It was April 3, 2011, when just about everyone interested in the foreclosure crisis tuned on 60 Minutes to watch Florida attorney, Lynn Szymoniak, tell the nation about the massive fraud she claimed to have uncovered.
60 Minutes described Szymoniak as: “A lawyer and fraud investigator with a specialty in forged documents.” “She has trained FBI agents,” the show’s host said. “She used her legal training to go online and research 10,000 mortgages.”
Szymoniak explained: “When I looked at the assignment of my mortgage, and this is the assignment… even the date they put in, which was 10/17/08, was several months after they sued me for foreclosure. So, what they were saying to the court was, ‘We sued her in July of 2008 and we acquired this mortgage in October of 2008.’ It made absolutely no sense.”
The infamous Linda Green had signed Szymoniak’s mortgage documents as a bank Vice President and Szymoniak subsequently discovered that the name Linda Green was being signed as a vice president of 20 banks all virtually at the same time.
“I often, because of my training, look for patterns. And then I began to find the strange signatures,” she explained on 60 Minutes. “It was a common practice in the last few years to flood the courts with these documents.”
Szymoniak went on to explain that banks outsourced the job of generating foreclosure paperwork to Lender Processing Services (“LPS”), who in turn had its subsidiary, “DocX,” do much of the actual work.
About a year later, 60 Minutes on March 14, 2012, reported that Lynn Szymoniak had been awarded $18 million as a result of being the first in South Carolina to file a Qui Tam lawsuit under the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act.
The False Claims Act allows the government to bring civil actions against entities that knowingly use, or cause the use of, false documents to obtain money from the government or to conceal an obligation to pay money to the government.
The whistleblower provision entitles a private person to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the United States, where the private person has information that a defendant knowingly violated the False Claims Act. And as an incentive for whistleblowers coming forward when someone has defrauded the government, whistleblowers can net up to 25 percent of the total settlement from a False Claims suit.
The government joined Szymoniak’s complaint, and …read more