ATTORNEYS TARGET FOR DISCIPLINE: REVOCATION OF LICENSE POSSIBLE

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EDITOR’S NOTE: You start with the fact that the obligations, notes and mortgages were fraudulent to begin with and that nobody wanted their name attached to the fraud. So every conceivable tactic was used to allow a person, lawyer, clerk or paralegal, notary or witness to be able to say they don’t remember or they never did it. So you have stamped signatures, robo-signatures and all sorts of computer tricks played on the borrowers, their attorneys and the courts — except that everyone KNEW what was going on. So the lawyers, trustees on deeds of trust, “trustees” of “pools” that may not have even existed, and others are now in a pack of trouble.

As Simon Johnson points out in 13 Bankers (I strongly recommend the book to anyone who really wants to understand this from the perspective of reality) the assumption was that the the bank oligopoly had co-opted most government processes and could avoid the natural consequences that would befall lesser bankers or ordinary people — namely infamy and jail. And up till now, that assumption has not only held true, it is even stronger because there are fewer bankers with more power.

The ONE THING people like that never figure out until its too late, is that people are not as stupid as they need to be to get away with this forever. People may be distracted, disinterested or uneducated and intimidated by fancy terms with unknown procedures and seemingly high placed individuals who have a loyalty to their country. AND people might take a few bangs in the head without reacting too much for a while. But as Thomas Jefferson pointed out in a well-known document, “when in the course of human events…” people rise up and make a change. It can happen violently like the American and French revolution or it can happen peacefully as is planned by our constitution.

The historical pattern can be seen repeating itself in any period picked at random. The tyranny of the few becomes increasingly repressive as the people get increasingly upset with obvious injustice and misuse of the consent and trust that was conferred upon those who aspired to govern. The greater the repression, the more explosive the eventual correction becomes.

There are a lot of comments and emails and interviews that I have not published because I believe and hope that the system will work and that the transition away from the absolute control by the oligopoly of big banks and big business can be accomplished peacefully. But I will report that there are literally thousands of people that are arming themselves and organizing, planning and preparing for that transition of power.

Lawyers who participate in this fraud with a wink and nod are going to find themselves without a license to practice law and perhaps free room and board in a correctional institution. This wholesale robbery will not continue without dire consequences for the perpetrators, no matter how untouchable they currently appear. Lawyers should be planning their own defense and perhaps considering turning and testifying on behalf of the state and federal investigations. Don’t kid yourself. If you let your office be used as a factory by non-lawyers to crank out false affidavits and fraudulent foreclosures and fraudulent credit bids at auction, those wonderful people who paid you so much money to do nothing are going to throw you to the wolves.

Dear LAWYERS: It’s you and the servicers that they are looking to take the hit on this. And that may be exactly what happens UNLESS you get proactive about protecting yourself and making deals NOW when the prosecution needs you — rather than alter when the prosecution laughs and says “tell us something we don’t already know.”

False Attorney Signatures Cast New Doubts on Foreclosures

by Sasha Chavkin
ProPublica, Dec. 13, 2010, 1:49 p.m.

.A house under foreclosure that is now bank-owned in the Spring Valley area of Las Vegas on Oct. 15, 2010. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Many foreclosures have been thrown into question [1] because of flawed documentation such as inaccurate affidavits describing a mortgage’s history. But three recent court cases point to another type of flaw in foreclosure filings that could place thousands more cases in doubt: false attorney signatures on court documents.

Experts said that foreclosures that relied on court documents with the signatures of attorneys who in fact neither signed nor reviewed them are vulnerable to being thrown out in the 23 states in which foreclosures must be approved by a judge.

“What you have is a non-lawyer engaged in unauthorized practice of law, and that would be a serious problem in terms of that foreclosure judgment withstanding that kind of attack,” said Max Gardner, a consumer bankruptcy lawyer and an expert on foreclosures. While the extent of the practice remains unknown, filings in the recent cases allege that law firms that specialize in foreclosure systematically directed their clerical staff to sign documents in the name of attorneys.

A suit filed this fall in a federal court in Pennsylvania, on behalf of a homeowner facing foreclosure from the Bank of New York, prompted a striking admission by the bank’s lawyers [2]. In a deposition cited in the lawsuit, attorney Gary McCafferty — whose firm specializes in representing lenders in foreclosure cases — acknowledged that many documents his firm submitted to court with his signature had in fact been signed by administrative staff and that he had neither read nor reviewed them.

“Complaints were filed without an attorney seeing them,” McCafferty said in the deposition [3].

McCafferty also said that his firm no longer engages in this practice. He did not return a phone call from ProPublica inquiring about his firm’s role in the case.

False attorney signatures are different from robo-signing [4], in which mortgage company officials sign large numbers of foreclosure documents without checking the accuracy of the details. Bob Davis Jr., a Pennsylvania lawyer who concentrates on the defense of attorney ethics cases, said that falsified signatures from lawyers on case pleadings can void a foreclosure by rendering key documents invalid before the court.

“In litigation the signature of an attorney means something very specific: that they’ve read the material and attest that it’s truthful,” Davis said.

Davis said that while it is not good practice, it is permitted to use a name stamp or have another person physically sign an attorney’s name, but only if the attorney has personally conducted due diligence and determined that the material is truthful. He also distinguished between documents with false signatures and those whose contents are materially false. If an attorney has allowed another person to sign court documents in the attorney’s name without reviewing them, but the underlying evidence is accurate, Davis said it may be possible — but is by no means certain — that the pleadings could be corrected and re-submitted to the court.

In some cases, false attorney signatures have led to foreclosures being dismissed. In October, the Baltimore Sun reported that lawyers from two Maryland firms that handle foreclosures acknowledged that they had not in fact signed many affidavits [5] filed with their signatures and had submitted “corrective affidavits” to try to remedy the problem. The two lawyers, who have reportedly filed more than 20,000 foreclosure cases in Maryland since 2008, told the Sun that they had reviewed the content of all their affidavits although they did not always sign them themselves.

However, one of the lawyers, Jacob Geesing, agreed to dismiss five foreclosure cases after an attorney representing homeowners filed motions last November to dismiss them on the basis of “fraud on the court” related to false attorney signatures.

A class action suit in federal court in Mississippi against the foreclosure contractor Lender Processing Services [6] includes similar allegations. The suit, which the U.S. Justice Department has joined as a plaintiff, charges that LPS engaged in unauthorized practice of law [7], according to an investigation by Reuters.

Reuters obtained legal testimony and internal LPS documents that show foreclosure documents were “mostly prepared by clerical workers, not lawyers,” and that LPS created a ratings system [7] that rewarded law firms that processed documents quickly, often at the expense of being reviewed by lawyers. LPS told Reuters that its clients can pick the law firms that represent them — although court documents show that its clients signed agreements to use LPS’s network of lawyers — and said that its system did not encourage carelessness by law firms.

Gardner, the bankruptcy attorney, said that he believes the problem is widespread because it results from the business model employed by many law firms that specialize in foreclosures.

“They have a small number of attorneys and a very large back office,” Gardner said. “The first time an attorney knows anything about a case in these kinds of operations is when someone like me files a response.”

Lawyers who are found to have authorized fake signatures could face sanctions, such as reprimands, or suspensions of license, said Dianne Coscarelli, a partner at the firm Thompson Hine and the vice-chair of the American Bar Association’s Real Estate Finance Group.

Gardner, the consumer bankruptcy lawyer, said he expected that false attorney signatures will become the target of increasing scrutiny. He said that additional class action suits against law firms that specialize in foreclosures, sanctions by state bar associations against offending lawyers, and investigations of the practice by state attorneys general are all likely possibilities.

“I think this is the next huge issue,” Gardner said.

17 Responses

  1. who were the maryland atty.s that had the foreclosures reversed against geesing and company could someone let me know asap.thanks

  2. M Soliman

    Thanks for addressing the tanto reference. In a client’s case that filed a suit against the lender, the law firm itself, listing the three trustees, were evident on the appointment of sub trustee. The homeowner did not file the suit until a month later and it was one of the sub trustee (?) that answered his suit on behalf of the lender. I am still a little confused about the tanto reference.

  3. Does anyone know whether or not the attorney working for the law firm can also act as the substitute trustee. Seems like it would be a conflict of interest.

    THEY ARE NOT SUB TRUTEES BY THEIR OWN ADMISSION . THIS IS SIEZURE BY TANTO

    MSOLIMAN

  4. everything was fraudulent right from the moment of origination, then the attorney involved in the closing would also be culpable. Any attorney signing documents involved in any part of taking a homeowner’s home would also be culpable.

    YOU GOT A LOAN FOR TWICE THE VALUE OF YOUR HOME AND MADE NO PAYMENTS IN HOW LONG?

    LENDERS LIKE TO GET PAID BACK.

    KNOW WHERE TO FOCUS YOU ARGUMENTS HERE. THESE ATTORNEYS WORK FOR THE FED OR FDIC UNDER CONTRACT. REPUDIATION POWERS AND PREEMPTION ARE WORKING AGAINST YOU .

    SO TRY A DIFFERENT APPROACH ( HINT) THERE IS AN EASIER WAY TO GO ABOUT THIS . . . .

    MSOLIMAN

  5. pelucheven,

    What is really going on?? Are we still living in America??

  6. They will post your nick name in shady web sites weird sites.

    just be careful

  7. Be careful leaving your email exposed, my was attacked last week and also my contacts. The bankers and their minions are going after those who share info and are very active. I do not care what they do. I will keep on fighting!

    I believe they went after the Livinglies blog servers sometime ago as well.

    Just make sure you all have strong firewalls and internet security features in your servers and email servers.

  8. Can we get a sample complaint posted here, something generic?

  9. Does anyone know whether or not the attorney working for the law firm can also act as the substitute trustee. Seems like it would be a conflict of interest.

  10. Part of the problem is that attorneys weasel their way into the court system –sitting on committees and befriending the “system.” This is what we used to call the “Old Boy Network” (gals also now included.). This has been occurring for a long time — setting all in place. And, attorneys also connected to GSEs — actually hired by GSEs.

    So — how do you battle a Network??

  11. Real Estate Brokers and A
    gents beware. Selling foreclosures are a gamble at this point unless you do your research. Do you know what MERS is?
    You should by now. If a case came up where one of your buyers in their new (foreclosed home) was questioning whether the sale was legit and the tittle was good would you really know?

  12. PLEASE ADD ME TO YOUR EMAIL LIST

  13. If everything was fraudulent right from the moment of origination, then the attorney involved in the closing would also be culpable. Any attorney signing documents involved in any part of taking a homeowner’s home would also be culpable. Unfortunately, looking at this over many years, I have seen many attorneys getting away with murder, and the Bar Association doing absolutely nothing. In fact, in the recent past, the California Bar Association went belly up, because the lawyers in California who were members refused to pay their annual dues. The Bar Association would appear to be rather toothless. http://www.challengingforeclosure.com Sirak@challengingforeclosure.com

  14. finally – they did play such an important part in permitting the foreclosure of so many innocent homeowners. This is a product of the foreclosure mills whereby the employed new and inexperienced lawyers just out of law school. As a pro se litigant myself, we have already gone through two foreclosure mill attorneys and now they are getting ready to assign a third. And along the way, there missteps by the attorneys. Oh well, we will see.

  15. Now this is something I will champion. I am tired of seeing the big law firms get away with things that the sole practioner never could–witness the tobacco lawyers who got away and still get away with hiding behind alleged attorney client privilege to file awful things for years. It wa fraud, sanctionable. Let’s start seeing the lawyers who represent these banks, servicers, and all the bad guys get sanctioned and loose their licenses. In the 80’s they sanctioned women lawyers (80 percent of all sanctions the Third Circuit found in 1991) were against women lawyers who pursued civil rights litigation. We were targeted and forced out of business or lost our licenses because we were allegedly “too aggressive” with our theories of reprsenting these individuals. Its about time the same standards are applied to the defense firms representing these interests. Take them to the bar associations every last one of them. And by the way, you won’t get a hearing on those sanctions (and thus loosing your license) because that was the law YOU made in the 80’s and 90’s against those of us doing civil rights. You say “what no hearing and I could loose my license?” Yeah, well you seemed to have no problem with that 20 years ago fellows–check out the Supreme Court law you made against women civil rights lawyers–its going to come back and haunt you and maybe the right people will finally get disbarred.

  16. If loan was predatory and fruadulently made from the onset and junk debt buyer and/or servicer knew fact and purchased. Then modifies the mortgage as if it were being made by the originator/broker, whom committed the fraud, (scheme and trickery) to collect longer, then initiates foreclosure under a false name, and submits to court an assignment of mortgage (fraud) made by mers, as nominee of defunct lender (2 years after lender enters into bankruptcy) into a suppossed trust (2 years after closing date of trust) but no trust name in complaint or caption. No discovery has been made and there have been no verified answers and no appearance of Bank officer in answers. Just servicer. There has been no evidence of chain and straight from A to D assignment. If assignment made in 2009 and originator defunct/bankrupt, No authorization from bankruptcy court for said assignment. Sec, Free writing prospectus, showed a possibility of the loan in there in 4/2007 but under codes, all 00/00/0000, 000000, etc. Once again, do you think it is a debt collection, unsecured, trying to pull the wool over the courts eyes?

  17. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mario, Financial Wellness. Financial Wellness said: COMBO Title and Securitization Search, Report, Documents, Analysis & Commentary EDITOR’S NOTE: You start with… http://bit.ly/eg4lU9 […]

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