“If evidence collected shows intent to defraud investors by the real estate trusts, this matter has the potential to be a top ten Corporate Fraud case” ~ FBI Criminal Investigative Division
The Only Person Jailed for the Foreclosure Crisis Will Soon Go Free
Lorraine Brown, the lone American convicted of a crime for the mass production of bogus documents used to illegally kick people out of their homes, will be released from prison in Pittsfield Township, Michigan, this week. After serving the minimum 40 months of a 20-year maximum state sentence, Brown is set to be paroled into the feds’ custody, where she will serve out the remainder of a concurrent federal sentence and should get released in the next year.
Brown was CEO of DocX, the third-party document-processing company that engineered the production of some 2 million fictitious mortgage assignments, often forged by people whose name didn’t match their signature, as a recent VICE investigation documented. These assignments were used as evidence in foreclosure cases nationwide beginning in the mid 2000s, leading to an untold number of people being ejected from their houses. Some 9 million Americans have surrendered their homes to banks since 2006, according to the Wall Street Journal, and the case that netted Lorraine Brown added to the evidence pile suggesting much of that misery was based on fraud.
In the course of their criminal investigation into foreclosure fraud, the FBI and US Attorney’s office in Jacksonville, Florida, home of the parent company of DocX (known as Lender Processing Services), called in dozens of agents and forensic examiners, conducted 75 interviews, issued hundreds of subpoenas, and reviewed millions of documents. But after all that, only Lorraine Brown went to prison. She was always something of a scapegoat, but that even she is now on her way out after doing paltry time is a testament to the ongoing failure of the American legal system to mete out proportional punishment for white-collar crime.