Mortgage Scandal Of The Day: Forced-Placed Insurance

Mortgage Scandal Of The Day: Forced-Placed Insurance

In a dark cranny of the mortgage-servicing world a “force-placed insurance” scandal is brewing. When a homeowner’s insurance lapses, the servicer steps in and buys them a new one, at a price several factors higher than their original. And the company they buy it from is essentially themselves with a different name. Now investors are finding out about the incestuous self-dealing and kickbacks and they’re pissed. [More]

SEC Wants Disclosures For Asset Backed Securities Written In Python

SEC Wants Disclosures For Asset Backed Securities Written In Python

“Waterfall” provisions of asset backed securities are the rules that explain the flow of funds in the transaction, and they are are very hard to read. Blogger/professor Jayanth Varma calls them “horrendously complicated,” leading trustees to make mistakes or pull stunts that investors never expected. To remedy this, the SEC is proposing that the provisions be written in a programming language, filed on EDGAR, and made available as downloadable Python source code. [More]

Are Corporate Boards Ruining American Businesses? This Book Says Yes

Are Corporate Boards Ruining American Businesses? This Book Says Yes

The new book Money for Nothing looks at corporate boards: how they’re frequently hand-picked and ruled by the CEOs they’re supposed to keep in check, how they’re sidelined by various conflicts of interest and lack of accountability, and how the worst ones have massively screwed shareholders. [More]

Madoff Victims Receive First Repayment Of $534 Million

Madoff Victims Receive First Repayment Of $534 Million

The trustee who’s liquidating Bernie Madoff’s firm has released $534.2 million in repayments to some of his victims, reports Bloomberg. The half-billion is a drop in the bucket of total verified losses, which are now more than $21 billion. But hey, those 1,558 victims whose claims were approved for this partial payout are probaby pretty happy—which is more than you can say for the 2,500+ Madoff customers who may be sued to return fake profits.

Your Investor Brain: Squirrel, Monkey or Lizard?

Your Investor Brain: Squirrel, Monkey or Lizard?

Forget the bulls and bears. According to a recent news report, anthropologists are looking at a different group of animals for hints about how our “investor brains” evolved. Monkeys are the worst, as they get “easily excited at the next big investment opportunity in hopes of making a killing. Not much thought goes into what they do.” We assume anyone involved in flipping condos or speculating on dot-com stocks would qualify as a monkey.

Bankruptcy Court To Reveal The Identities Of Investors Trying To Stop The Chrysler/Fiat Deal

Bankruptcy Court To Reveal The Identities Of Investors Trying To Stop The Chrysler/Fiat Deal

Hey, this is getting kinda dramatic. Over in bankruptcy court land, Judge Arthur Gonzalez has decided to reveal the identities of the group of investors calling themselves “Non-TARP” lenders that are seeking to stop the auction of most of Chrysler’s assets to an entity managed by Fiat SpA, says Bloomberg.

Feds Arrest Virginian For $11 Million Ponzi Scheme

Feds Arrest Virginian For $11 Million Ponzi Scheme

The Ponz is everywhere! Seriously, was anyone doing any real investing over the past several years? John M. Donnelly of Charlottesville, Virginia, was arrested earlier this week and “indicted for fraudulently taking at least $11 million from as many as 31 investors in an alleged Ponzi scheme,” says their local paper the Hook. He was promising investors returns of up to 22% annually, but naturally had failed to make any investments with his clients’ money since 2002. One anonymous person—who may or may not have been a client, we don’t know—told the paper, “I visited his office once. He had a bunch of computers. It seemed like a very sophisticated operation.”

Anti-Fraud Websites Emerging To Fight 'Massive Ignorance'

Anti-Fraud Websites Emerging To Fight 'Massive Ignorance'

The website Scam Victims United warned its readers about last week’s arrested ponzi schemer, Nick Cosmo, nearly four months ago, based on a visit one of its forum members made to Cosmo’s office. Reuters points out that this site and others like it—Fraud Aid and Scam Warners, for example—are enjoying healthy traffic spikes right now, which is great news in the fight against fraud.

Video: Oil Speculators To Blame For Record Gas Prices After All

Video: Oil Speculators To Blame For Record Gas Prices After All

If you thought oil speculators as the reason behind the historic gas prices spikes of this summer was debunked, think again. From ’07 to when the price of oil collapsed, supply increased and demand dropped. According to basic economic theory, this should’ve meant the price went down. But all of a sudden an influx of capital, an infusion that brought the total at play from $13 billion to $300 billion, brought to market by large investment bankers, exploiting de-regulation and trading in black box private exchanges made possible by Enron, drove the price of oil from $69 to almost $150. A new 60 Minutes report explores the issue. Video inside.

United Airlines' Stock Temporarily Wiped Out By Old Bankruptcy Story

United Airlines' Stock Temporarily Wiped Out By Old Bankruptcy Story

UPDATE: Google Placed Wrong Date On UAL Story, Stock Yo-Yo Ensues

Home Depot Shareholders Ask For Better Customer Service

Home Depot Shareholders Ask For Better Customer Service

Home Depot’s shareholder’s meeting was filled with investors requesting that the big orange home improvement giant improve its notoriously crappy customer service. Suggestions included improving employee pay to lure back quality workers who defected to Lowe’s, and hiring more “aprons.”

Shareholders File Lawsuit Against Mattel Over Toy Recalls

Shareholders File Lawsuit Against Mattel Over Toy Recalls

Mattel’s shareholders are upset. A pension fund in Michigan has filed a shareholder lawsuit against the company, claiming that they mishandled product safety procedures and were therefor responsible for 3 toy recalls this summer. The lawsuit also alleges that executives with knowledge of the defects sold $33 million in stock before the recalls were announced.