State and local officials are combing through thousands of “questionable” mortgage documents to determine the authenticity of what some are suggesting may be forged signatures on Assignment of Mortgage paperwork.
Last week, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds Bill Bullard Jr. announced that they are working with other local and federal authorities after possibly forged Assignment of Mortgage documents were filed with the Michigan Register of Deeds office during the U.S. foreclosure crisis that helped to cripple the American economy.
“The idea that anyone would forge documents during a process in which a family is losing their home is absolutely unconscionable,” Schuette stated in a press release. “We are working closely with federal and local authorities to get to the bottom of this.”
“I want Oakland County residents going through the foreclosure process to be aware of this potential problem with their mortgage documentation and strongly encourage them to review their files,” Bullard stated in the same press release. “My office will continue its investigation and work with Attorney General Schuette’s office as we find more questionable documents.”
According to staff in Bullard’s office, Assignment of Mortgage documents are filed when a mortgage switches hands between lenders. The staff member said about a dozen potentially fraudulent documents that bear the signature of a “Linda Green,” a scenario highlighted in a recent television news report, have been filed in Oakland County.
After seeing the report, the staff member said, Bullard directed the Register of Deeds Department to see if any such documents had been recorded in Oakland County.
Aside from the attorney general taking a look into the matter, the staff member said Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper’s office, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is involved in the probe.
The documents were filed in the county between 2008 and 2009, the staff member said. None were uncovered that were filed last year, according to the staff member, and the properties for which the Assignment of Mortgage documents were filed are “fairly spread out” throughout the county.
RealtyTrac, an online marketplace of foreclosed properties, estimates that in March there were 1,960 homes in foreclosure in Oakland County, representing one in every 268 houses. The firm estimates that in that same time period, one in every 311 homes in the state was in foreclosure.