(BREAKING NEWS – OP-ED) — The information provided here is just coming in off the wires (Law360.com hat tip). This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute the rendering of legal advice.
UPDATE … Here are the federal complaints and exhibits (hat tip to Dr. Klaus)!:
Wells Fargo Bank NA has done it again! A Florida couple has filed a proposed class action lawsuit against the lender, claiming (on behalf of all other interested parties) that the bank altered their second mortgage loan, thus screwing up their chain of title, accusing the bank of impairing their property’s vendibility. Philip and Ingrid Tippett filed the action yesterday in the Middle District of Florida (Case No. 5:20-cv-00342) through their law firm of Kozyak Tropin. The first judge assigned to the case (Moody) filed an Order of Recusal in the matter and the case was reassigned to Hon. Brian J. Davis, an Obama appointee in the Jacksonville Division.
The complaint alleges that Wells Fargo Bank issued thousands of second mortgage loans (HELOCs) and after discovering that it had made a critical error in failing to set the second mortgages to terminate after the final maturity date, the bank went in and fraudulently altered the maturity dates on the loans without informing its customers in order to avoid having all those loans left unsecured because of the errors committed in the original loans. This author can only imagine what Wells Fargo is going to file as a response and how it’s going to answer discovery.
Here’s the thing … the customers signed a second mortgage loan contract with Wells Fargo Bank NA and could have ended up with an unsecured loan because of the screw-up made (not by the borrowers) by the bank. The bigger issue is … if it’s found that Wells actually altered the documents AFTER they were signed, a judge could decide to void all of the loans, as the customers agreed to one thing and Wells Fargo went in and allegedly altered the documents to say quite another thing.
We’re talking thousands of second mortgage (HELOC, Home Equity Line of Credit) loans here! Mind you, the ink is still fresh on this filing and Wells Fargo has not answered the complaint yet.
It should be noted here that altering public documents and/or recording false and misrepresentative statements into the public record in Florida is punishable as a third-degree felony in Florida under Florida Criminal Code § 817.535. Please contact the author of this post at firstname.lastname@example.org if upon checking your second mortgage HELOC loan (doesn’t matter which State you are in) you have discovered alterations in your second mortgage recorded documents from what you were given at closing. The author would be interested in examining your documents and you could possibly be considered as a part of the class action if you fit into the parameters of the class. Since we now have the complaint with the exhibits, the author suggests using the exhibits as a comparison as to what you might see in your own documents.
This mega-bank just can’t seem to keep itself on the straight and narrow despite the rash of allegations brought against it by whistleblowers, accusing the bank of ordering its customer service agents to open fraudulent checking and savings accounts, which opened up a whole Pandora’s Box of issues that ended up being aired in front of Congressional committees. The author wonders about whose “heads are going to roll” for this mess, who’s going to take the real responsibility for ordering the alterations, who’s going to get criminally prosecuted for altering land records and how the bank is going to explain this boner to its stockholders.