Florida Lawyer a Mortgage Foreclosure Machine
One Florida lawyer has made millions off the dark side of the American dream. He represents some of the country’s biggest banks, and has started over 100,000 mortgage foreclosure cases in the Sunshine State. As reported by the St. Petersburg Times, he also faces ethics inquiries into his business practices.
- Twenty percent of Florida mortgages in default
- Lawyer handles foreclosure business for nation’s mortgage giants
- Foreclosure practices and business relationships trouble Florida Bar
Lawyer Behind One-in-Five Florida Foreclosures
David Stern handles 20 percent of all foreclosure cases filed in Florida. He relies heavily on computers and automation to handle the caseload. He’s collected millions in fees from Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and other lenders. He minted a 58.5 million dollar payday by selling his firm’s related, nonlegal operations to a public company he owns a major stake in.
The Federal Trade Commission recently issued a report calling the nation’s debt collection system "broken." Stern’s mortgage foreclosure practice has some of the hallmarks that worry the FTC. Firms increasingly use computer programs and digital data in collecting debts and foreclosing mortgages. The FTC finds too many of the cases infected with fraud or other problems and recommends changes in the legal system. Stern and his firm have been ordered to pay more than $2 million dollars in claims to homeowners. He’s been punished by the Florida Bar for wrongdoing and faces still another complaint about the relationship between his practice and his public-company business.
Lawyers for lenders foreclose mortgages when the borrower can no longer pay back the loan. It’s a perfectly legal process for the lender to get back some or all of what’s owed. Foreclosures have skyrocketed during the credit crisis and economic recession. The federal government has put programs in place to avoid foreclosure wherever possible and keep the problem from feeding on itself.
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