Reviews Robo-Signed Autographs:
In the fall of 2010, major U.S. lenders such as JP Morgan Chase, Ally Financial (formerly known as GMAC), and Bank of America suspended judicial and non-judicial foreclosures across the United States over the potentially fraudulent practice of robo-signing.
In an October 21, 2010 Wall Street Journal article, the Journal reported that foreclosure lawyer/advocates, Thomas Ice and Matthew Weidner, were discussing the deposition
testimony of mortgage company employees; Weidner recalled, "Tom and I
were talking, and it was, 'Jesus, they're like robots!'" Weidner, a
blogger, called them "robo signers" in a January 8, 2010 posting.
The terms "robo-signing" and "robo-signers" then gained wider exposure by mortgage fraud activists Michael Redman and Lisa Epstein via their blogs. "Robo-signing" is a term used by consumer advocates to describe the robotic process of the mass production of false and forged execution of mortgage assignments, satisfactions, affidavits,
and other legal documents related to mortgage foreclosures and legal
matters being created by persons without knowledge of the facts being
attested to. It also includes accusations of notary fraud wherein the notaries pre- and/or post-notarize the affidavits and signatures of so-called robo-signers.
On July 18, 2011, the Associated Press and Reuters
released two reports that robo-signing continued to be a major problem
in U.S. courtrooms across America. The AP defined robo-signing as a
"variety of practices. It can mean a qualified executive in the mortgage
industry signs a mortgage affidavit document without verifying the
information. It can mean someone forges an executive's signature, or a
lower-level employee signs his or her own name with a fake title. It can
mean failing to comply with notary procedures. In all of these cases,
robo-signing involves people signing documents and swearing to their
accuracy without verifying any of the information."
In 2009, attorney Tom Ice pointed out the wide-scale practice of robo-signing in depositions taken of GMAC's Jeffrey Stephan and other robo-signers.
News outlets reported that on September 14, 2010, Jeffrey Stephan
testified that he had signed affidavits which he hadn't actually
reviewed on behalf of Ally Financial Inc.
This revelation led to increased scrutiny of foreclosure documentation.
The practice was apparently common in the mortgage industry.
In following weeks, the robo-signing revelation other large banks have
come under fire for employing robo-signers as well, including JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.