Scam Alert: Attorneys, Judges, Refinancing Consultants, and Real Estate Professionals Preying on Homeowners or Renters

The following attorneys specialize in foreclosing on and evicting people from their San Francisco homes:

Mug Shot Attorney Comments
1394b16 Daniel Bornstein
  • Founding Partner of the Law Offices of Bornstein & Bornstein, 507 Polk Street, Suite 410, San Francisco, CA 94102, Tel: +1 415-409-7611, Fax: +1 415-409-9345, Email daniel@bornsteinandbornstein.com
  • Attorney for Wells Fargo and many other foreclosures and evictions.
Jak Marquez
  • Partner at Dowling & Marquez, LLP, 703 Market St Ste 1610, San Francisco, CA 94103, Tel: 415-495-8500 x12, Fax: 415-495-8590
  • Attorney for DMG Asset Management foreclosures and evictions.
  • Registered agent for 260 Lee Avenue, LLC.

The following judges specialize in evicting people from their San Francisco homes:

Mug Shot Judge Comments
quidechay Ronald Evans Quidechay
  • Judge Quidechay presides over and orders most evictions, that is “unlawful detainers”, in the City and County of San Francisco. He has refused to meet with Occupy to discuss how to reduce the number of evictions under his jurisdiction and has not taken any actions that we know of to try to reduce them. Despite his youthful activism in the 1968 riots at San Francisco State University and his work in the 1970s at the San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation, he seems to have lost any interest in helping people to remain in their homes.

The following attorneys, mortgage refinancing consultants, and real estate professionals are scamming, overcharging, or manipulating homeowners or renters.

  • Coming soon…

If you know of anyone who should be listed here and can document your case, please contact us at scams@occupytheauctions.org

Oakland and San Francisco Foreclosure and Eviction Fighters Stand Up to Slumlord Fannie Mae

On Thursday, September 13, 2012, Foreclosure and Eviction Fighters — both tenants and homeowners — and supporters from the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) and Occupy Bernal stood up to Fannie Mae, their slumlord bank, by visiting Fannie Mae’s offices at 50 California Street in San Francisco, California.

Carlos Martinez and his neighbors are fighting to hold Fannie Mae, which owns their home, accountable for deplorable and inhumane conditions at one of their properties in East Oakland. The sinks in their homes flow into buckets that they have to empty themselves! Despite the despicable living conditions, the mortgage giant slumlord is unjustly demanding the tenants pay nearly double in rent.

Betty Davis and Alfred Richardson are homeowners demanding the right to a fair deal loan modification to remain in their San Francisco homes.

Fannie Mae must treat tenants, homeowners, and communities fairly and be held accountable for their actions! We left bottles of waste water from the building they own to show them what their tenants have have to deal with.

URGENT Action Alert: Save the Bernal Home of Ted Harvey and His Disabled Daughter

Update as of 7:59am on April 30: Wells Fargo has postponed the foreclosure auction of Ted Harvey’s home until May 30. We will work with Ted to get a fair deal from the bank. The auction action for today is postponed unless you feel like coming down to check it out anyway.

Wells Fargo plans to auction off the home of Bernal neighbor Ted Harvey and his disabled daughter TOMORROW.

Please take action with three steps to save their home:

1) Send the following email right now to Wells Fargo’s CEO, Board Members, and other staff–
——-
To: john.g.stumpf@wellsfargo.com, alfredo.pedroza@wellsfargo.com, ruben.pulido@wellsfargo.com, boardcommunications@wellsfargo.com, jason.ohara@wellsfargo.com, richard.m.sintchak@wellsfargo.com, eric.tang@wellsfargo.com
Cc: action@occupybernal.org
Subject: Postpone Auction of James Theodore Harvey’s Home at 137 Faith St, San Francisco (loan #708-0154783435)

Dear Wells Fargo staff,

Please take IMMEDIATE action to postpone the auction of James Theodore “Ted” Harvey’s Home at 137 Faith St, San Francisco (loan #708-0154783435).

He has signed and is making payments for a trial payment plan on a loan modification, yet Wells has scheduled his home for auction at 2:00pm, April 30, 2012.

Once Wells Fargo has postponed the auction of Ted Harvey’s home, offer him a fair deal for a loan modification on terms that are sustainable so he and his disabled daughter can continue to live in their home.

This is an URGENT request, so please respond right away to postpone the auction.

Sincerely,

your name here
——-

2) Starting at 8:00am on April 30, call the following Wells Fargo representatives with the message below.

Contact:

  • Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf at 866-878-5865
  • Wells Fargo Director of California Local Government Relations Alfredo Pedroza at 415-396-0829
  • Wells Fargo Communications Staff Ruben Pulido at 415-852-1279
  • Wells Fargo Branch Manager Richard Sintchak at 415-396-7970
  • Wells Fargo Branch Manager Eric Tang at 415-977-9357
  • Wells Fargo Branch Manager Jason O’Hara at 415-554-8820

Tell them (or leave a message):

“Please take IMMEDIATE action to postpone the auction of James Theodore ‘Ted’ Harvey’s Home at 137 Faith St, San Francisco (loan #708-0154783435). He has signed and is making payments for a trial payment plan on a loan modification, yet Wells has scheduled his home for auction at 2:00pm, April 30, 2012. Once Wells Fargo has postponed the auction of Ted Harvey’s home, offer him a fair deal for a loan modification on terms that are sustainable so he and his disabled daughter can continue to live in their home. This is an URGENT request, so please respond right away to postpone the auction.”
——-

3) Show up at 1:45pm (auction starts promptly at 2:00pm and the auctioneers can sell off a house in less than a minute) on the sidewalk in front of City Hall, 400 Van Ness Ave, in San Francisco, to protest Wells Fargo auctioning off Ted Harvey’s home.

Bring a loud voice, a whistle, earplugs, and signs to let Wells Fargo know we won’t stand for it anymore… stop illegally selling off our neighbors homes!

Background:

Ted Harvey — carpenter, musician, and father — bought his Bernal Heights home in 2005 and made regular payments for over five years.

Two years ago, after a work injury and his 11 year old daughter’s two month hospitalization, Ted fell behind in house payments. He’s been trying to modify his Wells-Fargo loan and believed he had — Wells Fargo cashed his two recent checks!

Now Wells Fargo plans to auction Ted’s home on April 30 despite:

  • San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ unanimous vote for a moratorium on foreclosures until the state legislature passes a Homeowner Bill of Rights
  • The Mayor’s request for a “pause” until the state legislature passes a Homeowner Bill of Rights
  • California State Attorney General Kamala Harris’ request for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosure activity
  • The report from San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting that shows that 84% of a sample of San Francisco foreclosures contain at least one legal violation

For more information, see http://occupybernal.org/wordpress/?p=1276 or http://occupytheauctions.org/wordpress/?p=1012

Please forward this alert right away to others who may be interested.

Judge Fines Wells Fargo $3.1 Million for Mishandling One Mortgage

Huffington Post reports: “In a scathing opinion issued last week, Elizabeth Magner, a federal bankruptcy judge in the Eastern District of Louisiana, characterized as “highly reprehensible” Wells Fargo’s behavior over more than five years of litigation with a single homeowner and ordered the bank to pay the New Orleans man a whopping $3.1 million in punitive damages, one of the biggest fines ever for mortgage servicing misconduct.”

Link: Full Article

California Homeowner Bill of Rights

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has announced the California Homeowner Bill of Rights designed to protect homeowners from unfair practices by banks and mortgage companies and to help consumers and communities cope with the state’s urgent mortgage and foreclosure crisis.

Joined by Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, Attorney General Harris announced her sponsorship of six bills designed to guarantee:

- Basic standards of fairness in the mortgage process, including an end to dual-track foreclosures
- Transparency in the mortgage process, including a single point of contact for homeowners
- Community tools to prevent blight after banks foreclose upon homes
- Tenant protections after foreclosures
- Enhanced law enforcement to defend homeowner rights – paid for by fees imposed on banks
- A special grand jury to investigate financial and foreclosure crime

Reoccupy Our Homes

by Stardust, draft of November 17, 2011


What’s a Mortgage?

In a capitalist economic system, a mortgage is a legal agreement in which a person borrows money to buy property, such as a house. Beyond any cash down payment provided by the buyer, a mortgage loan from a bank usually covers the remainder of the purchase price of the home.

Once the buyer completes the purchase of the property, then the buyer must pay off the principal and interest on the loan, usually in monthly payments to a bank. The principal at the beginning of the loan represents the purchase price of the property, sometimes also including fees required to complete the purchase. As the buyer pays down the principal on the loan, the buyer gains equity, or a greater ownership share in the property. The buyer doesn’t really own the property until the mortgage is paid off completely; until then, the buyer actually shares ownership with the bank, even if the bank employees aren’t living there.

The bank often makes a profit on the loan through the interest paid by the buyer, which is a certain percentage cost above and beyond the property purchase price and fees. The bank and other service providers, such as real estate agents, assessors, and deed verifiers and recorders, may also make a profit from fees charged for the property purchase.

In a corporate welfare capitalist system, the banks profiteer off the backs of working people who are just trying to keep a roof over their heads. They add no real value to the the housing system or to the provision of any of the other basic needs of the people. In fact, the banks regularly turn people out of their homes, forcing them into a competitive housing rental market, into overburdened shelters, or onto the streets.

As long as the buyer has enough money to make loan payments to the bank each month, the buyer continues to own a share of the property. However, if the buyer can no longer make loan payments, for example because of losing a job or having large healthcare costs, then the bank notifies the buyer of a default on the mortgage. If this default continues, the bank can either make a deal with the buyer to restructure the loan with a loan modification or can foreclose on the mortgage and evict the buyer and any other residents from the property to resell the property. The bank often holds a foreclosure auction to try to recover the amount due on the loan or more, but ends up with a Mem>Real Estate Owned (REO) property if the auction is unsuccessful.

If the buyer defaults on the loan, the buyer may not only lose the property, but also all the principal and interest payments on the mortgage made up to that point. If the property is an owner-occupied home rather than an investment property, then the “owner” and the other people living there may end up out on the street with no money, despite having paid a mortage for potentially many years. The negative credit report of a buyer who has faced foreclosure may make it difficult for that buyer to borrow funds from banks or other lenders in the future. In the case of an investment property, any tenants renting the property from the buyer will very likely end up evicted during the foreclosure process.


Why Is There a Mortgage Crisis?

As a result of lax regulation of financial institutions and a downturn of the corporate welfare capitalist economy, many people with mortgages in the U.S. faced a crisis starting in 2007. The lack of regulation permitted banks to engage in predatory lending that set up buyers with mortgages that had unrealistic payment plans: for example, adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) with interest payments that increased over the term of the loan and balloon payment mortgages which had a large payment that came due at a certain point when paying back the mortgage. With skyrocketing unemployment, underemployment, and healthcare costs, many property “owners” found themselves no longer able to make their mortgage payments to the banks. They therefore faced foreclosure, in other words, seizure of the property by the institution that provided the mortgage.

A mortgage is said to be “upside down” or “under water” when the value of the property is less than the principal due on the mortgage. For example, if Joanna came up with a $25,000 down payment and a mortgage for the remainder of the $250,000 purchase price, including fees, for a one-bedroom house in the Bayview in 2001, then the mortgage principal at the start of the loan would be $225,000. If the assessed value of the home decreased from around $250,000 in 2001 to around $150,000 by 2008, then the $225,000 principal on Joanna’s loan would exceed the $150,000 estimated value of the house. Joanna’s mortgage would be “upside down” or “under water” and she would be paying principal for home value that no longer exists.


Mortgage Crisis History

The U.S. Congress’ repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 made it possible for banks to create mortgage-backed securities and structured investment vehicles sometimes considered part of a shadow banking system in the U.S. So-called subprime loans increased from 5% of all mortgage lending in 1998 to nearly 30% by 2008.

{add more on role of Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation)???}

It became common practice in the industry to “robosign” many thousands of foreclosure documents without verifying the documents were accurate. As a result, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Ally Financial Inc.’s GMAC mortgage unit said in fall 2010 they would stop repossessions in 23 states where courts supervise home seizures and Bank of America Corp., the largest U.S. lender, froze foreclosures nationwide. [7] This prompted investigations in all 50 states about “whether banks and loan servicers used false documents and signatures to justify hundreds of thousands of foreclosures” and questioning other mortgages practices such as the loan modification process, barring foreclosures during loan modifications, and creating a fund to compensate victims of wrongful foreclosures. [7]

{add more on Federal bailout process??? Lack of implementation of loan modifications (federal report noting only 1/6 of those loans eligible being modified by banks)???}


Foreclosure Frequency

In 2010, for the first time in U.S. history, banks foreclosed on more than one million homes in one year. Five states – California, Florida, Arizona, Illinois and Michigan – accounted for more than half of all foreclosure activity in 2010. Compare this to 2005 when banks foreclosed on about 100,000 houses. [13]

By September 2011, the states in the U.S. with the highest foreclosure rates included Michigan, Florida, Georgia, California, Nevada, and Arizona, with as many as one of every 118 housing units experiencing foreclosure in some of these states. California alone had 51,842 foreclosure filings in the month of September 2011. Throughout the U.S., just over 1.5 million homes faced foreclosure with sales prices averaging at just over $173,000. Nationwide an average of one of every 605 housing units received a foreclosure filing that month. [4]

{add more on number and/or rate of home evictions in United States??? California??? international situation???}

In San Francisco, notices of default and notices of sale have trended at about 180 per month during the year ending September 2011. [5]

{add more on number and/or rate of home evictions in San Francisco???}

{add more on what happens to those who face foreclosure??? declining rate of home ownership??? composition of rental market??? rates of homelessness??? people living on the streets??? in shelters???}


Foreclosure Process

In California, the foreclosure process has the following steps [2]:

1. Notice of Default. Bank sends borrower initial notice of failure to meet terms of loan.
2. Notice of Trustee Sale. Sets date for auction, can be recorded three months after Notice of Default.
3. Auction. Can be scheduled for only 20 days after Notice of Trustee Sale is recorded.
4. Four possible next steps:
a. Postponed. Auction may be postponed for up to one year, then go back to auction.
b. Sold to Bank.
c. Sold to Third Party.
d. Cancelled.
5. Trustee’s Deed. If step 4.b or 4.c occurs, then a trustee’s deed transfers the property to a new owner.

Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have similar foreclosure processes, although Arizona apparently doesn’t require a Notice of Default. [3]


Mortgage Activism

What can be done?

1. Let home “owners” who face mortgage defaults know they can fight back.

Activists may organize campaigns to let home “owners” know that there are people and organizations who want to help keep them from losing their homes. Activists may set up meetings where people can tell their stories, share strategies and resources, and receive assistance. The more people facing foreclosures and evictions can share their stories, the more likely activists can organize to prevent the unfortunate consequences of predatory lending practices.

2. Pressure banks to restructure or forgive mortgage loans.

In this time of crisis when the banks have received massive bailouts from the taxpayers, a buyer of an owner-occupied home who has already made principal payments on a mortgage that cover the current assessed value of the property should be able to negotiate payment forgiveness or postponement of any remaining mortgage payments.

Even if the buyer hasn’t paid enough mortgage principal to cover the assessed value of the property, the buyer should be able to negotiate a mortgage principal reduction to the assessed value of the property or principal forgiveness during this time of crisis.

A number of nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies may be able to assist buyers in restructuring their mortgages.

Activists may assist buyers by publicizing the unfairness of placing the burden of the mortgage crisis on property “owners” who face foreclosure and eviction from their homes. Activists may meet with bank staff and/or organize protests at bank offices to pressure bank staff to restructure or forgive mortgages.

3. Reoccupy homes that banks seek to foreclose to provide housing for the people who have paid a mortgage on that home.

In cases where a bank is not open to reasonable mortgage restructuring or forgiveness to keep buyers of owner-occupied homes in their homes, then activists may assist home “owners” by publicizing foreclosures and pending evictions, disrupting foreclosure auctions, preventing evictions through direct action, and assisting owner occupants in occupying or reoccupying their homes. A network of activists could be on call in each neighborhood to provide such assistance on a regular basis as needed.

4. Occupy homes that banks have foreclosed to provide housing for homeless people.

For foreclosed homes where the owner occupant is no longer involved, activists may negotiate with banks and local governments to provide the foreclosed housing for homeless people. Activists may occupy homes through direct action as needed to provide housing for the homeless.

5. Improve bank regulation and enforcement so that banks can no longer engage in predatory lending practices.


Action History

  • Winter 1983, in Ontario, Canada – Neighbors of farmer John Otto pushed the bank’s auctioneer off the foreclosed farm and instead held a “penny auction” planned by “radical farmer” Allen Wilford. [6]
  • Sep 2008, in Boston(?) – People arrested protesting allegedly fraudulent activity leading to home foreclosure. [1]
  • December 16, 2010, in Los Angeles – Dozens of people with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), a statewide community organizing group, protest in front of Bank of America office regarding foreclosures and confusing or manipulative loan modification practices; 22 people arrested for blocking entry to downtown L.A. branch of Chase bank [8] [9] [10] [11]
  • December 20, 2010, in Clayton, Missouri – Eighty people with Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) protest at Bank of America branch; six people arrested. [12]
  • December 23, 2010, in Springfield, Massachusetts – The “No One Leaves Coalition” protested a foreclosure auction of the Ramos family home. [16]
  • February 22, 2011, in Springfield, Massachusetts – The “No One Leaves Coalition” successfully protested to halt a foreclosure auction of the Williams family home. [14] [15]
  • May 14, 2011, in Boston – 350-400 protest the policies of Bank of America and other large banks who have refused to modify mortgages of homeowners facing foreclosure. [1]


References

[1] “Foreclosure Protests Continue to Grow”, National Lawyers Guild, May 2001, http://www.nlgmass.org/2011/05/foreclosure-protests-continue-to-grow/

[2] “California Foreclosure Process”, Foreclosure Radar, http://www.foreclosureradar.com/ca-foreclosure-process

[3] “Arizona Foreclosure Process”, Foreclosure Radar, http://www.foreclosureradar.com/az-foreclosure-process

[4] “National Real Estate Trends”, RealtyTrac, September 2011, http://www.realtytrac.com/trendcenter/trend.html

[5] “San Francisco County Foreclosure Trends”, ForeclosureRadar, September 2011, http://www.foreclosureradar.com/california/san-francisco-county-foreclosures

[6] “Hunger Striker Protests Family Farm Foreclosures”, CBC/Radio-Canada, March 16, 1983, http://archives.cbc.ca/politics/rights_freedoms/clips/11811/

[7] “Foreclosure Probe Talks Expanded to Include Investors Urging Resolution”, Bloomberg, November 25, 2010, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-24/state-foreclosure-probe-talks-include-mortgage-investors-urging-quick-deal.html

[8] “Foreclosure Protests in Downtown L.A. Pit Troubled Homeowners against a Banking Goliath”, January 12, 2010 [ed. -- probably should be 2011], http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xfvxqw_foreclosure-protests-in-downtown-l-a-pit-troubled-homeowners-against-a-banking-goliath_news

[9] “Los Angeles Homeowners Take to the Streets to Protest Foreclosure Abuses”, Huffington Post, November 5, 2011, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-dreier/los-angeles-homeowners-ta_b_795665.html

[10] “22 Arrested in Los Angeles Foreclosure Protest at Chase”, Associated Press, December 17, 2010, http://www.thegrio.com/money/22-arrested-in-la-foreclosure-protest-at-chase.php

[11] “Calif. Foreclosure Protest Leads to 22 Arrests”, Associated Press, December 17, 2010, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nE-ggv7CZ4

[12] “More Arrests as Foreclosure Protests Spread”, People’s World, December 22, 2010, http://peoplesworld.org/more-arrests-as-foreclosure-protests-spread/

[13] “U.S. 2010 Home Foreclosures Top 1 Mln for First Time”, Reuters, January 13, 2011, http://www.reuters.com/assets/print?aid=USN1324157220110113

[14] “Home Saved Following Protest”, 22News, February 22, 2011, http://www.wwlp.com/dpp/news/local/hampden/Home-saved-following-protest

[15] “No One Leaves to Protest Williams Family Foreclosure Auction”, Springfield No One Leaves/Nadie Se Mude, March 17, 2011, http://www.springfieldnooneleaves.org/?p=403

[16] “Ramos Foreclosure Auction Protest”, Springfield No One Leaves/Nadie Se Mude, December 23, 2010, https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.156976737689148.58403.156554894397999&type=1


Organizations

Center On Housing Rights and Evictions: an independent, international, non-governmental, not-for-profit human rights organisation whose mission is to ensure the full enjoyment of the human right to adequate housing for everyone, everywhere; headquarters in Geneva, Switzerlands, with offices around the world. http://www.cohre.org/

Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (Platform of Those Affected by Mortgages): an organization engaging in civil disobedience to prevent home evictions and to return families after evictions to squat in their foreclosed homes; Spain. https://afectadosporlahipoteca.wordpress.com/


Glossary

coming soon…

adjustable-rate mortgages –
assessed value –
balloon payment –
bankruptcy —
credit report —
deed —
default —
equity —
eviction –
Fannie Mae – see Federal National Mortgage Association
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation —
Federal National Mortgage Association –
foreclose —
foreclosure –
foreclosure auction –
forgiveness – cancellation of a loan
Freddie Mac – see Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation
interest —
investment property –
lien —
loan –
mortgage —
owner-occupied —
predatory lending —
principal –
principal reduction –
profit —
purchase price —
Real Estate Owned (REO) property – a property owned by a bank, other lender, government agency, or government loan insurer, after an unsuccessful foreclosure auction
refinance –
repossession —
short sale – sale of a property in which the amount received from the sale would not cover the debts related to the property, in other words, the liens on the property
subprime mortgages –
third party —
trustee sale –
under water —
upside down –