Lisa Epstein and Michael Redman looking through mortgage documents at the Palm Beach County Courthouse in West Palm Beach, Fla. They’re two of the nation’s most influential citizen agitators helping to uncover foreclosure fraud and abuse.
Founder & Author of 4closureFraud.org
Trap 1: Not hiring a mortgage defense attorney who believes in winning.
Truth: You will lose your home.
Trap 2: Trusting the bank is delaying your foreclosure lawsuit while “considering” your loan modification application.
Truth: That’s a LIE. The Bank’s game is to keep you from defending the foreclosure until the Court orders your house sold and you lose your home.
Trap 3: Paying a Loan Modification Company or Loan Modification Attorney for a loan modification. THERE ARE NO loan modifications.
Truth: The Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP) is not guaranteed loan modification; it’s free, if your lender is participating; and, if you agree to a HAMP loan modification, you become worse off than a renter. The truth is, loan modification is not available because the Banks DO NOT own your Note. The Note was sold to a Trust, whose investors often won’t agree to a loan modification.
Trap4: Trusting the Loan Modification Company or Loan Modification Attorney handling your foreclosure suit.
Truth: No one is DEFENDING your foreclosure suit. Result: You lose your home.
Trap 5: Signing an answer handed to you by a non-attorney or Loan Modification Attorney as a “Pro Se” defendant.
Truth: “Pro Se” means you are representing yourself and you may be admitting to something you do not want to admit. Result: you lose your home.
Trap 6: Ignoring the foreclosure complaint.
Truth: Big Mistake! Result: You lose your home.
Trap 7: Thinking Bankruptcy will solve the foreclosure.
Truth: Bankruptcy may be an option but in most cases it only stalls the foreclosure. You need to seek an attorney who will explain the difference as well as your options.
Trap8: Mortgage Defense Attorneys are expensive.
Truth: Not True! It’s more cost effective and adventitious to defend the foreclosure than to seek a Loan Modification or walk away. Fighting is the ONLY way you will win. And you CAN win!
Trap 9: There are no defenses against foreclosure.
Truth: NOT True! Foreclosure defenses are available because of the securitization of the Notes to Trusts, who sold unregulated securities to investors for three times the value of your Note. Like any Ponzi Scheme, it has holes.
You can win
Forged notes, lost notes, intentional destruction of notes, unauthorized people signing mortgage assignments or endorsing notes, missing documentation, fraudulently fabricated documents, different plaintiffs foreclosing on the same property, plaintiffs who do not exist and the inability or refusal to provide proof of purchase and/or ownership of the promissory notes.
In addition, there are more and more claims arising from predatory lending practices of the Plaintiffs bank; including, violations of state and federal law, deceptive trade practices, and unfair or abusive dept collection.
Fighting the bank is advantageous to you. The goal of any good litigation attorney is to utilize all defenses/strategies in order to obtain the best possible outcome for the borrower. Depending on the evidence, litigation may even lead to a home free and clear of any mortgage. It is all about giving you options and creating leverage against the banks.
You need to have a plan of action, a direction, and understanding of why that plan is good for you.
*Here is a great example of the foreclosure Mill problem in Florida:
Below are copies of a Florida Bar Complaint that was filed against David J. Stern regarding his foreclosure techniques back in 2002…
Let’s review and see if he changed his ways or violated any of the issues brought by the bar…
From the complaint…
A significant portion of work performed by the respondent’s law firm is not performed by attorneys, but it is performed by nonlawyer staff. The attorneys in respondent’s law firm have a duty to supervise the nonlawyer staff, as well as review the nonlawyer staff work product and sign off on it for the purposes of the foreclosure actions.
Because the amount of attorneys’ fees respondent may charge is limited by his contract with his clients, respondent created Professional Title as a means for providing the services in a manner he controls, and as a result increasing the monies he receives for each foreclosure matter.
4closureFraud dot org
Respondent orders title searches from the Fund at prices ranging from $75.00 to $90.00
At all times material to this complaint, the respondent did not have Professional Title render an invoice. As a routine practice, only in situations where a borrower or their counsel challenged the amount of respondent’s costs did respondent generate a Professional Title invoice.
The Professional Title invoices, when they are generated, reflect respondent’s “costs” for Professional Title’s services in a range from $325.00 to over $400.00.
In many instances, the mischaracterizing as costs what should be identified as attorneys’ fees or legal assistant fees allowed respondent to avoid his agreed-to fee cap.
It may be permissible to bill for this nonlawyer time if it is properly identified in any bills and fee affidavits. It is not permissible for an attorney to represent, in bills and/or fee affidavits, that work performed by a nonattorney was performed by the attorney personally.
The affidavits filed by respondent’s law firm in the foreclosure proceedings routinely contain these misstatements of material fact…
4closureFraud dot org
By the actions set forth above, respondent violated Rule Regulating The Florida Bar 3-4.3 [Acts contrary to honesty and justice are cause for discipline.]; Rule 4-1.5(a)[An attorney shall not enter into an agreement for, charge, or collect an illegal, prohibited, or clearly excessive fee]; Rule 4-3.3 [A lawyer shall not knowingly: (1) make a false statement of material fact or law to a tribunal. . .(4) permit any witness .. . to offer testimony or other evidence that the lawyer knows to be false.]; 4-8.4(a) [A lawyer shall not violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another.]; Rule 4-8.4(d) [A lawyer shall not engage in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.].
Respondent’s invoicing practices could mislead clients and others to believe that Professional Title performed services separate from those of his law firm, and that he incurred actual out-of-pocket expenses due and owing to Professional Title.
The respondent did not fully inform some clients of the manner in which these legal services were performed by his firm through Professional Title Services.
4closureFraud dot org
By the actions set forth above, respondent violated Rule Regulating The Florida Bar 3-4.3 [Acts contrary to honesty and justice are cause for discipline.]; and Rule 4-1.5(e) [When the lawyer has not regularly represented the client, the basis or rate of the fee shall be communicated to the client, preferably in writing, before or within a reasonable time after commencing the representation.].
Certain products and services, such as an examined title insurance report, were guaranteed and eliminated the need for respondent to have his attorneys and other personnel engage in further examination of Fund searches.
The cost the Fund charged for examined title was significantly less than what respondent billed as a cost through Professional Title.
If the equivalent services could have been provided to his clients at a savings, respondent’s own interests conflicted with the best interests of his clients. Respondent did not fully explain these circumstances to clients so that they could make an informed waiver of this conflict.
4closureFraud dot org
By the actions set forth above, respondent violated Rule Regulating The Florida Bar 3-4.3 [Acts contrary to honesty and justice are cause for discipline.]; Rule 4-1.7(b) [A lawyer shall not represent a client if the lawyer’s exercise of independent professional judgment in the representation of that client may be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client or to a third person or by the lawyer’s own interest, unless: (1) the lawyer reasonably believes the representation will not be adversely affected; and (2) the client consents after consultation.].
Residential borrowers have the right to attempt to reinstate defaulted mortgage loans, even after being served with a foreclosure summons and complaint.
Respondent, by substantial use of and reliance on nonlawyer personnel with no authority to negotiate a resolution, inhibits foreclosure defendants’ access to information about their reinstatement figures.
Unsuccessful attempts by foreclosure defendants to communicate with the attorneys handling their cases result in increasing attorneys fees, and consequently, increased difficulty in defendant’s ability to reinstate.
In many situations, foreclosure defendants or their counsel request verification of fees spent and costs incurred.
Respondent’s nonlawyer personnel have a duty to disclose that they are not lawyers and that they cannot engage in settlement negotiations, but these personnel do not routinely make this disclosure.
4closureFraud dot org
By the actions set forth above, respondent violated Rule Regulating The Florida Bar 3-4.3 [Acts contrary to honesty and justice are cause for discipline.]; Rule 4-3.4(a)[A lawyer shall not unlawfully obstruct another party’s access to evidence or otherwise unlawfully alter, destroy, or conceal a document or other material that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is relevant to a pending or a reasonably foreseeable proceeding; nor counsel or assist another person to do any such act.]; Rule 4-4.4 [In representing a client, a lawyer shall not use means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person.]; Rule 4-5.3(a) [A partner in a law firm shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the firm has in effect measures giving reasonable assurance that nonlawyers’ conduct is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer.]; Rule 4-8.4(a) [A lawyer shall not violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another.]; Rule 4-8.4(d) [A lawyer shall not engage in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.].
From the Report of the Referee
Summary of Proceedings: The undersigned was appointed as referee to conduct disciplinary proceedings herein according to the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. This matter was resolved through a Consent Judgment. The record in this case, which is forwarded to The Supreme Court of Florida, consists of the following: Complaint; Answer; Joint Notice of Voluntary Dismissal of Counts II, III and IV; Consent Judgment; and this Uncontested Report of Referee Accepting Consent Judgment.
Recommendations as to Whether the Respondent Should Be Found Guiltv: As to each count of the complaint I make the following recommendations as to guilt or innocence:
Pursuant to the Consent Judgment, I find the respondent guilty of violating Rule 4-8.4(d), Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, as admitted in the Consent Judgment. I accept the Joint Notice of Voluntary Dismissal of Counts II, III and IV of the Complaint.
4closureFraud dot org
Recommendation as to Disciplinary Measures to Be Applied: Pursuant to the Conditional Guilty Plea for Consent Judgment, I make the following recommendations as to the disciplinary measures to be applied:
Public reprimand to be administered before The Florida Bar Board of Governors.
Personal History and Past Disciplinary Record: After the finding of guilty and prior to recommending discipline to be recommended pursuant to R. Regulating Fla. Bar 3-7.6(k)(l), I considered the following personal history and prior disciplinary record of the respondent, to wit:
Date admitted to Bar: November 27, 1991
Prior disciplinary convictions: None
Statement of costs and manner in which costs should be taxed: I find the following costs were reasonably incurred by The Florida Bar.
Administrative Costs $750.00
Court Reporter 249.00
TOTAL COSTS: $999.00
See court documents: