Mon Jan 30 21:41:42 EST 2023
Home#ForeclosurepediaNationThe Nuremberg Defense: How NAMFS Collapsed Under Their Own Greed

The Nuremberg Defense: How NAMFS Collapsed Under Their Own Greed

Without Labor Are NAMFS Members Capable Of Operating?

Over a decade ago, Foreclosurepedia first began publishing on the Mortgage Field Services Industry. And in those ten years we have seen it all. We have documented the ups and downs; the fraud, waste and abuse; the acquisitions and mergers; and the litigation and settlements. Mostly, though, we have documented the race to the bottom, at all costs, by members of the National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) under the leadership of their Executive Director, Eric Miller. The only other similar comparison to the enormity of fraud and greed exhibited by NAMFS members is perhaps the relationship between degenerate dwarf stars in their final collapse as they are incapable of becoming true black holes. Those of you whom are literate will understand the analogy vis-à-vis the the grave peril in supporting a Ponzi scheme. And for over a decade I have had every intimation, from Labor and Management alike, attesting to the fact that Foreclosurepedia had it all wrong. Foreclosurepedia simply didn’t have all the facts is how on Florida contractor and die hard Miller supporter told me on a phone call. Pray tell, present the facts I said. No facts were forthcoming and he along with many other supporters are but pages in the annals of a decades long perpetration of fraud that ranks up there with The Pentagon Papers.

I do not believe that people — the rank and file of Management — wake up in the morning and are a proverbial Barry Minkow — the notorious con artist of 1980’s infamy. I do believe that all people have a price and that obtaining ill gotten gain from the other side of a keyboard using terms like HUD Adjusted Bid or Chargeback easily rectify any moral quandaries present in the psyche.

For those whom say that there is no fraud in the Industry I simply point you to the Involuntary Bankruptcy of National Field Network. It is well documented on Foreclosurepedia and has taken on a multi-year life of its own in a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court. It chronicles not just NAMFS members, but financial institutions such as Bank of America and American Express along with government sponsored enterprises (GSE) such as Fannie Mae, all whom have paid financial settlements in the millions of dollars, to date. From the beginning of litigation all parties feigned ignorance and sweetheart deals abounded from the Trustee all the while paying only the lawyers. It was a page straight out of Mad Magazine or a late night Trump Tweet.

Nobody’s role was more egregious than that of Shari Nott. Nott’s network of NAMFS members spanned the United States. NFN’s owner, Jack Jaffa, brother of Safeguard Properties CEO Alan Jaffa, owned 100% of NFN. We know that in 2009, Sam Stern recruited Shari Nott to become the CEO of NFN. Chris Crandell was recruited to become the COO and Mohamed Seif was onboarded, as well. Jaffa, Crandell and Nott spun up all other companies unless otherwise noted. We know that in February 2011, National Field Network Now, LLC d/b/a All the Right Movers was formed. We know that in August 2011, NFN Investments MI (NFNIM) was spun up. We know that Reverse Mortgage Solutions requested that NFNIM purchase a portfolio of 30 homes from them while they were actively moving reverse mortgages to HUD and/or Fannie Mae. In May 2013, NFN Claims was spun up. We know that Crandell, on his own, spun up All the Right Movers, LLC as a Delaware corporation headquartered in Pennsylvania (ATRM DE/PA). In November 2015, Trio Solutions was spun up. In March of 2017, Commigrate Capital was spun up. In July 2017, Chik-Chak Shack was spun up. During this time Nott spun up yet another company named Plan A — that is not a typo. In February 2018, Nott’s husband Jonathan Oglensky spun up All the Right Movers Unlimited.

During the above period of time we know that Shari Nott took loans in the amount of over $6 Million from NFN. This is where those monies went according to federal documents,

The Nott Loan is comprised of various personal expenses, e.g., funds in excess of $500,000 made available to Nott to purchase a residence in Long Branch, New Jersey, to funds advanced related to vacation homes in the Bahamas, luxury vehicles, including a Thunderbird, multiple Audi vehicles, a specialty Tesla vehicle and a Ford Explorer, to payment of contractors who did personal work for Nott at her various residences and/or other business ventures.

Even after the collapse of NFN, NAMFS members lined up to work with Nott the whole time knowing what was afoot. You see, in keeping the Ponzi afloat, the reality is that EVERYONE must be called upon, from time-to-time, so that the juggernaut of fraud does not implode. It wasn’t simply the fact that NAMFS members played critical and pivotal roles in keeping Nott’s Bahamas resort lifestyle going, it was also NAMFS members whom were brought in to clean up her mess — naturally refusing to pay the bills owed to Labor.

In the end, there simply wasn’t enough distance that could separate Nott’s empire of fraud — err, empire of dirt?! — from Miller and his NAMFS empire. It was the poster child for Johnny Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nail’s single, Hurt.

The genie was out of the bottle, though, and nothing was going to put her back in. And as the world plunged headlong into the COVID-19 pandemic, the reality was no matter how many ways NAMFS members cooked the books, the accounting was off. Everything shut down. There were no more triple billings of properties for the same project; there were no more down payments on rehabs to float the notes; and as the eviction moratoria rolled out over the United States, there were not even justifiable expenses to simply keep the lights on. As Foreclosurepedia predicted in earlier articles at the outset of the pandemic, NAMFS members began closely resembling our dwarf star we spoke of earlier. Cannibalizing each other to stay alive, firms like Guardian Asset Management and Mortgage Contracting Services (MCS) were both gobbled up by New Residential Investment Corporation in the case of the former and Littlejohn — not a typo — in the latter. Guardian’s purchase made sense and nothing much was thought about it — after all there was a feeding frenzy going on like a black hole’s accretion disc. Simply look at the purchases of M&M Mortgage, Xome Field Services, et al. The MCS purchase, though, was telling.

In the heyday of the 2008 Subprime Crisis, Caroline Reaves — MCS’s CEO — bet the farm on the purchase of Asset Management Specialists (AMS). The only problem was that Foreclosurepedia reminded the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that if MCS retained AMS’ HUD Management and Marketing (M&M) Field Service Manger (FSM) contracts, it would violate a little, then known, clause in the M&M FSM contract 5.1.12.5. So, the TDR Capital cum Concentric Equity Group purchase of MCS went south before the ink even dried.

It became worse, though. The top heavy salaried MCS became the supernova of what happens when mismanaged firms are forced to actually pay the bills under pressure. A big problem was that Reaves was spending money much like a drunk sailor on leave. First up was Reaves’ purchase of a new castle wherein she could lord over the serfs. DMagazine put out a fluff piece in 2016 attempting to rosy up the steaming pile of shit that was percolating,

But Mortgage Contracting Services is proof that one person’s lemons can be another’s lemonade. This past summer, MCS moved its headquarters to a 120,000-square-foot facility in Lewisville, nearly doubling the size of its former home in Plano. The new digs can accommodate 720 employees, up from 450.

What DMagazine failed to report was that the 2013 deal wherein London’s TDR Capital and Chicago’s Concentric Equity Group entered into for the purchase of MCS — AMS had already been brought in — and VPS Holdings was a shitshow, of epic proportions, from day one. And none of these big boys were amused that they got caught with their pants down. By 2017, they had washed their hands of the mess after embalming the pig with outrageous debt and American Securities picked up where they left off. Instead of simply acknowledging that her company was in financial trouble, she went on a hiring spree taking on millions of dollars in debt and benefits for a C Level that looked a hell of a lot like golden parachutes being packed for a D Day landing. The problems didn’t end there, though. Plagued by litigation — including a case pertaining to patents — MCS became the red headed step child.

While the small time swindling of Labor — MCS is now charging back people for inspections as far back as 2015 — was easy to keep track of, the façade of incompetence was shining through like a beacon of light for legitimate investors such as American Securities whom owned MCS not a handful of weeks ago — at the time. Here is how bad Moody’s put it,

SP MCS Acquisitions Corp’s Ca CFR reflects elevated leverage, weak liquidity and profitability, and the lack of free cash flow generation … [W]e view its capital structure as untenable.

Caroline Reaves had proven that in less than 90 days under the pandemic, her inability to keep MCS financially solvent was about as possible as Trump being reelected. I mean how do you completely destroy the credit and reputation of a company in 90 days or less? Gotta be a record there somehow?! And remember, MCS was the only firm — at least that we have access to — that went belly up and told their creditors to bugger off in our Industry at this level. It is almost like the sad tale of prostitution in how MCS kept making the rounds, putting the lipstick on, only to be bent over the eternal benchmark of debt. There were no heroes coming to the rescue of the street urchin MCS and Reaves had become and there was no prince whom would kiss the lips of the toad. In fact, the haggard and withered debt ridden corpse of MCS would have laid in the streets with festering pustules much like a scene from when the Plague swept Europe — only awaiting self immolationhad it not been for the intervention of Littlejohn.

Had that been the end of the story it would have simply been par for the course of NAMFS members. It wasn’t, though. Labor — at least those whom had the balls to challenge NAMFS members — wanted blood. To be quite clear, out of the tens of thousands of those working in the Industry pretending to be Labor, I would say that less than five percent have not been castrated yet. It was those five percent whom wanted a real street brawl and there were no amount of avatars hopping around at Miller’s NAMFS Virtual Events that was going to stop them. Thirty years of no pay raises, chargebacks, misclassification of employees, and vendor managers whom gave work from one person to another while financially benefiting from it had finally run their course.

As NAMFS members congratulated themselves for clawing their way out of the pandemic on the backs of Labor they branded Essential Workers, all the while refusing bonus pay or protection, they all began plotting on how they would further exploit their victim class. The only problem was that the winds of change were blowing all around their sterile bubble much like the Beltway insulates Congress.

The Great Resignation had arrived in the United States along with inflation. At the time of publication, inflation was raging at 7.5% — a very conservative estimate — and the highest in 40 years. With the Manheim scale of used cars raging at nearly a 60% increase in the cost of used vans; a 52% increase for compact cars; and a 33% increase for trucks, the reality was that the lure of $3 inspections and a promise that volumes actually equaled huge profit were seen to be the bullshit that they truly were. And as Labor began to see the huge demand and the enormous pricing available in the tenant occupied maintenance and fix and flip sector, the reality was Labor began flipping the bird at NAMFS members on their way out. In fact, one nationally recognized firm Foreclosurepedia works with is currently recruiting Labor has the following opportunity available,

We pay, on average, $21,000 for a week’s worth of work requiring 4 contractors whom assemble displays for our Clients. You would simply need a screw gun, a level, and the ability to assemble displays kinda like an IKEA setup.

When juxtaposed with Safeguard Properties latest demands below, why would anyone submit to more of the insanity for less and less money?

So, why continue with the $3 inspections? Many are not. The story was no better elucidated upon than by one contractor on LinkedIn whom very publicly left after 16 years in the Industry,

In the last two years I have never felt more owned in all my life. Lowest fees in history based on the costs of goods and highest fuel prices. The threats of chargebacks for not being able to complete certain tasks for lack of qualified people. Not anyone can tarp a roof 3 stories from the ground with 8/12 pitch or more. Threatened you bid on this 2 years ago and now we are approving it. You must complete it or else we will have another crew do it and charge you back. Modern day slavery at its best.

I don’t know how others continue in this industry. You make $500 on a job to have them 3 years later charge you back because you missed a photo. Really? It’s immoral and wrong. Probably illegal!

It wasn’t simply that Labor was leaving in the droves, though. It wasn’t simply that Eric Miller was requesting $120,000 be given to him in order to get pay raises for NAMFS members. It was the fact that Labor had begun to understand litigation as the gateway to obtain that which was owed to them. For years, the cash cow which powered NAMFS members was the chargeback. In essence, a chargeback is a simple email that informs you a NAMFS member is taking your money and are doing it generally under the authority of either their Client or HUD. And for years, Labor simply took it up the ass and figured it was legal. After all, if you challenged it or decided to quit, the NAMFS members would hold your money for 90 days and allege even more chargebacks as our victim above stated,

Today I get notice that they are holding my pay on 2 snow removals for 90 days because I quit. Haaahaaa My accountant is trying to clean up 21 for taxes and informed me that I was 18k short on deposits reported by MCS between Jan and Apr. She suspects she will find more reported direct deposit payments that never occurred. We will know today from her but I bet those were charge backs not recorded.

The reality is that when MCS — or any other NAMFS member — seizes monies on any FHA insured property, those monies are to be immediately repatriated to the financial institution whom must, under law, send those monies to HUD. In one case, currently pending trial, we are finding that not only are there no Demand Letters for the chargebacks, no one is able to find where the money went according to depositions submitted to the NAMFS member and the financial institution involved in the case!

And what we are also finding out is that NAMFS members are submitting Labor’s bid and turning around and sending their own in house crews out to do the work. The level of audacity demonstrated and the 30+ year history of these actions by NAMFS members makes it clear that anyone contemplating entering the Industry today would be better served by betting the farm at a local casino — at least the casino is regulated. And as we continue are in depth, critical analysis of NAMFS members you have a chance to make an actual change in what role you want to play in the Industry. Whether it be joining the International Association of Field Service Technicians (IAFST) whom are daily fighting for Labor’s rights or capitalizing on the below opportunities, the reality is you have the chance to take control of your career — TODAY!


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