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One of the first steps in tackling Detroit’s housing crisis? Mapping it.

When Detroit was looking for ways to tackle its housing crisis, city officials first had to figure out how big the problem was. No one knew how many abandoned and blighted properties existed across the city.

Enter Jerry Paffendorf, chief executive of Loveland Technologies. What started out as a hobby mapping tax-foreclosure properties became an important tool in Detroit’s housing recovery plan. Through a grant from JPMorgan Chase, the Detroit Land Bank hired Paffendorf and his company to create Motor City Mapping, a comprehensive effort to digitize Detroit’s property information.

The success of that program caught the attention of civic leaders in other parts of the country. Other communities saw how the data helped Detroit target its sparse resources for greatest efficiency.

Now, through a two-year, $1 million grant from JPMorgan Chase, Western Reserve Land Conservancy is bringing Loveland’s data-mapping tools to Ohio’s three largest cities — ­Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati — with the intent of creating dashboards similar to Motor City Mapping.

“The mapping technology in Detroit has been significant and eye-opening in terms of the need that cities have for real-time data and forward-looking data,” said Janis Bowlder, head of community development for global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase. “The mapping work that Loveland Technologies does is really a core part of how we think community development needs to happen in distressed communities.”

Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus don’t face the problems that Detroit does. But each of the cities has challenges. Western Reserve Land Conservancy, a nonprofit organization in Northeast Ohio that works to conserve natural areas and revitalize urban centers, launched Thriving Communities in 2011. Through that program, it set up 34 land banks, essentially organizations to repurpose property. They allow counties to acquire distressed properties, clear their titles and bring them back onto the market.

“We knew early on that we had a lot of challenges, and one of them was we just didn’t have good data,” said Jim Rokakis, Thriving Communities Institute director. “We had been doing some survey work and mapping in the state but it was not nearly as good as the product they had.”

When Loveland got involved in mapping Detroit, it quickly learned it wasn’t just the city and county governments that were interested in the data; so, too, were the neighborhood and nonprofit organizations and real estate investors. Although the information had mostly been available, anyone seeking access to it would have to spend hours, if not days, searching dusty file cabinets.

“All of this is public-record information, but through time it’s typically been siloed either in filing cabinets or in databases that don’t talk to each other and live in different departments,” Paffendorf said.

By creating a one-stop shop for parcel information, civic leaders have property data at their fingertips that they can use to make smart decisions on development. Rokakis points to how the data was used in Lorain, Ohio, a city of 64,000 on Lake Erie. The mayor of Lorain estimated that there were 1,000 distressed properties in the city. But once the mapping was done, it turns out there were only 300 beyond repair.

“It helped them to recalibrate their directives in terms of where they were going to spend their money,” Rokakis said.

Neighborhood groups also tapped into the data, using it to make their case for parks, affordable housing and other community needs, thus creating a more level field where everyone has access to the data, not just government officials.

What is unusual about Loveland’s approach to data is that it created its tools for a city while incorporating resident participation and interaction. In Detroit, residents used their smartphones to take pictures of abandoned and blighted properties, fill out information about the building’s condition, and send that information into the dashboard. Other cities across the country are using the tool to do similar surveying.

“If ever there was a field ripe for some technology disruption, this is one,” Bowlder said. “This is not the place where you see this kind of innovation, and it’s needed. It’s been a game-changer in Detroit.”

Paffendorf would like to radically change how property data is made available, not just in the Midwest but also across the country.

He can be a bit evangelical about mapping and it benefits.

“In a time of change in the U.S., where many cities have (sometimes far) outlived their original purposes, where infrastructure is often crumbling and tax bases have altered to the point that governments can’t provide adequate services, seeing the grid becomes very urgent,” he said by email.

Loveland has mapped 100 million parcels in the United States and is on its way to digitizing information on every property in the country, one parcel at a time.

Article source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/one-of-the-first-steps-in-tackling-detroits-housing-crisis-mapping-it/2016/05/29/ddaf3a98-20f6-11e6-8690-f14ca9de2972_story.html

Seven lost years and 4.4 million lost dollars later, Dallas tries again across from VA Center

This fenced-off vacant lot was supposed to be Patriots Crossing. Now it will have to be something else. (File photo)

This fenced-off vacant lot was supposed to be Patriots Crossing. Now it will have to be something else. (File Photo)

More than seven years after the city starting peeling off millions of dollars for a mixed-use project that was never built across from the Dallas VA Medical Center, Dallas is trying again.

The city’s Office of Economic Development is now looking for “an experienced developer” to build a mixed-use project on a giant swath of city-owned land along Lancaster Road. Per the request for competitive sealed proposals issued on Tuesday, the city’s open to just about any idea —  multifamily housing, a movie theater, office buildings, parks, you name it — across from the VA and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit light-rail station.

“It could be a whole mixture of uses,” said Karl Zavitkovsky, head of the Office of Economic Development, during an interview Friday. “We’re letting people come back to us with a variety of proposals and feel like the site itself is very well-positioned, being at the transit stop and across the street from one of the biggest employers in the city. I feel like there’s a real potential for something very good to happen.”

Then, the city’s long felt that way — which is why, beginning in 2009, it started giving Yigal Lelah and his Sapphire Road Development LLC millions in “forgivable” loans to develop what was supposed to become Patriots Crossing.

Nothing became of that project, save for an expanse of empty, overgrown land for which the taxpayers wound up paying $4.4 million via Chapter 380 economic development loans approved by the City Council between April 2009 and February 2012. And when the state turned down  Lelah’s low-income housing tax credit application, the council also approved federal funds for $1.35 million in gap funding.

Lelah scraped the property clean of existing houses and buildings, and, according to his deal with City Hall, was supposed to begin construction on Patriots Crossing by 2016. Instead, last June the city foreclosed on the property, and Lelah filed for bankruptcy.

What Patriots Crossing was supposed to look like.

What Patriots Crossing was supposed to look like.

Even now he remains entangled in a legal battle with the city, insisting the city illegally foreclosed on the land. A federal bankruptcy judge dismissed his complaint with prejudice earlier this month, but this week his attorney, Kevin Wiley Sr., filed a notice of appeal.

Wiley was not available for comment, according to his son, who’s also an attorney.

Over Lelah’s objections, and with the court’s approval, the city picked up the property in a foreclosure sale last November. Dallas was the lone bidder, city manager A.C. Gonzalez told the council at the time. Council member Lee Kleinman told The Dallas Morning News the city didn’t pay any additional money for the 33 lots that made up the would-be Patriots Crossing development.

Zavitkovsky said it had taken several months to issue a request for proposals because council member Carolyn King Arnold held a series of town halls during which she asked District 4 residents what they wanted to see across from the VA. Economic Development staff attended those forums, and Zavitkovsky said the responses weren’t at all surprising: “sit-down restaurants, some retail that could be accessible to the neighborhood, the normal things people in a neighborhood would like to see in a location like this.”

Arnold’s office said Friday she didn’t want to talk about the latest attempt at developing the property. Also, her assistant Franklin Meredith said, “She is not prepared to release a statement.”

But her predecessor has plenty to say about it.

Dwaine Caraway , in case you don't remember

Dwaine Caraway, in case you don’t remember

“It will not be just anything,” said former council member Dwaine Caraway, who made redeveloping the Lancaster Corridor one of his priorities during his time on the council. Caraway said he wants the new development to be a kind of extension of the Lancaster Urban Village, the $30 million publicly funded collection of apartments, retail and offices that sits across Mentor Avenue from the vacant lot. It was Caraway who paved the way for the development after he got two crime-ridden, hot-sheet motels, including the Southern Comfort, bulldozed.

The new development, he said Friday, “will be what our plan has wanted it to be, and I would hope that folks will understand I will remain involved. People need quality housing. Look at what we’re doing downtown, at the Farmers Market, in Uptown. It should be no different in the southern part of Dallas. That is what’s going to work on the corridor. That’s what we want to see.”

Proposals are due by the end of June, long after Lelah was supposed to have cut the ribbon at Patriots Crossing.

“We have a clean slate, an ability to start over,” Zavitkovsky said. “Nobody’s happy the process has taken this long, but we have the ability to do this the right way. Everyone’s frustrated — the neighborhood, the city. We’d all like to see a good outcome.”

Article source: http://cityhallblog.dallasnews.com/2016/05/seven-lost-years-and-4-4-million-lost-dollars-later-dallas-tries-again-across-from-va-center.html/

Non-Profit Buys Pool Of Delinquent Mortgages From Fannie Mae

New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC), a nonprofit community development financial institution, is the winning bidder on Fannie Mae’s third Community Impact Pool of nonperforming loans (NPLs).

Fannie Mae’s Community Impact pools are structured to attract diverse participation from non-profits, smaller investors and minority- and women-owned businesses.

The transaction, which is expected to close on July 25, includes 83 loans secured by properties located in the Miami area with an unpaid principal balance of approximately $19.7 million.

NJCC also previously purchased Fannie Mae’s first and second Community Impact pools.

NJCC purchased the loans through its affiliate, the Community Loan Fund of New Jersey, Inc.

“We continue to seek buyers for our NPLs that will take actionable steps to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure and help stabilize neighborhoods,” says Joy Cianci, senior vice president of single-family credit portfolio management for Fannie Mae, in a release. “We actively work with non-profit organizations across the country to address the needs of borrowers in hard hit communities, and we are happy to award our Community Impact Pool to NJCC.”

Fannie Mae also announced that Goldman Sachs is the buyer of an additional NPL pool in conjunction with the company’s fifth NPL sale. That sale is expected to close on July 26.

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Article source: http://www.mortgageorb.com/non-profit-buys-pool-of-delinquent-mortgages-from-fannie-mae

Rhode Island to get federal funding to prevent foreclosures – Bryan

Posted: Monday, May 30, 2016 2:41 pm
|


Updated: 3:03 pm, Mon May 30, 2016.

Rhode Island to get federal funding to prevent foreclosures

Associated Press |


0 comments

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island has been awarded an additional $630,000 in federal funding to help prevent foreclosures.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed says the funding from NeighborWorks America’s National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling program will be used to provide housing counseling for families at risk of foreclosure.

Rhode Island Housing will receive about $580,000. The rest of the money will be split between the West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation and ONE Neighborhood Builders.

The program was launched in late 2007 with funds appropriated by Congress to address the foreclosure crisis.

Rhode Island received $703,000 in NeighborWorks grants in March, bringing its total funding to more than $1.3 million this year.

Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, says the money will help people access the information and assistance they need to navigate the loan modification process.

© 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Article source: http://www.theeagle.com/news/nation/rhode-island-to-get-federal-funding-to-prevent-foreclosures/article_b4601757-6b20-5bc2-89c7-b56d246f3ebb.html

Shockoe Slip building heading to foreclosure

The building houses a restaurant and apartments.

A downtown building that’s home to apartments and a Japanese eatery is headed to the auction block.

The Shockoe-Cary Building at 19-21 S. 13th St., which sits at the corner of East Cary Street, is scheduled for a June 1 foreclosure auction at 11 a.m. on the steps of the Richmond Circuit Court, according to a legal notice. The foreclosure is a result of the four-story property’s $2.7 million loan being in default.

Built in 1877, the mixed-use building has been owned by Shockoe-Cary Building LP since 2002.

It’s unclear exactly who is behind the owning entity. Its registered agent is listed as Richard Gregory, a founder and managing partner at Fountainhead Properties. Gregory could not be reached for comment about the property.

Tom Papa, also a founder and managing partner for Fountainhead, said his firm had renovated the Shockoe-Cary Building in the past but doesn’t own it.

“It was just one of those properties that never fully recovered from 2008,” Papa said. “We just really don’t have much to do with it.”

The Shockoe-Cary Building is home to 16 apartment units and Kobe Japanese Steaks and Sushi on the ground floor. Kobe owner Ian Sun said he opened his restaurant in 2003 and is doing well. CoreRVA Properties manages the building and could not be reached for comment.

According to a report from commercial mortgage track firm Trepp, the loan on the Shockoe-Cary Building has been handled by a special servicer since March. Special servicers are typically hired by lenders and noteholders when a loan is in trouble.

The current loan for the building was issued in 2007 by Column Financial. The loan balance is currently $2.57 million and the debt is currently owned by Credit Suisse First Boston Mortgage Securities Corp.

The Trepp report states that the borrower indicated there was insufficient income from the building to cover its debt services and expenses. The report referenced a letter from the borrower that pointed to competition with newer multifamily projects.

Joseph Aronica of Duane Morris, a Washington-based firm, is the substitute trustee handling the auction.

Article source: http://richmondbizsense.com/2016/05/31/shockoe-slip-building-heading-to-foreclosure/

What Happened When the FBI Investigated Foreclosure Fraud in Florida

Six years ago, FBI agents in Jacksonville, Florida, wrote a
memo to their bosses in Washington, DC, that could have unraveled the largest consumer fraud in American history. It went
to the heart of the shady mortgage industry that precipitated the financial
crisis, and the case promised to involve nearly every major bank in the
country, honing in on the despicable practice of using bogus documents to
illegally kick people out of their homes.

But despite impaneling a grand jury, calling in dozens of
agents and forensic examiners, doing 75 interviews, issuing hundreds of
subpoenas, and reviewing millions of documents, the criminal investigation resulted
in just one conviction. And that convict—Lorraine Brown, CEO of the third-party
company DocX that facilitated the fraud scheme—was sent to prison for duping
the banks.

Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request, VICE has
obtained some 600 pages of documents from the Jacksonville FBI field office
showing how agents conducted a sprawling investigation. The documents suggest the feds gained a detailed understanding of how and why the mortgage industry
enlisted third-party companies to create false documents they presented to
courts, as detailed in the 2012
National Mortgage Settlement, for which the big banks paid billions
in civil fines. The banks’ conduct is described in the settlement documents as
“unlawful,” and the Jacksonville FBI had it nailed almost two years earlier.

In these case files, you can see the seeds of an alternative
history, one where dedicated law enforcement officials take on some of the
country’s most powerful financial institutions with criminal
prosecutions.

So why didn’t they?

“Given everything I see here, you’d have thought there would
be many more convictions,” said Timothy Crino, a now-retired FBI forensic
accountant who reviewed case file documents. “If I was the case agent, I would
be devastated.”


At the center of the FBI investigation were the documents
required to turn ordinary mortgages into mortgage-backed securities (MBS). During the housing bubble, banks bought up
mortgages and packaged thousands of them at a time into MBS; this was known as
securitization. The mortgages were transferred through a series of
intermediaries into a trust, and the trust paid out investors with the
revenue stream from homeowners’ monthly payments.

In the end, of course, an upswing in the number of homeowner defaults led the MBS market to collapse disastrously, nearly taking down the worldwide financial system along with it. But there was another problem. In order to legally foreclose on homeowners, the financial institutions doing the foreclosing must produce documents proving the mortgages were properly transferred from their originators through intermediaries and on to the trusts, detailing every step along that chain.

“If evidence collected shows intent to defraud investors by the real estate trusts, this matter has the potential to be a top ten Corporate Fraud case.” —FBI Criminal Investigative Division memo, June 2010

This
is common sense: If you accuse someone of stealing your car, you have to
establish that you actually owned it in the first place.

This chain of
ownership was at the heart of the FBI investigation, according to a “request for resource
enhancement” sent on May 25, 2010, from the Jacksonville office to Sharon
Ormsby, then chief of the FBI Financial Crimes Section in Washington. (Ormsby no
longer works for the Bureau, and an attempt to contact her through the Society
of Retired Special Agents of the FBI was unsuccessful.)

“The fraud in this matter was the result of negligence in
the process of creating Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS),” the memo reads.

The Jacksonville
FBI agents cite three reasons why the banks didn’t properly transfer the
mortgages. First, the sheer volume—millions of loans—would have made it too
time-consuming to file each transfer in county courts in advance. Second, it would have been too costly, as each transfer triggers a recording fee of
somewhere between $35 to $50. And finally, “during a booming market the trusts
did not recognize the need to secure the loans,” because they didn’t believe it
would ever be called into question in the courts.

The Jacksonville
FBI memo claims the trusts committed fraud by reporting to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the credit
rating agencies, and investors that they had clear title to the
properties when they actually didn’t. And agents present evidence that mortgage-servicing companies and their law firms hired third-party
outfits to falsify the mortgage documents needed to foreclose after the fact.

Among those
companies was DocX in
Alpharetta, Georgia, which provided “default services” for mortgage-servicing
companies and their law firms; when a loan went into default, they came to DocX
for assistance. Because the company was a subsidiary of Jacksonville-based Lender Processing Services (LPS), the primary default services provider
in the United States, the Jacksonville FBI office had jurisdiction over the
case.

It used to be fun to work at DocX, one employee said in an FBI interview. Now, it was more like a “sweat shop.”

“LPS and
other default services created false and fraudulent documents which appeared to
support their foreclosure positions,” the memo reads. “LPS and the associated foreclosure mills utilized these false and fictitious docs in Courts across the nation to foreclose on homeowners.”

It wasn’t even that
difficult to discover the falsehoods when you actually looked at the documents.
Lynn
Szymoniak,
a West Palm Beach attorney who
specialized in white-collar insurance fraud, fell
into foreclosure in July 2008, and got sued by the trustee of her mortgage,
Deutsche Bank. But when she finally received her mortgage assignment, it was
dated October 17, 2008, three months
after Deutsche Bank
filed for foreclosure. So at the time of the foreclosure filing, Deutsche Bank
didn’t legally own the loan over which they sued her.

Adding to the chaos, one of the so-called witnesses on Szymoniak’s
mortgage assignment, Korell Harp, was in state prison in Oklahoma at the time he supposedly signed the
document. (Ironically, Harp was in prison for identity theft, even as his own
identity was being stolen for use in foreclosure documentation.) The copy of
the promissory note was a hastily executed cut-and-paste job, fabricated after
the fact. A woman named Linda Green signed the mortgage assignment in Szymoniak’s
case in her capacity as the vice president of American Home Mortgage Servicing
Inc.; she also signed as the vice president of at least 20 other
financial institutions, according to public records Szymoniak compiled. And Green’s
signatures all featured different handwriting, meaning they weren’t just
fabricated, but forged.

It was Szymoniak,
based on weeks of public records searches, who wrote the first official fraud
report to the US attorney’s office in Jacksonville. She had several friends in
that office, prosecutors she’d partnered with on insurance fraud cases. So she
sent a complaint to Assistant US Attorney Mark Devereaux and FBI Special Agent
Doug Matthews, who managed mortgage fraud cases. The
result was the Jacksonville grand jury investigation.

Szymoniak filed
her own whistleblower lawsuits detailing foreclosure fraud and eventually won
$95 million for the government under the False Claims Act. For bringing the
case to the government’s attention, she
received a share of that award,
totaling $18 million.

The banks
had foreclosed on exactly the wrong person.

FBI agents visited people across America who endured illegal foreclosure after the financial crash. Illustration by Dola Sun

According to dozens of interviews conducted by the FBI, DocX originally
created lien releases, signifying when mortgages got paid off. But as the
housing bubble collapsed and trustees suddenly needed evidence for their
foreclosure cases, the business model shifted to pumping out mortgage assignments.
Temporary and low-wage workers hired by DocX were now posing as bank vice
presidents, working long hours signing documents at two long tables.

It used to be fun to work at DocX, one employee said in an FBI
interview. Now it was more like a “sweat shop.”

The documents coming out of DocX were sloppy at best. Several mortgage
assignments were filed with courthouses that listed the recipient of the
mortgage as “BOGUS ASSIGNEE.” This was apparently a placeholder on a DocX template
assignment that employees habitually forgot to change. At other times, employees appear to have forgotten to change the date, executing
assignments effective “9/9/9999.”

“When I joined the Bureau, white-collar crime was the number one priority in the country.” —David Gomez, former FBI agent

In the Jacksonville FBI files, DocX employees said that they were constantly
pushed to process more documents. Eventually, the company hit on a concept
called “surrogate signing.” Only one individual was identified on corporate
resolutions as the officer authorized to sign on clients’ behalf, but under
surrogate signing, other employees at DocX would sign
for that authorized
individual. Employees would sign as many as 2,100 documents per day, and each
surrogate signer would double the workflow. In early 2009, DocX management hung
a banner in the office proudly displaying their successful document production
to superiors visiting from LPS.

It read: “Two Million Assignments.”

The employees don’t appear to have ever seen any official documents authorizing them to sign
on behalf of financial institutions where they did not actually work. Indeed, when the
Jacksonville FBI office subpoenaed them, agents found that the “corporate
resolutions do not give DocX/LPS employees the authority to sign on behalf of
the institution.”

But while many people working at DocX believed the scheme to be fraudulent,
according to the memo, none of them questioned the practice for fear of losing their jobs. They were
reassured repeatedly that everything was legitimate. Some managers apparently told
employees to keep quiet for “the good of the company.” Even the managers
professed that they were trying to meet LPS demands and accomplish an
impossible task of completing millions of mortgage assignments.

One manager stated in an FBI interview that if she “was guilty
of anything, she was guilty of being ignorant.”

LPS management in Jacksonville broke up the surrogate-signing party in November 2009, after a foreclosure defense attorney
began questioning their practices. Executives at LPS fired Brown,
founder and CEO of DocX, claiming she began surrogate signing without their knowledge. But DocX continued to sign on behalf of corporate officers at defunct companies for months afterward, according to the memo. And because the
trusts had to receive mortgage assignments within 90 days of their establishment and not years later, the document production itself was fraudulent, the Jacksonville FBI
alleged, whether the signatures were forged or not.

(LPS, now known as Black Knight Financial Services after a series of corporate mergers,
did not respond to a request for comment for this story.)

Between February and May 2010, Jacksonville FBI agents met with state and
federal officials, including members of the SEC, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and Florida’s Department
of Financial Services. They issued hundreds of subpoenas and prepared to seize over
$100 million in assets in the case. On May 17, they met with officials from FBI
Headquarters’ Economic Crimes Unit, which is responsible for overseeing financial fraud investigations in
the field like Jacksonville’s, to
discuss the case and explain what they needed.

A week later, Jacksonville agents
made the formal request for help to FBI headquarters in Washington.

“Jacksonville is a
small field office with a White Collar Crime Squad of nine agents,” the memo
reads, explaining that six of the nine were committed to other cases. “In
short, Jacksonville does not have the necessary resources to begin addressing
this matter.”

Jacksonville wanted
the Economic Crimes Unit to activate the “Corporate Fly Team,” a group of
experienced agents with backgrounds in white-collar crime who travel to work on
big cases. The extra bodies would help conduct interviews with officials at
loan servicers, foreclosure law firms, trustees, and document custodians around
the country. In addition, Jacksonville’s office wanted an investigative team of
12 agents and two forensic accountants. Six agents and one forensic accountant
would come from FBI headquarters, the Florida Department of Financial Services
and the IRS would supply a few agents, and Jacksonville would provide the rest,
including the second accountant. The agents from headquarters would have a
90-day “temporary duty” (TDY) assignment. After that, Jacksonville wanted to
augment their “Funded Staffing Level” (FSL) with eight additional white-collar
crime agents “to permanently address this matter.” Jacksonville also wanted to
rent an off-site facility for the storage and review of documents.

“It’s a typical
bureau request,” retired FBI agent Timothy Crino told me. “You ask for
everything you can possibly ask for and hope you get half of it.”

And they did get about half, at least at first. The Criminal
Investigative Division (CID)—the FBI’s single biggest department—replied to the
Jacksonville request on June 24. “If evidence collected shows intent to defraud
investors by the real estate trusts, this matter has the potential to be a top
ten Corporate Fraud case,” the reply reads. CID agreed to pony up the Corporate
Fraud Response Team for assistance with interviews, and offered two TDY
Forensic Accountants for at least 90 days. They requested a detailed estimate
for the off-site facility, and expressed a preference for obtaining records in
digital format to reduce storage needs. But CID did not agree to the additional
agents or FSL request “until a further evaluation of the case is completed.”

Shuffling around resources and prioritizing investigations
is always tricky and involves layers of FBI office politics. “The guy running the
Jacksonville desk must sell it to the unit chief,” said David Gomez, a retired
FBI agent with the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington
University. “The unit chief is fighting with other unit chiefs to sell it to
the section chief.” And after 9/11, the FBI shifted attention to fighting terrorism,
making the funds and bodies dedicated to financial crime even more
scarce. “When I joined the Bureau [in 1984], white-collar crime was the number
one priority in the country,” Gomez added. “Now people come in expecting and
wanting to work on terrorism.”

But proper resources can make or break a case. “If you don’t
get everything you want, you have to pick your battles,” said former Agent Crino.
“You can’t work the whole thing, can’t go after the biggest targets.”

In
this case, that would mean not going up the chain, from the companies like DocX that created the false mortgage assignments to the trustees and mortgage-servicing
companies who were their clients. That chain could have implicated some of
America’s biggest and most powerful banks and bankers; the practice was systemic, as
Jacksonville agents recognized. But a small FBI office can only do so much.


Check out the VICE News documentary about houses being demolished in the name of public safety and the local economy in Detroit.


Before the end of the 90-day temporary agent assignment in
Jacksonville, stories about foreclosure fraud began appearing in the news.
“Robo-signers” who signed thousands of documents with no understanding of their
contents were
exposed through depositions placed on the internet. GMAC
Mortgage, JPMorgan Chase, and eventually every major mortgage servicer in the
country
paused their foreclosure operations, because they were shown to be illegitimate.

The Jacksonville FBI
office made a second request for resources on January 20, 2011. Agents said the
local US attorney was considering indicting unidentified members of LPS for their role in the fraud,
and also “identified Deutsche Bank as a subject trustee… who provided
services in the conspiracy and made material misrepresentations to the SEC and
the investing public.” (Deutsche Bank spokesman Oksana Poltavets declined to
comment on the case.) The FBI in Jacksonville also said the US attorney there had
the commitment of the main Justice Department in Washington for the case going
forward, bolstering the agents’ contention that they needed more resources.

Agents in Jacksonville made a bevy of new asks, from additional use
of the Corporate Fly Team to conduct interviews and review three million
documents—produced by LPS after a subpoena—to help from other field offices for
interviews in their own jurisdictions with
homeowners evicted based on false documents. Finally, agents in Jacksonville
wanted the Minneapolis FBI office to look into another LPS facility in Minnesota
to see if employees had created false documents there, as well.

The FBI bosses in DC honored several of these
requests. Fly Team members helped review the documents. Field offices pitched
in on homeowner interviews. The investigation seemed to be making headway.

And then the trail went cold.

It is still difficult to pinpoint why, given that all the major
players won’t comment on the investigation. That includes the FBI’s field
office in Jacksonville, the FBI’s Economic Crimes Unit in Washington, and the
Justice Department. The last document in the FOIA file is dated June 28, 2012,
describing planned travel from Jacksonville to Atlanta to interview “at least six”
witnesses.

After that, there’s nothing.

The grand summary
of the investigation, which would typically be written up at the end, is not
included in the FOIA documents. “It’s just such a huge question mark,” former FBI Agent Crino told me, “how this could have gone so horribly wrong.”


The only person ultimately convicted in the Jacksonville case was Lorraine Brown, who was
sentenced in June 2013 to five years in
prison
after pleading guilty
to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. The indictment claimed she directed the document forgery and fabrication scheme “unbeknownst to DocX’s
clients.” In other words, according to prosecutors, mortgage servicers
contracted Brown to provide evidence so
they could prove standing to foreclose, but didn’t know
the resulting evidence was faked.

But the Jacksonville
FBI agents stated in their reports that
any
mortgage documents created after the closure of the trusts would have to have been fabricated. As
recently as the January 20, 2011, request for resources, agents wrote, “When
the notes were bundled, an assignment of mortgage should have been prepared and
filed at the county court level… to ensure clear title in the event of sale
and/or foreclosure.” And they explained how and why the trusts failed to do so,
necessitating the creation of documents after foreclosure had already begun.

So the charging
documents in the Brown case positions
the banks as unwitting dupes of the scheme, a reversal from the consistent
determination by agents in the field that they were fully aware of and in
fact responsible for the situation.

“I thought, Well, this is one friend saying to another friend: ‘This is over,’”—Lynn Szymoniak

In the
sentencing phase, the feds turned to county registers, the public officeholders
who track and manage mortgage documents, to provide horror stories about DocX. One of them was John O’Brien, county register in
Essex County, Massachusetts. He was determined to recoup $1.28 million from Brown to
clean up falsified DocX land records filed with his office.

When Assistant
US Attorney Mark Devereaux asked him to testify, however, O’Brien recalled the
prosecutor insisting the judge wouldn’t accept the claim, because registers—a.k.a. the public—were not victims.

“What
do you mean, we’re not a victim?” O’Brien exclaimed. “We’re the ones with all
these false documents!”

“No, the bank is the victim,” Devereaux
replied, according to O’Brien.

(The US Attorney’s office in Jacksonville,
where Devereaux still serves as a prosecutor, declined to comment on the case.)

Lynn Szymoniak, whose complaint triggered the Jacksonville
FBI probe, believes that officials at the Justice Department, determined to stage-manage their own
resolution to the scandal, stonewalled the agents on the case. She told me
about one moment when she sensed the whole thing was rigged, sometime in the
middle of 2011, well over a year after the investigation got underway.

Szymoniak had been unofficially assisting the Jacksonville team
with research. US attorneys there would ask for 200 examples of a law firm signing mortgage assignments after they filed
their foreclosure case, or 30 Linda Green documents in a certain region of the
country. Szymoniak spent hours on these projects, feeling like she couldn’t say
no. But she wondered why the requests kept coming, even after she went public
and
appeared on 60 Minutes in April 2011,
detailing the false document scheme. “I really thought that in response they would have to
file [an indictment],” Szymoniak said.
“When they decided to hold tight and it would go away, I realized I had no
cards left to play.”

At one point, the
assistant US attorney requested a massive set of files. Szymoniak emailed her friend Henry
“Tommy” Clark, a detective with the Florida Department of Financial Services’
Division of Insurance Fraud, who also partnered with the FBI on cases. She
complained to him that the file request was going to take her 14 hours to assemble. Clark
called her within a few minutes, and didn’t even say hello.

“Don’t waste
your time,” he said.

Clark worked with
the Jacksonville FBI field office for a long time, and saw the agents there as
honorable people willing to follow the evidence wherever it led, Szymoniak recalled.
So when Clark said, “I’m not working on it anymore, I’ve got a whole lot of other
cases where I can file,” he seemed to validate the eerie feeling she had about the case. Their shared recognition was that someone
seemed to be preventing Jacksonville from completing the investigation, and the
two knew each other well enough to broach that fear in just a few words.

“I thought, Well, this is one friend saying to another friend: ‘This is over,’” she told me.

In a phone conversation, Detective Clark, who has since retired, confirmed that he worked on the FBI case but declined to comment for this story.


The FOIA
documents detail an intense investigation in the aftermath of economic disaster,
with Jacksonville agents and US attorneys going all-out for the public interest. They spent years running down leads and cultivating information,
with the national office in Washington accommodating many of their resource
requests. But all that work amounted solely to putting one non-banker in prison.

In February 2012,
the Justice Department and 49 state attorneys general reached their
civil settlement with the five biggest mortgage servicers
over a host of allegations of deceptive and unlawful conduct, including “preparing, executing, notarizing or
presenting false and misleading documents… or otherwise using false or
misleading documents as part of the foreclosure process.” The feds
boasted that the settlement was for
$25 billion, but only $5 billion of that was in hard dollars, with the rest in
credits for activities that included bulldozing homes and donating others to
charity. Homeowners wrongfully foreclosed upon received about $1,480. The
Justice Department claimed it reserved the right to criminally prosecute anyone
suspected of wrongdoing. That still hasn’t happened.

After Brown’s
sentencing, Szymoniak called up one of the FBI investigators and thanked him
for at least snagging the one conviction—for proving real crimes were
committed by some of the most powerful economic players in America, crimes
theoretically punishable with prison time.

There was a
long pause.

According to
Szymoniak, when the agent finally broke the silence, he said, “I don’t think
the taxpayers were very well served.”

This story expands on David Dayen’s new book Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud, the winner of the Studs and Ida Terkel Prize out this month from The New Press. Follow David Dayen on Twitter.

Article source: http://www.vice.com/read/what-happened-when-the-fbi-investigated-foreclosure-fraud-in-florida

How Many Americans Have Gone Through Foreclosure?

During the Great Recession, many Americans lost their homes due to foreclosure. In fact, according to real estate data company RealtyTrac, there were 6,324,545 completed foreclosures from January 2006 to April 2016.

“It is a big number,” Daren Blomquist, Senior Vice President of RealtyTrac said in an email. “Normal would be around 250,000 bank repossessions per year. These last 10 years represented the biggest loss of home ownership and shifting of real estate wealth since the Great Depression.”

The Current Status of the Housing Market

The market has improved, but that doesn’t make it immune to foreclosures. (You can see the 10 states with the biggest foreclosure problems here.)

“The foreclosure crisis is largely behind us, although still certainly lingering in certain pockets,” Blomquist said. “Unfortunately, we are already seeing signs of another housing bubble in certain markets, so people should continue to be cautiously optimistic when it comes to the housing market.”

But Blomquist says people who can truly afford to buy a home may still benefit from it.

“Homeownership done responsibly is still one of the best ways to build wealth,” Blomquist said.

What a Foreclosure Can Mean for You

“Foreclosure will obviously create a crater in a credit report for some time,” Troy Doucet, attorney with Doucet Associates in Columbus, Ohio, said in an email. “However, foreclosure is not the end of the world. Those with foreclosure in their credit past will find their credit scores slowly improve as time passes. After a few years, they may even be able to buy another house.”

If you default on a loan or go through a foreclosure, it will appear on your credit report for seven years. But you can work to improve your credit score. (Consider these steps to fix your credit.) To see how your mortgage payments are affecting your credit you can take a look at your free credit report summary, updated monthly, on Credit.com.

Related Articles

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

Article source: http://www.stltoday.com/business/credit/how-many-americans-have-gone-through-foreclosure/article_e50b6614-5dae-5f4f-bb0f-781fd39964f8.html

Wells Fargo Pays $70 Million for Failures in Foreclosure Accord

Wells Fargo Co. agreed to pay a $70 million penalty in ending the bank’s five-year fight to settle legal claims over foreclosure missteps after the 2008 credit crisis.

U.S. regulators announced the fine for the San Francisco-based bank on Wednesday as part of an agreement that also frees the nation’s biggest mortgage lender from loan-servicing restrictions imposed last year.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency had accused Wells Fargo of failing to move fast enough in fixing deficiencies outlined in a series of settlements over improper activity including so-called robo-signing of foreclosure documents. The agency, which said the bank is now in compliance, had also identified more recent problems, including faulty payment-change notices filed in bankruptcy courts and faulty escrow calculations.

Wells Fargo is pleased that the regulator accepted its work on the settlement, according to a statement. The bank neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing in the OCC agreement.

Five years ago, Wells Fargo and most of the other largest U.S. mortgage servicers agreed to resolve allegations that they mishandled loan papers and fraudulently endorsed legal papers used in foreclosures after the crisis. Regulators amended that accord in 2013 after deciding the original plan failed to help affected borrowers.

A year ago, the OCC imposed new restrictions on Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase Co. and four other companies, blocking them from buying mortgage-servicing rights because they hadn’t yet met the demands of that most recent foreclosure settlement. They were also banned from appointing senior mortgage-servicing officers until they finished the work.

JPMorgan agreed to a $48 million fine in January to resolve the deficiencies identified by regulators and free it from the servicing restrictions. Further settlements in February left only Wells Fargo and HSBC Holdings Plc still facing the OCC’s limits.

Article source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-25/wells-fargo-pays-70-million-for-failures-in-foreclosure-accord

Troika heat-seeking missile destroys Greece

The economy, the people, the heart and soul of Greece have been demolished by a lower order of bureaucratic seizure that plagues the world. It is scorched-earth economic warfare, ordinarily referred to as neoliberalism.

The newest twist/manipulation in negotiations with Troika for Greece survival (demise) in order to provide the country with 86 billion euros of which 90% pays off debt, 10% to the state, demands Greece cut pensions (again), raise taxes (again), privatize state assets (for a song), and deregulate (squelch) labor. Inspirational?

The country has already unloaded state assets like ports and airports at bottom-feeder prices. Gee whiz, after essentially giving away prized state assets, which “define the Greek economy and define the people,” GDP is expected to grow. How?

For example, the sale of Port of Piraeus, one of the largest seaports in Europe and the world, has served as the port of Athens since ancient times. The sale, effective April 2016 to COSCO (Chinese company), is part of creditor demands to secure a third 86 billion euros bailout package. The sale goes against PM Tsipras’ pre-election promise not to privatize the country’s infrastructure. But, in milquetoast fashion, he knuckled under. Athens also sold 14 regional airports to Fraport AG on a 40-year contract worth 1.23 billion euros. Monopolistic assets like ports and airports are sure-fire moneymakers now to foreign interests.

Already, because of stringent austerity measures, Greece is hamstrung and thus because of a resultant shrinking budget, the country cannot alleviate pain in the streets, i.e., help its people. King Louis XVI of France (beheaded in 1793) had a similar problem 223 years ago. At the time, Parisians were starving in the streets, scrunched under the wheels of golden carriages.

John Kenneth Galbraith, one of America’s foremost economists, famously said, “All successful revolutions are the kicking in of a rotten door.” Today, his son carries his torch.

James Galbraith, Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations and Professor of Government, University of Texas speaking at the USC Global Leadership Summit April 30, 2016 addressed the Greece issue.

The final minutes of his speech succinctly sums up the fate of Greece at the hands of Troika, consisting of the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Commission (EC) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which launched a powerful supersonic heat-seeking missile, affectionately nicknamed “Troika Boy” boldly emblazoned in cursive on its warhead, successfully hitting its target dead-on, total destruction!

According to Professor Galbraith, “The decision taken at the European level was to attempt to destabilize and to defeat the government [Greece]. In the end, the government, in effect, defeated itself. It made a decision that it did not have the capacity to push a confrontation past a certain point. The Greek people took a different view. They were braver than their government. And, so came… the capitulation to terms that were effectively dictated entirely outside of Greece.”

Paraphrasing Mr. Galbraith, the process is essentially (1) a debt collection, (2) a land grab, (3) foreclosure policy, and (4) a backbreaking “policy of taking as much as possible of the state’s assets.” As a consequence, the dictates of Troika rapidly bring on bankruptcy of businesses as well as many households into default followed by foreclosures. A Greek bailout?

In a nutshell, Troika’s missile launch brings “the dispossession of a European population from the ownership of capital assets,” or looked at another way, as between nation/states, an act of war.

Bottom line, the people are stripped of assets in lieu of paying debts from which they benefitted very little. The upshot, according to Mr. Galbraith, a spirit of rebellion is growing and spreading, likely beyond Greece to Portugal, Spain, and Italy.

“Since in Greece there is no longer a political outlet, it will become more unpleasant as the fires burn. That’s the price ultimately that both Greeks and Europeans will bear from accepting a set of policy recommendations dictated by economists, driven by ideology, utterly disconnected from the reality of what it takes to restore a viable economic and social entity” (Galbraith).

By all appearances, the Troika group is not clever enough to help Greece by any means other than slashing and burning and stomping on its lifeblood. Which brings to mind Chile in the 1970s under General Augusto Pinochet, dictator 1973-1990, a student of Milton Friedman and Henry Kissinger and of how neoliberal tendencies have been superlatively perfected over the ensuing decades. Troika’s 100-proof.

“There will be more resistance,” Galbraith warns. “It’s the only sensible thing. The Greek people are being maneuvered into a position where they cannot pay their mortgages, and they are being dispossessed from their homes. For what? For debts that were incurred under previous governments for completely useless things where the benefits went to German construction companies and French arms firms. The notion that this debt should be paid is absurd,” James K. Galbraith on Greece: Austerity Without Debt Relief, Defend Democracy Press, May 20, 2016Galbraith believes a Greek default may still be likely, which will bring a stop to unsustainable austerity. Come to think about it, why not? Courtesy – Counterpunch

Article source: http://dailytimes.com.pk/business/30-May-16/troika-heat-seeking-missile-destroys-greece

Upper Dublin police reports: Week of May 29, 2016







THEFT A resident reported May 18 using a web-based service called Sitter City to look for cleaning jobs and was contacted by a man who identified himself as a Texas man regarding a cleaning job, police said. The victim received a $1,850 check and was asked to send three separate wire transfers totaling $1,791 at Walmart, which she did before learning that the check was fraudulent, police said, and she was then unable to contact the person who sent the check.

TRESPASSING Ross E. Udell, 33, of unknown address, was cited for defiant trespass after he was found playing basketball on a property in the 200 block of Wooded Lane at 4:03 p.m. May 21 that had been foreclosed on, police said. Udell, whose father had owned the property, said the foreclosure was in question, but was uncooperative and was cited, police said.

THEFT A resident of the 1200 block of Hoffman Road reported at 11:41 p.m. May 22 that his mailbox had been stolen and a piece of concrete from a neighbor’s bench had been placed on the hood of his vehicle, causing extensive damage to the paint, police said. The resident saw a man wearing tan pants fleeing eastbound between houses across the street and police later found the mailbox, valued at $500, in the backyard of another home on the block, police said. Damage to the vehicle was estimated at $500, police said.

WARRANT Damon S. Harris, 41, of the 500 block of Myrtle Avenue, Horsham, was taken into custody at 2:21 p.m. May 23 on a warrant for failing to respond to a citation for driving with a suspended license, police said. An officer observed Harris operating a vehicle and recognized him from the March 25 traffic stop, at which he was cited, and pulled him over at Burn Brae Drive and Fitzwatertown Road and gave him a second citation, police said. Harris was taken to district court, where he pleaded guilty to both citations and was released, police said.

ID THEFT A resident reported March 19 receiving calls from Kohl’s after opening an account several months ago and on May 18 decided to call back, police said. The person who answered asked for her social Security number and after she provided it, the call ended, police said. The woman did not know of any fraudulent accounts opened in her name or charges made to the account, police said.

THEFT An old lawn mower that was fixed and left for a customer to pick up at the curb in the 300 block of Twining Road, Oreland, was stolen between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. May 18, police said.

CRIMINAL MISCHIEF Three Verizon utility boxes were found sabotaged the morning of May 17, police said. Verizon, whose workers are on strike, received a notice at 2 a.m. that an interruption was detected and found the fiber optic cables cut to the distribution boxes on Susquehanna Road near Cinnamon Circle, Susquehanna and Honey Run, and Applewood Drive near Dreshertown Road, police said. Damage to each was estimated at $20,000, police said.

TEEN HURT A 17-year-old girl of the 2000 block of Chippewa Ridge, Ambler, was injured May 23 in a two-vehicle accident at Butler Pike and Susquehanna Road, police said. The girl was riding a bike northbound on Butler on the right shoulder when she started to turn left and was struck as she crossed in front of a vehicle northbound on Butler operated by Shaun P. Murphy, 34, of the unit block of Waverly Court, Lansdale, police said. The teen fell onto the ground and was transported by Springfield Ambulance to Abington Memorial Hospital, police said.

WOMAN INJURED Linda A. Harbison, 60, of the 1200 block of Hall Avenue, Roslyn, was injured May 19 in a three-vehicle accident at 3:10 p.m. on Susquehanna Road near Twining Road, police said. Donna M. Elliott, 52, of the 1400 block of White Owl Road, Roslyn, was eastbound on Susquehanna looking at her phone when she struck Harbison’s vehicle, which had stopped ahead of her, police said. The impact pushed Harbison’s vehicle into the rear of a stopped vehicle operated by Laura R. Raggi, 32, of the 2400 block of Avondale Avenue, Roslyn, police said. Harbison was transported by Second Alarmer’s to Abington Memorial Hospital, police said.

DRIVER INJURED Jessica L. Armenta, 37, of the 500 block of South Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, was slightly injured May 16 in a two-vehicle accident on Candlebrook Drive near Southwind Way, police said. Armenta was southbound on Candlebrook in a curve, talking on a cellphone, when she failed to see a northbound vehicle operated by Jennifer F. Nemeth-Seay, 43, of the 1300 block of Camp Hill Road, Fort Washington, and entered the opposing lane, striking the other vehicle, police said. Nemeth-Seay said she had gone around a trash can that was on her side of the road, but was still within her lane of travel, police said.

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THEFT A resident reported May 18 using a web-based service called Sitter City to look for cleaning jobs and was contacted by a man who identified himself as a Texas man regarding a cleaning job, police said. The victim received a $1,850 check and was asked to send three separate wire transfers totaling $1,791 at Walmart, which she did before learning that the check was fraudulent, police said, and she was then unable to contact the person who sent the check.

TRESPASSING Ross E. Udell, 33, of unknown address, was cited for defiant trespass after he was found playing basketball on a property in the 200 block of Wooded Lane at 4:03 p.m. May 21 that had been foreclosed on, police said. Udell, whose father had owned the property, said the foreclosure was in question, but was uncooperative and was cited, police said.

THEFT A resident of the 1200 block of Hoffman Road reported at 11:41 p.m. May 22 that his mailbox had been stolen and a piece of concrete from a neighbor’s bench had been placed on the hood of his vehicle, causing extensive damage to the paint, police said. The resident saw a man wearing tan pants fleeing eastbound between houses across the street and police later found the mailbox, valued at $500, in the backyard of another home on the block, police said. Damage to the vehicle was estimated at $500, police said.

WARRANT Damon S. Harris, 41, of the 500 block of Myrtle Avenue, Horsham, was taken into custody at 2:21 p.m. May 23 on a warrant for failing to respond to a citation for driving with a suspended license, police said. An officer observed Harris operating a vehicle and recognized him from the March 25 traffic stop, at which he was cited, and pulled him over at Burn Brae Drive and Fitzwatertown Road and gave him a second citation, police said. Harris was taken to district court, where he pleaded guilty to both citations and was released, police said.

ID THEFT A resident reported March 19 receiving calls from Kohl’s after opening an account several months ago and on May 18 decided to call back, police said. The person who answered asked for her social Security number and after she provided it, the call ended, police said. The woman did not know of any fraudulent accounts opened in her name or charges made to the account, police said.

THEFT An old lawn mower that was fixed and left for a customer to pick up at the curb in the 300 block of Twining Road, Oreland, was stolen between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. May 18, police said.

CRIMINAL MISCHIEF Three Verizon utility boxes were found sabotaged the morning of May 17, police said. Verizon, whose workers are on strike, received a notice at 2 a.m. that an interruption was detected and found the fiber optic cables cut to the distribution boxes on Susquehanna Road near Cinnamon Circle, Susquehanna and Honey Run, and Applewood Drive near Dreshertown Road, police said. Damage to each was estimated at $20,000, police said.

TEEN HURT A 17-year-old girl of the 2000 block of Chippewa Ridge, Ambler, was injured May 23 in a two-vehicle accident at Butler Pike and Susquehanna Road, police said. The girl was riding a bike northbound on Butler on the right shoulder when she started to turn left and was struck as she crossed in front of a vehicle northbound on Butler operated by Shaun P. Murphy, 34, of the unit block of Waverly Court, Lansdale, police said. The teen fell onto the ground and was transported by Springfield Ambulance to Abington Memorial Hospital, police said.

WOMAN INJURED Linda A. Harbison, 60, of the 1200 block of Hall Avenue, Roslyn, was injured May 19 in a three-vehicle accident at 3:10 p.m. on Susquehanna Road near Twining Road, police said. Donna M. Elliott, 52, of the 1400 block of White Owl Road, Roslyn, was eastbound on Susquehanna looking at her phone when she struck Harbison’s vehicle, which had stopped ahead of her, police said. The impact pushed Harbison’s vehicle into the rear of a stopped vehicle operated by Laura R. Raggi, 32, of the 2400 block of Avondale Avenue, Roslyn, police said. Harbison was transported by Second Alarmer’s to Abington Memorial Hospital, police said.

DRIVER INJURED Jessica L. Armenta, 37, of the 500 block of South Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, was slightly injured May 16 in a two-vehicle accident on Candlebrook Drive near Southwind Way, police said. Armenta was southbound on Candlebrook in a curve, talking on a cellphone, when she failed to see a northbound vehicle operated by Jennifer F. Nemeth-Seay, 43, of the 1300 block of Camp Hill Road, Fort Washington, and entered the opposing lane, striking the other vehicle, police said. Nemeth-Seay said she had gone around a trash can that was on her side of the road, but was still within her lane of travel, police said.

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Article source: http://www.montgomerynews.com/articles/2016/05/29/ambler_gazette/news/doc5745ed7ec0f92471059624.txt