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August 19th, 2011

Millions of homeowners in 17 states may be victims of modification scam

by Gina Pogol

 

fraudIn a recent article entitled “Is it time to sue your mortgage lender,” HSH.com offered a rundown of the kinds of mortgage lawsuits making their way through the country’s court systems. Among those filings are mass joinder lawsuits, which cost as much as $10,000 upfront to join.
 
HSH.com warned that these filings could be deceptive, designed to get around laws that prohibit upfront payments for mortgage modification help.

Kamala Harris, the State of California’s Attorney General, agrees. Today she unleashed a suit against prominent foreclosure attorneys Philip Kramer and Mitchell Stein and at least 17 other individuals and businesses. They’ve been charged with luring borrowers into a scheme that falsely promised a share in future settlements.

Scammy? Judge for yourself

Check out this promotion from a SueMyBank.us video, which says:

“Do you have a pending foreclosure? Is your mortgage bigger than your house? Join 1,600 homeowners in a mass joinder lawsuit and sue your lender for complete cancellation of your mortgage.”

Yep, they promise “complete cancellation,” despite the fact that Kramer et al have NEVER successfully sued a lender and gotten this result.

They also claim “success” in a real case, Ronald v Bank of America, despite the fact that there has been no settlement or decision in the case. It’s still ongoing.

If you think someone can call himself a lottery winner before the numbers have even been drawn, go ahead and give this guy or someone like him your money.

There is no free house

The other misrepresentation Kramer and cronies make is to claim that other homeowners have been awarded homes because their lender couldn’t produce paperwork proving ownership of the mortgage.

That’s not true.

The fact is that a judge in Florida ordered a lender to post a $414,000 bond before foreclosing to protect the homeowner because the lender couldn’t locate documents proving ownership of the note. It failed to do so, and the judge canceled the note to punish the lender (and its lawyer).

Implying that this decision means borrowers get free houses when lenders can’t produce paperwork is highly misleading.

Ditto the “landmark” case in Massachusetts, US Bank v Ibanez, in which a foreclosure proceeding was invalidated but the mortgage note was not. Again, there was no free house.

Kramer cries foul

Phillip Kramer claims that other “rogue” firms have perpetrated the fraud and used his name.

The Better Business bureau doesn’t think so. It states that a company called Mass Litigation Alliance filed corporate papers with the California Secretary of State, listing Philip A. Kramer of Calabasas, Calif. as the company’s agent.

Philip Kramer is a senior partner of Kramer & Kaslow, a Calabasas law firm with an “F” grade from the Los Angeles BBB. Consumers have filed more than 30 complaints about the firm.

Most allege the firm didn’t fulfill contracts for loan modification or foreclosure related services, that the firm misrepresented its ability to provide service, or that the complainant was unable to obtain refunds of advance fees. The BBB found more than 50 website addresses linked to Mass Litigation Alliance.

Each site is virtually identical to the others except for phone numbers. They have names such as thetruthaboutyourmortgage.com and paybackthebanks.com. These have since been taken down.

Offices have been raided

The State of California doesn’t think it has the wrong guy. It raided offices, closed down firms, and froze the assets of all allegedly involved. Many of their web sites have been pulled down as well.

However, the pitches are widely available, as consumer investigators and other folks have helpfully posted them on YouTube.

The face of fraud

Not everyone offering mortgage modification help or foreclosure prevention assistance is out to rip you off. But those who want money in advance of providing any service probably are.

Unless you want to finance some creep’s retirement in the Caymans, your best bet is to seek out foreclosure mediation through your state or modification help from a HUD-approved non-profit housing counselor.

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4 Responses to “Millions of homeowners in 17 states may be victims of modification scam”

  1. David J Says: August 20th, 2011 at 12:28 am

    Ha. You said finance their retirement in the Caymans. You know Mitch Stein, because that’s where people are saying he has sent money that he didn’t transfer over to his wife’s name. I guess he was trying to avoid that whole traditional scam of putting everything in the wife’s name so that if he got busted they couldn’t get it all through her.

    It’s about time that scam was shut down. They had started preying on people nationwide.

  2. Millions of homeowners in 17 states may be victims of modification scam | Foreclosure Insiders Tips Says: August 31st, 2011 at 3:48 am

    [...] service, or that the complainant was unable to obtain refunds of advance fees. … Read more on HSH Financial Publishers (blog)Tags: Homeowners, Millions, Modification, scam, States, Victims This entry was posted on Wednesday, [...]

  3. Deborah L Says: September 5th, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    I am a client of Philip Kramer and none of this scandle describles my experience with him and his firm. The CA AG needs to be focusing on the banks fraud. Kramer and Stein were were achieving justice for the homeowner.
    The banks are preying on people nationwide with no help from the government HUD is a joke. Kamula Harris is fake her only interest is relection and she is a political slave for the banks, She is disgusting, the banks have their attorneys, the public has been stripped of their legal help, Kramer and Stein are not allowed to talk with their clients, then Harris put a freeze on all bank collections and foreclosures. this raid has only helped the banksters

    deborah 323-662-5639

  4. Interested homeowner Says: October 28th, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Sorry Deborah, I have been to the hearings. Mr Kramer has a mountain of evidence against him. I have known mr Kramer for 10 years. He is a liar. The money that you gave to Kramer is gone. Case LC 094571 is about the lies and deceptive business practices that Kramer et al, used to defraud their “clients”. They have deluded you into believing that 1) this case is about the banks 2) they are actually trying to help you. Both of those are false.

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