News

Inside the FBI’s Investigation into DocX

May 31, 2016

Lynn Szymoniak’s Freedom of Information Act request has helped generate a compelling article by David Dayen for Vice regarding the FBI’s investigation into the DocX document mill, and the limited prosecution that followed.

Six years ago, FBI agents in Jacksonville, Florida, wrote a memo to their bosses in Washington, DC, that could have unraveled the largest consumer fraud in American history. It went to the heart of the shady mortgage industry that precipitated the financial crisis, and the case promised to involve nearly every major bank in the country, honing in on the despicable practice of using bogus documents to illegally kick people out of their homes.

[Read More]

‘Chain of Title’ Review in the New York Times

May 14, 2016

David Dayen’s Chain of Title, which chronicles the fight against foreclosure fraud through the eyes of three South Florida activists: Lisa Epstein, Michael Redman, and Lynn Szymoniak. The book is available for purchase on Amazon and though other retailers. Here’s Frank Portnoy’s assessment from The New York Times:

On Sept. 26, 2008, 11 days after the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, I proposed in the opinion pages of The New York Times a straightforward alternative to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s plan to bail out the banks.

[Read More]

Guttman: A broken system and a challenge for legal scholars

May 13, 2016

Reuban Guttman, one of the lead lawyers for Lynn Szymoniak’s mortgage-fraud whistle-blower case, offers the following assessment of the current state of the American legal system, in The Global Legal Post:

“The United States’ legal system is broken and there is plenty of blame to go around.”

Now there is a blunt statement that should cause our neighbours across the globe to wonder why America’s minions travel to all corners of the earth extolling the virtues of the American rule of law.

[Read More]

Recent Articles

Florida’s 4th DCA Reverses Many Foreclosure Judgments

By Lynn Szymoniak May 1, 2016

“Oops – Our Bad – The Banks Didn’t Have Standing to Foreclose”

In the first four months of 2016, Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeals reversed many foreclosure judgments, primarily on standing grounds. In these appellate opinions, the appellate court repeatedly held that the banks failed to prove that they had standing to foreclose when they failed to prove that they had possession of the indorsed original note at the time the complaint was filed. These were all cases where the foreclosure was sought by a bank that was not the original lender. In the vast majority of foreclosure cases decided after 2008, the lender and the plaintiff/forecloser were different entities because the lender sold the loan. [Read More]

Injecting Integrity into the Mortgage Business

By Lynn Szymoniak March 7, 2016

Trump Mortgage was a company started in 2006 and closed 18 months later, following a scandal that involved significant over-stating of the credentials of the company’s president, E.J. Ridings.   When Trump Mortgage closed, Donald Trump licensed his name to First Meridian Mortgage as his next partner in the residential mortgage business.  How well did First Meridian Mortgage, a/k/a Trump Financial, operate?

First Meridian Mortgage made money, but not because of its careful lending practices.  First Meridian Mortgage made money by selling its loans to big banks and securities companies so that the loans could be included in residential mortgage-backed trusts … [Read More]

Mortgage Crimes, Part 1: Small Houses, Big Mortgages

By Lynn Szymoniak February 1, 2016

TWO SMALL REAL ESTATE INVESTORS 

WH was a 73-year-old man, living in an apartment near Ft. Lauderdale, when he ventured into the world of real estate in 2007. WH bought three houses in West Palm Beach, Florida in four months. He paid $195,000 for a house at 2408 Saginaw Avenue on February 16, 2007.(See Photo 1.01.) Less than two weeks later, on February 28, 2007, he paid $250,000 for a house at 514 44th Street in West Palm Beach.(See Photo 1.02.) Less than three months later, on May 14, 2007, he paid $230,000 for a house at 715 42… [Read More]

The Latest Goldman Sachs Settlement

By Lynn Szymoniak January 15, 2016

Goldman Sachs announced on January 14, 2016 that it will pay approximately $5 billion to settle federal and state investigations of its mortgage-related practices in the years before the financial crisis of 2008. Goldman will pay $2.39 billion in civil monetary penalties, $875 million in cash payments and provide $1.8 billion in consumer relief in the form of mortgage forgiveness and refinancing. Goldman, like other Wall Street banks, has been under investigation for allegedly misleading investors on the safety of the securities they created by bundling and selling mortgages.

Goldman Sachs was one of the financial giants that was most … [Read More]