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As more and more depositions are being taken of robo signers and other witnesses who appear in foreclosure cases by signing documents, a troubling issue has emerged….conflict of interest by the foreclosure mills that are staying up day and night to push their garbage foreclosure cases through.
There are only two or three documents that must be filed by the Plaintiff in order to be granted foreclosure. These documents must be trustworthy if a court is to rely upon them to grant foreclosure and deprive a homeowner of possession of the home. What we’ve found through deposition and discovery is that attorneys who work in the foreclosure mills are signing the key documents that allow their firms to prevail in their cases. This is a staggering violation of the rules of professional ethics, but this practice is apparently quite widespread with groups of attorneys in the mills routinely signing documents, especially assignments of mortgages, allegedly on behalf of MERS in particular. Any document signed by an attorney working for the Plaintiff is ethically improper, but very serious conflict of interest questions are raised when an assignment transfers the first mortgage to the Plaintiff while at the same time, there is any sort of second mortgage and certainly when the Plaintiff lists MERS as a Defendant.
An Absolute Conflict of Interest Anytime A Second Mortgage Exists
MERS is listed as the “mortgagee” or “nominee” on virtually every mortgage that is currently subject to foreclosure. As we know from depositions, whenever the Plaintiff’s law firm needs to show evidence that the named plaintiff has the right to foreclose a mortgage, either an attorney in the office creates this false assignment or they send instructions to a document mill where the false assignment is signed by a robo signer. Title attorneys and attorneys with a real estate background dispute the validity of any assignment from MERS (see Kessler v. Landmark) because MERS simply does not have the authority to issue assignments. Setting this argument aside for just a moment however, the problem with any party acting on instructions from the Plaintiff’s firm is that this party is an agent of the Plaintiff law firm…I cannot conceive of any litigation where it would be permissible for a law firm to instruct his client, “Here’s the evidence I need”, and that client would produce the “evidence” according to instruction and return to the attorney who submits this “evidence” to the court. And yet this happens in virtually every foreclosure across the country….but wait, I got sidetracked down one ethical minefield, when I started in another direction.
When MERS executes one questionable assignment of mortgage (all MERS assignments are questionable) for the first mortgage and there is also a second mortgage that must be foreclosed, Plaintiff’s firms are often not bothering to serve the holder of the second mortgage…all they’re bothering to do is get “service” for that second mortgage on MERS…problematic in any case, but especially problematic when the agent for MERs on either the first or the second mortgage are either an attorney working for the Plaintiff or an agent of the attorney. What follows here is a discussion of some of the ethical issues posed by such practices, and then posted here is a Motion to Disqualify Counsel which Foreclosure Fraud Fighter Mark Stopa has recently been using with great results…bottom line is the Motion to Disqualify must be heard before any substantive issues are addressed, and the foreclosure mills never want these Motions to Disqualify to be heard by a judge…..if judges started hearing these arguments on a regular basis they may never get around to granting foreclosure…and now, directly from the Florida Bar Journal: