Despite the pronouncements by Eric Holder, the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, and the obvious reticence of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the vast majority of securities attorneys believe that the banks were (a) trading on inside information and (b) committing securities fraud when they funded and then traded on mortgages that were too toxic to ever succeed.
The first, trading on inside information, is regularly prosecuted by the justice department and the SEC. It is why Martha Stewart went to jail in rather flimsy evidence. The catch, justice and the SEC say is that this only applies to securities and the 1998 act signed into law by Clinton makes mortgage bonds and hedges on mortgage bonds NOT securities. It also makes the insurance paid on the mortgage bonds NOT insurance. This is despite the fact that the instruments meet every definition of securities and both the insurance contracts and credit default swaps appear to meet every definition of insurance. But the law passed by Congress in 1998 says otherwise, so how can we prosecute?
The second, securities fraud meets the same obstacle they say because they can't accuse anyone of committing fraud in the issuance or trading of securities when the law says there were no securities.
So goes the spin coming from Wall Street and as long as law enforcement in each state and the DOJ keeps listening to Wall Street and their lawyers, they will keep arriving at the same mistaken conclusion.
If Wall Street had in fact followed the plan of securitization set forth in their prospectuses and pooling and servicing agreements, assignment and assumption agreements and various other instruments that were created to build the infrastructure of securitization of debt --- including but not limited to mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, student loans etc. --- then Wall Street would be right and the justice department and the SEC might be stuck in the mud created by the 1998 law. But that isn't what happened and therefore the premise behind the apparent immunity of Wall Street Banks and bankers is actually an illusion.
Starting with the issuance of the mortgage bonds, most of them were issued before any mortgage was originated or acquired by anyone. In fact, the list attached to the prospectus for the mortgage bonds said so --- stating that the spreadsheet or list attached was by example only, that these mortgages do not exist but would be soon be replaced with real mortgages acquired pursuant to the enabling documents for the creation of the REMIC "trust." But that is not what happened either.
In no way did the Banks follow the terms of the prospectus, PSA, assignment and assumption agreements or anything else. Instead what they really did was create the illusion of a securitization scheme that covered up the reality of a PONZI scheme, the hallmark of which is that it collapses when investors stop buying the bogus securities and more investors want their money out than those wishing to put money into the scheme. There was no reason for the entire system to collapse other than the fact that Wall Street planned and bet on the collapse, thus making money coming and going and draining the lifeblood of capital worldwide out of economies and marketplaces that depended upon the continued flow of capital.
The creation of the REMIC "trust" was a sham. It was never formalized, never funded and never acquired any mortgages. hence any "exempt" securities issued by it were not the kind intended by the Act signed into law in 1998. It was not a mortgage-backed security, or credit backed security, it was an illusion designed to defraud anyone who invested in them. The purpose of issuing the mortgage bonds was not to fund and acquire mortgages but rather to steal as much money out of the flow as possible while covering their tracks with some of the money ending up on the closing table for newly originated or previously originated bundles of mortgages that were to be acquired. That isn't what happened either.
Wall Street bankers put the money from investors into their own private piggy bank and then funded and acquired mortgages with only part of the money while they made false "proprietary trades" in the "mortgage bonds" that made it look like they were trading geniuses making money hand over fist while the rest of the world saw their wealth decline by as much as 60%-70%. The funding for debt came not from the unfunded REMIC "trusts" but from the investment banker who was merely an intermediary depository institution which unlawfully was playing with investor money. The actual instruments upon which Wall Street relies to justify its actions is the prospectus, the PSA, and the Master Servicing agreement --- each of which was used to sell the investors on letting go of their money in exchange for the promises and conditions contained in the exotic agreements containing numerous conflicting clauses.
Thus the conclusion is that since the mortgage bonds were issued by an unfunded and probably nonexistent entity, the investors had "bought" an interest in an incoherent series of agreements that together constituted a security or, in the alternative, that there was no security and the investors were simply duped into parting with their money which is fraud, pure and simple.
I would say that investors acquired certain passive rights to the instruments used, with the exception of the bogus mortgage bonds that were usually worthless pieces of paper or entries on a log. In my opinion the issuance of the prospectus was the issuance of a security. The issuance of the PSA was the issuance of a security, And the issuance of the other agreements in the illusory securitization chain may also have been the issuance of a security. If cows can be securities, then written instruments that were used to secure passive investments are certainly securities. The exemption for mortgage bonds doesn't apply because neither the mortgage bond nor the REMIC "trust" were ever funded or used --- except in furtherance of their fraud when they claimed losses due to mortgage defaults and obtained federal bailouts, insurance and proceeds of credit default swaps.
The loan closings, like the funding of the "investments" was similarly diverted away from the investor and toward the intermediaries so that they could trade on the appearance of ownership of the loans in the form of selling bundles of loans that were not even close to being properly described in the paperwork --- although the paperwork often looked as though it was all proper.
The trading, hedging and insuring of investments that were not only destined by actually planned to fail was trading on inside information. The Banks knew very well that the triple A rating of the mortgage bonds was a sham because the mortgage bonds were worthless. What they were really trading in was the ownership of the loans which they knew were falsely represented on the note and mortgage. They thus converted the issuance of the promissory note signed by the borrower into a security under flase pretenses because the payee on the note and the secured party on the mortgage never completed the transaction, to wit: they never funded the loan and they made sure that the terms of repayment on the promissory note did not match up with the terms of repayment set forth in the prospectus, which was the real security.
Knowing from the start that they had the power (through the powers conferred on the Master Servicer) to pull the rug out from under the "investments" they traded with a vengeance hedging and selling as many times as they could based upon the same alleged loans that were in fact funded directly by and therefor owned by the investors directly (because the REMIC was ignored and so was the source of funding at the alleged loan closing).
Being the sole source of the real information on the legality, quality and quantity of these nonexistent investments in mortgage bonds, the Wall Street banks, their management, and their affiliates were committing both violation of the insider trading rule and the securities fraud rule ( as well as various other common law and statutory prohibitions and crimes relating to deceptive practices in the sale of securities). By definition and applying the facts rather than the spin, the Banks a have committed numerous crimes and the bankers should be held accountable. Let's not forget that by this time in the S&L scandal more than 800 people were sent to jail despite various attempts to mitigate the severity of their trespass and trampling on the rights of investors and depositors.
Failure to prosecute, while the statute of limitations is running out, is taking the rule of law and turning it on its head. The Obama administration has an obligation to hold these people accountable not only because violations of law should be prosecuted but to provide some deterrence from a recurrence or even escalation of the illegal practices foisted upon institutions, taxpayers and consumers around the world. Ample evidence exists that the Banks, emboldened by the lack of prosecutions, have re-started their engines and are indeed in the process of doing it again.
Think about it, where would a company get the money to have a multimedia advertising campaign blanketing areas of the the Country when the return on investment, according to them is only 2.5%? Between marketing, advertising, processing, and administrative costs, pus a reserve for defaults, they are either running a going out of business strategy or there is something else at work.
And if the transactions were legitimate why do the numbers of foreclosures drop like stones in those states that require proof of payment, proof of loss, and proof of ownership? why have we not seen a single canceled check or wire transfer receipt that corroborates the spin from Wall Street? Where is the real money in this scheme?
FROM OTHER MEDIA SOURCES ----
Foreclosure Victims Protesting Wall Street Impunity Outside DOJ Arrested, Tasered
Watch out. The mortgage securities market is at it again.
Wall Street Lobbyists Literally Writing Bills In Congress
Time to Put the Heat on the Fed and FDIC to Fix Lousy Governance at TBTF Banks
West Sacramento homeowner uses new state law to stop foreclosure
The Foreclosure Fraud Prevention Act: A.G. Schneiderman Commends Assembly for Passing Foreclosure Relief Bills
Where did the California foreclosures go? Level of foreclosures sales dramatically down. Foreclosure legislation and bank processing. Subsidizing investor purchases via HAFA.
Wasted wealth – The ongoing foreclosure crisis that never had to happen - The Hill's Congress Blog
Oregon Foreclosure Avoidance Program gets tuneup
ITS COMING AND IT WILL BE WORST THE NEXT TIME AROUND, ALREADY HEDGE FUNDS AND BONDS ARE BUYING UP HOMES TO CONTROL THE MARKET, AND WHEN THIS WAS FAILS, WE WILL BE IN REAL BAD SHAPE. DON'T FOOL YOURSELVES IT IS COMING, SO PREPARE YOURSELVES NOW.
CREDIT FOR THIS STORY GOES TO NEIL GARFIELD .