Next Big Thing In Mortgage Fraud: Fake Attorney Signatures

The next big wave in disgusting mortgage fraud revelations could be faked signatures from foreclosure attorneys. And homeowners fighting foreclosure are using it to hold onto their house.

These are foreclosures that used court documents sporting signatures from attorneys who did not themselves sign them or even look at them.

An attorney’s signature is supposed to represent that they have personally reviewed the documents and verified their accuracy.

What is getting uncovered in several cases is that there were foreclosure firms that had only a small number of attorneys, and a large back room filled with non-attorneys filing documents at a breakneck speed.

So far a few foreclosure cases with faked attorney signatures have led to them getting tossed out.

So if you find yourself the target of a foreclosure case from a foreclosure mill type place, you might want to have your lawyer look into whether the guy really signed the papers!

False Attorney Signatures Cast New Doubts on Foreclosures [ProPublica]

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  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    This isn’t so surprising, given the robo-signers the banks had. If a forclosure is an A-B-C-D process, then if you forge signatures at Step B at an insane pace, then the only way to keep up is to do the same thing at step C. Then in Florida’s case, the finish step D you just create a new dummy court system that doesn’t even look at forged documents from steps B and C.

    • Buckus says:

      They should just take it to the next level and create a whole new dummy banking system that holds the mortgages to all homes. They could give it a catchy name like “Mortgage Electronic Registration System” or “MERS” for short.

      Oh…wait…

  2. TuxthePenguin says:

    1. The link is broken. There should not be the
    in the link. Remove it and we’re good.

    2. I didn’t see it mentioned, but I think this would just be a delay tactic. The case gets thrown and but that just seems to put it back at the beginning again. They could still refile and begin the process anew.

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      nevermind… there is a break HTML code in the link that is messing it up. (without the ” “)

    • dpeters11 says:

      I believe I even read an article here about that. The attorney for the homeowner makes a mistake, the judge rules for the bank and forecloses. The bank makes a mistake, they can just try again.

      • DanRydell says:

        You seem to think that’s unusual. What do you think happens when a bank fails on a foreclosure? They don’t wipe out the loan. The bank still holds the loan and is owed money. If the homeowner doesn’t start making payments, why wouldn’t the bank be able to foreclose again?

        • Pax says:

          Why should only one side get the right to say “do over” when the result isn’t what they wanted it to be …?

          Personally, I say: if you file a suit over something, and then are caught forging signatures or the like? You should not only lose that suit, but you should lose your grounds to sue for that cause/reason, ever again. In other words, if the bank is foreclosing, and is caught using robo-signed documents, or forged attorney signatures on your documents … then not only should the foreclosure be dismissed, the loan should be declared null and void.

          With the penalty of “if you get caught trying to cheat, you lose everything” hanging over their heads, you can bet your ass the banks would make sure every T was crossed, every I was dotted, and it was all done the right and legal way.

          • Luckier says:

            On the homeowner’s side, the “do over” is to make good on the loan, either by catching up on payments, by settling with the bank or by selling the home for at or above the value of the loan.

            • evilpete says:

              Many times it is impossible to catch up due to extra fees.

              Several years ago I missed a payment but was able to make the following several payments. The bank view thus several late payment added fees and refused to accept any payment but the full amount ( including fees ).

              To avoid foreclosure I had to pay almost three times the amount of the missed payment ( I did and still have my house)

            • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

              Do you really think that everyone facing foreclosure is doing so just because they don’t feel like making the payments, when they could make them easily?

              News flash: People die. People lose jobs. People get sick and can’t work. People get sick without health insurance. There are a huge number of reasons why someone is UNABLE TO MAKE PAYMENTS, most of which are not their faults. Yes, it would be great if you can plan for every eventuality. Sometimes you can’t.

            • s73v3r says:

              That is such a load of horse shit. If you’re going to make it equal, then say that the bank now loses out on a year’s worth of payments. The homeowners can continue to make payments if they wish, but the bank presses pause on the loan for a year: No payments due, no interest accumulating.

            • Pax says:

              …. and when the foreclosure is based on falsified documents?

              How about when the owners asked for, and were given, a Loan Adjustment, and adhere strictly to the newly re-negotiated terms and payment schedule, following the bank’s instructions to the letter … and the bank still forecloses on them …?

              I’m sorry, but: if you lie in court, you should lose. Period. Forever.

          • Geekybiker says:

            That’s not quite right.
            It should be dismissed with prejudice. That means the same people can’t bring suit again, but it the person who does have the legal loan docs eventually shows up they would be able to foreclose.

            • Pax says:

              So, the bank gets to keep trying, each time with a different set of documents, until eventually they “get away with it” because they don’t get caught committing perjury?

              No.

              If someone commits perjury in a civil case, they should not only lose that case instantly, but also lose all rights to sue that person, for that cause/incident, ever again.

        • Blueskylaw says:

          When a bank goes under, you still have to pay your loan as per contract.

          Also when a bank goes under, they usually cut the interest that they pay on your certificate of deposit even though you have a contract.

          Fair? You tell me.

  3. Gman says:

    How in the world are these firms and banks not being brought up on criminal charges?
    Isn’t this what we vote in AG’s for?

    These institutions are actively committing fraud and if not technically at least in theory grand theft [Taking a persons home and positions without the proper right to do so]. Sure the person probably is behind on the mortgage and does deserve to have action take against them. But doing that action illegally is not the right way.

    • Gman says:

      Just want to say I am NOT saying the person should get off free. They did purchase a home they could not pay for and they have to own up to that. They should be put through the proper channels. even if that takes a year or more because of backlog. Like any relationship, mortgages are not done alone. The banks need to take their part in causing this mess and follow everything as it should be. Including all of the rules and regulations to go through foreclosure.

      They should not take advantage of runarounds to speed up the process because a Lawyer wants to make it home in time to see a football game.

    • Difdi says:

      Solution: hold the attorneys who allowed their signatures to be used in such a way in contempt of court.

      They can get out of jail as soon as they properly read, review and sign every document that fraudulently bore their signature!

  4. evilpete says:

    I feel if a bank knowingly commits foreclosure fraud they should loose the right to foreclose on that property ( eg: the case should be thrown out with prejudice)

    • rekoil says:

      I was wondering the same thing – what does a “dismissal” mean in this context? Does the homeowner get their mortgage cancelled? Or does it just mean that the bank needs to restart the process?

      • Buckus says:

        It means the bank gets to try and print up some new fake documents and try again.

      • ttw1 says:

        Even if the foreclosure was dismissed with prejudice (meaning that the bank could not refile for foreclosure), the homeowner would still be on the hook for the loan. The loan would become unsecured much like a credit card bill or a personal loan.

    • Powerlurker says:

      If a bank knowingly commits foreclosure fraud, the employees in question should be prosecuted for perjury and the lawyers involved should be disbarred and/or prosecuted too.

  5. Blueskylaw says:

    It seems that corporations are breaking the law at breakneck speed and yet they are getting away with it, argument being that it would be harmful to them and the economy.
    I wonder what would happen if someone sentenced to jail for a non-violent crime would use that same BS excuse. But judge, if you send me to jail, how will I make money, pay my bills, and be a tax paying member of society?

    • pierhogunn says:

      Well, this is sort of the point of corporations, or rather an unintended consequence of the formation of corporations…

      when you spread the risk of doing business among so many indaviduals, you also, to some degree spread the respoonsibility among those indaviduals, and the opportunities to break the law without facing the full penalty for breaking said laws are also spread out…

      This is one of the many reasons why Corporations, especially financial services corporations, and the other corporations that support them are regulated as heavily as they are, and in some peoples views, mine included, more effective regulation is needed to curb this sort of activity.

      Corporate accountability has been sacrificed at the order of the share-holders who now demand double-digit rates of return from organizations that typically and historically struggled to return double-digits. Greed drives lawlessness, which in turn drives more greed…

  6. BarbaraAnnJackson says:

    http://www.change.org/petitions/view/request_for_congressional_foreclosure_panel_to_examine_foreclosure_lawyers#

    LAWYERS WHO FILE FORECLOSURES SHOULD ALSO BE INVESTIGATED

    Foreclosure lawyers are officers of the court; knowledge of applicable laws and civil procedure is not required from mortgage lenders, nor loan servicers. In states that require judicial foreclosures, lawyers are the ones who file lawsuits to seize and sell property; and lawyers are responsible for filing and recording foreclosure property deeds.

    Inadequate or questionable foreclosure leads to useless property deeds that impede real estate sales; title insurance companies reluctant to cover foreclosed properties; mortgage default claims are being disputed due to defective foreclosures. . .Sample of fraudulent foreclosures by certain foreclosure mills:

    –Deliberately utilize defunct lenders or lenders without “standing” to intentionally execute false foreclosure proceedings in civil as well as bankruptcy courtrooms.
    – Create and conceal malpractice, delaying foreclosures, engineer various litigations to generate billable legal fees.
    – Orchestrate sham foreclosure auctions; property never becomes acquired by lenders, but by ‘straw buyers’
    – Commit wrongs which are actionable (unfair debt collection, fraud, various torts) that give rise to lawsuits from property owners,
    – Engage in self-dealing foreclosures by which some lawyers gain for themselves foreclosed properties
    –Foreclosures via names of defunct lenders allow ’straw buyers’ illegally convey property deeds, flip real estate, and create blighted communities
    – Unconscionably create false deficiency judgments against property owners after straw buyers acquire homes for pennies on the dollar
    – Intentionally file Bankruptcy court “Motion to Lift” and “Proof of Claim” on behalf of NON-EXISTENT lenders, concealing fact of “non-secured” mortgage debt.
    –Involved in fraudulent collection of property damage and mortgage insurance for illegally foreclosed homes
    –Fraudulent foreclosures abet loss of property taxes to city revenue, rodents, vagrants, and blight. – Thousands of families are being made unlawfully homeless, scores of homes have been fraudulently flipped and communities are blighted from null foreclosure proceedings.
    **more: Request for Congressional Foreclosure Panel to Examine Foreclosure Lawyers
    http://www.change.org/petitions/view/request_for_congressional_foreclosure_panel_to_examine_foreclosure_lawyers#

  7. mythago says:

    Oh, it’s a *good* time to be a State Bar prosecutor.

    • Kate says:

      No, because you have even more cases and you will be furloughed, your pay cut and your pension reduced and the governor will tell you haughtily that you still need to take care of everything with less personal hours to use.

      Good business for government is not more business.

  8. oldwiz65 says:

    I never understaood how these banks and mortgage companies get away with actively committing fraud and getting away with it. Are they paying the courts under the table to let them commit crimes? Are they paying Congress to ignore their misdeeds? Individuals who commit fraud can expect to be arrested and tossed into prison, why are banks and mortgage companies exempt from this when the top executives know full well what is going on and encourage it?

  9. Skankingmike says:

    uh.. no shit? My aunt has been a Paralegal for over 20 years at a foreclosure firm. With the state of things right now her main job has been sales, but many attorney’s use their support staff to do the grunt of the work, not limited too signing the paper work on their behave. This isn’t really anything new, and honestly many things we force attorney’s to do could easily be done by support staff. I mean imagine if we required doctors to do half of what nurses did.. there would be a break down in the system.

  10. CentralScrutinizer says:

    So S. Larson from Citibank isn’t a real lawyer?