October 28, 2009

Wamu Loaned Money to OJ Simpson and other news

Here are some misc. news items I've seen recently that I thought were of note:

Not a good loan

You may recall that Washington Mutual (Wamu) went under and their assets were acquired by JP Morgan Chase bank. The Seattle Times has a 2 part article (part 1 & part 2) on the demise of Wamu. In the first part of their story they reveal that someone at Wamu had made a 2nd mortgage loan to OJ Simpson. The loan was made after he had been found liable in the civil lawsuit and so he wasn't in healthy financial shape at the time. In the documentation for the loan there was a letter from Simpson saying "'the judgment is no good, because I didn't do it."

Supposed Toddler home buyers

The $8,000 tax credit for new home buyers has lead to a lot of false claims and some outright criminal fraud. USA Today article reports that there have been 1.4 million tax claims on the credit and that the IRS "... has opened 107,000 civil cases related to the credit and identified 167 criminal schemes." They even cite one case where a 4 year old was listed as claiming the credit. I am guessing the parents were existing home owners so they filed as if the 4 year old bought the home in order to try and claim the credit.

Wanna house in Detroit?

Its clear that things are not going well for Detroit. They have the highest unemployment and one of the highest foreclosure rates. The situation is so bad that the auction of 9,000 homes or vacant lots that were foreclosed on due to taxes by the county was a "flop". With a minimum bid of just $500 per item less than 20% was sold. Of course many of those buildings are not habitable and the better ones sold for higher prices.

Estate Tax law to be Revised

Another article
said that the congressional leadership in the House has said that they will revise the Estate tax law before it expires at the end of 2009. Given current law the estate tax will be repealed entirely in 2010. But it sounds like congress may change that before it happens. The article doesn't say much of anything about what they plan to do but I'd assume they'll have an exemption of $1M or more. So its not anything to worry about in myopinion

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