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CONSIDERING KAMALA HARRIS TO REPRESENT California CITIZENS

Mortgage settlements are not justice,” observes Occupy Fights Foreclosures, examining the record of California’s Attorney General on the eve of her Senate campaign announcement.

California attorney general Kamala Harris has announced plans to run for the Senate seat that will be vacated when Senator Barbara Boxer retires at the end of her term in 2016. As a California elected official, Harris has a track record of using buzzwords with bluster, so it comes as no surprise that her campaign announcement paid vague lip service to the plight of the populace:

"I will be a fighter for the next generation on the critical issues facing our country. I will be a fighter for middle class families who are feeling the pinch of stagnant wages and diminishing opportunity. I will be a fighter for our children who deserve a world-class education, and for students burdened by predatory lenders and skyrocketing tuition. And I will fight relentlessly to protect our coast, our immigrant communities and our seniors.”

A close examination of her tenure as Attorney General reveals a talented politician who capitalizes on the pressing issues of the day, without following through to actually protect the interests of the people.

FKamala Harris Refuses to Meet with Foreclosure Activists Visiting Her Office in Sacramentoormer San Francisco district attorney Harris was elected to the office of California Attorney General in 2010, amidst the national foreclosure crisis. In May 2011, she announced the launch of a Mortgage Fraud Strike Force pursue foreclosure fraud. On the two-year anniversary, in May 2013, Occupy Fights Foreclosures wrote an open letter to the Attorney General to ask, "How Many Banks Have You Brought To Trial?" Several dozen homeowners who traveled to her office in Sacramento were denied entry to the building; no member of her staff would appear to hear their concerns. On the third anniversary, in May 2014, the East Bay Express decried “The Strike Force That Never Struck,” noting that the only results have been ten prosecutions of foreclosure consultant fraud, far fewer than other states. California has developed a reputation as a safe haven for scam artists.

County-level district attorneys have a far better track record prosecuting mortgage fraud than that demonstrated by Attorney General Kamala Harris in the last four years. Los Angeles County prosecuted 103 cases in 2013; Orange County estimated about 40 open cases of foreclosure fraud in 2014. In Fresno County, the work has been largely left to private attorneys, who are drastically limited in the scope of their investigative duties. No help has been forthcoming from the Office of the Attorney General, despite the multi-million dollar budget of the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force.

Kamala Harris claims to have won concessions from major banks in the National Mortgage Settlement, but an examination of the numbers reveals that the $410 million California received of the $2.5 billion dollar national settlement was a boon to the state government’s general fund, not to struggling homeowners. Pro Publica published a 2012 report showing California used $306 million to balance the state budget, $86 million for investigations, and a paltry $18.4 million was reserved for homeowner counseling and overseeing the mortgage settlement. Although the banks have claimed $18 billion of relief to homeowners, over half of the total has come in the form of short sales, which still result in the devastating loss of a home. A significant portion of the actual cash relief came in the form of $1,400 payments to 200,000 Californians who lost their homes to foreclosure. To date, over 1 million homes have been foreclosed in California since the start of the Great Recession.

By negotiating settlements, instead of prosecuting banks, Kamala Harris rewarded the bankers who gambled with the world economy. The Center for Economic and Policy Research estimates the cost of the entire housing bubble to be over $8 trillion, with $1 trillion of that affecting California individuals and municipal governments. In 2012 alone, Americans lost $192.6 billion in wealth due to the foreclosure crisis. Kamala Harris is proud of helping negotiate a settlement of a few billion dollars—just a tiny fraction of the total cost to the economy. Banks broke the law but continue to rake in tens of billions of dollars in profits each year. We, the People, know that settlements are not justice. Settlements benefit the government with a cash infusion and banks with immunity for past crimes. Banks continue to skirt the edge of the law, confident they will be able to pay their way out of future crimes.

The California Homeowner Bill of Rights, which went into effect at the beginning of 2013, purports to protect homeowners struggling to keep their homes, by prohibiting mortgage lenders from negotiating loan modifications while pursuing foreclosure proceedings, providing borrowers with a single point of contact for negotiation, prohibiting robo-signing of foreclosure documents, and allowing homeowners to sue for violations of the law. The law also has a provision for special grand jury proceedings to prosecute financial crimes that span multiple counties. Despite these increased investigative and prosecutorial powers, the number of banks brought to trial remains at zero.

Without enforcement by California’s chief law enforcement officer, the Homeowner Bill of Rights has languished. Judges continue to dismiss and ignore allegations of robo-signing in court proceedings. Mortgage servicers courting aggressive growth find it easier to ignore the law than to spend resources implementing the provisions of the statute. Ocwen, the nation’s fourth-largest mortgage servicer, regularly violates the provisions of the Homeowner Bill of Rights, and employees profess having no knowledge of the law. Finally, on January 13, 2015, the California Department of Business Oversight announced the launch of license suspension proceedings against Ocwen for failure to demonstrate compliance with the Homeowner Bill of Rights. This public declaration happened to coincide with the day of Kamala Harris’s Senate campaign announcement.

Kamala Harris used homeowners to secure her political future, but in the end, she has refused to pursue justice by prosecuting any bankers. Despite early promises, little has been done to deter the crimes and risky financial practices that created the housing bubble. Harris has failed to enforce the California Homeowners Bill of Rights, creating a scammer’s paradise in the Golden State. The state’s share of the mortgage settlement funds were used to balance the budget, not help individual homeowners. Kamala Harris has a demonstrated record of helping big government and big banks, refusing to meet with her constituents, and failing to deliver on her promises. Is this the politician we want to represent the interests of California citizens in the Senate?

 

Further Reading:

“Billion Dollar Bait & Switch: States Divert Foreclosure Deal Funds.” ProPublica, May 22, 2012.
http://www.propublica.org/article/billion-dollar-bait-switch-states-divert-foreclosure-deal-funds

“Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Passage of Bills in California Homeowner Bill of Rights Package.” Office of the Attorney General, May 30, 2012.
http://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-kamala-d-harris-announces-passage-bills-california-homeowner

“Where Are the Foreclosure Deal Millions Going in Your State?” ProPublica, Oct. 23, 2012.
http://www.propublica.org/special/where-are-the-foreclosure-deal-millions-going

“Homeowners and Occupy Fights Foreclosures Ask Attorney General Harris, ‘How Many Banks Have You Brought To Trial?’” Occupy Fights Foreclosures, May 23, 2013.
http://www.occupyfightsforeclosures.org/pr_homeowners_and_occupy_fights_foreclosures_asks_attorney_general_harris

“Default Mode: How Ocwen Skirts California’s Mortgage Laws.” Capital & Main, May 5, 2014.
http://capitalandmain.com/default-mode-how-ocwen-skirts-californias-mortgage-laws/

“The Strike Force That Never Struck.” East Bay Express, May 29, 2014.
http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/the-strike-force-that-never-struck/Content?oid=3933743&showFullText=true

“The Foreclosure Crisis Is Still Unsettled.” East Bay Express, Apr. 23, 2014.
http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/the-foreclosure-crisis-is-still-unsettled/Content?oid=3900498&showFullText=true

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Occupy Fights Foreclosures Statement regarding Recent Announcement of Guidelines Changes on the Keep Your Home California Program.

Los Angeles—The news of a more embracing set of guidelines from KYHCA, is most welcome and encouraging.

So many Californians have lost their homes because they did not fit into the stringent guideline requirements of KYHCA’s restrictive program even though there were plenty of resources available to help distressed homeowners. Those distressed homeowners losing their most precious lifetime asset, their homes, to banks and servicers utilizing fraudulent means to take over homes.

Those fraudulent activities continue today with little or no government oversight.

KYHCA’s new and proactive guidelines generate hope and finally relief to homeowners and communities up and down the State.

It is good when government supports its people first before the interests of Wall Street.

We Hope that the remainder $1.4 Billion Of the $2 Billion California received in 2010 can be used as quickly as possible and that more aid be allocated to help struggling homeowners.

We laud this accomplishment and all the effort that went into it.

Occupy Fights Foreclosures

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Press Release: “Homes For Vets Now!” Occupy Fights Foreclosures To March On Veterans Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sunday, November 9, 2014
CONTACT: Carlos Marroquin 323-592-4663

OCCUPY FIGHTS FORECLOSURES TO MARCH ON VETERANS DAY
“Homes for Vets Now!” pleads Occupy Fights Foreclosures


SAN FERNANDO, CA—On Tuesday, November 11th, veterans fighting foreclosure and homeless vets will join Occupy Fights Foreclosures marching in the San Fernando Valley Veterans Day Parade. The parade begins at 11:11 AM at the corner of Laurel Canyon and San Fernando Mission Boulevards in the City of Mission Hills. The procession will travel 1.1 miles along Laurel Canyon Blvd to the Ritchie Valens Recreation Center.

One out of three unhoused people are veterans. Veteran homeowners and homeless are marching to bring awareness to the ongoing foreclosure crisis. Many veterans continue to fight to stay in their homes while some less fortunate already have joined the countless other homeless people and families on the streets without a roof over their heads. During the foreclosure crisis, banks have taken full advantage of our veterans, who not only have to fight to keep and find jobs, but have to deal with long term illnesses, the high cost of medications, and a bureaucratic system moves slowly, putting them at high risk to lose their homes.

In America, there are about two million vacant homes and tens of thousands homeless veterans without help. Congress acted quickly to protect the banks but has failed to protect our real heroes—our veterans. There are new laws that protect active duty military personnel from financial institutions acting against them while overseas on tour of duty, but nothing to protect those that honorably served and defended the country. As a country, are we really honoring and protecting those who fought to protect our freedoms? Congress need to act immediately to protect our veterans regardless of when they served. America owes our real patriots, not Wall Street.

Recommended locations for viewing the parade include the review stand at Brand Blvd & Laurel Canyon Blvd, the intersection of Chatsworth Blvd & Laurel Canyon Blvd, in front of San Fernando High School, and at the Ritchie Valens Recreation Center. The parade culminates with a carnival at the Ritchie Valens Recreation Center (10736 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Pacoima, CA 91331). Occupy Fights Foreclosures will have a table of information to help any veterans fighting foreclosure at the end of the parade route.

Anyone interested in fighting back against foreclosures and homelessness is encouraged to join Occupy Fights Foreclosures (meets Sunday from 2–4pm and Tuesday from 7–9pm at 530 Ramirez St., Los Angeles).

Occupy Fights Foreclosures marches in San Fernando Valley Veterans’ Day Parade
11:11 AM on Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Laurel Canyon & San Fernando Mission Blvd, City of San Fernando, CA
**Participants to arrive by 9:30 AM for staging**



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Ghosts of Wall Street Visit Hollywood on Halloween

Los Angeles, CA—On Friday October 31st, 2014, The Ghosts of Wall Street paraded through Hollywood Street Fair until 10 pm PST.


Photos by Damon D'Amato


Photos by Bohrnagin Ferthheluvitt and Carlos Themailman

Damon D'Amato wrote: 

Occupy Fights Foreclosures, with Occupy LA, Occupy Venice Beach, and other friends, hit Hollywood Blvd — the Boulevard of Broken American Dreams — to unveil the vampires and uncover the undead zombie bankers and other monsters that are too big to jail. 

They got bailed out. We got sold out.


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Press Release: GHOSTS OF WALL STREET Halloween Night on Hollywood Blvd

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 31, 2014
Contact: Carlos Marroquin 323-592-4663

GHOSTS OF WALL STREET Halloween Night on Hollywood Blvd
“Nightmares from Wall Street haunt us all,” says Occupy Fights Foreclosures


HOLLYWOOD – On Friday, October 31st, a coalition of activists will present the “Ghosts of Wall Street” educational spectacle during the Hollywood Halloween Street Fair. This traditional holiday celebration takes place from dusk to 10 PM along Hollywood Blvd with expected attendance of 50,000 or more. Ghosts of Wall Street will proceed along Hollywood Blvd, departing from the corner of Hollywood & Vine at 7PM on Halloween night.

The nightmare is real—the greed of “the 1%” continues to grow. Banks including J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and others committed trillions of dollars of fraud on colossal scale that continues to have lasting repercussions long past the initial 2008 financial crisis. The government has rubber stamped mortgage fraud settlements that merely reinforce that it will be possible for bankers to pay their way out of future crimes. Wall St. has benefited from the housing crisis by snatching up properties at bargain prices and expanding the rental market.

A massive student debt bubble is looming over the youth of today. Tuition prices continue to rise, yet the rate of return on a college degree is decreasing, as students graduate and fail to find full employment. We are saddling an entire generation with student loan debts that may outweigh future earning power and are dischargeable only by death.


The goal of this “Nightmares From Wall St.” action is to raise awareness about how Wall St. still haunts the people, harming families, and robbing us of opportunities. The people of Los Angeles are facing universal struggles of rising rents, student loans that can never be written off, continued fraudclosures and financial crimes of the big banks, and the corporate control of politics at all levels. #GOWS represents a chance to educate and active more people to join the movement against the greed of the 1%. Anyone interested in fighting back is encouraged to join Occupy Fights Foreclosures (meets Sunday from 2-4pm and Tuesday from 7-9pm at 530 Ramirez St., Los Angeles) and Occupy Los Angeles (meets Wednesday at 7:30 PM on the south steps of Los Angeles City Hall).


Specific issues of concern include:

- Students are saddled with debt for life
- Homeowners are victims of fraudclosure
- Families are priced out of the rental market
- Cities are ripped off by municipal bond rigging
- Corporations control politics & devour the environment


Ghosts of Wall Street #GOWS #Halloween2014
Nightmares From Wall Street #NFWS

7PM Friday, October 31 @ corner of Hollywood & Vine, Los Angeles, CA 90028

**STAGING at Hollywood & Sunset from 5-6:30 PM**


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Ghost of Wall Street Happening Tonight

Updates: https://www.facebook.com/events/1503929339852169/

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#HALLOWEEN NIGHT 2014 PRESENTS

#GOWS
#GhostsFromWallStreet

#NFWS
#NightmaresFromWallStreet

#Halloween2014 #LosAngeles #NewYork
#WallStreet #FloodWallStreet

"THE GHOSTS OF WALL STREET"
Presents

"Nightmare from Wall Street"

On Friday, October 31st a coalition of activists will present the “Ghosts of Wall Street” educational spectacle during the Hollywood Halloween Street Fair. This traditional holiday celebration takes place from dusk to 10 PM along Hollywood Blvd with expected attendance of 50,000 or more. The Ghosts of Wall Street rally will assemble starting at 5PM for a 6:30 PM press conference at Sunset & Vine on Halloween night.

#WallStreet RESPONSIBLE AND INVOLVED IN...

STUDENT DEBT • WARS • TAX DODGERS
CORPORATE & POLITICAL CORRUPTION •
RECIPIENTS OF TAXPAYERS BAILOUT $
INCOME INEQUALITY • PREDATORY LENDING
MORTGAGE FRAUD • HOMELESSNESS •
RENTAL MARKET MANIPULATION • PRIVATIZATION OF PRISONS

The people of Los Angeles are facing universal struggles of rising rents, student loans that can never be written off, continued fraudclosures and financial shenanigans by the big banks, and the corporate control of politics at all levels. #GOWS represents a chance for individuals and organizations to encourage more people to join the movement.

View a slideshow of our preparation footage:

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HOMEOWNERS RESPOND TO RESIGNATION OF U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: “The Department Of Justice has failed to prosecute the banking executives responsible for the global recession,” notes Occupy Fights Foreclosures

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Carlos Marroquin 323-592-4663

HOMEOWNERS RESPOND TO RESIGNATION OF U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL
“The Department Of Justice has failed to prosecute the banking executives responsible for the global recession,” notes Occupy Fights Foreclosures

RELATED PICTURES: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.817213471664004.1073741889.100001260766273&type=1&l=2730919f79

Los Angeles - United States Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation today, leaving a legacy of a failure to prosecute any of the banking executives who designed, implemented, and profited from the 2008 global financial crisis.

Despite President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address announcing a renewed push in prosecuting mortgage fraud, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has failed to take any action against the big banks who destroyed our economy. In fact, the Inspector General revealed in a March 2014 report that the Criminal Investigative Division of the FBI “ranked mortgage fraud as the lowest ranked criminal threat in its lowest crime category.”  The same report, which examined prosecutions between 2009 and 2011, found that the DOJ had also grossly overstated its own Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force statistics.

Eric Holder testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee in March 2013 that some corporate criminals are too big to jail. “If you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy,” he said, concluding, “some of these institutions have become too large.”

After serving in the Clinton Administration, Holder worked in private practice for the corporate law firm Covington & Burling, representing such clients as Swiss Bank UBS and Bank of America. As Attorney General under President Obama, Holder has given his friends and clients on Wall Street a free pass for their past crimes.  He has drawn headlines for billion-dollar settlements with J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and other banks.  Homeowners point out that mortgage fraud settlements are not justice.  These banks have committed trillions, not billions, in a massive fraud in a colossal scale that continues to have lasting repercussions. Civil settlements do nothing to help families who are still losing their homes, six years after the massive financial crimes of the big banks were initially exposed. A settlement is merely a bail-out for  those who intentionally broke the law. The national mortgage fraud settlements serve to benefit only the banks (who gain relief from numerous claims by state and federal agencies) and the government (who receives a cash infusion). Little to no money reaches individual victims of mortgage fraud. Settlements reinforce that it will be possible for bankers to pay their way out of future crimes!

We, the People, call on President Obama to nominate an Attorney General who represents real change, not another Wall St. insider. We demand a priority investigation into all the past DOJ mortgage fraud settlements. Nothing has been done to deter the crimes and risky financial practices that created the housing bubble. It is imperative that the Department of Justice seek true  justice for the millions of families harmed by evictions, foreclosures, prolonged unemployment, and decline in consumer spending power of the Great Recession.

Additional source:

“Audit of the Department of Justice’s Efforts to Address Mortgage Fraud,” U.S Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, Audit Division, Audit Report 14-12. March 2014.

http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/2014/a1412.pdf

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HOMEOWNERS OPPOSE BANK OF AMERICA MORTGAGE FRAUD SETTLEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Carlos Marroquin 323-592-4663

HOMEOWNERS OPPOSE BANK OF AMERICA MORTGAGE FRAUD SETTLEMENT

“Mortgage Fraud Settlements are Bailouts for Criminal Wrongdoing,” declares Occupy Fights Foreclosures

August 7, 2014—As Bank of America nears a $17 billion settlement with the United States Justice Department for mortgage securities fraud, homeowners point out that mortgage fraud settlements are not justice. Bank of America has committed trillions, not billions, in a massive fraud in a colossal scale that continues to have lasting repercussions. This settlement does nothing to help families who are still losing their homes, six years after the massive financial crimes of the big banks were initially exposed.

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Open Letter To Governor Jerry Brown: $410 Million Due to Struggling Homeowners from National Mortgage Fraud Settlement

MEDIA RELEASE
IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1st, 2014
Contact: Carlos Marroquin (323) 592-4663

OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN REGARDING THE $410 MILLION DUE TO STRUGGLING HOMEOWNERS FROM THE NATIONAL MORTGAGE FRAUD SETTLEMENT

Homeowners pressure Governor Brown to return the $410 Million he took from the National Mortgage Settlement --$18 billion-- in an attempt to balance the state budget

openletter20140801-dropoff-S.jpgWHO: Homeowners, Occupy Fights Foreclosures

WHAT: Open Letter to Governor Brown released during a Occupy Fights Foreclosure rally and march in Sacramento CA at a Occupy National Gathering 2014

WHY: $410 Million due to California Struggling Homeowners

WHEN: August 1, 2014

Sacramento, CA — At the opening rally, Occupy Fights Foreclosures issued a open letter and hand delivered the letter to Governor Brown requesting that he give back the money he borrowed from the National Mortgage Settlement—$18 billion—to "balance" the state budget. This settlement money was expressly intended to compensate homeowners defrauded of their homes, and to help homeowners working desperately to save their homes. Instead, this money was used to balance a budget shortfall due to the economic collapse caused by the very banks involved in the settlement!

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PRESS RELEASE: Occupy, Homeowners, Activists Rally at CA State Capitol, Demand Accountability

PRESS RELEASE
IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact Carlos Marroquin (323) 592-4663

Occupy Movement National Gathering come to CA State Capitol, Homeowners and Activists Rally and March to Demand Accountability and Help for Struggling Homeowners

What:

1) To pressure Gov. Brown to give back the money he took from the National Mortgage Settlement -- $18 billion -- in an attempt to balance the state budget.

2) To insist that Keep Your Home California adjust their rules to allow more people to qualify for this program.

3) To speak with the head of Kamala Harris' Mortgage Fraud Strike Force to call them to account for their dismal record of prosecutions and waste of taxpayers' money. There will be a rally at 11:00 am on the steps of the Capital. Then the group will march from the State Capital building to Kamala Harris' Sacramento office.

4) To demand accountability of all the mortgage fraud investigations and settlements.

Homeowners fighting foreclosure or who've been defrauded by foreclosure and their supporters will be attending.

When: 

Occupy National Gathering 2014 July 31- August 3rd - Rally and March set for August 1st @ 11AM

 

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Why stay home when you can save a home?
Occupy Fights Foreclosures, affiliated with OccupyLA, stands up against the nationwide foreclosure crisis. We support, educate and empower homeowners at risk to save their homes from fraudulent foreclosure.