Fighting a non-traditional mortgage loan foreclosure (NTM) is one of the hardest and heart-wrenching actions anyone can undertake. What is even more frustrating is the inability to find a good foreclosure attorney when you need him/her.This was the case for KathyJo Torrenga, who started her family in this home. Click HERE to support the Torrenga Family.
The Torrenga’s live in rural Muskegon, MI and let’s face it, even in big cities it’s hard to find knowledgeable foreclosure defense attorneys. Good defense attorneys are few and far between and bank fraud – as we see in these huge settlements – runs rampant. KathyJo tried to defend her home pro se after searching for an attorney that could understand a complicated securitization case.
Her case is doubly sad because the Torrenga’s are not deadbeat homeowners – they made their payments on time. Torrenga’s had a 2005 First Franklin loan (ugh!) and an assignment of mortgage in 2007 to Citibank, N.A., as Trustee for First Franklin Mortgage Loan Trust, Series 2005-FF12 – for a trust that closed December 28, 2005! Does anyone hear Erobobo??
“Under New York Trust Law, every sale, conveyance or other act of the trustee in contravention of the trust is void. EPTL §7-2.4. Therefore, the acceptance of the note and mortgage by the trustee after the date the trust closed, would be void.”
In cases like the Torrenga’s judges need to realize that Wall Street is winding down these trusts and selling off properties that were never properly assigned to the trusts – CHEAP…pennies on the dollar.
Homeowners that do finally get to a jury trial have won millions of dollars – but getting to a trial is a hard road to hoe. Most good foreclosure attorneys know that there will likely be an appeal process. One attorney commented, “I don’t know whether the lower court judges are just idiots or they have been mandated to squash homeowners at the initial level and if they can afford an appeal – maybe they get some justice.”
The sale of these MIA loans go for pennies and its a gamble whether the homeowner can afford to fight for their home – or just roll over in disbelief that they are in foreclosure. These morally irresponsible nouveau investors are playing roulette by preying on unsuspecting homeowners. There is a psychotic sense about the nouveau investor as he usually has to turn a fast buck to recover his investment. So, the nouveau investor boots out the family and puts the house on the market. The nouveau investor may have paid as little as $5000 for a bulk of loans gambling that he can make money in re-sales.
Foreclosed owners don’t have credit to buy back their home and nouveau investors are not interested in the homeowner maintaining payments. This is happening more and more often as the securitized trusts wind down and sell off the paper they never were properly assigned to begin with. Nemo dat.
Homeowners, unfortunately, think that because the truth is on their side – they can walk into the court room and tell the truth and the judge will then rule in their favor. Court rooms operate under rules and procedures and are not like classrooms. If you don’t know the rules and procedures – you can’t play the game. The banks and nouveau investors rely upon that fact in figuring out their odds.
It didn’t matter if Torrenga’s wanted to pay the loan – it was in the hands of a “player” and they never stood a chance fighting it alone.
The One Big Mistake We Make
Our homes should be treated the same way we treat family members. It is the biggest investment most people make in their lifetime. When family members are seriously ill we seek the best medical attention and spare no expense to save them. We labor and put money into our home to maintain it, yet when it is sick with fraud we fail to want to pay an attorney to save it. Or we try to perform surgery ourselves.
Granted there are bad attorneys – there are bad doctors too; but when our family member is ill – if we are astute we research the Internet to to understand the disease and treatment. The same should happen with foreclosure. Research and study the cause and treatment. As hard as it is, read the pleadings word for word and analyze the issues – discuss it with your attorney.
Most people want to hand off the diseased home to an attorney or modification scammer and hope that is enough to save it. By the time they need the attorney, money is usually the issue and unfortunately there is no health insurance for the home. The outcome, unless it goes to trial, is likely a modification (if that is even possible because of these nouveau investors) but it normally takes surgery (appeals) to get to that point.
Unlike personal injury cases there are no attorneys’ fees paid by these banks – so the homeowner is responsible to pay the doctor (attorney). In some cases, modifications can wipe off principal (in some cases) and reduce interest – saving the home. This should help offset the outlay of funds. And as long as you establish a fair fee upfront, if the attorney is honestly working against the foreclosure – you should be able to establish a monthly payment plan. Rule of thumb for a monthly fee is 40-50% of your current payment. If you cannot afford that – then you either have to have a superior case or figure out how to walk away without a deficiency judgment.
Torrenga’s nightmare may not be over. Just recently in Florida, a nouveau investor surfaced and convinced the homeowner and the court it had the right to take the payments for the house. The homeowner made payments and later, along came the “trust” and sued the homeowner for foreclosure… because the nouveau investor was receiving the payments. Go figure!
If you can help the Torrenga’s so they can find and afford an attorney please click HERE.
Whether or not you are represented by an attorney understanding the legal system is an asset. The more you learn, the less likely you are to be taken advantage of or scammed. Knowledge is power!