FL AG Unveils Damning Foreclosure Report

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


In August, I reported that the Florida Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division, in response to widespread allegations of foreclosure fraud, launched an investigation into three of the Sunshine State’s biggest and most notorious foreclosure “mills,” including the Law Offices of David J. Stern, the subject of a long Mother Jones investigation. (The Florida AG was already investigating one mill at the time, the Florida Default Law Group.) Last week, the AG’s office released some of the fruit of its labors: a 98-page presentation, by turns eye-opening and snarky, on the types of foreclosure deception endemic in Florida’s overloaded courtrooms and battered housing market. It’s one of the best reads you’ll find about foreclosure lawyers run amok, lawless mortgage servicers, “robo-signers,” and more.

It’s hard to know where to begin with the Florida AG’s report. Florida investigators found numerous instances of outright forgery in crucial foreclosure documents. These included assignments of mortgage, which give mortgage servicers the legal right to the foreclose. The AG’s presentation offers up six documents signed by a now-notorious foreclosure employee named Linda Green. The rub? Green’s signature is visibly different on each of those six documents. Now, imagine that kind of forgery taking place on a scale of “hundreds of thousands” foreclosure documents, the amount Green signed, according to the AG. Not only was Green’s signature cause for concern, but her name alone was a problem, as she was listed as an officer at dozens of mortgage companies and banks. In other words, the many variations of Linda Green could only exist in the lawless world of Foreclosureland, where thousands of bogus documents she signed were passed off as legitimate and used to seize people’s homes.

The AG’s presentation goes to highlight clear cases of document backdating by foreclosure firms and mortgage servicers, which I reported on in August. The presentation’s conclusions, while not entirely new, are damning stuff nonetheless, especially coming from a state attorney general’s office. They include:

  • “Improper assignments were recorded in the county land records offices
  • Improper assignments were submitted to the Court in support of foreclosure motions
  • Improper assignments were accepted by the Court as valid assignments that substantiated the foreclosure
  • Homeowners were foreclosed upon based upon falsified assignments, by a bank who was not the true holder of the note”

Here’s the full presentation from the Florida Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division:

Florida Attorney General Fraudclosure Report | Unfair, Deceptive and Unconscionable Acts in Foreclosure Cases

 

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate