Law Firm Probed Over 'False' Documents Filed in Foreclosure Cases
We have been talking about this issue for years now and finally the Florida Attorney General is investigating how the Banks and their attorneys are abusing the judicial system by submitting falsified documents that would allow the Banks to foreclose on properties that they do not have the right to foreclose upon. This is why you must question every document that is submitted to the Court and cannot assume that the documents are true and correct…
Fla. AG’s office has received dozens of homeowner complaints about questionable court documents filed by firm’s lawyers, according to a source
Daily Business Review
May 11, 2010
The Florida attorney general is investigating one of the nation’s largest foreclosure law firms over allegations it falsified legal documents to expedite foreclosure cases filed by its lender clients.
Tampa-based Florida Default Law Group “appears to be fabricating and/or presenting false and misleading documents in foreclosure cases,” according to the attorney general’s Economic Crimes Division in Fort Lauderdale, which is leading the investigation.
The office of Attorney General Bill McCollum is reviewing consumer complaints, taking depositions and researching the company’s business practices to determine whether Florida Default has violated any state laws.
The investigation is based on allegations that Florida Default lawyers submitted misleading documents to judges hearing foreclosure cases. The documents included assignments of mortgage that “have later been shown to be legally inadequate and/or insufficient,” according to an April 28 statement by the attorney general’s office when the investigation was opened.
The attorney general’s office has received dozens of complaints from homeowners about questionable court documents filed by Florida Default’s lawyers, according to a source familiar with the probe.
A call and e-mail to Florida Default president Michael Echevarria were not returned.
In announcing the Florida Default investigation, the attorney general’s office pointed out that it is also investigating a Jacksonville-based provider of mortgage processing services for lenders that “appears” to be doing business with Florida Default. The investigation, opened on the same day, also centers on questionable court documents in foreclosure cases.
The attorney general is also investigating the relationship between Florida Default and an AG staffer who also worked for the foreclosure firm.
Firms like Florida Default, which handles thousands of cases on behalf of lenders, are known in the industry as “foreclosure mills.” Their job is to do all the legal work lenders need to foreclose on homes.
Foreclosures usually aren’t contested, so companies like Florida Default are rarely challenged over the validity of their affidavits and court filings. But homeowners are increasingly hiring foreclosure defense lawyers to scrutinize a lender’s right to take their home.
Most lawyers request copies of notes and mortgages to verify that the lender actually owns the mortgage on a distressed property. These documents can be hard to find because loans are often bought and sold many times. As a result, lenders often don’t have those documents available when they file a lawsuit.
Months into the litigation, they produce documents, like assignments of mortgage, that were recorded long after the suit was filed. Often, they produce affidavits that wrongly name the lender as the loan owner, according to defense lawyers.
Foreclosure defense lawyer Thomas Ice said the investigation into Florida Default is overdue. “It was a long time coming for a governmental agency to get involved in investigating what foreclosure defense lawyers are showing the courts every day,” he said, adding that he often sees misleading affidavits and other court documents allegedly filed by foreclosure lawyers representing lenders…