Mortgage Servicing Fraud
occurs post loan origination when mortgage servicers use false statements and book-keeping entries, fabricated assignments, forged signatures and utter counterfeit intangible Notes to take a homeowner's property and equity.
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The loan is already in Loan Modification, and we have been waiting for a response from them. Then apparently the other day we received Notice of Default Judgement and Notice of Sale.

We called Met Life and they said they are putting a stay on it for 60 days while they work through the modification.

What are my options now? Since there is a Notice of Judgement, can I still file responses to start to fight this?

We are in New Mexico.
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William A. Roper, Jr.
Ragin: 

As I recall, New Mexico is a judicial foreclosure state.  In order to foreclose in a judicial foreclosure state, the mortgage servicer usually engages a foreclosure contractor (often LPS), which engages a foreclosure mill law firm which files a complaint in state court.  You should have been served with a copy of the complaint.

After the filing and service of a complaint, in most states, state court rules provide for some specific amount of time during which the properly served complaint must be answered in writing by the named defendants.  When the defendants fail to respond, the plaintiff can and usually does apply for and receive a default judgment and an order of sale.

It is not at all unusual for servicers to continue to communicate with the unrepresented defendant and to encourage the defendant to make past due payments and to bring the balance current.  The servicer will also very often present a so-called loan modification agreement to the borrower and encourage the borrower to sign.

Leaving aside for a moment the federal HAMP program, servicers have for some time used the loan modification process to immunize themselves and to obtain additional evidence to use against you in the foreclosure.  The modification process is not usually viewed as a means to avoid foreclosure, but rather as a means to better assure foreclosure on terms favorable to the servicer!

The loan modification agreement typically contains much oppressive language and is presented on a take it or leave it basis.  A typical modification agreement very often seeks (a) your confession as to the validity of the original promissory note and mortgage, deed of trust or other mortgage security instrument, (b) your waiver of any possible defenses as to RESPA or TIL violations or any defenses relating to fraud in the origination of the loan, (c) your confession and admission of the validity of the asserted amounts owed, (d) your agreement to pay additional late charges, legal fees and other charges, often including broker price opinions (BPOs) and force placed insurance, (e) your waiver of any defenses relating to fraud in the servicing of the loan, (f) your agreement to make timely payments for some period of time, during which the servicer agrees to forebearance as to repayment of the other past due amounts.  When that period expires or when you fail to make timely payments, the modification agreement will be used against you if you contest the foreclosure.

You will be encouraged to sign and return the loan modification agreement (making the agreement contractually binding on you), but the servicer will never actually sign and return an executed copy to you (depriving you of any actual benefit to the bargain, which they can always later repudiate).

During such a modification process, the servicer will tell you that the foreclosure will be suspended or withdrawn, but when you fail to obtain legal representation and file an answer, very often the servicer will have the law firm proceed against you and obtain an actual default judgment.  They will assure you orally that you can disregard the foreclosure happening in court and will tell you that this is all a mistake, which will be corrected later.  But, in fact, they are simply trying to take your very last nickel before selling the property at auction and obtaining an ejectment order!

In most states, making oral representations which are designed to keep you from the courthouse is a species of extrinsic fraud, which can be a very strong basis for overturning the default judgment.  But you will have a proof problem.  And the period of time during which you are entitled to appeal or to have such a judgment set aside is usually limited.

You will tell the court what was orally related to you by telephone by the mortgage servicer and the servicer's foreclosure mill attorney will tell the judge that you are a deadbeat and cannot be trusted.  You will be asked to present some evidence of these oral representations by the servicer and you will find that you are unable to actually prove the deceit involved in this situation.

If you are able to afford an attorney, you need to try to obtain representation right away.  If you are not able to afford an attorney, see whether there is a local legal aid society which assists indigent persons.

It is very tough to win a foreclosure case on a pro se basis, but there are many experienced pro se litigants at this forum who may be of some help to you.

I would encourage you to check your state's laws relating to recording telephone conversations.  In some places, it is permissible to record a converstion without the consent of the other person.  In other places this is a crime.  BE CAREFUL ABOUT THIS!

The law may be different as to undisclosed persons also listening in on the conversation.  You might want to consider finding several of the most reliable, persuasive and trustworthy people you know and asking them to listen in while you call the servicer (if this is lawful).  For example, you could have others listening on extensions or put the servicer on a speaker phone and have the others remain silent.

Try to get the servicer to state orally that the foreclosure was an accident or a mistake or let the servicer otherwise discourage you from obtaining an attorney or responding to the default judgment.  If the servicer personnel are smart, they will refrain from discouraging you from seeking relief or from mischaracterizing the situation.  At this juncture, they have relatively little to gain by misleading you.  They already have a default judgment against you!  By contrast, if they actually seek to keep you from the courthouse by continued deceit, this may prove to be evidence that could be helpful in getting the judgment set aside.

There is much peril in your continued conversations with the servicer.  They probably are recording the conversation (and will tell you so) and/or they are making computerized notes of what is said which will be used as evidence against you.  These notes may not actually reflect the disposition of the conversation.  That is, these notes will be self-serving.  You need to avoid making any admissions that can be used against you.  You need to get the servicer's employees to talk without giving up much more information.

The servicer employees do this for a living and are going to be wiley and deceitful.  They will orally encourage you to make new payments.  They will try to finesse the issue of the court case without actually telling you not to obtain a lawyer or without telling you to ignore the judgment.  They will try to hold out hope in another way, encouraging you to make another payment or two and assuring you that the modification is soon likely to go through.

The fact of the matter is that the servicer could agree to a modification, could agree to a forbearance and/or could direct their attorneys to vacate the judgment and dismiss the case.  But they are unlikely to actually do so.

Instead, they will string you along until the appeals period runs and you are no longer eligible to appeal the default judgment.  Then you are completely over a barrel.  You have already lost without ever having your day in court.

*

In closing, you should carefully consider the value of your property versus the outstanding balance of the mortgage, your other resources and alternatives, the extent to which it is in your economic interest to continue paying the mortgage or to default and walk away.  You also need to bear in mind that even after obtaining an order of sale that the sale is not instantaneous and that the plaintiff might still need to obtain an ejectment (eviction) order to get you physically out of the property (processes to obtain possession vary from state to state and I am unsure about how this is handled in NM).

Bankruptcy is an alternative.  This can possibly delay the sale for a little while, but can have other undesirable consequences.  And a bankruptcy can actually be counterproductive in getting the default judgment vacated.  Bankruptcy typically results in an automatic stay of all other state court litigation and this would include your efforts to set aside the default judgment.  BE CAREFUL AND GET GOOD COUNSEL BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH A BANKRUPTCY.

The most important thing to bear in mind is that various oral conversations with the servicer and additional amounts you pay based upon such oral representations will not give you any assurance whatsoever that the court ordered sale of the property will not proceed.  You may be throwing good money after bad.

If what was proposed was a HAMP modification, this at least somewhat changes the equation, but only a bit at the margin.  With HAMP modifications, there are federal rules to be followed.  But these can be violated with impunity when you lack any actual evidence to show the mischief.  With a HAMP modification, you also may want to consider contacting your Senator or Congressman and letting them know of the deceit.  I wouldn't do this instead of, but rather, in addition to other approaches.

You might also consider going to a news reporter.  But this is also fraught with peril as the servicer is going to find ways to demonize you.  But if the servicer's employees actually are telling you that you can ignore the court's legal processes and the default judgment, there might be some value in having a reporter sit in on your conference call.  There are some cases where media involvement will shame or at least discourage the servicer from agressively proceeding to avoid bad publicity.

No doubt, others here will have some other good suggestions.  But do not delay in ascertaining your rights and seekign to get the default set aside!  TRY TO GET A LAWYER.  You are already in trouble and really need some help! 
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Moose
RaginBajin wrote:
The loan is already in Loan Modification, and we have been waiting for a response from them. Then apparently the other day we received Notice of Default Judgement and Notice of Sale.

We called Met Life and they said they are putting a stay on it for 60 days while they work through the modification.

What are my options now? Since there is a Notice of Judgement, can I still file responses to start to fight this?

We are in New Mexico.


Of course this isn't legal advice but if they have told you they are putting a 60 day stay on the foreclosure sale, it will have to be done in writing and will have to be filed with the clerk in your county, otherwise the sheriff will proceed with the sale. You need to get them to put it in writing and have them file the stay.

Moose

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William A. Roper, Jr.
Ragin:

I re-reading my own post and Moose's succinct message, it occurs to me that my message presupposes mischief and a likelihood that the plaintiff is insincere in indicating a willingness to defer sale.

If one ascribes more honorable motives, Moose is dead on that you should encourage the plaintiff to memorialize in writing their agreement to continue or stay the sale and file such an agreement with the Court.

But I would add that to the extent that the Court enterred a final order in granting a default judgment, short of an agreement by the plaintiff to vacate the judgment and final order (which I think is very unlikely unless you brought the balance current), the court will probably lose jurisdiction to set aside the order after a certain period of time set forth in the court rules. 

Similarly, the appeal period will continue to run and after that period has elapsed, the court of appeals will probably lose jurisdiction to set aside the order.

I do not want to be holding out false hope.  In most jurisdictions, default judgments can be very difficult to set aside for other than exceptional reasons.  Unless the plaintiff failed to serve you with the complaint or engaged in some other misconduct or extrinsic fraud to keep you from the courthouse, or you can show that circumstances made answering an impossibility, the default judgment may be difficult to set aside or to appeal.

That leaves you with trying to negotiate a post judgment modification or, perhaps, bankruptcy.  I am doubtful that Bankruptcy is going to be more than just a speed bump under these circumstances, but it would be best to get professional counsel from a licensed New Mexico attorney with experience in consumer debt and bankruptcy. 
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Get a good lawyer to file Motion to Vacate Defaut Judgment and Cancel the Sale, explaining the reason why you did not answer the lawsuit .  Many judges now understand that you are duped by Loan Modification people and give you a chance to save your home.  Remember to go to the hearing with your family so the judge can see the people whose life will be affected by the Judge decision . Don't give up. Ask for mediation. In Florida, mediation is mandatory and bank can't sell the house before mediation. But the defendant has to ask the court for mediation with a Motion to demand Mediation.

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William A. Roper, Jr.

Ragin:

While I would generally concur with Ann's suggestions, I would distinguish in a couple of respects.

First, you should carefully consider and assess the overall economics of your property, your mortgage and your financial circumstances.  There are some borrowers who have found themselves in trouble due to temporary economic adversity, but who have excellent prospects for renewed solvency and favorable cash flow.  But there are others who found themselves in an inherently unaffordable mortgage to finance a property that even under the very best of circumstances they can never really afford.

Similarly, some borrowers facing adversity have substantial remaining equity in their property, but many, particularly in Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona where housing price declines have been particularly sharp, face serious net negative equity.  The value of the property is worth well less than the outstanding balance of the mortgage, even excluding various trash fees and charges added by unscrupulous lenders to the mortgage balance.

In cases where a borrower has substantial net negative equity, it may be in that borrower's economic interest to walk away from the property.  But when I say "walk away" I am not necessarily advocating your complete abandonment of the fight or your rights.  Rather, I am pointing out that you need to carefully assess the time, money and resources you put into your defense and ask yourself whether the rewards are worth the costs.

Suppose that you have an older model car which has developed a serious rust problem, but which still affords you good basic transportation.  You will probably want to keep the car in good serviceable condition, but every time you face a major repair you need to ask yourself how much more money you want to sink into the car, which has a limited remaining life and an uncertain array of future risks and service costs.  You will probably spring for a new battery or a single new tire, but would probably look for another car before replacing the transmission.  Other repairs, such as replacing the exhaust system fall somewhere in between.  With each additional expense, you need to weigh the prospects that that outlay will keep the car on the road long enough to justify the cost in consideration of other uncertain prospects.

Where the plaintiff already has a default judgment against you, you are fighting an uphill battle.  If the battle is to protect remaining equity and if your financial prospects make paying the mortgage payments in the future a reasonable prospect, then expending money to get the judgment set aside may make good economic sense.

By contrast, if the property is deeply "under water" and your finances are a wreck, bear in mind that even a loan modification may not ultimately keep you in this property and the question becomes whether you lose the property sooner or later.  In such an instance you need to weigh expending resources on this fight or conserving your resources for your life beyond this property.

I do not mean to sound fatalistic.  There are some pretty good defenses available which have sometimes yielded good results for foreclosure defendants.  But the vast majority of foreclosure defendants eventually lose their house and their credit and many of those participating in this message board have been on the losing end of a foreclosure.  I do not say this intending to discredit their advice.  To the contrary, even those who have lost their homes have learned much and are generously sharing their experiences. 

But amidst all of the advice, do not lose sight of the simple fact that you are in a fight in which the odds are heavily stacked against you and you are seeking help at this forum after you have already suffered a rather severe loss!  So amounts that you now wager are generally being bet against the odds and this even after giving spotting your adversary quite a few "points".  Maybe a better analogy is to ask how much you would bet on a game after the game has been declared over and the teams have already left the field!

Be careful and marshall your resources! 

*

Separately, you need to bear in mind that the array of responses by various judges to setting aside default judgments varies widely and has as much to do with judicial temperment and philosophy as it has to do with the law.  One area that an experienced lawyer with actual litigation and courtroom practice can be of particular help is in knowing how your particular judge reacts to situations such as the one you are now facing.

Some judges may instantly and almost universally set aside default judgments based upon a minimal showing of unfairness.  Other judges may almost never set aside default judgments, even where a fairly compelling showing of unfairness has been presented.  Most trial court decisions are "unpublished" and it would take a serious wading through past dockets, decisions and orders to discern the pattern for a particular judge.  And even the orders either setting aside defaults or dismissing motions will miss most of the courtroom nuance that can be instantly discerned by those present during hearings.

If your judge is know to dismiss default judgments with a minimal showing, it may very well be worth the expense of an attorney to get the judgment set aside.  But if the judge is known ot be harsh and rarely sets aside judgments, making the effort may be uneconomic unless you are able to find a legal aid attorney who can represent you at little or no cost.

I would encourage you to meet with a lawyer, but you would be best off finding a lawyer who actually practices before that particular judge (you would be amazed at the number of lawyers who never set foot in court at all).  Ask very specific questions about what it will cost to be represented and ask what the attorney knows about this particular judge and his or her disposition towards default judgments.

During the height of the dismissal frenzy in the Federal courts in Ohio, while more than a dozen judges routinely dismissed hundreds of cases where the plaintiff clearly had failed to demonstrate standing, a half dozen judges in these same Federal judicial districts continued granting foreclosures in other cases on the same facts.  You will find the same kind of disparity elsewhere.

I am not suggesting that you ought to abandon your defense.  Rather, I am merely suggesting that you very carefully assess your circumstances and your resources, weigh your actual prospects and make a decision about committing further resources (including cash to pay a lawyer) against the prospects of success, not only of getting the judgment set aside, but also of a successful defense and/or a durable loan modification or workout.

*

As a final point, I would caution that the statistics I have seen about HAMP modifications are pretty dismal.  The average post modification debt-to-income ratio for these modifications is close to 70%, a level that almost none of the borrowers can actually sustain.  Most borrowers enterring modifications redefault within six months and almost all of the borrowers redefault within a year.

The purpose of these modifications is not actually to rescue the homeowner.  Instead, the HAMP program has been tailored to win political points and to allow corrupt Democrats to get through the next election cycle while acting as a backdoor bailout for the very financial institutions which brought about the financial meltdown.  Modifications allow these financial institutions to both win interim payments from the Treasury while pushing recognition of losses into future financial periods.  The intention of these financial institutions is to milk as much cash from both you and the government as possible before going forward with the foreclosure.  Keeping you in your home isn't even a consideration other than as a punchine for a joke as these corrupt bankers toast their most recent round of bonuses while drinking with their corrupt Democratic buddies!    
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I concurr with you, you have valid points.  However, walk away from the house without fighting is not a good solution. The lender could get a deficiency judgment that will follow the homeowners for the rest of their lives. They will garnish homeowners wages, clean their savings, take their cars etc. The homeowners will be in misery for many years to come.

I say the Homeowners should fight, either with a good lawyer or pro-se. Do reseach and collect as many case laws as possible where judgments are in favor of homeowners. Go to http://www.livinglies.wordpress.com to see some of these cases. The table is turning, Judges are becoming more aware of the fraud problems and dismissing  the lawsuits. The loans were bundles by thousands in Trust and sold to Wall Street.  Banks are getting more difficult to prove their ownerships of the loan . See the last DCA 4 Opinion, Case dissmissed due to fraudulent assignments. The Goldman Sach problem is a solid examples how the bank already got paid by selling the loan and now they want double dip by taking house away from people.  Now as no one can claim note ownership, the foreclosure lawsuit are stopped with prejudice. 

Homeowner does not fight, he surely lost his house. Fight hard and when the bank sees that they won't be able to take away the house, they will negotiate. I have collected many recent case laws in Florida and New York where Judges dismiss foreclosure lawsuits. Go to the local law library and reseach for similar case laws. When filing a motion or pleadings , add the case laws to tell the Judge that other Judges are dismissing similar cases.

 The key here is looking for good lawyer. Maybe you can give us some guidance how to select a good lawyer. I'll do some reseach about it. I know good lawyers in Florida who fight passionately for homeowners and it works.
My friends, don't give up.
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Subject: Am I simply delaying the inevitable by hiring a foreclosure defense attorney?

 
I enclosed herewith a question from a Homeowner in Foreclosure and 2 answers from 2 prominent attorneys.   I think it is interesting.
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AM I SIMPLY DELAYING THE INEVITABLE BY HIRING A FORECLOSURE ATTORNEY ?

QUESTION:
Am I simply delaying the inevitable by hiring a foreclosure defense attorney?

My wife and I were served with foreclosure papers. I lost my corporate job 8 months ago and the last mortgage payment we made was six months ago. If I hire the best foreclosure defense attorney, is he/she going to be able to win the case for me? I have heard that some foreclosure attorneys charge a monthly fee for every month they keep someone in their house, which leads me to believe that eventually the case will be lost and the people will be kicked out of their house. What are my chances of getting the mortgage wiped out all together and getting to stay in my house indefinitely? Is there any attorney who can help me do that? If not, am I not just postponing the inevitable? I hear that foreclosure cases move slowly anyway, so why pay an attorney just to buy time?

ANSWER 1
The federal programs are useless, and the “workouts” the mortgage companies offer, if they offer any, are normally completely useless. They string people out while they advance the foreclosure, and often people only find out when it is too late that they will do little or nothing to help them.
However, there is no generic answer to your question. Many, perhaps most, of the mortgages originated in recent years are defective in a variety of ways, ranging from defective origination, defective servicing, internal defects in how the mortgage was transferred from the originator to the current holder, mortgage being sold as securities to Wall Streets, violation of TILA, RESPA and other Federal Consumer Law and defects in how insurance was handled, particularly force-placed insurance.

There are many attorneys who do nothing more than stall, and for some clients maybe a limited stall is all they want. Maybe more time to make their plans is sufficiently useful to them. Unfortunately, these days those kinds of attorneys are everywhere, and so if you were to hire one of them, it would be inevitable that the limited stall would reach the end and the foreclosure would then go forward.
It is untrue that foreclosure cases move slowly. Since there are so many of that kind of attorney, many people don’t realize that there are other options. While again it depends on court dockets and at times a case may slip between the cracks, a foreclosure can be concluded in as little as 120 days. Furthermore, beyond the loss of the home, there is also a very serious deficiency judgment problem, since the mortgage company can and will get a judgment for the entire difference between the total you owe, including all accruals, advances, costs, fees, etc., and the value of the property at the end of the foreclosure, and can then use the deficiency judgment to garnish wages, levy on bank accounts, vehicles, etc. for up to 20 years. They can also follow you all over the country with the judgment, and so can go after assets you own or income you have in other states.

REAL foreclosure litigation is not about stalling (although doing the litigation properly does take a great deal of time and so does slow the process down tremendously). Real foreclosure litigation is about peeling back all the layers of the onion and finding all the problems and issues with loan, lost notes, mortgage securization, the lending, the servicing and the foreclosure itself which might then be utilizable in defense of the foreclosure.

It is not realistic to expect to get a house for free, although occasionally it does happen. However, with a real defense, it may be possible to back the mortgage company into a corner where it will have no choice but to negotiate with you significantly better terms that would make it possible to keep the house.

Serious foreclosure litigation is extremely difficult and complicated. This is not something that even most attorneys know how to do. We have clients who are themselves attorneys, yet have come to us for help because they understand this, and realize that in order to have a chance against the “big guys” they need really qualified people to help them.

Doing this right is very complex, and each case has different issues and potential strategies. There is no way to know what issues exist in your case (or anyone else’s) without a detailed interview and careful analysis of the entire picture.

ANSWER 2
First of all, your goals are what should drive the defense. If your goal is to keep the house, then you need to fight the foreclosure in order to strengthen your negotiating position with the bank and determine who in fact is actually owed the money you originally borrowed.

In addition, the time you gain will allow you to strengthen your economic position and may even allow the value of your home to begin to rise as the overall market improves.

There are cases, now coming to fruition, where staving off the foreclosure for a significant period allows the owner to move to quiet title. That means you get the house in the end. But to get from here to there requires a VIGOROUS  and INTELLIGENT defense.

An attorney who takes a monthly fee to fight the foreclosure isn’t automatically doing a bad thing. They will certainly have an incentive to keep you in house for as long as possible. The alternative is to take a retainer and bill hourly. Most attorneys will do either, whatever works for you. But the important point is to find an attorney who fights these cases with knowledge and passion. The banks have totally abdicated their legal and moral authority in many of these cases and rely on your sense of guilt and shame to simply roll over. As good attorneys fight this fight they are slowly educating the courts as to the fraud they often try to impose on the lender and the courts.

To protect your home and your legal position as to the outstanding debt you need to defend against this suit.

Unquote

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William A. Roper, Jr.
Ann:

There are a number of interesting and valid points in your two previous posts.  But the post may be misleading to some in a couple of ways.

First, you are mistaken as to the significance of deficiency judgments on a national scale.  In a number of jurisdictions, and particularly where the mortgage investor has a remedy through private sale, the mortgage investor is sometimes presented with a choice as to whether to pursue the borrower in court under the promissory note or to pursue the borrower through a private sale under the deed of trust.  Mortgage investors are not entitled to deficiency judgments in all states and where the mortgage investor is given the choice of making an election, they almsot universally seek to foreclose by private sale and to forgoe the deficiency judgment.  Whether a deficiency judgment is actually a problem is a matter of state law for which there are a wide range of correct answers.  I understand that in Florida, a strict judicial foreclosure state, this is seen as somewhat more menacing.

Second, as to effects of deficiency judgments when obtained, these are hardly as menacing as you make out.  Most deficiency judgments are going to be unsecured and these may very well be discharged in a Bankruptcy proceeding.  The length of time that a creditor can pursue a deficiency judgment varies from state to state and the example given is about the maximum.  Unquestionably, a borrower should carefully assess whether a deficiency judgment is something that should alter the decision threshold.  Deficiency judgments are particularly problematic for those borrowers with substantial other assets who might have difficulty getting a deficiency judgment discharged in bankruptcy and would be least problematic for a borrower with essentially no other assets other than the house subject to foreclosure.

Also, bear in mind that the mortgage investor is usually contractually entitled to attorney's fees for bringing the successful foreclosure action.  So where a borrower resists for an extended period of time and then ultimately loses, the amount of the deficiency judgement will be much, much higher than abandoning the matter sooner.  This is not such a big problem for the borrower lacking resources, as this borrower can probably get the deficiency judgment discharged in Bankruptcy.  But the borrower with other resources needs to consider the problem even more carefully.  Continuing the litigation will not only cost the defendant time and out of pocket money (if represented), but if the defendant loses, the defendant is going to get stuck with even higher legal fees. 

I am not advocating that borrowers give up without fully assessing their prospects.  But I am pointing out that fighting to the bitter end is not necessarily the best strategy for all.

Finally, while there are several attorneys who really seem to understand the defects of cases brought by the foreclosure mills, the number of exceptionally capable attorneys in foreclosure defense remains very small in comparison to the number of borrowers facing foreclosure.  Moreover, while these have in several notable instances been successful, this has very often been where courts have been both honest and receptive to the defendant's arguments.  There are places where these same attorneys using the same meritworthy arguments have been unsuccessful. 

But the number of cases where the defendant has successfully resisted a foreclosure through effective defense set in place by an exceptionally capable attorney probably numbers, at best, in the hundreds.  It may not even total one hundred cases nationally.  (I am distinguishing cases where the defendant obtained a dismissal with prejudice from those where the borrower just postponed the foreclosure and delayed the inevitable.)

The expected total number of foreclosures this year nationally is in excess of two million and may be closer to three million.  And the hundred or so successful outcomes come from a few million cases in years past.  These odds are not substantially better than winning the lottery!

I do not mean to come across as overly negative.  The very best outcomes are going to be those that are obtained from a strong defensive pleading from the outset, accompanied by good, strong discovery.  Even so, the most exceptional cases won by defendants are usually those where the foreclosure mills were particularly sloppy and have made numerous mistakes which have taxed the patience of the courts.

As these mistakes are exposed and identified, the foreclosure mills become more cautious.  And then they make fewer mistakes.

So how vigorously a defendant should resist should also depend upon the defensive issues presented by the foreclosure mills' sloppiness.  As in chess, very often mistakes are forced by a vigorous attack or defense.  So there is more than a little merit in presenting a strong defense and seeing whether the plaintiff mortgage investor and their foreclosure mill attorneys, when pressed, make egregious mistakes, or whether they mount an effective case.  Where serious mistakes are made by teh plaintiffs, the defendants should especially press for advantage.

In the particular instance under discussion within this thread, we have a defendant who has already lost.  The property is already subject to a default judgment.  This is a very different situation than a borrower who has just received a summons and complaint.

I am merely advocating that the more vigorous defense in depth be purposefully undertaken in full consideration of both the risks and costs, as well as the possible rewards.

I would encourage Ragin to seek the counsel of competent attoney in NM.  I am unable to recommend an attorney there.  If you can identify a good attorney for Ragin that is terrific. 

I think that it is unlikely that even those attorneys who have exceptional skills and experience with foreclosure would take any serious issue with my recommendations.  It is great to fight about something you feel passionately about.  But it is not always economic.     
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You are in communication with the Bank to modify your loan. The Bank serves you with foreclosure lawsuit at the same time. Do not believe the loan modification people telling you not to answer to the lawsuit. It is a trick they do with many people so you lost your home before you ever get a modification. In some case they even trick you to sign away your right to legal defense. Read the modification carefully.Get an attorney or answer the lawsuit yourself before the 20 days deadline. Can't find an attorney in that 20 days limit ? File a Motion for Time extension asking the Judge to give you another 20 days to look for legal representation. Go see as many attorneys as you can and ask them questions. Usually they give you free 1 hour first consultation.
For South Florida call D. Graham Esq. at 305-445-9185
For Central Florida call : Matt Weidner Esq. 727-894-3154
They are top Foreclosure Defense Lawyers.
 
EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT FORECLOSURE DEFENSE BEFORE DECIDE

 
If the bank files Foreclosure lawsuit against you and you can't afford an attorney, you can find some info how to defend yourself at these websites,
 
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ka

Except for Livinglies.  Roper has exposed that scam in other posts.

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I found many interesting info and documents on livinglies website, especially the Foreclosure Defense Forms section. In addition, there is a forum with interesting and knowledgeable participants.

It is critical that info obtained on Internet are informative and any decision to purchase any services or seminars required thorough investigation and legal consultation.
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