COLUMBUS, OH – October 13, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, who recently filed the first lawsuit in the nation against a mortgage servicer over fraudulent affidavits filed in foreclosure cases, announced today that his office is joining with other state attorneys general in a multi-state investigation of these practices.”This is the clearest signal yet to the major mortgage lenders and servicers that they need to take serious measures to fix problems with affidavits,” Cordray said. “What we have seen are not mere technicalities, as some suggest; rather, this is about the private property rights of homeowners facing foreclosure and the integrity of our court system, which cannot enter judgments based on fraudulent evidence.”
Ohio joins 11 other state attorneys general and three state banking regulators as members of the group’s executive committee. In all, the multi-state working group is made up of attorneys general from 49 states and banking and mortgage regulators from more than 30 states, including the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Financial Institutions.
The joint statement issued today by the multi-state working group on the foreclosure affidavit issues can be found at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/AffidavitMultistateStatement.
The group will investigate whether individual mortgage servicers have improperly submitted documents in support of foreclosures. Specifically, the group will investigate whether companies misrepresented on affidavits and other documents that they reviewed and verified supporting foreclosure documentation. The group will also attempt to determine whether companies also signed affidavits outside the presence of a notary public, along with other possible issues regarding servicing irregularities or abuses.
Through its executive committee, the multi-state group will contact a comprehensive list of individual mortgage servicers. The group’s initial objectives include:
- Putting an immediate stop to improper mortgage foreclosure practices.
- Reviewing past and present practices by mortgage servicers subject to the inquiry.
- Evaluating potential remedies for past practices and to deter future improper practices.
- Establishing a mechanism for more effective independent monitoring of future mortgage foreclosure practices.
This multi-state investigation does not affect Ohio’s recent lawsuit, filed last week in Lucas County, against GMAC/Ally. More information about that lawsuit is available at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/GMACAllySuit.
“We are pleased that many states are joining us in this investigation. Ohio is projected to have more than 90,000 foreclosures this year, which would break last year’s record. It is difficult to say how many of these foreclosures have been or will be affected by fraudulent affidavits, but I just want to be clear: We will hold accountable those who submit fraudulent evidence in an effort to strip people of their private property rights without due process of law,” Cordray said.
Cordray reiterated that he does not favor a nationwide freeze of all foreclosures; he does, however, believe that courts should not enter any foreclosure orders based on fraudulent evidence.
Ted Hart: (614) 728-4127
cell: (614) 743-2286
Holly Hollingsworth: (614) 644-0508
cell: (614) 353-7576