Pine Tree Legal’s Role in Foreclosure Freeze

Posted on Posted in Real Estate

The work of a retired volunteer attorney at Pine Tree Legal has led to the nationwide foreclosure halt by several mortgage companies.  In an apparent attempt to speed the foreclosure process, GMAC Mortgage had employees signing off on affidavits that said the employee had “personal knowledge” of  the information they were signing off on.  But considering the rather complex procedures banks need to follow before they can foreclose on someone’s property, and the way many of these mortgages have been sold multiple times, the employees would need to take considerable time reviewing the files and ensuring the facts stated in the affidavit are accurate.  This is important because an affidavit is a sworn statement made under oath, just like when someone is in court in front of a judge.

NYTimes.com: Her file was pulled, more or less at random, by Thomas A. Cox, a retired lawyer who volunteers at Pine Tree. He happened to know something about foreclosures because when he worked for a bank he did them all the time. Twenty years later, he had switched sides and, he says, was trying to make amends.

… All of this is largely because Mr. Cox realized almost immediately that Mrs. Bradbury’s foreclosure file did not look right. The documents from the lender, GMAC Mortgage, were approved by an employee whose title was “limited signing officer,” an indication to the lawyer that his knowledge of the case was effectively nonexistent.

… Fannie Mae and GMAC, which serviced the loan for Fannie, have now most likely spent more to dislodge Mrs. Bradbury than her house is worth. Yet for all their efforts, they are not only losing this case, but also potentially laying the groundwork for foreclosure challenges nationwide.