It’s not often that our New York City judiciary goes out of its way to investigate, report and do the right thing. But, that’s what the Kings County, Supreme Court, (LAURA L. JACOBSON, J) just did in a mortgage foreclosure matter that crossed her desk.
After noting that the foreclosure papers were served on a “live in” nurse, the Judge took the unprecedented action of requiring the Plaintiff (Argent Mortgage) to provide proof that they were entitled to foreclosure. Even though the Debtor had not responded to the court action, she ordered the mortgage company to supply copies of the loan documents used to secure the mortgage; she required an actual loan officer to appear at a hearing and supply evidence and testimony as to why the Mortgage Company would underwrite a loan in the amount of $315,000, even though there was evidence that the borrower (a taxi driver) earned $69,900 per year, and showed total debts of $91,807, against assets of only $58,119.30. In other words, there was no chance that the Mortgage would be re-paid, and the borrower made no payments toward the Mortgage.
Incensed by the clear fraud, the Judge ordered that the Bank pay for a Special Referee and a Guardian Ad Litem to investigate the situation. It didn’t get any better for the bank. In denying the referral to a Referee and foreclosure she said,
The Courts have a responsibility to society as a whole to not allow the perpetuation of a fraud. If this Court grants the application of the plaintiff, it will be giving the imprimatur of approval to a scenario as fraught with fraud as any of the worst Ponzi schemes. . . . .
Perhaps if more of the people charged with overseeing our financial institutions had focused on the improprieties being performed in the financial arenas, our economy might not have imploded as ferociously as it did.
In this matter, plaintiff as the mortgagee was initially in a position to ascertain the credit status of defendant Mentesana.FN3Plaintiff abrogated that responsibility. Defendant Mentesana acknowledged his part in the fraudulent transaction in which several people appear to have participated. Accordingly, I am not only denying the relief sought, I am referring this matter to the Office of the District Attorney; to the Attorney General’s office, Fraud Division and to the Banking Department, Criminal Investigation Bureau.
Bottom Line– Thank you Madam Justice Jacobson for taking a stand (however small) to assign the blame where it is due. . . . Make your own conclusions, but why should any bank making these “type” of loans be entitled to take taxpayer dollars to “bail them out.”
May the Brooklyn District Attorneys’ office secure the appropriate resolutions.
If you would like to read the entire decision, click Download file here.