National mortgage fraud scandal spreads to the judiciary

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National mortgage fraud scandal spreads to the judiciary
June 11, 2011 5:38 pm ET .
Richard Thornton

While the U. S. Department of Justice is actively prosecuting mortgage
and foreclosure fraud, a national organization that helps homeowners
avoid foreclosure has evidence that certain state judges appear to be
protecting lawbreakers.  Billions of dollars have been received by
corporations in the foreclosure industry since the Great Recession
began.  Are these vast sums of money finding their way to elected
state judges and politicians?

CHOESTOE, GA – June 11, 2011 (Examiner.com) – Amid the splendor of
pristine mountains, waterfalls and springtime flowers in one of
America’s favorite vacationlands, a passionate lady-with-a-cause,
presented evidence yesterday that could shake the judicial system to
its foundation.   While helping families facing foreclosure, her
non-profit organization has recently stumbled upon very questionable
judicial actions in several states. The evidence is overwhelming that
the powerful foreclosure industry not only has inappropriate influence
over state court systems, but is using threats and economic pressure
to stymie investigative efforts and legislative regulation.

On first appearance one would expect to see Anne Batte as the hostess
of a chic cocktail party in Chevy Chase, MD, welcoming a National
Geographic explorer back home, or perhaps chatting away at the grand
opening of an art museum’s new wing in Denver.   The college coed
figure, youthful looks and sophisticated vocabulary of the blonde
Southern Belle disguise her total dedication to an effort to help the
victims of America’s Great Recession.  She is an Evangelical Christian
and the founder of Operation Restoration, Inc..

Anne Batte grew up in Richmond, VA. She is the daughter of the late,
John Batte, a prominent Virginia attorney and real estate developer.
Her inherited position in Richmond society would have never predicted
her current lifestyle.  Among many experiences in her past, she also
has been the successful developer of large real estate projects and
has lived in several regions, including Costa Rica. After returning to
live in Atlanta in March 2008, she became aware of the mass suffering
in the United States caused by the Great Recession and the apparent
indifference of those in power to this suffering.  She stated
yesterday that she has taken Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, literally
and trusts in God to provide her earthly needs as she carries out her
mission.

Operation Restoration describes itself as “a free, non-profit mission
of healing and restoration that is dedicated to foreclosure
prevention.”  It currently is helping homeowners in 39 states, but as
more donations become available, it plans to provide services
nationwide.  The organization has published educational information
and self-help tools online.  It provides trained case managers to
guide borrowers and realtors.  It also assists law enforcement
agencies when team members become aware of possible crimes being
committed.

The staff and volunteers of Operation Restoration come from a broad
range of professions in the finance, real estate and construction
communities.  Bankers and attorneys have been extremely helpful in
developing the programs of the organization.   Ms. Batte stated that
she hoped the national media would help the public understand that the
entire financial and legal community should not be condemned for the
illegal or greedy actions of some members of their professions.

Evidence of judicial corruption

Under the shade of a giant weeping willow tree in the North Georgia
Mountains, Batte presented a cardboard box full of photocopied legal
documents.   These copies were obtained from court cases and
foreclosure actions from around the nation.  However, the questionable
legal actions seem concentrated in the Lower Southeast, where the
Great Recession began.

Within the mounds of paperwork, the most obvious violations of federal
and state laws involved forged signatures of attorneys, corporate
officers and notary publics.  The names on these documents can not be
released to the public at this time because such information would
interfere with active criminal investigations or are evidence  for
civil cases in progress.

There were 12 different signatures on legal documents supposedly
reviewed and signed by one attorney.  All of them contrasted starkly
with the signature within his own mortgage!   In some of the court
cases he was involved with, sloppy and apparently illegal work allowed
official court documents to be forged for both parties representing
sellers and buyers, or plaintiffs and defendants.  Ms. Batte stated
that this particular case was thoroughly exposed in November 2010 by
one of the nation’s oldest broadcast news teams, WSB-TV.  However,
since then, the ABC local affiliate has ceased investigating cases of
foreclosure fraud. No action has been taken by law enforcement
agencies against the attorney.

Other forged documents claimed that corporations held deeds to real
estate properties that they didn’t own.  A major national bank
foreclosed on a property which the occupants owned free and clear, and
didn’t even have a mortgage.  More common cases involved attorneys
signing documents claiming that mortgages were in default that
actually were current in payments. Certain women signed official court
documents as registered notary publics when in fact they were NOT
notary publics at that time.

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The next level of fraud presented by Ms. Batte involved how state
courts had dealt with obvious cases of fraud, forgery and perjury.
In a typical case, attorneys for the plaintiff challenged the legality
of court documents witnessed and signed by a person pretending to be a
notary public.  Several months after the illegal act, she had become a
notary public.   She was employed by a large law firm, which persuaded
several attorneys and notary publics to sign sworn affidavits that she
was a notary public at the time when they originally submitted
documents to the court.  All of these affidavits were acts of perjury,
which should have resulted in disbarment, criminal fines and
potentially, prison sentences.  So far the judge has done nothing.

In case after case, official court documents identified certain judges
in state courts, who were consistently blocking cases involving
forgery of deeds, legal documents and foreclosure actions from being
brought to trial.  In some cases, district attorneys refused to
present evidence of illegality to the courts.  In other cases,
district attorneys or civil attorneys tried to present evidence of
illegality, but were quickly censured by certain judges.   In one
case, in Fulton County, GA, a judge threatened a crime victim with
contempt of court if she ever was in his courtroom again.   Her
complaint was that forged signatures were utilized by a mortgage
service company to foreclose on her home, when in Georgia mortgage
service companies can not legally foreclose on residential real
estate.

State banking committee stalls mortgage fraud legislation.

Ms. Batte stated that while legislators in many states have publicly
announced their opposition to shady mortgage procedures and fraudulent
foreclosures, there has been little state level legislation that
addresses the problems.   She explained  that most states have public
records of large sums of money being spent by lobbyists to persuade
legislators to maintain the status quo.

A good example of the contrast between public statements made by
politicians and their actual  behind-the-scenes activities can be
found in Georgia.  Georgia State Senator Jack S. Murphy was named
chairman of the GA. Senate Banking Committee in January 2011.   GA
Senate Bill 123, amending the laws on mortgage fraud, was sent to his
committee for review.   There it has sat since then.  In the meantime,
Murphy along with seven other former officers of the failed Integrity
National Bank of Alpharetta, GA have been charged by FDIC regulators
with gross negligence and various breaches of fiduciary duty
associated with its issuance of mortgage loans.  The FDIC is seeking
damages of over $70 million.  Murphy refuses to resign from the
Banking Committee.

The Georgia House of Representatives passed its version of the
mortgage fraud bill in April 2011.  However, since the Senate version
never came out of committee, the House version was introduced into the
Senate shortly before midnight on the General Assembly’s last day of
this session.  It was tabled to the 2012 session.

What are state criminal justice agencies doing?

Ms. Batte was asked why state agencies were not taking a more active
role in the investigation of forgeries, mortgage fraud and illegal
foreclosures.  She responded that the involvement of state attorney
generals varies from state to state.   Some have shown great concern
when shown evidence that judges in their state were not enforcing the
law.  Others claimed that they had no jurisdiction or that it was
improper for them to question the findings of standing judges.

Ms. Batte stated that Samuel Olens, a highly respected attorney and
former Cobb County, GA Commission Chairman, made prosecution of
mortgage and foreclosure fraud a major platform of his campaign last
fall. However, after becoming Georgia’s new Attorney General, he  has
not prosecuted any cases of these types of fraud, nor investigated
charges of judges showing inappropriate favoritism to the foreclosure
industry. She added that apparently “someone got to him” around
February of 2011.  He suddenly stopped mentioning foreclosure and
mortgage fraud in public speechs.  When questioned by reporters about
these subjects,  he dodges the issue and claims that he has no power
to investigate violation of the state laws relating to perjury,
forgery, fraud and judicial misconduct.

At the end of her interview,  Ms. Batte was asked if she felt any
concern for her personal safety since providing incriminating evidence
to criminal justice agencies about  judiciary impropriety.   She said
that members of their organization have received some threats.  At
times their office phones have appeared to be illegally tapped.   The
dynamic civic leader ended her response with this statement of her
faith, “I have placed my life in God’s hands and in him, I will always
trust.”

..

Continue reading on Examiner.com
http://www.examiner.com/architecture-design-in-national/national-mortgage-fraud-scandal-spreads-to-the-judiciary#ixzz1P7WwQIMn

22 Responses

  1. LINK TO BIOGRAPHICAL DATA ON FEDERAL JUDGES

    http://www.fjc.gov/public/home.nsf/hisj

  2. @E. Tolle
    please do not leave our Rothschild and his compatriot Wl Ross. And Mr Rothschild was notably just joined in a little special set aside venture capital fund of a couple billion by ex BP Exec T. Haywood [frontman] along with the very same Blankfein and Goldman. I guess those finance guys were just so thankful that BP suffered Macondo and yanked the spotlight off them. They are doing God’s work so its not unusual that He shpuld intercede for their benefit.

  3. Please contact your Registers of Deeds – their role is crucial now. Here you can read about my Reg.of Deeds – John O’Brien (MA) – the first register in the nation to say NO to fraud, MERS, robosigning – he stopped processing foreclosure in our county two weeks ago due to the banks’ fraudulent docs and he can’t wait for the banks to file a law suit against his office: http://tinyurl.com/3qsu87x

  4. @Marie

    Yes —Will the real tywanna please stand up——–I had 24 yr old Korrel Harp as VP of MERS TT as Secretary———–the firms use the appearance of govt action, ie the application of the apparent notary who is basically “an officer of the court” [who was corrupted? ] —to begin a snowball effect of more govt documents -which have the effect [if not purposeful] of a violation of FDCPA—–look hard among the items in the list of prohibited actions

  5. Johnny G. wrote:

    “God is bigger than anything and can do what He wants.”

    Are you sure you’re not referring to Blankfein, Dimon, and Moynihan?

  6. I Love this Lady!

    God Bless her and what she’s doing. God is bigger than anything and can do what He wants. May His Will be done!

    Thank you for waking us up this morning, Lord.

  7. Breidenbach:

    I have Linda green and tywanna Thomas on my 2009 Assignment. The notary for this classic piece of fraud, Chris Ivey, had his license revoked about a month ago because he failed to answer complaints from several victims

  8. For the public good I will add a footnote in respect of the fulton County Court system. The Fulton County Clerk of Courts is responsible for overseeing the operations and compliance of notaries in that jurisdiction. LPS’ DOCX trademark subsidiary was based in Alparetta Georgia–one of the nations most prolific document mills was located there. That is within Fulton County. I filed a complaint there in November 2009 when I observed that one DOCX signer seemed to have as many handwriting styles as a Hindu Goddess–all duly witnessed by Fulton County notaries. Tywanna Thomas whose unusual penmanship skills were demonstrated on the front page of the New York Times before election 2010. Although these and others skills have become the subject of numerous articles and alleged investigations since, at that time Reginald Starling with that Clerk of Courts division determined there was no wrongdoing. I have a letter to that effect.

    Thanks with my case Regie
    Also a special thanks to SEC which also could see no issues –their representative could not even see how it might affect LPS’ investors. The SEC left me a message on my answering machine–preserved–to the effect that SEC does not regulate mortgages. DOCX employees churned out thousands of void assignments weekly, if not daily, and nobody could see a thing wrong with it–except LPS’ Audit Committee and outside auditor –who did recognize the legal significance and disclosed some errors were made in the 2009 10K.in reguatory compliance. I can’t say much for them but trhat they did at least make an effort to comply with Sarbannes Oxley.

  9. I’ve created a t-shirt for anyone that’s interested in my zazzle.com store (you can customize color and style), that reads:

    (front) HOMEOWNER WARRIOR
    GOT M.E.R.S.?

    (back) livinglies.wordpress.com

    here’s the link: http://www.zazzle.com/homeowner_warrior_got_mers_t_shirt_women_men-235131489799966513

    I hope it’s okay with you, Neil…if not, let me know: cariemac9@gmail

    It’s a good way to get the word out, (and help me put some food on the table!).
    If anyone is interested in other items with similar wording (or even added artwork), for whatever reason, I would be happy to create them and make them available (there are quantity discounts), in my store—thanks and good luck to all of you!

  10. PM Reply with quote #1

    ——————————————————————————–

    Entitlement to Discovery in Foreclosure Cases

    Posted on June 16, 2011 by Mark Stopa
    One of the things that frustrates me when I see homeowners back down from a foreclosure lawsuit without a fight, particularly at a hearing on a motion for summary judgment (like I explained, herehttp://www.stayinmyhome.com/blog/?p=1492 ) is my knowledge of just how easy it is to prevent a summary judgment by the bank.

    For instance, Florida law is replete with appellate court decisions that reversed a lower court’s entry of summary judgment where the defendant had not had an opportunity to complete discovery. This is really basic law – a homeowner is entitled to a fair chance to procure discovery from the bank prior to entry of adverse summary judgment.

    Below are the cases I used to convince a St. Augustine judge to vacate a Final Judgment of Foreclosure, as I explained here. The argument is really this simple:

    Judge, it would be reversible error to grant summary judgment because discovery is outstanding. Specifically, my client has served interrogatories and a request for production and the bank has not responded. My client is entitled to this discovery prior to a summary judgment hearing.

    See Kimball v. Publix Supermarkets, Inc., 901 So. 2d 293 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005) (“before Publix complied with the discovery order, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Publix. This award of summary judgment was error.”); Sanchez v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 807 So. 2d 196 (Fla. 3d DCA 2002) (“summary judgment was granted before the facts of the case were sufficiently developed to enable the trial court to be reasonably certain that no genuine issue of material fact existed”); St. Fort v. Fla. Dept. of Trans., 688 So. 2d 469 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997) (“at the time of summary judgment, discovery was still ongoing, and the facts were not so crystallized that nothing remained but questions of law”); Henderson v. Reyes, 702 So. 2d 616 (Fla. 3d DCA 1997) (“the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Reyes while there were depositions that had not been completed and an outstanding request for the production of documents.”); Abbate v. Publix Super Markets, Inc., 632 So. 2d 114 (Fla. 4th DCA 1994) (“We are at a loss to understand how the summary judgment was entered with the plaintiff’s motion to compel still pending.”)

    By no means is this an exhaustive list of cases. In fact, I’d estimate there are 50-60 more cases just like this in Florida.

    So if you’re trying to prevent a bank from getting summary judgment (and a quickie foreclosure), serve some discovery! Homeowners are perfectly entitled to obtain answers to interrogatories and documents from the bank before a final judgment is entered.

    Some people would argue that this discovery is unnecessary and should not preclude summary judgment. That argument goes like this – “it’s undisputed the homeowner is in default; discovery won’t change anything.”

    I understand that argument, but I totally disagree. Homeowners aren’t required to accept what the bank says as true. Even if non-payment of the mortgage is undisputed, that doesn’t mean the homeowner doesn’t get to challenge the amount owed. Banks are notorious for including fees and charges that should not be included. This is one legitimate purpose of discovery – to see if the amount the bank says is owed is accurate.

    Discovery regarding the bank’s standing to sue is also appropriate. For instance, if a note has an indorsement, homeowners are entitled to ask, via interrogatories and/or depositions, about the circumstances in which the indorsement was signed. Did the bank procure the indorsement from the prior owner/holder in the normal course of business? Or, to use an extreme example, did the bank steal the note and forge an indorsement to create the false impression it could foreclose? That may sound like a ridiculous question, but if you know anything about securitized trusts, you know that interrogatories and even depositions are perfectly appropriate in foreclosure cases … and until such discovery is complete, summary judgment is inappropriate.

    I realize there are cases which hold that a party’s right to discovery is not without limits. I agree. However, the cases which allow summary judgment with discovery pending stand for the proposition that a party cannot let a case languish for three years, watch the opposing party set a summary judgment motion, and then seek discovery just to delay summary judgment. That’s not appropriate, and that’s not what I’m advocating. What I’m saying is that homeowners can and should force the bank to produce discovery to prove/support the claims in its lawsuit before rolling over and allowing the bank to procure a Final Judgment of Foreclosure. The banks might not like it, and judges may not be thrilled with it, either, but homeowners are absolutely entitled to discovery before a final judgment is entered. Who knows – that discovery may just show that the bank is either not entitled to foreclose or not entitled to the amount it claims.

    Mark Stopa Esq.

    http://www.stayinmyhome.com
    Ann’s note : Here is some Discovery samples at http://www.scribd.com/my_document_collections/3011898

  11. Just One Of The Many Problems With Deed In Lieu or Negotiations With Banks- The Zombie Note
    June 19th, 2011 · Foreclosure http://www.mattweidnerlaw.com/blog(Sorry, you’re going to have to slog through a long post here before you get to the real article down at the bottom)Mainstream press and the rest of America is starting to pick up on one of the biggest problems that exist now within our entire finance and court systems….the binding body of law know officially as the Uniform Commercial Code. The code governs just about every commercial transaction and especially mortgage finance….not the actual mortgage, that’s covered by our ancient real property laws, but the note which is (theoretically at least) tied inextricably to the mortgage. Now here’s the problem.

    For years, experienced defense practitioners have been arguing that the Plaintiffs in these cases lack the standing to pursue foreclosure…(especially important when the plaintiff does not come to court with the original note). The banking industry told the Florida Supreme Court:

    The reason “many firms file lost note counts as a standard alternative pleading in the complaint” is because the physical document was deliberately eliminated to avoid confusion immediately upon its conversion to an electronic file. (full doc here) http://www.scribd.com/doc/33631481/Florida-Banker-s-Association-Lost-Notes-09-1460-093009-comments-Fba-1

    But no one really knows what happened to many of these notes. I’m sure some were destroyed, but others are floating around, in the stream of commerce, being pledged and securitized and stolen.

    The most disturbing fact (not an allegation, a truly disturbing documentation of a systemic problem) is detailed in a recent appellate case that was released by Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals, Johnston v. Hudlett. This case is most disturbing because what it details is a pattern and practice where the court actually releases the note back to the Plaintiff after a foreclosure judgment is granted: http://www.4dca.org/opinions/Mar%202010/03-31-10/4D08-4636.op.pdf

    We are, however, concerned of what appears to b e a practice in
    Broward County of the clerk’s office returning exhibits immediately after
    the end of a trial, to the attorneys for the parties who introduced such
    exhibits. We do not know if this is at the direction of the judges or
    simply a practice of the clerk’s office. Nevertheless, it is in violation of
    Rule of Judicial Administration 2.430(f)(2) which requires that the clerk
    retain all exhibits until 90 days after the judgment becomes final, which
    means after a final judgment is entered and the time for appeal has
    expired or an appeal has been taken and disposed of. The clerk has no
    authority to release exhibits to the parties prior to that time. Otherwise,
    should an appeal be filed the appellate court would not have access to
    exhibits.

    Now why oh why are our friends the bankers asking for the courts to return “their” (standing=who knows who really owns is) original notes? I’m sure they’ve got a perfectly innocent and reasonable explanation for this….but this is a real problem. I’ve previously written about the ancient Supreme Court case Scott v. Taylor and the current authority for the proposition that a Plaintiff must be in possession of the original promissory note to enforce it. Our friends tried to get around this with the practice of submitting lost note affidavits, but given what we know about the document mills and the foreclosure mills, these affidavits should be treated as inherently unreliable and rejected.

    In fact, the vast majority of these so called, “lost note affidavits” fail the basic, black and white requirement of the affidavit because they are not signed by the person or entity that actually lost the note. Here’s the deal, for a lost note affidavit to even past the “hmm, maybe this affidavit has some element of reliability test”, the person signing the affidavit must be the one who actually has first hand knowledge of the fact sworn to in the affidavit…..but that’s not what these affidavits say. The Uniform Commercial Code specifies that the affiant must state:

    “The note was in my care, control and custody and now it’s lost. I made a diligent search to find it including looking for it where I last left it, but it ain’t there, I lost it. I’ll make a deal with you…because I know I lost it if anyone pops up later and says they found it, I will defend you against their claim”

    Instead, virtually every affidavit says, more or less,

    “I have no idea whether a note actually existed or what in the world happened to it but someone put this affidavit in front of me (along with 5,000 others I’ve got to sign today) and it says my company had this note and someone, somewhere in this company actually looked for it, but we cannot find it, so it’s lost. I’m pretty sure you can trust my word and this affidavit because someone printed this form up and told me to sign it and they cut my paycheck pretty regularly so you can trust them.”

    But back to the whole note and lost note thing. I’m sure there’s no problem here. It was just a paperwork glitch (that’s been going on for years now) and our friends at the banks will be able to ‘splain to us where these original notes are and who actually “owns and/or holds and/or has the rights to enforce the note” (love all that mishmash of contradictions)….

    I’m sure this will all be alright. We should just trust the banks. And while we’re all busy trusting the banks, let’s start going after all those nutty foreclosure defense lawyers who are busy filing all those frivolous pleadings and defenses and wasting the court’s time with questions like standing and capacity and authentication.

    Yep, that’s what we should do.

    Zombie Note Post
    http://www.news-press.com/article/20110619/BUSINESS/106190390/-Zombie-notes-live-haunt-deed-transfers

  12. I also agree stop MERS NOW all fraud foreclosures.
    Please Sign The Stop Foreclosures NOW Petition!
    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/smokeandmers911/

  13. It’s not just following the “good book”…it’s any “book” that says we need to have good morals and high values and compassion and mercy and a sense of justice and honesty and truth and love…
    When we stop having those things…we destroy ourselves…and that is what is unfolding before our very eyes…

  14. I’m going to ask for help <> simply because it’s the topmost article .. I have all the same players as VEAL V. AHMSI/WF/ et al … I have the 9th circuit decision but where can I find the arguments and such?? THANKS!

  15. AWESOME for this wonderful lady, just found this passage from the
    B asic
    I nstructions
    B efore
    L eaving
    E arth, just yesterday and it so appropriate right now!!

    The land shall not be sold forever for the land is mine for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.
    Leviticus 25: 22-24

    L@@K and READ
    Pray and fight
    Fight and pray

  16. Simon ‘Free Will’ remember …

    “GOD’ DID NOT GET US INTO THE MESS. He allowed us to live in a country with choices. We all got us into this mess by not following what the Good Book Says.

    WHo said money is the root of all evil?

    God warned us not to covet and borrowring to purchase today what we can’t afford made us targets.

  17. Please Sign The Stop Foreclosures NOW Petition!
    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/smokeandmers911/

  18. really ???did you really ask that Simon???

  19. @Simon,

    This is the work of the devil.

  20. why did God get us in this mess Ma’am?

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