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Florida High Court May Decide Whether Robo-Signing Could Invalidate Foreclosures

February 9, 2011

As Fontana foreclosure defense lawyers, we were very interested to see another state taking up the issue of fraudulent foreclosure paperwork. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Feb. 2 that Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal has asked the state's Supreme Court to consider whether a bank tried to foreclose on a Palm Beach County homeowner using fraudulent documents. While courts across the nation are currently considering this issue, the case is unusual in that neither party appealed the Fourth District's ruling; that court simply asked the Florida Supreme Court to rule on the issue because "this is a question of great public importance." The high court had not yet decided whether to take the case.

The case starts out like many others: borrower Roman Pino fell behind on his mortgage and Bank of New York Mellon started foreclosure proceedings in October of 2008. In its foreclosure complaint, the bank said it had been assigned the note by another bank, but did not include the assignment document with the foreclosure filing. Pino and his attorney moved to dismiss the case because of the lack of documentation. According to the appeals court, the bank then amended its complaint to include an assignment not recorded by the county, and dated just before the case was filed. The bank voluntarily dropped the foreclosure action before Pino's attorney could start trying to prove fraud, and the majority of the appeals court judges ruled that Pino couldn't pursue it. However, the bank has refilled its foreclosure case using different documents.

Our Orange foreclosure defense attorneys hope the high court takes this case. As the appeals court said, this is an issue in thousands of foreclosures around Florida and all of the United States. Several states have already addressed it through rulings or rules of court, and we expect to see more - especially in judicial foreclosure states like Florida. Florida is particularly important because the state was hit hard by the housing downturn and because it had been a center for robo-signing. In fact, the attorney for the lender in Pino's case is one of four being investigated by the Florida Attorney General for fabricating documents outright. Here in California, fraud is just as likely to be common - but because we are a non-judicial foreclosure state with few human beings scrutinizing documents, it's harder to uncover.

At Howard Law PC, we help homeowners get that scrutiny on foreclosures they believe are fraudulent or unfair. We have worked in loan modifications and foreclosure defense since the start of the housing crisis. In that time, we've come to believe that loan servicers don't make much of an effort to negotiate fair loan modifications because they don't want to; they can make more money by drawing out the process and pumping up fees and costs, then foreclosing. Our Leucadia foreclosure defense lawyers fight for our clients to be given a fair chance at a loan workout, through aggressive negotiations and, when necessary, lawsuits against lenders. Going to court also exposes fraudulent paperwork, gross incompetence and other mistakes by lenders that never thought their behavior would be seriously examined.

If your home is in foreclosure or headed that way and you're tired of fighting red tape to get help from the loan servicer, take a break and call Howard Law instead. For a free evaluation of your case, send us an email or call 1-800-872-5925 today.