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Florida Foreclosure Fraud

Foreclosure lawyers may have a duty to set aside foreclosures that were based on robo-signed affidavits, under an ethics opinion recently approved by the Florida Bar. The opinion (below), produced by bar staff in January of this year, responds to a hypothetical question from an unknown lawyer. The Surrogate Signer Hypothetical Under the hypothetical fact-pattern […]

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The Law Office of David J. Stern is shutting its doors for good, according to a new filing today with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That filing, on behalf of DJSP ENTERPRISES, INC. (the public legal-support company that Stern spun off from his law firm) says that: DJSP Enterprises, Inc.’s (the “Company’s”) primary customer, the […]

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Ben-Ezra and Katz is having a very bad day indeed. Not only has Fannie Mae just pulled the plug on the firm’s authorization to handle its cases, the firm’s founder had to appear before a Miami-Dade judge this morning to explain why his firm filed several fraudulent documents in a foreclosure case there. The judge […]

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“Many Mortgage Foreclosures Appear Tainted With Suspect Documents” says Fourth DCA Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal is very concerned about foreclosure fraud. In a recent case, Pino v. Bank of New York Mellon [.pdf], the Court considered the case of whether a bank can avoid court sanctions for fraud by simply dismissing its case […]

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Two more loan modification shops are under fire from Florida’s Attorney General Bill McCollum: The lawsuits were filed against south Florida’s Keep Your Property Inc. and Jacksonville-based National Foreclosure Counseling Services Corp. The attorney general’s office alleges that both companies charged up-front fees to customers facing foreclosure. This is against the law in Florida. McCollum […]

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Foreclosure rescue scammers now have a new front to worry about: a coordinated operation by state and federal officials to shut down those who prey on foreclosure victims. “The message is very simple: If you prey on vulnerable homeowners with fraudulent mortgage schemes, we’ll find you and we will punish you,” [U.S. Attorney General Eric] […]

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The St. Pete Times reports on April Charney coming to town again: At the start of class, April Charney makes one thing clear. “This is very dense, complicated work,” she warns. “If you don’t get it, raise your hand and ask questions because the chances are others don’t get it either.” [She’s speaking to] lawyers […]

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Why CNN is Wrong About Foreclosure Rescue Scams If you’re afraid – and you should be afraid – of getting ripped off by foreclosure rescue scams, you might think that CNN’s advice on how to spot foreclosure prevention rip-offs would be a good place to look. Sadly, you’d be wrong. Here’s why. Their advice is […]

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“State of emergency” were the words chosen by Attorney General Bill McCollum this week, when he announced that he was asking law enforcement officials from state and local agencies to step up enforcement efforts. Mortgage fraud, and in particular, foreclosure rescue fraud, were the number one complaint to McCollum’s office in 2008.

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This is NOT a government agency. One of my clients today got a mailing from a group called the “Federal Mortgage Modification Administration.” They have a government-sounding name, a government-seal-looking logo, and a Washington, D.C. address. They purport to offer loan modification services, and it’s clear they are trying to look like a government agency […]

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“We are asking the Court to shut them down.” Another loan-modification shop, this time in conjunction with a law firm, has apparently run afoul of the law. Florida’s Attorney General, Bill McCollum, has sued Florida Foreclosure Law Center LLC and Lincoln Lending Services and said at a press conference: We are asking the court to […]

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Since the passage of Florida’s Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Act, § 501.1377, many operations have been trying to get around the new law by teaming up with attorneys to offer services, in hopes that the attorney’s exemption would shield them from liability. The Florida Bar has called foul. In a just-released Ethics Opinion, the Bar has […]

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Countrywide and Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum have reached a settlement of the wide-ranging fraud claims filed by the state earlier this year. The details remain to be worked out, but here are several key features to the settlement that could benefit more than 50,000 Florida homeowners with a Countrywide loan. Cash payments Floridians who […]

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MSNBC reports on just how bad the foreclosure fraud problem has become: Rich Hagar is a former home appraiser based in Seattle who now runs seminars for law enforcement officials and real estate professionals on detecting fraud. He describes the mortgage fraud problem as “monstrous,” noting that bank “Suspicious Activity Reports” for mortgage fraud have […]

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Bill McCollum, Florida’s attorney general, as been very active lately, going after a number of companies he has accused of foreclosure rescue scams and unfair mortgage-related practices, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal. …McCollum has filed five cases against companies he believes have conducted questionable, if not illegal, acts in regard to mortgage and […]

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Feds bust Florida fraudsters

by Mike on June 19, 2008

Federal officials in South Florida have announced numerous arrests and indictments as part of “Operation Malicious Mortgage“, a nationwide sweep aimed at various kinds of mortgage-related fraud, including foreclosure rescue scams, which “involve criminals who target legitimate homeowners in dire financial circumstances and fraudulently collect fees for foreclosure prevention services or obtain ownership interests in […]

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Some of you who have been following the issue know that I have mixed feelings about Florida’s new foreclosure rescue fraud law. Although it comes from good intentions, and does some good things, it could have potentially disastrous consequences on homeowners who need lawyers to help them defend foreclosures. Other lawyers are taking notice. Here’s […]

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The attorneys at Jacksonville Area Legal Aid have an outstanding record of defending foreclosure cases – and winning them: “They have won every case when a house is up for foreclosure,” said McCormick, explaining that every mortgage leaves a paper trail, though often it isn’t easy to track. “If you can’t prove the paper trail, […]

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On May 28, 2008, Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed into law House Bill 643, meant to protect homeowners in foreclosure from falling prey to foreclosure rescue scammers. The law addresses two of the most common type of foreclosure rescue scams in Florida: foreclosure consultant fraud, and foreclosure transaction fraud. Foreclosure consultant fraud The typical foreclosure […]

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