Long Island Mortgage Scam

In March of this year, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice arrested seventeen people pursuant to a two-year investigation involving a $20 million dollar mortgage fraud scam. Homeowners of Nassau County and banks lost more than $20 million dollars pursuant to the scam.

The individuals involved were lawyers, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, bank employees, financial consultant, an appraiser and a United States postal worker. Twenty nine homes were fraudulently purchased during the six year period. The homes all went into foreclosure. Fake buyers and fake sellers were involved in the transactions.

Identity Theft

Celso Benalcazar, a forty-nine year old Bronx mechanic, had his identity stolen. After his identity was stolen, two homes were purchased in his name. The ring leaders of this scam were James R. Sweet and Dwanye Benjamin, both of Westbury, New York. They recruited friends and family members to obtain false identities. They then impersonated buyers and sellers. As a result of these fake transactions, they kept all of the proceeds from the mortgages. Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice stated, “at the closing everything was fake except for the money that was stolen.”

One Home Purchased Twice

A home in West Hempstead was purchased twice during a two week period in 2005. A $390,000 mortgage was taken out each time the home was purchased. All the funds from both transactions were stolen.

The accused in this case faced up to twenty-five years in prison. There are numerous pending criminal charges, including violating the New York State Organized Crime Law, money laundering and conspiracy.

New York and Long Island Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you are being investigated with regard to a crime, or either you or a loved one is charged with a crime, we can help you. For more than thirty years, the Law Office of Elliot S. Schlissel has represented individuals charged with all types of misdemeanors and felonies. We defend clients who are charged with drug offenses, domestic violence, shoplifting, burglary, driving while intoxicated (DWI), weapons possession, sex crimes, white collar crimes and all types of violent crimes. We also represent juveniles in both the Criminal Courts and the Family Courts. Call us for a free consultation at 516-561-6645, 1-800-344-6431 or 718-350-2802.

Mistakes Made by Home Sellers

It is a buyers market for homes in the United States. Therefore, it is important, if you are trying to sell your home, to avoid making mistakes in how your home is marketed. Here are some suggestions.

Take Beautiful Photographs of Your Home

Today it is estimated that more than three quarters of all home buyers who view perspective homes view them online. It is therefore important that you take attractive photographs of your home and that these photographs are presented online. When you take the photographs, make sure your home is neat, clean and well organized.

Low Quality Home Improvements

Many homeowners, during the course of living in their homes, have been involved in home improvements. Home improvements that have been done to your home should be finished! They should not be projects that made it two-thirds of the way through and never were completed. This is a definite turnoff to perspective purchasers. Purchasers are not interested in buying into your unfinished problems. Homes should be painted in neutral colors.

Realistic Pricing

We have a free market economy concerning the sale of homes in the United States. Your home is only worth what a purchaser will pay for it. Your preconceived notions of what you would like to receive for your home do not necessarily comport with current market conditions that exist in the United States. Remember it is a purchaser’s market. There is a large inventory of homes on the market. Many homes on the market are considered distressed properties. These properties are placed on the market because the purchasers are forced to sell, or the homes have been taken over by financial institutions pursuant to foreclosure proceedings. Buyers will only pay attention to homes that they feel are realistically priced. Before figuring out what you wish to sell your house for, review the prices for other homes that are for sale. If you want your home to sell quickly, price it competitively!

Neat, Clean, Organized

If your home is messy or cluttered, you need to deal with this issue before you list it for sale. Perspective home buyers can be turned off by messy, poorly organized homes. Make sure you do not have corners in your house, closets or other locations that are cluttered with things that need to be filed or organized. The biggest turnoff for perspective purchasers is seeing a dirty home. If your home isn’t clean and neat, hire someone to help you in this endeavor. It is especially important that your kitchen and bathrooms look neat and organized.

Don’t Over Sell

Your home is what it is. You can point out the highlights to perspective purchasers, but to a large extent you should let them look around and get the feel of your home for themselves. Real estate brokers will tell you that the longer the perspective purchaser spends in your home the more likely they will purchase it. Good luck!! Unless the housing market turns around you will need it!

Foreclosure Lawyers

Our office handles foreclosure defense of homes throughout the Metropolitan New York area. We can help you with mortgage modifications and mortgage modification programs that fail to meet your needs. We litigate issues involving defective mortgages, defective foreclosure lawsuits, predatory lending, bad faith litigation and all other foreclosure related issues. We maintain a foreclosure blog to educate our clients and the general public concerning issues involving mortgage foreclosures, mortgage modification programs and other real estate related issues. We also file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies on behalf of our clients. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

The Housing Market in 2011

Most major markets in the United States have had a decline in housing prices in January and February of this year. Although there has been a reduction in unemployment in the United States, this has not caused the housing market to rebound.

Inventory Issues

According to the National Association of Realtors, there are 3.5 millions homes that are listed for sale in the United States. Based on the current rate of sales, the inventory of homes can supply the market for 8.6 months. This number does not include homes that are being foreclosed on by financial institutions. There is approximately an additional 1.8 million homes that should be considered on the market at this time. This would make the inventory of homes to be sold closer to 11 months.

Underwater Homes

The inventory figures do not take into consideration the 2 million homes which are currently underwater. If these homes are added to the inventory list, it brings the amount of homes that need to be sold for the market to reach a current equilibrium to an inventory of two years.

Are You Selling Your House In the Near Future?

If you plan on selling your house in the near future, you should look into the real estate sales in your local area. I strongly suggest that you confer with local real estate agents to get a better understanding concerning your local market place.

Home Prices

The value of homes in the large metropolitan areas of the United States has started to creep up again. Taking into consideration the fact that mortgage rates are at historic lows, it is still a purchaser’s market. Even if the sale prices of homes stabilize, we are still looking at a purchaser’s market for a long time to come.

Foreclosure Opportunities

Our office can help you with foreclosure defense, mortgage modifications, dealing with mortgage modification programs that fail, defective mortgage issues, options in foreclosures, defective foreclosures lawsuits, predatory lending and other real estate related issues. We also assist our clients concerning foreclosure related bankruptcy issues. We file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies on behalf of our clients. We maintain a foreclosure blog for reference and educational purposes. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-3502802.

The Federal Bailout of Banks Continues

Many of the largest banks in the country have been paying back the federal government for the loans given to them several years ago when they were in financial difficulty. However, this is not true of all financial institutions. More than 600 financial institutions still collectively owe the federal government more than $30 billion dollars. This amounts to about 13% of the $245 billion dollars that was given to banks by the federal government to bail them out.

SunTrust and KeyBank are two of the larger financial institutions still utilizing federal funds from the bailout. Some of the financial institutions have used the federal bailout money to buy other banks and to line their investment portfolios. This is not what the federal bailout funds were intended for!

When the federal government became involved in the bailout, there was no end game as to how to extricate themselves from loaning money to banks. The Troubled Asset Relief Program, commonly referred to as TARP, injected the federal funds into financial institutions to prop them up during the height of the banking crisis. The issue now is when does the government get this money back and when does the program end.

The Bailout Program is Profitable

The Treasury Department has indicated that they anticipate receiving a $12 billion dollar profit related to the funds loaned to banks under the bank bailout program. However, whether the federal government will ultimately make money or lose money depends on what happens with the 600 remaining banks that are still utilizing taxpayer funds. It should be noted that more than 140 banks have not been making their payments to the federal government. A substantial number of these banks will ultimately default on their debt to the federal government. Under the TARP program, the banks can hold onto their federal funds up to three years. The TARP program is also causing many small banks to merge to become more financially stable. Larger banks have access to capital, while smaller banks have greater difficulty obtaining capital. The intent to the TARP program was to render the banking industry in the United States healthy. Hopefully this program will be a continued success.

Long Island Foreclosure Defense Attorneys

The foreclosure defense and bankruptcy attorneys at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo can help you with the following items: mortgage modifications, mortgage modifications that fail to meet your needs, foreclosure conferences, defective foreclosure lawsuits, predatory lending issues, real estate problems, defective mortgages, bad faith by financial institutions, Chapter 7 bankruptcies, Chapter 13 bankruptcies, providing information concerning mortgage terms and foreclosure terms, discussing the types of bankruptcy that may be available to you, re-establishing credit after bankruptcy, eliminating second mortgages and stopping foreclosure.

You also may want to take a look at our foreclosure blog. Call us for a consultation for any of the aforementioned items.

Buying a Home in Today’s Market

Buyer’s Market

There are many homes on the market today in every locality. Some homes are placed on the market by sellers, other homes come to the market by way of foreclosure by the financial institution. All of these homes have one thing in common, they’re competing against many other homes to be sold.

What Should a Seller Do

A seller should look for a bargain. In today’s market, if the perspective purchaser’s first offer does not insult the seller, they are offering too much money. There is no list price for a used home. The value of a home is based on supply and demand. There is an over supply of homes on the market right now. This is why it is a purchaser’s market. Do not be afraid to offer a substantially lower amount than the seller seeks to sell his or her home for. It is your money, be careful!

What To Do First

Obtain a credit report. If your credit is good, great! If your credit is not so hot, contact an attorney or credit counselor and rebuild your credit.

Speak to a real estate broker and/or a mortgage broker about the actual cost involved in the closing on the purchase of a home. Do you have 20% of the home’s value as a down payment? If not, look into whether you can obtain a mortgage with a lower down payment. Speak to other local banks or mortgage brokers.

FHA and VA Mortgages

FHA mortgages are Federal Housing Authority mortgages. VA mortgages are given out by the Veterans Administration to Americans who have served in the armed services of the United States. These are alternatives to obtaining a conventional mortgage from a financial institution. Investigate whether you qualify for these mortgages and whether their interest rates are lower then those of financial institutions giving out conventional mortgages.

Be Careful

Even if you obtain the deal of a lifetime, you may find that in a year or two, due to current market situations, your home is worth less than you paid for it. The purchase of a single family home is the largest investment most families make. It gives you a place to live and a place to raise your children. In most situations, it is a larger, more comfortable space than an apartment that you would rent. However, be advised it is an investment and investments can go both either up or down!

Foreclosure Defense on Long Island

We provide foreclosure defense for our clients. We litigate foreclosure lawsuits. We attend foreclosure court conferences on behalf of our clients. We deal with issues such as defective foreclosure lawsuits, predatory lending, bad faith by financial institutions, and defective mortgages. We’ve been handling real estate related matters for more than thirty years. We assist our clients in mortgage modifications and we deal with mortgage modifications that fail to meet our clients’ needs.

In appropriate situations, we file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcies on behalf of our clients. Both of these bankruptcies have the impact of immediately stopping foreclosure proceedings. We explain the types of bankruptcies that are available to our clients, as well as why they should file bankruptcy. We also maintain a foreclosure blog that deals with real estate, mortgage and foreclosure related issues. Call us for a free consultation.

Fixing Up Your Home for Sale

Do you want to sell your house? If the answer is yes, you may want to consider fixing it up to make it more sale worthy. It may be necessary to modernize or improve certain aspects of your home or to upgrade your property to make it more marketable in the over crowded real estate market.

How Much Should You Spend

The rule of thumb with regard to spending to make your home more marketable is to spend no more than one or two percent of your home’s value. There are various things you can do to make your home more marketable.

Kitchen Appliances

Your kitchen appliances should match each other (hopefully, this is not the first time you have heard this suggestion!). Attractive, stainless steel kitchen appliances or color coordinated kitchen appliances make the kitchen more presentable.

Landscaping

Real estate brokers talk about the concept of curb appeal. When a purchaser walks towards your home, do they like what they see? Your gardening should be neat and attractive. Shrubs should not be overgrown. Weeds should be removed from your lawn. Flowering shrubs, flowers and attractive pots also add to the curb appeal of your home. You may have to hire a gardener to obtain this look.

Painting

Homes with fresh coats of paint in their rooms have a cleaner, more attractive look. Stick to neutral colors, such as off whites or baige. Take a look at your moldings. Are they scratched or beaten up? Replacing or repairing and painting moldings adds a finishing touch to a room.

Storage Space

Perspective purchasers like to see organized storage areas. Make sure your closets and storage areas are neat and organized. Buyers will be looking into them! Closet systems can be an inexpensive upgrade.

Bathrooms

The grout around your toilets and your bathroom tiles should not be discolored, cracked, uneven, and there should be no missing grout. Beat up toilets and black grout have a negative impact on prospective purchasers. You don’t have to remodel your entire bathroom. Just fix it up and make it more attractive! If the shower head is dirty or rusty, replace it! Take a look at the light fixtures in your bathroom. Are they out of date, dirty or damaged? If so, upgrade and replace them with new, attractive light fixtures.

Selling Price

The minor upgrades, enhancements and fixing-up suggestions in this article may help you sell your home. However, in today’s market, one should be realistic as to what a home is worth. Your home is worth only what someone else will pay for it. Real estate values are based on numerous factors, including supply and demand. If you want more money than the market values your home at, you’re making a mistake. If you want to sell your home now, take the best reasonable offer! Do not be greedy!

Foreclosure Help in New York

Our office assists clients with mortgage modifications. We deal with mortgage modification programs that fail to meet our clients needs. We litigate defective foreclosure lawsuits, predatory lending issues, defective mortgages and bad faith by financial institutions. Our office has been involved in handling real estate matters for more than three decades. We also maintain a foreclosure blog. We advise our clients whether filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is necessary to stop their foreclosure proceedings from moving forward. We assist our clients in stopping foreclosure and sometimes we can help eliminate second mortgages. If a bankruptcy is filed at the end of the bankruptcy, we can help our clients reestablish credit. Feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

Mortgage Reform by President Obama

President Obama seeks to reform the mortgage industry in the United States. He plans on accomplishing this by significant changes in government backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. President Obama has presented several different options to the United States Congress for reducing the country’s dependence on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. His program is one of fundamental reform of the mortgage industry. He hopes these reforms will provide greater protection for consumers and allow middle class Americans to obtain affordable mortgages.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Government backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are involved in approximately 90% of the mortgages, one way or another, in America. As of now, these two government backed agencies have over $150 billion dollars in losses! It is anticipated these losses will climb to $400 billion dollars before the housing bubble is completely corrected.

New Programs

Some of the recommendations made by President Obama’s reform team will require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to charge banks the same amount for loan guarantees as paid by private financial institutions. Currently, federally backed mortgage loans can go up to $729,750. One of President Obama’s reforms would be to reduce this amount to $625,500. It is anticipated that this action will motivate the private banking sector to make more high-value mortgage loans.

The administration also seeks to have a minimum down payment of 10% regarding all government backed loans. One of the problems that caused the mortgage bubble is that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have been making loans with zero down payment. Query – if a homeowner has no money to put down for the purchase of a home, isn’t this an indication that if things do not go well, they will quickly walk away from making their mortgage payments? This is what caused the housing crisis. The giving of inappropriate mortgage loans to unqualified prospective homeowners!

The removal of government guarantees from the loan market is opposed by various special interest groups. Real estate agents, home builders, home supply companies, mortgage brokers and other individuals who make a living from the housing market oppose any changes to the current system. The Obama Administration seeks to make changes to the mortgage market over a five-year period.

Mortgage Modification and Foreclosure

If you have problems making your mortgage payments, reducing the amount of your monthly payments is a good idea. All financial institutions currently have mortgage modification programs. Unfortunately, some mortgage modification programs fail to provide belingered homeowners with realistic alternatives to their current mortgages. Our law office can help you deal with the complexities of the various mortgage modification programs.

Foreclosure is the process by which a bank takes back a home for the nonpayment of a mortgage. Should you be facing foreclosure, we can keep you in your home. Our foreclosure defense lawyers have developed an expertise in fighting these lawsuits. Once a lawsuit is initiated, we attend foreclosure court conferences on behalf of our clients. We defend defective foreclosure lawsuits. We deal with issues of predatory lending, defective mortgages and the failure of financial institutions to obtain the proper assignments and paperwork necessary to initiate litigation. We also update this foreclosure blog on a regular basis to keep our clients informed about the real estate industry in the United States. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Home Modification Problems in California (Part 1): Lawyers who Assist Homeowners in Mortgage Modifications Are Now Out of Reach

Mortgage Modifications Are Now Out Of ReachThe Ridiculous Law in California

The State of California has more active foreclosure cases than any other state in the country. Homeowners in California who seek mortgage modifications have had difficulties for the past few years. Today, they have a new difficulty – they can no longer hire lawyers!

Lawyers throughout the State of California are now being forced to reject clients who come to them for the purpose of obtaining mortgage modification loans. This is because California has passed a unique, unusual and restrictive statute. The new law states that attorneys who work on mortgage modification loans can receive no payment until the loan is approved. Under the new statute, clients cannot even put retainer payments in attorney trust accounts.

This California statute is unlike any other statute in the country. The intent of the California statute is for “fly-by-night” loan modification businesses run by non lawyers to be eliminated from the marketplace. Unfortunately, there has been a fallout from this new statute. The unintended consequence of the new law is that honest, hard-working, well-known, well-established attorneys with excellent credentials can no longer represent individuals in dealing with financial institutions’ complicated and burdensome paperwork related to loan modifications.

avoidNew York Foreclosure Defense Lawyers

In the state of New York, there are no restrictions regarding the hiring of foreclosure defense attorneys. For more than 20 years, the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo has been at the forefront of defending consumers and homeowners regarding litigation with financial institutions. We have developed an expertise in defending foreclosure lawsuits. Upon meeting with our attorneys, we will analyze the paperwork related to your case. We will discuss foreclosure defenses, mortgage modifications and the potential of using bankruptcy filings to assist you. We will provide you with a detailed explanation as to the foreclosure process, the mortgage modification process and how bankruptcies affect homeowners. If you are in trouble with your lender, or behind on your mortgage, call us. We can help you! Our phone numbers are 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 and 718-350-2082.

NY Courts Apply New Foreclosure Rules

Supreme Court Justice Meyer, sitting in Rockland County, New York, had an order of reference on a foreclosure action in the matter of City Mortgage Inc. v. McGee. Justice Meyer, upon reviewing the new administrative orders of the chief judge of the New York State Courts, took note that City Mortgage’s lawyer must file an affirmation in a form prescribed by the new administrative order.

The administrative order stated that attorneys for financial institutions involved in foreclosures must include in all such filings a mandatory affirmation that they have communicated with the financial institution’s representative. The representative must have advised them they have personally reviewed the documents and records relating to the case. The personal representative from the financial institution must also have confirmed the actual factual accuracy of the paperwork and filings. Furthermore, they also must confirm that the notarization of the documents submitted by the financial institution was proper and correct.

Justice Meyer stated that “the clear intent of the new rule was to assure accountability for and accuracy of all court filings in foreclosure actions”. The Judge’s position was that after October 20, 2010, the attorney for the financial institution must file an affirmation concerning all applications made at any and all stages of new and pending foreclosure proceedings. Justice Meyer didn’t believe the documentation submitted in this case complied with the administrative judge’s order. Justice Meyer took the position that if he discovers any wrongful filing or any wrongful prosecution of a foreclosure action, it may cause him to institute a disciplinary action and/or other sanctions against the attorney submitting these documents.

Justice Meyer’s position regarding the accuracy and truthfulness in foreclosure proceedings gives defense counsel a very important tool. Now the financial institutions and their attorneys are under the gun to see to it that they have all the correct paperwork before they can institute foreclosure proceedings.

Foreclosure Defense Attorneys

The foreclosure defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been representing homeowners in foreclosure proceedings for more than twenty years. Our office takes an aggressive stand in these proceedings. We often counter sue the financial institutions because of their failure to fulfill all of their responsibilities to comply with various statutes and regulations. Our office attends foreclosure conferences in court on behalf of our clients. We assist our clients in mortgage modifications. We discuss with our clients the problems concerning mortgage modification programs. We actively pursue foreclosure defenses for our clients. We also discuss with our clients defective foreclosure lawsuits and issues concerning predatory lending.

If your house is being foreclosed, we are the foreclosure defense attorneys for you. Call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Foreclosure Defense Lawyer Serving Long Island, Queens, NY

During these turbulent economic times, many families find that they are falling behind on their mortgages. When foreclosure is threatened, it is often thought that there is nothing that can be done to stop the process from moving forward. This is incorrect! We can stop foreclosures. We can tie foreclosures up in court for long periods of time. We sometimes are successful in convincing banks to accept loan modifications and withdraw foreclosure proceedings.

Our New York and Long Island Foreclosure Defense Lawyers have been fighting foreclosure proceedings for three decades. There are several alternatives to dealing with foreclosures. It is important that you contact an attorney at the earliest possible stage when you fall behind in your mortgage to plan what type of measures you will take to deal with a potential foreclosure.

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