Courts Are Overwhelmed With Foreclosures
Across the country, circuit court judges and their staff are becoming overwhelmed and frustrated by the total avalanche of foreclosure cases that have been dumped in their courtrooms. In Pinellas County, Circuit Court judges who used to handle like 400 foreclosure cases are now handling something like 3,000.These judges still have one judicial assistant and the same limited resources the had before the crisis. When the judge’s loan JA sits down to start the day, they are bombarded with phone calls and mail and people in their face every single second….it’s chaos, its a burden and it is completely untenable for the long run.Things have gotten so bad for the judges that I’m told Judges across the state are no longer hearing Motions to Dismiss filed by Defendants in foreclosure cases, and are just denying them without even having a hearing on the matter. Now that’s one way to deal with the crisis. It’s an unconstitutional, unfair and totally biased approach that completely ignores the law and the rights of the citizens these judges took an oath to serve, but it is one way to deal with the crisis. (Look for Appeals To Come If This Practice Really Begins to Take Hold.)
I know, Let’s Throw All The Rules Out The Window
Many of the Plaintiff’s attorneys that are working so hard to throw borrowers out of their home cannot rely on good, solid, honest legal work to accomplish their job. As an attorney who sees the work of these firms every day, I am just astonished that the Courts continue to allow such horrendous practice to continue unchecked, but there seems to be little desire to try and force a correction of the behavior. Just in case you think I’m overstating the problem, here is an excerpt from the Florida Supreme Court’s Task Force Report on Residential Mortgage Foreclosures
- Finally, it is critical that these firms be candid, clear, and truthful and accurate in connection with pleadings and affidavits filed with the Courts. A leading plaintiff’s lawyer and a major plaintiff’s law firm have been the subject of a public reprimand and sanctions due to untruthful filings with the courts. Judges continue to see affidavits of amounts due and owing signed by law firm employees, and cost affidavits charging very high service of process fees for process serving firms owned by the law firm principals. To some extent, it is fair to be concerned whether the press of the case load is interfering with a judge’s ability to police the conduct of the firms before them in these usually uncontested, unopposed foreclosure cases.
The full report can be found here but the bottom line is this, the lenders and their law firms are lying, lying, lying. They’re committing fraud on the courts on an unprecedented scale. The report of the Supreme Court is a bit sanitized, but the firms are whipping out foreclosure cases so quickly that they’re not even bothering to get the proper documents that prove they have a correct basis to file a suit from the outset. Some firms have ownership interests in the process servers who are supposed to personally hand the lawsuit to a defendant and they’re both charging exorbitant fees for this service and lying about whether proper service has been obtained or even attempted. And finally, the biggie….they’re lying, lying, lying about the evidence they’re submitting to the court, these come primarily in the forms of Affidavits and Assignments submitted to support Summary Judgments of Foreclosure.
Affidavits and Assignments in Foreclosure, Liars Re-Telling Lies Re-created From Fiction
There are several areas where the lying is reduced to black and white and submitted to the court.
Assignment of Mortgage
First, when the foreclosing Plaintiff is not the original lender, there must be a formal Assignment of Mortgage executed which says, “The Original Lender Assigns This Mortgage to the Plaintiff in This Case.” This document is needed to give the Plaintiff the proper legal basis to be suing the Defendant. Many of the originating lenders are no longer operating so getting a real assignment from a dissolved corporation would be difficult. In other cases, the Plaintiff introduces an Assignment of Mortgage executed by “MERS” a shadowy, shifty, shady backroom dealer of mortgages. The Assignment of Mortgage issue is problematic even when a mortgage was only assigned from an originating lender to the foreclosing Plaintiff, but in cases where a mortgage has changed hands many times, there should be an unbroken chain of properly executed assignments from originating lender straight through to foreclosing Plaintiff. (In fact, this requirement of an unbroken chain of assignments was originally part of the foreclosure procedures in Pinellas County, but this requirement was stripped.) The problem is these assignments are frequently fraudulent. The lenders know this, their attorneys know this and the courts know this, but they’re all just going ahead and pretending like it’s not an issue. IT IS AN ISSUE!
Affidavit of Amounts Due and Owing
The second area of Affidavit Fraud is the Affidavit of Amounts Due and Owing which states, “Your Undersigned Affiant is an employee of the Plaintiff and I SWEAR Based on my PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE that the Plaintiff is Owed, $150,000”. In a case where the original lender is the foreclosing Plaintiff, an employee of that lender could sign such an affidavit based on their review of the company’s accounting records. In most of the foreclosure cases currently pending in courts around the country, the mortgages have changed hands many times and there is simply no basis whatsoever for any person to sign an affidavit stating that they have any knowledge whatsoever of who is owed any money whatsoever. These affidavits are legally insufficient, they’re false and fraudulent.
Affidavit of Lost Note
The third area of Affidavit Fraud is the Affidavit of Lost Note which states, “Your Undersigned Affiant is an employee of the Plaintiff who had posession of the note when it was lost and while we looked long and hard to find the note, it’s just plain disappeared and we just will never find it.” In cases where the Plaintiff cannot locate the original note, this Affidavit is required in order to “Re-establish The Lost Note”, a technical process which must be followed in order to successfully and honestly proceed with a foreclosure case. There are two problems here. First, in many cases, the Affidavit does not include the correct language wherein the Plaintiff asserts that it was in possession of the note when it was lost. The affidavit states, “the note was in possession of someone (we don’t know who) when it was lost”. The other variation of this is when the Plaintiff is in possession of the note but they don’t bother disclosing this to the court.
Laws and Rules Just Don’t Matter Anymore, Everyone Hop On Board The Fraud Train!
So if the Plaintiffs and their attorneys are engaging in massive and systemic fraud and the courts are totally aware of this and yet it’s going totally unpunished and unanswered why doesn’t everyone just get on the fraud train? I mean why not? Well here’s one way that consumers and anarchists could engage in fraud that would totally throw the system into chaos. If rebels and anarchists and people who just don’t care executed and recorded Satisfactions of Mortgages across the country, it would send the entire foreclosure system into collapse. A Satisfaction of Mortgage is a one page document that costs $8.50 to record. It can be produced on a home computer, filled out correctly then sent in along with a money order or cashier’s check. The Clerk of Court is required to record it and there would be no way of ever knowing where these fraudulently produced satisfactions were coming from. While the lenders were trying to figure out how to deal with this massive problem, they would have no choice but to stop the pursuit of the foreclosure cases.
Anarchy Is a Crime- Revolution is a Crime.
Make no mistake, doing this is wrong. It is a crime. A serious crime. I would not do it and I’m not seriously suggesting anyone should, especially for their own mortgage. But what if? I mean what if some modern day Robin Hood or Paul Revere set out with a few hundred bucks and a few hours on a computer and started just sending in satisfactions? And what if, at the same time these same band of anarchist Robin Hoods also filed with the courts “Notice of Voluntary Dismissal and Release of Lis Pendens”? I mean when the law firms that are prosecuting these cases are so out of touch that they have no idea what’s happening with their files and they have no contact whatsoever with the lenders they claim to represent, it would take them months to figure out if their law office or their client really did dismiss the case or whether this was another one of those Anarchist Dismissals.
But if the system is so broken down that judges are engaging in systematic denial of a defendant’s rights and if the Supreme Court of Florida is acknowledging in writing
that they are aware of widespread and systemic fraud being perpetrated on courts across the country and they’re doing nothing to stop it,
isn’t a little bit of anarchy in order?