Class Action Filed Against Bank of America For Foreclosure Fraud
One of the biggest perpetrators of foreclosure fraud has been hit with a class action lawsuit on behalf of homeowners. It’s about time.
The suit, filed in federal court in New Jersey, accuses Bank of America and two subsidiaries of a “pervasive and willful” disregard of the facts and the law in their “undisciplined rush to seize homes.” The suit further alleges that numerous foreclosure proceedings in New Jersey are in doubt as the bank filed and jammed through these proceedings without holding the necessary rights rights as the mortgagee or assignee at the time of foreclosure. According to the complaint, the allegations affect thousands of foreclosures, leaving in question just who owns what in New Jersey residential real estate.
And that’s just one state.
In support of their claims the putative plaintiffs (the class has not yet been certified) cite a recent and well-publicized admission by a Bank of America official in a Massachusetts foreclosure case that she signed thousands of foreclosure complaints without reviewing them. That’s called fraud.
The plaintiffs also point to the bank’s voluntary foreclosure moratorium from Oct. 8 to Oct. 18 as an acknowledgement, and indeed a legal admission, that “in all of their foreclosure cases, they, as a moving party, prosecute their claims with a complete disregard of whether or not they have met their burden.” That is unethical and sanctionable conduct.
Among the named plaintiffs are a homeowners whose binding arbitration agreement ending his foreclosure was ignored by Bank of America, who pressed ahead with trying to seize his home anyway and a woman who, after receiving a mortgage modification, was found in default by Bank of America when when made mortgage payments at her new, reduced rate.
The complaint also blasts the judicial system for an inexcusable deference to Bank of America at the expense of homeowners. When called by judges to case management conferences, lawyers representing the bank often fail to show up. When Bank of America refuses to negotiate in good faith judges do nothing about it, leaving homeowners to battle foreclosures after Bank of America has negotiated a modified mortgage and then later refused to honor the terms.
So far Bank of America has no response to the lawsuit.
photo courtesy of respres via Flickr