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Foreclosure-document mess growing, FBI now involved

Foreclosure-document mess growing, FBI now involved


New York courts will become the first in the United States to require lawyers handling foreclosures for banks and servicers to take steps to ensure the procedure is done properly, the state’s top judge said on Wednesday.

Agency looking into whether industry has broken criminal laws

msnbc.com news services

updated 1 hour 21 minutes ago 2010-10-20T15:38:09

WASHINGTON — The foreclosure-document crisis just keeps on growing, and now the FBI is getting into the fray.

A federal law enforcement official told the Associated Press that the agency is in the initial stages of trying to determine whether the financial industry may have broken criminal laws in the mortgage foreclosure crisis.

The official said the question is whether some in the industry were acting with criminal intent or were simply overwhelmed by events in the wake of the housing market’s collapse. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is just getting under way.

Big lenders are trying to move past the foreclosure-document crisis, saying they are now confident their paperwork is accurate. But they are facing so much organized resistance that they can’t just snap up their briefcases, declare the crisis over and move on.

Consider the opposition:

  • Attorneys general in all 50 states are jointly investigating whether lenders violated state laws.
  • Lawyers for evicted homeowners are preparing lawsuits against major lenders.
  • State judges have signaled they will review the banks’ foreclosure documents with skepticism.
  • Lawmakers on Capitol Hill plan to hold hearings.

The document crisis, in other words, appears far from over.

Continue reading…MSNBC

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