DISTRESSED HOMEOWNERS DEFRAUDED BY ATTORNEYS - EXPOSED IN CALIFORNIA

By
Real Estate Attorney with THE ZARETSKY LAW GROUP - Board Certified Real Estate Atty and AUTOMATED LAND TITLE COMPANY

I have previously written about how attorneys can be great and how they can be bad in the field of helping distressed homeowners.  Now the California Bar Association has published the preliminary results of an investigation into those attorneys supposedly offering services to help distressed homeowners in one of the hardest hit states.

Attorneys, especially real estate attorney, but also divorce and family law, criminal and commercial law practitioners have had a few dismal years.  Finding a new niche appeared easy to some attorneys, especially with promises of "loan modification experts" telling them to just refer the business their way for a referral fee.

As stated in my previous blog articles, the problem is several fold.  For one, attorneys to get this business were paying illegal referral fees to non-attorneys.  Another is that they were practicing law in states without a license in that state.  And yet another is that they were fronting for loan modification firms but not really doing any work for their "client".  And the "client" actually was the loan modification firm and not the distressed homeowner.

In my practice, which includes extensive work on short sales and loan modifications as well as foreclosure defense (whatever that means), we have people coming in showing us examples of: Attorneys sending non-legal "salesmen" out to solicit business for a company that the attorney then gets a "legal fee" from; giving false information - I can't say it is "wrong" information because it just isn't; and attorneys offering "delays" as a solution to a distress homeowner - typically saying, "we will delay and delay (for which you will pay me a monthly fee) while you don't pay your mortgage (and stay in the house for free, or collect the rent from your tenant) and then when the bank finally gets through the delays we will offer to settle with them for a modification or whatever".  Sound lilke a plan to you?

Distressed homeowners should seek help -- BUT: 1.  Be realistic in expectations; 2. If it is too good to be true, it isn't.  3.  If you are being pushed to sign up, DON'T!   4.  Get recommendations and actually check them out!

Copyright 2009 Richard P. Zaretsky, Esq.

Be sure to contact your own attorney for your state laws, and always consult your own attorney on any legal decision you need to make.  This article is for information purposes and is not specific advice to any one reader.

Richard Zaretsky, Esq., RICHARD P. ZARETSKY P.A. ATTORNEYS AT LAW, 1655 PALM BEACH LAKES BLVD, SUITE 900, WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA 33401, PHONE 561 689 6660  RPZ99@Florida-Counsel.com - FLORIDA BAR BOARD CERTIFIED IN REAL ESTATE LAW - We assist Brokers and Sellers with Short Sales and Modifications and Consult with Brokers and Sellers Nationwide!  Shortsales@Florida-Counsel.com  New Website www.Florida-Counsel.com.  See our easy to find articles at TABLE OF CONTENTS - SHORT SALE AND LOAN MODIFICATION ARTICLES.

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Gabe Sanders 09/23/2009 11:14 PM
  2. Janie Coffey 09/24/2009 03:58 PM
Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Florida
Groups:
Realtors®
All Things Florida
Short Sale REALTORS®
PALM BEACH COUNTY SHORT SALES
Short Sale and Loan Modification Nightmares
Tags:
loan modification
loan mod
palm beach attorney
distressed homeowner
short sale attorney florida
short sale lawyer florida
mortgage mod

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Rainmaker
440,529
David Zablatsky
Avant Realty Group - Needham, MA
Real Estate - Needham, MA

Hi, Richard, thank you so very much for your posting!

-David

Sep 23, 2009 02:55 PM #1
Rainmaker
26,684
James Miner, Esq.
Law Office of James Miner LLC - Westfield, NJ

Great information Richard.  There is a recent ethics opinion in NJ dealing specifically with issues of attorneys partnering up with loan modification or short sale "negotiators". 

Sep 23, 2009 03:00 PM #2
Rainmaker
592,907
William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX

Richard,

Attorneys are like REALTORS and Loan Originators, they should be selected by strong referrals or extensive research! Unless of course you raise or train your own.

Bill

Sep 23, 2009 03:44 PM #3
Rainer
19,157
Johnny Morrow
Track The Lead - San Antonio, TX
Simple CRM Development

We had a lady get indicted for this sort of thing recently.

Sep 23, 2009 04:09 PM #4
Ambassador
1,722,844
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Richard,

i remember your previous blog about attorneys. And I agree with Bill. They are like us, Realtors, and slower market pushes many to look for new pastures

Sep 23, 2009 04:17 PM #5
Rainmaker
178,807
Steve Mun
Keller Williams Silicon Valley - Santa Clara, CA
Silicon Valley Realtor

Finally!  The California Bar Association and California Department of Real Estate have a duty to the public to rein in their corrupt members who are preying on these distressed homeowners.  Hopefully they will get dis-barred. 

Sep 23, 2009 05:31 PM #6
Rainmaker
4,797,261
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Thanks Richard for this post.  Not only attorneys are doing this, but real estate agents also.  I'm being bombarded by solicitations to refer at risk home owners to these firms for a fee.  It's illegal (at least in Florida) and I have no knowledge if these firms have any merit in their offerings.

Sep 23, 2009 11:13 PM #7
Rainmaker
176,207
Maya Thomas, Broker
Tampa, FL
Please see my client recommendations.

Hi Richard,
Thank God for the great BOARD CERTIFIED REAL ESTATE attorneys in the world... specifically you!  In my area attorneys are being retained to handle short sales and loan modifications and they don't know anything about real estate because they are criminal attorneys or family law attorneys or corporate attorneys.  I'm shocked when I sit down with a seller to list their home and they tell me who their attorney is.  The attorneys don't have the training, experience or staff to handle short sales.  

You have helped so many clients through this always difficult process.  You have the best firm and the best advice.  Thank you for all that you do, all that you have done for me and most of all for all that you have done for my cherished clients.

With GREAT APPRECIATION, RESPECT AND ADMIRATION,
Maya

Sep 24, 2009 10:30 AM #8
Rainmaker
524,252
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"

Richard - Some of the attorneys in my area are calling people on the Lis Pendens list.  Many are actually trying to get title business....  That is fine, too, but people need to review their choices. Write more, Richard!

Sep 24, 2009 11:36 AM #9
Rainmaker
509,681
Robert L. Brown
www.mrbrownsellsgr.com - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic

Another way to make a buck. Hopefully they will ALL be caught and disbarred. They are preying on the fears of so any people out there.

Sep 25, 2009 10:13 AM #10
Rainmaker
508,942
C. Lloyd McKenzie
Albuquerque, NM
Living Albuquerque

Very interesting post.  I could have cited your blog to support my recent blog:

Is it time for more stringent regulation in the real estate industry? 

I enjoy your blogs.

 

 

 

Nov 04, 2009 04:21 PM #11
Rainmaker
281,232
Richard Zaretsky
THE ZARETSKY LAW GROUP - Board Certified Real Estate Atty and AUTOMATED LAND TITLE COMPANY - West Palm Beach, FL
Florida Real Estate Attorney

Thanks Lloyd

Nov 05, 2009 02:12 AM #12
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Richard Zaretsky

Florida Real Estate Attorney
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