When Carol Coles-Linn’s husband, Norman Linn, signed his name on a Countrywide mortgage agreement in 2011, he was signing an agreement that industry insiders call “toxic waste.”
Neither the husband nor the wife realized they were signing a fraudulent document.
Not that it mattered. Unfortunately, even though the Linns sued over wrongful foreclosure based on ironclad evidence, the court has been reluctant to rule against Bank of America, which holds the countrywide loans.
Norman Linn, an architect and naval veteran, passed away in 2014 with the loan in his name, but before passing, he was promised a modification, adding his wife’s name to the loan if they paid their note for three months.
Neither the modification nor the name transfer occurred, and now Carol Linn is facing a foreclosure sale on her home for the fifth time.
Some say that Countrywide loans were the most fraudulent instruments ever created, yet the courts seldom if ever rule in favor of the homeowner. The usual “win” for the homeowner is a loan modification that the bank to keep the customer and collect interest payments that is thousands of basis points above the level the banks are able to borrow from the Feds. So the banks still win.
“They don’t even bother to justify their actions, says Carol Linn. “Instead, they hide behind statute of limitation clauses and confusing legalese.”
Despite efforts of homeowners like Linn, the majority of lawsuits against the banks end in dismissal, because it seems that judges in California are committed to make sure banks prevail.
Homeowners that appeal court decisions do not fare much better in appeals court or State Supreme Court.
Homeowners lose in court due to the of bias judges who themselves hold investments in bonds and financial corporations, many times in the same bank that a homeowner is suing.
A single ruling against the bank that reverses a foreclosure sale because the bank did not follow the letter of the law could spill over into thousands of other cases and potentially impact the profitability of the entire banking and loan servicing industry.
“It was very clear that there is one form of justice for the small borrower and another form of justice for the moneyed interests,” said Donald Adams, a retired California attorney.
Judges salaries are limited because they work for the state. The average superior court judge in California earns about $150,000. Leaving a private practice where they earned much more and able to amass great wealth and invest their fortune in stocks and bonds, judges tend to protect their interests.
They are part of the 1%, and their social and legal philosophy is often aligned with the interests of the wealthy.
In California, 42 of the 105 appeals court judges own stocks or bonds in financial companies. Four appeals court judges own stock in Wells Fargo, 17 in Bank of America, six in US Bank, eight in Citibank and five in JPMorgan Chase ranging from $10,000 to $1 million, according to financial disclosure reports.
Under California’s judicial ethics standards, a judge owning more than $1,500 in stock of a company that is party to a lawsuit should recues themselves from the case.
That is not happening.