Florida Lawyer Facing Suspension for Mortgage Modification Scam

Nearly every client or prospective client who has consulted with Stopa Law Firm over the years has expressed a desire to obtain a loan modification.  As much as I’d love to tell these homeowners what they want to hear, the sad reality is that mortgage modifications are few and far between, especially those with principal reductions

Unfortunately, not everyone in the industry shares the necessary candor with homeowners.  The story below, for instance, shows how one Florida lawyer duped thousands of homeowners into paying him an up-front fee based on promises of a loan modification … promises which he obviously can’t deliver. 

If you’re a homeowner facing foreclosure, let this be a gentle reminder of a a few basic things. 

1.  Loan modifications are rare, especially with principal reductions.  I know that’s frustrating, believe me – but don’t shoot the messenger.  

2.  If anyone is promising you a loan modification with principal reduction, predicated on you paying an up-front fee, be very wary – it’s probably a scam.  The number of scam operations has gone down in recent years, but as you can see, they’re still out there.

3.  Even if you’re trying to get a loan modification, you must defend your foreclosure lawsuit in the interim.  Otherwise, you may think you’re negotiating for a mortgage modification, but those negotiations will end quickly once the foreclosure lawsuit ends with a Final Judgment of Foreclosure. 

Of course, if you’ve been a victim of William O’Toole or Summit Legal Group, feel free to contact Stopa Law Firm for a consultation – we’ll be happy to see if it’s not too late to help you.   

Here is the article, courtesy of the Daily Business Review. 

The Florida Bar has called for an emergency suspension of Boca Raton lawyer William O’Toole, declaring the foreclosure defense lawyer presents “great public harm.”

In its petition for suspension, which the Florida Supreme Court is expected to rule on today, the Bar alleges that O’Toole has partnered with non-lawyers to create Summit Legal Group and collect up-front fees from clients for mortgage modifications.

State law prohibits non-lawyers from collecting up-front fees in exchange for promises of obtaining mortgage modifications. Attorneys general throughout the country have warned consumers that mortgage modification centers are a relatively new phenomenon that produce few or no results for distressed homeowners. The Bar has warned lawyers not to partner with non-lawyers on such endeavors.

According to the Bar’s petition, O’Toole is the subject of 20 complaints and has been under investigation by the Bar since March 2010. He partnered with non-lawyer Randy Baker, who is under investigation by the Florida attorney general, the petition states, to send him “leads” and then split fees with Baker in violation of Bar rules.

O’Toole currently has between 2,500 and 3,000 clients “and admits that he has so many files he does not know the status of the client’s files,” according to the Bar petition.

O’Toole did not return phone calls by deadline.

The Daily Business Review recently reported that another lawyer, Rashmi Airan-Pace, was suspended by The Bar for allegedly operating a similar mortgage modification service with a non-lawyer company. The Bar alleged Airan-Pace took up-front fees and promised to obtain mortgage modifications for underwater homeowners without results.

Mark Stopa

Posted in Main | 20 Comments »

20 Responses to Florida Lawyer Facing Suspension for Mortgage Modification Scam

  1. It is amazing that an attorney involved in this debacle would even present such an offer to a client….thanks again Mark for the kind reality check….and warning regarding these types of “efforts…” ( and I use that term as a kind description and characterization of such efforts.)

  2. LOU CARR says:


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  4. Alan Cohen says:

    My daughter was a victim of Summit.

    They told her that she should cease making mortgage payments during the refinancing negotiations. She wound up in foreclosure. Once I found out the extent of the damage caused by Summit, I elevated the matter to the Office of the president at the Bank, and we are close to resolving the situation.

    People has lost their homes and have immeasurable damage done to their credit ratings due to Randy Baker, Solomon Macari, Aren Anderton and everyone else at Summit Legal.

    • Mark Stopa Mark Stopa says:

      Sorry to hear about this, Alan. Let me know if there’s something we can do to help.


      • Alan Cohen says:

        Initiate a class action lawsuit. The victims have been networking (some will probably access this note) and many were included in the complaint against O’Toole by the Florida Bar.

        There is real anger out there.

        By the way, “Summit” is still operating despite the sanctions. If you call them at 561-XXX-XXXX, someone will pick up the phone and say “legal”. That someone, in all likelihood is Solomon Macari. Baker and Macari will resurface under another corporate name. My research indicates that they have operated under several names including Baker, Kennedy, and Associates. Baker, Kennedy is the subject of a Florida AG complaint filed 04/13/11 by Carol DeGraffenreidt in West Palm.

        (Editor’s Note: phone number was deleted to prevent this clown from harming anyone else.)

  5. John Anderson says:

    You don’t ask for a loan mod, you fight for one. It’s only the people who fight there foreclosures get anything but the runaround.
    Justice is swift, on anyone who violates any protection that the banks enjoy. I do not know the particulars of the suspension of the lawyer, and if he took money and did not work on there cases ” via informing the banks, that if they do file suit, possible actions he would take” to put them in position to force the lender to the bargaining table, he deserves suspension, but his work does not even start until the suit is filed.
    In my case the 8th servicer of my loan that has offered a 25% principal reduction, and is offering to wave all late fees and penalties on my loan amount of $101,044.79 to $73,000.
    Pretty good but I don’t have 73K in cash, and no lender would touch it and no title co would insure it, as the prior mortgage from Ameriquest is still on file.
    MERS has only shone two of these as servicers Quick Loan Funding, and SN Servicing Corp. So when I checked on 09/17/2010 it listed Sn Servicing Corp as the servicer and revealed Citigroup Global Markets Realty Corp as the INVESTOR! While I am being sued by Citi Property Holdings Inc F/K/A Liquidation Properties Inc. Then when I checked again on 07/27/2011 it still lists SN Servicing Corp as servicer but now has UNDISCLOSED INVESTOR contact Servicer VA and phone #. So I sent this e-mail with a white lie to see what they will reveal.

    I have gotten a offer of settlement from Gregory Funding who claims that on 07/01/2011 became the servicer and has made a offer of settlement.
    That must be accepted by 08/20/2011.
    My realtor said that I need a MERS milestone report, before we can go to closing. How do I get one, how long does it take and if it cost, who do I pay and how?
    My MIN # is 1003375-0603007634-1
    Thank You
    John Anderson.


  6. Donna Oberg says:

    Unfortunately, people like myself trust in the word attorney and sadly get taken. I myself fell victim to these individuals but on my end they continually told me they were talking with the bank and providing them documents but my bank never received anything. The individual they claimed to be talking with was on maternity leave.

    Mr. Stopa how about you take on a multiple party suit against Mr. O’Toole and his crew. I have been in touch with Alan above and a few others and we would welcome the help. :o)

    Thank you for your time.

    • Mark Stopa Mark Stopa says:


      Call me and I’d be happy to talk to you about this. 888-450-1549.
      One concern, candidly, is that I wonder if Mr. O’Toole is collectible.
      That said, he took a lot of money from a lot of people, so he should have it somewhere, eh?
      Give me a call.


      • Donna Oberg says:

        Some of it probably went to his recent remodeling on his home. I hope his wife and children are enjoying the fruits of all of us that their husband and father ripped off.

  7. Daniel J Rose Esq says:

    I am in south Florida I just finished a month long investigation with Carmel Cafiero if channel 7 (Wsvn) and have been in direct contact with the Florida Bar in regards to this operation run by a Randy Baker and his associates Solomon Macari and his ex wife Aden Anderton.
    There will be a story airing tonight at 10pm and Friday on the 5pm broadcast and you can get a stream on
    It is the first segment of a series on this operation.
    I understand the owner of this website runs many foreclosure defense offices (we are a small firm in Delray beach) I hope for the good of the thousands of victims he will leave my comment up.
    Thank You

  8. sd krause says:

    I have also been scammed by SUMMIT and I am in jeopardy of losing my children’s first home….I am in tears over this. I gave these thieves $2700!! Mr. Stopa, I am out of Fort Worth, TX…If you choose to align this lawsuit I would like to be a part of it. I will be contacting the Atty General in the morning, as filing a complaint with the FL bar association on “William Timothy O’Toole”.

  9. todd wulf says:

    I have also been scamed by these people sent 3,000 dollars in janurary 2011 now august and still nothing and all phone numbers have been switched to a different company

  10. Frantzson Jeantilus says:

    I’ve been a victim of Summit Legal group since February 2010. I’ve been in contact with Solomon Macari and explained to him I did not want to lose my home, I just wanted a loan modification. I paid him $2,100 and just 2 weeks ago he asked for more money. If it wasn’t for channel 7 news I would have never known these people are a fraud. I have documents from Solomon and would like to be informed and involved in future class action law suits. I received a letter from the court stating they are starting a foreclosure sale and I have intentions of keeping my home. I’m in desperate need of your assistant…….Thank You

  11. Tami says:

    Add my name to the victim list! I spoke to Alan via email. I’m angry beyond words. I believe in karma and boy howdy does all the employees at Summit legal have what is coming to them. I may never see the 2900 they took from me but it’s on him and will be until the day he dies. If there’s a class action lawsuit I am so in!!!

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