FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-04-10
Recently evicted from her home at gunpoint, a West Coast woman exposes a trail of fraud and deceit perpetrated against her by a succession of banks that owned her mortgage. An audit of foreclosure actions in her county revealed that 99 percent of the local foreclosures had “questionable activity” and 84 percent had violated laws outright. A majority of the transactions reviewed had four or more violations of home foreclosure laws.
The statistics are no surprise in light of the recent $25 billion settlement with five of the nation’s major banks, stemming from the discovery of tens of thousands of fraudulent bank documents. The director of the litigation department of foreclosure prevention at the New York Legal Services agency claims it is not just an issue of sloppy paperwork. Much of the documentation forcing foreclosures was actually signed by a computer or by people who had no authority to act on behalf of the mortgage lenders.
Despite the crackdown on numerous banks, the National Consumer Law Center warns that many lenders are still disregarding the law. A survey found that thousands of homeowners in 45 states were improperly foreclosed upon in the past year. Improper actions taken by lenders include:
- Scheduling foreclosure sales despite working with homeowners on loan modifications
- Telling owners they had been granted loan modifications without providing documentation
- Failing to credit payments made by homeowners
- Charging bogus fees and fines
- Failing to respond to requests for information or documentation
To further complicate matters, consumer protection agencies report a continued flood of loan modification scams, especially those that appear to be from the new foreclosure assistance programs recently announced by the government.
Currently, there are about two million homes in some stage of foreclosure in the nation. Fortunately, homeowners are increasingly fighting back and some are winning. The New York Attorney General has also filed a lawsuit against a number of lenders exposing mortgage fraud.
Despite doing everything right, New York homeowners are still at risk of fraudulent foreclosures. If you are fighting a foreclosure action or your lender is not providing you the information to which you are entitled, contact a home foreclosure defense lawyer. An experienced attorney can assert your rights, providing prompt attention that may help you keep your home.