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Steven J. Baum settles with NY AG Schneiderman; will pay $4M

Steven J. Baum settles with NY AG Schneiderman; will pay $4M


What about the rest? This is an insult!

Update: Pillar Processing is also part of this settlement.

Buffalo Business First-

The case of embattled foreclosure attorney Steven Baum has taken another turn as the Amherst attorney reached a settlement with the New York State Attorney General over charges his firm mishandled foreclosure filings statewide over many years.

Under terms of the agreement, Baum has agreed not to handle mortgages for two years and will pay a penalty of $4 million.

The deal with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office comes five month after the firm settled with the United States Attorney for the Southern District and paid $2 million while agreeing to drastically overhaul its business practices.

[BUFFALO BUSINESS FIRST]

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Judge gives NY foreclosure king the Baum’s rush

Judge gives NY foreclosure king the Baum’s rush


What’s really disturbing is all the fraudulent paperwork they push through the courts and filed with the counties …no one seems to care. If a defense attorney or a regular Joe was to pull this shit, would they have the same treatment?

I DON’T THINK SO!


New York Post-

Take that, Steven Baum!

The 50-year-old lawyer, who owns New York’s largest home-foreclosure mill, made a rare appearance in a courtroom yesterday — and was promptly ripped by a Bankruptcy Court judge frustrated by his firm’s sloppy work.

Baum, whose eponymous firm has filed more than 25,000 foreclosure actions across the state over the past three years — many of which have been attacked for containing bogus documents — was lectured by Judge Cecilia Morris to correct his way of practicing law.

“How many times do I have to tell you, you didn’t do it right,” Morris said during the afternoon hearing. “Do you not understand ‘do it right’?” she asked Baum.

[NEW YORK POST]

image: NYPost

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Baum Firm Could Possibly Owe “Millions of Dollars” From Foreclosured Properties

Baum Firm Could Possibly Owe “Millions of Dollars” From Foreclosured Properties


NYPOST-

What’s in this law firm’s wallet?

New York state’s beleaguered, largest foreclosure law firm — which today announced plans to shut down in the face of a firestorm of legal action — has allegedly failed to turn over about $130,000 owed to three people whose co-ops were foreclosed on, and could be sitting on millions of dollars of hundreds of other people’s money without those people knowing, The Post has learned.

Steven J. Baum P.C.’s move to shutter came a week after it was made ineligible to get new referrals on any Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages — essentially a death knell for the controversial firm. The two federally backed mortgage giants moved in the face of numerous complaints about questionable legal filings by Baum.

 On Friday, a Brooklyn lawyer sued Baum claiming that the firm repeatedly ignored his attempts to obtain about $130,000 for three people whose co-ops were foreclosed on and later sold off in Baum-supervised auctions.
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Amherst law firm agrees to pay fine, Settlement involves foreclosure practices

Amherst law firm agrees to pay fine, Settlement involves foreclosure practices


“I am glad the U. S. Attorney completed this phase of the Baum saga and that he is changing his practice,” said New York City attorney Susan Chana Lask

[…]

“I hope homeowners use the settlement to show the courts the foreclosure mill problem was real and damaged a lot of people’s lives. It’s not over.”

I’m almost certain she is referencing that although the US Attorney settled, AG Schneiderman has yet to complete his investigation.

 

Buffalo News-

Steven J. Baum PC, the Amherst law firm that has been under heavy fire for its foreclosure practices, agreed Thursday to pay a $2 million fine and “extensively” overhaul its practices in a settlement with the U. S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan that has statewide implications.

The agreement with Baum resolves a federal investigation into whether the state’s largest foreclosure law firm, on behalf of lenders, filed misleading affidavits, mortgage assignments and other documents in state and federal courts.

[BUFFALO NEWS]

image: thetorchtheatre

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In RE: FORECLOSURE FRAUD SETTLEMENT “MERS, Pillar Processing & Steven J. Baum, P.C.”

In RE: FORECLOSURE FRAUD SETTLEMENT “MERS, Pillar Processing & Steven J. Baum, P.C.”


Mortgage Fraud

Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems
Pillar Processing, LLC
Steven J. Baum, P.C.

Action Date: October 7, 2011
Location: New York, NY

On October 6, 2011, a settlement agreement was signed regarding the practices of one of the largest foreclosure mills in the country, Steven J. Baum, P.C., a law firm operating from Amherst, New York. The settlement was obtained by Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY. The investigation was conducted by the Civil Frauds Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York which investigated under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (“FIRREA).

Under the settlement, the Baum Firm is required to pay $2 million and make significant reforms, but is still allowed to say (paragraph 4): “This Agreement does not constitute a finding by any Court or Agency that Baum has engaged in any unlawful practice or wrongdoing of any kind.”

Most significantly, Baum employees – including the very prolific robo-signing associate, Elpiniki Bechakas, may no longer sign mortgage assignments as officers of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”). (Bechakas is not specifically named in the Agreement, but has been singled out by NY judges, including the Honorable (and very savvy) Arthur Schack of Brooklyn, as a Baum attorney with very questionable practices.)

The relief provided in the Settlement Agreement is very much prospective relief, and in that regard, is very comprehensive.

For those pending cases, however, the relief in paragraph 15(a) may seem grossly inadequate:

“Baum shall provide the following notification:

a. In any pending foreclosure action where an application for a judgment of foreclosure has not been submitted to a court, if Baum has filed an assignment of mortgage as a corporate officer of MERS, Baum shall disclose that fact to the court in the application for the judgment of foreclosure, or earlier. Such disclosure shall not be required if the Baum firm does not file a proposed judgment of foreclosure (e.g. because another law firm has been substituted as counsel for the matter prior to the filing of a proposed judgment of foreclosure, because the action is dismissed, etc.)”

All that the banks need to do under this settlement in pending cases is to sub in another law firm that may use the Baum assignments to foreclose, without even making any further disclosure to the courts such as “the signers are really employees of the Baum Law Firm who previously represented the banks in this matter.”

While it is true that most defense attorneys will no doubt raise this point, it is also true that most homeowners in foreclosure proceed pro se and are likely to be completely unaware of this Settlement Agreement, and the actual employer of Elpiniki Bechakas and other Baum signers.

Then there is the matter of the tens of thousands of homeowners who have lost their homes in cases where Baum employees signed mortgage assignments as officers of MERS. Most often, they assigned mortgages to mortgage-backed trusts so that the trusts could foreclose, even though such transfers did not take place on the dates and in the manner set forth on the Baum assignments. These Baum Assignments appear throughout the New York courts, but often in the Courts of other states as well.

Two million seems to be the magic number. This is also the amount paid by the Law Offices of Marshall Watson in Florida whose associates engaged in similar practices of signing as MERS officers, assigning mortgages after foreclosure actions were initiated, etc.

Further relief may be forthcoming, from both criminal prosecutions, the NY Bar, and most certainly from private class action and RICO lawsuits brought by private litigants.

Investors in mortgage-backed securities must ask for reports from the Trustees of how much they have paid for these Baum Assignments in the last five years, how much they have lost and how much more they will lose when foreclosures are successfully defended because the loan documents relied on by the trustees were “Baum-made.”

This is a first-of-its-kind settlement with one significant party in the foreclosure fraud morass.

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Feds went easy on NY’s largest foreclosure mill, $2M wrist slap for Baum: critics

Feds went easy on NY’s largest foreclosure mill, $2M wrist slap for Baum: critics


Now you know why people Occupy Wall Street, They are pissed and sick and tired of all the fraud. Bloomberg warned that US unemployment will lead to RIOTS, I think he needs to broaden this statement.

NY POST-

The largest foreclosure mill in New York, under investigation for years by federal authorities for allegedly filing misleading paperwork, affidavits and mortgage documents, yesterday agreed to pay a $2 million fine to settle a probe by Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara.

Steven J. Baum PC, which has filed tens of thousands of foreclosure actions across the state over the past several years, promised to change the way it did business and admitted to “occasionally” making “inadvertent errors.”

The Buffalo-based firm, which was used by every major bank in the country, did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement deal.

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MANHATTAN U.S. ATTORNEY ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT WITH MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE LAW FIRM TO OVERHAUL ITS PRACTICES AND PAY $2 MILLION FINE

MANHATTAN U.S. ATTORNEY ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT WITH MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE LAW FIRM TO OVERHAUL ITS PRACTICES AND PAY $2 MILLION FINE


UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
Southern District of New York

U.S. ATTORNEY PREET BHARARA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 6, 2011
http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys

CONTACT: Ellen Davis, Carly Sullivan, Jerika Richardson
(212) 637-2600

 

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MANHATTAN U.S. ATTORNEY ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT
WITH MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE LAW FIRM TO OVERHAUL
ITS PRACTICES AND PAY $2 MILLION FINE

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that the United States has entered into an agreement with the law firm of STEVEN J. BAUM, P.C. (“BAUM”), one of the largest volume mortgage foreclosure firms in New York State, that requires the firm to pay $2 million to the United States and to extensively change its practices with respect to mortgage foreclosure actions (the “Agreement”). The Agreement resolves an investigation into BAUM’s mortgage foreclosure-related practices, specifically whether the firm, on behalf of its lender clients, filed misleading pleadings, affidavits, and mortgage assignments in state and federal courts in New York.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA said: “In mortgage foreclosure proceedings, there are no excuses for sloppy practices that could lead to someone mistakenly losing their home. Homeowners facing foreclosure cannot afford to have faulty paperwork or inadequate evidence submitted, and today’s agreement will help minimize that risk.”

The Agreement specifically prohibits BAUM from engaging in certain practices related to the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”), a subscription-based electronic registry system for lenders and other entities that tracks ownership interests in mortgages. MERS members contractually agree to appoint MERS as their agent on all mortgages they register. Until recently, employees of BAUM, with the consent of MERS, had been assigning mortgages on behalf of MERS, even though they had no connection to MERS whatsoever, which resulted in errors in its legal filings in state and federal court. Pursuant to the Agreement, BAUM is prohibited from executing any assignment of a mortgage as an “officer” or “director” of MERS.

The Agreement also requires a general overhaul of BAUM’s practice with respect to its filings in mortgage foreclosure actions. Under the terms of the Agreement, BAUM has agreed to:

  • Take steps to inform courts of the nature of the assignments in pending foreclosure proceedings it is handling;
  • Obtain appropriate affidavits from its clients attesting to the fact that they possess original notes or have conducted a diligent search and the original note could not be found;
  • Have experienced attorneys supervise the preparation of pleadings, and review and approve pleadings before they can be filed;
  • Implement a 12-24 month training program for its attorneys that includes an overview of the foreclosure process in New York State and a review of the litigation procedures expected at BAUM;
  • Provide immediate notice to the Government when objections are raised regarding the accuracy of certain court filings related to mortgage foreclosure proceedings; and
  • Maintain documentation of its compliance with the settlement.

In addition, the Agreement requires BAUM to pay the United States $2 million in exchange for a release from any potential claims pursuant to the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (“FIRREA”). FIRREA authorizes the United States to seek civil penalties for violations of, and conspiracies to violate, certain predicate criminal statutes involving financial fraud, including mail and wire fraud. The release from liability does not preclude any other parties, including individual homeowners, from pursuing any rights they may have.

The Agreement does not constitute a finding by any court or agency that Baum has engaged in any unlawful practice or wrongdoing. In the Agreement, Baum acknowledges, however, that it occasionally made inadvertent errors in its legal filings in state and federal court, which it attributes to human error in light of the high volume of mortgage defaults and foreclosures throughout the State of New York in the wake of the national subprime mortgage crisis.

Mr. BHARARA thanked the U.S. Trustee’s Office for their invaluable assistance in this case. The case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Frauds Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys PIERRE ARMAND and LARA ESHKENAZI are in charge of the case.

The Civil Frauds Unit works in coordination with President BARACK OBAMA’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, on which Mr. BHARARA serves as a Co-Chair of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Working Group. President OBAMA established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

11-302 ###

[Read the agreement below]

 

[ipaper docId=67831624 access_key=key-sjeggego2opcclgi8ik height=600 width=600 /]

 

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Steven J. Baum Law Firm to Pay $2 Million Over Foreclosure Practices

Steven J. Baum Law Firm to Pay $2 Million Over Foreclosure Practices


It’s become a new world in America. No matter how hard one tries, all those families who were thrown out of their homes…how many individuals can settle and get away with this?

Money is the root of all evil.

Bloomberg-

Steven J. Baum’s foreclosure law firm, one of the largest in New York state, will pay the U.S. $2 million and change its practices to resolve a probe into its mortgage-related legal filings.

The agreement resolves an investigation into whether the Baum firm filed misleading pleadings, affidavits and mortgage assignments in courts, according to a statement today by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan.

[BLOOMBERG]

 

[ipaper docId=67831624 access_key=key-sjeggego2opcclgi8ik height=600 width=600 /]

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Robo-Signing Redux: Servicers Still Fabricating Foreclosure Documents

Robo-Signing Redux: Servicers Still Fabricating Foreclosure Documents


American Banker did an outstanding, superb job with this article. Please read.

American Banker-

Some of the largest mortgage servicers are still fabricating documents that should have been signed years ago and submitting them as evidence to foreclose on homeowners.

The practice continues nearly a year after the companies were caught cutting corners in the robo-signing scandal and about six months after the industry began negotiating a settlement with state attorneys general investigating loan-servicing abuses.

Several dozen documents reviewed by American Banker show that as recently as August some of the largest U.S. banks, including Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., Ally Financial Inc., and OneWest Financial Inc., were essentially backdating paperwork necessary to support their right to foreclose.

[AMERICAN BANKER]

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NY Post finds in 92% of NY area foreclosures, banks fail to prove ownership to foreclose

NY Post finds in 92% of NY area foreclosures, banks fail to prove ownership to foreclose


NY POST-

The banks still just don’t get it.

In a staggering 92 percent of the claims brought by creditors asserting the right to foreclose against bankrupt families in New York City and the close-in suburbs, banks and mortgage servicers couldn’t prove they had the right to kick the families out on the street, a three-month probe by The Post has shown.

But that didn’t stop the banks from trying.

By robosigning documents and pressing foreclosures without the proper paperwork, banks have attempted to steamroll their way over sometimes-outgunned homeowners, The Post has uncovered.

But homeowners and the courts are starting to fight back.

Read more:

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/house_of_cards_hNdx5fNGt6oOl1U9mTW0HN#ixzz1V3P5SA00

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Internal Doc Reveals GMAC Filed False Document in Bid to Foreclose

Internal Doc Reveals GMAC Filed False Document in Bid to Foreclose


by Paul Kiel
ProPublica, July 27, 2011, 1:07 p.m.

GMAC, one of the nation’s largest mortgage servicers, faced a quandary last summer. It wanted to foreclose on a New York City homeowner but lacked the crucial paperwork needed to seize the property.

GMAC has a standard solution to such problems, which arise frequently in the post-bubble economy. Its employees secure permission to create and sign documents in the name of companies that made the original loans. But this case was trickier because the lender, a notorious subprime company named Ameriquest, had gone out of business in 2007.

And so GMAC, which was bailed out by taxpayers [1] in 2008, began looking for a way to craft a document that would pass legal muster, internal records obtained by ProPublica [2]show.

“The problem is we do not have signing authority—are there any other options?” Jeffrey Stephan, the head of GMAC’s “Document Execution” team, wrote to another employee and the law firm pursuing the foreclosure action [2]. No solutions were offered.

Three months later, GMAC had an answer. It filed a document with New York City authorities [3] that said the delinquent Ameriquest loan had been assigned to it “effective of” August 2005. The document [3] was dated July 7, 2010, three years after Ameriquest had ceased to exist and was signed by Stephan, who was identified as a “Limited Signing Officer” for Ameriquest Mortgage Company. Soon after, GMAC filed for foreclosure.

An examination by ProPublica suggests this transaction was not unique. A review of court records in New York identified hundreds of similar assignment documents filed in the name of Ameriquest after 2008 by GMAC and other mortgage servicers.

Get ProPublica’s stories delivered to your inbox [4]

The issue has attracted growing scrutiny in recent months as bloggers [5], consumer attorneys and media outlets [6] have identified what appears to be part of a pattern of questionable assignments filed across the country.

GMAC, which is still majority owned by the government, was at the center of what became known as the robo-signing scandal [7]. The uproar began last fall after revelations that mortgage servicing employees had produced flawed documents to speed foreclosures [8]. GMAC and other banks have acknowledged filing false affidavits in which bank officials claimed “personal knowledge” of the facts underlying thousands of mortgages. But GMAC and other servicers say they’ve since tightened their procedures. They insist that their records were largely accurate and the affidavits amounted to errors of form, not substance.

The issues surrounding the Ameriquest loan and others like it appear to be more serious.

“This assignment of mortgage has all of the markings of GMAC finding that it lacked a needed mortgage assignment in order to foreclose and just making it up,” said Thomas Cox, a Maine foreclosure defense attorney.

In New York, it’s a felony to file a public record with “intent to deceive.”

“It’s fraud,” said Linda Tirelli, a consumer bankruptcy attorney. “I want to know who’s going to do a perp walk for recording this.”

No criminal charges have been filed in the robo-signing cases.

Asked by ProPublica about the document, GMAC acknowledged Stephan did not have authority to sign on behalf of Ameriquest. The bank said it is still planning to push ahead with foreclosure on the homeowner, who remains in the property.

Company spokeswoman Gina Proia said an internal review last fall into “suspected documentation execution issues” had flagged the loan as problematic and that GMAC is “determining what needs to be done in order to receive the necessary authorization.”

“We will determine and complete the necessary steps to remediate and proceed with foreclosure,” Proia said.

GMAC also declined a request from ProPublica to interview Stephan.

Another GMAC document obtained by ProPublica shows that in at least one recent incident, GMAC employees were still discussing the possibility of fabricating evidence needed to facilitate a foreclosure.

The company once again lacked a document that would show it had been assigned the mortgage. Since the lender was defunct and no assignment had ever been made, GMAC again seemed to be stuck. But the employee proposed in June of this year that GMAC file a sworn statement that the assignment had once existed but had been lost. It’s unclear if such an affidavit was ultimately provided to a court.

Records also show that GMAC has continued to rely on documents signed by the very employee at the center of the robo-signing scandal—Jeffrey Stephan, the same employee who also signed the Ameriquest document in 2010. Stephan acknowledged in sworn testimony last year that he had been signing 400 documents each day [9], a revelation that helped kick off the scandal. According to a former employee and a consumer attorney, Stephan still works at GMAC, though he has been transferred to a different unit.

GMAC said it is still pursuing foreclosures based on assignments signed by Stephan. As part of a bid to rebrand itself, GMAC renamed its holding company Ally Financial last year.

“There is no reason or requirement to ‘withdraw’ valid assignments of mortgage that happened to have been signed by Mr. Stephan,” said GMAC spokeswoman Proia, because there’s “no requirement that [the assignment] be signed by a person with knowledge of any particular facts.” All that mattered, she said, was that the signer had received the proper authority.

Banks have little reason to worry about their documents being challenged, since homeowners rarely contest foreclosure actions. In a filing with the New Jersey Supreme Court, GMAC said that of the more than 4,000 foreclosures it has handled in the state only about 4 percent of homeowners had contested the action.

When homeowners do challenge banks’ documentation for foreclosures, they can have success. Late last week, the Vermont Supreme Court threw out a foreclosure case handled by GMAC due, in part, to a flawed assignment document signed by Stephan.

“It is neither irrational nor wasteful to expect the foreclosing party be actually in possession of its claimed interest,” the court said [10], “and have the proper supporting documentation in hand when filing suit.”

Since last fall, GMAC has added staff, increased training and added new procedures, said Proia. But some of those new hires have come from firms themselves accused of filing false foreclosure documents.

One manager at GMAC, Kevin Crecco, moved there from a position at the Law Offices of David Stern in Florida after the firm drew scrutiny from the state’s attorney general for allegedly filing forged documents. Stern’s office, once among Florida’s biggest foreclosure law firms and labeled a “foreclosure mill” by critics, ceased operations earlier this year.

An internal organization chart [11] from this spring for GMAC’s foreclosure department lists Crecco as a manager overseeing roughly two dozen employees. GMAC declined to make Crecco available for an interview. He hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing.

Mortgage servicers like GMAC continue to be set up like assembly lines, with members of its “Document Execution” team responsible for signing documents. The organizational chart shows two “Document Execution” teams of 13 employees each.

The employees are tasked with, among other things, signing affidavits attesting to the accuracy of the basic facts of the loan, such as the mortgage amount, outstanding fees, etc. Affidavits are a necessary step to foreclosure in many states where banks have to go to court to seize a home.

During the robo-signing scandal, GMAC admitted that employees signing affidavits didn’t verify the underlying facts. The bank says it has fixed the problems.

But consumer attorneys said that while GMAC’s processes have improved, they haven’t corrected basic flaws with their process.

Cox, the attorney who questioned Stephan last year as part of a foreclosure case, said employees on the “Document Execution” team still aren’t truly checking the accuracy of the underlying information. Rather than digging for the original documents, employees on the team look at the numbers given by a GMAC database and double-check the math.

If the employee “just looks at a computer screen, that’s not sufficient in my view,” said Cox. He said he would soon be challenging affidavits GMAC recently filed in court.

Consumer attorneys also said the systems that servicers rely on are consistently plagued with inaccuracies, making a more thorough verification of the information necessary. “These days, homeowners are being forced to save every receipt, every letter, every statement, so that one day they can prove that their payment history is accurate and the bank is wrong,” said Jim Kowalski, a consumer attorney in Florida.

GMAC’s Proia said the company’s procedures—which amount to a review of information in the company’s computerized databases—were sufficient to file affidavits.

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Mortgage servicer abuse facing state, fed probes

Mortgage servicer abuse facing state, fed probes


New York Post-

On Wednesday, consumer defense attorney Linda Tirelli added another outrageous example of mortgage servicer misbehavior to her growing file of hundreds of such abuses against New York homeowners.

The overcharging by a servicer — which manages mortgages day-to-day for lenders — to bill a homeowner in foreclosure over $2,700 for property inspections that cost just $9.60 a pop came as federal and state regulators are investigating shoddy practices by servicers and big banks, which are often one and the same.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/mortgage_servicer_abuse_facing_state_Umjx6WymEioIMWkl6hHmGM#ixzz1N8smTqVt

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Ares, Tailwind Said to Be Subpoenaed in N.Y. Foreclosure Probe

Ares, Tailwind Said to Be Subpoenaed in N.Y. Foreclosure Probe


BLOOMBERG-

Tailwind, a private equity firm, and investment firm Ares both have financial ties to Pillar Processing LLC, which processes foreclosures for the law firm of Steven J. Baum. Baum handles almost half the foreclosures in New York, according to one of the people. Baum and Pillar were subpoenaed about a month ago, according to the second person. Both declined to be identified because the matter isn’t public.


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Baum’s practices come under intense scrutiny

Baum’s practices come under intense scrutiny


BuffaloNews

An investigation by the state attorney general into Steven J. Baum PC is shining a new spotlight on the practices of the prominent Amherst foreclosure law firm, at a time when judges and lawyers downstate are accusing it of filing shoddy court documents.

Once little known outside Western New York, Baum has gained notoriety statewide and nationally, as the firm’s work in the foreclosure crisis placed it in the midst of the controversy over improper legal paperwork and so-called “robo-signing.”

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NY Foreclosure Lawyer Under Investigation, Auburn Woman Speaks Out

NY Foreclosure Lawyer Under Investigation, Auburn Woman Speaks Out


AUBURN — Marie Treat is happy to learn that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating a Buffalo law firm for questionable strong-arm tactics in its handling of thousands of foreclosures in New York State. Treat says the Steven J. Baum law firm put her through two and a half years of unnecessary anguish when it tried to foreclose on her home in Auburn beginning in 2007.

Click image below to continue…



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New York Attorney General Subpoena’s Steven J. Baum Law Firm, Pillar Processing, LLC

New York Attorney General Subpoena’s Steven J. Baum Law Firm, Pillar Processing, LLC


From Gretchen Morgenson

The New York investigation appears to center on two of the state’s foreclosure industry giants: the Steven J. Baum firm, headquartered in Amherst, N.Y., and Pillar Processing, a default servicing firm set up by Mr. Baum that was spun off in 2007. Representing JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and other large banks, the Baum firm has handled an estimated 40 percent of foreclosure cases in the state. Pillar Processing provides extensive services to the firm.

[Samples Below]


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BLOOMBERG | Citigroup Settles Fraud Cases Tied to Texas Mortgage Assigner

BLOOMBERG | Citigroup Settles Fraud Cases Tied to Texas Mortgage Assigner


Citigroup Inc., the third-largest U.S. bank, settled or lost at least five claims in 2010 brought by borrowers who accused the bank of filing fraudulent mortgage documents provided by a Texas firm.

In the most recent settlement in December, a bankrupt homeowner in Wappingers Falls, New York, challenged Citigroup’s use of a mortgage “assignment,” which shows the transfer of ownership of a mortgage. It was signed by an employee at Orion Financial Group Inc., a Southlake, Texas, firm that provides document services to lenders.

The document was “of fraudulent nature and questionable origin,” the borrower’s attorney, Linda Tirelli, wrote in an August objection to the bank’s claim at U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. Citigroup created and filed the assignment after proceedings began because it otherwise couldn’t prove its right to collect the debt, she wrote in an e-mail. The bank denied the allegations and didn’t admit liability in the settlement.

MUST WATCH ORION’S VIDEO

http://www.orionfgi.com/video.html

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