Foreclosure plaintiff submits faked assignment documents in Pasco case
Imagine you’ve been sued for foreclosure. Now, imagine the plaintiff submits, as evidence, a bunch of falsified documents to establish its right to foreclose.
That could never happen, right?
In the Harpster case, the plaintiff, represented by the Law Office of David J. Stern, submitted to the court an “assignment of mortgage” which supposedly gave the plaintiff, U.S. Bank, the right to proceed with the foreclosure. Cheryl Samons (actually an employee of David Stern) signed the affidavit as the “Assistant Secretary” of MERS, and Terry Rice, a Florida Notary Public, notarized it.
All this supposedly happened on December 5, 2007. Only one problem – the notary’s stamp said Terry Rice’s commission expired on May 19, 2012. That stamp could not have been lawfully issued any time before May 19, 2008. So that assignment document wasn’t really signed on December 5 of 2007 – unless our notary has discovered a way to travel in time.
Judge Tepper was none too pleased about the fraud. When informed by Tampa attorney Ralph Fisher, she not only threw out the fraudulent assignment documents, she dismissed the case “with prejudice” – meaning that U.S. Bank can never again file a foreclosure action against this defendant. It seems pretty likely, now, that the Harpsters are going to get to keep their house as long as they like.
Faked foreclosure filings by plaintiffs are all too common
Our firm has discovered that foreclosure plaintiffs file false documents all the time. Just last week, I was in a hearing before another judge, who told me a bout a case he had just discovered where two different banks tried to foreclose on the same note against the same defendant. Each plaintiff submitted a sworn affidavit claiming that it owned the note.
Who signed the affidavits for those two banks? The same person – an employee of the plaintiff’s law firm, the Law Office of David J. Stern, P.A. Obviously, this judge was none too pleased, either. Surely, he’s wondering how many forged documents have slid through in cases that he wasn’t able to spot.
As my colleague Matt Weidner points out, these cases underscore a very important lesson for both defendants and their attorneys alike:
- Believe nothing.
- Challenge everything.
- And don’t give up hope.
Congrats to attorney Fisher for a job well done.