Michael Theodore Pines, Disgraced Foreclosure Attorney or "Banksters" Foe and Occupy Hero?

Remember Michael Theodore Pines, the Carlsbad attorney who advised an old coot to break into his foreclosed Newport Coast home in front of cops and the news media because, the legal eagle asserted, foreclosures are illegal? For getting himself and his client arrested that October 2010 day, as well as similar stunts throughout Southern California, Pines was properly disbarred, a judge just ruled.

But in another corner of our dark planet, Pines is hailed as a hero.

State Bar Court Judge Lucy Armendariz wrote in a decision and order released to the public Thursday that Michael T. Pines--not to be confused with San Diego personal injury attorney Michael Pines--should be stripped of his license to practice law.

The judge faults Carlsbad's Pines for failing to participate in the disciplinary proceedings against him, despite receiving adequate notice and opportunity. If Pines had shown, Armendariz added, the facts in the case "support the conclusion that respondent is culpable as charged."

Michael Theodore Pines' Psychiatric Evaluation Gets in Way of Criminal Sentencing for Attorney Who Claims Home Foreclosures are Illegal

Portraying himself as a strong advocate for those who were foreclosed or facing the same, Pines actually made matters worse by exposing clients to civil and criminal penalties by openly breaking the law. One case that made national headlines involved 73-year-old Rene Hector Zepeda, who on Pines' advice broke into a five-bedroom, 4,400-square-foot home in Newport Coast that had been lost to foreclosure 16 months earlier.

Michael T. Pines, Attorney Who Advised Client to Break Into Foreclosured Newport Coast Home, Has Law License Suspended

Pines gave similar advice to clients in Simi Valley and Carlsbad, where the 60-year-old lawyer even threatened a home's new occupant with violence and repeatedly broke a restraining order forbidding him from stepping foot on the property.

His antics led to 18 counts of misconduct before the State Bar. Meanwhile, Pines was found guilty in Orange County Superior Court of misdemeanor vandalism, attempted second degree burglary, the attempted unauthorized entry of a dwelling and obstructing a police officer. Zepeda, who had pleaded no contest to misdemeanor trespassing, testified against Pines, who was released from jail three months ago.

As Pines' license to practice law is currently under suspension pending a decision by the California Supreme Court, Carolyn Zellander, a MoveOn.org council organizer and member of San Diego Foreclosure Strategist Group, just got published in San Diego Free Press her interview with "foreclosure fighter" Pines, who is portrayed as having advised clients to "occupy" their former homes.

"Although he has been scorned by the legal profession, he is a hero to many activists fighting to save homeowners from the perils of the foreclosure crisis," writes Zellander, who goes on to name check Gloria Steinem, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. before their peer Pines is quoted uttering his first, "I have never broken the law, it's the law that's broken."

He goes on to say he is only standing up for all the victims in illegal foreclosure cases: those who were illegally bounced from their homes and the new owners who will be bounced after he gets the foreclosures nullified. Pines recalls seeing such cases in the news. Pines does have one mea culpa moment: "I got so angry and upset at the injustice that I lost some self control. Although what I did was legal, attorneys should stay in their office and in court."

Then the lawyer moves beyond the civil rights leaders whose company Zellander had put Pines in to align himself with the Occupy movement.

"Over 7,000 'Occupiers' have been arrested to date. There are thousands of little guys who were in the real estate industry that are being wrongfully prosecuted because of what the 'Banksters' did, and are still doing, with the full support of our government," Pines says.

To make ends meet, Carlsbad's Guy Fawkes reports he is giving seminars, consulting with other attorneys on foreclosure cases, working with real estate brokers "who want to perform transactions legally" and doing charitable work surrounding "foreclosure fraud." More than anything, he wants people to know what he did was morally and legally right and that he "paid an enormous personal price."

Another huge bill is likely coming.

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If Pines is such a saint, then why did he charge upfront retainers of $5,000 and bill at a rate of $650 an hour? Here are some links to back this up, taken from comments on a different website.


Michael T. Pines stole money from 7 families at Marin Family Action. He took their money, filed a class action suit, and then dropped the case. (http://www.marinfamilyaction.org), watch this video of the victim’s advocate speaking out on their behalf:



Obviously, you (Matt Coker) represent the 1 percent and not the 99 percent.  Although you are an advocate for the banks, there are women and children  who are dying everyday because they don't have a home or a place to call home, if everyone stood on the sidelines and did nothing you can continue to go after women like Carolyn Zellander who is simply STATING the truth. The truth about Micheal T. Pines, Your article makes contradictory statments relative to the status of his law license.  First you say he is properly disbarred then you say his disbarment is pending and lastly you say his license has been suspended.  Which is it? Matt if you're a soldier go after the truth and leave the women and children alone. 


I must say, those "journalists" who are available to write "hit" pieces seem to be coming out of the woodwork.  I write as well and I would never use slurs like "antics" when attempting to write an expository piece.  Michael Theodore Pines must be really getting into the "shorts" of the banking system and its handmaiden, the courts.  Otherwise ther would be no reason to solicit the meager workings of a "wannabe" journalist to do this kind of thing.  No one from 60 Minutes will be calling soon "I betya."

Roger Rinaldi
Roger Rinaldi

I'll tell you what...he's "scorned by the legal profession" because all these bank attorneys will lie, fabricate, forge, and file fraudulent documents on the courts without fear of retribution.  That is evident now.  Even after the "Foreclosure Fraud Endorsement/Settlement" nothing has changed.  This guy knows the home are being stolen with fraud, and he's probably pretty damn sick of it.  We've seen good foreclosure attorneys being intimidated and castigated by the courts for long enough.  More people and attorneys need to take that stand.  

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