SF audit finds foreclosure document violations

February 15, 2012 7:40:50 PM PST
Some people who lost their homes to foreclosure may be entitled to a reversal. Some of those foreclosures could be faulty. An audit commissioned by San Francisco finds irregularities in the handling of most foreclosures. What's more, the report suggests some of them should be investigated, maybe even voided altogether.

About 16 percent of all foreclosures from Jan. 2009 to Oct. 2011 in San Francisco were examined and the audit found nearly 85 percent of the files had some kind of violation. Two-thirds had four or more violations.

About 400 foreclosures in San Francisco were examined by an outside agency at the request of the assessor's office. The audit showed the documents involved in almost all of these foreclosures had a number of violations or irregularities.

"These loans didn't have one thing wrong with them, these loans had many things wrong with them across different subject areas, across different parts of the foreclosure process," said Lou Pizante from Aequitas Compliance Solutions.

Among them were back dating of documents, suspicious signatures, a failure to warn homeowners that they were in default on their loans -- something required by law. San Francisco assessor Phil Ting had one more.

"You actually have a party that is selling a home at an auction, that according to our land records, has no connection to it," said Ting.

No specific banks or agencies were mentioned. Ting says when it comes to the foreclosure process there is no oversight in California. The state like many others does not require a judge to oversee them.

"The only oversight that could happen is if I as a consumer, who is foreclosed on, would bring this to a court of law and the court of law would actually have to enforce this process," said Ting.

So now the report along with the foreclosure files will be handed over to the Attorney General's office.

Teresa Garza is with MEDA, the Mission Economic Development Agency. She would like to see some kind of compensation for those legitimate victims.

"Because when they're placed into loans they really couldn't afford with fraudulent documents and then foreclosed illegally how can you repair that?" said Garza.

The report also pointed out that it is clear the system was not prepared to handle the overwhelming number of foreclosures.


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