SEE WHAT I DID THERE? Perhaps not, because you might not be familiar with allonges. An allonge is an additional document that allows additional signatures to be attached to a document. Boring.
Unless you’re bundling mortgages. Then it’s very exciting! When all the kool kidz were still worried about the housing crisis, I noted that we had Immaculate Documentation: magically, all of the necessary signatures would suddenly be ‘found’ on a ‘newly discovered’ allonge. We’re talking about things like pixelated signatures on wet-ink documents. Of course, it’s hard to prove that many of these bogus documents are bogus, especially if one party is willing to perjure itself (it didn’t help that many judges were predisposed to find against supposed ‘deadbeat’ owners). In times of yore, this was referred to perjury, but we’re old school.
Well, it turns out that Wells Fargo had an entire playbook describing how to forge documents (boldface mine):
In a filing in New York’s Southern District in White Plains for a local homeowner in bankruptcy, attorney Linda Tirelli described a 150-page Wells Fargo Foreclosure Attorney Procedures Manual created November 9, 2011 and updated February 24, 2012. According to court papers, the Manual details “a procedure for processing [mortgage] notes without endorsements and obtaining endorsements and allonges.”
Those are the technical terms for the paperwork proving that the company that’s foreclosing owns the loan, and therefore has the right to kick a family out of its home. Wells Fargo services roughly 9 million home loans, according to Inside Mortgage Finance….
If the allegations in Tirelli’s court filing are true, this manual represents the first time ‘ta-da’ endorsements are “being described and admitted to be a procedure” at a major bank, as Tirelli claimed to The Post.
The manual, a copy of which was obtained by the Post, appears to provide step-by-step instructions for a Wells Fargo Home Mortgage “Default Docs Team” and foreclosure attorneys if a blank endorsement is in a file and the attorney wants that note executed. In addition, the manual outlines steps for attorneys and the Default Docs Team to create allonges, endorsements to a note on a separate sheet of paper when there is no room left at the bottom of the note. Step 3 under the header “Allonge” on page 17 reads: “WFHM Default Docs Team: If file was ordered and received, review … to determine what entities the attorney needs the note endorsement to reflect.
Let’s be clear what this means: they’re forging signatures on a legal document. If the document is blank, you can’t just sign after the fact.
This is a full-blown assault on a cornerstone of property law. I’m sure all of the culpable parties will be held responsible, though….