Modification Comes After a Fight Not A Request


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EDITOR’S NOTE: I agree with everything Mark Stopa has to say in the article below. The only thing I would add is that the more traction you get in the courtroom the more likely you are to achieve a a settlement that is satisfactory. You get traction by being right, well-prepared and knowing the difference between information and evidence. Knowing when and how to object is the first step. Modifications out of the gate are extremely rare if not extinct birds.

The current system isn’t working. It’s not fair that the rich are getting richer at the expense of mainstream America, and it’s appalling that nobody in a position of authority is saying so.
Mark Stopa

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Florida Lawyer Facing Suspension for Mortgage Modification Scam

Posted on July 27, 2011 by Mark Stopa

Nearly every client or prospective client who has consulted with Stopa Law Firm over the years has expressed a desire to obtain a loan modification. As much as I’d love to tell these homeowners what they want to hear, the sad reality is that mortgage modifications are few and far between, especially those with principal reductions.

Unfortunately, not everyone in the industry shares the necessary candor with homeowners. The story below, for instance, shows how one Florida lawyer duped thousands of homeowners into paying him an up-front fee based on promises of a loan modification … promises which he obviously can’t deliver.

If you’re a homeowner facing foreclosure, let this be a gentle reminder of a a few basic things.

1. Loan modifications are rare, especially with principal reductions. I know that’s frustrating, believe me – but don’t shoot the messenger.

2. If anyone is promising you a loan modification with principal reduction, predicated on you paying an up-front fee, be very wary – it’s probably a scam. The number of scam operations has gone down in recent years, but as you can see, they’re still out there.

3. Even if you’re trying to get a loan modification, you must defend your foreclosure lawsuit in the interim. Otherwise, you may think you’re negotiating for a mortgage modification, but those negotiations will end quickly once the foreclosure lawsuit ends with a Final Judgment of Foreclosure.

Of course, if you’ve been a victim of William O’Toole or Summit Legal Group, feel free to contact Stopa Law Firm for a consultation – we’ll be happy to see if it’s not too late to help you.

Here is the article, courtesy of the Daily Business Review.

The Florida Bar has called for an emergency suspension of Boca Raton lawyer William O’Toole, declaring the foreclosure defense lawyer presents “great public harm.”

In its petition for suspension, which the Florida Supreme Court is expected to rule on today, the Bar alleges that O’Toole has partnered with non-lawyers to create Summit Legal Group and collect up-front fees from clients for mortgage modifications.

State law prohibits non-lawyers from collecting up-front fees in exchange for promises of obtaining mortgage modifications. Attorneys general throughout the country have warned consumers that mortgage modification centers are a relatively new phenomenon that produce few or no results for distressed homeowners. The Bar has warned lawyers not to partner with non-lawyers on such endeavors.

According to the Bar’s petition, O’Toole is the subject of 20 complaints and has been under investigation by the Bar since March 2010. He partnered with non-lawyer Randy Baker, who is under investigation by the Florida attorney general, the petition states, to send him “leads” and then split fees with Baker in violation of Bar rules.

O’Toole currently has between 2,500 and 3,000 clients “and admits that he has so many files he does not know the status of the client’s files,” according to the Bar petition.

O’Toole did not return phone calls by deadline.

The Daily Business Review recently reported that another lawyer, Rashmi Airan-Pace, was suspended by The Bar for allegedly operating a similar mortgage modification service with a non-lawyer company. The Bar alleged Airan-Pace took up-front fees and promised to obtain mortgage modifications for underwater homeowners without results.
Mark Stopa

25 Responses

  1. Gary Harre (the attorney that BRIAN DAVIES is PIMPING for) has been ordered by the BK court to give back the $$ he took as a retainer from several people. (He was ordered to disgorge) Some of the districts are intending to sanction him and/or moving to take his privledge away. They are all in the “den” called Global Capital Law in Fountain Valley, CA. I’d avoid his group like the plague.
    Apparently Davies get’s paid when he guides a new “goose” to this “den”. Goose = shake down candidate taking your money. They allegedly charge for things that aren’t even chargable. They allegedly have a contract that is charging for items that don’t exist. If you want to hear more, email FORMER.GLC.VICTIM@GMAIL.COM

  2. Matt Weidner blog reported on scamers who are still accepting money up front, and a lawyer suspended for bing a part of the 6,000 cases this firm was operating under. Ck out the story there.

    You don’t ask for a loan mod, you fight for one. It’s only the people who fight there foreclosures get anything but the runaround.

    Justice is swift, on anyone who violates any protection that the banks enjoy. I do not know the particulars of the suspension of the lawyer, and if he took money and did not work on there cases ” via informing the banks, that if they do file suit, possible actions he would take” to put them in position to force the lender to the bargaining table, he deserves suspension, but his work does not even start until suit is filed.
    In my case the 8th servicer of my loan that has offered a 25% principal reduction, and is offering to wave all late fees and penalties on my loan amount of $101,044.79 to $73,000.
    Pretty good but I don’t have 73K in cash, and no lender would touch it and no title co would insure it, as the prior mortgage from Ameriquest is still on file.
    MERS has only shone two of these as servicers Quick Loan Funding, and SN Servicing Corp. So when I checked on 09/17/2010 it listed Sn Servicing Corp as the servicer and revealed Citigroup Global Markets Realty Corp as the INVESTOR! While I am being sued by Citi Property Holdings Inc F/K/A Liquidation Properties Inc. Then when I checked again on 07/27/2011 it still lists SN Servicing Corp as servicer but now has UNDISCLOSED INVESTOR contact Servicer VA and phone #. So I sent this e-mail with a white lie to see what they will reveal.

    I have gotten a offer of settlement from Gregory Funding who claims that on 07/01/2011 became the servicer and has made a offer of settlement.
    That must be accepted by 08/20/2011.
    My realtor said that I need a MERS milestone report, before we can go to closing. How do I get one, how long does it take and if it cost, who do I pay and how?
    My MIN # is 1003375-0603007634-1
    Thank You
    John Anderson.


  3. Mods:

    Mutual mistake?

    More fraud?

    Banks can’t transfer what they don’t own no
    matter what the parties agree, although they can muddy the waters big time….

  4. ???

  5. you would.

  6. I like the part (on pg.19), that says—“This admission would shock the consciousness of a dead person.”

  7. you must have a lot of time on your hands.

  8. It’s a beautiful pleading. I love Brian Davies’ work. I don’t have two hours to digest it, but after a quick skim, I don’t see any relevance to the velocity of the money supply being pumped up by the Fed. The pleading attacks the chain of title and the bogus actions by One West on behalf of the originator, all in collusion with Deutsche.
    What part of my language don’t you understand? The English?
    How’s this: “I used to sell Fords.”

    Shit, I broke my own rule.

  9. Brian Davies is/was involved with an attny in CA that took people’s money and didn’t do jack. Attny’s name was Gary&^%$ something. Old guy.
    He had an asian guy working there too, but they said he was an attny, but didn’t have a CA bar #. Had some turmoil in the office when an acquaintance of mine tried to get her $10,000 back. Got the authorities involved somehow.
    Davies was the front man getting clients $$ in the door.

  10. Okay, usedkar, I know that I know nothing, and I don’t speak your language—whatever—but what do YOU make of this:

    I mean, a lawyer wrote it—not me…

  11. carie, enough with the useless money supply comments. You want to talk money supply? M1,M2, M3? Then whip out your PhD and put a pleading on paper that wins this argument:

    Three years ago USEDKARGUY SAID:

    Wisconsin Statutes, Chapter 134, 134.15 “Issuing and using what is not money; contracts void.
    (1)Any person who shall knowingly issue, pay out or pass, and any body corporate, or any officer, stock holder, director or agent thereof who shall issue, pay out or pass, or receive in this state as money or as an equivalent of money, any promissory note, draft, order, bill of exchange, certificate of deposit or other paper of any form whatever in the similitude of bank paper, circulating as money or banking currency, that is not at the time of such issuing, paying out, passing or receiving expressly authorized by some positive law of the United States or of some state of the United States or of any other country, and redeemable in lawful money of the United States, or current gold or silver coin at the place where it purports to have been issued, such
    person shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not more than six months or by fine not exceeding $100, and such body corporate shall forfeit all its rights, privileges and franchises and shall also forfeit to the state and pay for each offense the sum of $500.
    (2)All contracts of any kind whatever the consideration of which, in whole or in part, shall consist of any such paper as is prohibited in sub.(1) and all payments made in such unauthorized paper shall be null and void.”


    I think even my friend Bob G. said I would get thrown out over that one.

    and, three years ago, Mr. Garfield said: “This COULD mean that derivatives and securitization might fall under what Wisconsin considers to be illegal practices.” (See tab @ Wisconsin Law).

    You know what, Neil? We may have been right!

    and carie, ahh, nevermind.

  12. Yet more shameful shenanigans in the mortgage industry…who is watching out for these seniors? Some of them can barely function on their own, let alone know a reverse mortgage scam when they see it…

  13. Carrie,
    I worked on a reverse mortgage case involving FFSFC where I
    proved the deceased lady never even took out the loan! I did it by
    showing she had a preexisting first mortgage with BOA that preexisted
    and was concurrent with the FFSFC mortgage. The BOA loan was paid
    off by life insurance after she passed away.
    All the documents on the FFSFC loan were forgeries and they never could produce the Note. Apparently, some fraudster used her
    information to take out a loan in her name. Now if it was done once,
    I’m sure it was done many other times to seniors. The idea is once
    their gone who will complain? Some fraudster sold it on the secondary
    market and pocketed the cash. There is no proof the senior in this case ever saw a penny of the proceeds. Now the statute of limitations
    has passed so the fraudster got away with it.

  14. Oh, and tn—I forgot to mention that what I meant by my (one trick pony), comment regarding no “funding”, is because of what is written in the Brian Davies doc…know what I mean, jellybean?

  15. Check it out—My mom “inherited” a house in Oregon a few months ago (no equity?), when her 92 year-old ex-husband passed away…(he still liked her)…anyway, the house has a “reverse mortgage”, and she put it on the market to sell—before I told her about all the crazy fraud in the mortgage industry…so, it’s not selling, and I said mom—let me see the paperwork…she showed me the “docs’—and big surprise—Financial Freedom LLC is a debt collector…I said send the QWR right away asking for ALL accounting and copies of everything…most of all DON’T LET SOME STRAW MAN INTERLOPER STEAL THE HOUSE!!!

    So, she got a letter yesterday (before they received the QWR) from Financial Freedom LLC saying it is “assigning” the “servicing” of said “reverse mortgage” to One-freakin’-West Bank…ANOTHER debt collector—sheesh!!

    I told her dispute the hell out of everything and tell them to PROVE that original creditor is getting the money, etc.

    What do you think, tn?

    Also, tn, what’s your professional (both sides;)), take on the latest Brian Davies docs?

  16. The real problem is that many people, attorneys, paralegals and pro se’s just don’t understand that the servicers can’t modify anything because they don’t own the loan. THEY HAVE NO STANDING TO DO ANYTHING.
    The servicers bought the servicing rights for 2 to 3% of the face value of the loan, (read: the right to foreclose, illegally). Their business
    model requires foreclosure when a borrower defaults. That is their bread and butter. That is why they sometimes manufacture a default
    even when there was none. I know first hand, it happened to me in 2004. Luckily, I managed to prove that there was no default and I was
    current in Feb 2004 when they started the action against me.
    What Ocwen did was back date the start date to pay from May 1,
    2003 to March 1, 2003, so they put me two months in arrears right from the get go. Then they added late fees and other charges until
    they brought it 3 months in arrears. Actually, I was paid up one month
    in advance when one deducted all those unlawful charges. It took them
    three years of litigation to get them to admit they made a mistake.
    If they did that to me, I’m sure I was not alone. That was their “modus operandi”. They need foreclosures to pay the bills so they will never modify anything unless forced to.
    If I knew then, what I know now, I never would have settled with them
    because it was a “table funded” loan with New Century Mortgage on
    the loan documents, when in fact, they never loaned a dime. They were merely the loan broker. US Bank was the real source of the funding and they should have been on the loan documents. I had
    a TILA violation right from the get go. If I’d had a good lawyer, he could have rescinded the whole deal. Instead, I answered one of those
    unsolicited advertisements which one receives after a Lis Pendens is
    filed and it later turned out that lawyer was working for the other side.
    If I hadn’t caught it in time, I would have lost my home. I took it
    over pro se and managed to defeat the summary judgment motion
    by doing my own affidavit, no thanks to the crooked attorney. He later
    went out of business, called it ill health. I call it getting out of Dodge before the “caca” hit the fan.

  17. yep, she got hosed. they did this to me. then they re-securitied the new debt (upon knowledge and belief, so to speak).

  18. konatina- the answer is that what you describe is NOT a bona fide bid. A credit bid at sale can only be entered by the creditor, that is historically the person to whom money is owed. That would NOT be the servicer, a trustee for an AOM filed after the trusts’ cutoff date, an entity without standing due to a corrupted chain of title, etc. No pretender lenders, in other words.

  19. dan-o—They are threatening foreclosure ILLEGALLY. They threaten illegally and they STEAL the houses ILLEGALLY. It’s ALL BULLSH**. You are right.

    There are so many laws being broken EVERYDAY with these scammers it makes my head spin…WHERE ARE THE SHERIFFS IN THIS WILD WEST???

    Oh, sorry, I forgot…they are looking the other way, or being “enablers”…

    Like I said: Every man/woman for him/her self…

  20. Unfortunately NOTHING is “bona fide” these days…we are in the Wild West…every man/woman for himself…what a country…

  21. The servicer’s refuse to do modifications for borrowers (especially for non-owner occupied loans) and they usually stall a short sale request to effectuate a foreclosure, yet if the borrower has filed Bankruptcy, the servicer will negotiate with the Bankruptcy trustee a short sale price and PAY THE TRUSTEE OUT OF THE SHORT SALE PROCEEDS $10,000-$50,000 to pay off the borrower’s other creditors (of course the BK trustee makes 6% of the amount they realize).
    I saw proof of this where Wells Fargo negotiated to pay BK trustee $25,000 from short sale proceeds
    So why won’t servicers lower principal, forgives back payments, lower interest rate long term?
    I presume it’s because with a short sale some new homebuyer sucker will sign a promissory note which can be re-churned in the securitization-ponzi bucket at least 3 times.

    A desire to help the “has-been homeowner suckers” stuck with high interest rate loans, ARMS or expiring Interest Only periods is nill, because the original lender has already “sold”, “swapped”, and “converted” that original loan as many times as they could – with it most likely finally ending up as a “Freddie” or “Fannie” loan in some pool where those bonds were sold to foreign investors.

    We can’t let those foreign investors know they bought the dredges of mortgage pools where the cream had been siphoned off into the pockets of Wall Street as commissions for putting together the pool.

    Why are most of the foreclosures getting deeded to Fannie or Freddie upon trustee sale?
    Why is the original deed of trust that was foreclosed on, assigned to Fannie AFTER the foreclosure trustee sale and PRIOR to the recordation of the trustee deed?
    How was this a bona fide bid at trustee sale?

  22. If you want to see what an actual loan mod (HAM) looks like go is recorded at county recorder

  23. i may sound like a broken record, but before you modify your loan check with a lawyer. you may end up signing away your rights to a pretender who never held an interest in your debt, but will after you sign the mod. this happened to us. believe me when i tell you do not sign anything until you have done a title search, verify the party is owed the debt, and consult an attorney. GMAC mortgage tricked us into signing a mod that said THEY were our lender and holder of our mortgage when in fact they never were. they then assigned the mortgage and mod to a securitized trust, through MERS, and the trust immediately started foreclosing on us. a little post modification homework revealed that GMAC was not our lender or holder of our mortgage… never were. it also showed us the trust closed in 2006, meaning there is no way our mortgage could be assigned to them by GMAC or MERS in 2010. they are using your situation to take advantage of you with these mods. i cant say it enough, HIRE A LAWYER BEFORE SIGNING ANYTHING THEY PUT IN FRONT OF YOU!!! EVEN IF THEY ARE THREATENING YOU WITH FORECLOSURE LIKE THEY DID TO COAX US INTO SIGNING. they are using mods to commit even more fraud people. dont be stupid. thats all i can say.

    oddly, when i brought this fraud up to numerous government agencies and foreclosure help “specialists” they all said the same thing: its leverage to modify your loan. my position is this: if they arent my lender and never were, then i dont have to modify anything with them and they should be charged with forgery and fraud for the first mod they duped us into. why should i re-enter into another contract with a company they never held any right to do anything?? not one of these people could give me a straight answer. its all BULLSH@#

  24. Maybe this will hold true for the alleged debtor in yesterday’s video after the tools at Phelan Hallinan Smieg called the cops on us. The cop who asks “WTF is going on?” is a retired 28-year veteran and he and his partners definitely took my cards….. with interest. Pun fully intended. Thanks Neil, you keep on truckin’ I’ll keep on truckin’.

    Phelan Hallinan Smieg call cops on alleged debtor, cops ask WTF?

    BTW this is a long movie…. but worth every minute. I could have shaved more time off of this movie, but I really wanted to convey the spirit of what happened up in that hallway…. as it is, I cut out about 3 minutes of it!

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