Judge Calls Countrywide ‘Re-Created’ Letters a Smoking Gun
A lawyer for a borrower being pursued by Countrywide Financial Corp. had a question: Why did a letter purportedly sent in September 2003 have an office address for him that he didn’t move to until after that date?
The letter was one of three supposedly notifying the client of Kenneth Steidl that Countrywide had changed her escrow requirements, the New York Times reports. Countrywide sent copies to Steidl and a bankruptcy trustee to justify its pursuit of additional money from Steidl’s client even though she successfully met her mortgage obligations under a bankruptcy plan.
The answer, provided by Countrywide’s outside counsel, was that the letters had been “re-created” by Countrywide.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Agresti of Pittsburgh called the letters “a smoking gun that something is not right in Denmark,” during a Dec. 20 hearing. Agresti ordered additional discovery into the matter.
A Countrywide spokesman said it is not the lender’s policy to fabricate documents as evidence, and discovery will show will show a technician generated the documents to show how the escrow analysis was done.