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Banks, foreclosure firms file new defense of actions in Mich. fraud case

With mounting evidence of robo-signing and other alleged fraud perpetrated by banks, foreclosure law firms and others, Fannie Mae and Flagstar Bank have filed a new defense of such actions in Ingham County Circuit Court — and Ingham County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel, Jr. is crying foul.

“What they are basically saying is they can forge an assignment and there is nothing the citizen or court can do about it. It is a brazen attempt to legalize robosigning,” says Hertel. “It’s just another example of Fannie Mae thumbing its nose at the American people, and unfortunately while they are under federal bailout we are paying for it.”

This is happening in the case of a Haslett man who suffered a stroke and fell behind on his mortgage payments. As a result, Flagstar Bank and Fannie Mae foreclosed on him and are now in the final stages of evicting him from his Haslett home, says Hertel.

Lawyers representing Flagstar and Fannie Mae put the issue this way in a court filing:

“In this case, Flagstar was and always has been the foreclosing party. MERS assigned its interest in the mortgage to the note holder. The defendant lacks standing to challenge the assignment as the defendant was not party to the assignment. The only party that may object to the language of the assignment is MERS or Flagstar Bank. Because defendant is not a party to the assignment, the defendant cannot challenge the assignment. Further, the Defendant expressly allows MERS to assign the mortgage at any time without notice per the mortgage itself.”

By this reasoning, Hertel says that he has no way to assist homeowners who are being victimized by fraudulent filings, such as robosigned documents his office has been uncovering since April. He has turned dozens of such robosigned documents over to Attorney General Bill Schuette and the FBI. Hertel has also been holding foreclosure town hall meetings across Ingham County, including one Wednesday evening in Webberville

Hertel has filed a formal statement with the court in the Haslett case challenging these arguments.

“Without the ability to challenge in court the validity of documents that appear facially valid, but which are actually fraudulent, our land records system will degrade into an unreliable and meaningless stack of paper in which wrong-doers can commit fraud upon the people of this state with impunity.”

“Basically they are saying I have no choice but to accept documents I know are criminal,” says Hertel. “I believe this is arrogance beyond belief and is them basically saying we can commit fraud and you can’t challenge it. In other words robosigning is fine.”

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