The National Association of Attorneys General today announced a 50-state joint investigation into foreclosure fraud, and Florida’s attorney general’s office landed on the task force’s executive committee. From the announcement:
It has recently come to light that a number of mortgage loan servicers have submitted affidavits or signed other documents in support of either a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure that appear to have procedural defects. In particular, it appears affidavits and other documents have been signed by persons who did not have personal knowledge of the facts asserted in the documents. In addition, it appears that many affidavits were signed outside of the presence of a notary public, contrary to state law. This process of signing documents without confirming their accuracy has come to be known as “robo-signing.” We believe such a process may constitute a deceptive act and/or an unfair practice or otherwise violate state laws.
In order to handle this issue in the most efficient and consistent manner possible, the states have formed a bi-partisan multistate group to address issues common to a large number of states. The group is comprised of both state Attorneys General and the state bank and mortgage regulators. … State bank and mortgage regulators are participating both individually and through their Multistate Mortgage Committee, which represents mortgage regulators from all 50 states. Through this process, the states will attempt to speak with one voice to the greatest extent possible. At the end of this statement is a list of the participating states.
Our multistate group has begun inquiring whether or not individual mortgage servicers have improperly submitted affidavits or other documents in support of foreclosures in our states. The facts uncovered in our review will dictate the scope of our inquiry. The Executive Committee is comprised of the following Attorneys General Offices: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Washington; and the following state banking regulators: Maryland Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation, New York State Banking Department, and the Pennsylvania Department of Banking.
We reported yesterday that Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum joined the working group, and also noted that McCollum sent a letter to five lenders accused of filing faulty affidavits in Florida foreclosure cases in order to set up a meeting to “discuss ways to promptly and effectively redeem the integrity of the foreclosure process.”
The crisis stems from improper foreclosure documentation. In 23 states, mortgage servicers, working on behalf of banks, need to file affidavits testifying to personal knowledge of a homeowner’s financial situation with a court to continue with a foreclosure. Cases have shown those affidavits to be false, and other documentation has proven faulty in the states that do not require court supervision for foreclosure.