New York-based attorney Susan Chana Lask has filed a federal class action complaint on behalf of tens of thousands of New York State homeowners who lost their homes to an alleged foreclosure fraud orchestrated for years by a New York “foreclosure mill” attorney and major mortgage companies. The case is filed in the US District Court, Eastern District of New York, entitled “Connie Campbell against Steven Baum, MERSCORP Inc., et al.”, Case #10CV3800. It alleges violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and that homeowners paid inflated foreclosure and other fees fictionalized by Baum who profited from the scheme since 2005.
The action seeks to return tens of thousands of foreclosed homes to their owners or the values thereof and hundreds of millions in punitive damages against Baum, MERSCORP and HSBC.
Attorney Susan Chana Lask discovered the alleged foreclosure scheme after her client lost her $1.7 million Brooklyn Caroll Gardens Brownstone home to a $190,000 mortgage foreclosure filed by attorney Steven Baum for HSBC. The foreclosure court filings were false as filed in HSBC v. Concepcion Campbell, et al, New York Supreme Court, Kings County, Index #20393/07. Steven Baum’s foreclosure complaint he filed was for HSBC against Campbell. It admits the loan was never assigned to HSBC, yet he sued for HSBC. A later Satisfaction of Mortgage was not filed for HSBC, but for a company named MERS, admitting HSBC never owned the loan and the foreclosure complaint should have never been filed in the first place.
Also, in the original foreclosure case of HSBC, they file documents by an alleged officer of MERS named Rebecca A. Cosgrove by a notary in Erie County. But MERS is located in Virginia and Erie County is in Buffalo, N.Y. where Baum's office is based. It is suspect that Cosgrove is not even an officer of MERS, no less that she flew to Buffalo, N.Y. for the day just to sign a document before a notary. In fact, other courts recently discovered these same false notaries and "officer" claims in other cases involving Baum and MERS.
“Mr. Baum is an attorney who knows better, yet his foreclosure filings for parties who have no standing to sue confuse the courts and homeowners while he and his banking clients profit tremendously by throwing people on the streets after their bad loans sold by the very same banks become unaffordable to innocent people," said Lask.
The aforementioned false foreclosure filings potentially hit tens of thousands of New Yorkers who were foreclosed upon.
"Courts have rules and laws are made to be followed. Corporate America needs to follow the rules and be accountable just like the rest of us, else we're all victims to one big Bernie Madoff scam," said Lask.
Courts blast Baum for his sloppy filings claimed to be deliberate to hasten foreclosures on unwitting homeowners and courts. On July 29, New York County Supreme court Judge Alice Schlessinger summed up a MERS foreclosure as “I am unable to say with any confidence that this was an honest transaction."
The Manhattan U.S. Trustees office started an investigation of Baum months ago.