Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Foreclosure Defense Attorneys Understand the Problem of Robo-Signed Mortgages

Our Oak Park foreclosure attorneys know that often the first step in any legal defensive effort on the part of distressed homeowners is to ensure that their banks followed proper procedure in the mortgage process.  Legal rules and regulations regarding the creation of mortgages are in place specifically to ensure that the potential foreclosure process is fair and reasonable.  There is simply no excuse for banks in our area to cut corners or violate protocols in this process.  When they do so, homeowners often have strong Oak Park foreclosure defense options.  

One common way that banks have been cutting corners in potential violation of the law involve the use of “robo-signing.”  As a Delaware Online story yesterday explained, judges across the country are blocking foreclosure because of these issues.  Officials report that illegal or suspect mortgage paperwork has been found throughout the country, including in our area.  In fact, some county recorder employees have found that deficient mortgage papers may date back to well over a decade, into the 1990s.  Many of those who have looked into their Chicago foreclosure defense options have likely read about the temporary halt that the nation’s largest lenders enacted on foreclosures last year.  Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., and others all delayed the process because of these concerns about robo-signing. 

Robo-signing is often a catch-all phrase that refers to a variety of often unlawful practices.  The most common of which include problems caused by banks that hired entry-level employees to sign hundreds of mortgage documents a day.  Many of these individuals forged the signatures of executives who were needed to sign certain items. At other times, the executives themselves signed the document without verifying their accuracy—a potentially illegal process.  On other occasions notaries stamped the documents even though the signer of the document was not present when the papers were notarized, which is a legal requirement.

Initially, the banks claimed that these faulty signatures were only found in affidavits that banks filed as part of the house buying process, used to prove that the banks have a foreclosure right. These companies have claimed that they were overwhelmed with paperwork and used the signature process to cut corners.  However, it is now being learned that the robo-signature problem may extend to all sorts of mortgage documents, not just the affidavits.  In some areas, as many as 80-100% of home ownership documents include questionable signatures.    

For example, recently an Illinois county pulled 60 documents to check for suspect signatures and found that all 60 were “signed” by those who have already been identified as robo-signers.  In total, at least a dozen county officials in our state have sent findings to the Illinois Attorney General’s office regarding these troubling robo-signing issues. 

News about these mortgage paperwork problems should remind to all local homeowners struggling to keep their homes that help is available.  Our Chicago foreclosure lawyers at the Emerson Law Firm continue to help residents in our area with a wide variety of foreclosure issues.  We encourage all residents in Chicagoland to take the time to visit with an Illinois foreclosure defense attorney to share your story and see what options are available.

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