From–stacked Appeals court overrules trial court that mortgage docts from HSBC were essentially fraud



A Florida appellate court vindicated HSBC Bank USA N.A., reversing a Miami-Dade Circuit judge who’d found the lender forged mortgage documents to prosecute a real estate foreclosure.

Citing seven points in its analysis of the trial court’s findings, the Third District Court of Appeal Wednesday ruled in favor of New York-based HSBC, and remanded the case to Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Beatrice Butchko to enter a final judgment of foreclosure.

“This is a very disappointing decision, which ignores most of Judge Butchko’s groundbreaking ruling,” said Bruce Jacobs, the Miami foreclosure defense attorney who won at trial.

Butchko in April 2016 dismissed HSBC’s foreclosure suit against homeowners Joseph and Margaret Buset. In response to an accusation of forgery against Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, she sided with borrowers who accused the loan servicing company of faking a mortgage assignment for HSBC.

“Judge Butchko found Ocwen and HSBC relied on false testimony, false evidence, violated the court’s discovery order and then lied about their violation of that order,” the defense attorney from Jacobs Keeley said. “Judge Butchko found the documents were untrustworthy. She found Ocwen’s loan boarding process was a legal fiction.”

Jacobs of Jacobs Keeley in Miami argued at trial that to prove the plaintiff had legal standing to sue, the financial services firm forged documents in 2012 to show the transfer of the debt about seven years earlier from one lender to another.

“They’re creating fake evidence of transactions that didn’t really happen,” Jacobs told the Daily Business Review after Butchko found the mortgage assignments “never legally occurred.”

The judge found the lender pursued the case with “unclean hands” and lacked competent evidence to support its lawsuit. She also granted the homeowners’ request to force the financial institutions to show why she shouldn’t punish them for committing a fraud on the court.

But the defense victory fizzled on appeal.

Rest here…
behind paywall)



From EB; Police Officer involved with April Parks indicted too.

For those of you involved in corrupt guardianship cases (Sykes, Lahoody, Rector, etc.), the courtroom player will often include the police as part of the scheme to steal in probate court and murder the elderly victim in the process.

Here is one officer who got caught.

Decorated police officer scams the elderly:

A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department lieutenant was jailed Wednesday, Valentine’s Day, caught up in a sweeping indictment involving elder exploitation. Contact 13 Darcy Spears continues her years-long expose on guardianship abuse with this heart- breaking case.

He was supposed to serve and protect but instead he’s accused of felony crimes for using Clark County’s guardianship system to steal from the estate of a vulnerable couple. And this police officer is directly connected to others first exposed in our ongoing investigation of guardianship corruption. 

Lieutenant James Thomas Melton is a decorated police veteran. As a sergeant, Melton received a group Medal of Valor and Purple Heart in 2009 for being wounded during a domestic violence call where a baby was pulled away from gunfire.

He was also a homicide detective and Metro’s SWAT commander, making about $300,000 a year including benefits.

But Valentine’s Day, a fall from grace as Melton was indicted by a grand jury and charged with stealing the life savings, over $700,000 from an 87-year-old widow suffering from dementia.

Court records claim Melton deceived the court after the victim died, representing that she was still alive so he could be named beneficiary on various accounts.

And Melton didn’t act alone. The indictment shows he hired private guardian April Parks. Parks is already in jail facing over 200 felony counts after our investigation revealed she was double-billing and exploiting clients. 

Parks, her attorney Noel Palmer Simpson and former office manager Mark Simmons all face additional charges of exploitation for working with Melton.

According to the indictment, Melton is also accused of stealing the victim’s Ford Explorer and taking $2,187.50  from her Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust.

From KKD–Nev. Judge files BK, defaults on $2 million in loans and lies on Financial Disclosure form.

with the internet now, there are no more secrets for public officials, and investigative reports find a gold mine of informatio on corruption:


February 7, 2018

Clark County Family Court Judge Cynthia N. Giuliani was elected November 4, 2008, officially taking the bench on January 5, 2009. Judge Giuliani was re-elected to the Eighth Judicial District Family Court in 2014. Her current term expires in January 2021.

Less than a year after taking the bench on January 5, 2009, Judge Giuliani and her husband, local Attorney Roger A. Giuliani, filed a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy petition on December 31, 2009, in Federal Court. According to their bankruptcy filing, the couple owed $2,579,954.65 on real estate holds worth $1,980,500.00. Their real estate holdings took a major hit when the market crashed in 2008. Most, if not all, of the properties, had loans which exceed the values by as much as 100% of the 2009 market values.

Clearly, the couple struggled in 2008 with more than eleven mortgage payments on properties underwater.

Every year Judges are required under Nevada law to submit a Financial Disclosure Statement, disclosing all their assets and liabilities including all creditors they owe money to. Judges must sign the FDS under penalty of perjury. Judge Giuliani’s FDS submitted on January 13, 2010, just 13 days after filing her Bankruptcy petition, failed to disclose the $2.5 million in debts she and her husband owed to over eleven different creditors. When a debtor files a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy petition, the debts are still valid for 90 days until the court discharges them. Many debts are not discharged automatically if the debtor has significant assets as did Judge Giuliani had.

As cited below on this page, Section D of the FDS requires “List each creditor to whom you or a member of your household owes $5,000 or more…”  Judge Giuliani wrote “None”. did reach out to Judge Giuliani for a statement but we never heard back.

Rob Lauer

Political Reporter


Judge Giuliani’s BK Petition filed December 31, 2009 



Judge Giuliani’s Financial Disclosure Statement filed Jan 13, 2010 (thirteen days later)




January 13, 2010 Financial Disclosure Statement 

Comments from Ken Ditkowsky on article:
On 25 January 2018 4:15 PM, kenneth ditkowsky <> wrote:
Transparency is a word that is used solely to describe the attitude that others, other than the corrupt Political and Judicial elite are to exhibit.    You recalled that here in Illinois Jerome Larkin and the criminals he employees do not file the required FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE statements required of all public employees – ditto for some judges.  Our local law enforcement people even when confronted could care less — the criminal know exactly where their money may be and thus why should the public be kept in the dark as to DARK MONEY received by these public officials.
Would you expect anything different in Las Vegas.    Bankruptcy Fraud is a skill that a judge who is regularly on the edge (i.e. being caught for being ‘wired’) must learn and the advanced learning should be encouraged – not thwarted!
Frankly, under the ethical compact that is in force in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Vegas, etc EXPOSING JUDICIAL CORRUPTION is akin to “yelling fire in a crowded theater!”    Indeed, Lanre Amu received an interim suspension of his law license for comply with 18 USCA 4 and Rule 8.3  — The fact that his disclosure was echoed by CRAINS CHICAGO business publication may keep Mr. Amu from ever obtaining his law license.    He was caught practicing law while black!    According to the Illinois Lawyer Disciplinary Commission and the Supreme Court of Illinois exposing corruption is an ethically challenged activity and the 2nd oldest profession cannot and will not tolerate it.
Ms. Price is just following the law as dictated by the SWAMP!
I forwarded a copy of his e-mail to the certain law enforcement people and the White house.   obstruction of justice by public officials encompasses much more that aiding and abetting (18 USCA 371) the evasion of America’s immigration laws – it also encompasses local law enforcement people (and in particular judges and court personnel) giving special treatment to corrupt members of the Political and Judicial elite.    Maybe the DOJ can prosecute a few of these bureaucrats!

New book on Amazon about Probate/Disabled Abuse – A Breach of Trust-5 stars

You have a wonderful life. You’re running a business, have money in the bank and get to visit with all your friends and family whenever you like. Then one day you wake up to find someone shoving a pill down your throat in some lowdown nursing home situated in a dangerous part of the city. Without your permission, they’re liquidating your business and making all of your money disappear. You do whatever you can to try to get out of this nightmare, but discover the people who did this to you are simply too powerful. Think it can’t happen to you? Think again.

This is the true story of a newly licensed nursing facility administrator (LNFA) and the people she meets. The stories they tell her are both hard to believe and impossible to ignore. She begins investigating and the more layers she peels away, the worse it gets. Eventually, this leads to catastrophic consequences for three special people under her care. Can she repair the damage and stop the madness before it’s too late? Or are the forces against her too powerful?
A Breach of Trust exposes the weakest link in the freedoms we all hold dear. Cross the wrong line, say the wrong thing, and at any moment you too could be stripped naked and taken captive. It is for these three special friends and all the future victims that Susan Hodges offers this advice: whatever you do, don’t cross these people because soon, you might discover your life belongs to them now!

I have not read this book, but it has been rated 5 stars on 18 reviews.

Here is a dramatic trailer for the book.  The actress does a great job.

From EB: Michigan changes laws regarding predatory Realtors who prey on Estate homes, but how little, how late?

EB sent me this article on how Michigan is changing laws so that Realtors cannot open Decedents Estates quick and sell homes on the cheap causing heirs to take huge losses on the sale of homes owned by their deceased loved ones.

But note in the news stories, the Michigan officials admit they received a stream of stories over just how many years?

And how does giving notice and changing a waiting period to sell homes from 42 days to 63 days really help anyone when you know probate is a fixed game and a fixed sale and profits are only accessible to cronies of the wealthy and powerful.

I vote this a red herring, but watch for yourself.

7 Action News Investigation prompts probate law change, protects heirs


A 7 Action News investigation has now changed the law in Michigan.  On Tuesday, Governor Rick Snyder signed the legislation that will increase protections in the law for heirs after a loved one dies.


Since November 2016, 7 Investigator Heather Catallo has been exposing several loopholes in the law that allowed real estate brokers and Attorney General-appointed lawyers called Public Administrators to open probate estates after a loved one dies. Catallo’s relentless reporting showed that Macomb County real estate broker Ralph Roberts and his company, Probate Asset Recovery, used that power from the courts to sell the homes and take thousands of dollars from the probate estates.


After the 7 Investigators exposed this, Attorney General Bill Schuette shut the practice down, and Schuette supported the changes to the law.

“Actions that came to light last year made it clear that now is the time to make changes to the public administration system,” said Schuette in a statement Tuesday. “What has happened in the system is unacceptable and these changes to an almost 40-year-old law will help ensure this never happens again. By creating a clear, current and direct path for public administrators to follow in the probate process we can better protect Michigan citizens and weed out any bad actors.”

Oakland County Sheriff’s detectives are also now conducting a criminal investigation into these practices.


In May 2017, Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner and Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown brought together a bi-partisan group of lawmakers to close the loopholes.  Two bills sponsored by Rep. Jim Ellison (D-Royal Oak) and Rep. Jim Runestad (R-Highland Twp.) were signed into law Tuesday.


“We had the constant drum beat of stories that just got worse and worse that you chronicled, and I think that is major factor in why the legislature felt like ‘hey you know what, we need to deal with this one and we need to deal with it quickly,’” Meisner told Catallo.


Meisner is pleased the bills passed, especially since several probate judges and lawyers opposed the changes to the law.


“We reached out to the probate bench and to the bar, and solicited their input about it,” said Meisner. “Despite our reaching out, they didn’t connect with us, they didn’t provide any feedback – and then they submitted a letter before the committee hearing opposing the legislation… It reflects poorly on the probate bar and the judges that they came out against the legislation, and I hope in the future when they’re confronted with this sort of obvious wrong doing that they take the stand of the people.”


Here are more details from Public Act 13 of 2018:

-Heirs will now have 63 days instead of 42 days to open a probate estate, before a Public Administrator can open the estate;

-A formal hearing is now required for a Public Administrator to be appointed;


Copyright 2018 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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From CT: Cook County’s first elected Filipina judge goes on trial on mortgage fraud charges

What promises to be a mundane mortgage fraud trial filled with dry testimony from bankers about decade-old financial documents drew a standing room-only crowd to a federal courtroom in Chicago on Tuesday morning.

The reason? The defendant is a judge herself.

Cook County Associate Judge Jessica Arong O’Brien is the first sitting judge in years to face a jury on criminal charges at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse.

O’Brien, 50, was accused of orchestrating a $1.4 million mortgage fraud scheme stemming from the purchase of two South Side properties when she was a lawyer and real estate agent a decade ago — long before she became the first Filipina elected to the county bench.

If convicted, O’Brien, who was reassigned to administrative duties following her indictment last year, would by law be forced to step down from her judgeship.

In opening statements Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin, lawyers for both sides made no mention of O’Brien’s judicial position because it had nothing to do with the charges she’s facing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Madden told jurors O’Brien lied at least four times on loan and refinancing applications for two investment properties she purchased in 2004 and 2005 when she was working as a lawyer for the Illinois Department of Revenue. She then made a profit by unloading the two homes in 2007 by paying kickbacks to a straw purchaser, Madden said.

In all, O’Brien pocketed at least $325,000 from the transactions, Madden said. She also caused losses to lenders after the straw purchaser defaulted on payments and the properties wound up in foreclosure, he said.

“She used lies to buy and sell these properties,” Madden said.

O’Brien’s attorney, Ricardo Meza, said in his opening remarks that O’Brien may have made some “mistakes” when reporting her income and financial affairs but that none of it was intentional.

“Mistakes are not fraud,” Meza said. “Whatever Jessica did, it was always done in good faith. If she made a mistake, she’s no different than anyone else.”

Meza also said prosecutors vastly overstated the amount of loss in the case.

“What happened here is the government got it wrong,” Meza said.

O’Brien was elected to the bench in 2012 as the first Filipina judge in Cook County and had most recently presided over a small-claims courtroom.

O’Brien, who is married to a judge, immigrated to the U.S. after high school and earned degrees in culinary arts and restaurant management, according to online biographies. She then made a career change and went to John Marshall Law School, graduating in 1998 and later serving on its board.

She was the first Asian elected president of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois and also served on the board of governors for the Illinois State Bar Association. The judge also co-founded a foundation in 2008 that awards scholarships to law students from diverse backgrounds.

At the time of the alleged fraud, O’Brien was working as special assistant attorney general for the state Department of Revenue, where she also reportedly held the position of chief counsel to the Illinois Lottery. She also owned her own real estate company and worked part time as a loan originator for Amronbanc Mortgage Corp., records show.

Her co-defendant, Maria Bartko, was also working for Amronbanc and agreed to take part in the scheme, prosecutors said.

O’Brien allegedly used fraudulently obtained mortgage loan proceeds to buy an investment property in the 600 block of West 46th Street in Chicago and then lied on applications to refinance the mortgage on the property as well as on a second investment property in the 800 block of West 54th Street in Chicago.

Among the lies O’Brien told were listing her income as $81,000 in 2004 when in fact she was on maternity leave and made only $11,000 that year, Madden said.

The next year, O’Brien claimed in refinancing documents that her company, O’Brien Realty, took in at least $240,000 in profits in 2005, but tax returns showed only $21,000 in receipts, Madden said.

The indictment also alleges that O’Brien fraudulently obtained a $25,000 commercial line of credit to maintain the properties before selling them to Bartko and a straw buyer.

The deals closed on consecutive days in 2007, with O’Brien walking away “$100,000 richer” from the fraudulent transactions, Madden said.

Bartko, 50, of Streamwood, pleaded guilty last month to one count of mail fraud affecting a financial institution. She agreed to testify against O’Brien as part of her plea deal, but prosecutors have since said they do not intend to call her as a witness.

Twitter @jmetr22b


Woman pleads guilty to mortgage fraud, agrees to testify against judge at trial »

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