We caught Cory Bishop just as he was moving the last of his boxes and children's toys out of his Haverhill condo. We showed him this document we found that could save his family's home from foreclosure.
"This piece of paper could save your house," said Hank.
"This is amazing. This is just like a miracle to me today," said Bishop.
The miracle piece of paper was in the property files of this Essex Country Registry of Deeds, it's a transfer of Cory's mortgage from one lender to another.
See this signature? The bankers name typed underneath is Crystal Moore. And this one? The typed name is Brian Bly.
But registry officials now tell us exclusively: Those signatures are phony. They showed us they've discovered these 5 different versions of Crystal Moore's signatures in their files! And these 6 different versions of Brian Bly.
"They're not legit. They can't be," said Register John O'Brien of the Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds.
Now multiply "not legit" by thousands and thousands. They found 25,000 documents with suspicious signatures! Last month we told you all about Linda Green. That was the first name officials in Essex County thought was questionable. They soon found 22 different versions of that signature in their records! Since then they've uncovered other suspicious signatures – not just Crystal Moore and Brian Bly…they've found three different versions of the name Jessica Ohde. Four different Donna Benios. Eight different Brent Bagleys. Seventeen different versions of Christie Baldwin.
"It tells me that there's fraud, that we're infected with fraud!" said O'Brien.
You heard him say fraud! And if there's a fraudulent signature on a legal document–the document is no good. And that means the foreclosure on Cory's condo and thousands of others–could be stopped.
"Because?" asked Hank.
"Because they are trying to take people's homes using documents that are fraudulent. And that is WRONG," said O'Brien.
Many of these different-looking signatures can be traced back to a company in Georgia that certain banks and lenders once hired to create mortgage documents. Investigators believe different employees simply signed names that were not their own–sometimes "robo-signing" thousands of documents a day without even reading them. Lenders then filed those in the registry of deeds.
"And it's against the law!" said O'Brien.
Now the Register's decided they're not going to break the law any more. When lenders recently sent these questionable documents to the registry–he sent them back.
And back at Cory's condo, the packing is on hold. This surprised homeowner's now planning to fight his foreclosure–using the piece of paper we gave him as ammunition.
"I think this is awesome, thank you so much!" said Bishop.
Is there a suspicious signature on your mortgage paperwork? Now you can find out. The Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds put every suspicious document it found on its website: http://www.salemdeeds.com/
If you live in a different county and want to check out your own mortgage documents here's a link to find it: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/rod/rodidx.htm
(Copyright (c) 2011 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)