Steven J. Baum P.C. Settles
NY Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman recently announced an agreement with New York Foreclosure Law Firm Steven J. Baum P.C., and Pillar Processing, LLC, which requires that they pay $4 million to the State of New York. $2 million of which will be used to assist homeowners facing foreclosure, or victims of predatory lending practices.
Excerpts from the Attorney General’s Press release:
The Attorney General’s investigation found that the Baum Firm routinely brought foreclosure proceedings without taking appropriate steps to verify the accuracy of the allegations or the plaintiff’s right to foreclose. From at least 2007 through sometime in 2009, Baum Firm attorneys repeatedly verified complaints in foreclosure actions stating, among other things, that the plaintiff was “the owner and holder of the note and mortgage being foreclosed,” when, in many securitized loan cases, the Baum Firm did not have documentary proof that the plaintiff was the owner and holder of the note and mortgage.
Complaints were prepared in an assembly-line fashion by non-attorney Pillar employees with inadequate attorney supervision. Baum Firm attorneys also improperly verified and notarized these complaints. Attorneys routinely signed complaint verifications — which stated, among other things, that the attorneys had read the complaints and knew their contents — without reviewing the contents of the complaints or the underlying documents such as the original note or mortgage or any mortgage assignments.
During certain time periods, attorneys often did not see complaints after they were prepared by Pillar employees. Instead, attorneys pre-signed and notarized verification and certification pages that were subsequently attached to the complaints and filed with the county clerks. Even after the practice of attaching pre-signed and notarized verification and certification pages changed, attorneys continued to verify complaints without reading them. Until sometime in 2011, the Baum Firm also failed to properly notarize documents signed by its attorneys. Baum Firm attorneys routinely signed documents without being in the notaries’ presence, and when documents were signed prior to notarization, did so without the required oath being administered. Indeed, some notaries even notarized documents that were signed by an attorney who was not present in the state at the time the documents were notarized.
The Baum Firm also repeatedly failed to timely file the Request for Judicial Intervention (RJI) required to be filed in residential foreclosure actions and a court-required affirmation attesting to the accuracy of the foreclosure summons and complaint. New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman implemented the attorney affirmation requirement in October 2010 in response to revelations of widespread deficiencies in foreclosure filings nationwide, including the execution of affidavits without personal knowledge of the facts, a practice referred to as “robo-signing.” The filing of the RJI triggers the scheduling of a settlement conference where potential loan modification options are explored, and also leads to notice being sent to local housing counselors that a homeowner is at risk of foreclosure so that counselors can reach out to the homeowner to provide assistance. Many homeowners were denied this assistance as a result of the Baum Firm’s failure to file RJIs in a timely manner.
New York homeowners who believe their homes were foreclosed based upon false or inaccurate documents filed in court should seek representation from an attorney. They may also file a complaint with the New York Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Frauds & Protection by calling 800-771-7755 or visiting www.ag.ny.gov .
Read the full Press Release here.
90 Day Pre-Foreclosure Notice
I just received a 90 day pre-foreclosure notice; what does this mean?
NY foreclosure law now requires that a 90-day pre-foreclosure notice be sent to many homeowners facing foreclosure. The 90-day notice requirement must be sent to homeowners, at risk of foreclosure, who own and occupy a 1-4 family dwelling as their principal residence.
The notice has to be in 14 point type and sent at least ninety (90) days before a lender, an assignee or a mortgage loan servicer commences legal action against the borrower. The 90 day foreclosure notice shall include the following:
“YOU COULD LOSE YOUR HOME. PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING
“As of ___, your home loan is ___ days in default. Under New York
State Law, we are required to send you this notice to inform you that
you are at risk of losing your home. You can cure this default by making
the payment of _____ dollars by ____.
If you are experiencing financial difficulty, you should know that
there are several options available to you that may help you keep your
home. Attached to this notice is a list of government approved housing
counseling agencies in your area which provide free or very low-cost
counseling. You should consider contacting one of these agencies
immediately. These agencies specialize in helping homeowners who are
facing financial difficulty. Housing counselors can help you assess your
financial condition and work with us to explore the possibility of
modifying your loan, establishing an easier payment plan for you, or
even working out a period of loan forbearance. If you wish, you may also
contact us directly at __________ and ask to discuss possible options.
While we cannot assure that a mutually agreeable resolution is
possible, we encourage you to take immediate steps to try to achieve a
resolution. The longer you wait, the fewer options you may have.
If this matter is not resolved within 90 days from the date this
notice was mailed, we may commence legal action against you (or sooner
if you cease to live in the dwelling as your primary residence.)
If you need further information, please call the New York State
Banking Department’s toll-free helpline at 1-877-BANK-NYS
(1-877-226-5697) or visit the Department’s website at
Ideally, the 90 day pre -foreclosure notice is sent prior to the start of the foreclosure action and allows a homeowner to work with their lender to prevent the foreclosure of their home. If you have received a 90 day foreclosure notice, you should consider calling a foreclosure defense attorney to discuss your options.
Long Island Foreclosure Attorneys
As always, the Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC is here to assist you. We are conveniently located in the heart of Nassau County, Long Island, NY. Contact us at (516) 858-2620 to arrange a consultation with a foreclosure defense attorney.
Tenants and Foreclosure
Tenants and Foreclosure
Many tenants are finding out that the property they are renting has been foreclosed on. As I stated in an earlier post, NY foreclosure law now requires that tenants residing in foreclosed properties receive written notification of the change in ownership of the property. The law also requires that the tenant be allowed to remain in the foreclosed home for the remainder of their lease term or 90 days, whichever is longer.
Hopefully, you have a lease that was executed prior to the start of the foreclosure action and can find suitable housing for you and your family before your lease expires. If you do not have a lease, then you will only have 90 days to pack up and move your loved ones and all of your belongings. After that, the new owner, which often times is the foreclosing lender, will seek to evict you.
If you are facing this type of eviction or any other type of eviction, we may be able to stop the eviction and get you additional time to move, etc. We were recently able to stop a foreclosing lender from forcing a family of seven (7) out onto the street.
Long Island Landlord Tenant Attorney
As always, the Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC is here to assist you. Contact us at (516) 858-2620 to arrange a consultation with a Landlord-Tenant and Foreclosure Defense Lawyer.
New York Foreclosure Law
New York Foreclosure Law
In 2009, Governor Paterson signed foreclosure legislation aimed at protecting homeowners and tenants.
Protection For Homeowners:
NY foreclosure law now requires that a 90-day pre-foreclosure notice be sent to all homeowners facing foreclosure. This notice is sent prior to the start of the foreclosure action and allows additional time for many homeowners to work with their lenders to prevent foreclosure. Previously, this notice was only sent to homeowners who had sub-prime loans. Caveat: The 90-day notice period shall not apply, or shall cease to apply, if the homeowner does not occupy the 1-4 family dwelling as their principal residence.
This legislation also expanded the scope of the mandatory foreclosure settlement conference to include borrowers of all home loans. The foreclosure settlement conference provides the homeowner with an opportunity to negotiate a loan modification with their lender. Previously, foreclosure settlement conferences were only available to homeowners who had sub-prime loans.
Protection For Tenants:
NY foreclosure law now requires that tenants, residing in foreclosed properties, receive written notification of the change in ownership of the property. The law also requires that the tenant be allowed to remain in the the foreclosed home for the remainder of their lease term or 90 days, whichever is longer.
New York Foreclosure Attorney
As always, the Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC is here to assist you. Contact us at (516) 858-2620 to arrange a consultation with a foreclosure defense attorney.