Homes across the country homes are being taken through foreclosure with fake paperwork. Rooms are filled with “robo-signers,” who gin up false affidavits by the thousands. 60 Minutes just did a story on this. In the story, a robo-signer (Chris Pendley) said he signed up to 4,000 documents a day – all in the name of “Linda Green.” (For you cyber-daters out there – this might be too uncomfortably familiar.)
An ugly truth is that robo-signers don’t know what documents they are signing or if they are true. It’s as if they work for “Omni Consumer Products” the evil corporation from “Robocop” also known as “O.C.P.” which runs over anyone in its way, over power and greed.
Consumer and bankruptcy lawyers are trying to fight these abusive practices. Strangely, though, when brought to the attention of the Courts, sometimes judges listen, but more often they appear to think, “what’s the big deal?”
In South Carolina, we are a “lien theory” state, and require formal (“Judicial”) foreclosure. (THE SAME IS TRUE IN KENTUCKY) Banks can’t just take your house – they have to take you to court first. If you own a house subject to a mortgage, in South Carolina, you OWN your house until the bank PROVES it has a right to take it by foreclosure. This means that a bank not only must prove you are behind on your loan payments, but it must also prove it owns your mortgage Note. (A mortgage Note a contract which is “negotiable.” This means that it can be sold to others, and the bank which lawfully owns the paper can enforce it.)
Sometimes courts say: “The bank has the Note, so it can collect the debt.” Courts will allow a bank in possession to proceed if it holds the original note, or if they have a valid assignment. Left unexamined, though, this logic doesn’t work. When Banks are allowed to issue thousands of phony documents a day chasing foreclosures, without oversight, it’s bound to get a just a wee little bit sloppy.
Another ugly truth is that banks often can’t even find the original notes and mortgages they say they own. So, instead of producing the original documents, they come to court with made up copies of Notes, with apparent assignments or “allonges” on them, that are supposed to show that the bank is the lawful owner of that Contract. In fact, they are really fake documents created just so banks can run foreclosures quickly through the courts. And, since most people don’t fight them, this usually works.
Here is a real life sample fraudulent allonge fixed up by a bank solely for the purpose manufacturing evidence where it doesn’t exist:
Notice that it was “cut and pasted” into an alleged original.
And here is an analysis of the “signatures”:
A person couldn’t write original signatures three times, this exactly the same, if his life depended on it. And the pixelation of the signatures are grainier than for the text of the document – another sure sign that the signatures weren’t photocopied or scanned with the original copy.
This document is fraudulent, made up just so the bank can use it in a foreclosure case. The bank can’t find the original at all, and used a photocopier to put this together. The court should not consider this evidence and should fine the bank, and any lawyer who tries to use this in court.
This points to a third ugly truth: many people lose their homes to banks without even checking to see whether it even has the right to foreclose.
People should make sure to inspect documents closely and not just assume that “the bank” is “their bank.” You may find the foreclosing bank, instead of owning the loan, really IS O.C.P. – out to get you – dead or alive.
In the end, though, banks can be defeated with their own paperwork mess, so stop worrying.
Instead take action. If you bother to look, a foreclosure may actually give you an opportunity to undo sloppy bank paperwork. Your lawyer doesn’t even have to be named “Murphy.”
Thanks go to:
Brent S. Snyder, Esq. for the uncovering the fraudulent document.
Matthew Bogosian, Esq. for the signature analysis.