Archive for July 13th, 2012

I’m Getting Rich, Banker-Style!!!

I figured out how I’m going to get rich, and I’m so confident it’s going to work that I’m posting it on this blog.  Here’s my strategy…

I’m going to go to Office Depot and have them print me a stamp that says:

Pay to the Order of:   Stopa Law Firm


Without Recourse, Mark Stopa, Asst. V.P. of Foreclosure Documentation

I’ll stamp this on every “original” promissory note I can find, sign my name on the line, and file foreclosure lawsuits on all of these properties, naming Stopa Law Firm as the Plaintiff.  If anyone tries to question the legitimacy or authenticity of the endorsement, I’ll simply say “judge, the note is self-authenticating, and I’ve filed the original.”  I’ll then shovel in my ill-gotten gains by the millions as hard-working, Florida homeowners get foreclosed, hundreds at a time.  By the time anyone questions my nefarious acts, I’ll have sailed off into the sunset, counting my tens of millions, ala David Stern.

OK, back to reality … Does this even begin to sound reasonable to you?  Do you think I’d seriously entertain this, even for a moment?  Of course not.  It’s not only immoral, it’s illegal … and I’d obviously never do it.  So why am I talking about it?

Well, this is what banks are doing on a regular basis in foreclosure cases throughout Florida.  Instead of procuring the “wet-ink” signatures of agents from the banks that supposedly transferred the notes/mortgages to them, banks are stamping endorsements onto notes, often without the knowledge/consent of the person whose signature the endorsement is supposed to represent.

For example, suppose U.S. Bank transfers a Note/Mortgage to Bank of America.  Typically, the way it’s done (or supposed to be done, at least) is a President, Vice President, or other, high-ranking officer of U.S. Bank signs an endorsement on the original Note and transfers possession of the Note to Bank of America.  Bank of America then goes to court with the original Note, with an endorsement, and sues for foreclosure.

That’s how it’s supposed to work … only that’s not reality.

In the real world, banks like Bank of America don’t have wet-ink signatures on their endorsements.  Instead, they rely on “endorsements” which aren’t signed at all, but are stamped – literally a stamp of someone’s signature … like a stamp you’d buy at Office Depot.

I suppose, in theory, that stamping a signature instead of actually signing the endorsement on a Note could be okay … IF the person whose signature appears is actually the one doing the stamping.  For example, if Michelle Sjolander doesn’t sign a Note herself but stamps her own signature, I suppose that’s okay.  But do you think it actually works that way?  Hell no.

Don’t believe me?  Read this deposition of Michelle Sjolander.  She  acknowledges that she has never actually signed an endorsement and that she doesn’t even know how many stamps with her “signature” exist:

And do you know how many stamps were issued with
11 your name on them?
12 A Not the exact number. But many.
13 Q Could you estimate? Is it more than 10? More than
14 100?
15 A More than — more than 10.
16 Q Less than 50?
17 A I don’t — through the whole years, I can’t even
18 give that answer.
19 Q Okay. And what happens to the stamps? What happens
20 to the old stamps when you execute new stamps?
21 A I collect them and burn them.

Are any endorsements ever what you called wet ink
3 signature where someone actually signs the endorsement?
4 A It is — it is not — not — none of mine have been.
5 Q Okay. How about anyone else’s? Do you have any
6 knowledge if anyone else’s signatures are –
7 MR. TRINZ: Objection.
8 Q BY MS. LUNDERGAN: — physically placed on versus
9 stamping?
Objection. Outside of her knowledge.
11 THE WITNESS: Outside the scope of my business.
12 Q BY MS. LUNDERGAN: Okay. Do you have any knowledge
13 then of that?
14 A No.
15 Q Okay. How long has — you are no longer executing
16 endorsements, but when did you begin executing endorsements or
17 when did they begin using a stamped signature to execute your
18 endorsement?
19 A 2005.
20 Q And how did that arise? Was it something that they
21 asked you to do or was it something that became part of your
22 job position?
23 A Yes. My previous boss had left the company and my
24 stamp was replaced with his.

Nonetheless, the name Michelle Sjolander appears on hundreds, probably thousands, and perhaps tens of thousands of endorsements on “original” promissory notes in foreclosure cases.  She hasn’t signed her name, and she didn’t stamp it – but her ”signature” is regularly seen on original notes.  Any foreclosure attorney, such as myself, has undoubtedly seen her name dozens of times.

It’s bad enough that she’s not signing or stamping her own name.  But that’s not the worst of it.  Instead, let me ask you this …

Once you realize that Michelle Sjolander isn’t stamping her own name, and that dozens of stamps with her signature exist, what do you think the chances are that someone from the company for whom she works/worked stamped her signature on the original Notes, as opposed to someone from the company prosecuting the foreclosure case?

Personally, I’m convinced that banks often fail to obtain an endorsement from the bank that “transferred” the “original” Note to them, and merely stamp the Note so it looks like they got an endorsement.  Using my example, above, instead of Bank of America getting someone from U.S. Bank to endorse the Note, Bank of America merely stamps an endorsement on the Note itself.

This may well be the next big wave of foreclosure defense.  The argument?

“Yes, judge, I see the note is endorsed in blank.  But the endorsement is not self-authenticating when we have reason to believe it was not signed by the purported endorser, but that the alleged endorsement was stamped by the plaintiff itself.”

It’s really no different than if I started stamping “Pay to the Order of Stopa Law Firm” on a bunch of Notes, signed them, and foreclosed.  Nobody would think that is okay, so why is it overlooked if it’s done by banks?

Mark Stopa

Posted in Main | 12 Comments »