Wall Street’s Big Six Preying on Homeowners

So millions of American families, including many that have completely paid off their homes, now find themselves in danger of being thrown out on to the street over an unpaid property tax bill.

The Economic Collapse

It turns out that the big Wall Street banks have found a dirty new way to make loads of cash from U.S. homeowners, and they really, really don’t want to talk about it.  So what is this dirty new business?  America’s biggest financial institutions have become property tax collectors, and it is extremely lucrative.  From coast to coast, the big Wall Street banks are buying up thousands upon thousands of tax liens and are making a killing by socking distressed homeowners with predatory interest, outrageous penalties and almost unbelievable legal fees.  In some areas, the big banks are able to foreclose on these homes in as little as six months.  The elderly and the poor are the most common targets of these practices.  An absolutely brilliant expose in the Huffington Post has brought these issues to light, and it is creating quite a controversy in the financial world.  The big banks are doing nothing illegal here.  Local governments are offering to sell thousands of tax liens and somebody is going to end up buying them.  But something seems extremely unsavory about the big Wall Street banks capitalizing on the economic downturn that they were so instrumental in causing in such a predatory manner.

Today, millions of American families are barely hanging on to their homes by their fingernails.  Millions are out of work and millions of others are barely making enough to put food on the table.  Meanwhile, property taxes have absolutely soared in most areas of the nation over the past decade.  Many Americans are finding that when that time rolls around they simply do not have a big chunk of extra money to pay a property tax bill.

So millions of American families, including many that have completely paid off their homes, now find themselves in danger of being thrown out on to the street over an unpaid property tax bill.

For many local governments, the headache of trying to collect on thousands of property tax liens is just too much, so they are glad to “outsource” the work of collection.

So how do the big Wall Street banks get involved?  Well, it goes something like this….

1) The big Wall Street banks set up or invest in shell companies that will disguise who they really are.

2) These shell companies run around and buy up all of the tax liens that they can get their hands on.

3) Predatory levels of interest (in some states as high as 18 percent), fees and penalties rapidly pile up on these unpaid tax liens.  The affected homeowners quickly end up owing much, much more than what the original tax bills were for.

4) If the collecting firm has to hire a lawyer, then that gets charged to the homeowner as well.  The bloated legal fees for some of these lawyers can end up being the biggest expense of all.

5) If the tax liens do not get paid, the collecting firms move in to foreclose as quickly as legally possible.

According to the Huffington Post, Wall Street banks such as Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase have been gobbling up several hundred thousand tax liens from local governments.  It appears that “distressed housing markets” are being particularly targeted.

Many of these tax liens are sold in online auctions, so it is unclear if many local government officials even realize who the big money behind many of these shell companies is.

Once again, this is all perfectly legal, but it is more than a little distasteful.

The following video by the Huffington Post does a good job of summarizing what they found….

The truth is that there is a huge difference between the letter of the law and true justice.

Just consider the following tragic story from the Huffington Post article….

Barbara Carpenter, a 58-year-old disabled Ohio retiree, found herself in such a situation. The former worker for the American Red Cross struggled to save her Toledo home from a JPMorgan entity called Plymouth Park Tax Services, which in recent years has been among the nation’s top buyers of tax liens.

“It’s a great neighborhood and the house is in good condition,”said Carpenter, who paid $67,000 for the one-story home in 2004. But she fell behind in paying her taxes and a certificate for $1,500 in unpaid taxes was sold off to Plymouth Park, which is based in New Jersey.

Carpenter’s lawyer, Joseph Westmeyer, said Plymouth Park routinely charges an upfront fee of around $1,500 as soon as it buys the lien and 18 percent interest on the debt. If they don’t get paid, they foreclose.

“It’s not a good deal for poor customers,” said Westmeyer. Carpenter wound up selling the house in August for less than half what she had paid. Plymouth Park received about $12,000 in legal fees and other charges, including some additional taxes, Westmeyer said, quoting from court records.

Does that sound like an honorable way of making money to you?

Would you like to make your living by throwing elderly women out of their homes and into the street over unpaid tax bills?

Unfortunately, this problem is not going to go away any time soon.  One out of every six Americans is enrolled in a government anti-poverty program.  Tens of millions of Americans are barely hanging in there.  In addition, tens of millions of elderly Americans live on fixed incomes.  Meanwhile, property taxes just continue to go up in many areas of the United States.

Unless the U.S. economy experiences a dramatic turnaround, we are going to continue to see large numbers of Americans get behind on their property taxes, and the big banks will continue to be there to scoop up the tax liens.

Large numbers of poor and elderly Americans that don’t even have a mortgage will lose their homes and it will all be perfectly legal.  Executives at the big banks will be having a good laugh about their huge bonus checks as thousands upon thousands of our most vulnerable citizens are dumped out into the street.

But weren’t the big banks largely responsible for causing the housing crash and the economic meltdown that followed?

Yes.

But so far none of them is really paying any kind of a price.  The big banks got bailed out by the U.S. government, and now it looks like the Federal Reserve is preparing another round of “backdoor bailouts” to help them out again.

But do the big banks show any mercy on the poor and the elderly who have gotten behind on their property taxes?

Not at all.

This is 2010 – a time when greed dominates the financial world and when most banks don’t seem to know a thing about kindness or mercy.

As it turns out, the U.S. does negotiate with Terrorists and Drug Traffickers

By Luis R. Miranda

Have you heard the rumors that the U.S. is the main carrier of drugs around the world?  How about the one that tells how the former New York Stock Exchange boss went to Colombia to ask the Narcos to invest in the NYSE?  All rumors, right?  Nope.  There are enough trails to know that indeed the United States is not only the largest carrier and co-grower of drugs in the world.  There is also enough proof that Richard Grasso, the former NYSE’s head traveled to Colombia to meet with local narcotrafficking bosses to offer ‘his exchange’ to hide their money.

The U.S. military closely guards the largest poppy plantation in the world.

Currently, the United States guards and aids in the growth of poppies in Afghanistan, -as reported by Fox News’s Geraldo Rivera.  There is of course a good explanation for the double standard.  If the U.S. does not help President Karzai’s brother to make a living of it, then terrorists would grow it and use the money to attack the ‘free world.’  Coincidentally, this is exactly what happens in Colombia.  As reported by the Washington Post, Colombian president’s brother, Santiado Uribe, was the head of an infamous death squad in the northern part of the country, right out of a estate that belonged to the Uribe family.  Santiago, also known for his ties to drug cartels, took it upon himself to murder petty thieves, guerrilla sympathizers and suspected subversives.

But negotiating with Narcos is not limited to Colombia or Afghanistan.  The ‘glorious’ war on drugs reaches the highest heads of the current Obama administration.  Obama’s advisor George Soros is a known narco businessman too.  Soros is one of the most vocal people who want all illegal drugs to be legalized.  As part of the drug war, Colombia surrendered part of a mountainous territory to the FARC, a paramilitary group which was then allegedly dismantled as part of the negotiating process to end the war trade.

NYSE Richard Grasso embracing FARC leader Raul Reyes in 1999.

As the documentary American Drug War exposes, the U.S. has a long history of running drugs across the continents, especially from South America to the North, and more recently from Asia to America.  Since President Nixon legalized the trafficking of drugs by the U.S. government through the establishment of the war on drugs, the business of dealing and transporting drugs has grown exponentially and the result has been the laundering of billions of dollars by Wall Street banks which is then used to finance illegal intelligence secret operations around the globe.  Such operations are carried out to capture non collaborating countries, using guerrilla forces and special-ops military contractors.

Former Los Angeles Police Narcotics Detective Mike Ruppert sent shockwaves around the United States when he told CIA Director John Deutch and a room full of reporters that the organization he headed had been running drugs for a while.  Amadeus, Pegasus and Watch Tower are the names of three operations the CIA used to run drugs around the United States.  He himself had been recruited to help protect the agency’s dealing of drugs.  Ruppert challenged Deutch to investigate classified operations and to tell the truth to the public.

Catherine Austin-Fitts, a former Assistant Secretary of Housing-Federal Housing Commissioner in the first Bush Administration, says of Grasso’s visit to Colombia:

I presume Grasso’s trip was not successful in turning the cash flow tide. Hence, Plan Colombia is proceeding apace to try to move narco deposits out of FARC’s control and back to the control of our traditional allies and, even if that does not work, to move Citibank’s market share and that of the other large US banks and financial institutions steadily up in Latin America.

In her essay Narco Dollars for Dummies, Fitts exposes how the money works in the illicit drug trade.  According to Fitts, the power of Narco Dollars comes when you combine drug trafficking with the Stock Market.  She points out that drugs are not always a commodity, but sometimes it becomes a currency.  When the military industry sells weapons to a terrorist group, for example, they may or may not pay in dollars.  When the green back is scarce, there is the option of paying with drugs.  That is why the CIA brings drugs into the U.S. as payment for the secret sale of arms to Colombia and other puppet governments in Latin America.

We all remember the Iran-Contra scandal.  The heart of the scandal was the fact that Oliver North and the White House (National Security Council) dealt drugs through Mena, Arkansas to facilitate arms shipments. Mena was of course a large contributor to Bill and Hillary Clinton’s multiple campaigns at the local regional and national levels.  Other examples of the drugs for arms trade are the conflicts in Vietnam, Kosovo, Mexico, and so on.  In all these cases, drugs, oil, gas and arms are the currencies used to deal.  “Add gold, currency and bank market share and you have the top of my checklist for understanding how the money works on any war or “low intensity conflict” around the globe,” says Fitts.

Along with Bill Clinton, the Bushes are some of the most corrupt elements of the American elites.

On the other side of the coin we have the Bushes.  George H.W. Bush was CIA director and U.S. President.  His sons Jeb and George W. were the governors of two of the largest drug markets in the United States: Texas and Florida.  The other two states are New York and California.  Later, George W. Bush became president of Unites States.  Can it be a coincidence that the sons of a former CIA Mafia boss successfully held office during one of the most intense drug trafficking period in the history of the country?

Why are people who used drugs put in jail then?  Well, drug trafficking is a round business.  The same corporations who benefit of the drug trade also run the prison system.   Take for example the CCA, or Corrections Corporation of America.  On its website they label their work as a service to build and run prisons.  “Our approach to public-private partnership in corrections combines the cost savings and innovation of business with the strict guidelines and consistent oversight of government.”  From the more than 2 million people in prison in the United States, more than 80 percent are non-violent offenders, who are in jail for smoking, selling or buying marihuana, for example.  The drug trade business simply collects profits from every possible point.  It plants the drugs, harvests them, transports them, sells them and imprisons those who use them.  Of course it is not enough with sending people to prison.  While innocent or non-violent offenders are inside the gulags, they are also obligated to work in slavery camps in order to multiple the profits for the prison industrial complex.  Is that a monopoly or what?