Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Organized Crime: Countrywide Swindled Homeowners.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, Countrywide financial Corp, now owned by Bank of America, cheated hundreds of thousands of customers facing foreclosure. The FTC contends that Countrywide took advantage of homeowners by inflating the cost of services for property inspections and foreclosure services by as much as 400 percent. Sadly, I'm not surprised, given the avalanche of fraudulent activities by U.S. corporations these days. To add insult to injury, Countrywide went so far as to overstate the amounts borrowers owed when they were in bankruptcy, and covertly added fees and bogus charges to homeowners’ accounts. For taking advantage of homeowners at their most vulnerable point - when they are facing possible homelessness - these guys should be forced to shut down their operation altogether. These charges demonstrate an egregious act of greed, illustrating how callous some of the mortgage lenders were, which contributed to the breakdown of the housing industry, that nearly brought the country to a standstill. I have heard many arguments that place 50% of the blame for the millions of foreclosures on the borrowers. Meanwhile, when you really put in perspective the impact of this kind of organized crime that was sweeping mortgage industry, borrowers didn’t stand a chance against this tidal wave of predatory practices that escalated to fraud in some cases.

Although the charges against Countywide involved activities which took place prior to Bank of America’s acquisition, it has agreed to pay the $108 million judgment against Countrywide as a settlement. This just another reason why the congressional leaders must remain committed to finalizing the Financial Regulations overhaul. It is long over due.

K. Reilly
Cohn-Reilly Report

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