Friday, June 20, 2008

The Next BIG Story: Operation Malicious Mortgage

Goofy name, but should be a juicy story.
Operation Malicious Mortgage represents the joint collaborative efforts of the FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Trustee Program, Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of the Inspector General, Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of the Inspector General. Operation Malicious Mortgage is the most recent coordinated sweep in an ongoing law enforcement effort to combat mortgage fraud, which also included Operation Continued Action in 2004 and Operation Quick Flip in 2005.

While investigating 144 mortgage fraud cases, the FBI has made 400 arrests, including some Bear Stearnsers.

Working as a realtor in the real estate go-go days of the early 21st century, I benefited along with my clients from the exotic mortgage products that were handily available from every mom and pop mortgage company to Countrywide. Fortunately, the lure to recommend Lenders and/or mortgage products that some Agents succumbed to, did not appeal to me. Insulated by an ethical code and the commonsense to "know whereof I spoke", I stuck to real estate and left the lending to the lenders. Referring clients to several, as opposed to recommending any lender, assured my clean hands and good nights' sleep then and now. Not so, the Agents that have thus far been arrested, as well as those currently undergoing investigation. The investigation may not reach so far down to nab folks beyond the mortgage-backed securities level--but it could. Trickle down economics and all that. In any case, hopefully the ongoing investigations will merit the media's attention and fill the void left by the passing of the 2008 Democratic Primary election. Is it just me, or is the campaign hardly even mentioned on the Daily Show or The Colbert Report anymore? :) Maybe it's got something to do with equal air time or something.

The nomination process may have seemed neverending, but it was a sexy story--relative to the wonkish goings-on that now necessarily dominate the general election campaign. Of course, policy is pretty much what all the politics is about, so, this is where the rubber hits the road. Now is when all those attracted to the "celebritiness" of the campaigns start to tune a deaf ear, or belabor perceived sexist slights. It's also the time that others start to listen more acutely for the distinctions between the candidate's positions. The whole public campaign financing (issue?) may be pertinent, but important? Does anyone really care? Seems to me that Barack took a principled stand; besides with energy prices soaring, global resource conflicts mounting, it may not be reasonable for folks to continue checking-off that box to make a contribution on their tax returns every year!

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