FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 3rd, 2011
Kevin Harvey, 1st Assistant Register
The 1960’s television show “To Tell the Truth”, where imposters pretend to be the central character, is playing out today at the Essex Southern District Registry of Deeds and Register John O’Brien is not happy about it. After the 60 Minutes’ expose on Mortgage Fraud was aired and showed that leading mortgage services have been using forged documents to foreclose on homeowners, Register John O’Brien reviewed mortgage discharges recorded in his Registry. To view the 60 Minutes Article and a link to the video, go to http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/04/01/60minutes/main20049646.shtml
What he found astonished him. In 2010 alone, 286 Bank of America’s mortgage discharges were recorded with what he calls “questionable and possibly fraudulent signatures of the notorious Linda Green.” O’Brien said that he has found at least four variations of Green’s signature recorded in his Registry.
Green, who was spotlighted in the 60 Minutes Episode, had her name signed by various individuals on thousands of documents recorded at Registries of Deeds throughout the state of Massachusetts and across the nation. In Register O’Brien’s opinion, these documents have corrupted Essex County homeowner’s chains of title. “I have a responsibility to ensure that the documents recorded in my Registry meet the statutory requirements of recording. If, however, I am presented with evidence that clearly shows that fraud may have been committed then it is my responsibility as the keeper of records to turn these documents over to the appropriate authorities for their review and action.”
O’Brien has today forwarded certified copies of these discharges to United States Attorney, Carmen Ortez, Attorney General, Martha Coakley, and Essex County District Attorney, Jonathan Blodgett. “If what I suspect has happened, then the people who have committed this fraud should be held accountable for their actions” commented O’Brien. O’Brien fears that this fraudulent behavior is only the tip of the iceberg and feels strongly that lenders and mortgage servicers should be held accountable for their actions. Actions which he originally only thought involved a scheme to circumvent the land recordation system by creating a private, for profit cyber-registry to benefit the big bank’s pocketbooks. Now it seems that MERS, and its member banks may have added fraud to their repertoire of services that they offer.
Register O’Brien questions if a good portion of this foreclosure mess could have been avoided in the first place, if the big banks did what they were supposed to do and recorded assignments like other lenders do. Register O’Brien believes: 1) Homeowners deserve to know who owns their mortgages; 2) Assignments should be recorded in the appropriate registry of deeds, each and every time a mortgage is sold, to provided transparency and public disclosure of ownership; and 3) Any and all documents should be signed by an authorized authority at the entity that actually owns and holds the note secured by the mortgage.
SOURCE: MA Register of Deeds
PDF of Press Release and examples of fraud below…