YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO CASH PAYMENT FOR WRONGFUL FORECLOSURE — Coming to a Billboard Near YOU
Posted on September 27, 2010 by Neil Garfield
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Well it has finally happened. Three years ago I couldn’t get a single lawyer anywhere to consider this line of work. I predicted that this area of expertise in their practice would dwarf anything they were currently doing including personal injury and malpractice. I even tried to guarantee fees to lawyers and they wouldn’t take it. Now there are hundreds, if not thousands of lawyers who are either practicing in this field or are about to take the plunge. The early adopters who attended my workshops and read my materials, workbooks and bought the DVD’s are making some serious money and have positioned themselves perfectly ahead of the crowd.
Congratulations, everyone, it was the readers who made this happen. Without your support I would not have been able to reach the many thousands of homeowners and lawyers and government officials whoa re now turning the corner in their understanding of this mess and their willingness to do something about it.
The article below from Streitfeld sounds like it was written by me. No attribution though. No matter. The message is out. The foreclosures were and are wrongful, illegal, immoral and the opposite of any notion we have of justice. They were dressed up to look right and they got way with it for years because so many homeowners simply gave up convinced they had only to blame themselves for getting into a raw deal. Those homeowners who gave up were wrong and now they will find themselves approached by lawyers who will promise them return of the house they lost or damages for the wrongful foreclosure. When you left, you thought your loan had not been paid and that the notice you received was legitimate. You were wrong on both counts. The loan had been paid, there were other people who had signed up for liability along with you to justify the price on steroids that was sold to your lender (investor).
For those who are just catching up, here it is in a nutshell: Borrower signs a note to ABC Corp., which says it is the lender but isn’t. So you start right away with the wrong party named on the note and mortgage (deed of trust) PLUS the use of a meaningless nominee on the mortgage (deed of
trust) which completely invalidates the documents and clouds the title. Meanwhile the lender gets a mortgage bond NOT SIGNED BY THE BORROWER. The bond says that this new “entity” (which usually they never bothered to actually form) will pay them from “receivables.” The receivables include but ARE NOT LIMITED TO the payments from the borrower who accepted funding of a loan. These other parties are there to justify the fact that the loan was sold at a huge premium to the lender without disclosure to either the borrower or the lender. (The tier 2 Yield Spread Premium that raises some really juicy causes of action under TILA, RESPA and the 10b-5 actions, including treble damages, attorney fees and restitution).
And and by the way for the more sophisticated lawyers, now would be the time to sharpen up your defense skills and your knowledge of administrative laws. Hundreds of thousands of disciplinary actions are going to filed against the professionally licensed people who attended the borrower’s “closing” and who attended the closing with the “lender.” With their livelihood at stake, their current arrogance will morph into abject fear. Here is your line when you quote them fees: “Remember that rainy day you were saving up for? Well, it’s raining!” Many lawyers and homeowners are going to realize that they have easy pickings when they bring administrative grievances in quasi criminal proceedings (don’t threaten it, that’s a crime, just do it) which results in restitution funded by the professional liability insurer. careful about the way you word the grievance. Don’t go overboard or else the insurance carrier will deny coverage based upon the allegation of an intentional act. You want to allege gross negligence.
EVERYBODY in the securitization structure gets paid premium money to keep their mouth shut and money changes hands faster than one of those street guys who moves shells or cards around on a table. Yes everyone gets paid — except the borrower who never got the benefit of his the bargain he signed up for — a home worth whatever they said it was worth at closing. It wasn’t worth that and it will never be worth that and everyone except the borrower knew it with the possible exception of some lenders who didn’t care because the other people who the borrower knew nothing about, had “guaranteed” the value of the lender’s investment and minimized the risk to the level of “cash equivalent” AAA-rated.
The securitization “partners” did not dot their “i’s” nor cross their “t’s.” And that is what the article below is about. But they failed to do that for a reason. They didn’t care about the documents because they never had any intention of using them anyway. It was all a scam cleverly disguised as a legitimate part of the home mortgage industry. It was instead a Ponzi scheme without any of the attributes of real appraisals, real underwriting reviews and committees and decisions. They bought the signature of the borrowers by promising the moon and they sold the apparent existence of signature (which in many cases) did not even exist) to Lenders by promising the stars.
And now, like it wasn’t news three years ago when we first brought it up, suddenly mainstream media is picking up the possibility that the foreclosures were all fraudulent also. The pretender lenders were intentionally and knowingly misrepresenting themselves as lenders in order to grab property that didn’t belong to them and to which they had no rights — to the detriment of both the borrowers and the lenders. And some judges, government officials and even lawyers appear to be surprised by that, are you?
GMAC’s Errors Leave Foreclosures in Question
By DAVID STREITFELD
The recent admission by a major mortgage lender that it had filed dubious foreclosure documents is likely to fuel a furor against hasty foreclosures, which have prompted complaints nationwide since housing prices collapsed.
Lawyers for distressed homeowners and law enforcement officials in several states on Friday seized on revelations by GMAC Mortgage, the country’s fourth-largest home loan lender, that it had violated legal rules in its rush to file many foreclosures as quickly as possible.
Attorneys general in Iowa and North Carolina said they were beginning separate investigations of the lender, and the attorney general in California directed the company to suspend all foreclosures in that state until it “proves that it’s following the letter of the law.”
The federal government, which became the majority owner of GMAC after supplying $17 billion to prevent the lender’s failure, said Friday that it had told the company to clean up its act.
Florida lawyers representing borrowers in default said they would start filing motions as early as next week to have hundreds of foreclosure actions dismissed.
While GMAC is the first big lender to publicly acknowledge that its practices might have been improper, defense lawyers and consumer advocates have long argued that numerous lenders have used inaccurate or incomplete documents to remove delinquent owners from their houses.
The issue has broad consequences for the millions of buyers of foreclosed homes, some of whom might not have clear title to their bargain property. And it may offer unforeseen opportunities for those who were evicted.
“You know those billboards that lawyers put up seeking divorcing or bankrupt clients?” asked Greg Clark, a Florida real estate lawyer. “It’s
only a matter of time until they start putting up signs that say, ‘You might be entitled to cash payment for wrongful foreclosure.’ ”
The furor has already begun in Florida, which is one of the 23 states where foreclosures must be approved by courts. Nearly half a million foreclosures are in the Florida courts, overwhelming the system.
J. Thomas McGrady, chief judge in the foreclosure hotbed of St. Petersburg, said the problems went far beyond GMAC. Four major law firms doing foreclosures for lenders are under investigation by the Florida attorney general.
“Some of what the lenders are submitting in court is incompetent, some is just sloppy,” said Judge McGrady of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Clearwater, Fla. “And somewhere in there could be a fraudulent element.”
In many cases, the defaulting homeowners do not hire lawyers, making problems generated by the lenders hard to detect.
“Documents are submitted, and there’s no one to really contest whether it is accurate or not,” the judge said. “We have an affidavit that says it is, so we rely on that. But then later we may find out that someone lost their home when they shouldn’t have. We don’t like that.”
GMAC, which is based in Detroit and is now a subsidiary of Ally Financial, first put the spotlight on its procedures when it told real estate agents and brokers last week that it was immediately and indefinitely stopping all evictions and sales of foreclosed property in the states — generally on the East Coast and in the Midwest — where foreclosures must be approved by courts.
That was a highly unusual move. So was the lender’s simultaneous withdrawal of important affidavits in pending cases. The affidavits were sworn statements by GMAC officials that they had personal knowledge of the foreclosure documents.
The company played down its actions, saying the defects in its foreclosure filings were “technical.” It has declined to say how many cases might be affected.
A GMAC spokeswoman also declined to say Friday whether the company would stop foreclosures in California as the attorney general, Jerry Brown, demanded. Foreclosures in California are not judicial.
GMAC’s vague explanations have been little comfort to some states.
“We cannot allow companies to systematically flout the rules of civil procedure,” said one of Iowa’s assistant attorneys general, Patrick Madigan. “They’re either going to have to hire more people or the foreclosure process is going to have to slow down.”
GMAC began as the auto financing arm of General Motors. During the housing boom, it made a heavy bet on subprime borrowers, giving loans to many people who could not afford a house.
“We have discussed the current situation with GMAC and expect them to take prompt action to correct any errors,” said Mark Paustenbach, a spokesman for the Treasury Department.
GMAC appears to have been forced to reveal its problems in the wake of several depositions given by Jeffrey Stephan, the team leader of the document execution unit in the lender’s Fort Washington, Pa., offices.
Mr. Stephan, 41, said in one deposition that he signed as many as 10,000 affidavits and other foreclosure documents a month; in another he said it was 6,000 to 8,000.
The affidavits state that Mr. Stephan, in his capacity as limited signing officer for GMAC, had examined “all books, records and documents” involved in the foreclosure and that he had “personal knowledge” of the relevant facts.
In the depositions, Mr. Stephan said he did not do this.
In a June deposition, a lawyer representing a foreclosed household put it directly: “So other than the due date and the balances due, is it correct that you do not know whether any other part of the affidavit that you sign is true?”
“That could be correct,” Mr. Stephan replied.
Mr. Stephan also said in depositions that his signature had not been notarized when he wrote it, but only later, or even the next day.
GMAC said Mr. Stephan was not available for an interview. The lender said its “failures” did not “reflect any disrespect for our courts or the judicial processes.”
Margery Golant, a Boca Raton, Fla., foreclosure defense lawyer, said GMAC “has cracked open the door.”
“Judges used to look at us strangely when we tried to tell them all these major financial institutions are lying,” said Ms. Golant, a former associate general counsel for the lender Ocwen Financial.
Her assistants were reviewing all of the law firm’s cases Friday to see whether GMAC had been involved. “Lawyers all over Florida and I’m sure all over the country are drafting pleadings,” she said. “We’ll file motions for sanctions and motions to dismiss the case for fraud on the court.”
For homeowners in foreclosure, the admissions by GMAC are bringing hope for resolution.
One such homeowner is John Turner, a commercial airline pilot based near Detroit. Three years ago he bought a Florida condo, thinking he would move down there with a girlfriend. The relationship fizzled, his finances dwindled, and the place went into foreclosure.
GMAC called several times a week, seeking its $195,000. Mr. Turner says he tried to meet the lender halfway but failed. Last week it put his case in limbo by withdrawing the affidavit.
“We should be able to come to an agreement that’s beneficial to both of us,” Mr. Turner said. “I feel like I’m due something.”