Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Crime Does Pay

A touch of historical perspective: For citizens of the territory not familiar with mortgage servicing scofflaws, one of the prominent positions on the Squaliformes Hall of Shame belongs to one Thomas Basmajian, founder/perpetrator and former head of what came to be known as the poster-child for mortgage servicing abuse, Fairbanks Capital (nka Select Portfolio Servicing which was recently acquired by CSFB).

The slap on the wrist given Fairbanks included a little zinger for Basmajian, to the tune of $400,000.00. It also barred him from working in the financial services business without the approval of the court.

Word was that the big house in swanky Park City was long gone at the time of the settlement. But before you go worrying about the poor Basmajians, consider that according to CA property records, their golf-course residence in ultra-swanky Pebble Beach was purchased just three months before the settlement was announced. And just so you'll know, even a little low-end bungalow thereabouts is over $1M.

But good old Tom apparently decided to stay in business in Salt Lake City. Word is he is involved in a business he knows a lot about – distressed residential real estate. You know, foreclosed homes. But instead of creating foreclosures, he's working the other end of the schemes and letting the other servicers generate the products, using what they learned from the settlement.

Things must be going pretty well. Foreclosure stats are up for SLC.

And just consider the $1.3M home in SLC’s also-swanky Cottonwood area he purchased late last year (Blogger's alleged image upload "service" isn't actually working as advertised, so to see dear ol' Tom's house you'll have to click on the URL below):


(Aint property records on the Internet fun?)

So while tens of thousands of just-plain folks got scammed, even lost their homes or were forced into bankruptcy, good old Tom Basmajian still seems to be doing quite well.

Yep. Just think how rough it’s been not having the private jet to get back and forth.

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean

Friday, September 16, 2005

More Experian Skullduggery

Experian's Metronet "File One Phone Search" Exposed

For $50.00 a month plus $0.35 per search, Experian customers will get unlisted and cellular numbers – and where do you suppose some of those come from?

Well, how about that toll-free number you call to “opt out” of the mailed offer deluge from the data brokers and credit card companies or to ask for your "free" credit report?

What people don’t realize is that calls to toll-free numbers (800, 866, 877) also include a data stream that includes the calling party number, even if you block your caller ID (different system). The Squaliformes are more than happy to correlate your SSAN with a phone number you call from and then sell it.

So much for paying the phone company for a supposedly “unlisted” number.

And if you think calling from your place of business or work is a good idea, think of all the Echeneidae Collectoris out there who would just love to know where you work and could care less about bending or breaking the law about contacting you there. Or at any number you just happened to use.

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean

Friday, September 09, 2005

Katz Story Continues to Unfold

Michigan Judge Sets Trial Date for Echeneidae Collectoris

As we earlier reported almost exactly one month ago, Howard Katz got caught sneaking bogus collections cases through the Michigan courts (not much new there in terms of what those kinds of lawfirms will try to get away with).

But one of the courts finally got fed up with the smell, and now Judge David Bajorek has ruled Katz is to be tried later this month on contempt charges - as in 308 counts of filing fraudulent documents and affidavits.

It's not the nature of the cases or the contempt charges - what's worrying the creditor's bar right now is the magnitude of the prospective penalties. Judge Bajorek's view is that Katz faces 30 days in jail and a $250 fine for each of the counts, mainly because he agreed with prosecutor John Gillooly that Katz did it as a "continuing practice."

That's a little more than 25 years. That might just get their attention, although the $77,000 probably won't keep any of them up at night and it's unlikely Katz (at the age of 60) will spend the rest of his life in prison.

But the case has gotten the attention of other Michigan courts who are digging into Katz's filings. And we can hope the civil suits will follow shortly and in sufficient numbers to put the Katz operation out of business permanently.

One Echeneidae Collectoris nearly down, many to go.

The Honorable Judge Roy Bean

Can we have a little fun while we’re at it?

Hear ye, hear ye! Residents, denizens and all persons of the territory and surrounding environs (and anybody who just happens to drop by):

Be it known that from this date forward, recipients of unsolicited mail purporting to offer various and sundry forms of credit, loans, insurance or other financial gobbledegook are hereby ordered to no longer simply dispose of same without opening.

Recipients are further instructed to remove the “return mail” (i.e., “business reply mail”) envelope and insert in it a blank piece of paper (appropriately folded to fit). This item is then to be deposited in the recipient’s outgoing mail receptacle or delivered to the appropriate United States Postal Service facility for return to the Squaliformes at their sole expense.

Be it so ordered.
The Clerk of This Honorable Court

[(Note from the Clerk of the Court: His honor wishes to recuse himself from this particular matter in that he does not want to take credit for the idea and thus he offers himself the defense of plausible deniability for any outcome.)]