Baron and Budd Advances Mortgage Fee Lawsuit

  Baron and Budd Advances Mortgage Fee Lawsuit

  Federal Judge Says Lawsuits Against Wells Fargo, Citibank Can Move Forward

Business Wire

SAN FRANCISCO -- May 6, 2013

In separate rulings issued against Wells Fargo and Citibank, a federal judge
in California rejected attempts by the two banking giants to dismiss lawsuits
filed by Baron and Budd on behalf of mortgage holders. The lawsuits allege
that fraudulent charges were assessed by the banks on the mortgage accounts of
borrowers who had fallen behind on their loan payments. Baron and Budd
attorneys Daniel Alberstone, Roland Tellis and Mark Pifko represent the
borrowers in the lawsuits.

Daniel Alberstone (Photo: Business Wire)

Daniel Alberstone (Photo: Business Wire)

The lawsuits center around fees for so-called “property preservation”
services, including “drive-by” inspections and Broker’s Price Opinions (BPOs).
When borrowers are behind on their loan payments, banks order these services
from third parties and charge borrowers for the costs. The lawsuits explain
that standard language in borrowers’ loan agreements only allows the banks to
charge borrowers for the amounts the banks actually paid to the third parties
for these services, with no mark-up. According to the lawsuits, however, Wells
Fargo and Citibank developed a scheme to cheat borrowers by secretly marking
up the amounts they paid to third parties for these services by 100% or more,
and then hiding the mark-up from borrowers. This scheme generated enormous
profits for the banks. A third case concerning these issues is pending against
JPMorgan Chase.

As asserted in the lawsuits, to hide the inflated charges from borrowers, the
banks used vague descriptions like “Other Charges,” “Delinquency Expenses” or
“Corporate Advances.”

“The Court’s rulings in the cases against Wells Fargo and Citibank mark the
first step in our efforts to hold these banks responsible for their deceitful
conduct and respond to the pleas of bank customers whose cries for help have
been largely ignored by these ‘too big to fail’ institutions,” said Daniel
Alberstone of Baron and Budd. “As the lawsuits move forward, it is our hope
that we will provide long awaited relief to borrowers,” added Baron and Budd’s
Mark Pifko.

If you feel that you have been charged inflated or marked-up fees in
connection with your home mortgage loan, please call us at 1.866.844.4556 or
email to learn more. There is no cost or obligation for our
complimentary review. All calls to Baron and Budd are confidential.

For more than 35 years, Baron and Budd has been a leader in meaningful
consumer litigation. The firm held a leadership position in the litigation
surrounding the banking industry's manipulation of overdraft fees, which
ultimately resulted in a $410 million settlement with Bank of America and a
$110 million settlement with JPMorgan Chase. Additional settlements are still
in negotiation. The case also forced banks nationwide to change their policies
regarding overdraft fees.

About Baron & Budd, P.C.

The law firm of Baron & Budd, P.C., with offices in Dallas, Baton Rouge,
Austin and Los Angeles, is a nationally recognized law firm with a 35-year
history of "Protecting What's Right" for people, communities and businesses
harmed by negligence. Baron & Budd's size and resources enable the firm to
take on large and complex cases. The firm represents individuals, governmental
and business entities in areas as diverse as water contamination, Gulf oil
spill, Qui Tam, California Proposition 65 violations, dangerous medications
and medical devices, Chinese drywall, insurance claims, consumer fraud,
securities fraud and asbestos-related illnesses such as mesothelioma.

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Baron & Budd
Susan Knape, 214-629-0596
Amanda Theaker, 214-991-1051
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