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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Countrywide Gets Caught At It

Update: This is a direct link to a pdf of the court transcript during which the judge and the various lawyers discuss the purpose and representation of the "recreated letters". This is side-busting stuff, and kudos to the NY Times for posting it. End update.

Memo to all: when "recreating" documents you are going to present in court to support your claim against a homeowner, make certain that you backdate addresses, etc:
The documents — three letters from Countrywide addressed to the homeowner — claimed that the borrower owed the company $4,700 because of discrepancies in escrow deductions. Countrywide’s local counsel described the letters to the court as “recreated,” raising concern from the federal bankruptcy judge overseeing the case, Thomas P. Agresti.
The homeowner says she never got letters informing her of a change in escrow, and others support her claim:
But Mr. Steidl told the court he had never received the letters. Furthermore, he noticed that his address on the first Countrywide letter was not the location of his office at the time, but an address he moved to later. Neither did the Chapter 13 trustee’s office have any record of receiving the letters, court records show.
And when cornered, Countrywide said it "recreated" the letters.
Ms. Hill’s matter is one of 300 bankruptcy cases involving Countrywide that have come under scrutiny by Ms. Winnecour, the Chapter 13 trustee in Pittsburgh. On Oct. 9, she asked the court to sanction Countrywide, contending that the company had lost or destroyed more than $500,000 in checks paid by homeowners in bankruptcy from December 2005 to April 2007.
You've got to read this entire story. The judge sounds truly astounded. I'm not.

This, by the way, is the best argument anyone could possibly make for judicial foreclosures in which a court action must be filed. Pennsylvania has some of the most rigorous laws in this regard. Is it a coincidence that this is coming up in Pennsylvania?

Hat tip Dr. Strangemoney over at Calculated Risk

Thanks Mom,That Transcript is Amazing.And now 60 days for discovery,with the US bankruptcy Trustee as a party of interest.Is it time for a corporate "Darwin Award" with Countrywide as inspiration?
I love the idea of corporate Darwin Awards.

There's an awful lot of contenders right now, but this is at least due for an honorable mention.

I wonder what in the heck the lawyer who had to try to explain this was thinking. It sure wasn't "This is my lucky day."
How about "my hourly rate just doubled if i am representing countrywide".or,if she isn't real hungry and is smart enough to know that her rep with the courts is vital to her success "this is the last time i EVER represent these idiots".She was as straight up with the judge as an attorney can be given our adversary system,and did not attempt to excuse her clients conduct.This wasn't mark geragos or alberto gonzales,just a reasonably competent and honest attorney who suddenly found herself in a bad neighborhood of oz.
I'm surprised they didn't claim "Fake but Accurate" (TM).
That was exactly the argument the poor lawyer had to advance.
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