In an attempt to speed through thousands of home foreclosures since 2007, financial institutions and their mortgage servicing departments hired hairdressers, Walmart associates, and factory workers and placed them in “foreclosure expert” jobs with no formal training, according to a Florida lawyer.
In depositions released on Tuesday, many of those employees testified that they hardly knew what a mortgage was. Some were unable to define the word “affidavit.” Others didn’t know what a complaint was, or even what personal property meant. Several said that they knew they were lying when they signed off on the foreclosure affidavits and that they agreed with the defense lawyers’ accusations pertaining to document fraud.
“The mortgage servicers hired people who would never question authority,” said Deerfield Beach, Florida lawyer Peter Ticktin, who is defending 3,000 homeowners in foreclosure cases. Ticktin gathered 150 depositions from bank employees (also known as robo-signers) who say that they signed off on foreclosure affidavits without reviewing the documents or ever setting eyes on them.
The deposed employees worked for the mortgage service divisions of banks, like Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, as well as for mortgage servicers, such as Litton Loan Servicing, a division of Goldman Sachs.
Ticktin said that he would make the testimonies available to state and federal agencies that are investigating financial institutions for allegations of possible mortgage fraud. This arrived on the evening of an expected announcement on Wednesday from 40 state attorneys general that they would launch a collective probe into the mortgage industry.
“This was an industry-wide scheme designed to defraud homeowners,” Ticktin said.
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