By William Hudson
Banks have used fabricated documents and forged signatures over the past decade to foreclose on homes they don’t own while law enforcement and the courts have intentionally looked the other way. However, attorney Constantine “Chuck” Kalogianis is now in trouble because he has been accused of resorting to the same tactics by altering documents in at least five Pasco County mortgage foreclosure cases in which he represented delinquent borrowers.
Claims of evidence tampering have been filed in a 258-page motion filed in Pasco Circuit Court this week by Bayview Loan Servicing seeking to foreclose on one of Kalogianis’ clients. The motion focuses on Kalogianis who the plaintiff believes was the only one with the means and motive to alter records and make it appear that the companies starting the foreclosure actions didn’t have legal standing to do so.
The goal, the motion says, was to make it impossible for Bayview to foreclose on Kalogianis’ clients. In one case, a judge initially ruled in his favor and ordered a bank to pay him $170,000 in legal fees. It will be interesting if Kalogianis goes after Bayview Loan Servicing that handles loan servicing for Bank of America and other pretend lenders. Bayview has the audacity to state, “There is something terribly wrong with repeatedly tampering with and defacing evidence entrusted to the Clerk of Court in order to do so.” EXACTLY! So why should tampering with evidence be illegal ONLY if you aren’t a large banking institution like Ocwen, Nationwide, Wells Fargo, Citibank, or JPMorganChase?
Kalogianis is a well-known Pasco attorney and former Congressional candidate and according to the Tampa Bay Times, said that the bank lacked the original document it needed to foreclose and was trying to “turn the tables” on him rather than lose the case. “It is the plaintiff’s own improper conduct . . . that should be reviewed,” when asked about the accusations.
The case against Kalogianis is one of the first in which a lawyer representing borrowers has been accused of altering records. It is interesting that millions of foreclosures have been filed by using fabricated and forged documents with impunity, and that ONE attorney is now being accused of the same crime. Kalogianis can rest assured that an audit of Bayview’s foreclosure filings will likely find hundreds (if not more) fraudulent documents filed by the banks in which they service.
Ft. Lauderdale attorney Neil Garfield has often wondered when an attorney or homeowner would resort to the same tactics as the big banks to create further confusion in the court room. Since there isn’t any legitimate paperwork in regards to most foreclosures, homeowners and their counsel could easily fabricate notes and letters to also create prima facie evidence.
Garfield stated that, “If creating the appearance of standing takes no more than a printer and computer program to create the illusion of standing…….why wouldn’t consumers be inclined to resort to the same illegal and unfair tactics that the banks have settled on if they know there will be no enforcement of the crime?” Garfield reiterates again that the ONLY way to REVEAL the TRUTH of ownership is for the servicer’s business records to be revealed through Discovery demands. It is much more difficult (but not impossible) to forge or recreate business records (wiring instructions, where funds are forwarded, etc…).
In cases defended by Kalogianis, the companies seeking to foreclose said they filed promissory notes with blank endorsements. However, at some point, the motion says, the notes in four of the cases were altered to show they had been endorsed by “Bank of New York, as trustee.” But there is literally no way to prove who did this without a witness or surveillance.
In the fifth case, a blank endorsement was altered to show Wells Fargo had signed it, the motion says. This may be a new tactic by the banks to create such uncertainty in regards to who is doing the fabricating and forging, that it will be almost impossible to ascertain who is telling the truth. This type of scenario is exactly what Neil Garfield worried would one day manifest- a recording system of transfers so convoluted and full of fraud that no court on earth would be able to clarify what happened “when and to who”. It appears that the general public (and the criminal element) have began to recognize that a credibility loophole exists- and people may begin forging paperwork to “tell the story they want told” as Garfield predicted.
Now that you can’t rely on what the bank says, what the country records say, what the homeowner says, or what the attorneys say- it appears that there may be a problem that cannot be solved without executive or legislative intervention.
Loan servicer BAC, lost its case against a client of Kalogianis in 2014 when Kalogianis argued at trial that only the Bank of New York could foreclose because it was the one that had endorsed the promissory note. (The case has since been reopened.) Since there are no lie detector tests that can be administered, no videos, no confessions, DNA or fingerprint evidence to prove who did what to the mortgage notes, the motion says that “the potential perpetrators . . . become more and more limited as opportunity and motive are examined.” Really? That sounds like a reference to the servicers! Although possible- most attorneys would be unwilling to risk their law licenses to win a client’s case. The risk/benefit ratios don’t appear to be there in this case. And lets not look at the real issue here- the largest perpetrator to resort to forgery and fraud? The servicers and foreclosure mills.
There is no way that any judge or court clerk can make a ruling on documents that are based on illusion. Although it could be said that lawyers for the foreclosing companies can be ruled out because to endorse notes would sabotage their own cases- this may not be true. What better way to pervert justice (or remove a successful homeowner’s attorney by accusing them of fraud) than to “muddy up” the evidence? Banks have demonstrated that they are capable of all types of fraud including larceny, forgery, burglary, illegal trespass and perjury- why not frame an attorney? Could it be that this tactic may be used against other attorneys who dare to take on the big loan servicers? Attorneys must be vigilant to document that the documents provided by their client’s appear legitimate.
The motion singles out Kalogianis as the perpetrator. “This process of elimination could leaves only defendants’ counsel,” the motion says. It seeks a final judgment of foreclosure and attorneys fees in its case against one of Kalogianis’ clients, Nicholas Verrengia. Verrengia has other clients of Kalogianis have praised their attorney and accuse Bayview of the fraud.
This is the end result of law enforcement’s refusal to become involved in the early stages of the foreclosure crisis. It is now public knowledge that the country records are perverted and have no remaining credibility. There will be homeowners and attorneys who are as capable of photo-shopping signatures and creating documents out of thin air as the big banks to create enough confusion that a judge simply cannot rule.
It is also only a matter of time before the true criminal element in this country resorts to the same tactics of forging documents to convince vulnerable homeowners that they are their “new loan servicers” and begin collecting payments and stealing homes from unsuspecting homeowners. If stealing a home is no more difficult than learning to cut and paste signatures or use a computer system to create the illusion of ownership- the bank’s own tactics are going to cause them issues they never imagined. If I was Kalogianis, I would employ a forensic document examiner to look at the last 100 foreclosures filed by Bayview and their clients. This could get ugly.
Filed under: foreclosure |