'Foreclosure Mill' Law Firms Cash in Big on Homeowner Woes

Who loves a depressed real estate market? A certain shady brand of law firm, that's who.

As countless Americans suffered the sting of mortgage foreclosure, the obscure Amherst, N.Y., law firm of Steven J. Baum, P.C., made millions in fees from the some of the nation's largest banks. Known as one of a handful of regional "foreclosure mills," nicknamed for their voluminous, repetitive transactions, Baum processed 12,551 lawsuits in New York City and its suburbs in 2009 -- nearly 48 per day.

According to the New York Post, the suburban Buffalo firm's business practices are now being scrutinized, thanks to a governmental legal action taken by the U.S. Trustee in Manhattan against JP Morgan Chase Bank, which retained Baum to process thousands of foreclosures, sometimes erroneously. In the worst cases, the complaint alleges, the firm filed blatantly false evidence to courts in an effort to hasten foreclosures.