Real Estate & Property Law

Inexperienced, Untrained Workers Hired as Foreclosure 'Experts,' Lawyer Says

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Financial institutions and mortgage servicing departments have hired hair stylists, retail salespeople, assembly line workers and others with no formal training or experience in the field to work as foreclosure ‘experts’ since 2007, a Florida lawyer says.

Peter Ticktin, a Deerfield Beach, Fla., lawyer who is defending 3,000 homeowners in mortgage foreclosure cases, says many of those workers barely knew what a mortgage was. Some couldn’t define the word “affidavit.” Others didn’t know the meaning of personal property. Several admitted they knew they were lying when they processed foreclosure documents.

“The mortgage servicers hired people who would never question authority,” Ticktin told the Associated Press in a report published Tuesday. “This was an industrywide scheme designed to defraud homeowners.”

Ticktin says he has taken 150 depositions from bank employees who say they signed foreclosure affidavits without reviewing the documents or ever laying eyes on them - earning them the nickname “robo-signers.”

The deposed employees worked for the mortgage service divisions of several well known banks, as well as for mortgage servicers like Litton Loan Servicing, a division of Goldman Sachs.

Tictin said he would make the testimony available to state and federal agencies that are investigating financial institutions over allegations of possible mortgage fraud.

A spokesman for Bank of America said that an internal review has shown that its foreclosures have been accurate. A spokesman for JP Morgan Chase said the bank has requested that courts not enter into any judgments until the bank had reviewed its procedures.

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