Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street's Great Foreclosure Fraud

By David Dayen

In the depths of the good Recession, a melanoma nurse, a automobile dealership employee, and an assurance fraud professional helped discover the biggest client crime in American history—a scandal that implicated dozens of significant executives on Wall road. They known as it foreclosures fraud: hundreds of thousands of households have been kicked out in their houses in accordance with fake facts by means of loan businesses that had no felony correct to foreclose.

Lisa Epstein, Michael Redman, and Lynn Szymoniak didn't paintings in executive or legislation enforcement. they'd no historical past of anticorporate activism. as a substitute they have been all foreclosures sufferers, and whereas suffering from their disgrace and isolation they dedicated a progressive act: heavily analyzing their loan files, researching the deceit in the back of them, and construction a move to reveal it.

Fiscal Times columnist David Dayen recounts how those traditional Floridians challenged the main robust associations in the US armed merely with the truth—and for a quick second they introduced the corrupt monetary to its knees.

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The extra they can song down, the larger they can construct the tale. in order that they introduced in Damian and Lynn and made up our minds to separate up the rustic. For the subsequent seventy-two hours the 4 researchers may divvy up each searchable public documents database in the US and search for BOGUS files. simply because they didn’t have the cash to pay seek charges, this restricted them to Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, and Nevada. yet that incorporated all 4 of the “sand states,” these hit toughest through the housing bubble’s cave in. There will be thousands, possibly thousands, of files to go looking. Lisa known as the operation “Project BOGUS. ” Damian emailed Lisa that day: “Wowzers! That Linda eco-friendly has like 20 varied signatures! ” Lisa answered: “Only 20? retain taking a look! ” That week felt like a dam bursting. Lynn introduced the synthetic task to the chuffed hour on Tuesday. extra BOGUS files have been discovered on Wednesday. On Thursday, whereas Lisa, Michael, Lynn, and Damian looked for extra, the Florida very best courtroom amended its principles of civil technique. They authorised the advice of the foreclosures activity strength, recommended in Lisa’s remark letter, to require plaintiffs to study and make sure possession of the notice and the accuracy of all records of their proceedings sooner than foreclosures. The court docket in particular verified the modification to “prevent the losing of judicial assets” on misplaced word counts and proceedings introduced with out status to foreclose, and “to supply trial courts better authority to sanction plaintiffs who make fake allegations. ” The courtroom additionally in particular said to Lisa that she made “well-reasoned arguments. ” That subsequent day, Friday, used to be the rescheduled listening to for Lisa’s movement to brush aside for loss of prosecution. This time pass judgement on Sasser known as the listening to to reserve in a timely fashion at 11:05 a. m. Lisa approached the rostrum with butterflies in her belly. however the adversary within the case, the David J. Stern legislation enterprise, didn't even ship a consultant. pass judgement on Sasser advised Lisa she positioned a decision in to Stern’s place of work, and after a brief recess the pass judgement on determined to continue with out them. pass judgement on Sasser requested Lisa to kingdom her identify for the list. For months Lisa had watched this pass judgement on stand mute, whereas householders misplaced their houses to foreclosures, with out ever casting a serious eye on the facts. yet her large smile didn’t betray any frustration. “My identify is Lisa Epstein, i'm right here as an individual, no longer a celebration to the case. ” The pass judgement on requested Lisa if she served the sixty-day discover for loss of prosecution, and Lisa answered that she despatched the plaintiffs detect through fax and mail. After verifying that, pass judgement on Sasser regarded instantly at Lisa and acknowledged, “I’ve learn the whole courtroom dossier, I’ve learn your movement, and I’m going to provide your movement. ” Lisa went silent for a moment. “Motion to brush aside granted? ” “Motion to push aside granted. ” A tear began to shape in Lisa’s eye. She may well listen her middle beating. “Are you ok? ” pass judgement on Sasser requested. “Do you wish a few tissues, Ms.

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