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Good evening I'm Gerri Willis the foreclosure fiasco has officially gone coast to coast.
With the lawmakers from fifty states joining forces to smoke out the bad apples in the mortgage industry.
-- had the biggest lenders in the country headlining an investigation focusing on whether or not homeowners are being evicted.
Despite flawed and sometimes nonexistent paperwork.
Richard Greenfield Ohio attorney general he recently filed the first individual lawsuit against -- mortgage servicer in regards to this.
Fraudulent foreclosure paperwork.
-- great to have you here -- thanks for joining us we appreciate it.
-- quite the track record of taking.
Financial institutions to court and I hear requesting a full investigation.
In the case of the foreclosure fiasco -- trying to accomplish here.
Well for -- I was glad to see that all fifty state attorneys general both sides of the -- Have have stepped up and seen that this is a serious matter we're all gonna participate together in a joint investigation.
-- that will be a more efficient point contact for the financial firms who may be affected.
But we also need them to step up and cooperate with this so we can move through this more quickly.
That -- dragging it out well my question again -- trying to accomplish.
Well first of all we want to make sure that for closure orders in courts of law are not being given on the basis of fraudulent evidence.
Nobody can defend that practice there are rules there's a rule of law due process of law our constitution establishes.
We have lots of specific requirements in cases where people's property is being taken a very basic matter.
In this country.
And these big financial firms can't play by different set of rules where they cut corners that have to be met by every other party in every other case in every other court in this country.
A quarter -- -- to balance here right mr.
attorney general there's the idea that people who are in foreclosure may be having their rights violated.
And at the same time the longer this languishes in the public domain.
The more likely it is that the housing market declines and hurts people -- been faithfully paying their mortgage how long do you think this investigation is gonna take what's the time.
Yeah I do agree with -- there's two sides to this and the quicker we can work through this in a responsible way the better.
But I would remind it's not attorneys -- courts that are creating this problem its financial firms who have deliberately and systematically it appears in some instances.
Submitted fraudulent evidence to courts and felt that was good enough and that the court should take it.
Courts do not take fraudulent evidence they -- not give -- based on that evidence so it behooves these financial firms to recognize that those who have committed.
Fraud have created exposure for themselves they would do well to sit down and work with -- -- to try to work out arrangements to resolve these cases.
Short of getting in order from the court that may well involve sanctions against them.
And the serious exposure they've created for the -- Well you know I think the taxpayer to I'm looking at fifty investigations I'm paying for fifty investigations across the country.
If -- more streamlined way to do this -- and frankly.
Isn't clear from the reporting we've already seen exactly what's happened here don't we know what the problems are should we moved to fix those.
Shouldn't regulators being saying -- hey you've got to fix this.
But we welcome the involvement of regulators and I do hope that they will come to the table as well but if we're trying to do exactly what you just described.
By fifty states coming together and working together sharing information.
We will provide a streamlined single investigation for all fifty states that's an important principle and way to proceed.
But the problem here is we don't know the extent of this the financial firms in each case know how broadly they have engaged in fraud.
Some of them have acknowledged -- Bank of America JPMorgan Chase have now suspended -- for closures nationwide temporarily while they try to sort this through.
Others have not done anything and they may well have.
Done nothing wrong -- I don't really think -- that is for them to investigate this.
In some cases all they have to do is go to a different department and look because they -- these companies.
That are there are doing these things I want it read a quote.
You made to you doing and get you to react he says this isn't just sloppy paperwork this is fraud being perpetuated.
Against -- courts.
Do people need to pay for what's happened here and is this -- ultimately going to be a criminal and query.
I wouldn't jump the gun on that I wanna be measured in that's what we do know is that this is a serious matter.
It is not -- not a frequent occurrence that all fifty state attorneys general come together.
And altogether see the same thing at the same time which is a serious problem that needs to be addressed -- needs to be resolved.
But this is a serious matter so are the activity may be criminal.
But the most important point the financial firms need to realize right away is instead of minimizing this instead of trying to -- off.
They need to recognize that in thousands of cases if they engaged in this practice they've now subjected themselves to sanctions from courts.
Which will not take kindly to contain the -- courts won't take and I had done well other -- some.
Alerts were being -- -- -- -- off funding is.
On these documents I mean you've got the other side of the coin too but let me ask a question about -- -- to get access except that except the courts.
They have the evidence in front of them.
And they take it at face value they do not assume that parties are committing fraud upon the courts now that they know that I think they're going to be a great deal more skeptical.
Well and that means they weren't really reading the documents because sometimes we just know that the documents you know there are problems.
Some of the -- -- -- -- -- -- courts night it is apparent that financial firms weren't reading the documents yes well let me ask -- robo -- though.
And there's been a lot of stories out and and we've done a ton of reporting on our -- air about these so called.
The signers -- -- low level bank employees who actually watched over this paperwork signed off on this paperwork.
And depositions now they're saying that they never even read it.
That they thought their job was only to -- their signature on some of these papers.
They are to blame if they signed documents and submitted -- -- sworn testimony in a court.
In which they said that they had done certain things and they knew full well they had not.
However if they were directed to do this if they were told to do this by their superiors -- -- are to blame and we need to walk up the chain.
Whoever created a business model premised on fraud at these institutions is ultimately also responsible.
And the institutions themselves we have to clean up that business model you can't have businesses operating in some cases based on fraud to cut corners pad their profits.
Where is the other firms may well have been doing everything correctly.
Which is more laborious more time intensive.
More expensive and they're having to compete on the same playing field with some cheating and violating the law and others not that's not acceptable.
-- -- well I do need to ask you about this year in a tough reelection battle right now.
Your opponent says you're not a fan of business and I wanna show our viewers.
Some of the victories you've had as attorney general in Ohio you've had two million dollars in settlements many of them against the nation's largest financial institutions including.
Merrill Lynch martian nickel nickel -- and AIG of course well -- to our viewers here.
It did your opponent have a right do you just not like the big banks.
You know he he's dead wrong I am the law enforcement officer chief -- -- officer for Ohio.
I am Ohio's biggest fan of law abiding businesses and I feel they should not have to compete in a marketplace against businesses to violate the law.
-- commit fraud as a business model that's not a fair playing field so.
I'm in favor of law abiding businesses and I want them to have fair competition.
And I will go after those who commit fraud and illegal acts so that our law abiding businesses are protected I think that's my job.
And it sounds like you're willing to go up to any level in these banks to find who's responsible fascinating talking to you mr.
You gotta come back and talk to -- is this investigation gets under way thank you.
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