Robo-Slop or “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Foreclosure”

Written by Greenwood Bankruptcy Lawyer, Dee Compton

(Pardon the title’s mixed reference, but it ties together, even if it does seem a little DiNozzo-esque.)

Across the country homes are being taken through foreclosure with fake paperwork. Rooms are filled with “robo-signers,” who gin up false affidavits by the thousands. 60 Minutes just did a story on this, yesterday. In the story, a robo-signer (Chris Pendley) said he signed up to 4,000 documents a day – all in the name of “Linda Green.” (For you cyber-daters out there – this might be too uncomfortably familiar.)

An ugly truth is that robo-signers don’t know what documents they are signing or if they are true. It’s as if they work for “Omni Consumer Products” the evil corporation from “Robocop” also known as “O.C.P.” which runs over anyone in its way, over power and greed.

Consumer and bankruptcy lawyers are trying to fight these abusive practices. Strangely, though, when brought to the attention of the Courts, sometimes judges listen, but more often they appear to think, “what’s the big deal?”

In South Carolina, we are a “lien theory” state, and require formal (“Judicial”) foreclosure. Banks can’t just take your house – they have to take you to court first. If you own a house subject to a mortgage, in South Carolina, you OWN your house until the bank PROVES it has a right to take it by foreclosure. This means that a bank not only must prove you are behind on your loan payments, but it must also prove it owns your mortgage Note. (A mortgage Note a contract which is “negotiable.” This means that it can be sold to others, and the bank which lawfully owns the paper can enforce it.)

Sometimes courts say: “The bank has the Note, so it can collect the debt.” Courts will allow a bank in possession to proceed if it holds the original note, or if they have a valid assignment. Left unexamined, though, this logic doesn’t work. When Banks are allowed to issue thousands of phony documents a day chasing foreclosures, without oversight, it’s bound to get a just a wee little bit sloppy.

Another ugly truth is that banks often can’t even find the original notes and mortgages they say they own. So, instead of producing the original documents, they come to court with made up copies of Notes, with apparent assignments or “allonges” on them, that are supposed to show that the bank is the lawful owner of that Contract. In fact, they are really fake documents created just so banks can run foreclosures quickly through the courts. And, since most people don’t fight them, this usually works.

Here is a real life sample fraudulent allonge fixed up by a bank solely for the purpose manufacturing evidence where it doesn’t exist:

Notice that it was “cut and pasted” into an alleged original.

And here is an analysis of the “signatures”:

All three signatures line up perfectly – pixel for pixel!

A person couldn’t write original signatures three times, this exactly the same, if his life depended on it. And the pixelation of the signatures are grainier than for the text of the document – another sure sign that the signatures weren’t photocopied or scanned with the original copy.

This document is fraudulent, made up just so the bank can use it in a foreclosure case. The bank can’t find the original at all, and used a photocopier to put this together. The court should not consider this evidence and should fine the bank, and any lawyer who tries to use this in court.

This points to a third ugly truth: many people lose their homes to banks without even checking to see whether it even has the right to foreclose.

People should make sure to inspect documents closely and not just assume that “the bank” is “their bank.” You may find the foreclosing bank, instead of owning the loan, really IS O.C.P. – out to get you – dead or alive.

In the end, though, banks can be defeated with their own paperwork mess, so stop worrying.

Instead take action.  If you bother to look, a foreclosure may actually give you an opportunity to undo sloppy bank paperwork. Your lawyer doesn’t even have to be named “Murphy.”

 

Thanks go to:

Brent S. Snyder, Esq. for the uncovering the fraudulent document.

Matthew Bogosian, Esq. for the signature analysis.

About
John DeVore “Dee” Compton, III is an attorney practicing Consumer Bankruptcy Law in Greenwood South Carolina. A product of the Greenwood public school system, Dee graduated Greenwood High in 1981. He also graduated from Lander College with a B.S. in Political Science (1986) and Mercer University Law School (1989). In 1990 Dee founded the Compton Law Firm, PA, and practiced solo until his wife, Alecia, joined him in practice in 1994. As a solo practitioner, Dee handled all kinds of legal work, from arguing appeals before the South Carolina Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, to DUI defense, to preparing Wills, to closing Real Estate transactions, to litigating a variety of Civil Cases. Dee began filing Bankruptcy cases in 1993. In 1994, Dee and Alecia decided to make Bankruptcy the focus of their practices, and have devoted 90% of their efforts to Bankruptcy ever since. Dee also devotes much of his energies in practice to litigating Consumer issues in bankruptcy court. Notable among some of his cases in South Carolina, Dee successfully brought the first Extended Right of Rescission Tender through a Chapter 13 plan, and its accompanying rescission case under the Truth in Lending Act; removal of State Court Foreclosure actions to Bankruptcy Court to assert consumer claims; Litigation to declare Car Title Lending unconscionable; Litigation against Lawyers for aiding and abetting the Unauthorized Practice of Law; Litigation against creditors and law enforcement agents for stay violations; and Litigation attacking Creditor Claims for various Federal and State consumer violations, and a successful Student Loan discharge, among other cases. Because the financial deck is stacked against debtors, Dee believes that the effective practice of bankruptcy requires attorneys to do more than run a “forms” practice. A bankruptcy attorney should litigate matters whenever there is a reasonable probability of adding value the bankrupt’s estate, or when unscrupulous creditors violate bankruptcy or consumer laws, and cause damage to a debtor. In addition to practicing law, Dee is a member of the Greenwood Lions Club, and has a long record of community service having served on many boards and committees. Dee is a past chairman of the S.C. Bar Consumer Law Section, and has spoken at CLEs on Consumer and Bankruptcy issues. He is the author “Legal Briefs”: a series of articles on general legal topics, and has published Op-Eds on matters of interest in the Greenville News, The State, the Index Journal and other newspapers. Dee has also appeared many times on local talk radio to discuss matters of legal and political interest. Dee has engaged in public service having served on Greenwood City Council, and as Vice-Chairman of Greenwood County Council. Dee handles consumer and business bankruptcy cases under Chapter 7 and 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. He is admitted to practice in all courts in South Carolina and Georgia, The 4th and 11th Circuit Courts of Appeal, and the United States Supreme Court. Dee and Alecia are the parents of three daughters.

Comments

  1. Sonya Spruill says:

    I wonder how I can find if my mortgage is signed by robo signers. Mortgage Electronic Records Services is listed on my paperwork. I am facing eviction and need info to bring a case. Is there a place to find names?

  2. admin says:

    Sonya,

    You need to hire an attorney in your area. These facts come out in “discovery” after you submit questions to the other party in the foreclosure action. Each state’s laws are unique, so you need an attorney in your state. Thanks for commenting.

Leave a Reply

RSS