Category: Foreclosure


Nikki Bailey, a Logan, West Virginia resident, returned home recently after visiting her friend in the hospital. When she walked inside she found the house empty.

A repossession company had taken all of her possessions under a double error. The bank that had told them to remove everything from a house gave them a wrong address, then the company went to a different address from that one that was also wrong.

“Everything was gone,” Bailey said. “Living room furniture, my Marshall diploma, my high school diploma, my pictures — my history. I was teacher of the year. All of that stuff is gone — certificates from that. It’s all gone.”

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2xtream·

Published on Jun 4, 2011

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. – A bank foreclosure story you’ve got to see to believe. A Collier County couple turns the tables on Bank of America, the bank that tried to foreclose on their home. Now, the family is foreclosing on the bank! Even bringing trucks and deputies ready to seize property.

The foreclosure nightmare started when Warren and Maureen Nyerges paid cash for a home owned by Bank of American in the Golden Gate Estates. They never had a mortgage whatsoever. But, the bank fouled it up and wound up issuing a foreclosure through their attorney.

The couple took their case to court and after a year and a half nightmare the foreclosure was dropped. A Collier County judge said Bank of America has to pay the couple’s $2,534 legal fees for the error. After more than five months the bank still hadn’t paid up. So, the homeowners’ attorney did just what the bank would do to get their money, legally seize their assets.

“I instructed the deputy to go in and take desks, computers, copiers, filing cabinets, including cash in the drawers,” Attorney Todd Allen told WINK News.

Outside the Bank of America on Davis Boulevard, several deputies stood by with movers ready to start hauling out the bank’s office supplies and furniture.

Inside, the homeowners’ attorney was locked out of the bank manager’s office by deputies while the bank manger tried to figure out what to do.

Allen says the manager was visibly shaken, “Having two Sheriff’s deputies sitting across your desk, and a lawyer standing behind them, demanding whatever assets are in the bank can be intimidating. But, so is having your home foreclosed on when it wasn’t right.”

After about an hour the bank finally cut a check to satisfy the debt, and no furniture was taken. A representative for Bank of America issued a statement saying they are sorry for the delay in issuing funds. They claim the original request went to an outside attorney who is no longer in business.

As for Allen, he calls this a symptom of a larger problem he sees often in the courts, where banks don’t perform their due diligence on foreclosure cases. “As a foreclosure defense attorney this is sweet justice.”

Read more: http://www.winknews.com/Local-Florida…

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Underwater Homeowners Press Conference in front of Richmond City Hall (Photo: ACCE)Using the authority of state government to actually help people has Wall Street bankers in a panic, spurring threats of aggressive legal retaliation against the town of Richmond, California simply for trying to help some of its struggling homeowners.

‘Eminent domain’ has long been a dirty term for housing justice advocates who have seen municipalities invoke public seizure laws to displace residents and communities to make way for highways, shopping malls, and other big dollar projects.

But in Richmond, city officials are using eminent domain to force big banks to stop foreclosing on people’s homes in an innovative new strategy known as ‘Principle Reduction’ aimed at addressing California’s burgeoning housing crisis.

Richmond became the first California city last week to move forward on a plan that has been floated by other California municipalities to ask big bank lenders to sell underwater mortgage loans at a discount to the city (if the owner consents), and seize those homes through eminent domain if the banks refuse. The city has committed to refinancing these homes for owners at their current value, not what is owed.

City officials launched this process by sending letters in late July to 32 banks and other mortgage owners offering to buy 624 underwater mortgages at the price the homes are worth, not what the owners owe.

“After years of waiting on the banks to offer up a more comprehensive fix or the federal government, we’re stepping into the void to make it happen ourselves,” Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said in late July.

Wall Street is furious at the plan and has vowed to sue the municipality, a threat that did not stop Richmond but did slow other California cities in adopting the strategy.

Big banks have been slammed for their damaging mortgage loan policies that target poor and working class people and communities of color with high risk loans, policies that have had a profound impact on Richmond, which has large latino, African American, and low-income communities.

Eminent domain laws also have a painful history in Richmond, but housing justice advocates are hopeful about this new twist on the seizure law.

“For years we have seen cases where eminent domain was used in a harmful way, and it really hurts low-income communities of color,” David Sharples, local director for Contra Costa Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, told Common Dreams. “People here in Richmond talk about when they built the big 580 Freeway, and people had their houses taken and were displaced.”

“But we see this as a way eminent domain is finally being used to help keep families in their homes,” he added. “It is finally a way for it to be used in a good way.”

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Four out of five American adults experience poverty at some point during their lifetime

  • Some rural areas have poverty rates approaching 99 per cent
  • Poverty among whites is inching higher, with 63 per cent of whites saying the economy is ‘poor’
  • By 2030, close to 85 percent of all working-age adults in the U.S. will experience bouts of economic insecurity

By Associated Press Reporter

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Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration’s emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to “rebuild ladders of opportunity” and reverse income inequality.

Destitute: Salyers produce stand in Council, VA, doesn't generate enough income to support its owners

Destitute: Salyers produce stand in Council, VA, doesn’t generate enough income to support its owners

As nonwhites approach a numerical majority in the U.S., one question is how public programs to lift the disadvantaged should be best focused – on the affirmative action that historically has tried to eliminate the racial barriers seen as the major impediment to economic equality, or simply on improving socioeconomic status for all, regardless of race.

Hardship is particularly growing among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among that racial group about their families’ economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987. In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy “poor.”

‘I think it’s going to get worse,’ said Irene Salyers, 52, of Buchanan County, Va., a declining coal region in Appalachia. Married and divorced three times, Salyers now helps run a fruit and vegetable stand with her boyfriend but it doesn’t generate much income. They live mostly off government disability checks.

‘If you do try to go apply for a job, they’re not hiring people, and they’re not paying that much to even go to work,’ she said. Children, she said, have ‘nothing better to do than to get on drugs.’

While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in poverty, race disparities in the poverty rate have narrowed substantially since the 1970s, census data show. Economic insecurity among whites also is more pervasive than is shown in the government’s poverty data, engulfing more than 76 percent of white adults by the time they turn 60, according to a new economic gauge being published next year by the Oxford University Press.

The gauge defines ‘economic insecurity’ as a year or more of periodic joblessness, reliance on government aid such as food stamps or income below 150 percent of the poverty line. Measured across all races, the risk of economic insecurity rises to 79 percent.

Struggling: Renee Adams, left, posing with her mother Irene Salyers and son Joseph, 4, at their produce stand in Council, Va.

Struggling: Renee Adams, left, posing with her mother Irene Salyers and son Joseph, 4, at their produce stand in Council, Va.

Marriage rates are in decline across all races, and the number of white mother-headed households living in poverty has risen to the level of black ones.

‘It’s time that America comes to understand that many of the nation’s biggest disparities, from education and life expectancy to poverty, are increasingly due to economic class position,’ said William Julius Wilson, a Harvard professor who specializes in race and poverty. He noted that despite continuing economic difficulties, minorities have more optimism about the future after Obama’s election, while struggling whites do not.

‘There is the real possibility that white alienation will increase if steps are not taken to highlight and address inequality on a broad front,’ Wilson said.

Nationwide, the count of America’s poor remains stuck at a record number: 46.2 million, or 15 percent of the population, due in part to lingering high unemployment following the recession. While poverty rates for blacks and Hispanics are nearly three times higher, by absolute numbers the predominant face of the poor is white.

More than 19 million whites fall below the poverty line of $23,021 for a family of four, accounting for more than 41 percent of the nation’s destitute, nearly double the number of poor blacks.

Sometimes termed ‘the invisible poor’ by demographers, lower-income whites generally are dispersed in suburbs as well as small rural towns, where more than 60 percent of the poor are white. Concentrated in Appalachia in the East, they are numerous in the industrial Midwest and spread across America’s heartland, from Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma up through the Great Plains.

Desperate: People appearing to be homeless increasingly roam the streets of New York City

Desperate: People appearing to be homeless increasingly roam the streets of New York City

Buchanan County, in southwest Virginia, is among the nation’s most destitute based on median income, with poverty hovering at 24 percent. The county is mostly white, as are 99 percent of its poor.

More than 90 percent of Buchanan County’s inhabitants are working-class whites who lack a college degree. Higher education long has been seen there as nonessential to land a job because well-paying mining and related jobs were once in plentiful supply. These days many residents get by on odd jobs and government checks.

Salyers’ daughter, Renee Adams, 28, who grew up in the region, has two children. A jobless single mother, she relies on her live-in boyfriend’s disability checks to get by. Salyers says it was tough raising her own children as it is for her daughter now, and doesn’t even try to speculate what awaits her grandchildren, ages 4 and 5.

Smoking a cigarette in front of the produce stand, Adams later expresses a wish that employers will look past her conviction a few years ago for distributing prescription painkillers, so she can get a job and have money to ‘buy the kids everything they need.’

‘It’s pretty hard,’ she said. ‘Once the bills are paid, we might have $10 to our name.’

Census figures provide an official measure of poverty, but they’re only a temporary snapshot that doesn’t capture the makeup of those who cycle in and out of poverty at different points in their lives. They may be suburbanites, for example, or the working poor or the laid off.

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Foreclosure Compensation Scam photo foreclosurecompl_zps3823f4d2.jpg

10TV.com

Vinton County Woman Wants Possessions Back After Bank Tried To Repossess Wrong House

 

Monday July 22, 2013 5:32 PM
UPDATED: Tuesday July 23, 2013 10:03 AM
 

An Vinton County woman is looking to get her belongings back after a bank incorrectly broke into her house and took them.

Katie Barnett says that the First National Bank in Wellston foreclosed on her house, even though it was not her bank.

“They repossessed my house on accident, thinking it was the house across the street,” Barnett said.

Barnett, who had been away from the house for about two weeks, said she had to crawl through the window of her own house in order to get in after she used her own key that did not work.

Some of the items in her house had been hauled away, others were sold, given away and trashed.

It turns out the bank sent someone to repossess the house located across the street from Barnett’s house, but by mistake broke into hers instead.

“They told me that the GPS led them to my house,” Barnett said. “My grass hadn’t been mowed and they just assumed.”

She called the McArthur Police about the incident, but weeks later, the chief announced the case was closed.

 

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Watch Bill Moyers’ July 9, 2013 Frontline documentary about two ordinary, hard-working families in Milwaukee.

Watch Video HereSince 1992, Bill Moyers has been following the story of these two middle-class families — one black, one white — as they battle to keep from sliding into poverty. He first met the Stanleys and Neumanns when they were featured in his 1990 documentary Minimum Wages: The New Economy. The families were revisited in 1995 for Living on the Edge, and again in 2000 for Surviving the Good Times.

Bill Moyers revisited his reports on the Stanleys and Neumanns and talked about issues raised with authors Barbara Miner and Barbara Garson on the July 5 episode of Moyers & Company, “Surviving the New American Economy.”

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What’s Happened to the Two American Families?

by

It’s been two months since FRONTLINE left the Neumanns and the Stanleys in Milwaukee. We caught up with Terry Neumann and Keith Stanley to ask how they and their families are doing, why they chose to participate in the film, and what they hope viewers take away from their story. Below are excerpts from those conversations.

THE NEUMANNS

Why did your family decide to participate in the film?

TERRY: It wasn’t so much to get into my personal life. I did it because I wanted [viewers] to know how devastating it was to families trying to feed their kids and clothe them for school when you don’t have those high-paying jobs.

My kids didn’t want to [participate in Two American Families]. They remembered how they were when they were younger, with the cameras all around them. I said: “You’re older now and you have a say. … You have a chance to say something. Or someone might offer you a job.”

I’m hoping that somebody may see this and see the type of person that I am, and want to hire me. …

When I did the first one there were so many people in the same boat. People’s whole lives were destroyed. I could say I’ve been through this a couple of times up and down, finding bad jobs, good jobs. I said, “I’m not going to give up,” and I [want to] give someone else hope to say, “It’s going to get better.” … I hope it’s going to help people. I really do.

….

THE STANLEYS

Why did your family decide to participate in the film?

KEITH: At the beginning, I think it was maybe a little bit of, “This is interesting. Let’s see what happens if we open our lives up and let people know what’s happening.”

My parents believe that if you work hard, you can scrape out some kind of living, and if you have principles and values in your life, at some point you can make it out OK. They wanted to let people know that we’re working hard. Sharing that story was really good for them.

[For this film], they said, “We’re fine sharing our story, letting people know where we’ve landed.” This past decade has been difficult, and they don’t mind sharing the story about how they tried to overcome these obstacles. It’s been a difficult ride, and they still keep pushing forward.

What do you want people to take away from your story?

KEITH: People should know we’re survivors. It’s been difficult, it’s been challenging. But we all go through that, trying to figure out our life. Things are not as easy as they were a generation ago. So the realities of my dad when he got out of high school and my brothers is totally different. Some things have changed as far as America, and what we thought, but we’re not going to give up. … We want to let people to know that we can keep going despite these ups and downs that we go through in life.

 

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Senators Near Plan to Abolish Fannie Mae, Shrink Government Role

Bloomberg
Senators Near Plan to Abolish Fannie Mae, Shrink Government Role

According to the draft, Washington-based Fannie Mae and McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac would be liquidated within five years and the U.S. Treasury would assume responsibility for their existing mortgage guarantees. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators are putting the final touches on a plan to liquidate Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC) and replace them with a government reinsurer of mortgage securities behind private capital.

The proposed legislation, which could be introduced this month, would require private financiers to take a first-loss position adequate to cover price declines as steep as those seen during recessions over the past century, according to a draft obtained by Bloomberg News.

According to the draft, Washington-based Fannie Mae and McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac would be liquidated within five years and the U.S. Treasury would assume responsibility for their existing mortgage guarantees. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The bill, which is being written by Tennessee Republican Bob Corker and Virginia Democrat Mark Warner with input from other senators, is still being drafted. As the first serious bipartisan effort to shape a new housing finance system, it could frame a discussion that is heating up as the housing market rebounds.

“A bipartisan bill that’s thorough becomes, at a minimum, a good baseline to begin the process of the full debate that could go through Congress,” David Stevens, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association, said in an interview.

According to the draft, Washington-based Fannie Mae and McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac would be liquidated within five years and the U.S. Treasury would assume responsibility for their existing mortgage guarantees. The two companies, which have been under U.S. conservatorship since 2008, package mortgages into securities on which they guarantee payment of principal and interest.

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Foreclosure compensation checks arrive, but anger some homeowners

Families who endured years of anguish or lost their homes due to banks wrongly reporting they were behind on their mortgage payments are calling the compensation payments resulting from a government settlement, many of which number in the low hundreds, “insulting.” NBC’s Lisa Myers reports.

Millions of American homeowners who have struggled with foreclosures are now receiving checks for compensation from the companies that serviced their mortgages — part of the federal government’s efforts to resolve the foreclosure crisis. But some of those receiving checks tell NBC News that the payments are an insult that neither punishes the banks enough for “deficient” practices nor helps harmed homeowners recover.

Karen Pooley, 50, of Seattle, told NBC News that she fell behind on her mortgage after losing her job in the building industry in early 2009, and received a notice of default in February 2010.

Pooley said she’s been fighting to save her home from foreclosure for the past three years.   Believing that her servicer did not follow legal procedures, she said she has contested the foreclosure through her state’s foreclosure process, and managed to stop three foreclosure sales.  She said she also has tried to get authorities to investigate.

Last month, she received her settlement payment, a check for $300.

“It was more than pathetic. It was insulting,” Pooley told NBC News. “I spent more in money on postage providing government agencies with detailed descriptions of what had happened in my case.”

Timothy Platt, 52, a truck driver from Indianapolis, told NBC News he’s also been fighting to save his home from foreclosure the past three years.  He claims his servicer made a mistake, declaring he and his wife behind on their mortgage when they were not.  Platt is suing the servicer, but has found trying to prove his case frustrating.

“They (the banks) have misrepresented the facts,” he wrote to NBC News in an email last month, “they have insisted on pursuing foreclosure.” 

On Thursday morning, Platt emailed NBC News, saying his settlement check had just arrived. It was for $500.

“It’s kind of like a, like a slap in the face,” Platt told NBC News during a stopover in Chicago.  “We’ve been trying to work through this for three years now, and we have no help whatsoever, and we’ve lost lots.”

Both homeowners believe their mortgage servicers are in the wrong.  Each has gone to court to prevent the servicers from taking their homes.  Their respective servicers declined to comment to NBC News.

The compensation payment checks, which range from $300 up to $125,000, are part of the Independent Foreclosure Review Payment Agreement announced in January between federal regulators and 13 mortgage servicing companies, which were subject to enforcement actions for “deficient practices in mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing.”  Deficient practices have included errors and misrepresentations and the “robo-signing” of documents.

The regulators are the U.S. Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

The recipients of the checks are mortgage loan borrowers whose homes were in any stage of a foreclosure process during 2009 or 2010, and whose mortgage servicers were among the 13 companies, or their subsidiaries or affiliates.  Compensation payment checks, which began going out April 12, have so far been sent to 3.7 million homeowners. In all, 4.2 million eligible mortgage loan borrowers will receive them.

The 13 servicers are: Aurora, Bank of America, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, Morgan Stanley, PNC, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo.

According to the OCC’s online FAQ about the agreement, the servicers agreed “to provide more than $9.3 billion in cash payments and other assistance to help borrowers. The sum includes $3.6 billion in direct cash payments to eligible borrowers and $5.7 billion in other foreclosure prevention assistance, such as loan modifications and forgiveness of deficiency judgments.”

By comparison, the five largest banks alone – Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorganChase, Bank of America – earned $60 billion in total profits last year.

Payout guided by ‘the matrix’
What determines how much homeowners receive?

The largest payouts – $125,000 – are going to 1,082 members of the military wrongly foreclosed upon, and to just 53 homeowners across the country foreclosed upon even though they never missed a mortgage payment.  But most of the recipients – almost 2 million homeowners – will get the smallest payments of $300 to $600.

How much each homeowner gets depends on a complicated financial matrix designed by the regulators.

“In determining the payment amounts,” reads a recent OCC press release, “borrowers were categorized according to the stage of their foreclosure process and the type of possible servicer error.  Regulators then determined amounts for each category, using the financial remediation matrix published in June 2012 as a guide, incorporating input from various consumer groups.”)

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BoozWheezBoozWheez

Published on Mar 23, 2013

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The Cyprus debt crisis is being felt by the banks but also by the people who work at them. Nick Paton Walsh reports

By : Matt Taibbi

 Rolling Stone
new york stock exchange floor
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

I have a feature in the new issue of Rolling Stone called “Secrets and Lies of the Bailout,” which focuses in large part on the seemingly intentional policy of deception in the government’s rescue of the financial sector. The government didn’t just bail out Wall Street with money: It also lied on Wall Street’s behalf, calling unhealthy banks healthy, and helping banks cover up just how much aid they were getting in secret.

Proponents of the bailouts will say that whatever the government did, it worked. The economy didn’t collapse as it appeared it might in late 2008, and the stock markets are puffed up all over again, as financial companies in particular are back making huge profits.

But in the course of researching the magazine piece, we discovered definite victims of the myriad deceptions that became a baked-in feature of the bailouts. One of those victims was a southern investment broker who lost lots of his own money, lost money for family members who’d invested with him, and (maybe worst of all) lost plenty of his clients’ money, when he made investment decisions based on what turned out to be incomplete information.

If this particular broker had known exactly how far the bailouts reached, neither he nor his clients would ever have lost so much. But during the crisis it was decided, by people deemed more important than small-town investment advisers and their clients, that the full story of the bailouts didn’t need to be told.

As a result, George Hartzman and his clients got creamed. In recent years we’ve heard a lot about how the bailouts saved the world. This is the other side of the story.

***

George Hartzman is easy to like. The easygoing North Carolinian has every salesman’s ability to grab you from the first moment with humor and charm, but what makes him a little bit of a different kind of cat – and I suspect some of this change developed after he joined the growing population of financial crisis-era whistleblowers, dismissed from a Wells Fargo brokerage after making complaints about what he felt were bailout-related abuses – is that the humor is often self-directed. He loves to tell stories about all the goofy, sometimes-dicey sales jobs he’s taken over the years, and the hard work he put in to get really good at each and every one of them.

“Hell, I even sold encyclopedias,” he says, laughing. “You just look ‘em in the eye and say, ‘Listen, do you want your kids to go to college, or not?'” He laughs again. “What are they going to say?”

Now 45 years old, George as a younger man sold it all – copiers, above-ground aluminum swimming pools, even vinyl siding, a job which he describes as selling “relatively bad things to the relatively elderly.” In down times, he waited tables and tended bar at a restaurant/nightclub in a tough section of Greensboro, where he said the rule was, “you don’t take out the trash through the back door without somebody with a gun.”

But throughout it all, he wanted to be in finance, wanted to buy stocks and bonds and actually make money for people, as opposed to just talking old folks into buying stuff they maybe didn’t need. Eventually he got his chance, working at several national brokerage firms through the 2000s, paying his dues as the guy who sucked it up for the endless cold calls.

“Do you have any money, anywhere, that’s earning less than 7 percent right now?” he says, chuckling as he quotes his old self. “I must have said that line, I shit you not, not less than 100,000 times.”

Eventually, George found himself selling retirement and investment plans as a broker for the granddaddy of Carolinian megabanks, Wachovia. Working out of the Greensboro, North Carolina area, he handled dozens of clients, including himself and several of his family members, and by 2007 had settled in to what he thought was the good life working for Wachovia Advisors, managing tens of millions in assets for the huge national brokerage firm.

In hindsight, it’s ironic – given that the vast federal bailouts were what ultimately sank George’s career as a broker – that when Wachovia went belly-up in 2008, George’s job was initially saved by a bailout. After its collapse (caused in large part by its disastrous 2006 acquisition of subprime-laden Golden West financial), the giant bank was swallowed up in a state-aided merger by Wells Fargo, which received as much as $36 billion in cash and special tax breaks as it was finishing the merger deal.

When the merger was finished, Wells Fargo was the fourth-largest commercial bank holding company in America, and George Hartzman found himself working essentially the same job, only with a new name on his letterhead – Wells Fargo Advisors.

While brokers in most places started taking the big bath in 2007 and 2008 as the subprime market collapsed, George was quietly killing it. In both those years he made very good money for his clients, his family and himself, mainly by shorting the very companies that had inflated the subprime bubble, firms with names like Goldman, Sachs, MBIA and Merrill Lynch.

“I saw it early,” he says, a bit immodestly, but with perspective, too. “I was doing great, right up until the time I wasn’t.”

When I called former clients of George’s to check his story, they confirmed that he took a much different and more aggressive approach than your average broker. George’s clients seemed to like him a lot, and were impressed by how hard he worked at a job that a lot of storefront brokers just mail in.

“A lot of guys will just tell you that you just have to stay in the market, that in the long run, things always go up,” says John Mandrano, a former CPA who trusted a sizable portion of his retirement fund with George. “George was different. He really put a lot of thought into what he was doing. And he invested his own money, and his family’s money, so you know he had a stake in what he was doing.”

Having made money betting against Wall Street in 2007 and 2008, George planned on continuing the same strategy in 2009, even after the bailouts. In early 2009, he placed a series of short bets against the market, among other things betting against an index of real estate trusts and the S&P 500. He explained to his clients that even though the government and the talking heads in the financial press kept insisting the worst was over, he still thought a lot of firms, particularly financial firms, were in deep trouble.

“I thought they were screwed,” he says. “The numbers just didn’t add up.”

What happened instead is that the stock market went into a prolonged and seemingly miraculous rebound, with the NYSE soaring from the mid-6000s in February of 2009 to over 13,000 in recent months. George couldn’t figure out how so many seemingly insolvent companies were doing it – where was the money coming from?

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