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    NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL SUES MERS, BANK OF AMERICA, ET AL IN REAL ESTATE FRAUD

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    NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL SUES MERS, BANK OF AMERICA, ET AL IN REAL ESTATE FRAUD

    Post  Admin on Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:08 am

    NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL SUES MERS, BANK OF AMERICA, ET AL IN BIGGEST REAL ESTATE FRAUD OF THE CENTURY



    AMERICANS AGAINST FORECLOSURES ( AAF )
    Email: aafhelpus@groups.facebook.com
    Website: http://aafnow.com/
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/380685371948323/

    Millions of American homeowners and families made homeless by ruthless criminal organizations.

    Will the FBI arrest high level executives of these banks in the next few hours?

    Read the Complaint here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/80391247/BANK-OF-AMERICA-WELLS-FARGO-JPMORGAN-SUED-BY-NEW-YORK-OVER-MERS-2-3-2012

    A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES MAJOR LAWSUIT AGAINST NATION’S LARGEST BANKS FOR DECEPTIVE & FRAUDULENT USE OF ELECTRONIC MORTGAGE REGISTRY

    Complaint Charges Use Of MERS By Bank Of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, And Wells Fargo Resulted In Fraudulent Foreclosure Filings

    Servicers And MERS Filed Improper Foreclosure Actions Where Authority To Sue Was Questionable

    Schneiderman: MERS And Servicers Engaged In Deceptive and Fraudulent Practices That Harmed Homeowners And Undermined Judicial Foreclosure Process

    NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today filed a lawsuit against several of the nation’s largest banks charging that the creation and use of a private national mortgage electronic registry system known as MERS has resulted in a wide range of deceptive and fraudulent foreclosure filings in New York state and federal courts, harming homeowners and undermining the integrity of the judicial foreclosure process. The lawsuit asserts that employees and agents of Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, acting as "MERS certifying officers," have repeatedly submitted court documents containing false and misleading information that made it appear that the foreclosing party had the authority to bring a case when in fact it may not have. The lawsuit names JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., Bank of America, N.A., Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., as well as Virginia-based MERSCORP, Inc. and its subsidiary, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.

    The lawsuit further asserts that the MERS System has effectively eliminated homeowners' and the public's ability to track property transfers through the traditional public records system. Instead, this information is now stored only in a private database – which is plagued with inaccuracies and errors – over which MERS and its financial institution members exercise sole control. Additional defendants include BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP, Chase Home Finance LLC, EMC Mortgage Corporation, and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Inc.

    “The banks created the MERS system as an end-run around the property recording system, to facilitate the rapid securitization and sale of mortgages. Once the mortgages went sour, these same banks brought foreclosure proceedings en masse based on deceptive and fraudulent court submissions, seeking to take homes away from people with little regard for basic legal requirements or the rule of law,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Our action demonstrates that there is one set of rules for all – no matter how big or powerful the institution may be – and that those rules will be enforced vigorously. Only through real accountability for the illegal and deceptive conduct in the foreclosure crisis will there be justice for New York’s homeowners.”

    The financial industry created MERS in 1995 to allow financial institutions to evade local county recording fees, avoid the hassle and paperwork of publicly recording mortgage transfers, and facilitate the rapid sale and securitization of mortgages. MERS operates as a membership organization, and most large companies that participate in the mortgage industry – by originating loans, buying or investing in loans, or servicing loans – are members, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. Over 70 million loans nationally have been registered in MERS System, including about 30 million currently active loans.

    Through their membership in MERS, these companies avoided publicly recording the purchase and sale of mortgages by designating MERS Inc. – a shell company with no economic interest in any mortgage loan – as the "nominal" mortgagee of the loan in the public records. Instead, MERS members were supposed to log mortgage transfers in the MERS private electronic registry. The basic theory behind MERS is that, because MERS Inc. serves as a "nominee" (or agent) for most major lenders, it remains the "mortgagee" in the public records regardless of how often the loan is sold or transferred among MERS members. Thus, although MERSCORP has only about 70 employees, MERS Inc. serves as the mortgagee of record for tens of millions of loans registered in the MERS System.

    MERS has granted over 20,000 “certifying officers” the authority to act on its behalf, including the authority to assign mortgages, to execute paperwork necessary to foreclose, and to submit filings on behalf of MERS in bankruptcy proceedings. These certifying officers are not MERS employees, but instead are employed by MERS members, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.

    MERS' conduct, as well as the servicers’ use of the MERS System, has resulted in the filing of improper New York foreclosure proceedings, undermined the integrity of the judicial process, created confusion and uncertainty concerning property ownership interests, and potentially clouded titles on properties throughout the State of New York. In fact, several New York judges have questioned the standing of the foreclosing party in cases involving MERS loans and the validity of mortgage assignments executed by MERS certifying officers.

    The lawsuit specifically charges that the defendants have engaged in the following fraudulent and deceptive practices:

    MERS has filed over 13,000 foreclosure actions against New York homeowners listing itself as the plaintiff, but in many instances, MERS lacked the legal authority to foreclose and did not own or hold the promissory note, despite saying otherwise in court submissions.

    MERS certifying officers, including employees and agents of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo, have repeatedly executed and submitted in court legal documents purporting to assign the mortgage and/or note to the foreclosing party. These documents contain numerous defects, including affirmative misrepresentations of fact, which render them false, deceptive, and/or invalid. These assignments were often automatically generated and "robosigned" by individuals who did not review the underlying property ownership records, confirm the documents’ accuracy, or even read the documents. These false and defective assignments often masked gaps in the chain of title and the foreclosing party's inability to establish its authority to foreclose, and as a result have misled homeowners and the courts.

    MERS' indiscriminate use of non-employee "certifying officers" to execute vital legal documents has confused, misled, and deceived homeowners and the courts and made it difficult to ascertain whether a party actually has the right to foreclose. MERS certifying officers have regularly executed and submitted in court mortgage assignments and other legal documents on behalf of MERS without disclosing that they are not MERS employees, but instead are employed by other entities, such as the mortgage servicer filing the case or its counsel. The signature line just indicates that the individual is an "Assistant Secretary," "Vice President," or other officer of MERS. Indeed, these documents often purport to assign the mortgage to the certifying officer's own employer. Moreover, as a result of the defendants' failure to track the designation of certifying officers and the scope of their authority to act, individuals have executed legal documents on behalf of MERS, such as mortgage assignments and loan modifications, when they were either not designated as a MERS certifying officer at the time or were not authorized to execute documents on behalf of MERS with respect to the subject loan.

    MERS and its members have deceived and misled borrowers about the importance and ramifications of MERS' role with respect to their loan by providing inadequate disclosures.

    The MERS System is riddled with inaccuracies which make it difficult to verify the chain of title for a loan or the current note-holder, and creates confusion among stakeholders who rely on the information. In addition, as a result of these inaccuracies, MERS has filed mortgage satisfactions against the wrong property.

    The lawsuit seeks a declaration that the alleged practices violate the law, as well as injunctive relief, damages for harmed homeowners, and civil penalties. The lawsuit also seeks a court order requiring defendants to take all actions necessary to cure any title defects and clear any improper liens resulting from their fraudulent and deceptive acts and practices.

    The matter is being handled by Deputy Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Consumer Frauds & Protection Jeffrey K. Powell, Assistant Attorney General Clare Norins, and Assistant Solicitor General Steven C. Wu, under the supervision of First Deputy Attorney General Harlan Levy.

    Source : http://www.ag.ny.gov/media_center/2012/feb/feb03a_12.html

    ALBANY, N.Y. — New York's attorney general on Friday accused some of the nation's largest banks of deceit and fraud in using an electronic mortgage registry that he said puts homeowners at a disadvantage in foreclosures while saving banks over $2 billion.

    Democrat Eric Schneiderman sued Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo over their use of the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., or MERS, claiming the banks submitted court documents containing false and misleading information that appeared to provide the authority for foreclosures when there was none.

    The lawsuit also names the registry operator, MERSCORP Inc. of Virginia.


    Schneiderman claims the MERS system has eliminated homeowners' ability to track property transfers through traditional public records. He said the electronic system now stores that data and is plagued by inaccuracies and what the lawsuit calls "faulty and sloppy document preparation and execution practices."

    "The banks created the MERS system as an end-run around the property recording system, to facilitate the rapid securitization and sale of mortgages," Schneiderman said Friday. "Once the mortgages went sour, these same banks brought foreclosure proceedings en masse based on deceptive and fraudulent court submissions, seeking to take homes away from people with little regard for basic legal requirements or the rule of law."

    MERS spokeswoman Janis L. Smith promised to fight the lawsuit. She said the company complies with all laws and county and state recording regulations.

    "Federal and state courts around the country have repeatedly upheld the MERS business model, and the validity of MERS as legal mortgagee and nominee for lenders," she said.

    J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America declined comment. There was no immediate comment from Wells Fargo.

    MERS was set up by banks to rapidly package and sell mortgages as securities without recording each transaction in county records offices. Complaints allege among other things that homeowners have trouble responding to foreclosure actions and mortgage inaccuracies because MERS makes it difficult to find out who owns the mortgages.

    "By creating this bizarre and complex end-around of the traditional public recording system, banks achieved their primary goal — over 70 million mortgage loans, including millions of subprime loans, have been registered in the MERS system and the industry has saved more than $2 billion in recording fees," according to the lawsuit.

    The lawsuit also claims that over the several years, "banks rapidly securitized and sold off millions of loans, often misrepresenting the quality and nature of the mortgages being transferred."

    Last month, President Barack Obama announced a new Justice Department fraud-fighting unit to bring together 55 prosecutors and federal and state investigators focusing on one of the contributing causes behind the financial crisis — the collapse of residential mortgage-backed securities. Obama named Schneiderman as co-chairman to pull together state and federal probes into the bubble that led to the market crash.

    Delaware officials have said MERS has sown confusion among consumers, investors and other stakeholders in the mortgage finance system. Officials claim the company has damaged the integrity of Delaware's land records system and lead to unlawful foreclosure practices.

    The Massachusetts attorney general sued the banks and MERS in December and Delaware's attorney general has sued MERS Corp.

    ___

    Associated Press Business Writer Pallavi Gogoi, and AP Writer Randall Chase in Wilmington, Del., contributed to this report.

    Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/AP49a5ae2893f744cf99dc2f4fe9a52137.html


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