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Student loan debt has reached astronomical highs in recent years, and now, The New York Times is reporting on a phenomenon that’s making it even harder for borrowers to keep up. In 19 states, when you fail to keep up with your student loan payments, government agencies can seize state-issued professional licenses. In a 20th state, South Dakota, it’s legal for the state to suspend a person’s driver’s license, making it all but an impossibility to commute to and from work.  hospitalworkers-300x200

Debt collection actions surrounding student loans have been increasingly punitive, but these types of measures – those that threaten a person’s livelihood – make it all the more difficult for them to pay it off, not to mention provide for themselves and their families. It puts them at risk of bankruptcy and foreclosure. These professionals range from teachers to nurses to attorneys to firefighters to psychologists – all of whom have been stripped of their credentials that allow them to maintain a job in their field.

The Times reported there were at least 8,700 cases they could identify, but that’s almost certainly a low-ball figure because the majority of licensing boards and state agencies don’t track this type of data.  Continue reading

It’s well-established that free and open markets are the foundation of a vibrant economy. When competition is aggressive among open-market sellers, both businesses and individuals are supposed to benefit from higher quality services and goods as well as lower prices. The laws that enforce the rules of a fair, open market are called antitrust laws. Consumer rights attorneys know that these laws are important not just to businesses, but to individuals. consumer rights lawyer

Recently, journalism outlet Vox delved into whether the economic gap of income inequality between the coastal cities, which are overall thriving, and Middle America, may be blamed on lack of antitrust enforcement.

This all started with President Ronald Reagan, and a policy to mute the impact of antitrust oversight. The idea was to make it easier for large companies to merge. In so doing, however, large companies became extremely powerful, consolidating market power and trampling their competition. Prior to Reagan’s antitrust policies, monopolies were largely prevented from forming. Now though, we see such mega-firms commonplace in almost every industry, from pharmaceuticals to technology to retail. Yes, they are bad for competition, but it’s being speculated that they are also largely to blame for the decline of a number of cities across the country.  Continue reading

It’s been six years since the housing crisis and subsequent Great Recession reared their ugly heads, ultimately revealing extensive banking and mortgage servicing abuses that led us down that path in the first place.
In that time, one of the primary targets of civil and criminal actions by the U.S. Justice Department and state attorneys general has been Bank of America, both for its own misdeeds and for those of subsidiaries Countrywide Financial Corp. and Merrill Lynch & Co., which were snapped up by the financial giant in 2008.

In September, the bank tendered a $7.65 million fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission for overstating its regulatory capital by more than $4 billion after acquiring Merrill Lynch – a problem it attributed to “a simple accounting error.” That was after a $16.65 billion settlement it reached with the U.S. government for allegations of selling flawed mortgage securities prior to the 2008 bubble burst. Of that, roughly $9.65 billion will have to be paid in cash to the Justice Department and six state government agencies, while the remaining $7 billion will be distributed in the form of consumer aid, such as modifying loans on underwater mortgages and tearing down derelict properties.
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Alayne Fleischmann was a former due diligence manager at JP Morgan Chase when she learned the bank was committing a reported massive criminal securities fraud back in 2006-2008. whistle1.jpg

Her tenure at the company ended in a lay-off soon after she began issuing warnings to bank executives that the securities being sold to investors were toxic and the bank was engaged in illegal acts.

She later blew the whistle, and as a new article by Matt Taibbi of the Rolling Stone asserts, the Justice Department used the threat of her testimony to elicit a $9 billion civil settlement with the firm last year.
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Over the course of three days, Florida’s First District Court of Appeal tossed evidence submitted in foreclosure actions after the panel found lenders’ witnesses were not qualified to testify. The panel further remanded the cases with encouragement to trial courts to dismiss the cases in favor of homeowners.
The decisions, handed down in mid-October, are suspected to be the first to overturn a foreclosure case due to “robo-witnesses,” at least in a case where the lender was plaintiff.

Robo-witnesses are those called by the lender to testify as to the accuracy and origin of mortgage records. The problem is, these individuals lack firsthand knowledge of the facts to which they are attesting.
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Having been caught at their own game, banks and their attorneys are now being forced to withdraw foreclosure documents in case after case. Stopping foreclosure in South Florida is a real possibility with the help of an experience Miami foreclosure defense attorney. In other cases, you may be able to negotiate away a deficiency judgment or even fight for a monetary settlement or the return of your property.

As we have reported on our Miami Foreclosure Lawyer Blog, investigations into the actions of banks and their law firms have uncovered numerous instances of wrongdoing, including false documentation, forged signatures, fake witnesses, fake notaries and false affidavits — Don’t take our word for it. These are the allegations of the Florida Attorney General’s Office.
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With criminal investigations ongoing in all 50 states, banks and their law firms are now being forced to withdraw foreclosure documentation in case after case.

In many cases, banks and their attorneys are acknowledging assignment affidavits and other paperwork were not properly verified. They are simply taking a step back to regroup. But, as we have reported here, proper verification in many cases may not even be possible because of shoddy paperwork handling and corner cutting done during the boom years. In many cases, proof of a bank’s right to foreclose may not exist.

In other cases, the speed at which paperwork was completed has led to many errors, such as bogus dates being listed as 9/9/9999 or incorrect bank names. In one case cited by the Florida Attorney General the bank was listed as Home Savings of America, which ceased to exist in 1998.

In some cases, mortgages were assigned to banks despite the debt having been satisfied by the homeowner. In still another case, the amount of the mortgage is listed at $42 million. In still other cases, the mortgage owner is listed as a defunct institution, such as IndyMac, which was taken over by the FDIC and was closed in July 2008.

And in still other cases fake notary stamps were used or notary stamps were misused. Notary commissions are only good for 4 years in Florida, yet some stamps had expiration dates good for 6-8 years. And the point of a notary is to verify the authenticity of a document and the signing participants. Yet thousands of pre-signed documents were notarized by bank and law firm employees with no knowledge of their accuracy or authenticity, according to court testimony elicited by foreclosure defense attorneys.

If you are facing foreclosure, fight for your rights from a position of strength in 2011. Consult an experienced Miami real estate attorney today.
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Homeowners in Miami and South Florida paying out of fear they can’t stop foreclosure once it starts should see this investigation by Wyatt Cenac of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s strategic default on its $75 million mortgage for the MBA headquarters barely made news. The MBA says no shortsale, loan modification, or deed-in-lieu for anyone trying a strategic default, except their own.

If you need help with foreclosure issues in Miami or the surrounding areas, including short sales, deficiency judgments, strategic defaults or other help for Miami homeowners, contact our South Florida foreclosure defense firm for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 350-5055.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c

Jon Stewart jokes about Banks that foreclosed on thousands of homeowners in Miami and South Florida using false affidavits. Foreclosure Mills like the law offices of David J. Stern, Marshall Watson, and Shapiro & Fishman all allegedly had robo-signers who sometimes signed 10,000 false affidavits a month! Investigations by the Florida Attorney General, the Florida Bar, and the FBI were started. Even though Jon Stewart is a funny man, this is not really a laughing matter.

Homeowners may have valid claims if their homes were taken by fraudulent practices in a court of law. The banks could be liable for attorneys fees. In egregious cases, the bank may be more inclined to waive deficiency judgments, pay money damages, or even return the property.

If you need help with foreclosure issues in Miami or the surrounding areas, including short sales, deficiency judgments, strategic defaults or other help for Miami homeowners, contact our South Florida foreclosure defense firm for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 350-5055.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Foreclosure Crisis
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