Story by: Clinton Kirby (October 30, 2013)
It’s almost as if the banking industry has never heard the old saw that “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” The banks are finding this out the hard way, as Shelley Erickson is indeed channeling her fury against them into the kind of sustained resistance that will teach said banks (and indeed, has already taught them) not to scorn homeowners.
When Erickson is not running Shelley’s Total Body Works–her successful salon in Auburn, Washington—she’s blasting out emails to her fellow foreclosure fraud fighters regarding the latest legal strategies, case law, depositions, helpful blog posts, and the like. To be honest, she does all this while she is running her salon, talking to her customers about their own problems with the banks, and just generally being a one-woman bastion of resistance against the corrupt financial system. Indeed, if you’ve ever visited a foreclosure fraud site, chances are you’ve come across one of two things: a comment or post of Erickson’s, or a comment or post from someone who got their info from Erickson. She’s ubiquitous, she’s persistent, and she’s got the goods on ’em—she’s the bank’s worst nightmare.
Having waged my own losing battle with the banks, I got to know—or at least know of—several different people in my same situation. Erickson was one of them, and her name just popped up everywhere I looked, especially on Neil Garfield’s Living Lies, the grandaddy of anti-foreclosure sites. Eventually I got on her email list and since then have been even more impressed with Erickson’s work as both conduit and supplier of vital information and support. She really is a stellar example of what resistance is all about in that she does it because she has to, she’s compelled to—she doesn’t wait for orders from headquarters and is a great example of what one person can do to help fight the biggest economic crime of our time.
“…the branch manager…told me, ‘See that pile of keys? People are just walking in and handing me their keys.’ She told me, ‘Shelley, go get an attorney to save your house.’ I did just that and I have been on the Internet ever since trying to find out just what, where, who, when and why and saw thousands in the same situation including many of my friends and customers and family.'”
Liberty Road Media: How did you get involved in fighting the banks?
Erickson: I began fighting back against the mortgage fraud when I received a letter from Chase on October 13, 2009 telling me my modification had been denied after being told verbally on the phone that it was approved and to begin making modification payments immediately and to ignore any notices of billing on the regular payments. I was told to keep making the modification payments until the paperwork came to sign for the modification.
I was never told it was a trial, but the coupons came stating it was a trial payment. That confused me so I called the bank and was told not to worry, I was approved. I had spent ten months trying to get the mod approved–sending and resending the exact information in, being told it had not all arrived and there were missing documents, but that was a lie. The last fax I faxed three times and sent a letter in–three faxes you should have enough paperwork to get all of it.
I was also told–by three different Chase servicer employees–to purposely get three payments behind in order to qualify for the mod. After the third one, I decided it was not a crazy employee telling me this–they meant it–so I got one payment behind and they approved the mod. After five payments I received the letter “un-approving” me.
I called the bank thinking this was a bad mistake. I was told that because of the Obama changes I was now unqualified, and therefore my modification payments were now partial payments and I was in default. I went to branch manager Diane Fritchi and had her call the bank to straighten this out. After she talked to the servicer, she put down the phone and showed me the pile of keys she had left on her desk to show the shock of what was happening. She told me, “See that pile of keys? People are just walking in and handing me their keys.” Then she told me, “Shelley (we have known each other for a long time), go get an attorney to save your house.”
I did just that and I have been on the Internet ever since trying to find out just what, where, who, when, and why and saw thousands in the same situation including many of my friends and customers and family.
Liberty Road Media: What is Shelley’s Total Body Works? How long has it been in business? Is it still in business? How did you get into that line of work?
Erickson: Shelley’s Total Body Works Day Spa is a tanning parlor with 21 beds, 17 hairstylists, 2 massage therapists, 3 nail artists, 1 facial specialist and permanent make up and 1 esthetician. We are in an 8,000 square foot modular building due to crime on Main Street. I was forced to beg for a modular building to place on the approved SEPA site for a building of this size. I had to forget the 21,000 square foot concrete tilt-up I had planned on another site and was deceived and betrayed by my city officials.
The city had illegally withheld my building permit for the concrete tilt-up and had lied to me that modular buildings were illegal. Therefore, my pre-approved loan from US Bank was canceled due to not having permits for a permanent building, but only a temporary permit for a building to be dismantled within a year, so I had to fund $600,000 out of pocket to move into a temporary building. The courts are so crooked and the system is so crooked–I have battled this crime as well as the mortgage crime since 2004.
My business has been in this city for over twenty years, but I was treated badly by the city officials and nearly put out of business. Eventually, the city gave me the permanent permit and I am still here with the help of God, my determination, and my family and friends. Some of my girls returned within a few years when they found out my business had a permanent permit and I was staying. And I have slowly filled the rooms again. But I also lost thousands in customers that thought I was going out of business.
Now the economy has hit my business and most all businesses. But the worst of it is the fraud and modification scam that sucked most of us into manipulated defaults, not to mention paying attorneys and paying for pro se paperwork (and filing fees) to save our homes from outrageous thieves that have set us up to literally steal our houses with the blessing of the federal judges. I have been going through hell for a long time. I am not alone unfortunately, so I have tried my best to help everyone I can reach to stop this crime against us by our banks and our politicians.
Liberty Road Media: If I remember correctly, somewhere you posted that people who come to your shop will open up to you about their problems with the banks—tell me about how that works? Do you have to coax it out of them?
Erickson: I could see the dramatic drop in business beginning in 2006, with customers telling me they were losing their incomes, jobs, and businesses or being cut back on income and some losing their homes. None of us realized this was man-made economic terrorism by the banks. Some are very lucky and have not walked in the shoes of millions who have been devastated by the banks and politicians.
I began hearing the same stories that happened to me after my mortgage was unapproved. I went online and began to investigate what was happening. Many of my clients came right out and told me what was happening. Many came in with grave faces and I asked them about it because I could see it on their faces–I was right every time. Way too many were going through the same ordeal for the same reasons at the hands of multiple banks.
Only a small amount of my customers were not experiencing this hell, however they told me they could feel the evil in the air and did not know why or how but were frightened and felt helpless and scared for their future, as well as the future of their children and grandchildren. I was told over and over that America has become a third world country and the America we knew does not exist anymore. I had people literally throw their heads on my front desk telling me they were so frightened, scared and felt helpless and did not trust our government anymore.
Many of my customers are preparing for the worst and many have no funds left to fight back. Every customer I sent to someone for help is still in their homes, doing paperwork to fight off the banks. Many were helped by the paperwork on Living Lies by Neil Garfield’s posts and documents he lists for people. Not one of the people I sent to Neil’s site has lost their home yet since 2009, including me. Only the ones that had no idea of what was happening and what to do or why it was happening lost their homes.
One of my customers was actually evicted by the sheriff from his house worth $3.5 million. I pleaded with this customer to go and ask an attorney to file a suit for unlawful foreclosure and unlawful sale at auction and linked the customer to information on the web. The customer did that and the attorney added loss of equity to the complaint. Within 6 weeks, this customer’s attorney received a letter from the bank rescinding the foreclosure and rescinding the sale at auction. It was three years ago when he moved back into his house. He has not made a payment of $26,000 a month for about four years.
Liberty Road Media: You have a very active email list and Internet presence—was that something you purposely set out to do or did it just kind of evolve naturally?
Erickson: I began an email list right away to expose the crime. I felt the more people you reach, the more you can help, and the more you can expose to stop this crime. The email and Facebook and blogging is my way of fighting back and trying to help inform all. I have a list of attorneys who let me know they appreciate my help (as well as a few that did not want to be on my list). I know a lot of paralegals and attorneys and we put our heads together as a team to find robo-signers and info to help homeowners. I also have a list of people who want to be updated on what is going on, because they are busy trying to make ends meet with no time to be a watchdog on the Internet.
My emails are huge. Most appreciate the exposure and information. I have a team that will dig up robo-documents and information for attorneys. Sometimes I ask the public via email if they have robo-signers on their documents or info to help the attorneys and law professors. And vice versa.
Liberty Road Media: I know of you only from your online activities—what sort of bank-resisting activities do you engage in offline, in the real world?
Erickson: Because I am running my business seven days a week, twelve hours a day, I only take time out of the salon to go to Senate meetings and seminars given by lawyers and paralegals to see who to trust and what can be done to help homeowners, including myself. I feel being a watchdog on the Internet–forwarding depositions sent to me to expose the judges and foreclosure mills for the unjust treatment of the homeowner, as well as posting this information and digging up robo-signed documents and case law for paralegals and lawyers–keeps me very busy along with the duties here at my salon.
I boycott all large banks as much as I can, and have taken my accounts to a credit union, which many of my customers have told me they have also done. I promote boycotting the banks and businesses related to the banks, one of which I recently found out is Wal-Mart.
“…homeowners and their attorneys still have a huge bridge to cross guarded by federal judge trolls that don’t allow the rule of law in their courtrooms. I give full credit for the case law gains in the State of Washington to the due diligence of homeowners and their attorneys battling this crime against all odds.”
Liberty Road Media: Washington state has made some strides in bringing the banks to heel—what are your thoughts on that?
Erickson: It appears former Attorney General Rob McKenna literally used the Washington v. Recontrust case to look good for his campaign to be governor. He knew Recontrust was leaving the state and Northwest Trustees and Crabtree and Olsen were taking over the dirty deeds of MERS and Recontrust, therefore he filed only against Recontrust and not all the banks as he promised to do. Then McKenna was part of the $25 billion ridiculous settlement giving a pittance to the homeowners and allowing the banks to continue their crime breaching the settlement and letting the banks off the hook for trillions in damages to the people. McKenna was also one of the AGs that did not disclose the case against LPS.
It appeared to me the Washington Senate pretended to pass a bill to help homeowners a year ago, supported by Pam Roach, but when we went to the Senate to testify for the bill, the bill had been gamed by Senator Steve Hobbs and the banking association, who changed the language in the bill just moments before we testified. Therefore we were all saying we had heard of the language change just minutes before testifying for the bill that made the bill worthless and were understandably not sure how to testify.
Then a few months ago I was told an email came from Representative Roger Goodman telling us not to come to testify against bill SB 1435, supposedly because it was a badly written bill and was going to be pulled. However, it appeared that Goodman gamed us not to come, finding he did not pull bill SB 1435 and was bragging on video the bill was so awesome that no one came to testify against the bill.
I and three others complained heavily regarding this con game pulled on us, and Goodman invited us to a meeting in his office. However, we could not get to the meeting for various reasons and with one day’s notice, I was the only one who could make it. Unfortunately, my car had a last-minute issue come up, making it dangerous to drive.
Goodman told me I could send my letter by email to him, but told the Senate we did not bother to come to his office. We did make it to the second hearing, however, and testified about this con game. Also, I tried to testify with proof that we could not trust the banks because the banks testified that they had credible people working on SB 1435 for two years. However, I was stopped dead from testifying about their credibility.
I brought a copy of the complete 650-page “Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collaspe” U.S. Senate report as well as the recent U.S. Senate report on JP Morgan Chase proving that Chase was responsible for criminal behavior. However, I was not allowed to give these reports to the state Senate, which left me at a loss for words and a slight sense of shock. I was told to stick to the language in the bill in my testimony. [EDITOR’S NOTE: You can watch the testimony of Karen Pooley and Shelley Erickson beginning at 1:01:59 in this video. The video will not properly embed on this page. This video also includes the testimony of Stu Halsan, who said that, “…if you start requiring the original note that has been gone through I don’t know how many hands — but the collection is being done by a servicing company that we know — if you require that original note, none of you will ever be able to sell your property. You just won’t.”]
My last words of testimony were, “this bill allows thieves to sell stolen property.” The senators have done great harm to the people in this state with all of them passing “BS 1435.” It enables thieves to sell stolen property without authentic notes. The AGs have harmed the people by concealing the LPS law suit and the $25 billion settlement that was a joke.
The case law in the state of Washington has come to us through honorable attorneys by a slow boat, passing the blocking bridges of the troll judges in federal courts, as well as the constant badgering of the bar and seminars asking bank attorneys to file harassing complaints to have homeowner attorneys sanctioned and disbarred for helping homeowners. I would not give credit to any politicians in this state for helping the homeowners as of yet, with the exception of Maria Cantwell, who has stood with Elizabeth Warren in support of a modern Glass- Steagall Act.
Judge James Dixon blatantly stated that Bain v. MERS case is not significant in his courtroom. Judge Gerold Johnson states he is an advocate for the banks and has served the banks as a trustee numerous times. And Judges Pechman and Settle have dismissed all cases for the homeowners, with one exception that is recent–Pechman is allowing Melissa Huelsman to take one of her cases to the Supreme Court to ask a federal question. One of Melissa Huelsman’s federal questions in the Bain v. MERS case was, “Does the rule of law still stand in the State of Washington?” Pretty sad to have to ask that question. [EDITOR’S NOTE: A great video of Erickson discussing Pechman with Janet Reiner of MIRS can be found at this link–embedding not allowed herein.]
The Walker case took a turn for the homeowners in the Washington Appeals court. That is fantastic. Unfortunately for many states including Washinton, the judges can play God by not publishing the decision if the case is won by the homeowners even though they always publish a decision if it is in favor of the banks. Indeed, there is a lot of unpublished case law in Washington and other states that the people should fight to get published so it can be cited as precedent.
The Bain v. MERS case was not complete and therefore left the people scraping for justice, but it did put a dent into the crimes of MERS. However, homeowners and their attorneys still have a huge bridge to cross guarded by federal judge trolls that don’t allow the rule of law in their courtrooms. I give full credit for the case law gains in the State of Washington to the due diligence of homeowners and their attorneys battling this crime against all odds.
The Glaski case out of California is very promising also. In Washington we have the duty to demand proof of standing, or be subject to paying both the thief and the real party in interest. The judges in this state have blocked us from questioning the securities pools for proof of standing, which is where the proof of standing or no standing lies. I sent my letter of opposition to de-publication of the Glaski case and am praying Glaski stays published.
“I don’t believe in giving up and letting the bus run over me.”
Liberty Road Media: Having fought the good fight for so long now, what suggestions could you give readers about how to take on the banks?
Erickson: My recommendation to homeowners is to take a stand, don’t let them push you out without a paperwork battle and until there is a judgment from the court to oust you. The more people that fight back and get professional help will not only stay in their houses longer, they will also block the banks and cause a lot of extra cost to the thieves–and I truly believe they are thieves–attempting to steal property they know (and their lawyers know) they do not have authority to take.
Every homeowner who can afford help fighting the battle in the courts will slow down the system while we acquire case law to help us, and the case is law coming now to help us. Every pro se case will slow the courts and banks down from unlawfully foreclosing. I highly recommend going to attorneys and going to Michelle Darnell for help. The company she works for does the paperwork and letters to fight the banks at a lower cost than the lawyers and she sends you to the lawyer she knows will be best for your case when it comes time. The paperwork helps you in the courts and is essential to your case.
I don’t believe in giving up and letting the bus run over me. This is a war of the classes and the wealth is being taken, including our property and homes. This war can be won without bloodshed, by paperwork and litigation. The more paperwork and litigation the better for all of us.
Liberty Road Media: Your efforts stand out to me because you seem to be everywhere at once and you never stop: posting comments on anti-foreclosure blogs, sending out email blasts of helpful case law and other info, and of course prosecuting your own case. How do you find the time to do all that and also have a “normal” life?
Erickson: Whose life is normal right now? Certainly not mine. I have worked hard all my life and battled this crime from Main Street to the White House and Federal courts since 2004. Until this crime is stopped few of us will have normal lives. Nor will our children and grandchildren if we good people stand by doing nothing.
Shelley Erickson can be reached via email at: shelleystotalbodyworksATcomcast.net
If you know of someone who’d be a good subject for a Profile in Resistance, email me at: leftbehindchildATgmail.com