CFLA Scam Report

Scam Report:

Certified Forensic Loan Auditors, LLC.

Subject of this report:

Certified Forensic Loan Auditors, LLC (CFLA)
13101 West Washington Blvd. Suite 444
Los Angeles, CA 90066
310-579-7422
Andrew Lehman, CFLA President/Owner

Warning to Borrowers Facing Foreclosure: Do not waste money buying a securitization or chain of title audit from CFLA or anyone else. Numerous court opinions, cited below, support this warning.

CFLA aggressively promotes its loan audit, securitization audit, and chain of title audit services to home loan borrowers (mortgagors) who have defaulted on their loans and feel desperate to prevent foreclosure. CFLA gives such desperate borrowers false hope that the borrowers can use their audits and expert witness testimony to avert foreclosure, even though borrowers breached the terms of their loan contracts and really ought to lose their homes to foreclosure. Virtually no mortgagor in foreclosure who purchases a loan-related audit from CFLA or any other company successfully avoids foreclosure because of information contained in the audit. The following statements by experts show why.

Florida Foreclosure Defense Attorney Matthew Weidner warned the public against securitization audits in his blog:

MORTGAGE LOAN SECURITIZATION AUDITS ARE A CRIME!

VIOLATIONS.””A person who violates any provision of this section commits an unfair and deceptive trade practice as defined in part II of this chapter. Violators are subject to the penalties and remedies provided in part II of this chapter, including a monetary penalty not to exceed $15,000 per violation.

Just this week I had another client in my office who almost lost their home because they had given thousands of dollars to a loan audit/securitization “expert” who told the to ignore the lawsuit that was filed against them. They did not respond to the lawsuit and the bank was prepared to set a sale. The judge did not have to let my new client defend the case, but the judge recognized that this old, immigrant family had indeed been the victim of a widespread and rampant fraud so the judge allowed them to defend their case and their home is safe…for now. Good call by the judge. Fair. Balanced. So now, I’m going to bust my hump to make sure this client fills out all their paperwork and gets the modification done. Here’s the thing….with their income, they could have had the modification done months ago….if only the scammer had not sold them up the river.

I get variations of the loan audit scam in my office nearly every single day. Hapless consumers are either directly approached by companies or they respond directly to any one of the hundreds of websites that have sprung up everywhere. Here’s the rap: The company or expert will audit their loan, show them how the bank committed fraud or their documents are bad or whatever and the homeowner can use that information to get a free house….for a small upfront fee of several thousand dollars…and maybe a small monthly fee if the mark can swing it.

ANY REPRESENTATIONS LIKE THIS ARE A VIOLATION OF STATE AND FEDERAL LAW!

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned mortgagors that forensic loan audits are a scam:

“there is no evidence that forensic loan audits will help you get a loan modification or any other foreclosure relief, even if they’re conducted by a licensed, legitimate and trained auditor, mortgage professional or lawyer.”

California’s Department of Real Estate warned borrowers against forensic loan audits.

This alert and warning is issued to call to your attention the often overblown and exaggerated “sales pitch(es)” regarding the supposed value of questionable Forensic Loan Audits. It is critical to note that a loan audit (audit report) has absolutely no value as a stand-alone document.

Whether they call themselves Forensic Loan Auditors, Certified Forensic Loan Auditors (there are no such certifications in the State of California), Mortgage Loan Auditors, Forensic Attorney-Backed Foreclosure Prevention Auditors, or some other official, important or lofty sounding title(s), there are thousands of individuals and companies that have popped up and appeared all over the State of California. Most of these individuals and companies are unlicensed, and some were previously engaged in illegal foreclosure rescue and loan modification scams.

The DRE has seen a wide variety of claims and sales pitches, where impressive sounding loan review services are offered with the goal of taking your money. Quite simply, the bad players market hope – and all too often, it is false hope.

A Georgia US District Court in Demilio v US Bank issued a scathing indictment of Demilio’s effort to subvert a foreclosure with a CFLA securitization audit.

Having reviewed the Complaint and all appropriate exhibits, the Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to set forth sufficient facts to show he is entitled to relief on any of his asserted claims. In fact, rather than alleging any material facts in his pleading, Plaintiff attempts to “lodge” “[t]he facts and statements made in the securitization audit attached herein.”13Frankly, the Court is astonished by Plaintiff’s audacity. Instead of providing the “short and plain statement” of facts required by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,14 Plaintiff requires the Court to scour a poorly‐copied, 45‐page “Certified Forensic Loan Audit” in an attempt to discern the basic facts of his case. This alone would be sufficient for dismissal.15 However, the Court is equally concerned by Plaintiff’s attempt to incorporate such an “audit,” which is more than likely the product of “charlatans who prey upon people in economically dire situation,” rather than a legitimate recitation of Plaintiff’s factual allegations.16As one bankruptcy judge bluntly explained, “[the Court] is quite confident there is no such thing as a ‘Certified Forensic Loan Audit’ or a ‘certified forensic auditor.’”17In fact, the Federal Trade Commission has issued a “Consumer Alert” regarding such “Forensic Loan Audits.”18 The Court will not, in good conscience, consider any facts recited by such a questionable authority.19

16 In re Norwood, 2010 WL 4642447, at *2.

17 Id.

18 Id. at *2 n.2; see (Mar. 2010), http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0130‐forensic‐loan‐audits. The State of California Department of Real Estate issued a similar alert entitled Fraud Warning Regarding Forensic Loan Audits (Feb. 2010), http://www.dre.ca.gov/Consumers/ConsumerAlerts.html.

19 See, e.g., Fidel, 2011 WL 2436134, at *1 (disregarding a “Securitization Audit and Forensic Audit” attached as exhibits to plaintiff’s complaint); accord Hewett v. Shapiro & Ingle, No. 1:11CV278, 2012 WL 1230740, at *4, n.4 (M.D.N.C. Apr. 12, 2012) (discussing various “audits” and noting that such documents “confirm the empty gimmickery of these types of claims.”).

State and federal courts across the land have denounced securitization and chain of title audits, and have uniformly ruled against the clients of CFLA who relied on CFLA audits to save their homes from foreclosure. The end of this report lists 26 court opinions which borrowers should read BEFORE deciding to spend money on a useless CFLA loan/securitization/chain-of-title audit. None of the judges in those case ruled in favor of the borrower. The Leadbeater v JP Morgan opinion provides this comment in footnote 9:

Judge Madeline Cox Arleo has previously cautioned that she has “concern over the dubious nature of such reports [prepared by Certified Forensic Loan Auditors, LLC.]Hicks v. The Bank of New York, et al., Civil Action No. 15-1620, Letter Order, D.E. 22 (Feb. 22, 2016). The FTC has recently warned consumers to be wary of “forensic mortgage loan audits.” Federal Trade Commission, Forensic Loan Audits, https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0130-forensic-loan-audits (last visited September 13, 2017) (“According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, the latest foreclosure rescue scam to exploit financially strapped homeowners pitches forensic mortgage loan audits.”).

Blogger and mortgage pundit Martin Andelman wrote this about one of CFLA’s attorney-instructors:

Patricia Rodriguez, Attorney at Law –Patricia is another of CFLA’s instructors. She also has been very active representing homeowners. Going back to June of 2012,Westlaw shows her handling 20 cases, (and you can find a list of her cases at that link).

None were any sort of win for the homeowners… in one she was sanctioned by the court and the 19 others were dismissed, many with prejudice or without leave to amend… the three quiet title cases were all dismissed.She also filed a mass joinder lawsuit that was also dismissed.But it’sMcGough v. Wells Fargo Bank, 2012 WL 6019108 (U.S. DC N.D. Ca. 12/3/12), that deserves to be highlighted because in this case, Ms. Rodriguez ended up being sanctioned by the court for violating Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and ordered to attend 20 hours of continuing legal education. Here’s what the court said about Ms. Rodriguez…

The Court is disheartened by counsel’s failure in this case, even in responding to the present motion, to recognize that she has erred. If she had approached her practice with a measure of common sense, Counsel might have reconsidered her position…

And on a very basic level, the Court wishes to remind counsel that if an ordinary person cannot understand what she is saying in her pleadings—a neighbor, friend, or family member—then it is very likely that the Court and opposing counsel will not be able to either. The kind of garbled pleading that counsel has three times submitted to this Court imposes a burden that all involved would like to avoid in the future.

Accordingly, the Court hereby orders counsel, Patricia Rodriguez, to attend a minimum of twenty (20) hours of MCLE-accredited legal education courses, apart from any compliance hours regularly required by the California Bar Association. These hours shall include a minimum of eight hours in complaint-drafting or other legal writing, eight hours addressing the substantive law of foreclosure, if indeed it is an area in which Ms. Rodriguez wishes to continue practicing, and two hours of legal ethics training.

And remember that Patricia is a CFLA Instructor, training lawyers and others around the country in how to represent homeowners in quiet title cases and how to use CFLA’s securitization audits in foreclosure defense.

Look, I understand that foreclosure defense has been incredibly difficult even for the most dedicated and experienced attorneys. So losing is not necessarily a bad thing all by itself. But the way CFLA markets the company’s instructors, experts and seminars as leading the industry is at least misleading.

Mortgagors facing foreclosure might wonder why they cannot find more consumer complaints against CFLA at sites like RipoffReport.com. Upon visiting that site a search for CFLA under its full name will reveal multiple pages of advertising showing CFLA to be a model company, but no complaints at all. The reason: CFLA’s principal has paid the equivalent of a bribe to the principal of RipoffReport to remove all complaints against CFLA from the site and replace them with advertisements making CFLA seem honorable. Clearly, CFLA has earned so much money scamming troubled mortgagors that it now seems evident that CFLA can afford to pay bribes or issue threats to get webmasters to remove complaints and to get angry customers to retract their complaints. The court opinions that follow prove that CFLA cons troubled mortgagors into buying CFLA’s useless securitization, chain-of-title, and loan audit services. Borrowers who rely on CFLA audits lose in court.

Court Opinions Showing Borrowers LOSE by Relying on CFLA Audits

Google Scholar search for “Certified Forensic Loan Audit” and “Certified Forensic Loan Auditors” produced 27 results 2019-03-04

  1. DEMILIOv. CITIZENS HOME LOANS, INC. Dist. Court, MD Georgia, 2013

  2. Barrionuevo v. Chase Bank, NA 885 F. Supp. 2d 964- Dist. Court, ND California, 2012
  3. Blanchard v. FREMONT HOME LOAN TRUST 2005-D Dist. Court, WD Washington, 2017
  4. BARRIONUEVO v. CHASE BANK, NA Dist. Court, ND California, 2013
  5. JP Morgan Chase Bank, NA v. Galloway NM: Court of Appeals, 2018
  6. WAN v. PULTE MORTGAGE Dist. Court, D. Nevada, 2014
  7. MANTOVANI v. WELLS FARGO BANK, NA Dist. Court, D. New Jersey, 2018
  8. GILARMO v. US BANK NA AS TRUSTEE FOR CSAB MORTGAGE BACKED TRUST 2006-1 Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit, 2016
  9. Sarkar v. WORLD SAVINGS FSB Dist. Court, ND California, 2014
  10. VIERA LOPEZ v. BAYVIEW LOAN SERVICING, LLC Dist. Court, SD New York, 2017
  11. IM v. BAYVIEW LOAN SERVICING LLC Dist. Court, SD New York, 2018
  12. Dumas v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA Cal: Court of Appeal, 3rd Appellate Dist., 2014
  13. McGough v. WELLS FARGO BANK, NA Dist. Court, ND California, 2012
  14. Hernandez v. RESIDENTIAL CREDIT SOLUTIONS, INC. Dist. Court, ND California, 2016
  15. English v. RYLAND MORTGAGE COMPANY Dist. Court, D. Maryland, 2016
  16. Cox v. NATIONSTAR MORTGAGE LLC Dist. Court, SD New York, 2016
  17. LEADBEATER v. JP MORGAN CHASE, NA Dist. Court, D. New Jersey, 2017
  18. Hylton v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, NA Dist. Court, SD New York, 2018
  19. Sanders v. SUTTON FUNDING, LLC Dist. Court, SD California, 2014
  20. Sylvester v. INTERBAY FUNDING LLC Dist. Court, SD New York, 2017
  21. Suggs v. M & T BANK 230 F. Supp. 3d 458- Dist. Court, ED Virginia, 2017
  22. Avila v. MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEM, INC. Dist. Court, SD Texas, 2012
  23. Williams v. Ward Md: Court of Special Appeals, 2016
  24. Stephens v. BANK OF AMERICA HOME LOANS, INC. Dist. Court, North Carolina, 2017
  25. Baker v. CitiMORTGAGE, INC. Dist. Court, Minnesota, 2018
  26. GONSALVES-CARVALHAL v. AURORA BANK Dist. Court, ED New York, 2014
  27. Kennedy v. WORLD SAVINGS BANK, FSB Dist. Court, ND California, 2015

* * *

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8th Circuit Finally Puts Jesinoski TILA Case to Rest

The Jesinoskis might finally understand that TILA rescission does not work the way Neil Garfield claims. They spent upwards of $750,000 on trial and appeals, and never bothered purchasing a Mortgage Examination so they could go on the attack.  Instead, the case yo-yo’d between trial appellate courts, and the Jesinoskis ended up losing, badly.  Here’s the summary from the most recent opinion at JESINOSKI v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit 2018 :

Mortgage loan borrowers Larry and Cheryle Jesinoski received Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”) disclosure documents at their loan closing. Pursuant to TILA and its regulations, borrowers may rescind their loan within three days of closing, but the rescission period extends to three years if the lender fails to deliver “the required notice or material disclosures.” 12 C.F.R. 1026.23(a)(3)(i); see also 15 U.S.C. § 1635(a), (f). Admitting that the lender delivered the required notice (the “Notice”) and material disclosures, but arguing that the lender did not provide the required number of copies, the Jesinoskis sought to rescind their loan on a date just shy of the three-year anniversary of loan execution.

The lender denied rescission, asserting the Jesinoskis had signed an acknowledgment indicating receipt of the required disclosures. The Jesinoskis sued more than three years after closing, alleging TILA violations. The district court dismissed the action as untimely, holding that, even if the three-year limitation period applied, borrowers must file suit and not merely provide notice within the three-year time period. On appeal, our court affirmed, recognizing that our circuit had already taken a position on this issue within an existing circuit split. Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 729 F.3d 1092, 1093 (8th Cir. 2013) (per curiam). The Supreme Court granted certiorari and reversed, holding the three-year limitation period applied to the provision of notice rather than the filing of suit. Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 790, 792 (2015).

On remand, the district court[1] granted summary judgment, concluding the signed acknowledgment created a rebuttable presumption that the Jesinoskis had received the required number of copies. The court also concluded the Jesinoskis failed to generate a triable question of fact rebutting the presumption. We affirm.

THE CURRENT BIAS: EVEN IF HOMEOWNER WINS, NO FEE RECOVERY

Dear Neil Garfield:

You recently complained that the Florida 4th DCA in Sabido v Bank of NY Mellon, the court denied recovery of attorney fees to the Sabidos even though they won at trial.

Clearly you don’t understand the American Rule, or you wouldn’t complain. That rule provides that each party is responsible for paying its own attorney fees unless specific authority granted by statute or contract allows assessment of fees against the other party.

The Florida uniform mortgage security instrument does provide the creditor with the right to recover from the borrower all costs of collecting the mortgage debt, including attorney fees. If Sabidos wanted the same right, they should have written it into the security instrument before signing it.

Florida Statute 57.105 provides for sanctions and recovery of attorney fees by a party that raised unsupported claims. You know about that law first hand because the appellate court awarded recovery of fees to the creditors you sued in the Maslanka case because you lodged unsupported (some might say delusional) claims on behalf of Zdzislaw Maslanka.

The Sabido court based its opinion on the following:

“The borrowers’ motion for fees is denied because the Bank of New York Mellon was not a party to the note and mortgage, and because the borrowers successfully argued that the Bank of New York Mellon was not entitled to enforce the instrument containing the attorney fee provision.”

Ooops.  Maybe the Sabidos should have asked the court to sanction Bank of New York Mellon for lodging an unsupportable claim.  In this case, the borrower stuck his hand in the wrong cookie jar.

Bob Hurt
Mortgage Attack

On 2018-02-13 10:39, Livinglies’s Weblog wrote:

WordPress.com

HSBC v BUSET FLA 3rd DCA Remands for Final Judgment of Foreclosure

nuke going off
Sorry, Neil. Bad Idea.

A few months ago, attorney Neil Garfield wrote a glowing endorsement of the Florida 11th Circuit trial opinion in HSBC v Buset sending forth HSBC without day for a variety of reasons, none of them sensible. The Stop-Foreclosure blog echoed Garfield’s sentiment.  In due course the Florida 3rd District Court of Appeals overturned all of the holdings of the Buset opinion, and remanded the case back to trial court for a final judgment of foreclosure, holding the following:

  1. The trial court erred in accepting expert testimony on legal issues;
  2. The note is not merely a secured interest under UCC Article 9, but rather a negotiable instrument under UCC Article 3 and Florida law, in spite of its reference to the mortgage without incorporating it, and the definition of Note Holder does not destroy negotiability of the note;
  3. HSBC, as note holder and “PETE” (Person Entitled To Enforce the note under the UCC) or agent of the PETE, had standing to foreclose, irrespective of the incomplete or broken chain of ownership of the note during its securitization, and does not need to prove ownership or an unbroken chain of ownership of the note, AND the trial court erred by focusing on the irrelevant chain of ownership of the note instead of the relevant PETE;
  4.  Purported violations of the Pooling and Servicing Agreement (PSA) are irrelevant to the PETE status of the note holder and did not destroy HSBC’s standing to sue for foreclosure because borrowers are not parties to or beneficiaries of the PSA, and therefore borrowers may not raise PSA violations as defenses to foreclosure
  5. Assignment of the mortgage did not destroy HSBC’s standing to foreclose because the mortgage always follows the note and the PETE always has authority over the mortgage.
  6. The servicer’s business records were admissible, and the trial court erred by blocking admission of borrower payment history, default letters, and payoff printout.
  7. HSBC did not have unclean hands justifying dismissal

What does this prove?

Well, to begin with, borrowers facing foreclosure cannot trust attorneys like Bruce Jacobs and Neil Garfield to save them from foreclosure.  They will just make failing arguments, and waste a lot of money while leading their victim into the hungry jaws of foreclosure.

Second, it suggests that borrowers must find out how the creditor, servicer, lender, mortgage broker, loan officer, title company, or appraiser injured them in the loan transaction, and then GO ON THE ATTACK.

Where do we find such a strategy in action?

In foreclosure activities across the land every business day.  The borrower injures the creditor by breaching the loan agreement, so the creditor files a foreclosure lawsuit or takes the case to the trustee, and a foreclosure and sale of the property follow in due course.

Of course, creditors and their allies in the loan transaction make a host of errors in most loans, and if the borrower hires a competent examination firm like Mortgage Fraud Examiners to look for tortious conduct, legal errors, contract breaches, or violations of law, the examination will turn up injuries (typical of 95% of the loans in the past 15 years).  Some of the injuries might justify huge compensatory and punitive damages.

Don’t expect a foreclosure pretense defense attorney to look for causes of action in a loan transaction.  Such attorneys usually bilk their clients and withdraw from the case just in time for foreclosure.

Bob Hurt

Maven at MortgageAttack