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Monday, October 3, 2011

Mortgage Fraud May Affect the Title to Your Home in Years to Come


Study: Invalid mtg. assignments found



Massachusetts Attorney General is investigating bank practices that could make it hard to sell your home one day.


It's all about who owns your property and can you prove it?
Bill Bry, Debra LaFleur and Bobby Hollins have one thing in common.
They each claim to be a victim of improper bank practices relating to their mortgage.
Marie McDonnell, who is a certified fraud examiner, didn't comment on their specific cases, but says she's seen something similar before.
She examined mortgages in the Essex Southern District Registry of Deeds, and claims she found 75% of the mortgages assignments there are invalid due to claimed deceptive or careless bank practices.
"We find they have robo-signed documents, that have other fatal flaws in the assignments of mortgage so it's a huge problem for everyone, this is effecting everyone," McDonnell said.
McDonnell isn't the only one investigating bank records in the state.
Attorney General Martha Coakley is investigating MERS, a Mortgage Electronic Registration System that many creditors use to handle mortgage transactions.
She wants to know if they're violating our state laws by not documenting loan transfers with local register of deeds; McDonnell believes the practice is widespread.
"There were approximately 2.3 missing assignments for every mortgage we examined," McDonnell added.
Missing mortgage assignments makes it difficult to track down who actually owns the mortgage loan. If you can't prove the ownership of a home it could make it difficult to sell or refinance.
That's what Springfield's Debra LaFleur says she ran into while trying to track down her loan.
"They told me to hold on, then they came back to the phone and said Mrs. LaFleur we want you to know that we have no idea where your loan is. I said excuse me?"
Bobby Hollins has a similar story, only she got a letter stating her information had been sold off to a third party compromising her personal information.
But, missing documents can actually help people like Montague's Bill Bry, who face foreclosure because the foreclosing institution also needs all the paperwork.
"The housing court in Greenfield gave them three opportunities, they extended it three separate times. Each time they couldn't come up with any documents at all," Bry said.
McDonnell showed her findings to Hampden County Register of Deeds, Don Ashe.
"This should concern everybody because if this taints mortgages and taints documentation of who owns a piece of property or who doesn't or can you prove you own that property its certainly going to have an effect on the real estate market," Ashe said.
Attorney General Coakley will be calling on all registrars to help further her state-wide investigati

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