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Grand Theft Government – The DC Govrnment Steals Poor Resident’s Property With Tax Scam

Anyone familiar with the DC Government, and who drives into the city is likely familiar with their Parking Gestapo, who write tickets and tow away cars to the tune of millions of dollars a month.

A new line of theft has recently opened up for the DC Government Mafia,  the theft of homes from the poor and elderly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars of equity, often for tax bills as little as $200. Often the people who are ultimately robbed of their property are sick and old, and in a number of cases the property owners have been in the hospital dying while most of their paltry savings in the value of their homes is ripped off.

And here you thought the only criminals in the city were Gangbangers and carjackers. They should have it so good.

Unscrupulous law firms facilitate the theft, as does a dirty courts system – through charging sky high rates, rapidly pushing up the bills owed by the property owners beyond reach.This is a criminal enterprise, no different than the Tammany Hall of yore, which dispossessed Irish immigrants to make way for developers in the notorious 5 Points section of New York City.

The Federal Government is complicit. To be honest, if they really gave a damn about anything except the press for catching a city Mayor smoking crack with his mistress – they would have put a stop to this.

 

On an overcast morning earlier this year, Bennie Coleman walked past his old house on the way to the corner store. But he said he could not look at it — the memories were too painful. Bennie, who suffers from dementia, had his $200,000 property foreclosed for a $134.00 tax lien, and the company which foreclosed kept the difference under DC Law.

 

LIENS, LOSS AND PROFITEERS

On the day Bennie Coleman lost his house, the day armed U.S. marshals came to his door and ordered him off the property, he slumped in a folding chair across the street and watched the vestiges of his 76 years hauled to the curb.

Movers carted out his easy chair, his clothes, his television. Next came the things that were closest to his heart: his Marine Corps medals and photographs of his dead wife, Martha. The duplex in Northeast Washington that Coleman bought with cash two decades earlier was emptied and shuttered. By sundown, he had nowhere to go.

All because he didn’t pay a $134 property tax bill.

The retired Marine sergeant lost his house on that summer day two years ago through a tax lien sale — an obscure program run by D.C. government that enlists private investors to help the city recover unpaid taxes.

For decades, the District placed liens on properties when homeowners failed to pay their bills, then sold those liens at public auctions to mom-and-pop investors who drew a profit by charging owners interest on top of the tax debt until the money was repaid.

But under the watch of local leaders, the program has morphed into a predatory system of debt collection for well-financed, out-of-town companies that turned $500 delinquencies into $5,000 debts — then foreclosed on homes when families couldn’t pay, a Washington Post investigation found.

As the housing market soared, the investors scooped up liens in every corner of the city, then started charging homeowners thousands in legal fees and other costs that far exceeded their original tax bills, with rates for attorneys reaching $450 an hour.

Families have been forced to borrow or strike payment plans to save their homes.

Others weren’t as lucky. Tax lien purchasers have foreclosed on nearly 200 houses since 2005 and are now pressing to take 1,200 more, many owned free and clear by families for generations.

Investors also took storefronts, parking lots and vacant land — about 500 properties in all, or an average of one a week. In dozens of cases, the liens were less than $500.

Thomas McRae ran a flower shop on the first floor in this house on Sherman Avenue NW. But a tax lien investor from Florida foreclosed while McRae was under hospice care.

Coleman, struggling with dementia, was among those who lost a home. His debt had snowballed to $4,999 — 37 times the original tax bill. Not only did he lose his $197,000 house, but he also was stripped of the equity because tax lien purchasers are entitled to everything, trumping even mortgage companies.

“This is destroying lives,” said Christopher Leinberger, a distinguished scholar and research professor of urban real estate at George Washington University.

Officials at the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue said that without tax sales, property owners wouldn’t feel compelled to pay their bills.

“The tax sale is the last resort. It’s also the first resort — it’s the only way in the statute to collect debt,” said deputy chief financial officer Stephen Cordi.

But the District, a hotbed for the tax lien industry, has done little to shield its most vulnerable homeowners from unscrupulous operators.

Foreclosures have upended families in some of the city’s most distressed neighborhoods. Houses were taken from a housekeeper, a department store clerk, a seamstress and even the estates of dead people. The hardest hit: elderly homeowners, who were often sick or dying when tax lien purchasers seized their houses.

One 65-year-old flower shop owner lost his Northwest Washington home of 40 years after a company from Florida paid his back taxes — $1,025 — and then took the house through foreclosure while he was in hospice, dying of cancer. A 95-year-old church choir leader lost her family home to a Maryland investor over a tax debt of $44.79 while she was struggling with Alzheimer’s in a nursing home.

Other cities and states took steps to curb abuses, such as capping the fees, safeguarding houses owned by the elderly or scrapping tax sales altogether and instead collecting the money themselves.

“Where is the justice? They’re taking people’s lives,” said Beverly Smalls, whose elderly aunt lost her home in Northeast Washington. “It’s just not right.”

In a 10-month investigation, The Post chronicled years of breakdowns and abuses in a program that puts at risk one of the most fundamental possessions in American life.

  • Of the nearly 200 homeowners who lost their properties in recent years, one in three had liens of less than $1,000.

  • More than half of the foreclosures were in the city’s two poorest wards, 7 and 8, where dozens of owners were forced to leave their homes just months before purchasers sold them. One foreclosed on a brick house near the Maryland border with a $287 lien and sold it less than eight weeks later for $129,000.

  • More than 40 houses were taken by companies whose representatives were caught breaking laws in other states to win liens.

  • Instead of stepping in, the D.C. tax office created more problems by selling nearly 1,900 liens by mistake in the past six years — even after owners paid their taxes — forcing unsuspecting families into legal battles that have lasted for years. One 64-year-old woman spent two years fighting to save her home in Northwest after the tax office erroneously charged her $8.61 in interest. (more)

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2013 in American Greed, Domestic terrorism

 

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Foreclosing on the Dead in Spain

Damn…And you thought things were tough here in the US of A… In Spain there is going to be an upsurge in “homeless” dead people.

“Occupy” the Graveyard, anyone?

Spanish Cemetery Warns Of Evictions For Nonpayment

Pushed for space, a Spanish cemetery has begun placing stickers on thousands of burial sites with lapsed leases as a warning to relatives that their ancestors face possible eviction.

Jose Abadia, deputy urban planning manager for Zaragoza in Spain’s northeast, said Monday that the city’s Torrero graveyard had already removed remains from some 420 crypts, and reburied them in common ground.

He said the cases involved graves whose leases had not been renewed for 15 years or more. Torrero, like many Spanish cemeteries, no longer allows people to buy grave sites, instead leasing them out for periods of five or 49 years.

Abadia said 7,000 of Torrero’s 114,000 burial sites’ leases had run out, many of which occurred because relatives – or caretakers – had died themselves, or moved house and failed to renew the contract.

In other cases, family descendants no longer wanted to pay for relatives’ plots, he added.

Abadia said the cemetery began stepping up its search for defaulters around two years ago, with relatives or caretakers given six months to respond.

The stickering campaign was planned to coincide with the Nov. 1 Roman Catholic holiday, on which people customary visit graveyards.

He said that since then hundreds of people had rang to make inquiries about the status of their relatives’ burial sites.

It’s a case of cemetery management, “not to make money” as graveyards have limited space, he said.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2011 in News

 

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Take Back the Land

Recently departed Jazz Musician Gill Scott Heron’s seminal piece was a song called “Winter in America”. I think Gill Scott saw the destruction of the American Dream years before it reached the crisis point.

Something is really, really wrong here – and other than a few intrepid groups like “Take Back the Land” – there doesn’t seem to be anyone in power doing a damn thing about it.

The right wing in this country is spending a lot of time defending the banks, the major corporations, and the rich by foisting one Trojan Horse issue after another upon the public airwaves.

A $15 a year tax break isn’t going to save you from being foreclosed on your house.

Protesters ‘Liberate’ Foreclosed Homes

protesters foreclosuresWhen Virginia Henry bought her boarded-up and abandoned Rochester, N.Y., home in December 2007, she saw potential where others were blind to it. The house, a short sale, became her home to live in and care for, she said. She plopped down her $20,000 and filed her paperwork for a loan program that would pay the balance — $43,000 — to rehabilitate the property.

But what followed was a series of unanswered calls and letters to Bank of America, Henry says, eventually culminating in her arrest Friday for a charge of trespassing on her own front lawn. The arrest, like much of this story, is the source of a dispute. Henry asserts police officers shoved her to the ground during the arrest, police claim she fainted from the intense heat. She has a court date for the trespassing charge July 28.

The facts of the short sale are also at issue. The bank has told Henry that the short sale never closed and that the house at 5 Appleton St. — with all her worldly possessions trapped inside — is no longer hers. A Bank of America spokeswoman, Jumana Bauwens, said she would investigate the claims.

“This is my home,” Henry told AOL Real Estate in a phone interview after the arrest. “How can I be trespassing in my own home?”

Protesters Step In
Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Big Enough to Fail… Bank of America

It appears the rats are jumping the Bank of America ship…

The next real serious challenge for the Obama Administration is going to be dealing with the banks. The foreclosure crisis is just the tip of  a very deep iceberg. While BOA has paid back the TARP funds, it appears they didn’t use a penny of the money to get the rats and thugs out of their operations…

I believe the only way to do that is criminal investigation and prosecution.

Bank of America Edges Closer to Tipping Point: Jonathan Weil

It was only last April that Bank of America Corp. was making fools out of the doomsayers who had called for its nationalization a year earlier. Taxpayers had gotten their bailout cash back. Investors who bought its shares at the bottom were making a killing. Government leaders lauded the company’s rescues, both of them, as a great success.

Now the bank may be on the verge of trouble again. Its stock has fallen 41 percent since April 15. Mortgage-bond investors are demanding untold billions of dollars in refunds. The foreclosure fiasco is metastasizing. A member of the Troubled Asset Relief Program’s oversight panel, AFL-CIO attorneyDamon Silvers, openly worried at a hearing last week about the risk that Bank of America might need another bailout.

A few more months like the last one, and we may be wishing Bank of America had never returned its $45 billion of TARP money.

You wouldn’t know there’s anything wrong with Bank of America by an initial look at itsbalance sheet. The company showed common shareholder equity, or book value, of $212.4 billion as of Sept. 30. And its regulatory capital ratios have risen steadily throughout the year.

Tipping Point

Judging by its shrinking stock price, though, investors are acting as if Bank of America is near a tipping point. Its market capitalization stands at $115.6 billion, or 54 percent of book value. That’s the second-lowest price-to-book ratio among the 24 companies in the KBW Bank Index, and well below the 76 percent ratio the company was at in October 2008 when it landed its first round of TARP dough. Put another way, the market is saying there’s a $96.8 billion hole in Bank of America’s balance sheet.

When I asked Jerry Dubrowski, a Bank of America spokesman, about the disparity, he said: “I’m not going to comment on the book value and the stock price.”

It may be the shares are a bargain at $11.52, if the company’s books are right. Another plausible scenario is that Bank of America’s management, led by Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan, has lost so much credibility with investors that the stock’s decline might start feeding on itself.

The problem for anyone trying to analyze Bank of America’s $2.3 trillion balance sheet is that it’s largely impenetrable. Some portions, though, are so delusional that they invite laughter. Consider, for instance, the way the company continues to account for its acquisition of Countrywide Financial, the disastrous subprime lender at the center of the housing bust, which it bought for $4.2 billion in July 2008.

 

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2010 in News

 

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Don’t Walk Away Rene! Homes Over $1 Million…

Back when the real estate bubble began to bust, conservatives, and their coonservative lackeys were all over the media announcing that it was the borrowers fault for taking on loans they couldn’t possibly afford. Stories of black people, in particular lacking financial savvy and making bad decisions abounded. Ergo – the meltdown was the responsibility of the feckless dishonest home buyer…

Well folks, as I have been predicting here for over a year – the REAL mortgage crisis is in high end homes.  Not only were home prices jacked up during the mortgage Ponzi, but the number of high end homes skyrocketed far beyond what the income levels of the population in a given area could support.

What this means is that there are a whole bunch of multimillion dollar homes out there…

Without a bunch of folks who can afford them.

Front1 - 9416 Pamlico Ln, Great Falls, VA 22066

$1.4 Million...$1.2 Million...$1.0 Million... $900k...

Biggest Defaulters on Mortgages Are the Rich

No need for tears, but the well-off are losing their master suites and saying goodbye to their wine cellars.

The housing bust that began among the working class in remote subdivisions and quickly progressed to the suburban middle class is striking the upper class in privileged enclaves like this one in Silicon Valley.

Whether it is their residence, a second home or a house bought as an investment, the rich have stopped paying the mortgage at a rate that greatly exceeds the rest of the population.

More than one in seven homeowners with loans in excess of a million dollars are seriously delinquent, according to data compiled for The New York Times by the real estate analytics firm CoreLogic.

By contrast, homeowners with less lavish housing are much more likely to keep writing checks to their lender. About one in 12 mortgages below the million-dollar mark is delinquent.

Though it is hard to prove, the CoreLogic data suggest that many of the well-to-do are purposely dumping their financially draining properties, just as they would any sour investment.

“The rich are different: they are more ruthless,” said Sam Khater, CoreLogic’s senior economist. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2010 in General

 

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The Other Oil Disaster – Real Estate Value On Gulf Drops Through The Floor

The “Redneck Riviera”, the oceanfront properties running from Louisiana over to Florida’s northwestern coast had been a booming area until the Real Estate Meltdown…

Property values are currently running up to 65% below their 2005 peak.

The oil spill, expected to impact the beaches in many of the areas will further devalue properties – possibly forcing thousands of foreclosures as people find themselves sitting on vacation properties worth only 5-15% of what they paid for them.

Oil Spill Expected To Trigger Thousands Of Foreclosures Of Gulf Real Estate

Homes along the immediate path of the Gulf Coast oil leak are forecast to decline at least 30% in value as a result of the environmental catastrophe produced by British Petroleum’s gushing oil well  42-miles off of Louisiana, according to a new forecast by Housing Predictor.

The forecast is being issued after more than a month of research and monitoring the impact of the oil leak, which has poisoned the eco-system along the marshes of the Louisiana coast line and as far east as Alabama. Housing analysts contend that the projected losses in housing value will top that of any oil disaster in the nation’s history and will send tens of thousands of additional homes into foreclosure as a result. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2010 in News

 

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When Criminal Enterprise and Corruption Include the Government in America

America is no longer one of the least corrupt nations in the world. The country has steadily been devolving over the past 30 or so years. Haiti is a country where corruption has destroyed economic opportunity for over 50 years. They got nothing on good old American corruption.

This, theft by bank – constitutes rape. And it is conducted fully under the guise of legality.

One raw day in early February, Vicki Valentine stood by helplessly as real estate investors snatched her West Baltimore home over what began with an unpaid city water bill of $362.

That’s right – a water bill…

The bank made a mean $50,000+ profit stealing this woman’s home…

All for $362.00.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2010 in Great American Rip-Off

 

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