“With the foreclosure zoo, it’s become a lot more complicated. They’re all in a huge rush. They usually get paid by the piece so the more they can say they’ve served, the more they make.”

-Margery Golant, a foreclosure attorney

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I have previously mentioned suspicions with process servers in the Fraudclosure mess (especially in Florida). There were allegations of servers with histories of fraud and criminality, and accusations of “sewer service. ”

We are now learning that suspicions were well placed:

“According to lawsuits filed on behalf of homeowners, some individuals appear to have violated the rules of process serving: the personal delivery of legal papers, required by law, notifying people that a foreclosure action has been filed against them. Like “robo-signing” — the mass signing of foreclosure documents without review by loan servicers — it’s an alleged practice that is putting lenders, and the foreclosure law firms serving them, under fire.

Recent Florida foreclosure defense cases claim property owners never received a court summons even though they still were living in their home, or that servers never took required steps to find them. Some claim the servers lied, filing false court affidavits about to whom or when they delivered the papers.

Bad service, once rare, has become more common in foreclosures as lenders and their attorneys tried to speed tens of thousands of cases through the “rocket docket” court processes, designed to clear a huge backlog, said consumer advocates and attorneys defending homeowners.”

When process server “serves papers” on a person, they must fill out an affidavit. It attests to the details of the service: Who was served, where  and when it was, what the person looked like. My favorite example of bad service was the summons that was supposedly hand delivered to “a 140-pound white woman at the [foreclosed] address.” The homeowner was actually a 200+ pound African American. My personal favorite are the people served in Florida whose passports prove they were in Europe at the time. Defense lawyers tell many, many stories of this, and some of which would be hysterically funny if they were not so sad.

The incidences of fraudulent service are increasing, and it is effectively perjury. The rocket dockets, if they are going to hold on tot he last shred of their dignity and credibility, need to prosecute these corrupt weasels . . .

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Source:
New questions being raised about court filings in foreclosure cases
Diane C. Lade
Sun Sentinel, November 3, 2010  
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/business/fl-foreclosure-paper-problems-1104-20101103,0,1333679.story

Category: Foreclosures

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

14 Responses to “The Foreclosure Zoo”

  1. Basilisc says:

    How about this: if a partner (or associate) at a law firm is found to have represented a plaintiff in a foreclosure case in which a fraudulent affidavit has been filed (about the service, or any other aspect), then EVERY PARTNER in that firm is disbarred from practicing in the state. Regardless of who’s at fault.

    I’m not a lawyer, but I think that should end the problem.

  2. Winston says:

    Would not this practice render the case null-and-void? Or could the plaintiff re-file for foreclosure?

  3. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    In light of all of the evidence of the industrial nature and mind boggling level of criminality in the foreclosure/securitization processes, along with little or no action by those charged with upholding the laws pertaining to such criminality (but apparently having plenty of time and resources to go after less serious crimes committed by individuals outside this industry), it would seem that selective enforcement of our laws is a matter of official policy.

    There are many ways to skin this cat, but TPTB do not want the cat skinned. The contract between the people and the government has no requirement for specific performance, and, lacking that, there is no way to compel the authorities to uphold the law.

    The People should acknowledge the fact that criminality in high places is systemic, and without a coordinated effort to force the issue, these violations of the law and the processes for bringing those responsible to justice, justice will not be served — regardless of how easy and beneficial doing so would be.

    We are just becoming aware that we must fight back. Unfortunately we come to this realization as we pick ourselves up off the ground after having been knocked unconscious and robbed. We are trying to defend ourselves after the fact.

  4. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Basilisc:

    Only the Bar Associations (the corporation(s) that has (have) captured the Judiciary branch of our government) can disbar an attorney. If you think that might happen on a scale that would have a measurable effect on attorneys engaging in these violations of law and/or procedural rules of the courts, you might not understand the true level or nature of the corruption in and of our system.

  5. Julia Chestnut says:

    Guys, what it does is deprive the court of jurisdiction over the defendant. If they were never properly served, the whole case is thrown out and starts over again. Sometimes, if there was no prejudice to the defendant (I’m having a hard time figuring out how there would be no prejudice here, because lots of timelines are involved that trigger off of every move in a default and foreclosure), sometimes the case can proceed. Often if the defendant has actual knowledge of the suit, even if they weren’t properly served, the court will take that into account.

    I am interested to see how Florida law treats the question of the holder in due course: this might be one of the few things that would wrest a house back from a buyer who purchased it at the courthouse steps. If the court never acquired jurisdiction of the defendant, the order permitting sale was improper. The bank in effect stole the house, and sold it. Normally, a holder in due course of collateral has huge rights. This just might be a fly in the ointment of how these things normally work. My bet is that the case law dates from the depression era, back before the rise of the vampires. This could get very interesting.

    But there are two things that make courts really, really pissy: one is being openly lied to under oath – perjury – and that is what filing a patently false affidavit is. The second is having their jurisdiction invoked improperly and having things drag on or have to get redone because of it. Well there is a third that is probably not involved here, and that is being reversed. Believe me, if anything will stir an honest, but lazy or indifferent, judge to action, it is having the court played for a fool. This could be very, very interesting to watch.

    As to the comments about the physical appearance of the defendant, I can’t believe the servers were too lazy to get up on facebook and find out what the defendant looks like. Sheesh.

  6. beaufou says:

    What Petey said.

  7. TakBak04 says:

    50-State Foreclosure Probe Loses Several Influential Voices after Midterm Elections/ HT Rob

    Iowa Attorney General Thomas Miller, the point man on the 50-state investigation into the foreclosure mess, won reelection this week. But a number of the other 13 attorneys generals on the inquiry’s executive committee will leave in the coming months.

    In Ohio, Attorney General Richard Cordray — a Democrat who was the first to sue a major lender over the foreclosure problems — lost to Republican Mike DeWine. “A campaign website for Mr. DeWine lists job creation and opposing the health-care plan as his top priorities and makes no obvious mention of the foreclosure scandal, the multistate investigation or Mr. Cordray’s lawsuit against GMAC,” noted the Wall Street Journal. On Wednesday, DeWine declined to comment on the foreclosure issue, saying that the office will “evaluate each piece of existing litigation.”

    Another key official with experience dealing with mortgage companies — Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard (D) — lost the race for governor. Goddard took the lead in negotiating a settlement, announced in October, with Wells Fargo. The lender, which was facing allegations of deceptive marketing, agreed to spend an estimated $772 million modifying loans for borrowers across the country.

    Republican Tom Horne beat Democrat Felecia Rotellini to win Goddard’s former job late Wednesday, ending the Democrats’ 12-year-hold on the office.

    Florida’s Bill McCollum, also influential in the investigation, will be leaving at the end of this year, having lost in the GOP’s gubernatorial primary. McCollum has been spearheading a probe into four “foreclosure mill” law firms. Republican Pam Bondi, a former state prosecutor, will take over as the new AG.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/political-economy/2010

    The loss of Ohio’s AG Cordray is a big hit to stopping fraud by banksters. Florida’s McCollum is devastating also.

  8. Mannwich says:

    But this was all just a big mistake, BR. In fact, the whole crisis was. Now it’s over, so let’s move on, but get those deadbeats out of their homes first.

  9. Lugnut says:

    “My personal favorite are the people served in Florida whose passports prove they were in Europe at the time. ”

    Also amusing from the standpoint that folks being served a foreclosure notice can afford a trip to Europe. Irony abounds.

  10. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Years ago. a friend who had recently been admitted to the Bar would occasionally ask me to act as a process server for him (he would accompany me, but stay in the car, down the street. He didn’t like confrontation, and thought it unlikely that the person being served would get cocky with me). In Virginia, if I remember correctly, here’s what was required for proper service:

    1. Knock on the door — repeatedly and loudly (as a cop would) — giving a reasonable amount of time for the knock to be answered.

    2. If the knock was answered, I was to ask: Are you James Doe? If the answer was yes, I’d serve the docs. If the answer was no, I was to ask, “do you live here, and are you over 18 years old?” If the answer was yes, I was to hand that person the docs, and ask that they be given to the person being served. if the answer was no, or if no one had answered the door, i was to tape the docs to the door (on all four sides, and with removable tape).

    3. I would then sign and date the affidavit of service.

    That’s how it’s done in VA.

  11. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Jeez. I should really start proofing my comments before hitting the submit button.

  12. Marc P says:

    @Julia Chestnut:

    This is a great point. I clerked for a trial court judge. I tell people the judges are like sleeping bears. Under the weight of their crushing workloads, often they appear to be distracted, board, asleep, or all three. But generally, judges are quite bright and have been put on the bench for good reasons. Once awakened from slumber, watch out.

    Judges have to rely on the attorneys to provide accurate information. Judges are well aware that attorneys represent their clients and are not likely to present evidence that is not in their client’s best interest. That is why the system is designed to have both parties represented. Law is the only profession where there is a highly paid professional whose sole job is to point out all your lapses.

    In many states the foreclosure process is designed to have minimal court intervention. The lenders are expected to follow a rigid set of rules regarding notice and timelines but often judges never have to get involved. The statutes are set up so that the borrower can object at any time and bring the matter in front of the judge for correction. However, judges are well aware that lenders have money and borrowers do not. Due to this, the judges are more reliant than usual on the veracity and completeness of the information provided by the lender’s attorney. A lender’s attorney who abuses that trust is asking for trouble.

    My suggestion is to get some popcorn, crack open a beer, and sit back. This is going to be a good show.

  13. Marc P says:

    Judges are board? Duh. Bored. Sorry.