Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New Civil Law Self Help Legal Center Opens


By Jeff German (contact)
Monday, Nov. 30, 2009 2 a.m.
Regional Justice Center

In a period of economic misfortune, the opening next month of a civil law self-help center at the county courthouse is perfect timing.

The center, set to open its doors Dec. 7 on the well-traveled first floor of the Regional Justice Center, is designed to guide people representing themselves through the court system.
And from the looks of things, once the public becomes aware of its services, the center could become the most popular place in the 17-story courthouse.

“We’re really responding to the needs of the community,” says LaDeana Gamble, an assistant Clark County Court administrator. “What we’ve seen is an increase in evictions and homes in foreclosure and people not knowing the status of where they stand.”

More than 70 percent of the people going to Justice Court, for example, end up responding themselves to such things as evictions or legal actions taken against them by payday loan companies, Gamble says. Many of those people have never had to deal with civil litigation.
The center will help them learn how the system works so they can better deal with their legal problems without a lawyer, she says.

The County Commission approved a contract in August to use court fees to pay the nonprofit Legal Aid of Southern Nevada $273,830 a year to staff the center with a lawyer and four bilingual paralegals. A mediator also will be on hand to help people explore resolutions outside the courtroom.

Officials plan to display pamphlets and legal forms at the center and even offer advice on proper courtroom protocol — things people need to say and do when they go before a judge.
Computers and work stations will be set up for litigants to use to view and file electronic court documents. That’s important because District Court is switching to mandatory electronic filing in February.

Officials also plan to launch a self-help Web site to allow people to fill out legal forms over the Internet before they bring them to the Regional Justice Center for filing. The back room of the courthouse self-help center will be reserved for people to discuss their personal cases with paralegals. Eventually private attorneys will be asked to volunteer to go over cases brought to the center.

Gamble says the self-help concept is meant to provide average citizens with legal information as simply as possible, in a way they can understand.

It is not a new concept. It has been done in other cities and is patterned here after a center in Family Court that has been operating with success for several years. Gamble believes the courthouse center will bring relief to the overworked clerk’s office in Justice Court, which has been forced to deal with questions about civil litigation from the public beyond its regular filing duties. But the new center also should speed up due process in the court system for litigants, Gamble says. Showing people how to file documents correctly will reduce delays and bring faster resolutions to their cases. In the end, everyone wins.
Jeff German is the Sun’s senior investigative reporter.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

CDC Swine Flu Website

Breaking Swine Flu news at CDC's website:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mortgage Fraud Update

DATE: March 11, 2009
CONTACT: Edie Cartwright
(775) 684 1189


Las Vegas, NV – Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto announced today that Jack Ferm, a former talk show host in Las Vegas, Nevada, has been arrested on two counts of felony theft and related charges in connection with the operation of U.S. Justice Foundation, a mortgage rescue scam.

“Mr. Ferm’s conduct warrants prosecution to the fullest extent of the law,” said Attorney General Masto. “These schemes will not be tolerated in our state.”

Ferm is the President and owner of U.S. Justice Foundation, a document preparation business which misled customers into believing his service would stop ongoing foreclosures on their homes without the need to retain an attorney. His company web site indicates he has a participated in successful litigation against numerous large corporations.

The Attorney General’s office has received numerous complaints about misrepresentations made by Ferm, including several clients who paid thousands of dollars to the U.S. Justice Foundation with no legal documents having been prepared or filed on their behalf. In many cases, Ferm required the victims to pay a monthly charge in addition to the original retainer for the duration of the litigation.

During a hearing in Federal Court last week, Ferm stated that the U.S. Justice Foundation has closed its doors and will not be accepting new clients.

Ferm was moderator of the show “Straight Talk” broadcast on the radio station KKVV 1060 from 1994 through 2003.

Anyone who has information regarding this case should contact the Attorney General’s Office at 486-3777 in Las Vegas or 684-1180 in Carson City.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Steps to Mortgage Remodification

I can count how many people have asked me about how to remodify existing crappy mortgages and negotiate with the banks for loans with better rates, but then I only have two hands to count on. Here's what I tell them.

The steps to loan re-modification:

1. Contact a non-profit HUD approved Housing Counseling agency by phone. These services are free, regardless of income. There should never be a charge for Govt. approved housing counseling. And there should never be a charge for loan remodification negotiations. You can do this process yourself without a 3rd party agency by following these steps. For a complete list of non-profits specializing in housing counseling visit the following link

2. Explain your mortgage situation over the phone to the scheduler at the counseling service. The agency will mail you paperwork that you must complete and mail back in order to make an appointment.

3. Once the paperwork is received, the agency will review the completed documents and contact you by telephone to schedule your appointment (generally one week later)

4. On the day of the appointment, bring all bank statements, mortgage papers, etc., and whatever else you are instructed to bring. (keep in mind that appointments are running about 30 days out.)

5. On the day of the appointment the Housing Counselor will look over your financials, explain your options for obtaining a better loan, and attempt to contact and speak with someone at your mortgage company. They will also ask the mortgage company which programs are available for refinancing and remodification, and will explain these to you.

6. Usually, the mortgage company will have you submit via fax some bank statements, paycheck stubs and a hardship letter, which basically explains what life experiences you are facing that will prevent you from continuing to make payments on your current mortgage.

7. Contact the mortgage company to make sure that they received the necessary paperwork to begin reviewing your application for a loan remodification.

8. When dealing with the mortgage company it is important to document everything that you are told in writing (email/letter) and over the phone. Include the time and date of the call, the name of the person you spoke with, what they said, and the issue that you called about. Keep this list somewhere handy by the telephone, along with your loan documents.

9. Keep in mind that it takes about 60 days for the mortgage company to review your paperwork and look over your re-modification application. They may try contacting you to question you about your financials, so be sure to give them every available contact number so that they can get in touch with you.

10. Beware of letters or phone calls by other companies offering remodification. These letters may appear to be from your mortgage company, but in fact are from other organizations seeking to remodify your existing mortgage for huge fees. These letters can be hard to discern. When reviewing any communication, it is important to call your mortgage company at the number given on your bill, or that you normally use, before responding to any communication or giving personal information on the phone. Remember, the mortgage company already has your personal information, but the amount that you borrowed on your original loan is public information and sometimes used to fool you into giving out personal information.

11. If for some reason, your mortgage company does not return your calls/letters/emails you may contact the following agencies and file complaints: Nevada Mortgage Lending Division, Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, Nevada Financial Institutions Division, Office of the Comptroller of Currency, United States Department of Treasury, and the Federal Trade Commission. It is always a good idea to mention RESPA (Real Estate Protection Act) in any contact that you have with the mortgage company. RESPA states that the mortgage company basically has several weeks to return your calls and resolve a particular issue. Be sure to include your log of attempts at contact with the mortgage company if they are giving you a hard time.

12. After about 90 days, your loan remodification will either be accepted or denied. If your remodification is accepted you will receive a packet (by FedEx or UPS). The packet will contain paperwork regarding the terms of your new loan. Read the paperwork carefully. If the remodification terms are acceptable, sign the paperwork and return the envelope with instructions given.

13. Continue to follow up with the mortgage company until you make your first payment under the terms of the new loan remodification. Follow up with every communication you receive from your mortgage company, including letters stating that your account may be overdue. Continue to document any communication regarding your mortgage to use in any future communications.

14. Attend local attorney Robert Massi's free lecture on Tuesday the 24th of February at 6 p.m. at the Paseo Verde Library where he will be speaking about this very topic. 280 S. Green Valley Parkway, Henderson. Call 870-2626 to register for this program.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cha Ching! Government Bargains!

Looking for a bargain? Check out’s Government Sales and Auctions website, where you can find items for sale from Federal government Surplus and seized property sales, state and local surplus property sales, and items for sale in agency auctions. Here are some the categories of used government goods that you can bid on or purchase cars, trucks, real estate, houses, buildings, land, computers, furniture, tools, household goods, jewelry and much more!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


DATE: November 4, 2008


Las Vegas, NV— Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, announced today the arrests of Roxanne Lynette McCoy and Shanease Renee Bauman, employees of Proserve Mortgage.

The arrests were made in connection with an alleged scheme involving the submission of forged loan application documents to a bank for a mortgage loan, after being informed by the victim, Jeri Cooper, age 69, that she could not afford the loan and did not want to complete the loan application process. A third suspect, Laticia Renee Carter, also a Proserve Mortgage employee, remains at large.

The State alleges the defendants forged the elderly victim’s signature on several loan application documents and fraudulently submitted the loan for funding to the lender in order to collect a commission on the loan. The victim had expressly told the defendants that she could not afford the monthly payments and did not wish to complete the loan application process after learning of the payment terms. The State alleges that, as a result, the elderly victim is being held responsible for payment of the loan and now faces possible foreclosure.

“Mortgage related crimes affect everyone in the community and we intend to prosecute these aggressively,” said Attorney General Masto. “In this particular case, the victim is a senior citizen. Protecting Nevada’s seniors is a priority for my administration.”

Defendants Carter, McCoy and Bauman are each charged with multiple felonies including: one (1) count of Forgery, one (1) count of Obtaining Signature by False Pretenses, one (1) count of Theft and one (1) count of Mortgage Lending Fraud. The initial appearance in Justice Court for Bauman and McCoy is set for December 3 at 7:45 am in Las Vegas Justice Court Department 10.

The case was filed by prosecutors assigned to the Attorney General’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force, which was created by Attorney General Masto in early 2008 to address mortgage fraud scams throughout Nevada. The task force combines the resources of several Attorney General Bureaus, including the Bureau of Criminal Justice and the Bureau of Consumer Protection. It works closely with other State agencies including the Mortgage Lending Division to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud crimes in Nevada.

The charges against the named individuals are merely allegations. The Defendants are presumed innocent until or unless proven otherwise in a court of law.

Consumers who wish to report mortgage fraud are asked to contact the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection in Las Vegas at (702) 486-3194 to obtain a complaint form. Consumers with internet access may also obtain a Consumer Complaint Form, as well as other consumer protection and contact information, on the Attorney General’s website at

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Reno, NV- Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto today recognized the critical efforts of the statewide Ready for Life movement to increase the number of youth graduating from Nevada high schools with a strong and successful connection to the job market by the age of 25.

“Young people are the key to our future. Our community leaders should be commended for working collaboratively to develop a statewide action plan to improve Nevada's graduation rate and help ensure our youth are ‘ready for life!’”

Masto underscored the urgency of the movement with the following facts:

· Currently, only 62 percent of Nevada’s youth graduate high school on time, the worst graduation statistics in the U.S.
· Only 10% of youth entering high school graduate with a four year degree. This is a major concern for all Nevadans, with significant personal, economic, social, and community implications.
· Research finds that high school dropouts earn less, pay fewer taxes, and are more likely to collect welfare and turn to a life of crime than those who graduate from high school.
· High school dropouts are 3 ½ times more likely than high school graduates to be arrested and more than 8 times as likely to be incarcerated.
· Throughout the country, 68% of state prison inmates have not received a high school diploma. Yet, according to research, a 10% increase in graduation rates has historically been shown to reduce murder and assault rates by approximately 20%.

More information about Nevada Public Education Foundation’s Ready for Life movement is available at