It is always the cover-up that gets people in trouble for what they did. It’s time for DOJ and law enforcement across the country to pursue crimes being committed hundreds of times per day in our court system and recording offices and in correspondence between a false servicer and a clueless homeowner who thinks they are bound by an illegal defective loan contract. recording false instruments is a crime.
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CHICAGO—A former clerk for the Cook County Recorder of Deeds accepted a $200 cash bribe in exchange for preparing and agreeing to record a back-dated deed on an Oak Park home, according to a federal indictment announced today.
The indictment was returned Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. It charges Taylor, 59, of Chicago, with one count of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud. Taylor will be arraigned before U.S. District Judge Sara L. Ellis on Sept. 24, 2015, at 10:00 a.m.
According to the indictment, Taylor offered and agreed to prepare a false quit claim deed that added the purported relative to the deed of the Oak Park property, which was allegedly owned by three deceased individuals. Taylor told the undercover agent that she usually charges $500 to prepare and record the fraudulent documents, but that in this instance she was willing to charge only $200, the indictment states.
This indictment opens up the area of inquiry that homeowners have been raising for years. In many, if not most cases, the assignment of mortgage has been back-dated. That is the equivalent of “uttering a false instrument.” It is a criminal act carrying pretty strong penalties under state law. The ancillary charge is even worse for the perpetrator: using the US Postal Service as part of an illegal scheme (mail fraud) or using the banking system to commit a crime (wire fraud).
There might be many false instruments recorded and there may be more than one recording clerk that allows it and even assists in the process. The judges in foreclosure actions don’t seem to be interested. But it looks like the FBI may have different ideas and perhaps the local prosecutor’s office might also want to look at this. Certainly, considering the scale of the problem (millions of false instruments recorded including assignment and even satisfaction of mortgage), the DOJ and the state Attorney General SHOULD be looking at these crimes as they are having widespread negative effect on the community at large.
Filing a report with law enforcement is the first step. Making sure you have all the paperwork in order so that law enforcement is not required to get documents that you could have otherwise given to them. If the charge is brought there is an argument to say that there is an intervening criminal act involved and that the act of foreclosure is in equity; courts generally do not grant equitable relief to a party with unclean hands — one of the many reasons we have seen the game of musical chairs with Trustees and servicers.
But the real issue is getting convictions. This will inhibit anyone from executing an instrument they know nothing about (robo-signor) at the instruction of people who know the instrument is wrong, back-dated or otherwise false. A good prosecutor will get several indictments and several convictions from each event. In my opinion this criminal behavior is ongoing, not barred by any statute of limitations and if prosecuted, would do more to stabilize the economy than many other policies.
The inquiry could go on to include “modification” where the false “servicer” reports that the investor rejected the modification; in nearly all cases, no presentation of the modification is ever made to the investors. Representing to the Court that the modification was rejected by the investor is perjury, suborning perjury or simply fraudulent misrepresentation to the court by the attorney.
My reason for saying “false servicer” is that in virtually all cases, the “servicer” has no legal authority to act and knows it. The trustee for the alleged REMIC Trust has no authority to act and knows it. The Master Servicer (Investment Bank) sits in the background calling the shots. But none of these entities actually have any relationship to a particular loan — if, as seems to be universally true, there )a) was no consummated loan contract or (b) the “loan” never made it into the REMIC Trust.
Unless the servicer, Trustee or other “representative” has some OTHER valid contract allowing them to service or enforce the alleged “loan documents” they have nothing. If the loan wasn’t purchased by the Trust, the trust doesn’t own it. And the Trust does not own it in most cases. The assignment is false, not supported by consideration (a false claim frequently found in assignments), and is void, if it was not purchased and certainly void if performed after the cutoff date. In virtually all cases the REMIC Trust exists only on paper — never in the real world of the marketplace. A trust without a business, assets, liabilities, income and expenses is no trust at all — it lacks the “res.” That is Trust talk for lack of consideration.
So you can see that in ALL cases, the truth of the document lies in the money trail. AND THAT is what should be relentlessly pursued in discovery and on appeal.
Filed under: foreclosure |