It’s isn’t a good thing to lie to Uncle Sam.
Hundreds of thousands of foreclosures are in jeopardy as what is effectively a national foreclosure freeze takes hold – and it isn’t even Autumn yet.
On Wednesday, **Attorneys General in all 50 states announced a joint investigation into whether the so-called “robo-signers” (people who simply signed hundreds of foreclosure affidavits every day) actually read the underlying documents and made sure they were correct – as they swore in the affidavits.
Lying on an affidavit is a big deal because filing an affidavit is like taking an oath. You swear that the information in the affidavit is correct. If you lie about something in an affidavit, the law views it the same way as if you lied on the stand during a trial.
In the joint probe, the Attorneys General will look to see whether the banks and mortgage loan servicers used false documents and signatures and improperly filed affidavits in order to proceed with tens of thousands of foreclosures.
Did the foreclosure “robo-signers” violate the law?
Some are arguing that processing thousands of foreclosures each month without reviewing the foreclosure documentation and without having the documents signed in the presence of a notary, as required by most state laws, is consumer fraud.
Clearly, many homeowners have been swept up in the foreclosure mess who probably shouldn’t be there. One of them, Danielle Hernandez-Romero, wrote to me recently saying her lender, Bank of America, foreclosed on her even though she was making her payments in a trial loan modification. There was no notice. On top of that, Fannie Mae started eviction proceedings.
After she filed a complaint with the OCC and I forwarded her case number to the OCC for special consideration, she finally got a call from a Bank of America representative who told her he would help her get her house back – even though he had never worked on a case where the property had already been foreclosed. Today she heard from someone at Fannie Mae who was going to try to stop the eviction proceedings.
KVUE in Austin, TX, included her in a story about the foreclosure freeze that aired last night.
When you have robo-signers who process foreclosures without checking to see if the documents behind the foreclosure make any sense, there are bound to be errors. Bank of America spokesman Dan Frahm told me last Friday that the only mistakes they’re finding are where certain fees are different in the foreclosure documents than in the affidavits, but that is because states limit many of those fees.
Maybe. But the real question is whether those foreclosures should be in the pile at all.
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