Chain of Title

Foreclosure Fraud and the Fight to Protect New York City Homeowners

In the wake of the Great Recession, as the housing bubble burst and unemployment rose, millions of American families experienced a precipitous decline in their net worth. Those who were able to stay in their homes were able to weather the storm, but others couldn't.

Tragically, something more nefarious – and preventable – was also in play: foreclosure fraud. In his new book, Chain of TitleDavid Dayen chronicles how a small group of ordinary people uncovered the large-scale corporate malfeasance that undermined the financial security of families when they were at their most economically vulnerable. Scores of families were faced with eviction from their homes based on false evidence by mortgage companies with no legal right to foreclose.

Stories like this are, at once, a cautionary tale on how financial services firms can behave badly and an inspiring story of the citizens fighting back. Chain of Title provides a valuable context for the current and future fight to protect New York homeowners from the next wave of foreclosure scams, battles that continue to be waged on the frontlines by legal service attorneys and community activists.

New America's Reid Cramer talked with David Dayen and leading housing and neighborhood advocates on how Wall Street has invaded our homes – and how homeowners are kicking them back out.

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Contributor:

Reid Cramer is director of the Millennials Initiative at New America. Previously, he served as the Asset Building program's research director and as a co-director of New America's Next Social Contract Initiative.