August 10, 2010
Phone: (850) 245-0150
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill
McCollum today announced his office has launched three new
investigations into allegations of unfair and deceptive actions by
Florida law firms handling foreclosure cases. The Attorney General’s
Economic Crimes Division is investigating whether improper documentation
may have been created and filed with Florida courts to speed up
foreclosure processes, potentially without the knowledge or consent of
the homeowners involved.
The new investigations name The Law Offices of
Marshall C. Watson, P.A.; Shapiro & Fishman, LLP; and the Law
Offices of David J. Stern, P.A. The law firms were hired by loan
servicers to begin foreclosure proceedings when consumers were in
arrears on their mortgages.
Because many mortgages have been bought and sold
by different institutions multiple times, key paperwork involved in the
process to obtain foreclosure judgments is often missing. On numerous
occasions, allegedly fabricated documents have been presented to the
courts in foreclosure actions to obtain final judgments against
homeowners. Thousands of final judgments of foreclosure against Florida
homeowners may have been the result of the allegedly improper actions of
the law firms under investigation.
The Attorney General’s Office is also
investigating whether the law firms have created affiliated companies
outside the United States where the allegedly false documents are being
prepared and then submitted to the law firms for use.
Subpoenas have been served on each of the law firms listed above, and the investigations are ongoing.
FOR MORE INFO SEE PALM BEACH POST ARTICLE:
State probes whether three law firms falsified foreclosure documents
MOTHER JONES ARTICLE:
Florida AG unveils foreclosure mills probe