The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

TheDC OP-ED: One nation, under fraud

Tomorrow, a bank—not your bank, but any bank—could evict you from your home. Even if you didn’t know the bank was foreclosing. Even if your mortgage is paid off. Even if you never had a mortgage to begin with. Even if the bank doesn’t hold a single piece of paper that you signed. And major banks not only know this fact, but have spent millions of dollars to defend it in court. Why? The answer starts with a Jacksonville homeowner named Patrick Jeffs.

In 2007, Deutsche Bank sued Jeffs for his home, which is a necessary step in the process of foreclosing on a homeowner in the state of Florida. Curiously, despite the fact that he immediately hired a law firm to defend his property when he found out about the foreclosure, neither Jeffs nor his attorneys were at the trial. That’s because it had already happened. Deutsche won by default because Jeffs wasn’t able to travel backwards in time to attend, even though the trial featured a signed affidavit indicating that he had been served his court summons.

The only problem with the summons Jeffs supposedly received was that it had been conjured out of thin air.

In June of this year, a Florida court ruled that the document was fraudulent, as the person who was supposed to make sure Jeffs was served had mysteriously received a copy of the summons before the lawsuit had even been filed, and Jeffs never even saw the copy. The text of that ruling was posted on various financial news websites in September. The lawyers that Jeffs hired to defend his case say that fraud such as this is not uncommon. It’s a widespread problem, and it has cost countless families their homes.

“I think it’s safe to say that 95% of the foreclosure cases in Florida involve some form of fraud on the part of the bank,” David Goldman of Apple Law Firm, PLLC told The Daily Caller in a phone interview. “It’s probably closer to 99%. And the court system is helping them get away with it.”

A 95% rate of fraud sounds preposterous, but the number was repeated by a paralegal familiar with the case, Lisa Beasley, as well as Michael Redman, who was prompted to create a website called 4closurefraud.org after enduring personal experiences with the matter. There’s a reason for them to say so—they take and report on a lot of foreclosure fraud cases—but there’s also a reason they devote so much of their time to these cases, just like there’s a reason that multiple states are suing major banks for the same type of fraud.

The Sunshine State has something called the “Sunshine Law,” which states that unless very specific conditions, such as the need to protect a witness, are met by a trial, it must be open to the public. But over the past several months, Goldman says that attempts to observe foreclosure proceedings have been met with bailiffs and locked doors. Then, banks successfully argue that because they own the paperwork behind mortgages and don’t want anyone who doesn’t have to see those titles to see them, the public doesn’t have the right to ask for them as part of an examination of court records.

Representatives of Deutsche Bank told The Daily Caller via email that the bank’s involvement in the Jeffs case was merely nominal, as it had to be named as the plaintiff in the case because it ultimately held the right to foreclose, not Chase, the bank that originally created the loan and that was accepting Jeffs’ payments and forwarding them to the proper recipients. But as the loan servicer, Chase had tried to work out a loan modification with Jeffs, and he was current on his payments when Chase abruptly informed him that his modification was denied without explanation. Several days later, Jeffs found out that he supposedly no longer owned his home. He stopped making payments, and he hasn’t made them since. But no bank has been able to successfully repossess and sell the property. To the banking system, the asset backed by the house—the mortgage—has simply vanished into thin air.

Does that mean that Jeffs is finally in the clear? Not exactly. “Quite often, what happens in these cases is the bank creates new documents to fix the old documents,” said Goldman. “One of the most common things we see is a paper with a notary stamp that gives the bank the legal authority to foreclose. Well, anyone can buy those stamps. I can buy those stamps. A lot of what’s going on is law firms desperate to win a case are hired by banks who don’t know what those law firms are up to. Then the bank thinks it can foreclose, even though other banks also think they have that right, and those banks might not figure out what happened for a long time because the system is absolutely overloaded with foreclosures. And even if they do figure it out, suing to repossess a property that another bank already sold is a long and arduous process. So you wind up with a scenario in which the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.”

The “right hand” took three years to figure out the Jeffs case. Meanwhile, the fraud continues. Earlier this year, Goldman worked with Jane Doe, an elderly woman whose real name couldn’t be disclosed for legal reasons. She had just spent several weeks outside of her home state of Florida visiting relatives, and she was current on her mortgage payments, which she had been paying for the past 15 years. She even called up her bank during her trip to ask about the best way to send in her latest payment. The bank told her that it wasn’t allowed to discuss the mortgage with her because her husband was the property owner, not her. But the bank couldn’t discuss the mortgage with her husband, either. Why? Because he was dead. And he had been for five years. Confirming this fact would have taken mere minutes.

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  • Debbie Texas

    This is a very comprehensive article and I only wish that my many attempts over the past several years had resulted in a good old-fashioned REAL story on one of the big national networks. 20/20 and the rest spend hours telling us about Tiger Woods or the latest celeb drug addict’s escapades…while literally millions of people and their families are thrown out of their homes and the back story is ignored. This is the biggest demonstration of the threat to our National Security and to our citizens and the most relevant story that needs to be told.

    Finding a law firm that can handle these cases is nearly impossible…either because they don’t have the expertise or they have conflicts of interest with the bank, builder, title company, city or one of the perpetrators involved. Then there is the cost that the perps knew most of us would not be able to afford. Those who do pursue usually wind up spending years in court and fighting additional fraud in the process…usually losing all their income, assets, health, savings and businesses in the process.

    Fines for the fraud? This is just one more element of the overall scheme/scam. First of all, they are a drop in the bucket compared to the profits…just a cost of doing business. Fines go right into the coffers of the agencies we think are policing them and they spend the money on their new facilities, salaries and benefits. Victim’s funds are another scam. Few ever see a nickel because of the rules set up to prevent payment or the insane requirements to file for them. There is ‘no overlap’ between agencies so even if the FTC or HUD find these criminals guilty of illegal activity; there is no reporting to the FBI/DOJ and ZERO prosecution. There is a back room deal done in secrecy in most cases, a fine and the corporate criminal goes back to business as usual. The public has no access to the information from THEIR FIDUCIARIES who are paid by our taxes; so they are defrauded over and over by companies who they think are established and large trustworthy entities. They are protected by the FBI and local, State and Federal politicians.

    In my case, HUD warned me to be careful for my personal safety because they “knew all the players in my real estate transaction…” Isn’t that great? They tell me I am in danger, but do nothing to help or protect me from known dangerous criminals. We filed a large case/complaint on behalf of multiple victims and I was told my documents made the case against Chicago Title/Grand Homes for their Title fraud. They had both already been fined for prior violations…Fidelity Investments was fined millions as the owner of Chicago Title. Companies like Chicago Title are the ‘front’ for their crimes and the crimes of their affiliates.

    Builder Fraud, Mortgage Fraud, Title Fraud, City Racketeering all played a part in how the conspirators were able to play the game and keep it going. But for the City officials paid off in a variety of ways…the tax deals and bond money to developers…the illegal permitting and blatant breaking of laws and ordinances and deed restrictions…the criminals would not find it so easy to carry out the fraud.

    BUT FOR the credibility of large banks and title companies; their lower level conspirators would not be able to con so many unsuspecting victims.

    People like me provided the docs and entered into mortgages in good faith. We bought homes in good faith from a large builder whose fraudulent activities had been aided by political friends and covered up by same. We went to the courts and ran into blatant fraud upon the courts, misconduct by Judges and other court officers. We went to the agencies and were jacked around and required to provide far more than we were able to afford under the circumstances in terms of boxes of documents…we were refused being able to send anything via electronic media. In some cases, the one year statute prevented us from accessing victim’s funds. Most of the time, the fraud is not discovered within a year.

    Even with my full documentation to prove the massive fraud, threats, home intrusions documented with the local police who answer to their criminal bosses, a bullet hole in my car near my window (while I was driving), written extortion, altered transcripts, witnesses and much more; the FBI and other agencies refused to get involved.

    We should have full and complete investigative Congressional hearings that include people like me who can demonstrate the conspiracies and extent of the fraud. This is no different than any other National disaster and should be handled in a similar manner. We should be able to take our information and documents to local offices and have our copies made and our circumstances determined in those meetings. Instead of bailouts for criminals; those criminals should be writing checks to their victims. And not little checks that do nothing to repair the losses. Our tax dollars should not go to the criminals or the victims; restitution should come from the top execs who devised the schemes before they are fitted for the orange jumpsuits.

    We should be handed the keys and a clear title to our homes and our good names and credit restored. Banks are hiding the massive numbers of empty homes. They will never voluntarily disclose the amount of real estate/toxic assets they created and stole from innocent victims. They won’t pay the invoices from contractors who keep the homes in good condition because they would have to put the entries on the books which are subject to audits. Most of the toxic assets they receive from taking over smaller banks are never added to the larger banks’ books.

    The damage to people is not just the loss of their homes and the homelessness that follows for many. The financial costs and losses and ill health and depression go far beyond the obvious. The destroyed credit and long term damage is literally unquantifiable. The suicides are not reported.

    The end game will never be acknowledged by those in power and behind the malicious premeditated thefts from homeowners and from those who invested in the Ponzi schemes based on fraudulent loan pools. This was a premeditated destruction of the middle and upper middle class and the elimination of private ownership. This was just part of the attempt to create poverty and an entitlement society dependent on the government…slaves and serfs.

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  • Florida Foreclosure Defense

    This is only the beginning of the Fraud involved in Foreclosure cases. Since this article has been published we have had more similar cases in Florida which we report on at our http:/www.FloridaForeclosureDefenseLawyersBlog.com

    David Goldman
    Apple Law Firm
    Jacksonville FL

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