While Housing Justice is primarily a research and education webpage, the following resources may be of use to individuals seeking assistance with foreclosure related issues. 

 

Foreclosure Defense Firms

In Florida, the following law firms may be able to assist with your foreclosure defense. Unfortunately, Housing Justice cannot recommend any attorneys outside of the state of Florida.

The Cullen Law Firm, P.A.
Clearlake Plaza, Suite 543
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
500 S. Australian Avenue
Phone: 561.640.9191
Fax: 561.214.4021

Edwards & Clarkson, P.A.
412 N.E. 4th Street
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301
Phone: 954.463.5266. ext. 104
Fax: 954.463.2020

Gingo & Orth
2215 Garden Street
Titusville, FL 32796
Phone: 321.264.9624

Ice Legal. P.A.
1015 N. State Road 7
Royal Palm Beach, FL 33407
Phone: 561.729.0530
Fax: 1.866.507.9888

The Krouse Law Firm
9040 Town Center Parkway
Bradenton, FL 34202
Phone: 941.306.3672
Fax: 941.894.1188

Catherine Mulcahey & Associates, LLC
4440 PGA Boulevard, #600
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410
Phone: 561.472.0882
Fax: 561-472-8401

Oppenheim Law
2500 Weston Road, Suite 404
Weston, FL 33331
Phone: 954.384.6114
Fax: 954.384.6115

Ricardo & Wasylik, PL
3835 N.W. Boca Raton Blvd.
Boca Raton, FL 33431
Phone: 561.869.0200

Lawrence J. Shapiro & Associates
2665 S. Bayshore Drive, Suite 440
Miami, FL 33133
Phone: 954.788.8787

Stopa Law Firm
3202 N. W. Shore Blvd., Suite 200
Tampa, FL 33607
Phone: 813.856.4249
1.888.450.1549

Eannarino Law, PA
500 S. Australian Ave.
Fifth Floor
West Palm Beach, FL, 33401
Office (561) 880-4529

 

Notable Public Figures

April Charney, Esq.
April is perhaps the most well-known foreclosure defense lawyer and consumer advocate in Florida.  As a legal aid attorney in Jacksonville, Florida, April led the fight against fraud and abuses by the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.  She is known as a tough litigator and a top legal strategist.

June Clarkson, Esq., Edwards & Clarkson, P.A.
June is a foreclosure defense lawyer practicing in Broward County, Florida with the law firm of Edwards and Clarkson, P.A.  June does trial work as well as appellate work in several South Florida counties. Formerly, June was an Assistant Florida Attorney General, but she was forced to resign in May, 2011, after being one of the first attorneys in the country pursing foreclosure fraud.  June and her now law partner, Theresa Edwards, were in the midst of an investigation of foreclosure mill law firms.  Her forced departure, despite a recent, satisfactory performance review, was sudden, and was reported in many major news stories, including the New York Times.

Mark A. Cullen, Esq.
Mark is an attorney in West Palm Beach, Florida, with over 30 years’ trial and appellate experience.  He litigates with passion and skill and understands foreclosure defense and mortgage document fraud.  Mark has represented Lynn Szymoniak in her foreclosure defense since 2008.  Mark has also successfully represented clients in class actions involving civil rights, employment rights and fair wage cases.  He is admitted in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Florida and South Carolina.

Theresa Edwards, Esq., Edwards & Clarkson, P.A.
Theresa is a foreclosure defense lawyer practicing in Broward County, Florida with the law firm of Edwards and Clarkson, P.A.  Theresa does trial work as well as appellate work in several South Florida counties. Formerly, Theresa was an Assistant Florida Attorney General, but she was forced to resign in May, 2011, after being one of the first attorneys in the country pursing foreclosure fraud.  Theresa and her now law partner June Clarkson were in the midst of an investigation of foreclosure mill law firms.  Her forced departure, after years of glowing performance reviews, was sudden, and was reported in many major news stories, including the New York Times.

John B. Ennis, Esq.
John is a foreclosure defense attorney who not only fights tirelessly for homeowners, but also takes times to keep other foreclosure defense attorneys up to date on all important cases in this practice area.

Lisa Epstein
Lisa is the most prominent foreclosure defense activist in South Florida, and the force behind foreclosure hamlet.org.  Lisa is a former oncology nurse who left her field to devote herself full-time to foreclosure defense.  She has organized court watches, candlelight vigils, foreclosure happy hours, and seminars for foreclosure fighters.  She is an expert researcher of mortgage-backed securities and understands investor reports better than most anyone in the field. She can most frequently be found in courtrooms, as a frontline witness to the foreclosure crisis.

O. Max Gardner III, Esq.
Max is sometimes described as a consumer bankruptcy attorney, but he is so much more, including a litigation strategist, resource and inspiration for thousands of young attorneys, and the builder of an army of lawyers, through his famed bootcamps, to fight predatory lenders.

Ronald Gillis & Deborah Lilley
Ron Gillis was among the first to join the fight against fraudulent foreclosures in Florida.  Deborah Lilley Gillis was so passionate about fraudulent foreclosures that she ran for Clerk of the Court in Charlotte County, Florida in 2012.  Both Ron and Deb spend many hours each week helping pro se homeowners, observing local foreclosure court judges, and giving expertise and encouragement wherever they can across Florida.  Currently, Ron is a candidate for Florida State Representative District 75.  Ron is also a mobile notary, and probably the most knowledgable individual in Florida regarding notary requirements, procedures and laws.

Curtis Hertel
Curtis Hertel is the Register of Deeds in Ingham County, Michigan and was one of the country’s first register of deeds to work to disclose foreclosure fraud. He also joined with Nancy Hutchins, the Register of Deeds for Branch County, Michigan, to file a class action lawsuit against MERS and the banks seeking the taxes the banks should have been paying to counties and states every time property is transferred.  He also helped introduce a bill to make Michigan a judicial foreclosure state. He is often quoted, saying: “If you or I committed this kind of fraud, we’d go to jail.”

Tom Ice, Esq.
Tom Ice is one of the best-known and most well-respected foreclosure defense attorneys in South Florida. His firm was one of the first in the country to take the depositions of MERS officers who signed critical loan documents. Ice was also one of the first to discover that more often than not, these MERS officers were low-level clerical employees with little or no understanding or knowledge of the mortgage documents they helped to create. Tom Ice is also famous for standing up to judges who exhibit bias in favor of banks, and for pursuing appeals where appropriate. Among many other significant cases, Ice represented Roman Pino in a case currently pending before the Florida Supreme Court, dealing with fraudulent documents in foreclosure cases and whether banks can escape punishment for using such documents simply by dismissing their cases when the fraud is exposed.

Nye Lavalle
Nye Lavalle was one of the first individuals in the country to expose fraud by lenders in foreclosures. Nye exposed abuses by the Mortgage Electronic Registration System and Fannie Mae. He has conducted extensive research on foreclosures and real property transfers, released reports, and filed expert witness Affidavits in foreclosure litigation. He urged the officers of Fannie Mae to address the many abuses he discovered and documented. He is one of the country’s most often-quoted authorities on abuses by Fannie Mae and MERS.

John O’Brien

John O’Brien is the Register of Deeds in South Essex County, Massachusetts and a leader in the efforts to protect homeowners and potential home buyers from fraudulent mortgage loan documents and abusive foreclosure practices.  John was the first Register in the nation to refuse to record fraudulent and robo-signed deeds.  John has served as Register of Deeds since 1977. He was also the first to ask Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller to step down from his role as lead AG in the national mortgage fraud settlement for failing to protect homeowners and failing to indict mortgage servicers and banks.  John has also helped individual homeowners nationwide by providing Affidavits in their cases attesting that the documents used by the banks to foreclose are fraudulent.  If you can only have one person on your side in a fight, choose John.

Jeff Thigpen

Jeff Thigpen is the Register of Deeds for Guilford County, NC. He has been on the front lines against fraudulent mortgage documents. Jeff testified in US District Court in Jacksonville Florida on April 23, 2013, in the federal sentencing hearing of the President of DocX, Lorraine Brown. He presented the research his office accumulated on DocX and spoke about the impact forged and fraudulently filed documents have on the integrity of public records offices. At age 27, Jeff was elected the youngest County Commissioner in North Carolina. He served for 14 years before taking office as the Register of Deeds. He recently wrote On Point: Voices and Values of the Young Elected Officials. Jeff is determined to make a difference.

Phil Ting

Mike Wasylik, Esq.

Who was the lawyer that, through sheer tenacity, got Judge Rondolino to reverse his own summary judgment in a foreclosure case and say, “I really honestly don’t have any confidence that any of the documents the courts are receiving on these mass foreclosures are valid…”  That was Mike Wasylik, Esq. of Ricardo & Wasylik, PL in Boca Raton, FL.  Mike is a trial lawyer who doesn’t own a white flag to wave. Besides having an impressive record of successes at trial, he can also get very favorable settlements for his clients.

Nick Wooten, Esq.
Nick is an Alabama foreclosure defense attorney, a class action lawyer who takes on the giants of the banks & securitizers, including LPS and MERS, and a fearless litigator.  If you are looking for Nick, check out the front lines of the most important battles.

 

Housing & Foreclosure Links

4ClosureFraud

Foreclosure Hamlet

Mortgage Servicing Fraud

National Mortgage Settlement

Occupy Our Homes

Operation Hope

 

Recommended Reading

Books

The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future by Joseph E. Stiglitz
Winner of the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics, Joseph E. Stiglitz is the best-selling author of Making Globalization Work; Globalization and Its Discontents; and, with Linda Bilmes, The Three Trillion Dollar War. He was chairman of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers and served as senior vice president and chief economist at the World Bank. He teaches at Columbia University and lives in New York City.

Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street by Neil Barofsky
Neil Barofsky served as the Special Inspector General in charge of overseeing TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) from December 2008 until March 2011. For eight years prior, he was a federal prosecutor in the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, during which time he headed the Mortgage Fraud Group. Currently, Neil Barofsky is a senior fellow at New York University School of Law. An alum of the University of Pennsylvania and the New York University School of Law, this is his first book.

Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Created the Worst Financial Crisis of Our Time by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner
GRETCHEN MORGENSON is a business reporter and writes the Fair Game column at The New York Times, where she also serves as assistant business and financial editor. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for her “trenchant and incisive“ coverage of Wall Street. Prior to joining the Times in 1998, she worked as a broker at Dean Witter in the 1980s, and as a reporter at Forbes, Worth, and Money magazines. She lives with her husband and son in New York City. JOSHUA ROSNER is a partner at independent research consultancy Graham Fisher and Co. and advises global policy-makers and institutional investors on housing and mortgage-finance issues. He was among the first analysts to identify operational and accounting problems at the GSEs (government-sponsored enterprises) and one of the earliest to identify the peak in the housing market, the likelihood of contagion in the credit rating agencies’ CDO assumptions. He lives with his son in New York City.

 

 

Articles

Mortgage Crisis Presents a New Reckoning to Banks By Jessica Silver-Greenberg

Losing The Paper – Mortgage Assignments, Note Transfers and Consumer Protection by Alan M. White

Robo-Singing, Chain of Title, Loss Mitigation, and Other Issues in Mortgage Servicing by Adam J. Levitin

Foreclosure, Subprime Mortgage Lending, and the Mortgage Electronic Registration System by Christopher Peterson

Turning a Blind Eye: Wall Street Finance of Predatory Lending by Kathleen C. Engel and Patricia A. McCoy

Negotiating the American Dream: A Critical Look at the Role of Negotiability in the Foreclosure Crisis by Thomas Erskine Ice

After The Storm: Foreclosure Fraud & Robo-Signing Continues by Nye Lavalle

Fannie and Freddie’s Foreclosure Barons by Andy Kroll

Inside Foreclosure King David Stern’s Downfall by Andy Kroll

The Foreclosure King, Special Report by Scott Paltrow

The Watchdogs That Didn’t Bark by Scott Paltrow

Invasion of the Home Snatchers: How Foreclosure Courts Are Helping Big Banks Screw Over Homeowners by Matt Taibbi

The Real Foreclosure Fraud Story: Corruption of the Land Title System by David Dayen

A Foreclosure Problem Congress Couldn’t Ignore by David Dayen

Deconstructing the Black Magic of Securitized Trusts: How the Mortgage-Backed Securitization Process is Hurting the Banking Industry’s Ability to Foreclose and Proving the Best Offense for a Foreclosure Defense by Roy D. Oppenheim & Jacquelyn K. Trask

 

 

Documents

Robosigning & Forged Assignments

Lender Processing Services “Corrective” Assignment
Admission by Shapiro Law Firm that Linda Green was NOT authorized to sign by MERS.

MERS “Corrective “Assignment
Another “Corrective Assignment” filed stating Linda Green had no authority to sign on behalf of MERS

10 Versions – Linda Green
Ten versions of robo-signer Lina Green’s signature on mortgage documents.

20 Titles – Linda Green
Mortgage Assignments showing 20 different job titles used by robo-signer Linda Green.

4 Versions – Tywanna Thomas
Four versions of robo-signer Tywanna Thomas’ signature on mortgage documents.

6 Versions – Sherry Doza
Signature Versions of robo-signer Sherry Doza, formerly with Stewart Mortgage Information in Houston, TX – now with First American Core Logic, Santa Ana, CA

9 Versions – Jeffrey Stephan
Nine examples of Mortgage Assignments signed by Jeffrey Stephan of Ally Financial transferring mortgages to unidentified trusts.

5 Versions – Scott Anderson
Five versions of robo-signer Scott Anderson’s signature.

3 Versions – Jessica Ohde
Three versions of robo-signer Jessica Ohde’s signature on mortgage documents.

American Home Mortgage Servicing Response to 60 Minutes
Response of giant mortgage servicer AHMSI to the investigative report by 60 Minutes: the “real” assignments are still in the vault.

A Company Called “Assignment of Mortgage”
The Signer thinks she is Assistant Secretary of a company called “Assignment of Mortgage.” Notary thinks the same.

“9/9/999” – Freddie Mac & DocX/LPS
Example of Assignment Effective Date “9/9/9999”.

Blank Line Witnessed and Notarized by Docx
Docx employee Shelly Scheffey forgot to sign the assignment, but the blank line was witnessed and notarized by Docx employees Christina Huang and Shawanna Crite.

Blank Line Witnessed and Notarized by Docx 2
Docx employee Tywanna Thomas forgot to sign the assignment, but the blank line was witnessed and notarized by Docx employees Christina Huang and Alicia Williams.

Robo Signer Brian Burnett

 

Decisions, Briefs, and Consent Orders

Bankruptcy Opinion, In re Wilson
Opinion issued by Honorable Elizabeth W. Magner, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, on April 6, 2011, regarding fraudulent practices of Lender Processing Services.

Wells Fargo v. Moise
Foreclosure decision written by Justice Wayne P Saitta involving an Assignment dated several months AFTER a foreclosure action was filed.

Nordbank v. Barclays Brief

SEC Complaint Against OptionOne

Lender Processing Services Consent Order

MERS Consent Order

DocX Founder Lorraine Brown’s Plea Agreement

LPS Non-Prosecution Agreement

LPS Statement of Facts from the Jacksonville Federal Case

Request for Judicial Notice of Lorraine Brown’s Guilty Plea

LPS Share Holder Steven Hill Files Suit Against LPS

 

Foreclosure Defense Research Assistance

Part I – Foreclosures By Trusts Cases Dismissed With Prejudice  

Part II – Foreclosures By Trusts Dismissed Without Prejudice Or Summary Judgment For Bank Reversed On Appeal

Part III – Bankruptcy Cases Involving Mortage-Backed Trusts Where The Trustee Was Not Allowed To Proceed Because Of Standing Or Loan Documentation Issues

 

 

Press Releases 

“Former Executive at Florida-Based Lender Processing Services Inc. Admits Role in Mortgage-Related Document Fraud Scheme” -Department of Justice Press Release

“U.S. Attorney’s Offices Reach $95 Million Settlement In False Claims Case Against Nation’s Five Largest Financial Institutions” – Department of Justice Press Release

 

Docx Mortgage Assignments Filed in Palm Beach County, FL

Docx Mortgage Assignments Filed In Palm Beach County, FL (A-H)

Docx Mortgage Assignments Filed In Palm Beach County, FL (I-P)

Docx Mortgage Assignments Filed In Palm Beach County, FL (Q-Z)

 

Fraud Digest Articles

The Devil Is In The Details: When Did The Trust Acquire The Notes And Mortgages – A Study of 4,580 Florida Assignments

The Most Reviled Law Form in Florida and The “Unowned Mortgage Loans” Scheme

Highlights from a Deposition of Jeffery Stephan

Mass-Produced Affidavits Filed by Foreclosure Firms

M&T Bank – A Case of Special Interest to Florida Foreclosure Defense Lawyers

HSBC Foreclosures and The Newtrak System of Lender Processing Services

Fraud by Lenders in Foreclosures

Massive 2012 Mortgage Release Fraud By Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems

Florida Foreclosures, June 2008-2012

Deutsche Bank, Securitization Fraud and Foreclosure Fraud

Big Bank Homeowners

Rating Residential Morgage-Backed Trusts

$18 Million Whistleblower Award

Following the Money: The Beneficiaries of Fraudulent Mortgage Assignments

Too Many Jobs

Abuses and Forgeries By MERS Officers in Mortgage Foreclosures

How Lender Processing Services, Inc. Solves Deutsche Bank’s Missing Paperwork Problem In Foreclosures

The Beneficiaries of DocX Mortgage Assignments

An Officer Of Too Many Banks

Mortgage Assignments, Mortgage Servicers and Securitized Trusts In Bankruptcy Cases

MORTGAGE ASSIGNMENTS AS EVIDENCE OF FRAUD

Letter to Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Regarding Fabricated/Forged Mortgage Documents by Deutsche Bank