Mortgage Fraud Detection research is underway in Greensboro, NC. Posted below are some of the basic documents and instructions used by the Mortgage Fraud Detectives, who are carrying out this work. It should be noted that if you are interested in conducting this kind of project in another county or state, it will be necessary to tailor these forms and instructions to the specifics of your area. You will probably need to consult a mortgage default attorney or other specialist who is familiar with local specifics. You will also need to talk to your local Clerk of Court about learn about local rules for gaining access, photocopying, etc. In short, you will not be able to take this information and “just do it” somewhere else. That being said, we still think that others can make use of the main elements of our approach. The paragraphs below set out the purpose and some of the limits of this work. Please read this carefully before proceeding.
We are working in actual foreclosure proceeding files held in the Clerk of Court’s office. NOTE: These are different from the deeds and other files on property transfers (whether foreclosed on or not), which are held in the Register of Deeds Office.
We’re looking for various legal and ethical problems in foreclosures in Guilford County, North Carolina. We hope to build an accurate picture of practices of lenders, loan servicers, law firms, and others associated with recent foreclosures. We intend to complete rigorous analyses to identify patterns of fraud, and to identify the main entities that have engaged in unlawful or unethical practices. It is possible we will use the information to provide evidence for class-action or individual civil lawsuits and criminal cases, as appropriate. In addition, we will report the results to the media as part of larger campaigns to end unfair foreclosures. For example, we will be looking for and documenting evidence of Robo-signing, the most commonly committed fraudulent practice. We will also identify the key corporations, law firms, service companies and their subsidiaries that appear repeatedly in the case files to see who is profiting from the foreclosure “industry.” We may even be able to estimate the amount of money generated for these firms from Guilford County foreclosures. We will also look for evidence of the general public being treated differently from mortgage industry legal representatives who have become familiar and friendly with the staff at the Clerk’s office.
The data-gathering process is rigorous and time consuming. For each case, we systematically collect over 100 distinct types of information, from the dozens of legal documents that exist in each file. We complete of a ten-page data form, scan signatures, and parse variations of forms and terminology. Each foreclosure file takes from 20 minutes to an hour to complete. We will examine over 600 of these files that have been scientifically sampled to support statistically sound analysis. We’re gathering the data across hundreds of files so that we can identify patterns that won’t be evident in individual files. For example, one must look at hundreds of files to identify multiple signatures to prove that many different people were signing the same name. To tell the full story of the foreclosure crisis in Guilford County requires this kind of large sample approach. This takes time and diligence.