South Florida Foreclosures and the Rise of the Robo-Witness: Part 1
The worst effects of the illegal robo-signing practices of mortgage servicers were arguably visited on Florida, ground zero of the foreclosure crisis, where Miami-Dade has the highest rate of foreclosure in the country.
But Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs knows it hasn’t ended there. In fact, he was recently interviewed by the Daily Business Journal on the emergence of a new phenomenon: robo-witnesses.
Although we wish we could say this was part of some futuristic, sci-fi fantasy flick, the reality is that this practice is happening every day and it’s unjustly costing you, your friends and your neighbors their homes.
The issue is these: Individuals are presented by banks or mortgage servicers in foreclosure cases as “custodians of record.” These are individuals who are supposed to be able to attest to the specific, individual facts of each case. But the amount of information being produced by these individuals is enormous. Frankly, there is little chance that this person actually has personal knowledge of the information to which they are testifying as fact in the case.
In any other kind of legal procedure, judges would call this kind of thing out as a clear violation of the defendant’s right to due process.
But here in Miami-Dade, the foreclosure capital of the country, judges want to see these cases gone. There is currently a backlog of about 50,000 cases. Unfortunately, clearing that backlog appears to be the higher priority, as opposed to preserving the rights of the homeowners in these cases.
As Jacobs was quoted as saying in the article, it’s as if someone is pushing a plunger down the toilet to just flush all these cases out so they can finally wipe their hands clean of it.
But that’s not how justice is supposed to work.
The majority of these backlogged cases we’re seeing emerge now are those that stem from filings dating back to 2008. As you probably know, since that time, most of these banks and mortgage services have been found guilty or have agreed to settlements for their role in the vast proliferation of mortgage fraud carried out nationwide.
Last year, most of these financial giants signed off on a $25 billion settlement deal to right the wrongs of the robo-signing scandal. Homeowners haven’t seen much relief from that, especially not in Miami-Dade.
And now, they are having to contend with the outrageous notion that this one person has all the knowledge necessary in the case in order to prove standing and justify the foreclosure action.
However, those being brought in as witnesses by the plaintiffs, i.e., the banks, don’t actually have any idea how the documents – including key records like default notices and notes – were created. This is a blatant violation of court rules.
But it’s being ignored.
In essence, robo-signing hasn’t actually stopped. Rather, instead of being carried out in paper and ink, it’s being brazenly conducted by an actual person testifying in open court before a judge.
If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs Legal for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on “Mortgage Wars,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.