Saturday, September 6, 2008

Illinois Cops Nab California Deed Theft Suspect On Outstanding Warrants; Man Shipped Back To Face Multiple Felony Charges

In Southern California, San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos announced late last month:

  • In May 2008, felony charges were filed against John Christopher Foster, 50, formerly of Rancho Cucamonga, involving several felony counts of Real Estate Fraud related offenses. In 2005 and 2006, Foster forged the victim's signature on a Grant Deed and Deeds of Trust for property located in the city of Fontana. Subsequently, Foster sold the Fontana residence for $675,000.

  • Investigators from the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit found that Foster had fled California in January 2008. On August 14, 2008, Illinois State Troopers arrested him while driving through Douglas County, Illinois. Foster was arrested on the outstanding felony warrant, which included charges of: Forgery, identity theft, and filing forged documents with the County Recorder’s Office.

  • On Wednesday, August 20, 2008, DA Investigators from the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit extradited Foster, via airplane, back to California from the state of Illinois.

For the DA's press release, see Rancho Cucamonga Man Extradited From Illinois on Real Estate Fraud Charges.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Feds Warn NYC Landlords On Apartments Not Accessible To Those With Disabilities; May Cost Tens Of Millions To Comply With Law

In New York City, The New York Times reports:

  • [The status of thousands of disabled tenants] took the spotlight last week with the news that developers and landlords in New York City — potentially facing lawsuits from the federal government — may have to spend tens of millions of dollars to renovate more than 100,000 apartments built since 1991 to comply with federal housing laws barring discrimination against tenants who use wheelchairs.

  • The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan has sent letters to some of the city’s most prominent landlords and architects, saying they risk prosecution under the Fair Housing Act because, the prosecutors said, their buildings are not accessible to people with disabilities.

For more, see Accessible Homes? Not Really, Say Disabled Residents.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Law Regulating Foreclosure Rescue Among Financing-Related Homeowner Protection Bills Signed By Delaware Governor

In Wilmington, Delaware, The News Journal reports:

  • Gov. Ruth Anne Minner signed into law [last] Tuesday four bills aimed at helping homeowners avoid foreclosure, including a measure that for the first time licenses and regulates all loan originators. The legislation, which grew out of the recommendations of a foreclosure-prevention task force chaired by Lt. Gov. John Carney, licenses and regulates mortgage loan originators and foreclosure consultants, requires independent counseling for seniors considering reverse mortgages and raises money for a state-run fund that provides short-term loans to help homeowners make mortgage payments.

For more, see Minner OKs foreclosure prevention bills.

According to the synopsis of one of the new laws, the Mortgage Rescue Fraud Protection Act, which regulates foreclosure purchasers and foreclosure consultants:
  • Each month foreclosure proceedings begin on about one house in every 1,000 nationwide. The growing foreclosure rate has led to a wave of equity stripping and foreclosure rescue scams. This bill regulates foreclosure consultants and foreclosure reconveyances in order to protect homeowners from foreclosure rescue schemes that deplete the homeowner’s equity.

Among the highlights of the law is that it makes a violation of any provision a crime punishable as a Class A misdemeanor (see section 2428B(d) of the new law).

Go here for Delaware's Mortgage Rescue Fraud Protection Act; and go here for legislative history of the new law. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2009.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ex-EMC Employee Spills The Beans On Loan Servicing Secrets

Consumer Warning Network has a video on YouTube of an interview with a former loan servicing employee with EMC Mortgage Corporation, who spills the beans on what was once an industry secret servicers didn't want the public to know.

  • The secret mortgage servicers don't want you to know is they can make MORE money off of homeowners when they keep your loan in default. A former employee of loan servicer EMC tells the inside story why so many people can't get their loan out of default.
For the video, see Mortgage Servicers' Secret.

Go here, go here, and go here for posts on questionable mortgage servicing practices. questionable mortgage servicing practices tactics xero

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Erie Homeowner Hurt In Mortgage Scam Settles Suit; 40%+ Cut In Loan Balance, Interest; Non-Profits Reviewing 50 Other Cases Say Class Action Possible

In Erie, Pennsylvania, the Erie Times News reports on the settlement of a predatory lending case brought in an Erie Federal Bankruptcy Court by local resident Eloise Woodsbey, who nearly lost her home to foreclosure:

  • [I]n the main provision of the settlement, the principal on Woodsbey's mortgage was cut from $44,900 to $25,000, and the interest rate was set at 5 percent, over 30 years. That rate had been as high as 11.75 percent.

  • Using the Woodsbey case as a guide, the statewide legal-aid organization that represented her is working with local groups to try to help hundreds of other Erie homeowners caught up in the same Erie subprime mortgage scam, which was at the center of a federal criminal probe. Among those indicted in the case were the mortgage broker and developer involved in selling Woodsbey her house.


  • "It is a good result for her," said one of Woodsbey's lawyers, Kevin Quisenberry, of the Pittsburgh-based Community Justice Project. "I wish there was a way to get relief for the other 100 people who bought these homes." He said the nonprofit Community Justice Project has been receiving information from St. Martin Center Inc. and other Erie-based groups on other homeowners who might need assistance.


  • Dave Pesch, the housing counseling manager at St. Martin Center Inc. [...] said that he and lawyers from the Community Justice Project are reviewing the mortgages of about 50 Erie residents who purchased houses from the defendants in the criminal case. [...] When asked if the review could result in a class-action suit involving some of those homebuyers, Pesch said, "I certainly think that is a possibility." Quisenberry said he hopes that local lawyers and other officials can provide the resources to review the cases of other homeowners to see if they merit legal action. "What would be really great is if we can get a dedicated pool of attorneys who would be available for cases that would be referred to them," Quisenberry said.

For more, see Woman settles mortgage fraud suit.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Foreclosure Defense Law Seminars Coming To Miami, Cleveland

In Miami, Florida, The Florida Bar News reports:

  • April Charney, a Jacksonville Area Legal Aid lawyer and nationally recognized foreclosure defense expert, is the featured speaker at a September 12 seminar in Miami---designed for all attorneys interested in learning how to handle defense of foreclosure cases. [...] Registration for the seminar begins at 8:30 a.m., and the seminar begins at 9 a.m. on Friday, September 12, at the Dade County Courthouse, Courtroom TBA, 73 W. Flagler Street, Miami.

Topics include:

  1. Federal laws that govern mortgage originating and servicing;
  2. Laws and regulations that govern mortgage lending and servicing;
  3. Understanding loan documents, origination, and closing process;
  4. Servicing problems and post origination issues;
  5. Common law/state law causes of action and affirmative defenses;
  6. Drafting discovery/motion practice.

For details and contact information, see Defending Foreclosures in Florida.


In Cleveland, Ohio, the Institute for Foreclosure Legal Assistance has their mortgage foreclosure defense Intensive Training Session scheduled for September 4, 2008 at Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center, 127 Public Square, Cleveland.

This session coincides with the National Association of Consumer Advocates' 2008 Mortgage Lending Litigation Conference on September 5-7, to be held at the same location in Cleveland. Go here for the Beginning Track Agenda, and go here for the Advanced Track Agenda.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Northern Indiana Legal Services Firm Launches Foreclosure Defense Project

In South Bend, Indiana, the South Bend Tribune reports:

  • [W]ith funding from the IFLA [Institute for Foreclosure Legal Assistance(1)], Indiana Legal Services Inc. has launched its new Indiana Foreclosure Legal Assistance Project to provide free legal help to eligible Northern Indiana homeowners who face losing their homes through foreclosure. Indiana Legal Services was awarded a $240,000 grant over three years from IFLA located in Washington, D.C.

  • The Indiana not-for-profit organization was one of 27 legal aid offices throughout the country to receive funds from the national competition. "The mortgage foreclosure issue is significant throughout Indiana, but also in northern Indiana and in the general South Bend area," said Ron Gyure, resource development director for Indiana Legal Services.


  • ILS' new project will initially target the South Bend area and northwest Indiana, where there are a high number of subprime mortgages, many of which are predicted to go into default. In the grant's first year, ILS will have two attorneys in its South Bend office and one attorney in its Gary office to perform foreclosure defense work.(2) [...] In the grant's latter stages, ILS expects to expand its foreclosure work into the Fort Wayne area.


  • ILS can provide direct legal representation to homeowners by reviewing their mortgage documents to see whether they include provisions that are abusive or predatory, negotiate new terms with their lenders or take other appropriate legal actions.

For more, see Project to aid homeowners (Indiana Legal Services program in South Bend aims to avoid foreclosures).

(1) The Institute for Foreclosure Legal Assistance, a project of the Center for Responsible Lending and managed by the National Association of Consumer Advocates, made the awards to nonprofit groups that demonstrated that they already had successful foreclosure prevention programs but needed more resources.

(2) The ILS South Bend Regional Office serves clients in St. Joseph, Elkhart, Fulton, Kosciusko, Lagrange, LaPorte, Marshall, Noble, Pulaski and Starke counties. From its Gary office, the ILS legal staff serves Lake, Porter, Jasper and Newton counties.