We all remember the failure of Washington Mutual on Sept. 25, 2008, and the resulting catastrophe since 2009. We are all aware of the thousands of foreclosures that happened nationwide.
Here at home Northwest Trustee Services (NWTS) performed those foreclosures.
It expanded its reach from the Northwest to nationwide, performing up to 50,000 foreclosures a year.
During that period of time, it foreclosed on a soldier named McGreevey who was in Iraq fighting on behalf of our country. He came home with PTSD to find that he had no place to live. With NWTS’s help, PHH Mortgage of New Jersey repossessed his home.
Federal law strictly forbids foreclosing on a serviceman or servicewoman while serving.
Since then McGreevey recovered and received help from a fellow Marine officer with whom he had served, Sean Riddell, who is now a Portland attorney.
Riddell put together a lawsuit against NWTS, and now the Department of Justice has taken over the battle. The DOJ has found many other soldiers who were foreclosed upon and is expanding the suit against NWTS.
It is likely that there will be strong adverse fallout for the law firm Rough Crabtree Olson, which owns NWTS and represents it in court.
Riddell told The Oregonian newspaper, “I want Northwest Trustee and PHH put out of business, their buildings burned down and the ground salted so that nothing ever grows for what they did to veterans.”
Unfortunately the fallout will not be great enough.
The owners and major participants at NWTS need to be punished personally. They need to get the opportunity to go to that gated community called “Club Fed.” Conditions there for people of their stature are much better than common criminals who shoplift. They must be punished for what they have done, not only to the veterans but to all of us who had difficulty keeping our homes and losing them to illegal foreclosures.
The owners of NWTS are not the only ones who need to be sent to Club Fed and punished.
In all of the fraud committed by the banksters in every major bank, almost none has been indicted, let alone brought to justice.
They have all avoided it to the payment of funds from sources that are not their own.
In a recent article in The Nation, David Dayen describes the deceit that is going on to this very day. He states, “Among a vast array of misconduct, JPMorgan engaged in the routine use of ‘robo-signing,’ which allowed bank employees to automatically sign hundreds, even thousands, of foreclosure documents per day without verifying their contents.”
He added, “Obama’s Justice Department negotiated weak settlement after weak settlement. … Negotiating weak settlements that don’t force mega-banks to even pay their fines, much less put executives in prison, turns the concept of accountability into a mirthless farce.”
Further in the article, Dayen states, “The law establishes punishments of $1 million in fines and imprisonment of up to 10 years for knowingly making false certifications.”
Not one person in the mortgage industry has been indicted or held personally responsible for all of this fraud.
In my own life, NWTS has illegally foreclosed on two of my properties.
While this one action against NWTS is a good start, it is not enough. We need an aggressive legal and judicial system, which we do not have. The present legal enforcement by the federal government and federal judges is one of the great failures of our present society and not likely to get any better under the present administration.
Daniel Fievez has been living in Seattle since he graduated from high school in 1958 and has been restoring houses since 1965.
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