DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla - Bank of America, Chase, and other huge banks have stopped foreclosures due to potential problems with paperwork.
Now, a South Florida law firm says it has hundreds of cases in Palm Beach County that prove some of those banks may have been committing a crime.
The law firm calls them "robo signers," people who rushed faulty foreclosure paperwork through the court system.
Within a tower of foreclosure depositions shown at the Ticktin Law Group’s Deerfield Beach office, senior legal counsel Peter Ticktin says the group has discovered the groundwork of an illegal home foreclosure system.
Ticktin said, "It's massive, it's criminal, it's wrong and it's proven with what lawyers call a mountain of evidence."
That evidence, according Ticktin, includes incorrect foreclosure paperwork pushed through by all types of banks.
Ticktin says banks hired unqualified workers to complete crucial foreclosure affidavits, which are the official document used for a foreclosure hearing.
In many cases, Ticktin says banks purposely put wrong income information on those affidavits to rush foreclosures through.
The Ticktin Law Group says by the time a homeowner got to the courtroom, they didn't have a chance.
Joshua Bleil, a foreclosure defense lawyer for Ticktin said, "The courts gave little credence to our position and we've made that repeated argument over and over again. Now the judges are starting to realize that it can be as big as this problem is."
The problem is big, spanning from the biggest banks to those much smaller.
On Tuesday, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum sent letters to five big banks, asking for a meeting and explanation
Out of the thousands of foreclosure lawsuits Ticktin is handling, the law group says at that least 500 originate in Palm Beach County.
Attorney General McCollum says his office is joining other states in looking into the issue.
McCollum said, "We want these foreclosures, these home that are bad because of debt off the market, we need them to get off the market so that prices will bottom out on the general home market and you'll begin to see those prices go back up again."
Copyright (c) 2010 The E. W. Scripps Company
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