Wells Fargo's Foreclosure Process Draws New Fire

March 17, 2014
American Banker 
mortgage lending news
Wells Fargo is under the spotlight once again due to allegations that it developed a how-to manual for producing false documents to justify foreclosures. Bankruptcy attorney Linda Tirelli says she discovered a 150-page document that outlines "a step-by-step procedure" for Wells Fargo lawyers to request retroactive documentation showing that another lender has signed over a loan to the bank. Known as an endorsement, the paperwork is necessary to prove Wells' ownership of the loan and right to foreclose on the borrower. The manual spells out procedures that suggest the servicer can produce on-the-spot endorsements to aid foreclosures, Tirelli says.

"In my two cases (and hundreds of cases over the years), we have a filing from Wells Fargo where the note has no endorsement," Tirelli says. "I write to ask why and then magically, there is a new and improved copy with an endorsement." Tirelli and other consumer advocates say this demonstrates how Wells fabricated evidence of ownership. "This is the first internal document that has a blueprint for how to commit the fraud," Tirelli says. "It's fraud because Wells Fargo is endorsing the note on behalf of another party." Wells, however, denies wrongdoing. Spokeswoman Vickee Adams claims the manual is a guidance for outside attorneys to comply with state and regulatory requirements.

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