Thursday, July 7, 2011

Been ripped off by loan modifaction attorneys? No worries, the Florida Bar's got your back! Also, a quick update on the Plantation cops mortgage fraud trial.

Ever since the real estate and mortgage meltdown we've been inundated with ads for lawyers that are going to help you the poor consumer get relief from those evil banks that gave you all kinds of money that you now can't pay back.  Their m.o. was all to enticing, don't pay your mortgage, instead send me a few hundred bucks a month and I'll keep you in your house until the bank buckles over, screams for mercy and gives you your house back with a monthly payment that you can afford.  Sounds great but does anyone know one these deals that actually worked out?  All I've ever heard of was lawyers taking peoples money and not doing shit, sort of like what attorney Rashmi Airan-Pace of Miami is accused of doing.  From yesterdays Daily Business Review article... 
Stacy Peppers, a West Palm Beach insurance agent, got a cold call in 2009 from a company promising to secure her a loan modification. With her husband recently laid off, Peppers was having trouble paying the mortgage on her Pompano Beach house and was turned down for a mortgage modification when she called her lender.
So far so good...
But Peppers said she heard nothing from her lawyer, Rashmi Airan-Pace, and could get no calls returned for months. So she started requesting a refund.

"I was getting aggravated," she said. "I kept asking for my money back and heard nothing back."
Uh oh...
Finally, Peppers called her lender, Chase, and was dumbfounded by what she heard. She was told no one had ever called on her behalf and the bank had never heard of the Airan-Pace law firm.
WHOOPS!  It gets worse...
Peppers is one of a half dozen clients who complained to The Florida Bar about the Airan-Pace firm and its principal, Rashmi Airan-Pace.
But clients from around the country began complaining to The Bar and on such websites as with similar tales about Airan-Pace — they hired her firm to help negotiate a mortgage modification with their lender but nothing was done. They also complain that when they asked for refunds, they got no answer or were rebuffed.
So we've got an untold number of people who claim that attorney Airan-Pace has taken their money and not done anything in return, here's another example...
One such client was Christopher Delany. The former New York mortgage broker said he once had 90 employees but got in trouble when the housing market downshifted. The father of four hired Airan-Pace for help forestall the foreclosure on his Kendall home. He paid her $2,000 and offered to do some marketing work for her.
"I asked her for assistance with dialogue with the bank and to prolong the foreclosure," he said. "I said, 'Can you do that?' She said, "Yes, yes, yes.'"

But Delany said he could not get Airan-Pace on the phone after that and got no relief from foreclosure proceedings. He demanded a refund from Airan-Pace and finally threatened in a letter to "become William Shakespeare" and start writing letters to The Florida Bar turning Airan-Pace in. Her father responded in a strongly worded letter that he did not appreciate the threat and would sue for defamation.
Could it get any worse than this?  Considering the magnitude of the accusations against her and rumors of an FBI investigation into her involvement with some questionable real estate transactions, what kind of punishment do you think the Florida Bar gave her?  Disbarment for sure right?  In case you're interested you can read the Bar's disciplinary action against Airan-Pace here, in a nutshell she got suspended for 45 days and ordered to pay a few of her clients back a portion of the money that they had given for their loan modifications. 

Big fucking deal, who knows how much money these people took in and how many people got stuck in situations like this... 

Delany said he feels particularly bad for a neighbor he recommended to Airan-Pace whose house was sold at auction. "She took his money, and she didn't do anything," he said. "For every one person complaining, there are probably 100 people she screwed over. These law firms are becoming processing mills."

I'm sure the people that forked over their hard earned money with hopes of saving their homes only to get nothing in return are ecstatic to know that this attorney has to take a 45 day vacation as punishment. 

Now, onto the Plantation Cops mortgage fraud trial.  I've been backed up and haven't been able to spend time going through the recent events regarding this trial, I looked up the docket and was shocked to find this (as always, click on the image to enlarge)... 

The court's in recess till July 18th?  How does the court take a nearly three week break during the middle of a trial?  Anyone have any insight as to WTF that's about?

Lastly, considering the not guilty verdict in the Casey Anthony murder trial and the recent comparisons of this trial to the O.J. Simpson trial, I thought this is an appropriate warning for our readers...


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