• Is Robo-Signing Sequel Being Put on Plastic?

    On Wednesday, we discussed how some Chicago-area homeowners are now dealing with foreclosure notices as lenders begin to tackle backlogs that were amassed while states investigated “robo-signing” fraud. As it turns out, the practice in which bank employees sign thousands of documents and affidavits without verifying the information was not just limited to foreclosures.

    On August 12, 2012, the New York Times reported that the same “robo-signing” problem is now emerging in the debt collection practices of credit card companies as well. Judges who oversee these cases told the Times that lenders are “churning out lawsuits without regard for accuracy, and improperly collecting debts from consumers.” Worse yet, many judges told the Times that “their hands are tied” and they cannot question the banks or comb through the lawsuits to root out suspicious documents unless a consumer shows up to contest the lawsuit.

    “I do suspect flaws,” Harry Walsh, a superior court judge in Ventura, California, told the Times. “But there is little I can do.”

    “I would say that roughly 90 percent of the credit card lawsuits are flawed and can’t prove the person owes the debt,” Brooklyn civil court judge Noach Dear told the Times. He said he presided over as many as 100 such cases a day .

    Are you being harassed by debt collectors for outrageous-possibly even exaggerated-credit card payments? You may be able to wipe out your credit card debt by filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy . Contact our firm today at (866) 930-7482 or complete the form located on this page to see how our Chicago bankruptcy attorneys can help.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyers

  • Madigan Should Not Settle Until Robo-Signing Really Ends, County Recorder Says

    Winnebago County Recorder Nancy McPherson is one of a dozen county recorders collecting evidence of mortgage document fraud for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and she told the Rockford Register Star in a story published on November 15, 2011, that she believes she has found evidence that “robo-signing” is still rampant in the Rock River Valley area. McPherson’s office found hundreds of apparent forgeries in a small sample of foreclosure document and she told the Register Star that she has noticed a greater number of mortgage modification documents. “We’re telling the attorney general not to settle. They haven’t fixed the problem yet,” McPherson said.

    The settlement to which McPherson is referring is the rumored agreement the banks have been working with the federal government and 50 state attorneys general on for months. The New York Times reported in October that a possible settlement as high as $25 billion could give $1,500 to any borrower who lost a home to foreclosure since September 2008. That amount, however, is seen as being too generous for those whose foreclosure was done properly, and an insult to the wrongfully evicted.

    As our colleagues at the Northwest Chicago bankruptcy firm of U.S. Law Attorneys, Ltd. noted when discussing robo-signing last month, “anyone who thinks they are a victim of such illegal practices have competent and experienced foreclosure attorneys representing their interests.” There is no telling when a settlement will be reached in regards to the robo-signing scandal or who exactly will benefit, but it appears that after a brief slowdown, more homeowners will soon begin looking for foreclosure help .

    Would you be satisfied with a $25 billion settlement in this case? Or do you agree with McPherson that the state attorneys general should be holding out until the problem is fixed? Share your thoughts with our Chicago bankruptcy attorney.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyer

  • As Foreclosures Take More Time To Complete, Is Time Running Out For Those Needing Help?

    The good news from Chicago nonprofit research and policy organization the Woodstock Institute is that the 3,604 properties that completed the foreclosure process in the six counties of the Chicago region for the second quarter of 2011 was a 27 percent decline from the first quarter and the fewest auctions in any period since the housing crisis began in 2007. However, Medill Reports also pointed out on October 25, 2011, that the average number of days spent in the foreclosure process increased to 359 days in the second quarter, a 25.5 percent increase from the same period in 2010 and the highest since 2008.

    The 8,515 foreclosure auctions in the first half of 2011 represents a 51 percent decline from the 17,331 during the first half of 2010, but Woodstock senior research and project associate Sarah Duda told Medill that a prolonged foreclosure process cuts both ways. “It means that vacant homes in foreclosure have more time to become blighted and destabilize neighborhoods,” Duda told Medill. “If a family is still in the home, however, the longer process could give them more time to negotiate a solution with their loan servicer.”

    Those seeking foreclosure help had a little more time to work with when “robo-signing” caused mortgage servicers to halt foreclosure filings. As Chicago aldermen explore the possibility of a separate court process for foreclosed properties to help cut into the backlog, it would be the families hoping to save their homes who might suffer.

    Are you facing foreclosure and searching for a way to keep your house? If you are struggling through hard times because of job loss, credit card debt or a mountain of medical bills, your first step toward financial recovery could be a bankruptcy means test . A Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help discharge your unsecured debt and either discharge or reorganize your secured debt. Our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can help outline your options in dealing with a foreclosure. Contact our office today to set up a consultation.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

  • Illinois Attorney General Expands Probe of Foreclosure “Robosigners”

    The Illinois Attorney General’s office is expanding its probe of alleged “robosigning” of mortgage foreclosure documents. On May 25, 2011, the office announced subpoenas to two Florida-based mortgage servicing support providers that had not previously been under investigation.

    Subpoenas were issued against Lender Processing Services Inc. and Nationwide Title Clearing Inc. Both firms handle document preparation and management for lenders who are foreclosing on mortgages. Some of the documents requested by the subpoena are every affidavit used in an Illinois foreclosure or bankruptcy case since January 1, 2007. Also requested are the names of all employees who signed affidavits since then. The Attorney General is seeking lists of all current and former employees and information on the companies’ overall loan servicing processes including default servicing and loss mitigation.

    Both companies have until June 16 to respond to the subpoena.

    The probe is investigating foreclosures only. Short sales are not involved in the “robosigning” scandal.

    Illinois is one of many states that have been investigating questionable procedures used to foreclose on consumer’s homes by mortgage loan servicers. The Attorney General’s office had demanded information from 26 mortgage loan servicers in the state, but Madigan’s office stated that it was “turning our attention to third-party vendors that support the servicers in order to drill down to a greater degree in the servicing process.”

    If you are seeking foreclosure help, contact a Chicago foreclosure lawyer. You can learn about the options that are available for your situation through a foreclosure attorney.