Miami foreclosure attorneys had long suspected – since the beginning of the housing crisis – that Florida officials may be taking steps to act in the best interest of big banks, rather than struggling homeowners, left blindsided by the housing crisis.
Foreclosures in Miami are once again climbing – another 11 percent last month here and in Broward. People are still suffering, and it doesn’t show any signs of abating.
And now we learn that efforts to expose the vast, robo-signing fraud were tamped down by state officials charged with investigating such matters.
Because what the banks lack in morality they more than make up for in cold cash.
A recent story published in The Miami New Times gave a detailed account of exactly how it all happened.
The story starts with the firing of two economic crimes investigators at the state’s Office of the Attorney General. The pair first thought when they were called into their supervisor’s office that it would be to discuss an investigation they had launched into the practices of a large bank that was illegally foreclosing on homes and taking advantage of homeowners who were struggling in the wake of the bust.
Instead, they were let go. They were told the decisions came all the way from the top. It was only later, they said, that they realized how closely intertwined those in the government were to the special interests of the banks.
Their story is a clear example of how the state has dragged its feet with regard to prosecuting banks for their foreclosure abuses.
In this case, the two were just scratching the surface of reported shady practices by Lender Processing Services (or LPS). Two year ago, a female foreclosure activist and lawyer had contacted them, telling a far-fetched tale of how a single woman – Linda Green – had supposedly signed off on literally thousands of foreclosures in Florida. This woman reportedly had a number of different high-ranking titles (vice president – working for 10 different companies, no less). In most cases, the signatures looked nothing alike.
Convinced of serious fraud, the attorney contacted a range of attorneys, but the only two that listened were these two investigators from the AG’s office. Even they were somewhat skeptical at first. But the more they looked into the claims, the more it seemed they held real merit.
“Linda Green’s” signature was everywhere. There were also notary stamps with no signatures.
This process, whereby the banks were attesting to ownership of property when they actually had no proof of that ownership – later became known as robo-signing.
The pair of investigators later presented her findings to the Association of the Clerk of Courts that included other findings: documents that were made out to a phony assignee; assignments that were dated for the year 9999 and banks that effectively gave mortgages to themselves.
The two sent the company a subpoena, and it responded by sending enormous reams of files. Not long after that, a lawyer for LPS sent the investigators a stern warning about the use of the word “forgery.”
Not long after that, the two received a reprimand regarding a similar complaint.
Soon after that, they were fired.
It was only later that they realized this bank had donated the maximum contributions it could to the campaigns of both Attorney General Pam Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott.
Given what happened to these two – who had proof and were in positions of relative power – just further illustrates why if you plan to go head-to-head with these institutions, you need an aggressive and skilled attorney by your side.
If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991.