bank

The man accused of mailing bombs to Democratic politicians and critics of President Trump may have been preyed upon by a bank run by one of Trump’s cabinet members.

On Friday afternoon, In These Times fellow David Dayen tweeted what appears to be a foreclosure document robo-signed by Erica Johnson-Seck of IndyMac Bank (Independent National Mortgage Corporation). When it failed in 2008, IndyMac was bought out by OneWest Bank — founded by current Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The robo-signature was dated in January of 2009.

As the New York Daily News reported in 2010, Johnson-Seck was one of the most notorious robo-signers, once stating in a sworn affidavit that she “executes 750 foreclosure documents a week; without a notary present; does not spend more than 30 seconds signing each document; [and] does not read the documents before signing them.”

A search of Broward County, Florida court records shows that there was a foreclosure proceeding filed against the man accused of sending the mail-bombs in January of 2009, for a property in Coral Ridge Isles. Intercept journalist Trevor Aaronson tweeted a photo of the document, saying the bombing suspect had a mortgage worth $165,500. By 2012, the alleged bomber had filed for bankruptcy. According to court records, he claimed assets of roughly $50 and stated he lived with his mother.

The man alleged to have mailed pipe bombs to Democrats was just one of many fraudulent foreclosure victims targeted by Mnuchin’s bank. In 2013, St. Petersburg, Florida-based attorney Matthew Weidner wrote about how a witness for IndyMac/OneWest bank admitted in foreclosure court that the bank didn’t actually have the right to foreclose on a client’s home, as they had sold the servicing rights on the bulk of their mortgage portfolio.

South Florida was one of the hardest-hit areas of the foreclosure epidemic of 2008-2010. A February 2009 article in the New York Times painted a bleak picture of how residents in the Fort Myers, Florida area were barely scraping by after home prices dipped from a peak of $322,300 in December 2005 ($413,420 in inflation-adjusted dollars) to approximately $106,000 by early 2009 ($126,731 in today’s dollars).

One of the most notorious foreclosure stories from Mnuchin’s bank happened to 90-year-old Florida resident Ossie Lofton, who owed the company’s successor, CIT bank, 30 cents. She wrote a check for three cents by mistake, and the bank foreclosed on her home as a result of the 27-cent payment error. Bloomberg reported that OneWest carried out roughly 36,000 foreclosures when Mnuchin was at the helm.

 

(Grit Post’s editorial policy is to not publish the names or likenesses of mass shooters or domestic terrorists, or name white supremacist organizations, in order to prevent them from attaining notoriety.)

Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.

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