While millions of Americans are in the middle of the foreclosure storm a cottage industry of companies and individuals providing Mortgage Audits are now attempting to capitalize on the fear and desperation gripping many homeowners.
Facing foreclosure is becoming an all too common event throughout the nation. While the mortgage servicers are reporting foreclosures are slowing down it is expected this is due in large part to the Attorney General’s investigations into fraudulent foreclosure document and/or the Consent Orders that were agreed to by most of the major mortgage servicing participants. While the statistical data indicates that foreclosures are slowing down if you have had the sheriff come to your door to server a lawsuit upon you attempting to remove you from your home the national data is irrelevant.
The process of deciding what to do next brings many homeowners to the internet where there are thousands of companies and individuals who offer help to those facing foreclosure or ejectment from their homes. As the housing crisis has evolved information about the slip shod practices of mortgage servicers and their failure to properly secure millions of loans has become front page news. These news coverage these reports have received, now have crated the niche market of experts who are selling their services to conduct a “mortgage audit” or “securitization analysis.”
As an attorney who is actively defending consumer’s homes, there can be no doubt that these audits are a necessary and essential element to a successful foreclosure defense. In every case that has been successful for my clients, a mortgage audit and securitization analysis has been at the foundation of the success. Let me make it very clear that an audit is NOT THE FIRST STEP to mounting an effective foreclosure defense.
A foreclosure action and its defense are legal proceedings and the first expert you need to hire is a lawyer. It goes without saying that the lawyer you hire needs to be knowledgeable and experienced in defending a foreclosure case. In Kentucky you have 20 days after you receive the foreclosure paper work from the court to file a response. An attorney skilled in foreclosure defense should be in a position to discuss with you a litigation plan regarding the steps he or she plans to take to advance your case. If the lawyer you are discussing your case with does not include a securitization audit then you may need to continue the search for representation.
In most circumstances it is not appropriate to have an audit conducted until after your attorney has received responses to written discovery from the mortgage servicer. At that time both you and your lawyer are in a position to determine what type of audit needs to be conducted.
In the last 6 weeks I have met with three families that had paid up to $2,100.00 for an audit. All three of these “audits” were three ring binders filled with documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission Home page and articles from the newspaper detailing successful mortgage defense decisions. These products are problematic for a number of reasons:
- The documents from the SEC are free and available to the public.
- The newspaper stories, while informative, cannot be used as precedent to a judge.
- The analysis does nothing to breakdown what has happened with your payments after they were received by the Mortgage Company.
- The “expert” who is rendering the opinion would never be accepted by a court to testify in an expert capacity.
- The analytical process supporting the audit conclusion is flawed and that leads to an impossible opinion.
- None of the analysis brought to me by clients have included a review of the money paid by the homeowner.
As of today most judges in state courts and bankruptcy courts have not had a chance to fully grasp the ongoing fraud regaring the securitization process and the documents necessary to forclose upon a home. Arguments made on “note ownership” alone often prove to be unsuccessful in court. However, when you appear before the judge and you are able to support securitization or note ownership arguments, with evidence that also supports shenanigans with the loan payments– your legal hurdles will be much easier to cross. As a rule, judges and juries do not have to be taught about why the misapplication of money is illegal!
If you are facing foreclosure the battle begins with a lawyer who has working relationships with mortgage auditors and experts who have been questioned and have been qualified as an expert before courts around the nation. Max Gardner has trained hundreds of attorneys around the nation regarding the mortgage servicing and securitization and the graduates from his four day training course are well prepared to take on this kind of fight. In addition the National Association of Consumer Advocates maintains a list of attorneys who handle mortgage foreclosure defense cases.
Resolving foreclosure is one of the most difficult experiences that an individual can endure. The red tape of attempting a mortgage modification, going through the HAMP program, on top of decreased income can lead to frustration, desperation and anger. In this time it is essential for homeowners to develop a relationship with people who are both knowledgeable and honest about the legal situation they face. From the “audits” that are being brought into my office it appears that homeowners are now being taken advantage of by those selling inadmissible mortgage audits and securitization reviews.