San Francisco recently carried out an audit on a number of foreclosures. Their findings were released in a report this week that shows just how rampant mortgage fraud has been. From Reuters:
The audit of almost 400 foreclosures in San Francisco found that 84 percent of them appeared to be illegal, according to the study released by the California city on Wednesday.
Similar studies around the country show comparable results. These numbers are astounding. And worse, they've essentially gotten away with it.
In many cases during the housing bubble that burst in 2008, original mortgages were repackaged and sold to so many investors
that it is now unclear who actually holds the loans
O'Brien could only find the current owners of the mortgages he studied in 287 out of 473 cases.
In the San Francisco study, which studied properties subject to foreclosure sales between January 2009 to November 2011, 45 per cent were sold to entities improperly claiming to be the owner of the loan.
"It is not impossible that there are homeowners who are alleged to have defaulted on loans to which they never fully agreed to and, further, are being foreclosed upon by lenders that might not even own such loans," the report stated.
This should be unimaginable. Instead it is chilling - the story of a largely unregulated financial industry gone amuck. The consequences to homeowners and their families is devastating. Of course the most chilling aspect of the whole mess is that the banks have never admitted to any wrongdoing. There have been no prosecutions. No banksters are wearing orange prison jumpsuits as a result of their role in defrauding millions of US homeowners.
Seth is right. The banks did get off too easy in the foreclosure/fraud settlement.
Cross-posted at MainSt/workingamerica.org