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Michael Olenick: Are Remotely-Processed Mortgage Assignments Another Smoking Gun?

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By Michael Olenick, founder and CEO of Legalprise, and creator of FindtheFraud, a crowd sourced foreclosure document review system (still in alpha)

Assignments of mortgages are the legal instruments that transfers ownership of a mortgage from one party to another. In a securitized mortgage, a trust holds thousands of mortgages on behalf of investors. The investors in the various bonds that get cash flows from a single trust expect the trust to be in a position to take advantage of the rights conferred by the mortgages when certain events occur, usually payoff or default.

I used my crowd-sourced online software, www.findthefraud.com, to help categorize 2,500 assignments in Palm Beach County, FL, which were recorded in late 2008 and early 2009. Palm Beach County, like any Florida county, is a high foreclosure state and, thanks to strong public records laws in Florida, serves as a good bellwether about bank business practices both in Florida and around the country.

Common sense would say that an assignment should be executed either by a lawyer for the trustee for the trust, or an agent of the trust, which in this case would be a servicer or a lawyer working for the servicer. Lawyers should be geographically close to the foreclosed property, because they will need to eventually appear in court. Bankers should be close to major banking operations, since they almost always sign as senior officials: Vice President is the most typical title.

We know from the robo-signing scandal that the signers don’t read what they’re signing, but it is also apparent that they’re scattered almost randomly around the country.

In my 2,500 sample size I studied the county of notarization, which indicates where the primary signers are since the notary attests the documents were signed in front of him or her. This batch of assignments were signed in 35 different states, and 101 different counties. So much for consistency.

The most common county is San Bernardino, CA, which filed 746 mortgage assignments, 29.8% of the total. California overall notarized 815 Florida assignments, 32.6% of the total. Florida, which you’d expect, came next with 610 assignments, or 24.4% of the total, followed by Minnesota (9.3%), Texas (7.3%), Ohio (4.8%), Georgia (4.5%), Louisiana (2.8%), and Nebraska (2.6%). All other states had less than 2%.

Certain counties really stood out from others.

It isn’t clear why San Bernardino, a large portion which consists of the Mojave desert, signed off on almost one in three assignments for Palm Beach County, FL, a tropical oasis on the other side of the country. The overwhelming majority of these assignments involved HSBC or US Bank. Virtually every assignment from San Bernardino had the notarization page entirely separate from the actual assignment, despite more than adequate space for the notarization on the first page, the practice virtually everywhere else. The notary is signing, under penalty of perjury, that the document was signed in front of them and that everything on it is kosher. If I didn’t know better — and, actually, I don’t — it almost looks like the notarization pages and the assignments were being prepared separately then put together after the fact.

After California and San Bernardino comes Florida. Of the 610 assignments inked in a more reasonable state 330, over half, were signed in Broward County. Broward, which adjoins Palm Beach County, seems more reasonable except that the overwhelming majority of these assignments were executed either by the law firms of David J. Stern or Marshall Watson.

Stern’s firm, the poster child of foreclosure fraud, was shut down after the GSEs banned him. That resulted in a mad dash by banks and the GSEs to recover about 100,000 files. Edward DeMarco, head of the FHFA that oversees the GSEs, Stern’s largest client, testified to Congress a couple weeks ago he was “puzzled” why crooked lawyers hadn’t yet been disciplined, a clear reference to Stern. Like DeMarco, every person I know in FL is also puzzled, and many are more than a little annoyed with our state’s bar association. Marshall Watson, the other high-volume signer, paid a $2 million fine to the FL Attorney General then was dropped by Freddie Mac. OK, so maybe closer geographic proximity does not lead to higher quality.

Next comes the 219 assignments inked in Dakota County, MN, out of a total of 233 signed in MN. Dakota County is apparently home to a branch of Lender Processing Services (LPS), an organization that, as Matt Stoller pointed out earlier this week, appears to be perennially in trouble yet which — except for a large decline in their stock price — seems to miraculously escape unfazed. To summarize, mortgage assignments for homes in a tropical paradise are being assigned in the desert and a frozen tundra; maybe this is an odd climate diversity experiment? The Dakota County assignments, like the Broward assignments, are from a hodge-podge of banks; none stood out.

Fulton County, GA had 105 assignments, out of 113 signed in GA, all but one from LPS-owned and now defunct DocX. Of those, the overwhelming majority involved American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. or American Brokers Conduit. DocX is the now-shuttered company that was featured on 60 Minutes because they employed teenagers to act as “surrogate signers” for infamous robosigner Linda Green.

Another notable county is Franklin County, OH, with 89 assignments, out of 120 signed in OH. Franklin County was singled out by the former Ohio Secretary of State, Jennifer Bruner, for notary fraud related to foreclosures. Bruner went so far as to refer foreclosure fraud to the US Dept. of Justice and publicly urged President Obama to take a leadership position on foreclosure fraud. Bruner’s appeal fell on deaf ears by the President that promised Hope but instead delivered HAMP, the disastrous program that tricks borrowers into foreclosure via fake modifications.

Two other interesting counties in the top-ten are Ouachita Parish, LA (65 assignments), and Scotts Bluff County, NE (64 assignments). Ouachita is the larger of the two counties, with 150,051 people, and includes Monroe, LA. Scotts Bluff, which Wikipedia touts having the third largest airport in Nebraska, and the census says contains 36,970 people. It isn’t clear why these two tiny counties seem to be cranking out mortgage assignments for far-away Palm Beach County. All but one of the Ouachita assignments involved JP Morgan/Chase Home Finance. Similarly, all but one of the Scotts Bluff assignments involved Aurora Home Loans.
I don’t know if these assignments are illegal, or even if they’re unethical, but stealthily moving vast amounts of property for far away communities seems strange: an eye popping amount of mortgages changed hands with these assignments.

Robosigning is not a victimless crime. The reason we have careful, document-intensive processes for handling real property is that it is the foundation of a nation’s wealth. A home is most families’ biggest asset. The practice of having independent parties verify the validity of signatures dates back to the 1677 Statute of Frauds. It was implemented because the lax evidentiary standards of the early 1600s allowed rich people to hire experts who would swear falsely in court about the ownership of property. The result was court-sanctioned theft and rising disorder.

There are plenty of legal, ethical, economic, and financial problems with document abuses and fraud. But more than any single problem, robos rob trust. Banks are using faceless robos in rural California, Louisiana, and Nebraska to rob the people of Palm Beach County of the protection of the law and in many cases, their homes. This irrevocably destroys trust, not only with the banks that employ the robos but with everybody else too. Since banks are realistically a commodity but-for trust, you’d think that banks, especially brand-aware consumer banks, would have moved long ago to stem these practices.

Indeed, many banks now claim that they have changed or are in the process of changing. As the new documents roll in to public records we’ll find out. But while banks may have “moved on” plenty of families who lost their homes to these documents have moved out. Parents shelter their children with family, friends, in motels that rent rooms by the night, or in cars. These banks — who have received trillions of dollars of bailout money — can’t simply decry, again, “whoops – our bad,” then expect yet another Get Out of Jail Free card.

The federal government has obviously decided not to bother investigating the extent of the fraud, so I’ll continue my studies, hoping from help from the public and publishing results as the datasets expand. But hopefully, one day, law enforcement and regulators — government employees funded by taxpayer who are trained and tasked to do this type of work — will pick up the burden on their own.

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44 comments

  1. psychohistorian

    Thank you for providing us with this documentation of the ongoing fraud that has still not been seriously prosecuted.

    Where is the rule of law that is suppose to show we are a civilized species?

  2. Middle Seaman

    The rule of law has become partial at best. Smoking pot is considered a crime, but throwing families out of their home based on faked documents is fine with our justice system.

    The big surprise in my opinion is that we don’t have a Democrat running against Obama in the primaries. Although a lot of the responsibility lies with the states, the federal government should have enforced the laws.

    The current administration not only “pardoned” all financial criminals but has awarded them bonuses to enable continued breaking of the law.

    1. Pete

      dont be too surprised.

      just as Republicans trick the poor into supporting the interests of big business, Democrats trick the middle class into supporting the interests of big business.

      Two sides of the same coin. You figured out that Obama is part of the corruption. So is the entire Democratic party, by pretending to be on our side then doing nothing (or worse).

      1. Patrick

        In an ideological sense we do not have a two party system. We have a one party ideology who’s basic premises are not challenged. The two wings of the ideology act like the Ford and Mercury divisions of the Ford Motor Company. Different bells and whistles on the same basic platforms.

        Closed systems/societies are inherently resistant to major changes from within, only shocks to the system from outside events can create change. Even then the system may not change until it is too late.

  3. R Foreman

    With the recent suspicious death of Tracy Lawrence, Robo-Signing may become a dangerous occupation. Hopefully this will dissuade people from engaging in it.

  4. software outsourcing cassandra

    The more I see of this, the more it reminds me of IT projects offshored to nameless, rotating staff paid peanuts to write Java or VB or .NET code. The VIP attitude seems to be “ship it — let’s worry about quality only if our customers threaten to ditch us.”

    Here, it seems the banks and lawyers now think: “Do it — let someone call us on it.” They’re getting sloppy with chain-of-custody issues, so that tracing “who owns what” is going to be buggy like bad software.

    I have a feeling that everything is going to collapse; that the only “wealth” you’ll retain will really be whatever you have physically in your possession. Or, at best, we’ll soldier on like characters in the movie “Brazil”.

    1. Rex

      Thanks to Michael Olenick for sharing this latest work. Every layer exposed makes it more obvious how stupendous is the amount of rot and the vileness of those who so blatantly created it.

      I find it interesting that cassandra mentioned Terry Gilliam’s movie Brazil. In the last few days I was thinking, myself, how the state of our world is reminding me of the images from that flick. I just looked it up. I had forgotten how long ago it was made. I think I should watch it again.
      Here’s the IMDB page:
      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088846/

  5. txchick57(?)

    Thank you for this! I’ve been reviewing files for various parties and have found a lot of the same information. I’m going to investigate your software too.

  6. K Ackermann

    Similar in concept to the Antipope, we should set up an Anticourt where Antiprosecutors can lay out their cases in front of an Antijudge and Antijury.

    We can call it the 99th Circuit, and liveblog the trials.

    If the accused fail to show, then they won’t be able to mount much of a defense, but make no mistake, they will be judged.

    Sentences might be non-binding, but we can request those convicted to notify the court of any change in address so we can quietly alert the community of a new criminal in their midst. If they don’t register, then we can hunt them down, and very visibly and very often post flyers in the community warning of this despicable, unpunished criminal.

    1. anticourt

      No need to reinvent that wheel. The UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing is investigating illegal mass evictions as a serious human rights abuse. The US is under pressure internationally to grant access for special procedures. Don’t hold your breath waiting to hear about that in the media.

    2. avg cityzen

      this is an excellent idea, promote heavily and broadcast the anticourt trials over the internets, stream live and record mp3 for viewing later.

  7. Seth

    It is clear from this what Obama was put in office to do. He will become the first billionaire ex-president for his service to his masters.

  8. jake chase

    Let’s admit that mortgage securitization broke all the rules. Clearly, fraud was perpetrated on the investors in securitized mortgages. I remain puzzled why this is hailed as an exuse for those who borrowed the money, used it to buy the house, and in many cases fraudulently misrepresented their income and assets. I am unpersuaded that all these borrowers were “fraudulently induced” to buy houses they couldn’t possibly afford, or that they were even planning to pay for them, rather than pass them along to another buyer at a higher price. Can anyone explain why they are entitled a free pass because of bank misconduct in the securitization process?

    I understand that bankruptcy has since disabled many mortgage originators from executing proper instruments of assignment. This may mean that the mortgage investor cannot legally claim the asset. But isn’t the mortgage then an asset of the bankrupt estate? Doesn’t the bankruptcy trustee have a foreclosure right if the debt isn’t paid? I know of no law which extinguishes a claim because of an invalid assignment. Can anyone help with this?

    1. Jim A

      Hmmm…well the problem is that the “double checking for mistakes” function hasn’t just been outsourced, in truth it has been eliminated. Certainly in the majority of cases what we have is homeowners who have legitimately pledged their house as security for a loan that they later failed to pay according to the agreed upon terms. But we have traditionally required a bit more evidence that “Because I say so,” to effect a foreclosure. At some level the banks have done an end run around the real property laws and asserted that “I said so” should be evidence enough. And submitted fraudulent documents to support their assertion. Certainly in the majority of cases justice probably IS best served with a foreclosure. But they have SO abused the process that it seems reasonable to ask to at least depose these notaries and the “bank officers” responsible. They decided to save a few hundred dollars by ignoring the normal legal requirements. I see little wrong with forcing them to present actual EVIDENCE that the borrower has pledged the property, hasn’t been paying, and that they are the party that has a right to be made whole. And to the extant that their carelessness has put the title under a cloud, I think that they should be prevented from seeking a deficiency judgment, since their failure has lowered the value of the property.

    2. Linden

      There are two problems coming up with these flawed assignment chains. One is that the mortgages may not be mortgages because they aren’t tied to the collateral. The other is that no one can figure out who has the right to collect.

      Money was lent and borrowed, so there is a debt. The question is whether the debt is secured or unsecured. The requirements for perfecting a security interest are well laid out in the law, and failure to follow them means the debt is not secured. It could be that borrowers own their properties free and clear, but have an unsecured debt equal to the value of the mortgage. No one is really certain how this problem is going to play out. Those of us who practice bankruptcy law are fashioning ad hoc solutions to help people who need debt relief right now, but I predict a lot of quiet title actions in the future.

    3. Cugel

      “I remain puzzled why this is hailed as an exuse for those who borrowed the money. . . .”

      I’ll tell you why! The banks made BILLIONS Of dollars in TELLING people to make these loans. I represent a client who is a beautician making about $20k per year. Banks in 2006 invited her to take out a $550k mortgage on investment property in FL by telling her that they would re-do the loan in a couple of years enabling her to sell at a profit.

      BANKS deliberately did this because they made tons of money on the fees, while the taxpayers were on the hook if their wild gamble failed. Which we’re now learning forced the FED to cough up TRILLIONS to cover their losses. NOBODY is bailing out the borrowers or even allowing them to cram down their mortgages in bankruptcy.

      Were people like this fools for taking on debt they couldn’t hope to pay according to the terms of the instrument? Sure. But, we have FRAUD laws to protect the gullible for a very good reason. The gullible constitute more than 1/2 of the population of the U.S.!

      Law should exist to PROTECT the population against predatory lending practices. Instead we’ve written the laws at both the state and federal level to protect the guilty ones who profited massively, and then when their fraudulent practices resulted in massive losses, passing the costs onto the taxpayers!

      We should be putting all these scum in Federal prison for long terms to discourage future bad conduct by lenders. Frog-march a few banking CEOs off and put them in orange jump suits with steel leg and arm shackles and we might deter such conduct in the future.

      1. readerOfTeaLeaves

        Indeed.
        Some of my background involves literacy, and over the past 15 years it has become increasingly clear that many adults in the US (immigrants, as well as native born) have reading disabilities, and/or are unfamiliar with legal documentation.

        What the banks tossed at people ‘looked legit’, and the customers are not likely to understand the fine print even if they read it (terms of art, unfamiliar legal definitions, yadda, yadda).

        In other words, banks (I use the term loosely) and mortgage lenders were tossing papers at people who were not equipped to understand the documentation, and who were operating on trust, faith, delusions, and naivete.

        The mortgage brokers, realtors, and others in the home-buying process were incentivized to make a sale, no matter how bad the mortgage (indeed, they made more profit off bad mortgages).

        Basically, you would be wise to wake up and realize that what you are really blaming people for is: (a) not being attorneys, (b) not being accountants, (c) not being real estate experts, (d) placing trust in people who were untrustworthy.

        The legalese in mortgage and title documents became totally incomprehensible to any normal, even well-educated human. Problems were inevitable, but the fraud that drove it all put it on steroids.

        Michael O – congrats on a very impressive chunk of work. Wow…!

  9. Paul Tioxon

    The promise of the internet seems to be in allowing the global system of capitalism to function with even fewer people but also, without its traditional partner the state. The type of services offered by MERS, DOCX etc. is THE virtual market place streamlined of all disparate and costly local laws and fees, which are seen as barriers to efficiency and profit growth. Not all industries and sectors lend themselves to the utopian fantasies of corporate liberty or virtual markets with uniform features that provides for countless ongoing savings by reducing the variety of specific practices from corporation to corporation to one seamless back office of uniform standard operating procedures.

    What puts the real in real estate is land, and the improvements built on it, also known as people’s homes.
    As Michael Olenick points out:

    “Robosigning is not a victimless crime. The reason we have careful, document-intensive processes for handling real property is that it is the foundation of a nation’s wealth. A home is most families’ biggest asset. The practice of having independent parties verify the validity of signatures dates back to the 1677 Statute of Frauds.”

    Land is the container of the nation state. Territorial boundaries define the nation state. It is the macro chunk of real estate that you can not just cross into without the consent of the government of the land of the free and the home of brave. To do so makes you an illegal immigrant, a smuggler, or worse, an invading enemy. The boundaries of land define the nation and they define who can have regular and free access to use and dispose of, as you please, openly and unencumbered, a piece of the land, along with any improvements, structures built on it. The ideal of personal property is so strongly felt, the even the momentary breach of the use of that space for a burglary makes a family feel violated, as if they were personally handled by the robbers.

    For private property to even exist, its publicly recorded and publicly verified ownership must be entrusted to a public agency which can confirm or deny actual ownership. Your right to own property can not be a secret, known only to you, or else you could not defend your claim to ownership. We legitimate one another in our communities but the open knowledge that property is privately held, not secretly held. It is others acknowledging our claim that gives us our privacy, that others know that they can’t just wander into each others home. That we knock before entering, that we call before we come over. But we know whose door we are knocking on and whose phone # we are calling. Privacy is not secret to the public, but public respect of individuality that not only allows someone to be free, alone with themselves in their home, but alos the decider and controller of what goes on in that space.

    The banking industry doesn’t give a shit about society. It wants what other industries have in the form of tremendous productivity gains from the information revolution. In the chemical industry, there is web base platform called ELEMICA. It was started over 11 years ago as primarily a business platform for the streamlining of the regular purchases of chemicals from one chemical company to another. Apparently in that industry, the biggest customers of chemical companies are other chemical companies. They frequently order the same basic compounds over and over again. Why not standardize purchasing and create a uniform automated market for all of this routine back and forth.

    http://www.elemica.com

    Today, it serves a huge customer base to manage the supply chain for manufacturers beyond the chemical industry, but the huge efficiencies from the internet are apparent. And MERS is just another one of those dotcom ideas that had traction with real paying customers. Unfortunately, the internet does not lend it self culturally, socially and legally to every institution we use to create and sustain our social order. While almost every start up bizplan contest usually revolves around some techie innovation or internet website portal for something or another, it does not mean the killer app will work in the real world, without killing the world of bricks and mortar it was meant to replace, or just improve upon by saving a few bucks.

    MERS just won’t work because it is a virtual solution to a territorial industry. And slapping a website and a nifty bizplan bizspeak gloss does not escape the reality that they are plain, old fashioned claim jumpers. And you know what they do to claim jumpers in these parts?

  10. Tom Stone

    It might be worthwhile to bring the San Bernardino “Notarizations” to the attention of the California Secretary of State who is politically ambitious. It is an election year in 2012…

  11. Brian

    San Bernardino is probably high on the list because there were a lot of houses built out there (especially condos, which are being turned into rental properties–from what I understand the banks are finding it easier to auction the condos than the houses as condo structures are being turned into almost apartment complexes) and many of the people that live there are what is deemed the working class poor (although SB county may extend into Upland and Claremont, both affluent cities), so no doubt they lack education and/or legal representation.

    1. Rex

      High on what list? What does condos in California have to do with processing a bunch of mortgage documents from Florida?

      1. Brian

        “The most common county is San Bernardino, CA, which filed 746 mortgage assignments, 29.8% of the total. California overall notarized 815 Florida assignments, 32.6% of the total.”

        The above was taken from the article. I’m not answering why it would be conducted out of state (probably, and perhaps obviously, to avoid prosecution), but only why SB county specifically, and that’s because of high unemployment and there being a large presence of services related and needed in the real estate market (whereas the author seems to be under the impression that SB county might not be the populated given him stating that “a large portion which consists of the Mojave desert”); that is, much of the demographics were people who changed their jobs to go into the housing market during the bubble, it’s a populated area (in parts) with high unemployment, and there’s still alot of activity going on in foreclosures (thus notaries and such are still active in the area).

        Intuitively, if one were only familiar with Southern California from the outside, they may suspect to find Orange County as a leading county, however, OC was gutted out immediately after the sub prime collapse.

        A question that persists is that obviously not all foreclosures throughout the country are being done out of state, and so it would be nice to see if there’s similarities in counties where out of state notaries are being used. Such as are they employing out of state agents from poor counties to sign off on papers in more affluent counties (having more fear of legal retaliation from an affluent county as they might be able to afford legal counsel).

        1. LucyLulu

          Brian,
          Land records and foreclosure documents are filed in the county where the property is located, always. All of these properties were located in Palm Beach Co., Florida. Only the paperwork was from California (drafted and signed in CA, not filed there).

  12. aletheia33

    your are a brave and responsible soul and deserve our deepest gratitude. thank you for the work you are doing to document these crimes. i do not think it will be wasted. please keep on and do not be discouraged. many people may be helped by your work in ways we cannot clearly see from here.

    i suspect that the white house is fully aware of the extent of and deliberately refraining from addressing the mortgage fraud abuses, with the misguided understanding that letting it pass is the best way to bring about “correction” in the housing market. the question cui bono? is not being asked.

    i also suspect that trust, the basis of community, prosperity, and social stability, is a concept the current administration has little clue about. they do not seem to realize that a point comes when one’s “customers” do discern that one’s marketing/pr is far from congruent with the reality of what one has actually delivered. i think in a weird way they may actually get taken in by their own pr, they have forgotten that it is pr. and their “market,” of course, is captive.

    any government always carries along with it a certain amount of corruption. there has not been a loud enough public outcry to give the excusers reason to fear any consequences of their failure to bring anyone to account for mortgage fraud abuses. without a loud enough public outcry, this imperviousness, and the wrongdoing, will continue.

    perhaps one really cannot see how to act against oppression until one recognizes the full extent of one’s captivity. the american people on the whole do not seem to realize how fully captive they are, the extent to which TPTB have got the system locked up, or that they themselves, the people, are the only hope left for their own liberation from this captivity. a major shift of consciousness is required. maybe it will happen.

    so here’s a thought jump to tickle the imagination. it is only very recently that some scholars of u.s. history have begun to use the term “self-liberating person” instead of “runaway slave.” it’s awkward, and it made me think, and then recognize the way that using the term “runaway slave” continues to grant legitimacy to a supposedly long-discredited regime and that those who liberated themselves by “running away” probably did not think of themselves as “runaway slaves.” they were in fact taking their own lives into their own hands to the fullest extent of which they were capable. beyond OWS, what will it look like for our fellow citizens to do so today?

  13. Linden

    Mr. Olenick — have you tried sending subpoenas to the notaries for copies of their notary registries? California, and I’m sure most states also, has a process by which anyone can ask to see a notary’s registry. Being a notary is a public trust, and their records are available to the public, for any reason or no reason at all.

    I subpoenaed a notary’s registry once to authenticate the signature on a mortgage assignment. I never got the registry because the lender chose to settle with me instead rather than disclose. Plus, it was great fun to hear them wail and moan and make meritless discovery objections.

  14. Pearl

    Michael,

    I have also been looking into this recently. Because of the specific cases that I have been looking through, my digging has lead me to two main locations–the Dakota County, MN location and the Scotts Bluff, NE locations. (Several of the Scotts Bluff robo-names match up with long-time employees of Aurora and / or its predecessors, btw.)

    I am in Fulton County Georgia, and it is remarkable how few of the “assignment mill” assignments that are filed/recorded in Georgia–are actually being signed here in GA by Georgia notaries. Of course, that would make it so easy for Georgia judges to compel Georgia Notaries to appear in court on some of these matters.

    (Hmmmm…it would be interesting to know if the assignments that are being churned out in Dakota County, Minnesota end up being used for foreclosure cases in Minnesota, if assignments signed in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska end up being used for foreclosure cases in Nebraska, etc….)

    Sorry for the digression there.

    Moving right along….I found a spate of extra-sketchy assignments filed throughout 15-or-so Georgia counties on October 7, 2011. They were all (allegedly) prepared, witnessed, and notarized between October 3 through October 5 at the Dakota County, Minnesota location. This particular spate all involved Wells Fargo as grantee, MERS was always one of the grantors. (The additional grantor on each assignment varied widely.)

    The same 20-or-so robo-names seemed to circulate among the documents–four signatures per document. The various “positions” or “titles” attached to each name, of course, varied widely. The most common notary names seem to be Angela Marie Williams, Matthew F. Ryan, and Robert W. Caruso in this particular (hurried) batch. The MERS Assistant Secretary robo-names and the two witness robo-names seem to draw from a larger pool of 15 or so names. (Noreen Leak, Shawn Williams, Dan Clausen, Julie Ann Prieto, Shawn James, Brenda Mutua, Nancy D. Sorensen, Bao Thao, John E. Logan, Jason Brumm, Gwen Alden, Ricky L. Thompson–to name a few.)

    I would be interested to know if any other states’ clerks of court had a lot of similar assignments filed on that same date. (Filed on October 7, 2011, yet signed from October 3-5.) It may have been a “Georgia thing”–trying to get assignments filed before foreclosure notices were advertised for 4 weeks in advance of November’s “foreclosure Tuesday.” (Foreclosures in Georgia are held on the first Tuesday of each month.)

    I have discovered several interesting variations on at least one of the notaries’ signatures, and have already scanned quite a few of them–would be happy to forward them along to Michael if that would be useful.

    1. Pearl

      Oh! Michael! I just visited your Findthefraud website! This is awesome–I will start tinkering around there immediately.

      Does this mean that I no-longer have to take pictures of my laptop screen to compare robo-signatures? :-)

      This could change my life!!! LOL!

      But seriously–a thousand times–thank you. What a fantastic idea/service/toy for fraudclosure nerds. ;-)

    2. Elizabeth

      I would be interested in looking at signatures…. had a WF assignment out of MERS notarized by Robert Caruso ( I am in Mass.) file on Nov. 7th. MERS person is in Indiana from what I can determine, notarizewd in Dakota County MN. Also a two page document.

      Unbelievable!

        1. Elizabeth

          Thanks…. have done that… have also spoken to AG office regarding this already…. on top of it. Have had enough. Also had audit done by a well known auditor. Game ON!!!!

    3. LJean

      Hi Pearl,

      I am looking for any robosignatures of Matthew F. Ryan and Jason Brumm.

      If you have copies of any documents signed or notarized by either, could you please send copies to me at ? Thanks.

      I would love to chat privately about these issues. I’m in California and helping homeowners with a group of other like-minded people here.

      Thanks for any assistance you can provide.

      Merry Christmas!

  15. Ohio FRAUDclosure

    Great work Michael, Yet another example of an UN-PAID investigative warrior doing the government’s work…Hello DOJ, FBI, 47 AG’s(oh I forgot – you’re working on a settlement figure not an investigation)
    From Michael’s post……Fulton County, GA had 105 assignments….from LPS-owned and now defunct DocX…the now-shuttered company that was featured on 60 Minutes because they employed teenagers to act as “surrogate signers” (FRAUD) for infamous robo-signer Linda Green…..see below to meet 3 of the Linda Green’s and LPS Crime Scene
    http://ohiofraudclosure.blogspot.com/2011/08/linda-green-fraudclosure-crime-scene.html

  16. LillithMc

    I just read that Occupy in CA will begin focusing on foreclosures. Our AG, Kamela Harris, is investigating, but this may put more pressure on the problem. The danger is that judges and the government will make the “too big to fail” problem go away. Some suggest the statute of limitations may give some relief to the banksters. californiaprogressreport.com/site/

  17. Dan

    I have to strongly disagree with your conclusion.

    “These banks — who have received trillions of dollars of bailout money — can’t simply decry, again, “whoops – our bad,” then expect yet another Get Out of Jail Free card.”

    They can’t? What action has happened in the last 5 years which would give you any indication that they won’t get off scott-free?

    “But hopefully, one day, law enforcement and regulators — government employees funded by taxpayer who are trained and tasked to do this type of work — will pick up the burden on their own.”

    That pre-supposes that law enforcement is neglecting it’s job. It’s not. They’re working for their employers and doing exactly what’s asked of them.

  18. Noni Mausa

    Just one quibble regarding the “frozen tundra” of Dakota County, MN, which is actually just adjacent to the Twin Cities to the southeast. You have to hike about 1000 miles north, well into Canada, to find any tundra.

    With that exception, the MN/FL connection looks plenty fishy.

    Noni

  19. Don Lowell

    I will add, up here in the land of fargospeak we are a long way from the tundra.

    Having said that, our attorney general was speaking about a company that had filed false affadavits to the court over a 10 year period. Her comment was “” some mistakes were made”". Yeah sure U betcha!!

  20. sadahka

    Michael, congrats on your good work. Does your website’s search capacity only pertain to the two counties in Florida
    in the drop-down box? I’m in metro Atlanta, Dekalb county.
    Thanks

  21. anonymous in the southwest

    Those itty-bitty or far away counties where assignments are processed–I’d bet money they’re the location of the mortgage servicer’s offices. It’s been several years, but I know that in the middle ’00s, one too big to fail bank’s home mortgage servicing was located out of San Bernardino.

  22. indio007

    I really wish people would stop saying “Free and Clear”

    No one got a house absolutely for free and never clear.

    Taxes , maintenance , down payment, payments till default closing costs, Time and aggravation.

    Let’s just kill the “free and clear” meme , it’s such BS.

    At best, they got the house real cheap and destroyed their credit.

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