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For Release:   October 13, 2010
For media inquiries only, contact: Brian J. Gottstein
Email: bgottstein@oag.state.va.us (best contact method)
Phone: 804-786-5874

Attorney General Cuccinelli to investigate mortgage foreclosure practices in Virginia 

AG joins multistate mortgage foreclosure working group

RICHMOND (October 13, 2010) – Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced today that he will investigate mortgage foreclosure practices in Virginia, after the recent revelations that some mortgage lenders may be engaged in improperly submitting documents or in submitting fraudulent documents during the foreclosure process.

Cuccinelli announced that he is joining a 49-state mortgage foreclosure working group, as part of a coordinated national effort by states to review the practice of so-called “robo-signing” within the mortgage servicing industry.

The Mortgage Foreclosure Multistate Group, comprised of state attorneys general in 49 states and state banking and mortgage regulators in 30 states, will investigate whether individual mortgage servicers misrepresented in affidavits and other documents that they reviewed and verified supporting foreclosure documentation.  The group will also attempt to determine whether companies also signed affidavits outside the presence of a notary public, along with other possible issues regarding servicing irregularities or abuses.

“Obviously, this issue affects peoples’ homes as well as the economy,” said Cuccinelli.  “This probe will be thorough, expeditious, and fair to both homeowners and lenders.”

Submitting foreclosure documents without verification, with false representation, and/or signing certain legal documents outside the presence of a notary public may constitute deceptive practices and may otherwise violate Virginia’s consumer protection and/or foreclosure laws.

The multistate group, through an executive committee, will contact a comprehensive list of individual mortgage servicers.  The group’s initial objectives include:

The Mortgage Foreclosure Multistate Group will consult with federal regulators and agencies, including the Mortgage Fraud Working Group of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in 2009.


JOINT STATEMENT OF THE MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE MULTISTATE GROUP:

It has recently come to light that a number of mortgage loan servicers have submitted affidavits or signed other documents in support of either a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure that appear to have procedural defects.  In particular, it appears affidavits and other documents have been signed by persons who did not have personal knowledge of the facts asserted in the documents.  In addition, it appears that many affidavits were signed outside of the presence of a notary public, contrary to state law.  This process of signing documents without confirming their accuracy has come to be known as “robo-signing.”  We believe such a process may constitute a deceptive act and/or an unfair practice or otherwise violate state laws.

In order to handle this issue in the most efficient and consistent manner possible, the states have formed a bi-partisan multistate group to address issues common to a large number of states.  The group is comprised of both state attorneys general and state bank and mortgage regulators.  Currently 49 state attorneys general have joined this coordinated multistate effort.  State bank and mortgage regulators are participating both individually and through their Multistate Mortgage Committee, which represents mortgage regulators from all 50 states.  Through this process, the states will attempt to speak with one voice to the greatest extent possible.

Our multistate group has begun inquiring whether or not individual mortgage servicers have improperly submitted affidavits or other documents in support of foreclosures in our states.  The facts uncovered in our review will dictate the scope of our inquiry.  The executive committee is comprised of the following attorneys general offices: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Washington; and the following state banking regulators: Maryland Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation, New York State Banking Department, and the Pennsylvania Department of Banking.

A copy of this news release may be found on the website of the Attorney General of Virginia at www.vaag.com.

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