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In creating mortgage backed securities, the geniuses of the financial world didn't bother with pesky formalities like proper transfer of the note (the debt document). That wasn't a problem as long as people were paying their loans, but in the course of foreclosure proceedings it has become increasingly apparent that many of the foreclosing companies do not actually hold the note, and thus cannot foreclose - indeed, in many cases it seems to be impossible to legally establish who owns it; the fraud comes in because these companies started inventing paper to cover up the fact.
Now if the MBSs don't actually, legally hold the notes on which they are based, they are worth, in the worst case, about the price of a pair of stinky socks. (3 sentences!)
To my mind, the fraud business could well be simply the water-running-out phase of the tsunami cycle.
The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
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