Federal Judge Slams Wells Fargo for Forged Mortgage Docs
Two Judges Who Get It About the Banks NY Times
(1) “Defendant Wells Fargo’s deceptive and intentional conduct displayed a complete and total disregard for the rights of David and Crystal Holm,” wrote R. Brent Elliott, a circuit judge in Missouri’s 43rd Judicial District, in a Jan. 26 opinion. “Wells Fargo took its money and moved on, with complete disregard to the human damage left in its wake.”
In addition to $2.9 million in punitive damages awarded to the Holms, Judge Elliot gave them clear title to their home and almost $96,000 to be paid by Freddie Mac, representing the difference between the amount it paid for the property in 2008 and its current value.….
(2) The Holms were also awarded $200,000 for emotional distress. Mr. Holm, who is 40, had heart problems that were worsened by anxiety over the case, the judge concluded. Finally, $33,000 of the couple’s legal fees must be paid by Freddie Mac and Wells.
The judge ordered these sanctions because lawyers for Wells and Freddie Mac “have demonstrated a pattern of contempt for the Missouri Supreme Court rules as well as this court’s rules and orders.”
In the other case, presided over by Judge Robert D. Drain at a Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, Wells lost a five-year-old foreclosure dispute involving a $170,000 property owned by Cynthia Carrsow-Franklin.
Her lawyers contended that the bank, after initiating foreclosure proceedings, had simply created a missing document that it needed in order to foreclose. That document, known as an indorsement, transferred the underlying note to Wells Fargo.
On Thursday, Judge Drain sided with the borrower. He wrote that testimony from a Wells Fargo manager in charge of the bank’s default documents and part of its assignment team “constitutes substantial evidence that Wells Fargo’s administrative group responsible for the documentary aspects of enforcing defaulted loan documents created new mortgage assignments and forged indorsements when it was determined by outside counsel that they were required to enforce loans.”The testimony, Judge Drain went on, shows “a general willingness and practice on Wells Fargo’s part to create documentary evidence, after the fact, when enforcing its claims, WHICH IS EXTRAORDINARY” (emphasis his).