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Thousands of foreclosures in limbo one year after Stern firm’s collapse, has not released original documents

Thousands of foreclosures in limbo one year after Stern firm’s collapse, has not released original documents


What’s even more amazing is that this law firm is still in GOOD…yes GOOD standing with the Florida bar! But we all know exactly what’s going on here.

So how are the cases getting by if the original documents needed are being held hostage? Hmmm

Palm Beach Post-

The so-called foreclosure king of Florida knew his reign was over four months before his law firm’s doors would officially shutter.

“There’s nothing left for you here. There’s nothing left for me here. We’re done. And that’s the end of the story,” one of David J. Stern’s chief employees remembers him telling her in November 2010, according to her deposition.

The conversation followed what Stern characterized in his own deposition as the “unexpected catastrophic event” of being fired by the two biggest clients of his massive home repossession empire.

On March 31, 2011, he closed the firm, leaving as many as 100,000 Florida foreclosures, or nearly a third of the state’s backlog, in limbo.

A year later, thousands of his company’s former cases are still sputtering through the courts, sometimes stalled as new attorneys get their bearings or even dismissed so fresh paperwork can be filed, foreclosure defense attorneys say.

In fact, in the year since the epic collapse of Stern’s firm, much is unresolved.

  • Despite 377 complaints to the Florida Bar related to foreclosure fraud, not a single attorney has been sanctioned. Stern remains a member in good standing.
  • The attorney general’s investigation into foreclosure mills withered this year when the state’s power to subpoena them was quashed.
  • A required mediation program ordered by the Florida Supreme Court for lenders and homeowners died in December after a lack of participation and cooperation rendered negotiations impotent.

And the 368,000-case backlog in the state’s foreclosure courts has grown as the Stern firm’s wayward files added to the logjam, some attorneys said.

“Let’s face it …

[PALM BEACH POST]

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Bondi says court ruling puts foreclosure fraud investigations in jeopardy

Bondi says court ruling puts foreclosure fraud investigations in jeopardy


As if she didn’t know this…hmm

Miami Herald-

An appeals court has denied Attorney General Pam Bondi‘s request to allow the state Supreme Court to review a ruling she says limits her ability to fight foreclosure fraud. Because of this decision, seven pending cases are now threatened, Bondi said Thursday.

In December, the state’s 4th District Court of Appeals ruled that Bondi does not have the authority to investigate a law firm for alleged fraud under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act because attorneys’ work on behalf of lenders did not constitute trade or commerce. She asked the court to certify that its decision in the  Law Offices of David Stern, P.A. v. State of Florida case passes upon a question of great public importance so that she could appeal to the Supreme Court.

[MIAMI HERALD]

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Attorney General Pam Bondi Asks Fourth District Court of Appeal to Certify Important Foreclosure Investigation Case for Florida Supreme Court Review

Attorney General Pam Bondi Asks Fourth District Court of Appeal to Certify Important Foreclosure Investigation Case for Florida Supreme Court Review


NOTE: Below in her request appears a reference to a link @ #4 Nevada v. LPS, but where is her lawsuit against LPS??

Attorney General Pam Bondi today filed a motion asking the Fourth District Court of Appeal to certify that its recent decision in Law Offices of David Stern, P.A. v. State of Florida passes upon a question of great public importance. In Stern, the Fourth DCA held that the Attorney General’s Office lacked authority under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (“FDUPTA”) to subpoena records of the Stern firm as part of an investigation into possible misconduct in the firm’s handling of foreclosure cases.

Applicable court rules require certification from the Fourth DCA before this office may appeal the Stern decision to the Florida Supreme Court. The Attorney General’s motion asks the Fourth DCA to certify that its decision in Stern passes upon the following question of great public importance: whether the creation of invalid assignments of mortgages by a law firm and subsequent use of such documents by the firm in foreclosure litigation on behalf of the purported assignee is an unfair and deceptive trade practice which may be the subject of an investigation by the Office of the Attorney General.

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source:  http://www.myfloridalegal.com

[ipaper docId=76789463 access_key=key-2dd5psfp0y694n3qwlkh height=600 width=600 /]

 

 

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FL 4DCA Says FL AG lacked authority under FDUTPA to issue the subpoena, Reversed

FL 4DCA Says FL AG lacked authority under FDUTPA to issue the subpoena, Reversed


DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA
FOURTH DISTRICT

July Term 2011

LAW OFFICE OF DAVID J. STERN, P.A.,
Appellant,

v.

STATE OF FLORIDA, DEPARTMENT OF LEGAL AFFAIRS,
Appellee.

No. 4D10-4708

[December 14, 2011]

 [ipaper docId=75682304 access_key=key-1ddqsno5cz2v49d8a02s height=600 width=600 /]

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Foreclosure attorney David J. Stern sidesteps Fannie arbitration, GSE alleges

Foreclosure attorney David J. Stern sidesteps Fannie arbitration, GSE alleges


Housing Wire-

Fannie Mae — not the courts — should decide what, if anything, is owed to former foreclosure attorney David J. Stern, the government-sponsored enterprise alleges in court filings.

The Law Offices of David J. Stern filed more than 25 lawsuits against servicers in recent months alleging they owe the law firm more than $34 million in unpaid invoices. On Monday, it filed its latest case, a suit against Lender Processing Services (LPS: 28.36 -0.39%), a firm that provides mortgage processing and technology services.


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HUFFPO | CPAC Chief Is Partner In Law Firm Defending Foreclosure Mill, Served On Board Of Fannie Mae

HUFFPO | CPAC Chief Is Partner In Law Firm Defending Foreclosure Mill, Served On Board Of Fannie Mae


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WASHINGTON — The new head of the American Conservative Union, the group which hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, has ties to the ongoing controversy surrounding fraud in the foreclosure process.

New ACU leader Al Cardenas is a partner in the law firm of Tew Cardenas LLP, which is currently defending “foreclosure king” David Stern, whose own law office is at the center of a major Florida investigation into foreclosure fraud. Mortgage companies hire the Law Offices of David J. Stern, frequently referred to as a “foreclosure mill,” to handle their foreclosure paperwork for them. Stern’s employees have testified that the office was a hotbed for illegally robo-signed foreclosure documents, with some employees churning out 1,000 improperly signed documents every day.

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BLOOMBERG | The rise and fall of a foreclosure king

BLOOMBERG | The rise and fall of a foreclosure king


By MICHELLE CONLIN – Feb 6, 2011 7:29 PM ET
By The Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — During the housing crash, it was good to be a foreclosure king. David Stern was Florida’s top foreclosure lawyer, and he lived like an oil sheik. He piled up a collection of trophy properties, glided through town in a fleet of six-figure sports cars and, with his bombshell wife, partied on an ocean cruiser the size of a small hotel.

When homeowners fell behind on their mortgages, the banks flocked to “foreclosure mills” like Stern’s to push foreclosures through the courts on their behalf. To his megabank clients — Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, GMAC, Citibank and Wells Fargo — Stern was the ultimate Repo Man.

At industry gatherings, Stern bragged in his boyish voice of taking mortgages from the “cradle to the grave.” Of the federal government’s disastrous homeowner relief plan, which was supposed to keep people from getting evicted, he quipped: “Fortunately, it’s failing.”

The worse things got for homeowners, the better they got for Stern.

That is, until last fall, when the nation’s foreclosure machine blew apart and Stern’s gilded world came undone. Within a few months, Stern went from being the subject of a gushing magazine profile to being the subject of a Florida investigation, class-action lawsuits and blogger Schadenfreude that, at last long, the “foreclosure king” was dead.

“What Stern represents is an industry that was completely unrestrained, unchecked, unpunished and unsupervised,” says Florida defense attorney Matt Weidner. “This was business gone wild.”

The rise and fall of Stern, now 50, provides an inside look at how the foreclosure industry worked in the last decade — and how it fell apart. It also shows how banks, together with their law firms, built a quick-and-dirty foreclosure machine that was designed to take as many houses as fast as possible.

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NYTimes| Judges Berate Bank Lawyers in Foreclosures

NYTimes| Judges Berate Bank Lawyers in Foreclosures


“You want to call it God, you can call it God,” Mr. Eng said. “You want to call it luck, you can call it luck. We just followed the system, and thank God the system worked.”

By JOHN SCHWARTZ
Published: January 10, 2011

With judges looking ever more critically at home foreclosures, they are reaching beyond the bankers to heap some of their most scorching criticism on the lawyers.

In numerous opinions, judges have accused lawyers of processing shoddy or even fabricated paperwork in foreclosure actions when representing the banks.

Judge Arthur M. Schack of New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn has taken aim at an upstate lawyer, Steven J. Baum, referring to one filing as “incredible, outrageous, ludicrous and disingenuous.”

But New York judges are also trying to take the lead in fixing the mortgage mess by leaning on the lawyers. In November, a judge ordered Mr. Baum’s firm to pay nearly $20,000 in fines and costs related to papers that he said contained numerous “falsities.” The judge, Scott Fairgrieve of Nassau County District Court, wrote that “swearing to false statements reflects poorly on the profession as a whole.”

More broadly, the courts in New York State, along with Florida, have begun requiring that lawyers in foreclosure cases vouch for the accuracy of the documents they present, which prompted a protest from the New York bar. The requirement, which is being considered by courts in other states, could open lawyers to disciplinary actions that could harm or even end careers.

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


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Judge OK’s class-action status for homeowner lawsuit against Florida law firm

Judge OK’s class-action status for homeowner lawsuit against Florida law firm


By Christine Stapleton Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Updated: 9:17 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010
Posted: 6:06 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010

As many as 2,000 homeowners suing the law firm of self-proclaimed foreclosure king David J. Stern over excessive attorney fees and costs won a major victory today when an appeals court blessed the group’s class-action status.

“We are very excited,” said Louis M. Silber, the West Palm Beach attorney who filed the case in January 2007 — the first class-action lawsuit filed against Stern and his Plantation-based law firm stemming from foreclosure fraud accusations.

In a four-page opinion, the 4th District Court of Appeal upheld the findings of Circuit Judge Thomas H. Barkdull,, who decided the complaints and circumstances of the homeowners were so similar that they would best be handled in a class-action lawsuit.

Members of the class are homeowners who received letters from Stern’s firm between Jan. 18, 2003 and Feb. 19 2009 offering to reinstate their loans with Wells Fargo by paying reinstatement charges.

Among the excessive reinstatement fees and costs described in the lawsuit:

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Law Offices of David J. Stern Files a Notice of Appeal with 4th DCA of Florida Against AG Subpoena

Law Offices of David J. Stern Files a Notice of Appeal with 4th DCA of Florida Against AG Subpoena


LAW OFFICES OF DAVID J. STERN, P.A.
vs.
THE STATE OF FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF LEGAL AFFAIRS,

NOTICE OF APPEAL

NOTICE IS GIVEN that Petitioner/Appellant LAW OFFICES OF DAVID J. STERN, P.A. appeals to the Fourth Court of Appeal the Order on Petitioner’s Amended Petition to Quash the Investigative Subpoena Duces Tectum Issued by Florida’s Attorney General

Continue below…

[ipaper docId=45305365 access_key=key-l3bqwje98zoi3zvpkal height=600 width=600 /]

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FULL DEPOSITION OF LAW OFFICES OF DAVID J. STERN BETH CERNI

FULL DEPOSITION OF LAW OFFICES OF DAVID J. STERN BETH CERNI


Excerpts:

4 Q. So all of the client files, all of your
5 clients have a file in that system, and you maintain
6 records relating to that client in these files?
7 A. No. Specific clients are in specific
8 systems. So you update only those clients that are in
9 that particular system.
10 Q. Okay. What system would MERS be in?
11 A. MERS isn’t in the system.
12 Q. They’re not? What about GMAC Mortgage, LLC?
13 A. They’re NewTrack.
14 Q. What other systems do you use for the — for
15 the clients, for your clients?
16 A. It depends upon the client.
17 Q. Can you give me some examples of the systems?
18 A. Um, we have Lendstar, we have Vendorscape,
19 those are the two that I have used.
20 Q. And you’ve also used NewTrack?
21 A. Yes, ma’am.
22 Q. What type of information do you keep in the
23 systems?
24 A. We have to update when hearings are
25 scheduled, when service is complete for the clients.

1 Q. Do you also keep in those systems,
2 information as to when the lawsuit is filed, when
3 assignments are executed, when affidavits are
4 executed?
5 A. When complaints are filed, yes.
6 Q. But not when assignments are executed or
7 affidavits are executed?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Is that information kept in another software
10 program?
11 A. Not to my knowledge.

<SNIP>

1 A. It’s a form. It’s the same form for every
2 assignment.

3 Q. So you do not read them?
4 A. They’re checked by an attorney before I sign.
5 Q. So you rely on the attorney?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Okay. Also, in this document it indicates
8 that “Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.,
9 residing or located at care of GMAC Mortgage, LLC,”
10 what does that mean?

11 A. The address of the servicer.
12 Q. So Mortgage Electronic Registration System is
13 the servicer?

14 A. Mortgage Electronic Registrations is who
15 the — the mortgage apparently was sitting in the name
16 of for this file at the time.

17 Q. And GMAC is the servicer?
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. What does that phrase residing or located at
20 care of mean?
21 A. That’s an address.
22 Q. So MERS is physically located at GMAC
23 Mortgage, LLC?

24 A. I don’t know.
25 Q. Don’t know. Do you have access to any of the

1 title work, or any other information before you
2 execute the assignments of mortgage?
3 A. It’s in the file that’s been reviewed by the
4 attorney.
5 Q. So you don’t review them yourself?
6 A. No. It’s been reviewed by the attorney.
7 Q. Are you — what provides you the
8 authorization to sign?
9 You notice on the assignment, that you’re
10 executing it as Assistant Secretary of Mortgage
11 Electronic Registration System; is that correct?
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. So before I asked you if you were employed by
14 any other corporations, you indicated that you were
15 not. What does it mean when you hold the position of
16 Assistant Secretary of Mortgage Electronic
17 Registration Systems, Inc.?
18 A. We have power of attorney.
19 Q. And what does that mean?
20 A. That we had authorization to sign on behalf
21 of.
22 Q. And did you obtain that power of attorney?
23 A. No, I did not.
24 Q. Did you — do you know anything about the
25 negotiations leading up to the execution of that power

1 of attorney?
2 A. No.

<SNIP>

23 Q. If you’ll take a look at the first document
24 that I handed to you, the Lis Pendens and complaint.
25 If you look, there’s a document attached to that as

1 Exhibit A. And who is listed as the lender on that
2 document?
3 A. It says MERS.
4 Q. And does it, a little bit further down, also
5 say Taylor, Bean, and Whitaker Mortgage Corporation,
6 “lender —
7 A. Uh-huh.
8 Q. — is organized and existing under the laws
9 of?”
10 A. Uh-huh.
11 Q. Do you have any documents — did you have any
12 documents in your file relating to Taylor, Bean and
13 Whitaker Mortgage Corporation at the time you executed
14 the assignment?
15 A. I don’t know.
16 Q. Would you have looked at the original
17 mortgage prior to executing the assignment?
18 (Brief telephonic interruption.)
19 THE WITNESS: No. Again, they were reviewed
20 by an attorney.

Continue to the depo below…

[ipaper docId=41044236 access_key=key-1s17qv7pitz1rmk5i19t height=600 width=600 /]

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*BREAKING* Florida judge denies Law Office of David J. Stern motion to quash subpoena

*BREAKING* Florida judge denies Law Office of David J. Stern motion to quash subpoena


This is a major victory for Florida residents.

Florida Judge Eileen O’Connor denied Law Office of David J. Stern motion to quash a subpoena from Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum in connection with the AG’s investigation into several of the state’s foreclosure firms.

Will add more to this as it comes in.

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David-J-Stern-AG-Subpoena

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Posted in foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A., STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (3)

BOMBSHELL! FL ATTORNEY HAS 150 BANK ROBO SIGNER DEPOSITIONS AVAILABLE TO STATE & FEDERAL AGENCIES

BOMBSHELL! FL ATTORNEY HAS 150 BANK ROBO SIGNER DEPOSITIONS AVAILABLE TO STATE & FEDERAL AGENCIES


Lawyers Peter Ticktin, left, and Josh Bleil, of The Ticktin Law Group, are shown with depositions from 150 robosigners, alleging that the court documents reveal an industry-wide banking scheme to defraud homeowners, in Deerfield Beach, Fla. Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Robo-signers: Mortgage experience not necessary

Banks hired hair stylists, teens to process foreclosure documents, workers’ testimony shows

Michelle Conlin, AP Real Estate Writer, On Tuesday October 12, 2010, 9:21 pm EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — In an effort to rush through thousands of home foreclosures since 2007, financial institutions and their mortgage servicing departments hired hair stylists, Walmart floor workers and people who had worked on assembly lines and installed them in “foreclosure expert” jobs with no formal training, a Florida lawyer says.

In depositions released Tuesday, many of those workers testified that they barely knew what a mortgage was. Some couldn’t define the word “affidavit.” Others didn’t know what a complaint was, or even what was meant by personal property. Most troubling, several said they knew they were lying when they signed the foreclosure affidavits and that they agreed with the defense lawyers’ accusations about document fraud.

“The mortgage servicers hired people who would never question authority,” said Peter Ticktin, a Deerfield Beach, Fla., lawyer who is defending 3,000 homeowners in foreclosure cases. As part of his work, Ticktin gathered 150 depositions from bank employees who say they signed foreclosure affidavits without reviewing the documents or ever laying eyes on them — earning them the name “robo-signers.”

The deposed employees worked for the mortgage service divisions of banks such as Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase, as well as for mortgage servicers like Litton Loan Servicing, a division of Goldman Sachs.

Ticktin said he would make the testimony available to state and federal agencies that are investigating financial institutions for allegations of possible mortgage fraud. This comes on the eve of an expected announcement Wednesday from 40 state attorneys general that they will launch a collective probe into the mortgage industry.

“This was an industrywide scheme designed to defraud homeowners,” Ticktin said.

The depositions paint a surreal picture of foreclosure experts who didn’t understand even the most elementary aspects of the mortgage or foreclosure process — even though they were entrusted as the records custodians of homeowners’ loans. In one deposition taken in Houston, a foreclosure supervisor with Litton Loan couldn’t define basic terms like promissory note, mortgagee, lien, receiver, jurisdiction, circuit court, plaintiff’s assignor or defendant. She testified that she didn’t know why a spouse might claim interest in a property, what the required conditions were for a bank to foreclose or who the holder of the mortgage note was. “I don’t know the ins and outs of the loan, I just sign documents,” she said at one point.

Until now, only a handful of depositions from robo-signers have come to light. But the sheer volume of the new depositions will make it more difficult for financial institutions to argue that robo-signing was an aberrant practice in a handful of rogue back offices.

Continue Reading…YAHOO

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Posted in assignment of mortgage, florida default law group, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, investigation, Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A., law offices of Marshall C. Watson pa, MERS, MERSCORP, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., shapiro & fishman pa, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (2)

Law Office Of David J. Stern Confirms Layoffs

Law Office Of David J. Stern Confirms Layoffs


In all seriousness this is never good news for anyone. These are workers who may have families to feed and may not be able to find jobs easily like Tammie Lou Kapusta said in her deposition, “I’ve actually had such a difficult time getting a job because I worked at David Stern’s office“.

Mr. Stern once told investors, “We take it from Cradle to Grave“.

According to South Florida Business Journal:

Jeffrey Tew, Stern’s attorney, confirmed that there were layoffs, and that it was because several key lenders had frozen prosecution of foreclosure cases. Tew, a partner at Tew Cardenas LLP in Miami, said it was only normal that some cutbacks had to occur as work slowed. He said most of the layoffs were temporary positions.

Related:

Mind-blowing Highlights from David J. Stern “DJSP Enterprise” Conference With Audio

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EXPLOSIVE DEPOSTION!!!! BUSTED!! DAVID J. STERN “MILL” KNEW THIS ALL ALONG…THIS FORECLOSURE FRAUD!!!

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Posted in djsp enterprises, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, investigation, Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A., STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (2)

BLOOMBERG: Citigroup Stops Using Foreclosure Law Firm Under Investigation in Florida

BLOOMBERG: Citigroup Stops Using Foreclosure Law Firm Under Investigation in Florida


By Dakin Campbell and Donal Griffin – Oct 12, 2010 12:00 AM ET

Citigroup Inc. said it stopped steering foreclosure work to a Florida law firm whose court filings to support home seizures are under investigation by the state’s attorney general.

The bank, which is proceeding with seizures as some rivals stop to recheck documents, had used the Law Offices of David J. Stern PA. Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said Aug. 10 it is examining whether Stern and two other firms filed “improper documentation” with the state’s courts to speed proceedings.

“Pending the outcome of the AG’s investigation, Citi is not referring new matters to this firm,” the New York-based bank said in an e-mailed statement. Citigroup services loans for government-sponsored entities, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Stern “was approved by the GSEs during the time in which it was retained by Citi,” the bank said.

Lawmakers, attorneys general and consumer groups have pressed mortgage firms to follow Bank of America Corp., the biggest U.S. lender, which last week suspended all foreclosures to check whether faulty documents were used to confiscate homes. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Ally Financial Inc.’s GMAC Mortgage unit froze seizures or evictions in Florida and 22 other states. Citigroup said last week it doesn’t plan to join them.

McCollum’s office “hasn’t made any charges or allegations of fault,” said Jeffrey Tew, an outside attorney for Plantation, Florida-based Stern, who declined to discuss its work for Citigroup. “I believe they’re a client. I can’t go into any details.”

Continue reading…BLOOMBERG

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Posted in assignment of mortgage, CitiGroup, djsp enterprises, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, forgery, investigation, Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A., notary fraudComments (0)

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

_________________________

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)

FORECLOSURE MILLS: SHAPIRO & FISHMAN V. LAW OFFICES OF DAVID J. STERN

FORECLOSURE MILLS: SHAPIRO & FISHMAN V. LAW OFFICES OF DAVID J. STERN


For those who may not know both David J. Stern and Cheryl Samons both were former employees of Shapiro & Fishman prior to Mr. Stern and Mrs. Samons departing from Shapiro & Fishman…“thats all“. <grin>————————–>

180 PAGES!

PROTECTIVE ORDER? Lender Processing Services? Specialized Loan Servicing? American Home Mortgage Servicing? DEPOS? SUBPOENAS?

DISMISSAL WITH PREJUDICE!

Florida Rules of Civil Procedure
1.420 Dismissal of Actions

(a) Voluntary Dismissal.

(1) By Parties. Except in actions in which property has been seized or is in the custody of the court, an action may be dismissed by plaintiff without order of court

(B) by filing a stipulation of dismissal signed by all parties who have appeared in the action. Unless otherwise stated in the notice or stipulation, the dismissal is without prejudice, except that a notice of dismissal operates as an adjudication on the merits when served by a plaintiff who has once dismissed in any court an action based on or including the same claim.

Many thanks to Foreclosure Hamlet for the documents.

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Posted in Barry S. Fishman, conspiracy, dismissed, foreclosure, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, investigation, Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A., lawsuit, mortgage, note, shapiro & fishman pa, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD, tew cardenasComments (3)

Stern’s Attorney Tew: “McCollum could have been influenced by political considerations”

Stern’s Attorney Tew: “McCollum could have been influenced by political considerations”


DinSFLA here: In my opinion this is trying to throw the towel and put the spot light on McCollum even when this was an investigation prior to…The AG did not instigate The Class Actions currently on the table against DJSP. It is the AG office job to protect the public and to look into the matter of the fraud that is coming out of DJSP and the other mills.

White-Collar Crime

Fla. AG Probe: Did 3 Law Firms Get 1,000s of Foreclosure Judgments By Possible Wrongdoing?

Posted Aug 11, 2010 6:33 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

“On numerous occasions, allegedly fabricated documents have been presented to the courts in foreclosure actions to obtain final judgments against homeowners,” says a press release from Attorney General Bill McCollum announcing the investigation.

“Thousands of final judgments of foreclosure against Florida homeowners may have been the result of the allegedly improper actions of the law firms,” it continues.

“There is a terrific problem with the collapse of the market and David, who is representing banks legitimately trying to foreclose on a property, gets fingers pointed at him,” Tew told the newspaper. “David doesn’t do anything outside of the circuit court where a circuit judge supervises everything that happens.”

He also wondered aloud whether McCollum, who is a Republican candidate for state governor, could have been influenced by political considerations.

Continue to the full article….ABA JOURNAL

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Posted in chain in title, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, investigation, Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A., law offices of Marshall C. Watson pa, notary fraud, shapiro & fishman paComments (1)

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

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



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

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



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