August 11, 2014
In a searing, 6-page opinion which does not mince words, The Hon. Jean Johnson, Circuit Judge of the 4th Judicial Circuit for Duval County (Jacksonville-area) Florida finds and holds that JPMorgan Chase and its attorneys Shapiro & Fishman committed fraud on the court through misrepresentations involving a fraudulent assignment and claims which JPM and S&F knew were fraudulent when filed. The law Firm of Parker & DuFresne, P.A. represented the homeowner. S&F was represented at the hearing on the homeowners’ Motion to Dismiss the foreclosure With Prejudice by the Greenberg Traurig Firm. The matter is styled JPMorgan Chase Bank National Association v. Pocopanni, Case Number is 16-2008-CA-3989.
WaMu had filed a foreclosure action through S&F in 2008 alleging that WaMu was the owner and holder of the Note, which had been originated by another bank. As alleged evidence of this, WaMu submitted an Assignment of Mortgage which represented to the Court that the mortgage was assigned from the original lender to WaMu. However, this directly contradicted a prior assignment from 1992 which assigned the mortgage to Fleet Real Estate Funding Corporation without recourse. On the same day, Fleet assigned the mortgage to Fannie Mae and reserved no right in the mortgage.
On July 5, 1996, Fannie Mae, also represented by S&F, filed a Lis Pendens to what the Court termed a “prequel” to commencing a foreclosure action. Then, on August 20, 1996, another assignment of mortgage was filed showing an assignment from Fleet to Fannie Mae. This assignment was also prepared by S&F. The Court noted that the Fannie Mae lookup tool shows that the current owner of the note and mortgage is Fannie Mae, and thus concluded that: “it is now undisputed that the plaintiff [JPM] is not, nor has ever been, the owner and holder of the Defendants’ note and mortgage.”
Judge Johnson thus found that “WaMu, with the assistance of its previous counsel Shapiro & Fishman, submitted the Assignment when WaMu and Shapiro & Fishman actually knew that only Fannie Mae was entitled to foreclose on the Mortgage, and that WaMu never owned or held the note and Mortgage.” The ruling goes on to find that “Shapiro & Fishman had itself prepared a false assignment of mortgage” and also found “by clear and convincing evidence that WaMu, Chase and Shapiro & Fishman committed fraud on this Court.” Further, “The Court finds that Shapiro & Fishman, at all times material, filed the Complaint, the Assignment, and the Motion for Substitution (of the Plaintiff) with actual knowledge that the averments and representations made in those papers were false.”
The Judge also stated that “these acts committed by WaMu, Chase and Shapiro & Fishman amount to a ‘knowing deception intended to prevent the defendants from discovery essential to defending the claim’ and are therefore fraud”, and dismissed the foreclosure with prejudice.
Kudos and bravo to Judge Johnson for exposing this fraud on the record. As those of you who follow this website know, one of our clients obtained an attorneys’ fee award against S&F’s client in another case in connection with a dismissal of the case by the Judge on Motion of Mr. Barnes. S&F appealed the decision and lost. Rather than paying the attorneys’ fee award, S&F continues to battle our client and refuses to pay the award even though it lost the appeal of the dismissal. A hearing on the matter is thus being scheduled.
Jeff Barnes, Esq., www/ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com