New York Law Blog

HGTV Star Nicole Curtis Facing Foreclosure On Two Houses

HGTV Star Nicole Curtis

Two Homes Of HGTV Star Nicole Curtis Face Foreclosure To Meet Unpaid Legal Bills

A Michigan judge has ruled HGTV star Nicole Curtis is responsible for $32,438 in delinquent attorney fees.  Judge Denise Langford Morris ruled that two of her properties in suburban Detroit could be sold to pay the bill.

Judge Morris affirmed an order she issued in February. The former Hooters Girl turned HGTV star owes the money to attorney Kurt Schnelz. Schnelz placed a lien on the homes.

Curtis had no comment when reached by the Detroit News on Tuesday.

Curtis’ attorney stated he and his client would review their options including an appeal or simply pay the bill.

James Rasor accused Schnelz of harassment:

This is a very insubstantial amount and we aren’t worried about the (financial) repercussions. But there are some ethical concerns including the filing of these liens on property that is considerably more valuable. There was no reason to go after two of her properties, other than to harass her.

Schnelz’s attorney tells a different story. Curtis had sought to have the earlier default judgment set aside. She claimed Schnelz overbilled her three years earlier. Schnelz allegedly represented Curtis negotiate a settlement with her ex-boyfriend, Shane McGuire.

Maguire claimed Curtis was an unfit parent and not a proper person to share legal or physical custody of the minor. He also claimed she did this exact thing to her other baby daddy, Steven Cimini, who is a father of her 20-year-old son, Ethan.

Read more at MFI-Miami


New York Homeowners Are Beating Their Foreclosures

New York Homeowners

How New York Homeowners Are Beating Foreclosures Using New York’s Statute Of Limitations Law

New York Homeowners

New York homeowners are using a legal tactic to score a free house during foreclosure.

MFI-Miami and our partner law firms used to use a similar tactic in Florida. That was until the Florida Supreme Court stepped in with the Bartram decision. Now we can only argue standing and the validity of the debt.

The good news is that the New York State Courts are allowing homeowners to invoke the statute of limitations. Yes, this is a game changer for New York homeowners.

New York homeowners facing foreclosure are beginning to invoke New York’s six-year statute of limitations law.

The NYS statute of limitations begins when the homeowner receives the original notice of acceleration from their lender. The courts have ruled a lender must also send out a de-acceleration in order to initiate a second foreclosure action.

How New York Homeowners Benefit From The New York Statute Of Limitations Law

New York HomeownersAs more and more foreclosure actions from the great recession continue to age, the statute of limitations defense under CPLR §213(4) has taken center stage as one of the more common and powerful defenses available to homeowners in New York.

As a result, foreclosure mill lawyers have made a plethora of arguments sowing confusion with how the statute of limitations is calculated. Thus, complicating this popular defense.

They have successfully argued that the lack of clarity in the mortgage documents and actions of the homeowner affect the limitation dates.

The Second Department Of the NYS Appellate Division has handed down two decisions designed to help alleviate at least a part of the confusion. The decisions revolve around de-acceleration.

Read more at MFI-Miami


Same-Sex Couples Face Systematic Lending Discrimination

Same-Sex couples

Same-Sex Couples Face A Lending Discrimination Rate 75% More Often Than Straight Couples

same-sex couples

A new study from Iowa State University shows systematic lending discrimination against same-sex couples. 

The study found same-sex couples who received a mortgage paid a 0.5% higher interest rate on average.

Iowa State University’s Ivy College of Business conducted the research. It correlated data from 30 million mortgages across the US between 1990 and 2015.

Researchers also found that LGBTI couples were 73% more likely to be denied a mortgage when compared to mixed-sex couples.

The study has raised questions about systemic LGBTI discrimination in the lending industry and the lack of protections for same-sex couples.

The study also found no correlation between mortgage rejections and same-sex couples being high-risk borrowers.

Lei Gao, assistant professor of finance and co-author of the paper stated:

Lenders can justify higher fees if there is [a] greater risk. We found nothing to indicate that’s the case. In fact, our findings weakly suggest same-sex borrowers may perform better.

Researchers said that while they could not definitively say the rejections were due to discrimination. However, the evidence heavily suggests this to be the case.

There are federal laws in place to protect mortgage applicants from discrimination. This includes discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, and age.

Read more at MFI-Miami


Dual Tracking Lawsuit Filed Against Wells Fargo By Dementia Victim

Dual Tracking

Dementia Victim’s Family Files Federal Lawsuit Against Wells Fargo Alleging Dual Tracking Scam In His Foreclosure

dual tracking

A Mississippi daughter and father have filed a federal lawsuit against Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. They allege Wells Fargo unlawfully foreclosed on the father’s home using illegal dual tracking methods.

Patty Parrish filed the lawsuit on behalf of her father, Norman Frossard. Frossard suffers from dementia.

The lawsuit alleges Wells Fargo and foreclosure law firm, Dean Morris engaged in unlawful dual tracking with Parrish and Frossard. Wells Fargo and Dean Morris also allegedly continued to negotiate with them after the foreclosure auction had already occurred.

Dual Tracking Lawsuit Alleges Wells Fargo Took Advantage Of Dementia Victim

Dual TrackingThe lawsuit says this about Wells Fargo trying to scam a dementia victim:

This is shocking, egregious conduct on the part of the defendants.

However, Wells Fargo spokesman Tom Goyda said will defend itself against them:

We worked with Mr. Frossard and his family for four years to identify an option that might allow us to avoid foreclosure. Unfortunately, were not successful in those efforts. Our records indicate that we handled the account and our efforts to avoid foreclosure appropriately.

The lawsuit said Wells Fargo and Dean Morris violated the Dodds-Frank Act of 2010. Parrish and Frossard allege Wells Fargo did not eexplore all alternatives to foreclosure. They also allege the bank did not fulfill their obligation for loss mitigation. Wells Fargo also allegedly failed to engage in a fair review process for a loan modification.

Parrish and Frossard’s attorney, Macy Hanson also claims the nonjudicial foreclosure auction on Nov. 1, 2017, didn’t comply with state law:

The motive for the wrongful action is that Wells Fargo knew that it was over-secured on its loan with Norman Frossard. Wells Fargo set up this foreclosure so it would have the valuable Frossard home revert to Wells Fargo post-foreclosure instead of being sold to a third party.

The 5,500-square-foot home appraised for $450,000 prior to the foreclosure.

The lawsuit also seeks a temporary restraining order against Wells Fargo to cancel and terminate the foreclosure and damages.

The lawsuit also said credit of the equity cushion to the loan balance of Frossard’s home would have resulted in a post-foreclosure refund of the equity cushion to Frossard.

Read more at MFI-Miami


ELDER FRAUD ALERT: Hamptons Couple Indicted for Ripping Off Seniors!

Elder Fraud

Hamptons Couple John Ficarra and Mara Ficarra Targeted Thousands of Elderly Victims In Elder Fraud Scam

Elder Fraud

Federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment charging John Ficarra and Mara Ficarra with operating a massive elder fraud scam. Federal prosecutors are also charging them with bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Richard P. Donoghue and Philip R. Bartlett from United States Postal Inspection Service, New York Division (USPIS), announced the charges:

The defendants preyed upon some of the most vulnerable members of our community. They were stealing their personal information and defrauding financial institutions. Protecting the elderly from financial fraud remains a priority of the Department of Justice.

The Ficarra’s exploited victims by fraudulently using their bank routing numbers and bank account number to produce counterfeit checks. Once the checks cleared, they withdrew the funds to the tune of more than $1 million.

How The Hamptons Couple Pulled Off Their Elder Fraud Scam

Elder FraudThe Ficarras owned and operated various companies. This included Remington Biographies, Remington Bookkeepers, and Mentorship America1 (collectively, the “Remington Entities”).  The Remington Entities also purported to publish reference publications containing biographical information of individuals across the country.  Those publications included “Inspiring the Youth of America” and The Remington Registry of Outstanding Professionals.”

The Ficarras mailed letters and pamphlets to potential elderly victims during the past five years. The victims were promised their biography would be published in one of the publications.

The solicitations also indicated:

Your 2 books and your plaque are paid for in full and ready for delivery.  Please send a check for $14.00 dollars for shipping and handling.

Read more at MFI-Miami


Ditech Holding Corporation Continues To Dodge Creditors

Ditech Holding Corporation

Ditech Holding Corporation Continues To Dodge Creditors After Emerging Bankruptcy And Sacking COO

Ditech Holding Corporation

Ditech Holding Corporation is in trouble again.

The company formerly known as Walter Investment Management emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year. The company restructured and eliminated $800 million in corporate debt. It also changed its name to Ditech Holding.

Ditech has also had a revolving door in its CEO’s office for several years.

Yet, the bankruptcy didn’t end the company’s financial problems. In June, Ditech warned investors that it was exploring “strategic alternatives to enhance stockholder value,” which included possibly selling the company.

Ditech Holding Corporation ran into more trouble when it was kicked off of the New York Stock Exchange in November.

Read more at MFI-Miami


Hudson Valley Credit Union Settles Claims Of Screwing Military Personnel

Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union

Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union Busted Illegally Repossessing Cars Of Active Duty Military Personnel Serving Overseas

Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union has agreed to pay $95,000 over allegations that it violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. SCRA-protected service members accused the credit union of illegally repossessing their cars.

Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union will pay $65,000 to compensate 7 service members whose cars it unlawfully repossessed while overseas. The credit union also will pay a civil penalty of $30,000 to the federal government. 

Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union

The USAO investigation found seven additional victims as a result of the investigation. It was also discovered the credit union also did not have any written policies dealing with SCRA’s protections. They also found the credit union did not have any procedures in place for non-judicial repossessions.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: 

Protecting service members is a high priority for this Office and the country.

Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore said:

Financial institutions must recognize and honor their responsibilities to our men and women in uniform.  Our nation depends upon the selfless devotion and sacrifice of our service members and we must ensure that they receive all rights and protections afforded to them by law.

Hudson Valley Credit Union agreed to provide $10,000 in compensation to the affected service members. They also agreed to pay any lost equity in the vehicle with interest. 

An additional service member will receive $5,000. The credit union repossessed his vehicle but returned within 24 hours.  Hudson Valley has also taken steps to repair the credit of the affected service members. 

For more information about the United States’s SCRA enforcement efforts, please visit www.servicemembers.gov.  

Read more at MFI-Miami


Zillow Is Now In The Mortgage Business

zillow

Zillow Is Now In The Mortgage Business With The Acquisition Of Mortgage Lenders Of America

The real estate web company Zillow announced that it has completed its acquisition of Mortgage Lenders of America. This marks the company’s first steps into the mortgage industry.

The internet company got into the home selling business last year when it launched, Zillow Instant Offers. The program allows prospective home sellers to receive offers for their home direct from investors.

But the company soon became an investor itself. They started another company called Zillow Offers. The company is now directly buying houses from sellers in several major test markets.

zillow

The company announced in August it was acquiring Mortgage Lenders of America.

The acquisition with MLOA is complete. The internet company will be announcing next year that it plans to rebrand the mortgage company.

industry.

The internet company got into the home selling business last year when it launched, Zillow Instant Offers. The program allows prospective home sellers to receive offers for their home direct from investors.

But the company soon became an investor itself. The company is now directly buying houses from sellers in several major test markets.

The company announced in August it was acquiring Mortgage Lenders of America.

The acquisition with MLOA is complete. The internet company will be announcing next year that it plans to rebrand the mortgage company.

The internet company also announced its acquisition will streamline the home buying process for Americans who purchase homes through Zillow Offers.

MLOA will also continue its current line of business including FHA loans. MLOA offers mortgages to consumers aside from Zillow’s marketplace.

The internet company explained that owning a mortgage lender will allow it to develop new tools and partnership opportunities, including for real estate brokers with existing in-house mortgage operations or mortgage affiliates and its existing mortgage advertisers.

Read more at MFI-Miami


Credit Bureaus Can Report Your Foreclosure Even If You Beat The Bank

credit bureaus

Illinois Federal Judge Rules Credit Bureaus Can Report Your Mortgage Delinquencies Even If You Beat The Foreclosure

A federal judge in Illinois has ruled that a lender report your mortgage default to the credit bureaus. The court stated a dismissal with prejudice is a non-issue when reporting the default because the loan was still in default.

The court upheld the credit bureaus right to do so in Bauer v. Roundpoint Mortg. Servicing Corp. The Court held Bauer’s mortgage servicer had the right to report despite a court order dismissing the mortgage foreclosure with prejudice.

credit bureaus

Bauer defaulted on his mortgage. As a result, JP Morgan Chase filed a judicial foreclosure against Bauer. Chase voluntarily dismissed the case in 2013.

JPM Chase then filed a second judicial foreclosure action against Bauer. Chase also voluntarily dismissed that case in 2015. JPM Chase then sold the mortgage to an MBS Trust with US Bank as the Trustee.

In March 2016, US Bank filed another foreclosure action against Bauer. 

Bauer moved to dismiss the third Foreclosure based on Illinois’s “single filing rule.”

Under the rule, after a voluntary dismissal, a plaintiff may only commence a new action on the same cause of action within one year.

The court agreed that the rule applied and dismissed the third foreclosure with prejudice. The dismissal order said, “… Plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed with prejudice based on the single re-filing rule.”

Read more at MFI-Miami


Nationstar Executive Admits Aurora Bank Forged Note Endorsements

Nationstar Executive Edward Hyne Testifies Aurora Bank Policies Included Forging Note Endorsements

Nationstar Executive Edward Hyne sat for a deposition in a bankruptcy case last month. Normally, this would not be a big deal. However, this time the Nationstar executive dropped a bombshell about the now-defunct Aurora Loan Servicing. He claimed in his deposition that Aurora doctored and forged Note endorsements on loans they were servicing.

Nationstar

Aurora Bank has since quit the financial industry. New York Community Bank acquired Aurora’s bank branches. Nationstar acquired their loan servicing.

Hyne states in his deposition that Nationstar’s position is that Aurora Bank, FSB policies included forging endorsements. The forgeries are an example the rampant endorsement fraud that plagues the mortgage industry.

The deposition is from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding in California filed by Allana Baroni. Baroni is an author and TV personality. She is an etiquette expert who describes her work as being a “social specialist”.

The celebrity etiquette specialist also included Wells Fargo and Bank of New York-Mellon in her bankruptcy filing. She also fought them with the zeal of a fat guy at an All-You-Can-Eat Chinese buffet. As a result, both of those cases went to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Where there is smoke there is fire. How many other people have lost their homes because of note forgeries at Aurora? Read the transcript at MFI-Miami

If you feel you may be a victim of a fraudulent foreclosure, call our office today!


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