""Fannie Mae"":http://www.fanniemae.com and ""Freddie Mac"":http://www.freddiemac.com have notified servicers that they can no longer refer foreclosure or bankruptcy cases to the law firm of ""Steven J. Baum, P.C."":http://www.mbaum.com/SJB/index.jsp in upstate New York.[IMAGE]
The Baum law firm has found itself at the center of controversy. In early October, the firm ""agreed to pay $2 million"":http://dsnews.comarticles/us-fines-new-york-law-firm-2m-for-improper-foreclosures-2011-10-10 to end an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into its foreclosure practices.
The inquiry focused on whether the firm and its attorneys filed misleading pleadings, affidavits, and mortgage[COLUMN_BREAK]
assignments related to foreclosure actions in both New York state and federal courts.
Court documents also said the Baum law firm had agreed to ""extensively change"" its foreclosure practices and stop falsely assigning mortgages on behalf of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS).
Two weeks after the DOJ settlement was announced, _New York Times_ columnist Joe Nocera ""ran a photo exposÃƒÂ©"":http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/29/opinion/what-the-costumes-reveal.html of images from the Baum law firm's 2010 Halloween bash, which depicted a mockery of homeowners who had been foreclosed on and the housing crisis in America. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) has since requested records and documents relating to the party, as well as the firm's foreclosure practices.
While the firm is prohibited from handling new foreclosure cases, Freddie Mac said on its website, ""Until further notice, Steven J. Baum, P.C. will continue to work on all foreclosure and bankruptcy matters referred on or before November 10, 2011.""
According to local media reports, the Baum firm is the largest-volume foreclosure firm in New York, handling some 40 percent of all mortgage foreclosures statewide.