Posted Feb 04, 2012 12:01 am CST
The attorney general of New York today filed suit in state court against three major banks and an electronic mortgage recording operation, contending that they circumvented legal requirements and cost the the state some $2 billion in property recording fees by keeping their own private list of property transfers and mortgage assignments.
The Brooklyn Supreme Court suit seeks to ban foreclosure filings that rely on information from the Mortgage Electronic Registration System and obtain reimbursement from the defendants for lost recording fees and other damages, according to the Los Angeles Times and Reuters.
Bloomberg also has a story.
“The banks created the MERS system as an end-run around the property recording system to facilitate the rapid securitization and sale of mortgages,” AG Eric Schneiderman said in a written statement today. “Once the mortgages went sour, these same banks brought foreclosure proceedings en masse based on deceptive and fraudulent court submissions, seeking to take homes away from people with little regard for basic legal requirements or the rule of law.”
Representatives of the three defendant banks declined to comment. However, Merscorp Inc., which owns MERS, said in a written statement that “federal and state courts around the country have repeatedly upheld the MERS business model, and the validity of MERS as legal mortgagee and nominee for lenders. We refute the attorney general’s claims and will defend the case vigorously in court.”
A lawsuit similar to Schneiderman’s was filed last year by the attorney general of Delaware.
Other governmental entities have focused on a massive amount of recording fees that reportedly were not paid as a result of property transfers and mortgage assignments being recorded electronically.
Prior ABAJournal coverage: