Steven J. Baum, P.C., has entered into a settlement with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York whereby it is required to pay $2 million and make significant reforms to its foreclosure filing practices. Strangely, the settlement agreement at ¶4 reads: “This Agreement does not constitute a finding by any Court or Agency that Baum has engaged in any unlawful practice or wrongdoing of any kind.”
$2 million is a lot of money for a law firm that has not engaged in any unlawful practices or wrongdoing of any kind.
Also noteworthy for foreclosure defense practitioners is ¶15(a):
“Baum shall provide the following notification:
a. In any pending foreclosure action where an application for a judgment of foreclosure has not been submitted to a court, if Baum has filed an assignment of mortgage as a corporate officer of MERS, Baum shall disclose that fact to the court in the application for the judgment of foreclosure, or earlier. Such disclosure shall not be required if the Baum firm does not file a proposed judgment of foreclosure (e.g. because another law firm has been substituted as counsel for the matter prior to the filing of a proposed judgment of foreclosure, because the action is dismissed, etc.)” (Emphasis supplied).
Settlement Between the United States of America and Steven J. Baum