Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds
45 Congress Street
Salem, Massachusetts 01970
JOHN L. O’BRIEN, JR.
Register of Deeds
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15th,, 2011
Contact: Kevin Harvey 1st Assistant Register
Southern Essex District Register of Deeds John O’Brien said today that someone has to take the bull by the horns and stand up for homeowners, who through no fault of their own, have had their chain of title clouded by the actions of the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (“MERS”) and its major shareholder banks, such as Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and others.
He is offering to provide homeowners in his district, who have a robo or surrogate signed document in their chain of title, an affidavit signed by him attesting to the fact that such a document exists in their title and that is recorded at his Registry. O’Brien estimates that there are over 36,000 homeowners in his district alone and suggests Southern Essex County Homeowner’s visit his website at, www.salemdeeds.com , where they can search to see if they have been a victim of this scheme, in what O’Brien calls “the largest scandal to affect the integrity of the land recordation system in this country since its inception.” O’Brien went on to say that “the affidavit will allow homeowners to reach out to their banks and ask them what they are going to do to repair their clouded chain of title and if the homeowner is being foreclosed upon, they can use this affidavit as proof that a document being used to take their home contains a fraudulent robo or surrogate signed document.”
O’Brien, who has been leading the national effort to hold banks accountable for their failure to pay recording fees and their deliberate attempt to record fraudulent documents in registries across the country, said he is hopeful that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will be filing suit shortly to recoup the lost revenue that he estimates to be $250 million dollars. “Since I have raised these issues, other states and counties have filed suits to recover their lost revenue and I feel that Massachusetts needs to pursue this, sooner rather then later.”
In addition, O’Brien said he cannot understand why his Registry funds are still being deposited into Bank of America, even though he requested that they be moved last April and placed in a non-MERS member bank. “Since that time, my Registry has deposited over $15 million dollars in a bank that has snubbed its nose at property rights.” O’Brien said that the Elected Registers of Deeds have always had the authority to choose the institution in which to deposit their Registry’s revenue. In fact, he has moved his Registry’s funds 6 times during his tenure as the elected Register of Deeds for the Southern Essex District. “I am curious why at this time my efforts are being blocked. My constituents are not pleased that Bank of America continues to profit off registry funds and they want to know why these funds have not been moved. They deserve an answer and so do I” O’Brien commented. For well over 200 years, Registers of Deeds have had a “fiduciary chain of title” when it comes to registry revenue. Registers are responsible for these funds from the original acceptance of the fee, the deposit of the monies, and the transfer of those funds to the Commonwealth. “In my opinion, as Registries across the state have become crime scenes infected with thousands of fraudulent documents and the MERS banks failure to pay the same fees as everyone else, I would hope that all funds in every Registry of Deeds in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts currently being deposited in Bank of America be removed immediately.” O’Brien feels strongly that “We need to send these banks a message that we intend to hold them accountable for their actions and that fraudulent documents are not acceptable in The Commonwealth of Massachusetts land recordation system.”
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