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Real Estate & Property Law

The Home Equity Theft Reporter The Home Equity Theft Reporter

Welcome to The Home Equity Theft Reporter, a blog dedicated to informing the consumer public and the legal profession about Home Equity Theft issues.
By r morris

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Last Entry: January 28, 2015 at 04:00:00

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U.S. Department Of Justice Tells State, Local Cops To Keep Hands Off Asset Seizures Under Federal Forfeiture Laws Unless Accompanied By Warrants Or Criminal Charges; Loopholes Remain As Use Of Police Power To Pull Off Unwarranted Property Ripoffs Still Possible If Feds Participate In Joint Seizures; State Law Seizures Also OK

Posted on January 28, 2015
In Washington, D.C., The Washington Post reports (via Public Citizen's Consumer Law & Policy Blog):Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without warrants or criminal charges...

U.S. Supremes: Filing A Lawsuit Not Necessary To Rescind Consumer Loan Under Truth In Lending Act; Simply Notifying Creditor In Accordance With Regulations Is Sufficient

Posted on January 14, 2015
From Public Citizen's Consumer Law & Policy Blog:Resolving a split among the federal courts of appeals in favor of consumers, the Supreme Court held today in Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., that a consumer may exercise the right to rescind a loan under the federal Truth in Lending Act simply by notifying the creditor rather than (as the creditor contended and as several federal courts had held) by filing a lawsuit...

Bay State Real Estate Operator Gets Canned For Ten Months, Faces Ten Years Probation & $112K Restitution Order For Ripping Off Nearly 100 Wanna-Be Homeowners In Blatant Rent-To-Own Racket Targeting 1st Time Buyers, Consumers w/ Crappy Credit

Posted on January 06, 2015
From the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General:An Easton man has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to jail in connection with stealing $112,000 from customers in a ?Rent to Own? advance-fee scheme, Attorney General Martha Coakley?s Office announced []...

Another Snoozing Bankster Sleeps Through Foreclosure Statute Of Limitations; Court Denies Foreclosure On $1M+ Penthouse, But Also Refuses To Cancel Note & Mortgage, Will Not Quiet Title In Favor Of Property Owner

Posted on December 31, 2014
In Miami, Florida, the Daily Business Review reports:Deutsche Bank snoozed and lost on a foreclosure suit that took about seven years to play out in Miami-Dade.While the bank's case wound its way through the court system, Aqua Master Association Inc. started its own foreclosure claim to enforce liens and collect unpaid dues for a penthouse at 201 Aqua Ave...

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Court Rejects Sneaky Bank's Scheme To Improperly Circumvent Judicial Foreclosure By Requiring Escrowed Contingent Deed, To Be Recorded Upon Future Default, As Condition To Grant Homeowner Forbearance Agreement

Posted on December 24, 2014
A recent court ruling by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Rockford, Illinois (In re Primes, 9/26/14) illustrates how the doctrine of equitable mortgage applies in the context of a transaction involving a financially distressed homeowner facing the loss of her home, and the lender currently holding the mortgage and threatening foreclosure...

Fair Housing Feds Squeeze Major NYC Developer For Up To $2M To Settle Allegations That Design & Construction Of Newly-Built Rental Housing Failed To Comply w/ Accessibility Requirements; Lawsuit Triggered By Non-Profit Civil Rights Advocate's Undercover Testing Probe

Posted on December 21, 2014
In New York City, the Fair Housing Justice Center recently announced:On December 10, 2014, Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the settlement of a lawsuit filed earlier this year against a major New York City real estate developer for failing to design and construct rental housing in compliance with the accessibility requirements of the federal Fair Housing Act...

Owner/Operators Of Downstate NY Senior Living Residences & Assisted Living Facility Agree To Cough Up $297K+ To Settle Alleged Fair Housing Act Violations

Posted on December 20, 2014
From the Fair Housing Justice Center:On December 11, 2014, federal Magistrate Ronald L. Ellis signed an agreement to settle a lawsuit filed by the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC) against the owners and operators of four senior living residences located in Staten Island, Manhattan, Westchester County, and Rockland County as well as one assisted living/adult home facility in Rockland County...

More On The Slumbering New Jersey Lender Who Slept Through Statute Of Limitations On Foreclosing Mortgage, Leaving Lucky Homeowner w/ Free & Clear Home

Posted on December 19, 2014
The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based law firm Duane Morris LLP has recently published a post about the recent New Jersey court case where a homeowner who had defaulted on his house payments on a $520,000 mortgage had the outstanding balance of his mortgage wiped out where the lender apparently "fell asleep" for six years without bringing a foreclosure action, and whose statute of limitations "alarm clock" apparently didn't awaken it from its slumber until after the applicable limitations period had expired, leaving it time-barred from initiating a lawsuit...

Does Recorded, Properly Prepared But Improperly Indexed Deed Provide Constructive Notice To Bona Fide Purchasers? Yes, Says Bay State Bankruptcy Court

Posted on December 17, 2014
From Bankruptcy-RealEstate-Insights.com:A chapter 7 trustee sought to avoid a transfer of the debtor?s real property using his ?strong arm? powers based on an argument that the deed conveying the property did not provide constructive notice since it was not properly indexed in the real estate records...

Federal Court To Multiple Sclerosis-Afflicted Tenant Requesting Entitlement To Reasonable Accommodation Under Fair Housing Act For Doctor-Prescribed, Medical Marijuana Use: No Chance!

Posted on December 16, 2014
From the Fair Housing Defense blog:In an age when more states continue to decriminalize use of small amounts of marijuana, apartment management employees are getting a more common request: can medical marijuana be a reasonable accommodation because of a disability?Earlier this month, a federal district court answered that question with a resounding no...

Pennsylvania Appeals Court Kiboshes Tax Sale Where Widow Had $250K Home Sold Out From Under Her Over $6.30 Late Fee; Ruling Reverses Lower Court Decision That Initially Gave Her The Boot

Posted on December 15, 2014
In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Reuters reports (via Public Citizen's Consumer Law & Policy Blog):A widow whose western Pennsylvania home was sold by the county after she failed to pay interest accrued on $6.30 in late tax fees was overjoyed when a court ruled she can keep her home, her lawyer said on Friday...

San Bernardino DA Puts Pinch On Pair Accused Of Hijacking Title To Vacant Home, Then Flipping It To Unwitting Buyer For $440K+; Duo Faces 22 Felony Counts Of I.D. Theft, Forgery, Procuring & Offering False/Forged Instruments, Conspiracy

Posted on December 14, 2014
From the Office of the San Bernardino County, California District Attorney:A Rancho Cucamonga man and woman were recently arrested for stealing Title on a home and selling it for profit. Investigators from the District Attorney?s Office Real Estate Fraud Unit arrested Emma Adel, 45, and Mazen Fazah, 39, on Nov...

More On Use Of Eminent Domain To Write Down Unpaid Balances On Underwater Mortgages

Posted on December 09, 2014
From Public Citizen's Consumer Law & Policy Blog:Robert C. Hockett of Cornell has written 'We Don't Follow, We Lead': How New York City Will Save Mortgage Loans by Condemning Them, 124 Yale Law Journal Forum 131 (2014).Here is the abstract: This brief invited essay lays out in summary form the eminent domain plan for securitized underwater mortgage loans that the author has been advocating and helping to implement for some years now...

Local D.C. Lawmakers Vote In Favor Of Overhauling City Forfeiture Laws In Effort To Crack Down On "Policing For Profit;" Some Law Enforcement Agencies View Legal Loopholes In Law Allowing Asset Seizures As Handy Source Of Slush Funds

Posted on December 07, 2014
In Washington, D.C., Forbes reports (via Public Citizen Consumer Law & Policy Blog):The Council of the District of Columbia voted unanimously [last week] in favor of overhauling the city?s civil forfeiture laws, which lets police seize property from people never charged with a crime...

South Florida Feds Pinch Paralegal For Allegedly Looting $3.78 Million From Employer's Law Firm Trust Account; Cash Meant For Real Estate Transactions, Loan Payoffs, Etc.; Suspect Continued To Make Lulling Payments To Banks In Attempt To Conceal Ripoff

Posted on December 05, 2014
In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports:A paralegal pleaded not guilty Wednesday to allegations that he stole more than $3.78 million from client trust accounts at the Hollywood law firm where he worked, court records show...

35 Year-Old Woman Jilts, Then Sues Her Married, 59-Year Old Ex-Sugar Daddy For Trying To Give Her The Boot Out Of $1.3M Love Hideaway He Bought Her; Will Battle Dumped Beau's Attempted 'Snatch-Back' In Court To Hang Onto Condo, Other Loot He Showered Her With During Once-Sizzling, Now-Fizzled Fling

Posted on December 03, 2014
In New York City, the New York Daily News reports:A beautiful blond songwriter?s relationship with an older, married multimillionaire ended on a sour note ? she?s suing him for trying to kick her out of her apartment.In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Ayelet Argaman, an Israeli singer, songwriter and actress, says former beau Robert Rothenberg is a vindictive ?scorned lover who has taken the break up badly...

Return Of The Robosigners In Fannie Mae's Pursuit Of Deficiency Judgments To Squeeze Foreclosed, Ex-Homeowners

Posted on November 30, 2014
The New York Times reports:Remember the robo-signers, those mortgage loan automatons who authenticated thousands of foreclosure documents over the years without verifying the information they were swearing to?Well, they?re back, in a manner of speaking, at least in Florida...

Death Knell For Bankruptcy Strip-Offs Of Completely Underwater 2nd Mortgages?

Posted on November 29, 2014
Professor Bob Lawless writes on Credit Slips:Probably No Strip-Offs After Supremes RuleThe headline for this post will be mysterious and perhaps slightly salacious in a general newsfeed, but bankruptcy experts will know it means the time is nigh in the 11th Circuit for lien strip-offs...

Landlord/Operator Of Gov't-Approved Supportive Housing Program For Homeless & Disabled Vets Tagged With Fair Housing Complaints; Management Allegedly "Segregated The Blacks From The Hispanics From The Whites" Until Catching Wind Of HUD Grievances; Then Began "Shuffling" Whites, Blacks Throughout Bldg., Says Renters' Advocate

Posted on November 28, 2014
In Denver, Colorado, The Denver Post reports:For Anthony Mitchell, the Fourth Quarter Residences were a godsend, a low-rent haven for homeless and disabled veterans at a time when he and his wife were living in their car.Now, more than three years after residents began moving into the 36-unit complex, he and others describe a building where security is so lax that neighborhood drug addicts and prostitutes move freely through the halls, and strangers sleep in the stairwells...

Court OKs Gov't Use Of Eminent Domain To Snatch Elderly Man's Atlantic City Home Of 45 Years, Even Without Any Specified Purpose For The Property; Victim, Counsel Say Appeal Will Follow

Posted on November 27, 2014
In Atlantic City, New Jersey, The New York Times reports: Charlie Birnbaum will have to go to a higher court to defend his parents? home in Atlantic City, which he wanted to keep as something of a shrine. Superior Court Judge Julio L. Mendez ruled on Monday that New Jersey?s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, charged with developing the gambling and tourism industries in Atlantic City,

Expiring Statute Of Limitations Leaves New Jersey Homeowner With Free & Clear Home While Foreclosing Lender Left Holding The Bag

Posted on November 26, 2014
In Newark, New Jersey, NJ.com reports: In what may be a first in New Jersey, a Morris County man who defaulted on his $520,000 mortgage in 2007 has instead won the right to retain ownership of his house, according to court records. Earlier this month, Gordon A...

WV Supremes OK Foreclosed Homeowner's Use Of 'Fair Market Value Defense' When Determining Deficiency Judgment; Court Overrules Its Prior Precedent That Mandated Automatic Use Of Auction Sale Price In Calculation; Ruling Will Lead To Less Lender Windfalls, Lower Property Owner Post-Foreclosure Liability

Posted on November 25, 2014
From an Opinion Summary from Justia US Law: Defendants defaulted on their obligation to Plaintiff, who had loaned them $200,000 secured by a first deed of trust on real property they owned. Plaintiff subsequently purchased the subject property at a trustee?s sale and then filed the instant lawsuit seeking a deficiency judgment for the unpaid balance of Defendants? promissory note...

NYS High Court To Rogue Bankruptcy Trustees, Greedy Creditors: Hands Off 80-Year Old Widow's Rent Regulated Home Of 50 Years; Declares Those Leases To Be "Public Assistance Benefit" Exempt From Creditors' Claims Under State Law

Posted on November 24, 2014
In New York City, The New York Times reports: In a decision with implications for millions of tenants, New York State?s highest court ruled Thursday that a lease for a rent-regulated apartment is a public benefit and cannot be seized as an asset in a personal bankruptcy...

Harlem Brownstone Targeted In Stolen Identity/Deed Theft Scam; True Owners Get Roped Into Lawsuit By Would-Be Buyer Who Made $90K Downpayment In Deal To Buy Property From Two House-Heisting Scammers

Posted on November 23, 2014
In New York City, the New York Post reports: Con artists have tried to sell a $2.2 million Harlem brownstone they don?t own four times since September, the building?s fed-up owners told The Post. And now the owners are fighting a lawsuit from a would-be buyer who made a $90,000 down payment to a lawyer representing the scammers ? who used forged drivers? licenses to impersonate the couple...

Daughter Thwarted In Attempt To Boot Elderly Father Out Of His Home; Judge: Fight "Over What Amounts To Expectation Inheritence Rights"; Dad: "?I Am 71 & In Poor Health. I Am Not Going To Make It Much Longer. Couldn?t She Just Wait Until I Die??

Posted on November 22, 2014
In Miami, Florida, The Miami Herald reports: Former Miami Beach mayor-turned-convicted felon Alex Daoud does not have to move out of his home, a Miami-Dade judge ruled Monday. In 2012, Daoud?s daughter Kelly Hyman filed a complaint against him that said she owned the corporation that bought the $1 million, two-bedroom, three-bathroom house in the 1700 block of Michigan Avenue...

Another Sloppy Lender Takes Hit With Voided Lien In Homeowner's Bankruptcy Case As Mortgage Containing Incorrect Legal Description Falls Outside Property's Chain Of Title, Thus Failing To Provide Constructive Notice To BFPs; Bank Left Holding The Bag Without Loan Collateral, But At Least Wins Fight To File Belated Unsecured Proof Of Claim

Posted on November 21, 2014
From Bankruptcy-RealEstate-Insights: A Chapter 13 trustee and the debtor sought to use the strong arm powers of a hypothetical bona fide purchaser of real estate to avoid a mortgage based on the fact that an incorrect legal description was attached to the mortgage and it was indexed in the land records using the incorrect description...

Salvation Army To Fork Over $72K To Settle Alleged Fair Housing Violations That It Illegally Booted Four Homeless Women From Its Transitional Housing Center After They Became Pregnant

Posted on November 20, 2014
In Washington, D.C., the Department of Housing & Urban Development recently announced: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced [] that the Salvation Army will pay $48,000 to four women as part of a Conciliation Agreement resolving allegations that the international charitable organization wrongfully evicted them from its Turning Point transitional housing center in

N. Illinois Landlord Agrees To Cough Up $255K In Settlement w/ Fair Housing Feds For Allegedly Refusing Reasonable Accommodation For Mobility-Impaired Tenant Living On 3rd Floor Of Non-Elevator Bldg., Then Threatening Eviction When Adult Daughter/Caregiver Moved In

Posted on November 19, 2014
The Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") recently announced (via the Fair Housing Defense blog): The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced [] that it has entered into a Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) with University Village, the owner and operator of a 500-unit HUD-subsidized apartment complex in DeKalb, Illinois...

NYC Homebuyer Who Failed To Ascertain Status, Rights Of All Persons In Possession Of Premises Discovers 'Phantom' Tenant Holding Unrecorded 60-Year, $10/Month Lease On 2-Bedroom, West Village Duplex; Resorts To Lawsuit To Boot Renter, Claiming He Either Forged Elderly Ex-Owner's Signature Or Took Advantage Of His Dementia, Alcoholism When Obtaining Lease

Posted on November 11, 2014
In New York City, the New York Post reports: It?s the best lease in the city. In 2009, Jud Parker got a West Village landlord to give him a ­duplex apartment on tony Minetta Street for $10 a month ? for 50 years! Now new landlord Pari Dulac is challenging the sweetheart deal and claiming the old owner, who died in 2010, had dementia when it was allegedly signed...

Apartment-Seeking Single Mom, Fair Housing Advocates Tag A Dozen NYC Landlords With Lawsuit For Alleged Discrimination Due To Her Proposed Use Of Section 8 Housing Voucher To Pay Portion Of Rent

Posted on November 05, 2014
In New York City, the Fair Housing Justice Center (1) recently issued the following announcement of a lawsuit it filed alleging fair housing violations against a dozen area landlords over alleged violations of the New York City Human Rights Law: On October 31, 2014, Ms...

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