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Attorneys At Law

Attorneys practicing in and around the Chicagoland area. Experienced in the practice areas of Real Estate Law, Mortgage Foreclosure Defense Litigation, Business Law, & Estate Law.

Attorneys At Law - Attorneys practicing in and around the Chicagoland area. Experienced in the practice areas of Real Estate Law, Mortgage Foreclosure Defense Litigation, Business Law, & Estate Law.


The Federal Government & Attorneys General have reached a landmark settlement with major banks. The agreement covers roughly $25 billion in relief for distressed borrowers, states and federal government. After many months of negotiation, 49 state attorneys general and the federal government have reached agreement on a historic joint state-federal settlement with the country’s five largest loan servicers:

Bank of America
JPMorgan Chase
Wells Fargo Who May be Eligible for Assistance

Because of the complexity of the mortgage market and this agreement, which will be performed over a three-year period, borrowers will not immediately know if they are eligible for relief. Borrowers from states who did not sign the settlement will not be eligible for any of the relief directly to homeowners. Borrowers from Oklahoma will not be eligible for any of the relief directly to homeowners because Oklahoma elected not to join the settlement.

The settlement provides assistance for:

Homeowners needing loan modifications now, including first and second lien principal reduction. The servicers are required to work off up to $17 billion in principal reduction and other forms of loan modification relief nationwide.

State attorneys general anticipate the settlement’s requirement for principal reduction will show other lenders that principal reduction is one effective tool in combating foreclosure and that it will not lead to widespread defaults by borrowers who really can afford to pay.

Borrowers who are current, but underwater. Borrowers will be able to refinance at today’s historically low interest rates. Servicers will have to provide up to $3 billion in refinancing relief nationwide.

Borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure with no requirement to prove financial harm and without having to release private claims against the servicers or the right to participate in the OCC review process. $1.5 billion will be distributed nationwide to some 750,000 borrowers. Additional information is available at: http://www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com/help.

Scam artists pretend to be federal mortgage relief programs

WASHINGTON — You’ve probably seen the pitches on TV and the Internet or found them stuffed in your mail: official-looking communications complete with logos and letterheads that look vaguely like those used by the Treasury, IRS and other federal agencies.

The promoters have names that resemble federal foreclosure-intervention programs such as Making Home Affordable or Home Affordable Modification. Some even flash photos of President Obama or the great seal of the United States.

They are instead criminal enterprises posing as do-gooders who promise to get you out of the mortgage jam you’re in, whether you’re severely delinquent or deeply underwater. They claim they can persuade your lender to cut your monthly payments, forgive all penalties, slash your interest rate and even get your loan balance reduced. If your lender won’t cooperate, they say they’ll perform “forensic audits” on your mortgage and convince a court to cancel your entire loan transaction because of technical mistakes in the paperwork.

Bogus firms always insist on getting your money upfront often thousands of dollars and then do little or nothing. But now the Federal Trade Commission is cutting off the main fuel supply for mortgage modification scammers: Under new rules outlined Nov. 19, the agency plans to ban virtually all upfront payments, institute mandatory disclosure rules, and clamp new federal restrictions on lawyers who participate in mortgage modification schemes.

Under these rules, companies offering mortgage relief will have to contact your lender or servicer and present you a written proposal describing the key changes to your mortgage terms that the note holder is willing to make before any money can be collected in advance.

Modification companies also will be required to make clear they have no connection with any government agencies or program, and that you’re free to reject any offer from the lender, with no requirement to pay a fee. The rule also prohibits modification firms from using one of their most commonplace and destructive ploys: They can no longer instruct clients to stop communicating with their lender or servicer. Many scammers not only urge unwary consumers to let them handle all negotiations but also direct them to stop sending in payments or worse, to send all payments to the modification company. Typically that has the effect of rendering any ultimate modification with the lender or servicer even less likely.

The FTC estimates bogus modification companies have stolen millions from unwary homeowners in the past two years; ironically, there’s been a huge increase in the number of abusive schemes in the wake of the federal government’s efforts to create legitimate foreclosure relief programs. The FTC has brought more than 30 cases against these operations, but until now the agency has had no way to control the pervasive advance-fee requirements that are so costly to some homeowners.

Now, when that portion of the new rule takes effect Jan. 31, the FTC will be able to proceed against any firm that collects upfront fees without obtaining the required written proposals at no charge from lenders. It will be a litmus test: If a firm seeks to charge you anything or collects money upfront, it will be in violation of federal law and subject to harsh civil penalties.

The only exception will be for lawyers, who typically require retainers before they begin negotiating on a client’s behalf. They will be permitted to collect retainer fees for modification efforts but only if they deposit the money into “client trust accounts” under state bar regulations. Lawyers who charge advance fees also must be licensed by state authorities and be in compliance with state laws and regulations governing professional conduct.

Joel Winston, the FTC’s associate director of financial practices and a lawyer himself, said in an interview that “a disappointingly high percentage of fraudsters (in FTC loan modification cases) have been lawyers they’re just fraudsters with law degrees.” Nonetheless, Winston said, the agency recognizes that “legitimate practitioners” can play a valuable role in negotiating modifications for homeowners, and the FTC doesn’t want to cut this off by banning upfront retainer payments outright.

Some states, such as California, have aggressively moved against lawyers running loan-mod scams, he said, but once the new FTC rule takes effect nationwide every state will get “federal teeth” behind their own efforts to crack down on law firms who abuse homeowners in mortgage trouble.

“You won’t be able to fly under the radar anymore hoping that state disciplinary boards won’t spot you,” Winston said. “Now (fraudster lawyers) are going to have the federal government to contend with and we will be looking for them.”

Write to Ken Harney at P.O. Box 15281, Chevy Chase, MD 20815, or via e-mail at kenharney@earthlink.net.

© 2010, Washington Post Writers Group

Cook Co. sheriff investigating rapid-fire foreclosures


By Ted Cox

While being compelled to resume evictions, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is turning up the heat on the practice of “robo-signing” foreclosure documents.

Dart’s office announced Friday it is referring several cases to the his office’s financial-crimes unit to see whether lenders filing foreclosures were engaging in fraudulent or deceptive practices. The Loyola University School of Law also committed to looking through 2,200 cases “for any signs of irregularities.”

Dart halted evictions Oct. 13 after stories broke nationwide about lenders failing to verify all documents in foreclosures. He claimed to have found evidence of “robo-signing,” in which lenders assign staff to hurriedly sign foreclosure documents “sometimes hundreds a day,” according to the sheriff’s office falsely claiming they’ve verified all the information in a foreclosure file.

In halting evictions, Dart challenged bank attorneys to sign sworn affidavits verifying that foreclosures were valid. “None would,” he said.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has since advised the sheriff to enforce all foreclosure evictions signed by a judge, and evictions could resume next week.

Yet the new investigation could throw a wrench in that process. According to Dart’s office, a “careful analysis” of recent foreclosure filings turned up evidence that “70 percent appear to have been ‘robo-signed.’”

In the meantime, sheriff’s police officers will include contact information for pro-bono legal help and the help desk at the circuit court’s chancery division with all deliveries of foreclosure notices.

Link: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20101119/news/711209941/

Keller Williams Glen Ellyn Lunch & Learn

Lora Matthews Fausett, P.C. will meet with Keller Williams of Glen Ellyn to discus current real estate matters, including: foreclosures, short sales, and other general real estate issues.

Where: 45 S. Park Blvd. Suite 300
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
KW Training Room

When: Friday, January 11 2013 @ 12-1pm