The West Coast Foreclosure Show with Charles Marshall: The Power of FOIA requests to uncover Foreclosure Data with Eric Mains

Thursdays LIVE! Click in to the The Neil Garfield Show

Or call in at (347) 850-1260, 6pm Eastern Thursdays

Tonight Southern California attorney Charles Marshall will host the new West Coast Radio Show with Attorney Charles Marshall with guest Eric Mains, former FDIC Team Leader.

The West Coast Radio Show will run the first and third Thursday of each month, while Neil Garfield will continue to host the second and fourth Thursday.  This change will allow us to bring more relevant foreclosure news from both Coasts, and in-between.

Neil Garfield has been working diligently on his technological platform that he hopes will empower both attorneys and pro se litigants facing foreclosure to access automated court documents.  He will also publish his latest foreclosure defense book in the Fall.

This episode features Eric Mains, a former FDIC Team Leader who resigned when he discovered the federal government was unwilling to go after banks that were participating in illegal conduct.  Mains studied to be a lawyer, but ended up as a banker with large regional firms like PNC and National City. He was a vice president of special assets, dealing with commercial loans for multifamily housing units.  If anyone knows how this game is played it is Eric Mains.

For more information about Eric Mains and his foreclosure battle see Vice article here.

Eric Mains currently has a writ of cert that has been submitted to SCOTUS appealing a recent decision in his 7th circuit court of appeals case where the federal court ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to hear his case under the Rooker Feldman doctrine.  Eric is using the FOIA laws to obtain data in his own case. He was recently able to stop a sheriff’s sale on his own home just 5 hours after he issued a complaint to the Indiana State Attorney General’s office supported by an FOAI request submitted just weeks before.

The Power of FOIAs to uncover Foreclosure Data

By Eric Mains, former FDIC Team Leader

Read about Eric Mains here.

LPS Consent Judgement

In the fight for discovery of information related to wrongful foreclosure actions, many attorneys and consumers find that they run into a gamut of obstacles preventing them from garnering basic facts about what happened with their loan transactions. This ranges from the cost of trying to conduct discovery, willful non-disclosure by opposing parties, judges who either hinder needed discovery or bounce cases on motions to dismiss before discovery can be obtained, and of course, the often-heard objection from opposing counsel that items requested in discovery are somehow “privileged” or contain non-disclosable data.

Many cases are withdrawn or settled based solely on the impending threat of discovery actually being allowed by the few judges who side with homeowners to pursue the disclosure of relevant information in their cases.

While discovery in individual cases can be complex, burdensome, and costly, one simple and easy resource that can lead to potentially large benefits on a mass scale outside of traditional discovery is the use of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to seek data held by government institutions.

Many consumers and their attorneys may scoff and assume FOIA requests are not relevant to their individual cases, so why bother? There are a few reasons for bothering. First, depending on the players involved in your individual case, there may be data that is held by governmental agencies that can be obtained by FOIA requests more cheaply and easily than can be obtained otherwise, and who knows what you may find? It may be relevant to you, it may not, BUT don’t assume anything!

Second, the State agencies such as the Attorney General’s offices have already done the legwork of squeezing the servicers and obtaining potentially useful and relevant information for prosecuting offenders.  Why not use it if it’s there? There could be names, dates, and other data of use, and who knows where that information may lead or if it may become of use later.

Lastly, the information you uncover may not just save you, it may save someone else…and even if it doesn’t help you specifically, you may save hundreds of other people’s homes with the data you uncover. What if someone else a few months down the road doing a similar FOIA request/research uncovers data that saves you? This goes to a “crowd funding” concept of data mining…but more on that in a bit.

While it is true that the federal government has been inclined to do everything in its power to try and block documentation related to large bank misconduct and settlements it has reached with national banks, not all useful and relevant information is held solely by federal agencies or regulators.

In the case of mortgage loan servicers, such as Ocwen, LPS/Black Knight, Green Tree, Caliber, etc., State AG’s were also very active in litigation that reached various settlements. Unlike federal entities, State entities who have data relevant to wrongful actions committed against consumers may not be as tight lipped, or as able and willing to avoid the release of information under their various FOIA/Open Records statutes. A good list of the various State FOIA laws can be found at this website: http://www.nfoic.org/state-freedom-of-information-laws .

The good news is that with a little detective work, if relevant information is suspected to be held by any of your state governmental agencies, a simple fax/letter you can send for a few dollars requesting said information is all that it takes to get the ball rolling. Most turn around periods for a response on such requests is around 30 days.

So, what if they refuse to release the records you request citing various privileges? What if they say they only can release a few of the records?  Without going into long detail, just the response from the agency in and of itself may confirm that they do indeed hold suspected information of use to yourself (or other homeowners) whether they are willing to release the records or not. Even a partial release of records from the governmental agency involved may leave a bread crumb trail leading to other records that may become useful. If an agency does unlawfully or unreasonably withhold records, it may turn out that going to court to force release of the relevant records receives a much more consumer friendly response under FOIA laws as well.

Another potentially beneficial side effect- the results of the FOIA may also get the attention of local news agencies/other consumer advocacy groups if brought to their attiention. Nothing garners attention like smoke, and other interested parties may be inclined to file FOIA request of their own when they find out that there appears to be something…. some records, some data, that appears to be inherently newsworthy and publicly disclosable…but that it is being unreasonably withheld for some strange reason…..hmmmmm. If it’s one thing banks and uncooperative political entities are afraid of, it’s the nations true highest court–that of public opinion and its instantly damaging spotlight.

One last point to remember is that in an age of crowd sourcing, crowd funding, and social media driven group campaigns, something as cheap and powerful as a mass group FOIA campaign to release and share information should be central in helping to fight against wrongful foreclosures. The banks and servicers are unendingly willing to go into court and lie and produce false documentation, while the courts turn a blind eye most times…. but keeping up a lie and producing false documents leaves a trail, and it’s a hundred times harder to keep up a lie and cover for it than to simply be armed with facts and the truth.

Things start to slip, documents come out, and the next thing you know you have a smoking gun and evidence of mass fraud that can’t be ignored or denied. The simple truth of the matter is we don’t know where some of the breadcrumbs discovered in FOIA requests might lead, or how they might help us all. There are plenty of angry consumers willing to yell at TV sets, send out angry Tweets or join blog communities, but not many that are willing to invest time in actually doing something that has potential mass benefit and a real potential impact. FOIA requests are one way to do that cheaply and effectively, and it FORCES the governmental agency involved to respond to YOUR demand, usually for under $5 on your end. Where else can you get that kind of bang for your buck in an age of unaccountable government, media, and courts?

4 Responses

  1. I pray you have a staunch TILA leader..groups often miss many fine points and the debate wastes time..many of us are on our way to our 80s.. (hey how about a million man age 70s/80s march of the Secretary of Commerce..peaceful and orderly march but show that we, some of us a big part of the Greatest generation…and all that fooforrah.

  2. I CAN NOT HELP BUT WONDER AS I WANDER OUT UNDER THE SKIES…HOW MANY FORMER VICTIMS OF THE SOLE OWNER, WILBUR ROSS JR. of AMERICAN HOME MORTGAGE ARE EVEN AWARE THAT THE SAME ” Wilbur Ross Jr” is the same, TRUMP MADE HIS”SECRETARY OF COMMERCE (OF THE usa) !~!!!! How tragically so many of us owe the loss of our homes and equity we planned for our “golden Years”…how very, very many of us LOST what little we had managed to hand on to over the years.. ripped out of our ability to fight back, into the slimey, greasy, stinking hands losing at every turn to OUR Sectary of Commerce”, a man who can (and will) influence CFPB to restain from further pursuit of ROSS BEST FRIEND, (William Emby, former CEO of Ocwen Fi(who is by last known presence to be an upstanding citizen of Malta (to escape and evade prosecution by SEC/FBI for dozens of years of swindling maybe even BILLIONS o $$$ Emby was trying to escape certain financial (and his pal, Ross who dumped the certain to be prosecuted AHMSI for stealing our homes totally violating (and with the aid/abet of a number of Fed Ct Dist Judges who ignored the STRICK laws (that Congress passed in 1959 to protect us from Roiss and his ilk from CLAIMING STANDING when IN FACT…Ross had NO STANDING as admitted to 12th Dist Circut Ct, Polk County, OR before Judge Hporner as a “special” hearing demanded by Ross’ scum bag attorney TERESA SCHILL, who swore before the Presiding Judge of !2th Dist Fed Ct. Polk Cty, OR and said, on the record in answer to Horners direct question, “Ms Schill, do you have the NOTE Original (as req by strick Fed Law, under TILAS 1959 Passed by US Conmgress, to protect you and me from the Wilbur Ross’ and the Countrywides and the WAMUS and ALL the others who leaped on our backs and beat us up and stole our homes and equities we believed were sacred property)…MILLIONS of us subject to the incarnate pure unadulterated greed and avarice of Wall St and its “derivitive” schema).

    Its pure actuarial analysis that most of us now in our late 70s, will, in fact be, dead and buried, our legacy (children) leaving in woder, “how could daddy and mommy be so stupid to GIVE all their asset to Wilbur Ross and the like…? A very sad inscription for our gravestones..”oh, I guess they were just stupid old fools to buy into the “American Dream”
    just so we could plug a USB cord into the back of our heads with the USB port we were born with..jeez, Mom and Dad, so foolish..so ok, light one up and lets play sum mo of thos video games..eh!)

    Hell Garfield, I piss and moan over things they “do not see, do not hear and perhaps they never will” ( Vincent by Don McLean)
    .

    Sorry to blather but its cheaper than a shrink!”

    Wilbur F..ing Ross Jr, Secretary of my and your USA, COMMERCE with power to kill us even more than he did with AHMSI, than he ever did before he skinned many of us alive> He is such a chicken S…t, peice of crap..I even tried to challenge him to sue me for libel and slander..he just ignored that back whwen he called all the shots at AHMSI…ahhh those wer the days my friends,,we were much younger then…of woe, is me, Wilbur took it all away!” No calls yer on libel suit for which the ONLY defense is TRUTH..something that Willie boy might chole on a tad should he be aware that he creeamed us all and then sold us to OCWEN Financial (google OCWEN present thru its past..WILBUR ROSS was made Sr Board Advisor to the publicly traded Ocwen Financial” on sale of whatever foul deal he conspired with he and his long time buddy, CEO W. Emby ([please forgive all the typoe..I am blind, left eye and have to focus on keyboard, and can’t look at screen same time, sorry)..BUt in all I do remain thoroughly pissed off, would so love to witness Ross comeuppance, as he so richly deserves and will pay milions od (our) dollars for his attorneys to try to bury lil ,ole PRO SE me, whose only defencse (as Hokins played the evil Nazi MD in QB Seven flivcl..a strick lible case for sre the Hopkins character was, indeed slandered and libeled..all to the tume of the total of the $ amount of his “victory, “ONE PENCE for the damage to this plaintiffs for, a clear cold cut of LIBEL..guess who really lost in QB7?

    Thanks for this forum fully abused by an MA in Criminal Psych..as a place to vent…thas all folks!@

  3. And so the “BADITS lay on…me having to suffer the like of Wibur the Theif Ross who solely owned AHMSI, hawked it off to his partner in crime CEO Bill Embey, who put his crime partner,Ross on the top of Ocwen Financials BOD, who now owned Ross sole interest in AHMSI sued me in 12th Dist Fed Ct, Portland and apparently had Judge Anna Brown by her hand, convinced her to overturn/rescind 12th Dist Circut Ct Judge Horners court order placing MY home in my control on the basis of Horner following TILAS strick Fed Law…if you have no proof of standing then you have no standing on the property you are planning to steal MY home from me. Horner found against Wilbur Ross solely owned AHMSI, as Ms Tersa Shill carried ZERO proof of standing into Horners Polk County, OR courtroom with absolutely no proof of standing by ppresenting the ORIGINAL note, the ONLY way any one can prove legal standing and which Judge Brown ignored the lack of that evidence required by Fedral Law, which she swor oath on the Bible she would uphold to the very letter of the Federal Laws she was duty bound to abide by..instead she dismissed me, pro se, and handed my home to Wilbur Ross (now “rewarded by Trump appt to Sec of Commerce!!!!????) to slit up twix HSBC??? and his pal, Bill Enbey, then active CEO of the corrupt Ocwen Financial…of yes, corrupt and the HSBC, then under FBI investigation for LAUNDERING South Americal drug lords and cartelss who smuggled drugs into USA sold to any buyer wishing to destroy their own live and passing the loot to HSBC to launder…google my allegations, this is no joke. I at age 78, disabled vet had $30K equity stolen from aided and abetted by Judge Brown..I was foreably evicted, now pennylessness, just as AAG was about to wire $300K reverse mort loan so I might enjoy my “golden years” all destroyed by Wilbur Ross, our
    New Secretary of Commerce of USA..I alleg all of this and defy Ross to haul me into court and sue me for LIBEL and Defamation of Character (which Ross has no “character”..I have only a few years lef and Ross saw to it I spend those years as a pauper…steaal from the poor, give to the rich..Ross’ motto for how he has led his life.

    Thank you Mr Garfield for allowing me to vent my spleen on your forum.

    Bruce R Nelson Banner Elk, NC

  4. Exactly the approach I am pursuing with small group that has potential

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