Archive for: ‘October 2010’

Improper Documentation for Foreclosure Proceedings

October 24, 2010 Posted by kingcade

As a consequence of the fallout that marked the frenzy of the subprime mortgage era, banks and mortgage servicers are finding themselves accused of fraud in trying to foreclose on properties while using falsified documentation. In a number of cases in Florida and other states where the foreclosure process must proceed through the courts, they are being charged with presenting forged documents of assignment.

Millions of loans were processed very quickly during the heyday of interest-only and other questionable loan practices, and some mortgages were sold hundreds or even thousands of times with incomplete information or documentation so that it became impossible to determine when or to whom the mortgage was sold.

Consequently, mortgage servicers have been trying to recreate loan documents by supplying phony stamps used by financial companies to simulate proof of assignments and by randomly changing the identity of a mortgage holder when it could not verify its ownership.

When consumers in Florida, Maryland and other states began challenging the foreclosures in court, the forgeries were uncovered. Banks have been undoubtedly under pressure to provide evidence of ownership of these loans in which incomplete documents were filed.

Many lenders and banks used a service from Docx, the nation’s largest lien release processor and a subsidiary of Lender Processing Services, to provide document and assignment services for banks and mortgage lenders. With no evidence of ownership or assignment of many of these loans, Docx is accused of scrambling to fabricate documents of assignment to satisfy the requirements for foreclosure in court. The company is presently under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors.

In February 2010, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that a lender now has to verify that it had all the proper documents before a foreclosure can proceed. Failure to do so can subject the lender or bank to charges of perjury. In a number of cases, judges have invalidated the foreclosures and returned the properties to the borrowers. In other cases, judges are holding hearings to determine if the lenders have attempted to perpetrate a fraud on the court by presenting fabricated documents.

Under fire, a number of large lenders, such as JP Chase Morgan, Bank of America and GMAC, recently suspended foreclosure proceedings in certain states, pending review of their files to find potential errors. Proceedings were only halted in certain states because not every jurisdiction has a law requiring that foreclosure proceedings to go through court; foreclosures continue to be processed in the states without judicial foreclosure laws.

Because the use of fraudulent documents of assignment is on the rise, it is important to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney if you are served foreclosure papers. Even if your mortgage documents are not falsified, you may still have options to save your home.

Banks and other Financial Firms under Federal Investigation for using Fraudulent Court Documents to Foreclose on People’s Homes

October 22, 2010 Posted by kingcade

A recent story in the Washington Post reports that a federal investigation is underway to determine whether banks and other financial firms broke U.S. law when using fraudulent court documents to foreclose on people’s homes. The criminal investigation is focused on whether companies misled federal housing agencies, and whether the firms committed wire or mail fraud in filing false paperwork.

The Obama administration is seeking to send the message that it will hold banks accountable for illegal foreclosures. The investigation will likely be a lengthy one and target banks, independent mortgage servicers, law firms and other companies involved in the foreclosure process.

Beyond the investigation, federal agencies could take regulatory steps to address misdeeds. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Ginnie Mae, which packages and sells FHA-backed mortgages, could require banks to change their practices and impose financial penalties if firms choose to violate the rules.

Some major banks (i.e. – Bank of America) are preparing to submit new paperwork and resume the process of seizing homes in Florida and other states which require a judge’s approval.

To read more on this story, please visit:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2010/10/19/AR2010101904845.html?hpid=topnews

If you have any questions on this topic feel free to contact foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Bank of America Plans to Resume Foreclosures in 23 States, Including Florida

October 20, 2010 Posted by kingcade

A recent article by the Associated Press reported that Bank of America plans to resume foreclosures on more than 100,000 homes in 23 states, which include Florida early next week, with a judge’s approval. This move by the nation’s largest bank will likely encourage other giant lenders, like JPMorgan Chase & Co., to resume the foreclosure process as well. Bank of America Corp. is still delaying foreclosures in the 27 other states, which do not require a judge’s approval.

This move comes just two weeks after Bank of America halted foreclosures in all 50 states as allegations surfaced that bank employees signed, but failed to read foreclosure documents, that may have contained errors. These bank employees earned the nickname “robo-signers.”

A deposition released by the Florida attorney general’s office revealed that the office manager at a Florida law firm under investigation for fabricating foreclosure documents signed 1,000 files a day without reviewing them. The manager also would allow paralegals to sign her name when she got tired, the deposition said. Bank of America plans to begin filing new paperwork for 102,000 foreclosures on Monday, October 25, 2010.

The 23 states in which Bank of America is restarting foreclosures use a lengthy court process. They require documents to verify information on the mortgage, including who owns it. These states include: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin.

To read more on Bank of America’s plans to resume foreclosures in 23 states, please visit:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101018/ap_on_bi_ge/us_bank_of_america_foreclosures
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39727162/ns/business-real_estate/
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/19/business/19mortgage.html

If you have any questions on this topic please feel free to contact foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Beware of Foreclosure Scams

October 14, 2010 Posted by kingcade

With the recent controversy and media scrutiny surrounding several banks that have confessed to submitting thousands of falsely sworn documents to courts as part of their efforts to foreclose on people’s homes, it’s no surprise that scam artists are trying to capitalize on the situation, marketing their services to delinquent borrowers. Homeowners should know that even though these documents amount to committing fraud upon the court, this likely will not save their homes. The homeowner still owes money, and eventually the paperwork will get sorted out.

A scam that is already gaining popularity amongst delinquent borrowers is the “forensic mortgage loan audit scam.” In this scam, auditors and the attorneys who back them demand at least several hundred dollars up front, and then comb through the mortgage documents looking for any violations of state or federal fair lending law. If any are found, these individuals say, the homeowner can sue and – and here’s where the fraud kicks in – through the suit, cancel the foreclosure, speed the loan modification, reduce the loan principal or even cancel the loan.

The worst foreclosure scams are those in which the homeowner loses their house to the scammer, becoming a tenant in their own home. This is referred to as the “bailout,” “equity stripping,” or “rent to own.” Two other common types are “phantom help” and “bait and switch” scams. “Phantom help” promises help that never comes. “Bait and switch” involves telling people the documents they’re signing say one thing, when they really say another.

The best advice I can give is to carefully read what you are signing, particularly what’s noted in the fine print, and speak to an expert in the field if you are facing foreclosure. If you are a homeowner in trouble, particularly if you live in one of the high foreclosure states like Florida, you will be approached by these scammers. In South Florida within a few short days of a foreclosure filing, it is typical for a homeowner to receive 20 to 40 solicitation letters, of which 10-15 will be from scammers. Additionally, the homeowner will receive a dozen or more phone calls from scammers offering these fraudulent services, even visits to their front door! The Department of Housing and Urban Development has a prescreened list of agencies that can help, and unlike scammers, they will not ask for a cashier’s check or a wire transfer.

To read more on this story and learn more about the latest foreclosure scams, please visit:
http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/real-estate/new-foreclosure-scams/19661013/

Foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on this topic please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Thousands of Foreclosure Filings under Scrutiny Due to Faulty Paperwork from Banks and Lenders

October 5, 2010 Posted by kingcade

Thousands of foreclosures are being scrutinized after employees at several major lenders approved thousands of foreclosure affidavits and other documents without proper evaluation.  JP Morgan has suspended some 56,000 foreclosures after admitting some may have been authorized without proper review.  Ally Financial, another major lender, suspended evictions in twenty-three states. 

New York Supreme Court Justice, Arthur Schack sites “questionable practices” in a number of these foreclosure filings.  To approve a foreclosure a lender must prove three elements: 1.) Proof of mortgage, 2.) owning the mortgage the day the case commences, and 3.) show there is a default by the borrower.  The biggest problem Justice Schack states is proving ownership of the mortgage the day the case commences.  Numerous problems have occurred as a result of sloppy paperwork with the assignments of these mortgages.  This in turn, has caused problems for the bank, the borrower, and attributed to title problems with the new owner.

Andy Kroll, a reporter at Mother Jones, revealed that GMAC, a subsidiary of Ally Financial, relied heavily on what defense attorneys and critics call, “robo signers.” These employees sole job is to mass sign foreclosure affidavits.  In GMAC’s case, depositions in Maine and Florida revealed that a robo-signer admitted under oath that he had no idea what he was signing, violating federal rules of civil procedure.  It is required by law that an individual must have personal knowledge of what a foreclosure legal document says, which is now what is at the heart of the GMAC debacle. 

The same law firm in Southeastern Florida deposed a similar employee within Chase Home Finance, opening the door for 56,000 of JP Morgan’s cases.  This has caused many judges to go back and scrutinize banks that they feel utilized these questionable practices in pushing foreclosures through the system. 

To read more about this story, please visit:

http://4closurefraud.org/2010/10/02/video-judge-arthur-schack-and-andy-kroll-on-foreclosure-fraud/

Foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.