Imagine receiving a foreclosure notice from your bank when your mortgage is in good standing. Homeowners across the country have faced and apparently are still facing similar scenarios due to an illegal practice called “robo-signing.”
Before mortgage and foreclosure documents can be filed with the court or a county clerk, they must be checked for accuracy by a qualified official. Due to the high number of foreclosure filings in 2009 and 2010, banks allowed unqualified individuals to forge their signatures in an effort to process the paper work faster. Unfortunately, many homeowners suffered serious consequences as a result of this negligent practice.
Last year, courts in Florida and throughout the country became aware that many of the largest banking institutions were engaging in this illegal practice. Mortgage foreclosure proceedings were temporarily halted until the banks could prove to the courts that they had ceased the process of robo-signing documents. However, according to one recent news story, it appears that the dangerous practice continues to be an issue in many parts of the country.
According to the report, county officials in several states have reportedly received thousands of mortgage-related documents containing questionable signatures. In many cases, county officials have received documents with the signatures of individuals who are known participants in the robo-signing practice.
The signatures become even more suspect when numerous documents contain the same name, but the name is written in dozens of different handwriting styles. In an effort to combat this problem, some deed recorders have refused to accept mortgage documents with questionable signatures. Attorney generals in some states have issued criminal subpoenas to firms that process mortgages for banks.
A home is more than material property to people. It is a family’s security, hard work and memories. Homeowners deserve a fair process if those invaluable things are on the line. Robo-signing must stop.
Associated Press: “AP Exclusive: Mortgage ‘robo-signing’ goes onundefined,” Michelle Conlin, 19 Jul. 2011