A joint investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting and NBC Bay Area has raised significant questions as to the validity of Bank of American foreclosures in the Bay Area of California – and by proxy, the rest of the country.
Our Miami foreclosure lawyers understand that investigators found that in spite of a number of billion-dollar settlements and new laws and regulations that are intended to tighten mortgage industry practices, many of these banks – and Bank of America in particular – continue file documents that are invalid in an effort to push through foreclosures, even though they lack any legal right to do so.
In this microcosm of the San Francisco-area, the two investigative entities tapped the experience of a certified fraud examiner, a forensic accountant, a former city property record analyst and a private auditor to review a host of foreclosure records.
What those individuals found was that Bank of America and all of its subsidiaries were blatantly avoiding correct procedure in the course of foreclosure filings in the area. Some of those actions included altering property record dates and falsifying loan transfers. These actions allowed the bank to improperly initiate foreclosures and also to collect fees and payments on loans that it didn’t actually own.
If anyone thinks these kinds of actions are unique to San Francisco, they’re naive.
Most homeowners, just by looking at their property records, won’t be able to tell whether the records are falsified. In a lot of cases, these investigators found, the bank didn’t have them when they initiated the foreclosure, so they simply made them up. It wasn’t difficult for them to make them appear official, and who was going to call them on it?
Of course, this illustrates why homeowners facing foreclosure everywhere need to secure the services of an experienced foreclosure lawyer. Having just any attorney will not cut it when wading through an industry that is so incredibly convoluted.
In fact, as the forensic accountant was quoted as saying, there has been a “bastardization” of land records – the true representation of property ownership – that could take decades to truly sort out.
Bank of America says that it has made significant improvements in its processes over the last three years, adding that some of the falsification claims have been exaggerated.
But consider this: An audit last year conducted by the San Francisco Asessor-Recorder’s office found that nearly 85 percent of foreclosures in 2009 and 2011 had legal violations. Those include everything from not notifying homeowners of their default to transferring loans to which they have no actual legal rights.
Why would banks do this?
Banks make a profit by cutting these corners.
And the borrowers? Some of them report applying for loan modifications nearly a dozen times and getting nowhere. Many of them continue to get the runaround.
Many times in these foreclosure cases, our attorneys will demand proof that the bank has the right to close. In some cases, they can’t produce that. At the very least, that buys you time and it may give the bank a greater incentive to work out a loan modification.
We help you negotiate from strength.
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. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on “Mortgage Wars,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.
Error claims cast doubt on Bank of America foreclosures in Bay Area, April 25, 2013, By Matt Drange, Center for Investigative Reporting
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