Attorneys general in all 50 states have joined together to investigate widespread use of fake documents and signatures in mortgage foreclosures by lenders across the country.
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is leading the 50-state bipartisan mortgage foreclosure working group, as part of a coordinated national effort by states to review the practice of so-called robo-signing within the mortgage servicing industry.
The Mortgage Foreclosure Multistate Group, comprised of state attorneys general in all 50 states, and state banking and mortgage regulators in more than three dozen states, will explore whether individual mortgage servicers have improperly submitted documents in support of foreclosures. Specifically, the group will investigate whether companies misrepresented on affidavits and other documents that they reviewed and verified supporting foreclosure documentation. The group will also attempt to determine whether companies also signed affidavits outside the presence of a notary public, along with other possible issues regarding servicing irregularities or abuses.
This group has the backing of nearly every state in the nation to get to the bottom of this foreclosure mess, and we plan to work together as thoroughly and expeditiously as possible, said Miller in a statement. Since this issue affects peoples homes and has clear economic implications, this probe and its outcome need to be fair both to homeowners and also to lenders.
Submitting foreclosure documents without verification, with false representation, and/or signing certain legal documents outside the presence of a notary public may constitute deceptive acts and/or unfair practices, and may otherwise violate state laws and court rules.
The multistate group, through an executive committee, will contact a comprehensive list of individual mortgage servicers. The groups initial objectives include putting an immediate stop to improper mortgage foreclosure practices; reviewing past and present practices by mortgage servicers subject to the inquiry; evaluating potential remedies for past practices and to deter future improper practices; and establishing a mechanism for more effective independent monitoring of future mortgage foreclosure practices.
The Mortgage Foreclosure Multistate Group will consult with federal regulators and agencies, including the Mortgage Fraud Working Group of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was created in 2009.
These are starting points, and its possible this group may limit, expand or change its objectives, Miller said. Whats important here is this is a cooperative and coordinated effort by states to address a serious problem. This is not simply about a glitch in paperwork. Its also about some companies violating the law and many people losing their homes.
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