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October 20, 2010

Md. judges OK foreclosure audits

Maryland's highest court has given administrative judges across the state the green light to hire examiners to help scrutinize documents in potentially thousands of foreclosure cases

The Court of Appeals voted 6 to 0 in favor of the emergency proposal. (The seventh judge was feeling poorly and was not at the meeting.)

The committee that proposes rules to the court had recommended the move on Friday.

Some courts have already begun reviewing foreclosure cases -- particularly ones with "corrective affidavits" filed by two Maryland attorneys, in which they acknowledge that they had others reproduce their signatures for them on earlier affidavits. These documents, the written equivalent of court testimony, can't be signed on another's behalf.

Judges in Howard and Prince George's counties, where reviews are underway, said any help they can get to examine cases is appreciated. (The rules approved by the Court of Appeals Tuesday permit courts to pass the costs of examiners onto firms trying to foreclose, who cannot in turn pass the costs onto homeowners unless the documents in need of review were filed by the borrowers.)

Reader comments on the foreclosure drama have continued to run the gamut. Nehemiah wrote that borrowers who got behind on their payments "did NOT break the law. They may have made bad decisions but they did NOT break the law. These lenders & lawyers KNEW the law - KNEW the consequences and DID IT ANYWAY… They should be made an example of by our AG."

Reader elweedz says it's a molehill masquerading as a mountain: "Get a grip people. 99.9% of the foreclosures were legitimate because the homeowner wasnt paying their mortgage. Who gives a flip who signed some standard paperwork. For those that had a real error, it will get fixed."

And reader Josh Dowlut sees two sides to the story: "On the one hand, this has become hand to hand class warfare with the banks. It is reasonable to make them 'work for it' if they are going to try and take your home. On the other hand, this is only delaying the inevitable. These are procedural errors that will not result in any homeowner getting their mortgage or note voided."

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 12:01 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: The foreclosure mess
        

Comments

If I lose my job and find myself unable to pay my mortgage, I will pack up my stuff and leave. Why should the bank provide me a free place to live? Stuff happens. It is really the bank's house anyway.

For once I will somewhat defend the deadbeat mortgagee....who we already know was too greedy and bit off more than could be snorted.

However, the mortgage industry was the drug dealer, and has thus far gotten off with little more than a slap on the wrist. I believe in following the law to the letter. If these mortgage notes were passed along from entity to entity, generating cash for the middle men along the way, but breaking the chain of title claim, then it certainly may be the case that entities without clear title to the property unlawfully foreclosed on the deadbeat mortgagee. Time for the mortgage industry to pay dearly for these unlawful actions. What goes around comes around.

In the end, the pusher (mortgage industry) and addict (mortgagee) need to pay for this disaster.

I fear, however, that the innocent bystanders (i.e. fiscally responsible taxpayers) will once again end up on the hook for this with yet another bailout.

So who is paying the salary or, even worse hourly rate, of the examiners?

Mike, the answer's in the blog post: The rules approved by the Court of Appeals Tuesday permit courts to pass the costs of examiners onto firms trying to foreclose, who cannot in turn pass the costs onto homeowners unless the documents in need of review were filed by the borrowers.

Seriously overlooked is the fact that lenders created this huge "bubble" in real estate prices and they knew what they were doing and they took profits all the way. They're just as responsible for the crash. Sure some buyers were flippers, but a lot of folks just got roped into a losing deal. Blaming homeowners is exactly what the Banks who are continuing to commit fraud against homeowners and investors alike would be expected to do. Foreclose or not, few are going to pay more than market value for the underwater homes. Keep watching the circus is coming to town

These Foreclosures are NOT legit or legal.... yes a debt is owed BUT the Foreclosures are illegal.

A vast majority of these loans are NOT secured by the property. The borrowers didn’t do that - the lenders did! The lenders KNOWINGLY did NOT comply with the LAW. Worse - they did it to AVOID paying fees & taxes. Equally important for folks to understand - this was NOT done during the foreclosure process. These LENDERS did it during the Closing Process of the loan transactions. This was a “deliberate” illegal act! Not a mistake. These laws have been in place for eons in this country.

The debate is NOT about the debt being owed or not. That is the illusion they want folks to follow. The debt is still OWED by those on the loan docs. However, that lender deliberately - calculatingly decided NOT to comply. Consequently, if the lender fails to follow these strict Real Property Laws, THEY FORFEIT the COLLATERAL (property). The default is a totally separate matter. The default did not “cause” the lenders to break the law. The default EXPOSED their illegal acts. This is not a little matter. They have been CAUGHT RED-HANDED evading MILLIONS & MILLIONS of dollars in fees & taxes to our STATES. Yet, there are NO media even mentioning that little trivia nugget…?

These LENDERS with the AIDING & ABETTING of their FORECLOSURE MILL gang-like attorneys are DELIBERATELY trying to cover this up because they’ve been getting away with it for several years. THIS IS VERY SERIOUS. This is not a speeding ticket - these are very deliberate acts flagrantly attacking our Constitution Rights and it MUST NOT & CANNOT be tolerated - PERIOD!

So, yes, the debts are still owed - but the LENDERS with the AIDING & ABETTING by these Foreclosure Mill Attorneys - knew they could not “legally” repossess those properties. So they submitted False Affidavits - LIED to judges - Forged Signatures - Forged Notaries - Misrepresented - Breach of Contract - Conspiracy to Defraud - Committed Mortgage Fraud - violated SEC regulations - etc - and knowing they were breaking those laws and deliberately Committing Fraud on the Court, they marched in and TOOK the properties anyway. That is what they did…!

Keep the Powder Dry

Jamie,
I am closely following the outcome of this debacle as a title professional. But as a consumer I am concerned by the fact that these foreclosure mills, some of whom have already admitted to fraud, are still raking in the big bucks by continuing to participate in the foreclosure of thousands of properties across this state and then because of the "Cradle to Grave" agreements that they have with the major lenders and servicers, making more money on the resale of these properties.
You may want to investigate the fact that these same firms are feeding their own title agencies these files to have them handle the sale to third party purchasers after the foreclosure has been completed, and this practice is encouraged by the servicing lenders and big banks. The title agencies are either owned by or controlled by the foreclosure attorney firms and they rely upon the "title report" that the foreclosure attorney has done. This is not in the best interest of the consumer.

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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
Baltimore Sun articles by Jamie
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