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Judge’s Ruling an NJ Foreclosure Game Changer

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Judge’s Ruling an NJ Foreclosure Game Changer

April 26th, 2019 by

On the surface, this may not seem like a big deal, but here is why it is important to a homeowner who may be facing or fighting foreclosure.

Here is how it helps the homeowner.

Foreclosures are filed in state court.  In New Jersey, the state courts have become more unfavorable to homeowners since 2012, and they

often rubber stamp bank requests even where the documents are missing.  Courts have made it easier and easier for banks to obtain foreclosure judgments in New Jersey.

Where the State Court allowed the bank to get a judgment including money not owed by the homeowner and the Federal Court ruled that by seeking to collect money not owed the attorneys involved violated Federal Law.  When a bank seeks to collect money it is not owed, a homeowner can sue in Federal Court instead of State Court.  Federal Courts apply the law more accurately than the State Courts.

Homeowners that go on the offensive level the playing field.  A homeowner that shows the bank they are not afraid to fight when their rights are violated, creates leverage.

The number of ways banks and their collection attorneys violate homeowner rights is never-ending and always evolving.  Federal Courts can hear claims where a bank refuses to honor a loan modification, misapplies money paid to the bank, or where the bank breaks into a home.  These are the types of violations that happen on a daily basis across the country.  These are violations of homeowner rights ignored by the State Courts.

Additionally, banks process foreclosure cases as quickly and inexpensively as possible and don’t look into details unless forced to.  Often times they haven’t even looked at the repayment history or loan servicing file before filing a foreclosure.  This increases the chance for an error on by the debt collecting lawyers.  Finding these errors and turning them into leverage for the homeowner is the foundation to creating a smart and effective legal plan for combating foreclosure.

Denbeaux & Denbeaux doesn’t just think about how to defend a foreclosure, they have developed tools to utilize several Federal Laws that allow homeowners to go on the offensive if their rights have been violated by the loan owner, servicer, attorney or their representatives.  The Denbeaux firm uses the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act to obtain a homeowner’s complete loan servicing file.  This includes loan payment history, letters sent by the loan servicer, loan modification applications, phone call records, and other documents that often demonstrate violations of Federal Law that can be acted upon by the homeowner.

Going on the offensive is the best way a homeowner facing foreclosure can improve their situation.  The banks, loan servicers, and their attorneys take matters seriously when they get sued with legitimate claims.  They pay attention in part because they are under a close watch from the Financial Consumer Protection Bureau (CFPB) which pays attention to how often financial institutions get sued, and the reasons for the lawsuits.  The ruling in Psaros v. Green Tree Servicing demonstrates the difference between operating in State Court and Federal Court and shows that homeowners facing foreclosure have many rights, but only if they are willing to directly stand up for themselves.

Bank of America Loan Modification Scam

February 10th, 2018 by

Woman Says Bank Foreclosed On Her Home Despite Making Mortgage Payments

(Running time: 1 minute 37 seconds)

Here in her own words is Ms. Kim Shibles telling her story in her own words about her experience with Bank of America before she found Denbeaux and Denbeaux. After hearing her brief one on one with CBS Producer Mary McKeever, you can click the link at the end of her video and see the CBS feature that ran in November. If you want to skip Ms. Shibles and the CBS feature is below:

CBS New York / Pittsburgh November 17, 2017  (Running time 2 min 31 seconds)

“I purchased my home Feb.20, 2004. In 2010 I received through the mail an offer from Bank of America (my mortgage bank), soliciting me for the Making Homes Affordable program, which was a President Obama sponsored mortgage modification program at the time. I was approved within two weeks to be part of a trial program, with a three month stipulation that if the payments were made on time the new modification would remain intact and be made into a permanent fixed loan. Prior to this offer, my history of making payments to Bank of America was impeccable and I had no knowledge of nor had ever attempted to contact Bank of America to modify my loan. During this same time period, I was experiencing a disruption of Survivor benefits for one of my sons, which would amount to a loss of roughly $12,800 for the year. This was a tremendous loss considering I am a widowed mother of three and have sole custody of and exclusively care for my severely handicapped grandson. Needless to say this modification was a god send to me at the time. In fact, it was this hardship that made me eligible for the modification in the first place, according to Bank of America.

For the entire three month trial period I made my payments perfectly on time and in compliance with my agreement with Bank of America. For reasons unbeknownst to me, Bank of America never notified me after the trial period had ended, and never sent any forms or statements reflecting the new modification payments. After contacting them on the telephone, I was instructed just to keep making the same payments as I had done for the last three months. This lasted for ten months. On January 1st, 2011, Bank of America sent me a bill for roughly $8,000, reflecting the difference from my original mortgage payments and the modification payments that I had been making.

Along with this billing notice, Bank of America stated that I was no longer eligible for the modification program and they were intending to foreclose on my home if l did not pay the $8,000. At the time raising $8,000 seemed like raising a million.

After a lengthy conversation on the telephone, a representative from Bank of America advised me if I filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, I could clear some of my debts and now be eligible for a second modification. Based solely on their advice, I filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, and in June of 2012, cleared most of my debts and refiled for the modification with Bank of America. Two weeks later Bank of America sent me a notice, stating that I was not eligible for a modification.

In March of 2014, after many, many telephone calls and conversations with Bank of America, I went through the arduous process of sending form after form, and request after ridiculous request from Bank of America for piles of information concerning the application for a third mortgage modification. At the same time Bank of America was still going through the foreclosure process and assured me that they could stop the foreclosure or any sheriff’s sale, once the modification was approved. It was becoming apparent to me that Bank of America was never going to modify my loan and that I could really lose my house, and the stress of this was taking it’s toll on me. What I didn’t understand was why Bank of America would do such a thing. I had done everything that I was instructed to do, but it seemed like it was never going to be enough.

Several months later I received a notice that my home would be going to sheriff s sale on July 23rd, 2014. On July 16th, I went to the sheriff’s office and gave them a payment to postpone the sale. At 3:30 that same afternoon, I received a call from the sheriff s office, informing me that I could come and pick up the check that I had paid for the postponement, because Bank of America canceled the sale, due to an incomplete FHFA certificate. At 6:30 p.m., on the same day, I received a call from Rayne Lynn Sykes’ assistant. Rayne Lynn Sykes is the Bank of America representative that had been helping me with the modification. Her assistant informed me that I would be very happy to hear that they canceled the sale of my home, because the underwriter was putting the mortgage together. I started to feel relieved but was still apprehensive. Interestingly, another date for sheriff’s sale came and went on August 20th, 2014, and again another postponement by Bank of America. I would like to make it clear that these postponements by Bank of America were not made on my behalf or for any sympathy on their part for me, but due to lack of paperwork and procedural issues on their part.

After that call, I did not hear from Bank of America until October of 2014, when they informed me that a company called BSI would be the new servicer of the loan. Shortly thereafter I was served papers from the sheriff s office giving me a new date of December 10th 2014, for the sale of the house. At this point I just did not know what to believe, because all along Bank of America had deceived me into thinking that I would never lose my home and that the modification would take place.

On December 9th, 2014, I went to the sheriff s office again to postpone the sale and was able to get a postponement and a new date of January 7th, 2015. As suggested by the sheriff s office, I returned at 8:30 a.m. on the morning of January 7th, 2015 to submit and pay for my second (official) postponement. Representatives at the sheriff s office told me to call in at 1:00 p.m. and check to see the status of the sale. They informed me that Bank of America again postponed the sale and that I would get my check back and not be charged for the second postponement. Ironically, right around the same time, I received a certified letter from BSI, stating that there was help for me and still time to get a loan modification.

The stress and anxiety from all of this is really affecting my health and my family. I will be 50 in April, and I’ve raised my three boys by myself since they were one, three and eight years old. In 2012, I went to Louisiana to get my grandson out of foster care and bring him to my home. My grandson Logan is severely handicapped and I was the only person that was willing to take on the responsibility of his care. Logan is the light of my life and we live day by day not knowing what’s coming next or whether we will be homeless tomorrow. Basically, I feel like I am a victim of a fraudulent mortgage. I cannot be put out in the cold with this child. I thank you for any help that you may extend to me on this matter.”

This is Kim in Josh’s office discussing her case with CBS. She is a brave and courageous homeowner to stand up for her rights and also come forth and talk about her case publicly. These next videos are about loan modifications, loan servicing and the banks.


Josh answers the question how his approach to foreclosures is different.

Short answer : the firm takes into account contract law. He suggests that other lawyers offerring foreclosure defense haven’t held loan servicers to account for breach of contract is a tool they should be using.  (Running time 2 min 28 seconds)


In this recorded phone call Josh answers the question about how the intake of documents and analysis is the foundation of  the claim. (Running time 1 min 44 seconds)

In this video Josh answer question of what are the ways to challenge a foreclosure case. (Running time : 1 min 39 seconds)

Download a copy of the Foreclosure Guide to know the steps involved in a foreclosure and the exact legal process.

he Step by Step Guide to NJ Foreclosure Defense

Foreclosure Process w Summary – June 2017

Three Sneaky Foreclosure Tricks of Loan Servicers

June 24th, 2017 by

The best time to get a consultation for foreclosure prevention is before you miss a mortgage payment.

Many homeowners have told us that it is matter of pride that they maintain control of the situation. However, while they think that they have the situation under control, the loan servicer can be moving them closer and closer to foreclosure and eviction without them even knowing it.

When the third mortgage payment is missed it will trigger default and begin the foreclosure process.

Here are three ways that homeowners may be mislead :

  1. Told to miss payments. The loan servicer says to miss payments and go into default to a get a modification.
  2. Trial modification gone wrong.The loan servicer loses the application, payments, or breaches the final modification agreement.
  3. Dual tracking the homeowner. Dual tracking is when the loan servicer is simultaneously processing your loan modification and pushing forward the foreclosure process.

Here are the three warning signs that you need to take action by calling a foreclosure defense attorney:

  1. You are falling behind in payments and the loan servicing company is giving you false or misleading information about what you can do to save your home.
  2. You have applied for a loan modification and you are getting foreclosure notices at the same time from the loan servicing company.
  3. Your loan servicer outright lied to you about stopping the foreclosure while your loan modification application was being reviewed.

Always deal from a position of strength, rather than weakness, and make financial decisions based on facts that than emotion.

We have found that every foreclosure case is unique and every family situation is unique. Denbeaux and Denbeaux has handled thousands of foreclosure cases in New Jersey with most of the loan servicers, banks and attorneys who represent them. We know what violations to look for in both state and federal statutes. In your free consultation we will review your documents and tell you what your options are, what strategies can be used and what the consequences and likely outcomes will be. You will feel more in control because you will be dealing from a position of strength with the facts.

Judge’s Ruling a NJ Foreclosure Game Changer

February 16th, 2016 by

Why is this important?
It is the idea that the best defense is to be able to be in control and have an aggressive offensive strategy. This applies to whether you are trying to stop a foreclosure, get a loan modification, or believe that you were subject to fraud.

This is why this ruling is such a game changer for you. It allows you to turn the tables on the banks, loan servicers, and even their attorneys.

A loan servicer trying to foreclose on your home is subject to the same laws as that apply to a debt collector.  A law firm that represents a loan servicer is also subject to the same laws. In a foreclosure action both the loan servicer and the law firm are subject to penalties and enforcement under federal laws as debt collectors and can be sued by a homeowner.

What changed?
In the landmark case [Psaros vs. Gree Tree Servicing ] brought and won this year by Denbeaux and Denbeaux, possible favorable outcomes for foreclosure defense shifted more in favor of the homeowner.

The takeaway for New Jersey homeowners facing foreclosure as explained in the articles “Debt collectors beware: Judge’s Ruling Could Change the Game” by David Porter of the Associate Press, and ‘These Are People’s Lives You’re Playing With’:The Fight to Curb Debt Collector Lies” by Alan Pyke is this: a law firm who represents a bank in a foreclosure case can be held responsible for the mortgage company’s loan servicing errors.

Both the loan servicer and the law firm that represent them can have complaints filed against them and the law firm can be made to testify and provide evidence against their client.

Judge’s Ruling a NJ Foreclosure Game Changer

Joshua Denbeaux, Esq.

On the surface this may not seem like a big deal, but here is why it is important to a homeowner who may be facing or fighting foreclosure.

Here is how it helps the homeowner.

Foreclosures are filed in state court.  In New Jersey, the state courts have become more unfavorable to homeowners since 2012, and they often rubber stamp bank requests even where the documents are missing.  Courts have made it easier and easier for banks to obtain foreclosure judgments in New Jersey.

Psaros v. Green Tree Servicing is a good example, where the State Court allowed the bank to get a judgment including money not owed by the homeowner, the Federal Court ruled that by seeking to collect money not owed the attorneys involved violated Federal Law.  When a bank seeks to collect money it is not owed, a homeowner can sue in Federal Court instead of State Court.  Federal Courts apply the law more accurately than the State Courts.

Homeowners that go on the offensive level the playing field.  A homeowner that shows the bank they are not afraid to fight when their rights are violated, creates leverage.

The number of ways banks and their collection attorneys violate homeowner rights is never-ending and always evolving.  Federal Courts can hear claims where a bank refuses to honor a loan modification, misapplies money paid to the bank, or where the bank breaks into a home.  These are the types of violations that happen on a daily basis across the country.  These are violations of homeowner rights ignored by the State Courts.

Additionally, banks process foreclosure cases as quickly and inexpensively as possible and don’t look into details unless forced to.  Often times they haven’t even looked at the repayment history or loan servicing file before filing a foreclosure.  This increases the chance for an error on by the debt collecting lawyers.  Finding these errors and turning them into leverage for the homeowner is the foundation to creating a smart and effective legal plan for combating foreclosure.

Denbeaux & Denbeaux doesn’t just think about how to defend a foreclosure, they have developed tools to utilize several Federal Laws that allow homeowners to go on the offensive if their rights have been violated by the loan owner, servicer, attorney or their representatives.  The Denbeaux firm uses the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act to obtain a homeowner’s complete loan servicing file.  This includes loan payment history, letters sent by the loan servicer, loan modification applications, phone call records, and other documents that often demonstrate violations of Federal Law that can be acted upon by the homeowner.

Going on the offensive is the best way a homeowner facing foreclosure can improve their situation.  The banks, loan servicers, and their attorneys take matters seriously when they get sued with legitimate claims.  They pay attention in part because they are under a close watch from the Financial Consumer Protection Bureau (CFPB) which pays attention to how often financial institutions get sued, and the reasons for the lawsuits.  The ruling in Psaros v. Green Tree Servicing demonstrates the difference between operating in State Court and Federal Court and shows that homeowners facing foreclosure have many rights, but only if they are willing to directly stand up for themselves.

$5M Jury Award for One Foreclosure Fraud Makes U.S. Punishment Look Trivial

November 14th, 2015 by

$5M Jury Award for One Foreclosure Fraud Makes U.S. Punishment Look Trivial

Article by David Dayen in theintercept.com 11/13/15 tells of  a couple’s foreclosure fight and award of $5 million in damages.

Article suggests that the Department of Justice let big banks escape from paying $32 trillion and settle for less that a tenth of a penny on the dollar.

By David Dayen

A Texas jury’s recent decision to award over $5 million in damages and fees for the fraudulent foreclosure of a single home suggests that the big banks could have been on the hook for as much as $32 trillion — before the Justice Department and state attorneys general settled for $25 billion, or less than on tenth of a penny on the dollar.

In the trial in Harris County district court, the jury awarded Houston foreclosure victims

Mary Ellen and David Wolf $5.38 million on November 6, on the grounds that Wells Fargo Bank and Carrington Mortgage Services knowingly submitted false documents to kick them out of their home.

The Wolfs had taken out a $400,000 home equity loan from Carrington (then known as New Century), which was immediately sold into a mortgage-backed trust administered by Wells Fargo. The loan was never properly placed into that trust, however, breaking the chain of title and making it impossible for Carrington or Wells Fargo to legally enforce the lien.

They put the Wolfs into foreclosure anyway, relying on a transfer document fabricated (or “robo-signed”) by Tom Croft, a New Century employee. New Century did not own the promissory note or deed of trust and could therefore not legally transfer the lien, and Croft signed off without personal knowledge of the underlying loan.

The jury agreed with the Wolfs that this made the foreclosure invalid, and awarded the family $150,000 in financial injuries, $40,000 for mental anguish, $5 million in punitive damages and $190,000 in attorney’s fees. Wells Fargo can seek a new trial, ask the judge to reduce the damages, or appeal the case, though they haven’t done so yet.

Numerous court depositions released in 2010 revealed that robo-signing of mortgage documents in an attempt to prove ownership of loans and secure foreclosures – in other words, foreclosure fraud — was a widespread industry practice. Two years later, the five leading mortgage servicing companies, including Wells Fargo, paid $5 billion in fines and $20 billion in credits in return for federal and state prosecutors agreeing not to pursue civil charges.

With the jury award in the Wolf family case, we can now assess the true financial exposure on these banks and mortgage companies. There have been roughly 6 million foreclosures since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008, and virtually all of them were completed with robo-signed, fabricated or fraudulent documents in one form or another. If we apply the $5.38 million jury award to all of those loans, you have a potential cost from the foreclosure fraud scandal of $32.28 trillion.

This obviously represents the extreme edge of the possible financial hit to the industry. A small number of foreclosures may have been completed properly. And while the settlement didn’t preclude individual civil lawsuits most foreclosure victims don’t have the wherewithal or fortitude for a protracted legal fight like the Wolf family did.

It’s law enforcement’s job to step in and protect the rights of vulnerable victims lacking resources. And the contrast between the penalty banks actually paid, and what they could have been put on the hook for, could not be more stark. The $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement – and calling it that is extremely generous, since banks got credit to pay off the penalty through routine activities like bulldozing blighted properties and donating homes to charity – represents roughly 0.08 percent of the total possible exposure.

That barely qualifies as a slap on the wrist for breaking the centuries-old American property rights system, and fraudulently mocking up foreclosure documents to cover it up.

Disclosure: I’ve written a book that will be released next May, Chain of Title, detailing these foreclosure fraud practices and the individuals who exposed them.

Making a Federal Case of It: NJ Couple Fight Foreclosure in Federal Court

November 6th, 2015 by

Making a Federal Case of It: NJ Couple Fight Foreclosure in Federal Court

Click here for a free download from Denbeaux and Denbeaux to learn more on how federal laws help homeowners.

Jerome and Sandra Barnes’ house in Paterson Fed up with the slow pace – and what many people see as unjust actions — of foreclosures, some victims of the crisis are looking to go on the offensive, opt out of the New Jersey court system, and seek justice from federal courts. Jerome and Sandra Barnes of…

Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase to Update Consumer Credit Reports to Remove Debts Discharged in Bankruptcy

May 12th, 2015 by

The New York Times recently wrote about announcements from Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase that the banks will be updating consumer credit reports to remove debts discharged in bankruptcy proceedings.  The move comes following a series of lawsuits alleging that several creditor banks have not only failed to accurately report information to the credit reporting agencies, but have also been caught selling discharged debts to third party collectors who attempt to collect debts discharged in bankruptcy.  An attempt to collect a discharged debt is often a violation of federal law.  Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, consumer debts including medical debt, and personal credit card debt cannot be collected following a discharge in bankruptcy.  Yet, as the New York Times reports, it is not uncommon for collection letters, phone calls and even lawsuits to resume after the finality of bankruptcy proceedings.

If you believe that you are being subjected to collection efforts on debt that has been discharged in bankruptcy, you may be entitled to monetary relief and injunctive relief including a stop to collection efforts and repair to your credit history if negative information was reported following discharge.  Often times, a client’s relationship with their bankruptcy attorney ends at the time of discharge.  It is advisable that you seek professional help from an attorney who practices financial consumer rights litigation.  Do not assume that an attorney you previously worked with is aware that collections are continuing.

 


AS REPORTED IN THE NY TIMES MAY 7, 2015

Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase Agree to Erase Debts From Credit Reports After Bankruptcies

3rd Circ. Rules FDCPA Covers Foreclosure Complaints

April 9th, 2015 by

The Third Circuit on Tuesday reversed in part a lower court’s decision in a class action establishing precedent that FDCPA protections extend to foreclosure complaints.

The Third Circuit on Tuesday reversed in part a lower court’s decision in a class action alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by Bank of America NA and a New Jersey law firm over assessing not yet incurred fees, establishing precedent that FDCPA protections extend to foreclosure complaints.

Law360, New York (April 08, 2015, 2:43 PM ET) The Third Circuit on Tuesday reversed in part a lower court’s decision in a class action alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by Bank of America NA and a New Jersey law firm over assessing not yet incurred fees, establishing precedent that FDCPA protections extend to foreclosure complaints.

The three-judge panel ruled that a Pennsylvania homeowner, who became delinquent on home loan payments to BofA, had his rights under the FDCPA violated when Udren Law Offices PC, on behalf of the bank, filed a foreclosure complaint against him and included fees that he had not yet incurred but would within the coming months.

The appellate court ruled that Dale Kaymark sufficiently pled that the disputed fees constituted actionable misrepresentation under the act and reversed the lower court order on the FDCPA-related claims, saying that it is well-established in the the Third Circuit that the FDCPA covers attorneys engaged in debt collection litigation.

The Financial Consumer Rights Talk : Foreclosure Report by NJ Supreme Court Judge Richard Williams

February 23rd, 2015 by

Adam Deutsch, Esq.

Adam Deutsch discusses the recent report published by retired New Jersey Supreme Court Judge and court appointed special master for foreclosure irregularities investigations.

The Financial Consumer Rights Talk 2-20-2015: Attorney Adam Deutsch discusses the recent report published by retired New Jersey Supreme Court Judge and court appointed special master for foreclosure irregularities investigations, Richard Williams.

Click to Play Podcast

The report highlights concerns that foreclosing banks and law firms representing the banks are not adhering to amended court rules put in place in 2011 to ensure transparency and truthfulness in the foreclosure judicial process.

The February 19, 2015 article about the report referenced in the podcast is available at: http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/15/02/18/special-monitor-oks-procedures-followed-by-two-of-new-jersey-s-largest-mortgage-lenders/

Download the Report by Judge Williams

Special Monitor OKs Procedures Used in Foreclosure by Two Of NJ’s Mortgage Lenders

February 20th, 2015 by

Special Monitor OKs Procedures Used in Foreclosures by Wells Fargo and One West Bank

Courts approved the document-handling procedures of two of the big banks in NJ foreclosures with “nominal cooperation.”

Supreme Court Judge Williams says banks nominally cooperated on whether the lender

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