How to destroy a perfectly good real estate recording system.

November 13, 2011 | By | 2 Replies More

What would you think if an outside enemy systematically attacked hundreds of U.S. county real estate recording offices, making it impossible for most of us to know who owns what legal rights regarding real estate anymore.   Imagine that our courts, from coast to coast, have slowed to a crawl because the enemy had nefariously dismantled a system that had worked quite well for centuries. Imagine that, also for centuries, the filing fees paid for recording real estate interests had funded numerous important local government functions, but that the outside enemy destroyed this source of income, causing many government functions to flounder. Image that this enemy then set up its own real estate “information” offices that gave lots of incomplete information, often refusing to provide any information at all, and did so with reprehensible customer service.

Imagine one more thing:  This has all really happened, but it was not caused by an outside enemy. Rather, all of this has happened regarding 60% of all home mortgages, and the entities doing the damage are America’s banks, who have conspired to create an entity called MERS, designed to circumvent government real estate recording offices, at a high cost to everyone who relies on the integrity of our real estate recording system.

If you want to know the specifics, here is a terrific article by law professor Chris Peterson: “Two Faces: Demystifying the Mortgage Electronic Registry System’s Land Title Theory.”

This damage to our recording system is relatively new–it’s been happening for a bit more than ten years, but the theme is now familiar to many of us: Corporate players taking over government functions and, in the process, rigging the playing field against the interests of ordinary Americans. The challenge now is to see whether the courts across America can recognize MERS for what it is, a despicable scam that has clouded the real estate titles of millions of people in an effort to rev up private corporate profits.   The courts are now clogged with many cases attempting to deal with the problems caused by MERS; you’ll want to keep your eye on this story to see whether the courts will slap down the banks.



Category: Consumer Protection, Corporatocracy, Fraud, Law, Orwellian, Secrecy, Social justice

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    “The Friday suit positions [New York Attorney General Eric] Schneiderman to go after another piece of the mortgage securitization system that’s been blamed for foreclosure fraud: the system that banks use to facilitate the creation of mortgage backed securities. Banks use the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, or MERS, to register mortgage loan ownership. Before the creation of the system in 1995, registration took place at local courthouses, slowing down the process of bundling individual mortgages into securities. More than 70 million mortgages have been registered with MERS, according to a press release from Schneiderman’s office.

    The Friday lawsuit claims that the system led to fraudulent foreclosures, undermined the state’s process for reviewing foreclosure cases and made it difficult for homeowners to access mortgage-related documents, said Schneiderman in the press statement.

    “The banks created the MERS system as an end-run around the property recording system, to facilitate the rapid securitization and sale of mortgages. Once the mortgages went sour, these same banks brought foreclosure proceedings en masse based on deceptive and fraudulent court submissions, seeking to take homes away from people with little regard for basic legal requirements or the rule of law,” said Schneiderman in the Friday press release.”

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