On the heels of recent disclosures that mortgage lenders have been using “robo-signers” to foreclose on homes without sufficient information, New York is instating a requirement that is meant to add a layer of accountability in the flawed system. Lawyers representing banks or mortgage lenders will have to sign a document swearing that they have reviewed the foreclosure documents and that they are accurate.
Currently there are about 80,000 foreclosure proceedings pending in New York courts. Robo-signers, individuals that were hired by banks to sign off on masses of foreclosures would then pass those documents onto courts. Many robo-signers had no prior legal experience (Some were hairdressers and Wal-Mart employees).
“It’s possible that lawyers are bringing cases where there is no firsthand knowledge that it’s a real case here,” Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman tells the Voice. “We’re saying to the lawyers, you have to go by your clients and ask, that you are working with people who have knowledge of these matters and that they are accurate.”
Lippman said he did not know how often robo-signing and false notarizations have been occurring in New York. “We want to fix the problem at the front end and not deal with it at the back-end,” he said. “It’s not that we don’t trust the lawyer, its that we’re affirming that they are doing what they should be doing anyway.”