Bankruptcy is the Ultimate Protection from Florida’s Corrupt Foreclosure System

15 Oct Bankruptcy is the Ultimate Protection from Florida’s Corrupt Foreclosure System

For Floridians, Federal Bankruptcy Court is proving to be a far superior avenue for actually saving homes than our state court judicial system.

The homeowner, with the help of a qualified bankruptcy attorney, can encapsulate and protect as much of his assets as possible while eliminating the uncertainty created by a failed foreclosure system. Homeowners are often emerging from Bankruptcy Court with the meaningful mortgage modifications that elude them in Florida’s state courts. Floridians shouldn’t have to seek refuge from our state courts, but be grateful there is an alternative, especially if you live in the Middle District of Florida.

Who runs Florida’s Foreclosure Courts? Why the banks do, of course. Just ask judges, prosecutors and the Florida Bar.

Retired senior judges regularly bend the rules for banks and their often inept lawyers prosecuting foreclosures, and they have been turning a blind eye to the bankster fraud in their courtrooms for years. For years, these retired judges have been paid for results – reducing the number of open foreclosure cases specifically – and they have been too willing to ignore the rule of law to make sure they “hit their numbers.”

Most retired judges create their own special set of rules they apply in foreclosure cases to tilt the playing field in favor of mortgage companies. They justify this unequal treatment because “homeowners aren’t making mortgage payments,” but they refuse to hear the hundreds and thousands of stories from homeowners describing their failed attempts to work directly with the mortgage industry to make their mortgage payments and avoid foreclosure.

Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi inherited from her predecessor an ongoing investigation of corrupt lawyers running foreclosure mills in South Florida. Stories of lawyers forging signatures and faking affidavits abound nationwide, and Florida is no exception. However, one of Bondi’s first official acts was the prompt termination of the lead investigators, and eventually she let all the investigations wither and die on the vine. Bondi never met a bank she didn’t like.

And now, the Palm Beach Post is reporting that the Florida Bar is doing nothing to discipline any of these corrupt bank lawyers despite nearly two hundred complaints filed by citizens, judges and fellow lawyers. Is there any wonder why lawyers are held in such low regard in our society?

Keep in mind that a national Attorney General investigation into foreclosure fraud by the country’s five largest mortgage servicers that resulted in a $25B settlement for consumers. This is the activity our foreclosure judges, Attorney General and the Florida Bar can’t seem to find here in the Sunshine State.

It makes the average Floridian facing foreclosure wonder whether there is a chance to save their home in a rigged system. Well, there is an alternative – bankruptcy

When a homeowner files a bankruptcy, the Bankruptcy Court enters an order, known as the automatic stay, which removes jurisdiction from the Foreclosure Court. The effect is a “freezing” the foreclosure case.

Once in bankruptcy, the homeowner can buy time, fight the mortgage company on a couple of the substantive foreclosure issues like “standing,” or even compel the mortgage company to engage in good-faith mediation. Here, in the Middle District of Florida, the mortgage modification mediation program has been widely successful, permanently modifying mortgages, including significant principal reduction for underwater homes.

So, if you are a homeowner at your wit’s end over your home in foreclosure, call a bankruptcy lawyer to discuss the bankruptcy alternative to what is all-too-often an unfair state court foreclosure process.

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Chip Parker is the managing partner of Parker & DuFresne, P.A., where he represents Northeast Florida businesses and consumers facing bankruptcy, and homeowners facing foreclosure. His firm files more homeowners in the Mortgage Modification Mediation Program than any other law firm in Northeast Florida. Parker is the recipient of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid's prestigious Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service. Mr. Parker is an active member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and National Association of Consumer Advocates.
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