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`Twilight Zone’ Foreclosure Law Firm Draws Fine, Suits in New York Courts

`Twilight Zone’ Foreclosure Law Firm Draws Fine, Suits in New York Courts


By Thom Weidlich and Karen Freifeld – Dec 8, 2010 12:01 AM ET

Steven J. Baum’s New York foreclosure law firm has attracted lawsuits and fines for its actions during the housing crisis, with one judge likening its conduct to something out of the “Twilight Zone.”

As recently as last month, Baum’s firm, which one lawyer for homeowners said processes about half the foreclosures in New York state, was ordered to pay $14,532.50 in legal fees and costs and a $5,000 fine by Nassau County District Court Judge Scott Fairgrieve in Hempstead, New York.

The judge said that when Paul Raia refused to vacate a Garden City co-op after foreclosure, Baum’s firm filed an eviction petition that misidentified the lender.

“Falsities were contained in five paragraphs out of only ten paragraphs in the entire petition,” Fairgrieve wrote in his Nov. 23 decision.

All 50 U.S. state attorneys general are investigating whether banks, loan servicers and law firms properly prepared documents to justify hundreds of thousands of foreclosures. The probe came after JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Ally Financial Inc.’s GMAC mortgage unit said they would stop repossessions in 23 states where courts supervise home seizures and Bank of America Corp. froze foreclosures nationwide.

Steven J. Baum PC, located in Amherst, New York, just north of Buffalo, has been accused of overcharging, filing false documents and representing parties on both sides of a mortgage transfer. Baum runs the firm his father founded in 1972, according to a fact-sheet provided by Earl V. Wells III, his spokesman.

Syracuse Grad

Baum is a graduate of Syracuse University, got his law degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and was admitted to practice law in 1987, according to Martindale.com, a legal directory. Baum answered some questions via e-mails.

“Consumer activists and attorneys representing homeowners have their own agenda in this process, including degrading the legal work we conduct on behalf of our clients by using terms like ‘foreclosure mill’ which I find personally and professionally insulting,” he wrote.

At a continuing-education training session a couple of years ago, “Steven Baum himself said they did 49 percent of foreclosures” in the state, Rebecca Case-Grammatico, staff attorney at Rochester, New York-based Empire Justice Center, which represents poor people in foreclosures, said in a phone interview. A complaint in one lawsuit against Baum’s firm says it is “believed to be the largest foreclosure mill in the State of New York.”

Baum declined to comment on the size of his business.

Pillar Processing

A company that processes foreclosure documents shares an address with his law firm. That company, Pillar Processing LLC, is owned by Manhattan private-equity firm Tailwind Capital LLC, according to its website. Brooke Gordon, spokeswoman for Tailwind Capital, declined to comment.

“He’s opposing counsel for us on a huge percentage of our cases,” Meghan Faux, project director of the Foreclosure Prevention Project at South Brooklyn Legal Services, who represents homeowners in predatory-lending cases, said in a phone interview.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur M. Schack in Brooklyn called the firm’s explanations in one case “so incredible, outrageous, ludicrous and disingenuous that they should have been authored by the late Rod Serling.”

Schack threw out the case in part because he said the assignment of the loan had been done improperly. The assignment was made by a Baum lawyer on behalf of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. as the nominee for the mortgage bank, according to the judge’s opinion. The same day, the Baum firm represented the buyer of the loan by filing the foreclosure action, the judge said. Schack said it was a conflict for the firm to represent both sides.

‘Parallel Mortgage Universe’

“Steven J. Baum PC appears to be operating in a parallel mortgage universe, unrelated to the real universe,” the judge wrote in that May decision. “Next stop, the Twilight Zone,” he said, quoting from Serling’s TV series about science fiction and the supernatural.

Below you will find  an archive of these cases PLUS many more…

© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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SANCTIONS! STEVEN J. BAUM PC For Practice of Fraud, Deception, and Misrepresentation Upon the Court: FREDDIE MAC v. RAIA

SANCTIONS! STEVEN J. BAUM PC For Practice of Fraud, Deception, and Misrepresentation Upon the Court: FREDDIE MAC v. RAIA


GO HERE FOR PART 1:

NY Law Offices of Steven J. Baum P.C. may get sanctions for False Representations

Now the finale…

.

Federal Home Loan Mtge. Corp.v Raia

2010 NY Slip Op 52003(U)
Decided on November 23, 2010
District Court Of Nassau County, First District
Fairgrieve, J.

Steven J. Baum, P.C., Attorneys for Petitioner, 220 Northpointe Parkway, Suite G, Amherst, New York 14228, 716-204-2400;

Jeffrey A. Seigel, Esq., Volunteer Lawyers Project, Attorneys for Respondent, One Helen Keller Way, Hempstead, New York 11550, 516-292-8299.

Scott Fairgrieve, J.

On January 5, 2010, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Inc. (“Wells Fargo”) was the successful bidder at the foreclosure sale of the subject premises known as 360 Stewart Avenue, Unit 1E, Garden City, New York. Wells Fargo received 220 shares of Stewart Franklin Owners Corp., as well as the proprietary lease previously owned by the Respondent, Paul Raia.

On March 12, 2010, Wells Fargo purportedly assigned its January 5, 2010 bid to Petitioner Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (“FHLMC”). However, the “Assignment of Bid” contains only the signature of Steven J. Baum, P.C., and there is no indication for which party the signature was made. Mr. Baum’s office claimed to have the authority to execute the document on behalf of FHLMC by way of a power of attorney attached to the petition. Baum’s office also claimed to have the same authority for Wells Fargo, although Baum’s office provides no evidence in support of that allegation.

EXCERPTS:

Baum has recently faced numerous standing issues concerning assignment, for which its cases were dismissed.

The opinion continues on to state that the “court’s inherent power to impose sanctions is particularly appropriate where fraud, deception, and misrepresentation has been practiced upon the Court.

The fraud perpetrated on the court here occurred when petitioner’s attorney swore that the petition had been read and that the contents of the petition were true to the deponent’s own knowledge. Sanctions may attach to attempts to deceive the court.

CONCLUSION

In view of the foregoing, Steven J. Baum, P.C. must compensate Volunteer Lawyers Project in the amount of $14,532.50 for reasonable attorney’s fees and disbursements within 30 days of the date of this order. Further, this court imposes monetary sanctions in the amount of $5,000.00 on Steven J. Baum, P.C. payable to “Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection,” established pursuant to section 97-t of the State Finance Law, within 30 days of the date of this order. The clerk of the court is directed to give notice, pursuant to 130-1.3, to the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection concerning this award of sanctions.

So Ordered:

/s/ Hon. Scott Fairgrieve

DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

Continue reading below…

Federal Home Loan Mtge. Corp v RAIA

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MERS Response to D.C. Attorney General’s Nickles Statement

MERS Response to D.C. Attorney General’s Nickles Statement


MERS Response to D.C. Attorney General’s Oct. 28, 2010 Statement of Enforcement

RESTON, Va., Oct. 28, 2010—In response to the Statement of Enforcement by the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, we agree that no homeowners should be subjected to deceptive practices during the foreclosure process. To ensure that homeowners readily have necessary information available to them, the MERS® System provides free access to any member of the general public to identify the current servicer and the note owner, if the note-owner has agreed to be disclosed, on their loan. Ninety-seven percent of MERS members agree to be disclosed. The MERS® System is the only comprehensive publicly available source of servicing and ownership of more than 64 million mortgage loans.

Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) holds the security interest in the deed of trust when MERS is identified as the beneficiary of record, as nominee for the lender and the lender’s successors and assigns. At closing, the lender and borrower name MERS as the beneficiary. The deed of trust is recorded with the Recorder of Deeds in compliance with the District of Columbia’s laws. MERS executes an assignment if the security interest is transferred from MERS to another entity and the assignment is recorded. For example, if the mortgage loan goes into default, and MERS is not the foreclosing entity, then MERS will execute an assignment showing the transfer of the security interest from MERS to the note-holder who will be foreclosing. The assignment is recorded as required under DC’s laws.

When MERS forecloses, MERS is already recorded in the land records as the security interest holder and requires under its membership rules to be in possession of the note in order to be the note-holder. Under either option, in compliance with DC’s laws, the notice of foreclosure sale represents to the homeowner the identity of the note-holder and that the note-holder’s security interest has been recorded.

Any MERS member who experiences a problem related to the recent Statement from the Attorney General for the District of Columbia is asked to immediately notify MERS. We will take steps to protect the lawful right to foreclose that the borrower contractually agreed to if the borrower defaults on their mortgage loan.

###

Source: MERS

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D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles Names MERS In Statement On Foreclosures

D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles Names MERS In Statement On Foreclosures


October 27, 2010

Attorney General Issues Statement on Foreclosures in DC

Attorney General Peter Nickles issued an enforcement statement today describing when the notices used to commence foreclosures in DC may mislead homeowners and violate the District’s consumer protection law. The statement clarifies that a foreclosure may not be commenced against a DC homeowner unless the security interest of the current noteholder is properly supported by public filings with the District’s Recorder of Deeds.

A noteholder’s security interest in a DC home should normally be reflected in the public land records maintained by the District’s Recorder of Deeds. Under District law, in contrast to the laws of many states, each deed or other document transferring a mortgage interest must be recorded with the Recorder of Deeds within 30 days of execution. This requirement is not satisfied by private tracking of mortgage interests through the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS).

The District has a non-judicial foreclosure process that begins with a Notice of Foreclosure on a form prescribed by the Recorder of Deeds. The form requires identification of a “Holder of the Note” and a “Security Instrument recorded in the land records of the District of Columbia.” According to today’s enforcement statement: “The homeowner who receives such a notice is entitled to presume that the recordation of the security interest complies with District law, and that each intermediate transfer of the security interest between the original maker of the note and the current holder of the note is documented in the public record.”

When a foreclosure sale notice misrepresents to a homeowner that the foreclosing noteholder has a recorded security interest, the homeowner may fail to seek legal help in determining whether there may be a good basis for challenging the foreclosure in court. Misrepresentations of material facts, when made to homeowners or other consumers, violate the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act, which is enforced by the attorney general.

The enforcement statement invites “homeowners or their advocates” to inform the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) if foreclosures “continue to be commenced or pursued with deceptive foreclosure sale notices” so that the Office may consider bringing enforcement actions to stop foreclosure proceedings and seek restitution for consumers.

A homeowner should not be misled into believing that a threatened foreclosure is supported by the District’s public records when it is not,” Nickles said.

Continued use of deceptive foreclosure sale notices may be reported to the attorney general’s consumer hotline at 202-442-9828.

Foreclosure Statement*

Source: Office of D.C. Attorney General

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Assured Guaranty Sues Deutsche Bank Over Mortgages

Assured Guaranty Sues Deutsche Bank Over Mortgages


By Shannon D. Harrington and Karen Freifeld – Oct 25, 2010 6:55 PM ET
.

A unit of Assured Guaranty Ltd. sued affiliates of Deutsche Bank AG over $312 million of mortgage- backed securities that the bond insurer guaranteed and says were “plagued by rampant fraud and misrepresentations.”

Assured Guaranty Corp. is asking a judge to force the bank to repurchase the loans, on which the insurer has already paid almost $60 million in loss claims and sees the potential for tens of millions of dollars more, according to a complaint filed today in New York state Supreme Court against DB Structured Products Inc. and ACE Securities Corp. The bond insurer, backed by billionaire Wilbur Ross, is also seeking reimbursement for the claims paid and for future losses.

“The entire pools of loans that Deutsche Bank securitized (and to a large degree originated) in the transactions are plagued by rampant fraud and misrepresentations and an abdication of sound origination and underwriting practices,” Assured said in the complaint.

Repurchases of home loans from buyers and insurers of mortgage securities originated before U.S. housing prices began to tumble in 2007 have already cost the four biggest U.S. lenders $9.8 billion, according to Credit Suisse Group AG.

Assured said more than 83 percent of 1,306 defaulted loans examined in one of the transactions, ACE’s Home Equity Loan Trust, Series 2007-SL2, breached Deutsche Bank’s representations and warranties. In the second deal, Home Equity Loan Trust, Series 2007-SL3, 86 percent of the 1,774 loans breached the agreements, Assured said.

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THIS LAWSUIT YOU GOTTA READ!!! LONG v. JPM Chase, BOA, LPS, SHAPIRO & SWERTFEGER, LLP et al

THIS LAWSUIT YOU GOTTA READ!!! LONG v. JPM Chase, BOA, LPS, SHAPIRO & SWERTFEGER, LLP et al


Thanks to WamuLoanFraud.com for this tip

IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF FULTON COUNTY
STATE OF GEORGIA

TAMMY JO LONG, CASTLE HOME §
BUILDERS, INC., AND WILLIAM KEITH §
DAVIDSON

v.

JPMORGAN CHASE BANK N.A., BANK
OF AMERICA N.A., BANK OF AMERICA,
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION AS
SUCCESSOR BY MERGER TO LASALLE
BANK NA AS TRUSTEE FOR WAMU
MORTGAGE PASS-THROUGH
CERTIFICATES SERIES 2006-AR19
TRUST, LENDER PROCESSING
SERVICES, INC., NEW ORLEANS
EMPLOYEES’ RETIREMENT SYSTEM,
MARTA/ATU LOCAL 732 EMPLOYERS
RETIREMENT PLAN, WASHINGTON
MUTUAL BANK, F.A., FIRST AMERICAN
EAPPRAISEIT, FIRST AMERICAN, INC.,
WAMU ASSET ACCEPTANCE CORP.,
SHAPIRO & SWERTFEGER, LLP, DOE(S)
ROE(S) AND WASHINGTON MUTUAL
INC.

PLAINTIFF’S FIRST VERIFIED COMPLAINT FOR EMERGENCY TEMPORARY AND PERMANENT INJUNCTIVE RELIEF, DECLARATORY RELIEF & JUDGMENT, FRAUD IN THE FACTUM & INDUCEMENT, FRAUD, ASSIGNMENT & TITLE FRAUD/ SLANDER OF TITLE, VIOLATIONS OF THE GEORGIA RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE ACT & MORTGAGE FRAUD, VIOLATION OF FAIR DEBT COLLECTION ACT, NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION, TORTIOUS INTERFERENCE WITH CONTRACT AND BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS, VIOLATION OF FIDUCIARY DUTY, VIOLATION OF DUTY OF GOOD FAITH & FAIR DEALING, VIOLATION OF GEORGIA’S RACKETEERING STATUTES (RICO), COUNT XIII RESCISSION, UNJUST ENRICHMENT, CLAIM FOR ATTORNEY FEES & LITIGATION EXPENSES PURSUANT TO O.C.G.A. §§ 13-6-11 & 13-1-11, BREACH OF CONTRACT, VIOLATIONS OF REAL ESTATE SETTLEMENT PROCEDURES ACT, VIOLATIONS OF FEDERAL TRUTH-IN-LENDING ACT, VIOLATION OF FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT, FRAUDULENT MISREPRESENTATION, & USURY & FRAUD

[ipaper docId=39953852 access_key=key-1lw7fm32kpcbjjpebb4p height=600 width=600 /]

© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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GARY DUBIN LAW OFFICES FORECLOSURE DEFENSE HAWAII and CALIFORNIA
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