Ignacio Damian Figueroa Vs. David J. Stern | FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA

Tag Archive | "Ignacio Damian Figueroa vs. David J. Stern"

AMENDED |NEW YORK FORECLOSURE CLASS ACTION AGAINST STEVEN J. BAUM & MERSCORP

AMENDED |NEW YORK FORECLOSURE CLASS ACTION AGAINST STEVEN J. BAUM & MERSCORP


Class Action Attorney Susan Chana Lask targets Foreclosure Mill Attorneys as source of foreclosure crisis.

This is the amended complaint against Foreclosure Mill Steven J. Baum and MERSCORP.

Want to join the Class? No problem!

Please contact: SUSAN CHANA LASK, ESQ.

[ipaper docId=37881265 access_key=key-2hj0jnnmfxmm0i37q7l0 height=600 width=600 /]

Related posts:

CLASS ACTION | Connie Campbell v. Steven Baum, MERSCORP, Inc

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CLASS ACTION AMENDED against MERSCORP to include Shareholders, DJSP

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Posted in assignment of mortgage, concealment, conflict of interest, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, forgery, Law Office Of Steven J. Baum, Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A., MERS, MERSCORP, mortgage, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., notary fraud, note, racketeering, RICO, Steven J Baum, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD, stopforeclosurefraud.com, Susan Chana Lask, Trusts, truth in lending act, Wall StreetComments (2)

CLASS ACTION AMENDED against MERSCORP to include Shareholders, DJSP

CLASS ACTION AMENDED against MERSCORP to include Shareholders, DJSP


Kenneth Eric Trent, P.A. of Broward County has amended the Class Action complaint Figueroa v. MERSCORP, Inc. et al filed on July 26, 2010 in the Southern District of Florida.

Included in the amended complaint is MERS shareholders HSBC, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Company, AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, WAMU, Countrywide, GMAC, Guaranty Bank, Merrill Lynch, Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Norwest, Bank of America, Everhome, American Land Title, First American Title, Corinthian Mtg, MGIC Investor Svc, Nationwide Advantage, Stewart Title,  CRE Finance Council f/k/a Commercial Mortgage Securities Association, Suntrust Mortgage,  CCO Mortgage Corporation, PMI Mortgage Insurance Company, Wells Fargo and also DJS Processing which is owned by David J. Stern.

MERSCORP shareholders…HERE

[ipaper docId=36456183 access_key=key-26csq0mmgo6l8zsnw0is height=600 width=600 /]

Related article:

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CLASS ACTION FILED| Figueroa v. Law Offices Of David J. Stern, P.A. and MERSCORP, Inc.

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Posted in bank of america, chain in title, citimortgage, class action, concealment, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, countrywide, djsp enterprises, fannie mae, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, forgery, Freddie Mac, HSBC, investigation, jpmorgan chase, Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A., lawsuit, mail fraud, mbs, Merrill Lynch, MERS, MERSCORP, mortgage, Mortgage Bankers Association, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, non disclosure, notary fraud, note, racketeering, Real Estate, RICO, rmbs, securitization, stock, title company, trade secrets, trustee, Trusts, truth in lending act, wamu, washington mutual, wells fargoComments (13)

Homeowner fights foreclosure in lawsuit claiming documents are fraudulent

Homeowner fights foreclosure in lawsuit claiming documents are fraudulent


Marcia Heroux Pounds, Sun Sentinel
August 20, 2010
After months of wrangling with CitiMortgage, Dennis and Joyce Brown got fed up and hired an attorney to fight CitiMortgage’s foreclosure on their Lauderdale Lakes home. The Browns claim they are victims of fabricated documents used to foreclose after CitiMortgage failed to credit them for mortgage payments.

“They ran my blood pressure up so bad,” said Dennis Brown, who hired Fort Lauderdale lawyer Kenneth Eric Trent to fight the foreclosure.

CitiMortgage and its lawyers, David Stern Law Offices, voluntarily withdrew the case against the Browns in Broward County Circuit Court on June 16. But the Browns can’t rest easy. Recently, they’ve received new foreclosure letters from another lawyer representing CitiMortgage.

The Browns’ story is just one example of foreclosures resulting from allegedly fraudulent mortgage assignments and other tactics that “eliminate due process for the homeowner,” Trent said.

He also is suing Stern and his Plantation law firm in federal court in a separate foreclosure case with similar allegations.

In that lawsuit, on behalf of Oakland Park homeowner Ignacio Damian Figueroa, Trent contends that Stern and a mortgage registration firm generated fraudulent mortgage documents that are intentionally ambiguous to cloud the real ownership of the Figueroa’s mortgage note.

The foreclosure practices of Stern and two other law firms are under investigation by the Florida Attorney General’s Office. The attorney general recently requested records going back to Jan. 1, 2008, from Stern as well as The Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson, P.A., and Shapiro & Fishman, LLP.

Thousands of Florida homeowners may have lost their homes as a result of improper actions by the firms under investigation. In announcing the probe, Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican who is a running for governor, said the law firms may have presented fabricated documents in court to speed the foreclosure process and obtain judgments against homeowners.

Jeffrey Tew, a Miami attorney who represents Stern’s firm, said while the attorney general may have received complaints, there “will not be evidence of fraud.” Due to the large volume of foreclosures, there may have been clerical mistakes, he said. “In past two to three years, the Stern law firm has processed probably 100,000 foreclosures.”

But he disputes that Stern’s law firm fabricated any documents. “I haven’t seen any example where a bank didn’t have a mortgage in default,” Tew said.

Stern represents well known mortgage lenders including Bank of America, Chase, CitiMortgage, Inc., Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HSBC, SunTrust, and Wells Fargo. These lenders also are the shareholders of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS).

MERS is at the heart of the matter for Trent and other lawyers trying to stop what they view as illegal foreclosures in the nation.

The mortgage registry was created by lenders in the early 1990s to track home loans, including those repackaged as securities and sold to investors. When such loans were in foreclosure, MERS – not the original lender — was often the entity foreclosing. Some lawyers have successfully fought foreclosures by contending that MERS doesn’t own the note, or the borrower’s obligation to repay.

University of Utah law professor Christopher Peterson said MERS mortgage processing system goes against long-standing principles of property law in assigning rights to a note or mortgage. He said the “owner” of a mortgage can’t be the same as the “agent” representing the homeowner, for example.

Yet MERS records “false documents” with names of people who are not executives of the registry system, but often paralegals and clerks of law firms, he said. “It’s an extremely controversial and arguably fraudlent practice,” Peterson said.

Merscorp spokeswoman Karmela Lejarde declined to comment on the criticism of MERS or Trent’s lawsuit, citing company policy not to comment on pending lititgation.

Tew, who represents Stern’s Law Offices, called Trent’s lawsuit “fiction.” He points to Florida’s 5th District Court of Appeal that ruled in July against a homeowner who tried to fight foreclosure on the basis that MERS didn’t own the note or mortgage.

For the Browns’, foreclosure troubles began with not getting credit for their payments from CitiMortgage, their mortgage servicer.

The couple says they couldn’t clear it up with the lender. “They were claiming I was behind in payment, but I was paying every month,” said Brown, a carpenter who works for the Broward County School System and whose three children and four grandchildren also live in his Lauderdale Lakes home.

They stopped paying on their mortgage in late 2007 and sought legal help.

Another issue in Browns’ case is the signature on the assignment of Brown’s mortgage, giving rights to CitiMortgage, Trent said. The signature is by Cheryl Samons, who is identified as “assistant secretary of Merscorp.” In reality, Samons is an employee of Stern’s law office.

Tew confirmed Samons’ employment by Stern, but said “it’s very common for companies to appoint a registered agent. That process is absolutely legal and normal.”

But Trent contends that mortgage assignments need to be made on personal knowledge, not hearsay, to be admissible in court.

The Browns could be facing another foreclosure action, but Trent said he is confident he can fight it again. “They don’t have the basis to foreclose,” he said.

CitiMortgage spokesman Mark Rodgers said privacy restrictions prevent the financial institution from discussing a customer’s foreclosure action. But Rodgers said procedures may resume in cases “where, despite our best efforts, we have been unable to arrive at a satisfactory resolution acceptable to all the parties involved.”

Tew said foreclosure defense lawyers are portraying homeowners who have defaulted on their mortgages as helpless victims. “Everyone is sympathetic, including us, for the homeowner who can’t pay his mortgage. But it’s not fair to paint the banks and law firms that represent them as wearing the black hats.”

Marcia Heroux Pounds can be reached at mpounds@sunsentinel.com or 561-243-6650.

Browns’ Assignment of Mortgage & Vol. Dismissal below:

DEPOSITION OF NOTARY SHANNON SMITH OF THIS CASE

[ipaper docId=34340050 access_key=key-1eb2fh5kgjs1rbxhfwhq height=600 width=600 /]

MORE ON THIS CASE & FIRM BELOW

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Take Two: *New* Full Deposition of Law Office of David J. Stern’s Cheryl Samons

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Law Offices of David J. Stern, MERS | Assignment of Mortgage NOT EXECUTED but RECORDED

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Cheryl Samons | No Signature, No Notary, 1 Witness…No Problem!

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STERN’S CHERYL SAMONS| SHANNON SMITH Assignment Of Mortgage| NOTARY FRAUD!

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. GRG [Ref. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml]

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Posted in Christopher Peterson, citimortgage, class action, concealment, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, fannie mae, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, Freddie Mac, Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A., law offices of Marshall C. Watson pa, MERS, MERSCORP, mortgage, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, non disclosure, Notary, notary fraud, note, RICO, shapiro & fishman pa, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (1)

HOMEOWNERS’ REBELLION: COULD 62 MILLION HOMES BE FORECLOSURE-PROOF?

HOMEOWNERS’ REBELLION: COULD 62 MILLION HOMES BE FORECLOSURE-PROOF?


Ellen Brown, August 18th, 2010
WEBofDEBT

Over 62 million mortgages are now held in the name of MERS, an electronic recording system devised by and for the convenience of the mortgage industry. A California bankruptcy court, following landmark cases in other jurisdictions, recently held that this electronic shortcut makes it impossible for banks to establish their ownership of property titles—and therefore to foreclose on mortgaged properties. The logical result could be 62 million homes that are foreclosure-proof.

Mortgages bundled into securities were a favorite investment of speculators at the height of the financial bubble leading up to the crash of 2008. The securities changed hands frequently, and the companies profiting from mortgage payments were often not the same parties that negotiated the loans. At the heart of this disconnect was the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS, a company that serves as the mortgagee of record for lenders, allowing properties to change hands without the necessity of recording each transfer.

MERS was convenient for the mortgage industry, but courts are now questioning the impact of all of this financial juggling when it comes to mortgage ownership. To foreclose on real property, the plaintiff must be able to establish the chain of title entitling it to relief. But MERS has acknowledged, and recent cases have held, that MERS is a mere “nominee”—an entity appointed by the true owner simply for the purpose of holding property in order to facilitate transactions. Recent court opinions stress that this defect is not just a procedural but is a substantive failure, one that is fatal to the plaintiff’s legal ability to foreclose.

That means hordes of victims of predatory lending could end up owning their homes free and clear—while the financial industry could end up skewered on its own sword.

California Precedent

The latest of these court decisions came down in California on May 20, 2010, in a bankruptcy case called In re Walker, Case no. 10-21656-E–11. The court held that MERS could not foreclose because it was a mere nominee; and that as a result, plaintiff Citibank could not collect on its claim. The judge opined:

Since no evidence of MERS’ ownership of the underlying note has been offered, and other courts have concluded that MERS does not own the underlying notes, this court is convinced that MERS had no interest it could transfer to Citibank. Since MERS did not own the underlying note, it could not transfer the beneficial interest of the Deed of Trust to another. Any attempt to transfer the beneficial interest of a trust deed without ownership of the underlying note is void under California law.

In support, the judge cited In Re Vargas (California Bankruptcy Court); Landmark v. Kesler (Kansas Supreme Court); LaSalle Bank v. Lamy (a New York case); and In Re Foreclosure Cases (the “Boyko” decision from Ohio Federal Court). (For more on these earlier cases, see here, here and here.) The court concluded:

Since the claimant, Citibank, has not established that it is the owner of the promissory note secured by the trust deed, Citibank is unable to assert a claim for payment in this case.

The broad impact the case could have on California foreclosures is suggested by attorney Jeff Barnes, who writes:

This opinion . . . serves as a legal basis to challenge any foreclosure in California based on a MERS assignment; to seek to void any MERS assignment of the Deed of Trust or the note to a third party for purposes of foreclosure; and should be sufficient for a borrower to not only obtain a TRO [temporary restraining order] against a Trustee’s Sale, but also a Preliminary Injunction barring any sale pending any litigation filed by the borrower challenging a foreclosure based on a MERS assignment.

While not binding on courts in other jurisdictions, the ruling could serve as persuasive precedent there as well, because the court cited non-bankruptcy cases related to the lack of authority of MERS, and because the opinion is consistent with prior rulings in Idaho and Nevada Bankruptcy courts on the same issue.

What Could This Mean for Homeowners?

Earlier cases focused on the inability of MERS to produce a promissory note or assignment establishing that it was entitled to relief, but most courts have considered this a mere procedural defect and continue to look the other way on MERS’ technical lack of standing to sue. The more recent cases, however, are looking at something more serious. If MERS is not the title holder of properties held in its name, the chain of title has been broken, and no one may have standing to sue. In MERS v. Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance, MERS insisted that it had no actionable interest in title, and the court agreed.

An August 2010 article in Mother Jones titled “Fannie and Freddie’s Foreclosure Barons” exposes a widespread practice of “foreclosure mills” in backdating assignments after foreclosures have been filed. Not only is this perjury, a prosecutable offense, but if MERS was never the title holder, there is nothing to assign. The defaulting homeowners could wind up with free and clear title.

In Jacksonville, Florida, legal aid attorney April Charney has been using the missing-note argument ever since she first identified that weakness in the lenders’ case in 2004. Five years later, she says, some of the homeowners she’s helped are still in their homes. According to a Huffington Post article titled “‘Produce the Note’ Movement Helps Stall Foreclosures”:

Because of the missing ownership documentation, Charney is now starting to file quiet title actions, hoping to get her homeowner clients full title to their homes (a quiet title action ‘quiets’ all other claims). Charney says she’s helped thousands of homeowners delay or prevent foreclosure, and trained thousands of lawyers across the country on how to protect homeowners and battle in court.

Criminal Charges?

Other suits go beyond merely challenging title to alleging criminal activity. On July 26, 2010, a class action was filed in Florida seeking relief against MERS and an associated legal firm for racketeering and mail fraud. It alleges that the defendants used “the artifice of MERS to sabotage the judicial process to the detriment of borrowers;” that “to perpetuate the scheme, MERS was and is used in a way so that the average consumer, or even legal professional, can never determine who or what was or is ultimately receiving the benefits of any mortgage payments;” that the scheme depended on “the MERS artifice and the ability to generate any necessary ‘assignment’ which flowed from it;” and that “by engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity, specifically ‘mail or wire fraud,’ the Defendants . . . participated in a criminal enterprise affecting interstate commerce.”

Ellen Brown wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Ellen developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In Web of Debt, her latest of eleven books, she shows how the Federal Reserve and “the money trust” have usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her websites are webofdebt.com, ellenbrown.com, and public-banking.com.

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



Posted in bogus, chain in title, class action, conflict of interest, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, forgery, lawsuit, mail fraud, MERS, MERSCORP, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, notary fraud, racketeering, RICO, servicers, trade secrets, trustee, Trusts, Wall StreetComments (5)

Fannie and Freddie Continue to Rely on Foreclosure Mills Despite Evidence of Fraud

Fannie and Freddie Continue to Rely on Foreclosure Mills Despite Evidence of Fraud


Posted by Yves Smith at 6:08 am

A good piece at Mother Jones, “Fannie and Freddie’s Foreclosure Barons” (hat tip Foghorn Leghorn) provides a window on a seamy big business: cut rate foreclosure processing machines that routinely ride roughshod over borrowers and the law.

Unfortunately, space limitations prevent the story from going deeply into some critical issues. The piece does a good job of explaining how these cut rate legal services operations are creations of Fannie and Freddie and illustrating how they are engaging in fabricating documents. The story focuses on a specific bad actor, a law firm founded by David Stern that handles roughly 1/5 of the foreclosures in Florida:

Ariane Ice sat poring over records on the website of Florida’s Palm Beach County…She and her husband, Tom, an attorney, ran a boutique foreclosure defense firm called Ice Legal…. Ice had a strong hunch that Stern’s operation was up to something, and that night she found her smoking gun.

It involved something called an “assignment of mortgage,” the document that certifies who owns the property and is thus entitled to foreclose on it….By law, a firm must execute (complete, sign, and notarize) an assignment before attempting to seize somebody’s home.

A Florida notary’s stamp is valid for four years, and its expiration date is visible on the imprint. But here in front of Ice were dozens of assignments notarized with stamps that hadn’t even existed until months—in some cases nearly a year—after the foreclosures were filed. Which meant Stern’s people were foreclosing first and doing their legal paperwork later. In effect, it also meant they were lying to the court—an act that could get a lawyer disbarred or even prosecuted. “There’s no question that it’s pervasive,” says Tom Ice of the backdated documents—nearly two dozen of which were verified by Mother Jones. “We’ve found tons of them.”

This all might seem like a legal technicality, but it’s not. The faster a foreclosure moves, the more difficult it is for a homeowner to fight it—even if the case was filed in error. In March, upon discovering that Stern’s firm had fudged an assignment of mortgage in another case, a judge in central Florida’s Pasco County dismissed the case with prejudice—an unusually harsh ruling that means it can never again be refiled. “The execution date and notarial date,” she wrote in a blunt ruling, “were fraudulently backdated, in a purposeful, intentional effort to mislead the defendant and this court.”…

But the Ices had uncovered what looked like a pattern, so Tom booked a deposition with Stern’s top deputy, Cheryl Samons, and confronted her with the backdated documents—including two from cases her firm had filed against Ice Legal’s clients. Samons, whose counsel was present, insisted that the filings were just a mistake. She refused to elaborate, so the Ices moved to depose the notaries and other Stern employees whose names were on the evidence. On the eve of those depositions, however, the firm dropped foreclosure proceedings against the Ices’ clients.

It was a bittersweet victory: The Ices had won their cases, but Stern’s practices remained under wraps. “This was done to cover up fraud,” Tom fumes. “It was done precisely so they could try to hit a reset button and keep us from getting the real goods.”

Backdated documents, according to a chorus of foreclosure experts, are typical of the sort of shenanigans practiced by a breed of law firms known as “foreclosure mills.” ….The mills think “they can just change things and make it up to get to the end result they want, because there’s no one holding them accountable,” says Prentiss Cox, a foreclosure expert at the University of Minnesota Law School. “We’ve got these people with incentives to go ahead with foreclosures and flood the real estate market.”

Yves here. This is far from the only form of document forgeries. A widespread abuse is what bankruptcy attorney Max Gardner calls the “alphabet problem.”

Mortgage securitizations were very carefully designed to satisfy a number of concerns. One of them was bankruptcy remoteness, that if an originator failed, as Countrywide, New Century, IndyMac and a host of others did, that the creditors in the bankruptcy would not be able to claw mortgages back out of securitizations (assets sold close to the date of a bankruptcy may be deemed to have been conveyed fraudulently, and thus can be seized by the court on behalf of the creditors).

To prevent this from occurring, the Pooling and Servicing Agreement (the master document that governs the securitization) would provided for a minimum of two independent legal entities to sit between the originator and the trust that would hold the mortgages being securitized (technically, the note, which is the IOU; the mortgage, which is a lien, follows the note in 45 states). So the prescribed minimum number of steps was A (originator) => B => C => D (trust). Some securitizations (for reasons unrelated to establishing bankruptcy remoteness) would provide for even more steps.

Keep in mind that the PSA also required that the notes be conveyed to the trust, with the proper chain of endorsements, by closing; certain exceptions and fixes were permitted up to 90 days after closing, but these would be applicable only to a very small proportion of the pool.

Continue Reading…NakedCapitalism

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Posted in CONTROL FRAUD, djsp enterprises, fannie mae, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, forgery, Freddie Mac, ice law, Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A., MERS, MERSCORP, mortgage, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Notary, notary fraud, note, RICO, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (2)

EXCLUSIVE: Fannie and Freddie’s Foreclosure Barons

EXCLUSIVE: Fannie and Freddie’s Foreclosure Barons


How the federal housing agencies—and some of the biggest bailed-out banks—are helping shady lawyers make millions by pushing families out of their homes.

— By Andy Kroll

Wed Aug. 4, 2010 12:01 AM PDT

LATE ONE NIGHT IN February 2009, Ariane Ice sat poring over records on the website of Florida’s Palm Beach County. She’d been at it for weeks, forsaking sleep to sift through thousands of legal documents. She and her husband, Tom, an attorney, ran a boutique foreclosure defense firm called Ice Legal. (Slogan: “Your home is your castle. Defend it.”) Now they were up against one of Florida’s biggest foreclosure law firms: Founded by multimillionaire attorney David J. Stern, it controlled one-fifth of the state’s booming market in foreclosure-related services. Ice had a strong hunch that Stern’s operation was up to something, and that night she found her smoking gun.

It involved something called an “assignment of mortgage,” the document that certifies who owns the property and is thus entitled to foreclose on it. Especially these days, the assignment is key evidence in a foreclosure case: With so many loans having been bought, sold, securitized, and traded, establishing who owns the mortgage is hardly a trivial matter. It frequently requires months of sleuthing in order to untangle the web of banks, brokers, and investors, among others. By law, a firm must execute (complete, sign, and notarize) an assignment before attempting to seize somebody’s home.

A Florida notary’s stamp is valid for four years, and its expiration date is visible on the imprint. But here in front of Ice were dozens of assignments notarized with stamps that hadn’t even existed until months—in some cases nearly a year—after the foreclosures were filed. Which meant Stern’s people were foreclosing first and doing their legal paperwork later. In effect, it also meant they were lying to the court—an act that could get a lawyer disbarred or even prosecuted. “There’s no question that it’s pervasive,” says Tom Ice of the backdated documents—nearly two dozen of which were verified by Mother Jones. “We’ve found tons of them.”

This all might seem like a legal technicality, but it’s not. The faster a foreclosure moves, the more difficult it is for a homeowner to fight it—even if the case was filed in error. In March, upon discovering that Stern’s firm had fudged an assignment of mortgage in another case, a judge in central Florida’s Pasco County dismissed the case with prejudice—an unusually harsh ruling that means it can never again be refiled. “The execution date and notarial date,” she wrote in a blunt ruling, “were fraudulently backdated, in a purposeful, intentional effort to mislead the defendant and this court.”

Stern has made a fortune foreclosing on homeowners. He owns a $15 million mansion, four Ferraris, and a 130-foot yacht.

More often than not in uncontested cases, missing or problematic documents simply go overlooked. In Florida, where foreclosure cases must go before a judge (some states handle them as a bureaucratic matter), dwindling budgets and soaring caseloads have overwhelmed local courts. Last year, the foreclosure dockets of Lee County in southwest Florida became so clogged that the court initiated rapid-fire hearings lasting less than 20 seconds per case—”the rocket docket,” attorneys called it. In Broward County, the epicenter of America’s housing bust, the courthouse recently began holding foreclosure hearings in a hallway, a scene that local attorneys call the “new Broward Zoo.” “The judges are so swamped with this stuff that they just don’t pay attention,” says Margery Golant, a veteran Florida foreclosure defense lawyer. “They just rubber-stamp them.”

But the Ices had uncovered what looked like a pattern, so Tom booked a deposition with Stern’s top deputy, Cheryl Samons, and confronted her with the backdated documents—including two from cases her firm had filed against Ice Legal’s clients. Samons, whose counsel was present, insisted that the filings were just a mistake. She refused to elaborate, so the Ices moved to depose the notaries and other Stern employees whose names were on the evidence. On the eve of those depositions, however, the firm dropped foreclosure proceedings against the Ices’ clients.

It was a bittersweet victory: The Ices had won their cases, but Stern’s practices remained under wraps. “This was done to cover up fraud,” Tom fumes. “It was done precisely so they could try to hit a reset button and keep us from getting the real goods.”

Backdated documents, according to a chorus of foreclosure experts, are typical of the sort of shenanigans practiced by a breed of law firms known as “foreclosure mills.” While far less scrutinized than subprime lenders or Wall Street banks, these firms undermine efforts by government and the mortgage industry to put struggling homeowners back on track at a time of record foreclosures. (There were 2.8 million foreclosures in 2009, and 3.8 million are projected for this year.) The mills think “they can just change things and make it up to get to the end result they want, because there’s no one holding them accountable,” says Prentiss Cox, a foreclosure expert at the University of Minnesota Law School. “We’ve got these people with incentives to go ahead with foreclosures and flood the real estate market.”

PAPER TRAIL

View the documents featured in this story:

Federal Securities Fraud Suit, Cooper and Methi v. DJSP Enterprises, David J. Stern, and Kumar Gursahaney, July 2010

Class Action Racketeering Suit, Figueroa v. MERSCORP, Law Offices of David J. Stern, and David J. Stern, July 2010

Fair Debt Collection Violation Suit, Hugo San Martin and Melissa San Martin v. Law Offices of David J. Stern, July 2010

Class Action Suit for Fair Debt Collecting Violations, Rory Hewitt v. Law Offices of David J. Stern and David J. Stern, October 2009

Florida Bar, Public Reprimand, Complaint Against David J. Stern, Sept. 2002

Florida Bar, Public Reprimand, Consent Judgment Against David J. Stern, Oct. 2002

Freddie Mac Designated Counsel, Retention Agreement with Law Offices of David J. Stern, April 2003

Freddie Mac Designated Counsel, Memo to Law Offices of David J. Stern, March 2006

Amended Complaint Alleging Sexual Harassment, Bridgette Balboni v. Law Offices of David J. Stern and David J. Stern, July 1999

Stern’s is hardly the only outfit to attract criticism, but his story is a useful window into the multibillion-dollar “default services” industry, which includes both law firms like Stern’s and contract companies that handle paper-pushing tasks for other big foreclosure lawyers. Over the past decade and a half, Stern has built up one of the industry’s most powerful operations—a global machine with offices in Florida, Kentucky, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines—squeezing profits from every step in the foreclosure process. Among his loyal clients, who’ve sent him hundreds of thousands of cases, are some of the nation’s biggest (and, thanks to American taxpayers, most handsomely bailed out) banks—including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Citigroup. “A lot of these mills are doing the same kinds of things,” says Linda Fisher, a professor and mortgage-fraud expert at Seton Hall University’s law school. But, she added, “I’ve heard some pretty bad stories about Stern from people in Florida.”

While the mortgage fiasco has so far cost American homeowners an estimated $7 trillion in lost equity, it has made Stern (no relation to NBA commissioner David J. Stern) fabulously rich. His $15 million, 16,000-square-foot mansion occupies a corner lot in a private island community on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. It is featured on a water-taxi tour of the area’s grandest estates, along with the abodes of Jay Leno and billionaire Blockbuster founder Wayne Huizenga, as well as the former residence of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. (Last year, Stern snapped up his next-door neighbor’s property for $8 million and tore down the house to make way for a tennis court.) Docked outside is Misunderstood, Stern’s 130-foot, jet-propelled Mangusta yacht—a $20 million-plus replacement for his previous 108-foot Mangusta. He also owns four Ferraris, four Porsches, two Mercedes-Benzes, and a Bugatti—a high-end Italian brand with models costing north of $1 million a pop.

Despite his immense wealth and ability to affect the lives of ordinary people, Stern operates out of the public eye. His law firm has no website, he is rarely mentioned in the mainstream business press, and neither he nor several of his top employees responded to repeated interview requests for this story. Stern’s personal attorney, Jeffrey Tew, also declined to comment. But scores of interviews and thousands of pages of legal and financial filings, internal emails, and other documents obtained by Mother Jones provided insight into his operation. So did eight of Stern’s former employees—attorneys, paralegals, and other staffers who agreed to talk on condition of anonymity. (Most still work in related fields and fear that speaking publicly about their ex-boss could harm their careers.)

Continue readingMOTHER JONES

Andy Kroll is a reporter at Mother Jones. For more of his stories, click here. Email him with tips and insights at akroll (at) motherjones (dot) com. Follow him on Twitter here.

— Illustration: Lou Beach

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Posted in chain in title, class action, CONTROL FRAUD, djsp enterprises, fannie mae, FDLG, florida default law group, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, forgery, Freddie Mac, investigation, Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A., notary fraud, racketeering, RICO, robo signers, stock, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD, Wall StreetComments (1)

State foreclosure mill faces allegations of falsifying documents

State foreclosure mill faces allegations of falsifying documents


By Kimberly Miller
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Posted: 5:54 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010

Florida’s purported largest foreclosure law firm filed thousands of documents to take people’s homes that contained deceptive and intentionally ambiguous information, according to a proposed class action lawsuit.

The suit, filed last month in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, says David J. Stern and his Plantation-based legal team violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act by generating fraudulent mortgage assignments when pursuing foreclosures.

An assignment is held by the entity that has the right to receive mortgage payments.

Stern’s practice, which the lawsuit claims filed up to 7,000 new foreclosure cases in Florida every month last year, is also alleged to have pursued foreclosures for lenders that didn’t own the debt on the homes.

“There really is no proper plaintiff to sue and foreclose and that’s what this charade is designed to cover,” said Fort Lauderdale Attorney Kenneth Eric Trent, who is seeking class action status and filed the suit on behalf of Oakland Park resident Ignacio Damian Figueroa. “There is no real holder of the note and the mortgage anymore because they broke it up and sold it to 10, 12, 20 people.”

Continue reading…The Palm Beach Post

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



Posted in class action, CONTROL FRAUD, djsp enterprises, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, forgery, Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A., MERS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, notary fraudComments (1)

CLASS ACTION FILED| Figueroa v. Law Offices Of David J. Stern, P.A. and MERSCORP, Inc.

CLASS ACTION FILED| Figueroa v. Law Offices Of David J. Stern, P.A. and MERSCORP, Inc.


KABOOM!!! This will send out shock waves.

After last week’s lawsuit filed on behalf of investors for possible securities fraud violations against DJSP Enterprises and another pending. I present to you another Class Action filed 7/26/2010 this time against the Law Offices of David J. Stern P.A., David J. Stern and MERSCORP, Inc..

Mr. Trent totally “gets it” and in this complaint he outlines and points out what we all have a hard time piecing together.

Here are excerpts of the complaint:

Beginning in or about 1999, the Defendant Firm joined with Defendant Merscorp, Inc., and other conspirators in the fraudulent scheme and RICO enterprise herein complained of. The employees of the Defendant Firm, including many licensed attorneys, have become skilled in using the artifice of MERS to sabotage the judicial process to the detriment of borrowers, and, over the past several years, have routinely relied upon MERS to do just that.

As Stern boasted to a room of investors at a recent promotional event, recent “direct source initiatives” by the larger lenders increasingly enable the Defendant Firm, DJSP, and other entities recently formed by Stern to take mortgages “from cradle to the grave.”

The whole purpose of MERS is to allow “servicers” to pretend as if they are someone else: the “owners” of the mortgage, or the real parties in interest. In fact they are not. The standard MERS/Stern complaint contains a lie about this very subject. While the title of the standard complaint makes reference to “lost loan documents,” in the body of the standard complaint, the Defendant Firm alleges that the plaintiff is the “owner and holder” of the note and mortgage. Both cannot be true unless the words used are given new meanings.

With the oversight of Defendant Merscorp and its unknown principals, the MERS artifice and enterprise evolved into an “ultra-fictitious” entity, which can also be understood as a “meta-corporation.” To perpetuate the scheme, MERS was and is used in a way so that to the average consumer, or even legal professional, can never determine who or what was or is ultimately receiving the benefits of any mortgage payments. The conspirators set about to confuse everyone as to who owned what. They created a truly effective smokescreen which has left the public and most of the judiciary operating “in the dark” through the present time.

The preparation, filing, and prosecution of the complaints to “Foreclose Mortgage and to Enforce Lost Loan Documents” were each predicate acts in the pattern of racketeering activity herein complained of, and were actions taken in furtherance of the MERS enterprise. The actions could not have been brought by the Defendant Firm without the MERS artifice and the ability to generate any necessary “assignment” which flowed from it.

By engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity, specifically “mail or wire fraud,” the Defendants subject to this Count participated in a criminal enterprise affecting interstate commerce. In addition to the altered postmarks described below, the mail fraud is the sending of the fraudulent assignments and pleadings to the clerks of court, judges, attorneys, and defendants in foreclosure cases. These Defendants intentionally participated in a scheme to defraud others, including the Plaintiff and the other Class Members, and utilized the U.S. Mail to do so.

These documents were executed by an “Assistant Secretary” or “Vice President,” apparently of MERS. In reality, the person executing the assignments had no knowledge whatsoever of the truth of their contents, and was simply an employee of the Defendant Firm.

Altering common hardware and/or software used by the Defendant Firm so that envelopes used to mail important legal documents, such as final judgments, to defendants contain no date of mailing in the postmark and intentionally delaying in sending the mail until defendants have lost their rights. (Exhibit F). These predicate acts constitute “mail fraud.”

Here is an explanation from David J. Stern of the continuing foreclosure rout:

One of my favorite questions from one of my believers, one of my investors on the first call-in, “What inning are we in? If this was a baseball game, what inning are we in?” And my response is, we’re only in the 2nd inning. We still have 3 innings of foreclosures left, and after the foreclosures, we have 3 innings of REO liquidation and as the REO liquidations pan out, we get into the re-fi and we get into the origination.
[ . . . ]
So yeah, we’re in the 2nd inning, but guess what – when we get to the 9th inning, it’s going to be a doubleheader and we got a second game coming. So when people say, “Oh my God, the economy is bad!” I’m like, “Oh my God, it’s great.” I mean, I hate to hear people are losing their homes and credit isn’t available and credit is such that they can’t re-fi, but if you are in our niche, it’s what we do and it’s what we want to see.

[ipaper docId=34959419 access_key=key-zii1wo2j5d6enxmd05b height=600 width=600 /]

Thank you attorney Kenneth Eric Trent P.A. from Ft. Lauderdale , FL !

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



Posted in class action, concealment, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, djsp enterprises, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, forgery, Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A., lawsuit, MERS, MERSCORP, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., notary fraud, racketeering, RICO, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (35)


GARY DUBIN LAW OFFICES FORECLOSURE DEFENSE HAWAII and CALIFORNIA
Chip Parker, www.jaxlawcenter.com
Kenneth Eric Trent, www.ForeclosureDestroyer.com
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