~ Occupy the Crime Scene: County Recorder’s Office ~
On Monday, March 12th, 2012 California Occupy groups will hold multiple events at county recorder offices in as many of the 58 California county seats as possible to call attention to massive and ongoing foreclosure fraud. The goals of these events are twofold. First, the Occupy groups seek to expose the full extent of foreclosure fraud by the Big Banks and Wall Street in California. Occupy groups seek audits in every county to measure the level of foreclosure fraud and to determine the amount of tax dollars that have been lost due to fraudulent filings. Second, the Occupy groups seek an end to illegal foreclosures. The protest movement calls for California Attorney General Kamala D, Harris to immediately HALT all foreclosures in the state and begin county audits through independent firms, such as Aequitas performed for San Francisco; as criminal investigation of foreclosure fraud that will insure those responsible for fraud are prosecuted.
Purpose of Event: A recent audit by the San Francisco County Recorder found that illegal actions were committed in 84% of foreclosures.* New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has found a similar level of foreclosure fraud related to the MERS system, which is depriving counties and municipalities of mortgage deed filing fees in the millions of dollars.** Yet, on a statewide basis, very little is being done by elected and appointed government officials either to expose or prosecute foreclosure fraud. It’s outrageous that the nation’s largest banks and Wall Street are allowed to dictate the terms and conditions of their punishment for foreclosure fraud while thousands of people in California are losing their family homes as the result of fraudulent foreclosure practices.
* San Francisco County Recorder Records Audit by Aequitas Phil Ting County Recorder
* Southern Essex Registry of Deeds Massachusetts by McDonnell John O’Brien Recorder
Framing the Issue:
1. The foreclosure crisis is the result of massive and ongoing fraud by the nation’s largest banks and investment firms. This fraud is easily evident in the public records of every County Recorder’s office in California.
2. County and municipal governments are losing millions of dollars in lost tax revenues due to this fraud. These lost revenues necessitate massive cuts in badly needed local services and personnel.
3. Government officials charged with upholding the rule of law in an equitable manner are not holding the banks and investment firms accountable for foreclosure fraud. They are either ignoring this ongoing fraud or allowing the perpetrators to dictate the terms and conditions of their accountability.
4. The California state legislature is not addressing this ongoing fraud at the county recorder’s offices. They must pass legislation that ensures the traditional and legal process of recording deeds of trust be protected from fraudulent practices such as MERS.
5. The voices of homeowners who have been foreclosed or are facing foreclosure should not be peripheral to discussions and negotiations on addressing the foreclosure crisis. They have borne the brunt of suffering due to illegal foreclosures. They deserve a seat at the table in negotiations with the banks and government. If homeowners continue to be excluded, justice will never be achieved as this foreclosure crisis continues through the years to come, destroying our local communities.
***Please check in with your local city/county Occupy groups and see what action has been planned for that date near your home. There will likely be numerous ways in which you can support this action, even if just showing up and adding your voice is your contribution. While you are peacefully lending your voice to this action, you may want to consider obtaining all your real property recordings from the Recorder’s office and review them for accuracy. Bring a friend too.
This is a very important issue for all of us, as AG Kamala Harris’ recent settlement with the Big Banks offers little in results for local homeowners and communities ripped apart by massive ongoing criminal foreclosures.
This author views the recent meager settlement action little more than an order for the Big Banks to stand in the corner briefly before ramping up their home theft as they rake in insurance profits from the fraudulent foreclosures. These are the same Big Banks and Wall Street firms that were already paid our tax dollars in large bailouts while at the same time granting themselves large salaries and bonuses. Enough is enough.
California state’s recent proposal of a Homeowner’s Bill of Rights is just ludicrous in the face of serious fraud being committed against the average homeowner. It is also unclear why the State Attorney General is requesting citizen to sign a petition to address the issue of this Corporate crime as it is her job to enforce the rule of law. The state government needs to use it’s power to stop the crime, investigate, indict, and provide consequences as it would with any crime. Offering families roughly $1000 in restitution for losing their home to fraudulent foreclosures is insulting, especially as they allow the illegal foreclosures to continue.