A member of Anonymous posted e-mails provided by a former Bank of America employee claiming firsthand knowledge of how the bank falsified documents and forced foreclosures.
Months after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange promised to post documents
from a major financial institution, a member of Anonymous released e-mails
allegedly related to Bank of America's foreclosure practices.
The e-mails were provided by a former Bank of America employee who claimed
the bank withheld critical information from regulators and sensitive data was
deleted. A Twitter account called Anonymous@OperationLeakS announced the
release of the e-mail messages on the site, bankofamericasucks.com, shortly
after midnight Eastern time on March
An Anonymous representative, who had not read the messages but had been
briefed on the contents, told Reuters the e-mails addressed "whether Bank
of America has improperly foreclosed on homes."
The e-mails are allegedly exchanges between employees at Balboa Insurance, a
unit Bank of America acquired as part of its Countrywide Financial acquisition
in 2008. Balboa dealt with "lender-placed insurance," or insurance
policies taken out by lenders paid for by the mortgage holder. Bank of America
is in the process of finalizing the $700 million sale of Balboa to Australian
insurer QBE Insurance Group.
Some of the e-mails hint at an organized effort to tamper with loan numbers
and audit trails, such as a conversation between two Balboa employees regarding
an "unusual" request to remove document tracking numbers from the
system so that documents could no longer be correlated to specific loans,
according to the BBC
, who examined the messages.
The approval was given to remove loan numbers from documents, the New York
Some of the loan file numbers were mismatched or missing, prompting an
employee to wonder about creating "huge red flags" for auditors over
a change in record keeping. The anomalies prompted the employee to comment that
it "just doesn't seem right to me," according to screenshots of the
e-mails available on the Huffington
One of the messages claimed Balboa knowingly hid foreclosure information
from federal auditors, referring to the federal investigations that arose after
consumer groups accused Bank of America and other mortgage services of
foreclosing on homes without proper documentation.
The e-mails have not been independently verified, and a Bank of America
spokesman told Reuters that these "clerical and administrative"
documents had been stolen by a former Balboa employee and were not tied to
foreclosures. "We are confident that his extravagant assertions are
untrue," the spokesman said.
OperationLeakS claimed on Twitter that this was just "part 1 of the
Emails." In an ironic twist, bankofamericasucks.com was available
sporadically throughout the day as high traffic volumes overwhelmed and crashed
the server. By midday, there were a
number of mirrors up for the e-mails in the .RAR archive format, including one
The bulk of the e-mails appear to be between OperationLeakS and the clearly
disgruntled Balboa employee, and it was difficult to tell if there was anything
"truly damning in the e-mails," according to Halah
Touryalai of Forbes
. Even so, considering recent disclosures about
robo-signing practices at Bank of America and other foreclosure problems,
regulators are likely to be poring over the allegations in these e-mails
Recent high-profile data breaches have companies increasingly concerned
about trusted employees taking sensitive information when they leave the
company or leaking information to third parties without authorization. The
fixes range from elaborate data leak protection software to encrypting content
to implementing a zero-trust environment with rigid security controls.
At this time, it is unclear whether these files are the same ones that Assange
previously referred to, although a comment from this ex-employee makes it seem
like two different leaks. It is also unknown whether WikiLeaks still planned
its own release.
"If anyone can get me a copy of the image of the hard drive that Julian
Assange reportedly has from the BofA executive ... I could find all the dirt on
that hard drive within a week," the ex-employee wrote, according to the