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‘Foreclosure mill’ gave employees jewelry, cars, houses to forge documents: testimony

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, October 18, 2010 21:50 EDT
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According to sworn statements released by the Florida Attorney General’s office, one of the state’s “foreclosure mills” bribed employees with jewelry, cars and houses to forge and alter documents required by courts conducting foreclosure proceedings.

Kelly Scott and Mary Cordova, two former employees of Florida attorney David J. Stern, were close to the process. Both described to investigators a secretive system designed to speed up foreclosures, and their testimonies seem to match up with claims made by Tammie Lou Kapusta, another former Stern employee.

Their statements were published online Monday afternoon.

“The two former Sterns employees described long tables where employees would sign as a witness and notarize documents without actually witnessing the signing,” reporter Shannon Behnken noted, writing for Tampa Bay Online. “Twice a day, Scott said, the company’s chief operating officer, Cheryl Samons, would go into the office and sign 500 documents at a time without reading them.”

Their revelations come on the heels of a recent controversy over so-called “robo-signers” who were employed by finance firms as “mortgage experts,” when their real capacity was to move as much paper as possible with little regard for the facts. The alleged “mortgage experts” were employed by firms like Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs.

In the wake of the controversy, major lenders like Bank of America and Chase froze some foreclosures to review their paperwork. Bank of America said Monday it would resume foreclosures later this week.

The Obama administration has resisted calls for a national moratorium on foreclosures, with spokesman Robert Gibbs warning of the “unintended consequences” of such an action.

While many House Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), have called for a congressional investigation into foreclosure fraud, Congress is widely expected to pass legislation retroactively forgiving the mortgage industry for its abuses.

Attorneys general in all 50 states have launched probes into foreclosure practices.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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