#1 By: Cory Doctorow, August 12th, 2013 11:46
#2 By: akil, August 12th, 2013 11:57
too big to fail..please move along.
#3 By: fuzzyfuzzyfungus, August 12th, 2013 12:08
Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.
-T. Jefferson, notorious America-hating commie.
#4 By: Charlie, August 12th, 2013 12:26
Prosecute, Obama! You're from the party that cares about people, right?
Buahahahahaha.... I crack myself up.
#5 By: Matt Lewis, August 12th, 2013 12:35
When the banks foreclose on houses that had no mortgage in the first place, yes that is theft.
This article though, seems to also be including houses that had mortgages but there was some error in the filing of that mortgage with the county or the paperwork was lost, those are entirely different situations. In the latter case, there was an intent on the owners part to use the property as loan collateral and money changed hands.
#6 By: Jason Andresen, August 12th, 2013 12:35
Wouldn't it make more sense to prosecute the banks?
I am seriously disappointed that the Obama administration seems so unwilling to hold major institutions accountable.
#7 By: Old, August 12th, 2013 12:36
So if I'm doing the math right, 1 in 10 homes has been stolen?
A lot of banks clearly participated in some egregious behavior and should be held fully responsible, but the numbers in the article to not pass the sniff test.
#8 By: Brainpudding, August 12th, 2013 12:39
Read the coma. "Prosecute, Obama!" not "Prosecute Obama!"
#9 By: Jason Andresen, August 12th, 2013 12:50
In the majority of the cases the bank probably does own the home, but if pressed they couldn't prove it in a court of law because they mishandled the records.
Plus there is probably a good amount of double dipping going on.
#10 By: fuzzyfuzzyfungus, August 12th, 2013 13:00
The trouble is, once mortgages start to get packaged and resold, it is necessary that the accounting be done properly, lest you end up in some Kafkaesque situation where the borrower doesn't even know who they owe money to, and the chain of assorted entities who allegedly hold the debt never bothered with the paperwork and are now just making it up as they go along.
In an ideal world, it would be handy if there were some 'revert' mechanism to bring the situation back to where it was when the mortgages were originally agreed upon; but there is no such mechanism. Instead, we have a situation where, after years of egregiously negligent bookkeeping, banks are simply forging the necessary IOUs and seizing things on that basis.
Even if the person in question does owe somebody, that doesn't obviate the responsibility of the person they owe to make a minimal effort to keep track of the debt(especially since the process was so opaque that the debtor had no possible way of keeping track of the debt themselves, so it was either the creditor or nobody).
#11 By: zikzak, August 12th, 2013 13:15
As Proudhon said, "property is theft". All these houses are stolen property now. it's not possible for anyone to ethically claim ownership of them except the person who was originally robbed.
It gets worse than that though, because this is not the first time that massive transfers of property have occurred through fraud and corruption. Nobody can even keep track of all the property that's been stolen - it's gotten to the point that for practical purposes, everything has at one point been stolen by some capitalist or another.
It's all stolen property. The only reason you have what you have now is because a capitalist stole it from someone else to sell it to you. Property is literally theft.
So we need to stop asking whether the banks own a property, because everything they own is stolen. We need to ask whether they deserve the property, whether they have a moral claim to it. I suspect the answer will often be "no".
#12 By: Neil Mcconnell, August 12th, 2013 13:27
Ha. I've gotten so used to trolls hating on Obama that I completely misread that. Thanks for calling out the comma
#13 By: William_Holz, August 12th, 2013 13:34
Why the heck is it that we keep hearing anti-intellectuals saying 'Just because science can do this thing doesn't mean they should', yet nobody's pointing out that that's the same question that should have been asked during EVERY bank repossession.
And in this case, the answer is 'No, you probably shouldn't, just because some 'law' says it's okay doesn't mean it actually is'
I suppose you could apply this to a good bit of what governments do too, couldn't you?
The focus is on the wrong people.
#14 By: Tennessee Waltz, August 12th, 2013 13:36
Usury hating American more like.
#15 By: cservant, August 12th, 2013 13:43
Update: This story previously suggested that banks settled this lawsuit with the federal government for $1 billion. That number is actually the total for a number of whistleblower lawsuits that were folded into a larger National Mortgage Settlement. This specific lawsuit settled for $95 million. The post above has been changed to reflect this fact.
I was confused when I read boingboing first and then the original article, until I hit that last bit.
A billion and 95 million is a BIG difference.
#16 By: GlyphGryph, August 12th, 2013 14:43
Yeah I'm guessing that more than one bank has "claimed to own" many of these homes - after all, why limit yourself to stealing a property just once?
#17 By: WhatNowNow, August 12th, 2013 15:42
250 years is how long Prince Edward Island has been struggling with a bad real estate decision.
"The Island's experience with absentee landlords affects its land ownership laws to this day. Non-residents are not permitted to purchase land in excess of two hectares without approval from the cabinet. In 2009 an American was fined $29,000 for contravening these laws." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absentee_landlordism
#18 By: Boundegar, August 12th, 2013 15:59
I believe there have been cases in which the homeowner challenged the bank in court to prove it had the right to foreclose. In some cases, the homeowner has won, but in others, the courts have said, in effect, "yadda yadda yadda!"
They really do have a license to steal.
#19 By: Ty Myrick, August 12th, 2013 16:03
The double dipping is probably the hidden motivator here. The banks have to get this cleared up soon to keep a lid on the real scam. If the really big investors start suing to claim the assets they are owed, the banks on going to be in a whole new world of hurt. The recent recession was caused by the big banks having to even out their balance sheets between each other since they all sold toxic assets among themselves. If the large mutual funds and pension accounts (many of which are owned by states and cities feeling the crunch and knowing the banks took them for a ride) start calling in their notes, the banks are going to be expected to pony up the purchase price of millions of houses that they have fraudulently sold dozens or hundreds times. They've got to screw over the homeowners because they can't afford to make good on all their phony asset sales.
#20 By: Jonathan Carter, August 12th, 2013 16:19
The paperwork may have been done incorrectly but that is hardly the same as saying the banks stole the properties.
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