Home Owners Sue All Bank Servicers and Their Offshore Havens; US Attorneys General Jump On The Lieborgate Bandwagon; 900,000+ Lawsuits To Follow, And What Happens Next?
Fri, 13 Jul 2012 07:10:06 -0500
Home Owners Across the Nation Sue All Bank Servicers and Their Offshore Havens; Spire Law Officially Announces Filing of Landmark Lawsuit
Largest International Money Laundering Network in History Formed During Obama Administration; U.S. Banks' Theft of Home Owners' Money Laundered Through Cayman Islands, Isle of Man and Numerous Offshore-Based Affiliates
NEW YORK, NY, Apr 23, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- In a lawsuit alleged to involve the largest money laundering network in United States history, Spire Law Group, LLP -- on behalf of home owners across the Country -- has filed a mass tort action in the Supreme Court of New York, County of Kings. Home owners across the country have sued every major bank servicer and their subsidiaries -- formed in countries known as havens for money laundering such as the Cayman Islands, the Isle of Man, Luxembourg and Malaysia -- alleging that while the Obama Administration was publicly encouraging loan modifications for home owners, it was privately ratifying the formation of these shell companies in violation of the United States Patriot Act, and State and Federal law. The case further alleges that through these obscure foreign companies, Bank of America, J.P. Morgan, Wells Fargo Bank, Citibank, Citigroup, One West Bank, and numerous other federally chartered banks stole hundreds of millions of dollars of home owners' money during the last decade and then laundered it through offshore companies. The complaint, Index No. 500827, was filed by Spire Law Group, LLP, and several of the Firm's affiliates and partners across the United States.
Far from being ambiguous, this is a complaint that "names names." Indeed, the lawsuit identifies specific companies and the offshore countries used in this enormous money laundering scheme. Federally Chartered Banks' theft of money and their utilization of offshore tax haven subsidiaries represent potential FDIC violations, violations of New York law, and countless other legal wrongdoings under state and federal law.
"The laundering of trillions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money -- and the wrongful taking of the homes of those taxpayers -- was known by the Administration and expressly supported by it. Evidence uncovered by the plaintiffs revealed that the Administration ignored its own agencies' reports -- and reports from the Department of Homeland Security -- about this situation, dating as far back as 2010. Worse, the Administration purported to endorse a 'national bank settlement' without disclosing or having any public discourse whatsoever about the thousands of foreign tax havens now wholly owned by our nation's banks. Fortunately, no home owner is bound to enter into this fraudulent bank settlement," stated Eric J. Wittenberg of Columbus, Ohio -- a noted trial lawyer, author and student of US history -- on behalf of plaintiffs in the case.
The suing home owners reveal how deeply they were defrauded by bank and governmental corruption -- and are suing for conversion, larceny, fraud, and for violations of other provisions of New York state law committed by these financial institutions and their offshore counterparts.
This lawsuit explains why loans were, in general, rarely modified after 2009. It explains why the entire bank crisis worsened, crippling the economy of the United States and stripping countless home owners of their piece of the American dream. It is indeed a fact that the Administration has spent far more money stopping bank investigations, than they have investigating them. When the Administration's agencies (like the FDIC) blew the whistle, their reports were ignored.
The case is styled Abeel v. Bank of America, etc., et al. -- and includes such entities as ML Banderia Cayman BRL Inc., ML Whitby Luxembourg S.A.R.L. and J.P Morgan Asset Management Luxembourg S.A. -- as well as hundreds of other obscure offshore entities somehow "owned" by federally chartered banks and formed "under the nose" of the Administration and the FDIC.
Commenting further on the case, Mr. Wittenberg stated: "As if it is not bad enough that banks collect money and do not credit it to homeowners' accounts, and as if it is not bad enough that those banks then foreclose when they know they do not have a legally enforceable interest in the realty, we now learn that they have been operating under unbridled free reign given by the Administration and some states' Attorneys General in formulating this international money laundering network. Now that the light of day has been shined on it, I believe we can all rest assured that the beginning of the end of the bank crisis has arrived."
All United States home owners may have the right to bring a lawsuit of this kind if they paid money to a national bank servicer during the years 2003 through 2009.
One lawyer impacted by the corruption -- Mitchell J. Stein, who formerly represented the FDIC, the RTC and the FSLIC during the Savings and Loan scandal of the 1990s, and who predicted all of the foregoing in open court two years ago -- commented: "Two years ago, I remarked in open court to a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, as well as to legislators including Senator Dianne Feinstein's office during a multitude of in-person meetings, that the ongoing violations of the Patriot Act by these financial institutions was outrageous and a breach of the public trust of unprecedented proportions," said Stein.
"The size and scope of this misconduct -- stretching to far-away islands never before having standing as approved United States Bank affiliates -- is remarkable and emblematic of what we have seen," he continued. "The bank crisis represents the height of corruption and brazen behavior where our historically trusted financial institutions have no qualms about breaking the law, because they have the Administration behind them. Banks do well enough when they operate lawfully without needing to be permitted to operate as criminal enterprises that steal money from United States citizens."
Additional plaintiffs' counsel Nicholas M. Moccia commented: "Having been in the trenches of the bank crisis for years, I always knew that the misconduct was being conducted by a network. When I started litigating against banks, however, I could have never imagined that it would be this extensive. I look forward to taking discovery of these thousands of obscure foreign entities and to obtaining for homeowners their constitutionally entitled injuries for this international ring of theft and deception."
Comments were requested from the Attorney Generals' offices in NY, CA, NV, and MA and the White House, but no comment was provided.
About Spire Law Group
Spire Law Group, LLP is a national law firm whose motto is "the public should be protected -- at all costs -- from corruption in whatever form it presents itself." The Firm is comprised of lawyers nationally with more than 250-years of experience in a span of matters ranging from representing large corporations and wealthy individuals, to also representing the masses. The Firm is at the front lines litigating against government officials, banks, defunct loan pools, and now the very offshore entities where the corruption was enabled and perpetrated.
James N. Fiedler, Esq.
Spire Law Group, LLP
US Attorneys General Jump On The Lieborgate Bandwagon; 900,000+ Lawsuits To Follow, And What Happens Next?
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/11/2012 21:00 -0400
The second Barclays announced its $450 million Libor settlement, it was all over - the lawyers smelled not only blood, but what may be the biggest plaintiff feeding frenzy of all time. Which is why it was only a matter of time: "State attorneys general are jumping into the widening scandal over whether banks tried to manipulate benchmark international lending rates, a move that could open a new front against the top global banks. A handful of state attorneys general said they are looking into whether they have jurisdiction over the banks, and are starting preliminary discussions to determine what kind of impact the conduct involving the Libor rate may have had in their states."
"Our office is aware of the allegations around the manipulation of the Libor, and we are working with other state agencies to determine whether Massachusetts has suffered any losses as a result," a spokesman for Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said. A spokesman for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said his office is aware of the recent settlement reached by British bank Barclays with U.S. and UK authorities and "will look at the case to the extent that our office might have any jurisdiction in the matter."
A spokeswoman for the Massachusetts transportation authority, MassDOT, said the agency "is actively investigating its portfolio for the purpose of determining if it was underpaid on its bonds due to the brewing Libor situation," as are many other issuers of debt whose rate is governed by Libor.
Lawyers for several states have had early discussions about whether they might pool investigative resources and launch a broader, multi-state effort, but no formal consortium has been established yet, people familiar with the discussions said. New York might be expected to lead such an effort, since most of the banks' U.S. operations are based there. A spokesman for the New York attorney general declined comment on whether the issue is being looked at.
Some municipalities, including the city of Baltimore, and funds including the Frankfurt-based Metzler Investment GmbH, which manages 47 billion euros ($59 billion) in assets, have already sued more than a dozen banks, arguing they were bilked of potentially billions of dollars.
How many potential lawsuits are we talking about here? Quite a bit in fact as the FT explains:
There are at least 900,000 outstanding US home loans indexed to Libor that were originated from 2005 to 2009, the period the key lending gauge may have been rigged, investigators have said. Those mortgages carry an unpaid principal balance of $275bn, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a bank regulator.
Also, as explained here before, not only is this a legal bonanza, but it will be a political feast for the Congressional circus to earn numerous C-SPAN brownie points.
“I think the US government should be just as aggressive in getting to the bottom of this scandal as the United Kingdom has been,” said Senator Sherrod Brown, chair of the bank regulatory subcommittee on the Senate banking committee.
“This was not isolated to London, but affected tens of millions of investors, borrowers and taxpayers in our country as well,” Mr Brown added.
What does the above mean?
1) Starting today and going forward, there will be numerous essays, "analyses" and white papers, all of which will try to estimate (some on a paid basis) the damages and impact of the Libor manipulation that took place at least in the period under discussion 2005-2009. All of these will be absolutely wrong, as nobody has any clear idea of how the cumulative impact of the Libor rate, which may have been pushed below either lower or higher depending on how it suited a given BBA-member bank, over a period of years will have impacted hundreds of trillions in partially offsetting notional securities. Therefore, while one day it may have led to impairments, another day it would benefit the end-holder of a given interest-rate sensitive product. But they will try. And the bigger the number, the better, which leads us to...
2) The lawyers will crawl out of the woodwork like worms after a torrential downpour, and will all be willing to work on contingency, telling potential clients they are owed thousands, nay, millions based on such and such analysis. All they need is to have held a mortgage, or a credit card, or any variable interest liability in the 4 years in question. And to sign the dotted line.
3) The resulting lawsuits, most of which in class action format, will be of gargantuan proportions, simply to encourage settlement, as ongoing litigation will easily destroy the financial system. The litigation reserves at the TBTF banks will explode and will cause years of EPS writedowns. But at least they will be one-time charges, so the stocks don't get crushed too much. That said, forget any growth out of the banking sector, and certainly the 16 BBA member banks, all of whom are about to be sued to smithereens in civil suits as more and more banks step up and settle to avoid criminal prosecution.
4) The biggest irony is that the torrent of upcoming suits will be in effect targeting none other than the Fed. Because while banks which all were massively levered to even a one basis point move in Libor were very sensitive to the smallest variations in 3 month USD libor, end-clients who did not have this leverage were far less impaired. But that doesn't matter: after all the same clients were impaired through gross borderline criminal negligence which is all that matters in a court of law (assuming the honorable judge John Roberts is not presiding pro hac vice). Thus the entity that will be sued by proxy is the Federal Reserve, whose Federal Funds rate is really the setter for the baseline Libor rate. Note the chart below which shows that over the past decade, the 3M USD Libor and the Fed Funds rate were virtually interchangeable:
Yet while it was the Fed's decisions at the bottom of it all, unless someone implicates the Fed or the BOE further, both will get away scott free: after all what they do is public policy, for the public good and to defend their various appointed mandates. And neither pushed banks to manipulate their rates (even if both were well aware there was gambling going on here), or so they claim, even when presented with evidence to the contrary.
What will really happen, is that the private banks, having been bailed out by the central banks at the taxpayers' dime, will now serve as a buffer to protect these same institutions from rising popular anger, not just at Lieborgate, but Robosigning, Robosettlement, CDOs, rehypothecation, High Frequency Trading, toxic assets marked-to-unicorns, the end of Mark-to-Market, ZIRP, NIRP, expert networks, insider trading, MF Global, and countless other examples of what happens when financial fraud is let loose with no fear of consequence in a Bernanke Put world.
As a result, the status quo will literally buy itself a few more years as it delays the tipping point by any means necessary, in the process kicking back a little to politicians, lawyers, and the general public in exchange for a few years of subpar earnings for bank shareholders that should have been wiped out back in 2008 anyway. And everyone will be happy.
That's how Lieborgate will play out.