Will Florida Finally Punish Banks and Lawyers for Foreclosure Document Fraud?
Foreclosure proceedings in courts nationwide have exposed a swamp of fraudulent documents, and in some cases — though perhaps far too few — those bad docs have sunk attempts by banks to take people’s homes.
Some of Florida’s courts, however, — particularly courts in Lee County — have come under fire for compounding the documentation problems by ignoring the rule of law in order to rush through foreclosures. And a new rule put in place by the Florida Supreme Court to ensure that documents being used in foreclosures are properly certified hasn’t worked well, thanks to a new type of robo-signing that has sprung up to get around it.
In a reflection of how bad things have gotten, lenders are asking judges to “ratify” foreclosures done with robo-signed documents, the Palm Beach Post reported on Saturday. While such “ratification” would not, as a matter of law, mean much, the Post says, it might discourage people from challenging the foreclosures.
With luck, two recent developments may help really clean up the fraud in the Sunshine State. First, an appeals court has asked the Florida Supreme Court to clarify judges’ power to address the fraud, and second, the Florida Bar Association is finally taking a stand.
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