Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hackers Just Released What They Say Is A Damning Trove Of Emails About Bank Of America And Its Mortgage Practice

By Katya Wachtel

Hacker group Anonymous (aka OperationLeaks on Twitter) just released what they say is a trove of damning documents on Bank of America.
You can find them here:
Remember, at this point, we can't verify whether they are legitimate or not, but Gawker's Adrien Chen, who has sources within Anonymous, suggest there's something real to the leaks.
We haven't dissected them in full yet, but from all the chatter that went on in the lead up to the release, they appear to deal with BofA's mortgage practices, and certain interactions with GMAC Mortgage, a lender and loan servicer.
From what we've seen so far, the chain begins with emails/messages/tweets sent between the former banker to the Anonymous hacker crew.
The ex-banker tells Anonymous that what he/she sends will be enough to,
[C]rack their armor, and put a bad light on a $700 mil cash deal they need to pay back the government while ruining their already strained relationship with GMAC, one of their largest clients. Trust me... it'll piss them off plenty.
Then the hacker say, send what you have over. The banker sends these:
My name is (Anonymous). For the last 7 years, I worked in the Insurance/Mortgage industry for a company called Balboa Insurance. Many of you do not know who Balboa Insurance Group (soon to be rebranded as QBE First by Australian Reinsurance Company QBE according to internal communication sent to all Balboa associates) is, but if you’ve ever had a loan for an automobile, farm equipment, mobile home, or residential or commercial property, we knew you. In fact, we probably charged you money…a lot of money…for insurance you didn’t even need.
Balboa Insurance Group, and it’s largest competitor, the market leader Assurant, is in the business of insurance tracking and Force Placed Insurance (aka Lender Placed Insurance, FOH, LPI, etc). What this means is that when you sign your name on the dotted line for your loan, the lienholder has certain insurance requirements that must be met for the life of the lien. Your lender (including, amongst others, GMAC, Aurora Loan Services [a subsidiary of Lehman Bros Holdings], IndyMac Federal Bank [a subsidiary of OneWest Bank], Saxon, HSBC, PennyMac [a collection agency started by former Countrywide Home Loans executive Stan Kurland after CHL and Balboa were sold to BAC], Downey Savings and Loans, Financial Freedom, Select Portfolio Services, Wells Fargo/Wachovia, and the now former owners of Balboa Insurance themselves…Bank of America) then outsources the tracking of your loan with them to a company like Balboa Insurance.
Balboa makes some money by charging these companies to track your insurance (the payment of which is factored into your loan). If you do not meet the minimum insurance requirements set by your lienholder, Balboa Insurance places a force placed insurance policy on your loan. You are sent a letter telling you that you do not have insurance, and your escrow account is then adjusted for the inflated premium of a full coverage policy placed by Balboa’s insurance tracking group, run by Steven Ramsthel, Sr Vice President of Loan Tracking Operations & Customer Care at Balboa Insurance Group.
The hacker group, which is unconnected but sympathetic to Wikileaks, want to expose "corruption and fraud" at BofA with its document drop, and says emails from an ex-employee of the bank will prove mortgage fraud.
Anonymous said late Sunday evening, "By the way this is part 1 of the Emails" and that the emails "will not be Readable" and to go through the groups tweets for the "Tools to understand it..."
Those tools according to Anonymous, are:
SOR = System of Record
Rembrandt/Tracksource = Insurance tracking systems
DTN = Document Tracking Number. A number assigned to all incoming/outgoing documents (letters, insurance documents, etc)
"You will be seeing SOR, Rembrandt and DTN in the emails," the hackers said.
OperationLeaks has been teasing followers for days now with tweets that it received documents about BofA from a disgruntled employee.
The most telling tweet was this one:
He Just told me he have GMAC emails showing BoA order to mix loan numbers to not match it's Documents.. to foreclose on Americans.. Shame
On Sunday, Anonymous said, in a series of tweets:
I Got a email from a person claiming he worked at BoA and was demoted then fired after telling a SVP he seen something wrong in the system. He told me that they made him out to be a terrorist bomber trying to bomb BoA and said he was threatening Employees on Facebook...All Lies he tells his side of the story and drops some BoA Emails along with it.
Up until now, everyone assumed that whatever secret document drop, dropped on BofA, would come from Wikileaks. But that threat seems to have fizzled, at least temporarily.

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