Ashburn, Virginia (PressExposure) December 22, 2009 -- When the mortgage crisis hit American homeowners full-force, companies offering "foreclosure rescue" and "loan modification" companies sprouted like weeds. Most promised troubled homeowners quick-fixes for high fees, and failed to deliver after collecting their money, leaving families poorer and closer to homelessness.
The new flood of loan audit companies is fueled by the spread of loan modification companies in an attempt to side step the upfront fees that the states have prohibited these companies from charging. They're the proverbial "wolf in sheep's clothing."
Mortgage Fraud Examiners is a project of Lex Consulting. For over 30 years, Lex Consulting has provided litigation support to attorneys, helping them break into new areas of practice, or providing specialized advice for complex cases requiring novel approaches to the law. Due to the recent housing crisis, Mortgage Fraud Examiners, a team of specially trained attorneys, was created to provide lawyers with comprehensive assistance to help them keep their clients in their homes.
Mortgage Fraud Examiners CEO Storm Bradford explains: "Although forensic examinations of mortgage transactions can be of substantial value to a homeowner, regrettably, most companies providing these so-called 'loan audits' are nowhere near qualified to do so. They are performed and sold by persons with no legal training, such as, former real estate agents, mortgage brokers, or loan processors, who input data into some software program. The "audit" is a useless checklist of the documents provided to the "auditor," with no information about the legal implications of the documents.
It's that old adage on computer software: 'Garbage-in, garbage-out.' We do our forensic examinations mostly for attorneys and their clients. Knowledeable attorneys are going to spot a scam 'audit' a lot quicker than a layperson. We have to provide services that withstand the scrutiny and demands of a trained legal eye. You need a specific and unique legal knowledge to do a forensic examination of a mortgage transaction; a ten-minute software audit is no substitute for three years of law school. We're legal professionals looking for things that software can't find, besides, we know what to look for!"
"A true forensic examination inspects the homeowners' appraisal, mortgage and supporting documents, in the context of the dealings surrounding the creation of those documents, so legal experts can discover legal defenses a homeowner can use to avoid foreclosure.
Daniel M. Gray, an attorney in Northern Virginia specializing in foreclosures, employs the services of Mortgage Fraud Examiners explains, "I've reviewed several of these so-called 'audits' from different companies using auditors with no legal backgrounds, and found them to be totally unsatisfactory and legally insufficient. Mortgages are contracts, nothing more, nothing less. The examination must be able to identify contract defenses, torts, regulatory violations and all other types of legal anomalies. I made the choice to use Mortgage Fraud Examiners versus 'audits'prepared by these non-lawyer audit firms, because they give me the evidence I need to get my client a positive outcome."
How does a consumer spot a legitimate loan auditor from an untrained one? "Ask the right questions," Bradford advises. "Ask how they do they conduct the audit- is it software, or are there specifically trained attorneys spending real time examining the documents looking for contract defenses? If they're not performing a forensic appraisal that should be a clue. We find appraisal fraud in four out of every five mortgage transactions we examine.
Be wary if they tell you something vague like, 'Attorney backed,' or they're 'certified loan auditors.' Either legal professionals are performing the examinations, or not, and there is no schooling or certification process to becoming Joe the Auditor. Someone could have been a ditch digger last week and doing 'audits' this week. Homeowners need to be careful. You even have attorneys doing loan modifications instead of doing what they are paid to do-that's looking for contract defenses."
"There really are many legal options available to homeowners facing foreclosure," Bradford concludes. "But there are no shortcuts to finding them. Every claim has unique facts, every claim has different applicable law, and only a legal specialist is going to find the answers to help each individual borrower stay in their home."