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The Big Lie: MERS Mortgages in Massachusetts by Jamie Ranney, Esq.

The Big Lie: MERS Mortgages in Massachusetts by Jamie Ranney, Esq.


This is a repost from a previous post dated 11/30/2010

by Jamie Ranney, Esq.
Jamie Ranney, PC
4 Thirty Acres Lane
Nantucket, MA 02554
jamie@nantucketlaw.pro
508-228-9224

This memo will focus on MERS-designated mortgages in Massachusetts.

In this author’s opinion two (2) things are evident after a survey of Massachusetts law.

First, MERS cannot be a valid “mortgagee” under Massachusetts law and thus MERS designated mortgages are invalid in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

This is because MERS-designated mortgages by definition “split” the security instrument (the mortgage) from the debt (the promissory note) when they are signed. This “split” invalidates the mortgage under Massachusetts law. Where the security interest is invalid upon the signing of the mortgage, MERS cannot occupy the legal position of a “mortgagee” under Massachusetts law no matter what language MERS inserts into their mortgages that purports to give them the legal position of “mortgagee”. Since MERS-designated mortgages are invalid at their inception, it follows logically therefore that MERS mortgages are not legally capable of being recorded in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by its Registers of Deeds.

Second, even if a MERS-designated mortgage were found to be a valid security instrument in Massachusetts, each and every assignment of the mortgage and note “behind” a MERS-designated mortgage must be recorded on the public land records of the Commonwealth in order to comply with the Massachusetts recording statute at M.G.L. c. 183, s. 4 which requires that “conveyances of an estate” be recorded to be valid. A mortgage is a “conveyance of an estate” under Massachusetts law. Since MERS-designated mortgages exist for the primary purpose of holding “legal” title on the public land records while the “beneficial” interest is transferred and sold multiple times (and a mortgage cannot exist without a note under Massachusetts law), MERS-mortgages unlawfully avoid recording fees due the Commonwealth for the transfer(s) of interests under MERS-designated mortgages.

“If you tell a lie that’s big enough, and you tell it often enough, people will believe you are telling the truth, even when what you are saying is total crap.”1

Continue reading below…

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Florida Supreme Court hears landmark Foreclosure Fraud suit

Florida Supreme Court hears landmark Foreclosure Fraud suit


Does the rule of law matter?

Why hasn’t David J. Stern not been disbarred? Suspended?

Is Fraud upon the court 100,000’s of time & to the face of a judge not a crime?

Why would the original judge not sanction anyone?

Will the Supreme Court allow fraud to slap it in its face 2nd time around?

Where has justice gone?

Reuters-

The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments on Thursday in a landmark lawsuit that could undo hundreds of thousands of foreclosures and open up banks to severe financial penalties in the state where they face the bulk of their foreclosure-fraud litigation.

Legal experts say the lawsuit is one of the most important foreclosure fraud cases in the country and could help resolve an issue that has vexed Florida’s foreclosure courts for the past five years: Can banks that file fraudulent documents in foreclosure proceedings voluntarily dismiss the cases only to refile them later with different paperwork?

The decision, which may take up to eight months, could influence judges in the other 26 states that require judicial approval for foreclosures.

The case at issue, known as Roman Pino v. Bank of New York Mellon, stems from the so-called robo-signing scandal that emerged in 2010 when it was revealed that banks and their law firms had hired low-wage workers to sign legal documents without checking their accuracy, as is required by law.

If the state Supreme Court rules against the banks, “a broad universe of mortgages could be rendered unenforceable,” said former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey, author of the book, “Foreclosures in Florida.”

[REUTERS]

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Florida foreclosure case could SLAM banks

Florida foreclosure case could SLAM banks


Reuters-

The Florida Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments Thursday in a lawsuit that could undo hundreds of thousands of foreclosures and open up banks to severe financial liabilities in the state where they face the bulk of their foreclosure-fraud litigation.

The court is deciding whether banks who used fraudulent documents to file foreclosure lawsuits can dismiss the cases and refile them later with different paperwork.

The decision, which may take up to eight months to render, could affect hundreds of thousands of homeowners in Florida, and could also influence judges in the other 26 states that require lawsuits in foreclosures.

Of all the foreclosure filings in those states, sixty three percent, a total of 138,288, are concentrated in five states, according to RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure marketplace. Of those, nearly half are in Florida. In Congressional testimony last year, Bank of America, the U.S.’s largest mortgage servicer, said that 70 percent of its foreclosure-related lawsuits were in Florida.

The case at issue, known as Roman Pino v. Bank of New York Mellon, stems from the so-called robo-signing scandal that emerged in 2010 when it was revealed that banks and their law firms had hired low-wage workers to sign legal documents without checking their accuracy as is required by law.

This was a case of an intentionally fraudulent document fabricated to use in a court proceeding,” says former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey, author of the book Foreclosures in Florida.

[REUTERS]

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PINO v. BONY Oral Argument set for Thursday May 10, 2012 at 9:00 am

PINO v. BONY Oral Argument set for Thursday May 10, 2012 at 9:00 am


The Oral Arguments in Roman Pino v. Bank of New York will be heard before the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday, May 10, 2012  at 9:00 AM.  In this case the court will be addressing the circumstances under which a voluntary dismissal (a final judgment or other court action) can be set aside long after the case is over, based on underlying fraud on the court.

The Oral Arguments can be watched live on http://thefloridachannel.org/watch/web3/1336655014.

As reflected above, the Fourth District certified this issue to be one of great public importance, and in doing so, noted that “many, many mortgage foreclosures appear tainted with suspect documents” and that Pino’s requested remedy, if imposed, “may dramatically affect the mortgage foreclosure crisis in this State.” Pino, 57 So. 3d at 954-55.

Supreme Court of Florida

No. SC11-697

ROMAN PINO,
Petitioner,

vs.

THE BANK OF NEW YORK, etc., et al.,
Respondents.

[December 8, 2011]

PER CURIAM.

The issue we address is whether Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.350 requires this Court to dismiss a case after we have accepted jurisdiction based on a question certified to be one of great public importance and after the petitioner has filed his initial brief on the merits.1 This narrow question arose after the parties to this action filed a joint Stipulated Dismissal, which advised that they had settled this matter and stipulated to the dismissal of the review proceeding pending before this Court. It cannot be questioned that our well-established precedent authorizes this Court to exercise its discretion to deny the requested dismissal of a review proceeding, even where both parties to the action agree to the dismissal in light of an agreed-upon settlement. The question certified to us by the Fourth District Court of Appeal in this case transcends the individual parties to this action because it has the potential to impact the mortgage foreclosure crisis throughout this state and is one on which Florida’s trial courts and litigants need guidance. The legal issue also has implications beyond mortgage foreclosure actions. Because we agree with the Fourth District that this issue is indeed one of great public importance and in need of resolution by this Court, we deny the parties’ request to dismiss this proceeding.

[…]

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Florida Supreme Court to review dismissed foreclosure lawsuit against Greenacres man

Florida Supreme Court to review dismissed foreclosure lawsuit against Greenacres man


This shouldn’t be so difficult, David J. Stern has TONS of fraudulent documents out there. Pick any County, any documents his firm filed and you’re sure to find fraud. Just read the depositions from his former employees.

“We conclude that this is a question of great public importance, as many, many mortgage foreclosures appear tainted with suspect documents,” the appeals court wrote in certification to the Supreme Court.

PALM BEACH POST-

An unassuming drywall hanger from Greenacres has banks warning of a “widespread financial crisis” if the Florida Supreme Court favors him in a landmark foreclosure case justices will hear this week.

Plucked out of the 4th District Court of Appeal, Roman Pino v. the Bank of New York is the first significant foreclosure complaint to be heard by the high court since the state’s legendary housing collapse.

It’s particularly unusual because the 41-year-old Pino had already settled the case when the Supreme Court decided in December to take up a legal question it said could affect the mortgage foreclosure crisis statewide.

At issue is whether a bank can escape punishment for filing flawed or fraudulent documents in a case by voluntarily dismissing it. (A voluntary dismissal allows the bank to refile at a later date.)

That’s what Royal Palm Beach-based foreclosure defense attorney Tom Ice said happened when he challenged a document created by the Law Offices of David J. Stern and sought to question employees about its veracity. On the eve of those depositions, the bank moved to dismiss the case, blocking the court’s ability to address any sanctions.

“The objective here was to hide from punishment for the wrongdoing,” Ice said.

[PALM BEACH POST]

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PINO vs BONY | BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE FLORIDA LAND TITLE ASSOCIATION AND AMERICAN LAND TITLE ASSOCIATION

PINO vs BONY | BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE FLORIDA LAND TITLE ASSOCIATION AND AMERICAN LAND TITLE ASSOCIATION


Via MATT WEIDNER

EXCERPT:

INTRODUCTION
The Court retained this case so that it could give needed guidance to trial courts and other litigants by its answer to a certified question arising from a mortgage foreclosure action. As the Court wrote: The question certified . . . transcends the individual parties to this action because it has the potential to impact the mortgage foreclosure crisis throughout this state and is one on which Florida’s trial courts and litigants need guidance. The legal issue also has implications beyond mortgage foreclosure actions.
Pino v. Bank of New York, 36 Fla. L. Weekly S711 (Fla. Dec. 8, 2011). Florida Land Title Association (“FLTA”) and American Land Title Association (“ALTA”) file this brief to address the need for this Court to give guidance to trial courts and litigants on the importance of protecting the rights of third parties that have justifiably relied on the finality of a prior court action when buying, extending financing on, or insuring title to real property.

SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT
The Court can expressly limit its decision in this case to the setting aside of a voluntary dismissal in a case where no third party interest in real estate is implicated. Should it choose to do so, FLTA and ALTA have no issues to address. However, if the Court decides to write more broadly, we respectfully ask the Court to emphasize the need to protect the rights of affected third parties when collateral attacks are brought against otherwise final court judgments, orders, decrees or proceedings. The residential mortgage foreclosure crisis has caused a host of problems for homeowners, lenders, and Florida’s court system. The Court addressed many of these problems by forming the Task Force on Residential Mortgage Foreclosures in 2009 and by adopting its recommended amendments to the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure in 2010. However, unlike some other states, the Court has not adequately addressed the protection of third party interests when otherwise final court proceedings are collaterally attacked, especially the interest of those who have purchased foreclosed real estate.

Respectfully, if the Court is to give guidance to trial courts and litigants regarding collateral attacks against foreclosure actions (whether relief is sought under rule 1.540(b) or the use of inherent judicial powers) beyond the narrow facts of this case, it should give guidance on protecting the interests of third parties that purchase, finance and insure title to foreclosed properties. Recognition and protection of these neglected interests is vital to the integrity of our judicial system and to the ultimate resolution of the mortgage foreclosure crisis.

[…]

Download PDF Below

Down Load PDF of This Case

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NYSC Judge Schack Slams Foreclosure Firm Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C. “Conflicted Robosigner Kim Stewart”

NYSC Judge Schack Slams Foreclosure Firm Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C. “Conflicted Robosigner Kim Stewart”


Decided on December 12, 2011

Supreme Court, Kings County

U.S. Bank, N.A., Plaintiff,

against

Wayne Ramjit et al., Defendants.

17027/08 Plaintiff Rosicki Rosicki and Associates

Batavia NY

Arthur M. Schack, J.

In this foreclosure action, plaintiff, U.S. BANK N.A. (U.S. BANK), moved for an order of reference and related relief for the premises located at 1485 Sutter Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (Block 4259, Lot 22, County of Kings). For the Court to consider the motion for an order of reference, I ordered plaintiff’s counsel, Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., on July 29, 2011, to comply with the October 20, 2010 Administrative Order of then Chief Administrative Judge Ann T. Pfau, as revised on March 2, 2011, and concluded that:

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that plaintiff U.S. BANK N. A.’s motion for an

order of reference and related relief for the premises located at 1485

Sutter Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (Block 4259, Lot 22, County of

Kings) and the instant foreclosure action will be dismissed with

prejudice, unless, within sixty (60) days from this decision and order,

counsel for plaintiff, U.S. BANK N.A., complies with the new Rule,

promulgated by the Chief Administrative Judge Ann T. Pfau on

October 20, 2010, as revised on March 2, 2011, by submitting an

affirmation, to my Chambers (not the Foreclosure Department), [*2]

360 Adams Street, Room 478, Brooklyn, NY 11201, using the new

standard Court form, pursuant to CPLR Rule 2106 and under the

penalties of perjury, that counsel for plaintiff, U.S. BANK N.A., has

“based upon my communications [with named representative or

representatives of plaintiff], as well as upon my own inspection and

reasonable inquiry under the circumstances . . . that to the best of

my knowledge, information and belief, the Summons, Complaint and

other papers filed or submitted to the Court in this matter contain no

false statements of fact or law”, and is “aware of my obligations under

New York Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR Part 1200) and

22 NYCRR Part 130.”

On September 23, 2011, plaintiff’s counsel, Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., filed with the Court the instant motion, requesting an extension of thirty (30) days, up to and including October 26, 2011, to submit the required attorney’s affirmation.

According to ¶ 15 of the affirmation in support of the motion, by Timothy Menasco, Esq., of Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., “plaintiff and plaintiff’s counsel has been actively reviewing the file in order to properly abide by said Administrative Order creating the delay in submission of the affirmation.” Mr. Menasco then states, in ¶ 16 of his affirmation, “[i]t is unduly harsh and inappropriate to dismiss this action, on the basis of a delay in submitting an affirmation to the court.”

Plaintiff’s counsel, Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., continued, for reasons unknown and not satisfactorily explained to the Court, to not comply with the Administrative Order of the Chief Administrative Judge and my July 28, 2011 order. I have not received the affirmation from plaintiff’s counsel, as ordered by the Chief Administrative Judge’s Administrative Order and my previous order.

Today, plaintiff U.S. BANK’S instant motion to extend the time to file the required attorney’s affirmation, appeared on my motion calendar. It is one hundred thirty-seven (137) days since I issued my July 28, 2011 order and four hundred eighteen (418) days since the Chief Administrative Judge issued her Administrative Order. Therefore, for violation of these orders, the instant foreclosure action is dismissed with prejudice and the notice of pendency is cancelled and discharged.

Discussion

The Office of Court Administration issued a press release on October 20, 2010 explaining the reasons for the Administrative Ordered issued that day by Chief Administrative Judge Pfau. It stated:

The New York State court system has instituted a new filing

requirement in residential foreclosure cases to protect the integrity

of the foreclosure process and prevent wrongful foreclosures. Chief

Judge Jonathan Lippman today announced that plaintiff’s counsel in

foreclosure actions will be required to file an affirmation certifying

that counsel has taken reasonable steps — including inquiry to banks

and lenders and careful review of the papers filed in the case — to

verify the accuracy of documents filed in support of residential [*3]

foreclosures. The new filing requirement was introduced by the

Chief Judge in response to recent disclosures by major mortgage

lenders of significant insufficiencies — including widespread deficiencies

in notarization and “robosigning” of supporting documents — in

residential foreclosure filings in courts nationwide. The new requirement

is effective immediately and was created with the approval of the

Presiding Justices of all four Judicial Departments.

Chief Judge Lippman said, “We cannot allow the courts in

New York State to stand by idly and be party to what we now know

is a deeply flawed process, especially when that process involves

basic human needs — such as a family home — during this period of

economic crisis. This new filing requirement will play a vital role in

ensuring that the documents judges rely on will be thoroughly examined,

accurate, and error-free before any judge is asked to take the drastic step

of foreclosure.” [Emphasis added]

(See Gretchen Morgenson and Andrew Martin, Big Legal Clash on Foreclosure is Taking Shape, New York Times, Oct. 21, 2010; Andrew Keshner, New Court Rules Says Attorneys Must Verify Foreclosure Papers, NYLJ, Oct. 21, 2010).

The failure of plaintiff’s counsel, Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., to comply with two court orders, my July 28, 2011 and Chief Administrative Judge Pfau’s October 20, 2010 order, as revised on March 2, 2011, demonstrates delinquent conduct by Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C. This mandates the dismissal with prejudice of the instant action. Failure to comply with court-ordered time frames must be taken seriously. It cannot be ignored. There are consequences for ignoring court orders. Recently, on December 16, 2010, the Court of Appeals, in Gibbs v St. Barnabas Hosp., 16 NY3d 74, 81 [2010], instructed:

As this Court has repeatedly emphasized, our court system is

dependent on all parties engaged in litigation abiding by the rules of

proper practice (see e.g. Brill v City of New York, 2 NY3d 748 [2004];

Kihl v Pfeffer, 94 NY2d 118 [1999]). The failure to comply with

deadlines not only impairs the efficient functioning of the courts and

the adjudication of claims, but it places jurists unnecessarily in the

position of having to order enforcement remedies to respond to the

delinquent conduct of members of the bar, often to the detriment of

the litigants they represent. Chronic noncompliance with deadlines

breeds disrespect for the dictates of the Civil Practice Law and Rules

and a culture in which cases can linger for years without resolution.

Furthermore, those lawyers who engage their best efforts to comply

with practice rules are also effectively penalized because they must

somehow explain to their clients why they cannot secure timely [*4]

responses from recalcitrant adversaries, which leads to the erosion

of their attorney-client relationships as well. For these reasons, it

is important to adhere to the position we declared a decade ago that

[i]f the credibility of court orders and the integrity of our judicial

system are to be maintained, a litigant cannot ignore court orders

with impunity [Emphasis added].” (Kihl, 94 NY2d at 123).

Despite Mr. Menasco’s assertion, it is not unduly harsh and inappropriate to

dismiss the instant action because of the delay by plaintiff’s counsel, Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C. to submit the required affirmation. “Litigation cannot be conducted efficiently if deadlines are not taken seriously, and we make clear again, as we have several times before, that disregard of deadlines should not and will not be tolerated (see Miceli v State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 3 NY3d 725 [2004]; Brill v City of New York, 2 NY3d 748 [2004]; Kihl v Pfeffer, 94 NY2d 118 [1999]) [Emphasis added].” (Andrea v Arnone, Hedin, Casker, Kennedy and Drake, Architects and Landscape Architects, P.C., 5 NY3d 514, 521 [2005]).As we made clear in Brill, and underscore here, statutory time frames —like court-order time frames (see Kihl v Pfeffer, 94 NY2d 118 [1999]) — are not options, they are requirements, to be taken seriously by the parties. Too many pages of the Reports, and hours of the courts, are taken up with deadlines that are simply ignored [Emphasis added].” (Miceli, 3 NY3d at 726-726). The Court cannot wait for plaintiff’s counsel, Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., to take its time in complying with court mandates.

Moreover, even if plaintiff U.S. BANK’s counsel complied in a timely manner

with my July 28, 2011 order and the order of the Chief Administrative Judge, plaintiff U.S. BANK would have to address its use, in the instant action, of conflicted robosigner Kim Stewart. The instant mortgage and note, were executed on October 11, 2007 and recorded on December 10, 2007, by MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATIONS SYSTEM, INC. (MERS), “acting solely as a nominee for Lender [U.S. BANK]” and “FOR PURPOSES OF RECORDING THIS MORTGAGE, MERS IS THE MORTGAGEE OF RECORD,” in the Office of the City Register of the City of New York, at City Register File Number (CRFN) 2007000605594. Then on May 23, 2008, MERS assigned the instant mortgage and note back to U.S. BANK. This was recorded on July 24, 2008. in the Office of the City Register of the City of New York, at CRFN 2008000294495.

The assignment was executed for MERS, in Owensboro, Kentucky, by Kim Stewart, Assistant Secretary of MERS, as assignor. The very same Kim Stewart, as Assistant Vice President of assignee U.S. BANK, on April 13, 2009, also in Owensboro, Kentucky, executed the affidavit of merit for an order of reference in the instant action.She signed the affidavit of merit as Assistant Vice President of plaintiff U.S. BANK. However, in ¶ 1 of her affidavit of merit, Ms. Stewart alleges to “a Vice President of U.S. BANK, N.A., the plaintiff.”

Perhaps, plaintiff U.S. BANK and its counsel, Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates, P.C., do not want the Court to confront the conflicted Ms. Stewart? This would certainly contradict the disingenuous opening statement by Richard K. Davis, Chairman, President and Chief Executive [*5]Officer of U.S. BANCORP, (U.S. BANK’s parent corporation), in his cover letter to the 2010 Annual Report of U.S. BANCORP, sent to U.S BANCORP’s shareholders. Mr. Davis stated that “[t]hroughout its history, U.S. Bancorp has operated with a tradition of uncompromising honesty and integrity.”

Further, the dismissal of the instant foreclosure action requires the cancellation of the notice of pendency. CPLR § 6501 provides that the filing of a notice of pendency against a property is to give constructive notice to any purchaser of real property or encumbrancer against real property of an action that “would affect the title to, or the possession, use or enjoyment of real property, except in a summary proceeding brought to recover the possession of real property.” The Court of Appeals, in 5308 Realty Corp. v O & Y Equity Corp. (64 NY2d 313, 319 [1984]), commented that “[t]he purpose of the doctrine was to assure that a court retained its ability to effect justice by preserving its power over the property, regardless of whether a purchaser had any notice of the pending suit,” and, at 320, that “the statutory scheme permits a party to effectively retard the alienability of real property without any prior judicial review.”

CPLR § 6514 (a) provides for the mandatory cancellation of a notice of pendency by:

The Court,upon motion of any person aggrieved and upon such

notice as it may require, shall direct any county clerk to cancel

a notice of pendency, if service of a summons has not been completed

within the time limited by section 6512; or if the action has been

settled, discontinued or abated; or if the time to appeal from a final

judgment against the plaintiff has expired; or if enforcement of a

final judgment against the plaintiff has not been stayed pursuant

to section 551. [emphasis added]

The plain meaning of the word “abated,” as used in CPLR § 6514 (a) is the ending of an action. “Abatement” is defined as “the act of eliminating or nullifying.” (Black’s Law Dictionary 3 [7th ed 1999]). “An action which has been abated is dead, and any further enforcement of the cause of action requires the bringing of a new action, provided that a cause of action remains (2A Carmody-Wait 2d § 11.1).” (Nastasi v Nastasi, 26 AD3d 32, 40 [2d Dept 2005]). Further, Nastasi at 36, held that the “[c]ancellation of a notice of pendency can be granted in the exercise of the inherent power of the court where its filing fails to comply with CPLR § 6501 (see 5303 Realty Corp. v O & Y Equity Corp., supra at 320-321; Rose v Montt Assets, 250 AD2d 451, 451-452 [1d Dept 1998]; Siegel, NY Prac § 336 [4th ed]).” Thus, the dismissal of the instant complaint must result in the mandatory cancellation of plaintiff U.S. BANK’s notice of pendency against the subject property “in the exercise of the inherent power of the court.”

Conclusion

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that the instant action, Index Number 17027/08, is dismissed with

prejudice; and it is further

ORDERED that the Notice of Pendency in this action, filed with the Kings

County Clerk on June 16, 2008, by plaintiff, U.S. BANK, N.A., to foreclose on a mortgage for real property located at 1485 Sutter Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (Block 4259, Lot 22, County [*6]of Kings), is cancelled and discharged.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

ENTER

________________________________HON. ARTHUR M. SCHACK

J. S. C.

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Mortgage Fraud: Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, Law Offices of David Stern, Cheryl Samons

Mortgage Fraud: Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, Law Offices of David Stern, Cheryl Samons


Mortgage Fraud

Bank of America
Bank of New York Mellon
Countrywide Home Loans Servicing
Law Offices of David Stern
Cheryl Samons

Action Date: December 10, 2011
Location: West Palm Beach, FL

In a very unusual move, the FL Supreme Court rejected the settlement in the PINO case last week and will issue a decision about fraudulent mortgage documents.

Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals had certified a procedural foreclosure question to the Supreme Court, stating: “This is a question of great public importance” since “many, many mortgage foreclosures appear tainted with suspect documents.”

At the trial court level, PINO’s attorneys had asked the court to sanction BNY Mellon by denying it the equitable right to foreclose the mortgage at all. The district court observed that if this sanction were available after a voluntary dismissal, “it may dramatically affect the mortgage crisis in this state.”

The Fourth District Court of Appeals decision seemed to recognize that very frequently, bank lawyers used dismissals when homeowners raised a question regarding the legitimacy of the documents filed by the banks.

Advocates for homeowners were encouraged by the Supreme Court’s action denying the settlement as the final resolution.

So who exactly is NOT happy?

Perhaps the preparers and signers of the two mortgage assignments in the PINO case.

One of the Assignments was prepared by the Law Offices of David J. Stern, Esq. This is signed by Stern’s office manager, Cheryl Samons who signs as an Asst. Sect. of MERS.

This is dated September 19, 2008 – though not filed until February 18, 2009.

The Lis Pendens (beginning of the foreclosure in judicial states) was dated October 8, 2008.

This is an assignment of the Mortgage and the Note to:

The Bank of New York Mellon F/K/A The Bank of New York as Trustee for the Certificateholders CWALT, Inc. Alternative Loan Trust 2006-OC8.

For anyone unfamiliar with Cheryl Samons many acts in the Law Offices of David Stern (a law firm that spent a lot of $$ entertaining officials from FANNIE), the sworn statements from paralegals and notaries from the investigation of then Asst. A.G.s June Clarkson & Theresa Edwards (those overly aggressive FORMER prosecutors) are available for review at StopForeclosureFraud.com.

According to these sworn statements, Samons signed thousands of documents each week, allowed other people to sign her name, did not read what she signed, signed other names, etc. She did these things because her boss, David Stern, was very generous (see the articles by Andy Kroll in Mother Jones for more details on this).

The second assignment was notarized July 14, 2009 and filed July 29, 2009.

It seems they forgot all about the first assignment because once again it is an assignment from MERS to the same trust. This Assignment was also prepared by the Law Offices of David Stern. (If the first assignment was effective, of course, MERS had nothing to convey).

The signer this time was Melissa Viveros in Tarrant County, TX.

While she signs as a MERS officer, Viveros in many other reported cases appears as an officer of Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, N/K/A BAC Home Loans Servicing.

So, once again, Bank of America (then the parent of BAC Home Loans Servicing) and Bank of New York Mellon have the most to lose in the short run – and in the long run, investors in CWALT and CWABS trusts.

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NUCLEAR, NUCLEAR BOMBSHELL!!!!! FLORIDA SUPREME COURT RESURRECTS PINO v. BONY

NUCLEAR, NUCLEAR BOMBSHELL!!!!! FLORIDA SUPREME COURT RESURRECTS PINO v. BONY


H/T Matt Weidner

As reflected above, the Fourth District certified this issue to be one of great public importance, and in doing so, noted that “many, many mortgage foreclosures appear tainted with suspect documents” and that Pino’s requested remedy, if imposed, “may dramatically affect the mortgage foreclosure crisis in this State.” Pino, 57 So. 3d at 954-55.


Supreme Court of Florida

No. SC11-697

ROMAN PINO,
Petitioner,

vs.

THE BANK OF NEW YORK, etc., et al.,
Respondents.

[December 8, 2011]

PER CURIAM.

The issue we address is whether Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.350 requires this Court to dismiss a case after we have accepted jurisdiction based on a question certified to be one of great public importance and after the petitioner has filed his initial brief on the merits.1 This narrow question arose after the parties to this action filed a joint Stipulated Dismissal, which advised that they had settled this matter and stipulated to the dismissal of the review proceeding pending before this Court. It cannot be questioned that our well-established precedent authorizes this Court to exercise its discretion to deny the requested dismissal of a review proceeding, even where both parties to the action agree to the dismissal in light of an agreed-upon settlement. The question certified to us by the Fourth District Court of Appeal in this case transcends the individual parties to this action because it has the potential to impact the mortgage foreclosure crisis throughout this state and is one on which Florida’s trial courts and litigants need guidance. The legal issue also has implications beyond mortgage foreclosure actions. Because we agree with the Fourth District that this issue is indeed one of great public importance and in need of resolution by this Court, we deny the parties’ request to dismiss this proceeding.

[…]

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Downey Sav. & Loan Assn., F.A. v Trujillo | NY Judge Schack Slams Ebenezer Scrooge “Under the penalties of perjury, Deceptive trick and fraud upon the Court, “Bah, humbug!”

Downey Sav. & Loan Assn., F.A. v Trujillo | NY Judge Schack Slams Ebenezer Scrooge “Under the penalties of perjury, Deceptive trick and fraud upon the Court, “Bah, humbug!”


Decided on August 12, 2011

Supreme Court, Kings County

.

Downey Savings and Loan Association, F.A., Plaintiff,

against

Dario Trujillo, et. al., Defendants.


22268/08

Plaintiff

Nicholas E. Perciballi, Esq.

Druckman Law Group, PLLC

Westbury Jericho NY

Arthur M. Schack, J.

Plaintiff’s counsel, in this foreclosure action, engaged in possible sanctionable conduct by affirming “under the penalties of perjury” to a false statement. In her January 7, 2011 affirmation, required by Administrative Order (AO) 548/10 of October 20, 2010, plaintiff’s counsel, Margaret E. Carucci, Esq., of DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC (DRUCKMAN), was required to confirm the accuracy of the subject foreclosure papers, documents and notarizations. Ms. Carucci stated that she confirmed the accuracy by communicating, on December 24, 2010, with Tammy Denson, an “Officer of Downey Savings and Loan.” While Ms. Carucci might have communicated with Tammy Denson on Christmas Eve 2010, plaintiff DOWNEY SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATION, F.A. (DOWNEY) ceased to exist on November 21, 2008. (See Federal Deposit Insurance Company Press Release 124-2008 of November 21, 2008). [*2]DOWNEY, on December 24, 2010, resided with the Ghost of Christmas Past. Tammy Denson, until November 21, 2008 may have been employed by DOWNEY, but is now employed by DOWNEY’s successor in interest, U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION (US BANK). This Court, as will be explained, gave DRUCKMAN an opportunity to correct their AO 548/10 affirmation, in my May 9, 2010 order, but DRUCKMAN failed to do so. Therefore, because DRUCKMAN violated AO548/10 with a false affirmation and my subsequent May 9, 2010 order, the instant foreclosure action, for procedural reasons, is dismissed with prejudice.

Ms. Carucci affirmed “under the penalties of perjury” that she communicated on Christmas Eve 2010 with an officer of a defunct financial institution. This is a deceptive trick and fraud upon the Court. It cannot be tolerated. This Christmas Eve conduct, in the words of Ebenezer Scrooge, is “Bah, humbug!”

Conduct is frivolous if it “asserts material factual statements that are false,” an apt definition for “humbuggery.” Therefore, Margaret E. Carucci, Esq. and DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC, will be given an opportunity to be heard why this Court should not sanction them for making a “frivolous motion,” pursuant to 22 NYCRR §130-1.1.

Background

Plaintiff DOWNEY commenced this foreclosure action for the premises located at 70 Somers Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 1542, Lot 21, County of Kings), on July 31, 2008, by filing the summons, complaint and notice of pendency with the Kings County Clerk’s Office. Defendant DARIO TRUJILLO (TRUJILLO) never answered. I issued an order of reference for the subject premises on July 15, 2010. Then, plaintiff DOWNEY’s counsel, DRUCKMAN, filed with the Kings County Clerk’s Office, on January 26, 2011, a motion for a judgment of foreclosure and sale.

At the May 9, 2011 oral arguments, on the motion for a judgment of foreclosure and sale, I discovered that the subject TRUJILLO mortgage and note had been assigned to U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION (US BANK) by the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC) as Receiver for DOWNEY. The FDIC seized DOWNEY’s assets on November 21, 2008 and assigned them to US BANK. Svetlana Kaplun, Esq., of DRUCKMAN, in her January 21, 2011 affirmation in support of the motion for a judgment of foreclosure and sale, stated, in ¶ 13:

The mortgage at issue has been assigned to US BANK NATIONAL

ASSOCIATION, AS SUCCESSOR IN INTEREST TO THE FEDERAL

DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION AS RECEIVER FOR DOWNEY SAVING AND LOAN ASSOCIATION, F.A. Accordingly, it is

respectfully requested that name of plaintiff be amended to US BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, AS SUCCESSOR IN INTEREST TO THE FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION AS RECEIVER FOR DOWNEY SAVING AND LOAN ASSOCIATION, F.A. A copy of

the assignment is attached hereto and made a part hereof.

An executed copy of the April 20, 2009 assignment and assumption of interests and obligations from assignor FDIC as Receiver for DOWNEY to assignee US BANK was attached to the motion.

Also attached to the motion was the January 7, 2011 affirmation of Ms. Carucci, as per AO 548/10. According to the October 20, 2010 Office of Court Administration’s press release [*3]about the filing requirements of AO 548/10:

The New York State court system has instituted a new filing

requirement in residential foreclosure cases to protect the integrity

of the foreclosure process and prevent wrongful foreclosures. Chief

Judge Jonathan Lippman today announced that plaintiff’s counsel in

foreclosure actions will be required to file an affirmation certifying

that counsel has taken reasonable steps — including inquiry to banks

and lenders and careful review of the papers filed in the case —

to verify the accuracy of documents filed in support of residential

foreclosures. The new filing requirement was introduced by the Chief

Judge in response to recent disclosures by major mortgage lenders

of significant insufficiencies — including widespread deficiencies in

notarization and “robosigning” of supporting documents — in residential

foreclosure filings in courts nationwide. The new requirement is

effective immediately and was created with the approval of the

Presiding Justices of all four Judicial Departments.

Chief Judge Lippman said, “We cannot allow the courts in

New York State to stand by idly and be party to what we now know

is a deeply flawed process, especially when that process involves

basic human needs — such as a family home — during this period

of economic crisis. This new filing requirement will play a vital role

in ensuring that the documents judges rely on will be thoroughly

examined, accurate, and error-free before any judge is asked to take

the drastic step of foreclosure.” [Emphasis added]

(See Gretchen Morgenson and Andrew Martin, Big Legal Clash on

Foreclosure is Taking Shape, New York Times, Oct. 21, 2010; Andrew

Keshner, New Court Rules Says Attorneys Must Verify Foreclosure Papers,

NYLJ, Oct. 21, 2010).

Ms. Carucci, in her January 7, 2011 AO 548/10 affirmation, affirmed “under the penalties of perjury”:

2. On December 24, 2010, I communicated with the following

representative or representatives of Plaintiff, who informed me that

he/she/they (a) personally reviewed plaintiff’s documents and records [*4]

relating to this case for factual accuracy; and (b) confirmed the

factual accuracy and allegations set forth in the Complaint and

any supporting affirmations filed with the Court, as well as the

accuracy of the notarizations contained in the supporting documents

filed therewith.

NameTitle

Tammy DensonOfficer of Downey Savings and Loan

949-798-6052

3. Based upon my communication with Tammy Denson, as well

as upon my inspection and reasonable inquiry under the circumstances,

I affirm that, to the best of my knowledge, information, and belief, the

Summons and Complaint, and other papers filed or submitted to the

Court in this matter contain no false statements of fact or law . . .

4. I am aware of my obligations under New York Rules of

Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR Part 1200) and 22 NYCRR Part 130.

[Emphasis added]

The Court is concerned that Ms. Carucci affirmed to a falsehood, namely, that Ms. Denson is an Officer of defunct DOWNEY. In the presence of Svetlana Kaplun, Esq., who appeared on behalf of plaintiff’s counsel, DRUCKMAN, I called the above-listed telephone number for Tammy Denson. Ms. Denson did not answer the phone, but a voice mail message stated that she was an officer of US BANK, not DOWNEY. Therefore, I denied the motion for a judgment of foreclosure and sale, and issued, at the May 9, 2011 oral arguments, the following short-form order:

Plaintiff’s motion for a judgment of foreclosure and sale is

denied without prejudice to renew within sixty (60) days of this

decision and order. Plaintiff’s counsel claims to represent plaintiff

Downey, a defunct financial institution. Further it appears that

Margaret E. Carucci, Esq., an attorney for plaintiff possibly filed a

false affirmation with the Court. Ms. Carucci affirms under penalty of

perjury that a Tammy Denson is an officer of plaintiff Downey S & L,

which did not exist on 12/24/10, when she signed a sworn statement

as an “officer.”

The Court called Ms. Denson in the presence of Svetlana

Kaplun, Esq. today and Ms. Denson, in her voice mail, stated she is [*5]

a loan official of US Bank, not Downey S & L.

Plaintiff has 60 days to file an affirmation from an officer

with the officer’s title with US Bank, if it is the true owner of

the subject mortgage and note, as well as a renewed motion for a

judgment of foreclosure and sale.

Then, I received a letter, dated July 8, 2011 (the 60-day deadline for the affirmation from an officer of US BANK and the renewed motion), from Nicholas E. Perciballi, Esq. of DRUCKMAN, about the instant action. Mr. Perciballi stated “[t]his office represents the Plaintiff . . . Please advised that Margaret E. Carucci, Esq. is no longer employed with this firm. With regard to your Short From Order dated May 9, 2011, we respectfully request an additional 60 days so that we may work with our client to produce the documents needed to comply with your Order [sic].” The Court has no idea why DRUCKMAN waited until the last possible day to send me the July 8, 2011-letter. The termination of Ms. Carucci’s employment is not an acceptable excuse for delay. I gave DRUCKMAN, on May 9, 2011, sixty days to file a correct AO 548/10 affirmation. It is a waste of judicial resources to grant plaintiff “an additional 60 days so that we may work with our client to produce the documents needed to comply with your Order.” Court orders are not issued to be flouted.

Moreover, according to the Office of Court Administration’s Attorney Registry, Margaret E. Carucci, Esq., still lists her business address as DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC, in Westbury, New York. If she is no longer employed by DRUCKMAN, she might be in violation of 22 NYCRR 118.1 (f). This requires an attorney who changes the business address in his or her registration to “file an amended statement within 30 days of such change.”

Dismissal of the instant action

Plaintiff’s counsel, Mr. Perciballi, in his July 8, 2011-letter, did not present a reasonable excuse for the Court to grant a sixty-day extension to produce the documents required in my May 9, 2011 order. The Court does not work for US BANK and cannot wait for the multibillion dollar financial behemoth US BANK, to “produce the documents need to comply with” my May 9, 2011 order. The failure of plaintiff’s counsel, DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC to comply with two court orders, Chief Administrative Judge Pfau’s October 20, 2010 AO 548/10 and my May 9, 2011 order, demonstrates delinquent conduct by DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC. This mandates, for procedural reasons, the dismissal with prejudice of the instant action. Failure to comply with court-ordered time frames must be taken seriously and not ignored. There are consequences for ignoring court orders. The Court of Appeals, in Gibbs v St. Barnabas Hosp. (16 NY3d 74, 81 [2010]), instructed:

As this Court has repeatedly emphasized, our court system is

dependent on all parties engaged in litigation abiding by the rules of

proper practice (see e.g. Brill v City of New York, 2 NY3d 748 [2004];

Kihl v Pfeffer, 94 NY2d 118 [1999]). The failure to comply with

deadlines not only impairs the efficient functioning of the courts and [*6]

the adjudication of claims, but it places jurists unnecessarily in the

position of having to order enforcement remedies to respond to the

delinquent conduct of members of the bar, often to the detriment of

the litigants they represent. Chronic noncompliance with deadlines

breeds disrespect for the dictates of the Civil Practice Law and Rules

and a culture in which cases can linger for years without resolution.

Furthermore, those lawyers who engage their best efforts to comply

with practice rules are also effectively penalized because they must

somehow explain to their clients why they cannot secure timely

responses from recalcitrant adversaries, which leads to the erosion

of their attorney-client relationships as well. For these reasons, it

is important to adhere to the position we declared a decade ago that

[i]f the credibility of court orders and the integrity of our judicial

system are to be maintained, a litigant cannot ignore court orders

with impunity [Emphasis added].” (Kihl, 94 NY2d at 123).

“Litigation cannot be conducted efficiently if deadlines are not taken seriously, and

we make clear again, as we have several times before, that disregard of deadlines should not and will not be tolerated (see Miceli v State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 3 NY3d 725 [2004]; Brill v City of New York, 2 NY3d 748 [2004]; Kihl v Pfeffer, 94 NY2d 118 [1999]) [Emphasis added].” (Andrea v Arnone, Hedin, Casker, Kennedy and Drake, Architects and Landscape Architects, P.C., 5 NY3d 514, 521 [2005]).As we made clear in Brill, and underscore here, statutory time frames —like court-order time frames (see Kihl v Pfeffer, 94 NY2d 118 [1999]) — are not options, they are requirements, to be taken seriously by the parties. Too many pages of the Reports, and hours of the courts,

are taken up with deadlines that are simply ignored [Emphasis added].” (Miceli, 3 NY3d at 726-726).

Further, the dismissal of the instant foreclosure action requires the

cancellation of the notice of pendency. CPLR § 6501 provides that the filing of a notice of pendency against a property is to give constructive notice to any purchaser of real property or encumbrancer against real property of an action that “would affect the title to, or the possession, use or enjoyment of real property, except in a summary proceeding brought to recover the possession of real property.” The Court of Appeals, in 5308 Realty Corp. v O & Y Equity Corp.[*7] (64 NY2d 313, 319 [1984]), commented that “[t]he purpose of the doctrine was to assure that a court retained its ability to effect justice by preserving its power over the property, regardless of whether a purchaser had any notice of the pending suit,” and, at 320, that “the statutory scheme permits a party to effectively retard the alienability of real property without any prior judicial review.”

CPLR § 6514 (a) provides for the mandatory cancellation of a notice of pendency by:

The Court,upon motion of any person aggrieved and upon such

notice as it may require, shall direct any county clerk to cancel

a notice of pendency, if service of a summons has not been completed

within the time limited by section 6512; or if the action has been

settled, discontinued or abated; or if the time to appeal from a final

judgment against the plaintiff has expired; or if enforcement of a

final judgment against the plaintiff has not been stayed pursuant

to section 551. [emphasis added]

The plain meaning of the word “abated,” as used in CPLR § 6514 (a) is the ending of an action. “Abatement” is defined as “the act of eliminating or nullifying.” (Black’s Law Dictionary 3 [7th ed 1999]). “An action which has been abated is dead, and any further enforcement of the cause of action requires the bringing of a new action, provided that a cause of action remains (2A Carmody-Wait 2d § 11.1).” (Nastasi v Nastasi, 26 AD3d 32, 40 [2d Dept 2005]). Further, Nastasi at 36, held that the “[c]ancellation of a notice of pendency can be granted in the exercise of the inherent power of the court where its filing fails to comply with CPLR § 6501 (see 5303 Realty Corp. v O & Y Equity Corp., supra at 320-321; Rose v Montt Assets, 250 AD2d 451, 451-452 [1d Dept 1998]; Siegel, NY Prac § 336 [4th ed]).” Thus, the dismissal of the instant complaint must result in the mandatory cancellation of plaintiff’s notice of pendency against the subject property “in the exercise of the inherent power of the court.”

Possible frivolous conduct by plaintiff’s counsel

Ms. Carucci affirmed “under the penalties of perjury,” on January 7, 2011, to the factual accuracy of the foreclosure papers by communicating with a representative of the defunct plaintiff DOWNEY. The filing of the motion for a judgment of foreclosure and sale by plaintiff’s counsel, with Ms. Carucci’s false statement, appears to be frivolous. 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (a) states that “the Court, in its discretion may impose financial sanctions upon any party or attorney in a civil action or proceeding who engages in frivolous conduct as defined in this Part, which shall be payable as provided in section 130-1.3 of this Subpart.” Further, it states in 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (b), that “sanctions may be imposed upon any attorney appearing in the action or upon a partnership, firm or corporation with which the attorney is associated.”

22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (c) states that:

For purposes of this part, conduct is frivolous if:

(1) it is completely without merit in law and cannot be supported

by a reasonable argument for an extension, modification or

reversal of existing law;

(2) it is undertaken primarily to delay or prolong the resolution of

the litigation, or to harass or maliciously injure another; or

(3) it asserts material factual statements that are false.

It is clear that Ms. Carucci’s January 7, 2011 affirmation “asserts material factual statements that are false.” Further, Ms. Carucci’s January 7, 2011 affirmation, with its false statement, may be a cause for sanctions.

Several years before the drafting and implementation of the Part 130 Rules for

costs and sanctions, the Court of Appeals (A.G. Ship Maintenance Corp. v Lezak, 69 NY2d 1, 6 [*8][1986]) observed that “frivolous litigation is so serious a problem affecting the

proper administration of justice, the courts may proscribe such conduct and impose sanctions in this exercise of their rule-making powers, in the absence of legislation to the contrary (see NY Const, art VI, § 30, Judiciary Law § 211 [1] [b] ).”

Part 130 Rules were subsequently created, effective January 1, 1989, to give the

courts an additional remedy to deal with frivolous conduct. These stand beside Appellate Division disciplinary case law against attorneys for abuse of process or malicious prosecution. The Court, in Gordon v Marrone (202 AD2d 104, 110 [2d Dept 1994], lv denied 84 NY2d 813 [1995]), instructed that:

Conduct is frivolous and can be sanctioned under the court rule if

“it is completely without merit . . . and cannot be supported by a

reasonable argument for an extension, modification or reversal of

existing law; or . . . it is undertaken primarily to delay or prolong

the resolution of the litigation, or to harass or maliciously injure

another” (22 NYCRR 130-1.1[c] [1], [2] . . . ).

In Levy v Carol Management Corporation (260 AD2d 27, 33 [1st Dept 1999]), the Court stated that in determining if sanctions are appropriate the Court must look at the broad pattern of conduct by the offending attorneys or parties. Further, “22 NYCRR

130-1.1 allows us to exercise our discretion to impose costs and sanctions on an errant party . . .” Levy at 34, held that “[s]anctions are retributive, in that they punish past conduct. They also are goal oriented, in that they are useful in deterring future frivolous conduct not only by the particular parties, but also by the Bar at large.”

The Court, in Kernisan, M.D. v Taylor (171 AD2d 869 [2d Dept 1991]), noted that the intent of the Part 130 Rules “is to prevent the waste of judicial resources and to deter vexatious litigation and dilatory or malicious litigation tactics (cf. Minister, Elders & Deacons of Refm. Prot. Church of City of New York v 198 Broadway, 76 NY2d 411; see Steiner v Bonhamer, 146 Misc 2d 10) [Emphasis added].” The instant action, with DRUCKMAN asserting false statements, is “a waste of judicial resources.” This conduct, as noted in Levy, must be deterred. In Weinstock v Weinstock (253 AD2d 873 [2d Dept 1998]) the Court ordered the maximum sanction of $10,000.00 for an attorney who pursued an appeal “completely without merit,” and holding, at 874, that “[w]e therefore award the maximum authorized amount as a sanction for this conduct (see, 22 NYCRR 130-1.1) calling to mind that frivolous litigation causes a substantial waste of judicial resources to the detriment of those litigants who come to the Court with real grievances [Emphasis added].” Citing Weinstock, the Appellate Division, Second Department, in Bernadette Panzella, P.C. v De Santis (36 AD3d 734 [2d Dept 2007]) affirmed a Supreme Court, Richmond County $2,500.00 sanction, at 736, as “appropriate in view of the plaintiff’s waste of judicial resources [Emphasis added].”

In Navin v Mosquera (30 AD3d 883 [3d Dept 2006]) the Court instructed that when considering if specific conduct is sanctionable as frivolous, “courts are required to

examine whether or not the conduct was continued when its lack of legal or factual basis was apparent [or] should have been apparent’ (22 NYCRR 130-1.1 [c]).” The Court, in Sakow ex rel. Columbia Bagel, Inc. v Columbia Bagel, Inc. (6 Misc 3d 939, 943 [Sup Ct,

New York County 2004]), held that “[i]n assessing whether to award sanctions, the Court must [*9]consider whether the attorney adhered to the standards of a reasonable attorney (Principe v Assay Partners, 154 Misc 2d 702 [Sup Ct, NY County 1992]).”

“Nothing could more aptly be described as conduct completely without merit in

. . . fact’ than the giving of sworn testimony or providing an affidavit, knowing the same to be false, on a material issue.” (Sanders v Copley, 194 AD2d 85, 88 [1d Dept 1993]). The Court, in Joan 2000, Ltd. v Deco Constr. Corp. (66 AD3d 841, 842 [2d Dept 2009]), instructed that “[c]onduct is frivolous it . . . asserts material factual statements that are false.”In Curcio v J.P. Hogan Coring & Sawing Corp. (303 AD2d 357 [2d Dept 2003]), plaintiff’s counsel falsely claimed that the parties orally stipulated to a settlement of an employee discrimination case. The Curcio Court, at 358, held that “the conduct of [plaintiff’s counsel] was frivolous because it was without merit in law and involved the assertion of misleading factual statement to the Clerk of the Supreme Court (see 22 NYCRR 130-1.1 [c] [1], [3]).” (See Gordon v Marrone, supra; In re Ernestine R., 61 AD3d 874 [2d Dept 2009]; Glenn v Annunziata, 53 AD3d 565 [2d Dept 2008]; Miller v Dugan, 27 AD3d 429 [2d Dept 2006]; Greene v Doral Conference Center Associates, 18 AD3d 429 [2d Dept 2005]; Ofman v Campos, 12 AD3d 581 [2d Dept 2004]; Intercontinental Bank Limited v Micale & Rivera, LLP, 300 AD2d 207 [1d Dept 2002]; Tyree Bros. Environmental Services, Inc. v Ferguson Propeller, Inc., 247 AD2d 376 [2d Dept 1998]).

Therefore, the Court will examine the conduct of Margaret E. Carucci, Esq. and DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC in a hearing, pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1, to: determine if Margaret E. Carucci, Esq. and DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC engaged in frivolous conduct; and, allow Margaret E. Carucci, Esq. and DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC a reasonable opportunity to be heard.

Conclusion

Accordingly, it is ORDERED, that the instant complaint, Index No. 22268/08, is dismissed with prejudice; and it is further

ORDERED, that the Notice of Pendency filed with the Kings County Clerk on July 31, 2008, by plaintiff, DOWNEY SAVINGS AND LOAN ASSOCIATION,

F.A., in an action to foreclose a mortgage for real property located at 70 Somers Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 1542, Lot 21, County of Kings), is cancelled and discharged; and it is further

ORDERED, that it appearing that Margaret E. Carucci, Esq. and DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC engaged in “frivolous conduct,” as defined in the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 22 NYCRR § 130-1 (c), and that pursuant to the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 22 NYCRR § 130.1.1 (d), “[a]n award of costs or the imposition of sanctions may be made . . . upon the court’s own initiative, after a reasonable opportunity to be heard,” this Court will conduct a hearing affording Margaret E. Carucci, Esq. and DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC “a reasonable opportunity to be heard” before me in Part 27, on Monday, September 12, 2011, at 2:30 P.M., in Room 479, 360 Adams Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201; and it is further

ORDERED, that Ronald David Bratt, Esq., my Principal Law Clerk, is directed to serve this order by first-class mail, upon: Margaret E. Carucci, Esq., Druckman Law Group PLLC, 242 Drexel Avenue, Suite 2, Westbury, NY 11590; and, DRUCKMAN LAW GROUP PLLC, 242 Drexel Avenue, Suite 2, Westbury, NY 11590. [*10]

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

ENTER

___________________________

HON. ARTHUR M. SCHACK

J.S.C.

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Florida Supreme Court foreclosure case PINO v. BONY settled

Florida Supreme Court foreclosure case PINO v. BONY settled


Although disappointing not to see the final outcome behind the documents, this does not settle well with the FRAUD obviously involved.

“We conclude that this is a question of great public importance, as many, many mortgage foreclosures appear tainted with suspect documents,” the appeals court wrote in certification to the Supreme Court.

according to Miami Herald-

Both sides have agreed to settle a high-profile foreclosure fraud case pending before the Florida Supreme Court.

Details of the settlement were not disclosed in a brief stipulation filed Thursday with the high court.

The 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach had certified the case as a matter of “great public importance.”

The appeal court ruled Roman Pino couldn’t try to prove the Bank of New York Mellon defrauded him when it foreclosed on his Greenacres home.

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Estimated More Than 200 Law Firms, Likely To Address Relationship with LPS For Alleged Fee-Splitting

Estimated More Than 200 Law Firms, Likely To Address Relationship with LPS For Alleged Fee-Splitting


HousingWire

The alleged splitting of attorney fees between foreclosure law firms and third-party mortgage servicing providers is the subject of another lawsuit, bringing the number of cases filed on this issue to five within the past seven months, said Nick Wooten, an Alabama-based plaintiff’s attorney involved in all of the cases.

By mid-May, Wooten said he expects to file 10 to 12 additional cases, making similar allegations about what he claims are illegal, split-attorney fee arrangements between mortgage servicing outsourcers and law firms. The cases are concentrated in the Northern District of Mississippi, the Southern District of Alabama and the Northern District of Florida-Pensacola division.

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FL Class Action Against Ben-Ezra & Katz, Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS): IN RE: HARRIS

FL Class Action Against Ben-Ezra & Katz, Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS): IN RE: HARRIS


Via: NakedCapitalism

The latest filing is in bankruptcy court in the Northern District of Florida, In re Harris, and involves both LPS (the parent company and its subsidiary LPS Default Solutions) and major Florida foreclosure mill Ben-Ezra & Katz. The bankruptcy clients of Ben Ezra are the group that the litigation seeks to have certified as a class. Note that the usual remedy for the sharing of impermissible legal fees is disgorgment. In addition, the suit lists ten causes of actions, of which the fee sharing is only one.

[ipaper docId=53629676 access_key=key-ochsra4zdwixy1u0bcj height=600 width=600 /]

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Gretchen Morgenson takes on Regulators, LPS and the Shoddy Practices and Sloppy Accountings of the Mortgage Service Industry

Gretchen Morgenson takes on Regulators, LPS and the Shoddy Practices and Sloppy Accountings of the Mortgage Service Industry


The absolute beauty of this all,  is when one of the greatest gets the word out.

Understand that us bloggers don’t have the means both in funding nor in the capacity of such a global platform, but what us bloggers do have most importantly, a POWERFUL VOICE, your voice to manage to get the word out.

Make no mistake, no coincidence…In many opinions, insiders are tipped before anything major will break and why timing is EVERYTHING.

Read the latest from Gretchen Morgenson:

Homework Regulators Aren’t Doing

“ONE too many times, this court has been witness to the shoddy practices and sloppy accountings of the mortgage service industry. With each revelation, one hopes that the bottom of the barrel has been reached and that the industry will self correct. Sadly, this does not appear to be reality.”


Then come back and read the full case.

BLOCKBUSTER FRAUD | LA BK Judge Grants Motion For Sanctions Against Lender Processing Services (LPS) Liability IN RE: WILSON

The fraud perpetrated on the Court, Debtors, and trustee would be shocking if this Court had less experience concerning the conduct of mortgage servicers.

ELIZABETH W. MAGNER, Bankruptcy Judge

IN RE: WILSON

[Image: NYTimes]

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REUTERS | U.S. judge to sanction LPS for lying to court

REUTERS | U.S. judge to sanction LPS for lying to court


(Reuters) – A federal bankruptcy judge in New Orleans said she will impose sanctions on Lender Processing Services, after concluding that the mortgage servicing company deliberately committed fraud on the court in a foreclosure case, by giving false testimony and submitting a “sham” affidavit.

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BLOCKBUSTER FRAUD | LA BK Judge Grants Motion For Sanctions Against Lender Processing Services (LPS) Liability IN RE: WILSON

BLOCKBUSTER FRAUD | LA BK Judge Grants Motion For Sanctions Against Lender Processing Services (LPS) Liability IN RE: WILSON


The fraud perpetrated on the Court, Debtors, and trustee would be shocking if this Court had less experience concerning the conduct of mortgage servicers.

 

UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA

IN RE:
RON WILSON, SR.
LARHONDA WILSON
DEBTORS

Excerpt:

III. Conclusion
The fraud perpetrated on the Court, Debtors, and trustee would be shocking if this Court had less experience concerning the conduct of mortgage servicers. One too many times, this Court has been witness to the shoddy practices and sloppy accountings of the mortgage service industry. With each revelation, one hopes that the bottom of the barrel has been reached and that the industry will self correct. Sadly, this does not appear to be reality. This case is one example of why their conduct comes at a high cost to the system and debtors.

The hearing on the Motion for Sanctions provides yet another piece to in the puzzle of loan administration. In Jones v. Wells Fargo,104 this Court discovered that a highly automated software package owned by LPS and identified as MSP administered loans for servicers and note holders but was programed to apply payments contrary to the terms of the notes and mortgages. In In re Stewart,105 additional information was acquired regarding postpetition administration under the same program, revealing errors in the methodology for fees and costs posted to a debtor’s account. In re Fitch,106 delved into the administration of escrow accounts for insurance and taxes. In this case, the process utilized for default affidavits has been examined. Although it has been four (4) years since Jones, serious problems persist in mortgage loan administration. But for the dogged determination of the UST’s office and debtors’ counsel, these issues would not come to light and countless debtors would suffer. For their efforts this Court is indebted.

For the reasons assigned above, the Motion for Sanctions is granted as to liability of LPS.

The Court will conduct an evidentiary hearing on sanctions to be imposed.

New Orleans, Louisiana, April 6, 2011.

Hon. Elizabeth W. Magner
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge

Continue below…

[ipaper docId=52894509 access_key=key-ys7l2k9632txr03l7ex height=600 width=600 /]

In re: RON WILSON, SR. LARHONDA WILSON, Chapter 13, Debtors.

Case No. 07-11862.

United States Bankruptcy Court, E.D. Louisiana.

April 6, 2011.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ELIZABETH W. MAGNER, Bankruptcy Judge

On December 1, 2010, the Motion for Sanctions[1] filed by the United States Trustee (UST) came before the Court. At the beginning of the hearing, a request to bifurcate the issues presented was granted. Hearing on the sanctions to be awarded was deferred to a separate hearing, pending determination of liability for sanctionable conduct. After trial on the merits, the Court ordered that simultaneous briefs be submitted no later than February 1, 2011. Upon the filing of briefs, the matter was taken under advisement.

I. Procedural History and Facts Leading to Expanded Order to Show Cause

Option One Mortgage Corporation (“Option One”) holds a mortgage on Ron and LaRhonda Wilson’s (“Debtors”) home payable in monthly installments. On September 29, 2007, Debtors filed a voluntary petition under chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. At the time of their bankruptcy filing, Debtors were in default on the mortgage, and a prepetition arrearage was owed. Debtors’ plan of reorganization provided for monthly payments to the trustee for satisfaction of the prepetition arrearage, and Debtors’ direct payment of monthly postpetition mortgage installments to Option One. The plan was confirmed on December 21, 2007.[2]

Option One filed a Motion for Relief From Stay on January 7, 2008 (“First Motion”).[3] The First Motion alleged that Debtors had failed to make the monthly postpetition installment payments for November 2007 through January 2008. The First Motion requested relief from the automatic stay to enforce payment of the debt in a foreclosure action. On February 4, 2008, Debtors responded averring they were current and that Option One had failed to credit several postpetition payments to their account.[4]

Because Option One failed to supply evidence of default, the First Motion was denied without prejudice.[5] Option One filed a new Motion for Relief From Stay on March 10, 2008 (“Second Motion”).[6] The Second Motion alleged that Debtors were in default for “over four (4) months now. . .” Option One also stated that “Due to the Debtors’ failure to maintain the monthly [postpetition] payments, there exists the possibility that real estate taxes may go unpaid or insurance on the property may lapse because of the shortage in the Debtors’ escrow account.”

The Second Motion was supported by an affidavit of Dory Goebel, Assistant Secretary for Option One. In the affidavit, Ms. Goebel averred under oath that Option One was the holder of the secured claim in Debtors’ case. To support her affidavit, Ms. Goebel attached a copy of a note and mortgage executed by Debtors and an endorsement to Option One by America’s Mortgage Resource, the original payee on the note.

Ms Goebel affirmed:

Appearer has reviewed and is familiar with the mortgage loan account of RON WILSON, Sr. And LA RHONDA WILSON (“Mortgagor”) represented by the afore described note and mortgage and the records and data complications [sic] pertaining thereto, which business records reflect acts, events or condition made at or near the time by Dory Goebel, or from information transmitted by a person with knowledge thereof and which records and data complications [sic] are made and kept as a regular practice of the regularly conducted business activities of OPTION ONE MORTGAGE CORPORATION.

Ms. Goebel then declared that the balance due on the note was $176,063.27 and that Debtors were in default under their plan for failure to pay the monthly installments accruing from November 1, 2007, through February 1, 2008. Ms. Goebel represented that the last payment on the note was applied to the October 1, 2007 installment.

Debtors opposed the Second Motion alleging that all postpetition installments were paid by money order, cashier’s, or personal check and that all payments by cashier’s or personal check were delivered by certified mail.[7] At the initial hearing on the Second Motion on April 8, 2008, Debtors offered into evidence proof of payment for installments made on the Option One note. Debtors’ evidence included:

1. October 2007 payment — confirmation by Western Union that a money order was delivered to Option One on October 20, 2007, in the amount of $1546.64 and receipt was acknowledged by Option One on October 27, 2007.

2. November 2007 payment — confirmation by Western Union that a money order was delivered to Option One on November 30, 2007, in the amount of $1546.64 and receipt was acknowledged by Option One on November 30, 2007.

3. December 2008 payment-copy of a certified mail receipt showing delivery to Option One on January 2, 2008. Debtors alleged tender of a cashier’s check #XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX for $1546.84.

4. January 2008 payment-a copies of a cashier’s check for $1000.00 and two money orders for $546.84 and $312.00 both dated January 25, 2008; certified mail receipts evidencing delivery to and acknowledging receipt by Option One on January 31, 2008.

5. February 2008 payment — copies of a cashier’s check for $1546.84 and a personal check for $78.00; as well as a receipt for certified mail delivery on February 28, 2008, and acknowledging receipt by Option One on March 3, 2008.

6. March 2008 payment — copies of two cashier’s checks for $1546.84 and $78.00; as well as a receipt for certified mail delivery on March 28, 2008, and confirmation of delivery to Option One by the United States Postal Service on March 31, 2008.[8]

Both the First and Second Motions were filed by Mr. Clay Writz of the Boles Law Firm (“Boles”) representing Option One. However, Mr. Timothy Farrelly of Nicaud, Sunseri, & Fradella appeared on behalf of Option One at the hearing on the Second Motion. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Court continued the matter until April 22, 2008, in order to allow Option One the opportunity to trace the alleged payments and provide an accounting of the loan’s payment history from petition date through April 2008.

On April 22, 2008, the continued hearing on the Second Motion was held. Mr. Farrelly again appeared on behalf of Option One. At the hearing, Debtors’ counsel represented that Mr. Wirtz had contacted him at 5:30 p.m. the night before requesting a continuance due to a conflict in another court. Mr. Wirtz stated that he had not reviewed the prior evidence and was not prepared to address the issues raised by Debtors in their Opposition. Option One did acknowledge, through a pleading filed by Mr. Wirtz the night before the hearing, the receipt of three (3) additional and previously undisclosed payments:

1. Payment dated October 22, 2007, in the amount of $1546.84 applied to the installment due October 1, 2007;

2. Payment dated December 3, 2007, in the amount of $1546.84 applied to the installment due November 1, 2007; and

3. Payments of $1546.84 and $78.00 dated April 2, 2008, applied to installment due December 1, 2007.

The pleading was not the accounting ordered by the Court, but instead a chart reflecting the receipt and application of three (3) payments postpetition. The pleading again asserted that the funds delivered were insufficient to satisfy the amounts due and reasserted Option One’s request for relief.[9]

Since Debtors’ evidence indicated 1) additional payments not acknowledged by Option One; 2) Option One had failed to supply the ordered accounting or address the additional payments made by Debtors; and 3) Mr. Farrelly lacked any knowledge regarding the loan, the Court determined that Option One’s response was insufficient and issued show cause orders for Mr. Wirtz, Dory Goebel, and Option One.[10] The merits of the Second Motion were again continued to afford Option One and Ms. Goebel the opportunity to respond to the allegations raised by the Opposition and subsequent admission by Option One that three (3) unaccounted for payments were not included in its motion.[11]

On June 26, 2008, a third hearing on the Second Motion and the initial hearing on the show cause orders was conducted. Mr. Wirtz appeared at the hearing, but Ms. Goebel was not present. Mr. Wirtz admitted that Debtors were in fact current on their loan. Mr. Wirtz also admitted receipt of $7,513.53 in funds on Debtors’ account and stipulated that Debtors were current through and including May 2008. Mr. Wirtz admitted that between the filing of the First and Second Motions, Option One located one (1) payment which was applied to the October 2007 installment.

Regarding the show cause order, Mr. Writz represented that his contact was Fidelity National Foreclosure Solutions, n/k/a Lender Processing Services (“LPS”) and that all information regarding payments, defaults, or inquires were taken by him from a LPS website or LPS personnel.[12]

Mr. Wirtz represented that additional unapplied payments were only discovered when they arrived at his office.[13] Specifically, he stated that payments were delivered on February 18, 2008, in the amount of $1,858.84; March 7, 2008, in the amount of $1,624.17; May 12, 2008, in the amount of $1,624.84; and May 22, 2008, in the amount of $1,524.84. Because payments were received by Mr. Wirtz on February 18 and March 7 and prior to the filing of the Second Motion, Mr. Wirtz was sanctioned for his failure to disclose this fact in the Second Motion or correct the representations made in his pleadings.

Nevertheless, based on the information available to Mr. Writz when the Second Motion was filed, it appeared that the payments received from Option One were insufficient to alert Mr. Wirtz that the loan was entirely current. As a result, the Court ordered further investigation into the receipt and application of payments by Option One in a continued effort to uncover the cause of the erroneous filing. The Court jointly sanctioned Option One and Ms. Goebel $5,000.00 for failure to appear and $5,000.00 for filing a false affidavit.[14] Option One was also ordered to pay $900.00 in attorney’s fees to Debtors’ counsel. The Court sanctioned Mr. Wirtz $1,000.00 for failing to amend the Second Motion and Default Affidavit once he obtained information which revealed that they were false.[15] The Court continued the hearing on the show cause order against Ms. Goebel and Option One to August 21, 2008.[16] Based on Mr. Wirtz’s representations, an additional show cause order was issued for LPS.[17]

On July 9, 2008, LPS voluntarily intervened “to clarify its role in this matter and to address any misconceptions or misunderstandings which may have been left with the Court regarding that role.”[18] On August 21, 2008, the Court held an evidentiary hearing on the Orders to Show Cause. Participating at the hearing were representatives and counsel for Boles, LPS, Option One, the UST and Debtors.

Mr. Michael Cash, representing LPS, explained LPS’ role in the administration of Debtors’ loan:

Fidelity does work for Option One, and basically Fidelity’s role is almost as a conduit and storage of information and data. Option One will send their information to Fidelity, and then attorneys such as Clay [Wirtz] can access that information.[19]

***

. . . [B]asically Fidelity became—if you think if it almost as a library, various clients could put their information in that library. The attorneys would go to the library, check out the information, and that’s how things would happen. One of the services that we provided, and no longer do, but one that we did is executing affidavits such as the one in this case.[20]

***

Ms. Goebel is an employee of Fidelity. The various clients in this case, including Option One, would sign a corporate resolution, and I have a copy of a corporate resolution, that would give her limited authority as a vice president for particular purposes. And in this case one of the purposes was executing the affidavit.[21]

***

Court: . . . if Fidelity is merely storing information . . . why wouldn’t Option One sign the affidavit?

Cash: . . a number of clients sign their own, Your Honor. Sometimes they would want us to, simply because we have people like Ms. Goebel who handle the accounts on a daily basis, who review the material, who have access to the material, and it was simply one less thing that the client had to do, that we would do.[22]

***

Cash: . . . and when Ms. Goebel would execute the affidavit she would have access to the same information as someone at Option One. She would go into their system, look at what has been posted, what hasn’t been posted. And I think what happened here was just a series of miscommunications . . .[23]

***

Cash: . . . And I think that the simple explanation here, . . . and I think it’s one that’s clearly human error that can happen, is there was a payment sent. There was an error made where that payment was sent, because this was in bankruptcy. . . . that payment was sent to the Boles Firm, rather than being posted. And that was basically, I think, someone in Mr. Wirtz’s office had instructed Option One, “Send us the checks and we will send them back,” or “we will take care of that.”[24]

Mr. Cash then offered the testimony of Ms. Goebel who is both an employee of LPS and was an authorized signer of default affidavits for Option One. Ms. Goebel testified as to the process by which a default affidavit is executed. In particular, Ms. Goebel explained:

To execute such an affidavit, once I receive the affidavit, I will review the information that is in the affidavit with Option One’s system. So, I will validate the information based on their system and the information that is there.[25]

At the August 21, 2008, hearing, Ms. Goebel represented that from her desk she would log into Option One’s computer system and verify the information in the affidavit. She also represented that she had access to Option One’s entire record of the loan.[26] She stated that she verified this information with LPS’ own system which reflected the communications between Option One’s law firm and Option One.[27] Ms. Goebel represented that LPS only maintained a “library” of information that Option One supplied.[28]

She confirmed that she reviewed a debtors’ entire loan history prior to executing the affidavit[29] and would also review communications between counsel and LPS in connection with the signing of the affidavit. She, however, would not review communications between counsel and Option One.[30]

Ms. Goebel explained that LPS had no way to verify unposted payments.[31] She stated emphatically that after reviewing Debtors’ file, she found no communications between LPS and Boles about any additional payments tendered after the filing of the motions.[32] Ms Goebel also testified that after reviewing Debtors’ loan file before testifying, she saw no communications between LPS and Option One.[33] She asserted that it was Option One’s responsibility to notify counsel should a change in circumstance warrant the withdrawal of a motion for relief[34] and that LPS never stopped legal actions once it referred a loan to counsel.[35]

The testimony presented by Option One, however, did not agree with Mr. Cash or Ms. Goebel’s representations. Mr. Arthur Simmons of American Home Mortgage, formerly Option One, testified for Option One. Mr. Simmons was the person tasked with the day to day administration of Debtors’ loan once their bankruptcy was filed.

Mr. Simmons testified that once a borrower filed for bankruptcy, LPS opened a bankruptcy workstation or subprogram to administer the loan. Option One was given notice that this had occurred.[36]

Once a bankruptcy workstation is opened, Option One would take no action unless requested by LPS, who was described as actually administering the loan.[37] As previously explained in In re Stewart,[38] LPS markets to loan servicing companies and note holders a very sophisticated loan management program commonly referred to in the industry as “MSP.” MSP interfaces with a client’s computer system collecting information and monitoring a loan’s status. When certain events occur, the program is designed to take action without human intervention. For example, when a loan reflects past due payments for a specified period of time, generally forty-five (45) days, MPS will generate a demand or default letter to the borrower. The timing or triggers for various loan administrative actions are set by the lender or servicer but executed by MSP as overseen by LPS.[39]

When a bankruptcy is filed, the bankruptcy workstation is activated and provides a set of additional parameters, tasks and actions that can be performed by the program or those that use it in a bankruptcy. For example, when a loan is sixty (60) days postpetition delinquent, the system will notify of this event and typically trigger a referral to counsel for the filing of a motion for relief.[40]

Mr. Simmons represented that LPS manages all tasks required during the administration of a loan during bankruptcy. If counsel needs instruction, LPS is contacted and only if LPS cannot solve counsel’s problem, is Option One involved.[41]

Although Debtors’ filed for bankruptcy relief on September 29, 2007, the bankruptcy workstation was not activated by LPS until November. Because LPS delayed setting up the workstation, Debtors’ first postpetition payment, made in October 2007, was not posted to the October installment but to June 2007, the earliest outstanding prepetition installment. As a result, the system showed October 2007 installment as past due.[42]

When Debtors’ file was reviewed by LPS for referral to counsel, the postpetition due date was not accurate because it did not reflect the October payment.[43] To avoid this type of problem, Option One had procedures in place for LPS to follow if activation of a bankruptcy workstation was delayed. In such a case, LPS was directed to search for payments that might have been delivered after the bankruptcy filing date but prior to activation of the workstation. If any were found, LPS was to apply the payments to postpetition installments correcting the posting error. Mr. Simmons testified that LPS had the ability to adjust the application of payment in this circumstance and it was their responsibility to do so.[44]

Mr. Simmons also testified that Option One’s computer system generated reports when a debtor was 45 to 60 days postpetition past due.[45] In this case, a delinquency report was generated in December, when the incorrect posting for October led the computer to read a 60 day postpetition delinquency.

LPS maintained an on site employee at Option One who reviewed the post bankruptcy delinquency reports. That employee reviewed the list, then entered a request on LPS’ system for a motion for relief referral.[46]

If a payment was received after a file had been referred to counsel for action (i.e. the filing of a motion for relief from stay), Option One’s policy was to request that LPS contact counsel for instruction. If LPS could not satisfy counsel’s request, only then would LPS contact Option One. Although direct communications between counsel and Option One were not prohibited, they were rare because it was LPS’ responsibility to manage the loan. This case appears to have followed the normal chain of administration because there was no evidence that Boles had any, or attempted any, direct communications with Option One.[47]

When Option One received the payment for December 2007, LPS sent an inquiry to Boles for instructions. Boles replied that Option One should send the payment to it.[48] Option One contacted LPS for instructions on each payment as it was received from December through March.[49] As each postpetition payment arrived from Debtors, Option One communicated with LPS, LPS with Boles, and then LPS reported back to Option One the instruction received.[50] As a result, Debtors’ postpetition payments for December 2007 through March 2008 were not posted, but instead were reflected on a cash log that was not available to either Mr. Wirtz or LPS.[51] However, LPS knew of the payments because it was communicating directly with Mr. Wirtz and Option One on the issue.[52]

All Motions for Relief from Stay or Affidavits of Default are submitted by counsel directly to LPS. Option One neither proof reads nor reviews these documents.[53] If an Opposition is filed, Option One does not read it. Instead, Option One employs LPS for the purpose of handling any issues pertaining to the loan or Motion for Relief. LPS contacts Option One only if it cannot handle a matter.[54]

In this case, LPS contacted Option One about Debtors’ claim of missing payments. Option One replied that the payments were with Mr. Wirtz.[55]

The UST made an appearance for the purpose of assisting the Court in its investigation.[56] The obvious conflict between the testimony of Mr. Simmons and Ms. Goebel and representations by counsel for LPS led the Court to accept the UST’s offer for assistance. As a result of the foregoing, the Court continued the hearing on August 21, 2008, without date to allow formal discovery.[57]

From July 9, 2008, through December 2010, the parties conducted contentious discovery. Ten (10) motions to quash, compel, clarify, reconsider orders, stay proceedings, request protective orders; and appeal interlocutory orders were considered along with responses, oppositions and replies to each. On May 21, 2010, the UST filed a Motion for Sanctions against LPS and Boles.[58]

On December 1, 2010, trial on the merits of the UST’s intervening Motion for Sanctions[59] against LPS was heard.

II. Law and Discussion

Q: Mr. Simmons, what was the amount due on the . . . Wilson account on February, 28th, 2008? . . .

A: Actually, the loan was current, if in fact we would have accounted for all the monies received. . . .

Q: What about on March 10, 2008? What was the amount due on the mortgage loan at that date?

A: Again, the loan would have been current. . . . .[60]

Debtors filed bankruptcy on September 29, 2007. Notification of that fact was mailed to Option One on October 6, 2007.[61] LPS encoded the bankruptcy filing on November 21, 2008. The process was completed on November 23, 2008.[62]

Debtors sent their first postpetition mortgage payment of $1,546.84 via Western Union on October 21, 2007. Because LPS failed to alert its system that a bankruptcy had been filed, this payment was applied to Debtors’ earliest past due prepetition installment, June 2007.

Debtors forwarded another $1,546.84 payment to Option One on November 30, 2007. That payment was intended to satisfy the postpetition installment due November 1, 2007. Instead, Option One applied the payment to the October 1, 2007, installment, the date showing due on the system.[63]

On December 21, 2007, LPS entered a referral to Boles requesting a Motion for Relief from Stay based on two (2) past due postpetition payments (November 1 and December 1, 2007).[64] The First Motion was filed by Boles on January 7, 2008.[65] In the interim, LPS received notification that a payment of $1,546.84, one (1) monthly installment, had been made by Debtors.[66] LPS requested posting instructions from Boles, who directed LPS to send the payment to the firm.[67]

On January 25, 2008, Debtors sent $1,858.84 to Option One. That payment was received on January 31, 2008. Again, LPS was notified by Option One of the payment, and on February 1, 2008, LPS requested posting instructions from Boles.[68] Boles responded three (3) days later directing LPS to send the payment to it.[69] On February 4, 2008, Boles advised LPS that the First Motion would go to hearing on February 12, 2008. Boles cited “Judge delay” as the reason, but in reality, Debtors opposed the First Motion.[70] In the Opposition, Debtors alleged that all payments had been made on the loan postpetition, challenging the allegations of Option One’s First Motion that the loan was postpetition delinquent for November 1, 2007, and all installments thereafter.

Putting aside the posting issue created by LPS’s failure to properly account for Debtors’ bankruptcy filing, the allegations of the First Motion also failed to acknowledge Option One’s receipt of $1,546.84 on January 2, 2008.[71]

LPS was also alerted by Boles on February 6, 2008, of Debtors’ Opposition. Boles requested a “pencil post” of the loan.[72] Boles’ understanding of a “pencil post” was a manual accounting of a loan payment history used to verify the status reflected by the computer file. In reality, LPS only manually reviews what is already on the computer system and recopies it onto a spread sheet.

Evidently in performing the “pencil post,” LPS discovered the misapplied October payment and requested correction on February 11, 2008. The manual adjustment also corrected the application of the two (2) Western Union payments received postpetition. However, no mention was made of the two (2) additional unposted payments discussed in the preceding communications between LPS, Option One, and Boles. On February 15, 2009, LPS sent a message to Boles that according to Option One, its cash log reflected forwarded payments to Boles in an amount sufficient to bring the loan current. However, LPS instructed Boles that if in fact the funds Boles held were insufficient to bring the loan current, Boles should consider the loan past due as of December 1, 2007.[73]

In response to LPS’ message on February 15, 2008, Boles acknowledged receipt of $1,858.84 in funds. Assuming they were applied to the December 2007 installment, payments for January and February 2008 were still due.[74][75] On February 27, 2008, Debtors’ account was adjusted to show a past due date of December 1, 2007.[76][77] Therefore, as of February 15, Boles had not received enough funds to bring the loan current and communicated this fact to LPS. No further investigation or response was made as to the whereabouts of the missing January 2008 payment. On February 27, 2008, Boles forwarded an affidavit to Ms. Goebel at LPS for execution in connection with the Second Motion. The affidavit alleged Debtors were past due as of November 2007, which was in conflict with the allegations contained in the Second Motion which now reflested a past due date as of December 1, 2007.

As part of its default services, LPS executed Affidavits of Default in support of Motions for Relief from Stay. LPS testified that it was just one of the services that LPS provided to clients.[78] The affidavit is typical. It purports to be executed under oath before a notary and two (2) witnesses.

It provides the name and title of the affiant and represents that the affiant has personal knowledge of the facts contained in the affidavit.[79] In fact, it is a sham.

When an affidavit is received by LPS, an employee prints the document and delivers it to one of twenty-eight (28) LPS employees authorized by Option One to execute the document on its behalf.[80] By corporate resolution, Option One grants these individuals “officer” status, but limits their authority to the signing of default affidavits. These “officers” execute 1,000 documents per day for Option One and other clients similar to the one used in this case.[81] In fact, Ms. Goebel is an employee of LPS with little or no connection to Option One. Each day Ms. Goebel receives approximately thirty (30) documents to sign.[82] The process of signing default affidavits is rote and elementary.

As Ms. Goebel is also a manager of a work unit at LPS, she allocates two (2) hours per day for document execution and estimates that it takes her five (5) to ten (10) minutes to sign each affidavit she receives.[83] Before signing an affidavit, Ms. Goebel follows the procedures directed by LPS. She checks three (3) computer screens that provide the amount of the installment payment, the total balance due on the loan, and the due date for the earliest past due installment.[84][85] She matches this information with that contained in the affidavit. If it is correct, she signs the document and forwards it to a notary for execution.

Although the affidavit in this case purported to verify that Option One was the holder of the note owed by Debtors through an assignment, Ms. Goebel does not personally know this to be a fact and made no effort to verify her assertion.[86] Similarly, the affidavit identifies the mortgage and note as exhibits to the affidavit, but Ms. Goebel neither checks the attachments nor verifies that they are correct. In fact, the affidavits she signs never have any attachments when forwarded to her for execution, and she never adds any.[87]

Although the affidavit represents that it was executed in the presence of a notary and witnesses under oath, no oath is ever administered, and the signatures of the affiant, notary, and witnesses are separately affixed and outside the presence of each other.[88] Ms. Goebel has no personal knowledge regarding the loan file save for the three (3) or four (4) facts read off a computer screen that she neither generates nor understands.[89] She does not review any other information pertaining to the loan file, even information available to her.[90] LPS admitted that Ms. Goebel followed its procedures and that those procedures were used in all cases.[91]

Ms. Goebel’s training on the seriousness of her task was sorely lacking. She could not remember who “trained” her when she was promoted in 2007 to a document execution position.[92] She could not remember the extent or nature of her training.[93] She did surmise that written procedures were given to her and then she began “signing.”[94] She described her task as “clerical”[95] and repeatedly expressed the belief that the affidavits were counsel’s affidavits, and therefore, she relied upon counsel regarding their accuracy.[96] In this admission, the real problem surfaces.

Default affidavits are a lender’s representation as to the status of a loan. They are routinely accepted in both state and federal courts in lieu of live testimony. They are an accommodation to the lending community based on a belief by the courts that the facts they present are virtually unassailable. The submission of evidence by affidavit allows lenders to save countless hours and expense establishing a borrower’s default without the need for testimony from a lending representative. While they can be refuted by a borrower, too often, a debtor’s offer of alternative and conflicting facts is dismissed by those who believe that a lender’s word is more credible than that of a debtor. The deference afforded the lending community has resulted in an abuse of trust.

The abuse begins with a title. In this case, Ms. Goebel was cloaked with the position of “Assistant Secretary,” in a purposeful attempt to convey an experience level and importance beyond her actual abilities. Ms. Goebel is an earnest young woman, but with no training or experience in banking or lending. By her own account, she has rocketed through the LPS hierarchy receiving promotions at a pace of one (1) promotion per six (6) to eight (8) month period.[97] Her ability to slavishly adhere to LPS’ procedures has not only been rewarded, but has assured the development of her tunnel vision. Ms. Goebel does not understand the importance of her duties, and LPS failed to provide her with the tools to question the information to which she attests.

For example, the following exchange occurred between the Court and Ms. Goebel:

Q: . . . if you look at paragraph 2 at the bottom there is “see attached copy of the Notice, Exhibit A, certified copy of the mortgage is Exhibit B, and copy of the assignments is Exhibit C.” Is your testimony that those documents were not attached to the affidavit when you signed it. .?

A: Typically, those exhibits would not be attached.

Q: . . So, . . . counsel would attach those after you signed..?

A: … we relied on the attorney. We believed the information that they were giving us and what they were going to attach, because this is their affidavit. It would be accurate.[98]

***

Q: . . . Did you check any screen to see if in fact there was a note, there was a mortgage, there were assignments?

A: That would be the responsibility of the attorney.

Q: . . so you didn’t verify that information at all?

A: No…[99]

***

Q: … And you don’t sign it [the affidavit] in the presence of the notary or the witnesses?

A: That’s correct.[100]

***

Q: You weren’t put under oath by a notary before you signed the Affidavit of Debt?

A: No.

Q: And you didn’t really have personal knowledge of the contents [of the affidavit] because you just said the information involving the existence of the mortgage and the note and so on you relied on the Boles Law Firm to have that information correct.

A: Right. As I stated earlier, it was the Boles Law Firm. Option One had hired them to kind of handle this work and had asked LPS to help clerically sign these. We relied on the Boles Law Firm.

Q: So you considered this a clerical function?

A: Part of our administrative services with LPS.

Q: But you just used the word “clerical.”

A; Well, it’s signing a document, more you know administrative work, clerical work, yes.[101]

***

Q: Ms Goebel…Have you ever refused to sign an affidavit for a reason other than the note payment amount was incorrect, the due date on the affidavit was incorrect, the number of installment payments that were past due was incorrect, or …that you were not a [authorized] signatory…?

A: Not to my recollection, no.

Q: .. So if, … you had know[n] that there were three payments that were not posted on this account . . . that were in the possession of either Option One or the law firm, would you have still signed the affidavit?

A: In my opinion, yes. I was getting an affidavit from a law firm that I trusted. They’re the legal experts on the matter and Option One is in charge of their cash posting. I’m not the decision maker of, you know, should they proceed. The attorney would have that knowledge.[102]

It is evident that the training provided Ms. Goebel by LPS was insufficient and negligent. LPS was the first line of communication with counsel. The evidence was clear that Option One was contacted only if LPS employees could not satisfy counsel’s requests. Counsel did not communicate directly with Option One, and although Option One controlled the physical posting of payments, LPS managed the communications between Option One and its counsel regarding them. In this case, LPS had personal knowledge of four (4) critical facts. First, that as of February 15, 2008, Option One had received two (2) payments from Debtors in amounts sufficient to satisfy the installments due for December and January. Second, counsel had directed that the payments be sent to it rather than posted. Third, Option One alerted LPS in February that the amounts forwarded were sufficient to bring the loan current. Fourth, counsel reported to LPS that they had only received $1,846.84, a fact LPS neglected to forward to Option One. As a result of this knowledge, LPS should have known that a payment was unaccounted for between Option One and Boles. An inquiry to either might have brought the problem to light. Instead, LPS ignored the facts.

Ms. Goebel presented another opportunity for LPS to get it right. If she had reviewed the file and familiarized herself with the communications between the parties, she might have also noticed that the December payment was forwarded to Boles, but evidently not received. She certainly would have noted the receipt of an additional payment by Boles but not posted and the inconsistency in due dates contained in the Second Motion and affidavit. However, Ms. Goebel was trained to rotely check three (3) finite pieces of information. She candidly admitted that even if she had known of the unposted payments, she would have signed the affidavit without questioning its content because it was counsel’s.[103]

Of course, the affidavit is anything but counsel’s. It is the sworn statement of the loan’s status by the holder of the note. It is evident that LPS blindly relied on counsel to account for the loan and all material representations. In short, the affidavit was nothing other than a farce and hardly the evidence required to support relief. The facts supporting a default are the lender’s to prove, not counsel’s. In this case the lender and LPS cloaked Ms. Goebel with a title that implied knowledge and gravity. LPS could have identified Ms. Goebel as a document execution clerk but it didn’t. The reason is evident, LPS wanted to perpetrate the illusion that she was both Option One’s employee and a person with personal and detailed knowledge of the loan. Neither was the case.

III. Conclusion

The fraud perpetrated on the Court, Debtors, and trustee would be shocking if this Court had less experience concerning the conduct of mortgage servicers. One too many times, this Court has been witness to the shoddy practices and sloppy accountings of the mortgage service industry. With each revelation, one hopes that the bottom of the barrel has been reached and that the industry will self correct. Sadly, this does not appear to be reality. This case is one example of why their conduct comes at a high cost to the system and debtors.

The hearing on the Motion for Sanctions provides yet another piece to in the puzzle of loan administration. In Jones v. Wells Fargo,[104] this Court discovered that a highly automated software package owned by LPS and identified as MSP administered loans for servicers and note holders but was programed to apply payments contrary to the terms of the notes and mortgages. In In re Stewart,[105] additional information was acquired regarding postpetition administration under the same program, revealing errors in the methodology for fees and costs posted to a debtor’s account. In re Fitch,[106] delved into the administration of escrow accounts for insurance and taxes. In this case, the process utilized for default affidavits has been examined. Although it has been four (4) years since Jones, serious problems persist in mortgage loan administration. But for the dogged determination of the UST’s office and debtors’ counsel, these issues would not come to light and countless debtors would suffer. For their efforts this Court is indebted.

For the reasons assigned above, the Motion for Sanctions is granted as to liability of LPS. The Court will conduct an evidentiary hearing on sanctions to be imposed.

[1] P-219.

[2] P-13.

[3] P-15.

[4] P-17.

[5] P-18. Pursuant to the local procedures of the Court, Motions for Relief must be accompanied by an affidavit of default by the mover attesting to the facts relevant to the motion and supporting the relief requested. The affidavit is taken into evidence in lieu of testimony if the matter is otherwise uncontested and if the court determines that it establishes a basis for granting relief.

[6] P-20.

[7] P-24.

[8] P-25.

[9] P-28.

[10] P-30.

[11] Id.

[12] 6/26/08 TT 25:15-30:25.

[13] 6/26/08 TT 31:22-32:23.

[14] P-46.

[15] Id.

[16] Id.

[17] P-45.

[18] P-43. On July 11, 2008, the Court entered an additional Order to Show Cause against LPS directing its presence to explain its calculation of the amounts due on the Wilson loan. P-45.

[19] 8/21/08 TT 14:5-9.

[20] 8/21/08 TT 14:21-15:1.

[21] 8/21/08 TT 15:3-8.

[22] 8/21/08 TT 26:13-21.

[23] 8/21/08 TT 15:11-15 (emphasis added).

[24] 8/21/08 TT 18:11-20 (emphasis added).

[25] 8/21/08 TT 38:22-39:1.

[26] 8/21/08 TT 39:2-23.

[27] 8/21/08 TT 40:10-41:3.

[28] 8/21/08 TT 41:16-20.

[29] 8/21/08 TT 60:1-15.

[30] 8/21/08 TT 97:14-20.

[31] 8/21/08 TT 78:14-79:24.

[32] 8/21/08 TT 110:24-111:5.

[33] 8/21/08 TT 47:20-23.

[34] 8/21/08 TT 81:14-16.

[35] 8/21/08 TT 81:25-82:5.

[36] 8/21/08 TT 123:18-124:25.

[37] 8/21/08 TT 125:15-20.

[38] In re Stewart, 391 B.R. 327 (Bankr.E.D.La. 2008). LPS confirmed that the program utitlized in this case was MSP. 12/1/10 TT 176:2-16.

[39] Id.

[40] 8/21/08 TT 127:8-21.

[41] 8/21/08 TT 130:2-23.

[42] 8/21/08 TT 133:6-133:20; 134:1-13.

[43] 8/21/08 TT 222:23-223:2.

[44] 8/21/08 TT 223:9-225:1.

[45] 8/21/08 TT 214:6-10.

[46] 8/21/08 TT 205:14-206:10; 225:2-7.

[47] 8/21/08 TT 136:10-17.

[48] 8/21/08 TT 137:2-8.

[49] 8/21/08 TT 141:19-23.

[50] 8/21/08 TT 142:1-10.

[51] 8/21/08 TT 138:15-139:21.

[52] 8/21/08 TT 256:4-257:1.

[53] 8/21/08 TT 147:15-20; 148:7-15.

[54] 8/21/08 TT 150:3-13; 20-22.

[55] 8/21/08 TT 155:11-22.

[56] P-62, 70.

[57] P-70.

[58] On October 27, 2010, this Court approved a Stipulation between the UST and Boles. P-275.

[59] P-219.

[60] 8/21/08 TT 234:5-10; 18-20.

[61] P-7.

[62] Exh 5, nos. 353, 349.

[63] LPS did not manually adjust Debtors’ account for the October 2007 payment until February 2008. Exh. 5, no. 265. As a result, Debtors’ account showed past due for October until the adjustment was made.

[64] Exh. 5, no. 311. The referral of a file to counsel in actuality opens an internal monitoring process for a requested action or “issue.” The referral is sent via internal transmission, similar to email. When the Boles firm opens the request, the computer notes the receipt of the referral by date and time, i.e. Exh. 5, no. 306. The issue will remain open until the task is completed at which time the computer will note the time and date of completion and close the request. Through the use of the “issue” process, those managing a file can see the status of a task and its anticipated date of completion.

[65] P-15.

[66] Exh 5, no.305. The payment was intended to satisfy Debtors’ December installment. It was dated December 27 and received by Option One on January 2.

[67] Exh.5, nos. 305, 301, 299.

[68] Exh.5, nos. 290, 289, 287, 286.

[69] Exh. 5, no. 281.

[70] Exh. 5, no. 272, Response to Option One’s Motion to Lift, filed February 4, 2008, P-17.

[71] The funds were received and counsel was notified of receipt four (4) days prior to the filing of the First Motion. While the First Motion was pending, Debtors forwarded and counsel was notified of an additional $1,858.84 in payments.

[72] Exh. 5, no. 270.

[73] Exh. 5, no.253.

[74] February’s installment was due on the 1st of the month and past due on the 15th.

[75] Exh.5, no.234. Evidently, the payment acknowledged by Option One on January 3, 2007, for $1,546.68 was not forwarded to Boles as requested. See, Exh. 5 no. 305, 301, 299. If it had been, Boles would have had both the December and January installments in its possession making the loan only due for February. As it was, the one (1) payment held by Boles brought Debtors within 45 days of current. It should also be noted that Debtors were not only making payments on a monthly basis, but were also forwarding payment of late charges with each installment.

[76] Exh. 5, no. 192.

[77] P-15.

[78] 12/1/10 TT 159:24-160:12.

[79] 12/1/10 TT 247:16-248:8.

[80] 12/1/10 TT 252:12-15.

[81] TT 12/1/10 249:29-22; 250:8-10.

[82] TT 12/1/10 253:7-14; 345-6-9.

[83] TT 12/1/10 334:5-8.

[84] TT 12/1/10 320:19-321:3; 326:1-327:22; 328:7-17; 334:9-14.

[85] TT 12/1/10 334:5-21; 335:19-22; 336:9-24.

[86] TT 12/1/10 267:1-11; 341:1-342:6; 342:11-343:3.

[87] 12/1/10 TT 12/1/11 340:20-341:8.

[88] 12/1/10 TT 245:2-21; 276:4-277:13; 336:9-337:22.

[89] 12/1/10 TT 161:18-162:2; 247:16-248:8, 15-22; 275:1-6.

[90] 12/1/10 TT 331:4-11; 355:12-25; 36713-20.

[91] 12/1/10 TT 275:3-11.

[92] 12/1/10 TT 382:5-8.

[93] 12/1/10 TT 382:9-384:21.

[94] Id.

[95] 12/1/10 TT 342:25-343:10.

[96] 12/1/10 TT 341:5-8, 14-19.

[97] 12/1/10 TT 292:9-301:9.

[98] 12/1/10 TT 340:20-341:8.

[99] 12/1/10 TT 341:10-16.

[100] 12/1/10 TT 342:3-5.

[101] 12/1/10 TT 342:18-343:10.

[102] 12/1/10 TT 378:20-379:13.

[103] 12/1/10 TT 341:5-8, 14-19; 379:4-13.

[104] Jones v. Wells Fargo, 366 B.R. 584 (Bankr.E.D.La. 2007).

[105] In re Stewart, 391 BR 327 (Bankr.E.D.La. 2008).

[106] In re Fitch, 390 B.R. 834 (Bankr.E.D.La. 2008).

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Florida Supreme Court To Take Up PINO v. Bank Of New York Mellon Case

Florida Supreme Court To Take Up PINO v. Bank Of New York Mellon Case


According to AP,  the court on Monday issued a high profile-case order in the matter of Pino v. Bank of New York Mellon. One of the issues in the case is whether there was a fraud on the trial court.

And we all now the original work behind this was none other than Law Offices of David J. Stern, who has recently shut down as of March 31, 2011.

On February 2, 2011 the Florida 4th DCA said

We conclude that this is a question of great public importance, as many, many mortgage foreclosures appear tainted with suspect documents. The defendant has requested a denial of the equitable right to foreclose the mortgage at all. If this is an available remedy as a sanction after a voluntary dismissal, it may dramatically affect the mortgage foreclosure crisis in this State. Accordingly we certify the following question to the Florida Supreme Court as of great public importance

[ipaper docId=52792589 access_key=key-myy4q2y0u4vihs7pu7x height=600 width=600 /]

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MUST READ! NY Judge Vacates NOTE Over Confusion, LQQK And SEE WHY! JPMorgan Chase v. RAMIREZ

MUST READ! NY Judge Vacates NOTE Over Confusion, LQQK And SEE WHY! JPMorgan Chase v. RAMIREZ


CA Retired Judge Samuel L. Bufford said it best

“Lenders passed around the deed to Vargas’ house as if it were a whiskey bottle at a frat party”

Jp MORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A. f/k/a Jp
MORGAN CHASE BANK f/k/a THE CHASE
MANHA TTAN BANK, AS TRUSTEE,

against

INDI flRA RAMIREZ, JOSEPH JAMES, KEISH
McCLOUD a/k/a KEISHA McLEOD, MYRNA
JAMES, NORTH FORK BANK,

Excerpt:

Finally, a court may vacate a note of issue at any time on its own motion if it appears that a material fact in the certificate of readiness is incorrect (see, 22 NYCRR 202.21 [e]; Simon v City of Syracuse Police Dept., 13 AD3d 1228, 787 NYS2d 577 [4th Oept 2004], Iv dismissed 5 NY2d 746, 800 NYS2d 375 [2005]). Here, based on the evidence submitted with the moving papers and the confusion regarding plaintiff’s standing and prosecution of this foreclosure action, the Court concludes that the certificate of readiness contains a misstatement of material fact, namely, that
disclosure is complete and the action is ready for trial. Accordingly, the Court, sua sponte, vacates the note of issue filed by plaintiff and strikes this action from the trial calendar (see 22 NYCRR 202.21 [e]).

This is a MUST read below…

[ipaper docId=50325156 access_key=key-25hut0sqsr8f7xi6zfvm height=600 width=600 /]

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DailyFinance | When Banks Outsource Foreclosures, Nothing Good Happens

DailyFinance | When Banks Outsource Foreclosures, Nothing Good Happens


Posted 7:40 PM 02/11/11

Lender Processing Service (LPS), is “the nation’s leading provider” of “default solutions” to mortgage servicers, meaning it manages every aspect of foreclosure, whether in bankruptcy or state court. However, LPS is facing investigations and lawsuits that challenge its existence because they focus on the legality of LPS’s basic business model.

It’s a Louisiana bankruptcy case involving a single foreclosure that best illustrates the problems with the banks’ outsourcing their mortgage default work to LPS or similar entities. During a bankruptcy, foreclosure is forbidden without the judge’s permission, so LPS is frequently involved in seeking that permission.

In that Lousiana case, involving the bankruptcy of Ron and La Rhonda Wilson, LPS is facing sanctions for
allegedly committing perjury during a hearing held to find out why the bank — Option One — twice asked the bankruptcy court for permission to foreclose when the debtors were current on their mortgage. LPS insists it did not intend to mislead the court.

A Disturbing Picture


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In Re Wilson US Trustee’s Post Trial Brief In Lieu of Closing Argument Seeking Sanctions Against LPS, Fidelity

In Re Wilson US Trustee’s Post Trial Brief In Lieu of Closing Argument Seeking Sanctions Against LPS, Fidelity


Via: William A. Roper Jr.

Excerpt:

UNITED STATES TRUSTEE’S POST-TRIAL BRIEF IN LIEU OF CLOSING
ARGUMENT

TO THE HONORABLE ELIZABETH W. MAGNER:

Henry G. Hobbs, Jr., the Acting United States Trustee for Region 5 (“United States Trustee”), files this brief in lieu of closing argument, per the Court’s directive at the conclusion of evidence on December 1, 2010. This brief, and the December 1, 2010 trial, relate to the May 21, 2010 Motion for Sanctions filed by the United States Trustee (“Motion”). The Motion seeks sanctions against the respondent, Lender Processing Services, Inc., f/k/a Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. (“Fidelity”), pursuant to the Court’s inherent power to sanction bad faith conduct and under 11 U.S.C. § 105(a) to prevent an abuse of process.

I. SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT

Fidelity permitted its officer, Dory Goebel, to give materially misleading testimony to the Court on August 21, 2008, and should be sanctioned. It is undisputed that important parts of Goebel’s testimony were untrue; the crux of the matter now is determining Fidelity’s level of culpability. The evidence proves that, at a minimum, Fidelity acted with indifference to the truth in permitting Goebel to give the misleading testimony. The United States Trustee has met his burden of proof, which is a mere preponderance of the evidence. The sanctions available to this Court, through its inherent authority and 11 U.S.C. § 105 (a), range from financial sanctions to injunctive relief.

Continue below…

[ipaper docId=48442484 access_key=key-qhjocou3k2r5ihhniwm height=600 width=600 /]

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DailyFinance | Will Florida Finally Punish Banks and Lawyers for Foreclosure Document Fraud?

DailyFinance | Will Florida Finally Punish Banks and Lawyers for Foreclosure Document Fraud?


Abigail- knocks this OUT THE BALL PARK! Outstanding!!


Posted 11:30 AM 02/08/11

Foreclosure proceedings in courts nationwide have exposed a swamp of fraudulent documents, and in some cases — though perhaps far too few — those bad docs have sunk attempts by banks to take people’s homes.

Some of Florida’s courts, however,particularly courts in Lee County — have come under fire for compounding the documentation problems by ignoring the rule of law in order to rush through foreclosures. And a new rule put in place by the Florida Supreme Court to ensure that documents being used in foreclosures are properly certified hasn’t worked well, thanks to a new type of robo-signing that has sprung up to get around it.

In a reflection of how bad things have gotten, lenders are asking judges to “ratify” foreclosures done with robo-signed documents, the Palm Beach Post reported on Saturday. While such “ratification” would not, as a matter of law, mean much, the Post says, it might discourage people from challenging the foreclosures.

With luck, two recent developments may help really clean up the fraud in the Sunshine State. First, an appeals court has asked the Florida Supreme Court to clarify judges’ power to address the fraud, and second, the Florida Bar Association is finally taking a stand.

Asking for Power to Punish Foreclosure Fraud


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TBO | Court’s stance on foreclosure case could have big impact

TBO | Court’s stance on foreclosure case could have big impact


By William E. Lewis Jr.| Highlands Today

Published: February 6, 2011

A Palm Beach county homeowner fighting alleged foreclosure fraud has ended up before the Florida Supreme Court.

An appeals court last week requested that the high court consider the case of Greenacres homeowner Roman Pino as a matter of “great public importance.” The decision by the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach was unusual as neither the bank nor the homeowner requested such a review.

“We conclude that this is a question of great public importance, as many, many mortgage foreclosures appear tainted with suspect documents,” the appeals court wrote in certification to the Supreme Court.

Should the case be accepted by the Florida Supreme Court and a decision rendered in favor of Pino, thousands of cases could be impacted as allegations of document fraud run rampant throughout the state.

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