The Boy Who Cried Force-Placed Insurance: Gaining Traction

Chapter 9

“I wouldn’t recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they’ve always worked for me.” Hunter S Thompson



May 17-21, 2012 – Cochise County, AZ – Benjamin Lawsky and his New York Department of Financial Services put the banks on the hot seat in day 1 of a 3 day livecasted hearing on Force-Placed Insurance.  I wake up practically giddy to watch this obscure financial video, eat breakfast, smoke a few bowls, and grab my coffee.  Realizing I’m one of only a handful of people in the country that even understand what they’re talking about and I’ve already been away from the company for over a year and a half, I decide after the consumer testimonies to transcribe the remainder of the hearings.


These hearings were everything I worked for over the last 2 years.  Lawsky and his team held very few punches.  They brought executives in from GMAC, Chase, Bank of America, and other loan servicers, and questioned their financial reports with great scrutiny.  They publicly confirmed everything I submitted to the 50 State AG’s Coalition.  They questioned some of the issues I brought to light with the document leak through Anonymous.  They illustrated specifically how the banks and insurance companies colluded (and continue to collude) to abuse the insurance clause of any collateral loan (home, car, boat, etc) to increase payments and force a repossession.


Everything is publicly available now.  Working independently, I’m able to move faster than everyone else.  I post my notes on this blog almost immediately after each hearing.  Because of this, my notes are noticed and distributed deeply into both sides.  Birny Birnbaum makes the banks look foolish on the stands by referring to charts and graphs disputing everything the banks say.  I confirm everything from my bed in my underwear while smoking out and sipping my coffee…


I didn’t realize the banks were watching me at first.  It wasn’t until the next day I noticed it.  There were 2 notes I made while mocking the executives from QBE and Assurant during their testimony on day 1.  The slick NY Chase representative made a point to correct both of these notes in his testimony on day 2.  That told me the teams from the banks were watching me very closely.  It fueled my desire to continue calling them out.  It made me realize I was lazing around in my parent’s house looking like a complete failure in some small town on the Arizona border…but on Wall Street the largest players in the housing and lending industries are still dedicating resources to watching me a year and a half after I walked away from my job.  By attacking me then empowering me, the banks made a mistake I won’t let them walk away from.



June 2012 – I’ve touched base with everyone involved in Force-Placed Insurance.  The ball is rolling in every direction.  My one-man blitz against Force-Placed Insurance built a sustainable buzz.  The media is constantly talking about the industry.  My name is next to Birny Birnbaum and J. Robert Hunter as an expert in the field.  I’ve got less than a month left in Arizona.  I’m enrolled in a legal studies program in Florida for the fall semester.  The plan is to become a foreclosure defense attorney so I can utilize my expertise to help homeowners (although fate would change this plan by the end of the year).  My life is on cruise control while I wait out my final month in the desert and tie up any remaining loose ends.


Anonymous is growing as well.  Parmy Olsen and Biella Coleman are studying them full time.  I’m curious to one day know how deep these 2 have truly gone into the rabbit hole.  There’s been such a revolving door of Anons that without even meaning to, those 2 have more influence on the hive than I think they realize or intend.  I have to make a mental note to inquire about that next when our paths cross off the record.  I decide to start delving further into Anon, contacting Parmy and explaining my perspective.


I’m too broke on Father’s Day, so I give my proud Conservative-Leaning Army Veteran Dad a different kind of gift.  The prior night, Rosanne Barr gets on Twitter and decides to berate several prominent members of Anonymous.  I heard she has Michael Moore filming her Presidential run, and I figure she’s looking to add some drama to her story.  After scrolling through 3 days of her timeline to read her tirades about men being the root of all evil and watching her berate people for no reason, I decide to take her out. I log into an Anon account and provoke her, leading her to spend the next 2 days screaming about it.  At some point in the night, Peter Fonda decides to put his 2 cents in.  Peter’s only got 1500 followers, so I know he’s going to read whatever I respond.  I let him know Jane Fonda is a bitch.  The next morning I show my Dad what I made him on my laptop.  The look of pride on my Dad’s face as he told his Vietnam War Veteran’s group what his son did was worth more to me than anything I’ve gotten for fighting the banks thus far…


In July, I take a road trip to Florida with a bank employee, get coked out on South Beach, and hit rock bottom again…but it’s the shit piled on us that makes us grow…



Dr. Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. You can find his work in Cracked, High Times, HuffPost, Lifewire, Forbes, Fast Company, and dozens of other places, although much of it is no longer under his name. Dr. Penny loves annoying fake media.

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