Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button
Technorati button
Reddit button
Myspace button
Linkedin button
Webonews button
Delicious button
Digg button
Flickr button
Stumbleupon button
Newsvine button

How Do I Stop a Foreclosure? the Win-Win Facts in the Battle for Stopping …

Pittsfield, MA — (SBWIRE) — 06/28/2013 — Fortunately for consumers there are options open that helps them avoid foreclosure. Many people today are facing foreclosure, revelation that places a great deal of stress on those homeowners. They need answers to their question, “How can I stop a foreclosure?” but it isn’t always readily available.

There are several options available to those who are facing foreclosure, and while Chapter 13 bankruptcy is an option open to many, it may not be the best option financially. Since 2009 there has been another option open to many homeowners in the form of loan modification. This is the answer to the question many homeowners who ask, “How do I stop a foreclosure?” Unfortunately the federal program called Home Affordable Modification Program is only open to homeowners who purchased their homes prior to January 1, 2009, and although there are private modifications programs available, what happens to those homeowners who do not qualify for either program?

W ant To Stop Foreclosure? Government Programs To Stop Foreclosure, Get Started!!

Refinance is another option, but like other programs, homeowners may not all qualify. For instance, what about homeowners who have been forced to take a cut in pay in order to have a job? Do these homeowners have to face foreclosure because they are making less income than they were when they purchased their homes? What other options are open to those who have the means to make payments that are reduced until they get back on their feet but do not qualify for modification and cannot refinance?

The question, “How do I stop foreclosure?” is often a last ditch effort by many people who feel they have reached the end of their ropes. They need answers, and they need them quickly. For many of these folks bankruptcy is the only answer. They have income to make payments, but with their other bills they find it difficult to meet their current mortgage payments. A Chapter 13 wage earner plan can help reduce or eliminate their other bills and spread any past due mortgage payments over the course of the loan; in essence they will be placed at the end of the mortgage term.

Having a plan is always the best way for a homeowner to avoid foreclosure, but sometimes the plan isn’t the best one. Taking some time to research these options and many more like them will help you achieve your goal of retaining ownership of your home.

About Real-Estate-Yogi
http://www.real-estate-yogi, an online marketing service, reminds consumers if a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is, so use some common sense and avoid scams.

Article source: http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/how-do-i-stop-a-foreclosure-the-win-win-facts-in-the-battle-for-stopping-foreclosure-274104.htm

Sure digital foreclosure forms are more accessible, but transparent? Not exactly.

Like much of the rest of the ethics “reform” passed this year by state lawmakers, the new requirement to post financial disclosures online sounds like a major blow for transparency.

Residents for the first time are a mouse click away (http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/search.cfm) from getting financial disclosure forms for 16,307 public officials who must file with the Florida Commission on Ethics. Another 21,972 local officials must file online with their county supervisors of elections.

It’s a treasure trove of easily accessible financial information filed by folks like Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, and the 160 members of the House and Senate that can only help provide more insight into the backgrounds of state leaders.

But don’t confuse the deadline for the disclosure forms — Monday — with the date they go online. Officials only need to “forward” their form by July 1. Upon receipt, it may take another five business days for the staff at the Commission on Ethics to scan in the forms, which are all notarized, and remove any information that is exempt from Florida’s public records laws, like Social Security numbers and bank routing numbers.

This week, staff was struggling to sift through all the mail that flooded the agency.

“It’s an all hands on deck situation,” said Kerrie Stillman, a spokeswoman for the Commission on Ethics.

As of 5 p.m. Friday, 24 out of 160 disclosure forms for lawmakers had made their way online. Another 35 had filed disclosure forms but the Commission had yet to get up on line. In all, nearly half of the Senate and a third of the House had filed. The forms for Scott and Putnam hadn’t been received yet. Bondi’s was recorded as arriving, but it still wasn’t online. Atwater’s form, disclosing a $1.7 million net worth, was available.

Once online, disclosures won’t completely enlighten the public. That’s partly because of the same bill, SB 2, that required forms be posted electronically. Another provision of the new law allows public officials to create blind trusts to hold their assets. So if there is anything that could prove embarrassing if ever disclosed publicly, it could be tucked into a trust that would obscure it. By handing off the responsibility of investing assets to a trustee, the thinking goes, the elected official would be “blind” to what they owned and would therefore avoid any possible conflicts of interest. Critics say, however, that the blind trust provision only puts the public in the dark as to any potential conflicts of interest.

That same bill also gave public officials a longer grace period, 30 days, to amend their disclosure forms, and 60 days if they are out of office.

The chief reason why financial disclosures won’t be anymore transparent is that SB 2 dramatically change current reporting procedures.

For instance, despite all the hustle and bustle by employees at the Commission on Ethics to get the forms online and exempt confidential information, one thing they’re not doing is checking to make sure the forms are correctly filled out.

“We don’t check for accuracy,” Stillman said.

Even if forms are wildly off-base, it won’t be corrected unless a resident files a complaint with the Commission on Ethics, which then must determine if the complaint has merit.

Rarely does the Commission on Ethics fine a lawmaker for filing an incomplete or inaccurate form. Earlier this month, the Commission determined that five current and former state lawmakers filed incomplete disclosures last year, but because candidates filed amended forms, no action was taken against them.

Current rules give lawmakers wide latitude in reporting their net worth. While lawmakers must report their total net worths, they must only list assets and liabilities that are more than $1,000. “Simply subtracting the liabilities reported…from the assets reported…will not result in an accurate net worth figure in most cases,” the Commission on Ethics informs officials.

Meanwhile, there doesn’t appear to be any hard and fast rules for reporting a part of assets called “household goods and personal effects.” This is a broad category that is meant to disclose the value of unspecified things that are not meant to be investments, like jewelry, stamp collections, art, household equipment, clothing, furnishings, guns, vehicles. This line item can be as much as $650,000 for Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, to $22,000 for Rep. John Tobia, R-Melbourne Beach. Why the disparity? Who knows, as lawmakers aren’t required to further specify this category.

So feel to peruse the financial disclosures once they’re up. Just don’t expect it to add up or make complete sense.

Article source: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2013/06/sure-digital-foreclosure-forms-are-more-accessible-but-transparent-not-exactly.html

Man withdraws guilty pleas in foreclosure fraud scam case

SAN DIEGO – A 60-year-old man who previously admitted guilt in a massive foreclosure fraud scam asked a judge Friday to withdraw his guilty pleas.

David Zepeda was about a week into trial last month when he pleaded guilty to numerous counts of conspiracy to commit grand theft, identity theft and recording false documents, Deputy District Attorney Valerie Tanney said.

He is the last of four defendants to go through criminal proceedings in the case.

Prosecutors said the defendants acquired the titles to properties by forging quitclaim deeds or convincing homeowners to transfer the property to them by promising the homeowner they would help avoid foreclosure.

“I never thought they’d steal from me. I thought they were helping,” said Escondido resident Benito Cristobal.

Cristobal told Team 10 he went to a large foreclosure seminar and unknowingly signed over the title to his home that he later lost.

Once they had acquired the title, David Zepeda and his brother John would rent out the property, according to prosecutors, who said more than 1,000 victims were discovered in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara and San Bernardino counties, as well as in Clark County Nevada.

They attracted their victims by holding seminars for people hoping to save their homes from foreclosure. Money was diverted from lenders and owners into the defendants’ accounts, where the cash was used to support lavish lifestyles, prosecutors said.

Authorities seized $335,000 in uncashed checks, $33,000 in cash, more than $8,000 in silver coins, gold watches and rings, and a Bentley automobile when they searched David Zepeda’s home.

He was set to be sentenced Friday to 15 years and eight months in prison, but instead asked for a hearing to convince Superior Court Judge Amalia Meza that he should be allowed to withdraw his pleas.

Defense attorney Tim Brackney said his client, who is being held in county jail in lieu of $5 million bail, felt like he was under “duress” when he pleaded guilty. The defendant suffered a stroke a few years ago and appeared in court on a gurney.

The judge set an Aug. 2 hearing on Zepeda’s motion.

The other defendants pleaded guilty to various charges last year.

John Zepeda pleaded guilty to rent skimming, forgery, identity theft and conspiracy to commit grand theft and was sentenced to 12 years in state prison. He agreed to pay $6 million restitution.

The state said money has been collected to help pay back the victims, but Cristobal told Team 10 he just wants justice.

Copyright CNS contributed to this report

Article source: http://www.10news.com/news/investigations/man-withdraws-guilty-pleas-in-foreclosure-fraud-scam-case

Foreclosure fight, potential class action lawsuit?

Everybody knows the rules. Skip your mortgage and you could face foreclosure. But what about when the banks themselves are accused of skipping some of their duties?

Thousands of people are thought to be potentially affected by banking practices that appear headed toward class action lawsuits in Hawaii.

A recently settled case could influence the outcome.

A widow, Margery Kekauoha-Alisa, has ended a years-long foreclosure battle that led to bankruptcy. She thought the Hawaii Belt Road home she had owned on the Big Island with her now deceased husband was gone.

The case record shows they had missed their mortgage eight times. The bank had to foreclose.

That was 2005 and she wasn’t alone. Banks were taking homes en masse.

“Just looking at the four largest ones, we’ve calculated that just between them they took about 4,000 homes in this method in Hawaii alone, just in this state,” attorney Jim Bickerton said.

They had a right to do it, right there in black and white in the mortgage. Can’t pay your bills? The bank is going to sell your home.

By the same token, the bank promised to sell it according to law and for a fair price. And that’s what the banks weren’t doing.

“For example in Mrs. Kekauoha’s case the bank didn’t tell anyone when the auction was going to be. So how is she ever going to get a fair price for her home?” Bickerton said.

That led to a long and costly case for Kekauoha-Alisa against Ameriquest and JP Morgan Chase that was settled last week in U.S. bankruptcy court.

According to case records, a local law firm assistant who was supposed to postpone a foreclosure auction for Ameriquest did not. In the settlement last week, Ameriquest agreed to pay Kekauoha $675,000, and she gets the house back free and clear.  Kekauoha-Alisa had bought the house for $147,606 in 2005, and now the home is worth $203,300.

Does this case set a precedent for others who lost or may lose their homes to foreclosure?

“It’s a settled case so it doesn’t set a binding precedent. But it does give some guidance to people in other cases,” replied Bickerton.

Cases like those pending in Hawaii against four banks; Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, and U.S. Bank.

What are some of the other ways the banks allegedly caused harm to people?

“They bait and switch and get the auctions to run the way they want them to,” responded Bickerton. “The whole idea of a foreclosure auction it’s a knockdown price, it’s very cheap, the bank doesn’t want to let it go that cheap.”

Attorneys say there could be a class action here with potentially several thousand people in Hawaii.

Attorneys for Ameriquest settlement and for the other pending cases did not yet respond to calls for comment.

“The local banks aren’t involved in this. All of these practices came out of the system where loans were bought in bundles. Packaged and resold on the mainland. One mainland bank allegedly sold foreclosed houses for $10 million more by scooping them up themselves at poorly-attended auctions, then selling on the private market,” Bickerton said.

A person’s home is their castle, it’s not the bank’s castle.

“If you’re going to mess around with that, you better be prepared to pay some big damages if you’re called out,” Bickerton said.

Article source: http://www.khon2.com/2013/06/27/always-investigating-foreclosure-fight/

Consumers say Houston company took their money and let the bank take their …

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Customers say a Houston company that promised to help save their homes from foreclosure, really did little more than drain their bank accounts.

The KHOU 11 News I-Team had barely started its investigation into Sunbelt Fidelity Corporation, when the president of the company, Janice McCarthy, sent a letter threatening a lawsuit.

But a trail of complaints and court filings accuse McCarthy of having a record of involvement with companies accused of ripping off consumers.

Customers like Richey Tanksley.

“Every bit of pride that you have is gone,” explained Tanksley as he walked through the door of a friend’s San Antonio apartment.

Without the generosity of that friend, Tanksley would be on the streets.

“I pull my little pillows off the couch and I pull the bed out, I unfold it and that’s where I sleep,” demonstrated Tanksley.

It’s a life he never dreamed of when he bought a home near Austin five years ago.

Unfortunately, Tanksley eventually ran into some financial trouble. Fearing foreclosure, he hired the Sunbelt Fidelity Corporation.

“Basically they were a company that just helped people with their foreclosures,” said Tanksley citing the company’s pitch. “They came in and made it possible to keep their homes.”

He says he made an initial $1,200 payment to Sunbelt Fidelity.

In exchange, he says the company told him they’d take care of the rest including handling his bank.

“They told me not to communicate with Wells Fargo because that’s what they were going to do,” Tanksley said. “So if I had any calls from Wells Fargo, don’t answer them.”

He says Sunbelt Fidelity also told him not to send his lender the monthly mortgage payment.

Instead, Tanksley says he was instructed to send Sunbelt Fidelity nearly $500 a month.

“I just thought that money that I sent them was going to make my life alright again,” Tanksley explained.

But a few months later, his lender contacted him: He’d lost the house to foreclosure.

“I was in absolute disbelief,” recalled Tanksley. “I was like, ‘well, wait a minute. What’s going on here?”

Tanksley called his lender.

“They said they had never been contacted by Sunbelt Fidelity,” Tanksley said. “Wells Fargo had never had any contact. They had no communication with anybody.”

But the complaints don’t stop with Tanksley.

The 11 News I-Team found similar complaints from Sunbelt Fidelity Customers in at least five other states.

In December, the North Carolina Department of Justice ordered Sunbelt Fidelity Corporation to cease and desist providing “illegal loan modifications” in the state.

It turns out, those are familiar accusations for McCarthy, Sunbelt’s president.

The I-Team discovered McCarthy’s former company, East Coast Fidelity, was shut down by the Rhode Island Attorney General in 2011.

In court filings, investigators claimed they were unaware of even one homeowner who received payment help from McCarthy’s company.

Florida records show McCarthy was also a former officer of Ameridebt Relief Corp.

The New Hampshire Banking Department obtained a cease and desist order against Ameridebt Relief Corp. and fined the company $10,000 after investigators say the company collected $4,512 from a customer but failed to provide the mortgage modification promised.

New Hampshire investigators say some of those payments were made to Ameridebt Relief Corp. during the same time McCarthy was the company’s director.

“I think that what’s alarming is that they’ve managed to continue this scam for years now and basically have jumped from state to state,” said Monica Russo with the Better Business Bureau.

“They continue to take money from consumers without ever actually offering them any type of benefit or any type of help.”

Tanksley says when he asked Sunbelt Fidelity why his house was set for sale, the company claimed he had been dropped as a client.

However, Tanksley’s own banking records show that the company still collected its $499 fee for that month.

“In the beginning, I thought it was just, what I needed,” Tanksley said. “It was going to work out. [But] just to get to that point where you get that last letter from the county, it’s just…” he said , his voice trailing off as he shook his head.

In a letter, McCarthy claims Sunbelt Fidelity is not a mortgage modification company.

Instead, she says it only provides access to software and helps customers defend themselves in foreclosure cases.

Interestingly, after we contacted Sunbelt Fidelity, the company offered Tanksley a partial refund.

As part of the deal, Tanksley had to agree to withdraw all complaints against the company including any complaints made to the media.

Tanksley refused.

Article source: http://www.khou.com/news/local/Consumers-Say-Company-Took-Their-Money-And-Let--The-Bank-Take-Their-Homes-213354921.html

Mesa Cable Execs Get Probation in DirecTV Scam

satelite-cat.jpgPaul LaBarre and Ernest McKay, principals of a former Mesa-based cable company, have each been sentenced to five years’ probation for selling pilfered DirecTV signals.

The criminal convictions and sentencing, which included six-figure restitution orders, follow a 2010 judgment in a civil lawsuit requiring the two men and several co-defendants to pay DirecTV $400,000 for the scam.


Eagle West Communications of Mesa, no longer in business, once served customers from Williams to Cave Creek. But when the company ran into financial trouble in the mid-2000s, McKay and LaBarre concocted a scheme to pipe DirecTV’s signal, obtained fraudulently, to homes and businesses who had cable subscriptions.

Dozens of bars, hotels and residents across Arizona received unauthorized DirecTV programming in return for their monthly payments to Eagle West.

The scheme began when Eagle West set up a deal with DirecTV to provide service to customers for a subsidiary company called Hotel Movie Network. DirecTV provided McKay and LaBarre with access to a Satellite Master Antenna Television system, which allows DirecTV’s signal to be fed to a hotel or apartment complex, then split off to the individual TV watchers.

McKay, LaBarre and their cohorts hijacked that master signal and fed it to their own cable-TV customers.

labarre-paul12.jpgPaul LaBarreHad any Eagle West employees contacted the cable-TV programmers, they and the programmers would probably have realized immediately that some customers were, in fact, getting DirecTV. LaBarre told his employees that if they ever contacted cable programmers directly, they would be fired.

In February of 2009, the company’s customers saw their TVs go dark when the FBI raided the offices of Eagle West and Indevideo, another former Mesa company with ties to Eagle West that was accused in the fraud.

McKay, who was sentenced in late May, paid $175,000 in restitution to DirecTV as part of the criminal conviction. He had pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized use of a satellite communications.

Reached at his Mesa home today, McKay says he had to sell his former home to pay the restitution.

In an embarrassing irony, McKay’s currently featured in the Mormon Church’s “I’m a Mormon” Internet ad campaign. He lives his faith by “trying to give service to my fellow man,” he writes. Of course, giving service is exactly what got him in trouble.

mckay-ernest-mormon1.jpgErnest McKayHe seems to provide the ad’s readers with a veiled reference to his legal troubles: “I don’t know that I am the best example of the gospel of Jesus Christ but I hope that I can one day stand in his presence and know his grace is sufficient.”

LaBarre, who had also pleaded guilty to the same criminal count as McKay and was sentenced on Wednesday, owes more than $157,000 in restitution. He’s agreed to pay $1,000 a month.

Despite his legal woes, LaBarre, who lives in Gilbert, continued in the digital entertainment industry after his 2009 indictment.

He’s CEO of a penny-stock company, B2Digital, which appears on life support with its disconnected Mesa phone number.

Paul LaBarre called us back on Thursday evening and said B2Digital is still viable, and that the website hadn’t been updated since the phone number was changed.

Last year, the company touted the appointment of entrepreneur Rodney Hunt as chairman. The new job couldn’t stop Hunt’s $23 million DC-area mansion from foreclosure, though.

LaBarre, 68, said he doesn’t feel he didn’t anything criminal, and that the debacle was really a civil matter and contract dispute that escalated because DirecTV “wanted its pound of flesh.”

He signed the plea agreement mainly because he didn’t want to take the chance of losing in trial and being sent to prison, he says.

DirecTV’s spokesman, Robert Mercer, gave us this comment from the company about the sentencings:

“The sentences in this case are an acute reminder that unauthorized use of a satellite signal is a serious matter that has consequences under both civil and criminal law. We remain committed to using all available resources and legal remedies to eliminate piracy and protect our signal, our customers and programming partners from this illegal activity.”

directv-logo1.jpg

Corridor Foreclosure Rates, Mortgage Delinquencies Improve

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Mortgage foreclosure rates and delinquencies continued to stabilize or show improvement in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Corridor in April, another potential sign that the housing crisis is easing.

The rate of Cedar Rapids area foreclosures among outstanding mortgages was 1.87 percent in April, down from 1.98 percent in March and 2.18 percent in April 2012, according to CoreLogic of Irvine, Calif., a property information, analytics and services provider.

The percentage of delinquent mortgages in the Cedar Rapids area, those 90 days or more past due, also declined to 3.24 percent in April from 3.39 percent in March and 3.49 percent in the same month last year.

The foreclosure rate for the Iowa City area was 0.99 percent in April, unchanged from March but lower than the 1.22 percent recorded in April 2012, according to data from CoreLogic. The mortgage delinquency rate declined to 1.76 percent from 1.87 percent in March and 2.07 percent in April 2012.

The foreclosure rates for Cedar Rapids and Iowa City were lower than the national rate of 2.65 percent in April. The mortgage delinquency rates in the Corridor also compared favorably with the national rate of 5.76 percent.

Article source: http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/Corridor-Foreclosure-Rates-Mortgage-Delinquencies-Improve-213177841.html

Regulations are now in effect that will prohibit Mass. foreclosures if loan …

The Massachusetts Division of Banks said Wednesday that new regulations will prevent national and state lenders from foreclosing on a homeowner’s property if modifying their mortgage loans cost less.

The regulations, a product of legislation signed by Governor Deval Patrick last August, require lenders to consider all available loss-mitigation options before proceeding to foreclosure. After several months of drafting, the regulations have now just gone into effect.

Foreclosures surged during the recession as many homeowners who lost jobs were unable to keep current with their monthly mortgage payments.

But now Massachusetts foreclosure numbers are down, partly because of an improving economy and partly because some lenders were waiting to see whether the new regulations would prompt them to revise their foreclosure procedures, analysts have said.

Last week, the Warren Group, a Boston firm that tracks real estate activity, reported that 1,246 foreclosure deeds were recorded in Massachusetts during the first five months of the year, down almost 69 percent from 4,011 for the same period from a year earlier. Foreclosure deeds represent completed foreclosures.

The Warren Group’s report included a statement from firm chief executive Timothy M. Warren Jr., who said, “Legislation passed last year that forces lenders to consider alternatives to foreclosure is also contributing to the decrease as lenders revamp their foreclosure procedures to comply.�

In theory, lenders could step up the pace of foreclosure activity now that the Massachusetts regulations have been finalized. But as Warren also pointed out last week, recent “data further supports our argument that the foreclosure crisis is behind us. The combination of a recovering housing market and banks’ willingness to allow for loan modifications has helped suppress foreclosure levels.�

Massachusetts Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Barbara Anthony commented on the regulations in a Wednesday statement.

“These regulations are the strongest on the books so far and are an added tool for homeowners across the Commonwealth,� Anthony said. “Lenders are now required to do a net present value analysis before foreclosing. The absence of a requirement like this was certainly a factor in the foreclosure crisis, and we in Massachusetts have taken strong action to remedy this.�

In a separate statement, Massachusetts Commissioner of Banks David Cotney added: “This is a win-win for lenders and consumers, because the cost of modifying a loan is often less expensive than foreclosing. This will assist us in Massachusetts to continue to restore the housing market back to a healthy state.�

According to the division, these regulations add further protections for homeowners by preventing a servicer from initiating foreclosure when an application for a modification is in progress. The regulations, the division added, are similar to standards set out in a settlement agreement reached in early 2012 between five big national lenders and the attorneys general from nearly all states, including Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley advocated for the legislation that set up the framework for the foreclosure regulations that have now gone into effect.

In a statement, a Coakley spokesman said: “These regulations are an important step to ensure Massachusetts remains in a strong position to rebound from the housing market decline and recover from the foreclosure crisis. The new rules are a direct result of legislation we filed to promote reasonable loan modifications that keep people in their homes without requiring banks to sacrifice the bottom line.�

Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.

Article source: http://www.boston.com/businessupdates/2013/06/26/regulations-are-now-effect-that-will-prohibit-mass-foreclosures-loan-modifications-cost-less/4W2NEXiN7w9xvNruGBxpXL/story.html

People With Bad Math Skills Are More Likely To Wind Up In Foreclosure

math is hard

Flickr via rosengrant

See Also

Subprime mortgage lending aside, perhaps we could have avoided 2008′s widespread housing crisis if only homeowners had paid a little more attention during math class. 

That’s the case made in a new study by a trio of Princeton University researchers, who say they’ve found evidence that people who can’t perform basic math calculations are more likely to default on their mortgages. 

First, they tracked down 300 homeowners who took out subprime mortgages in New England in 2006 and 2007. Then, the researchers did some digging to find out more about their financial situation, including their household income, age, education, marital status, and credit score.

Then the real fun began. 

They asked them five simple math questions, which “got more and more complicated,” study author Stephan Meier, an associate professor at Columbia Business School, told Phys.org. “The simplest one was: There is a sofa that costs $300 when it’s full price, and it’s on sale for half the price. How much is it on sale?”

Another question asked: “There’s a disease, and the probability of getting the disease is 10 percent. How many people out of 1,000 got the disease?”

The study found that 20% of people who scored low scores on the math questions wound up in foreclosure, compared to just 7% of people who scored high. 

Interestingly the study also found that a person’s credit score carried little weight when it came to predicting their ability to meet mortgage payments. 

The researchers expected to find evidence that people with poor math skills would have a harder time understanding the terms of loan agreements, thus leaving them more likely to sign up for a bad loan; but it turns out the real reason they were more likely to default was because they had a harder time dealing with other personal finance issues, like dealing with a lost job or depleted savings. 

Obviously, it takes two to tango, and there’s no denying that the subprime mortgage lending fiasco played a large role in the housing crisis. But there’s something to be said about consumers who put in the time to learn the ins and outs of personal finances early enough to prepare themselves for disasters before they strike. 

Check out the study, “Numerical ability predicts mortgage default,” by Kristopher Gerardi, Lorenz Goette, and Stephan Meie here: www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1220568110 

Article source: http://www.businessinsider.com/math-skills-predict-risk-of-foreclosure-study-2013-6

Charles Pugh, Detroit City Council President Gone Missing, Has Made …

He’s gone from reporting the day’s most sizzling headlines to, frankly, inspiring them.

Detroit City Council President/abdominal enthusiast Charles Pugh made history when he became the city’s first openly gay City Council member in 2009. Just in the past 48 hours, his bizarre absence from City Hall, coupled with troubling allegations from a Detroit mother, an unexplained medical leave and deleted social accounts have raised eyebrows all over the city… along with one burning question.

Where’s Charles Pugh?

It’s like everybody’s already forgotten about Jimmy Hoffa.

While we don’t have an answer for you readers, we’ve compiled some of Pugh’s biggest headlines over the past 48 hours, not to mention, the last four years of his stint in local politics. Brace yourselves… this is one rollercoaster of a ride. Stay tuned with us — we’ll update immediately with any breaking news concerning his whereabouts.

And if you see Pugh around Detroit, make sure to tweet @HuffPostDetroit.

October 2009: Detroit’s first openly-gay politician lands a feature in TIME Magazine while he campaigns for City Council. But reports also surface that Pugh is underwater on his Brush Park condo and facing foreclosure.

November 2009: Becomes the first openly gay member of Detroit City Council and the most popular vote-getter in the election, making Pugh president of the city’s elected body. Five out of nine members, including Pugh, are first-time councilmembers.

February 2010:
According to news reports, Pugh crashes his city-owned vehicle on a Friday night at the intersection of I-75 and Mack Avenue in Detroit. Pugh said he swerved to avoid hitting another vehicle. Despite having two flat tires, damaging the passenger side of his Crown Vic and denting the front bumper, Pugh drives home, and doesn’t call the police for three days. He denied any suggestion that he was drinking and said he didn’t want to wait for the police on a Friday night. “If we violated a policy it was unbeknownst to me.”

January 2011: Even though his office had an annual budget of $900,000, being a City Council president could get expensive. But Pugh’s 501(c)4 “Pugh You: Detroit Move Forward fund” was quickly (and unfavorably) compared to ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s civic “slush” fund. Pugh said it only covered travel expenses, hiring a part-time staffer, legal fees and charitable donations. By the time he pulled the plug on Pugh You, he said the fund had barely exceeded $10,000, and the money had already been used. Plus, as he told The Detroit News, the whole thing had become “a freaking headache.”

January 2012:
After facing foreclosure for a third time, Pugh announces he’s walking away from his $385,000 Brush Park condo. According to several local news reports, the official first defaulted on a $315,000 mortgage in 2007 and took out two mortgages to save it. Reports also say he was served 11 eviction notices before buying the condo, when he was a tenant at then-named Trolley Plaza Apartments.

March 2012:
The previously-pudgy Pugh emerges with rippling abs and a new healthy mantra for Detroiters, releasing a new workout video on YouTube that showcased his svelte bod. The triumphant segment follows months of Pugh-themed workout Tweets and Facebook updates chronicling his weight-loss plan, but it drew criticism from some who thought he should be concentrating on city politics rather than self-promotion.

April 2012: Pugh reportedly writes a letter to Detroit Free Press editors saying he will no longer work with former reporter Steve Neavling after the two have a verbal argument. Neavling says Pugh became angry at Neavling for publishing a comment he intended to be “off the record,” although it was made at a public City Council meeting. Neavling is fired shortly thereafter and starts the Motor City Muckraker blog.

June 2012: Charles Pugh gets in a well-publicized Twitter fight with an Automotive News intern who questions Pugh’s leadership abilities. After sparring with the young man online, Pugh then tweets an Automotive News editor to complain about the intern’s comments. The story makes national headlines.

October 2012: After losing his Brush Park condo to foreclosure, it re-enters the market with a new interior design and an asking price of $2,050/mo.

February 2013: Pugh announces that he won’t run for mayor of Detroit, after months of speculation. Instead, the former TV anchor told Fox 2 News he sought a return to a newsroom. “I think that we’ve been really successful on the City Council,” he told Fox 2 News in an interview. “But I think that elected public service has a shelf life. And for me, it’s going to be four years.”

Thursday, June 20: Noted Michigan pollster Joe DiSano publishes this Tweet.

Monday, June 24: Detroit Free Press City Hall Reporter Matt Helms wonders where Pugh’s active social media accounts have gone.

Tuesday, June 25, 10:30AM: City Council members wonder aloud at Pugh’s whereabouts from the weekly meeting, his second consecutive absence. Councilmember Saunteel Jenkins advocates discontinuing the three-person City Council subcommittees. Given Pugh’s unexplained absences, along with the resignations of President Pro Tem Gary Brown and Councilman Kwame Kenyatta, many subcommittees will only have two members.

Tuesday, June 25, 1 PM: Charles Pugh penned a two-line note to Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr explaining his absence from City Council. “Consider this memorandum a formal communication regarding my time away from the City Council table. I am beginning a brief medical leave of absence for approximately 3-4 weeks effective today, June 25, 2013. All Council matters shall be referred to the President Pro-Tempore, of which my staff will report to. Thank you!”

Tuesday afternoon:
Bill Nowling, spokesman for Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, reports that the EM has given Pugh a deadline of 5 p.m. on Wednesday to show up to work, or forego his pay and resign.

Wednesday, 12:30PM: WXYZ publishes quotes from an exclusive interview with an anonymous Detroit mother who says she is concerned by “secret gifts” Pugh gave her 18-year-old son, one of a group of high-school students he said he mentored. While both Pugh and the son reportedly denied that any misconduct occurred, Pugh was overheard calling the mother via speakerphone during the interview. “Will you please not do the interview?” he reportedly asked. “Because I won’t be able to work in this town, I won’t be able to do anything.”

Wednesday, June 26, 2:45PM: MLive Detroit Reporter Eric Lacy Tweets info from a conversation he had with Pugh’s personal trainer, Christian Beatty Wallace, in which Wallace said he wasn’t aware Pugh had a medical problem.

Wednesday, June 26, 3:45PM: The Detroit News reports that an anonymous parent (unclear whether it’s the same parent referenced above) filed a complaint with Detroit Public Schools. According to the News, the mother approached officials at the Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men, where Pugh reportedly mentored her son, in early June. Principal Berry Greer told the News that Pugh “hasn’t been around in a while.”

Wednesday, June 26, 4:45 PM: WDIV aired a press conference with an unnamed Metro Detroit attorney who is representing the mother and teenage boy. The attorney says that Pugh had an “inappropriate relationship” with the young man while he was 17 years old and a senior at the Frederick Douglass Academy. A lawsuit appears to be forthcoming.

Wednesday, June 26, 5:00 PM:
Orr’s deadline for Pugh to either return to work or resign from office comes and goes without a word from the possibly soon-to-be-ex-City-Council-member.

Wednesday, June 26, 5:45 PM:
The end appears to be drawing near for Pugh’s tumultuous tenure as City Council President.

Click through the slideshow below to read some of the most amazed, upset, and hilarious Tweets about town concerning the latest Charles Pugh controversies.

Loading Slideshow

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/26/charles-pugh-missing_n_3504790.html?ir=Detroit