Jacob Geesing, a principal in the law firm of Bierman, Geesing, Ward & Wood LLC, in Bethesda, Maryland, was the plaintiff trustee in over 8000 foreclosure cases filed throughout the state of Maryland during 2009. So what, you may ask. What is wrong with being a super busy trustee kicking thousands of deadbeats out of their homes? There is nothing wrong with legally foreclosing on a mortgage; but you see, at some point in the process, Jacob decided that his time was far too valuable for signing thousands of affidavits, so he came up with a brilliant idea. He asked a few of his underlings to sign his name on court documents, while another underling, with a notary seal, would notarize those signatures, saying they were Jacob’s. In other words, Mr Geesing asked the notary to lie by saying he had appeared before her and signed his name on an important court document, whereas in reality Geesing may not have even seen or read the subject document. Now this was bad enough, but at some point the notary herself, Rodnita Moulton, decided that notarizing 50 or more signatures per day was way too much work for her too, so she also appointed someone else to sign her name and use her notary seal, pretending to be her while notarizing signatures of people who were pretending to be Jacob Geesing, Esq. Standard operating procedure, it seems, in a foreclosure mill.
In Maryland, a foreclosure action is commenced by the filing of an Order to Docket and there are two condition precedents to this filing. The security instrument giving notice of the existence of the lien must have been filed for the record, and there must have been a default that lawfully allows a sale. As such, the Order to Docket must be accompanied by a copy of the deed of trust supported by an affidavit that it is a true and accurate copy, and an affidavit by the secured party that the plaintiff has the right to foreclose together with a statement of the debt remaining due and payable. There must also be attached a copy of the debt instrument supported by an affidavit that it is a true and accurate copy and certifying ownership of the note. Additionally, there must be filed for the record a copy of any assignment of the lien instrument and deed of appointment of a substitute trustee supported by an affidavit that it is a true and accurate copy of the assignment and deed of appointment. Finally, the plaintiff or his agent must file an affidavit that the homeowner is not in the military service and a statement as to whether or not the property is residential.
Jerry Solomon, Esq. and John Bascietto, Esq. who represent Maryland homeowners facing foreclosure, noticed irregularities with affidavits filed by Jacob Geesing and they hired a Forensic Document Examiner to review the suspect affidavits. The examiner opined that four different individuals had signed Mr. Geesing’s name and two different individuals had signed Rodnita Moulton’s name. Once faced with these accusations the cases were dismissed. Mr. Geesing has not been charged with a crime and he claims the underlying facts were accurate and that this was merely a procedural deficiency that has since been corrected. “The aforesaid papers were prepared under my supervision and signed at my direction,” Geesing wrote in the corrective affidavits to explain the original signatures.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the Maryland secretary of state between August and this month removed from office several notaries employed at Geesing’s firm for violations related to improperly prepared documents. The agency is investigating four more. Notaries must verify that the person signing a document is who he says he is.
But regardless of how Mr. Geesing chooses to spin the facts, his conduct, according to court documents filed by Solomon and Bascietto, was likely a blatant act of fraud upon the court. In Green v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, et al., 198 F.R.D. 645 (2001), a case involving fraudulent affidavits submitted by the plaintiff who himself had signed and notarized the affiants’ signatures, the Honorable Frederick N. Smalkin commented:
“The prejudice to the integrity both of the process of adjudication in general and of this Court in particular, which relies on the trustworthiness of those who submit — not to mention notarize — affidavits, is manifest. The public interest in preserving the trustworthiness of sworn documents as part of the process of orderly adjudication demands that the strongest means available be taken to redress the situation in this particular case and to deter similar misconduct by others.”
Judge Smalkin noted that “Once a litigant chooses to practice fraud, that misconduct infects his cause of action . . . and he must suffer the consequences.”
The consequences better be coming soon. I doubt, however, that Maryland homeowners who have lost their homes as a result of Mr. Geesing’s questionable affidavits, filed in court to support thousands of foreclosure actions, will ever see justice. Their homes were taken from them illegally by an overzealous “trustee”, who knew better but chose to violate the law for the sake of expediency. Perhaps Mr. Geesing should lookup the meaning of “Trustee” and be reminded that he is an officer of the court.
- Maryland Class Action – Stewart, et al. v. Jacob Geesing, et al.
- Jones v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., et al
- A Chilling Example of an Illegal Foreclosure in Maryland
- Maryland Attorneys Move To Dismiss Foreclosure Cases
- Maryland Homeowners Bring False Signatures to Light