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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: May 29, 2015 at 04:02:00

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F'closure Mill A Subtle Surplus Snatcher? Suits Say Outfit Failed To Cough Up Overage From Forced Sales; Agrees To Fork Over Loot After Media Inquiry

Posted on November 23, 2011
In Brooklyn, New York, the New York Post reports:What?s in this law firm?s wallet? New York state?s beleaguered, largest foreclosure law firm -- which [] announced plans to shut down in the face of a firestorm of legal action -- has allegedly failed to turn over about $130,000 owed to three people whose co-ops were foreclosed on, and could be sitting on millions of dollars of hundreds of other

Suit: Missouri Foreclosure Mill's Conflict Of Interest In Trustee Role Screwed Financially Strapped Homeowners Challenging Legitimacy Of Sale Process

Posted on November 23, 2011
In St. Louis, Missouri, Courthouse News Service reports:The Millsap & Singer law firm, "one of Missouri's largest foreclosure firms," violates its role as a neutral trustee in foreclosures by serving as attorney-in-fact for lenders, a class action claims in City Court...

Yahoo, Microsoft's Bing Come Under Scrutiny In Ongoing Criminal Probe Into Online Foreclosure Rescue, Loan Modification Rackets

Posted on November 23, 2011
The Associated Press reports:A criminal investigation into mortgage swindlers has expanded beyond deceptive advertising on Google's Internet search engine to root out con artists who were luring their victims on Bing and Yahoo, too.Monday's news of the widening probe confirmed that the Internet's three largest search engines had been turned into tools of prey for crooks looking to bilk homeowners

NY Foreclosure Mill To Shut Down; Loss Of Fannie, Freddie Business Over Dubious Practices Dooms Controversial Sweatshop

Posted on November 22, 2011
In Buffalo, New York, Buffalo Business First reports:The embattled Steven J. Baum P.C. law firm is the closing its doors after a series of missteps that included mortgage industry giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae cutting off business with the Amherst-based firm...

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Rumble Over Crappy Home Mortgage Loan Buyback Demands Escalates As Bank Of America Tells Fannie To Take A Hike!

Posted on November 22, 2011
Bloomberg reports:Bank of America Corp. told Fannie Mae it refuses to cooperate with the U.S. mortgage firm?s new stance on loan buybacks, setting the lender up for a potential surge in claims and penalties.The bank is disputing Fannie Mae?s demand that lenders repurchase mortgages or cover any losses themselves if an insurer drops coverage, Bank of America said this month in a regulatory filing.

Unwitting Denver Couple Left Holding The Bag On Recent REO Buy As Foreclosing Lender Unloads Meth-Infected Time Bomb On Young Family

Posted on November 22, 2011
In Denver, Colorado, KMGH-TV Channel 7 reports:Josh and Areli LeFevre have spent tens of thousands of dollars renovating a house in the south side of Denver as a new home for their growing family. But they didn?t know the previous tenants cooked methamphetamine in the house until a neighbor brought it up...

Rent-To-Own Ripoffs, Short Sale 'Flopping', Rent Skimming, Deceptive Trade Practices Among Charges Flying At Suspected Foreclosure Rescue Racket

Posted on November 21, 2011
In West Palm Beach, Florida, The Palm Beach Post reports:The Nationwide Investment Firm peddles foreclosure rescue to South Florida's most desperate homeowners, offering to beat the banks while maintaining dignity and peace of mind.Amid the wreckage of this once vibrant real estate market, the 3-year-old Boca Raton company persuades struggling borrowers to quit claim-deed their properties to

Florida Lawyer Cops Plea To Ripping Off At Least $2.4M In Client Cash From Trust Account

Posted on November 21, 2011
From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Fort Myers, Florida):United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that Joseph A. Troiano, (63, Fort Myers) pleaded guilty last week to six counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud. Troiano faces a maximum penalty of twenty years in federal prison for each count of wire and mail fraud...

NYC Cops Pinch Flipper For Pocketing $200K Selling Same Home Twice Before Deal Documents Were Recorded

Posted on November 21, 2011
In Staten Island, New York, the New York Post reports:A scam artist twice sold the same property in Woodrow, and profited $200,000 from the sales before the transactions were recorded by the County Clerk?s Office, authorities said.Dariusz Mruczynski, 44, first sold the home at 263 Edgegrove Ave...

Attempt To Peddle Recently Tax-Foreclosed Home Squleched By Cops; Unlicensed Sales Agent Says She Had No Idea Of Change In Property's Ownership Status

Posted on November 21, 2011
In St. Paul, Minnesota, the Pioneer Press reports:The sign said the home at 806 Edmund Ave. in St. Paul was for sale and the buyer could get it "cheap" - at a 50 percent discount. Cash only.But there's a catch: The seller doesn't own the house. The state of Minnesota does...

Shameless Head Of Embattled NY F'closure Mill Sweatshop Acknowledges Being On Road To Ruin; Responds To Recent Revelations By 'Shooting The Messenger'

Posted on November 20, 2011
Author and columnist Joe Nocera writes in The New York Times:?Mr. Nocera ? You have destroyed everything and everyone related to Steven J. Baum PC. It took 40 years to build this firm and three weeks to tear down.?Thus began a lengthy e-mail that I received, on Thursday evening, from Steven J...

Google Gets Hammered By Negative Publicity For Role In Loan Modification, Other Internet Scams As Feds Shut Down Dozens Of Rackets

Posted on November 20, 2011
The Associated Press reports:The federal government has shut down dozens of Internet scam artists who had been paying Google to run ads making bogus promises to help desperate homeowners scrambling to avoid foreclosures.The crackdown announced Wednesday renews questions about the role that Google?s massive advertising network plays in enabling online misconduct...

California AG Hits Fannie, Freddie w/ Subpoenas; Demands Information About Conduct Towards Renters In F'closed Homes, Involvement With Toxic Mortgages

Posted on November 20, 2011
In Los Angeles, California, the Los Angeles Times reports:Investigators with the California attorney general's office have subpoenaed information from mortgage titans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as part of a wide-ranging inquiry into lending and foreclosure practices in the state...

Notary Nabbed In Nevada Criminal Robosigning Probe Cops Guilty Plea

Posted on November 20, 2011
From the Office of the Nevada Attorney General:The Office of the Nevada Attorney General announced [] that Tracy Lawrence, 43, a local notary, has pled guilty to one count of notarizing the signature of an individual not in her presence, a gross misdemeanor in violation of NRS 240...

Suit: Credit Union Snatched Borrower's Auto In Response To Default On Home Mtg Loan Obtained From Same Lender, Despite Car Note Payments Being Current

Posted on November 20, 2011
In St. Petersburg, Florida, ABC Action News reports:A Tampa Bay teacher is filing a lawsuit against the Suncoast Schools Federal Credit after they repossessed her car, despite her loan payments being up to date. In a statement released Friday, Attorney Charles Gallagher explains that the bank repossessed Angela DiNapoli?s car in response to her defaulting on a separate mortgage loan, also

Florida Cop Charged With Homestead Exemption Fraud Desperate To Save Career, Pension; Looks For Plea Deal To Dodge Felony Conviction

Posted on November 19, 2011
In Key West, Florida, the Florida Keys Keynoter reports:A suspended Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent accused of homestead-exemption fraud is scheduled for court [...], with a pretrial conference set in anticipation of a Nov. 14 trial.However, Vince Weiner, 47, won't go to trial that day, said Assistant Monroe County State Attorney Mark Wilson...

S. Fla. Mayor Quits Post, Gets Free Pass Out Of Criminal Homestead Exemption Fraud Charges As State Attorney Punts On Moving Forward With Prosecution

Posted on November 19, 2011
In Miami, Florida, The Miami Herald reports:Miami-Dade prosecutors opted not to charge North Bay Village?s former mayor, Corina Esquijarosa, with shirking on property taxes, and activists the tiny town say they are outraged.But prosecutors rarely ever bring ?homestead exemption? fraud cases against citizens, instead allowing the county?s property appraiser?s office to go after them with the

Ohio AG Lawsuit: Rogue Contractor Violated State Law By Stiffing Homeowners Out Of $20K+ In Paving Work

Posted on November 19, 2011
From the Office of the Ohio Attorney General:Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that his office has filed a lawsuit against Cleveland-based Family Paving & Cement LLC for multiple violations of consumer law, including failure to deliver and shoddy work...

Stiffed Subs' Mechanics Liens, Threat Of F'closure Leave Recent Homebuyer In Pickle Over New Pool; Contractor Claims Bad Economy Left Him Sucking Wind

Posted on November 19, 2011
In Middleburg, Florida, First Coast News reports:Elizabeth Theiss likes her new swimming pool, but she said she can't enjoy it if she has to pay for it twice: She recently received two notice of liens from two separate companies. "I love the pool, it is just the liens," said Theiss...

Stiffed Sub To Eat $6K Mechanics' Lien On Adult Care Home After Contractor Files B'kptcy; 6 Elderly Tenants Dodge Displacement From Possible F'closure

Posted on November 19, 2011
In Portland, Michigan, the Lansing State Journal reports:Allen Haskin, owner of HSV Redi-Mix Inc., said Tuesday he'll drop the construction lien from Joe and Lisa Shaltry's adult foster care home in Portland. That's good news for the Shaltrys; not so good for Haskin, who expects to eat the cost of the $6,000 worth of concrete used on the Shaltrys' new driveway...

Nevada AG Scores Indictment Of Robosigner Duo; Charges Allege Massive Fraudulent Foreclosure Document Manufacturing Racket

Posted on November 18, 2011
From the Office of the Nevada Attorney General:The Office of the Nevada Attorney General announced [] that the Clark County grand jury has returned a 606 count indictment against two title officers, Gary Trafford and Gerri Sheppard, who directed and supervised a robo-signing scheme which resulted in the filing of tens of thousands of fraudulent documents with the Clark County Recorder?s Office

Jacksonville-Area Clerk Of Court Joins Others In Tagging MERS w/ Lawsuit Over Alleged Mortgage Recording Fee-Dodging Racket; Action Seeks Class Status

Posted on November 18, 2011
In Jacksonville, Florida, the Jacksonville Business Journal reports:Duval County Clerk of the Court Jim Fuller has filed a class action suit against the mortgage servicing company Merscorp Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc...

MERS Scores Michigan Win As State High Court Reverses Earlier Unfavorable Appeals Court Ruling On Bankster's Right To Foreclose

Posted on November 18, 2011
In Lansing, Michigan, WILX-TV Channel 10 reports:The Michigan Supreme Court ruled 4-3 in favor of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) Wednesday, allowing thousands of previously halted foreclosures around the state to resume.The decision overturns a lower court ruling from April that had blocked MERS' foreclosures because the company doesn't own or have any interest in the homeowners'

Fannie Joins Freddie In Bouncing Baum From Future Foreclosures; Firm That Mocked Homeowners At Halloween Party On Embarrassing Road To Unraveling

Posted on November 18, 2011
In Buffalo, New York, The Buffalo News reports:Steven J. Baum PC has suffered another blow, as Fannie Mae joined Freddie Mac in barring the Amherst law firm from getting any new foreclosure or other legal business from lenders servicing mortgages for the giant federally backed company...

Threat Of Triple Damages Over Possible False Claims Leaving Banksters Gun-Shy Over Submitting FHA Insurance Claims On Robosigner-Obtained F'closures?

Posted on November 17, 2011
The Wall Street Journal reports:Today?s WSJ looks at how the Federal Housing Administration is facing steeper than projected losses that threaten to wipe out the agency?s reserves if home prices decline. Despite the potential for much bigger losses, the FHA actually saw its cash on hand go up in the last year...

Suit: MERS, Michigan F'closure Mills, Title Agencies Perpetrated Tax-Dodging "Shell Game" In Connection w/ Dubious Title Transfers After Forced Sales

Posted on November 17, 2011
Michigan Messenger reports:Two county registers of deeds filed a class action lawsuit Monday on behalf of Michigan?s 83 counties alleging that the Mortgage Electronic Registration Services owes millions of dollars in property title transfer taxes.Curtis Hertel, Jr...

Minnesota AG: 'CitiMortgage Won't Give Us Straight Answer!' As Accounting Screw-Up Over 1 Loan Payment Leaves Homeowner Facing Imminent F'closure Sale

Posted on November 17, 2011
In St. Louis Park, Minnesota, the Star Tribune reports:Nancy Gosselin cannot understand why CitiMortgage is about to foreclose on her St. Louis Park house. Neither can her local banker or the Minnesota attorney general.At the heart of the dispute is a single monthly payment of $584 that CitiMorgage says she failed to make more than two years ago, according to the attorney general's office.

Rogue Ch. 7 Bkptcy Trustee's Attempt To Block Debtor Conversion To Ch. 13, Then Pocket Cash By Rent Skimming Upside Down Homestead Gets Judicial Boot

Posted on November 16, 2011
From the Florida Bankruptcy Law Blog:I?ve written recently about some Chapter 7 trustees trying to take or administer ?upside down? homestead properties when the bankruptcy debtor chooses not to claim a homestead exemption because their home has no equity...

Jury Convicts 'Dream Homes' Founder, Ponzi Scheme Operator; Racket Promised Home Loan Eliminations In Exchange For Upfront Payments

Posted on November 16, 2011
From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Greenbelt, Maryland):A federal jury convicted Andrew Hamilton Williams, Jr., age 60, of Hollywood, Florida today of fraud conspiracy, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with his participation in a massive mortgage fraud scheme which promised to pay off homeowners? mortgages on their ?Dream Homes,? but left them to fend for

Beginning Of A Well-Deserved End For NYS Foreclosure Mill Sweatshop? Freddie Gives Baum The Boot; Whether Others Follow Suit Remains To Be Seen

Posted on November 16, 2011
In Buffalo, New York, The Buffalo News reports:National mortgage servicing giant Freddie Mac has barred its loan servicers from referring any new foreclosure or bankruptcy cases in New York State to Steven J. Baum PC, delivering a severe blow to a firm that depends on such work...

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