Madigan launched her investigation earlier this year into Lender
Processing Services and Nationwide Title Clearing, two of the
largest loan servicing companies in the country.
Sangamon County recorder, said he and the 11 other recorders
voluntarily are assembling documents for Madigan.
County recorders, one for each of the state's 102 counties, are
stewards of deeds and other documents relating to real estate
ownership and often receive paperwork from loan servicing and other
mortgage processing companies.
"They gave us a sample of documents that may be related to our
investigation, and they are gathering more documents to provide,"
said Robyn Ziegler, spokeswoman for the attorney general. "We're
reviewing the information they provided."
Because Madiganís investigation is ongoing, Ziegler would not
identify the documents provided or comment on whether the initial
sampling will help.
When the global recession hit and the real estate bubble burst,
banks and other mortgage holders were flooded with foreclosures. To
keep the surge of paperwork moving, some institutions disregarded
safeguards that would protect homeowners, such as providing an
affidavit verifying the identity of the mortgage owners.
These practices led to a temporary halt in foreclosures last
fall, as sloppy paperwork turned into unnecessary foreclosures.
Without proper documentation, confusion emerged over who owed what
"We want to be protective of the homeowners, people who have
perchance been foreclosed on that perhaps the ownership (of the
mortgage) was not clearly identified, or someone who has bought a
foreclosed home," said Rock Island County Recorder Pat Veronda.
"Robo-signing is actually a variety of practices. It can be
mortgages individuals signing a document that they have no idea of
what's contained within the document and without verifying the
information," said Champaign County Recorder Barb Frasca. "It can
mean someone forging an executive signature on a document or using
their own name on the document with a fake title."
[to top of second column]
Similar county officials in Minnesota and Massachusetts, for
example, are working with their states' attorneys general in robo-signing
investigations. For example, the county recorder office for Essex
County, Mass., claims to have nearly 1,200 documents with 22
different handwriting styles that all read "Linda Green," according
to the Associated Press.
"Linda Green" signatures have found their way to Illinois as
well, said Glenda Johnson, chief deputy recorder for St. Clair
The Massachusetts example "made us look further into it," Johnson
said. "She is all over out there."
While companies have claimed to stop the practice of robo-signing,
recent investigations by the AP and Reuters indicate this is not
happening, which could prove troublesome as the rate of foreclosures
refuses to drop to pre-recession levels.
While foreclosure rates dropped by nearly 25 percent for June
when compared with the same period this past year, they inched up by
4 percent from May, according to RealtyTrac, a company that monitors
Illinois had 11,014 foreclosures in June, or one in every 480
housing units, mainly in the counties surrounding Chicago. Only
Michigan, Arizona, Florida and California had more foreclosures in
June than Illinois.
Statehouse News; By ANDREW THOMASON]