The Fed Bailed Out A Libya-Owned Bank

Here's one for the WTF files. While it is neither a secret that back in 2009 America had a thriving relationship with the world's suddenly most hated man Moammar Gaddafi (see "Obama is the first U.S. president to shake Gaddafi's hand") only to turn around and bomb him, nor is it surprising since after all when it comes to oil our administration will do anything and everything to procure it, no matter how many Nobel peace prizes are trampled in the process, it may come as a surprise to some that a bank majority owned by the Libya Central Bank, was the direct recipient of US taxpayer largesse in the form of discount window borrowing. Bloomberg writes that Arab Banking Corp., a lender part- owned by the Central Bank of Libya, used a branch in New York to borrow at least $5 billion from the U.S. Federal Reserve as credit markets seized up in 2008 and 2009. Indeed a quick word search through the compiled daily releases will confirm that the Fed dispersed funds to the Libya-owned venture on well over 30 occasions. And while we have querried in the past how it is possible that various Libyan financial interests managed to get past domestic Anti Money Laundering provisions, when it comes to direct funding from taxpayers would it be too much to ask of Ben Bernanke not to transact with institutions operating on behalf of various so-called tyrants, mutants and, broadly, Antichrists?

More from Bloomberg:

The bank, then 29 percent-owned by the Libyan state, drew $1.1 billion from the Fed’s so-called discount window in October 2008, Including $450 million during the week when hundreds of financial firms drew a record amount of emergency funding from the U.S lending program, according to data released by the Fed today. Arab Banking Corp. also owed about $4 billion to the Fed under other bailout programs in the fall of 2009, data released in December show.

The U.S. government has since frozen assets linked to the regime of Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi and engaged in air strikes against his military forces as they battle a rebel uprising in the North African country. Arab Banking Corp. received an exemption that allows the firm to continue operating while prohibiting it from engaging in any transactions with the government of Libya, according to the Treasury Department.

Libya’s stake in Manama, Bahrain-based Arab Banking Corp. increased to 59 percent in December 2010, the company said on Dec. 2.

David Siegel, treasurer of Arab Banking Corp.’s branch on Park Avenue in midtown Manhattan, declined to comment when contacted. The bank’s board is chaired by Mohammed Hussain Layas, chief executive officer of the Libyan Investment Authority. The CEO is Bahrain-based Hassan Ali Juma.

Forget Nationalizing: An Irish Renege on Bailouts?

Call it The Big Renege:

Last month, I discussed what a horrific decision the Irish made when it came to their bank bailouts. They foolishly placed the entire liability for reckless bankers onto the taxpayers.

Well, the Irish voters tossed out the entire lot, and the new government has been looking for an excuse to renege on that deal. It looks like they got it after their most recent stress tests, when the government uncovered a €24 billion ($33.9 billion) capital shortfall:

In a bid to end a 30-month banking crisis that forced Ireland to accept a €67.5 billion international bailout package and contributed to the ousting of its government, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said Thursday that he will reorganize the sector around two heavily capitalized “pillar banks,” Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks PLC. At least three other lenders will be shut down or merged into other banks, he said.

The government already has pumped €46.3 billion into its banks since 2009, meaning the tab could swell to €70 billion if the government has to foot the entire bill. That would represent more than €15,000 for each of Ireland’s 4.5 million residents. Some of the new cost will ultimately be covered by the €67.5 billion bailout, but some funds may also come from either private investors or capital-raising actions by the banks.

Understand that this is about more than merely temporarily nationalizing the banking sector. The absurdity of the panic decision to rescue bankers by screwing taxpayers was simply untenable. The bailouts are pushing Ireland to the brink of insolvency.

Hence, we may be seeing an early look at not only these banks getting nationalized, but a near future reboot: A pre-packaged bankruptcy reorg for every Irish bank.

The alternative is liquidation — of either the banks, or Ireland itself.

Good for the Irish to have finally figured this out! (Too bad we Americans have not)


Irish Banks Move Toward Nationalization
WSJ, March 31, 2011, 4:28 P.M. ET

Matt Stoller: Comptroller of the Currency Orders National Banks to Cover Up Foreclosure Scandal

By Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. His Twitter feed is: Cross posted from New Deal 2.0

Acting OCC head John Walsh is standing in the way of information that could help desperate homeowners.

I was rereading some testimony by Mark Kaufman, the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation, on mortgage servicer behavior. He testified this month before the House Oversight Committee on something quite scandalous.

Together with banking commissioners in four other states, our Office of Financial Regulation joined twelve state Attorneys General in the State Foreclosure Prevention Working Group launched under the leadership of Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller in 2007. This group sought to work collaboratively with the mortgage servicing industry and other parties to identify solutions to the myriad of problems we were seeing in addressing the crisis. The group gathered data submitted voluntarily from the largest subprime servicers and published five reports during 2008 to 2010 providing analysis on foreclosure issues and the servicing response. Unfortunately, this data and the related dialogue fell short of its potential as the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency forbade national banks from providing loss mitigation data to the states.

Subprime servicers were willing to hand over data. But national banks were ordered not to provide data on loss mitigation to investigators. It gets worse. Kaufman notes that in Maryland, loan modifications often led to homeowners paying a higher monthly amount after getting their loan modified. When a homeowner asked for help, they got a higher bill. In essence, this is the financial equivalent of having the fire department try to put out a blazing inferno with gasoline.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency measured and publicized only redefault rates on modifications, which were predictably high, while doing nothing to capture the increased payments that our data suggested often lay beneath. It took almost a full year and requests from Congressional representatives including Congressman Cummings before the Comptroller would examine the impact of modifications on the borrower’s underlying payment obligation. Once measured, modification terms began to improve materially and redefaults began to fall.

A redefault is basically the ultimate failure and scam. It means that instead of foreclosing immediately, or modifying a loan so that it was a workable payment structure, the bank strung out the homeowner until they drained all their savings, and then foreclosed.

Well, it looks a lot like the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency knowingly prevented the release of information that would have led to lower redefault rates.

I think it’s pretty obvious that we need a lot more information on what happened before any sort of behavioral change will take place. The OCC is an institution in need of drastic change. The good news it that the Obama White House can make this happen, without Congress. Bill Black noted this last year, when he suggested Obama appoint Jamie Galbraith to head it (this would have to be a recess appointment, but so what).

It would be a positive surprise if the administration fired acting Comptroller John Walsh and brought in someone interested in doing something about the crashing housing market.

Guest Post: The Five-Million-Dollar Reason for Going Offshore

Submitted by Terry Coxon of The Casey Report

The Five-Million-Dollar Reason for Going Offshore

Just when you thought there was nothing more the U.S. government could do to motivate you to ship your financial life offshore, they came up with another one. And if you have a sizeable net worth, it’s a big one; you could save your family $2.2 million in taxes by acting on the opportunity during the next 21 months. A husband-and-wife effort could save twice as much.

Included in the 2010 Tax Act passed by Congress late last year are gift and estate tax rules that apply only in 2011 and 2012. Compared to the rules they replaced, and compared to the rules that will take effect in 2013, they are especially permissive. The tax savings come from exploiting those interim rules before they expire.

For this year and next, you are granted a $5 million exemption from gift tax. If your bank account can handle it, you could write a check today for $5 million to someone in the next generation and incur no gift tax.

But it’s a use-it-or-lose-it opportunity. Starting in 2013, the exemption from gift and estate tax drops to $1 million, and the top tax rate on gifts and estates rises to 55%. (That’s substantially a reversion to the rules in effect in 2002.) So if you do nothing, you lose a free opportunity to reduce your taxable estate by a net amount of $4 million – which, at a 55% tax rate, means your family loses an opportunity to avoid $2.2 million in estate tax.   


Estate tax has always been an avoidable levy. Regardless of the level of wealth, for those who planned well and planned early, the tax eventually incurred was trivial. The 2010 Tax Act doesn’t change that fact, it just makes it easier, until the end of next year, to exploit the fact. Even so, most people will let the $5 million opportunity slip by, as people always do with estate-tax saving opportunities. Because I hope you won't be one of them, let’s look at the practical impediments to effective estate planning, the things that get in the way and eventually cost the survivors so much in unnecessary tax.

Haven’t Gotten to It. Estate planning is not the kind of topic that draws most people in. And it’s generally about the far future, so it’s easy to tell yourself there will be plenty of time to deal with it later. If that sounds like you, maybe the $5 million opportunity that Congress is offering for just the next 21 months will spark some action.

Already Did It. If you’ve already done your estate planning homework, you probably don’t want to reopen the matter. But if you have a large estate, making that effort could save your heirs $2.2 million in estate tax.

They’ll Waste It. The thought of your 16-year-old grandson touring America on a $50,000 motorcycle likely does not live up to your highest hopes for posterity. Many wealthy individuals hold back from making gifts to younger generations because they don’t want to see the money wasted. Concern that gifts would remove capital from the control of the family’s most astute investor and cunning financial manager also discourages gifts. But such concerns are easily dealt with by using a trust. You can make a gift to an irrevocable trust of which you are the trustee. The property escapes the reach of estate tax, but you continue to decide how the money is invested and when it turns into spendable cash for the beneficiaries.

I Might Need It. You don’t want to do such a thorough job of estate planning that you plan yourself into the poorhouse. It’s pleasant to contemplate the financial head start you can provide for future generations, but not if you see yourself at the margin of the picture signing up for food stamps.

Offshore Solution

Those are the four reasons the government is able to collect billions of dollars in otherwise avoidable estate taxes every year. There's a way to shrink every one of those reasons and keep your family from eventually contributing to the government’s annual take: use an offshore trust. Here's what happens when you put an offshore trust at the center of your financial planning.

Haven’t Gotten to It. For reasons I’ll touch on, an offshore trust is the optimal environment for estate planning. But that’s really just a footnote.

An offshore trust is a cornucopia of benefits you can enjoy now. It provides unbeatable protection for your assets – protection from aggressive lawsuits, protection from lightning asset seizures and protection from the possible gold confiscation and currency controls that have many investors worried. It gives you entry to all types of foreign financial institutions, most of which no longer want to deal directly with Americans. That means more and better opportunities for profit and for truly effective diversification, and it means access to tax-efficient investment products you can’t get in the U.S.

Because those benefits begin right from the start, they counter the psychology of procrastination. And once you’ve established an offshore trust to gain those benefits, it only takes about 5 minutes of your attention to use the trust to capture the $5 million advantage I’ve been discussing.

Already Did It. An offshore trust can accommodate every estate-planning strategy your lawyer has told you about. You won't need to reinvent your estate plan, you'll just need to relocate it. And while you're doing so, you can bring it up to date to exploit the opportunity that was handed to you by the 2010 Tax Act.

Moving your estate plan offshore achieves an additional, highly attractive advantage. After your lifetime, the trust completely disconnects from the U.S. tax system. Distributions to your survivors will be reportable and partly taxable, but no one will be subject to U.S. tax on earnings the trust accumulates. The trust needn't be in anyone's taxable estate ever again. And no one will have a U.S. reporting obligation for the trust itself. That's as out of town as money can lawfully get.

They'll Waste It. An offshore trust can do as well as a domestic trust in dealing with the spendthrift problem, and maybe a little better. It has an edge because it provides better protection from the creditors some of your heirs someday might attract. In the meantime, it allows you to continue to manage the underlying investments just as you do now.

I Might Need It. Here is where an offshore trust shines for anyone who wants to exploit the $5 million opportunity.

If you transfer money to a trust, whether offshore or not, and you include yourself as a discretionary beneficiary (one who is eligible to receive a distribution but who has no fixed right to demand a distribution), and you later discover that you need the money for yourself, the trustee will have the power to give it to you. But if the trust is formed in the U.S., the money in the trust probably will remain in your taxable estate, because courts in the U.S. generally will tap into such a trust to satisfy your creditors.

By the standards of U.S. gift tax rules, if something is still available to your creditors, you haven't really given it away. (A few states have passed laws that attempt to protect such a trust from the grantor's creditors, but those laws can't protect a trust formed in the U.S. from lawsuits against the grantor in federal courts. The money is still available to at least some of the grantor's creditors, so it is still in the grantor's estate.)

The situation in some offshore jurisdictions is different. You can include yourself as a discretionary beneficiary of your trust, and if you later have a problem with a creditor, the courts there will tell your creditor to go away. Because the trust is protected from your personal creditors, your transfers to it move the money out of your taxable estate – even though the trustee has the authority to give the money back to you if you later need it.

With an offshore trust, the money's continued availability for your own support makes it far easier to exploit the $5 million opportunity that Congress has handed to you. And if you are married, it's a $10 million opportunity, but it runs out at the end of 2012.

Terry Coxon, co-editor of The Casey Report, is president of Passport Financial, Inc., and for over 30 years has advised clients on legal ways to internationalize their assets to optimize tax, wealth protection and estate planning goals. Read here how you can take advantage of a U.S. tax act and save a lot of money in the process…

Town Hall Discussion of Energy Solutions: Live Stream of Dylan Ratigan Here at 8 PM EDT

Dylan Rtigan is hosting an important conversation on energy solutions from a Town Hall panel live from Oklahoma State University at 8PM ET / 7PM CST tonight. The goal is to generate the political will to reduce our dependence on oil.

Panelists include:

· Boone Pickens, Oil Tycoon & Founder, BP Capital Management
· Ashwin Madia,
· Bob Deans, Director of Federal Communications, Natural Resources Defense Council
· Former CIA Director James Woolsey

View it below:

Watch live streaming video from dylanratigan at

Or you can also view it at Facebook (

Irish Bank Stress Tests and European Bond Spreads

On the Irish banks from the Irish Times: Irish banks require an extra €24 billion recapitalisation
Ireland’s beleaguered banking sector is to be recapitalised by a further €24 billion and restructured around two core retail banks ... This is the fifth attempt to recapitalise the banks and brings the total cost of bailing out the sector from €46 billion to €70 billion.
[Minister for Finance Michael Noonan] indicated the Government would seek "significant contributions" from subordinated bondholders in the banks to contribute to the cost of recapitalising the sector.

Mr Noonan also signalled the Government was no longer considering the imposition of losses on senior bondholders in Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks. However, he said the Government but would re-examine the possibility of imposing losses on senior bondholders at Anglo Irish Bank, if that lender required additional capital.
Here is a look at European bond spreads from the Atlanta Fed weekly Financial Highlights released today (graph as of March 30th):

Euro Bond Spreads Click on graph for larger image in new window.

From the Atlanta Fed:
Most peripheral European bond spreads (over German bonds) continue to be elevated, particularly those of Greece, Ireland, and Portugal, with the latter two countries seeing their financial situations worsening.

Since the March FOMC meeting, the 10-year Greece-to-German bond spread has declined by 38 basis points (bps), through March 29. Also, the Spanish spread has declined by 17 bps.

However, the spread for Ireland and Portugal has risen by 49 bps and 44 bps, respectively.
Here are the Ten Year yields for Ireland, Portugal, Greece, and Germany. The spreads to Germany widened more today with Greece up to 948 bps, Ireland up to 687 bps, and Portugal up to 505 bps. The good news is the spreads have been declining for the other European countries.

Fukushima Update

Fukushima Update (Video)

Arnie Gundersen at Fairewinds Associates Inc is an energy advisor with 39 years of nuclear power engineering experience, a former nuclear industry executive, and he was a licensed reactor operator. During this crisis in Japan, Arnie's become a premier expert offering frequent video updates on Fairewinds' website.

The newest video has not been posted on youtube yet, and I'm unable to capture the vimeo code for this site - but you can watch it by clicking here (Arnie's videos)Update on Fukushima: Discussion of High Level Radiation Releases and the Previous "Worse Case Senario" Planned for by The Industry from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo. - Ilene 

Gundersen describes the Fukushima plant as stable, but precarious. In this update, he discusses the high levels of radiation (2 Million disintegrations/second being found on the ground as far as 25 miles from the plant site.) He also addresses a New York Times report of hundreds of tons of water being put into the reactors each day. Gundersen points out that all of the water going in to the reactors is being irradiated, leaking out, and polluting the Ocean. He concludes by discussing the differences between the accident scenarios that the nuclear industry previously planned for and what has actually happened.

See also: 

Bodies of 1,000 victims of Japan earthquake left uncollected because of fears of high levels of radiation


anti-nuclear protests

It comes after Japan finally conceded defeat in the battle to contain radiation at four of Fukushima's crippled reactors. They will now be shut down.

Details of how this will be done are yet to be revealed, but officials said it would mean switching off all power and abandoning attempts to keep the nuclear fuel rods cool.

The final move would involve pouring tonnes of concrete on the reactors to seal them in tombs and ensure radiation does not leak out.

The country's nuclear safety agency revealed levels of radiation in the ocean near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant had surged to 4,385 times the regulatory limit.

The dramatic announcement that the four reactors are out of control and will have to be decommissioned was made yesterday by the chairman of the electric company operating the Fukushima plant.

With a deep bow and a grimace, Mr Tsunehisa Katsumata finally offered a humble apology for the failure to stop the leakage of radiation. 

  • Police, rescue workers and family members could be exposed to radiation
  • Radioactivity levels in the ocean 4,385 times above regulatory limit
  • Fisherman warned not to operate within 12 miles of plant
  • Compensation claims could top $12bn
  • Power firm's shares lose 80% of value - may need government bailout
  • President still recovering in hospital recovering from 'fatigue and stress'
  • U.S. sends specialist Marine unit to assist in decontamination
  • Traces of radioactive particles found in U.S. milk - Radiation from Japan's crippled nuclear plant detected in MILK in two U.S. states, Mail Online

Full article here >

Radiation Detected in Plant Groundwater

Fukushima Daiichi Operators Report High Iodine Isotope Levels, Then Reverse Course; Prime Minister Challenges Industry

TOKYO—Workers at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power complex found radioactive groundwater just outside one of its troubled reactor buildings, adding a new area of uncertainty to the battle to contain radiation at the troubled facility.

In a brief statement released late Thursday, Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant's operator, said a test of groundwater at the site revealed radioactive iodine—a common isotope found at the site since it was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami on March 11—at levels 10,000 times the limit the Japanese government sets on seawater.

A Tepco spokesman said shortly after the statement was released that the reading may have been in error and would be reviewed and re-released Friday. That echoed a similar moment last weekend in which the company released radiation readings from around the plant only to amend them down several orders of magnitude, exposing them to a government reprimand.

Continue here > 

For fun - "Ann Coulter versus physics" is a long, detailed analysis of Ann Coulter's ridiculous assertion that a little radiation is good for you. 


Last week Coulter wrote a blisteringly stupid followup to her blisteringly ignorant column from two weeks ago entitled A Glowing Report on Radiation. She wrote this article in the wake of the fears arising in Japan and around the world of nuclear catastrophe due to the damage to the Fukushima nuclear power plant caused by the earthquake and tsunami that hit northern Japan on March 11. Coulter wassubsequently interviewed by Fox News pundit Bill O'Reilly on The O'Reilly Factor


As is usually the case for any scientific claims made by Coulter, this is utter rubbish. Unfortunately for Coulter, her timing in publishing her article was exquisitely bad. On the very next day after her article was published, the National Cancer Institute released the most comprehensive study yet of thyroid cancer in Chernobyl survivors. The findings indicated that radioactive iodine (131I) from the fallout from the reactor was likely responsible for thyroid cancers that are still occurring among people who lived near the reactor and that the risk of this cancer is not declining. In other words, no, Ann, the hugely elevated levels of thyroid cancer among people who live near Chernobyl when the reactor disaster occurred are not due to iodine deficiency in the Russian diet. There is some evidence that iodine deficiency might have increased the risk of 131I-induced cancers, particularly in the youngest, but that's not what Coulter said. She implied that iodine deficiency could account for the elevated incidence of thyroid cancer among those affected by the fallout. Much more about the health effects of the Chernobyl disaster can be foundhere. It should also be noted that most people who lived in the area were not exposed to that much radiation according to the United Nations-sponsored team investigating. Most were exposed to about 9 mSv, about 1/3 the equivalent of a CT scan of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis, once the short-term doses to the thyroid were subtracted.

Fraudclosure Fighter Under Attack | aka Lisa Epstein Under Attack by Nationwide Title Clearing

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you,
then you win.”
Mahatma Gandhi AKA Lisa Epstein Under Attack by Nationwide Title Clearing

Well well well

For the longest time, we were all ignored by everyone we tried to call out or warn.

Once they did start listening, they ridiculed us and treated our allegations and findings as irrelevant, then technicalities (felonies)…

Now that they all starting realize that the gig is up and their games are coming to an end, and have nowhere else to turn, they want to fight us.

Next stage? Only time will tell…

We have wondered when a day like this would come. Now it has arrived and it is time to fight. It will be an interesting fight if NTC chooses to proceed with their threats. It is hard to take someone down when they have nothing to lose.

You see, the banksters already have taken everything from my friend Lisa, except for her freedom of speech. Now they are coming for that, and she will not allow it.

Below is a cease and desist letter with exhibits from Nationwide Tile Clearing Attorney Michael B. Colgan with GLENN RASMUSSEN FOGARTY & HOOKER to Lisa Epstein and Lisa’s response through her attorney.

The letter and the response speak for themselves but here are some excerpts from NTC's cease and desist.

From Nationwide’s cease and desist letter…

Dear Ms. Epstein:

We are counsel to Nationwide Title Clearing, Inc. ["NTC"). I am notifying you that
your firm's website, contains materially false statements
regarding NTC, Bryan Bly, and Crystal Moore, claiming that NTC creates false documents for financial institutions that are subsequently submitted to courts in mortgage foreclosure proceedings. More specifically, your website contains the following postings which are materially false and misleading:

On November 77,201,0, your site states:

MISSION CRITICAL - H.R. 3803 Needs Congressional Attention: Insist Upon a Congressional Vote to Uphold the Presidential Veto

This posting falsely accuses Crystal Moore of being a "criminal perpetrator" when
she executes documents on behalf of NTC. The posting must be removed immediately. In addition, on November L9, 20L0, Sarasota Circuit Judge Rick DeFuria entered a temporary and mandatory injunction against Christopher Forrest and The Forrest Law Firm, and all persons acting in concert with either, enjoining those individuals from "posting, publishing, disseminating, or maintaining materials from the video depositions of [Bryan Bly, Crystal Moore, and Dhurata Doko] until further order by this Court.” A copy of |udge DeFuria’s injunction is enclosed for your review.

Your site’s November 8,2010, post contains a post with the heading
“Mortgage Fraud” that reads as follows:

Featuring Wildly Productive Robosigners Bryan Bly of
Document Solutions Company, Nationwide Title Clearing:

Not only does your post summarize Mr. Bly’s deposition post which is in violation of
judge DeFuria’s injunction as stated above, your website falsely implies that it was
improper for Mr. Bly to sign numerous mortgage assignments each day as an officer of over 20 banks and mortgage companies, even though he was told there were corporate resolutions from those companies authorizing him to sign as an officer of those banks and mortgage companies. You go on to falsely imply that Mr. Bly was guilty of wrongful conduct because he did not read the assignments before signing them and had no knowledge of their contents. All of this of course, is posted under the heading “Mortgage Fraud.”

As I am sure you know by now, NTC has duly-executed resolutions or powers of
attorney for the financial institutions on whose behalf Mr. Bly executed the assignments. Assignments simply need to be executed; the signer is not required to read them before signing, and your posts suggest otherwise. It is false and misleading and must be removed immediately.

Your post of October 11,2010, entitled “Pigs Ass” wrongfully implies that any
documents created by NTC, Bryan BIy, or Crystal Moore should be presumed to be false. The post states:

NTC, Bryan Bly or Crystal Moore, should be presumed by others to be false is materially false and misleading, as well as legally actionable. This post must be removed immediately.

Your post dated September 14,2010, and entitled

“Anthology of the Works of a Prolific Robosigner: Jeffrey Stephan of GMAC”

Your post of fune 29,2010, entitled

“Comments for: Lynn Szymoniak”

The statement that Mary Jo McGowan of NTC is a “fraudulent signer” and that the
“fraud . . . is coming out of Pinellas Counly/” (where NTC has its offices) is false and
materially misleading. It must be removed immediately.

Complete copies of these website posts are attached hereto for your review. (below)

You must remove all references to Mr. Bly, Ms. Moore, NTC, or any of its other employees within five [5J days of the date of the letter and cease and desist making any false statements about Mr. Bly, NTC, or its employees, whether on the Internet or

To the extent that you contend that you published these comments in good faith; or
that their falsity was within the protective mechanism outlined in Section 770.02, Florida statutes which NTC disputesJ, NTC, Mr. Bly, Ms. Moore, Ms. Doko and Ms. McGowan hereby demand that a full and fair correction, apology, or retraction be made as provided by law.

If you do not remove these false statements and cease your wrongful activity, NTC
intends to avail itself of all available legal remedies against you and anyone else associated with www.

You have been duly notified. Govern yourself accordingly.

Now we all know who these people are don't we?

They are the "robosigners" from the video depositions last fall that were posted here on Zero Hedge.

If you do not know who they are or have not seen their depositions, they still can be found on youtube by searching their names.

Or you can read some of the transcript courtesy of the Huffington Post.

The three employees of Nationwide Title Clearing — notary Crystal Moore, “signer in charge” Bryan Bly and witness Dhurata Doko — gave depositions to lawyer Christopher Forrest, reports the St. Petersburg Times. Their testimony presents a detailed and often shocking portrait of the assembly-line like process for approving documents.

The employees admit they didn’t read the thousands of documents they signed daily, and they betray ignorance of key aspects of the mortgage industry. In some cases, according to the testimony, their signatures were affixed to documents without their knowledge.

The three employees of Nationwide Title Clearing — notary Crystal Moore, “signer in charge” Bryan Bly and witness Dhurata Doko — gave depositions to lawyer Christopher Forrest, reports the St. Petersburg Times. Their testimony presents a detailed and often shocking portrait of the assembly-line like process for approving documents.

The employees admit they didn’t read the thousands of documents they signed daily, and they betray ignorance of key aspects of the mortgage industry. In some cases, according to the testimony, their signatures were affixed to documents without their knowledge.

One employee admits he doesn’t know how many companies he had signed for as a vice president. Another suggests she doesn’t know anything at all about the mortgage industry. And the third says she didn’t know exactly what she was authorized to do on behalf of her employer — her job was, simply, to “sign the documents.”

1. ‘Just Sign The Documents’

“Do you know specifically what you’re authorized to do for MERS?”
“Just sign the documents.”
“Do you know specifically what you’re authorized to do for City Residential Lending?”
“Just sign the documents.”


“Why did you sign this document indicating that your address was in California if that in fact was not your address?”
“Because my name was on the document.”
“So it was presented to you to sign and you signed it.”

2. A Vice President At More Than 20 Companies

“In addition to notarizing assignments of mortgage, do you ever sign assignments as a vice president of a company?”
“For which companies have you signed as vice president?”
“I couldn’t list all.”
“Could you give me some examples?”
“Chase Morgan. Wells Fargo. I’m on pretty much every corporate resolution.”
“Would it be accurate to say that there are maybe an excess of 20 companies or banks that you sign as vice president?”
“That would be fair to say.”

3. “Just Look For My Name, And Then Sign”

“Do you have any understanding as to what that term means, ‘for good and valuable consideration’?”
“I don’t usually read the docs when I sign.”
“So it’s not part of your job to review the document. Your job is just to sign it.”
“Just look for my name, and then sign.”

4. No Experience Necessary

“What did you study [in the one year of college]?”
“Nothin’. It was just the basic.”
“General courses?”
“Do you have any other additional training or education in banking or finance?”
“Real estate?”

5. Signing 5,000 Documents Per Day At Less Than A Minute Each

“Can you tell me on any given day how many assignments or other documents you sign?”
“Are you looking for a ballpark average?”
“Ballpark. I certainly don’t expect you to remember exactly.”
“I’d say 5,000.”
“Would that be an average day for you?”
“That would be average.”
“Would it be fair to say that during your tenure at NTC you’ve probably signed an excess of 50 or 60 thousand documents?”
“Could be higher than that?”
“With signing so many on any given day, can you estimate for me the amount of time you spend on any given document?”
“Less than a minute.”
“When you’re presented with a document to sign or notarize, do you take any steps to verify any of the information contained in the document?”
“Not in the body.”
“When you say ‘not in the body’ are there any other steps that you take?”
“I’m just looking to make sure it’s been fully signed.”
“Would it be accurate to say that you are presented with a stack of documents to sign, and your practice is to look at the document, see if it’s been signed, affix your signature to it and then move on to the next document?”

6. A Disturbing Lack Of Experience

“When you say ‘financial’ are you referring to matters relating to banking?”
“No. We don’t do mortgages in my country. … I don’t have any idea about mortgages when I started here.”

7. A Strange Definition Of A Mortgage

“Did you take any steps to verify any of the information contained in this assignment before you signed it?”
“Do you ever take any steps to verify any of the information in the documents you sign at NTC?”


“What is your understanding of what exactly is a mortgage?”
“When somebody goes to buy a house, they take a loan. And then the mortgage is their paying the banks bank.”
“Can you tell me what your understanding is of the term ‘promissory note’?”
“That’s just the note. Like it says the interest rate and stuff like that on it.”

8. Management May Have Electronically Signed Documents For One Employee

“Do you play any role in the creation of the documents to which your signature is electronically affixed?”
“No role.”
“Do you have any idea what documents or how many documents your signature has been electronically affixed to?”
“Do you ever review those electronic documents after your signature has been affixed?”
“So would it be accurate to say that entire process takes place outside of your presence and knowledge?”
“That would be fair.”


“You play no role in the determination as to whether or not you should be signing the document physically, or whether your electronic signature should be inserted?”
“Who makes that decision?”
“That would be someone in management.”
“So someone else in management is making a decision as to whether or not to use your signature to affix it electronically to a document?”
“And you have no role in that process?”

9. Signing More Than 50,000 Documents

“Have you signed assignments or other documents as vice president of any other companies?”
“What companies have you signed as vice president?”
“I don’t know.”
“You can’t recall any?”
“Mm-mm [No].”
“Can you estimate for me the number of different companies that you’ve signed assignments as vice president?”
“I don’t know.”
“Can you estimate for me how many assignments or other documents in total during your tenure at NTC you signed as an officer or a vice president of a company?”
“I don’t know.”
“Is it more than 10?”
“More than 500?”
“More than 5,000?”
“More than 20,000?”
“More than 50,000?”
“And out of those 50,000, the only company that you can recall signing as a vice president or an officer is City Residential Lending?”

Well, being an advocate for the People in the public arena, along with her strengths in her First Amendment rights as a journalist, my good friend Lisa decided to fight back.

Below is her response, through her attorney, to Nationwide Title Clearing... aka Lisa Esptein’s Response to Nationwide Title Clearing Cease and Desist Letter

TEL:  954-677-8888; FAX: 954-677-8881

March 30, 2011

Michael B. Colgan
100 South Ashley Drive
Suite 1300
Tampa, Florida 33607

RE:  Cease and Desist Demand Letter to Lisa Epstein dated March 14, 2011

Dear Attorney Colgan:

Please be advised that this Law Firm has been retained to represent Lisa Epstein regarding your Cease and Desist Letter to Lisa Epstein dated March 14, 2011 seeking to silence Lisa Epstein regarding matters of great public interest in order to discourage debate on these important issues of public concern directly impacting and complicating the foreclosure crisis in Florida.

My first concern with regard to your letter is that you state that your Office is counsel to Nationwide Title Clearing, Inc. (“NTC”) but your Office seems to be seeking redress concerning individuals who are employees of NTC but who are not represented by your law firm.  For instance, the first example involving Crystal Moore does not even mention your client, NTC, yet your Office insist that Lisa Epstein remove this very old posting (September 20, 2010) directing her attention to an Order by Sarasota Circuit Judge Rick DeFuria enjoining Christopher Forrest and The Forrest Law Firm, implying that the Judge’s Temporary Injunction somehow applies to her and her blog, Not only is the Judge’s Order not directed at her or her blog, but you failed to inform her that on or about December 10, 2010 that Order was appealed by the ACLU, who is representing Christopher Forrest and The Forrest Law Firm, to the Second District Court, which places its viability in question.

I would note that these videotaped depositions can be found in a number of places on the internet including some State Governmental sites.  Furthermore, posting a third party article directing people to a YouTube site is not defamation nor can it be considered “posting, publishing, disseminating, or maintaining materials” related to those depositions.  All of which is done on YouTube.

In fact, in a letter to the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Canady, Howard Simon, ACLU of Florida, Executive Direct said, “Putting the videotaped depositions of ‘Robosigners’ on YouTube give the world an opportunity to see how the practices of Banks and Title Companies are affecting homeowners facing financial problems.  This is a public service that shouldn’t be subject to a court imposed gag order.”  This Letter was co-signed by the Florida Association of Broadcasters, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida Press Association, Florida Times-Union Newspaper, and the First Amendment Foundation.  More information can be found at a site that my Office sponsors,, authored by Michael Redman.

Example two in your letter is an objection to Attorney Lynn Szymoniak’s summary of Brian Bly’s deposition.  Now if summarizing the sworn testimony or statements of an individual is actionable then every newspaper and newsroom needs to be shut down immediately.  The public would instantly be cast into the dark ages – a time when a few powerful individuals attempted to control the people by keeping the masses in ignorance.  As with Example one, NTC is not even mentioned, with the exception that example two indicates that Brian Bly is employed by Nationwide Title Clearing.   However, your letter adds the additional information that, in your legal opinion, it is not legally improper for NTC to direct Brian Bly to sign documents as an officer of over 20 banks although Mr. Bly has no knowledge of what he is signing or the contents of the assignments.   In other words, your letter admits that he just “robo signs” documents put in front of him because NTC directs him to do it.

Since your are being so open an honest, I will also be open an honest.  I have in my office sworn Affidavits – not assignments – signed by both Crystal Moore and Brian Bly.  Based on your candid statement, I can surmise that Crystal Moore and Brian Bly sign these affidavits without any knowledge of the contents because they are directed by NTC to sign these documents as an officer of over 20 banks.  Does your Law Firm find this policy regarding sworn Affidavits also legally permissible?

It may be your legal opinion that your clients do not need to read the documents that they sign but, in my legal opinion, I inform all my clients to read and understand everything that they sign; especially, if that document is going to be recorded in the county records and used in a court of law as evidence.  Moreover, if – as you state – “the signer is not required to read them before signing” – then how do you, as the attorney for NTC, know that Crystal Moore and Brian Bly only signed Assignments since “not reading” a document means, by definition, that neither of them knows what kind of document they signed – whether it be an Assignment, Lost Note Affidavit, Affidavit in Support of Summary Judgment, Satisfaction of Mortgage or any other document – because neither of them had any knowledge of the contents of the documents that they signed.  To use your phrase, “I am sure you know” that both Crystal Moore and Brian Bly signed sworn Affidavits of all kinds.

By Mr Bly’s own admission, he signed 5000 documents a day in batches of 200.  Assuming an 8 hour day, Mr. Bly  would have had to sign over 600 documents every hour or 10 documents every minute.  Mr. Bly accomplished this feat by not reading the documents, which prevents him from having any knowledge of the content of the document or what type of document he was signing.  I am sure he did not even care what he was signing as his job was signing – not reading, understanding, or knowing.   As pointed out in Example 3, the document signed is a Satisfaction of Mortgage – not an Assignment of Mortgage.  To sign a Satisfaction of Mortgage, Mr. Bly would have to have some knowledge of whether or not the mortgage was in fact paid off.  However, he was not reading the documents he signed, which, of course, begs the questions – Was the mortgage really satisfied?

Example 4, relates to Crystal Moore and Brian Bly signing Affidavits and Example 5 relates to a question posted by a reader of regarding another employee of NTC, Mary Jo McGowan.   Although you state that these statements are false and materially misleading, you don’t explain your statement.  In my legal opinion, a person who signs an Affidavit swearing to facts set forth therein without any personal knowledge of those facts is making a false statement.  It is fraud on the Court to utilize such fraudulent affidavits as evidence in a court of law.  One law firm has, this very week, agreed to pay a paltry $2 Million in fines to Florida regarding the filing of such false affidavits and paper work.  I guess that the Attorney General’s Office in Florida is seeking to hold someone “accountable” for these “sworn false statements.”

Twice you make the rather amazing statement that my client “knows” that NTC has duly executed resolutions or power of attorney for the financial institutions for which its employees executed assignments.  Need I point out that my client does NOT “know” anything of the sort.  I have been practicing in this area of the law (Mortgage Defense Law) since early 2008 and I have never seen such a resolution or power of attorney.  So not even I know anything about “resolutions” or “power of attorneys” authorizing Mr. Bly, Ms. Moore, or anybody else to sign for any bank, lender or financial institution.  Since these resolutions you mention deal only with “assignments”, can I assume that there are not resolutions authorizing the signing of Affidavits, Satisfactions of Mortgages, or other sworn statements, which have been filed in courts throughout Florida?

Your statement that such confidential resolutions or power of attorneys exists secretly, hidden from view, is meaningless, pointless, and not trustworthy.  For example, you provide a copy of a three year old, November 20, 2008 “Unanimous Written Consent of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Citi Residential Lending Inc.” which is neither “unanimous”, as it is signed by only two out of three people, nor does it authorize the signing of any and all assignments no matter what State or legal case the assignments relates.  Half the resolution seems to be missing. (See, Page 2).  Its not authenticated – but just a copy.  Its old.  I have no idea if Sanjiv Das and Paul R. Ince have really signed this alleged resolution or are authorized to sign this resolution.  The resolution “specifically” relates to something happening in Colorado, not Florida.  The resolution is not even valid until NTC executes an Indemnity Agreement.  Who knows if NTC executed this Indemnity Agreement.  Since this alleged resolution is no longer confidential, can I assume that your Law Office will be making all these “confidential” resolutions or power of attorneys available for discovery should your Client decide to sue my Client?

Again your letter states that these duly-executed corporate resolutions or powers of attorney allows the employees of NTC to execute assignments only. Again, can I assume that there are no secret, confidential resolutions or power of attorneys granting the employees of NTC the right to sign sworn affidavits, satisfactions of mortgages, or other sworn statements? If that is true, as you imply, then any Affidavit, Satisfaction of Mortgage, or sworn statements signed by Mr. Bly, Ms. Moore or other employees of NTC are, consequently, legally invalid.

Now let me tell you a little bit about Lisa Epstein and her blog,  The blog specifically states that it is for “Supporting, Informing, & Connecting People in Foreclosure.”  The blog posts every day the latest news in this very important public interest subject of foreclosure and foreclosure fraud.  This area is of such importance that the ACLU has become involved in Florida due to the blatant violations of Floridian’s constitutional due process rights.  The Florida Attorney General is actively investigating several law firms for filing false affidavits and false documents in the courts.  A paralegal at the now defunct law firm of David Sterns gave a deposition to the Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum’s Office indicating that virtually every affidavit, assignment, or other sworn document coming out of the firm was faked.  All these issues and many, many more are tracked on Lisa Epstein’s blog,

On a daily basis, Lisa Epstein’s blog provides its readers with up to date information and news regarding events surrounding Foreclosures; including, but not limited to changes in the court administrative rules and recent rulings from Judges throughout Florida.  The Blog receives over 3,000 hits every day from people seeking information on this vitally important area of public importance in Florida.  In short, receives approximately 100,000 hits per month.  Every day the number of hits increase.

Lisa Epstein’s name is known even in Tallahassee.  Recently she was one of the leaders in the Rally to Tally where she traveled with two bus loads of fellow advocates to Tallahassee to protest the new attempts to cut short the due process rights of homeowners in Florida.  There in Tallahassee, she met with representatives of the Attorney General’s Office as well as members of the State Legislator regarding bills presently pending before the House of Representatives and State Senate.

Lisa Epstein has been named the Homeowners Advocate by the Palm Beach Post.  In December, 2010, Florida Trend named Lisa Epstein and Michael Redman the Florida News-makers of the Year for 2010.

Lisa Epstein and Michael Redman have assisted the Florida Attorney General’s Office in investigating and providing evidence of the the fraudulent documents that have been filed in the county records and in different courts throughout the States.  Both Lisa Epstein’s,, and Michael Redman’s,, investigative journalism have been responsible for exposing how different signatures appear for the same robosigners, how the banks have filed two blue ink notes, and exposed all the different kinds of fraudulent affidavits, assignments of mortgages, and other fraudulent documents have been filed in the courts and in the county records.  Lisa Epstein and Michael Redman have investigated and reported on many issues that are now in the forefront of newspapers and the nightly news.  In addition, both web blogs are considered the two most important sites for seeking information in this most critical area for Floridians who are losing their homes and their finances.  Without a doubt, Lisa Epstein’s blog,, concentrates on gathering, selecting, and preparing, for purposes of publication to a mass audience, information about current events of interest and concern to her audience  — specifically, “Supporting, Informing & Connecting People in Foreclosure.”

It is well settled law that Lisa Epstein is entitled to the protections provided by the First Amendment with respect to the freedom of free speech.  In addition to her investigative work, Lisa Epstein’s  republishes articles picked up from other new sources, blogs or internet news sites.  In the Pentagon Papers case, New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713, 714 (1971), the federal government sought to enjoin The New York Times and The Washington Post from publishing a stolen classified documents on United State decision-making policy in Vietnam.  The documents contained highly classified information that presumably threatened national security.  Nevertheless, the Supreme Court held that even those threats to important governmental interests could not overcome the established presumption against prior restraint on speech.  It is a “hallowed First Amendment principle that the press shall not be subjected to prior restraints.”

Moreover, the activities of Brian Bly and Crystal Moore have made them infamous throughout the United States.  These two names are well-known.  Whether Brian Bly or Crystal Moore intended the notoriety, these two people – along with many others – have become famous and will be forever linked to the name “robosigner”.  Consequently, any defamation action will need to meet a higher standard to state a cause of action.

My client will not waive her First Amendment Rights which protect and guarantees the full and uninhibited discussion of the vitally important public issues surrounding foreclosure litigation in Florida; especially since there has been no statements that can be reasonably interpreted as stating false and defamatory facts about Mr. Bly or Crystal Moore or NTC reputations, which may warrant stifling the First Amendment rights to public debate.  The First Amendment guarantees a full and uninhibited discussion of public issues.  In the arena of public discussion, differing views may be voiced within the established limits of verbal discord or rhetorical hyperbole’, and even offensive utterance, without violating the law of defamation; especially, where such statements cannot reasonably be interpreted as stating actual facts about an individual’s reputation.   The public has a right to weigh all the facts in arriving at conclusions related to any individual who signs for companies he or she is not employed with or who swears to facts in affidavits where the individual admittedly has no personal knowledge.    Fifty States are now investigating these activities.  The Florida Bar has now stated that lawyers may loose their Florida Bar licenses over filing such false and fraudulent paper work in the courts.

To the extent that your Law Firm does not represent the individuals you seek redress for, my client declines to comply with your demand letter to abridge her Constitutional Right guaranteed under the First Amendment in favor of demands your Law Firm has no legal right to make.  With regard to NTC, you letter simply refers to “implications” you have drawn from statements your Law Firm have interpreted as being defamatory to the reputation of NTC.  My client declines to accept those interpretations; therefore, she will continue to exercise her Constitutional Rights of free speech.

As far as Matthew Weidner’s actions with regard to NTC’s law suit, he has chosen the higher ground and the better fight.  His energy is better served in the court room and not being drawn off into some legal battle that draws his attention away from the real battle.  On the other hand, my client, Lisa Epstein, is an advocate for the People of Florida and her arena is the public.  Her strengths are in her First Amendment rights as a journalist and an Advocate.  That is why your letter and this response will be posted on her Blog,, as well as,


Carol C Asbury
Senior Attorney


Oh, and one more thing before I go…

How amazing is this? Have you all seen the movie Office Space?

Do you remember one of the best cultural icons of America, Milton Waddams?

Look at this picture of Bryan Bly and Milton Waddams side by side…

The resemblance is AMAZING!

Same haircut, same glasses, same mustache, same look! They are even wearing the same gray short sleeved shirt!

How cool would it of been if they put a red swingline in front of Bryan Bly while taking his depo?

HA! And I thought Robo-Lisa was the funniest thing I ever saw…

Anyway, I am sure this is far from over so stay tuned…

Full NTC Letter with exhibits below...


Nationwide Title Clearing Cease and Desist Demand Letter to Lisa Epstein Dated March 14, 2011

Nationwide Title Clearing Cease and Desist Exhibits

Will Goldman COO Gary Cohn Face Consequences For Committing Perjury Before The FCIC?

Christine Harper, Michael Moore and Bob Ivry have been quite busy today. After poring through the lifetime legacy project of their late colleague Mark Pittman, the trio may have just made a discovery that in a non-banana republic could be enough to at least force a special hearing into whether Goldman COO Gary Cohn committed perjury while testifying to the FCIC on June 30. The culprit: Goldman's (ab)use of the discount window not once, not twice, but five times. Well everyone else was doing it, especially Goldman's insolvent peers like JPM, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Bank of America, Wachovia, UBS, Credit Suisse and, well, everyone else. So what's wrong with that? Here's what: "Goldman Sachs President and Chief Operating Officer Gary D. Cohn told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission June 30 that “we used it one night at the request of the Fed to make sure our systems were linked with their systems, and it was for a de minimis amount of money.” Peter J. Wallison, a member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, then asked, “you never had to use it after that?” “No, and as I said, we used it on the Fed’s request,” Cohn replied. Alas, that is a lie. And last time we checked, lying to Congress under oath is not quite the right the way to conduct God's work (and yes, a perfectly innocuous "I don't recall" ala David Sokol from his CNBC interview would have sufficed). Alas no: Goldman just had to demonstrate how very immune from the legal process it is, by "risking" its credibility and reputation with the assumption that it is either never wrong, or, like Warren Buffett, that it can never be caught doing wrong. Well, it just was.

More from Bloomberg:

“During the crisis, we tested our systems, including accessing the discount window; the amounts involved were de minimis, and the testing was routine,” Michael DuVally, a spokesman for New York-based Goldman Sachs, said today in an e- mailed statement. “The fact that we tested the system to insure our procedures worked smoothly was made known to senior executives. Routine tests thereafter were considered part of the normal course of business.”

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley (MS) were the largest and second-largest U.S. securities firms until Sept. 21, 2008, when they both won the Federal Reserve’s approval to convert to bank holding companies. The conversion took place about a week after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., which was then the fourth-biggest securities firm, filed the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Congress assigned the FCIC to determine the causes of the financial crisis. The panel released a report in January, along with a 545-page book.

We are confident that the corrupt "representatives" (of Wall Street interests) in Congress will get right on sending out a subpoena to Cohn asking him to explain why he lied under oath. Then again, since this act was nowhere near as criminal as Meredith Whitney telling the sad truth about America's insolvency to the broader population, we feel our confidence waning... waning...

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