Last week, Thomas Cox, the Maine lawyer who performed the deposition that basically exposed robo-signing, won the $100,000 Purpose Prize for his work on behalf of homeowners at risk of foreclosure. I spoke with Cox this week to get a ground-level picture of what is happening in the courts in the post-settlement landscape. Have banks cleaned up their foreclosure practices? Are homeowners still getting the shaft?
|By: David Dayen Thursday December 13, 2012 8:14 am|
|By: David Dayen Friday December 7, 2012 10:16 am|
Lots of people must be credited with getting to the bottom of this scam, but perhaps nobody is more responsible than Thomas Cox. He was the former bank lawyer – he specialized in foreclosures – who volunteered to help Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Maine, a nonprofit just starting up a foreclosure defense project. Cox ended up doing the now-famous deposition of Jeffrey Stephan, the GMAC robo-signer, that exposed this practice of having affidavits filled out by people with no underlying knowledge of the loan data. This was the string that, when pulled, showed the fraud and rot at the heart of the largest consumer market in the world.
|By: David Dayen Tuesday November 20, 2012 3:35 pm|
The Justice Department has issued their formal press release in the plea arrangement with Lorraine Brown, the former President of fraudulent foreclosure document processor DocX, a division of LPS. Brown pleaded guilty to wire and mail fraud and faces five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines, from what DoJ describes as “a six-year scheme to prepare and file more than 1 million fraudulently signed and notarized mortgage-related documents with property recorders’ offices throughout the United States.” She also acknowledged lying to the FBI and other federal regulators investigating the scheme.
Separately, the state of Missouri, which had previously indicted Brown in the same scheme, announced their own plea agreement with her on fraudulent and forged document filings in his state.
|By: Cynthia Kouril Tuesday November 20, 2012 3:15 pm|
The Founder of DocX, which later changed its name to LPS, has pleaded GUILTY in US District Court for the Middle District of Florida. In the “Factual Basis” document attached to her Plea Agreement, Lorraine Borwn, the founder of DocX, LLC, admits that the documents produced by these companies from the period 2003-2009 were forgeries.
|By: David Dayen Monday October 15, 2012 6:45 am|
It strains credulity that only this small servicer thought to computerize the signatures, and that this practice is confined to Green Tree Servicing. Recall that, back in February, after the signing of the foreclosure fraud settlement, you could find job listings for Wells Fargo that suspiciously sounded like robo-signers. The settlement claimed to end servicing fraud, that the new standards would make servicing a clean business. Clearly the smaller operators aren’t complying, and it doesn’t make sense that the big industry players, who set the standards, would go off in a completely different direction.
|By: David Dayen Monday August 13, 2012 10:45 am|
Considering how banks got away with submitting false documents to state courts on mortgage and foreclosure issues, why should we be surprised that they brought the same eye for detail to credit card debt collection? A Times article exposes how the companies are getting away with foreclosure-like fraud.
|By: David Dayen Friday August 3, 2012 1:43 pm|
You may remember that there was one big criminal case in the foreclosure fraud scandal leading up to the settlement. Missouri Attorney General John Koster indicted Lorraine Brown, the founder and former President of the document processor DocX, for forgery and making false declarations on mortgage documents. The assumption here was that you could go up the chain from DocX, which has been shuttered since May 2010, to its corporate parent, Lender Processing Services, and then over to the big banks that hired LPS to falsify documents for them.
Well, that didn’t happen.
|By: David Dayen Tuesday July 3, 2012 7:00 am|
Pressured by a coalition of activists and state Attorney General Kamala Harris, the California legislature completed a months-long project yesterday to significantly improve its foreclosure process. The measure gives homeowners a new right to sue over fraudulent practices, ends dual tracking – where servicers process foreclosures while negotiating loan modifications – and extends a single point of contact at all borrowers.
|By: David Dayen Monday June 4, 2012 10:50 am|
In an interesting case of one federal regulatory agency accusing another, the inspector general of the Treasury Department released a report that faulted the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for failing to recognize or crack down on widespread foreclosure fraud practices. As foreclosures skyrocketed across the country in the wake of the financial [...]
|By: David Dayen Thursday May 31, 2012 8:00 am|
California’s efforts to create a better environment for foreclosure victims have begun to fade. $410 million from the foreclosure fraud settlement that was supposed to go into counseling and legal services was instead diverted to pay for a state budget shortfall. While this has angered the legal aid community, with the enormity of the budget problem in the state, it’s unlikely that will be reversed.