UFAN: Will investigations by state Attorneys General help uncover improper practices by mortgage lenders?
In a statement released by her office, California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced recently the creation of a mortgage fraud task force. The task force is comprised of 17 lawyers and eight special agents from the state Department of Justice, and will investigate everything from small scale fraud targeting borrowers to large scale corporate practices, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
The task force created by Harris signals that California is now taking an aggressive approach to the fraud underlying the mortgage crisis seriously affecting the state, and coincides with a nationwide effort among all 50 state attorneys general to investigate the causes and effects of the mortgage crisis, as reported by the L.A. Times. Harris told the Times “California was disproportionately harmed by the mortgage crisis, and our homeowners badly need relief. We will critically evaluate every possible avenue of relief for Californians. If it will result in real accountability and real results, no option will be off the table.”
According to the Attorney General’s Office, “Last year alone, there were foreclosure filings against 546,669 California homes. It is projected that between 2009 and 2012, a total of 2 million California homes will enter the foreclosure process. In the last year, the California Department of Justice has received thousands of complaints related to foreclosure scams, mortgage fraud, and mortgage servicing practices.” These figures are distressing to say the least.
In conjunction with the announcement of the task force, the Attorney General announced the subpoena of Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS) in May for its role in “robo-signing” of mortgage documents. Robo-signing refers to bank employees signing documents required in the foreclosure process without verifying their content or accuracy. LPS is alleged to have prepared and recorded these false foreclosure documents on behalf of some of the major mortgage lenders and servicers in the country. The company is based in Florida but has several offices in California and, according to its website, services more than 50% of the mortgages in the US. In its press release, the Attorney General’s Office warned that the risks of robo-signing are particularly serious in California where foreclosures are mostly unsupervised by the courts.
UFAN has recently filed suit against Bank of America (case # 34-2011-00109314) and Wells Fargo (case # 34-2011-00110146) in Sacramento County Superior Court, alleging multiple causes of action related to mortgage lending practices. It is UFAN’s hope that the investigation will uncover facts that will bolster the cases filed.
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Filed under: Real Estate