Cases & Deals

Los Angeles associates resolve clients' cases by "quieting title" to their homes

Clients Chacon, Cesar and Adelaida

Under the supervision of Phil Cook (Los Angeles), and in partnership with Public Counsel, the nation's largest public interest law firm, Los Angeles associates Craig Hirsch, Stephen Ng and Jessica Sawyer have resolved three separate clients' cases by "quieting title" to their homes and restoring the peace of mind that comes from ridding those properties from deeds placed by mortgage fraud. Soon after the financial crisis developed, clients Cesar and Adelaida Chacon, Mariano Giron-Vasquez, and Martha Olaguez all fell victim to mortgage scams that promised to help them modify their loans to avoid foreclosure, and instead pocketed their payments and improperly recorded quitclaim deeds to transfer ownership to the properties.

Public Counsel discovered a number of similar cases, resulting from a widespread criminal enterprise masterminded by two brothers, David and John Zepeda. They created a number of companies through which their recruits committed real estate fraud, rent skimming and predatory mortgage relief practices, impacting hundreds of homeowners throughout Southern California. The Zepeda brothers have since been incarcerated and ordered to pay millions of dollars in restitution. And while all three of our clients eventually worked out modifications to their loans and were able to stay in their homes, title to their properties was clouded with these fraudulent deeds.

Craig, Stephen and Jessica filed actions to quiet title, served all of the necessary defendants, and obtained default judgments. Following prove up hearings (which require "live" testimony by statute), during which each of our clients was able to testify about what had happened to them, we were successful in canceling the fraudulent deeds on each client's house. These grateful clients remind us of the good work that we can do, and the value of pro bono assistance to those who need it most. Several quiet title matters remain pending, and are expected to be resolved over the next several months.