Welcome to the land of justice in the United States.  If you needed another sign it’s an election year, look no further than the latest “national mortgage setttlment”.  As it turns out, there apparently is no a wet-inked agreement yet with terms and finalized details.  From American Banker:

A representative for the North Carolina attorney general downplayed the significance of the document’s non-final status, saying that the terms were already fixed.

“Once the documents are finalized, they’ll be posted to nationalmortgagesettlement.com,” the representative said in an email to American Banker.

That’s right, the people who are entrusted with upholding the law in the United States apparently just tossed it in the garbage can so they could announce a “landmark deal” with banks over various fraudulent mortgage practices.  Bank of America’s press release states that the deal was “agreements in principle” as opposed to a final agreement.  That’s important because Bofa has to be more precise than politicians due to SEC regulations on accuracy of disclosures.  American Banker confirmed that the settlement pact is not yet done, and the “details” won’t be aired to the public until it is filed in Federal court.

Attorney Max Gardner outlined the implications of such behavior under normal circumstances:

An attorney would be guilty of serious ethical violations if he or she told a client we have a settlement with BoA and it is final before the deal was closed out by written agreement and in my bankruptcy practice the agreement was approved by the court.

As Yves said this morning, “You know its bad when the banks are the most truthful guys in the room.”  I guess we should not be surprised if the final, signed settlement ends up crediting the banks for the missing MF Global customer funds, which as it now stands, totals at least $1.6 billion.  It makes you wonder why anyone would bother robbing a bank with a gun when you can steal $1.6 billion with few keystrokes and government backstop.

Welcome to the Banana Republic of the United States!