That’s Sheriff Tom Dart, explaining exactly why he won’t enforce foreclosure evictions from dicey actions by the banks. He says “This is not the lotto… this isn’t something where we’re rolling the dice and saying, possibly this has been done legally. Maybe it hasn’t but in the meantime, you and your children go find someplace else to live, plenty of homeless shelters out there. We can’t do that.”
Sheriff Dart is among the growing coalition of activists, politicians, defense lawyers and simply those interested in justice who have latched onto this scandal and will never let go. The Washington Post tells the story today of Lisa Epstein and the folks over at 4closurefraud, who have been indispensable in rooting this out. The Wall Street Journal did the same for defense lawyers involved in seeking justice on this issue, although they did a real hash of it (see Naked Capitalism for the details). My point is that you cannot stop this train from rolling downhill. Especially when the courts have responded to the scandal by giving the issue more attention and scrutiny, and giving the banks more losses in the cases. Here’s another today, from 4closurefraud:
On September 30, 2010, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Harry C. Dees, Jr., Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, confronted head-on the widespread practice of employees of mortgage servicing companies signing Mortgage Assignments with false job titles, in Koontz v. EverHome Mortgage and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., Case No. 09-30024, Proc. No. 10-3005. In this contested foreclosure, EverHome and MERS moved for summary judgment, while the plaintiff homeowners argued that there were genuine issues of material fact that precluded summary judgment. One such issue involved a Mortgage Assignment signed by Bethany Hood as Vice President of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”). (Regular readers of Fraud Digest will recognize that Bethany Hood is a clerical employee of Lender Processing Services who works in the Mendota Heights, MN office and who signs thousands of mortgage documents monthly using at least 20 different job titles.) [...]
On this case, the Creditors have been forced to admit that a non-employee signed the Assignment of Mortgage, representing herself to be a Vice President of MERS and other banks or mortgage companies held the Mortgage and or Note at issue… Having determined that genuine issues of material fact exist, the Court denies the Motions for Summary Judgment filed by the EverHome defendants and MERS…”
I’ve talked about how MERS has been denied standing to foreclose, and how their process of assigning Vice-Presidencies to anyone who wants them stood on questionable legal ground. So much for their assertion that they’ve never lost in court. The LA Times added to the pressure on MERS just today.
The banks don’t really know how bad this can get for them. They thought they could bully homeowners out of their homes and cut corners in every which way. They thought they could commit fraud to mask even larger fraud. The courts are systematically telling them that they can’t. Jonathan Weil gets this right:
The banks have only themselves to blame for the fix they’re in. Three years ago, as the subprime mortgage crisis began to spiral, one of the lessons the public should have learned is that the leaders of these companies often have no idea what’s going on inside them. We may be witnessing the same phenomenon again. There’s no excuse this time for anyone to be surprised.
Maybe it’s optimism day for me and tomorrow I’ll go back to cynicism. But the only way that the banks succeed in sweeping this under the rug is if everyone lets them. And I don’t see full evidence of that.