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Fraudulent foreclosure and the after effects

Discussion in 'Foreclosure, Repossession, Auctions, Short Sales' started by JMA81, Mar 14, 2021.

  1. JMA81

    JMA81 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello, everyone,

    I am hopeful that I may receive some advice here regarding an extremely complex situation. I should warn that this post will probably be quite lengthy, because there are a lot of key, essential details to divulge in order to paint the clearest picture possible of our situation.

    To preface this, my husband and I purchased our home in April of 2008, right in the midst of the housing/financial crisis. We obtained our mortgage through a company called Taylor, Bean & Whitaker, who, at the time, was the largest non-bank mortgage lender in the country. A little over a year after purchasing our home in August of 2009, Taylor, Bean & Whitaker was raided by the FBI and shut down for a massive multi-billion dollar mortgage fraud scheme that they were involved in. Basically, they were not only fabricating entirely fake mortgages to sell to investors, but they were also selling real mortgage loans attached to real properties MULTIPLE times to MULTIPLE different investors, which you cannot do. After they were shut down, all TB&W mortgages were transferred to Bank of America for servicing. All was fine from then on out and we never had a single problem with Bank of America. We were with them from 2009 until 2014, when they sold us down the river to Carrington Mortgage Services. This is where our troubles began.

    Right off the bat, we immediately started having ridiculous problems with Carrington. As soon as Carrington received our loan, they immediately claimed that we were 3 months behind on our payments with a fourth one coming due and that we needed to pay at least the 3 months of back payments immediately to prevent foreclosure action. We were NOT behind. We had NEVER missed a single payment and we sent them proof of all of our payments going back an entire year that we had made to Bank of America. We finally had to get the attorney general in our state involved in order to finally get this resolved. Then, about a year later, they tried to pull another stunt on us by claiming that our escrow account was deficient by about $4000, which we needed to pay immediately. I later found out that this was a scheme they pulled with MANY homeowners. Again, the attorney general had to become involved. Then, they claimed that we did not have homeowner's insurance and started charging us an insane amount for their own insurance, even though we repeatedly sent them proof of our insurance...the insurance that THEY had sent full payment for via our escrow account!

    Fast forward to 2017, my husband fell very ill and required urgent double bypass open-heart surgery. He was out of work for several months while he recovered and underwent cardiac rehab. As a result of this, for the very first time ever, we fell behind on our mortgage payments. As soon as we fell behind, I contacted Carrington to explain the situation and asked for help. They said that we would be ideal candidates for a loan modification to allow us time for my husband to get back to work and for us to get back on track and recover financially from his illness. They said, "We want to help!" They sent us the application, which we filled out and sent back to them, along with all supporting documents that they asked for. This is where our nightmare began. Carrington did NOTHING but run us around and endless circles, CONSTANTLY claiming that documents were missing and telling us that we had to send them again because our modification application was incomplete. We spent an entire year sending them the same documents over and over and again. We faxed them, emailed them, snail mailed them, sent them by carrier pigeon; however, they continued to stonewall us and continued requesting more and more documents. Finally, I contacted the attorney general's office and they referred us to a housing counselor to help us deal with Carrington. He ended up being entirely useless and just kept having us send the same documents over and over again, just like we had been doing when we were working with Carrington on our own. Carrington told us many times that our modification package was complete and was in underwriting for final approval, only to have them come back a week or two later and tell us that it had been kicked back out of underwriting because they needed MORE documents from us. It was a living nightmare. However, they assured us that no foreclosure activity would occur while we were actively working towards a modification....LIES!!!!!! More on this later.....

    Meanwhile, the housing counselor we were working with contacted a very well-known and successful foreclosure defense attorney in our state by the name of Tom Cox to pick his brain about our mortgage. With our loan being a TB&W origination from 2008 and with everything that happened with those loans after TB&W had been shut down in 2009, he seriously questioned whether Carrington would have legal standing to foreclose. Mr. Cox looked up our loan in MERS and immediately came back and said that Carrington would have a big problem if they did try to foreclose because the assignments on our mortgage were completely inadequate for them to prove standing in court, meaning they did NOT own our mortgage. Our mortgage was such a hot mess that he couldn't even track down who DID hold our mortgage note. The note was entirely untraceable. It was almost as though it had vanished. In fact, on the MERS website, it still listed Bank of America as our mortgage servicer, even though they stopped servicing our mortgage in 2014 after they sent us to Carrington, and there was absolutely NO mention of Carrington whatsoever on MERS for our mortgage. Knowing this gave us significant peace of mind, but we were obviously still concerned and still wanted to get back on track with our payments and secure this modification.

    Fast forward to April of 2018. While still working with Carrington and continuing to send them the same documents over and over again, we were served with foreclosure documents. They had dual-tracked us and filed for foreclosure while they were allegedly simultaneously working with us on a loan modification. I immediately called the attorney who was listed on these foreclosure documents and basically said to them, "What in the hell??? We are working with these people on a loan modification and we were told this would NOT happen." The attorney told me to go ahead and continue working with Carrington and our case was referred for foreclosure diversion, so we continued on.

    This dragged on for another year...more than a year, actually. Carrington continued to play the missing documents game and continued to stonewall us from getting this modification. One day in early September of 2019, Carrington informed our housing counselor that they needed an updated tax return release form because the one that they had was "stale." Unreal. So, we filled out a new form and sent it to them. Several weeks went by and we heard nothing. I asked the housing counselor to contact Carrington and find out what was going on and were we stood. A few days later, on September 29, 2019 (I remember the exact date to this day), the counselor called me and informed me that he had just spoken to Carrington and they told him that they had already foreclosed in April of 2019 and bought our home themselves at auction as the sole bidders the month prior and that Carrington now owned our home. I was so shocked that I could not even move. I immediately went on the county's website and pulled up the foreclosure documents. These people foreclosed WITHOUT a warranty deed, WITHOUT producing the note, and with ONLY a quitclaim deed. That is ALL they produced in court and still somehow were granted the foreclosure. So...we sued them in federal court.

    Because our case was so incredibly complex, we could not find ANY attorneys to take us on, and I must have contacted a good 15 to 20 of them. We had to represent ourselves pro se. Luckily, I do have a bit of a legal background and I know how to write a lawsuit, file motions, the whole nine yards, but that's not to say this was easy by any means. I also immediately filed a Rule 60 Motion with the court, which ended up being assigned to the same judge who granted Carrington the foreclosure, so obviously it was denied, despite my very powerful and compelling argument. In fact, this judge even wrote on the denial that Carrington "deserved" this judgement.

    In early December of 2019, we received a writ of possession telling us that we had 2 days to vacate. We did not vacate. We ended being granted an emergency temporary restraining order by the court. I was subsequently contacted by the attorney who would be representing Carrington in this case. She told me that there were no issues with the foreclosure, that everything was completely legal and there was nothing she could advise her client to do and that they had zero desire to help us. I demanded that she produce the original note, the one that I signed at closing. I repeatedly demanded this for WEEKS and this attorney constantly dodged even discussing it. Finally, on Christmas Eve of 2019, after I had sent a very demanding email, she emailed me the note. There was only one problem. The signature on the note was NOT my signature. It was an obvious, blatant forgery. Also, the signature was in BLUE ink. I signed all of the closing documents in BLACK ink. I still have the original closing documents to this day. Everything is in black ink. I did some research and found there was another case, I believe in 2015 or around that time frame, where there had been another lawsuit against Carrington for forgery of the note and the homeowner won. However, I was dealing with some EXTREMELY viscous, dirty attorneys and they REFUSED to admit any wrongdoing on Carrington's part.

    The court referred our case for alternative dispute resolution. During this ADR phone conference, I simply stated that this note was a forgery and that I could provide proof of such, but all that I wanted was the loan modification that we should have received a LONG time ago. They refused. This dragged on for months. Finally, my husband and I couldn't take it any longer. The stress from this was nearly killing us. It was making me physically sick. We wanted out of this mess ASAP. We ended up taking a very lousy $6000 settlement with extra time to move (I pushed VERY hard for significantly more, but they would not budge) and we moved out of our home about 6 months ago. The case was dismissed with prejudice. We are now in a very nice rental house, which fortunately accepted our pets. We are hoping and planning to buy again in the next year by obtaining a mortgage under my husband's name since he was not on the previous mortgage and his credit was not impacted by this whole debacle.

    This whole experience has taken a massive toll on me emotionally. That home meant everything to me and I miss it very, very much. I miss our neighbors. I miss the town and the neighborhood in general. It was the first home of our own that we ever purchased when I was just 25 years old and worked extremely hard for. My husband and I got married in that home. We had remodeled the entire home ourselves. I still sometimes just sit and cry when I think about it. We had made so many memories in that house in the nearly 13 years we lived there. It was a very traumatic experience for me.

    The main reason for my post is that my husband and I have been growing more and more suspicious over the last 2-3 months regarding the status of our old home. In fact, my husband just drove by it a few weeks ago and all of the stuff that we left behind is still right where we left it at the end of the driveway. It looks completely untouched. It's not even for sale. Even the old air conditioners that we left behind were still in the windows, which meant that the house was never winterized, and we live in New England and had a very long, cold, snowy winter. We KNOW that Carrington did NOT have legal standing to foreclose. Even nationally recognized foreclosure defense attorney, Tom Cox, said they did not (sadly had had a very full case load and could not help us at the time). We KNOW that they never presented the note in court (they didn't even present the forged note that they sent me in court as it is not anywhere in the foreclosure documents). They did not even present a warranty deed, rather an entirely worthless quitclaim deed. That was the ONLY document they presented to the court to prove standing. We've been trying very hard to let it go and just move on with our lives, but I just can't. This is not sitting right with me at all and I am VERY bothered by all of this. About a month ago, I received a sewer lien in my name from the town that our old home is in for unpaid sewer bills. Then, I received notice of ANOTHER lien, also in my name, for an unpaid property tax lien. What in the world is going on here??? Does the town not know that this was a foreclosure and we no longer own the property? Also about a month ago, totally out of the blue, I received a phone call from the police department in our old town. Apparently, one of our neighbors was very concerned because they had not seen us around in many months and our house looks completely abandoned. They asked the police to do a welfare check on us because they were getting worried about our well-being. When speaking with the police officer, he asked if we had any plans to ever return to the property and I told him that we did not plan on it and that the bank was supposed to have taken over the property months ago. The officer sounded a bit perplexed and told me that it looked like nobody had even touched the home since we left it. It didn't even look like the locks had been changed and there were no notices taped to the door or anything like that, which are the things you would find with a typical foreclosed, bank-owned property.

    Is it possible that we still own this home? Could it be that Carrington has run into title issues and have not been able to take it over since they finally realized that they have no legal rights to it? Should I call the town office next week and ask if they can provide me with any information? They were the ones who sent me those lien notices, after all. It very much bothers and concerns me that I have active liens in my name for a property that I do not even own any longer. The foreclosure allegedly went through exactly 2 years ago in April of 2019, even though we didn't move out until September of 2020. It appears that our old home has become a "zombie house" and is just sitting there totally abandoned.

    I am almost positive that this house is probably completely destroyed by now after sitting through a rough New England winter not being winterized and those AC units still in the windows that we left behind (we didn't take them since they were older and our new home has central AC). It would be nothing short of a miracle if no pipes burst at some point during the winter.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for us, such as who to contact to inquire about what exactly is going on with our old home? Is there any action we can take?

    Any advice/guidance would be hugely appreciated. I did not mean to write a novel, but clearly there is a lot to this story!
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Too long didn't read it. Try to shorten into few paragraphs that convey just the basic information.

    However, if it's complex enough to write something that long, you need a lawyer.
     
    Zigner and army judge like this.
  3. JMA81

    JMA81 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    If you read the first paragraph, you would have seen where I clearly stated that this is a VERY complex situation that is impossible to condense if I am going to provide clear insight into the situation. Thank you so much for your ever so helpful response.......
     
  4. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    That depends a great deal on the settlement you entered into to settle the foreclosure action. I suspect that in that settlement you essentially agreed to the foreclosure and gave the mortgage company title to the home. If that's what the settlement provided you are likely to find that you can't challenge the foreclosure action now. You and the lender settled the matter, and that settlement would be conclusive of the matter. I've not read the settlement nor the various filings and orders in the case so I cannot tell you the exact outcome of it all or if there is anything you can do at this stage of things. I'll note that generally it's very difficult to undo a settlement of a court case unless the other party has violated the terms of the settlement, and you've not indicated that the mortgage lender has violated any terms of the settlement agreement. You'd need to contact a trial lawyer, preferably one who litigates contract/mortgage issues, to review the settlement to see exactly where you stand and what options, if any, you have now.

    No way for me to answer that since I haven't any information on which to determine why the property has remained apparently untouched since you moved out. But the lender's problems with the property, if it still owns it and hasn't sold it (and it may be that it was sold and the new owner just hasn't done anything with it) don't help you much if the settlement gives up your ownership of the house to the lender.
     
    army judge likes this.
  5. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Great - I'm glad that you understand that such a complex situation requires the assistance of an attorney, not random strangers on the internet.
     
    adjusterjack and justblue like this.
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    A chapter seven bankruptcy action (based upon your spouse's health issues and your subsequent financial difficulties, I suspect you would have qualified for one) would have probably been your best course of action, rather than allowing the lender to seek foreclosure and dispossession.

    It couldn't hurt you to see what a local bankruptcy attorney advises.

    That certainly wouldn't cause you any harm, and you just might discover some very useful information.

    This official State of Maine website might also offer you the opportunity to learn useful ownership and deed information:

    Home


    Maine has some rather specific tasks required to register/record a deed:

    How do I record a deed in Maine?

    Recording – The deed must be recorded in the Registry of Deeds in the County where the property is located.

    Signing – Title 33, § 203 – A Notary Public or officer of the court is required to acknowledge all deeds.

    Why are real estate deeds recorded?

    Recording a deed in the county where the property is located places the document in the public records, providing constructive notice to subsequent purchasers, mortgagors, creditors, and the general public about a conveyance related to a specific parcel of real property.

    How does one transfer a deed in Maine?

    To be able to record the deed, it must be accompanied by a transfer tax form and payment of transfer tax. Transfer tax rate in Maine is “$2.20 per $500 or fractional part of $500 of the value of the property being transferred.” Further, transfer tax is imposed 50/50 on both the grantor and grantee.

    You might find these sites to be very useful:

    Deeds

    County Registries of Deeds | Maine Revenue Services

    Happy hunting, citizen, may your efforts be rewarded with great dividends!
     
  7. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Then your situation is not appropriate for an internet message board. Consult with a local attorney.
     

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