FL AG Unveils Damning Foreclosure Report

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In August, I reported that the Florida Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division, in response to widespread allegations of foreclosure fraud, launched an investigation into three of the Sunshine State’s biggest and most notorious foreclosure “mills,” including the Law Offices of David J. Stern, the subject of a long Mother Jones investigation. (The Florida AG was already investigating one mill at the time, the Florida Default Law Group.) Last week, the AG’s office released some of the fruit of its labors: a 98-page presentation, by turns eye-opening and snarky, on the types of foreclosure deception endemic in Florida’s overloaded courtrooms and battered housing market. It’s one of the best reads you’ll find about foreclosure lawyers run amok, lawless mortgage servicers, “robo-signers,” and more.

It’s hard to know where to begin with the Florida AG’s report. Florida investigators found numerous instances of outright forgery in crucial foreclosure documents. These included assignments of mortgage, which give mortgage servicers the legal right to the foreclose. The AG’s presentation offers up six documents signed by a now-notorious foreclosure employee named Linda Green. The rub? Green’s signature is visibly different on each of those six documents. Now, imagine that kind of forgery taking place on a scale of “hundreds of thousands” foreclosure documents, the amount Green signed, according to the AG. Not only was Green’s signature cause for concern, but her name alone was a problem, as she was listed as an officer at dozens of mortgage companies and banks. In other words, the many variations of Linda Green could only exist in the lawless world of Foreclosureland, where thousands of bogus documents she signed were passed off as legitimate and used to seize people’s homes.

The AG’s presentation goes to highlight clear cases of document backdating by foreclosure firms and mortgage servicers, which I reported on in August. The presentation’s conclusions, while not entirely new, are damning stuff nonetheless, especially coming from a state attorney general’s office. They include:

  • “Improper assignments were recorded in the county land records offices
  • Improper assignments were submitted to the Court in support of foreclosure motions
  • Improper assignments were accepted by the Court as valid assignments that substantiated the foreclosure
  • Homeowners were foreclosed upon based upon falsified assignments, by a bank who was not the true holder of the note”

Here’s the full presentation from the Florida Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division:

Florida Attorney General Fraudclosure Report | Unfair, Deceptive and Unconscionable Acts in Foreclosure Cases

 

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Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

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