Michael Dougherty: How Birdsey Group Became Another SEAS

Michael Dougherty and Reid Schermer Confess and Labor Still Gets Screwed!

This entry is part 30 of 33 in the series All The Usual Suspects

The National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) is staring down the barrel of a loaded gun right now as the Trump Team moves into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And while folks like ASONS CEO Milan Thompson may incorrectly believe that his and Carol Beeson’s theft of public property and the firing of Indiana workers is a shoe in with Vice President Mike Pence whom helped him steal a school in Muncie, the reality is that abysmal failures in which the Beeson – Thompson clan are mired in will be kept at an extreme arm’s length. The fact of the matter is that the election of Donald Trump stands as an affirmation of the business as usual, fraud and corruption which Eric Miller, NAMFS Executive Director, oversees daily. Miller, whom is paid nearly $125,000 per year; Miller’s salary which now consumes over seventy five percent of all NAMFS Member dues and is twice the national average, has demonstrated that as the volumes dry up crank the fraud up to offset. The latest NAMFS IRS 990 filing has also begun to have many wondering whether or not NAMFS is still financially solvent.

For those whom continue to wear blinders to that which is ongoing underneath the umbrella of NAMFS; for those whom perpetuate the misguided belief that Foreclosurepedia is read by none, I submit to you the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). When CFR’s digital publication, Foreign Policy needed to properly understand Anonymous and its war against ISIS, CFR’s Defense Analyst ET Brooking reached out to me for an opinion and quoted. Brookings decided to do this based upon Foreclosurepedia’s #OpISIS Series we ran which laid the foundation for our interviews with Commander X, one of the most famous Anonymous activists and still on the run from countless intelligence organizations.

To understand the landscape of the Mortgage Field Services Industry today, one needs to understand history. Years ago, Foreclosurepedia broke the stories on several of the most preeminent NAMFS Members whom became embroiled in millions of dollars of fraud. Heather Berghorst, the former and now disgraced NAMFS Secretary dished out over a million dollars worth led the charge by defrauding helpless Minority Females and Labor by and through a series of shell companies under the umbrella of Berghorst Enterprises. Berghorst, a legacy NAMFS Member was joined by Buczek Enterprises whom stole several more million dollars. Passing the torch to Jay Goscinski, owner of Michigan Realty Services (MRS), Goscinski hit the mark with nearly half a million in fraud. None, though, could be outdone by SEAS — Southeastern Asset Services. SEAS was the epitome of how multiple NAMFS Regime Members were protected by Eric Miller and emboldened to commit nearly FIVE MILLION DOLLARS worth of financial fraud against Minority Females and Labor. The common denominator of all was a foreign national named Altisource. Here is what Labor had to say about SEAS and Altisource in a call in interview several years ago,

Foreclosurepedia painstakingly compiled hundreds of reports, debriefed dozens of men and women, and forced the closure of all four companies valuated in the tens of millions of dollars. Foreclosurepedia, during the course of these events, worked closely with our then source, Altisource Associate General Counsel, Robert Bridges, whom was in Luxembourg, Altisource’s nation of record. In dozens of emails, Bridges was not only made aware of the plight of Minority Females and Labor, Bridges actually admitted that Altisource was at fault. And in the case of Berghorst Enterprises, Bridges came to realize precisely how corrupt and criminal people like Heather Berghorst was. In the case of Berghorst Enterprises, Altisource finally cut off all of their work — well, sort of. Within hours of the loss, Berghorst had created yet a new company to get work orders in which underscored the, at best, deliberate indifference, by Altisource with respect to performing due diligence.

By late January, 2014, Altisource had Deep Sixed Berghorst Enterprises. The problem was that they reentered into Contracts with Heather Berghorst under a new company name — Heritage Home Solutions. From late January, 2014, through May 29th, 2014, Altisource continued to send Berghorst work. The problem which presented is why did pay from Altisource to Heather Berghorst continue knowing that Contractors were not being paid and why did Altisource initiate a new working relationship with Berghorst under a fraudulent shell company for yet another 100+ days?

Here is how Marce Wright, Berghorst Enterprises’ Operations Manager explained the crime in January, 2014,

Berghorst Enterprises, LLC has decided to move forward with a name change, our new company name will be Heritage Home Solutions, LLC. No need to worry – you will not see any changes on your end, except for the name.  Our vendor agreement, pay terms, pricing, management, staff, etc. remain the same. — Marce Wright

When the curtains closed, Berghorst filed bankruptcy. And when Fifth Third Bank filed objections to the filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Protection in the US Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Michigan —14-04293-JRH, even Altisource had to throw the towel in. Curious how much cash Heather and Doug Berghorst made off with? EIGHTY EIGHT THOUSAND SIXTEEN DOLLARS AND FORTY SIX CENTS! Curious how much personal property — and REMEMBER to review their Bankruptcy Filing where they say they had JACK SHITFIVE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY SEVEN THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY NINE DOLLARS! Foreclosurepedia was contacted by Fifth Third investigator, Austin Gentry, requesting assistance tracking down much of her illegally stashed loot stolen both from the Bank and Minority Females including her summer cottage on Sugar Island in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Here is what Fifth Third had to say,

26. 11 USC 523(a)(6) provides that a debt arising from a willful and malicious injury by a debtor [Heather and Doug Berghorst] to another entity or the property of another entity is not dischargeable.

27. The Debtors [Heather and Doug Berghorst] willfully caused Berghorst Enterprises to transfer the Collateral outside the ordinary course of its business without the approval of Fifth Third.

30. The knowing transfer of the Collateral, subject to Fifth Third’s security interest, was a willful and malicious injury to the bank’s property interest in the Collateral.

And all of this could have been headed off at the pass had Altisource performed initial due diligence. What many do not know is that Heather Berghorst had filed yet another bankruptcy in 2002 which brings up the question of precisely how the National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) allowed a woman whom had a bankruptcy on her record to become the Secretary of NAMFS, a non profit business league under IRS 501 (c)(6).

Birdsey Group, yet another NAMFS Member, is shaping up to be a reincarnation of the SEAS Axis of Fraud. Altisource, is the largest provider of work to Birdsey Group. The ironic thing is that time and again, Altisource has placed the blame upon Labor’s back. Michael Dougherty, a former Altisource hack, is the epitome of how an economic hitman operates. Dougherty was the Vice President / General Manager of real estate field services for Altisource Portfolio Solutions (ASPS). When Dougherty came over to Birdsey Group, he brought along his lapdog, Reid Schermer. Schermer, Dougherty’s incompetent hired gun, is now the Managing Director of Birdsey.

Altisource, though, had enacted a few reforms before forcing their Associate General Counsel, Robert Bridges, to leave. Today, Altisource requires Certified Financial Audits to on board. They have also created a complaint system which ascribes a unique tracking number to assist in the process. Is this working, though? The jury is out. In fact, in a case currently ongoing in South Carolina, Labor is treated in a most disturbing fashion. For months, an all W2 Firm had fought to be paid well over ten thousand dollars owed from work orders originating from Altisource and distributed by the Regional Order Mill, Birdsey Group. I was uniquely in communications with all parties involved including Dougherty, Schermer and the victim. During the process, not only did Birdsey Group continue to refuse to pay what they owed, they then black balled the Firm for requesting that which they owed and initiated a campaign of terror against that innocent firm by withholding monies due. Months later and only after that Firm initiated discussions with Altisource, did Birdsey Group finally admit that they did, in fact, owe thousands of dollars. Problem is Birdsey Group has neither paid the money it finally admits it owes after months of lying, Altisource is not ordering them to. And neither Birdsey Group nor Altisource doing anything to remove the black balling of that South Carolina Firm. An apology? Better luck draining Trump’s Swamp in the first 100. Will they? That remains to be seen.

The system in which Michael Dougherty and Reid Schermer are committing fraud lacks even the most basic of camouflage. How it works is that Dougherty and his cronies pump out countless work orders. Then, at random intervals, they go in and cancel them after they are completed. And we are not talking a few five dollar trip charges. Birdsey Group goes to extremes to create a calculated system of fraud which is sobering to even the most seasoned of forensic auditors. And when this is taken across the spectrum of hundreds of contractors, it is not chump change. In fact, Birdsey Group crosses state lines, using electronic means, in the furtherance of artifices and schemes calculated to both commit fraud and violate the False Claims Act — that is RICO for you stalwart NAMFS supporters.

Neither Dougherty nor Schermer deny the allegations when Foreclosurepedia reached out to both parties for comment.

This has always been the problem with a pay when paid concept. First, there is no way to verify whether or not NAMFS Members are paid. And to complicate matters even further, there is absolutely no regulatory oversight within the Mortgage Field Services Industry. This is something that Michael Dougherty has always known, though. He knew it when he tagged along for the downfall of Dougherty Capital Investments LLC.

Fraud is inherently built into the Mortgage Field Services Industry. In fact, several cases bring to light precisely that which Eric Miller has championed, for years, as the Fraudster-in-Chief of NAMFS. First, in Brown v Five Brothers, et al., we saw a One Hundred Million Dollar lawsuit clearly define precisely how Miller’s posse of all white thugs stick it not only to Minority Females and Labor, but to the US Taxpayers.  Doubling down on fraud, NAMFS Members continue to improperly identify contractors as W9 when, as the case of Hurst v Buczek Enterprises demonstrated, they are actually W2 employees. Another case, currently under mediation in the US District Court for Central California, Vinson v AMS et al., also substantiates this claim. In the Hurst case, Buczek Enterprises settled for six figures. We are hearing that in the Vinson matter, multiple times more were offered by Mortgage Contracting Services (MCS) and turned down.

Dougherty is no stranger to gaming the system. In fact, one of Dougherty’s abysmal failures was the involuntary dissolution of a firm bearing his last name, Dougherty Capital Investments LLC, based out of Atlanta. It strikes me as no coincidence that Michael Dougherty’s first and last year at Dougherty Capital Investments LLC coincided with its collapse. Didn’t matter, though. We are witnessing yet another train wreck, in slow motion. The only difference is that Labor isn’t going to take this one laying down. And if there is a Poster Child for the Altisource Redux, it most assuredly is Birdsey Group.

One of the mainstays of NAMFS Offender Member fraud has always been the bilking of US Taxpayers in fraudulently submitting demands for payment upon the FHA Form 27011. In fact, CWIS, a current US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Management and Marketing (M&M) Field Service Manager (FSM) upon the 3.8 Contract has been under investigation by HUD for several months now. CWIS, a NAMFS Offender Member, has taken a page out of the Innotion Enterprises playbook. As a matter of fact, here is what the HUD Office of the Inspector General (OIG) had to say about Al Espinoza’s fraud,

We found that HUD paid for unnecessary administrative costs of Innotion’s subcontractor under HUD’s field service manager contract. This occurred due to the unclear definitions of actual and administrative costs in HUD’s contract with Innotion. Although the contract stated that Innotion could pay only the amount billed and not add its own administrative costs, it did not specifically disallow the payment of administrative costs incurred by a subcontractor, such as One Stop, that subcontracted Innotion’s work to other termite inspection contractors. As a result, 30 percent ($4,914) of the termite inspection costs paid by HUD in our sample were for the administrative costs of Innotion’s subcontractor. If HUD does not revise its field service manager contracts, it may continue to pay for unnecessary administrative costs for termite inspections and other pass through costs submitted by its field service manager contractors.

I spoke with Reid Schermer as early as July, 2016, and was promised that he would never cheat Labor and yet he lied. For why else drag payments owed for months and to add fuel to the fire then cut the contractor off from anymore work? More on point, though, why would Altisource allow this to happen not once, but TWICE to the same person?! If Altisource steps to the plate and forces Birdsey Group to only pay what they owe I am only impressed as much as I am by the sun rising. If Altisource offers the firms whom continue to be raped by Birdsey Group direct contractor status, I will be cautiously optimistic that there is change on the horizon. More on point, though, it is not simply money that should change hands and let us not forget that Birdsey Group got a nearly half a year interest free loan when they illegally refused to pay. Dougherty and Schermer should be removed from their positions before another victim surfaces.

In closing, while much attention is focused on the Trump Swamp, perhaps #BlackLivesMatter ought to begin to take a very close look into how NAMFS and its all white Board of Directors, led by Eric Miller, are destroying the lives of innocent Minority Females and Labor.

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