Mortgage fraud is no secret to the average American citizen. There have been many reports of lenders committing fraud over the past few years throughout the country.
So where does a homeowner go when they can’t afford their mortgage payments?
Contrary to what most might think it should not be their mortgage lender. If their lender committed fraud with the original loan, should they be trusted to help when problems arise? Probably not.
A company specializing in forensic mortgage audits can assist a homeowner and give them a good chance of avoiding problems in relation to their mortgage. There are three reasons why:settlement, which pays for her Housing Justice Foundation, is aiding the pursuit. “This feels unsettled to me,” said Szymoniak about the case she filed in 2010 under the federal False Claims Act. “We’re really gearing up now. This is our green light.” The False Claims Act allows people to bring civil actions on behalf of the government. The Department of Justice intervened in Szymoniak’s suit, reaching a $95 million settlement, which included Szymoniak’s $18 million.
Faked documents? When the government declined to intervene in the second part of the case, it fell to Szymoniak and her team of trial attorneys to carry on. “Rather than our government stepping in to protect consumers, you have someone like Lynn, who at great risk and cost to herself, is standing up to fight,” said foreclosure defense attorney Matt Weidner. “It’s one person saying that what is happening is wrong and I’m not going to accept this.” The accusations are not easy reading. Boiled down, Szymoniak claims the value of pools of homes bundled into investments has been weakened by either a lack of documentation to prove clear title or forged and flawed mortgage assignments that were produced to secure loans to properties. Private groups and public pensions bought into the mortgage asset pools. The complaint says when banks realized critical documents were missing in hundreds of mortgage-backed security trusts, they “devised a scheme to replace the missing” mortgage assignments with fraudulent and fabricated documents.
New car, new mission “They were investing in pools of loans not attached to mortgages, or the loans never even got into the pool,” Szymoniak said. “We do a worse job tracking who owns property than who owns a car.” Szymoniak began her investigations when she defaulted on her own loan after a dispute concerning her adjustable-rate mortgage. When a foreclosure was filed against her in 2008, the plaintiff wasn’t her bank, but a trustee for a mortgage-backed security that had no proof about how it acquired her mortgage. To prove ownership, an assignment of mortgage was filed, but it was dated months after the foreclosure. One of the people who signed the assignment is the now infamous robo-signer Linda Green. Szymoniak exposed Green in 2011 on the CBS news show “60 Minutes.” Green was an employee of mortgage servicing firm DocX, which later became Jacksonville-based LPS Document Solutions. She held multiple leadership titles at different lenders and mortgage firms, but in reality at least eight DocX employees were signing her name to mortgage-related documents. Lorraine Brown, the former president of DocX, was sentenced in June to five years in prison for scheming to file more than 1 million fraudulent mortgage-related documents nationwide. Since the $18 million settlement, Szymoniak has paid off her mortgage, bought a new Buick and set up her Housing Justice Foundation on the 13th floor of the Sun-Trust building in downtown West Palm Beach. She takes no salary herself, but pays three employees. The foundation isn’t for individual homeowner cases. It focuses instead on the bigger picture of securities and trusts, doing research, collecting documents and tracking the ownership of blighted homes caught up in the system. Two closets with rows of 3-inch-thick binders of robo-signed paperwork and other faulty documents attest to the research she and the foundation have done on the issues. Szymoniak admits it can be tedious. She said people ask her why she didn’t just retire after the $18 million settlement. “I’m not satisfied that’s the end of the story,” she answers.