Foreclosure Defense Florida

The New Foreclosure Fraud Battleground, Fraud and Motions to Disqualify Counsel

My friend and fellow Foreclosure Fraud Fighter Mark Stopa is currently engaged in bitter trench warfare over a very important issue that we all need to be aware of and coming to grips with….potential conflicts of interest in foreclosure cases between the first mortgage holder, junior lien holders and the law firms representing both.

We should all be aware now that most assignments of mortgage and endorsements traveling around in foreclosure cases are of questionable authenticity and veracity.   To support this statement, please read any of the depositions taken of agents of MERS and any of the other depositions taken of the infamous “Robo Signers” operating in document mills all across the country.   Take note of the controversies surrounding Docx, LLC (story here), which is a division of Lender Processing Services, the nation’s “leading provider of mortgage processing services”…to me that’s a euphemism for….well, let’s just say it’s a euphemism.

So the issue here is that in a foreclosure case documents and evidence are being submitted and admitted in cases and those documents are the sole evidence courts are relying on to grant judgments totaling millions, perhaps billions of dollars.   It is right and frankly an obligation of courts to examine the authenticity of such documents in every case, but it is particularly important that we understand the collective effect of the admission of the millions of these documents in court cases across the country.

The assignments of mortgages, endorsements of notes and affidavits of amounts due and owing form the sole basis for the single largest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind.

Think about that for a minute.   When you total up all the foreclosure cases sloshing around courts and non-judicial foreclosure systems across this country, your talking about money judgments and grants of property rights in the billions of dollars.   Given the magnitude of this transfer and the implications of such an unprecedented transfer of wealth, we should all begin to understand the importance of questioning the authenticity and veracity of the evidence that is used to support these transfers.   I respectfully suggest that our circuit court judges need to stop for a moment and think not just about that singular case in front of them for which they see only a homeowner who has not paid a mortgage and think about the millions of dollars in judgment and property rights that they are transferring when they enter a judgment of foreclosure.   Given our emerging knowledge of the questionable practices that are employed to obtain the “evidence” that is submitted in foreclosure cases and the widespread use of these practices in courtrooms across the country, I again respectfully suggest that members of the judiciary, the Bar and members of the public need to

consider the long-term implications of ignoring basic rules of law and evidence to support this mad rush to push foreclosure judgments through.

Which brings us back to the original point of this post and that is Stopa’s Motion to Disqualify Counsel, which can be found here.   You will have to visit Mark’s site for the transcript of the hearing that was held on this issue and the other important documents and details, but here are some highlights that he wanted to emphasize:

(1)   Citimortgage admits its own employees signed an assignment of mortgage, essentially conveying a mortgage to itself.

(2)   Foreclosure Mill Shapiro & Fishman, LLP  admits  its standard practice is to prepare these assignments for their own clients (not the original mortgagee)  to execute and record in the public record.

(3)   Shapiro never runs conflict checks prior to filing new lawsuits, leaving it up to their other clients (who may or may not be named as Defendants) to assert a conflict after the case has been filed.

These admissions were made in the course of a 3.5 hour, evidentiary hearing on a Motion to Disqualify Counsel brought by  Mark Stopa  on June 18, 2010  before Judge Foster in Tampa.

Facts (as set forth in the motion, transcript, and exhibits):   Shapiro & Fishman represents Citimortgage, Inc. in a foreclosure lawsuit against JPMorgan, MERS, and the homeowners.   The Complaint does not specify how Citimortgage acquired standing to foreclose.   The public records reflect an Assignment of Mortgage, prepared by Shapiro, purporting to assign the mortgage from MERS, as Nominee for First Security Mortgage Services, to Citimortgage.  The assignment was executed the same day Citimortgage filed suit.    Citimortgage’s own employee  testified that Nate Blackstun and Jamie Hardcastle, the individuals who signed this assignment (purporting to transfer the mortgage from MERS to Citimortgage) are actually employees of Citimortgage.

In fact, Shapiro and Fishman’s office manager admitted that Shapiro’s standard practice is  to prepare an Assignment of Mortgage, provide it to its  own client to sign (on behalf of the original mortgage holder, typically MERS), have  its  client execute the assignment, and cause the assignment to be recorded.

Developing the facts to further develop these arguments both in individual cases and throughout the entire system, but there is an affirmative obligation on the part of all members of the Bar to pursue these issues and an obligation on the part of the general public to become aware of these issues.


  • ForeclosureHamlet says:

    The Palm Beach County Bar Association was gracious enough to allow us to present this information at their May 18th meeting:

    But is anyone finding success in reporting these incidents of possible attorney misconduct to the Florida Bar?

    Many of us are hitting up against a brick wall or having our complaints found to be “unsubstantiated”.

    Here are two examples of emails I’ve sent:

  • JamesM2 says:

    This is very interesting. I too am fighting a case with Shapiro and Fishman prepared assignments of mortgage.

    I have assembled a number of Assignments of Mortgage prepared by that law firm. Many executed after the action began, but claiming to “evidence” a prior assignment by way of a mutual declaration of the parties, that predates the for closure action at hand, without specifying a date. When I challenged one in a hearing it was then followed by a second “Corrective Assignment of Mortgage” claiming to evidence, by way of external documentation that was not attached, an assignment several years prior.

    I have also got Shapiro and Fishman prepared Assignments of Mortgage executed “as nominee” of xxxx where xxxx had been dissolved and acquired by the Feds before the execution date.

    I also have a “custodian of the records” affidavit prepared by the same law firm that is clearly and demonstrably fraudulent.

    Also have assignment of note, “in blank” executed by person during a time they were not the VP they claimed.

    I am very interested in any depositions, admissions or findings regarding “Shapiro & Fishman” and/or the documents they create. I am willing to share my documents and applicable case law.

    I think I have enough identical frauds, that resulted in unrepresented foreclosures, to make a good class if anyone is interested.
    Same law firm, same client and identical Assignment of Mortgages that are not Assignments for careful reading shows it is only an affidavit claiming prior assignment with no defined date.

    For sharing docs on S&F contact me. JamesM at the wonderful internet company of unforgettable dot com.

    • mystiqueblue says:

      Hi James,

      We tried to settle with the servicer Citimortgage. We can’t recall how Citi came into the picture. We had our mortgage with Nationwide Lending. We are sued with fraudulent paper work, lost note affidavit, three different allonges, one to Lehman Brothers, two illegible, an assignment of mortgage, executed two months after action began, by MERS from the extinct company Nationwide Lending to CITI.
      The law firm is Shapiro & Fishman, Hollan Fintel and many more different attorneys have worked already on this case. The paper work is prepared by them. We already filed a complaint with the OAG.
      We would like to share docs with you.

    • Camilo says:

      I read your post. I have a foreclosure case right now regarding and Assignment of Mortgage that pre-dates the lawsuit but executed by Nate Blackstune acting as nominee for MERS transferring the mortgage from the original lender MortgageIt, Inc., to Citimortgage, Inc. I belevie this documents was created for the sole purpose of foreclosure, because MortgageIt, Inc, was bought and acquired by Duetch Bank back in 2007 or 08 I believe. Do you have any case law or similar issues like this one?

  • Mark Stopa says:

    Here’s a link to my entire argument. Great stuff, Matt.

  • tendollargold says:

    You are absolutely right! I have a Deed of Trust assignment supposedly granted by “MERS” to HSBC Bank USA that appears to be signed by an attorney within the Law Firm that is assigned as the TRUSTEE (St. Louis, MO). I have other documents, appointment of Successor Trustee that are assigned by others that are representatives of Bank of America (Assistant VP) and sign as Assistant VP of MERS.

  • mares says:

    After two years the fraud is coming out regarding my loan. The pit of my stomach hurt the moment we signed the papers, contested then. With no real choice.

    Now I am being sued from a stranger entity. NCMC ordered cease and desist and filed banruptcy in 2007.

    This stranger entity now trying to foreclose with an assignment, by servicer/as vp, for MERS,as nominee for NCMC. Are they bonkers??? fraud fraud fraud. This entity failed to answer and produce a court order to compel and now Im wondering if I should motion for contempt. In Marion County new mediation rule taken effect, but funny, Plaintiffs must submit original docs and proof, something we have been asking for for over one year, thats a joke. I have affidavits and motion to dismiss in since 1/10, no answer from court on that. Any advice anyone.

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