NEWARK – New Jersey is among 49 states that announced yesterday they have begun a coordinated multi-state effort to investigate whether mortgage servicers committed consumer fraud by not properly reviewing, verifying and signing foreclosure documents filed with the courts.
In New Jersey, foreclosure actions must be supported by an Affidavit of Amount Due, which establishes the identity of the mortgage/note holder and information concerning the default. Recent reports suggest that mortgage servicers are having employees sign these affidavits without confirming their accuracy.
“This is not a gray area. Either our legal requirements for filing foreclosures were followed or they weren’t, and we will hold the companies accountable for their systematic violations,” Attorney General Paula T. Dow said.
Ally Financial, formerly known as GMAC Mortgage, announced last month that it was imposing a moratorium on foreclosures in 23 states, including New Jersey, after disclosing that its employees routinely signed off on foreclosure affidavits without properly reviewing them or verifying their accuracy. JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America have since announced similar halts to foreclosure proceedings.
“You have to know the facts before you can attest to them, and that requires review,” said Thomas R. Calcagni, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. “Servicers must scrupulously follow the law when they file foreclosures and that includes only submitting affidavits on personal knowledge. Nothing less will do when New Jersey residents are facing the loss of their homes.”
The Division of Law is working with the Division of Consumer Affairs on this matter.
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