dollars of borrowed money and 2) An honest, multi-faceted appraisal system that provides rationality and discipline in establishing real underlying property values.

    Instead, we have the lazy man’s version of appraisal, Comp Sales. Whatever the property or similar properties sold for last must be the true value.

    If you introduce giveaway, free-money lending standards into a comp-sales-only appraisal system, you will get unlimited runaway price appreciation as unqualified buyers, fists full of Monopoly money, bid above full price for properties, which then creates a higher, false value floor for the next time a comparable property has its listing price established.

    This is then trumpeted as “Real estate appreciation”, when it is nothing more than an illusion of increasing value, validated by the complicit, substandard appraisal.

    What this means for the banks is that, not only is the paper they hold is no good, the underlying collateral they have is also no good.

    May take a while to unwind this one.

  6. Francois says:

    “CNBC should know better than to publish trash such as this.)”

    Barry,
    They shall know better…the day your breakfast bacon, flying from the sky, land in your plate.

    In the meantime, let’s make a very liberal use of this Nobel Award winning invention call the TV remote.

  7. Chief Tomahawk says:

    HA!

    Jerry Bowyer gets outted!

    Who was Saddam’s PR guy? Baghdad Bob? The guy who insisted Iraq was winning as U.S. tanks were rolling by in the background in 2003? That’s Bowyer’s twin!

  8. larster says:

    Agree w/the Countrywide comment and wonder when the next shoe will drop. What the conservatives do not understand is that we have rules, laws and regulations to keep the honest people honest. The crooks will always be there but when no one is minding the store otherwise honest people cut themselves into the action.

  9. Philippe says:

    The issue is not specific to one component of the financial system, banks have and are fiddling with their numbers for quite a while, rating agencies had a very generous appraisal of discounted cash flows called « quant » appraisals and turned into business linear models, money markets funds were as well enriched with fiddled sub prime numbers.Economics data have been accomodated for policy purpose.
    Amnesia will prevail throughout the next decade and prevention and supervision left aside as a drawer policy (keep in a drawer all wrong doings in case they can be useful)

  10. Value man says:

    I experienced the same issues as Mr Martin while Chief Appraiser at Ameriquest.

  11. Francois says:

    Just read the whole piece; absolutely amazing stuff!
    Couple of comments:

    1) To those who claim the housing bust is solely the work of idiotic borrowers desiring too much for their own good…You just got served! The undertone of Vernon Martin post is reeking GREED and incestuous dealings, conflicts of interest, shady egomaniac executives with no morals.

    2) The role of the Bush Administration and others in officialdom in all this mess will need to be seriously investigated. Why is it that in 2002, “the Bush Administration laid off most of the OTS examiners.”? Were they all THAT incompetent? Or was there (I was about to write “again”) a political motive behind this move? Contrast this fact with the criminal stupidity of the Florida regulators regarding background checks for mortgage brokers. One has to wonder what the hell was going on.

    3) Someone ought to go to jail. It is not because these practices took place in a corporate environment that excuses should be accepted. This is not about honest disagreements with regulators. It is outright obfuscation and thwarting of the law. Punishment is needed and it gotta hurt aplenty.

  12. Diogenes says:

    I have been in commercial real estate for 20 years.

    Capitalization rates (inverse of P/E and used to value commercial RE) that averaged somewhere near 9% for what seems like forever, dropped to 5.5, 6% for many property types around 2004 – 2007.

    That’s a difference of about 33%.

  13. wunsacon says:

    There’s been so much fraud the past few years that we can spend our way out of recession just by hiring enough prosecutors and building enough prisons to put all these MF-ers away for years.

    We systematically imprison a percentage of the poor. Justice would be better served by imprisoning those who could’ve made a decent honest living but decided to steal *anyway*.

  14. Stuart says:

    Interesting quote I came cross.

    “Banks are in need of a bail out like you and I are in need of our next breathe.”

    I like that.

  15. randy says:

    i have said this at least once before on these message boards…but i will say it again. i don’t see any use of the word “pitchfork” or “torch” on the page, so obviously nobody’s said this yet.

    you know, there was a time in this country where we’d hang a man for stealing a horse. these bastards have stolen far more than a horse. i am dreaming of a mao-style retribution for these douchenozzles.

  16. Dervin says:

    The sad thing is, in the conservative GWB worshiping, Obama-is-a-Muslim and Hillary is Satan part of the web, they are trying to put the blame for all this on the CRA’s, Political Correctness, Illegal Immigrants and Minorities.

  17. Joel says:

    Funny, the forum link doesn’t seem to work

  18. Barry says:

    I haven’t fully written this up yet, but I have a complete take down on the CRA argument. It won’t be ready for some time now –

    In the meanwhile, CRA has become a very effective shorthand.

    Anytime you see someone blaming the housing debacle on CRA, you know you are dealing with partisan hackery. These wingnuts don’t care about reality, they are liars, plain and simple.

    I, for one, are thrilled with the time savings: CRA Claim = Asshat.

    There, I just saved you an hour . . .

  19. TDL says:

    There is plenty of blame to go around. CRA was merely one of the many components (not the cause as some claim.) I do not understand why people insist that all these problems are either one thing or another. Corruption, heavy regulation, incompetence, feel good laws that have negative consequences, not enough competition in the banking sector, the Fed, etc. It was a confluence factors, not one specific event or issue.

    Regards,
    TDL

  20. Schnormal says:

    I live in the NY area, and i got a robocall last night from CountryWide.

    “Press 4 to transfer your credit card balances to a home equity loan” or some such.

    and Barry thank you again for saving me yet another hour :)

  21. Steve Barry says:

    What is CRA?

  22. Andy Tabbo says:

    It’s much smaller market, of course, but there are very similar things going on in the car/rv/boat market.

    Let’s say you have a vehicle worth only $8K but owe $10k. And now you want to buy one that lists for $22K and the dealer will sell for $20K. In order to avoid any cash out of the pocket, the dealer “buys” your car for $10K, even tho’ it’s only worth $8k, and then “sells” you the new one for $22K to make the deal work.

    The cylce repeats and repeats until you get a mess of people who are really, really upside down on car/RV/boat loans….gets kind of messy after awhile. The good news is that it’s much smaller than the housing fraud/mess.

    - AT

  23. Steve Barry says:

    Just saw bumber sticker…”Comrade Obama”…this will be a dirty capaign.

    Just got a call from Etrade…first time they ever called me, though my IRA is there…they wanted to know if I could transfer in more assets.

  24. odograph says:

    CRA = Community Reinvestment Act

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_Reinvestment_Act

    I’m a skeptic that it could have had a big impact, as if a bunch of suited bankers would all say “we’ll lose money, but gosh it’s good for the country.”

  25. Donkei says:

    The sad thing is that this sort of thing is not over, in fact it may just be heating up some more, as Fannie and Freddie do anything to prop up the mortgage market.

    I’ve got a closing this afternoon (I’m a closing atty) where the property was bought REO from a bank for $150,000. The bank’s foreclosed mortgage was originally for $170,000.

    The buyers are refinancing their purchase mortgage, taking out a loan for $186,000, which, since there is no mortgage ins, implies the appraisal came in at about $230,000, six months after they bought it from the bank for $150,000.

    Guess what they are doing with the money? Gonna pay off the mortgage on their residence (this is a second property).

    The more things change.

  26. Caterina says:

    To try and blame one party or another, or one administration or another is ludicrous. The corruption, greed, lender/insurance/healthcare/pharmacy lobby money, etc. is rampant up and down both sides of the aisle. I can point to wrong doings in the lending industry in many administrations. Franklin Raines (former Fannie CEO who just got whacked with a 24+million fine for his accounting wizardry) was a tight buddy with the Clintons. Being a conservative, that would serve my argument well, but I know better.

    The whole damn system needs a flushing and overhaul. My guys, your guys, their guys, they are all taking part in the taxpayer’s fleecing. It serves no one to fight amongst ourselves. While we are distracted by arguing with each other over neocon/tree hugger nonsense, they are regulating another way to steal us blind and have no accountability.

    The lending industry collapse is just a portion of our country’s ills. We need to back up and take in the entire view.

    I’m an appraiser, and belong to the forum that Vernon posted his experience. He’s a well respected participant and I have no doubt there are many out there who could account similar situations. Then you could speak with the doctor about his $10,000 golfing vacation in Hawaii he received as a bonus for his business with the pharmaceutical company. There’s the lobbyist who greased the congress person and it turned into FDA approval for XXX drug. The stock soared and Wall Street cheered.

    The simple fact that AG Cuomo’s Home Valuation Code of Conduct came to be is a reflection of more back room deals. Cuomo was threatening to investigate Fannie and Freddie as he dug deeper. The 3 parties came to an ‘agreement’ that is thinly vieled as well meaning, but results in havoc for the industry. This was all penned to keep the public out of (and I’m borrowing these from the blog author, I love them!) Phony and Fraudy’s books.

    It’s scary when you think of the magnitude. It’s not just the lending industry, it’s not just our economy. It’s global now, and it’s basically all pointing back to greed over ethics.

    I think what scares me most, is those who are at the helm cannot be trusted for the most part. Look at ‘em fueding and fussing over oil prices, offshore drilling, global warming, Iraq, etc. Beleive me, our best interests are on the bottom of the list. It’s all money, politics, power, and media attention.

    I’m a generally content, reasonable, level-headed person. When I think about this whole mess, and our potential fixes, it scares me to death that the ‘fixes’ start to sound like something coming from what I would call a militia nut’s mind. Are we really to that point? Holy cow! Hopefully I’m just having a Henny Penny month. I’m reading the WSJ, have a grasp on economics, etc. I’m just not comforted or reasoning my way out of thinking we’re in trouble.

  27. Whammer says:

    CRA, I believe, refers to the Community Reinvestment Act, which is supposed to encourage banks to loan to low-income communities.

    It is a tremendously big stretch to say that had anything to do with this mess.

  28. Jim Haygood says:

    “In 2005, more than 8,000 appraisers — roughly 10 percent of the industry — signed a petition asking the federal government to take action; the White House and Federal agencies demurred, and appraisal fraud continued unabated.”

    An appraiser I know in San Diego (hello, Scotty!) was posting on message boards about outright appraisal fraud in 2005. He stated repeatedly that he was turning down work, rather than compromise his professional credentials and perhaps be on the hook criminally. Pretty soon he was down to half-time work, since his lender customers didn’t WANT honest appraisals.

    I’d like to know WHO in the federal government received that petition signed by 8,000 appraisers, and failed to take timely action?

    The housing Bubble may have been originated by investment banks, but regulators (including revolving-door Goldman Sachs alumni such as Hank Paulson) enabled it with their hands-off nods and winks to the boys.

    Greenspan’s touting of ARMs in 2004, with Fed Funds pegged at 1%, was either evil or stupid. I strongly suspect the latter, as Greenspan was and is a mediocre economist. But that don’t mean he shouldn’t hang for ruining the lives of millions.

  29. Steve Barry says:

    In the category of “Can’t Make This Up”

    Lenny Dykstra, ex-Met, is on Mike and the Mad Dog, talking about how he buys out of the money calls and how he hooked up with Cramer…how he sends him emails at 2 AM and Cramer answers him right back. Says he has 97% trade accuracy, for his subscribers thought Street.com. BWAHAHAHA!

    Shame of it, Lenny looks like he is 80 years old and looks stiff as a board.

  30. Andy Tabbo says:

    Erin Burnett just brought on two more regional bank CEO’s to explain that “everything is ok.”

    I guess its not her fault. CEO’s who know that their biz is shite won’t even consider going on. So, they end up with people who have good things to say. Or does CNBC seek out people with something good to say?

    They wouldn’t do that would they?

    Why doesn’t she bring on some banking CEO’s from Riverside, CA or San Diego exurbs…talk about the state of residential and commercial banking there?

    - AT

  31. LY says:

    Way to weasel out, for some of those on the political right.

    Cronyism and incompetence is bipartisan, but the hostility to proper regulation and competent regulators is partisan. In between gutting the regulations and regulators and then “tort reform”… Seriously, which party’s administrations and judicial appointees undermine whistle-blower protections?

  32. Schnormal says:

    i thought barry meant CRAs were credit rating agencies.

    (although it makes total sense that right-wingers wouldn’t miss the opportunity to scapegoat anything related to low-income community building ;)

  33. TDL says:

    97% accuracy?! He is the greatest of all time! I remember the pissing matches Dykstra would get into with Steve Smith (the options guy at RealMoney.) I’m thinking that the pro probably had a better long term strategy than the ballplayer.

    Regards,
    TDL

  34. Mel says:

    Why did Greenspan and friends allow this to go on so blatantly? Could it be because they were so set against wage inflation that they had to invent a way for wage earners to afford housing? Until we see the motivation, we won’t find the cure.

  35. Steve Barry says:

    Mel,

    People want to try to pin blame on one major cause of this fiasco…usually, I would shy away from that. But when someone goes by the name “Maestro” they need to be held to a higher authority. You can absolutely pin most of this on Greenspan…he provided the motive through moral hazard (the Greenspan put)…he provided the gun (money growth since 1990s) and looked the other way by not using his powers to regulate lenders given in 1994. he egged it on by saying more borrowers should take ARMs. And he was the boss. Who else needs to be blamed? Mozilo was a low level hack compared to the Maestro.

  36. dimitris says:

    Chairman of the Board David Loeb suddenly and coincidentally retired at the same time. He died 5 months later.

    Hopefully the sick bastard suffered.

  37. Estragon says:

    TDL/caterina/Steve Barry,

    I heartily agree with your views (paraphrasing, that there is no one single cause of the mess). Clearly, what we’re seeing is a confluence of systemic problems, the most serious of which is the tendency for everyone to kick the can down the road on the assumption it won’t be them left to clean up the mess.

    I think it was Einstein who said “explanations should be made as simple as possible… but no simpler”.

  38. me says:

    LOL

    I too was let go because I had a “communication problem.” I eventually figured out what the communication problem was. The management just didn’t like what I had to say. Specifically, I identified three issues that required attention. The issues were, of course, ignored and one year later caused enormous problems.

    I later found out one of the men in management was getting a little something to look the other way…

  39. Whammer says:

    Schnormal, actually you could be right about the CRAs. It is a better argument that the Credit Rating Agencies should take some hit for this.

    I was going with the idea that if it has anything to do with regulations intending to benefit low-income communities, then the right-wingers are against it. Usually a pretty safe bet ;-).

  40. Audio Junkie says:

    Way Off Topic:
    As much as I enjoy the comments on this site, I struggle with some of the contributors and their obvious distain for GWB. I have no love for the man myself but to blame him for every evil that has been perpetrated is simply blind.
    Can someone explain to me (I’m serious; no condescension intended) why a financial fiasco such as the one being played out today is the fault of the President and not Congress? Are the lawmakers getting a pass because they’re democratically controlled?

  41. Audio Junkie says:

    Donkei,
    What a refreshing viewpoint!!!!!! I couldn’t agree more. I hope people take your extremely well worded and thought-out post to heart and begin to understand what is needed to get this country corrected.

  42. me says:

    Are the lawmakers getting a pass because they’re democratically controlled?

    Congress was more or less under Republican control from 1994 until 2006 during which time they had control of the legislative agenda as well as influence on which nominees would make it to a full vote. Would Democratic control have made things different? Likely, yes. Would Al Gore have let things spiral out of control as GWB has? Likely, no.

  43. Audio Junkie says:

    To Me: you wrote – Congress was more or less under Republican control from 1994 until 2006 during which time they had control of the legislative agenda as well as influence on which nominees would make it to a full vote. Although this is true, I have seen no influence being exerted by the Congress today that indicates they are anymore responsible. There is the so called “Housing Rescue” that is currently underway. However, this does nothing for the distressed homeowner but it sure makes the bond holders (global central banks) in high spirits.

  44. wunsacon says:

    Audio, the EXECUTIVE branch is responsible for the enforcement of all existing laws. It IS the regulator. You could say the EXECUTIVE branch “runs the country” with whatever sets of laws are currently on the books. And, as you would expect for an organization charged with this responsibility, it is HUGE.

    Not Congress. Congress passes legislation to set things up and usually retains little direct involvement. For the most part, they don’t run things. (E.g., Paulson and Bernanke meet with Bush more often with Bush behind closed doors than they do on the record in Congressional hearings, where they provide “testimony” about what they’re doing and why.) And Congress can be wrong or fail to act because the Executive branch distorts or hides the information Congress needs to make good decisions. (E.g., distorted intel claiming WMD in Iraq. Or, e.g., Paulson might explain why “the system will collapse” if there’s no bailout of BS, Fannie, et al.) So, Congress’ effectiveness depends on the executive’s. With this administration, you can see how poorly that’s worked.

    When there’s a failure to respond TIMELY to evidence of massive corruption (e.g., Enron, housing fraud) in violation of existing law, the ball was clearly in the regulators’ court. Those “regulators” are always part of the Executive.

  45. Steve Metz says:

    I work as a real estate appraiser and signed the petition. Some of us in the profession have been trying to alert the public and the government about this for the last 4 years. I have turned several fraudulent reports into state regulators in the last 4 years and not gotten one call back from the state on any of them.

    There is absolutly no enforcement of the law on any of this bank fraud that has been going on. It therefore must be the pubilc policy of the executive branch of the government not to enforce any of these laws even when there is solid evidence of the law being broken.

    Try lighting up a joint in public and you will be arrested and put in jail in a heartbeat. Steal a 6 pack from a grocery store. Go directly to jail. Steal millions of dollars. You get away with it no problem. State attorney generals office says it’s just to hard to prosecute. BS they are under direction not to go after these people.

    Most of those 8000 apprisers that signed the petition have been gamed out of the system and are struggling. The fraudsters in out industry are doing just fine. I have been told several times by bankers that business is rough and they have no use for apriasers that kill deals. Hit the number or we will find some one that will.

    I my self have left the real estate apraisal industry and gone back to appraising art and classic cars.

  46. CathyG says:

    Whammer -

    People who are furious with Bush see this debacle as, primarily, an abject failure of regulation.

    The day to day, nitty gritty work of regulation is conducted by career professionals, many of whom are extremely competent and dedicated to what they do. These professionals work in bureaus that report up to the department and department secretaries who are appointed by the President and often serve on the Cabinet.

    For 8 years we’ve had an administration that has been ideologically hostile to governing, has refused to regulate in favor of the unfettered free market, has appointed department heads based on cronyism rather than ability, has under-funded regulatory agencies and has politicized appointments, promotions and retention to a degree unseen before.

    For examples see Brownie of FEMA, layoffs of OTS regulators, the politicization of the Justice Department (see commentary by Jeffrey Toobin), and Paul Krugman: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/13/look-whos-talking/

    For results of this approach to governing see the financial crisis, the environmental record, increased food poisoning incidents, increased near misses at airports, etc.

    My question is: at what point is an ideologically driven, tragically wrong bet on governance so destructive that it goes beyond “OOPS, guess we got it wrong.”

    To me, the people who deliberately looked the other way while the economy of the richest country in history was being systematically looted have committed treason.

    In Russia it was called kleptocracy: rule by thieves.

    After 9/11 Bin Laden said that one of his goals was to bring down the U.S. economy. Now that this unholy alliance between Washington and Wall Street has caused so much more economic damage than he was able to, shouldn’t the people involved be identified and punished for what they are: enemies of the state?

    Seems fair to me.

  47. Audio Junkie says:

    wunsacon and CathyG
    Thanks, I truly appreciate people who are willing to discuss and offer solid examples rather than preach.
    I still believe that Congress was/is complicit in the debacle (you would have to live under a rock not to have seen this coming regardless of the governmental branch you belong to) and needed to take a more active role in the regulation. However, you both bring-up excellent points and helped to modify my thoughts.

  48. VJ says:

    Congress can’t force federal regulatory agencies to do anything. They can haul them up in front of a congressional committee, shine the light on their incompetence/malfeasance/nonfeasance/criminality, attempt to shame them into action, and have them prosecuted if they can prove they perjured themselves.

    Only the executive branch can order regulatory agencies to act or not act.
    .

  49. Scott says:

    I sell real estate, mostly repossessed homes. Recently, most mortgage and insurance companies have been investigating the appraisals on all foreclosed properties. I’ve done dozens of historical price opinions, dated to the time of sale, just over the last few months, and I have yet to come across one appraisal that didn’t overvalue the property by at least $25,000.

    I just did one last week in fact on which the appraiser had to go over five miles outside of the subject’s subdivision, even though there were numerous comparable sales within a few blocks at the time, just to find sales prices that could justify a valuation way over market.

    It’s fraud, and it’s rampant. The problem though lies in the corruption of the appraisal process. The appraiser works for the lender, and his job is to justify the loan. His job is not to provide a fair and accurate market value for a house. If a house is overpriced, he gets paid to justify the loan at the sales price no matter how far above market value it is.

    It would shock you to see some of the appraisals I’ve seen. I had one that the appraiser had to go thirty miles away and use new construction in a gated golf community to justify the loan on the purchase of a low-rent shack in a one-street town that was $40,000 over what similar houses on the same block were selling for at the time.

    These people need to be heavily fined and sentenced to prison.

  50. Jim says:

    There’s been so much fraud the past few years that we can spend our way out of recession just by hiring enough prosecutors and building enough prisons to put all these MF-ers away for years.

    A pleasant fantasy, but few of these folks will ever see the inside of a jail.

    If an American is robbed by a man in the street of $100, he will want the thief put away for decades. If he is robbed of $20,000 of his tax dollars by a community of wealthy, respectable men, it is simply not a problem.

    Most Americans would never put a real thief in jail because they hope to be thieves themselves someday. Actually, Americans admire the thieves, even when they themselves are the thieves’ victims.

    So much for “pitchforks” and “torches.”

  51. loosecannon says:

    To Video Junkie: Congratulations on having an open mind. Let me pour some more items into it:
    1) Much of the blame CAN, as you say, be laid on Congress, but it was Senate Banking Chair Phil Gramm (R-Tx) who oversaw most of the de-regulation that removed oversight from our financial processes.

    2) Gramm retired from the Senate and went straight to work for UBS, a company which benefited greatly from the de-regulation that he championed

    3) UBS is now under investigation for, well, lots of things.

    More food for thought… I’m a pretty far-left guy, especially for a mortgage broker! I am very disappointed that the Democratic Party hasn’t been willing/able to affect more change, but I have to cut them some slack for a few reasons.

    1) They’ve only been in “power” for 15 months now.
    2) They won many seats in 2006, but those “freshmen” are not going to be effective legislators for a while. Some won unexpectedly, and have spent a good deal of time fighting off the GOP’s attempts to reclaim the seat
    3) They don’t have a veto-proof majority in either chamber (yet), and their majority in the Senate is so razor-thin that they need to be nice to Joe Lieberman.

    Good discourse.

  52. VJ says:

    New York states Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, recently filed suit against UBS, claiming they misled clients as to the risks in the Auction-Rate securities market. They sold and marketed these securities as a safe and highly-liquid investment, and when the market for them began to seize-up last Winter, UBS executives were dumping their holdings while simultaneously telling clients that the securities were safe, which left their customers holding the bag on $25 billion in worthless assets.

    AG Cuomo:

    “The Auction-Rate securities, as you know, were presented to be quote unquote ‘cash equivalents’. Except they weren’t. UBS also continued the fraud after they knew the fraud was revealed for what it was. After the auctions were failing. They continued to sell the Auction-Rate securities.”

    .

  53. Blue Bellied Yankee says:

    To understand part of this rampant out of control economic situation read Greenspans book The AGE OF TURBULANCE. In the book Greenspan has many pages about his younger years with Ayn Rand. He is a true believer in Ayn Rand. I thought how odd for a true believer in Ayn Rand to be heading up the largest central planning agency in the world since the hay days of the Kremlin. Greenspan basically said in the book that he could do the most good by being inside the beast rather than protesting and handing out leaflets as he put it.

    So you had a guy running the FED that believed free and unregulated markets would solve all the worlds problems. You then add Bush as a silly putty sort of person. A supportive Congress that did such note worthy things as renaming French fries, and you have a perfect storm of deregulation, greed and the movement of wealth to the “top” few.

    I lived through the Nixon years and had faith that the truth would come out and those responsible would be held accountable. I think I’ve lost that faith now. We are a corrupt country that seems to be circling the drain, with no hope of straightening out the moral financial mess
    we are in. In fact with Medicare bust looming, an unending war, massive spending on the military for pre-emptive wars, no real leadership, I see things slipping down the path to…. I really don’t know where but it ain’t going to be pretty.

  54. Binko says:

    Given the economic complexities of the modern world our society just can’t afford to privatize and deregulate everything. It cuts individuals and self-serving groups free to pursue short term greed.

    In the story above everybody gets a commission, everybody gets a cut, a piece of the action. Everybody has a vested interest in seeing the deal get done. Everybody sees everybody else cutting corners to make the cash and soon cutting corners becomes the norm.

    You are a loser and not a team player if you fail to conform to the new norm of close your eyes, cut corners and rake in the dough. The honest man is the one threat to those who are profiting most.

    The only solution is to recognize that you can’t build a society without strong regulations and controls. But as long as Joe Pickup Truck and Suzy Soccer Mom continue to buy into the propaganda of the rich and powerful and vote for millionaires whose only real desire is to enrich themselves and their friends there is no hope of real change.

  55. Boiled Frog says:

    Blue Bellied – Great post. I read a lot of these blogs and pick and choose things to read to my wife (trying to get her up to speed slowly). I think I might read her your post but I don’t think she will understand the Ayn Rand reference.

    This story reminds me a lot of my work in the 90′s in the rehab industry. Lot’s of easy money and as a therapist we would be ask to “treat” people based on their insurance coverage. I was really surprised and disappointed how people were willing to look the other way. That’s why I left.

  56. -ck- says:

    As a residential real estate appraiser, my personal experience with IndyMac can shed some light on another aspect of the system.

    At a mortgage lending fair several years ago, an IndyMac rep said that there was a blacklist of appraisers that could not be used; he checked the list, and I wasn’t on it. He also said there was a gray list, that was never shared with the public — these appraisers would be watched and reviewed, but their reports might be acceptable. The IndyMac rep said that all the lenders contributed to and shared these lists.

    Reading threads at the Appraisers Forum, the worst part of all this is that an honest appraiser can be put on these lists for complaining about dishonest and unethical practices of loan officers and mortgage lenders. That’s not to say there aren’t a significant number of incompetent and unethical appraisers, but the scary part is that lending industry has used black lists to punish appraisers who won’t play ball.

    Another source of appraiser frustration is the list maintained by MARI — if a loan officer or homeowner files a complaint about an appraiser, MARI will add the appraiser to their blacklist without any research into the nature or validity of the complaint.

    Vernon Martin details the corruption at the top of the mortgage food chain — there is documented and anecdotal evidence of these problems at every level of the loan origination process, from the LO to the credit rating agencies that called bundles of sub prime loans AAA paper.

    This is why we are in the worst real estate crisis since the Great Depression, and the worst financial crisis since 1929.

  57. Angus says:

    I’m still waiting for the mea culpa from Jackass #1, otherwise known as Tom Brown @ Bankstocks.com.

  58. Blissex says:

    «The IndyMac rep said that all the lenders contributed to and shared these lists. Reading threads at the Appraisers Forum, the worst part of all this is that an honest appraiser can be put on these lists for complaining about dishonest and unethical practices of loan officers and mortgage lenders.»

    Well, WINNERS do what it takes, and spoilsports and losers who are envious of the success of the WINNERS are blacklisted, especially when their excuse is some feeble minded sense of so-called honesty, which is profoundly anti-American.

    In the same way there are now in the UK and USA blacklists shared by most major companies of people who are alleged to damage their employers, like unionists, another category of anti-Americans.

    true-Americans like Ken Lay, Bernie Ebbers, Angelo Mozillo and the many others who have created so much GDP doing what it takes have instead been been persecuted by the Government or are at risk to be.

    :-)

  59. DeDude says:

    If I understand the new mortgage bailout bill right it allows bank to push their bad loans onto FHA up to 90% of the appraised home value. My guess is that there will be very few cases where 90 % of appraised value is not equal to 100% of the banks outstanding balance. They will find some way, even if they have to use comparables from London. The CBO predicts that only 68 billion of the allowed 300 billion in the bill will be used on that scheme. I predict that the program will be an astonishing success and the banks will drain that 300 billion of taxpayer money out of our pockets in no time. The homeowners end of the “bail out” will be a lot worse, ending up with a home that is still under water and like to sink for years into the future. They would be so much better off if they had not been helped by congress.

  60. Anonymouse says:

    I was enraged when I started reading the CNBC article. Just looking at that asshat’s shit eating grin was enough to tell me where he was coming from.

    Amazing, the attempt to politicize everything, particularly when it was their (overly ideological Republicans/crony capitalists). That idiot would have stood on the decks of the Titanic denouncing the socialist iceberg.

    I’m torn between the feeling I’m wasting my time shouting at these fools and the feeling the best lesson I could teach them would be to take their money.

    But ultimately I feel like either we’re going to take this country back or we’re all going down together.

    You need to lead the charge Barry. That may mean toning down the rhetoric, but never shirking from speaking the truth.

  61. One would think with the recent major blowouts in banking, and the ones certain to come in the near future, that the fraud would come to an end out of fear that the microscope is being dialed in. This is not happening.
    I am a 13 year mortgage loan originator in Illinois and have been licensed in real estate for four years, two of those as a broker. That is to say my experience is extensive enough to value property with reasonable effeciency.
    Roughly a year ago a friend came to me asking for help to get out of an adjustable mortgage due to soon adjust.
    Long story short, I advised him to wait until January 2008 for seasoning on a Chapter 7 BK and for the FHA Secure program to take effect.
    In January, after further review, it was clear his mortgage was “underwater” or “up side down”.
    He owed $230,000+ on a house clearly worth 200k-210k. I told him he was not alone. Many people are in the same boat, I said, and I’m sure FHA will roll out another program to help folks like you.
    In July they did. When I called to share the news, my client stated excitedly “Oh I’m sorry dude but GMAC came through the dealership where I work and GOT EVERYBODY DONE”.
    When I drilled down to find out how, it came down to a severly bushed appraisal. The appraiser “hit a value of $275,000″.
    I was outraged. I had not only lost this client, I am no longer the main mortgage referral person in this Chevy dealer. That title has been givin to a person at GMAC Mortgage who can “get things done”.
    Because I lost this major referral source as a result of blatent fraud, I decided to call FHA to report the fraud.
    After red tape and run around it was made clear to me FHA has bigger fish to fry and my one little report of fraud was not going to amount to a hill of beans.
    Meanwhile I’m not able to make a living in a dying industry unless I decide to also stoop to such levels of ethical misconduct so I can survive. So what is one to do?

    THIS SYSTEM IS BROKEN and when someone like me stands up and says so, I am waived off like a pesky bug.
    WHY WON’T ANYONE OF AUTHORTY TAKE THIS TYPE OF THING SERIOUSLY?
    I am told by friends “oh just wait, they will get theirs”.
    My response: I still have to make a living while I’m waiting, and three years from now when this person finally gets shut down there will be a dozen more in line waiting to take his place.
    So again…..WHAT IS ONE TO DO?
    Like any other crime where big money is involved, there will always be some new person ready to step up, roll the dice, and take there chances unless someone with authority steps in swiftly and severly when these reports are filed. This is not being done. So once again WHAT IS ONE TO DO?

  62. Todd says:

    Very enlightening. I used to think that the Japanese economic experience post-bubble was endemic to that country because of the vast corruption in their corporate and government upper echelons, and that we would be immune to such a malaise. I no longer hold to that view. Corruption in the USA runs as deep as anywhere.

    I hope under Democratic control of DC that we see an incredibly thorough scrutinization of who was doing what. I hope that means very stiff prison sentences and seizure of most personal assets and massive fines leaving the perpetrators bankrupt. Whistleblowers should be financially incented to benefit from the transfer of wealth through those fines. I nominate Vermont Bernie Sanders as the man to spearhead that effort. He would rain hell down on these scoundrels. They are financial terrorists in my mind, no better than Al Qaeda terrorists.

  63. Juan says:

    Michael Francq,

    Could the Illinois State office of professional responsibility be of some help? http://www.idfpr.com/

  64. Caterina says:

    Michael Francq,

    Can you gather any documents? Maybe just addresses? There is an appraiser in Florida who is ticked off just as we are about the rampant fraud and isn’t letting it die. She’s been sued by First American/Eappraiseit for calling them out on changing appraisals after they’d been delivered by the appraiser. They dismissed the case, but the battle is raging on. http://www.mortgagefraudwatchlist.org is her website where this can be reported. You can also email me at caterina @ evergreenappraisalsnm. com. Remove the spaces. We can’t let things like this go unnoticed. Not without a serious fight and effort on our parts.

  65. Reality says:

    What a bunch of crybabies. Appraisers are the most arrogant, overpaid group of losers I have ever met.

    Remember, all those “Fraud” loans were made using a jacked appraisal by the same people you went to school with. It s not about Perry, Loeb, Countrywide, Mozilo or Indymac, its about the crappy group of appraisers who failed the system. As in industry you guys should be fighting your own industry relations.

    In the end, you have failed the American people, the lending industry and yourselves.

    As for the appraisal on the parking lot. Check your records, you were probably wrong about the value. You probably had your head up your but so far you could not establish value. In my opinion you should have been fired for being a jerk.

    My opinion, now go back to your appraiser “love fest” licking each other but remember, you are part of the problem not the solution. The solution will be when we do not have to put up with “your opinion” and the computers and realtors take over.

  66. T Man says:

    You really need to make up your mind, Barry. One week, your blog describes the Office of Thrift Supervision as a bunch of asleep-at-the-switch yokels who had no clue about what was happening at IndyMac.

    http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2008/07/idiots-fiddle-w.html

    Nine days later, in this post, you recount a story about how OTS came down like a ton of bricks against IndyMac shenanigans.

    Seems to me that you are proving that you really had no clue when you went off on your attack against OTS. Why don’t you do us all a favor and stop posting up BS opinions about bank supervision when you’ve conclusively proven that you HAVE NO EARTHLY IDEA about how it’s done?

  67. Charlie says:

    Wanna see corruption?, check out Daytona Beach, a city that has earned the “Most Corrupt” awards in every category. Daytona Beach has been besieged by rampant corruption as a result of the undue influence of a handful of local tycoons, considered above the law. The malfeasance has reached untenable levels and we need urgent Federal intervention.

    http://www.DaytonaPost.com

    It’s not just the crime on the streets and the lack of jobs and business opportunities, but the general lack of morale in the population. A population that has given up all hope. While the homeless roam the streets and the able flee the city, what’s left is but a shadow of what could have been a great Florida city.

  68. Charlie says:

    Wanna see corruption?, check out Daytona Beach, a city that has earned the “Most Corrupt” awards in every category. Daytona Beach has been besieged by rampant corruption as a result of the undue influence of a handful of local tycoons, considered above the law. The malfeasance has reached untenable levels and we need urgent Federal intervention.

    http://www.DaytonaPost.com

    It’s not just the crime on the streets and the lack of jobs and business opportunities, but the general lack of morale in the population. A population that has given up all hope. While the homeless roam the streets and the able flee the city, what’s left is but a shadow of what could have been a great Florida city.