This is what we have been saying from day 1. By using MERS they have split the Note and Mortgage= “Bifurcate”.
By not assigning from the Originator to the Sponsor this is where lies the problem. Instead they transferred the notes to the Trusts in ___________________________ name? Which leaves this a Bearer instrument.
So by maintaining the notes in a bearer name, each step must have been documented and assigned according to the PSA. If these were securitized, question is did the true sale ever happen? Bottom Line.
Delivery & Acceptance Must Happen
Nearly all Pooling and Servicing Agreements require that On the Closing Date, the Purchaser will assign to the Trustee pursuant to the Pooling and Servicing Agreement all of its right, title and interest in and to the Mortgage Loans and its rights under this Agreement (to the extent set forth in Section 15), and the Trustee shall succeed to such right, title and interest in and to the Mortgage Loans and the Purchaser’s rights under this Agreement (to the extent set forth in Section 15). Also, an Assignment of Mortgage must accompany each note and this almost never happens.
We believe nearly every single loan transferred was transferred to the Trust in blank name. That is to say the actual loans were apparently not, as of either the cut-off or closing dates, assigned to the Trust as required by the PSA.
Quite the can of worms. Anyone who says that the banks will fix all this in a few months is seriously delusional.
I am not a pro, finance guru and that is why there is a comment section below. But I do have common sense and I smell scam.
Vanilla, chocolate, strawberry …each state is different. Eliminate Electronic Recordings PERIOD!
One of the best videos I have seen on this crisis.
Oct. 12 (Bloomberg) — Elizabeth Warren, the White House adviser in charge of forming the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, discusses her first month on the job, the need for U.S. lenders to simplify home mortgage paperwork and the outlook for financial industry regulation. Warren, speaking with Margaret Brennan on Bloomberg Television’s “InBusiness.” (Source: Bloomberg)
Homeowners struggling to repay adjustable-rate mortgages from Wachovia and World Savings Bank, subsidiaries of Wells Fargo (WFC), got some good news Wednesday. The company has agreed to pay $24 million to settle allegations of deceptive marketing about the risky loans from eight states and also to forgive more than $772 million in outstanding loan balances owed by more than 8,700 borrowers.The states’ probe was spurred by Wachovia’s so-called “Pick-A-Payment” adjustable-rate mortgages. Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, who led the investigation, said in a statement that Wachovia — which Wells Fargo acquired after the loans were granted — failed to sufficiently inform borrowers of the risks involved in such loan programs. Wells Fargo said it had already forgiven $3.4 billion in loans as of August.
INDEX NO. 16 150-2008
SUPREME COURT – STATE OF NEW YORK
I.A.S. PART 17 – SUFFOLK COUNTY
P R E S E N T :
Hon. PETER H. MAYER
Justice of the Supreme Court
BENEFICIAL HOMEOWNER SERVICE CORPORATION,
TODD L. MASOTTI
In this foreclosure action, the plaintiff filed a summons and complaint on April 24, 2008, which essentially alleges that the defendant-homeowner(s), Todd L. Masotti and Michelle Casey, defaulted in payments with regard to a mortgage, dated September 20,2004, in the principal amount of $311,842.43, for the premises located at 38 Crestwood Lane, Farmingville, New York. Although the plaintiff annexes a power of attorney permitting “LPS Default Solutions, Inc.” to act on its behalf, the affidavit of merit is by an employee of “Lender Processing Services, Inc.” According to the court’s database, a foreclosure settlement conference was held on June 23,2010. The plaintiff now seeks a default order of reference and requests amendment of the caption to remove the “Doe” defendants. The plaintiffs application is denied for the following reasons:
(1) failure to submit evidentiary proof of compliance with the requirements of CPLR 3215(f), including but not limited to a proper affidavit of facts by the plaintiff [or by plaintiffs agent, provided there is proper proof in evidentiary form of such agency relationship], or a complaint verified by the plaintiff and not merely by an attorney or non-party, such as a servicer, who has no personal knowledge; and
(2) failure to submit an affidavit in support, which is in a properly sworn form, as required by CPLR 15 2 3 0 9( b) .
This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.
Dated: August 6, 2010
State your full name and current position.
Provide us with your definition of a document custodian.
What is your exact job title?
What are your responsibilities?
Where are you employed?
Where does your company store original documents?
How are they stored?
If you outsource this storage, who is the outsource provider?
How do you confirm delivery to the outsource provider?
How do you retrieve original documents?
How long do you save original documents?
Do you have a written original document destruction policy?
Please explain it and produce a copy of the policy.
Do you retain images of original of all documents?
How are they retained?
Where are they retained?
How long are they retained?
What type of computer system is used for the image retention?
Do you have a Records Compliance or Management Department?
Explain how it works, who is employed there, and where it is located.
Describe all information that you store electronically.
Do you have an ESI manager?
Who, where does he or she work, what does he or she do?
What is your policy on the retention of electronically stored documents?
Do you have a written policy for ESI documents?
Do you have any automated archiving systems?
If yes, then explain how they work and how documents are achieved.
Where are the archived documents stored?
How do you save data to a file that has already been achieved?
State the name of the director or manager of your document archiving operation.
How do you store data acquired through mergers or acquisitions?
How do you retrieve historical data from the archives?
Explain the process in detail.
Do you have an organizational-wide data map or inventory of all electronically stored data?
Can you produce a copy of that map?
Do you have any litigation ready data files?
Where are they stored?
How are they created?
Who is in charge of creating these files?
Why are they created?
Is there such a file in this case?
Where is the data stored?
Do you have any electronic data stored on tapes?
Describe the data and the type of tapes?
Where are these tapes stored?
Do you maintain a disaster recovery location?
Where is it?
Do you store electronic data at this location?
How is it stored?
How long is it stored?
What types of servers are used to store the data at this location?
How long is the data stored?
Do you have a data destruction policy at the disaster location?
Please explain and produce all written protocols.
Explain how you retrieve data from the disaster location?
Explain the time and expenses involved in securing date from the disaster recovery location?
State if any data related to this case has been destroyed?
Describe the data in detail and when and under what circumstances it was destroyed.
Have you seen any notice in this case to preserve all of the ESI?
When, where and how did you see it?
Has any data related to this case been destroyed since you saw it?
Who is your Media Destruction Manager?
Where is this person located?
What are the responsibilities of this person?
Explain all of the steps your company has taken in this case to preserve ESI evidence?
Have you created a data file of ESI for this case?
When was it created?
Name all parties involved in the creation?
Where is that data filed now?
Explain all of the steps that were taken to create the ESI file for this case.
Are there any ESI that you could not find or include in the file?
If so, please explain.
If any of the data still exists, have you or anyone in your company investigated the restoration of any deleted or damaged data?
When, who did this and what did they do?
If not, then why not?
With respect to the ESI file that has been created for this case, have the documents been scrubbed for metadata?
If yes, then when, who ordered, and why?
Who was involved in the scrubbing?
Was a scrubbed metadata file created?
Who created the file and who has custody of the file?
Do you backup your data every day?
How and where is the backup data?
Who is in charge of your backup operations?
What data is backed up?
Do you back up programs and systems or just the data?
What is the difference between your backup data system and your archived data storage system?
How long is backup data retained?
What is the format for the media in the ESI file created for this case?
Did you ever stop backing up or archiving data in this case in anticipation of litigation?
If so, when, why, and who ordered such actions?
When was a litigation hold placed on the destruction of any of the ESI data related to this case?
Who issued the hold and how was it implemented?
Do you have any type of dormant document liability policy?
If so, then please explain in detail how it works?
Has any of the ESI data in this case been destroyed or deleted pursuant to a dormant document liability policy?
If so, can you identify who took such action, when it was taken, who ordered it taken, and why it was taken?
Name all parties who have access to any of the data related to this case.
Explain all security features employed by your company to prohibit the unauthorized access to any of your ESI data?
Do you keep any type of catalogue of information on tapes or other media related to historical ESI?
If so, please explain how this system works?
Where are the catalogues filed and how are they maintained?
State the names of all of the servers and the location of all such servers that contained any ESI data related to this case.
State your current policy on saving company email.
State your current archiving and backup programs with respect to email.
State all of your email format types, date ranges for retention of email, and the names of all custodians.
Please identify all types of files used by your company, the capacity of such files, the creation dates and how those dates are preserved, the modification dates and how they are recorded, and the maximum size of each file.
Does your company employ a de-duplication policy as to ESI data?
If so, please explain how it works?
Has any data in this case been subject to destruction pursuant to any such policy?
If so, identify all such ESI data.
Do any lawyers representing you in this case have access to any of your data files?
IF so, please explain the extent of such access, how it is tracked, and purpose of the same?
Have you migrated any ESI data in this case from older, disparate media sources into modern managed tools?
If so, explain in detail the older data systems, how the migration occurred, and explain the new storage media used?
Name all of the parties on the data migration team or group.
Do you have a Legal Records Management Team?
Name all of the Team members and the location?
Was the Team involved in this case?
If yes, then explain in detail the extent of their involvement.
Do you use a third-party IT vendor for ESI data capture, storage and archiving?
If so, who and how long have they been used?
Who is the on-site representative for your ESI vendor?
Does your backup vendor use DLT4, LT01 or 4MM tapes?
What type of backup software does the vendor use?
Do they use Backup Exec, NetBackup, Legato Net Worker, Trivoli Storage Manager, ArcServe, CommVault Galaxy or HP Omniback?
Describe all messaging systems used by your company.
Do you use Lotus Notes?
Do you use Novell GroupWise or any others?
How is the messaging data saved, backed up and archived?
Do you convert the messages media to any other type of media for storage?
If so, describe the media and how this is accomplished and by whom?
Explain all due diligence programs and procedures used to verify the integrity of your data?
Explain all due diligence programs and procedures used to secure and safeguard your data.
Do you maintain custody logs on the transfer of any ESI data?
What type of logs?
Who maintains and where are they located?
Do you have a “Best Practices” guide for of the operations described herein?
Can you produce it?
Coakley begins probe, calls for foreclosure moratorium
By Herald Staff
Saturday, October 2, 2010 -
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley called on Bank of America and other major creditors to delay all foreclosure proceedings and pledged to begin her own investigation in light of recent revelations that they may not have complied with the law.
Bank of America announced Friday it was delaying foreclosures in 23 states, not including Massachusetts, as it examines whether it rushed the foreclosure process for thousands of homeowners without reading the documents.
“Our office has been extremely active in holding major banks and Wall Street firms accountable during this foreclosure crisis. We are concerned about the revelations that Bank of America and other major lenders have failed to properly review foreclosure documentation,” Coakley said yesterday in a statement. “Our office is now investigating this apparent failure of major creditors to follow state foreclosure law to ensure that Massachusetts homeowners are properly protected. In light of these revelations, we are asking Bank of America and other major creditors to cease foreclosure proceedings for Massachusetts homeowners until they can demonstrate that they have complied with Massachusetts law.”
The attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, also said he is investigating JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) over its foreclosure practices. He previously said he was investigating Ally Financial Inc and its GMAC Mortgage unit.
“Banks that lured consumers into loans they couldn’t afford now seek to stampede them into foreclosure,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “This freeze should stop a foreclosure steamroller based on defective documents and enable effective remedies.”
The decisions came after borrowers’ lawyers released affidavits suggesting that some lenders’ employees are submitting documentation in foreclosure proceedings without understanding the contents.
Investigators in at least six U.S. states are examining foreclosure practices at GMAC, JPMorgan or both, and calling for such practices to be defended or halted.
Blumenthal, a Democrat, is running for the U.S. Senate. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by John Wallace)
Continue to REUTERS
Attorney General Asks CT Courts To Freeze Home Foreclosures 60 Days Because Of Defective Docs October 1, 2010
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today asked the state Judicial Department to freeze all home foreclosures for 60 days because of defective document filings and institute measures to assure the integrity of future filings.
Blumenthal made the request after a second bank, JP Morgan Chase, acknowledged filing defective foreclosure documents. Like GMAC/Ally, JP Morgan admitted that so-called “robo-signers” signed affidavits without verifying the information in them. The GMAC robo-signer said under oath that he signed 8,000 to 10,000 foreclosure affidavits a month while a robo-signer for JP Morgan testified to spending less than two minutes on each affidavit.
Blumenthal is investigating GMAC/Ally and JP Morgan, as well as whether other banks may have engaged in similar practices.
Submitting defective documents is a possible fraud upon the court, potentially undermining foreclosures and underlying mortgages.
“This freeze should stop a foreclosure steamroller based on defective documents and enable effective remedies,” Blumenthal said. “The actions of GMAC/Ally and JP Morgan are inexcusable, a possible fraud on the court undermining the integrity of the legal process and consumers’ ability to fight foreclosures. Banks that lured consumers into loans they couldn’t afford now seek to stampede them into foreclosure. We must stop this runaway foreclosure train, restoring proper procedure and property owner rights.
“The Judicial Department should take additional measures — including requiring signers to state the basis for verifying information in affidavits — to restore the integrity of foreclosure documents. This appalling practice must be stopped before it poisons the legal system and unfairly evicts families from their homes.”
This is what this site is about…”ClOUDED TITLES”! This quote below should have added that it was in 65 Million mortgages not in some. I hope you all read my NO. THERE’S NO LIFE AT MERS…I highly recommend it because it came the heart.
In some cases, mortgages were conveyed using the Reston, Virginia-based Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS, designed to cover transfers among system members. Promissory notes also often were endorsed as payable to the bearer to avoid the need for multiple transfers. Both practices have been challenged in court.
Foreclosure Errors Cloud Homeownership With `Blighted Titles’
By Kathleen M. Howley – Oct 1, 2010 12:00 AM ET
U.S. courts are clogged with a record number of foreclosures. Next, they may be jammed with suits contesting property rights as procedural mistakes in those cases cloud titles establishing ownership.
“Defective documentation has created millions of blighted titles that will plague the nation for the next decade,” said Richard Kessler, an attorney in Sarasota, Florida, who conducted a study that found errors in about three-fourths of court filings related to home repossessions.
Attorneys general in at least six states are investigating borrowers’ claims that some of the nation’s largest home lenders and loan servicers are making misstatements in foreclosures. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is asking judges to postpone foreclosure rulings, while Ally Financial Inc. said Sept. 21 its GMAC Mortgage unit would halt evictions. The companies said employees may have completed affidavits without confirming their accuracy.
Such mistakes may allow former owners to challenge the repossession of homes long after the properties are resold, according to Kessler. Ownership questions may not arise until a home is under contract and the potential purchaser applies for title insurance or even decades later as one deed researcher catches errors overlooked by another. A so-called defective title means the person who paid for and moved into a house may not be the legal owner.
“It’s a nightmare scenario,” said John Vogel, a professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. “There are lots of land mines related to title issues that may come to light long after we think we’ve solved the housing problem.”
Almost one-fourth of U.S. home sales in the second quarter involved properties in some stage of mortgage distress, RealtyTrac Inc. said yesterday. In August, lenders took possession of record 95,364 homes and issued foreclosure filings to 338,836 homeowners, or one out of every 381 U.S. households, according to the Irvine, California-based data seller.
The biggest deficiency in foreclosure suits is missing or improperly handled documents, Kessler found in his study of court filings in Florida’s Sarasota County. When home loans are granted, borrowers sign a promissory note outlining payment obligations and a separate mortgage that puts an encumbrance on the property in the lender’s name. If mortgages are resold, both documents must be properly conveyed to prevent competing claims.
Most of the document errors involved mortgages that had been bundled into securities sold to investors, Kessler said. At the end of the U.S. real estate boom in 2005 and 2006, about 70 percent of the $6.1 trillion in mortgage lending was packaged into bonds, according to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association in New York.
OneWest Bank employee: ‘Not more than 30 seconds’ to sign each foreclosure document
The recent announcements by J.P. Morgan Chase and Ally Financial that they were freezing some foreclosures because of paperwork irregularities raises a key question: How many more mortgage companies employed “robo-signers?”
In a sworn deposition in July, Erica Johnson-Seck, an Austin, Tex.,-based vice president for bankruptcy and foreclosure for OneWest Bank, said she and her team of seven others sign 6,000 documents a week or about 24,000 a month without reading all of them.
Johnson-Seck estimated that she spent no more than 30 seconds to sign each document.
She explained that while she does not check everything, she does check some information, “which is why I said 30 seconds instead of two seconds.”
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – An outcry over questionable foreclosures by GMAC Mortgage and other lenders is likely to hit some states more than others because of major differences in real estate law across the nation.
But ramifications for federal taxpayers and investors will depend on the costs of clearing up the problem, the latest fallout from the bursting of the U.S. real estate bubble.
GMAC Mortgage announced last week that it had suspended evictions and post-foreclosure closings in 23 states due to concerns over paperwork. In order for a lender to foreclose on a property, it must prove that it actually checked the borrower’s loan agreements, and that the homeowner defaulted.
But the unit of Ally Financial, which is 56.3 percent owned by the U.S. government after a $17 billion bailout, said employees preparing foreclosures had submitted affidavits to judges containing information they did not personally verify.
“It’s a real mess,” said Justice Arthur Schack, a jurist on foreclosure issues who sits on the New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn.
GMAC’s announcement has raised doubts about whether some people lost their homes without good reason. Attorneys general in several states, including California, Colorado, Illinois and Ohio, are investigating.
“The law demands that lenders prove their case in foreclosure actions,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said last week.
But Ally characterizes the problem as merely technical, arguing that the underlying facts in each foreclosure are accurate.
“We are confident that the processing errors did not result in any inappropriate foreclosures,” it said in a statement last week.
GMAC landed in its predicament after one of its employees testified in a December 2009 deposition that he signed off on tens of thousands of affidavits containing information he did not verify.
The company said it has “substantially increased” the number of employees to verify documents, provided additional training, and suspended evictions out of an “abundance of caution.”
Ally isn’t the only firm under the microscope.
JPMorgan Chase & Co is delaying its current foreclosure proceedings and has begun to systematically re-examine related documents after discovering that some employees may have signed affidavits in some cases without personally reviewing the files.
Lawyers in Florida are questioning JPMorgan’s practices after discovering one of its executives did not check the details of its claims against a homeowner.
The executive said she had been part of an eight-person team that signs 18,000 documents a
SECRETARY BRUNNER OUTLINES TWO LINES OF ATTACK IN FIGHTING HIGH OHIO FORECLOSURE RATES
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, Ohio’s chief elections officer and the state officer responsible for licensing notary publics, today issued a directive to boards of elections that foreclosures cannot be used without further investigation to disqualify voters and revealed that she has referred specific instances of notary abuse occurring at Chase Home Mortgage in Columbus and by the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) to a federal prosecutor for investigation.
DIRECTIVE ON VOTERS FACING FORECLOSURES: Secretary Brunner, in Directive 2010-66, instructed Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections that they may not cancel an Ohioan’s voter registration based solely on the fact that the person is involved in the foreclosure process. The filing of a foreclosure action does not affect a voter’s right to vote until there is a final judgment entry, including the passage of at least 30 days from the date of the entry because of the right of appeal, and verification that the person no longer resides at the property. Ohio continues to experience high residential foreclosure rates.
Those who lose their homes because of foreclosure may wait until Election Day to update their address. Boards are instructed in the directive how to help voters displaced because of foreclosure, based on whether they move (1) within the same precinct, (2) within the same county but to a different precinct, or (3) to a different county in Ohio. Voters facing foreclosure may use their current location of residence as their residence for the purposes of voting.
REFERRAL OF CHASE HOME MORTGAGE AND MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC. TO FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Secretary Brunner, in two letters dated Aug. 11, 2010 and Sept. 1, 2010, referred matters of alleged notary abuse in thousands of home mortgage foreclosures by Chase Home Mortgage and the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. to U.S. District Attorney Steven Dettelbach in Cleveland. Citing two depositions, (one & two) of Chase employee Beth Cottrell, taken in Columbus in May of 2010, and a deposition of MERS Secretary and Treasurer, William Hultman taken in New Jersey in April of 2010. These depositions contain sworn testimony that at Chase Home Mortgage, 18,000 documents per month are executed and notarized per month by eight people, with admissions that:
it is the notary and not the document signer who gives an oath who fills in numbers in the affidavits used in court ordered foreclosures,
no oath is administered for the signing of each document,
notarized documents are not verified by the person signing and giving oath that they have personal knowledge of the contents of the documents, but rather, signers are relying on verification by others,
documents are signed in bulk and notarized in bulk separately,
notaries know this at the time they notarize documents in this process.
The MERS deposition of William Hultman demonstrates that after corporate status changes occurred for MERS, new designations of authority were not executed, leaving one or more individuals for the former MERS corporation continuing to delegate authority on behalf of the new corporation without authorization by the new corporation.
According to its website: “MERS was created by the mortgage banking industry to streamline the mortgage process by using electronic commerce to eliminate paper…MERS acts as nominee in the county land records for the lender and servicer. Any loan registered on the MERS® System is inoculated against future assignments because MERS remains the nominal mortgagee no matter how many times servicing is traded. MERS as original mortgagee (MOM) is approved by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, FHA and VA, California and Utah Housing Finance Agencies, as well as all of the major Wall Street rating agencies.”
MERS was created by the mortgage lending industry to:
eliminate frequent re-recording of liens,
avoid paying county recorder fees and other local taxes as mortgage loans are assigned as backing or securitization for derivatives trading by banks and other financial institutions,
monitor and facilitate the transfer of original mortgage notes in the trading of mortgage-backed securities,
foreclose on mortgage notes for unnamed note holders, even though it is not the real financial party in interest and does not hold the original note for the mortgage.
Currently, over half of all new residential mortgage loans in the U.S. are registered with MERS and recorded in county recording offices in MERS’ name, reducing transparency, leaving consumers unable to determine who actually holds the note on their homes.
Secretary Brunner made the following statement on the situation:
“Mortgage foreclosure documents must be notarized according to the law. Requiring this is not an afterthought or an exercise of form over substance—the law must be followed when taking away someone’s home, regardless of the circumstances.
For too long thousands of homes have been taken from consumers without proof that the foreclosing party actually has that right. Our courts must be cautious and require absolute adherence to the law. As the officer in Ohio who licenses notaries, I cannot stand idly by and watch financial institutions concoct a chain of title they never had by abusing the notary process.
It’s not fair to consumers or to the employees who by virtue of their jobs, are signing these documents. I urge the U.S. Department of Justice to take up this investigation with vigor and purpose to protect consumers and hold financial institutions to the standards of scrutiny and exactitude required by law, even if it means prosecuting some of our largest corporations. These apparent violations of state law point to schemes that merit federal investigation of large institution lending practices and use of the U.S. Postal Service.”
Last week, GMAC Mortgage announced it had suspended evictions and post-foreclosure closings in 23 states over concerns about employees preparing foreclosures with affidavits submitted to judges containing information they did not personally verify. Yesterday it was announced that JPMorgan Chase and Co hired external counsel to review its affidavit process based on the depositions of Beth Cottrell and is delaying approximately 56,000 current foreclosure proceedings.
Dear Judge XXXXX, I write you, and the other presiding and administrative judges of the Ohio Courts of Common Pleas, to draw your attention to an issue that may be of interest to you.
As you are aware, when a plaintiff in a foreclosure case moves for default or summary judgment, it will attach an affidavit from the lender or mortgage servicer attesting to the ownership and default status of loan. During the last week, questions have arisen about the validity of the foreclosure affidavits filed by a large servicer, GMAC Mortgage. GMAC (also operating as “Ally Financial”) issued a press release on September 20, 2010 announcing that it had directed certain of its vendors to suspend evictions and REO closings because of “a potential issue that was raised in a number of existing foreclosures challenging the internal procedure we used for executing one or more judicially required forms.”
A number of media outlets, including The Washington Post and The New York Times, reported on this statement. The news articles suggest that GMAC’s actions are related to a Florida deposition and a Maine deposition given by one of its employees, Jeffrey Stephan. Mr. Stephan signed thousands of foreclosure affidavits for GMAC, but in his depositions stated that he does not have knowledge of how the information in the affidavit is determined (Deposition of Jeffrey Stephan, June 7, 2010, p 30), does not know how the accuracy of the information is verified (Id.), does not review the exhibits attached to the affidavit (Id., p 54), does not read every paragraph of the affidavit (Id. p 61), and does not have the affidavit notarized in his presence (Id., p 56).
The depositions were not taken by my office, so I do not opine on their accuracy, but I wanted to draw your attention to this issue. At least one court has found that filing affidavits that falsely claim personal knowledge is a violation of the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act when filed in connection with consumer transactions. Midland Funding, LLC v. Brent, 644 F. Supp. 2d 961, 977 (N.D. Ohio, 2009).
More broadly, I urge you as administrators to share this letter with your colleagues and urge them to exercise caution when approving any foreclosure orders involving GMAC. Further, I encourage you to consider whether additional administrative procedures need to be established to protect homeowners who are facing the threat of foreclosure. Issues similar to those surrounding GMAC have arisen in Ohio. For example, my office filed an amicus brief in an appellate case where a foreclosure affidavit averred that it was executed in Florida but the jurat and notarization stated that it was executed in New Jersey. The 2nd District Court of Appeals ruled that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by striking the faulty affidavit. HSBC Bank USA v. Thompson, 2010-Ohio-4158.
Please feel free to contact me or my Consumer Protection Section Chief, Susan Choe, at 614.466.1305, if we can be of any assistance regarding this letter.
Ohio Attorney General
Sarah Lynn, Deputy Chief Counsel, Ohio Attorney General
Susan Choe, Consumer Protection Section Chief, Ohio Attorney General