That Robo-Signing Gal: Fake Girlfriends, Real Damages – 800,000 Foreclosures that Should have been Avoided
Fake girlfriends, real damages
It is with a heavy heart that I dedicate this column to my dead, fake girlfriend. Had she existed, Drucilda’s dying words would have been, “Go into that office (wheeze) and write (cough, cough) like you’ve never written before (gurrgh).”
My editors usually complain that my writing reads like I’ve never written before, but the words Drucilda didn’t speak still speak a truth that remains, like her words, unspoken. That’s so like her: She always was there for me, even though she was never here.
A more notable fake girlfriend is the ersatz paramour of Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o in his bizarre version of “Love Story” with shoulder pads. But the one we should be worried about is the fake girlfriend who helped mortgage servicers steal billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of homes.
That robo-signing gal
Mortgage servicers are the companies that collect mortgage payments for the investors who own the loan. If a loan goes bad, the servicers also handle the foreclosure — but usually not well. Just this month, we’ve seen two settlements totaling $9.1 billion to penalize servicers for fraud and abuse in foreclosures.
That’s on top of last year’s $25 billion settlement over “robo-signed” foreclosures that featured forged signatures and notary seals. The fake girlfriend for the servicers went by the name “Linda Green,” a signature that appeared in many different forms on at least 1 million foreclosure documents falsified by a Georgia firm called DocX. The president of DocX, Lorraine Brown, will spend at least two years in federal prison and faces 20 years on a racketeering charge in Michigan.
If you think this involves nothing more than shoddy paperwork on homes lost by deadbeats, think again. Banking experts found that between 2009 and the end of 2012 mortgage servicers created 800,000 foreclosures that should have been avoided under just one loan modification program.
Serviced into foreclosure…