Inquiring minds are in Miami Beach reading The Herald about foreclosure king, David Stern’s stunning fall from grace.
Mr. Stern, Florida’s top foreclosure lawyer, lived life like an oil sheik – he piled up a collection of trophy properties; glided through town in a fleet of six-figure sports cars; and along with his bombshell wife, partied on an ocean cruiser the size of a small hotel.
But, it all came crashing down:
Not long ago, the world of back-office bank procedures was of little interest to the public. But revelations last fall about robo-signers powering through hundreds of foreclosure affidavits a day, without verifying a single sentence, changed all that. Today the banking industry’s eviction juggernaut is under intense scrutiny as allegations of systemic foreclosure fraud mount.
The 50 state attorneys general are conducting a foreclosure industry probe. So are state and federal regulators. Class-action lawsuits are gathering force, and, with increasing frequency, state judges are tossing out foreclosure suits in favor of homeowners. The developments are prolonging the housing market depression, casting doubt on mortgage ownership and calling into question whether mortgage-backed securities are, in fact, backed by nothing at all.
The Florida attorney general’s economic crimes division is investigating three law firms, including Stern’s, over allegations that they created fraudulent legal documents, gouged homeowners with inflated fees, steered business to companies they owned and filed foreclosures without proving the bank actually had a legal interest in the loan. Florida authorities characterize the foreclosure process at these law firms as a “virtual morass” of “fake documents” and depicted Stern’s operations as something akin to the TV show “Lost” – only instead of people that went missing, it was paperwork. Stern’s employees churned out bogus mortgage assignments, faked signatures, falsified notarizations and foreclosed on people without verifying their identities, the amounts they owed or who owned their loans, according to employee testimony. The attorney general is also looking at whether Stern paid kickbacks to big banks.
This article is a fascinating look at what is really wrong with this country and especially the business model used today by so many. Please read it.
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