Foreclosure Attorney Fights Fla. Evictions

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Attorney Tom Ice of Ice Legal, is going after anyone he can who is fueling the foreclosure crisis -- the robo-signers, banks, fellow attorneys. Wherever he finds a loophole, and there are plenty, he's working on closing them.

It's a tough job, he says, one that keeps him working long hours, but saving however many homeowners he can from foreclosure makes it all worthwhile.

"It drives me crazy: The attitude that banks have about the hard-working, ethical people I represent, whom they accuse of not keeping up with their responsibility of paying their home and calling them a moral hazard," Ice told HousingWatch.

"What about the moral hazard of banks getting bailed out by the government and the robo-signers," he asks, "who are in essence committing perjury and claiming they have personal knowledge of these documents when in fact they don't? It's simply not true."
It's this kind of behavior, which Ice feels could lead to mass corruption and an overall mistrust of the court system, that worries him.

He says that he spends his time requesting simple documentation to prove that notes are actually in the trust -- a handful of pages. They include the Pooling and Servicing Agreement (PSA), the Mortgage Backed Security (MBS) and finally the Trustee Certification, which is basically the trustee acknowledging that they received all these notes that are in the trusts, and the notices. It's a very complex issue and that's why these folks who face foreclosure need to hire an attorney, he said.

"I think the robo-signers were designed to cover these things up because
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these notes never got to the locations they were supposed to get to," Ice says. "The banks themselves have said, on the record, that they destroyed these original notes in favor of using scanned versions (and this is recorded in the Supreme Court website) -- and this was just for foreclosure cases."

It's these improprieties that are driving Ice's work. And the robo-signers' actions actually have caused several foreclosure cases to be dismissed, only to see them filed again. In some of the cases, they were dismissed because his firm's findings were so compelling that a permanent dismissal was necessary -- not allowing them to be filed again.

Ice has a possible solution that he's proposing to the federal government. His hope is that the government would stop encouraging servicers to do loan modifications. Ice says they don't work: In essence, they trap the soon-to-be-foreclosed homeowner into making payments and the home is eventually lost to the bank anyway. Instead, he says, government should consider programs for principal reduction and adjusting the payments in a way that allows homeowners to make their payments.

"All I want for my clients is to get the real owner to the table, which is the hard part because banks aren't being honest on who owns the note," says Ice, "and, hopefully, getting a person who can come up with a loan that the customer/homeowner can pay."

It's obvious to Ice, as well, that there's a long road ahead. But recent government action to freeze foreclosures and to examine robo-signers more closely are being seen by some as steps in the right direction, and Tom Ice is one of those credited with making both happen.

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