By DOTTIE PARIS, TFLJ Features Editor –
DEERFIELD BEACH — Attorney Peter Ticktin believes you can go home again. And he wants that to be the case for victims of the so-called ‘foreclosure-gate’ mortgage scandal.
“In our country, we used to have a conscience — that was the bank,” said Ticktin, founder Deerfield Beach-based The Ticktin Law Group. “And then that disappeared. Ruinous competition for bad loans forced even the legitimate banks to compete, so, originating banks like World Savings, Countrywide, and even little banks are not there any more. What happened to America was we lost our checks and balances,”
Ticktin, whose firm The Ticktin Law Group is defending homeowners victimized in the “Robo-signing” mortgage scandal, says it has been detailed detective-like work that led his team to discover the fraud perpetrated on the people. But taking on challenges like this is not new for the Bronx-born attorney.
Ticktin has been a farmer, a builder, and at one time, he owned and operated small heavy equipment. He was the CEO of a small public company, The Pony Express, and he puts the emphasis on Business in the category of Business Law for his clients.
During his legal career, he has been a leader in the area of HIV litigation and has been involved in cases ranging from monkey bites to the intricacies of pharmaceutical products liability. He came to national public attention when he won a two-week trial that was televised on Court TV, regarding the unauthorized procurement of a child’s organs in the only case on wrongful organ procurement to be tried.
In 2010, Ticktin discovered the Robo-Signers who were signing perjured affidavits for the banks to expedite their foreclosure cases. The revelation of the Robo-Signers caused a major slowdown of mortgage foreclosure suits throughout the country.
“Fifteen to 20 years ago if anyone were to lie on an application for a loan at an FDIC bank, they would go to jail for five years if they had a clean record,” Ticktin said. “It was considered bank robbery without a gun. The real shift that occurred, the change in the paradigm came with advent of mortgage-backed securities. Before that, the bank would buy the paper. The bank wanted to know one thing: ‘Tell me about the borrower. Can they pay?’”
Ticktin said that taking on the servicers of the banks has not been easy.
“When we started to defend mortgage foreclosures we did it with one condition: To fight it to win,” Ticktin said. “Real litigators leave no stone unturned.
“What we’re looking at is a clever plan for these servicers of these banks to take these homes away from these people, using false documents. It was, ‘The hell with the legal system.’ They perpetrated a fraud on the court using perjured affidavits. The people who were employed didn’t have any experience, but they suddenly found themselves with titles such as VP or officer in charge of foreclosure, and these are people who didn’t even know what foreclosures really are. Many of them were young and inexperienced, innocent bumpkins, committing one perjury after another, they didn’t even know if they were doing something so wrong. Who of these young people would even think these banks like Wells Fargo, Deutsch Bank, Bank of America would do this?”
Ticktin said it was a continual path of greed that led to the housing market debacle.
“What happened was the brokers started making so much money, it got attractive to get into the business,” Ticktin said. “There were 5800 of them in Florida in 2001, but 17,000 by 2006 in Florida. The stated income is where the lies were. Nobody would check. It was as if you were fogging the mirror.
But Ticktin wants to clear the vision and get the victims the justice they deserve.
“That’s why we need to get the word out to the victims of the foreclosure scam,” Ticktin said. “Other firms may be causing delay, but we are defending the people. We want to make this right.”