Jan142014

Robosigner David J. Stern’s law license terminated

David J. Stern, the infamous robo-signer, lost his law license. He walks away with the $58 million he earned from selling his law firm in 2010. Delinquent mortgage squatters in Florida will still lose their homes.

Nobody symbolizes the foreclosure purge like David J. Stern, the former owner of the largest of Florida’s foreclosure mill, now defunct. Mr. Stern and his associates filled out thousands of foreclosure filings and routinely fabricated paperwork when the original lender files missed key documents. This fabrication of paperwork infuriated judges who didn’t want to see the public record inundated with forged documents. David J. Stern was never charged with or convicted of any crime, and the people who lost their homes in foreclosure were all guilty of failing to pay their mortgages according to their contractual obligations.

Florida Supreme Court disbars foreclosure king David J. Stern

Posted: 12:21 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 — By Kimberly Miller, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

The man who once ruled over Florida’s massive foreclosure mire was disbarred Tuesday by the Florida Supreme Court, officially ending a decades-long legal career tarnished by accusations of fraud and misconduct.

The ruling against David J. Stern, who built his Plantation-based law firm on repossessing homes, was expected as the 53-year-old did not appeal a referee’s October recommendation for disbarment.

He didn’t appeal because he didn’t care. He made a fortune, and this slap on the wrist won’t inconvenience him in the slightest.

Stern’s attorney, Jeff Tew, said he had no comment about the decision, which was made public Thursday.

The Supreme Court order gives Stern 30 days to close his practice. But his company, which once handled more than 200,000 foreclosure cases statewide, effectively shut down in 2011 after he lost most of his clients amid allegations of notary fraud, robo-signing and shoddy legal work.

Speaking during an October hearing where the Florida Bar pursued 17 complaints against him, Stern said he wasn’t to blame for the problems at his firm and characterized the findings as unintended mistakes.

His refusal to accept responsibility was noted by Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Nancy Perez, who acted as referee in the case and recommended disbarment.

Mr. Stern has not expressed any remorse in these proceedings,” Perez wrote in her recommendation. “He has taken no responsibility.

My guess is he doesn’t believe he did anything wrong. He likely believes he is a victim of circumstance and political backlash. He did what had to be done to get delinquent mortgage squatters booted out of the homes they weren’t paying for. To some extent, he’s right.

If you want to find a group of Florida homeowners who lost their homes who were real victims, read up on the history of the Seminole Indians.

Perez also scolded Stern for blaming his attorneys and paralegals for the flaws in foreclosure filings.

The incidents were not isolated, but rather a representation of the culture of the firm, as to the low level of competence and ethics,” Perez wrote in her 35-page report. “(Stern) is the lawyer. It was his firm. Mr. Stern is responsible.”

Ultimately, he is responsible, but it certainly looks as if he doesn’t care.

As Florida’s foreclosure crisis swelled, Stern, a former college soccer player, grew his firm by taking on mega-bank clients and federal mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. His office, once 800 square feet, ballooned to seven floors with 1,500 employees, including 150 attorneys.

In 2010, Stern sold the non-legal, back operations of his enterprise for $58 million.

Stern is also required to pay $49,125 to the Florida Bar for its investigation. Realtor.com shows Stern listed his six-bedroom, 17,000-square-foot waterfront home in Fort Laudersale for sale at $32 million in June.

So he pocketed $58 million and lives in a $32 million waterfront estate? Hmmm . . . does anyone think he really cares about this disbarment thing?

Foreclosure defense attorneys reacted with indifference to the disbarment news.

Mike Wasylik, a foreclosure defense attorney who testified in the Bar’s case against Stern, said “he got off light.”

Who really cares? What does it really matter,” said St. Petersburg area foreclosure defense attorney Matt Weidner. “I just returned from court today on an old David J. Stern case. Courts all across this state are still filled with the garbage poured into them.”

Perhaps Mr. Stern loaded these files with garbage, but the first load of trash wasn’t provided by Mr. Stern — the first load of trash was the borrower who quit paying their mortgage. We wouldn’t have had a robo-signer if millions of people didn’t default on their mortgages. We can debate whether banks or borrowers are more responsible (See: Lenders Are More Culpable than Borrowers ), but the fact remains that none of the “victims” of robo-signer were innocent. Despite the implication, David J. Stern is not the cause of Florida’s foreclosure backlog in the courts.

David J. Stern was an unscrupulous operator who cut corners on his path to millions. He could have operating anonymously on Wall Street, where perpetrators of much larger crimes against the citizenry walk away with huge fortunes (Countrywide’s Mozilo Should Go to Jail), but he was on the front lines of the politically-charged foreclosure purge, and he had to pay for his millions with a tarnished reputation. I doubt anyone will shed a tear for his misfortune.

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[idx-listing mlsnumber=”OC14002737″]

70 KAZAN St #33 Irvine, CA 92604

$414,900 …….. Asking Price
$287,035 ………. Purchase Price
11/19/2012 ………. Purchase Date

$127,865 ………. Gross Gain (Loss)
($33,192) ………… Commissions and Costs at 8%
============================================
$94,673 ………. Net Gain (Loss)
============================================
44.5% ………. Gross Percent Change
33.0% ………. Net Percent Change
32.0% ………… Annual Appreciation

Cost of Home Ownership
——————————————————————————
$414,900 …….. Asking Price
$14,522 ………… 3.5% Down FHA Financing
4.54% …………. Mortgage Interest Rate
30 ……………… Number of Years
$400,379 …….. Mortgage
$120,953 ………. Income Requirement

$2,038 ………… Monthly Mortgage Payment
$360 ………… Property Tax at 1.04%
$0 ………… Mello Roos & Special Taxes
$86 ………… Homeowners Insurance at 0.25%
$450 ………… Private Mortgage Insurance
$190 ………… Homeowners Association Fees
============================================
$3,125 ………. Monthly Cash Outlays

($484) ………. Tax Savings
($523) ………. Principal Amortization
$25 ………….. Opportunity Cost of Down Payment
$72 ………….. Maintenance and Replacement Reserves
============================================
$2,214 ………. Monthly Cost of Ownership

Cash Acquisition Demands
——————————————————————————
$5,649 ………… Furnishing and Move-In Costs at 1% + $1,500
$5,649 ………… Closing Costs at 1% + $1,500
$4,004 ………… Interest Points at 1%
$14,522 ………… Down Payment
============================================
$29,823 ………. Total Cash Costs
$33,900 ………. Emergency Cash Reserves
============================================
$63,723 ………. Total Savings Needed
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