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COMPLAINT | CURTIS HERTEL, NANCY HUTCHINS, REG. OF DEEDS vs. MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION  SYSTEMS, INC., MERSCORP, INC.

COMPLAINT | CURTIS HERTEL, NANCY HUTCHINS, REG. OF DEEDS vs. MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC., MERSCORP, INC.


STATE OF MICHIGAN
30THCIRCUIT COURT FOR THE COUNTY OF INGHAM

CURTIS HERTEL, the Register of Deeds and

Representative of INGHAM COUNTY; and

NANCY HUTCHINS, the Register of Deeds

and Representative of BRANCH COUNTY,

both as Class Representatives of all 83

counties in the State of Michigan.

 Plaintiffs,

V                                                                                     

MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION

SYSTEMS, INC., MERSCORP,INC., JEANNE

KIVI, ELLEN COON, MARSHALL ISAACS,

BANK OF AMERICA N.A., JP MORGAN CHASE & CO,

CHASE HOME MORTGAGE CORPORATION f/k/a

CHASE HOME FINANCE, WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A.,

CITIMORTGAGE INC., eTITLE AGENCY INC,

1ST CHOICE TITLE SERVICES INC, ATTORNEYS

TITLE AGENCY LLC, f/k/a WARRANTY TITLE

AGENCY LLC, and FEDERAL NATIONAL

MORTGAGE ASSOCIATION, and

JOHN DOE as Any Other authorized signers for MERS

or MERSCORP,INC. and Defendants JOHN DOE

Corporations I – MMM,

 Defendants.

 

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Michigan, Ingham & Branch Counties file class action lawsuit against MERS

Michigan, Ingham & Branch Counties file class action lawsuit against MERS


For immediate release:  November 15th, 2011

CONTACT:  Curtis Hertel Jr., Ingham County Register of Deeds, Ph:  517-281-3574

Ingham & Branch Counties file class action lawsuit against MERS

Ingham County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel Jr. & Branch County Register of Deeds Nancy Hutchins have filed a new lawsuit in the 30th Circuit Court, against Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems.  The lawsuit alleges that MERS has avoided paying state and county transfer taxes that would have been due on multiple property deeds filed within the last decade.  The transfers usually took place shortly following sheriff’s sales on foreclosed homes.

                “This is another case we’ve found, where the state’s residents have been shortchanged by questionable bank practices”, said Hertel.  “This is money that is intended for public education funds on the state level, and money that the county could have used for local programs like health and police.  The law requires that transfer tax is paid on the value of a property, whenever that property is transferred on a document such as a deed.  The big banks have found multiple ways of dodging those taxes.”

                The lawsuit was filed as a class-action, which means that other counties around Michigan are free to join the suit.  Ingham County and Branch County are the two current plaintiffs.  Hertel is hoping that other Registers from Michigan’s 83 counties will join the action.

                “It’s time for this nonsense to stop”, said the Branch County Register Nancy Hutchins.  “These organizations need to step up to the plate, pay the transfer tax that is due and stop claiming exemptions that by law they are not entitled to.”

                “MERS has transformed the entire mortgage industry into a giant shell game”, said Hertel.  “The current servicer of a mortgage is no longer a matter of public record, and once a property is foreclosed, the real games begin, as deeds and other paperwork are filed in such a way as to avoid transfer taxes at every step.   Property ownership is clouded, and the simple task of collecting transfer tax has been turned into this legal battle, largely because of the involvement of MERS.”

                The lawsuit also lists many of the country’s largest banks, as well as individual officers of MERS, as defendants in the case.  Because MERS has represented and acted in the stead of dozens of different banks in property transactions, Hertel & Hutchins are hoping that the court action will bring clarity to the issue of these delinquent taxes.

                Ingham County residents can ask questions about the lawsuit at a pair of town-hall meetings being held this week.  As part of a series of meetings that Hertel has been convening in various communities across the county this year, there are meetings this week on Tuesday in Okemos, and Thursday in Lansing.  The meeting on Tuesday will take place at Okemos High School, in the 2nd floor library, at 5:30pm, and the meeting on Thursday will take place at the Lansing Church of God in Christ, at 5304 Wise Road, also at 5:30pm.  Citizens can get questions answered about how the foreclosure crisis has affected Ingham County, and also get legal help if they are facing such a problem with their own home.

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Defense denies standing in Foreclosure Fraud case

Defense denies standing in Foreclosure Fraud case


Think about this when you read this article:

1. Did the borrower have a choice or was he/she coerced into accepting MERS, who they really had no idea of what or who it was?

2. Was it ever disclosed that many of the lenders are shareholders of MERS, also who may own the first or second position… this includes Fannie Mae who is a shareholder?

3. Since Fannie (GSE) is owned by “taxpayers” why is she acting 100% private – 100% of the time?

4. One may have been coerced into having MERS in their documents but one would never accept forgery or robo-signing because everyone knows this would be fraud and therefore void the transaction…like a check.

5. Exactly why did Fannie fire FL law firms and exactly how long did Fannie know of robo-signing?

Michigan Messenger-

With mounting evidence of robo-signing and other alleged fraud perpetrated by banks, foreclosure law firms and others, Fannie Mae and Flagstar Bank have filed a new defense of such actions in Ingham County Circuit Court — and Ingham County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel, Jr. is crying foul.

“What they are basically saying is they can forge an assignment and there is nothing the citizen or court can do about it. It is a brazen attempt to legalize robosigning,” says Hertel. “It’s just another example of Fannie Mae thumbing its nose at the American people, and unfortunately while they are under federal bailout we are paying for it.”

This is happening in the case of a Haslett man who suffered a stroke and fell behind on his mortgage payments. As a result, Flagstar Bank and Fannie Mae foreclosed on him and are now in the final stages of evicting him from his Haslett home, says Hertel.

[MICHIGAN MESSENGER]

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Hertel refers an Orlans top attorney Marshall Isaacs for criminal investigation

Hertel refers an Orlans top attorney Marshall Isaacs for criminal investigation


Michigan Messenger-

Ingham County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel Jr. has referred a top attorney from Orlans Associates, one of Michigan’s largest mortgage foreclosure law firms, to law enforcement for a criminal investigation of allegations of robo-signing.

Hertel tells Michigan Messenger that he referred Marshall Isaacs and examples of his signatures filed at the Ingham County Register of Deeds to law enforcement because he believes Isaacs did not sign all the legal documents. Hertel declined to identify the law enforcement agencies involved, but did note that there were at least two interested in the Isaacs case.

Continue reading [MICHIGAN MESSENGER]

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Lawmakers call for hearings on robo-signing

Lawmakers call for hearings on robo-signing


By MICHELLE CONLIN, AP Business Writers –

NEW YORK (AP) — Lawmakers and enforcement agencies called for hearings and further investigation Tuesday after learning that the illegal practice known as robo-signing has continued in the mortgage industry.

The Associated Press reported on Monday that county officials in at least three states — Massachusetts, North Carolina and Michigan — say they have received thousands of mortgage documents with questionable signatures since last fall. That’s when forged signatures and false affidavits — also called robo-signing — led to a temporary halt to foreclosures. Banks and mortgage processers promised to stop the practice. But the findings of the county officials indicate that robo-signing is still a widespread problem.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio., chair of the Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection Subcommittee, said the subcommittee will hold a hearing on the robo-signing issue.

“Wall Street and some in Washington want us to believe that robo-signing is a thing of the past,” said Brown. “But the same risky practices that put our economy on the brink of collapse continue to infect the housing market.”

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., a senior member of the House Committee on Financial Services said the lenders who continue the practice “need to be investigated and prosecuted.” She told The Associated Press that she believed regulators should step in and that the absence of stronger regulation is “the reason why the system broke down in the first place.” She said the county officials’ findings show lenders will not stop practices like robo-signing on their own.

“(The lenders) have complete disregard for the damage they have already caused and have no intention of changing their ways,” said Waters, who also called for more hearings on the issue.

County officials who are responsible for keeping land records, including property deeds, say that they have received thousands of robo-signed documents filed in their offices since October.

In Essex County, Mass., the office that handles property deeds has received almost 1,300 documents since October with the signature of “Linda Green,” but in 22 different handwriting styles and with many different titles.

In Guilford County, N.C., the office that records deeds says it received 456 documents with suspect signatures from Oct. 1, 2010, through June 30. And in Michigan, a fraud investigator who works on behalf of homeowners says he has uncovered documents filed this year bearing the purported signature of Marshall Isaacs, an attorney with foreclosure law firm Orlans Associates.

Early Tuesday, an official from the office of Minnesota attorney general, Lori Swanson, contacted the Essex County’s John O’Brien to get more information for its own investigation into robo-signing. The Massachusetts attorney general’s office also confirmed that it is meeting with several of the state’s 21 registers of deeds to assess the extent of robo-signing in the state.

Also on Tuesday, nine recorders of deeds in Illinois held a press conference to say they will assist the state’s attorney general Lisa Madigan who is investigating robo-signing in her state.

Rep. Waters, meanwhile, says the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, or the OCC, is the main federal regulator for banks. As such, it’s the OCC’s responsibility to investigate the banks.

The OCC has been criticized by lawmakers and consumer advocates for going easy on banks in the past. The same criticism has resurfaced since the robo-signing scandal broke in September. Last fall, The Associated Press found that robo-signed documents led to banks wrongfully foreclosing on people who had paid their mortgages in full. When asked about the issue, an OCC spokesman flatly denied that any such thing had ever occurred.

The OCC partnered with other federal regulators and conducted a review of bank procedures including robo-signing in December. In April, the 14 largest national banks entered into a consent decree with the OCC in which they vowed to submit action plans as to how they would address such systemic issues as robo-signing.

Last week, the banks delivered those action plans to the OCC, which is now reviewing them, a spokesman said.

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AP Exclusive: Mortgage ‘robo-signing’ goes on

AP Exclusive: Mortgage ‘robo-signing’ goes on


By MICHELLE CONLIN, AP Business Writers –

Mortgage industry employees are still signing documents they haven’t read and using fake signatures more than eight months after big banks and mortgage companies promised to stop the illegal practices that led to a nationwide halt of home foreclosures.

County officials in at least three states say they have received thousands of mortgage documents with questionable signatures since last fall, suggesting that the practices, known collectively as “robo-signing,” remain widespread in the industry.

The documents have come from several companies that process mortgage paperwork, and have been filed on behalf of several major banks. One name, “Linda Green,” was signed almost two dozen different ways.

Lenders say they are working with regulators to fix the problem but cannot explain why it has persisted.

Last fall, the nation’s largest banks and mortgage lenders, including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and an arm of Goldman Sachs, suspended foreclosures while they investigated how corners were cut to keep pace with the crush of foreclosure paperwork.

Critics say the new findings point to a systemic problem with the paperwork involved in home mortgages and titles. And they say it shows that banks and mortgage processors haven’t acted aggressively enough to put an end to widespread document fraud in the mortgage industry.

“Robo-signing is not even close to over,” says Curtis Hertel, the recorder of deeds in Ingham County, Mich., which includes Lansing. “It’s still an epidemic.”

In Essex County, Mass., the office that handles property deeds has received almost 1,300 documents since October with the signature of “Linda Green,” but in 22 different handwriting styles and with many different titles.

Linda Green worked for a company called DocX that processed mortgage paperwork and was shut down in the spring of 2010. County officials say they believe Green hasn’t worked in the industry since. Why her signature remains in use is not clear.

“My office is a crime scene,” says John O’Brien, the registrar of deeds in Essex County, which is north of Boston and includes the city of Salem.

In Guilford County, N.C., the office that records deeds says it received 456 documents with suspect signatures from Oct. 1, 2010, through June 30. The documents, mortgage assignments and certificates of satisfaction, transfer loans from one bank to another or certify a loan has been paid off.

Suspect signatures on the paperwork include 290 signed by Bryan Bly and 155 by Crystal Moore. In the mortgage investigations last fall, both admitted signing their names to mortgage documents without having read them. Neither was charged with a crime.

And in Michigan, a fraud investigator who works on behalf of homeowners says he has uncovered documents filed this year bearing the purported signature of Marshall Isaacs, an attorney with foreclosure law firm Orlans Associates. Isaacs’ name did not come up in last year’s investigations, but county officials across Michigan believe his name is being robo-signed.

O’Brien caused a stir in June at a national convention of county clerks by presenting his findings and encouraging his counterparts to investigate continued robo-signing.

The nation’s foreclosure machine almost came to a standstill when the nation’s largest banks suspended foreclosures last fall. Part of the problem, banks contended, was that foreclosures became so rampant in 2009 and 2010 that they were overwhelmed with paperwork.

The banks reviewed thousands of foreclosure filings, and where they found problems, they submitted new paperwork to courts handling the cases, with signatures they said were valid. The banks slowly started to resume foreclosures this winter and spring.

The 14 biggest U.S. banks reached a settlement with federal regulators in April in which they promised to clean up their mistakes and pay restitution to homeowners who had been wrongly foreclosed upon. The full amount of the settlement has not been determined. But it will not involve independent mortgage processing firms, the companies that some banks use to handle and file paperwork for mortgages.

So far, no individuals, lenders or paperwork processors have been charged with a crime over the robo-signed signatures found on documents last year. Critics such as April Charney, a Florida homeowner and defense lawyer, called the settlement a farce because no real punishment was meted out, making it easy for lenders and mortgage processors to continue the practice of robo-signing.

Robo-signing refers to a variety of practices. It can mean a qualified executive in the mortgage industry signs a mortgage affidavit document without verifying the information. It can mean someone forges an executive’s signature, or a lower-level employee signs his or her own name with a fake title. It can mean failing to comply with notary procedures. In all of these cases, robo-signing involves people signing documents and swearing to their accuracy without verifying any of the information.

Most of the tainted mortgage documents in question last fall were related to homes in foreclosure. But much of the suspect paperwork that has been filed since then is for refinancing or for new purchases by people who are in good standing in the eyes of the bank. In addition, foreclosures are down 30 percent this year from last. Home sales have also fallen. So the new suspect documents come at a time when much less paperwork is streaming through the nation’s mortgage machinery.

None of the almost 1,300 suspect Linda Green-signed documents from O’Brien’s office, for example, involve foreclosures. And Jeff Thigpen, the register of deeds in North Carolina’s Guilford County, says fewer than 40 of the 456 suspect documents filed to his office since October involved foreclosures.

Banks and their partner firms file mortgage documents with county deeds offices to prove that there are no liens on a property, that the bank owns a mortgage or that a bank filing for foreclosure has the authority to do so.

The signature of a qualified bank or mortgage official on these legal documents is supposed to guarantee that this information is accurate. The paper trail ensures a legal chain of title on a property and has been the backbone of U.S. property ownership for more than 300 years.

The county officials say the problem could be even worse than what they’re reporting. That’s because they are working off lists of known robo-signed names, such as Linda Green and Crystal Moore, that were identified during the investigation that began last fall. Officials suspect that other names on documents they have received since then are also robo-signed.

It is a federal crime to sign someone else’s name to a legal document. It is also illegal to sign your name to an affidavit if you have not verified the information you’re swearing to. Both are punishable by prison.

In Michigan, the attorney general took the rare step in June of filing criminal subpoenas to out-of-state mortgage processing companies after 23 county registers of deeds filed a criminal complaint with his office over robo-signed documents they say they have received. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office has said it is conducting a banking probe that could lead to criminal charges against financial executives. The attorneys general of Delaware, California and Illinois are conducting their own probes.

The legal issues are grave, deeds officials across the country say. At worst, legal experts say, the document debacle has opened the property system to legal liability well beyond the nation’s foreclosure crisis. So someone buying a home and trying to obtain title insurance might be delayed or denied if robo-signed documents turn up in the property’s history. That’s because forged signatures call into question who owns mortgages and the properties they are attached to.

“The banks have completely screwed up property records,” says L. Randall Wray, an economics professor and senior scholar at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

In the Massachusetts case, The Associated Press tried to reach Linda Green, whose name was purportedly signed 1,300 times since October. The AP, using a phone number provided by lawyers who have been investigating the documents since last year, reached a person who said she was Linda Green, but not the Linda Green involved in the mortgage investigation.

In the Michigan case, a lawyer for the Orlans Associates law firm, where Isaacs works, denies that Isaacs or the firm has done anything wrong. “People have signatures that change,” says Terry Cramer, general counsel for the firm. “We do not engage in ‘robo-signing’ at Orlans.”

To combat the stream of suspect filings, O’Brien and Jeff Thigpen, the register of deeds in North Carolina’s Guilford County, stopped accepting questionable paperwork June 7. They say they had no choice after complaining to federal and state authorities for months without getting anywhere.

Since then, O’Brien has received nine documents from Bank of America purportedly signed by Linda Burton, another name on authorities’ list of known robo-signers. For years, his office has regularly received documents signed with Burton’s name but written in such vastly different handwriting that two forensic investigators say it’s highly unlikely it all came from the same person.

O’Brien returned the nine Burton documents to Bank of America in mid-June. He told the bank he would not file them unless the bank signed an affidavit certifying the signature and accepting responsibility if the title was called into question down the road. Instead, Bank of America sent new documents with new signatures and new notaries.

A Bank of America spokesman says Burton is an assistant vice president with a subsidiary, ReconTrust. That company handles mortgage paperwork processing for Bank of America.

“She signed the documents on behalf of the bank,” spokesman Richard Simon says. The bank says providing the affidavit O’Brien asked for would have been costly and time-consuming. Instead, Simon says Bank of America sent a new set of documents “signed by an authorized associate who Mr. O’Brien wasn’t challenging.”

The bank didn’t respond to questions about why Burton’s name has been signed in different ways or why her signature appeared on documents that investigators in at least two states have deemed invalid.

Several attempts by the AP to reach Burton at ReconTrust were unsuccessful.

O’Brien says the bank’s actions show “consciousness of guilt.” Earlier this year, he hired Marie McDonnell, a mortgage fraud investigator and forensic document analyst, to verify his suspicions about Burton’s and other names on suspect paperwork.

She compared valid copies of Burton’s signature with the documents O’Brien had received in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and found that Burton’s name was fraudulently signed on hundreds of documents.

Most of the documents reviewed by McDonnell were mortgage discharges, which are issued when a home changes hands or is refinanced by a new lender and are supposed to confirm that the previous mortgage has been paid off. Bank of America declined comment on McDonnell’s findings.

In Michigan, recorder of deeds Hertel and his counterparts in 23 other counties found numerous suspect signatures on documents filed since the beginning of the year.

In June, their findings led the Michigan attorney general to issue criminal subpoenas to several firms that process mortgages for banks, including Lender Processing Services, the parent company of DocX, where Linda Green worked. On July 6, the CEO of that company, which is also under investigation by the Florida Attorney General’s office, resigned, citing health reasons.

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INGHAM COUNTY COMPLAINT | HERTEL v. BANK OF AMERICA “Inappropriately Claim ‘R.E. Transfer Taxes’ Exemptions”

INGHAM COUNTY COMPLAINT | HERTEL v. BANK OF AMERICA “Inappropriately Claim ‘R.E. Transfer Taxes’ Exemptions”


STATE OF MICHIGAN
30th CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE COUNTY OF INGHAM

CURTIS HERTEL, JR. individually and as
Register of Feeds for Ingham County,

V

BANK OF AMERICA N.A.;
BAC HOME LOANS SERVICING, LP;
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A.;
COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS SERVICING, LP;
ORLAN ASSOCIATES, PC;
TROTT & TROTT, PC;
FEDERAL NATIONAL MORTGAGE ASSOCIATION
d/b/a FANNIE MAE;
FEDERAL HOME LOAN MORTGAGE CORPORATION
d/b/a FREDDIE MAC

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Ingham County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel, Jr. Files Lawsuit Against Mortgage Lenders For Unpaid Taxes

Ingham County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel, Jr. Files Lawsuit Against Mortgage Lenders For Unpaid Taxes


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONTACT: Curtis Hertel Jr. Ingham County Register of Deeds Ph 517 281 3574

Ingham County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel, Jr. Files Lawsuit Against Mortgage Lenders For Unpaid Taxes

Ingham County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel Jr. has filed a lawsuit today in the 30th Circuit Court, to recover millions in alleged unpaid transfer taxes from mortgage servicers and their attorneys.

“This is money that should have been applied to the county’s general funds, which could have been used for public safety, health programs, or countless other public services,” said Hertel. “Additionally, the state taxes collected would have gone straight to the school aid fund. It’s time for some of the banks responsible for the foreclosure mess to pay their fair share, instead of allowing our county’s taxpayers to bear all of the burden.”

Transfer taxes are the monies paid when a new deed is recorded in the county’s Register of Deeds office. The taxes apply to the sale price of the property being transferred, unless it falls under $100. Many large-scale banks have used Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to claim an exemption to the taxes by identifying themselves as government entities, which Hertel contests.

”Depending on the amount of the judgment, this could provide a needed boost to our county’s constrained budget,” said Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing. “The foreclosure crisis has drained county tax dollars in many ways – not merely in uncollected property taxes, but also because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were claiming these federal exemptions while re-selling foreclosed homes.”

The official transfer tax rate for counties in Michigan is $1.10 for every $1,000 of value being transferred. So the sale of a $100,000 home would typically carry a $110.00 tax. State taxes on the same transactions stretch even further – $7.50 for every $1,000 of value being transferred. It is estimated that the lawsuit could fetch a judgment in the millions of dollars.

“MFI-Miami, an internationally recognized mortgage fraud investigation firm based in Florida, has been instrumental in assisting in our investigation of this,” said Hertel. William Maxwell, Dan Marsh and Brian Parker from the Home Defense League, PLC, working in conjunction with MFI-Miami discovered a pattern of unpaid transfer taxes on foreclosure sales across Michigan. “The fact is banks and mortgage servicers, in concert with their foreclosure firms, failed to pay state and county transfer taxes,” said Steve Dibert of MFI-Miami, who has been part of the document examination.

Hertel is also working with other members of the Michigan Association of Registers of Deeds. “We are cooperating with other municipalities to join us in this fight, because this not just an Ingham County problem, it a problem that affects all 83 counties in the state.”

“Currently, the Michigan Association of Registers of Deeds, Inc. is compiling data from documents representing taxable transfers from these and other entities to determine the potential amount owed Michigan counties,” said president Bambi Somerlott. “Accordingly, each county will, in its discretion, use the information and proceed as they deem appropriate.”

Hertel has received the support of the Ingham County Board of Commissioners, and will announce the lawsuit at a press conference at 1:00 pm today. He has chosen the site of 1117 S Grand Avenue, a home that was recently subject to tax foreclosure, to make the announcement. “The banks should bear their share of responsibility for our current housing climate, and their role in what has happened is becoming more clear as time passes,” said Hertel. “We will do everything we can to pursue financial justice.”

source: Ingham.org

Hertel v. Bank of America N.A., 11-687-CZ

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Michigan Attorney General Subpoenas Three Mortgage Processors in Probe (LPS, FNF, CT CORP. SYSTEMS)

Michigan Attorney General Subpoenas Three Mortgage Processors in Probe (LPS, FNF, CT CORP. SYSTEMS)


BLOOMBERG:

The Michigan attorney general’s office subpoenaed three mortgage processors including Lender Processing Services as part of a state probe of robo-signing.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said his office serviced Lender Processing, Fidelity National Financial Inc. (FNF) and CT Corporation System with investigative subpoenas as affiliates of DocX, a mortgage service support provider. The attorney general said he is seeking information about documents signed by DocX employees as “Linda Green.”

The subpoenas are part of a criminal investigation into questionable mortgage documentation filed with Michigan’s Register of Deeds offices, Schuette’s said in a statement today. The subpoenas were approved by the state court in Lansing June 13 and require responses by June 30, Schuette said.

Continue reading [BLOOMBERG]

PRESS RELEASE:

Schuette Issues Subpoenas in Criminal Probe of Mortgage Processors

Contact:  John Sellek or Joy Yearout 517-373-8060
Agency: Attorney General

LANSING- Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced that he has issued criminal investigative subpoenas against national mortgage servicing support providers in an expansion of his office’s investigation into questionable mortgage documentation filed with Michigan’s Register of Deeds offices during the current foreclosure crisis.

“Allegations of forged mortgage documents are very serious and require a thorough investigation,” said Schuette.  “I will continue to work closely with federal and local authorities to find answers on behalf of Michigan homeowners.”

The Attorney General is empowered to pursue criminal investigative subpoenas under the Code of Criminal Procedure (MCL 767A.2(2)).  Schuette’s office has filed criminal investigative subpoenas against DocX, which provides mortgage support services, including creating, processing or recording mortgage assignments or other mortgage documentation.  In addition to DocX, the following companies affiliated with DocX were served with investigative subpoenas by Schuette’s office:

·         Lender Processing Services, Inc.;

·         Fidelity National Financial, Inc.; and

·         CT Corporation System.

Schuette’s office has requested documents regarding the mortgage processing companies’ operations in relation to foreclosure and/or bankruptcy-related document processing.  The subpoenas were approved by the 54B District Court in Ingham County on Monday, June 13, 2011, and the information must be provided to the Attorney General’s Office on or before June 30, 2011.

In April 2011, Schuette launched an investigation after county officials across the state reported that they suspected Assignment of Mortgage documents filed in their offices may have been forged.  A recent “60 Minutes” news broadcast had shown that the name “Linda Green” was signed to thousands of mortgage-related documents nationwide, but with many different variations in handwriting.  County officials in Michigan reviewed their files and found similar documents, thus raising questions about the authenticity of the documents filed.

Schuette is investigating whether certain mortgage processing companies permitted such robosigning of legal documents filed in connection with Michigan foreclosures.  Apart from the question of whether falsified signatures were used, robosigning may also involve individuals signing affidavits to signify that mortgage documentation was properly prepared without ever conducting a proper review of the documents.  Although Michigan is a non-judicial foreclosure state, Schuette is reviewing whether robosigned documents may have been filed with courts in limited cases.

Schuette urges any current or former employees of mortgage servicers or processing companies with knowledge of unlawful practices related to mortgage servicing or the execution of documents in Michigan to call the Attorney General’s Corporate Oversight Division at (517) 373-1160 (517) 373-1160 .

Schuette is also continuing to work with fellow attorneys general in a national workgroup examining mortgage lending practices, including the robosigning issue and consumer protection concerns affecting homeowners nationwide.

Schuette reminds Michigan homeowners that citizens do not need to pay to speak with their lender or servicer or to obtain outside assistance with foreclosure issues.  Free local assistance with foreclosure issues can be found by calling the Michigan State Housing Development Authority at (866) 946-7432 (866) 946-7432.

-30

source: http://www.michigan.gov

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Michigan county approves funding to help homeowners fight MERS, DocX cases

Michigan county approves funding to help homeowners fight MERS, DocX cases


Housing Wire-

The Ingham County Board of Commissioners in Michigan approved up to $60,000 in Legal Aid funding to represent borrowers affected by allegedly improper foreclosures and possible documentation fraud.

The county’s Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel Jr. uncovered potential fraudulent documents in his office calling into question hundreds of foreclosures. Hertel told HousingWire Wednesday he found 400 cases with possible fraudulent documentation involving Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems and another 100 involving DocX, a division of Lender Processing Services (LPS: 24.44 -1.89%).


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MI Clerks Bullard, Hertel testify before House committee about fraudulent mortgage documents

MI Clerks Bullard, Hertel testify before House committee about fraudulent mortgage documents


LegalNews-

If someone does not pay their mortgage they will lose their home. But banks have to play by the rules, too.” Hertel further stated,


“We are looking at a massive fraud committed against the people of the state of Michigan.”


© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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Foreclosure Fraud Operation Uncovered At Detroit Law Firm With Ties To MI GOP

Foreclosure Fraud Operation Uncovered At Detroit Law Firm With Ties To MI GOP


MFI-MIAMI-

Several months ago, the major banks sounded the all clear signal regarding robo-signing in non-judicial foreclosure states, namely Michigan and Massachusetts.  It appears those claims of non-exist robo-signing were either greatly exaggerated or were overly optimistic.

MFI-Miami has uncovered evidence of forged documents drafted and signed by attorneys and employees at Orlans Associates at their corporate offices in Troy, Michigan.   These  fraudulent documents will impact tens of thousands of foreclosures done by Ally Financial, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan-Chase, Fannie Mae and others in Michigan and Massachusetts over the past five years and makes the investigation being done by Ingham County Register of Deeds, Curtis Hertel, Jr. and Oakland County Clerk Bill Bullard into the robo-signing of Linda Green at the now defunct DocX look like a kindergarten production of the movie, The Firm.


© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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FBI Investigating Alleged Forged “DOCX” Signature In Michigan

FBI Investigating Alleged Forged “DOCX” Signature In Michigan


MICHIGAN MESSENGER-

Curtis Hertel Jr., Register of Deeds for Ingham County, says that a discovery he made involving alleged fraudulent mortgage documents is now being investigated by both the Ingham County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI.

“Yes, this is, in my opinion, fraud,” Hertel said. “This is a situation where people were forging someone else’s name to a legal document to take another person’s property. That is fraud.”


© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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MI Ingham County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel Investigating Linda Green DOCX Forged Documents

MI Ingham County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel Investigating Linda Green DOCX Forged Documents


Curtis Hertel: “If you look at the signatures, it’s amazing that they thought they could get away with this.”

© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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