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This is not your (fore)fathers’ United States of America

This is not your (fore)fathers’ United States of America

In my Saturday Night Race Card post a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was researching a book on real estate fraud and corruption.

The main characters in my narrative are a couple who look like you and me and seem perfectly lovely.  But in the go-go days of free mortgages last decade, they bought ten homes with almost no money and no credit, and as the market skyrocketed they cashed out on re-fis to the tune of millions.

Then when the market tanked and they found themselves upside on every property, they divorced for legal purposes (they’ve never not lived together), divvied up the homes, named each other as creditors, filed for individual Chapter 7 bankruptcies, lied repeatedly on the filings, wiped out millions in debts, were allowed to keep the upside homes because the bankruptcy trustees only want assets that they can convert to cash for the creditors, and have continued to collect rent from tenants while the homes are in foreclosure—going on four and five years.

A few days ago, as part of my research, I dispatched my wife to gather some documents from an old probate filing in Ventura(Calif.), just north and west of Los Angeles.

Keep in mind that these are public documents available for everyone to see, whether they’re cops or illegal aliens.  But when my wife filled out the request form and asked for the file, the clerk demanded her driver’s license.

“Why?” my wife asked why.

“For security,” the clerk said.

“These are public documents.”

“Yes, they are.”

“I don’t have to show my license to vote.”

“I know.”

“But here, I have to not only show you my license, I have to give you my license to see public documents?”

“We just hold it till you bring the file back.”

“But I’m sitting right there, at that table in front of you.”

“You wouldn’t believe the amount of theft we have.”

“So holding licenses is the only way to stop it?”

“It’s the cheapest way.”

“What if someone has a stolen license?”

“We can’t do anything about that.”

“If I show up voting day at the polls and pretend to be my neighbor or make up another name, I get to vote without showing i.d.”

“That would be illegal.”

“In fact, I think all I have to do to register to vote the first time is show a utility bill. In which case, I could be an illegal.”

“I don’t know about that.”

“But if I want to see public documents I have to actually give you my i.d.”

“Yes.”

“Why aren’t these documents scanned and available online?”

“We don’t have the money for that.”

“How much does it cost to photocopy a page?”

“Fifty cents.”

“Maybe with the money you’re making on Xeroxing you could hire a guard to stand at the door.”

“Ma’am, if you want the file, I need your license.”

Well, I needed the file, so my wife handed over her license.

This is only a side anecdote to the main issue, but in a very real sense the exchange hints at the corruption I’ve been uncovering.  Clearly, the bigger government gets, the further it strays from its public charter.  This couple I’m writing about have been aided and abetted, if only passively, by large banking institutions and law enforcement (local, state, and feds) that simply avert their eyes because no one wants to be bothered.

The story is like a white-collar Blue Velvet.  But believe me, this isn’t Capt. Renault territory here. This is tens of billions of dollars that end up in the pockets of ordinary crooks who know they’ll never face the music, even though guiltless taxpayers end up footing the bill in the form of programs like TARP and bailouts to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

I’m still at the outer edges of the research, but in the months I’ve been doing this I haven’t found a single law-abiding citizen—including lawyers!—who isn’t as shocked and dismayed as I’ve been by the amount of open-secret corruption out there.  The only exceptions?  People in law enforcement, banking, and government.  They simply shrug and say, “Yeah, there’s a lot of that going on.”

Example: One of the documents my wife found was a lien notice filed by a national retailer on a home that the couple lived in.  The lien, like the home, was in the name of the wife’s father…who died seven years ago.  Apparently three years ago the couple ran up $11,000 on the dead man’s card—which is fraud—and never paid for the merchandise, which is grand theft.

I asked a detective who heads a white-collar crime task force what would happen if, when I publish, I use the couple’s real names.  Will they be subject to indictment?

“Probably not,” he said. “But you might be exposing yourself to a defamation suit.”

Remember that the next time your credit card company hits you up for a late fee, and your bank charges you ten bucks for a bounced check—even if someone wrote it to you.

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Comments

Nothing good seems to be occurring. Deep breath.

There is alot of slimy stuff going on with low-income housing development too. A local not-for-profit low income housing developer somehow manages to get $385k of public financing PER UNIT to build 2 bedroom apartments. The median price of a single family home in the area is $322k.

I develop apartments. The true cost of building 2 bedroom apartments locally is about $200k per unit.

Every local politician, planner, or newspaper reporter to whom I’ve pointed it out just shrugs.

[…] This is not your (fore)fathers’ United States of America […]

Despite the unnecessary digression about your wife, this is a very worthwhile post. I trust the book will be similarly worthwhile. Good luck with it.

Nothing to be really concerned about as the cure is rather simple.

1) Learn to crawl upside-down on ceilings

2) Learn to hear things that really aren’t

3) Learn to lie between your teeth

See? Not much here to overcome. Just go inversely with the flow and it’ll all be good…

Unfortunate…

….that so many accept public corruption as the norm.

Those real estate schemes/scams are beyond my comprehension and my conscience.

But everybody and their brother seems to be scamming somebody, especially the taxpayer…

Medicaid/Medicare fraud, Food Stamp and Welfare Benefits fraud, unemployment benefits fraud…congressional insider trading fraud, crony capitalism and kickbacks, and equity/corporate (think Romney/Bain) sort of fraud, getting rich playing games with taxpayer dollars.

Check this out (via Instapundit). This is the machine in only one state. Can you imagine the scope of fraud run in all dimorat controlled states? The dims will never lose another election.

http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/01/welfare_recipients_‘missing’

SoCA Conservative Mom | January 4, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Interesting. In San Diego county they require a driver’s license number on the little slip when you ask for a file at the court clerk’s office. They don’t take the license itself. Next time I’m at the clerk’s office, I’ll have to ask why they want the driver’s license number and not the actual license. Something nefarious? Wouldn’t doubt it and before you say I’m being paranoid, just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean someone isn’t out to get you.

Yes, welcome to the United Scam of America!!

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