May 29, 2007 marked the beginning of production for FOLLOW THE MONEY, an investigative look at the background and impact of the sub-prime mortgage crisis. It’s a story with implications for the well-woven fabric we call the American Dream. With ever-increasing numbers of mortgage defaults, homeowners are seeing dreams turn to nightmares… and the predictions remain dire. In the next few years it’s estimated that another 2.2 million homes will be lost through foreclosure. And it’s not only the working class and poor -- a significant segment of the middle-class has been impacted as well.
Bob and Stacy Schmidt of Maryville, Tennessee are victims. But they’ve decided to fight back. With two sons and five dogs the family has fought for several years to prevent what they contend is an illegal foreclosure. With a loan originated by the bankrupt sub-prime giant, New Century, the Schmidt's now find themselves locked in battle with Litton Loan Servicing, a so-called mortgage “servicer.” Litton has been the subject of numerous consumer complaints and the target of several individual and class action lawsuits.
A dramatic confrontation on May 29th, 2007 was caught on tape by Pacific Street when three carloads of Sheriff’s deputies arrived with an order of eviction. The Schmidt’s had declared they would not leave, despite threats of arrest. A last minute phone call to a Federal Judge ended the tense stand-off. However a few days later the deputies returned, armed with a new foreclosure notice. Caught on tape, is the arrest of the Schmidt’s son as well as the “removal” of Mr. Schmidt from the residence – in handcuffs.
The Schmidt's — self-proclaimed conservative “red staters” — are armed with a crusading passion that goes beyond an attempt to just save their home. “We’re trying to show the country what the system is doing to regular people,” declared Bob Schmidt. Many believe that mortgage fraud in the sub-prime industry is a scandal of Enron proportions.
But Litton is just the tip of the iceberg, one of many so-called “mortgage servicers.” This segment of the sub-prime industry – with links to hedge funds, equity investors and major banks – offers a window on how a mortgage-based house of cards was carefully constructed over the last two decades – and now is beginning to topple, creating tremors that have rippled through the global economy.
In every sense, FOLLOW THE MONEY will be a taught, dramatic investigative “adventure.”
|© 2008 Pacific Street Films, All Rights Reserved|
|Follow the Money |
Benjamin R Barber
Senior Fellow, DEMOS
Jacksonville Legal Aid Lawyer
Prof. Financial Engineering
Pulitzer-Prize Winning Journalist
New York Times
Graham Fisher & Company