Foreclosure Fraud?

Since the Great Recession officially started in December of 2007, millions of people have lost their homes to foreclosures. It turns out that many of those foreclosures may have been fraudulent or in violation of foreclosure laws. According to the Southern Essex County, Massachusetts Register of Deeds, John O’Brien, a forensic audit of his recording files suggests that at least 75% of the mortgage assignments were invalid.

“My registry is a crime scene as evidenced by this forensic examination. The Audit makes the finding that this was not only a MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems) problem, but a scheme also perpetuated by MERS shareholder banks such Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan and others. I am stunned and appalled by the fact that America’s biggest banks have played fast and loose with people’s biggest asset – their homes. This is disgusting, and this is criminal.” Nation of Change

It has been almost 7 years since the financial markets failed and yet the foreclosure crisis continues. In some respects the crisis is unabated. Yes, the foreclosure numbers are now down from their historic highs, but many of the completed foreclosures included these questionable documents and tactics by the banks in question. Plus, the use of these tactics started even before the Great Recession hit. Is there a cost to the economy when Banks allegedly use these “robo-signings”?

….Mr. O’Brien’s experience in Essex County is just one county in one state. However, when the nation’s Attorneys General were poised to settle with various banks in 2012 over the nation-wide foreclosure fraud allegations, O’Brien voiced his concerns to the Massachusetts Attorney General.

[O’Brien wrote] “I implore you not to agree to any settlement that would give criminal immunity to MERS and its member-banks. A settlement that includes this feature will not help the homeowners of MA and will permanently damage chains-of-title and property rights forever, with no hope of resolving the permanent damage that these institutions have caused to titles across the state.”’

It probably should not surprise anyone that the Attorneys General did sign the settlement with the banks and they did not heed Mr. O’Brien’s warning. While the national settlements did provide some relief to homeowners, it has had limited impact on clearing up the title concerns voiced by Register O’Brien and arguably provided limited financial recoveries for the victims of the banks allegedly fraudulent activities.

As expected, no one at any of the banks who signed the Joint State-Federal National Mortgage Servicing Settlements were indicted and brought to justice….

By Lawrence E. Rafferty – JonathanTurley.Org –