It’s the strangest thing. Most of the national media is talking about this as if it’s just sloppy paperwork — instead of systemic fraud:
DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla – Bank of America, Chase, and other huge banks have stopped foreclosures due to potential problems with paperwork.
Now, a South Florida law firm says it has hundreds of cases in Palm Beach County that prove some of those banks may have been committing a crime.
The law firm calls them “robo signers,” people who rushed faulty foreclosure paperwork through the court system.
Within a tower of foreclosure depositions shown at the Ticktin Law Group’s Deerfield Beach office, senior legal counsel Peter Ticktin says the group has discovered the groundwork of an illegal home foreclosure system.
Ticktin said, “It’s massive, it’s criminal, it’s wrong and it’s proven with what lawyers call a mountain of evidence.”
That evidence, according Ticktin, includes incorrect foreclosure paperwork pushed through by all types of banks.
Ticktin says banks hired unqualified workers to complete crucial foreclosure affidavits, which are the official document used for a foreclosure hearing.
In many cases, Ticktin says banks purposely put wrong income information on those affidavits to rush foreclosures through.
Meanwhile, CNBC runs a piece from a senior editor warning Americans not to “lionize” these anti-foreclosure “deadbeats”:
The typical person who is fighting foreclosure on “show me the note” grounds is someone who has stopped making payments on their mortgage but refuses to surrender their house to the bank. Some of them may not even be suffering from financial hardship—other than having taken on debt that they cannot afford.
Earlier this week, CNN Money told the tale of a woman from Wappinger Falls, New York named Replique D’Amelio. She owes just under $400,000 on her mortgage, which is currently underwater. Even at the height of the housing boom, however, $400,000 would have bought you a very nice place in Wappinger Falls.
CitiMortgage modified D’Amelio’s mortgage but she defaulted anyway. Now she claims that Citi cannot foreclose upon her because Fannie Mae is the owner of her mortgage. Her lawyer argues that the mortgage was improperly assigned to Citi, and is contesting the foreclosure on those grounds.
Let’s grant D’Amelio not only the facts but also her interpretation of foreclosure law. Perhaps Citi, which purchased the mortgage in late 2006 and sold it to Fannie Mae in early 2007, shouldn’t be able to foreclose. Maybe the MERS system somehow vitiated any security interest attached to her house through the mortgage.
This doesn’t change the fact that D’Amelio is attempting to stay in a house while reneging on her obligation to repay the loan she used to buy the home. The fact that her mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae actually makes her default uglier. Her refusal or inability to pay is inflicting losses on a mortgage company that is owned by the government and funded by tax-payers.
As Atrios says, “I really don’t get the complete lack of concern for property rights”:
If Citi doesn’t own the mortgage then the woman doesn’t owe them any money. If Citi doesn’t own the mortgage then it isn’t the case that “perhaps” they shouldn’t foreclose on her, it’s the case that they have no legal right to foreclosure. Citi can’t just take possesion of a house, or decide someone owes them money, just because they say so.
And, yes, maybe one day Fannie will get around to a foreclosure process, but Citi cannot just assert control of the mortgage and the property on their say so.
…adding, the view just seems to be “well, she deserves to lose her house so it doesn’t really matter who takes it from her.”