Anonymous, the WikiLeaks-supporting hacker-activist group, has released a batch of emails leaked by a former Bank of America employee who alleges that a division of the bank was trying to hide damning information on foreclosures. In the lead-up to the leak, Anonymous noted that the documents reveal “corruption and fraud” at the bank — the biggest in the country in terms of assets.
A Bank of America spokesperson provided a statement to Reuters confirming that the documents were stolen by a former employee of Balboa Insurance, which was acquired by the bank in 2008, but denying that the documents prove any wrongdoing on the bank’s part. “We are confident that his extravagant assertions are untrue,” the spokesperson said.
The New York Times’ DealBook reports:
Balboa deals in so-called force-placed insurance coverage on mortgages. The e-mail messages concern the removal of information linking loans to other documentation….
The e-mails dating from November 2010 concern correspondence among Balboa employees in which they discuss taking steps to alter the record about certain documents “that went out in error.” The documents were related to loans by GMAC, a Bank of America client, according to the e-mails.
“The following GMAC DTN’s need to have the images removed from Tracksource/Rembrandt,” an operations team manager at Balboa wrote. DTN refers to document tracking number, and Tracksource/Rembrandt is an insurance tracking system.
The response he receives: “I have spoken to my developer and she stated that we cannot remove the DTNs from Rembrandt, but she can remove the loan numbers, so the documents will not show as matched to those loans.”
According to the e-mails, approval was given to remove the loan numbers from the documents.
Here’s what the anonymous former Balboa staffer had to say (via Huffington Post):
My name is (Anonymous). For the last 7 years, I worked in the Insurance/Mortgage industry for a company called Balboa Insurance. Many of you do not know who Balboa Insurance Group (soon to be rebranded as QBE First by Australian Reinsurance Company QBE according to internal communication sent to all Balboa associates) is, but if you’ve ever had a loan for an automobile, farm equipment, mobile home, or residential or commercial property, we knew you. In fact, we probably charged you money…a lot of money…for insurance you didn’t even need….
How is Balboa able to charge such inflated premiums and get away with it?
It’s all very simple.
First, when you call in to customer service, for say, GMAC, you’re not actually speaking to a GMAC employee. You’re actually speaking to a Bank of America associate working for Balboa Insurance who is required by their business to business contract with GMAC to state that they are, in fact, an employee of GMAC. The reasoning is that if you do not realize you’re speaking to a Bank of America/Balboa Insurance employee, you have no reason to question the validity of the information you are receiving from them. If you call your insurance agent and ask them for the lienholder information for your GMAC/Wells Fargo/etc lien (home or auto) you will be provided with their name, but the mailing address will be a PO Box at one of Balboa’s 3 main tracking locations (Moon Township/Coreaopolis, PA, Dallas/Ft Worth, TX, or Phoenix/Chandler, AZ)
More details from that message here.
Anonymous has posted the emails to the website BankofAmericaSuck.com, which was experiencing intermittent outages this morning (likely due to high traffic). The documents are also available for direct download here. The leak was announced on Twitter with the hashtag #BlackMonday.
Posted at March 14, 2011, 7:34 am