How about ‘too big to go to jail’?

Forget about foreclosure statistics, declining prices and the alphabet soup of government programs promised to help strapped homeowners in Las Vegas.

What Las Vegas housing analyst Larry Murphy wants to know is why it’s taking the market so long to recover. He’s getting outraged.

“They said the banks were too big to fail. They should have said they were too big to jail,” the president of SalesTraq housing research firm said. “When the banks can’t prove they have the right to foreclose and they’ve gone through due process, if they skipped any steps or fabricated any evidence in the documents, that’s fraud.”

Murphy applauds Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto for filing a lawsuit against Lender Processing Services, a Florida company that was alleged to be part of the robo-signing scandal in which thousands of foreclosure documents were falsely signed and notarized.

She also was behind Assembly Bill 284, which became law Oct. 1, requiring that lenders be able to prove they own the note before they start the foreclosure process.

Las Vegas attorney Matthew Callister followed up with a class action lawsuit against LPS, Bank of America, IndyMac Mortgage and others on behalf of local homeowners.

“The foreclosure crisis has been fueled by two main problems: chaos and speed,” the lawsuit states. “The faster LPS is able to process foreclosures, without regard to accuracy of the documents or the integrity of the process, the more money LPS makes.”

Murphy said these lawsuits raise the question of what’s going to be the consequences.

What if plaintiffs are awarded a huge settlement? Will more people stop paying their mortgage?

Masto said she wants to prevent fraudulent foreclosure practices such as robo-signing, not prevent proper foreclosures.

“If it is true that people are living in their homes without making mortgage payments, AB 284 does not prevent banks from properly foreclosing on those individuals,” she said.

Real estate attorney Mark Connot of Fox Rothschild in Las Vegas said fears of clouded ownership from the robo-signing scandal are overblown.

People who purchase bank-owned homes at auction and on the open market are not in danger of having the sale nullified because of an error in paperwork, he said.

“First of all, any dispute is with the bank, not the new purchaser,” Connot said. “You have what’s called a good-faith purchaser for the value.

“The law is going say those people who bought are protected because the bank got the title at the trustee auction.”

Foreclosures declined in 2011 as five major mortgage servicers worked out a multistate settlement announced Wednesday by the Department of Justice.

The settlement will bring some closure to the uncertainty about rules and liability that the mortgage industry has faced since last year, causing foreclosures to increase, said Jed Kolko, chief economist and head of analystics at foreclosure listing service

“The hitch is that some states might sit out the settlement, and only five large mortgage servicers are in negotiations, leaving open the possibility of numerous lawsuits by nonparticipating states and lawsuits against other mortgage players,” Kolko said.

The only thing that can stop this mess is if banks grant principal reductions and simply write down home loans to current market value, housing analyst Murphy said.

Then people will stay in their homes.

Otherwise, Las Vegas could see a situation such as Cleveland, where thousands of vacant homes are being torn down because their value has gone to zero, and homes around them are going to zero, Murphy said.

“This is America where we’re tearing down houses. Twenty-five percent of the nation is under water. Something is wrong,” he said.

Contact reporter Hubble Smith at hsmith@ or 702-383-0491.

MGM Grand Plans To Add Retail And Dining To Its Strip Facade
MGM Grand President and Chief Operating Officer Scott Sibella said executives are “discussing redeveloping that entire frontage of the building out to the Las Vegas Strip.” (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Boyd Gaming planning new corporate campus
Casino operator Boyd Gaming Corp. has filed plans to build a new corporate campus. The plans call for two 10-story office buildings and a six-level parking garage in the southwest Las Vegas Valley. Boyd Gaming operates The Orleans, the Suncoast, downtown's California Hotel and other properties. The new headquarters would be just a mile from its current main office building.
Bellagio Conservatory transformed to celebrate Year of the Pig
The Bellagio Conservatory Team transformed the 14,000 square foot conservatory to commemorate Chinese New Year, the holiday that marks the end of the coldest days of winter. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Intro uses sound to connect people
Intro, a startup that is part of the Future Worlds Accelerator in the UK, has an app that uses ultrasonic sound to find people and companies nearby.
CES 2019 Video: CES wraps up another year
Time-lapse video of the action at CES 2019 in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Create your own beauty products
Beauty Mix by BeautyByMe is a product that lets you create your own cosmetics and beauty products. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Picobrew’s home brew machine
Picobrew brings automation to homebrewing. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Surviving CES
What it's like to spend four days working the mammoth tech convention. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Haier’s smart home
Haier presented smart home technology at CES 2019.
CES 2019 VIDEO: Foldimate makes laundry day easy
Foldimate has created a machine that will fold your laundry for you. Just feed it anything you need folded and it will do the rest. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Opte device corrects skin spots
Opte from Proctor and Gamble is a device for correcting spots and freckles from skin. It analyzes the area for spots and then covers them with a serum of matching skin tone. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Circa hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas unveiled
Derek Stevens reveals Circa hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas. He plans open by the end of 2020. (K.M Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Circa, new casino coming to Fremont Street
Casino owner Derek Stevens announces his new property Circa, coming to Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas in late 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dreenk My Oeno makes wine suggestions
At CES 2019 in Las Vegas, the Dreenk My Oeno tells you all about wine.
Polaroid One Step Plus camera unveiled at CES 2019
Polaroid has moved into the digital age with its One Step Plus camera with Bluetooth. With the connected app, it turns your smartphone into a remote for the camera, along with filters and features.
Amazon is everywhere at CES 2019 in Las Vegas
Seemingly everything works with Amazon Alexa
LG Smart Mirror helps you dress snazzy
LG’s Smart Mirror is less of a mirror but more of an assistant to help get you looking snazzy. It takes your image and recommends clothes for you or matches existing clothes with new clothes, which can be purchased right from the mirror. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Underwater robots make waves at CES 2019 in Las Vegas
Robosea is a company dedicated to underwater robotics. They produce consumer robots for underwater filming as well as commercial products which can be used for underwater research. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019 - Victrola record players spin in Las Vegas
A new spin on an old favorite, Victrola record players are meeting a demand for retro products. The brand is also making furnitures with built-in speakers.
CES 2019: Slamtec robots ready to serve
Slamtec is a robotics company out of China whose goal is to provide solutions for laser localization mapping and navigation. They have created two autonomous robots that can be used in areas such as bars, restaurants and malls. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mixologiq drink maker appears at CES 2019 in Las Vegas.
This is the Mixologiq drink maker.
CES 2019: Veritable smart garden
Let’s face it; not all of us have green thumbs. And herbs are particularly difficult to grow, considering their constant need for sunshine. Enter the Veritable smart garden from Exky, which does it all for you. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas being sold to developer
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas is being sold to a developer, set to close in March. Bonnie Springs, west of Las Vegas off State Route 159 — next to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park — spans more than 60 acres and was on the market for $31 million. The developer and his project partner are under contract to buy the ranch and plan to chop it up mostly into custom-home lots. The plans includes a 25-room motel, a restaurant and a 5,400-square-foot event barn.
Bone-conduction headphones form Aftershokz
Aftershokz offers bone-conduction headphones - headphones that don’t go in the ear.
CES Happy Hour party at Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace
Conventioneers mingled during the Hardware Massive CES 2019 Happy Hour Bash at The Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Autonomous Cars and Futuristic Aircraft Rule CES
Day two of CES was dominated by autonomous cars and futuristic aircraft in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
TekNekSavr fights neck problems caused by smart phones
Atiya Syverson invented the TekNekSavr to help fight neck and head problems caused by strains while typing on smart phones. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New eyeglasses know if you fall and call for help
The French company Abeye has created eye glasses that will detect if the wearer falls and call for help. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Company that creates vibrator-like device claims genders bias against CES
Lora DiCarlo is a women-run start-up that creates a vibrator-like device designed for female pleasure called the Osé. This year they were awarded the CES Innovation Award in the Robotics and Drone Category, but a month later the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, rescinded the award and their booth. Haddock and her team believe it is a reflection of gender bias and sexism in an industry with a long history of male domination.
CES-Wagz has new pet products
Wagz has three new products to help create better lives for your pets in a digital world. One is a collar with LTE tracking and an HD camera. Also a smart pet door that only lets your pet in and out. Lastly, a device to humanely keep Fluffy out of certain areas of your home. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like