Faulty Mortgage Docs go back to Late 1990s

Via the AP:  Robo-signed mortgage docs date back to late 1990s

as county officials review years’ worth of mortgage paperwork, in some cases combing through one page at a time, they are finding suspect signatures — either signed with the same name by dozens of different people, improperly notarized or signed without a review of the facts in the paperwork — on all sorts of mortgage documents, dating as far back as 1998, The Associated Press has found.

"Because of these bad titles, property owners can’t prove they own the properties they think they bought, and banks can’t prove they had the right to sell them," says Jeff Thigpen, the registrar of deeds in Guilford County, N.C.


Widespread robo-signing that stretches back a decade or more could create problems for homeowners. Regulators have so far not asked lenders to clean up the potentially millions of suspect documents filed in the past decade or earlier. That troubles some banking experts, including Sheila Bair, who until early July was chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

"We do not yet really know the full extent of the problem," Bair said in written remarks to the Senate Banking Committee. She and others have called for a comprehensive study on the extent of the fraudulent signatures in mortgage documents.

If documents with robo-signed signatures are challenged in court, judges could question the ownership of the properties, says Katherine Porter, a professor at University of California Irvine School of Law and an expert on consumer credit law. The consequences extend to homeowners in good standing when they try to sell.

Because, of course, we needed even more trouble with fixing the housing market and mortgage situation.

The whole piece is worth reading.  The entire robo-signing situation is indicative of the rampant irresponsibility in mortgage finance that helped get us all into the current economic mess we find ourselves in.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. anjin-san says:

    that helped get us all into the current economic mess we find ourselves in.

    Dude! It’s totally Obama’s fault. Don’t you watch Fox? If government would just get out of the way this would all be straightened out in six weeks…

  2. john personna says:

    We know it is tied to MERS, founded in 1995. So this is not too surprising.

    MERS gave banks a way to massively streamline processing, by not quite dotting i’s or crossing t’s.

  3. Rob in CT says:

    One of the things that amazes me about the 2008 crash is the fact that hardly anyone has ended up in jail.

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Following the S&L crisis twenty years back there were something like 10,000 criminal prosecutions. The ongoing financial crisis is orders of magnitude more severe than the S&L crisis and there have been something like a dozen prosecutions. Strange, that.

  5. The Florida Masochist says:

    Some of the fraudulent documents are so blatant its ridiculous. For example- DM Wileman signing an assignment of Mortgage claiming to be a Vice-President of Citimortgage or MERS(They’ve claimed to be both and more in assignments). At the very top of the assignment? It is written return to ME Wileman Orion Financial Group. DM Wileman’s real employer is listed right there on the assignment!

  6. Rob in CT says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    We must “look forward” or something. We mustn’t look behind the curtain.