LANSING- Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced that he has issued criminal investigative subpoenas against national mortgage servicing support providers in an expansion of his office's investigation into questionable mortgage documentation filed with Michigan's Register of Deeds offices during the current foreclosure crisis.
"Allegations of forged mortgage documents are very serious and require a thorough investigation," said Schuette. "I will continue to work closely with federal and local authorities to find answers on behalf of Michigan homeowners."
The Attorney General is empowered to pursue criminal investigative subpoenas under the Code of Criminal Procedure (MCL 767A.2(2)). Schuette's office has filed criminal investigative subpoenas against DocX, which provides mortgage support services, including creating, processing or recording mortgage assignments or other mortgage documentation. In addition to DocX, the following companies affiliated with DocX were served with investigative subpoenas by Schuette's office:
· Lender Processing Services, Inc.;
· Fidelity National Financial, Inc.; and
· CT Corporation System.
Schuette's office has requested documents regarding the mortgage processing companies' operations in relation to foreclosure and/or bankruptcy-related document processing. The subpoenas were approved by the 54B District Court in Ingham County on Monday, June 13, 2011, and the information must be provided to the Attorney General's Office on or before June 30, 2011.
In April 2011, Schuette launched an investigation after county officials across the state reported that they suspected Assignment of Mortgage documents filed in their offices may have been forged. A recent "60 Minutes" news broadcast had shown that the name "Linda Green" was signed to thousands of mortgage-related documents nationwide, but with many different variations in handwriting. County officials in Michigan reviewed their files and found similar documents, thus raising questions about the authenticity of the documents filed.
Schuette is investigating whether certain mortgage processing companies permitted such robosigning of legal documents filed in connection with Michigan foreclosures. Apart from the question of whether falsified signatures were used, robosigning may also involve individuals signing affidavits to signify that mortgage documentation was properly prepared without ever conducting a proper review of the documents. Although Michigan is a non-judicial foreclosure state, Schuette is reviewing whether robosigned documents may have been filed with courts in limited cases.
Schuette urges any current or former employees of mortgage servicers or processing companies with knowledge of unlawful practices related to mortgage servicing or the execution of documents in Michigan to call the Attorney General's Corporate Oversight Division at (517) 373-1160.
Schuette is also continuing to work with fellow attorneys general in a national workgroup examining mortgage lending practices, including the robosigning issue and consumer protection concerns affecting homeowners nationwide.
Schuette reminds Michigan homeowners that citizens do not need to pay to speak with their lender or servicer or to obtain outside assistance with foreclosure issues. Free local assistance with foreclosure issues can be found by calling the Michigan State Housing Development Authority at (866) 946-7432.