El Paso Woman May be Victim of Illegal Robosigning
POSTED: Thursday, February 2, 2012 - 11:38pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - 8:20am
She's Facing Foreclosure Even Though She's Made all Her Payments
EL PASO – It's a homeowner's worst nightmare: you make all your payments on time and still, a bank forecloses on your property. It's happened to one El Pasoan, who now wants to spread the news about an illegal practice that allows banks to foreclose on your home by tampering with the mortgage paperwork.
Beatriz Huml said she never thought she'd be in this situation.
"They came in and told me your house has been foreclosed and it's been sold. [I said], 'what?'”
Huml bought her Central El Paso home in the 1990's and says she faithfully paid her $900 mortgage each month, so she assumed the late notices she had received were a mistake; but then, the bank started returning her checks.
"I said, 'why?' I [must have] did an overpayment, so I did not pay attention because I knew I was making my payments,” said Huml.
Then, something else happened; something Huml couldn't ignore.
"They came in and gave me a notice of eviction,” said Huml.
Huml took a closer look at the foreclosure documents and noticed something strange.
"Not all the signatures were the same,” stated Huml.
The name “Beverly Mitrisin” appears on the paperwork as a substitute trustee several times, but the signature appears to be different from one page to the next.
"Unless you have different personalities, you always sign your name the same way,” said Huml.
Huml is represented by attorney Richard Roman; he said her bank uses a tactic called robosigning.
"Robosigning is a mechanism that the banks have created….to expedite the filing of documents...bank-related documents without validating signatures to make sure the signatures are valid,” said Roman.
In this particular case, different people are signing the name “Beverly Mitirisin,” and sometimes, the name is stamped.
"It's illegal, it's not recognized by any regulatory body or court anywhere,” added Roman.
Before lenders foreclose on a property, they need to file documents proving they have the right to foreclose, by proving the homeowner is behind on monthly payments. But, in recent years, lenders have been accused of robosigning - falsely notarizing paperwork to rush homes into foreclosure.
Roman said the foreclosure process is contaminated, when different people sign the same name, or when the bank uses a rubber stamp.
"How do we know or how can they prove that the person that is saying 'go foreclose on a property' has the authority to do that?” asked Roman.
Newschannel 9 reached out to several banks about robosigning; they wouldn't comment. The big question now is, what can local leaders do to help homeowners who fall victim to this illegal practice?
An El Paso County spokesperson said the county can't give legal advice. They referred Newschannel 9 to the Texas Attorney General's office, which won't talk about robosigning, either.
The state Attorney General's webpage, does, however, offer some advice to homeowners facing foreclosure: https://www.oag.state.tx.us/consumer/mortgage_fraud.shtml
Richard Roman said the deck is stacked against troubled homeowners who need help.
"When a homeowner here in El Paso runs into a problem, they don't have a lobbyist,” said Roman.
Beatriz Huml knows all too well, the misery of having a home hijacked by robosigning. But, she has her attorney, and her convictions, and promises she'll fight this to the very end.
"There's absolutely no way I'm vacating my house,” said Huml.
There are local organizations devoted to helping homeowners on the brink of foreclosure. One is the YWCA's Consumer Credit Counseling Service. You can reach them directly at 915-577-2530.