Friday, October 29, 2004

Another Bench Blunder

Now comes before this court a case from one Judge James D. Ward, (California appelate court) who figured the FDCPA didn't apply to stopping a foreclosure when the borrowers challenged the validity of a debt. Styled Sulak, et al. v. Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc., et al., No. E035021 (Cal Ct. App. 09/20/04).

The squaliformes, according to this yahoo at least, can violate the Fair Dept Collection Practices Act by refusing to provide debt validation information as the law requires, and they can keep on trying to foreclose and don't have to worry about a victim suing under the Act and stopping the foreclosure via an injunction. In his reasoning (?) the act doesn't offer equitable or injunctive relief, only monetary damages and to top it off, he thinks it's unclear as to whether the Act even applies to mortgage foreclosures! (Even though the notices say that they are attempts to collect a debt!)

Of course, since the victims appeared pro se and they were up against one of the squaliformes foreclosure mills (Moss Pite & Duncan), this Court duly recognizes the nature of the prejudice against the victims so commonly demonstrated in these kinds of cases.

Therefore, Judge Ward, it is the judgement of this Court that you are hereby guilty of judicial lunacy. Your sentence is that you serve five days as a guest in our jail and be fined one hundred dollars in gold pieces.

So ordered. Bailiff, take Judge Ward into custody. And keep him outta sight. And keep an extra shotgun handy. No telling what form of low-life might find its way in here to pay his fine.

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

OK, so it aint the NY Times, but

Some time ago this Honorable Court, as in I, warned the media that I would be none-too-soft on reporters who help keep the public misinformed about what is going on with the creditoris squaliformes order.

Now while Gulfport Mississippi isn't exactly the journalism capitol of the world, this fellow exemplifies just how effective the myth-makers have been and still are (at least for the time being) at keeping the focus away from the predators.

So, comes before this court, one Mr. Patrick Peterson, of the who publishes an article on October 22, 2004, said article in its entirety which the Clerk will now read into the record:

Investors snap up repo'd homes


GULFPORT - Some of the best real estate bargains on the Coast are homes lost to a rising wave of foreclosures.

The apparent trend in the booming real estate market of South Mississippi has been caused, in part, by a rush to re-finance and take advantage of low interest rates.

"We're seeing a lot of re-financing, where they're taking the equity out to pay off their credit cards and they can't pay off the note," said Realtor Debra Scairono, manager of foreclosures for Coldwell Banker.

No industry-wide figures are available, but, by Scairono's estimates, up to 30 houses a month could be lost to foreclosure each month in South Mississippi.

"We're just seeing a lot of the newer homes coming back on the market as foreclosures," she said. "They walk away from it because they can't afford it."

A decade ago, Scairono handled only one or two foreclosures per month. Now she handles five to 10 a month, which she estimates is about a third of the total. An average of 40 foreclosures regularly appear in the company listings.

South Mississippi's real estate market, which offers bargains compared to the rest of the country, has been discovered by investors from Florida to the Midwest to California. The repossessed homes, usually listed at bargain prices because they need repairs, sell quickly.

"We've got lots of investors out there who have money to spend," said Scairono. "Most of them are either renting or reselling (the repossessed homes) after the repairs."

Other Realtors confirm the trend.

"Within the last three years, (foreclosures) have doubled or maybe more than that," said Dyann Lentz, a Realtor with Danette Shaw and Co. in Gulfport.

The Federal Housing Administration showed a strong increase in repossessions in Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties from 2002 to 2003, with the number rising from 92 to 118, but the number seems on track to fall in 2004.

Why the foreclosures

Low interest rates make second mortgages and home equity loans seem attractive. However, many borrowers apparently don't change their spending habits after they borrow against the equity in their homes. Some of them lose their homes.

"A big problem is putting second mortgages on their homes, and that overextends them immediately," said Lentz. "Many people walk off and leave everything in their homes. This happens more than you would think."

Bankruptcy attorney David Lord of Gulfport said U.S. banks and credit card companies, which make huge profits from late fees and charges for missed payments, encourage customers to increase their debt, with foreclosures and bankruptcies sometimes a result.

"Credit is a temptress, but so is marketing," Lord said.

Credit card companies often raise credit limits and send applications to folks who are struggling to pay their bills on time. A few consumers fall to the temptation of additional credit, which apparently is a greater vice than gambling.

"I attribute it very little to the casinos," said Lord. "I attribute it to the credit card departments. If you pay the debt in a timely manner, they increase your limit."

Shoppers often leave stores with more merchandise than they intended to buy. Similarly, many credit card holders find they have purchased more than they can afford.

"It is not unusual for an individual to have one or two cards with a $10,000 credit limit," Lord said. "Very soon you find yourself rather deeply in dept."

A home equity loan or second mortgage often is the quickest way to pick up a crushing burden of debt.

"They failed to do to what they should do, which is cut up the credit cards."

And now, Mr. Peterson, while the Court recognizes the inclusion of at least one bankruptcy attorney's very valid opinion that the credit card squaliformes are perhaps deliberately contributing to the problem, the Court asks you:

One, why didn't you do just a tiny bit more research into the burgeoning predatory lending and servicing problem? A simple google search would have introduced you and hopefully your readers to at least a small dose of reality.

Second, did you even bother to consider the possibility that some of these situations might have involved companies abusing their unmitigated power over consumers in sub-prime loan situations? And if that thought crossed your mind, did you look into what servicing companies were involved in the foreclosures? It's a matter of public record and could have easily been looked into and reported on. Chances are there are only a handful of mortgage servicers involved.

Third, do you realize that your article serves to reinforce the myth of the consumer always being at fault in a foreclosure or bankruptcy?

This kind of "tsk, tsk, isn't it too bad people just can't handle credit cards" stuff is getting way too old for this Court. I've put enough bullet holes in that leaky boat that it should have gone down long ago with the reporters still on it but for some reason they keep bailing and bailing.

Problem is other Judges read this kind of stuff and go on figuring anyone fighting a foreclosure in their Court is a deadbeat. And people who get bit by a squaliforme mortgage lender or servicer can't convince their family or close friends that it actually happened.

In due consideration of the fact that you didn't put out the lender's usual "we lose money when we foreclose/we don't want to take people's homes" bushwah, it is the judgment of this Court that you be fined a pound of gunpowder, a side of bacon, a pound of coffee, two hens and four sacks of flour.

A word of warning though, Mr. Peterson, if it happens again you may want to recall there's a cattle prod here.

Make arrangements with the Bailiff on your way out. And don't dawdle. I want the chickens for supper.

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean.

Monday, October 25, 2004


Is it just me or is the stench coming in off the lending and insurance ocean just getting stronger? It was bad enough with the predatory lending and servicing stink but now somebody's got a harpoon into at least one big one and it's getting messy as the others turn tail and try to run.

I know there's so much money to be made that it attracts some of the more daring and creative crooks, but why would executives simply believe everyone working for them is honest? Just because they signed something that said they would be? So much for diligence in leadership.

Either they knew about it (likely in the judgement of this court) and approved of it, or they're dumber than a box of rocks.

I don't think Greenburg, et. al., is dumber than a box of rocks, which means he (or they) knew and it looks like for a long time they worked with a lot of the other squaliformes to keep it as part and parcel of industry practices by not doing anything about it.

And the investors who paid any attention to the ratings firms and put money into insurers are getting exactly what they paid for. Which is exactly Nada. Zip. Nothing. In fact, they're getting screwed partly because they were dumb enough to think the raters were smarter than a box of rocks.

More likely, as in the above example, they knew about it and turned a blind eye.

Well, wink-wink nodd-nodd don't cut it in this court. You yahoos at Moodys and S&P didn't learn from Fitch's playing dumb in the mortgage business, so this is two strikes against the lot of you.

I probably don't have to wait long for the third strike. I suspect it's not gonna be long before Mr. Spitzer hauls in one of those buoys that are now bobbing around on the top of the ocean, attached way down below to another squliforme with a harpoon in it.

Mr. Spitzer, please do me a favor and consider a change of venue to my Court. If nothing else the justice out here will take less time and you won't need a lot of cell space.

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Recent Additions to the OSL

[(Note from the Clerk of the Court: His Honor is off today but ordered the following companies be added to the OSL Sleeping Watchdogs section forthwith:

Fitch Ratings
Moody's Investor Services
Standard and Poors.

The Clerk (thankfully) was not ordered to use the precise language his Honor used in depicting these buffoons. Better to simply say something along the lines of "... who supposedly are keeping an eye on some of the squaliformes," and let you use your imagination. In addition, "asleep" wasn't considered a strong enough descriptor, and his Honor's depiction is more tactfully explained by this Clerk as the raters being "in bed with" those being rated.

Please note the Clerk makes every effort to consider the tastefullness of his Honor's Orders when posting them but has only marginal influence on his Honor when he's writing for himself.)]

ps: And to our lurking vistitors from Kroll, his Honor asked specifically to remind you that he isn't the only one armed around here.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Louisiana Judge Blunder

Here comes legalized credit-card slamming!

So now a retail outfit can check your credit without your permission, then have their squaliformes partner issue you a credit card with charges already on it even though you wanted to charge your purchases on another card.

According to Judge Carl Barbier, US District Court (Eastern Division of LA), that's OK. Not only is that OK, the squaliformes can then sick a slimey collection suckerfish on you when you cut up the card you didn't want and send it back to the retailer who started the scam.

Now far be it for me to say anything against the fine, er, shall I say, highly intriguing products Ms. Langtry routinely acquires and admirably, er, wears from time to time from the well-known retailer of women's, er, delicates and such, but they pulled this fast one on a lady who wanted to buy some products on an American Express card.

And this so-called judge ruled that it's OK for them to just run a credit check without you even knowing let alone authorizing it, just because they say they intended to extend you credit? Even when you didn't ask for it and in fact wanted to pay another way (and indeed thought you already had)?

It wasn't until the new un-requested card and statement showed up in the mail that the victim even knew they had pulled a fast one.

This is the same adle-brained philosophy that let long distance carrier slamming get out of hand some years ago.

If they had brought this case before this court I would have had a very difficult time balancing out my own desire to see more of, er, allow Ms. Langtry to continue her consumer-wearables pursuits with the afforementioned retailer versus fining them and their squaliforme partners into oblivion.

And this judge is hereby sentenced to six weeks in the hoosegow with only a few items of, er, clothing from the retailer's catalog. No, he can't keep the catalog, either.

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Mortgage Fraud, My A**

The squaliformes don't like to admit it, let alone talk about it, but they all know their pell-mell rush to adopt automated credit scoring and underwriting tools simply opened them up to being nipped by some fellow opportunists.

The holy grail for mortgage (and auto) squaliformes is instant approval and so-called "risk-based pricing," (read: interest-rate ratcheting) or rejection at the click of a mouse. And to meet that need, Fair Isaac sells their concocted data product.

Instead of knowing who they're lending money to and the other parties in the transaction and developing a relationship designed to last more than thirty minutes, the squaliformes decided to work the volume/greed game rather than follow the quality/responsible lender track. After all, they'll probably never see the victim again.

Now come all the sob stories of how rampant mortgage fraud is and they've got everyone from the IRS and the FBI to local prosecutors dancing to their drumbeat of "we're being scammed!"

Whaaaaaa. Whaaaaaa. Whaaaaaa. Sniffle. Sniffle.

I'm over it, thank you.

Fair Isaac touts the predictability of borrower behavior via the score. But most of the data going into that score has been so contaminated that it's only FICO's ability to distort so-called "studies" and point to the growth and profitability of the market to keep lenders from actually looking under the hood and finding a lawn mower engine they were told was a turbocharged V8.

So more data sources are cropping up with the theoretical prospect of detecting the fraud being perpetrated against the squaliformes.

"LexisNexis RiskWise works by searching multiple databases to verify and validate the authenticity of an applicant's identity and to provide a risk assessment indicator."

And they're trying to hide from the law by calling it a "non-consumer" report product so they don't have to worry about protecting consumer's already miniscule rights under the FCRA:

"The information gained from LexisNexis non-consumer report products is not to be considered a consumer report (as that term is defined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act 15 U.S.C. Section 1681, et seq., "FCRA") and may not be used to determine a consumer's eligibility for credit or insurance for personal, family, or household purposes; employment; a government license, or benefit, or other transaction initiated by a consumer, or for any other purpose permitted by the FCRA."

So if the squaliforme can't use it to determine eligibility for credit, what is it for?

"Well, Your Honor, let's see, since we say we can't use it for what we say we can't use it for then we can't use it and we don't really use it and we don't have to reveal what's in it so...please, Your Honor, don't ask us about it any more."

Complete and utter SS (Squaliformes Scatology). We all know what they're going to use it for and they just don't want to have to live within the law to do it.

The judgment of this court is that the squaliformes need to stop your $%*& whining. And I've got Mr. Colt here so start gettin' the @$%& outta my courtroom NOW.

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean.

[(Note from the Clerk of the Court: The ringing in your ears means you're still alive. By the way, Doc and the undertaker's bills aren't paid by the Court.)]

Friday, October 15, 2004

Entangled in the net

Up near the top of the squaliformes food chain you will find AIG, Marsh and McKlennan and ACE ltd., (a division of Munich Re). In the latest NY Attorney General's swipe at the industry, bid rigging on insurance deals among the players has been found and guilty pleas obtained from at least two people directly involved.

But what most news accounts don't report is the fact that the CEO's of those three companies are rather closely related. Marsh & McLennan chief executive Jeff Greenberg and Evan Greenberg (president and chief executive of ACE), are the sons of AIG Chairman Hank Greenberg. Now there are some family phone conversations that would be interesting.

Marsh & McLennan also owns Kroll, the investigative company they bought earlier this year (which was originally bought by AIG in 1993), which also owns the credit and personal background data squaliforme Factual Data. Kroll operates as a world-wide private investigations and security firm. Some would go as far as calling Kroll's investigative arm a private CIA.

AIG isn't new to condemnation or intrigue. The PNC issue has come back to haunt them only three years after they set up structured finance deals that were the target of SEC scrutiny. (PNC sold off its mortgage business to WAMU in 2001).

Just one year ago they agreed to pay the SEC $10M for a fraudulent slush-fund-appearing-to-be-insurance deal for Brightpoint to make the company's income statements look better.

AIG's power and influence are almost unlimited. In this case, Spitzer may have finally bit off more than he can chew. If he persists in poking this particularly vicious and unprincipled squaliforme with his little bitty stick, I would expect to see some really nasty things about him mysteriously come out just prior to his run for governor, or federal preemptive legislation to limit the AG's power to investigate or prosecute insurance firms will be used to bring him to heel.

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

News Media Enablers

If one only looks at the squaliformes as their PR firms continue to portray them, the average consumer would get the idea that victims bring these problems on themselves. Stories are almost always published in terms of the victim having bad credit and/or some problem came along and made it hard for them to keep up with the payments.

The stories where the victims actually take the squaliformes to court apparently aren't interesting enough to follow, especially when somebody knows somebody who knows somebody in the newsroom to keep that kind of story from even being looked at before the case disappears in an out of court settlement.

Instead of talking to the people who know something about the scams, the average reporter sees a press release about something like foreclosures then talks to one or more of the squaliformes spokespersons and maybe a couple of blind and deaf regulatory bureaucrats. Of course, all of them have a vested interest in supporting the myth of the importance of the valuable service being provided to consumers. Nobody wants to test them on the collateral damage being done.

What other industry could have multi-multi-millionaires and billionaires (who got that way by vicitmizing consumers) without investigative reporters and video camera crews crawling all over them? If it were defense contractors or drug or oil companies doing this there'd be full blown encampments outside the gates of their estates with helicopter flyovers at least once a week.

Part of the answer is pure business. One shouldn't wonder why the newspapers and radio and TV outlets don't want to have articles and stories about lending predators appearing when real estate, automobile and lender ad revenue is especially important to the bottom line.

"Sure, Joe, I'd love to run another forty spots on your TV station, but that story whatsername is running, you know, that series with questions about...yeah, that's it, the predatory lending, we just don't need that crap so we're going to focus on radio for a month or two...sorry."

This Court sees the hand of highly paid public relations firms making sure the industry's image has just the right glow, starting with how important it is to make sure people have access to credit. They also know how to make sure unwary, unsuspicious and in-a-hurry reporters have instant access to just the right contacts with just the right answers. And these PR firms also know how to influence not only reporters, but producers and assignment editors when it comes to what is and what isn't considered news. The quid-pro-quo is alive and well in the news business.

But the next reporter who comes before this court with another one of these superficial squaliformes-approved kind of puff-piece stories is in for a rude and public shock.
[(Note from the Clerk of the Court: His Honor is referring to the cattle prod he keeps next to the .45 Colt on the bench.)]

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Buy a Home? Maybe NOT!

If some or even a few of these apply to you, the opinion of this Court is you should stay out of the home ownership water and thus avoid being bitten by the squaliformes:

  • Your income averages less than $35,000 per year and varies significantly for whatever reason. Mortgage servicing squaliformes are notorious for not giving a damn about why your income changes. They want the payment every month but are more than happy to make profits from the late payment fees and interest. They will pile fees on top of fees on top of interest on top of anything they can to take money from you. If your income varies a lot, either wait until your career stabilizes or you have a way to keep six months worth of house payments stashed away that you can draw on (and then refill) during the gaps.
  • You have little or no medical insurance coverage. One of the most common threads of mortgage foreclosure and bankruptcy stories involves people with serious unexpected medical bills.
  • The home is situated within a "Homeowner's Association" that can impose dues, conditions and restrictions that could result in a lien against your property and even foreclosure. The only way to stamp out these menaces is to kill them off economically by never buying a property in one.
  • You don't have a few thousand dollars readily available to cover having an attorney on your side, the moving expenses as well as the unexpected stuff, i.e., uninsured or deductible damages, utility deposits, miscellaneous household repairs, yard tools, etc.
  • You're planning to get married and will be counting on having two incomes to survive. Given the percentage of marriage failures (which are exacerbated by financial problems) one of the last things you want to have to deal with is how to split up the ownership of a house and the responsibility for the mortgage payments. Make sure the relationship has some proof of survivability before you expose yourself to the risks. Walking away from a lease is a lot cleaner than dealing with real property ownership.
  • You're having relationship problems with your spouse. Buying a home and having the financial burdens that will come along will only add to your problems.
  • The IRS says you owe them money. They will find you and will attach a lien to the property which you will find nearly impossible to clear up even if you dispute the amount.
  • You have more than $5,000 in credit card debt and it isn't declining. You're in over your head already and just don't realize it. The expenses you haven't counted on in buying and setting up a home are going to ramp that to over $10,000 in less than a year.
  • You're leasing a car. You're either trapped into another lease at the end or paying twice what it's worth to buy it out, or you're going to have to go into debt to buy a car when the lease runs out. And you may have to pay for mileage overages and various cosmetic condition problems. If you're a homeowner, chances are you won't be able to save enough to make a substantial down-payment and you'll end up with a high-interest rate loan over too long a period of time.
  • You're renting-to-own your major appliances and furnishings. If you're trapped into one of these schemes, you not only risk having them taken back when you have to choose between the house payment and food and that big-screen TV, but you're not contributing anything to your credit rating. And the fact that you're dealing with these squaliformes indicates you have not learned how important it is to save money in advance of buying even modestly expensive items.
  • You aren't capable of doing basic maintenance and home repair tasks, either because you physically can't or you simply don't know which end of a wrench does what. You could end up buried in expenses for having people do routine things, and many of them will show up on your credit card(s).
  • You or your spouse are thinking about going back to school or making a career change. Better to wait until you get through the change and restabilize the income before picking up the burden of a home.
  • You own a vehicle but it is more than five years old. One of these days something major is going to die on the car and you'll be hard-pressed to decide whether you make the mortgage payment or fix the car.
  • You've borrowed money (especially the down-payment) from a friend or relative or you need a cosigner for the mortgage. Quick way to ruin a relationship and if you've falsified anything on the loan application and it's a federally insured loan, you're going to face possible criminal charges if they find out.
  • You think you're going to change jobs. There can be lags in income. Companies make mistakes in setting up payrolls and there are misunderstandings about things like when commissions are paid. Your new employer's payroll check might come from out of state and your bank will hold the funds longer than you expected. Depending on the job, you may find you need to update your wardrobe or buy some tools. Sometimes when cutbacks come about the most recently hired are the first to go. There can also be unexpected expenses if your medical insurance coverage doesn't start and you get sick or injured. Best to wait a few months to see how things are going to work out.
  • Your employer is having a hard time making a profit. Companies have little or no loyalty to employees. If your company is in trouble, you could find yourself out of a job and unable to make the house payment.
  • You're going to have your first child in the next year or so. Consider what will happen to the mother's income for some weeks or months. Better to wait until you have a handle on what it takes to raise a child before you commit to a house payment.
  • You think now's the time because of seemingly low interest rates. Yes changes in interest can make a significant difference in what you pay, but don't rush into something just because the broker is leaning on you to get the deal done. Interest rates are driven by things far beyond your control and are not easy to predict.
  • You think you're going to save a ton of money on income taxes. Not necessarily. It depends on your deductions. If you do look at itemizing, you may even find you don't have enough to exceed the "standard deduction," so not everyone is automatically going to see a dollar-for-dollar income tax savings.
  • You're planning to move within a couple of years. You have to take into consideration what it will cost to not only sell a home but what you'll spend moving. Balance all of those costs against what you think are the advantages. Don't forget to look at what the real value of the property might turn out to be. Don't assume prices will go up and don't forget to take into consideration the stress you'll be under every time you go through the buy/sell/move process.
  • You don't have at least 20% down. The squaliformes will tell you they have programs for you but there's a reason they do that: They make a ton of money off of you for the supposed privilege.

It is the judgment of this court that the great American dream of homeownership is highly over-rated for a lot of people. It is the squaliformes dream of American indebtedness that goes unnoticed.

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Double Whammy / Shark Bites

The squaliformes are secretly excited by the pressures gasoline prices are putting on their prey's finances.

In a little over a year, the amounts charged by their victims for gasoline have nearly doubled, and they are salivating over the millions being added to credit card accounts every day.

Every 10 cent per gallon increase means the average driver will probably pay about $1.50 more (per 15-gallon fill up), and if they do that just once a week, that's about $6.00 more per month. Given usurious credit card rates credit card companies are allowed to use, that means about $0.11 (eleven cents) in additional interest per month for every month the charge remains on the card. Doesn't sound like much until you multiply it by the millions of consumers who use their credit cards to buy gasoline and don't pay them off every month.

Bottom line: While inflation isn't growing and raising prices for a lot of other consumer items, every penny increase in gas prices translates to about 1.1 cents in interest per month, per credit card consumer for the squaliformes.

You can hear them cheering if you get close enough to the water.

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

A Re-write

[(Note from the Clerk of the Court: His Honor has taken it upon himself to make corrections to a previously published squaliformes document.)]

The National Home Equity Mortgage Association (NHEMA) outlined six positions/messages that it is working diligently to keep out front. They are herein included for the record of this Court (with appropriate corrections).

1. Our industry provides a major stimulus to the American economy by expanding [the real financial risks of] home ownership, [diminishing non-housing] consumer purchasing power, creation of jobs [in the financial services industry], and increases to tax revenues [and income for the legal profession].

2. In 2002, our industry helped [gain control of the financial futures of] over 2.5 million borrowers with approximately $250 billion in capital, by providing [us with] access to [their] equity and [ultimate control of the] opportunity for home ownership when they are in need of specialized financing options [and we can profit from them with minimal risk].

3. [Many of] our borrowers mirror the demographics of [some of] the nation’s [least informed and most desperate and vulnerable] homeowners.

4. We have expanded [our market and profits by granting more and more] access to credit while significantly reducing the cost of [lending, continuing to inflate interest rates and] borrowing, creating [the impression of] an ever more competitive market.

5. NHEMA educates financial service providers and [mis]informs consumers to enhance competition and ensure [that the image of] fair and ethical business practices [will help us conceal the damage done to victims of predatory lending and servicing].

6. Our industry is [quasi-]regulated by a wide array of federal, state and municipal laws that help industry practices and consumer protection [without any real risk of significant punishment for willful and deliberately predatory acts].

Herefore corrected and submitted for further publication,

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Upcoming Feeding Frenzy

The squaliformes and their minions are getting ready for a long-anticipated feast.

The implementation of the "Check 21" process at the end of this month will create vast floods of overdraft and return-check fees to be taken from consumers who don't have overdraft protection.

Millions of mortgage payments are sent into the mail every month, many with the full expectation that a deposit is going to be made in time to cover the check.

Given the somewhat variable postal delivery efficiency and the even more variable processing of these checks, most consumers who live paycheck to paycheck have come to count on at least a few days from the day they drop it in the mail to when the money actually has to be in their checking account.

That's precisely what everyone in the squaliformes food chain is counting on, and there are billions of dollars to be taken from victims in November.

Interesting to note that the feeding frenzy will not really start until just after the elections as monthly payments start arriving (and bouncing). No telling what a few million enraged bounced-check writers might have done if the law had taken effect in early October and they'd taken it out on the legislators and Bush in the voting booths.

Behind the guise of improving the processes, it's a convenient ploy to pressure checking account holders into usurious interest rate "loans" for overdraft protection. The banking squaliformes see this as an opportunity to bring millions and millions of consumers further into the debt nets.

The other thing they've accomplished is making it easier for the predatory servicers to effectively work the delayed-payment scheme (it's called "drawering" among the squaliformes). Now, without having the cancelled checks with their statements, it will become a significant burden for a consumer to prove when a payment was actually processed. In fact, chances are the bank will charge yet another fee to produce a copy of the digital image of the check.

And of course, the data gathering mafia will record each and every one of these bounced checks and resulting late payments so that even more victims will be smeared with lowered credit scores.

There is no end to their creativity.

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean.

[(Note from the Clerk of the Court: His Honor only accepts cash, gold, silver, working firearms or decent horses in payment of fines.)]

Friday, October 01, 2004


Surrounding the Creditoris Squaliformes in the economic ocean are the remora, or the family echeneidae. Sometimes known as suckerfish.

They survive by attaching themselves to various sharks and living off the scraps. They aren't equipped to hunt down and kill their own food. They just hang along for the ride and pick up what's left after the kill. Without the squaliformes, they wouldn't live long.

Some of these are more visible than others.

What's left over in the process of being victimized by the predators is usually a car or a house. With a vehicle the echeneidae reposessus either need a willing accomplice and/or or a tow-truck to recover it from the former owner and then a secure place to stash it. With a house it's a bit more complicated but the end result is a removal of a person or family and a for-sale sign via the echeneidae preservatae evictus, the so-called property preservation specialists.

But there are other remora that would be severely diminished in numbers if the ranks of their host squaliformes were thinned significantly.

First in sheer numbers are bankruptcy attorneys (echeneidae chapternumeris), followed by the alleged "law firms" that specialize in collections and foreclosures (echeneidae threatenscamis and echeneidae stealyourhouses, repectively).
[(Note from the Clerk of the Court: His Honor does not recognize collections or foreclosure attorneys as having standing in his Court, hence the use of the term "alleged" in referring to such "law firms.")]

So many bankruptcies are filed in order to somehow slow down foreclosures that you start seeing the same pairings of echeneidae over and over, going through the process and knowing they're part of a giant perpetual motion machine the squaliformes started. These lawyers seem to realize they probably wouldn't exist in as great a number without each other so they are content to share in the spoils without doing each other any real harm.

The next largest echeneidae group fall into the "make a fortune in [ fill in the blank ]" promoter crowd known as echeneidae opportunis who just can't seem to run out of idiots to fill seats in their seminars and sell books and tapes to. Some of these con men make enough money to run television ads at all hours of the day and night, luring wannabes into coughing up hundreds of dollars to learn the secrets of being a successful echeneidae in real estate or "cash flow." Most of these fools who spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars end up looking for the next get-rich-quick guru or scheme when they find there are already plenty of echeneidae already attached to their squaliformes friends.

Similar to the "get rich in foreclosed properties" crowd are their distant cousins, the echeneidae saveyourhomis, or more commonly referred to as "loss mitigation" or "foreclosure prevention" specialists. This rapidly growing sub-species has attracted the same business model as the opportunis but feeds directly off the victim prior to the actual foreclosure by implying they can intervene to somehow keep the squaliformes from finishing the job. They have a disturbingly dangerous family member, one with a long pedigree of fraud drawn from arcane legal machinations: Echeneidae debtus eliminatis secretis that would have victims believe they can "eradicate your debt" (for a price, of course).

Another often unrecognized echeneidae that would be impacted are the companies that have sprung up to provide foreclosure data on the Internet. The battle for data supremacy rages in order to get the echeneidae and wannabes signed up to learn how to fight over the deals that they think are going to make them rich (just like they learned in the seminars).

Echeneidae is not an endangered species, so if and when they appear in this Court, they are likely to end up in the swill the Clerks put out for the pigs out back. (The horses won't go near the stuff.)

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean.

[(Note from the Clerk of the Court: His Honor does not intend to demean the pigs.)]