El Paso Lawyer Takes on MERS

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POSTED: Monday, April 18, 2011 - 4:37pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - 10:23am

EL PASO – A local attorney is taking issue with a company that tracks mortgage ownership for millions of homes across the country. Richard Roman said Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) is shady, and cheating El Paso County out of money.

Roman has acted as the defense lawyer in dozens of foreclosure cases, where MERS has been involved.

“There's a lot of people out there that don't understand, and are being victimized by the uncertainty that surrounds MERS,” stated Roman.

MERS' own website says the company acts as the mortgagee and lender on deeds in county land records. Roman said, that especially becomes a problem when foreclosure comes into play, and a homeowner can't determine who holds their mortgage.

“The question becomes, who has the right to foreclosure, and if we can't even determine who the proper party is...then that corrupts the whole system,” said Roman.

On that point, a spokesperson with MERS told us, that's not true, and that the company does not mask mortgage ownership.

Roman said, another gripe he has with MERS, is that the company has dodged paying the county of El Paso recording fees that would usually go to the county, when a mortgage is assigned.

“MERS has not been paying the fees to El Paso County that other people – other entities, have been paying. Those are fees that are due to El Paso County and I think [it] can certainly use those fees,” said Roman.

And that's a matter of public record. In one month alone, over 250 mortgages in the county went to MERS, which means those filing fees didn't go to El Paso County.

Roman is hoping county leaders will get involved and ask MERS the tough questions. However, Roman's claim – that the county has missed out on filing fees because of MERS, was denied by the county clerk's office.

A number of counties across the country have sued MERS in recent years, over lost fees.

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