As many of you know, in 2006 Dustin Diamond was in the media promoting his website which sells, (among other things) t-shirts, the proceeds of which were/are to help him save his home from an alleged foreclosure. His biggest media push happened when he appeared on the Howard Stern Show.
While I'm not sure (nor do I want to be) about the body parts he bragged to the cast of the Stern show about, he's got a huge set of stones to be asking you and me to give him money in order to bail himself out of a bad business deal. What he is doing is a real smack in the face to anyone who has suffered the injustices of an illegal foreclosure attempt by a predatory lender or mortgage servicing company engaging in fraudulent practices. I should know, I was, am and continue to be a victim of Fairbanks Capital Corp., now known as Select Portfolio Servicing.
My problems with mortgage servicing fraud began several years before the settlement of USA/Curry v. Fairbanks in Boston when Fairbanks Capital Corp. (n/k/a Select Portfolio Servicing Inc.) obtained the servicing rights to my loan from Merrill Lynch. Merrill Lynch purchased my loan from Superior Bank FSB two weeks after origination and initially the loan was to be serviced by Superior. But when the FDIC placed them into receivership the servicing rights were transferred to Fairbanks. Fairbanks claims that I was in default from the day they obtained the servicing rights to my loan despite the fact that they have not provided shred one of evidence to that effect.
From the onset, Fairbanks piled on fees for things like force placed insurance and collection letters and charged for a host of other financial penalties that not only amounted to violations of the terms of my note and mortgage and federal and state infractions but enabled them to account the loan in such a way that it appeared I was continuously in default no matter how much money I paid into my mortgage. In a nutshell, that is Mortgage Servicing Fraud.
I have spent the better part of the past five years fighting to save my home from their attempts to fraudulently foreclose. In June 2005 I was awarded a permanent injunction from Superior Court blocking the foreclosure sale of my home. However, Fairbanks/Selects' refusal/inability to come into compliance with the court order, as well as their most recent foreclosure threat, keeps the litigation alive. A more detailed account of my personal story can be found here.
While there has been, and always will be, speculation as to why I finally went public with my story in 2006 the simple truth is, it was just time. When I first realized what was happening to me back in 2002, there were very few Internet resources to help me figure any of it out. At that time Mortgage Servicing Fraud was such a new concept that literally all of us affected were figuring it out as we went. Now while there are more than a few Internet resources, I have personally found very few, if any, that detail someone?s personal, firsthand experiences with Mortgage Servicing Fraud.
I own GetDShirtz.com, I approve content here and will never knowingly allow my site to be used to further harm victims. Further, GetDShirtz.com will never sell, offer or endorse any goods or services that I myself haven?t purchased or tried first. As long as I am at the helm and have the ability to keep it going, GetDShirtz.com will always be a free information resource for all victims of Mortgage Servicing Fraud, not just Fairbanks/Select victims.
The PMI Group, Inc. (PMI) is a global and complex financial company. http://www.pmigroup.com They claim to offer ?financial products that reduce risks, lower costs, and expand market access for residential mortgages and securities, public finance obligations, and asset-backed securities?. In layman?s terms, The PMI Group, Inc. is a publicly-traded corporation (NYSE: PMI), that is, among other things, a worldwide provider of Private Mortgage Insurance. Click here for the results of a Hoovers search on The PMI Group In 2000 PMI became a major shareholder of Fairbanks Capital Holding Corp. of which Fairbanks Capital was a wholly-owned subsidiary. It?s interesting to note that at the time The PMI Group made the purchase, GE Capital Equity Investments, Inc., FGIC Services, Inc., Nomura/Fairbanks Investment Trust and FSA Portfolio Management, Inc also owned shares in Fairbanks.It?s also of interest to note that at the same time but in a separate but related transaction, PMI desired to invest approximately $10 million in the Alta Capital Investment Fund, LP, ("Alta Capital"). At the time, Alta Capital acquired mortgages that were to be serviced by Fairbanks, and mortgage-backed securities. (As of 2007 the author of this article has not been able to ascertain that such purchase was made.)
By 2003, PMI knew they had a problem. They put their own people in place* in an attempt to stem the tide of negative publicity surrounding the very public legal battles facing Fairbanks Capital. In further efforts to put a new public face on the company, PMI's Brad Schuster became Chairman and FSA's James Ozanne became CEO of the failing company. Despite all their best efforts to spin the PR machine their way, thousands of homeowners knew and continue to know that nothing really changed. Ultimately, PMI sold out to Credit Suisse First Boston in 2005.
From the June 30, 2003 PMI 10Q
In October 2002, the FTC informed Fairbanks that it was the subject of an FTC investigation to determine whether Fairbanks Capital?s loan servicing or other practices violate or have violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, or other laws enforced by the FTC. In the course of its continuing investigation, the FTC staff requested information from us. We have cooperated with the FTC staff in its investigation and have provided the requested information. In addition, we have had continuing discussions with the FTC in regard to its investigation and in the course of those discussions the FTC staff informed us that it intends to recommend naming us in any action the FTC might bring against Fairbanks. There can be no assurance that the outcome of these discussions will not result in us being named by the FTC in an action arising from the practices of Fairbanks. In the event that such an action is brought by the FTC against us, there can be no assurance as to the outcome of the action. In addition, the filing of an FTC action against us could lead to regulatory actions by other regulatory agencies or private litigation against us, could impact our ability to obtain regulatory approvals necessary to carry out our present or future plans and operations, and could result in negative publicity that might adversely affect our business. Any action brought against us by the FTC with respect to its investigation of the practices of Fairbanks could have a material adverse affect on our consolidated financial position and results of operations.Media RE: PMI and Fairbanks Capital
PMI 2000 Press Release RE: acquisition of Fairbanks Capital Corp.
List of 2003 PMI Group Press Releases -Link reported to getdshirtz in December 2007 as "dead", getdshirtz.com has printouts of the press releases.
2003 Loan Servicer Gets A Downgrade: Fairbanks Capital Is Being Investigated After Many Complaints
Some useful information about private mortgage insurance can be found here http://www.frbsf.org/publications/consumer/pmi.html
Thursday, December 06, 2007 (cleaned up sentence structure, removed and/or replaced dead links and restructure of physical appearance)
* GetDshirtz would like to clarify this statement to the extent that James Ozanne was not a PMI employee. GetDshirtz would have linked to the press release and news story which the information came from however, the listing of 2003 PMI press releases has been removed from the internet source where they were previously available and PMI is not making them available on their website. That notwithstanding, Mike has printouts of the press releases which have been turned over to his attorney in the course of the current lawsuit, otherwise GetDshirtz would be able to continue to make them available on this website.
For the sake of clarity it's important to note that Mike's situation/case happened long before loan modification became popular vernacular. Even if it had been, a loan modification would not have been something that ultimately would have helped him because he was never actually in default. That being said:
You can't shake a stick without hitting a media report regarding loan modifications. Practically speaking, loan modifications can be an excellent tool to help homeowners get back on their feet. The problem is, they are damned hard to get, just ask any of the people who have been waiting over 12 months to get theirs. On top of that, many homeowners find the whole "loan modification" process and issue terribly confusing.
You DO NOT need to hire anyone to help you apply for a loan modification. Although some people find it helpful to have assistance with the loan modification process, there are plenty of FREE resources (put together by the government) that do just that.
You CAN apply for a loan modification on your own. However, we recommend keeping excellent records AND creating a VERIFIABLE paper trail as you go in the event your loan modification attempt(s) end up in a court room as a foreclosure instead of a modified loan.
HAMP = Home Affordable Mortgage Program
HAMP is a government funded program with a website at http://makinghomeaffordable.gov/
The government has stated that HAMP will be available until December 31, 2012.
A HAMP Loan Modification is only one type of loan modification and requires, at a minimum, that the homeowner fill out a HAMP Application located at: http://makinghomeaffordable.gov/requestmod.shtml
When you send the HAMP Application and supporting documentation to your Mortgage Servicer, we suggest you send it USPS, prepaid, first class, certified return receipt requested mail. DO NOT email your initial application and supporting documents.
Which Banks Are Contractually Obligated To Offer HAMP Loan Modifications
When banks took TARP money, they were required by the government to sign contracts binding them to perform loan modification and refinancing programs. A comprehensive listing can be found here: http://www.financialstability.gov/impact/contracts_list.htm
The following are a sampling of commitment contracts and/or Servicer Participation Agreements pertaining to HAMP:
See also: TARP & HAMP Report as of 10-27-10
Cases Of Interest
Found here are depositions of MERS CEO R.K. Arnold and Senior VP and Corporate Secretary William Hultman. Also, a hearing transcript from Dalton et al v. Citimortgage et al. and other assorted documents.
These are documents that every borrower with loans involving MERS should be aware of and pass along to their legal counsel.
Copyright 2006-2010 M. Dillon
No part of this website may be reproduced in any format without the express written consent of its author.
DISCLAIMER!! This is not Dustin Diamond's website. This is not a "fan" website for
Screech or Dustin Diamond. I am not affiliated with Dustin Diamond's website.
This is not a retail website (I'm not selling anything). I am not affiliated with,
supported, endorsed or even acknowledged by Dustin Diamond (or his website).
I am not supported, endorsed or affiliated with Saved By The Bell, any television
networks including NBC, celebrities or celbriwannabees. I had to borrow the money
to make this website! But, I'm not asking anyone to buy a t-shirt or anything else for
that matter to help me pay it back!
Visitors choosing to utilize information or services found on getdshirtz.com do
so at their own consequence. GetDShirtz.com, nor its authors, owner or webmaster
assume any liability should any visitor to this site become harmed as a result of their
use of this website or any information derived from. Nothing on this website
should be construed as legal advice or used as such, nor is this website intended
to replace the advice of qualified licensed legal counsel.
My story is long but unfortunately not unlike thousands of others you might hear if the media was paying attention. In 2001, in order to consolidate some debt, I refinanced my two-family home in New Hampshire that I had purchased just a few short years before. Due to having less than perfect credit, my mortgage broker got me into an ARM (adjustable rate mortgage) and assured me that if I made good on the loan, I could refinance out of it before the rate changed. Like most people sitting down at the closing table, I signed and initialed the mounds of paperwork the title company put before me without reading each and every line. To tell you all of my story would take volumes, so, I hope to hit the highlights here.
Before I can go forward with the story, I need to explain a few things that I did not know at the time when my mortgage problems first began to surface in 2002. When I refinanced my home in March of 2001, it was with a company called Superior Bank FSB. Within days of closing my loan, Superior Bank sold the loan to Merrill Lynch Mortgage Capital but Superior retained the servicing rights to my loan (making them a "mortgage servicer"). This is not something out of the ordinary, loans and the servicing rights to loan are bought and sold all the time. In June of 2001, the Office of Thrift Supervision closed Superior Bank and named the FDIC as receiver. As a result of this, the servicing rights to my loan were sold to a company called Fairbanks Capital Corp. I didn't learn any of this until 2003, I was never aware that Superior Bank had sold my note to Merrill Lynch. This is not uncommon, as most mortgage contracts do not call for the borrower to be notified of a sale UNLESS that sale alters whom and where monthly payments are made.
In a letter dated October 8, 2001, a company called Fairbanks Capital informed me that they had sent me a "welcome letter" advising me that they had acquired the servicing rights to my loan as of October 1, 2001 and that the loan was in arrears by two months of payments. As I had already sent October's payment to Superior Bank, I called this new company to ask what was going on and alert them to the fact that I had already sent my payment to Superior Bank. I was instructed to cancel the check and make a new payment to them. Eight days later, on October 16, Fairbanks drafted another letter informing me that they had acquired the servicing rights to my loan. This second letter, dated eight days from the first, was the "welcome letter" the October 8th letter refers to.
For the rest of 2001, I continued to make my payments to Fairbanks, never realizing that they never sent me my monthly mortgage payment coupon on time (meaning I was never given the opportunity to make my payment on time). During 2001 they also requested proof of my homeowner's insurance, which I provided to them several times.
My mortgage problems first became apparent in 2002 when I fell behind in my mortgage payments due to a lack of work caused by 9/11. Because I had been unable to secure all of my regular work as a free-lance stage technician in the months following 9/11 (security concerns had caused shows to go dark, events to be cancelled and other jobs became unprofitable due to related circumstances), I had not been able to make the kind of money I had been able to in the past. After missing two months of payments, I was finally able to get caught up and sent them a huge check to cover 3 months of regular payments and 2 late fees. Shortly after this, I received a notification directly from Fairbanks that they were going to foreclosure on my home.
I spent several exhausting weeks trying to resolve this issue via telephone. Each time I called Fairbanks to find out how much additional money I supposedly owed, I got a different customer service rep on the phone and each of them would give me a different dollar amount and no one would provide me with anything in writing. To add insult to injury, when I would ask to speak to a supervisor, I was sworn at, called names and often times hung up on. Finally in June, not knowing what else to do, I made a formal complaint about Fairbanks to the New Hampshire Banking Commission. Twenty-three days later, I received a notice to foreclose from Thomas Santolucito, Esq. of Harmon Law Offices, P.C. on behalf of Merrill Lynch. This single action would cause the following years of my life to be a living hell. That same month, Fairbanks began to refuse the monthly mortgage payments I would send in.
It's important to note that at the time I received this initial notification from Attorney Santolucito at Harmon Law Offices, I had no idea why Merrill Lynch was trying to foreclose, as to the best of my knowledge, Merrill Lynch had nothing to do with my mortgage. To make matters worse, Harmon Law Offices was sending a duplicate copy of this letter to the two-family rental property next door to my house, a building I have never owned or lived in. Per the "instruction" on the letter, I wrote Attorney Santolucito a letter disputing the foreclosure based on the fact that (again, to the best of my knowledge at that time) I didn't have a loan with Merrill Lynch, nor had I ever had a loan with Merrill Lynch. Additionally, I asked for all information pertaining to this issue and informed him to stop sending mail to property next door to me. I also telephoned Attorney Santolucito several times over the course of multiple months when I never received anything from his office pertaining to my request. Over the telephone he would tell me that he and his firm were representing Fairbanks, not Merrill Lynch but he would not provide me with anything in writing. Furthermore, at one point, he actually had the audacity to ask me to provide him with copies of anything his client had been sending me. At this point, I felt I had no choice but to rely on the assistance of the New Hampshire Banking Commission.
I spent the remainder of 2002 and most of 2003 hoping this issue would resolve itself with the help of the NH Banking Commission and living under constant fear of the foreclosure looming over my head. The Banking Department had reached a written agreement with Fairbanks whereby they would voluntarily place the foreclosure on hold until such a time as the matter was "resolved and addressed" in November of 2002 (eight months after it all started). Fairbanks by and through their lawyers played games with both myself and the Banking Commission throughout this time period. It became clear to me that I needed an attorney, however since I couldn't really explain what happened, I couldn't get a lawyer interested in taking my case. I eventually hired a mortgage analyst (who later turned out to be a huge thorn in my side by having unauthorized ex-parte communications with Harmon Law Office's David Rosen, Esq. regarding my case shortly before trial) to look at my loan. The mortgage analyst's report was the tool I needed to understand what exactly Fairbanks did to my loan.
From the day they received the servicing rights to the loan, Fairbanks manipulated the accounting of my loan to make it appear as if I was always in default no matter how much money I paid them. They placed forced-place insurance on my property, even though I already had my own coverage. They charged me for collection letters (Western Union mailers that looked like junk mail and later became notable by Justice Abramson in her Order on The Merits), property inspections, late fees, undisclosed charges, Brokers Price Opinions, interest on advances and multiple other fees, all either not actually owed to them, illegal under State or Federal Law to charge for and/or in violation of the terms of my note and mortgage. Add to the fact that they never gave me the opportunity to make a regular monthly mortgage payment on time by failing to mail out my monthly mortgage statements in a timely manner and I never had a fighting chance from day one.
Throughout the entire ordeal, Fairbanks and their lawyers were merciless. They sent someone to my home to inform the tenant that the house was under foreclosure and that they needed to move out even though foreclosure proceedings hadn't actually begun. Needless to say, despite my best efforts to assure him that he was not in jeopardy of losing his place to live, not only did the tenant move out, he trashed the apartment in retaliation. They sent people to leave videotapes at my house and on one occasion, someone left a hangtag on my front door with a 2" wide note through the mail slot when I wasn't home. No matter how many requests the Banking Department sent them for information, they always replied with a thick stack of papers that made no sense to anyone. I reached out to the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office, Federal Trade Commission, HUD, New Hampshire Senators, the OTS, and even then New Hampshire Governor Craig Benson. Either they could not help me or would not help me and again was on my own to save my home for this illegal foreclosure attempt.
In December of 2003, I finally found a lawyer to take my case. I felt a sense of relief that turned out to be short-lived because on December 23, 2003, two days before Christmas, Victor Manougian, Esq. of Harmon Law Offices sent out another letter of intent to foreclose on my home. Shortly after the first of the New Year my then attorney filed an Ex-Parte Motion, naming Fairbanks, Harmon Law Offices, Merrill Lynch and LaSalle Bank as Defendants with the Superior Court asking them to enjoin the foreclosure sale. Presiding Justice James Barry Jr. issued a temporary restraining order preventing the sale pending further hearing.
Despite this restraining order, I would get regular letters from Harmon Law Offices informing me that the date of the foreclosure sale had been pushed out to accommodate court dates scheduled. Harmon Law Offices played dirty pool, just like their clients Fairbanks. Even a court order could not protect me from their games. In May 2004, after a brief hearing, The Honorable Justice Abramson issued another order firmly granting me the injunction I sought until trial. In her order, she made it clear that we had met our burden by a "preponderance of the evidence". Despite this, Fairbanks and their attorney continued their practice of harassing behavior and made no true effort to settle the case.
Shortly before the trial was scheduled, my then attorney had a sudden change of heart about Harmon Law Offices and their client Fairbanks. They had made another of what they called offers to settle this matter (me paying them roughly $30,000.00 more than I originally borrowed, plus all the fees they piled on) and my attorney told me that I should take the deal because it meant this would be over and things could go back to normal. I asked her why I should trust such a deal and she told me that Harmon Law Offices had put a new lawyer from their firm on the case and this she had gone to school with this guy and that he could be trusted. Needless to say, the relationship between myself, and my lawyer broke down and was irreparable.
In the midst of my own Fairbanks horror, the Federal Trade Commission, along with HUD and a class of homeowners like myself sued Fairbanks in Federal Court in Boston. There was a settlement agreement reached, a settlement which, if you were to ask me, benefited the lawyers more than the victims. Because this settlement would not prevent Fairbanks from taking my home and on the advice of counsel, I opted out of the settlement. Despite the fact that Fairbanks changed its name to Select Portfolio Servicing (they claimed to reflect the new way they were going to do business), the class settlement and the best practices agreement they signed with the FTC, when it came to my loan, it was business as usual. Nothing changed for me at all.
In October of 2004 the Judge ordered us to mediation. Despite the best efforts of myself, my counsel and the mediator, and the fact that only Attorney Vivieros from Harmon showed up (nope, no one from Fairbanks was present the day of mediation), no agreement could be reached. At that time, all I was asking for was the clock be turned back and for me to be allowed to resume making payments, that my credit report be repaired and that all the erroneous fees and charges be removed from my loan. Not only would Harmon/Fairbanks not budge on any single issue, Attorney Vivieros suggested that it would be illegal for Fairbanks to change the information that Fairbanks had reported to the credit bureaus.
I finally got my day(s) in court in June of 2005. With a new attorney by my side and armed with more evidence than I can recount, we went up against Veronica Vivieros, Esq. and David Rosen, Esq. (added pro hac vice the first day of trial) both of Harmon Law Offices and Fairbanks/Select employee Joy Browdowski-Lyons. CBS 4 out of Boston had cameras present in the court room and despite the formal objection of Attorney Vivieros to the Judge, they were permitted to stay and film the proceedings (a clip of which became part of the story they did on my case) After two days of trial, several days apart (we went June 16th and the 24th), we beat them and I was issued a permanent injunction preventing them from taking the house, as well as an order regarding legal fees which was favorable to me as well. However, here I am a year later and they are not only are they not in compliance with the court order, they are threatening to take the house again. Can you believe that even after they LOSE in court, they still threaten foreclosure action? Because litigation for damages is pending, I cannot and will not discuss it here. However several months ago, after a year of my attorney attempting to get them into compliance, he filed a motion for contempt against them
We were given an initial court date on the contempt issue of June 14, 2006 and the first Motion To Continue was filed by Veronica Vivieros, Esq., of Harmon Law Offices citing that the Fairbanks/Select witness could not be available to fly out here until July 13. We did not assent or object. However, shortly after they were given the new court date they requested, Attorney Vivieros came back seeking another continuance because a.) The witness could now not be available for the new date they requested and b.) They were seeking to add a new lawyer pro hac vice onto the case by the name of Dorothy A. Davis, Esq. from the firm of Eckert Seamans Cherin Mellott, LLC of Pittsburgh, PA. Again, we chose not to assent or object and this time the court denied their motion due to a violation of New Hampshire Court Rule 57a (failure to affirm that they sought concurrence from opposing counsel prior to filing their motion). Sadly, they will be getting their way regardless as roughly forty-eight hours prior to the order denying the continuance was issued, Attorney Rosen contacted my attorney to seek an assented continuance due to the fact that Attorney Vivieros was placed on mandatory, early maternity leave by her doctor. On Tuesday, July 11, Judge Abramson granted the motion to continue and set the new court date for August 24, 2006.
On Thursday, August 24, 2006, the Contempt Hearing took place. Appearing for Fairbanks/SPS was local counsel David Rosen & Jeffery Clark, Attorney Rosen spoke for his client who did not attend the hearing. Although asking for a continuance to allow for Attorney Dorothy Davis from Eckert Seamans to attend pro hac vice, she did not show up. I was there along with my attorney. Simply put, the Judge did not seem amused in the least to see us all in front of her again. Despite his pleas for another court date at which time he would present witnesses, Attorney Rosen was admonished by the Judge that he knew the date of the hearing was today, knew that if he needed more time he should have scheduled it with her Clerk and that the case was going to proceed. During the course of the hearing, the Judge got Rosen to agree that Fairbanks/SPS would properly report the issue of the wrongful foreclosure to the assorted credit bureaus. During the hearing it was more of the same old Fairbanks tactics. Thankfully the Judge wasn't swayed and issued her ruling within 25 hours of the hearing.
Among the orders she set forth, she ordered Matthew Hollingsworth, CEO of Fairbanks/SPS to provide the Court "within sixty days of the date of this Order a detailed affidavit, executed under pains of perjury by its Chief Executive Officer, detailing all steps it has taken to comply with this Order and the original Order of this Court". She further permanently enjoined them from taking any action to initiate foreclosure proceedings against me without first making application to the Court. As part of this same Order, she provided specific language that Fairbanks/SPS had to use when reporting to the credit bureaus which included the following, "upon a finding that SPS had acted wrongfully in refusing payments by Mr. Dillon, thereby resulting in improper foreclosure." Copies of the letters to TransUnion, Experian, Equifax and Innovis were FedExed to my attorney on October 24, 2006 by Attorney Dorothy Davis of Eckert Seamans.
As of 2010 the case continues to be in the court system. No one can live in a situation like this, for this long without breaking down. Because of being in legal limbo for all this time, my fiancée and I have postponed our wedding and been unable to start the family we both want. The stress levels are high at our house. I have suffered from and continually battle against severe depression and PTSD (although how it can be called post traumatic when you are still living through it baffles me). This has ruined me financially, Fairbanks/Select has ruined my credit so I can't even refinance away from them. I go through large bottle of antacid like you wouldn't believe. I am stuck in limbo, I can't sell the house without taking a huge loss, I couldn't buy a new house because they destroyed my credit and I can't move forward with business plans because I can't get financing.
As I stated in the first paragraph of this, there is so much more to the story that I could fill volumes. It was important to me that I get the basic story up on my site so that people visiting would at the very least have some idea of what a REAL victim goes through. In the days and weeks to come, I will add to this posting, as well as Blog about my experiences in the hopes that we can generate some much needed understanding and media for all victims of this type of fraud. Please check back frequently for updates and spread the word about my site.