Latest Posts
Home > Debt Articles > UFAN – United Foreclosure Attorney Network

UFAN – United Foreclosure Attorney Network

This article was written back in August of 2011. Since that time Kristin Crone, Esq. of UFAN has taken a number of steps to address issues I was critical of and worried about. Personally I have found her to be a person of action that does try to help people. I think you will find the UFAN of today to have evolved long past the moment when I wrote the review. If you think they might be able to help you, my advice is to give them a chance.

12-14-2011

More people are reaching out to me about a company called UFAN or United Foreclosure Attorney Network. I first covered this in my story Lloyd Ward & Associates – UFAN – New Player in Deceptive Form 1012-R Mailer.

I thought that story fairly well covered the issue but today a reader sent me in an email exchange with an attached document from a representative of ufanlaw.com and it frankly made my blood boil. Yep, it pissed me off. You’ll see why.

On the surface the UFAN movement looks a lot like that of Kramer & Kramer who had a number of different websites and marketers all over-representing the benefits of joining a mass joinder, mass litigation or tort litigation lawsuit against their mortgage companies. Just one issue with that approach. A couple of weeks ago the office of Kramer and another attorney selling this stuff were raided by California law enforcement.

The attorney general and the California Bar issued these statements, here and here.

UFAN Website

For a website of a major movement that consumers are enticed to pay $5,000 or more to work with, the site is lacking some critical information.

While the website says “Welcome to THEUFAN.com, The fastest growing network of knowledge!” apparently they don’t even know their own address. – Source

UFAN   United Foreclosure Attorney Network

For a network of proud consumer advocates they sure make it hard to tell who is part of the “network” of attorneys.

Not only are they secretive which attorneys are part of this network, their online directory doesn’t work. I even plugged in the information of the attorney that filed a suit under the UFAN Legal Group name and nobody came up. I’ll have to assume the directory function works as well as the address function.

But after a bunch of digging I did find this page on the site,

UFAN   United Foreclosure Attorney Network

Apparently the network of attorneys consists of Kristin Crone, Terry Thomas, and Chad T.W. Pratt. Lloyd Ward, who I documented before as doing mailers under the UFAN name is not found.

The UFAN site describes them as:

United Foreclosure Attorney Network (UFAN) is full service law firm and attorney network focused on the practice of helping distressed homeowners and consumers who are overly burdened with debt. The recent recession has left thousands with lowered income and unmanageable debt. To add insult to injury, this unfortunate financial situation opened the door to predatory practices of those purporting to help distressed consumers.

UFAN assists both consumers and those making real efforts to help consumers in this crisis. Outside of its function as a law firm, UFAN has developed a resource for other attorneys and professionals trying to make a difference.

UFAN covers multiple areas of debt related law including mortgage lending, bankruptcy, and taxation. UFAN’s strives to be a firm where the focus would is on personal relationships and not merely on profits.

The attorneys within the UFAN network focus their practice on representing clients against the deceptive and unsavory practices of big banks, misleading mortgage lenders, mortgage servicers, and trustee companies. The attorneys are further able to assist with tax debts and other debt issues related to change of circumstance.

UFAN’s core belief is that there is no substitute for personal service and uncompromised integrity. – Source

But the website says something else of interest as well.

UFAN- Untied Foreclosure Attorney Network. This website constitutes attorney advertisement. [Kudos to them for mentioning that.] The information on this website and all information accessed through the UFAN website are for general information purposes only. Nothing on this website or accessed through this website should be taken as legal advice. Prior litigation successes are no guarantee of future results. The outcome of litigation and transactions can never be assured. This website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this website does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Certain UFAN lawyers are “of counsel” to UFAN and may represent certain clients independent of UFAN. Except to avoid conflicts, UFAN does not monitor or supervise these independent practices and is not responsible for the performance of its “of counsel” lawyers when they are rendering services independent of UFAN.

So if you happen upon a UFAN lawyer that sells you into a lawsuit against your lender and collects, say, $5,000 from you, then UFAN is or is not responsible for the actions of the attorney?

According to public records ufanlaw.com is owned by:

United Foreclosure Attorney Network, PC
1490 Stone Point Dr.
Ste 100
Roseville, California 95661

It was registered on April 26, 2011, but only for one year. Some claim this minimum registration is a sign they may not plan to stick around.

In contrast, the domain name used by the attorney that filed the suit against lenders is theufan.com and is owned by:

The UFAN
1490 Stone Point Dr Ste 100
Roseville, California 95661

The domain was registered on March 9, 2009 for a period of three years.

What’s interesting is that theufan.com was originally registered by:

Brandon Hintz
1410 rocky ridge
Roseville, California 95661

Domain Name: THEUFAN.COM

Administrative Contact:
Hintz, Brandon [email protected]
410 rocky ridge
Roseville, California 95661

He is also the administrative contact for ufanlaw.com under the email of [email protected]
rmsimple.com is owned by Hintz and it appears to be a relationship management software company.

Now none of that would typically seem relevant but then there is this document at rms.rmsimple.com/ufan/files/UFAN%20Representative%20Instruction%20Letter.pdf which certainly makes it appear that there is a closer relationship between Hintz and UFAN.

The document appears to be an agreement between independent representatives that will market UFAN services and UFAN.

The letter says:

To assist you, UFAN Legal Group has produced approved materials which may be used to inform clients about UFAN services including a website specifically for UFAN (www.UFANLaw.com); a PowerPoint presentation; frequently asked questions (FAQ) and interviews with attorney Kristin Crone as well as other of Counsel litigation attorneys. You are specifically prohibited from using outside materials that have not been approved by UFAN Legal Group in your interactions with potential clients. – Source

This “must be approved” statement will become important later in this article.

And here is the closed loop on the Hintz-UFAN relationship.

UFAN Legal Group uses RM Simple, a customer relations management program as the primary management tool for potential clients seeking to retain UFAN for services. RM Simple is a robust and detailed tool which allows us to observe and manage each stage of the new client intake process. Although you may wish to use your own proprietary CRM to manage your internal marketing activities; you will be required to enter certain client information in RM Simple early in the client intake process.

The document says it is from Kristin Crone, attorney. Crone is also the attorney of record on the lawsuit filed by UFAN on August 17, 2011.

I did manage to locate another company that lists the same address as UFAN. – Source. Zoograbadvantage says it is located at the same office space as UFAN and take a guess who owns the domain zoograbadvantage.com. If you guessed Brandon Hintz then you deserve a pat on the back.

To make things even more interesting, a peek at the other domains hosted on the server that is managed by Hintz and/or RM Simple found k2lawnorth.com.

This site is owned by Kramer & Kaslow and managed by Brandon Hintz. Kramer & Kaslow is one of the law firms raided and seized by the Attorney General of California for mass litigation marketing.

Kristan Crone, Esq.

Kristan Crone is an attorney in California who is licensed to practice. The California Bar lists the following information.

Current Status: Active

This member is active and may practice law in California.

The following information is from the official records of The State Bar of California.

Bar Number: 269679
Address:
UFAN Legal Group, PC
1490 Stone Point Dr Ste 100
Roseville, CA 95661

Phone Number: (916) 794-0944
Fax Number: (916) 669-9698
e-mail: [email protected]

Undergraduate School:
Baylor Univ; Waco TX

Law School:
Indiana Univ Bloomington SOL; IN
County: Placer
District: District 1
Sections:
None
Status History

Effective Date Status Change
Present Active
6/1/2010 Admitted to The State Bar of California

She lists her practice area as bankruptcy. – Source

Kristan Crone is the lead attorney on the mass joinder case filed by UFAN Legal Group. You can read the case copy that was sent to the consumer as an attachment, here.

According to Crone’s public profile, two years ago she was the student administrator of the Indiana Legal Services Low Income Taxpayer Clinic. – Source

UFAN Legal Group, PC

According to State of California records, UFAN Legal Group, P.C. is a recently registered california professional corporation.

Entity Name: UFAN LEGAL GROUP, P.C.
Entity Number: C3352621
Date Filed: 02/22/2011
Status: ACTIVE
Jurisdiction: CALIFORNIA
Entity Address: 1801 TRIBUTE RD
Entity City, State, Zip: SACRAMENTO CA 95815
Agent for Service of Process: KRISTIN CRONE
Agent Address: 980 9TH ST 16TH FL
Agent City, State, Zip: SACRAMENTO CA 95814

You’ll notice that’s a much different address than they give now, when they give it.

Let’s Finally Get to the Point That Pissed Me Off

Gary Kovner, a Senior Intake Analyst with ufanlaw.com sent the consumer a document that appears to be a sales qualification document. It says on the cover, “The answers to the following questionnaire will help your UFAN Representative better determine your eligibility as a plaintiff in one of our Multi-Party Lender lawsuits.”

So keep in mind, this is a document that is sent to a consumer by a representative of UFAN Law Group and there is a page actually titled, “Mental Assessment of the Prospect.” The Prospect! Are you kidding me? And this document was carefully approved by UFAN lawyers?

UFAN   United Foreclosure Attorney Network

So clearly the consumer in need of legal help is a prospect. Sounds like a sales effort to me when people are labeled prospects. And that pissed me off.

While debt relief companies may recognize consumers as sales, there is no need to label the consumer as a prospect to their face.

I did notice that the same document makes some interesting statements:

Based on the information provided in this questionnaire and any other relevant information conveyed to the attorney during your consultation, you will be advised regarding the best possible legal action for you.

So does that mean they would refer the consumer to a different attorney or different service that is “best” for the consumers?

Settlement before a ruling on the merits:
Most cases settle before trial. It is possible the banks do not want to risk a ruling that their contracts with homeowners were null and void. If so, it is possible that they will settle with us in order to avoid a judgment on the merits.

Are they saying to the average consumer that most cases will settle before a trial? But what track record does UFAN have of actually settling these cases before a trial? I’m going with none.

It also appears that the UFAN document makes some similar promises that were part of the actions against other attorneys.

The document says:

We are here to fight for the following client goals:

  • Keep clients in the home throughout the litigation.
  • We will fight for a settlement tailored to each client’s needs.
  • Adjustment of loan principal amount to reflect market value of property.
  • Reduced interest rate to reflect current market rates.
  • Get lender/bank to waive deficiency lawsuit after short sale.
  • Clean the credit of the client via settlement agreement.

While they have softened the claims made they certainly sound similar to the claims the Attorney General of California targeted in their suit against other attorneys.

UFAN   United Foreclosure Attorney Network

You can read the entire UFAN Case Eligibility Questionnaire, here.

My Take On All of This

My impression from what I’ve seen is that it appears Kristin Crone is a new attorney that got mixed up with some marketers who have encouraged her to get involved in the mass joinder movement and lay her license on the line.

It appears the UFAN operation is designed like other similar efforts where the marketers are probably contracted by the firm to deliver services to the “prospects” they sell into the suit, with the attorney approval. After all, the UFAN representative agreement does say that representatives of UFAN, “…should provide an invoice to UFAN Legal Group each Wednesday morning, before 12pm MST, detailing the contract services performed during the preceding week.”

So based on that I would urge any consumer who is considering participation with this or any other mass suit against their lender to do the smart and logical thing, get a second opinion first.

It’s just wise and prudent for people to spend a couple of hundred dollars to meet with a local real estate attorney licensed in their state and get a second opinion about participating in this action before they invest thousands.

UFAN   United Foreclosure Attorney Network
Get Out of Debt Guy – Twitter, G+, Facebook

Update 9-10-2011

Krista, a commenter, provided a link to the UFAN retainer agreement

UFAN Joinder Client Engagement Packet v2.0

After a quick glance I noticed that it says to make payment to United Foreclosure Attorney Network, PC but there is no California corporation by that name.

UFAN   United Foreclosure Attorney Network
UFAN - United Foreclosure Attorney Network by

Share This and Spread the Word

About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • Chaucey

    It seems Brandon Hintz committed Mortgage Fraud in the State of Washington. Now he is the office Manager (probably owner of UFAN. People beware. He scammed me out of $2000 bucks under the UFAN name and they wanted another $7,000. Beware

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      I think UFAN closed up, didn’t it?

  • mike

    Your Number are no good, can reach any one!!!!!!

  • Chancey

    I found this on the web. Is this the same Brandon Hintz that owns http://WWW.UFAN.COM

    It’s from the State of Washington. The address given for Brandon on this Final Order is pretty close the address for the UFAN GROUP…OFF by a few digits. It is stating that he committed Mortgage Broker Fraud by stating he had a license to do so.  Please read and comment on this.

    FINAL ORDER14 Based upon the foregoing, and the Director’s designee having considered the record and being15 otherwise fully advised, NOW, THEREFORE:161718, and the Director’s designee having considered the record and being15 otherwise fully advised, NOW, THEREFORE:161718192021222324A.FINAL ORDERORDERC-09-378-II-FOOI-09-378-II-FOOIIT IS HEREBY ORDERED, That:IS HEREBY ORDERED, That:I . Respondent The Now Brand, Inc. d/b/a ShortRefiNow.com is prohibited fromparticipation in the conduct of the affairs of any mortgage broker subject tolicensure by the Director, in any manner, for a period of five years.2. Respondent Brandon Hintz is prohibited from participation in the conduct of theaffairs of any mortgage broker subject to licensure by the Director, in any manner,. Respondent The Now Brand, Inc. d/b/a ShortRefiNow.com is prohibited fromparticipation in the conduct of the affairs of any mortgage broker subject tolicensure by the Director, in any manner, for a period of five years.2. Respondent Brandon Hintz is prohibited from participation in the conduct of theaffairs of any mortgage broker subject to licensure by the Director, in any manner,, in any manner,for a period of five years.3. Respondents The Now Brand, Inc. d/b/a ShortRefiNow.com and Brandon Hintzjointly and severally pay a fine of$10,000. This fine shall also be joint andseveral with any other Respondents determined to have violated the Act.4. Respondents The Now Brand, Inc. d/b/a ShortRefiNow.com and Brandon Hintzjointly and severally pay $5,370 in restitution to borrower D.T. This restitutionRespondents The Now Brand, Inc. d/b/a ShortRefiNow.com and Brandon Hintzjointly and severally pay a fine of$10,000. This fine shall also be joint andseveral with any other Respondents determined to have violated the Act.4. Respondents The Now Brand, Inc. d/b/a ShortRefiNow.com and Brandon Hintzjointly and severally pay $5,370 in restitution to borrower D.T. This restitution,000. This fine shall also be joint andseveral with any other Respondents determined to have violated the Act.4. Respondents The Now Brand, Inc. d/b/a ShortRefiNow.com and Brandon Hintzjointly and severally pay $5,370 in restitution to borrower D.T. This restitution, Inc. d/b/a ShortRefiNow.com and Brandon Hintzjointly and severally pay $5,370 in restitution to borrower D.T. This restitution2THE NOW BRAND. INC.BRANDON HINTZDEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONSNOW BRAND. INC.BRANDON HINTZDEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONSON HINTZDEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONSENT OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONSDivision of Consumer Services150 Israel Rd SWIsrael Rd SWsion of Consumer Services150 Israel Rd SWIsrael Rd SWPO Box 41200Box 41200Olympia, WA 98504-1 200(360) 902.8703lympia, WA 98504-1 200(360) 902.8703902.8703I2345678 B.B.shall also be joint and several with any other Respondents detennined to haveviolated the Act.5. Respondents The Now Brand, Inc. d/b/a ShortRefiNow.com and Brandon Hintzjointly and severally pay an investigation fee of $768. This fee shall also be jointand several with any other Respondents determined to have violated the Act.6. Respondents The Now Brand, Inc. d/b/a ShortRefiNow.com and Brandon Hintz,maintain records in compliance with chapter 19.146 RCW, the Mortgage BrokerPractices Act (Act) and provide the Director with the location of the books,y and severally pay an investigation fee of $768. This fee shall also be jointand several with any other Respondents determined to have violated the Act.6. Respondents The Now Brand, Inc. d/b/a ShortRefiNow.com and Brandon Hintz,maintain records in compliance with chapter 19.146 RCW, the Mortgage BrokerPractices Act (Act) and provide the Director with the location of the books,/a ShortRefiNow.com and Brandon Hintz,maintain records in compliance with chapter 19.146 RCW, the Mortgage BrokerPractices Act (Act) and provide the Director with the location of the books,, the Mortgage BrokerPractices Act (Act) and provide the Director with the location of the books,,records and other information relating to Respondents’ mortgage broker business,s and other information relating to Respondents’ mortgage broker business,and the name, address, and telephone number of the individual responsible formaintenance of such records in compliance with the Act.e name, address, and telephone number of the individual responsible formaintenance of such records in compliance with the Act.

  • Kristin Crone

    I would really like to get some input on some thoughts I have been having so I thought I would post them up here and see what kind of response arises.  I notice that there are essentially two schools of thought on the foreclosure mess:  1) the homeowners were stupid to ever sign the crazy loans and deserve what they get, and 2) the banks acted predatory and everyone is suffering for it.  The problem that I’m having with the first school of thought is this:
    Even conceding fault on the party of property owners who signed on to ridiculous loans (which is not the case with everyone in mortgage trouble), what happens if all of those people are foreclosed?  It doesn’t just affect those who signed on to bad mortgages, it affects everyone who owns property.  The more houses that sit empty on the block, the more difficult it is to sell your house if you want to move.  All of the foreclosure sale prices drive down the price of real estate in general.  Foreclosures are not helping anyone. 

    To me, there is fault on both sides.  Banks issued outrageous loans to unsophisticated borrowers who had no idea what they were signing.  I’ve seen all kinds of evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the bank, but I’m not going to get into that.  On the other hand, borrowers should have some responsibility for understanding the agreements they sign.  But, when the s*** hit the fan (pardon my language) it looks like its the borrowers that are the only ones taking the fall.  The big banks continue to show record profits.  It’s my opinion that the best resolution is for both sides to meet somewhere in the middle.  In fact, that seems to be the intent of congress as well.  Unfortunately, the programs developed to reach this balance (TARP, HAMP, etc) have been completely disregarded and even misused by loan servicers.  Many times, borrowers end up in worse circumstances than they started when they try to use these programs. 

    Regardless, foreclosure-after-foreclosure damages everyone.  In 1933, due to The Great Depression, the State of Minnesota signed into law a moratorium on foreclosure.  The Supreme Court upheld this law as valid under the state’s police powers.  For any interested, the case cite is 54 S. Ct. 231.  The act that set up the moratorium stated,

    “Whereas, the severe financial and economic depression existing for several years past has resulted in extremely low prices for the products of the farms and the factories, a great amount of unemployment, an almost complete lack of credit for farmers, business men and property owners and a general and extreme stagnation of business, agriculture and industry, and
    “Whereas, many such properties have been and are being bid in at mortgage foreclosure and execution sales for prices much below what is believed to be their real values and often for much less than the mortgage or judgment indebtedness, thus entailing deficiency judgments against the mortgage and judgment debtors, and
    Whereas, it is believed, and the Legislature of Minnesota hereby declares its belief, that the conditions existing as hereinbefore set forth has created an emergency of such nature that justifies and validates legislation for the extension of the time of redemption from mortgage foreclosure and execution sales and other relief of a like character, and
    “Whereas, The State of Minnesota possesses the right under its police power to declare a state of emergency to exist, and
    “Whereas, the inherent and fundamental purposes of our government is to safeguard the public and promote the general welfare of the people; and
    “Whereas, under existing conditions the foreclosure of many real estate mortgages by advertisement would prevent fair, open and competitive bidding at the time of sale in the manner now contemplated by law, and
    “Whereas, it is believed, and the Legislature of Minnesota hereby declares its belief, that the conditions existing as hereinbefore set forth have created an emergency of such a nature that justifies and validates changes in legislation providing for the temporary manner, method, terms and conditions upon which mortgage foreclosure sales may be had or postponed and jurisdiction to administer equitable relief in connection therewith may be conferred upon the District Court, and
    “Whereas, Mason’s Minnesota Statues of 1927, Section 9608, which provides for the postponement of mortgage foreclosure sales, has remained for more than thirty years, as provision of the statutes in contemplation of which provisions for foreclosure by advertisement have been agreed upon.
    “Section 1.  Emergency Declared to Exist. – In view of the situation hereinbefore set forth, the Legislature of the State of Minnesota hereby declares that a public economic emergency does exist in the State of Minnesota.”

    The circumstances described sound eerily similar to those California now finds itself to me.  Please let me know your thoughts.  UFAN has been entertaining the idea of starting a ballot initiative to this effect or taking any other action that might serve to assist homeowners on a broad scale.  It has always been my belief that open communication is the seed of invention.

    • http://northeast-properties.com Andy Faria

      I agree Kristin, HAMP and other government programs have been a near-complete disaster and a massive waste of taxpayer dollars. The banks have taken advantage of the gigantic loopholes that the government left in these programs. And yes, homeowners have taken the brunt of that fallout.

      However, I must strongly disagree with your overall message, “Foreclosures are not helping anyone” and “foreclosure-after-foreclosure damages everyone”
       
      This won’t be a popular statement amongst today’s struggling homeowners, but the rest of the country can’t begin moving forward until all underwater homes have been foreclosed, short sold, or paid down enough to have positive equity. Once all of these toxic properties have been corrected, then and only then, will home values begin to increase again. If we are forced to wait for everyone to pay their loans down to a point that they all have equity again, we will continue to see foreclosures and short sales at a steady pace thru 2020 and beyond. Stalling foreclosures with regulation will only leave home values stagnant, until the banks are paid up.

      Modifications are only designed to help a small fraction of homeowners and they won’t do anything to address the major problem, the equity position of a property. Yes they may help the guy that has experienced a short term hardship or is stuck in a high (8%+) interest rate, but for the guy that owes $300k on a home that is only worth $175k, it’s all smoke and mirrors. How does it help anybody in the long run if his mtg payments are reduced, but he now owes $325k stretched over a term of 40 yrs? It may help him in the short term to get by, but he still owes about 185% of the homes’ value. If anything changes in his life over the next 10-15 yrs (which it almost always inevitably will), the home will end up as a short sale or foreclosure anyway,only it will be 5, 10, or 15 years later than it could have been corrected.

      Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m in no way on the side of the banks. They probably have the dirtiest hands of all, and they should be held accountable. Every homeowner that feels they have been done wrong deserves their day in court and I would certainly love to see more people fight back. If a home is wrongly foreclosed, than that homeowner has suffered damages, and should be entitled to some kind of compensation, but there is no reason that they need to remain in the home not making mortgage payments and waiting on the outcome of their settlement. That doesn’t help anyone, and some could argue that it only weakens their case, in that they are benefitting by living in the home rent-free, decreasing the actual damages they have suffered.

      Bailouts are bad news and I’m tired of watching the government hand out our tax dollars on programs that only end up lining the pockets of the banks that had so much to do with creating the situation that we’re in.

      My thoughts are, if the home is underwater… give it back to the banks, let them eat it, and move on with life.  

      • Kristin

        Great comments!  That definitely gives me a lot to chew on.  Too bad we can’t force the banks to give principal reductions instead of causing moving expenses and all kinds of other problems for the homeowners when the bank is likely to less than a “fair” market value from foreclosure.

      • http://northeast-properties.com Andy Faria

        Reduce values to today’s market, but keep the same borrowers they lent to by 2006 standards… that would be a nightmare for the banks and a dream for homeowners.

        Unfortunately, even if the dream became a reality.. guess who would be paying for it… yup, all of us…

        There’s no time left for a principal reduction program. Maybe in early 2009 when they had $75B to play with. Instead they blew it on HAMP. We could never afford this now and the banks would never go quietly.It’s impossible.

        I hate to say it but Mitt “Hollywood Hair” Romney has it right on this one. Flush the toxic property thru the system, bottom out the market over the course of a few years, and then we can all finally asses the damage and move on from there. Once the system has been flushed of 2004- 2009, home values will be at their lowest and can only go up from there as the market gains stability. Lending standards will also stabilize with home values, and the cycle starts again in 2015.

        … instead…the banks would rather stretch this out over the next ten years with loan modifications and stalled foreclosures. I’m sure they chuckle every time someone sends them a check for a property that is completely buried, regardless of how much interest they are charging. It’s all gravy until the inevitable occurs..The banks are ok with milking this until 2020… at our expense of course.  

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Nothing good ever happens by pulling the Band-Aid off your arm hair slowly. It seems to make logical sense, we just need to deal with this to move on.

      • Rupert M

        These have been my thoughts since the trouble began and George Bush, prior to his departure, instituted the 1099 exemption.  No offense to Ms. Crone or anyone else making a living off the desperation of the situation, but IMO, it makes all the sense in the world to walk away from a toxic investment and even more so when you are being given a free pass for the loss.  

        I realize that a house is a home, but to what end?  At what point do you realize that it’s time to walk?  Many homeowners are so deeply concerned over their ever less important FICO score and what walking away will do because they have been brainwashed to believe that their score is the most important aspect of credit.  Never mind that in most cases in California walking away would mean leaving behind over $100k (in principal) in bad debt without having to pay it back.  (Not to mention the rest of the debt you leave behind.)  

        To these people I say what is your score really worth?  If someone were to walk up to you and hand you $100k in cash and tell you that all you have to do is let your score drop a couple hundred points would you take it?  For many the answer is “no” and that’s a problem we will likely never all agree about.  Many homeowners mistakenly think of their homes as a financial investment so it puzzles me when these same people don’t realize when that investment has gone belly up and it’s time to walk.

        For Ms. Crone’s part (and the many like her) I fail to see why there is insistence on fighting because a homeowner wishes to fight.  They do so because as a whole, they know no better and they believe that to be the only way.  They need to be advised of their options and shown the way and you can still make a living doing it because you are selling trust, not a dream.  Trust in the fact that you know the way.  This is truly one of those instances where it makes all the sense in the world to take one step back to make HUGE strides forward down the road.  

        A house is a house and a house that has a principal owed which is even 50% of today’s value is going to take decades to break even.  During that time, the homeowner will be paying almost double the break even value so why continue?  Walk away, shed the debt, start rebuilding and in 2 years go back and buy the SAME house (if you really love it) for a FRACTION of what you now owe.  

        Or work the short sale system and stay in the house.  Either way DO SOMETHING other than sitting around waiting for the now EVEN BIGGER four banks to hand you what amounts to $150k!  Even better, stop making that payment, put the cash you would’ve paid in your pocket for as long as the system lets you live for free in the house and then take the saved cash to the courthouse auction and BUY another house cash and start the cycle all over.  DO SOMETHING! 

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        This article was brought to my attention today. It’s reverent to this discussion. See Living By Default.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        This article was brought to my attention today. It’s reverent to this discussion. See Living By Default.

      • Kristin Crone

        Great article Steve – and thank you for the comments everyone.  I would agree with the comment in the article about a de-occupy movement but for one thing – the bank doesn’t have to take the house back.  I speak with a significant number of clients who are trying to walk away.  They call the bank, ask for a deed in lieu, leave the premises and live somewhere else.  The bank locks them out, will not foreclose and will not accept title to the property.  That’s the worst of both worlds:  the client no longer has the property, but he/she is still on the hook for the property taxes, HOA’s, etc.  If homeowners did start a de-occupy movement, the banks could simply refuse to take title. 

        Let’s consider some numbers. 
        Scenario 1:
        Let’s say Borrower decides to give up his home.  There is only one mortgage on the home for $200k and the current value of the home is now $100k.  The bank goes through with the foreclosure sale and gets $100k minus the costs of non-judicial foreclosure.  Borrower has moving expenses, lowered credit, and walks away from the remaining $100k debt but no longer has the place he and his family have called home for the last five or so years. 

        Scenario 2:
        Bank works with borrower who can easily afford his house based on current market values.  Bank reduces the amount of Borrowers principal to current market value and puts him in a slightly higher than current market rate mortgage (but better than the mortgage terms Borrower previously had).  Borrower keeps his home.  The bank still has a $100k interest in the property plus slightly higher than market rate interest on the payments for the next 30 years.  This situation seems win/win.  Yes, the banks take a hit, but no bigger of a hit than what it takes in scenario 1.  Society as a whole has not suffered anymore than it would have in Scenario 1.  The loan has been brought down to current market value and the mortgage has been made reasonable by today’s standards. 

        Why don’t banks do scenario 2?  Because it’s not “lenders” making the decision to foreclose, it’s servicers.  Servicers get paid to foreclose. 

        What ends up happening is something like either Scenario 3 or 4:
        Scenario 3:
        Borrower tries to work with the banks.  The banks tell Borrower he cannot be considered for loan mod until he goes behind on payments.  Under advice of bank reps, borrower falls behind on payments.  Then he gets yanked around in the loan mod process for several months.  This servicer is under a HAMP agreement and borrower qualifies for HAMP, but after three months of delinquent payments, the bank transfers servicing to a new entity that is not under a HAMP agreement and has virtually no loan mod programs available.  At this point, Borrower is already behind several months by suggestion of the original servicer, no longer has loan mod options, and has no way of making up the arrears plus fees and interest.  During all this time, Borrower goes through extreme emotional distress and the loan servicer racks up all kinds of fees and expenses paid by the loan trust that actually owns the mortgage.  The “lender” takes a hit both in the fire sale price it gets at foreclosure (if it can even sale the property in foreclosure) plus has to pay the servicers for all of the services performed, the borrower loses the property, and the servicer records record profits.  Only the servicers win in this scenario. 

        Scenario 4:
        Borrower is smart and not emotionally attached to the property.  Borrower realizes he/she is spending way more than necessary for the property and wants to walk away.  Borrower requests short sale from the lender.  Lender approves short sale, but only if borrower agrees to pay the deficiency.  Borrower gains nothing from this, so Borrower requests deed in lieu.  Bank rejects the request.  Borrower leaves the home and decides to simply allow the bank to foreclose.  Bank decides to leave the property vacant instead of bringing yet another property into its REO department.  Bank doesn’t foreclose.  Bank refuses title.  Homeowner no longer has access to the property and is on the hook for property tax, HOA dues, and other miscelaneous expenses. 

        You would be surprised how often we see Scenario 4. 

        I’m sorry for the length of this post, but it’s important to understand that litigation isn’t only about emotional, irrational homeowners.  Litigation also sets law.  There are two ways to make law in this country – get the legislature to do it, or go to court.  People aren’t just fighting for their homes, they’re fighting for their rights.  Additionally, very little is being done to prevent banks from continuing many of their harmful practices in the future.  We are trying to make them accountable for their actions.  Under current case law, no duty has been found between lenders and borrowers.  This seems obsurd to me.  There must be at least a minimum duty of lenders/servicers to treat borrowers reasonably – and at least not lie to them or lose documents repeatedly. 

        The lender/borrower relationship has undergone extreme changes over the last 20 years and the law has not changed accordingly.  Old law doesn’t place any responsibility on lenders to lend responsibly (even though the lender is the more sophisticated party in most residential mortgage transactions) because it used to be the lender that needed protection.  Lenders upheld high underwriting standards to protect themselves from default and used appraisers who conservatively appraised properties to protect their interests.  Now, lenders act as loan processors who pass the risk of default on to investors.  Lenders are no longer concerned about default because they immediately recoup amounts loaned by first collecting huge upfront fees at closing and then selling the loans off to investors of Residential Mortgage Backed Securities.  The motives of “lenders” has changed significantly and the law needs to change accordingly.  These are only a few of the reasons we bring litigation. 

      • SAY

        I am just trying to find out info.THAT IS IT!!!!
        This bickering and pissing match is like babies in School.
        It comes down to 2 things.either you help or you don’t,but if you don’t Keep your mouth shut.If you do help people.
        SAY!

    • Larry Armstrong

      Kristin: as a 14 year financial planner now specializing with assisting people with their debt issues I would like to offer my thoughts on the statement “1) the homeowners were stupid to ever sign the crazy loans and deserve what they get. 

      At face value the statement is 100% valid.  Other than sheer stupidity, or perhaps the motive to defraud the bank on a loan, how could, why would anyone ever agree to a loan they could not afford?  In fact, there are reasons that have nothing to do with stupidity or fraud on the consumers part. 

      I have discovered that  many people simply lack mathematical skills and financial sophistication.  My sister, for example is a very bright, college educated lady.  But, goes into brain freeze whenever a number is involved.  If she has a good feeling and trusts the person giving the advice, she is very likely to accept the recommendation, with little or no questioning of the numbers.  If she does not get that “warm and fuzzy” about the adviser she will reject the advice and recommendation regardless of how good the advice actually is.  I have counseled many people who clearly could not afford their housing payments.  When I asked why they took out a loan they could not afford the majority answered 1 of 3 ways. 

      A.  “I trusted my bank/broker.  I borrowed they money because they said I could afford it.  Why would they offer me a loan I could not afford or pay back?”   

      B. ” We put bids on house after house and continually were out bid. We were afraid if we didn’t buy now we would never be able to afford a house.  We knew the loan was not affordable, but we were promised we could refinance in a year or so at far more favorable rates and affordable payments.   So, we signed the papers and decided to tough it out until we could refinance.  We applied for the refinance and were denied.” 

      C. “Our house was nearly paid for, but after my spouse passed away I knew I could not afford this house on my Social Security income. I went to my bank for help and they told me I could refinance and take the equity out of the house and use the money to pay living expenses and make mortgage payments.  I have refinanced 3 times since then and it has been such a blessing.  Once again I am out of money, but the bank won’t lend me anymore and they say they are going to take away my home if I don’t make the payments.  What am I supposed to do now?”

      Although I am quite certain it happened, of the thousands of homeowners I have spoken to, not one ever told me the bank offered to loan them far more than they ever hoped for, so they decided to take the money and run. 

      The issue is that banks ALWAYS do what is in their financial best interest.  At one time this meant actually being paid back for the loans they made.  But, along with the ability to package and securitize loans came the immense profitability of originating loans, collecting fees, commissions and points, and selling the loans to investors.  Banks no longer  owned or made money by collecting payments and interest on the loans they made. Thus, their focus changed from lending money only to people who could make the payments, to loaning as much money to as many people as they possibly could.  

      Housing prices soared as banks relaxed lending requirements making more money available to basically anyone who wanted to buy a house and could fog a mirror.  Banks made ever more and bigger loans and obscene profits by originating and selling loans.  

      In an insatiable thirst for greater profitability banks lending policies caused massive housing inflation and earned massive profits.  They loaned money to people who clearly could not afford the payments and when they stopped making payments, the bubble burst.  People lost equity in their houses, depleted their savings and investments trying to keep a home they could not afford only to eventually lose the house anyway.  As people  focused on making the mortgage payments, they stopped buying consumer items.  Consumer sales and business profitability dropped, peoples hours and wages were cut and they lost their jobs.  Spending was further reduced and the downward spiral of our economy continues to this very day as 1 in 2 Americans are now categorized as low income or poor. 

      All of this has happened because banks made more money by making and selling loans than they did by collecting interest on loans they made.  Banks manipulated and caused massive housing inflation and the inevitable deflation that followed.  Yet, they will not refinance houses that are upside down or reduce principal on modified loans despite the fact bank manipulation of the market through their lending policies is exclusively responsible for the current equity situation. 

      From refinance to foreclosure, from short sale to loan modification, homeowners are at the mercy of what banks decide is most profitable for them.  Banks now make more money by foreclosing than they do by providing meaningful loan modifications or re financing.  As they continue to earn record profits, banks offer consumers little choice other than to pay far more for housing than they should, or to give up their homes.  Banks consumers no option but to file a lawsuit against them as home owners want to keep their homes and need more affordable housing. 

      Thank God Ufan is making this option available without the misrepresentation and unfounded marketing claims made by Kramer & Kaslow and associates. I pray they are successful.  

      My take is that in the vast majority of cases 2) the banks acted predatory and everyone is suffering for it.

    • Larry Armstrong

      Kristin: as a 14 year financial planner now specializing with assisting people with their debt issues I would like to offer my thoughts on the statement “1) the homeowners were stupid to ever sign the crazy loans and deserve what they get. 

      At face value the statement is 100% valid.  Other than sheer stupidity, or perhaps the motive to defraud the bank on a loan, how could, why would anyone ever agree to a loan they could not afford?  In fact, there are reasons that have nothing to do with stupidity or fraud on the consumers part. 

      I have discovered that  many people simply lack mathematical skills and financial sophistication.  My sister, for example is a very bright, college educated lady.  But, goes into brain freeze whenever a number is involved.  If she has a good feeling and trusts the person giving the advice, she is very likely to accept the recommendation, with little or no questioning of the numbers.  If she does not get that “warm and fuzzy” about the adviser she will reject the advice and recommendation regardless of how good the advice actually is.  I have counseled many people who clearly could not afford their housing payments.  When I asked why they took out a loan they could not afford the majority answered 1 of 3 ways. 

      A.  “I trusted my bank/broker.  I borrowed they money because they said I could afford it.  Why would they offer me a loan I could not afford or pay back?”   

      B. ” We put bids on house after house and continually were out bid. We were afraid if we didn’t buy now we would never be able to afford a house.  We knew the loan was not affordable, but we were promised we could refinance in a year or so at far more favorable rates and affordable payments.   So, we signed the papers and decided to tough it out until we could refinance.  We applied for the refinance and were denied.” 

      C. “Our house was nearly paid for, but after my spouse passed away I knew I could not afford this house on my Social Security income. I went to my bank for help and they told me I could refinance and take the equity out of the house and use the money to pay living expenses and make mortgage payments.  I have refinanced 3 times since then and it has been such a blessing.  Once again I am out of money, but the bank won’t lend me anymore and they say they are going to take away my home if I don’t make the payments.  What am I supposed to do now?”

      Although I am quite certain it happened, of the thousands of homeowners I have spoken to, not one ever told me the bank offered to loan them far more than they ever hoped for, so they decided to take the money and run. 

      The issue is that banks ALWAYS do what is in their financial best interest.  At one time this meant actually being paid back for the loans they made.  But, along with the ability to package and securitize loans came the immense profitability of originating loans, collecting fees, commissions and points, and selling the loans to investors.  Banks no longer  owned or made money by collecting payments and interest on the loans they made. Thus, their focus changed from lending money only to people who could make the payments, to loaning as much money to as many people as they possibly could.  

      Housing prices soared as banks relaxed lending requirements making more money available to basically anyone who wanted to buy a house and could fog a mirror.  Banks made ever more and bigger loans and obscene profits by originating and selling loans.  

      In an insatiable thirst for greater profitability banks lending policies caused massive housing inflation and earned massive profits.  They loaned money to people who clearly could not afford the payments and when they stopped making payments, the bubble burst.  People lost equity in their houses, depleted their savings and investments trying to keep a home they could not afford only to eventually lose the house anyway.  As people  focused on making the mortgage payments, they stopped buying consumer items.  Consumer sales and business profitability dropped, peoples hours and wages were cut and they lost their jobs.  Spending was further reduced and the downward spiral of our economy continues to this very day as 1 in 2 Americans are now categorized as low income or poor. 

      All of this has happened because banks made more money by making and selling loans than they did by collecting interest on loans they made.  Banks manipulated and caused massive housing inflation and the inevitable deflation that followed.  Yet, they will not refinance houses that are upside down or reduce principal on modified loans despite the fact bank manipulation of the market through their lending policies is exclusively responsible for the current equity situation. 

      From refinance to foreclosure, from short sale to loan modification, homeowners are at the mercy of what banks decide is most profitable for them.  Banks now make more money by foreclosing than they do by providing meaningful loan modifications or re financing.  As they continue to earn record profits, banks offer consumers little choice other than to pay far more for housing than they should, or to give up their homes.  Banks consumers no option but to file a lawsuit against them as home owners want to keep their homes and need more affordable housing. 

      Thank God Ufan is making this option available without the misrepresentation and unfounded marketing claims made by Kramer & Kaslow and associates. I pray they are successful.  

      My take is that in the vast majority of cases 2) the banks acted predatory and everyone is suffering for it.

  • Gloria Grey

    Actually, no it’s not as any modified payment accepted is only a portion of what you legally owed each month so they CHOSE to accept your partial payments and then CHOSE to report you delinquent at a later date.  The fact that you would choose to dispute this with an individual who states he is an attorney in this very field is simply a sad commentary on the hubris (and ignorance) of the American consumer.  Rather than admit to yourself that you cannot win and begin the rebuilding process, you are going to continue to fight an unwinnable battle and then claim to be taken advantage of when the results do not favor you.  No doubt, when the results do not favor you your next argument will be that you are due a refund from anyone who tried to help you because you didn’t “get” what you wanted.  Stop living in the unfortunate past and start rebuilding a successful future.  Your emotion has taken control and that is unfortunate because emotional arguments in legal situations are a bad mix.

  • Gloria Grey

    Wait a minute, a 70 year old on Social Security of $1200 with a house payment of $1800 at some point had to QUALIFY for the $1800 payment based on their income.  They should’ve KNOWN they couldn’t afford the payment and never signed the loan in the first place.  THEY CAN’T AFFORD THE HOUSE!!!!  The problem in this country is that nothing is ever enough for irresponsible consumers.  It’s ALWAYS someone else’s fault!  There is ZERO litigation that is going to help and the problem with paying these attorney groups for mass joinders and class action suits is that the attorney’s who are supposedly providing the services are knowingly collecting a fee that is not sufficient to cover the normal costs of litigation and they are losing their licenses over it.  Attorney’s have not only the law to work within, but also a code of ethics.  If, as an attorney, you are collecting $5k from someone to “sue” the likes of BofA, Wells Fargo, Chase, etc.. you KNOW full well that the cost of litigation will be in the MILLIONS so collecting a fee and telling your “client” that the meager fee will be sufficient is UNETHICAL.  It’s ALL FRAUD!

  • Gloria Grey

    Why is it that you feel the lender owes you the ability to “catch up on other debts”?  How can you possibly think spending the $42k on “other bills” is justifiable?  If that was the only reason you needed a mod you are extremely irresponsible and deserve to lose your house.  If you “got a mod” then you signed a new note which means they cannot “take it away” so you never had a mod and were simply ignorant to what was being provided.        

  • Hotjackie99

    I’m so glad we have people like you to do this research. People who are loosing their home don’t have time to research each “Attorney” that contacts them!

  • http://www.mylegalsave.com miami foreclosure defense

    good thing i didn’t participate in this .. I do recall seeing no address on the welcome page which i thought i thought was rather shady but i disregarded it as a web master error or an update they might’ve forgotten.

  • Ingrid Treffehn

    I’ve been receiving emails and calls from UFAN, and was actually considering using them if I fail to get my modification.  However , the intake gal (Marjory?) was so rude, immature and inconsiderate today by hanging up on me…her male colleague did the same when I called back to complain.  This can’t possibly be a legitamate , professional company. The tactics are unethical & predatory.  I also plan on filing a complaint w/ the attorney general.

  • SD

    Mr. Getoutofdebt,

    Rather then sitting here and informing people about why this makes you so mad for whatever reason,,,,, why dont you tell the American people what to do about this mortgage mess! Why dont you talk about the real reason the office of Kramer & Kaslow was shut down! Mr. Kramer is in a civil suit and not criminal, but he hasn’t done anything wrong in regards to the lawsuit that have been filed. Why dont you discuss the biggest case against BofA….Ronald vs. BofA! that is the exact lawsuit that Mr. Kramer has filed in superior court. It really makes me mad when people like you who make a living off these sites that “supposedly” help people. what do you really know about this mortgage mess and how can people fight back the lenders?! I’m not defending Mr. Kramer but don’t talk about UFAN, since they have done everything correct. I’ve spoken to Kristin Crone and she was very helpful and knowledgeable. I even have a family member that is about to lose his property due to a sale date and Kristin is looking to stop the sale….FREE of charge. where do you find that kind of service Steve?!?! Now, let’s talk about my own situation that i have with Bofa and maybe you can tell me what to do…. i was never delinquent on my payments and got a permanent modification after 14 months. I began to make my payments in June/2010 and i came to find out that the modification was Denied in May/2011. Now I’m 42k in the rears with the lender and they claim that they screwed up on the payments and i need to apply for a mod again. Not only did the lender screw up and have admitted fault, they will not do anything about it. They screwed up my credit and my life. Now i have to hire an attorney to fight for me, so that i don’t lose my house. Let’s hear what you have to say about my situation and how you can assist me?

    • AlCapone

      You werent behind & you received a mod? Right…

      Maybe she will work on mine for free too…. Why not everyone’s for free? Oh, just yours? WHERE DO YOU FIND THAT KIND OF SERVICE? Id LOVE to know.

      What did you do with the $42,000 in arrears? If you kept it, catch up. 

      Why don’t you scammers come up with anything intelligent, ever?

      • Nyz_associates

        Mr. Capone,

        Yes…. I did get a mod and after a year but they took it away from me because they screwed up on the payment! If i got a mod then that means I needed help and the lower payments helped me catch up on other bills; therefore, I don’t have the 42k. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out….  not everyone is scam artist but i guess it takes one to know one! Good luck to you but it seems like  you have so trust issues! Do your homework and you won’t get ripped off!

      • Nyz_associates

        The money is sitting in my bank account….you want me to send you some of it?????? it’s so funny that people like you keep talking and don’t make sense!!!! it’s obvious that the bank screwed me over, just like they have done to the entire country…. but for some reason, we have retards like you who sit here and talk smack for no reason! one last thing….why are you so defensive and angry?? you probably got taken for $$$ and didn’t do your research before paying someone or maybe your wife cheated on you…..wait, I know…. you have little man syndrome and this is the only way you can make yourself feel better…haha…loser…get a life!

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      I have said time and time again, the issue with the mass joinder raids and seizures had nothing to do with the underlying legal efforts. It was about deceptive marketing and fee splitting concerns.

      The fundamental underlying problem is there is no legal requirement for any lender to restructure the note if they don’t want to. If there was, that would have been stipulated in the loan documents you signed.

      So is your underlying issue that you did not enter into a loan that could be modified at will or that Bank of America did not elect to voluntarily modify your loan?

      If your bank violated the law when they processed your note, take them to court if you want. That’s up to you. Just realize that any investment you make in legal action may take years to resolve itself and/or not end in a favorable outcome. That’s what UFAN says, not me. You may even lose your home in the process.

      As I quoted here, “Let me be very clear: joinder cases are not about emergency relief. They won’t stop a foreclosure, or get a house back. Except as the result of a settlement (which are few and far between), they won’t result in a loan modification.” – Source

      I’m glad that Kristin Crone was able to assist your family member free of charge and I applaud her for that but it sounds like this issue is not over yet, but in progress. Let us know how it finally resolves.

      It sounds like, for whatever reason you’ve had a change in your overall financial situation which has led you to a point where it is tough to make the contracted mortgage payments.

      Do you have a first and second mortgage on your home or is it just the first that is giving you problems?

      • SD

        Steve,
        My issue is that i got a perm mod and BofA took it away after a year of making payments, based in the mod payment I got. I never got a trial period or anything along those lines. Just a perm mod with lower payment that allowed my to move forward with my life. I do have a 2nd loan but they payment is low enough for me to be able to pay it. I understand how these lawsuits work and that they can’t save or get your house back but some of the America people don’t have another choice but to sue their lender. For example, a 70 year old client on social security income of $1200 cannot afford to make a $1800 payment and be able to eat. Since they will lose the house anyway, why not enter into litigation and hope…..YES….hope for a positive outcome! That’s what they are doing with the bank when they apply for mod….Hope and Pray for a positive outcome. But we all know they answer to that, don’t we? “sorry Mr. client but we never got your paperwork”
         
         

    • Krista Railey

      SD, you are obviously confused about who filed the Ronald vs B of A case.  The Ronald vs. Bank of America case was filed by Mitchell J. Stein.  Kramer is not affiliated with Mitchell J. Stein or the Ronald vs. Bank of America as PER STEIN’S STATEMENTS TO THE COURT AND DECLARATIONS THAT WERE FILED WITH THE COURT.  

      Not that it stopped Kramer and the affiliate network from pitching the Ronald vs. B of A case to unsuspecting homeowners.  

      Steve and I have been following the mass joinders and affiliate marketing very closely.  If you read his many articles on the subject, you will see that he is not the drive by media simply parroting a press release.  Moreover, he has thoroughly investigated the matter, and encouraged readers to contact the CA Bar.

      This reason the CA Bar and AG stepped in was because the parties were involved with an illegal marketing ring.  Right now it is a civil matter that involves violations of the Civil Code and CA Bar ethics.  The investigation, however, is still ongoing…

      Regardless of how angry you are at you bank, does not give people to the right to operate illegally or scam homeowners or engage in illegal marketing.  Like it or not, this had nothing to do with protecting the ‘evil’ banks, and everything to do with shutting down an illegal scam that targeted desperate homeowners.  

      As to Kristen, I am not familiar with UFAN, but I know of at least one K & K affiliate that moved over to UFAN.  I have read the retainer and read some of the marketing materials, and I have noted that non-attorneys are involved with the intake process. 

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        You are right, Kramer affiliates did move to UFAN and sadly tarnished the UFAN image out of the gate. Time will tell but Crone is saying the right things about cleaning up the initial UFAN mess. We’ve been trading emails.

      • Kristin

        You are right.  Kramer did not file the Ronald case, but Mitch Stein did.  Thereafter, Mitch Stein joined forces with Kramer and began trying to add Kramer clients to the Ronald case.  I believe this is why Kramer is often confused with that cases. 

    • Alan

      I am a real estate attorney with a great deal of experience with real estate secured loans.  Nothing I share is intended to be insensitive to your situation.  The fundamental reality is that if a borrower does not perform to the black letter of the contract that he signed with the bank (promissory note and deed of trust) then the borrower is in breach of contract and the law favors the lender.  The lender has discretion as to what remedy he will employ to remedy the breach and when he will implement that remedy.  In your situation you had a loan modification and the bank does not appear to be honoring the terms of the modification.  There are two hurdles that you have to overcome to have an enforceable loan modification.  The first hurdle is the statute of frauds (the loan modification must be in writing and signed by the bank – if not, you have trouble).  The second hurdle is something called consideration.  Consideration is somewhat of a complicated topic and I would recommend that you address the issue of both the Statute of Frauds and the issue of consideration with an attorney in your area.  Suffice it to say that just because the bank gave you a loan modification does not mean that the modification is worth the paper it’s written on.  In order for the modification to be enforceable it must comply with the statute of frauds and consideration must have been given for it.  See Luther Secrest vs. Security National Mortgage Loan Trust (2008) 167 Cal. App. 4th 544.  In this Secrest case Mr. Secrest lost his home to a foreclosure sale notwithstanding that he had a loan modification with the bank and that he had fully complied with the terms of the loan modification.  Mr. Secrest sued his bank and lost at trial and he lost on appeal. This case can readily be found on the internet and it does a good job explaining some of the problems with loan modifications.  The bottom line is this, if you want to ensure that you keep your house, bring the loan current (pursuant to the original terms of the contract) and keep in current.  Otherwise, your holding onto the house is completely discretionary with the lender.

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Thanks for taking the time to comment and share.

        It reminds me a bit of the advice a real estate attorney gave me once at closing. He said, “Let me sum up what all these papers mean, you’ve got to pay to stay.”

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Here is the narrative of the case you mentioned.

        In 1996, Luther and Charmella Secrest borrowed $552,700 from GE Capital Mortgage Services, Inc., to purchase their home. The loan was evidenced by a promissory note and secured by a deed of trust on the home. In 1999, the note and deed of trust were sold to Ocwen Federal Bank, FSB.

        Beginning in 1998, the Secrests were almost continually in default of the loan. In April 2001, the Secrests and Ocwen entered into a forbearance agreement (the April 2001 forbearance agreement) stating: “So long as the Borrower(s) comply with all of the conditions set forth in the forbearance agreement, Ocwen Federal will undertake no affirmative steps to advance the foreclosure action.”

        The April 2001 forbearance agreement had a reinstatement amount of $76,559.03 and required a downpayment of $15,000 with monthly payments of $7,570.52 commencing June 1, 2001. The April 2001 forbearance agreement would terminate if the Secrests “fail[ed] to meet any of the terms of this forbearance agreement or the original Note and Mortgage.”

        By January 2002, the Secrests again were in default. Joseph Neamon, a loan resolution consultant representing Ocwen, sent a letter to the Secrests regarding alternatives to foreclosure. In response, Luther Secrest telephoned Neamon to discuss loan status and the Secrests’ financial situation. During the telephone conversation, Neamon offered the Secrests another forbearance agreement if they made a $15,000 downpayment. Secrest said he could not pay $15,000 but would agree to pay $13,422.51. Neamon accepted that proposal and stated he would have a written forbearance agreement prepared and faxed to Luther Secrest.

        On January 18, 2002, Secrest received by facsimile a proposed written forbearance agreement. This proposed forbearance agreement was unsigned and contained provisions nearly identical to those of the April 2001 forbearance agreement. Secrest noticed, however, the proposed forbearance agreement had a reinstatement amount of $552,700-an amount he knew could not be correct because it was the original amount of the loan. Secrest also believed the monthly payment amount of $6,700 in the proposed forbearance agreement could not be correct because it appeared to be based on the inaccurate reinstatement amount.

        Secrest telephoned Neamon and reported those inaccuracies to him. Neamon agreed the reinstatement amount and the monthly payment amount in the proposed forbearance agreement were incorrect and agreed to correct them.

        During the same telephone conversation, Secrest said he and his wife were “not in arrears” on the loan, or if they were, they were “only in arrears by a few monthly payments and certainly no more than nine monthly payments.” Neamon responded by saying he was authorized by Ocwen to negotiate and enter into forbearance agreements on its behalf.

        Neamon told Secrest to modify the proposed forbearance agreement by crossing out the $552,700 reinstatement amount, sign the agreement as modified, fax the signed agreement back to him, and wire-transfer $13,422.51 to Ocwen. Neamon agreed that if Secrest did those things, then “he would immediately stop any collection efforts, perform a complete audit of our residential loan agreement from the date of the inception of the loan to the present to determine the correct amount of arrearage, if any, and subsequently negotiate the correct amount of any reinstatement amount, if any.”

        Neamon also told Secrest that if the audit showed the Secrests owed anything more on the loan, then he, on behalf of Ocwen, “would have a corrected forbearance agreement prepared and sent to me in which the reinstatement amount, if any, would be accurately stated based on the results of the complete audit of the residential loan from its inception.”

        Secrest crossed out the $552,700 reinstatement amount on the proposed forbearance agreement and signed it. After Charmella signed the agreement, he faxed it to Neamon and wire-transferred $13,422.51 to Ocwen.

        Ocwen sold the Secrest note and deed of trust to Security National Mortgage Loan Trust 2002-2 and others. A loan audit was never conducted and a corrected forbearance agreement was never delivered to the Secrests.

        In September 2004, Security National filed a notice of default and election to sell under the deed of trust securing the note. The notice of default stated the past due amount was $75,577.69.

        In March 2005, the Secrests filed a lawsuit against Security National, GE Capital Mortgage Services, Inc., Ocwen, and others, for declaratory relief and injunctive relief to enjoin the foreclosure. The complaint alleged the notice of default was void because it overstated the amount of the default. The complaint did not allege the January 2002 forbearance agreement. In October 2005, the Secrests sought, and were granted, a preliminary injunction to halt foreclosure proceedings.

        The parties thereafter agreed trial would be limited to the sole issue of whether the January 2002 forbearance agreement was enforceable in lieu of the 2001 agreement.

        The trial court concluded the January 2002 forbearance agreement was unenforceable. Based on that conclusion, a referee determined the amount of arrearages the Secrests owed on the note secured by the deed of trust. Judgment was entered declaring the notice of default against the Secrests to be valid. The Secrests appealed.

        The court of appeal affirmed, holding that the January 2002 forbearance agreement was unenforceable under the statute of frauds.

        The court found that the January 2002 forbearance agreement, although it did not create, renew or extend the note and deed of trust, did modify them. The January 2002 forbearance agreement substituted a new monthly payment for the monthly payment required under the note. The 2002 agreement also altered the lender’s ability to exercise a right to foreclose under the note and deed of trust due to the borrower’s default. Pursuant to Civil Code §1698, an agreement to modify a contract that is subject to the statute of frauds is also subject to the statute of frauds. The January 2002 forbearance agreement was thus subject to the statute of frauds. Because neither Ocwen nor its agent signed the January 2002 forbearance agreement, the agreement was unenforceable.

        The court rejected the Secrests’ contention that Ocwen’s acceptance of their February 2002 downpayment estopped Security National and others from challenging the validity of the agreement. Under well-established principles of California law, payment of money alone is not enough as a matter of law to take an agreement out of the statute of frauds. As to the payment itself, the Secrests had legal means to recover the downpayment if they were entitled to its return.

      • SD

        Alan,

         I understand that your an attorney but I believe that I have a strong case here. I’m not familiar with the case you are discussing here but every case is different. Even if the lender didn’t execute my mod paperwork, at the end of the day….they cashed over one year of the new payments they agreed on. I’m sure you are familiar with the insurance companies that tried to get out of paying out on insurance claims, just due to the fact the paperwork wasn’t signed. They still accepted the funds as the premium and that’s as good as a signature

    • Kristin

      Kramer is not now nor has he ever been part of Ronald v. BofA.  Your speaking about Mitch Stein.  Just thought I’d set the record straight on that since I hear this erroneous rumor all the time. 

    • Gloria Grey

      Hmmmm, an attorney who is going to perform services “FREE of charge”?  I would steer as clear of that situation as possible as the most expensive thing in the world is “free”.  Also, although I’m not exactly positive of the law or regulation, I believe it there are serious issues between attorney/client when no fees have been paid.

      As far as what you can do, hiring an attorney will get you NOWHERE as there is nothing to be done.  The only thing you are going to get is an extended stay in your home for free as inevitably, civil law resides with the lender and you will be out of your house.  I’m curious as to how you claim to be $42k in “arrears”, but also claim to have never been delinquent.  The lender and credit reporting agencies are two different entities.  The lender reports and the credit score companies provide your rating based on the report.  Your credit was screwed up by the fact that you were unable to make payments.  If you are $42k in arrears, then you have received $42k in financial benefit which many would say is worth far more than a credit score.  If the lender isn’t going to provide principal reduction (and they’re not so you can quit hoping immediately) then why would you want to stay in your house?  The federal government has provided you and everyone else with a “get out of debt free” card by providing a 1099 exemption on any foreclosed/short sale debt.  You are likely very upside down and are also $42k in arrears.  Accept that as assistance and ride out the stay in your house as long as lenders are providing a moratorium on foreclosure.  You can very likely get another year or two provided you know how to strategically do so.  You do not need an attorney to do this.  Suck it up and stop expecting more.

    • Gloria Grey

      Hmmmm, an attorney who is going to perform services “FREE of charge”?  I would steer as clear of that situation as possible as the most expensive thing in the world is “free”.  Also, although I’m not exactly positive of the law or regulation, I believe it there are serious issues between attorney/client when no fees have been paid.

      As far as what you can do, hiring an attorney will get you NOWHERE as there is nothing to be done.  The only thing you are going to get is an extended stay in your home for free as inevitably, civil law resides with the lender and you will be out of your house.  I’m curious as to how you claim to be $42k in “arrears”, but also claim to have never been delinquent.  The lender and credit reporting agencies are two different entities.  The lender reports and the credit score companies provide your rating based on the report.  Your credit was screwed up by the fact that you were unable to make payments.  If you are $42k in arrears, then you have received $42k in financial benefit which many would say is worth far more than a credit score.  If the lender isn’t going to provide principal reduction (and they’re not so you can quit hoping immediately) then why would you want to stay in your house?  The federal government has provided you and everyone else with a “get out of debt free” card by providing a 1099 exemption on any foreclosed/short sale debt.  You are likely very upside down and are also $42k in arrears.  Accept that as assistance and ride out the stay in your house as long as lenders are providing a moratorium on foreclosure.  You can very likely get another year or two provided you know how to strategically do so.  You do not need an attorney to do this.  Suck it up and stop expecting more.

    • Kristin Crone

      It is perfectly legal to take on clients on a pro bono basis.  UFAN occassionally takes clients on contingency and for reduced fees as well in its discretion.  Most if not all of our clients are having financial difficulty and, unfortunately, we cannot afford to opperate as a non-profit firm.  But, we are dedicated to assisting homeowners and, for this reason, we sometimes extend an olive branch to those in especially dire circumstances.  These programs are 100% discretionary.

    • Nyz_associates

      Allow me to stand corrected….Kristin was doing the work pro bono but that says a lot more then what some other lawfirms are doing!

  • Krista Railey
    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Got it. Thanks.

      I did a quick look at the agreement and one page in particular caught my eye, see attached.

      The page says that payments are supposed to be paid to United Foreclosure Attorney Network, PC but a search of California Corporations could not find any company registered to do business under that name.

      Certainly not great attention to detail on their part.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Got it. Thanks. I did a quick look at the agreement and one page in particular caught my eye.The page says that payments are supposed to be paid to United Foreclosure Attorney Network, PC but a search of California Corporations could not find any company registered to do business under that name. Certainly not great attention to detail on their part.

  • Mark

    I have drafted a letter/complaint to submit to the Attorney General, but their website states you must try to resolve any issues with the company first.  So, have submitted written and verbal requests for a status update, and will give them a chance to respond and/or do something.

    However, I’m unsure which attorney General to contact.  The property is in Florida, I’m now in Ohio and UFAN is in California.  Unless I learn otherwise, my intent is to submit complaints within each State.  

    By the way, the property has not been abandoned and is currently rented out – though at a loss.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      I’d report it to CA and OH.

    • Kristin Crone

      Mark, I would love to speak with you about these issues.  Perhaps you are calling the wrong number.  UFAN’s number is 877-791-2247.  Call at your earliest convenience.

      • mike

        Number for a lighting company, WTF

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Maybe they already went out of business? Did you try emailing them?

  • Mark

    Well, I just read your article regarding UFAN, and am one of the idiots who signed up and paid them $4,000 bucks. I signed up on June 13th – just in time to get in on their pending lawsuit with Aurora. Which, surprise, surprise – they haven’t filed yet.

    The initial contact person, stated that other clients had discontinued making their monthly payments, and if the lender pursued foreclosure before a settlement, we could simply use UFAN foreclosure defense program, and cover the $1,000 per month fee (for 7 months), from the saved mortgage payments.

    It’s September 2, they do not respond to request for updates as they said they would, the last conversation I had with a “partner” was very terse and made it clear I was being a bit of a nuisance. Yet, no lawsuit has been filed.

    I’m unemployed, and paying that $4,000 was difficult as it was, but we don’t have the money to pursue this. What do I do – or do I just suck it up knowing I got conned, and let the house go?

    Any guidance will be greatly appreciated. The only thing I have thought to do is file complaints at the AG offices – so I am doing that.

    Thank you,
    Mark

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      $1,000 per month fee!!!

      Unless I’m missing something here or you feel you are on the verge of being employed again very soon, I’m not sure how this helps you now. Even expert attorneys in this mass litigation movement say that this action will not stop a foreclosure. And do you have $1,000 a month laying around to throw at this problem or is now the time to take the limited cash you have and move forward with your life?

      I was not familiar with their “foreclosure defense” program but I found what appears to be a marketer for them, under the name Consumer Defense Programs, that was promoting it. See attached image. 

      If you feel you were “conned” I would proceed with a request for a full refund. The attorney involved would be much smarter to give you a refund than risk you filing a complaint against them with the State Bar. 

      You can use this same procedure to request your refund.

      Please keep me posted on what happens or what you decide to do.

  • T2esq

    I produced some video content for my own Youtube channel “t2esquire” about the mortgage madness, and also was asked to submit them to UFAN, which I did.   I try to be both entertaining and legally informative with my professional, HD video productions, since I have been asked to assit in litigation.  (latest video is The Credit Mistriss)

    Terry J. Thomas, esq.

Get My FREE Get Out of Debt Guy Newsletter

It is the smart thing to do.

I promise to keep your email safe and secure.

Close

I want to keep you posted each weekday with just one email about the latest get out of debt news, scam alerts and information to beat back debt.

You can unsubscribe at any time with just one click.

After you subscribe, check your email to confirm your subscription. If the confirmation email does not appear in your inbox in a few minutes, check your spam folder for it. Sometimes it likes to annoyingly hide there.


  • It will keep you posted on the latest scams.
  • You will be alerted to the latest articles.
  • You will wind up smarter than everyone else dealing with debt.