Foreclosure Document Mess Drives Notaries to Take the Fifth Among the many legal problems now being discovered with the foreclosure documents that banks have been using are false notarizations. The most typical variety of this problem occurs when a notary certifies that the person whose signature appears on a document really did sign it, even though the notary didn't witness the signing.

While such false notarizing is criminal, I've not yet heard of any notaries being charged. However, in Maryland, Steve Lash of The Daily Record reports that 18 current and former notaries have invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in a foreclosure case.

The notaries were brought before the court in proceedings involving a lawyer who didn't actually sign numerous foreclosure documents that were nonetheless notarized saying he did. The judge excused the notaries from the proceedings after they took the Fifth, and apparently, they aren't facing prosecution.

Title Issues Trip Up Innocent Buyers


Nonetheless, the ramifications of those false certifications are significant. Because the lawyer -- Thomas P. Dore -- didn't sign the documents as certified, the judge has dismissed five foreclosures, although the banks can refile. In addition, the judge is considering what to do in 15 other cases where Dore isn't sure whether or not he signed the documents, and the judge is also weighing what to do about 12 Dore foreclosures that were completed in which the properties have since been sold. This is a striking situation when you consider the judge's options. Might he rescind the sales? Void the foreclosures, but let the sales stand?

The thorny question of how to handle cases when wrongfully foreclosed-upon properties were sold to unwitting homebuyers is starting to surface due to a host of legal issues, and it will only get worse as the pervasiveness of improperly transferred notes and flawed mortgage documentation becomes clearer. In Pennsylvania, thousands of foreclosures were undertaken using documents not signed by an attorney, which may void them. What happens to the innocent buyers of those foreclosed-upon properties?

In Massachusetts, where a recent top court ruling has jeopardized many completed foreclosures but didn't address what happens to the innocent buyers, the issue will be resolved soon. The Massachusetts high court has agreed to hear the appeal in Bevilacqua v. Rodriguez, a case in which the innocent buyer had tried to clear the title to his property, only to be told by the judge that he didn't own the property. That's because the bank that foreclosed on the former owner didn't own the mortgage when it foreclosed, so it couldn't take title to the property. Since the bank couldn't take title, it couldn't sell the property, either.

The bottom line is, though we're a few years into this foreclosure crisis, we're not even at the end of the beginning: New consequences from the failures of banks and their attorneys to follow the law during the real estate bubble keep surfacing every day.

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17 Comments

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gpfs

For those of you who interested in the real estate crash. Search Brooksley born, a Clinton advisor, who fought tooth and nail to regulate derivatives. Very interesting stories.

January 27 2011 at 3:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dlh891

Check out the notorious Melissa Bell from Litton in Texas. She is being investigated by the State of Texas right now. She will not be using (or letting anyone else use) her notary stamp much longer...

January 27 2011 at 11:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wayne

Thank you again Abigail.

January 26 2011 at 11:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wayne

When I started investigating all of this, I started out collecting snow flakes. I searched the Internet and all the Laws pertaining this situation. I made phone calls, and more phone calls, Looked at this article and that article, read blog comments after blog comments and to my surprise their were Video's on You Tube also. This was 2 years ago. Now collecting all these snow flakes I have one huge snow ball. I don't claim to know it all and really you would think there would be volumes after volumes of Lawful information but their isn't. It is Simple .. oh so very simple. What the Banks and Lenders have done is put the smoke screen up and clouded it with confusion, all through their fraudulent acts and their Racketeering agenda. As the Supreme Court Justice of Massachusetts said ... This is a simple transaction ... It's just that plain and simple. I first thought I would never be able to understand all of this and I really don't, but I don't have to. All I need to know is the Basic Law. All land Transactions need to be Recorded at the county to which the land is in. The person buying the Land or Property only Pays the person who is holding the Note or has the authority from the actual person who is Holding the note. How ever that person has to be Recorded at the County also. All these transactions need to be notarized which includes a stamp, signature and the paper should have a raised seal embedded in the paper. Tracking the Note should take a few minutes not a few months or a few years. In my case ... NEVER. It is just that simple.

January 26 2011 at 11:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
sgentilejr

All that this "Title Document" mess does is make it much harder to sell any property and further slow down the economy.
My suggestion is DO NOT BUY any home unless you first go to the County Taxation office and see whose name is currently on the title filed with the County. GMAC, Bank of America, Citi etc. cannot legally sell any home if it is listed as belonging to another mortgage company on the County tax records. Do yourself a favor and check the county tax records YOURSELF before you buy any home.
It is YOUR Money so be smart and do not trust others to check the Title for you because if they screw up___YOU could be out YOUR money.

January 26 2011 at 10:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
chawkins@notarynow.com

I have been shocked that the idea of a traditional form of notarization, the way that was used for robo-signing, still holds any weight after it has been so thoroughly debunked by actions like these. The massive notary frauds in the Chicago election are another example. If you want identity verification or document authentication, use some more robust system that can't be cheated so easily (as @jkennedy806 pointed out).

January 26 2011 at 9:08 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to chawkins@notarynow.com's comment
jkennedy806

I know about this, the head title searcher and I were talking about this, in fact, I turned in a complaint to the Attorney general and the OCC. The notory isn't even present -- the banks attorney rubber stamped it, using a rubber stamp of the notary's name. That's right, now you too, can go to the stationery store and get a rubber stamp of your notary and use it for all sorts of things that need to be nortorized. Need a notary to sign a will, no problem just rubber stamp it, need a car title nortarized, no problem rubber stamp it. The both of us were just flabbergasted. Here's hint, though if it is not date stamped and timed stamp by the court house civil division it's not legal. Rubber stamp or not

January 26 2011 at 7:15 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
5 replies to jkennedy806's comment
scottee

Barney Frank and Chris Dodd are to blame and they need to be held accountable. so Massachusetts sends Frank back to Washington. I don't get it. career politicians of both parties are the problem in Washington...not the solution.

January 26 2011 at 5:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Bill

Won't it be fun to see the outcome of this mess. This is too big to fall under the radar with no consequences for the banks and the lenders. If it does this country is doomed.

January 26 2011 at 5:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bill's comment
jkennedy806

I think, and this is just my gut, that the Repub want the white house soooo bad that they are willing to take the banks down and expose the Dem's and their part in this too big to fail bank scandel.

January 26 2011 at 7:16 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply