Archive for May, 2009

Washington State Scammer Will Pay

May 10, 2009

Pay time for notorious foreclosure rescue scammer

Attorney General announces major victory in state’s case with Washington man who promised help but took homes

SEATTLE – The Washington Attorney General’s Office declared a major victory for consumers today in response to a judge’s order that a notorious foreclosure rescue scammer must pay more than $3.2 million to victims he wronged plus $179,000 in penalties for violating the Consumer Protection Act.

“Joseph Kaiser’s a cunning real estate investor who made his living by claiming to help people facing tax foreclosure – then taking their homes, land and money,” Attorney General Rob McKenna said. “Thanks to the hard work of our Consumer Protection Division, he will no longer be able to prey on struggling homeowners.”

The Attorney General’s Office also obtained an order permanently stopping Kaiser from participating in real estate transactions with people facing foreclosure.

Kaiser, of Tacoma, was the first foreclosure “rescuer” to be tried by the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, which works to enforce a fair marketplace for consumers and businesses. He is the author of several books describing tactics for making quick profits from real estate and has conducted seminars to teach his methods for earning large amounts of money through deals involving distressed properties.

Kaiser entered transactions with more than 300 property owners. No one has ever successfully regained their home from Kaiser.

Assistant Attorneys General Jim Sugarman and Jake Bernstein represented the state in the trial, which included six days of testimony and arguments by attorneys on both sides during December 2008 and January 2009.

“Kaiser’s victims were elderly, disabled or low-income individuals – people who trusted him to solve their foreclosure problems and were betrayed,” Sugarman said. “Kaiser portrayed himself to these people as an expert in saving homes facing foreclosure, when he is actually an expert in taking homes facing foreclosure.”

King County Superior Court Judge Palmer Robinson ordered Kaiser to pay nearly $4.2 million including more than $780,000 to partially repay the state for the costs and attorney fees for bringing the lawsuit. It’s a significant finale to a case that began in March 2007 when the state filed civil charges against Kaiser and simultaneously settled with several of his colleagues. In its complaint, the state alleged that the defendants used public records filed with county treasurers to contact property owners with offers to help solve their foreclosure problems. Their real intent, however, was to  obtain ownership of the home or to let the home be sold at tax foreclosure and then take the excess sales money that should have been paid to the homeowner.

The other defendants in the case agreed to pay $290,000 to the victims as restitution and $30,000 to the Attorney General’s Office for some of its costs and fees. The state will distribute those funds starting as early as this month.

Kaiser refused to even discuss settlement during most of the litigation. Meanwhile, he continued to conduct real estate deals and schemed to convince his victims to give him a portion of the settlement money paid by his co-defendants.

While preparing for trial, the state’s team reviewed more than 70,000 pages of documents involving business dealings of Kaiser and his former partners and new allegations emerged.

The state amended its complaint to add three additional businesses created by Kaiser during the litigation. Kaiser was accused of obtaining ownership of homes with large amounts of equity for little or no cash. In other transactions, he captured excess proceeds of tax sales that would have been paid to the property owner. Kaiser also used an automatic dialing device, sometimes called “robocalling,” to reach his victims – a practice that is illegal in Washington state.

Trial Judge Michael Trickey called Kaiser’s contracts “grossly unfair.”

“No fully informed person, not acting under compulsion, would enter a transaction with such onerous terms,” Trickey wrote in his decision.

As a result of the state’s case, Joseph Kaiser and his business entities are forever barred from soliciting or participating in any transactions involving properties facing foreclosure.


Options For Homes In Distress

May 5, 2009

The Obama Administration announced details on the Making Home Affordable Program, April 28, 2009. Making Home Affordable Program is an effort  to help responsible homeowners.  Including an effort to achieve greater affordability for homeowners by lowering  payments on their second mortgages as well as measures to help underwater borrowers stay in their homes.   See link below to learn more about this program.

“This announcement will make it easier for borrowers to modify or refinance their their loans under FHA’s Hope for Homeowners Program.” Said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan

Find out if Fannie Mae owns your loan by using the Fannie Mae Look Up Tool

Real Estate in Snohomish County, WA

May 3, 2009

Northwest Multiple Listing Service 24 Hour Market Watch for Sunday 05/03/09

New Listings –  211

Back on Market – 27

Price Increases – 12

Price Reductions – 155

Contingent – 1

Pendings – 108

Solds – 42

Expireds – 67

Inactives -21

Breaking News —–

Bank of America Loosening Short Seller Policy

Bank of America (BOA) says it will relax its policy on payoffs connected with short sales.  Large banks have been demanding money for the home equity lines and second mortgages that would otherwise be worthless if the short sale property went to foreclosure. BOA ha been among the least cooperative of all banks in agreeing to short sale payoff terms, demanding 10 percent of what the homeowners owed on the equity line balance or second mortgage before signing off on the short sale, which is necessary for the deal to go through.  BOA spokesman Terry Francisco says the new policy is “less arbitrary, more rational.”

New Policy

BOA’s new policy is to ask for five percent of the sale proceeds on the short sale, net of realty commissions, closing, and other costs.  Some short sellers point to problems, though:  “The bank’s previous 10 percent policy meant they’d demand $20,000 on a $200,000 equity line balance, but under their new policy it will cost the short seller $15,000 if the net proceeds are $300,000” on a short sale, even though the economic value of their holding may in fact be zero.  Says the Realty Times:  “Bottom line for investors:  If there’s a Bank of America second mortgage or credit line on the house you’re after in a short sale, work the new numbers.  At least some of the time you might be surprised that the answer from the big bank is now “yes.”

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