Ocwen Bank – Realtors Outsourced to India?

octo-real-estateI’ve had a few phone calls recently requesting information on an organization called Ocwen Bank. They have a couple listings in our local mls and when you call the 800# for info your call is answered in India. That in itself has raised questions as to whether the person giving out financial information from Punjab is a licensed Realtor qualified to give out that information. A second question has been raised about their ethics because when you go to their site to check on a property, they also provide a complete list of every offer that has been submitted on the property including gross and net sales prices. We are attempting to obtain answers on these and other Ocwen related questions as we speak.

Ocwen Federal Bank, or Ocwen Loan Servicing, is headquartered in West Palm Beach, FL. Licensed to practice in at least 12 states, Ocwen appears to be a legitimate financial services company specializing in servicing sub-prime mortgages with an impressive website. But a quick Google search might indicate otherwise.

Start with a site called Rip-off Reports.com and read through the voluminous allegations and complaints against this company. Seems Ocwen’s early claim to fame was landing a lucrative contract to manage and sell thousands of foreclosed properties for the VA back in 2003. By 2005 Ocwen had run up such a dismal performance record that  they were being fined millions by the VA and subsequently lost that contract when the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the “VA has not been satisfied with Ocwen’s performance”.

That didn’t stop Fannie Mae from outsourcing a mortgage modification pilot program to them just last month in spite of their VA performance issues and numerous lawsuits filed nationwide against the company. The lead-in for these numerous class-action lawsuits all read about the same including one filed in California in 2003.

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Ocwen Federal Bank Consumer Protection Class Action Lawsuit

Alameda, California – In a consumer protection lawsuit, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, with co-counsel, represents homeowners in California with loans serviced by Ocwen Federal Bank, FSB and Ocwen Financial Services, Inc. (“Ocwen”). The lawsuit, originally filed in Alameda County Superior Court in October 2003, alleges that Ocwen has engaged in a scheme of unfair, unlawful, and deceptive business practices in its “servicing” of residential mortgage loans in California.

Fraud Charges against Ocwen Federal Bank

Montgomery, Alabama Multiple trials are set in several Alabama counties this year, beginning in April, against Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, formerly Ocwen Federal Bank FSB. Ocwen, headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida, is the largest third-party mortgage service provider in the United States.

OCWEN Alert

‘Ocwen Federal Bank has been sued for millions of dollars in a Connecticut federal court for racketeering, breach of contract, unfair debt collection practices, overcharging borrowers bogus service and late and escrow fees, harassment, and mail fraud. The lawsuit is Hanson v. Ocwen, a class-action complaint filed in the Federal District Court in Connecticut [Docket #3:02CV960]. The lawsuit seeks punitive damages in the amount of $1.5 BILLION

Ocwen Built On Fraudulent Base

Services loans for the former Aames Home Loan dba Aames Funding Corp. They used to be a bank, OCWEN FEDERAL, until they ran afoul of the OCC. Now they’re just one of the worst predatory loan servicers and lenders. Here’s a sampling of the litigation they’re currently facing:

Borrower Class Action Lawsuits:
Over 500 separate class action lawsuits have been combined into one jumbo class to be heard in the Northern District of Illinois. Former employees testifying about how OCWEN intentionally defrauds borrowers — it’s built in to their software which was designed by this IT guy who is blowing the whistle.

Ocwen Facing Litigation Wave

Ocwen Financial, one of the nation’s largest servicers of mortgages to consumers with low credit scores, may appeal a $1.8 million judgment in Texas as it strives to deal with hundreds of cases alleging fraud.

Plaintiff lawyers are currently seeking class action status for 57 federal cases being consolidated in Chicago and the West Palm Beach company says it is facing 331 lawsuits altogether. Ocwen (NYSE: OCN) previously wound down its savings and loan subsidiary after an enforcement action by the Office of Thrift Supervision.

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fraudI have not personally had any dealings with Ocwen nor do I know anybody who has. However, the following letter was submitted to my fraud blog on ActiveRain which seems to reinforce every issue that is contained in the numerous class action suits pending against this outfit. It’s hard enough keeping track of the good guys and the bad guys these days – you kind of wish the Federal Government wouldn’t lend further credibility to someone who appears to be so far gone. Again, I don’t know whether Ocwen is legit or not, but if you’ve got this many people aligned against you in this many places for the same reasons, well maybe it really is a duck after all.

Click on the logo to find more fraud related articles and post your own war stories/advice/cautionary tales. If you or anyone you know has been victimized by Ocwen or any other mortgage modification firm, please contact your District Attorney, Attorney General or Google an Ocwen savvy attorney in your area.

Realtors – we’re part of the solution not part of the problem. Make it so.

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Right now I am being screwed on a “cash for keys” deal by Ocwen Bank out of India somewhere and REO Property Preservation Specialist – they are 18 days late in showing up to the property and then hired some moron to determine if the house was in proper order – he had major attitude and we had to call the cops. So they changed the locks and refused to give us our check. We sent pictures to the bank, Ocwen – to show the house is in proper order and they are actually trying to nit pic and say we left personal property, like a microwave that is a built in….this is apparently a running scam as there are 20 people in AZ who have a class action lawsuit against a bank or several banks who are refusing to release checks for keys, based on their opinion ? How is that fare….look at what all those other people did, broken windows, stripped the house of appliances and here we are an honest couple who took care of the property and are getting screwed – yet again!

Our realtor committed fraud and was reported to the FBI, the house doesnt match county records so no one would refi and according to several investors, how the heck did it pass inspection originally – what a nightmare it has been! No one wants to help and now we are short on cash – yeah ! the hits just keep on coming. OH and the RPPS company took a personal stance to say that since I called him a jerk, he wasnt issuing the check and would send it back to the bank even though they told him to release it. Now the bank in India isnt responding. Does anyone have a way to blow this open and bring in other people who are getting screwed too? Its bad enough to lose your home, but then have to go through this – its just rediculous – where is Obama?

Tell your bank – Produce The Note!


Tell the Banks – produce The Note!

Don’t Leave Your Home – Squat.

That’s the advice of Representative Marcy Kaptur, 14 term Democratic Representative from Ohio and the House’s longest serving woman legislator.

Of course the ‘Produce The Note’ theory isn’t exactly new and it’s not exactly successful, but it’s a novel idea and good for a little free press. You can read a full article here: Kaptur – Don’t Leave Your Home.

You should know that Kaptur serves a slice of Ohio that graces the shore of Lake Erie from just west of Cleveland over to Toledo. Even in the good old days this area was referred to as ‘The Rust Belt’. Two of America’s Fastest Dying Cities, (Forbes.com) are in an adjacent district and another three are just up the road in Michigan. Unemployment bumping 25% and higher in some locales has produced an epidemic of foreclosures. She has been critical of the Presidents programs stating they do not adequately address the foreclosure issue in her district.

Of course we already know the Presidents programs don’t adequately address the foreclosure issue in California either. With qualifications including Fannie & Freddie owned loans (not many in CA), and the loan to value range of 80% to 105% (try 150%), fewer than 2% of Californians may benefit. . Two very different circumstances – same result – no help.

Anyway, the theory goes, Because of the way sub-prime loans were made, parceled, bundled into securities and sold and resold, the foreclosing bank may not actually have your original note. The contract between you and the bank. It exploits a legal technicality that says your note must be available for the final settlement to occur.

In a recent speech before Congress Kaptur suggested:

“Don’t leave your home. Because you know what? When those companies say they have your mortgage, unless you have a lawyer that can put his or her finger on that mortgage, you don’t have that mortgage, and you are going to find they can’t find the paper up there on Wall Street.”  Possession is nine-tenths of the law, therefore, stay in your property. Get proper legal representation … [if] Wall Street cannot produce the deed nor the mortgage audit trail … you should stay in your home. It is your castle. It’s more than a piece of property. … Most people don’t even think about getting representation, because they get a piece of paper from the bank, and they go, ‘Oh, it’s the bank,’ and they become fearful, rather than saying: ‘This is contract law. The mortgage is a contract. I am one party. There is another party. What are my legal rights under the law as a property owner?”

“If you look at the bad paper, if you look at where there’s trouble, 95 to 98 percent of the paper really has moved to five institutions: JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wachovia, Citigroup and HSBC. They have this country held by the neck.”

Kaptur recommends calling the local Legal Aid Society, Bar Association or 888-995-4673 for legal assistance.

Is it working? There have been some intermittent successes but more often than not the only result is to prolong the inevitable. According to the American Securitization Forum, a group that represents banks, law firms and investors, the original note is almost always electronically stored and will eventually be retrieved. Judges are increasingly willing to accept electronic documents these days but it creates a delay, which, according to a spokesman for the Group, is what it’s all about. Homeowners are making lenders jump through procedural hoops at a time when lenders have fewer resources to deal with more paperwork. Assembling the paperwork and providing documents to a judges satisfaction takes time but does little to change the eventual outcome – foreclosure. But if homeowners can buy a little time sometimes that’s victory enough.

Why am I posting this now? Because we are seeing seminars on this, or similar, procedures cropping up in the marketplace. I recently posted on the high-profile squatter scam in Sacramento – it’s definitly another wave of potential fraud against the unwary.

I’m not here to validate the legitimacy of either the program or the practitioners – but if you are approached by someone touting this type of program, even if she’s a Congress(wo)man, always follow Kaptur’s advice and check with the Riverside County legal aid society, the California Bar Association or call 888-995-4673 for assistance. Even Congress(wo)men have been known to get it wrong from time to time.

Oh, and if you’re contemplating advising people to squat – you might want to read this ActiveRain feature article first: Fixin to Get Cooked In The Squat.

Fraudster Claims Inalienable Right to Scam

‘It’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye’. Did your mother ever tell you that when you were a kid? Yeah, I never understood it either – but then I never poked my eye out either so that might be the difference. It really was all fun and games.

But while nobody would accuse the real estate fraud industry of being all fun and games, at least it has been a relatively peaceful genre of crime – which may be one reason it hasn’t garnered the attention in deserves from law enforcement. As our own DA told us – it’s just not a ‘sexy’ crime, and not one with readily definable good guys and bad guys. Sometimes the good guys are just really stupid guys or really greedy guys and it’s hard to generate much sympathy for them. Sometimes the bad guys are also really stupid guys or start out with an idea to help people and get carried away.

Until now. As pointed out in today’s article from the Sacramento Bee, it would seem the stakes are being raised. While anybody familiar with fraud has heard about the scam artists posing as property owners to rent vacant homes to people and scram with their deposit money, the scam artist in this story has balls. (Well, it’s a she but after reading the article you’ll agree). Not only does she not pull the scam and split to let others sort it out, she’s still in business and proudly posting her sign on the property in question.

She posted her own sign in front of the property claiming the home has been abandoned. She then apparently rented the million dollar home to someone for a scant $1,500/mo (well at least she’s not greedy). Then she posted signs advising other people, especially state and federal employees (i.e. law enforcement) not to trespass because the occupants have the ‘inalienable right to self-preservation to repel by force, self-defense and justifiable homicide’. YOWZA!

According to Sacramento police, who are familiar with the agent from past dealings, they are taking the threatening nature of the signs very seriously. According to one officer, ‘she doesn’t recognize the Constitution, she has a constitution of her own.’

Well heck, I guess if that way of thinking is good enough for some of our politicians, it should be good enough for a little old rental agent in Sacramento. As one of the investigating offivers said – ‘this is a wierd deal’. Hey thanks Captain Obvious.

Keep your eyes open folks – the fun and games are over and the frausters are getting nasty.

Sacramento police suspect scam involving rental of foreclosed $1 million home

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 03, 2009

Sacramento police are investigating a possible scam involving the rental of foreclosed homes to unsuspecting victims.

At noon today, detectives were questioning the tenants of a home in an exclusive Natomas area neighborhood where housing values are $1 million and above.

The home on Clubside Lane had been abandoned and bank owned for about two years, neighbors said, but a couple moved in over the weekend.

Read the full article here: http://www.sacbee.com/1089/story/1595909.html

Lender Pre-Foreclosure Access to Default Properties

Abandoned Property Ordinances Debated

Local governments are not specifically pre-empted in their ability to enact local rules dealing with foreclosed properties even though SB 1137 (Perata) put a general rule in place statewide. Some cities recently have been trying to impose obligations and fees on foreclosing lenders even before the lender takes title to the property at the time of foreclosure sale.

Though unlikely to stand a test of law, the overreaching nature of the these property maintenance ordinances can end up creating unworkable burdens for Realtors attempting to list or sell REO properties. Some local jurisdictions are tracking NOD’s and attempting to require the lender of record to maintain the property even through the foreclosure process. Of course we know how successful that is since some properties get transferred numerous times prior to sale, or transferred to an asset manager or other elements preventing the city from knowing who the true owner of record is.

Lenders also rightly point out that t

to go on the premises until the sale is complete and they take the property back. But this hasn’t stopped municipalities from imposing fines of up to $1,000/day for unmaintained properties. But then the cities figured out – hey, if we apply a lien prior to the foreclosure sale the lien gets wiped out. So they’re waiting until after the lender takes the property back and then applying their lien so it is not invalidated by the sale.

The problem is that some lenders have attempted to have Realtors cover the deficiency out of pocket from the REO lenders set fee. In other words, the cities are doing something borderline illegal and rather than fight it some lenders are attempting to ‘shift’ these responsibilities to the Realtor.

This is a whole different problem than some Realtors simply not knowing the rules, not registering an REO property as required by valid city ordinance, or doing their job and the lender holding them responsible for that.

A second problem has arisen in some areas where a lender has actually attempted to comply with these pre-foreclosure issues by taking over maintenance of what appears to be an abandoned property only to find out they have locked out the legitimate owner or a tenant, or even locked-out Realtors who had listed the property for short-sale.

CAR determined that it would not sponsor nor support legislation extending a lenders obligation to maintain a pre-foreclosure property. Rather, it would explore ways to extend the reach of SB 1137 to pre-empt local law which states that locals cannot cite property or create a lien for violations of a maintenance ordinance until and unless the property has been foreclosed, that the lender has been properly noticed and been given a corrections period of not less than 30 days.

While we are not currently aware of any cities in our region trying to circumvent the law by applying these proscriptive liens, if you become aware of local problems, please notify GeneWunderlich@srcar.org immediately.

Temecula Abandoned Property Registration Info

temecula

Abandoned Residential Property Registration Form

The City of Temecula enacted Ordinance No. 08-04 which takes effect on August 8, 2008. The new Ordinance adds Chapter 8.44 to the Municipal Code. The ordinance presents the description of abandoned properties and the requirements for foreclosed property owners to register the property with the Riverside County Recorder’s Office within 30 days. Additionally, in 30 days the beneficiary or trustee of the property must fill out the Abandoned Residential Property Registration Form available from the City of Temecula.

This form gives the City of Temecula both the current owner’s information and the property management company’s information. The property owner is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the property as outlined in Section 8.44.050:

  • All Properties within the City shall be kept free of weeds, dry brush, dead vegetation, trash, junk, debris, building materials, any accumulation of papers or documents, except those required by federal, state or local law, and discarded personal items, including but not limited to, furniture, clothing, appliances, printed materials or any other items that contribute to the appearance that the property is abandoned.
  • All properties within the City shall be maintained free of graffiti, tagging or similar markings by removing or painting over the graffiti with an exterior grade paint that matches the color of the exterior of the structure.
  • Visible front and side yards shall be landscaped and maintained according to the standards set forth in the Temecula Municipal Code and applicable land use approvals for the property in question. Maintenance required for visible front and side yards also includes, but is not limited to, regular watering, cutting, pruning and mowing of landscape and removal of all yard trimmings.
  • Pools and spas shall be secured with approved fences and devices as required by the California Building Code (a fence around the yard or pool at a height of 5 feet with a self-latching gate: gate locks are not required) Pools and spas shall be drained and kept dry or kept in working order so that the water remains clear and free of pollutants and debris. Public Works info on how to drain pools properly
  • All properties within the City shall be maintained in such a manner so as not to constitute a public nuisance pursuant to Section 8.12.020 of the Temecula Municipal Code.

You may fill out the form on line and submit it electronically (Online Form), or you may come in to city hall and pick up a copy to turn in. Additionally, you can send by mail, or fax to (951) 302-4189. Any changes in the information on the form must be updated within 30 days and also renewed annually, one year from the registration date.

If you have questions about the form, please call Code Enforcement at 951-302-4144, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m to 5:00p.m.

Murrieta Abandoned Property Registration Info

murr-code-enf2murrietalogo2

The City of Murrieta, like other cities in our region, has enacted an ordinance to address the issue of foreclosed and abandoned properties. At this time our cities are working in concert with Realtors to help eliminate blight, maintain neighborhood appearance and help stabilize property values. With our continued cooperation we can keep this relationship from becoming adversarial as it has on some cities (not in our region). If you are currently doing REO business in Murrieta, you can read the ordinance here, get additional information and obtain the necessary form to register your property.

The City of Murrieta has a comprehensive code enforcement program, which helps to protect property owner investment, promote general health and welfare and enhance the quality of neighborhoods.

It is an important part of the City’s commitment to neighborhood preservation and improvement. When homes and businesses are properly maintained, it has a positive effect on the overall appearance of the community.

The main goal of the code enforcement program is to bring to the attention of residential and business owners any existing code violations that could have a negative impact on their property, neighborhood and the community as a whole. Such conditions are often referred to as “public nuisances” However, through voluntary compliance, cooperation and a spirit of personal responsibility for the well-being of our community, such conditions can be eliminated. This will make the City of Murrieta an even better place to live, work and shop.

You can read and download a copy of Murrieta’s Abandoned Property Ordinance here:

http://www.murrieta.org/uploads/forms/clerk/404-08.pdf

If you need to register an REO property, download the form here:

http://www.murrieta.org/uploads/forms/Abandoned-Prop-Registration-Form-08.pdf

If you’re curious if a property is within Murrieta City Limits you can access a GIS Mapping program here:

http://www.murrieta.org/services/police/code.asp

Lake Elsinore Abandoned Property Registration Info

lake-elsinore

The City of Lake Elsinore, like other cities in our region, has enacted an ordinance to address the issue of foreclosed and abandoned properties. At this time our cities are working in concert with Realtors to help eliminate blight, maintain neighborhood appearance and help stabilize property values. With our continued cooperation we can keep this relationship from becoming adversarial as it has on some cities (not in our region). If you are currently doing REO business in Lake Elsinore, you can read the ordinance here, get additional information and obtain the necessary form to register your property.

 

Abandoned Residential Property Registration

LAKE ELSINORE CODE ENFORCEMENT DIVISION 

The City’s Abandoned Residential Property Registration Program, outlined in this Ordinance # 1252, seeks to resolve an issue that affects all of us who deal with properties in Lake Elsinore. Houses and properties that become vacant and abandoned due to foreclosure are a detriment to people who live in close proximity. The abandoned properties degrade the neighborhoods, diminish the city’s overall image as an attractive and inviting City in which to live, own property, work and be entertained.

The program is intended to encourage owners of vacant properties to maintain or rehabilitate the properties consistent with the neighborhood standard (which is outlined in the Ordinance 1252) (PDF: Ordinance 1252.pdf). For more information, please contact Scott Burns at 951-674-3124 Ext 285.

Information Links:

 

http://www.lake-elsinore.org/index.aspx?page=380

Legal Q & A: Abandoned Personal Property

As our market continues to be dominated by REO properties, and will likely be for some time to come, frequent questions arise as to the appropriate way to dispose of Personal Property found on an abandoned property either by a landlord or by an REO agent . This issue is the subject of a legal Q & A on the CAR.org website along with many other legal issues.

 

Abandoned Personal Property After Termination of a Tenancy

 


Table of Contents

 

 I.

Introduction

 II.

Residential Tenancies 

 

    

A.  Landlord Request’s that Tenant Retrieve Property (Questions 1 – 18) 

 

     

B.  Tenant’s Request for Return of Property (Questions 19 – 23)

 

     

C.  Lost Property (Questions 24 – 25)

 

 III.

Commercial Tenancies (Questions 26 – 37)

 

 IV.

Abandoned Vehicles (Questions 38 – 41)

 

 V.

Additional Information (Question 42) 

 

I.  Introduction

After the termination of a tenancy, a landlord may find items of personal property left on the premises by either a former tenant or other persons. This legal article discusses California law regarding the disposition of abandoned property after the end of a tenancy.

II.  Residential Tenancies

The rules that apply for personal property left behind in a residential tenancy do not apply to manufactured homes or mobilehomes (Cal. Civ. Code § 1981).

For a complete summary of Q & A’s on this topic – please visit:

http://www.car.org/legal/2008articles/abandoned-personal-property/

 

Copyright© 2008 CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.). Permission is granted to C.A.R. members only to reprint and use this material for non-commercial purposes provided credit is given to the C.A.R. Legal Department. Other reproduction or use is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of the C.A.R. Legal Department. All rights reserved.