Mortgage Servicing Fraud
occurs post loan origination when mortgage servicers use false statements and book-keeping entries, fabricated assignments, forged signatures and utter counterfeit intangible Notes to take a homeowner's property and equity.
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 - and, as many on this Forum have noted, fails to address MS FRAUD by the culpable companies.....!  

Frequently Asked Questions About the Grand Jury System

What is the purpose of the grand jury?

    The primary function of the modern grand jury is to review the evidence presented by the prosecutor and determine whether there is probable cause to return an indictment.

    The original purpose of the grand jury was to act as a buffer between the king (and his prosecutors) and the citizens. Critics argue that this safeguarding role has been erased, and the grand jury simply acts as a rubber stamp for the prosecutor.

    Since the role of the grand jury is only to determine probable cause, there is no need for the jury to hear all the evidence, or even conflicting evidence. It is left to the good faith of the prosecutor to present conflicting evidence.

    In the federal system, the courts have ruled that the grand jury has extraordinary investigative powers that have been developed over the years since the 1950s. This wide, sweeping, almost unrestricted power is the cause of much of the criticism. The power is virtually in complete control of the prosecutor, and is pretty much left to his or her good faith.

Does every jurisdiction use a grand jury?

    The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires a grand jury indictment for federal criminal charges. Only about half the states now use grand juries.

What is the typical term of a grand jury?

    In virtually every federal jurisdiction, there is at least one grand jury sitting every day. Generally, most federal indictments involve grand juries that sit for five days a week for a period of one month. For cases involving complex and long-term investigations (such as those involving organized crime, drug conspiracies or political corruption), "long term" grand juries will be impaneled. Such "long term" grand juries typically sit fewer days each week, and their terms can be extended in six month increments for up to three years. The schedules vary among the states that still have grand juries.

How are grand jurors selected?

    In most jurisdictions, grand jurors are drawn from the same pool of potential jurors as are any other jury panels, and in the same manner. The pool generally consists of names culled from various databases, such as national voter lists, motor vehicle license lists and public utilities lists.

Does anyone screen grand jurors for biases or other improper factors?

    No. Unlike potential jurors in regular trials, grand jurors are not screened for biases or other improper factors.

How independent is the grand jury?

    The grand jury is independent in theory, and although the instructions given to the grand jurors inform them they are to use their judgment, the practical realities of the situation mitigate against it.

    The grand jury hears only cases brought to it by the prosecutor. The prosecutor decides which witnesses to call. The prosecutor decides which witnesses will receive immunity. The basic questioning is done by the prosecutor on a theory he or she articulates. The grand jury members are generally permitted to ask questions at the end of a witness's testimony. The prosecutor generally decides if he or she has enough evidence to seek an indictment. Occasionally the grand jurors may be asked whether they would like to hear any additional witnesses, but since their job is only to judge what the prosecutor has produced, they rarely ask to do so.

    The prosecutor drafts the charges and reads them to the grand jury. There is no requirement that the grand jury be read any instructions on the law, and such instructions are rarely given.

Why are grand jury proceedings secret?

    Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure provide that the prosecutor, grand jurors, and the grand jury stenographer are prohibited from disclosing what happened before the grand jury, unless ordered to do so in a judicial proceeding. Secrecy was originally designed to protect the grand jurors from improper pressures. The modern justifications are to prevent the escape of people whose indictment may be contemplated, to ensure that the grand jury is free to deliberate without outside pressure, to prevent subornation of perjury or witness tampering prior to a subsequent trial, to encourage people with information about a crime to speak freely, and to protect the innocent accused from disclosure of the fact that he or she was under investigation.

Why can a grand jury witness talk about his or her testimony?

    In the federal courts, the witness is not sworn to secrecy, and may disclose whatever he or she wishes to whomever he or she wishes. The witness exemption was adopted in part because it was thought that requiring witness secrecy was unrealistic and unenforceable, and in part to allow the witness to rebut rumors concerning his or her testimony. There is a basic revulsion in the United States about secret testimony.

Are there any other exceptions to grand jury secrecy?

    At one time, the defendant in a criminal trial was never given access to the grand jury testimony that resulted in the indictment. By the 1980s, in most jurisdictions, if a witness who testified before the grand jury was called to testify at the eventual trial, the defendant was given a copy of that witness's grand jury testimony to use for possible impeachment. Some jurisdictions also give the defendant a list of everyone who testified before the grand jury, and several give the defendant a full transcript of all relevant grand jury testimony. In the federal system, no such list is provided, and the grand jury transcripts of only those persons who testify on behalf of the prosecutor at trial are given to the defendant.

Who must testify before a grand jury?

    A prosecutor can obtain a subpoena to compel anyone to testify before a grand jury, without showing probable cause and, in most jurisdictions, without even showing that the person subpoenaed is likely to have relevant information. In the federal system the prosecutor is not required to demonstrate any relevance. The person subpoenaed to testify then is compelled to answer questions unless he or she can claim a specific privilege, such as the marital privilege, lawyer/client privilege, or the privilege against self-incrimination.

Can a lawyer be called to testify about his or her client?

    A lawyer might be called; but the lawyer/client privilege shields him or her from being compelled to testify about a conversation with a client unless the conversation related to an ongoing or future crime or fraud of the client.

Can a lawyer accompany his or her client inside the grand jury room?

    In the federal system, a witness cannot have his or her lawyer present in the grand jury room, although witnesses may interrupt their testimony and leave the grand jury room to consult with their lawyer. A few states do allow a lawyer to accompany the witness; some allow the lawyer to advise his or her client, others merely allow the lawyer to observe the proceeding.

What is a grant of immunity?

    A grant of immunity to a grand jury witness overcomes the witness's privilege against self-incrimination, and the witness is then required to testify. The prosecutor is prohibited from using that testimony or leads from it to bring charges against the witness. If a subsequent prosecution is brought, the prosecutor bears the burden of proving that all of its evidence was obtained independent of the immunized testimony. In practice, it is difficult to successfully prosecute someone for criminal activity they discussed in immunized testimony unless the prosecution had a fully prepared case before immunity was granted.

    Many states grant the witness "transactional immunity," barring prosecution for a transaction discussed in the immunized testimony regardless of whether there are independent sources of evidence.

Can a witness refuse to appear before the grand jury?

    Not without risking being held in contempt of the court that issued the subpoena to compel their testimony.

What happens if a witness is found in contempt?

    A witness who refuses to testify without legal justification will be held in contempt of court, and is subject to incarceration for the remaining term of the grand jury. A witness who testifies falsely may be separately prosecuted for perjury.

If the grand jury refuses to return an indictment, can the prosecutor come back and try again, or is that barred by double jeopardy?

    Double jeopardy does not apply to the grand jury. In practice, however, it is uncommon for a prosecutor, having failed once, to try again without good reason. The Department of Justice requires the prosecutor to obtain permission of the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division to present the case again.

Can a grand jury target offer evidence of his or her own?

    For the most part, the subject of a grand jury investigation has no right to testify unless subpoenaed, nor any right to compel the grand jury to hear certain witnesses or evidence. Often, however, if a target requests an opportunity to testify, he or she will be permitted by the prosecutor to do so but without a grant of immunity.

    The prosecutor may refuse to present evidence submitted by a target. In federal grand juries, exculpatory evidence need not be presented, although in many states exculpatory evidence must be submitted for the grand jury's consideration. Prosecutors have the right in federal grand juries to introduce hearsay and to otherwise utilize evidence that would not be admissible in a regular trial.

Is there a judge in the grand jury room when testimony is being taken?

    No. Normal rules of evidence do not apply to a grand jury investigation, and a judge is generally needed only to rule on privilege issues or issues relating to contempt.

What protection does a target have against witnesses lying to the grand jury, or against the use of unconstitutionally obtained evidence?

    None. The target's only redress is to challenge the evidence at trial. One of the reasons a witness may assert the Fifth Amendment is that he or she does not know if the prosecutor has presented witnesses who have lied. The witness cannot risk testifying contrary to those witnesses, for fear of being charged with perjury if the prosecutor does not believe his or her testimony.

Copyright American Bar Association.
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Unfortunately, as in all things, the U.S. Attorney for the District in which the alleged criminal activity had occured may or may not exercise his duty to bring charges against anyone or any-it based on the evidence available to the attorney.

As a District Attorney is overwhelmed with complaints being filed by the citizenry, most DAs have a sifting committee referred to as the screening committee.

The screening committee may or may not be a real entity. In our own case, our numerous complaints filed with the U.S. District Court in Chicago were, we believe, routed to designated individual Assistant U.S. Attorneys for them to either submit them to the U.S. Attorney for his consideration, or, as in our case, we received a letter from the "Screening Committee" signed anonymously that rejected our complaints.

The fact is that a U.S. Attorney may be a capable advocate in the courtroom, but, may be naive as to administering the function of office procedures that protect the public good.

As the most recent trial ending in the conviction of former Illinois Governor George Ryan showed, the U.S. District Attorney from the Central District of Illinois appeared as a witness on behalf of the corrupt governor. The defense of George Ryan and his buddy Larry Warner was taken pro bono by former U.S. District Attorney for Chicago and former Illinois governor big Jim Thompson who was chair of the heavy hitting Chicago law firm of Winston & Strawn. Anyway, the U.S. Attorney testifying on behalf of George Ryan had not been pursued by the law firm of Winston and Strawn in their pursuit of unpaid liabilities from the dissolved partenership of the Chicago law firm of Altheimer and Gray.

Was there a quid pro quo deal forged between the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois and the Winston Strawn law firm in exchange for his testimony on behalf of George Ryan in exchange for non-pursuit of the U.S. Attorney's liabilites stemming from the Altheimer and Gray partnership (all other partners of A & G were pursued by Winston and Strawn in the lawsuit)?

Let's face a cold hard fact, U.S. Attorneys are faced with almost impossible tasks of dealing with corruption within their own offices in which complaints are purposely filed in the circular file to protect the rich and politically connected. The only solution is to transfer Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the District in which they serve to other locations. Many times such a move would break the chain and local connections to the heavy hitters and undue influences that corrupt the process.

George Ryan was convicted by overwhelming evidence and is seeking pursuit of an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. George is now on vacation in the Federal Prison System facilites in Wisconsin. His appeal on his conviction to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals was rejected by the Court. His appeal was based on alleged judicial errors in the District Judge's dismissal of jurors from the deliberation process based on their failure to disclose past misdemeanor criminal convictions. Alternate jurors were substituted in the deliberation process. The alternates had heard all the evidence and were more than capable to fairly render a decision.

However, Winston and Strawn's discovery that one of the jurors would have been the sole holdout for a verdict exonerating George and Larry only fueled the attempt by Winston and Strawn, Big Jim Thomspon, and another former U.S. District Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Dan Webb, to have their rightful convictions overturned based on the substitution of the juror that refused to identify any evidence or testimony that would support a "not guity" verdict.

So, poor George will have to likely serve his sentence in full. It is unlikely for President George Bush to pardon the former Gov of Illinois as poor George Ryan had stepped on too many federal toes by making a business trip to Cuba to seek out and establish a basis for future trade between Illinois businesses and Cuban businesses, once Fidel went away.

Anyway, the corruption is widespread. Decisions to prosecute or not by U.S. Attorneys are not necessarily made by the U.S. Attorney. Society as a whole is not being well served by all the ballyhoo surrounding the cover-up now in progress as to the extent of fraud associated with mortgage servicing fraud and mortgage securitizations fraud. If the public buys into the illegitimate claims of all of this fallout of the economy being caused by some sub-prime borrowers, then shame on the electronic and print media for failing to bring the real causes of the fraud corruption to the public's attention.

In the final analysis, although this fraud comes, ultimately, within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Attorneys, there just isn't enough co-operation between the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, The Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, etc., and the lack of will on the part of the U.S. Congress and the U.S. President in requiring the formation of several task forces of U.S. Attorneys to bring swift and widespread prosecutions of the perpetrators. The buck stops at the top of the Federal Government for their failure to prosecute. By failing to prosecute, being as how their are no meaningful prosecutions, convictions and justified consequences, these clever fraudsters will end up somewhere else in either our or our children and grandchildren's futures with a new fraud scheme that steals from us all our rights, our properties, our liberties and our happiness.

So, again, Mr. President, take pen to paper, and sign an executive order establishing several task forces consisting of forensic accountants, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys, and, if necessary, Special Courts of Prosecution, established by Act of Congress, in which the people are the triers of fact, the facts are entered into evidence and a verdict (by jurors, not judges) rendered.

Although the actions necessary, as outlined above, are not the status quo, the future of the country is at stake. Do what Japan did in their purge of the enormous fraud inherent in their system by vanquishing the fraudsters.
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