SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

July 16, 2013

Letter: Homeowners were victims in fraud scheme

To the editor,

On Tuesday, June 25, Lorraine Brown, the chief executive of DocX, was sentenced to five years in federal prison for preparing and filing more than 1 million fraudulently signed and notarized mortgage documents that were recorded in registries of deeds across the country. Ten thousand of these documents were recorded in my registry here in Salem. Florida’s acting assistant attorney general said: “The sentence reflects Brown’s central role in a scheme to fraudulently execute thousands of mortgage-related documents while our nation’s housing market was at its most vulnerable point in generations.”

The guilty plea and jail sentence clearly validate what my office has been saying and fighting for the past three years, in spite of being roundly criticized by the national banking lobby. In addition, I continue to be disturbed that the CEOs of the big national banks and the executives of the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) who were involved in this scheme were not prosecuted also. These bank executives were part of this national nightmare to destroy people’s property rights and corrupt their chains of title. Homeowners are the real victims here. They are the ones left with a mess that no one seems interested in cleaning up.

I filed an affidavit in the Lorraine Brown case seeking restitution in the amount of $1.2 million for the homeowners of Essex County. Sadly, the court did not grant us even a penny. They claim that the 10,000-plus homeowners who have been impacted by DocX and Brown’s actions are not victims. If they are not victims, then who are?

Surprisingly, the Justice Department informed my office that the big banks were victimized because they relied on DocX to provide them with accurate documents, which is complete nonsense. These big banks and their executives knew exactly what DocX and other document preparation companies where doing from day one.

I will continue to fight for property owners, not only because it is my job, but because it is the right thing to do. Homeowners and taxpayers are the real victims in the mortgage fraud scheme, and I, for one, am still waiting for justice from the Justice Department.

John L. O’Brien

Register of Deeds

Southern Essex County

Salem

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