Here, the fifth in a series of posts explaining the hows and whys of ForeclosureGate and the Florida Home Loan Fraud crisis: more and more fraudulent acts are discovered as investigations begin into widespread mortgage fraud.
As discussed in Part 4 of this series, the widespread use of the name “Linda Green” in various ForeclosureFraud documents was not the only name that was misused; other names that popped up with different job titles in all sorts of different handwriting included Scott Anderson, Tywanna Thomas, and Jessica Ohde. However, fake names were far from the only fraud that was occurring.
In hindsight, it is shocking to think that the mortgage servicing companies and lender law firms that are responsible for so much of this stuff actually thought this would pass muster over time – that this would never get found out. Why? The workers were so obvious about their bad acts. Some examples:
- There were lots of documents certified as okay by notary publics that had blank signature lines – the notary was okaying non-existent signatures.
- There were notary stamps that were fakes, giving phony names or false expiration dates.
- All sorts of people shared notary stamps, they were passed around like staplers.
- The formality of a notary public ceremonially witnessing signatures was tossed out the window; people would set at tables and sign stacks of paper without anyone watching them.
- Grantees were actually named “Bogus” – that’s right. The Florida AG discovered grantees named “Bogus Assignee for Intervening Assignments” in many documents.
- Assignment effective dates were listed as “9/9/9999” (approximately 7988 years from now) in some documents. That’s a long time away, isn’t it?
Furthermore, there were numerous examples of longstanding real estate laws being ignored by those who knew better. It’s as if these traditional practices didn’t even exist. For instance:
- Notices of Lis Pendens (clouding title in the real estate records) were filed without anyone having the legal right to do so (“standing”).
- Stamped signatures were placed on documents that were filed as “originals” in the public record.
- Affidavits were filed of record with wrong information, and then other affidavits would be filed on top of them, with different numbers or amounts. This was particularly egregious when the affidavits were being used in files where the bank foreclosed on property with mortgages that had already been paid in full.
- All sorts of documents were filed in the name of companies that no longer existed under the law; they had gone under, or had been bought out, or otherwise were no longer in business. Big example: paperwork filed under the name of Lehman Brothers.
Then, things went really wrong. Documents filed in active court cases were faked. Filings presented to judges were false and contained bad information. Illegal activities were being presented to Florida judges, and judges across the country, by lawyers who presented them as being proper.
- Motions for summary judgment had fake notaries or bad affidavits.
- Assignments that were fraudulent were presented to the court as valid in foreclosure actions.
- Foreclosure actions were filed and judgments were obtained by attorneys using false papers.
All this abuse of the system did not get discovered all at once. State attorney general offices began receiving complaints from home owners, and state investigations began. Congressional representatives starting hearing complaints from citizens about bad things happening across the country in foreclosure proceedings.
Soon, the Florida Attorney General was investigating things and so were Congressional committees. The cat was out of the bag. Private lawsuits started being filed, which is where we are today. I keep asking myself; when will it end?