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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.

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.

What Wells Fargo Being Accused of Illegal Loan Mods Means to You

June 16th, 2017 by

A class action lawsuit alleges in the Wells Fargo mortgage business put through unauthorized changes to home loans held by customers in bankruptcy.

A lawyer in Brownsville, Tex., who represents some of the plaintiffs, said he first thought that Wells Fargo had made a clerical error. Then he saw another case and realized that it was pattern of filing false documents with the federal court.

The big take away on this story is that seemingly harmless clerical errors in documents related to consumer finance may actually be evidence of a violation of the law. This can make all the difference in something as important as your home, your mortgage, or any kind of loan when facing a loan default or foreclosure.

Senior Partner Joshua Denbeaux trains and coaches lawyers at Denbeaux and Denbeaux to recognize the errors and patterns of practice by banks, debt collectors and loan servicing companies that violate laws such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, (FDCPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Truth in Lending Act (TILA)the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and the Consumer Fraud Act.

First consultations are done personally by Josh Denbeaux so that errors are spotted and violations are exposed that may violate your rights that protect your home, your credit and your money.

If you are having any kind of problem related to financial consumer rights, such as being late on payments on a home mortgage and heading for default, call us now to schedule a no-charge free consultation at (201) 664-8855.

In the consultation you will get three things:

  1. a comprehensive review of your unique situation.
  2. knowledge of what will happen if you decide to take further action (or not).
  3. an opinion of whether your desired outcome is within reach.

Past clients have expressed a feeling of relief and a tremendous burden been lifted after meeting with Josh. You will have the confidence gained by having the certainty of what will happen next.

The story:

NTY Wells Fargo Is Accused of Making Improper Changes to Mortgages

By GRETCHEN MORGENSON JUNE 14, 2017

Even as Wells Fargo was reeling from a major scandal in its consumer bank last year, officials in the company’s mortgage business were putting through unauthorized changes to home loans held by customers in bankruptcy, a new class action and other lawsuits contend.

The changes, which surprised the customers, typically lowered their monthly loan payments, which would seem to benefit borrowers, particularly those in bankruptcy. But deep in the details was this fact: Wells Fargo’s changes would extend the terms of borrowers’ loans by decades, meaning they would have monthly payments for far longer and would ultimately owe the bank much more.

Any change to a payment plan for a person in bankruptcy is subject to approval by the court and the other parties involved. But Wells Fargo put through big changes to the home loans without such approval, according to the lawsuits. The changes are part of a trial loan modification process from Wells Fargo. But they put borrowers in bankruptcy at risk of defaulting on the commitments they have made to the courts, and could make them vulnerable to foreclosure in the future.

A spokesman for Wells Fargo, Tom Goyda, said the bank strongly denied the claims made in the lawsuits and particularly disputed how the complaints characterized the bank’s actions. Wells Fargo contends that the borrowers and the bankruptcy courts were notified.

“Modifications help customers stay in their homes when they encounter financial challenges,” Mr. Goyda said, “and we have used them to help more than one million families since the beginning of 2009.”

According to court documents, Wells Fargo has been putting through unrequested changes to borrowers’ loans since 2015. During this period, the bank was under attack for its practice of opening unwanted bank and credit card accounts for customers to meet sales quotas.

Outrage over that activity — which the bank admitted in September 2016, when it was fined $185 million — cost John G. Stumpf, its former chief executive, his job and damaged the bank’s reputation.

It is unclear how many unsolicited loan changes Wells Fargo has put through nationwide, but seven cases describing the conduct have recently arisen in Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas. In the North Carolina court, Wells Fargo produced records showing it had submitted changes on at least 25 borrowers’ loans since 2015.

Full story click here.

FCRT : Wells Fargo Scandal May Have Hurt Consumer’s Credit Scores

September 27th, 2016 by

Adam Deutsch, Esq.

In this episode of the Financial Consumer Rights Talk, host Adam Deutsch, Esq., of the law firm Denbeaux and Denbeaux,  discusses how the Wells Fargo banking scandal may have impacted consumer’s credit scores.

Wells Fargo was caught once again committing systematic fraud upon its customers, every day consumers like you.  This time, the fraud was uncovered by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau providing proof that government can provide meaningful representation and protection to constituents.  The facts are startling:

  • Wells Fargo opened as many as 1.5 million unauthorized deposit accounts and 560,000 unauthorized credit-card accounts charging approximately $2.4 million in fees to the victims.
  • Over a five year period Wells Fargo fired 5,300 employees who were known to have created accounts without client authorization.
  • According to New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, at least 2,673 New Jersey residents are victims of the scam.

Whenever this type of scandal breaks into the news there are attorneys that rush to bring a class action suit.  Consumers typically have the right to opt out of class action suits, and doing so may result in the consumer’s ability to obtain more monetary relief by suing the bank as an individual.  I believe this is particularly true for victims who had negative information reported on their credit reports as a result of the Wells Fargo fraud.  These consumers have suffered not only the immediate out of pocket expense of paying unauthorized fees, their ability to obtain financing for the purchases of homes, cars, or higher education may have been greatly impacted.

Denbeaux & Denbeaux has a proven track record obtaining relief on behalf of individuals against financial institutions.  If you believe you are a victim of Wells Fargo’s latest scheme, contact us and we will help you determine the best course of action to repair the harm done and ensure you are compensated fully.

July 12th News of the Week HUD Accountability Hearing

July 12th, 2016 by

HUD Accountability Hearing, Full House Financial Services Committee Hearing, Wednesday, July 13, 10 a.m EST

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, on Thursday  to appear before his Committee to answer questions about the effect of recent changes to HUD’s delinquent loan sales program on taxpayers. The HUD Secretary accepted the invitation and will testify in a committee before the full House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 12

May 2016 National Foreclosure Report, CoreLogic

Wednesday, July 13

HUD Accountability Hearing, House Financial Services Committee, 10 a.m. EST

Thursday, July 14

JPMorgan Chase Q2 earnings report

Friday, July 15

Q2 earnings reports for Citi, PNC, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo Facing DOJ Mortgage Probe After $1.2B Deal

February 26th, 2016 by

Wells Fargo is under investigation from the U.S. Department of Justice for its mortgage practices, despite reaching a $1.2 billion settlement of claims it defrauded the Federal Housing Administration with faulty loans in early February, the bank disclosed Wednesday.

by Ben Lane for HOUSING WIRE

Despite recently agreeing to a $1.2 billion settlement with the federal government to resolve claims related to its Federal Housing Administration lending program from 2001-2010, Wells Fargo is still facing investigations into its “mortgage related practices” from the Department of Justice, as well as other federal and state agencies, the megabank disclosed this week.

According to a Reuters report, Wells Fargo stated in is 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the bank is currently under investigation by a number of agencies over the mortgage operations of both Wells Fargo and its “predecessor institutions.”

The news of the ongoing investigations come less than a month after Wells Fargo agreed to the more than $1 billion settlement with the DOJ, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

That settlement stemmed from a lawsuit that was originally filed in October 2012, in which the DOJ sought damages and civil penalties under the False Claims Act.

In its 10-K, Wells Fargo noted that the $1.2 billion settlement with the feds is not yet finalized.

“Although Wells Fargo and the Federal Government have reached an agreement in principle to resolve these matters, there can be no assurance that Wells Fargo and the Federal Government will agree on the final documentation of the settlement,” Wells Fargo said in its 10-K.

And, it appears that settlement didn’t get Wells Fargo out of the crosshairs of the DOJ and other agencies.

“Wells Fargo, for itself and for predecessor institutions, has responded, and continues to respond, to requests from these agencies seeking information regarding the origination, underwriting and securitization of residential mortgages, including sub-prime mortgages,” the bank stated.

Wells Fargo also stated that it has established a potential liability for its “contingent litigation losses,” based ona “range of potential losses for each matter that is both probable and estimable.”

Wells Fargo stated that the “high end of the range of reasonably possible potential litigation losses in excess of the company’s liability for probable and estimable losses was approximately $1.3 billion,” as of Dec. 31, 2015.

“For these matters and others where an unfavorable outcome is reasonably possible but not probable, there may be a range of possible losses in excess of the established liability that cannot be estimated,” Wells Fargo added.

“Based on information currently available, advice of counsel, available insurance coverage and established reserves, Wells Fargo believes that the eventual outcome of the actions against Wells Fargo and/or its subsidiaries, including the matters described above, will not, individually or in the aggregate, have a material adverse effect on Wells Fargo’s consolidated financial position,” Wells Fargo stated. “However, in the event of unexpected future developments, it is possible that the ultimate resolution of those matters, if unfavorable, may be material to Wells Fargo’s results of operations for any particular period.”

Ben Lane

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.

Why A Bank Was Allowed To Plunder Family Heirlooms That Escaped The Nazis

September 8th, 2015 by

 

Why A Bank Was Allowed To Plunder Family Heirlooms That Escaped The Nazis, links to the full article as published by Alan Pyke inthe ECONOMY SECTION of Think Progress.org

CFPB to Mortgage Industry: Get Out of MSAs

August 17th, 2015 by

CFPB to mortgage industry: Get out of MSAs

Industry calls move regulation by enforcement

Trey Garrison
July 31, 2015 3:50PM

http://www.housingwire.com/articles/34641-cfpb-to-mortgage-industry-get-out-of-msas

“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants mortgage lenders to stop using marketing services agreements, and it’s using the stick rather than the rules process to do so.

Two major players in the mortgage space announced this morning that they are discontinuing marketing activities that depend on MSAs because of regulatory uncertainty, recent interpretations of RESPA, and a generally toxic enforcement environment, and that appears to be exactly what the CFPB wants.”

Regulatory uncertainty, toxic environment drive Wells Fargo, Prospect out of MSAs

Recent RESPA interpretation cited as top concern

Trey Garrison and Ben Lane July 30, 2015 1:52PM

http://www.housingwire.com/articles/34640-regulatory-uncertainty-toxic-environment-drive-wells-fargo-prospect-out-of-msas

“Two major players in the mortgage space are discontinuing marketing activities that depend on marketing services agreements because of regulatory uncertainty, recent interpretations of RESPA, and a generally toxic environment because of inconsistent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau enforcement.

Prospect Mortgage and Wells Fargo (WFC) today each announced decisions to discontinue MSAs.”

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