The humans who’ve been labeled robo-signers for their automaton-like ability to sign hundreds of foreclosure affidavits a day appear to have worked their legal corner-cutting magic in another segment of the U.S. debt market as well.
The New York Times reports that debt collection agencies have been employing tactics similar to those used at so-called “foreclosure mills.” Workers would attest to the validity of countless documents as fast as they could sign each document. The Times says:
“The difference is that in the case of debt buyers, the abuses are much worse,” says Richard Rubin, a consumer lawyer in Santa Fe, N.M.
“At least when it comes to mortgages, the banks have the right address, everyone agrees about the interest rate. But with debt buyers, the debt has been passed through so many hands, often over so many years, that a lot of time, these companies are pursuing the wrong person, or the charges have no lawful basis.”
In other words, the world of consumer credit is rife with many of the same abuses that have prompted our nation’s attorneys general to launch a joint investigation into the mortgage industry.
The Times’ story includes many familiar “fraudclosure” tropes — a funny deposition where a robo-signer says something ridiculous, and a case of an employee at a major bank getting the axe for asking too many questions.
A longstanding low-level public distaste for debt collection agencies is about to get jazzed up with some foreclosure-scandal relevance.
mtaylor [at] observer.com | @mbrookstaylor