Deutsche Bank Can’t Get Their Numbers To Add Up
As a stand alone story or if you have the memory of Drew Barrymore’s character in the Adam Sandler movie, 50 First Dates, this an an intriguing story. However, for those of us who work in foreclosure defense and who have more than an a 30 second attention span, something doesn’t add up. For three years, we’ve been reading about how Szymoniak successfully argued how Deutsche Bank lacked legal standing in her foreclosure because of robo-signing and misfiled mortgage assignments. Now, Zach Carter writes she can’t get a full payoff amount from them on her $1 million mortgage with interest and penalties. If she was able to prove fraud and was having success in court fighting this, then why is she paying the mortgage off in full? Something doesn’t sound right. -Steve
Zach Carter, Huffington Post
Lynn Szymoniak’s four-year foreclosure nightmare is finally over — but the high-profile activist and attorney said she couldn’t finalize her exit without one final problem.
Namely, her bank couldn’t tell her how much she owed on her Palm Beach County, Fla. home.
Szymoniak began fighting with her bank in June 2008, when she says it improperly sought to raise the interest rate on her loan, increasing her monthly payments by roughly $1,000. She refused to pay, and has been embroiled in legal drama ever since.
But while defending her own home, Szymoniak, a white-collar crime attorney, uncovered startling irregularities, with key bank paperwork appearing to have been fabricated and critical signatures forged. She began documenting her findings, which ultimately led to allegations of massive, systemic errors in the foreclosure process as banks cut corners to save money, at times appearing to foreclose on borrowers who had not even missed payments.
The wrongdoing extended to loans backed by the federal government, and Szymoniak’s findings became the basis for a $95 million settlement between the government and several banks. The government rewarded Szymoniak for her role as an expert whistleblower in the case by directing $18 million from the total to her.
The settlement check left Szymoniak with enough money to aid housing nonprofit groups and pay off her own mortgage. But lawyers for the banks seeking to foreclose on Szymoniak, American Home Mortgage Servicing and Deutsche Bank, couldn’t tell her what she owed on the loan.
“For two months I’ve been trying to get a payoff figure on my loan,” Szymoniak told an audience Friday at this year’s Netroots Nation conference in Providence, R.I. “I could not get a figure from either the mortgage servicer or the attorneys for the bank. Last week … I actually had to go into court and file a pleading to order a payoff figure. The judge was incensed and said they had seven days to get me a payoff figure. On the seventh day, they filed and asked for a five-day extension.”
Eventually the lawyers came back with a figure: $1.4 million, which Szymoniak says is roughly $250,000 higher than the figure the bank’s lawyers cited in February of this year. She initially took out her mortgage at $1 million, and believes the house to be worth about $500,000 at present.