Home Foreclosures Decline

Home foreclosures are not trending like they used to.  According to RealtyTrac for January 2015, Florida is at the top of the list of foreclosure states, but in Northeast Florida, not even Duval has made the top five foreclosure counties, and pre-foreclosures are down 40% statewide from a year ago.  That is good news for most homeowners, but for the one household out of 773 housing units in St. Johns County, home foreclosure is still the same problem it always was. You may have legal choices available to you.   Safety in numbers was a fallacy in the foreclosure crisis.  Robo-signers in David Stern’s foreclosure factory signed thousands of documents…that did not mean the information was correct.  While plaintiffs are doing a better job at putting their cases together, there are still legal defenses which could help homeowners. Just because home foreclosure may be a more exclusive club than it once was does not mean you should resign yourself to the full consequences of foreclosure.  Consult competent legal counsel to help you explore the legal choices that could be available to your case.   Read More

Haste in Home Mortgage Loans & Foreclosures

The Sixth Amendment gives you the right to a speedy trial in criminal cases.  Some lenders and loan service providers extended that haste to home mortgage loans and foreclosures. Haste made a mess in home mortgage loans.  High speed, high volume was the business model of mortgage lending during the real estate bubble, introducing errors and ambiguities as never before.  Then the same model was applied on the foreclosure side, with robo-signers doing more inking than thinking through each file. While the foreclosure cases need to be dealt with, applying speed without regard to proper procedure deals another injustice to the homeowner.  Seek competent legal counsel to help set the pace towards your best benefit.     Read More

Why Defend a Foreclosure?

Why Defend a Foreclosure? In 99% of foreclosure cases, the client did not pay.  So why defend them?  The goal of a foreclosure defense is to modify the loan or work something else out.  NOT to say the client is innocent or to get a free house.   When the recent foreclosure crisis started, plaintiffs were making stuff up.  Then they were having people sign off of documents that they had no knowledge of.  “Linda Green” was apparently Vice President in charge of robo-signers for a number of different banks, along with “Bogus Assignee.” Homeowners knew they owed money, they knew they had not made payments, but they had no idea what their lender was doing to compromise their rights as debtors.  Many Florida homeowners went into foreclosure without ever questioning their lenders.  Thus they gave up rights as well as opportunities to seek a resolution with the best benefit to them. Because defense attorneys got involved in the foreclosure crisis, people’s rights were protected, and plaintiffs are doing a better job.   Read More

Stern, Madoff, & Cladek – Where Are They Now?

Here are a few figures who used to make headlines (and money)…not so much anymore:  David Stern, Bernie Madoff, and Lydia Cladek.  The masks they wore to hide their fraudulent features have obscured them from public decency. If you are looking for a Halloween costume, a robo-signer festooned by David Stern is pretty scary—signing off on home foreclosures without even glancing at the files, trampling like a zombie through paperwork that would part people from their homes.  In lawsuits filed this year, Stern is the defendant against his partner firm, DJSP Enterprises, as well as against a class action brought by his former employees for lack of adequate notice when they were all fired in 2010 prior to the collapse of Stern’s business in 2011. The Bernie Madoff mask would be a fright with his trick-and-no-treat Ponzi scheme on the scale of $20 billion in fraud to investors.  Madoff is currently occupied serving his 150-year prison sentence.  Though he claimed he acted alone, his brother, Peter Madoff, plead guilty this summer to conspiracy and falsifying records in the scheme, which raises suspicion of further family involvement, including his wife, daughter, and remaining son.  Furthermore, prosecutors have dug back to the […] Read More

Robo-Signers Signing Checks in Foreclosure Settlement

The robo-signers are getting ready to write settlement checks to their foreclosure victims.  Nearly all the states in the Union and D.C. sued the five largest mortgage servicers for “misconduct [which] resulted in the issuance of improper mortgages, premature and unauthorized foreclosures, violation of service members’ and other homeowners’ rights and protections, the use of and false and deceptive affidavits and other documents, and the waste and abuse of taxpayer funds” (Case 1:12-cv-00361-RMC Document 4-1)…and they won. The lawsuit paid out $25 billion nationally, with Florida’s portion set at $8.4 billion, some of which went directly to the State and some will go to loan modifications, leaving $170 million to be paid out in cash to Florida borrowers. With a current roster of 167,398 eligible Florida borrowers on the list, each stands to receive about $1,000 if divided evenly and depending on how many of them participate. To be eligible for a check signed by a robo-signer, you have to have lost your house to foreclosure between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011 with your mortgage serviced by Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, or Ally Financial. Postcards went out last week to those on the […] Read More

Doc-Doc-Goose!

The harvest of low-hanging fruit in foreclosure defense is diminishing.  Now that David Stern is no longer in business and robo-signing is not all the rage, foreclosure defense attorneys are going to have to work harder. This is as it should be.  It is an evolution in law brought about through the judicial system.  The system works—it is making the prosecution do what it is supposed to be doing, so then the defense can work instead of just picking off the over-ripe defenses. After a vigorous round of Document-Document-Goose! lenders are doing a better job of putting their records in order—a practice which should serve them well from foreclosure prosecution backwards to loan origination.  Foreclosure defense attorneys are going to have to move off that first rung of “show me the note!” and climb up the ladder for more sophisticated defenses. Borrowers should pay their loans, and lenders should not bring bad cases against their borrowers.  When someone’s house is at stake, both sides should have their docs in a row. Read More