Attorneys: Forged Signatures, Sloppy Paperwork on Many Foreclosure Documents

(links added by 4closureFraud)

When Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum announced a probe into one of the state’s largest foreclosure law firms for allegedly fabricating legal papers used to speed up foreclosures, Hobe Sound attorney Trent Steele dubbed it “a good beginning.”

That’s because for a couple of years, he and other foreclosure attorneys have been questioning suspicious looking documents lenders have presented to judges statewide to expedite the thousands of foreclosure cases grinding their way through the courts.

“It’s far more than forging signatures,” Steele said about what he and other lawyers have witnessed first-hand. “I have never seen this kind of institutionalized fraudulent behavior going on.

“You hear about individuals, small businesses, where this kind of shenanigans occur,” he added, “but to see it on this broad of a scale, where it negatively impacts homeowners and the public — and seeing them lose their homes — it’s just something I’ve not experienced before.”

McCollum’s office on April 28 announced the Tampa-based Florida Default Law Group “appears to be fabricating and/or presenting false and misleading documents” in foreclosure cases.

“These documents have been presented in court before judges as actual assignments of mortgages and have later been shown to be legally inadequate and/or insufficient,” officials stated on the Attorney General’s website.

The investigation into Florida Default is civil and not criminal in nature, Attorney General’s Office officials confirmed, and is being conducted by its Fort Lauderdale economic crimes division.

Attorney General’s Office spokeswoman Ryan Wiggins said consumer complaints alerted them to the troubling claims against Florida Default.

“Our office is still looking for additional potential victims,” Wiggins said. “The investigation is ongoing and if it is discovered that Florida Default Law Group is in violation of Florida Statute, we will release more information.”

Florida Default officials in Tampa didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment.

Attorney General’s Office officials confirmed another probe launched in April into Docx LLC, (doa) a subsidiary of Lender Processing Service Inc., of Jacksonville, and a leading provider of documents to banks foreclosing on properties.

Lender Processing Service officials also didn’t respond to requests to comment for this story.

The Wall Street Journal last month reported that Docx is under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors in Florida, which Lender Processing Service first disclosed in an annual report.

The probe, according to the Wall Street Journal, involves Docx documents that incorrectly claimed an entity called “Bogus Assignee” was the owner of the loan. A Lender Processing Service spokeswoman noted the “bogus” phrase was used as a placeholder, but some documents had been “inadvertently recorded before the field was updated.”

Steele said attorneys have long suspected Docx was providing phoney documents to lenders foreclosing on mortgages that banks nationwide had been bundling together — usually thousands at a time — to be sold, often several times over before landing in foreclosure court.

One of Steele’s clients, Lori Silverthorn, 34, of Lakewood Park, was sued for foreclosure two years ago on the $126,000 childhood home she bought from her family in 2004 with hopes of raising her 4-year-old daughter there.

“My grandma bought it 36 years ago,” Silverthorn said. “I moved there when I was 6 years old.”

But after she and her fiance lost their construction jobs, she tried to refinance the mortgage and later turned to the lender who owned her loan.

“They said they’d reinstate my mortgage if I had $5,000 down and I had to come up with it in two weeks,” she said. “But I didn’t have $5,000.”

After she hired Steele, he discovered papers being used to foreclose on Silverthorn’s home were missing information, such as the name of the purchasing entity.

Later, when Deutsche Bank National Trust Company bought the mortgage, Steele said a new assignment of mortgage was filed, this one created by Docx.

“The minute I saw it was owned by a securitized trust I knew there was trouble,” he said. “These mortgages were sold thousands at a time … and the paperwork was very sloppy.”

Steele said Silverthorn’s case is still before a judge, who has been asked by her lender to grant final summary judgment to take possession of her home.

Some assignments of mortgage Steele has in other cases show the same names signing as executives for up to 30 different banks, which he said attorneys have repeatedly tracked to Docx.

“That was one of the commonalities that we started noticing,” he said.

Stuart attorney John Chapman, who has about 300 foreclosure cases, said he’s seen dummied-up documents used in court, including against a client he thinks is being defrauded.

“It doesn’t take a signature expert to tell you there are … three or four different signatures for the same person on various assignments of mortgages,” he said. “There’s definitely a problem.”

The practice, he said, hurts the entire judicial system.

“There are certain things you need to prove to win a foreclosure case,” he said. “You’re not entitled to go create documents to overcome problems created because they were doing a shoddy job of record keeping.”

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6 Responses to “Attorneys: Forged Signatures, Sloppy Paperwork on Many Foreclosure Documents”
  1. AMM says:

    Okay, I used to work for a lender that was going through an investigation and the first thing I would advise is get a lawyer. If you feel like you are a victim of this fraudulent stuff, take it to a lawyer and have it investigated. Just a piece of advice on how to keep your property though. If you really want to make them mad, make a payment of $100 every week or month and that will restart the foreclosure process in most states. Not many people know this but I learned some tricks from working with these people.

  2. Willow says:

    Wow! What an ad, Robert. I bet they’ve got software that’ll clean up the titles. It’s call PHOTO SHOP! What a bunch of assholes.

  3. Robert Chaney says:

    One company advertises that it will “clean up’’ the chain of title:

    Orion Financial Group Inc.
    2860 Exchange Blvd., Ste. 100,
    Southlake, TX 76092
    B (817) 424-1175
    A (817) 424-1172
    F Mike Wileman, president and CEO
    Regions: National
    Trying to “clean up’’ the chain of title
    on a portfolio you purchased? Have
    you ever tried to foreclose on a loan,
    only to find out an assignment wasn’t
    recorded by the company who owned
    it two companies prior to you owning
    it? You need to call Orion Financial
    Group, Inc. We specialize in cleaning
    up title chains so you can protect your
    interest and stay compliant when it
    comes time to release the lien. Our
    proprietary software, DocPro!®, and
    our state-of-the-art in-house processing
    system will have your assignments
    and lien releases prepared and sent
    to the county in a fraction of the time
    of other providers. Take the next step
    to provide you peace of mind. Call us
    today, and let us show you how we can
    help. (817) 424-1038.

    • Rene' says:

      Hello Robert,
      Can you tell me where you got this info from, I couldn’t find this wording on their website.
      I want to be able to send this to my attorney in my foreclosure case, but need to back it up.
      This is the company that supplied the “lost” assignments in my case. Thank you in advance.

  4. Mauricio Lacayo says:

    I am not an attorney, just another victim of these foreclosure milss generating fraudulent Affidavits and/or fraudulent Assignment of Mortgage. I am also helping other homeowners fight back and in the process I have discovered, after reading this website and others from Ice Legal, Mattew Weidner, Foreclosure Hamlet, etc……, fraud on different documents.

    Where can I send these Assignment of Mortgages that are considered fraudulent?

    I have 4-5 of them…..from different lenders and different law firms, all involving MERS……

    I have from Marshall Watson, David Stern, Law Firm of Joseph Ganguzza in Miami, etc….

    We all would like to file a complaint and ask for an investigation on these documents and also see how we can have those documents voided by a Judge that is not the judge on these foreclosures

    Thanks for your help

    Mauricio Lacayo.

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