I am definitely confident on this one going far!
Mortgage registration firm sued for fraud, billions in penalties in Nevada, California
By Frank X. Mullen Jr. • June 25, 2010 RGJ.com
A Reno law firm has filed two lawsuits alleging fraud against a nationwide mortgage registration firm, and if those legal actions prevail, the firm and dozens of mortgage lenders could be liable to Nevada’s counties for billions of dollars in compensation and penalties.
Law partners Robert R. Hager and Treva J. Hearne, with Reno attorney Mark Mausert, have filed a case in Nevada and one in California against Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, which operates an electronic registry of mortgage loans in the United States. MERS serves as the mortgagee of record for lenders, investors and loan servicers in county land records, but doesn’t own any mortgages.
By using the firm’s names on deeds and other paperwork, the lenders are able to avoid county recording fees, according to the firm. MERS has no financial interest in the loans, but is listed as actual owner or surrogate for the owner on millions of deeds of trust, even as individual mortgages are repeatedly traded and packaged inside of mortgage pools.
The lawsuits argue that listing the firm as the owner of mortgages in which it has no interest in order to avoid filing fees and taxes that are legally required constitutes fraud.
“We look forward to holding these financial institutions and foreclosure mills responsible for their actions that have deprived the states and counties of much-needed revenue,” said Hager.
Karmela Lejarde, communications manager, for the Reston, Va.-based firm, noted that the attorneys general of two states declined to take on the cases as false claims suits pressed by the government, instead leaving the plaintiffs to pursue the civil suits in the court systems.
“The lawsuits are completely without merit,” Lejarde said. “…The suits were filed by the same lawyers who have brought countless lawsuits against MERS, and every single one of them has failed. The most recent (fraud case) actions are just the latest in a line of baseless claims.”
Christopher Peterson, a law professor and associate dean of the University of Utah Law School, has written articles and lectured about MERS’s activities. He said the firm being listed as proxy owner of more than half the nation’s mortgages is contrary to 200 years of American legal precedent.
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