Much has been made in recent months and years of the bad behavior on the part of the banks (and loan servicers– the companies that send borrowers their mortgage statements and collect their payments) that have made the foreclosure crisis even worse than imaginable.

Now the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve and other federal agencies are requiring banks that violated consumer protections, causing “financial injury,” to fix or redress them.

Specifically, independent auditors (well, as independent as they can be when hired and paid by the Banks) are now are reviewing foreclosure cases to determine what errors were made and what compensation might be available.

The reviews will try to determine whether the servicer or attorney properly documented ownership of the mortgage and whether it was done under state and federal law. The consultants will be charged with deciding if a foreclosure sale occurred while the borrower was in a modification or under consideration for some other loss-mitigation tool, such as a short sale. The reviews will cover any inappropriate fees charged outside of state or federal law. Interestingly, the consultants will also check to see if guidelines for HAMP and even the banks’ own proprietary program were followed correctly. Then, the review will seek to determine if any of these errors or misrepresentations resulted in direct financial injury. The review process is described in detail in a newly issued OCC report entitled, Interim Status Report: Foreclosure-Related Consent Orders.

To be considered in scope and eligible to request a review, a borrower must meet three criteria:

(1) The loan must have been active in the foreclosure process between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010 [this means that—(a) The property was sold due to a foreclosure judgment; (b) The mortgage loan was referred into the foreclosure process, in which case the borrower may have been notified in writing, but was removed from the process because payments were brought up-to-date or the borrower entered a payment plan or modification program; (c) The mortgage loan was referred into the foreclosure process, in which case the borrower may have been notified in writing, but the home was sold or the borrower participated in a short sale or chose a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure; or (d) The mortgage loan was referred into the foreclosure process, in which case the borrower may have been notified in writing, and remains delinquent today but a foreclosure sale has not taken place];

(2) The property securing the loan must have been/must be the borrower’s primary residence; and

(3) The loan was serviced by either—America’s Servicing Company; Aurora Loan Services; Beneficial; Chase; Citibank; CitiFinancial; CitiMortgage; Countrywide; EMC; Everbank/Everhome; GMAC Mortgage; HFC; HSBC; IndyMac Mortgage Services; Metlife Bank; National City; PNC Bank of America; Sovereign Bank; SunTrust Mortgage; U.S. Bank; Wachovia; Washington Mutual; and/or Wells Fargo.

Homeowners that meet the eligibility criteria and whose situation and resulting financial damages are deemed to rise to the appropriate, while undisclosed level, can now file a “Request for Review” form with the OCC for potential remediation.

If you’re eligible—and many of law firm’s clients may be eligible–you’re supposed to get a letter by mail before Dec. 31 with information, directions and a form to return.

The form has to be postmarked by April 30, 2012.

The danger is that scammers, con artists and other unethical actors will seek to charge homeowners an exorbitant fee for little service or results.   Thousands of homeowners are all but certain to get ripped off for thousands of dollars and right before the holidays too.

Moreover, those who accept a settlement under this Independent Foreclosure Review may waive other rights.

If you got a solicitation letter, or think you are eligible, call a lawyer for a free consultation.


One of the biggest complaints we hear from Homeowners is that they can’t get an answer from their Bank about a Loan Modification. The paperwork is voluminous to complete and then gets lost or misplaced by the Bank. Phone calls are not helpful and the process is frustrating.

In defending Foreclosure Cases, we’d often seek “Mediation” with the Bank as an opportunity to have an in-person or telephonic meeting between us and our Homeowner Clients and the Bank and their Foreclosure Attorneys. Other attorneys tried this tactic as well—and we all had mixed results. But at least we had an opportunity to try and resolve the foreclosure through negotiation and dialogue.

In 2009, the Florida State Supreme Court directed each of Florida’s twenty (20) circuit courts (the courts in which Foreclosure Lawsuits are heard), develop and implement a mediation program for homeowners facing Foreclosure. Each circuit court implemented a Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation (RMFM) Program by which lenders were required to have an in-person or telephonic meeting with the Homeowner/Defendant in the presence of an impartial mediator to discuss the Foreclosure Lawsuit and possible resolution (by loan modification, deed in lieu of Foreclosure, consent judgment and the like).

The RMFM Program has been subject to a great deal of criticism—much of it justified. Each circuit court hired its own mediation managers and implemented their own mediation program. The RMFM Program was cumbersome, confusing and ineffective.

And now it has been cancelled.

On December 19, 2011, Florida Chief Judge Charles T. Canady issued AOSC11-44 which ended the RMFM Program for all new cases.

We still believe that Mediation—and Negotiation—with the Banks can be beneficial to effectuate solutions (Loan Modifications, Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure, Short Sale) that work for Homeowners and Banks and like we did before 2009, we’ll file motions requesting mediation in active foreclosure cases.

Moreover, we suspect that some judges in different circuit courts will issue orders maintaining their Mediation Programs despite the cancellation of the Statewide RMFM Program.

We all ought to demand it and seek better and more effective programs to help Homeowners in Florida.


The law firm of Ricardo, Wasylik & Kaniuk, PL is proud to announce a new initiative called the Hundred Homes Project in an effort to help 100 families recover or keep homes that have wrongly entered foreclosure proceedings.

According to attorney Michael Alex Wasylik, thousands of homes across the state of Florida have been wrongfully lost to foreclosure. “Unfortunately, banks pushed through many of these wrongful foreclosures through fraud, mistake or because the homeowner never even knew about the foreclosure,” said Wasylik. “This is a miscarriage of justice and we want to help consumers take back their homes.”

The Hundred Homes Project is inspired by lawyers who use modern DNA techniques to free innocent men and women from prison, convicted of crimes they had never committed. “We want to take the same approach of intensely studying these cases, combing through every piece of evidence, to determine first of all if the foreclosure was wrongfully obtained,” said Wasylik. “If we can prove that the foreclosure was wrongful, the next step would be to take steps to restore the home to its rightful owner.”

The firm will analyze closed foreclosure cases throughout the state of Florida. The types of cases that are typically eligible are those in which the foreclosure judgment has already been entered or the house has already been sold with a sale date of no more than three years ago and preferably less than two years ago.

“While not every case will qualify, many will,” said attorney Jason Ricardo. “We conduct a detailed review of the court file and report our findings to the homeowner. From there, we plan a strategy in attempting to overturn the foreclosure.”

Homeowners interested in applying for the Hundred Homes Project can do so through the website at or may contact the attorneys at Ricardo, Wasylik & Kaniuk at or 1-888-830-0830.


The FFDBA hosted two successful events in Sarasota this past month.

Both events, held at the Selby Public Library, were designed to help the FFDBA fulfill its goal of educating the public about the current foreclosure crisis.

Jason Ricardo, a founding partner of Ricardo, Wasylik & Kaniuk, PL, was the speaker at both events.

The first event, held on July 12, was aimed towards real estate professionals, and Jason discussed how teamwork between real estate professionals and attorneys can help optimize short sale success and avoid deficiency judgments for sellers.

The second event, held on July 28, was directed towards consumers facing foreclosure.  Jason discussed issues related to loan modifications, short sales, foreclosure defense and bankruptcy, and also described how consumers could avoid being defrauded by “Foreclosure Rescue Scams”.

If you would you like one of the FFDBA attorneys to present to your group, please contact us at foreclosuredefensebar@gmail to arrange a free presentation.


The current financial crisis and economic meltdown has been caused in large part by the collapse of the housing market.   Hundreds of thousands of Florida homeowners are saddled with unaffordable mortgages and confronting unemployment (or under-employment), diminishing or lost incomes and depleted savings accounts.  Many are facing Foreclosure, Bankruptcy or both.

Too many people are struggling–financially and emotionally–and to make matters worse, they don’t have the correct information to make decisions about their future.  Moreover, day after day, we learn of new scams perpetrated by those seeking to take advantage of people when they are most vulnerable.

Frustrated by this, we have joined together to form the FLORIDA FORECLOSURE DEFENSE BAR ASSOCIATION.

The FFDBA has 2 goals– to educate the public about their rights and options and to share information among foreclosure defense lawyers in an effort to ensure that homeowners get the best representation possible.

We’ll soon be updating this site with more information about events and programs.

Check back regularly for more information!



U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler to host town hall meeting on foreclosures Monday west of Delray Beach

“Foreclosure and financial woes? Chime in or ask for help during U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler’s town hall meeting Monday at the South County Civic Center.”

“Wexler, D-Boca Raton, will be joined by Victoria Williams, consumer outreach coordinator for Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink; Palm Beach Circuit Judge Jack Cook, who handles foreclosures; Bonnie Conrad of Neighborworks, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development affiliate; and Deidre Newton of the Financial Literacy Coalition.”

“Palm Beach County is among the country’s top 20 regions most affected by foreclosures. Organizations that will also be available to help include West Palm Beach Foreclosure Assistance Center, Florida Foreclosure Defense Bar Association and Fair Credit Law Center.”

“The event will be 2 to 4 p.m. at the civic center, 16700 Jog Road, west of Delray Beach.”