Thursday, July 15, 2010

Three more lawyers prohibited from practice due to loan modification activities

Three more lawyers prohibited from practice due to loan modification activities
California Bar Journal
July 2010

Continuing its effort to protect the public from lawyers who take advantage of distressed homeowners, the State Bar prosecutor’s office has secured orders of involuntary inactive enrollment for three Southern California attorneys: Eric Douglas Johnson of Los Angeles, Mark Alan Shoemaker of Long Beach and Brian Colombana of Lake Forest.

Besides the three involuntary inactive enrollments, the bar’s Office of Chief Trial Counsel has obtained the resignations of 13 attorneys involved in foreclosure misconduct since creation of the Loan Modification Task Force in April 2009. Five loan modification trials are pending and another 2,000 related investigations are underway.

“The Chief Trial Counsel’s office continues to send the message that attorneys guilty of misconduct — especially toward homeowners who are at their most vulnerable when facing the loss of their homes — will be prosecuted and disciplined,” said Interim Chief Trial Counsel Russell Weiner.

In a June 17 ruling, State Bar Court Judge Richard Honn said Colombana’s conduct “poses a substantial threat of harm to his clients or the public.” He cited 13 declarations by clients from California, South Carolina, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Maryland, Utah and New York who paid upfront fees to one of the loan modification companies with which Colombana [#238272] was affiliated, including Loan Negotiators of America, Housing Law Center and Mortgage Relief Law Center.

In most cases, clients never even met the attorney but dealt with non-lawyer representatives of the loan modification companies...