Foreign Buyers Still Flooding U.S. Real Estate Market

The the volume of foreign buyers buying U.S. residential real estate rose dramatically during the latest 12-month survey from the National Association of Realtors. The 2017 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate shoes that the dollar volume of purchases by foreign buyers rose from $102.6 billion in 2016 to $153 billion in the latest 12-month period ending in March. In all, foreign buyers purchased 284,455 U.S. residential properties accounting for 5 percent of existing home sales and 10% of existing home sales by dollar volume. If you were wondering what's been driving the [...]

The Ghost Of Liar Loans Past Comes Back To U.S. Housing Market

This weekend I was reading a fascinating account of Bank of Internet USA on the NY Times. It's a great read about Gregory Garrabants and the impressive growth the company has been able to achieve issuing mortgages to high-income clients who may not meet traditional underwriting guidelines for a home loan. According to the NY Times piece, BofI's loans have increased fivefold in the past 5 years to a total of $5 billion, and the bank's stock has risen 1600 percent. Those are impressive gains for sure, but that also raises some questions of the [...]

By | 2015-08-24T17:55:51+00:00 August 24th, 2015|In the Press, Mortgage Rates, Real Estate, Regulation|0 Comments

Wall Street Goes On Trial For Mortgage Fraud In California And Loses

The orgy of mortgage fraud facilitated by America's largest banks has still gone unpunished, but it doesn't change the reality that banks and their executives made a ton of money by engaging in some of the biggest control frauds the world has ever seen. That's the decision a Sacramento jury came to after listening to testimony in a ground-breaking mortgage fraud case in which Wall Street finally went to trail and lost. Although the Justice Department has essentially absolved the banks' executives of any criminal wrongdoing, a cursory review of the facts surrounding the financial [...]

Bill Black: More Enforcement Theater With Latest Citi Mortgage Settlement

Bill Black has another good piece on the DOJ's latest half-baked effort at accountability for our TBTF banks. He basically shreds the latest DOJ settlement with Citigroup which was advertised as a significant dose of accountability for Citi given the $7 billion price tag. As it turns out, only $4.5 billion of that headline figure is a cash fine to Citi, and in terms of accountability for Citi's executives there is none.  As Yves Smith notes, the Department of Justice has been exaggerating its accomplishments in terms of prosecuting mortgage fraud committed by banks, and [...]

By | 2014-07-22T10:52:19+00:00 July 19th, 2014|In the Press, Politics, Regulation, Spin Cycle|1 Comment

Appeals Court Rules Texas Equusearch Can Continue Flying Drones

An appeals court judge ruled yesterday that the FAA's cease-and-desist orders to Texas Equusearch are bogus. Texas Equusearch, the nonprofit search-and-rescue operation, plans to continue using the aerial drones as part of its operations. Texas Equusearch sued the FAA back in April, challenging an FAA order to stop using drones on the basis that it was "unlawful, arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and not otherwise in accordance with the law". This was a big win for Texas Equusearch and another hole in the FAA's attempt to harass drone pilots with guidelines that still don't [...]

By | 2014-07-19T12:46:49+00:00 July 19th, 2014|In the Press, Tech|0 Comments

John Oliver Nails It On Net Neutrality – Swamps FCC Public Comment System

John Oliver makes some important observations regarding net neutrality, and in the process he also brought some much-needed attention to the issue.  The net neutrality movement is concerned for very good reason. The telecoms and cable companies would love nothing better than to create a two-tiered system from which they can extract more money from customers. Oliver highlights the cozy relationship between cable companies and Washington, and makes no bones about the appointment of Tom Wheeler (the former head of the lobbying arm of the cable industry) to head the FCC. "The guy who used [...]

By | 2014-06-03T17:43:47+00:00 June 3rd, 2014|Humor, In the Press, Regulation, Spin Cycle|0 Comments

Texas EquuSearch Sues FAA Over Drone Policy

Rescue & recovery organization Texas EquuSearch has sued the FAA over it's drone use policy. Texas EquuSearch has been using drones since 2006, and the technology has been instrumental in helping to find and recover victims.  Equusearch founder Tim Miller has stated that unmanned aircraft technology has helped them recover 11 deceased bodies. After being bullied by the FAA to stop using the aircraft, Texas EquuSearch has now sued the agency. "Search-and-rescue organization Texas EquuSearch, which has used unmanned aircraft to help search for missing people since 2006, asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for [...]

By | 2018-02-02T23:50:55+00:00 April 24th, 2014|In the Press, Regulation, Spin Cycle, Tech|0 Comments

Tech Giant Execs (Including Steve Jobs) Embroiled In Labor Price Fixing Probe

Wow! This is a shocker, though not a complete surprise. If the charges are proven correct, this could be one epic trial. While the asleep-at-the-wheel government has basically given a free pass to the criminal syndicate banking cartel for epic frauds, they are apparently bearing down on the tech titans of Silicon Valley. Mark Ames has a good breakdown of the case against the tech giant CEOs and the paper trail surrounding what the government calls a formal arrangement to suppress pay for techies at Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit and Pixar. Steve Jobs and George Lucas are [...]

By | 2017-12-22T03:44:12+00:00 January 24th, 2014|In the Press, Regulation, Spin Cycle, Tech|0 Comments

Judge Rakoff Blasts SEC And DOJ For Dereliction Of Duty

Speaking at the NY Bar Association Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff provided one of the most notable speeches of the year, highlighting rebuking the continued excuses of the SEC and DOJ for allowing Wall Street executives a free pass as they pursue a host of civil settlements and fines which amount to nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Judge Rakoff's speech can be read here... 'Why Have No High Level Executives Been Prosecuted In Connection With the Financial Crisis?'  All the Department of Justice could offer as a response to Rakoff's remarks were the typical boilerplate [...]

By | 2014-01-08T18:32:12+00:00 November 14th, 2013|Economy, In the Press, Politics, Spin Cycle|0 Comments

Goldman Whistleblower Carmen Segarra Sues NY Fed For Wrongful Termination

After several months of investigating Goldman Sachs' legal and compliance as a bank examiner for the NY Fed, Segarra was tasked with the job of assessing whether GS had adequate policies in place for avoiding conflicts of interest.  Segarra was specifically looking at three deals: Solyndra, El Paso/Morgan Kindler and a bank acquisition by Sandanter.  After preparing a report in which she noted how Goldman had no company-wide conflict of interest policies in place, she was told by her supervisors to back off. After refusing to change her report and destroy supporting documents, Segarra was fired.  [...]

By | 2018-02-02T23:58:32+00:00 October 11th, 2013|Economy, In the Press, Politics, Spin Cycle|0 Comments