Saxon Mortgage | FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA

Tag Archive | "saxon mortgage"

NYSC Denies MTD “Fraud, Breach of Contract, Securitization” | MBIA v. MORGAN STANLEY, SAXON MORTGAGE

NYSC Denies MTD “Fraud, Breach of Contract, Securitization” | MBIA v. MORGAN STANLEY, SAXON MORTGAGE


MBIA INSURANCE CORPORATION

against

MORGAN STANLEY, MORGAN STANLEY MORTGAGE CAPITAL HOLDINGS, SAXON MORTGAGE SERVICES INC.

[ipaper docId=56545204 access_key=key-20p0si7ej7oidnaif5xb height=600 width=600 /]

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (1)

Justice Department Settles with Bank of America and Saxon Mortgage for Illegally Foreclosing on Servicemembers

Justice Department Settles with Bank of America and Saxon Mortgage for Illegally Foreclosing on Servicemembers


Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Justice Department Settles with Bank of America and Saxon Mortgage for Illegally Foreclosing on Servicemembers

Settlement Includes a Minimum of $22 Million in Relief for Victims

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced settlements with two lenders under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to resolve allegations that the lenders wrongfully foreclosed upon active duty servicemembers without first obtaining court orders, in violation of the SCRA. Combined, the settlements provide more than $22 million in monetary relief for the victims.

Under the first settlement , BAC Home Loans Servicing LP, formerly known as Countrywide Home Loans Servicing LP, a subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation, will pay $20 million to resolve a lawsuit alleging that Countrywide foreclosed on approximately 160 servicemembers between January 2006 and May 2009 without court orders.   In addition to the $20 million, Countrywide agreed to pay any servicemember wrongfully foreclosed in the period from June 2009 through 2010.  The complaint alleges that Countrywide did not consistently check the military status of borrowers on whom it foreclosed through at least May 31, 2009. The complaint was filed in the Central District of California, where Countrywide is headquartered.

Under the second settlement, Saxon Mortgage Services Inc., a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley, will pay $2.35 million to resolve a lawsuit alleging that Saxon foreclosed on approximately 17 servicemembers between January 2006 and June 2009 without court orders. In addition to the $2.35 million, Saxon agreed to pay any servicemember wrongfully foreclosed in the period from July 2009 through 2010.   The complaint alleges that Saxon failed to consistently or accurately check the military status of borrowers on whom it foreclosed through at least June 30, 2009.   The complaint was filed in the Northern District of Texas, where Saxon is headquartered.

“The men and women who serve our nation in the armed forces deserve, at the very least, to know that they will not have their homes taken from them wrongfully while they are bravely putting their lives on the line on behalf of their country,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. “The Civil Rights Division is committed to aggressively enforcing those laws that protect the rights of servicemembers. All lenders have an obligation to do their part to work with servicemembers while these brave men and women focus on keeping us safe.   The Justice Department also thanks the Department of Defense for its critical assistance in identifying servicemembers whose rights were violated”

“Countrywide Home Loans failed to protect and respect the rights of our servicemembers, failed to comply with clearly mandated procedures and foreclosed against homeowners who are valiantly serving our nation,” said André Birotte Jr, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California.   “Military families lost their homes when Countrywide violated the law, causing undue stress to wartime personnel who have been protected from such actions since the Civil War.”

“With the numerous sacrifices our servicemembers make while they are serving our country, the last thing they need to worry about is whether or not their families will be forced from their homes,” said James T. Jacks, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. “These lenders’ callous disregard for the SCRA, a law which was designed to insulate these patriots from unlawful foreclosures and other civil and financial obligations while they are on active duty, is deplorable and I applaud the Department’s Civil Rights Division’s efforts in identifying and seeking remedies for these wronged service members.”

Of the approximately 160 servicemembers upon whom Countrywide foreclosed without obtaining court orders, Countrywide allegedly foreclosed in many instances where it knew, or should have known, about their military status.   The victims include individuals who have served honorably in Iraq and Afghanistan.   The Department of Justice initiated its SCRA investigation of Countrywide in response to a referral by the U.S. Marine Corps regarding an active duty servicemember who was facing foreclosure by Countrywide.

Under the consent decree, Countrywide will establish a settlement fund of $20 million to compensate the servicemembers upon whom Countrywide foreclosed between January 1, 2006, and May 31, 2009.   In addition to this settlement fund, Countrywide has agreed to compensate any additional SCRA-eligible individuals on whom Countrywide foreclosed without court orders between June 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010.   The consent decree also requires numerous corrective measures, including SCRA training for Countrywide employees and agents, developing modified SCRA policies and procedures and referring future SCRA complaints to the Justice Department.   Countrywide will also repair any negative credit report entries related to the allegedly wrongful foreclosures and will not pursue any remaining amounts owed under the mortgages. Countrywide now will check the Defense Manpower Data Center’s website and its own files prior to conducting any foreclosure, and will not foreclose in violation of the SCRA if the borrower is in military service or is otherwise protected by the SCRA.

Of the approximately 18 servicemembers upon whom Saxon foreclosed without obtaining court orders, Saxon allegedly foreclosed on at least 10 servicemembers when Saxon knew or should have known about their military status.   The servicemembers Saxon foreclosed on include men and women who have served honorably in Iraq, some of whom were severely injured in the line of duty or suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.   The Department of Justice initiated its SCRA investigation in response to an inquiry from Sergeant James Hurley, who resolved his claims against Saxon earlier this year in a confidential settlement.

Under the consent decree, Saxon will establish a settlement fund of $2.35 million to compensate the servicemembers upon whom Saxon allegedly wrongfully foreclosed between 2006 and 2009.   In addition to this settlement fund, Saxon also has agreed to compensate any additional SCRA-eligible servicemembers on whom Saxon foreclosed without court orders between July 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010.   The consent decree also requires numerous corrective measures, including SCRA training for Saxon employees and agents, developing modified SCRA policies and procedures, and referring future SCRA complaints to the Justice Department.   Saxon will also repair any negative credit report entries related to the wrongful foreclosures and will not pursue any remaining amounts owing under the mortgages. Saxon now will check the Defense Manpower Data Center’s website and its own files prior to conducting any foreclosure, and will not foreclose in violation of the SCRA if the borrower is in military service or is otherwise protected by the SCRA.

The division’s SCRA investigations have resulted in litigation or settlements enforcing SCRA’s provisions for termination of residential lease agreements, protection against enforcement of storage liens on towed vehicles without court orders, reduction of interest rates to six percent on credit obligations, and a prohibition against paying pre-payment penalties on mortgage loans when a servicemember must move for military service.

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.   For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov .

Servicemembers and their dependents who believe that their SCRA rights have been violated should contact the nearest Armed Forces Legal Assistance Program office.   Please consult the military legal assistance office locator at http://legalassistance.law.af.mil and click on the Legal Services Locator.   Additional information about the Justice Department’s enforcement of the SCRA and the other laws protecting servicemembers is available at www.servicemembers.gov.   Servicemembers who believe they may have been victims, can contact the banks directly at 1-800-896-7743, mailbox 6 for Countrywide or 1-800-896-7743, mailbox 995 for Saxon.

11-683 Civil Rights Division

[Source: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/May/11-crt-683.html]

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (0)

The Case of TWO (2) Allonges To Note, Saxon Cannot Explain | INGRID BERG v. eHome Credit

The Case of TWO (2) Allonges To Note, Saxon Cannot Explain | INGRID BERG v. eHome Credit


via Matt Weidner

INGRID BERG, Plaintiff,
v.
eHOME CREDIT CORP., a New York corporation; SAXON MORTGAGE SERVICES INC., Defendants.

No. 08 C 05530.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division.

February 25, 2011.


MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

SHARON JOHNSON COLEMAN, Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on plaintiff Ingrid Berg’s Motion to Dismiss defendant Saxon Mortgage Services Inc.’s Counterclaim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) for lack of standing [46] [49]. For the reasons that follow, the motion is denied.

Background

Plaintiff and her husband, Stanley Berg, purchased a property in Highland Park, Illinois, in 2001. The Bergs financed the purchase of the property with a mortgage originally held by eHome Credit Corporation (“eHome Mortgage”). In 2005, Stanley Berg filed for bankruptcy. Ingrid Berg did not file for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court ruled that the trustee of Stanley Berg’s bankruptcy estate could avoid the eHome Mortgage as to Stanley Berg’s half-interest in the property, but it had no jurisdiction over the half-interest owned by Ingrid Berg. The bankruptcy court further ruled that the trustee could sell the property and Ingrid Berg’s share of the proceeds would be subject to valid liens, and that the trustee could deposit the proceeds with a neutral custodian during the adjudication of any liens.

Ingrid Berg filed this lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment that her interest in the property is not encumbered by the eHome Mortgage. Defendant eHome Credit Corp. has not filed an appearance in this action. Saxon Mortgage Services, Inc. (“Saxon”), who asserts that it is the servicer of the eHome Mortgage for FV-1, Inc. (“FV-1”), was granted leave to intervene as a defendant. FV-1 purports to be the current holder of the eHome Mortgage and note. Saxon filed an answer and counterclaim seeking a declaratory judgment that the eHome Mortgage is the senior lien on the proceeds from the sale of Ingrid Berg’s half-interest in the property.

Legal Standard

The present challenge relates to standing and this Court’s jurisdiction over the matter. The requirements of standing are: (1) an injury in fact; (2) causation; and (3) redressibility. See, e.g., RK Co. v. See, 622 F. 3d 846, 851 (7th Cir. 2010). When deciding a motion to dismiss the Court accepts well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true, (Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F. 3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008)), and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Pisciotta v. Old Nat. Bancorp, 499 F.3d 629, 633 (7th Cir. 2007). On Rule 12(b)(1) motions, the court may consider material outside the pleadings. See United Phosphorus, Ltd. v. Angus Chem. Co., 322 F.3d 942, 946 (7th Cir. 2003).

Discussion

Plaintiff moves to dismiss defendant Saxon’s counterclaim, asserting that Saxon has no standing to assert the counterclaim because only the entity entitled to enforce the note may bring a complaint to foreclose the mortgage against the mortgagor. See Bayview Loan Servicing v. Nelson, 382 Ill. App. 3d 1184, 1187-88 (2008). Saxon responds that it is an entity entitled to enforce the note because FV-1 is the holder of the note and the mortgage and FV-1 authorized Saxon, as its servicer, to enforce the note on its behalf.

Here, it is undisputed that the eHome mortgage and note were transferred once by an allonge to Option One Mortgage Corporation (“Option One”) on July 16, 2004. Saxon further asserts that Option One then indorsed the note in blank by an allonge, and that FV-1 is in possession of the original mortgage and note with the allonge indorsed in blank.

Saxon attached as exhibits to its response, the original note (Exhibit A, Dkt. # 53-1), the allonge to the promissory note indorsing the note to Option One on July 16, 2004 (Exhibit B, Dkt. # 53-2), the allonge to the note indorsed in blank by Option One (Exhibit C, Dkt. # 53-3 ), a declaration under penalty of perjury signed by Roger Perlstadt, attorney for Saxon, averring that Saxon has provided the law firm with the original note and indorsements relating to the loan secured by the mortgage on the property at 2205 Kipling Lane in Highland Park, Illinois (Exhibit D, Dkt. # 53-4), and the “Limited Power of Attorney” authorizing Saxon to enforce any of the mortgages/notes that it services on behalf of FV-1 (Exhibit E, Dkt. # 53-5).

Under Illinois law, when an instrument is indorsed in blank it becomes payable to the bearer. 810 ILCS 5/3-205(b) (West 2010). The person in possession of an instrument payable to the bearer is the “holder” of that instrument, 810 ILCS 5/1-201(b)(21)(A) (West 2010), and the “holder”of an instrument is entitled to enforce it. 810 ILCS 5/3-301 (West 2010). Here, the counterclaim alleges that FV-1 is the current holder of the note secured by the eHome Mortgage, and that Saxon has the authority to enforce the note on FV-1’s behalf. It alleges that FV-1 obtained the note through various transfers or assignments. The documents attached as exhibits support Saxon’s assertions that FV-1 is the holder of the note and that Saxon has the authority to act on FV-1’s behalf to enforce the note. Proof of possession is essential for standing to enforce payment on an instrument. Locks v. North Towne Nat’l Bank, 115 Ill. App. 3d 729, 71 Ill. Dec. 531, 451 N.E.2d 19 (2 Dist. 1983). It is undisputed that the note in Saxon’s possession that it presented to the Court is the original. At issue here is the validity of the allonges purporting to indorse the note from eHome Credit Corp to Option One and from Option One to blank payable to bearer.

Plaintiff argues that the allonge presented by Saxon, purporting to be the allonge transferring the note from eHome Credit Corp to Option One is a different allonge than the one presented by eHome in the bankruptcy proceedings. Indeed, the allonge that plaintiff attached to her motion to dismiss that purports to transfer the note from eHome Credit Corp to Option One (Exhibit F, Dkt. # 46-7) appears to be different from the one presented by Saxon. The Court directed Saxon to produce for the Court the original note and the allonges purporting to transfer the note; first from eHome Credit Corp. to Option One and then from Option One to blank. Saxon could provide no explanation for the two different allonges indorsing the note from eHome Credit Corp to Option One. Despite a difference in appearance, the two allonges purport to make the same indorsement and transfer.

Plaintiff further asserts that this Court should adopt a rule that an allonge is not an effective means of indorsement unless there is no space on the note itself to write the indorsement. Plaintiff relies on Brown [Fountain] v. Bookstaver, 141 Ill. 461 (1892), in which the Illinois Supreme Court stated: “Generally, an assignment of a negotiable instrument must be indorsed on the instrument, viz., written on the back of it, that being the meaning of the word >indorsement.’ If, however, by reason of the number of indorsements, the back of the instrument is so covered as to make it necessary, `an extra piece of paper may be tacked or pasted on the instrument, and all future indorsements may be written on the attached paper.” Id. at 465.

[ipaper docId=55509387 access_key=key-fknvspsz0luv2ft6ed4 height=600 width=600 /]

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (0)

FDL | Portrait of HAMP Failure: The Mother of All HAMP Nightmares

FDL | Portrait of HAMP Failure: The Mother of All HAMP Nightmares


By: David Dayen Wednesday February 9, 2011 8:45 am

I attended a Huffington Post Mortgage Madness Meetup in Los Angeles last night, which suffered from some late planning, the buggy nature of the Meetup tool and the general difficulty of self-organizing. Only a half-dozen people showed, and most of them were either media (a guy from NPR’s Marketplace) or interested observers in the foreclosure mess. In fact, the one homeowner with a story to tell arrived late and almost didn’t make it because he went to the wrong location initially. But oh, what a story he had to tell. And while I’ve heard a lot of these HAMP horror stories in the past year, I’ve never heard anything like this.

Jeremy Fletcher is a swimming pool builder from Northridge, California. His business jumped along with the inflation of the housing bubble, as people bought new homes and made improvements. He made enough money in those years to purchase a $900,000 home for him, his wife and two kids in late 2007. “Ironically, the reason I was doing so well ended up tied to the same thing that got me in this mess,” Fletcher, a surfer and former musician who lived with the Lovin’ Spoonful growing up, told the group.

As the bubble popped, his business tanked. He went from $250,000 in sales in 2007 to $40,000 in 2008. By early 2009, “I was totally broke,” paying for his $4,200 mortgage out of savings and barely hanging on.

He called his servicer, Citi Mortgage, early in 2009, when HAMP was announced, to see if he could get help. “I thought I was being responsible, looking forward before I got into trouble,” he said. The servicer didn’t see it that way. Citi told him they wouldn’t help because he hadn’t missed a payment and showed no sign of default.

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (1)

CA E Dist. Court: “Plaintiff may therefore proceed on her claims for negligence” MONDAY v. SAXON MORTGAGE

CA E Dist. Court: “Plaintiff may therefore proceed on her claims for negligence” MONDAY v. SAXON MORTGAGE


HENRIETTA J. MONDAY, an Individual, Plaintiff,
v.
SAXON MORTGAGE SERVICES, INC
, a Texas Corporation; OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company; U.S. BANK, N.A., AS TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED HOLDERS OF ABFC 2007-WMC1 TRUST ASSET BACKED FUNDING CORPORATION ASSET BACKED CERTIFICATED, SERIES 2007-WMC1, an Ohio Business Entity; T.D. SERVICE COMPANY, a California Corporation; and DOES 1 through 10, Inclusive, Defendants.

No. CIV. 2:10-989 WBS KJM.

November 29, 2010.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: MOTIONS TO DISMISS AND TO STRIKE

WILLIAM B. SHUBB, District Judge.

Excerpt:

Plaintiff may therefore proceed under the First Amended Complaint on her claims for negligence against Saxon; cancellation of instrument against Ocwen, U.S. Bank, and TDS; setting aside the trustee’s sale against all defendants; and violations of the UCL against Saxon and U.S. Bank. If plaintiff wishes to amend the complaint to cure the defects explained above, she may do so within twenty days from the date of this Order. Otherwise, the case will proceed under the First Amended Complaint.

Continue below…

[ipaper docId=44877779 access_key=key-2luo4yzrtkzjoznz8xk3 height=600 width=600 /]

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (1)

No Penalties for Mortgage Company with Worst Loan Mod Backlog

No Penalties for Mortgage Company with Worst Loan Mod Backlog


by Paul Kiel, ProPublica – May 28, 2010 1:53 pm EDT

Jeanenne Longacre said she received a letter from Saxon Mortgage saying she was approved for a loan mod, but the final terms never came. She says she lost her home because of Saxon's errors.
Jeanenne Longacre said she received a letter from Saxon Mortgage saying she was approved for a loan mod, but the final terms never came. She says she lost her home because of Saxon’s errors.

Last week, the government released data [1] showing that there’s a big problem at Saxon Mortgage, a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley. Of all the mortgage companies participating in the administration’s mortgage modification program, Saxon has the largest proportion of homeowners caught in modification limbo.

The program, which provides incentives for mortgage companies to modify loans to an affordable level, has been plagued by delays and disappointing results. About 1.2 million homeowners have begun a “trial” modification, which is supposed to last three months. But less than a quarter of them have emerged with a real, lasting modification. (Here’s our backgrounder on the program and problems with it [2].)

As of April, about 265,000 homeowners [3] were caught in trials that had lasted more than six months. Nowhere is that backlog worse than at Saxon, a mid-sized subprime servicer based in Texas that was acquired [4] by Morgan Stanley in 2006 and has had long-running customer service problems [5].

Few of Saxon’s trials have converted into lasting modifications. As of the end of April, Saxon had put 40,000 homeowners into trials, but only about 11,000, or 27 percent, had received a permanent modification. Far more had either been dropped from the program (16,000) or were still waiting for a final answer after being in the trial for longer than six months (10,000).

The Four Mortgage Servicers with The Biggest Trial Backlogs

Servicers Est. # “Aged” Trials % of Active Trials that are “Aged”
Saxon Mortgage Services 9,839 76%
JPMorgan Chase 85,678 72%
U.S. Bank 2,064 58%
CitiMortgage 26,375 48%
Total for Program 265,015 42%

A close look at Saxon provides a window into problems with the program itself, in particular a glaring lack of oversight from Washington. While the government set up the program, it relies on mortgage companies to actually perform modifications. So far Washington has shied away from penalizing those servicers that have failed to follow the program’s rules or underperformed. Indeed, despite widespread problems [3] among mortgage servicers and frequent tough talk [6] from Treasury officials, who have often threatened penalties, the government has yet to issue a single one.

A spokeswoman for Saxon said that the company has been regularly audited, as have other participants in the government’s program, and that the reviews had uncovered no “material issues.”

For homeowners, on the other hand, the consequences of servicer problems can be all-too-real. Some homeowners say they lost their home because of errors by Saxon.

The country’s largest mortgage servicers are attached to the biggest banks like Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, but a number of mid-sized servicers like Saxon are stand-alone companies or subsidiaries of other banks. As of 2008, Saxon serviced over 340,000 loans.

According to the Better Business Bureau, Saxon Mortgage Services requests that consumers with a complaint contact Robin Chrostowski, Assistant Vice President of the Customer Solutions and Innovation Team, at 817-665-7862 or email CSIteam@saxonmsi.com to resolve the issues prior to filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

 

The company already had problems before the administration launched its mortgage modification program in April 2009. As the Wall Street Journal reported last July [7], Saxon ranked last among 20 servicers in a Credit Suisse analysis of how many subprime loans each had modified. The Better Business Bureau had given the company an “F” [5] rating, based on a profusion of consumer complaints.

But the company was among the first to sign up for the government program when it launched in April, 2009. In the first few months, Saxon put tens of thousands of homeowners into trial modifications. In a November press release, Saxon CEO Anthony Meola boasted [8] that Saxon was leading all other servicers in the number of trials it had begun.

The Treasury Department had set the rules of the program [9] to encourage servicers to rapidly enroll homeowners. Servicers were allowed to accept homeowners on the basis of their “stated” income, what a Treasury official described [9] as “a wing and a prayer.” The financial information would be verified later, after the trial began. While well-intentioned, the policy resulted in an enormous backlog of trials—homeowners who had been given temporary modifications and were waiting months for a final answer — and Treasury changed the program rules this spring to require verified income information up front.

Consumer advocates say that homeowners who are denied modification after making several months of trial payments are often worse off than if they’d never started the trial at all [9], because the process damages their credit and they’re prevented from saving for the possibility of foreclosure.

At Saxon, many homeowners seem to be caught in that limbo because of mistakes and delays at the company. John Riggins, the CEO of the Fort Worth Better Business Bureau, said that the biggest complaints about Saxon are that the company has misapplied payments or lost documents sent as part of the modification process. Saxon employees often blame computer problems or a lack of staffing, according to the complaints, which number 208 in the past year.

Jennifer Sala, a spokeswoman for Saxon, said the backlog was not caused by a lack of capacity, but resulted from a “careful review process” that “can take a considerable amount of time.” She added, “We want to afford our customers every opportunity to avoid foreclosure.”

Saxon has hired about 330 new full-time employees in the past year, she said, increasing the staff by 50 percent. Riggins of the Better Business Bureau said that the complaint volume had improved since last year, but that major problems remained. Saxon has improved only from an “F” to a “D-.” rating [10].

There are other signs Saxon has been struggling to handle the volume. In April, it transferred the servicing rights [11] for about 38,000 loans to Ocwen, which specializes in servicing troubled loans. “Normally the reason for selling loans to Ocwen is you don’t want to hassle with them anymore and they’re delinquent,” said Guy Cecala, the publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance. Some of the loans transferred were in the middle of the modification process.

Sometimes the communications from Saxon can be bewildering. Barbara Niederstein of Fayetteville, Ga., said she has twice received letters saying she was being dropped from the program. Both letters cited missing documentation as a reason, but she says she was never told it was missing. Saxon has threatened to pursue foreclosure. Niederstein says that hours spent on the phone with a housing counselor and Saxon employees has at least postponed that for a month, even if the confusion has yet to be cleared up.

 Jeanenne Longacre and her husband Robert.

Jeanenne Longacre and her husband Robert.

Jeanenne Longacre says she lost her home because of Saxon’s errors. She says Saxon wrongly set the trial payments at a level Longacre and her husband could only muster for a few months, and then booted her from the program when she couldn’t keep up the payments. Her house was ultimately sold out from under her after she says she received an assurance the sale would be delayed.

For months, her husband had been struggling to find steady employment when Longacre lost her job with California Blue Cross in February 2009. They were behind on their mortgage payments and faced foreclosure.

The pair, in their 50s with grown children, had been in the house for 10 years, but had refinanced in 2006 into an adjustable-rate loan with New Century, the now-defunct subprime lender. The Longacres were underwater on their mortgage, with their Los Angeles home worth about half as much as they owed.

Longacre says Saxon’s first error with her modification came with the level of the couple’s payments. The modified mortgage payment was set at $3,400, about $1,400 lower than the couple’s payments had been, but at a level they could maintain only with the help of temporary severance she was receiving. That severance would run out in August, just two months after her trial began in June.

Sala, the spokeswoman for Saxon, said she could not discuss Longacre’s case because company policy prohibited discussing customer information.

Trials are supposed to test the homeowner’s ability to make the reduced payments for a prolonged period of time. But Longacre says she always knew they would be able to make the payments only for a few months. By the time August, September came around, we started struggling,” she said. “It’s ridiculous paying that kind of money when you don’t have it.”

Still, Longacre kept paying. After August, the third month of the trial, came and went with no news, Longacre began calling Saxon regularly to find out what was happening. For months, she says she couldn’t get an answer. She was occasionally asked to send in a new document, but then the wait would continue.

Finally, she spoke to a negotiator in January this year, the eighth month of her trial. He told her she’d be approved for a permanent modification and that the payment, based on her family’s verified income, would be much lower, just $1,300 a month.

“I was so excited,” Longacre said. “I thought a miracle had happened.”

But her excitement was short-lived. She received a letter from Saxon in early February [12] saying she’d been approved for the modification, but the final terms never came. When she called to ask about that, she says she was told she had to make the trial payments for January and February or she’d face foreclosure.

The couple had missed those payments because their money had finally run out, she says. But even though Saxon had set their permanent modification at a level far below her trial payments, she was dropped from the program for not making all of her trial payments.

In March, she received a notice that Saxon would auction her home on April 1. She hired a lawyer to negotiate on her behalf, and it seemed like foreclosure had been temporarily avoided when a Saxon employee said the sale would be postponed until May in order to provide more time to work out another solution.

Longacre thought the auction had been deferred until a man knocked on her door in early April, saying that he represented the new owners of her home and was offering her money to vacate. The home had sold for $302,000, less than half of what the Longacres owed on the mortgage.

“That home was the only thing we had. I put it everything that I own into that home.” She currently lives in an apartment with her husband.

As we reported earlier this month, mistaken foreclosures can result from a lack of communication within the servicer itself [13]. In Longacre’s case, she says she was not provided a denial letter or given an opportunity to otherwise avoid foreclosure, as the federal program’s guidelines require.

Consumers advocates say the program does not offer an effective recourse for homeowners to redress servicer wrongs. Treasury officials say [13] that homeowners in Longacre’s position should call the HOPE Hotline, which is staffed with housing counselors, for help. Advocates say that’s been ineffective, and have long complained [14] about the lack of a formal appeals process for homeowners.

Longacre’s case also reflects on a problem faced by the hundreds of thousands of homeowners who’ve been caught in prolonged trials: whether they must keep paying after the three-month period expires, and whether mortgage companies can deny modifications if homeowners miss payments while they’re in limbo.

The Treasury Department has given conflicting answers for that question.

The program’s guidelines say [15] that borrowers remain eligible for a permanent modification “regardless of whether the borrower failed to make trial period payments following the successful completion of the trial period.”

Despite that apparently clear meaning, a Treasury spokeswoman told ProPublica homeowners were required to continue the payments “even if the period was extended to allow additional processing.”

Cohen, of the National Consumer Law Center, said that’s not how consumer advocates have understood the program’s rules. “The program rules are clear: a homeowner is required to make trial payments only until the effective date of the permanent modification, which is three months after the beginning of the trial period.”

Four other Saxon customers told ProPublica that they’d been disqualified for missing the extended trial payments. Sala, Saxon’s spokeswoman, said the company follows the program’s guidelines. It’s unclear if there will be any consequences for Saxon for any errors or rule violations. The Treasury has hired [16] Freddie Mac [17] to audit the servicers participating in the program, and so far, as Saxon’s spokeswoman has said, auditors have not flagged any “material issues” at the company. The Treasury spokeswoman said some information from the compliance reviews will eventually be made public, but none was available now.

 Write to Paul Kiel at paul.kiel@propublica.org

Posted in forensic loan audit, forensic mortgage investigation audit, Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, mortgage modification, saxon mortgage, scamComments (0)


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

Archives