Hundreds of mortgage fraud lawsuits planned
Published: Saturday, July 24, 2010
By Jameson Cook, Macomb Daily Staff Writer
Macomb, Oakland cases in federal court but may return to state
Officials at an organization representing homeowners battling their mortgage lenders say hundreds more people in the tri-county area will join additional lawsuits.
Officials at Michigan Loan Compliance Advisory Group Inc. in Troy said they plan to file lawsuits including up to another 1,000 plaintiffs against financial institutions for deceptive lending, excessive fees and other wrongdoing in granting subprime mortgages.
That’s on top of the 88 plaintiffs representing 78 mortgages in Macomb and Oakland counties who through Michigan Loan Compliance sued more than two dozen banks for awarding inflated mortgages to borrowers.
“We’re not stopping,” said May Brikho, senior consultant at Michigan Loan Compliance.
“We’re trying to convince judges there is fraud, there is a scam. The banks are not the victims. They never lost anything.
“We are getting a lot of new plaintiffs who are out of a job and they do not qualify for loan modification. People are telling other people and they are contacting us.”
The pending cases in Macomb, Oakland and a third in Wayne County were filed in state circuit court, but have since been moved to U.S. District Court in Detroit.
However, Loan Compliance attorney Ziyad Kased has asked federal Judge Arthur Tarnow to return the Oakland case to Judge Colleen O’Brien in the Oakland court in Pontiac and said he believes federal Judge Nancy Edmunds on her own may return the Macomb case back to circuit Judge John Foster in Mount Clemens.
Kased said the Oakland case should remain in state court because all of the defendants and plaintiffs do not have different state residences, which is a requirement to get the case moved.
He said that Ocwen and Saxon must gain “concurrence” of the other defendants to warrant permanent transfer and that all of the defendants must be located outside the state.
Attorney Chantelle Neumann, representing Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, named in the Macomb case, and Saxon Mortgage Co., named in the Oakland case, gained “removal” to federal court for the time being. Neumann said the defendants did not have to gain concurrence from other defendants because the plaintiffs improperly got together.
“Plaintiffs have aggregated their grievances into one mass action in an effort to evade federal jurisdiction,” said Neumann, a Rochester Hills-based lawyer also representing Saxon, in a legal brief.
Kased says the plaintiffs have similar claims.
“There were all victims of the same predatory lending practices listed in the complaint (inflated income, understated debt, manufactured debt to income ratios etc.),” Kased says in a court document.
He contends that the case should remain since three of the defendants are “domestic Michigan corporations.”
He also said that all but three mortgages in the Oakland case are affiliated with co-defendant Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., so there is a “common thread” among them.
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