It appears Green Tree Servicing has been flying under the radar and was hardly noticed until a recordation research team began uncovering similarly signed documents – yup, the old robo-signed Assignment of Mortgage trickery again… but this time new and improved via computer, maybe for speed and precision, ya think?
It appears the signatures are in the computer – no dummies needed to sign – just fill in the blanks and push the buttons (as if that wasn’t committing an unlawful act)… “Who, me? I just filled in the information and pressed print…” Why bother to use humans when computers will do just the same… and what are they going to do – arrest or sue the computer?” How about the programmer or the button pusher or the boss?!
The numerous examples at the link certainly look like computerized signatures. This does away with the one key failing of the initial robo-signing effort, that Linda Green’s name was signed 20 different times in 20 different ways. Now, the new names have the same signature – only it’s exactly the same signature, impossibly the same, in fact.
The signatures definitely raise questions for me. And the loans are dated 2006 and 2007, which matches the time period of the housing bubble, when documents were lost or improperly transferred, necessitating the fakery.
To me, it strains credulity that only this small servicer thought to computerize the signatures, and that this practice is confined to Green Tree Servicing. Recall that, back in February, after the signing of the foreclosure fraud settlement, you could find job listings for Wells Fargo that suspiciously sounded like robo-signers. The settlement claimed to end servicing fraud, that the new standards would make servicing a clean business. Clearly the smaller operators aren’t complying, and it doesn’t make sense that the big industry players, who set the standards, would go off in a completely different direction.
Yves also notes that this means corruption of the property title system continues unabated:
Now cynics will correctly point out that Green Tree is a small operator. But that misses the point. Real estate was once a slow, deliberate business precisely because the integrity of property records is an important bulwark of capitalism (cue Hernando De Soto) and housing is most families’ most important asset. As Barry Ritholtz pointed out early in the robosigning scandal, this should be a zero fault business. It used to be that way (ex well constructed, typically local frauds) and the fact that, again and again, the banks have been both given a free pass and not required to clean up their bad practices, is the worst of all possible outcomes.
I get the sense that absolutely no lesson in housing has been learned, at any level of the business. House flippers are back and they think they can make a living at it forever. Reverse mortgage scams continue to proliferate. The phrase “faulty appraisals” has returned to the lexicon (though “faulty” in this case seems to be code for “an appraiser that does his job and doesn’t inflate the price of the home”). And despite being on the front lines of foreclosure fraud, foreclosure victims are back buying houses, according to the Wall Street Journal (though their evidence is rather thin).
Everything old is new again. Even robo-signing.