There is an astonishing front page story in the NYT today, addressing an issue we have been complaining about now for some time: Fraud, Perjury, and other known acts of illegality in foreclosure actions. The article, Judges Berate Bank Lawyers in Foreclosures, reveals that jurists are whining in their written opinions about the illegal actions of bankers, process servers and now lawyers.

Imagine: A judge went so far as to fine a firm for “swearing to false statements.” Why? Because it “reflects poorly on the profession as a whole.” One judge even called the filing of a lawyer “incredible, outrageous, ludicrous and disingenuous.”

Like the awful economists, the judges are circling the wagons around the profession — they are concerned that (horror!) the reputation of legal profession might be damaged.

“When the consequence of a lawyer plying his trade is the loss of someone’s home, and it turns out there are documents being given to the courts that have no basis in reality, the profession gets a very big black eye,” said Stephen Gillers, an expert in legal ethics at New York University.

With all due respect professor, that is the least of it.

No your Honors, this is more than a PR issue: Making sworn statements that are false is perjury, and needs to be prosecuted as such. Last I checked, there is not a different set of felony rules for Lawyers than for everyone else.

Apparently, Civil Law Judges are missing the bigger concern — that rampant criminality is taking place.

Judges, its time to Man Up! You Jurists need to reach under your robes, and feel around the space where your testicles used to be, and find a criminal law book. Submitting sworn documents to to a court, filing robo-signed documents, fabricating signatures, phony notarizations, claiming documents were reviewed when they never were — all of this is PERJURY.

Prosecute it as such; Stop whining about these lawyers, and refer the cases to the State Attorney General. Better yet, have the bailiffs take these Lawyers into custody.

Want to stop illegality? Make sure there is a real penalty that will deter the criminals –bankers, lawyers, et. al –  from engaging in their illegal actions.

This means prosecuting known violators of the law . . .

>

Source:
Judges Berate Bank Lawyers in Foreclosures
JOHN SCHWARTZ
NYT, January 10, 2011
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/11/business/11lawyers.html

Previously:
Man without Mortgage Loses Home in Foreclosure (September 23rd, 2010)

Foreclosure Fraud Reveals Structural & Legal Crisis (October 5th, 2010)

Why Foreclosure Fraud Is So Dangerous to Property Rights (October 12th, 2010)

Legal Impossibilities & Foreclosure Errors (October 14th, 2010)

The Impact of Error From Securitization to Foreclosure (October 15th, 2010)

Foreclosure Fraud: “Systemic, Industrywide, Pervasive” (October 16th, 2010)

The Big Lie on Fraudclosure (October 29th, 2010)

The Foreclosure Zoo (November 5th, 2010)

Category: Foreclosures, Legal

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.

28 Responses to “About That Perjury, Judge . . .”

  1. Here are the comments about economists circling the wagons

    Previously:
    Why Economists Missed the Crises (January 5th, 2009)
    The Mystery of the Awful Economists
    Mystery of the Awful Economists, part II (April 8th, 2005)
    Mystery of the Awful Economists (Part III) (April 13th, 2005)

  2. Tarkus says:

    Punishment for perjuring under oath has been revealed the same as “moral hazard” – a facade once it is done by those in positions of power.

    An under-reported WikiLeaks story (but published in the UK) showed a Mervyn King communication in March 2008 expressing his alarm that the banks were insolvent – 6 months before Paulson requested TARP under Armageddon assertions . Now, unless Hank Paulson and or his people rated cables from the Gov of the Bank of England as “low priority”, that would imply that his request for TARP to tide over a “liquidity” problem was false, since it was known to be an insolvency problem 6 months earlier.

    Which might explain why TARP’s supposed original purpose to buy toxic assets was immediately changed to be a bank “infusion” (i.e., big bank giveaway).

  3. Agree 100%.

    Judges find people in contempt all the time. What is more contemptuous than lying to the Court?

  4. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Lawyers and Jurists do not serve the public, they serve their ABA and SBA brethren. An entire branch of our government has been captured by special interests and turned to the business of making money. Corporatism has it’s roots in the Judicial branch of our government, and that branch legitimizes corporatism in the others. Cameras at every intersection, but none in our courtrooms. Perjury isn’t a felony — it’s Standard Operating Procedure, much like Standardized and legitimized fraudulent accounting practices.

  5. jjay says:

    I think we all agree the justice system does not apply at all to big banks, Wall St. etc.
    Perhaps after the Enron affair, TPTB complained big time to the politicians and demanded protection.
    Not much jail time or prosecutions since then.
    The government aids and abets their crimes.
    The entire housing bubble fraud would have been impossible without government support every step of the way.
    It’s just the way it is.

  6. “The entire housing bubble fraud would have been impossible without government support every step of the way.”–jjay, above

    hardly more, needs to be said..

  7. Sechel says:

    This is your best point on the Foreclosure issue, that rule
    of law is important. ———— I can’t help but think the
    trampling of consumer rights with regards to mortgage disclosure,
    credit card disclosure, usury rates disguised as over-draft fees
    all implicitly supported by the Fed are all related to
    this.

  8. BusSchDean says:

    Have a son who just graduate from Cornell Law. Hope I taught him to have more balls than these judges.

    The challenge in teaching young people — those future bankers, accountants, traders, judges, gov’t officials, media executives, etc. — isn’t to encourage them to grow a set, though that can be part of it. The challenge is in helping them prepare for situations where they risk either losing their balls or they exchange them for $$. In this environment they are far more likely to face these situations than ones where they are supported and encouraged. We didn’t get here over night and somehow we have to grow a crop of leaders who value integrity in people, in the law, in market processes, and in gov’t. It would help if more voices like BR’s could be heard publicly.

  9. call me ahab says:

    “There is an astonishing front page story in the NYT today, addressing an issue we have been complaining about now for some time: Fraud, Perjury, and other known acts of illegality in foreclosure actions. perpetrated by banks on people the world over.”

    There- I fixed it for you. . .

  10. b_thunder says:

    I think that the judges understand that neither previous nor current administration wants the foreclosure process delayed, or foreclosure lawyers and banks inconvenienced in any way. yes, the law is the law, but i’d bet that the overall “climate” matters. I wish BR could get this post into NYT as an Op-Ed. This would make a change. What else can you do? You can’t really sue the judges, only appeal their decisions if you have deep pockets…. I wish there was a mechanism where if the judge gets reversed high % of time he has to pay all defendants’ cost and then gets fired….

    And, of course, since lawyers are the most hated profession after used car salesmen and politicians, judges do not want to make the perception even worse.

  11. DeDude says:

    Absolutely correct, it’s all about incentives. Let the hurt of doing things wrong be bigger than the reward, then they will change their ways. They too are like 5 year olds.

  12. phb says:

    Nice imagery BR! I certainly hope that a mass castration of judges do not happen…you’ll have blood on your hands (figuratively, of course).

    ~~~

    BR: 2 things to note:

    1) My reference was to Judges who already lost their balls
    2) I did not place crosshairs on specific court houses and urge my followers “GO CASTRATE THESE TRAITORS!”

    Its really a shame that I need to spell this out for our less astute readers . . .

  13. morning_star says:

    Actually, lying and deception are behaviors learned by law students by their professors in law school, as documented by this scathing article from the NYT three days ago:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/business/09law.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=homepage

  14. morning_star says:

    (that should be “learned by law students from their professors in law school”)

  15. Lugnut says:

    I suppose this parallels the situation of the Florida AG getting rebuked on going after one of the foreclosure mill law firms, with the court citing that he has no jurisdictional authority over their actions. Now I get that within the narrow confines of the law, that may be a correct interpretation, but to the layman, it raises the legitimate question that there would seem to be no nominal regulatory/legal body with the authority, interest and public mandate to go after these firms and lawyers engaged in illegal behavior.

    That this judge presiding over a case where he acknowledges the blatant disregard for rule of law and procedure doesn’t follow expected practice of citing the lawyer(s) in question for perjury only further speaks to this sense that the sharks never eat their own, even when on different rungs of the ladder. Again, I fully acknowledge to posessing only a pedestrain knowledge of the case, from info on blogs, I’m not a lawyer, and I’m merely parroting a populist knee jerk reaction thats easy to form.

    But I do sense a trend here, and it doesn’t portend well for the folks facing the pointy end of the legal stick.

  16. call me ahab says:

    BR-

    dude- just a heads up- but I think you meant to say “I did “not” place . . . .”

    ~~~

    BR: Doh! I’ll fix!

  17. discusdriver says:

    Barry–if they “man up,” the appellate court will remove them for “bias”!! See, e.g., Judge Elliott in Benlate litigation.

    ~~~

    BR: Its gotta come form the top — time to stop coddling criminals whether they be muggers, bankers or laeyers.

  18. Greg0658 says:

    like the double-pyramid diamond of cash flow – it is also a representation of IQs

  19. SCTTD says:

    Failure to impose the law blindly to all parties equally will cause the total loss of faith in the system that we are spending trillions to “save”.

  20. obsvr-1 says:

    just a minor phonetic modification: change lawyer to liar and voila! all is well … I jest of course, when a lawyer commits perjury the punishment should be harsher then when a common citizen does as the lawyers are bound by their profession to up hold the law (or are they ?).

    When the gatekeepers fail us, we are doomed to exist in the cesspool of the plutocracy, hopefully the disinfectant power from the light of disclosure and truth will cleanse the system.

  21. MakingtheDrop says:

    Can’t play musical chairs when the dj is bought and paid for (or dead). The music just keeps playing…
    Hang the blessed dj… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AlH2oYedfk

  22. EvilEsq says:

    Good article. Thanks for saying what the New York Times is afraid to.

    Members of the US’s judicial system (attorneys and judges) have become our de facto aristocracy. The legal industry is the only self-regulated industry remaining in the US.

    How many attorneys were prosecuted after the Enron scandal? Exactly ZERO yet attorneys were deeply involved in the Enron’s governance as well as structuring and documenting all of the transactions the firm entered into.

    It’s not just judges that turn a blind eye to attorney misconduct, bar associations receive over 120,000 complaints regarding attorney misconduct annually. Fewer than 4.3% of attorneys who are complained about are disciplined. Most of the complaints that are prosecuted are for crimes that took place unrelated to the attorney’s legal practice or for an attorney’s misappropriation (read theft) of funds. Fewer than 1% of complaints by consumers of legal services are ever prosecuted.

    Why? Lawyers and law firms are the largest source of funding for state and national political campaigns. In aggregate they give more to politicians than all corporations combined with the vast majority of the funding going to Democrats. Politicians are therefore loath to attempt to regulate the judicial system or the legal industry.

    America’s judicial system is supposed to be our last line to defend our rights, property and liberties. It should be sacrosanct but has been totally corrupted to the advantage of judges, attorneys and their politician brethren… most of whom are attorneys.

  23. dsawy says:

    I would think that in cases where a) the foreclosure is a judicial proceeding and b) where lawyers have submitted false affidavits, that they’re guilty of fraud upon the court, not merely perjury. Officers of the court are held to higher standards than non-officers, ie, they are responsible for the ability of the court to deliver justice. Where officers of the court commit fraud, the litigants are denied a fair hearing and due process of the law.

    As I understand it, if fraud upon the court is proven, then any decision handed down as a result of that fraud can be vacated.

  24. Mike in Nola says:

    I don’t know how it is in other states, even in TX, but I know in LA judges have a duty to report to the disciplinary committee lawyers who violate ethical or professional standards. Nothing like a letter from the Disciplinary Counsel to ruin your day.

  25. FrancoisT says:

    I shall beat the drum on this as many times as needed: Our legal system has been perverted from providing a REASONABLE shake at equal justice to a machine honed to protect the interests of the powerful while shielding them from accountability and repressing very harshly, the “little people” that is, most of us who are not very well connected politically or by virtue of significant wealth.

    Read “The New Jim Crow” and “With Liberty And Justice For Some” (to be published in March 2011)

    So, seeing judges slapping lawyers on the wrist for offenses that would send us to the brig for a long time cannot possibly be surprising…and that is the real tragedy.

  26. ELS says:

    I guess. Remember, though, that any criminal charges require the DA to prove intent. So, you snag all the folks making slave wages (“Did you know that you were signing things w/o reading them?” “Yes.”) You might snag their managers who probably don’t make much more money (“Did you know your people were signing so many declarations that there was no way they could actually be reading the underlying files?” “Yes.”). Will you be able to convict anyone above that? Probably not. Everyone that was not in a position to literally see how things were set up has plausible deniability. As for the lawyers, it will also be very hard to obtain a conviction unless they actually saw the person signing off w/o looking at the file. When you need the dec, you send a letter or e-mail to the client along the lines of “I’ve drafted your declaration. Please review this closely. If it is not accurate, please call me or mark up the draft and send it back so I can correct it. If it is correct, please sign it and return it.” If the client signs w/o changing, where is the provable intent on the part of the lawyer?

    Part of the reason many highly suspected cases of perjury don’t get convicted in all kinds of civil cases is because they are not easy to prove and obtain convictions on. The other part of the reason is simple resource allocation. Every perjury conviction is a purse snatcher that may not get prosecuted instead. It is your basic guns vs. butter question.

    There are, however, things the Courts could do to prevent this in the first place: strictly apply the rules of evidence. Some lackey at the bank doesn’t have personal knowledge, but in his / her declaration says they read the file and the files says “XYZ.” If those notes from the file aren’t attached, that declaration is double hearsay – it’s inadmissible. In all honesty, many lawyers are lazy or don’t quite understand the rules and the Courts would come to a standstill if the rules of evidence were super-strictly applied outside of trial. There is a certain credibility component when one chooses to be lenient about the rules in order to get the cases moving. In my observation, the banks have lost that credibility and the judges I see have started applying the rules of evidence much more strictly when they are before the Courts.