Risk of the Affiliated Vendor Engagements
BY SVIATLANA LIASHCHYNA
On May 25, 2018 the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York heard the oral arguments for defendants’ motions to dismiss in a case referred to as being “about banks and law firms fleecing the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA”[Case 1:12-cv-07199-JSR, Third Amended Complaint]. The plaintiff alleged violations of several provisions of the False Claims Act. [Violations referenced in the case relate to the following provisions of the False Claims Act: 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a)(1)(A); 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a)(1)(B); 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a)(1)(C); 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a)(1)(G).] The action was brought by the Unites States of America against over 15 mortgage servicers, as well as 2 default services law firms and their affiliated process serving and title companies. The allegations are based on improper invoicing practices implemented by the law firms; during the foreclosure process, the firms submitted to the servicers marked-up invoices from their affiliated title and process serving vendors. This resulted in Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA providing reimbursements to the servicers based on the “false and fraudulent”[Case 1:12-cv-07199-JSR, Third Amended Complaint] foreclosure claims which included those marked-up costs. The court has not yet issued any orders in this case; however, we would like to remind firms about the applicable requirements and what practices need to be considered to ensure compliance with those requirements.
Legal & Regulatory Updates
VA provided clarification on the regulatory requirement that all VA guaranteed loans, including Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans, require lender certifications. Please see VA Circular 26-18-14 for more information.
Document Retention and Destruction Practices
BY SVIATLANA LIASHCHYNA
Firms handle an overwhelming number of documents daily, most of which fall into one of these four categories: client legal files; firm financial records; firm business records (ex. internal policies, procedures, compliance programs, quality control reviews, etc.); and firm HR records.
In accordance with the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, “upon termination of representation, a lawyer shall take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect a client's interests, such as …
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