AND SO IT BEGINS– GMAC, Jeffrey Stephan Sued by Vindictive Homeowner
by Foreclosure Fraud
October 17, 2010
In his complaint, filed in Common Pleas Court, Fox seeks at least $25,000 in compensatory damages and $25,000 in a civil penalty, plus undetermined punitive damages that his attorney said will be 2 percent of GMAC’s 2009 gross revenue.
Now here is a good idea.
GMAC Sued by Vindictive Homeowner
And so it begins. In one of the state’s first lawsuits made by a distressed homeowner against a bank on the basis of alleged fraud during the foreclosure crisis, an Ohio man is out to get GMAC for knowingly presenting improperly-prepared paperwork in the process of his judicial foreclosure case. Yesterday, Michael Fox of Johnstown filed suit against GMAC Mortgage and Jeffrey Stephan, a bank employee who allegedly signed thousands of foreclosure affidavits without any actual knowledge of the cases therein. Stephan, who was deposed in January as part of a separate suit in Florida, admitted that during his tenure as a GMAC “robo-signer,” he signed off on around ten thousand foreclosures a month without once looking at the paperwork.
At present, several of the country’s biggest names in mortgages have frozen their in-progress foreclosures while a federal investigation of fraud in the foreclosure procedures of these lenders is being carried out. Most of these lenders have come forth and confessed that, in an attempt to cope with the unspeakable backlog of foreclosure cases jamming up the legal system in the twenty-three states that require a judicial foreclosure, they hired employees to quickly sign hundreds of thousands of foreclosure documents over the past two years. These employees never even read the court documents that they were supposed to be witnessing, many of which contained incorrect or incomplete information that couldn’t stand up to legal scrutiny. The attorneys general of all fifty states are currently working in conjunction on a joint investigation as to the full extent of this fraud and how foreclosure procedures will need to be amended so it does not happen again in the future.
Fox, whose twenty-two acre horse farm is mortgaged by GMAC, accuses the bank of having flouted the state’s Consumer Protection Sales Practices Act, in addition to having committed common law fraud and an abuse of process as well as civil conspiracy through the attempted foreclosure. In retribution, he is demanding twenty-five thousand dollars from GMAC in compensatory damages, an additional twenty-five thousand dollars in civil penalties, and what NPR described as “undetermined punitive damages that his attorney said will be 2 percent of GMAC’s 2009 gross revenue.” His suit was filed in the Common Pleas Court.
The crux of Fox’s complaint is the fact that Stephan was hired by GMAC and knowingly committed fraud by signing the paperwork without having read it, even in light of the fact that “these hundreds of affidavits would be filed in Ohio courts and relied upon by Ohio common pleas court judges in deciding whether one plaintiff in the particular case had a right to foreclose on Ohio residents.” GMAC, the suit concludes, should have been aware of that same fact and stopped committing the fraudulent acts. Stephan inked Fox’s foreclosure affidavit in January of last year.