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Rockland’s No. 1 tax scofflaw pays $81K bill – The Journal News

County Executive Ed Day announces the foreclosure process has started on 29 non-residential properties in the county.
John Meore/The Journal News

Article source: http://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/rockland/2016/09/28/rockland-tax-scofflaw-pays-bill/91233542/

Activists demand fed funds be used to stop foreclosures

A public meeting in Detroit Sept. 22 demanded that federal Helping Hardest Hit Funds be used to stop tax foreclosures related to evictions and water shutoffs.

The meeting was organized by City Council­woman Mary Sheffield and co- hosted by the Moratorium Now! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shutoffs; the United Community Housing Coalition; and Michigan Legal Services.

One of every three homes in Detroit has been foreclosed in the last 10 years. That’s since the beginning of the housing crisis brought on by the racist, fraudulent lending practices of the major banks.

In addition, 65,000 homes have had water shut off since 2014. At that time the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) began targeting homes for disconnection where owners are behind at least $150 on their bills.

In October, thousands more families will face eviction when their homes are auctioned off to complete foreclosures for failure to pay property taxes. Some 14,000 families have had their water shut off since April of this year, with 11,000 more on the list scheduled for termination.

This total omits the tens of thousands of families who have been placed in property tax or water payment plans. If these families miss just one payment, they will face the loss of their homes. And, truth be told, they can’t afford these payments.

The funds are there

As organizers pointed out, funds are available to stop these evictions and water shutoffs. That would at least halt the devastation.

Since January of this year, the federal government has given the state of Michigan an additional $260 million in Hardest Hit funding. These funds — the people’s tiny share of money allocated in the Trade Recovery Adjustment Act, which bailed out the banks and auto companies to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars — were earmarked to aid families and communities especially affected by the housing crisis.

In an anti-people decision, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, which administers Michigan’s Hardest Hit program, has allocated 80 percent of the funds to tear down homes, rather than keep families in them with running water.

In Detroit, the funds are being turned over to the Detroit Land Bank and Blight Task Force headed by subprime lender Dan Gilbert. While they give these entities the funds, at the same time the feds are investigating the Land Bank for criminal fraud and cronyism in its administration of the “blight removal” program.

At the meeting on Sept. 22, organizers demanded that the Hardest Hit Funds be used to pay overdue property tax and water bills. That would keep families in their homes. They also want the county treasurer and DWSD/Great Lakes Authority to place an immediate moratorium on foreclosure-related evictions and water shutoffs while the funds are reallocated.

Two tireless housing advocates, Marilyn Mullane from Michigan Legal Services, and Ted Phillips of the United Community Housing Coalition, exposed how MSHDA has made the Hardest Hit Funds virtually inaccessible to the poor. They exposed bureaucratic impediments to access and demanded that regulations be rewritten to maximize their effectiveness.

Monica Patrick, of We the People of Detroit, joined the rally to express the urgency of tying together the fight to stop water shutoffs with evictions caused by foreclosures. She showed slides reflecting how neighborhoods throughout Detroit are being devastated by this joint scourge.

Linda Jourdan, of the American Civil Liberties Union, described the legal organization’s lawsuit. It exposes how tax foreclosures in Detroit are based on illegal assessments that overinflate the value of homes throughout the city and how thousands of Detroiters have been denied poverty exemptions to which they are entitled.

Jerry Goldberg, of the Moratorium Now! Coalition, thanked Councilwoman Sheffield, calling her the first government official to take up this fight. Goldberg noted that if Hardest Hit Funds were used for their intended purpose, it would actually put money into government coffers that could be used for blight removal and infrastructure.

Goldberg emphasized the role of the banks in destroying Detroit’s neighborhoods and demanded that the banks be made to pay to remove and remediate the blight they caused.

A demonstration has been called for Wednesday, Oct. 5, to press the demand for a moratorium on foreclosures/evictions and water shutoffs and for freeing Hardest Hit Funds to keep families in their homes. The protest will be held at the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office, 400 Monroe in Detroit, at 12 noon.

For more information, call 313-680-5508 or visit moratorium-mi.org.

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Article source: http://www.workers.org/2016/09/29/activists-demand-fed-funds-be-used-to-stop-foreclosures/

Conviction for Garden Grove Homeowner Scheme – Fountain Valley …

GARDEN GROVE, CA — A Midway City man was convicted today in federal court of charges related to bilking more than $1.5 million from distressed homeowners in a bogus loan modification scheme.

Antonio Marquette, who went by “Alan Le” and “Anthony Le,” was taken into custody after the verdicts were read. U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Guilford set sentencing for Jan. 30.

Marquette is facing up to 220 years in prison, according to Tracy Webb, the director of external affairs for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California.

Marquette operated Bolsa Marketing Group in Garden Grove in 2010 and 2011 and charged homeowners up to $100,000 in cash for services the homeowners did not receive, Webb said.

Through Bolsa Marketing, Marquette ran a scheme that targeted distressed homeowners, most of whom were members of Vietnamese communities in Southern California, the Bay Area and Houston, and induced them to pay large, up-front fees to obtain mortgage relief services, Webb said.

Marquette deceived distressed homeowners with false promises that he could help them avoid foreclosure by obtaining modifications to their mortgages, and in some cases, even completely eliminate their loans, Webb said.

As part of the scheme, Marquette made various promises to homeowners, including making guarantees that he could reduce their outstanding debt to 25 percent of the loan balance in only four months, according to Webb.

Marquette also sent fraudulent checks to “pay off” mortgages and filed bogus documents with county recorders’ offices, according to court documents.

Marquette was convicted by a federal jury in the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana of nine counts of mail fraud, and one count each of wire fraud and money laundering, Webb said.

“While the defendant convinced his victims to pay exorbitant fees with lofty, false promises, he in fact did nothing to help them, and many victims subsequently lost their homes,” U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said.

The case against Marquette was investigated by the FBI and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Staples.

“The defendant operated this affinity scheme by targeting Vietnamese homeowners with false promises via Vietnamese-language radio advertisements, which added a veneer of legitimacy to his scheme,” said Deirdre Fike, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.

City News Service, Shutterstock Image

Article source: http://patch.com/california/fountainvalley/conviction-garden-grove-homeowner-scheme

Brown signs legislation to overhaul voting system

  • Gov. Jerry Brown signed and vetoed dozens of bills Thursday ahead of Fridays deadline to act on legislation. Photo: Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press

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SACRAMENTO — California will overhaul its election system beginning in 2018 so that voters have more options on when and where to cast their ballots in future elections, under a bill Gov. Jerry Brown signed Thursday.

SB450 by Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, and Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, allows counties to opt into the new system, and if they do, those counties would be required to mail all voters a ballot that can be cast at voting centers up to 10 days before election day. The ballots can also be returned by mail.



“People lead increasingly complicated lives; we should provide them with maximum flexibility when it comes to voting,” Allen said in a statement. “Under this new law, people will be able to choose the time and place to vote that is most convenient for their lifestyle and their schedule.”

Lawmakers modeled the law after Colorado’s election process, which has increased voter turnout and reduced the cost of holding elections.

Supporters of the bill said the increased flexibility will especially help working Californians and hopefully lead to higher voter turnout.

“Why limit voting to one location on a single Tuesday,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who sponsored the legislation.

The bill was introduced in the wake of steadily declining voter turnout, including a historically low voter turnout in 2014, when only a quarter of all registered voters cast a ballot in the June primary and 42 percent cast a ballot in the November general election. California ranks 43rd out of 50 states for its voter turnout rates.

Under SB450, 14 of the state’s 58 counties can opt into the new system beginning in 2018, including San Mateo and Santa Clara counties in the Bay Area. The remaining counties in the state may start in 2020. If a county opts in, mail ballots would be sent to every voter 28 days before the election. Voters could then vote in person at a voting center or mail their ballot in or drop their ballot off.

Voting centers would replace neighborhood polling places and instead be open for anyone within a county to cast their ballot. While there would be fewer voting centers than polling places, the centers would be open longer, including on the two weekends leading up to the election, and workers there would help voters with same-day registration, replacing a ballot or providing materials in a different language.

Brown signed and vetoed dozens of bills Thursday ahead of Friday’s deadline to act on legislation.

Brown signed two bills Thursday to protect traumatized foster children from psychiatric care that is overly reliant on risky medications, adding to what is now the most comprehensive set of such laws in the nation.

SB1174 by Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, and SB1291 by Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, will subject overprescribing physicians to stepped-up investigations and ensure that counties offer mental health services for foster children that include nondrug treatments.

Brown also vetoed a bill that would have enhanced juvenile court oversight of prescribing.

Among the other bills the governor signed:

•AB1732 by Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, makes all public single-stall restrooms gender-neutral. The law would go into effect March 1, 2017, and would not affect multistall restrooms.

•SB1150 by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, extends homeowner protections against foreclosures to surviving family members. The bill requires lenders to work with the next of kin of a deceased homeowner to avoid foreclosure and extends other protections in the California Homeowner Bill of Rights to widows and other survivors.

•SB443 by Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, creates stricter rules for law enforcement agencies to seize a suspect’s money, car or other assets. Supporters of the bill said a loophole in the state’s civil forfeiture laws created an incentive for officers to seize money and property to increase their own budgets, even when the suspect was not charged. SB443 requires a criminal conviction before police can permanently seize less than $40,000 in cash or property in drug cases.

•AB1494 by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, allows voters in California to take selfies with their ballot and post them on social media. Previously, California law prohibited sharing the contents of a ballot, although federal courts have found those restrictions are likely unconstitutional.

•SB438 by Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, will create the California Earthquake Early Warning System Program to help the state drive investments in an early warning system.

Melody Gutierrez is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: mgutierrez@sfchronicle.com. Twitter: @MelodyGutierrez

Article source: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Brown-signs-legislation-to-overhaul-voting-system-9461374.php

Licking County Threatens To Foreclose On Longaberger Building

2 months ago

Article source: http://wcbe.org/post/licking-county-threatens-foreclose-longaberger-building

Arizona Nonprofits: Foreclosure Intervention Funding Still Needed

Buying a home remains a challenge for many people, despite the Valley’s ranking as second best in a recent Bankrate.com study on the most affordable markets.

That’s why a group gathered in Phoenix on Thursday to share ways to increase home ownership among low- to- moderate income families.

Patricia Garcia Duarte is president and CEO of Trellis, a Phoenix-based nonprofit that offers financial counseling. She said they’re seeing a lot fewer people facing foreclosures.

“Here’s the unintended consequences,” she said. “The funding to support foreclosure intervention is dried up.”

Duarte said some agencies have stopped providing intervention counseling even though she said the need remains strong.

The event, cosponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the Arizona Housing Alliance and the Hispanic Association of Real Estate Professionals, also featured a panel on state and federal programs designed to increase home ownership.

Qualified participants can get financial help with down payments and mortgages. The programs are administered by government groups and non-profits and Erik Nore with Freddie Mac said historically they have seen fewer delinquencies.

“They provide home buyer counseling so there’s an education component that happens prior to purchase of the home,” he said. “It not only prepares you for the purchase process, but also sort of what to expect when you own the home. Something breaks within the house you’re responsible for fixing it.”

Article source: http://kjzz.org/content/373987/arizona-nonprofits-foreclosure-intervention-funding-still-needed

US Bank to pay LA $13.5-million over foreclosed homes that fell into disrepair

The Los Angeles city attorney has reached a $13.5-million settlement with U.S. Bank to resolve allegations that the nation’s fifth-largest bank operated as a slumlord and allowed hundreds of foreclosed properties to deteriorate, fostering crime and blight in L.A. neighborhoods slammed by the housing crisis.

The settlement, announced Thursday, requires the Minneapolis-based firm to maintain its foreclosed properties in “accordance with all applicable laws and standards for two years.” A full-time bank employee will work with city agencies to resolve code violations of foreclosed properties across Los Angeles, the city attorney’s office said.

“Banks must be accountable for the condition of the properties they hold,” City Atty Mike Feuer said in a statement. “This significant settlement underscores my commitment that all foreclosed and vacant properties be kept up to code, so they don’t become sources of blight or magnets for crime.”  

U.S. Bank spokesman Dana E. Ripley said the bank would be working with the city as well as loan servicers to ensure foreclosed properties are maintained.

Los Angeles approves program to fix up and sell bank-owned nuisance properties

Los Angeles approves program to fix up and sell bank-owned nuisance properties

Banks that own vacant, rundown houses in Los Angeles soon could lose control of those properties to the city, which wants to fix them up and sell them.

The move is the most drastic step in addressing the lingering effects of the housing crash, which flooded neighborhoods with foreclosed homes,…

Banks that own vacant, rundown houses in Los Angeles soon could lose control of those properties to the city, which wants to fix them up and sell them.

The move is the most drastic step in addressing the lingering effects of the housing crash, which flooded neighborhoods with foreclosed homes,…

(James Rufus Koren)

In 2011, Trutanich sued Deutsche Bank, seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties and restitution, as well as an injunction forcing it to clean up its foreclosed properties in the city. A year later, the city attorney’s office sued U.S. Bank, lobbing similar accusations.

In its 2012 suit against U.S. Bank, the city alleged that after an 18-month investigation it found problems with 1,500 foreclosed homes, citing more than 150 that had fallen into disrepair.

The city alleged the bank was responsible for illegally evicting some tenants and forcing others to live in dangerous conditions. It demanded the bank improve conditions for families living in the homes and clean up vacant properties.

Deutsche Bank and U.S. Bank serve as trustees for pools of loans that were turned into securities and sold to investors. Both banks argued that the city sued the wrong parties, arguing the blame for decrepit properties rested with the loan servicers, companies contracted to manage the properties.

Still, in 2013, Deutsche Bank settled its case for $10 million, though that was far less than what Trutanich had sought. The bank agreed to ensure its foreclosed properties were properly maintained within the city.  

At the time, Deutsche Bank said the settlement would be paid for “by the servicers responsible for the Los Angeles properties at issue and by the securitization trusts that hold the properties.”

Similarly, Ripley, of U.S. Bank, said that most of the latest settlement will be paid by the trusts and the servicers responsible “for the properties at issue.”

He added the bank owned only one of the properties and will thus pay its “respective portion” of the settlement.

Since the filing of both lawsuits, the foreclosure crisis has rapidly receded as the economy improved and home prices soared.

In January 2009, for example,  a shocking 68% of all home sales in Southern California were either short sales or homes sold out of foreclosure, according to real estate firm CoreLogic. In August, that figure had dropped to 5.2%.

The U.S. Bank settlement still needs court approval, which if received would funnel $11.9 million to the Los Angeles city attorney’s office and the L.A. County district attorney’s office to fund consumer protections across multiple industries.

The remainder would go toward to the city’s general fund to resolve municipal code violations. Feuer said he would lobby for that $1.6 million be used to hire additional building and safety inspectors, who can “grapple with issues of nuisance and blight throughout the city of Los Angeles.”

Other actions against banks over foreclosures and their impact are still pending.

In 2013 and 2014, Feuer’s office sued JPMorgan Chase Co., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo Co. alleging that the financial institutions engaged in predatory mortgage lending that caused a wave of foreclosures that reduced property tax revenue and increased costs for city services.

The suit against Wells Fargo was dismissed by a federal judge last year, but the city appealed and the ruling was stayed.

City attorney’s spokesman Frank T. Mateljan said all the cases “are still in the works.”



90 seconds: 4 stories you can't miss
Trump lawsuit reveals comments about women

Caption Trump lawsuit reveals comments about women

Staff at Donald Trump’s California golf resort said they scheduled young, thin, pretty women to work when he came to town. According to a lawsuit, employees were told Trump “didn’t like fat people.”

Staff at Donald Trump’s California golf resort said they scheduled young, thin, pretty women to work when he came to town. According to a lawsuit, employees were told Trump “didn’t like fat people.”

LAPD shoot suspect who escaped custody during a medical check

Caption LAPD shoot suspect who escaped custody during a medical check

Freddy Bailon was shot by police after escaping officers during an medical examition at USC and crashing a stolen SUV. 

Freddy Bailon was shot by police after escaping officers during an medical examition at USC and crashing a stolen SUV. 

Grim discoveries

Caption Grim discoveries

In Veracruz, Mexico, volunteers have been searching for clandestine graves.

In Veracruz, Mexico, volunteers have been searching for clandestine graves.

Pentagon to send about 600 more troops to Iraq to help retake Mosul from Islamic State

Caption Pentagon to send about 600 more troops to Iraq to help retake Mosul from Islamic State

The Pentagon plans to send about 600 additional troops to Iraq, an escalation that suggests the challenges U.S.-backed Iraqi ground forces will face in retaking Mosul.

The Pentagon plans to send about 600 additional troops to Iraq, an escalation that suggests the challenges U.S.-backed Iraqi ground forces will face in retaking Mosul.

andrew.khouri@latimes.com

Follow me @khouriandrew on Twitter


UPDATES:

2:55 p.m.: This article was updated.

This article was originally published at 1 p.m.

Article source: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-feuer-foreclosure-settlement-20160929-snap-story.html

California Gov. Jerry Brown signs a bill that boosts protection for surviving spouses against foreclosure

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed a bill that’s designed to give widows and widowers a better shot at saving their homes when they fall behind on mortgage payments.

Senate Bill 1150 boosts protections against foreclosure for surviving spouses who own their home but are not on its mortgage note.

Consumer groups say survivors — including those who inherit property after a death — face considerable resistance from loan servicers when trying to obtain modifications.

Servicers will generally accept a surviving spouse’s loan payments, but red tape involved in proving ownership can stall a modification while foreclosures proceed, according to advocates.

Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton).

Widows and widowers will now have many of the rights borrowers already have under the California Homeowner Bill of Rights. Among those is a ban on dual tracking — the practice of negotiating with clients to modify a mortgage while simultaneously pursuing foreclosure.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently imposed similar federal rules on servicers nationwide, leading the banking industry to call the California bill unnecessary.

Consumer groups, however, noted that the federal rules won’t take effect for more than a year and they argued that the national regulations are more difficult to enforce. Advocates say the state bill includes a more expansive right to sue to stop a foreclosure or for economic damages if one proceeds.

Industry groups, including the California Bankers Assn., expressed concerns that those rights will expose their members to frivolous lawsuits.



90 seconds: 4 stories you can't miss
Trump lawsuit reveals comments about women

Caption Trump lawsuit reveals comments about women

Staff at Donald Trump’s California golf resort said they scheduled young, thin, pretty women to work when he came to town. According to a lawsuit, employees were told Trump “didn’t like fat people.”

Staff at Donald Trump’s California golf resort said they scheduled young, thin, pretty women to work when he came to town. According to a lawsuit, employees were told Trump “didn’t like fat people.”

LAPD shoot suspect who escaped custody during a medical check

Caption LAPD shoot suspect who escaped custody during a medical check

Freddy Bailon was shot by police after escaping officers during an medical examition at USC and crashing a stolen SUV. 

Freddy Bailon was shot by police after escaping officers during an medical examition at USC and crashing a stolen SUV. 

Grim discoveries

Caption Grim discoveries

In Veracruz, Mexico, volunteers have been searching for clandestine graves.

In Veracruz, Mexico, volunteers have been searching for clandestine graves.

Pentagon to send about 600 more troops to Iraq to help retake Mosul from Islamic State

Caption Pentagon to send about 600 more troops to Iraq to help retake Mosul from Islamic State

The Pentagon plans to send about 600 additional troops to Iraq, an escalation that suggests the challenges U.S.-backed Iraqi ground forces will face in retaking Mosul.

The Pentagon plans to send about 600 additional troops to Iraq, an escalation that suggests the challenges U.S.-backed Iraqi ground forces will face in retaking Mosul.

andrew.khouri@latimes.com

Follow me @khouriandrew on Twitter.

Article source: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-widow-foreclosure-20160929-snap-story.html

Rockland’s No. 1 tax scofflaw pays $81K bill

County Executive Ed Day announces the foreclosure process has started on 29 non-residential properties in the county.
John Meore/The Journal News

Article source: http://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/rockland/2016/09/28/rockland-tax-scofflaw-pays-bill/91233542/

Holiday Inn project avoids foreclosure

Find more about Weather in Starkville, MS

Article source: http://www.starkvilledailynews.com/content/holiday-inn-project-avoids-foreclosure