Top 5 Things to Know About President Trump’s Announcement to End DACA
On September 5, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, on behalf of the entire Trump Administration, announced an end to the DACA program. Here are the top 5 things to know about his announcement:
- Your DACA is valid until its expiration date.
DACA and work permits (Employment Authorization Documents) will remain valid until its expiration date. To determine when your DACA and work permit expires, look at your I-795 Approval Notice and the bottom of your Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
2. No new DACA applications will be accepted.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) no longer will accept or process first-time applications after September 5, 2017.
3. DACA issuances and work permits expiring between now and March 5, 2018 must be submitted for renewal by October 5, 2017.
If you have a permit that will expire between now and March 5, 2018, you must apply for a two-year renewal of your DACA by October 5, 2017.
4. Advance Parole to travel abroad is no longer available.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will no longer grant DACA recipients permission to travel abroad through Advance Parole. Any pending applications for advance parole will not be processed and DHS will refund any associated fees.
5. We are united in this fight.
You are not alone. We mobilized, organized, and marched five years ago for DACA, and we will continue to do everything in our power to protect immigrant youth and their families across the country. Visit www.weareheretostay.org for resources to help you and your loved ones take care of yourselves in this difficult time as well as information on what you can do to take action now.
If you need additional info, please call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.Read More
Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), also known as work permits, are generally valid until they expire or the government demands they be returned. Unless the government demands that you return your work permit, the following points should apply.
If the DACA program ends but you are allowed to keep your work permit, you have the right to work legally until your work permit’s expiration date.
Your employer does not have the right to fire you, put you on leave, or change your work status until after your work permit has expired. If your expiration date is nearing, your employer may ask you for an updated work permit but cannot take any action against you until after it is expired.
For more information about your rights as an employee see this advisory by the National Immigration Law Center: https://www.nilc.org/issues/daca/daca-and-workplace-rights/.
II. Social Security Numbers (SSNs)
Your SSN is a valid SSN number for life, even once your work permit and DACA approval expires.
If you have not done so already, apply for a SSN while your DACA and work permit are still valid.
You can and should continue to use the SSN you got under DACA as your SSN even after your work permit expires. You can use your SSN for education, banking, housing and other purposes. Your SSN contains a condition on it that requires a valid work permit to use it for employment purposes.
DACA recipients should be cautious about travel abroad on advance parole.
If you are outside the country with advance parole, make sure to return right away and while your advance parole and EAD are valid. If the DACA program ends, it is not clear that people with advance parole based on DACA will be able to return. The safest route is to return as soon as possible, before an announcement ending DACA.
If you have been granted advance parole under DACA but have not yet left the United States, or are interested in applying for advance parole, speak with an attorney to determine potential risks before doing anything.
V. Other Immigration Options
Many DACA recipients may be eligible for another immigration option to get a work permit or even a green card.
Talk to an immigration services provider to understand your legal options and if you might be eligible for another immigration benefit. Find low-cost immigration legal services: https://www.immigrationlawhelp.org
Avoid fraudulent service providers: confirm their credentials, ask for a written contract and a receipt for any payments, and if you have doubts, get a second opinion.
VI. Criminal Issues
Any criminal arrest, charge, or conviction can put you at risk with immigration authorities.
Avoid contact with law enforcement that may result in a criminal arrest. If you end up being arrested, make sure to consult an expert immigration attorney.
If you have a criminal conviction, find out if it can be changed to lessen the impact on a future immigration case you may have.
VII. Know Your Rights
Everyone – both documented and undocumented persons have rights in this country.
VIII. Updates and Information
Follow the news carefully and go to reliable sources for information on the status of the DACA and other immigration programs. Don’t fall for scams about new fees or false information about your DACA work permit. Good sources of information include www.unitedwedream.org, www.informedimmigrant.com, www.defenddaca.com, www.ilrc.org, www.nilc.org and www.weareheretostay.org.
There are individuals in this internet age, who are accosting others, verbally harassing and threatening to do them bodily harm. Furthermore, these people publish untrue inflammatory accusations on various sites, and spread malicious, defaming false information. If you are being threatened in this manner, or someone is allowing another person to use an account under their control to threaten you in this manner, you can file a criminal complaint that can lead to conviction for a class C felony assault. This in turn can lead to hard time in prison. Furthermore, if someone is defaming you by spreading libelous, malicious, untrue information you can also sue them in civil court. They cannot be allowed to get away with this adult form of cyber-bullying.
If you need further info, please contact Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.Read More
How to Handle a Reverse Mortgage After Death
July 11th, 2017
What to do About a Reverse Mortgage After Death
There are five options for handling a reverse mortgage after the death of the borrower.
- Keep the property. In this situation, you must pay the loan in full, but never more than 95% of the property’s appraised value.
- Sell the property. If the home is worth more than the loan amount, the heirs may sell the home, pay off the loan, and keep the remainder of the money from the sale.
- Complete a short sale. Sell the property for 95% of its appraised value in a short sale to satisfy the loan.
- Walk away. Walking away from the home will result in foreclosure and alleviates any responsibility for paying off the loan.
- Sign a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. This titles the property back to the lender. This allows the house to go into reverse mortgage foreclosure and gives the seller the property in order to satisfy the loan.
Reverse Mortgage After Death Timeline
Here’s a timeline of what to expect in order to handle a reverse mortgage after death.
30 days. Within 30 days of receiving notice of the death of the borrower, the loan servicer will send a due and payable notice to the estate, along with information on the reverse loan and the eligibility requirements for a deferral period of the reverse mortgage after death.
60 days. Within 30 days of receiving the due and payable notice, the estate must respond to the notice with a letter of intent as to the property. Additionally, the mortgagees must obtain an appraisal of the property no later than 30 days after the due and payable notice is sent. The surviving, non-borrowing spouse may apply for a deferral if they meet the requirements.
2-6 months. During this time, the estate has the opportunity to sell the house, or otherwise satisfy the loan. Be aware that interest on the loan accrues during this time.
6 months. Within six months of the death of the last surviving mortgagor, the loan servicer may begin foreclosure proceedings if someone does not pay the loan amount. If a deferral has been issued, then the foreclosure proceedings may begin six months after the end of the deferral.
12 months. The estate may apply for two extensions in 3-month intervals. This gives them up to 12 months from the death of the borrower to sell the property or satisfy the loan.
Spouse’s Responsibility for the Reverse Mortgage After Death of the Borrower
When one spouse dies, but the surviving spouse is a borrower on the reverse mortgage, the terms of the loan do not change. Also, the surviving spouse may continue to live in the house.
If the surviving spouse is not a borrower, then the mortgagee will send a letter stating the requirements for a deferral period before the loan is due and payable. If the spouse doesn’t meet a requirement of the deferral period, they have 30 days to remedy the situation. Otherwise, a notice that the loan is due and payable will be issued.
Once receiving a notice that the loan is due and payable, the spouse may choose to sell the home, hand the property over to the lender, or keep the home by paying the reverse loan amount.
During the time after the death of the borrower, the spouse must maintain the property and pay property taxes. Failure to do so may result in action against the spouse by the loan servicer. This may lead to foreclosure on the property.
Heirs’ Responsibility for the Reverse Mortgage After Death of the Borrower
After the death of the borrower, the heirs will receive a letter from the loan servicer. The letter will offer information on the borrower’s estate, details on the reverse mortgage, and available options for satisfying the loan.
It is the responsibility of the heirs to reply to the loan servicer with the intentions of keeping the property, selling it, or handing it over to the servicer. Here’s some advice for children of seniors for handling the reverse mortgage after death.
In order to keep the property, the loan must be paid off. The cost to pay off the loan is never more than 95% of the appraised value of the home, even if the loan amount is more. If the property is worth more than the amount owed, the heirs may choose to sell the home and keep the difference.
If the home isn’t worth as much as the loan, the heirs may choose to sign a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. This turns the house over to the lender, who will sell it to get their money back. If the loan balance exceeds the home’s value, then you won’t owe anything additional by choosing this option.
Whatever you choose to do, keeping good communication between yourself and the loan servicer is imperative. With the proper documentation, you may have up to a year to sell the home before it must be turned over. If you fail to provide the proper documentation, the loan servicer may begin foreclosure proceedings within six months.
Reverse Mortgage Facts Non-Borrowers Should Consider
Here are a few things you need to know prior to inheriting a reverse mortgage after the death of the borrower.
Understand reverse mortgages. Most reverse mortgages are home equity conversion mortgages (HECMs), which are subject to FHA rules. Non-HECMs may not follow these same rules. Speak with a mortgage professional, accountant, and other trusted advisors to help you understand the ins and outs of a reverse mortgage.
Communicate with the loan servicer. After the death of the borrower, keeping in good communication with the loan servicer is vital to ensure a smooth transition.
Selling the property. If the loan amount is less than the house is worth, then selling the property may make the most sense. Here are some tips when selling a house with a reverse mortgage.
Non-recourse. A reverse mortgage is a non-recourse loan. This means borrowers are never responsible for more than 95% of the home’s appraised value. Even if the loan exceeds that amount.
Avoiding negative financial impact. You may avoid the responsibility of paying the loan amount, including the negative financial impact of the loan amount exceeding the home’s value, by completing a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, short sale, or by walking away from the home. This will allow the loan servicer to begin foreclosure proceedings.
Six months to complete the transaction. Once you’ve decided to sell the property, or pay off the loan, you have six months from the death of the borrower to complete the transaction. After this time, the loan servicer may proceed with foreclosure.
Time extensions. If you need additional time to market and sell the property before foreclosure proceedings ensue, you may request up to two 90-day extensions. This is subject to HUD approval.
Avoiding foreclosure. If you do not respond to the due and payable notice, if the house does not sell before your extension expires, or the property taxes and insurance are not paid, then the loan servicer may begin foreclosure. Work closely with your loan servicer to assure all documentation is completed properly to avoid early foreclosure.
For additional information, please call Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.
On Thursday, a jury awarded $110.5 million to a woman who used the company’s talcum-based products. The suit alleged that plaintiff developed cancer after using Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower Powder for decades.
“Once again, we’ve shown that these companies ignored the scientific evidence and continue to deny their responsibilities to the women of America,” said her attorney.
Despite its losses, Johnson & Johnson maintains that its feminine hygiene products are safe to use; however, studies have tied talcum powder to increased cancer risk. Researchers point out that the mineral talc contains asbestos, which is known to cause cancer, but the asbestos-free talc that many companies use has yielded mixed results. In 1982 a study found that women who used talc-based products around their genitals had a 92% increased risk of ovarian cancer, but industry experts argue that many studies are biased because they rely only on estimations from consumers about how much talc they were exposed to over the years.
In 2006, The International Agency for Research on Cancer classified talc use on genitals as “possibly carcinogenic”.
Johnson & Johnson is appealing Thursday’s decision. However, Reuters reports that the company faces as many as 2,400 lawsuits over its talc-based products.
“We are preparing for additional trials this year and we continue to defend the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder. . . We deeply sympathize with the women and families impacted by ovarian cancer,” the company said.
If you need additional info about this or any other legal issue, call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.Read More
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday sued mortgage service company Ocwen Financial Corp in Florida federal court alleging that the firm’s servicing database is riddled with inaccuracies and incomplete information that resulted in wrongful foreclosure proceedings against around 1,000 families, the same day Florida filed a similar suit against the company.
The CFPB’s complaint, filed in federal district court in West Palm Beach, Florida, came at the same time that Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and the state’s Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Drew J. Breakspear filed their own complaint against Ocwen. North Carolina and more than 20 other states also filed cease and desist orders against Ocwen and its subsidiaries, stopping them from purchasing additional mortgage servicing rights until they can prove they’re able to handle customer escrow accounts.
Those combined actions have put West Palm Beach-based Ocwen’s future in question. …
The CFPB alleges that the company’s faulty data management practices and other problems inside the company led to Ocwen failing consumers who have no choice in mortgage servicing options.
“Ocwen has repeatedly made mistakes and taken shortcuts at every stage of the mortgage servicing process, costing some consumers money and others their homes,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement. “Borrowers have no say over who services their mortgage, so the bureau will remain vigilant to ensure they get fair treatment.”
The major culprit behind the problems is Ocwen’s proprietary data system, known as REALServicing, the CFPB said. The system was intended to accurately record payments, communicate payment information with borrowers and maintain loan balance information.
But a great deal of the information inside of the REALServicing system is inaccurate or incomplete, and the system itself generated errors because of poor programming, the CFPB said.
To combat those problems, Ocwen set up manual workarounds through which employees could input data directly, but in many cases that did not work, the CFPB said.
One of Ocwen’s top executives called the problems with the system “ridiculous,” according to the complaint.
“An absolute train wreck. I know there’s no shot in hell, but if I could change systems tomorrow I would,” Ocwen’s head of servicing said in an internal email about the technology problems that the CFPB included in the complaint.
Those problems led to significant error rates.
According to the complaint, Ocwen reported that 72 percent of the loans it verified contained data errors or incomplete information in April 2014. The problem rate rose to 90 percent in a March 2016 review, the complaint said.
And when there were data problems, there were improper foreclosures, the CFPB said. According to the complaint, Ocwen wrongfully commenced foreclosure practices on around 1,000 families during the relevant time period and engaged in many improper foreclosure sales, according to the complaint.
The CFPB also cited problems with Ocwen’s crediting of borrower payments, escrow accounts, hazard and mortgage insurance and in other areas.
Ocwen was included in a 2012 nationwide mortgage settlement and has received positive reports from the settlement’s monitors, and it has reached separate settlements with regulators in California and New York as well.
Thursday’s action is also the second major enforcement action the CFPB has filed against Ocwen, which agreed to pay $2 billion to settle a CFPB lawsuit in December 2013.
But Cara Petersen, the CFPB’s deputy enforcement director, said on a conference call announcing its suit against Ocwen that the conduct at issue in the instant case happened after that settlement.
“This action involves conduct since that time, since 2013, where Ocwen has continued to fall down on the job with borrowers,” she said.
However, the CFPB’s action comes as President Donald Trump weighs whether to fire Cordray, and Republicans in Congress draw up plans to significantly reshape the bureau.
Ocwen disputed the claims put forward by the CFPB and vowed a vigorous defense. The company said that it is a recognized leader in mortgage servicing that has improved its practices, and that the CFPB’s case was just a part of the broader fight over its future.
“Given these facts, today’s suit can only be viewed as a politically-motivated attempt by the CFPB to grab headlines in reaction to the change of administration and recent scrutiny of the CFPB’s activities,” Ocwen said in a statement. …
The case is Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Ocwen Financial Corp., case number 9:17-cv-80495, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Fessler’s follow up:
Mortgage servicer Ocwen Financial Corp. has challenged the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in an effort to dodge the allegations that its faulty servicing database resulted in wrongful foreclosure proceedings against at least 1,000 people.
For all those who might have experienced problems with Ocwen (or other banks and servicers), it might be advisable to call your U.S. Senators and Representatives and tell them that we need a watchdog like the Consumer Financial Protection Board to keep renegade loan services in line: let the agency do its work. Just a thought.
If you need further information, call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.Read More
There is such a thing as Notary Abuse: when the notary does not obey the rules of the state where she has been licensed. I have seen notaries from one state notarize a document that was signed by a person who works in another state. There seems to have been a lot of notary abuse during the recession. These involved in many cases homes that were in foreclosure. The foreclosures involved a lot of assignments that were notarized. Whether they were notarized in a fraudulent manner is worthy of investigation. Notaries are required to have bonds to insure the public against notary abuse. The amount of these bonds vary from state to state. If a person feels that there has been notary abuse or fraud, they can file a claim against the bond for their damages. They can also sue the notary. They can file a complaint with the Secretary of State. And finally they can report it to the police.
Each state has rules that the notary must follow. For example here is a section of the California rules:
Secretary of State, Disciplinary Guidelines 2012
VIOLATION OF GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 8214.1(e):
Adjudged Liable for Damages in Any Suit Grounded in Fraud, Misrepresentation, Violation of State Regulatory Laws or Failure to Discharge Fully and Faithfully the Duties of a Notary Public:
A notary public applicant or commissioned notary public adjudged liable for damages in a case involving fraud, misrepresentation, violation of state regulatory laws or failure to fully and faithfully discharge the duties of the office is in direct conflict with the most fundamental requirements of the office of a notary public. …
(2) If a commissioned notary public is adjudged liable for damages in any suit grounded in fraud, misrepresentation or violation of state regulatory laws or failure to discharge fully and faithfully the duties of a notary public, the recommended action is: Revocation of the commission.
Example 1: A judgment entered against a notary public in a civil action in which the notary public performed a fraudulent notarial act, such as executing an acknowledgment without requiring the signer to appear in person before the notary public.
Example 1 seems to be the violation that is most common in foreclosure proceedings. Of course, there could also be fraud if the document is signed by someone other than the notary licensed under a particular seal.
It therefore appears that a person who is a victim of such fraud could do one or more of the following:
File a complaint with the Secretary of State;
File a lawsuit against the notary;
File a claim against the notary’s bond;
File a complaint with the police.
Proving that a notary committed fraud in fulfilling his/her duties could go a long way in proving that there was a wrongful foreclosure of a property.
If you have any questions about this or any legal issue, please call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.Read More
One of the primary purposes of bankruptcy is to discharge certain debts to give an honest individual debtor a “fresh start.” The debtor has no liability for discharged debts. In a chapter 7 case, however, a discharge is only available to individual debtors, not to partnerships or corporations.
A chapter 7 case begins with the debtor filing a petition with the bankruptcy court. In addition to the petition, the debtor must also file with the court: (1) schedules of assets and liabilities; (2) a schedule of current income and expenditures; (3) a statement of financial affairs; and (4) a schedule of executory contracts and unexpired leases. Debtors must also provide a copy of the tax returns for the last three years. They must file: a certificate of credit counseling; evidence of payment from employers, if any, received 60 days before filing; a statement of monthly net income and any anticipated increase in income or expenses after filing; and a record of any interest the debtor has in federal or state qualified education or tuition accounts.
The courts must charge a $245 case filing fee, a $75 miscellaneous administrative fee, and a $15 trustee surcharge. Normally, the fees must be paid to the clerk of the court upon filing. If a joint petition is filed, only one filing fee, one administrative fee, and one trustee surcharge are charged. Debtors should be aware that failure to pay these fees may result in dismissal of the case.
In order to complete the Official Bankruptcy Forms that make up the petition, statement of financial affairs, and schedules, the debtor must provide to his/her attorney the following information:
- A list of all creditors and the amount and nature of their claims;
- The source, amount, and frequency of the debtor’s income;
- A list of all of the debtor’s property; and
- A detailed list of the debtor’s monthly living expenses, i.e., food, clothing, shelter, utilities, taxes, transportation, medicine, etc.
Filing a petition under chapter 7 “automatically stays” (stops) most collection actions against the debtor or the debtor’s property. But filing the petition does not stay certain types of actions listed under 11 U.S.C. § 362(b), and the stay may be effective only for a short time in some situations. The stay arises by operation of law and requires no judicial action. As long as the stay is in effect, creditors generally may not initiate or continue lawsuits, wage garnishments, or even telephone calls demanding payments. The bankruptcy clerk gives notice of the bankruptcy case to all creditors whose names and addresses are provided by the debtor.
Between 21 and 40 days after the petition is filed, the case trustee will hold a meeting of creditors. During this meeting, the trustee puts the debtor under oath, and both the trustee and creditors may ask questions. The debtor must attend the meeting and answer questions regarding the debtor’s financial affairs and property. 11 U.S.C. § 343. If a husband and wife have filed a joint petition, they both must attend the creditors’ meeting and answer questions.
The Chapter 7 Discharge
After the meeting of creditors, the court will make a decision as to whether there should be a discharge. A discharge releases individual debtors from personal liability for most debts and prevents the creditors owed those debts from taking any collection actions against the debtor. Because a chapter 7 discharge is subject to many exceptions, debtors should consult competent legal counsel before filing.
If you need to file a bankruptcy, please call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.Read More
Bank of America was ordered to pay a $46 million judgment last week after it wrongfully foreclosed on a California couple during the recession.
The order by Sacramento bankruptcy court Judge Christopher M. Klein describes in detail how the bank improperly engaged and foreclosed on Erik and Renee Sundquist’s Lincoln residence.
The judge awarded $1 million in actual damages to the couple. Klein gave the rest of the sum to outside entities focused on consumer law and education. The trouble began in 2009 when the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank reportedly asked the couple to default on the loan in order to obtain a mortgage modification. But the bank did not honor that promise.
At that point, the Sundquists filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which triggered a stay on the foreclosure process. The bank disregarded the stay and started eviction proceedings. “Without identifying themselves, they staked out the premises, tailed the Sundquists, knocked on doors, knocked on windows, and rang doorbells, all to the terror of the Sundquist family,” Klein wrote in a 109-page opinion for the ruling.
Bank of America eventually gained possession of the property for six months, after which it then agreed that the foreclosure had been a mistake. The company returned the keys to the Sundquists. When they re-entered their home, the major appliances had been removed and the lawn was dead, according to the court.
“Throughout, the Sundquists were acting in good faith, not realizing that Bank of America had no intention of acting in good faith,” Klein wrote.
If you need further help with this or any other issue, please call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.Read More
Ocwen Financial Corporation (OCN) announced a comprehensive settlement and termination of the January 2015 Consent Order between Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC and the State of California Department of Business Oversight (DBO), without admitting any wrongdoing.
Under this settlement, the DBO will lift its restriction on Ocwen’s ability to acquire mortgage servicing rights associated with California properties, and will terminate the engagement of the independent auditor, which had been in place under the prior Consent Order.
In addition, Ocwen has agreed to pay a cash settlement of $25 million to the DBO. Ocwen will also provide an additional $198 million in debt forgiveness through loan modifications to existing California borrowers over a three year period.
Ocwen Financial Corporation is a financial services holding company which, through its subsidiaries, originates and services loans. They are headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida, with offices throughout the United States and in the U.S. Virgin Islands and operations in India and the Philippines.
If you need further help with this or any other issue, please call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.Read More