Journalism in the Public Interest

Wells Fargo Case Belies Claim It Always Verifies Mortgage Paperwork

Wells Fargo says it has avoided much of the foreclosure paperwork problem because employees verify every mortgage document they sign, but a bankruptcy case shows that’s not always the case.


Photo by Flickr user TheTruthAbout.

Wells Fargo says it has generally avoided the foreclosure paperwork scandal plaguing the nation’s banks because its employees personally review and verify every document that they sign. But a previously unpublished deposition details how that didn’t happen in at least one case. In the deposition taken last summer, a bank employee admitted to submitting unverified documents to a federal bankruptcy court in northern Texas twice in the same case, even though she signed off that the documents, swearing that they were “true and correct.”

The employee said she “couldn’t guestimate” how frequently she submitted court documents without personally verifying the information.

The new deposition is from the Chapter 13 bankruptcy case of Texas residents Frederico and Herelinda Guevara. In the deposition, a Wells Fargo employee named Tamara Savery said she twice submitted documents to the court about who owned the Guevaras’ loan without personally researching or reviewing the underlying documents. She said she relied on the “expertise of others” when signing the legal paperwork.

The deposition did not delve into Wells Fargo’s wider practices. But in other cases, Wells Fargo employees have said they signed numerous affidavits a day without first verifying the information.

Wells Fargo spokesman Jason Menke said there’s no problem with the bank’s paperwork process. “We do not have a system in place where one person signs the affidavits while others do the actual reviews,” he said. “We are satisfied that our foreclosure affidavit process is sound.” On Wednesday, Wells Fargo posted record profits, saying "sound and accurate" practices allowed it to skirt the growing foreclosure document scandal.

Other major banks have halted foreclosures around the country in order to review documents, and the attorneys general of every state as well as the federal government have launched investigations into banks’ foreclosure-related practices. Mortgage documents submitted in court for foreclosures and bankruptcies have had a range of problems, from forged signatures to factual errors to fraudulent notarizations.

In bankruptcy court, a bank must have what’s called legal standing to get repaid on a mortgage, either by proving it owns the loan or by proving that it is the servicer of the loan. After all of the shuffling as loans were bundled up and sold on Wall Street, banks have had a difficult time producing the documents to prove their standing.

The Guevaras’ attorney, Thad Bartholow, said he deposed Well Fargo’s Savery to clarify conflicting responses about who owned the Guevaras’ loan. Savery initially signed a legal document saying, “Wells Fargo owns the Guevaras’ loan.” A week later, Wells Fargo submitted an amended document, also signed by Savery, stating, “Wells Fargo is currently servicing the Guevaras’ loan for Freddie Mac and does not own the Guevaras’ mortgage loan.”

Even when signing the updated document that restated who owned the loan, Savery said she still did not personally verify the information. Savery said she did not see the original paperwork until months later, on the day before the deposition.

The Guevaras’ lawyer said the mistaken claims in federal court were brazen. “It’s one thing to do it with deed records that nobody sees,” said Bartholow. “But this is active litigation. Do they think I’m not going to notice?”

Banks have been saying that the paperwork mess is just a technical “blip” and does not have any meaningful consequences. In the Guevaras’ case, however, the judge erased nearly $19,000 of arrears because Wells Fargo did not establish that it had the legal right — either as owner or servicer for the Guevara’s mortgage—to submit claims to the court.

Nobody has brought up the distinct possibility that the loan servicers may well have bundled and sold each of these loans MORE THAN ONCE to differernt investors via the securitization process.  THIS COULD BE THE REAL REASON THAT THERE IS NO DOCUMENTATION / PAPER TRAIL.  The non-existent documentation and accounting is entirely consistent with this scenario.  This means that the entire plan was a true Ponzi scheme in the worst sense.  In other words, rather than selling the loan once to investors, as we have all naively been assuming, there is no reason to believe that they did not double-dip or quintuple-dip and sell the exact same loan to completely new buyers.  THIS IS A LEVEL OF FRAUD THAT THE AMERICAN PUBLIC HAS NOT YET CONTEMPLATED.

There are no new laws that are necessary.  All that is necessary is for the states to FOLLOW THE EXISITING LAWS which have been around much longer than any of us, or any of the banks themselves.  These laws were devised to deal with all property frauds, including the current foreclosure frauds.  No more bailouts.  Let the chips fall where they may.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Dominick Mastroserio

Oct. 22, 2010, 1:35 p.m.

Of course now I am relieved that the Too Big To Failers’ biggest winners have revealed how honest they are.

Let’s not investigate or suspect them anymore, then…and to hell with the millions of people whose homes have been expropriated and whose lives blasted…it was the homeowner’s fault all along, as the plutocrats have been saying…

We should have known this alleged scandal was a trick of unemployed, foreclosed and powerful home owners in collusion across the country to try and wrest property they couldn’t afford from the poor bankers of Wall Street.

We trust these Big Bankers’ altruistic and compassionate motives for scrupulously and mercilessly carrying out this, their forclosure feeding frenzy or “tough love” behavioral system to straighten the country out economically.

Let’s not say another mean word against them.

For, when we all emerge clean and whole from the vast economic debacle we, and not Wall Street caused, we will of course, with Wall Street’s pure and venerable leadership and new, more practical means of doling out their credit largesse - will be made once again the citizens of a nice corporatist-consumerist paradigm…Numero Uno in all the world for everything that Muslim terrorists hate about us…our freedom, our luxurious lifestyles, our equitable justice, etc., sorta like we were told we undoubtedly were under the previous neocon regime…

Remember how we were told to take our plastic and go shopping a lot when their perpetual wars got under way???

So, despair not - we’ll get our plastic back even if we no longer own homes or have jobs…so that we can continue shopping like good little zombies even if it is against us that the plutocratic war of total dominance is being waged.

Is there a problem. Is it not the “newspeak” of 1984 and Bill Clinton, “I did not sleep with that woman, Monica Lewinski” and of Barry Soetoro, “transparency”?

I think there’s some folks who might call that, “PROGRESSIVE”!

Letter to Wells Fargo Spokeswpman Vickee Adams,

Dear Ms. Vickee Adams,

In your recent Wells Fargo’s press release, you declared that ““Our records show that Wells Fargo’s foreclosure affidavits are accurate, When the company finds employees that don’t follow procedure, it takes “corrective action.”

That’s a lie. I can say for a fact that Wells Fargo made us fraudulent mortgage loan and
foreclosed my home based on hugely inflated and fraudulent appraisal and refused to correct its mortgage fraud.

Wells Fargo teamed up with its attorneys and spent last 4 years in Nevada courts defending its appraisal and mortgage fraud.

Wells Fargo and its attorneys knew it’s Category C Felony to make mortgage loan based on fraudulent appraisal.

Wells Fargo and its attorneys knew it’s Category C Felony to foreclose home based on fraudulent appraisal.

Wells Fargo chose to violate the law and chose to defraud us.

Hold Wells Fargo Accountable! Save American Dream! Restore banking integrity.

Please sign the Petition at Let our voice be heard!

Stevor. If you are a homeowner, there is a good chance you have a “clouded title” just like millions of others. Time to pay attention.

I have more than one home and they haven’t switched who I pay to, so I’ll go to that company if there seems to be a problem. If they mess with me, I’ll have them prove they have the papers in order to get paid.

Hi stevor,

If you try to get them to prove in court that they have the paper - good luck - better have them do it now than when you decide not to pay once they won’t. If you stop paying because they won’t tell you the identity of the party with a right to be repaid, you will be in default. You then will have a slim chance without a good (knowledgeable) attorney.
There are many state courts that accept a copy of the note as proof. Fat chance on them bringing the original (or even having it).
Knowing what you know now, are you willing to accept a copy as proof?
Don’t wait for them to “mess with you” - ask for proof NOW - ask to see the original, so you can be sure that the entity you are paying has the right to be repaid. You may be shocked at what you discover.

I’m a expert on 14 foreclosure cases against Wells Fargo right now. Contrary to what Wells Fargo’s publicist may tell the media, Wells Fargo does have robo-signing problem as bad as the other banks.  In all of these cases we can prove Wells Fargo lacks the legal standing to enforce the terms of the note and mortgage.

Here’s one case that was in the Miami media:

Maurice & Patricia Shirley

Oct. 23, 2010, 3:19 p.m.

We have just returned from South Carolina clearing out our deceased parents’ home.  Wells Fargo foreclosed and SOLD our home without giving us proper notice.  By this, we mean, that #1, in June,2010, they sent notice of the foreclosure hearing to the South Carolina address knowing that it is not our mailing address.  In each telephone conversation that we held with Wells Fargo regarding the property, one of the first questions asked is “is the property address the same as the mailing address.  In each conversation, we would state the property address and then give the mailing address (not the same…property is in South Carolina, mailing address is some 800+ miles away in Wisconsin).  By accident, we were to learn that a foreclosure hearing was being held…actually had occurred when a friend just happened to check the mailbox at the house and found 3 letters in it:  one, each to my husband, one to me and one to “Occupant”.  When we contacted the legal firm representing Wells Fargo, they said that they only had the SC address on file for us.  Actually, in May, 2010, they had sent us certified mail to our “mailing address” in Wisconsin.  That mail was to be delivered to each of us “ONLY”, however, our daughter-in-law accepted the mail and signed for it.  We questioned how she could sign for something that was addressed to us “ONLY’, but got no response.  We are still mystified that they had our mailing address on file in May, yet in June, they sent mail to us in South Carolina.  When we were to find out about the foreclosure hearing, it had already occurred.  We attempted to contact the Judge who held the hearing and he referred us to Wells Fargo’s legal firm.  In the interim, we did seek an attorney to communicate with Wells Fargo’s firm, who insisted that he had to file a writ to negate the action.  By this time, the property is being sold at public auction and Wells Fargo/Wachovia Bank has purchased the property.  The attorney we had contacted sent us a notice that our property ahd been sold, further, that eviction notices were plastered over several of the doors at the house. Several local and State officials have attempted to be helpful to us and have attempted to communicate with the law firm representing Wells Fargo, on our behalf, they have received terse and contrived statements from them, containing lies and half-truths about what, in fact, occurred. 
We had been in negotiations with Wells Fargo since February, 2010 for a loan modification on this 5 year-old mortgage.  We had even received a special forbearance agreement to begin on April 1, 2010, however, several pages of the document were missing.  When we attempted to call Wells Fargo to get further clarification, we were told that our file had been closed and there was nothing further they would do for us.  We were treated very rudely by their agent….and asked to speak wit her manager.  Her manager was very cordial, and noted that there was an IRS lien on the property and once we had established a repayment plan with IRS to get that information to him and our file would be reopened.  Each time we attempted to contact him, we would get his “Audex Voicemail” and no return calls.  Very shortly after that, we got the notice of Intent to Foreclose in May, 2010.  Each time we sent information to Wells Fargo by fax and called to confirm receipt, we would be told that it was not received, or that pages were missing and to resend it.  This also had to be updated every 30 days, and the same things would occur…didn’t come through, or some pages were missing…same story every month.  We spent quite a bit of money faxing materials to Wells Fargo before one of their agents told us to take it to a Wells Fargo Bank branch and have it done gratis.  Wonder of wonders, the first time we did this, they said it didn’t come through (from their own branch bank!!!).  We also would be given different numbers to fax the materials to and when we would call to confirm, we would be told that is the wrong fax number.  We are very saddened that we have lost the home that in 1956, our parents built and lived in until their deaths in 1998 and 2004.  Their legacy of hard work and diligence is not lost to us because we were part of the building and loving care they put into their home.  It was our intent to keep the home in our family for generations.  It was through unfortunate personal circumstances that we had to take a mortgage against the property and were in good standing until July, 2009, at which time we filed a Chapter 7 petition.  Upon discharge of the Chapter 7, Wells Fargo seized upon the opportunity to foreclose on our property and craftily and skillfully took it from us.  We do not intend to be silent and voiceless in this matter.  We are sure that there are many others who have suffered the same or similar plight.


Oct. 24, 2010, 4:44 p.m.

I said it before and i say it again,
Property rights which are the core of Capitalism and the core of the American freedom, now more than ever appear to be in question, Property Rights are being violated by these Bnaksters and their business practices

All these Banksters should go to jail, Bernie Maddof is a saint compare to these Banksters that are comiting these Fraudclosures! 

My question is who has the power and the will to audit Wells Fargo ?

I have an 8” binder that will prove that my son’s mortgage was with one mortgage company (MLNUSA) then without notice transferred (without notice)  to ASC (America’s Servicing Company).  It was time and time again documentation had been lost, payments said not to have been received and ignorant customer service representatives all the time, ruining his credit and charging him late fees.  With the binder I have of information, there is NO WAY it was honest.  It definately was a ponzi.  Until I wrote to the Banking commissioner and Senators and the President, cc’ing so many, was it that I got a letter from Wells Fargo.  My son was finally given the opportunity to tell his story and they had no alternative than to refinance.  However, when he refinanced they charged him another $18K dollars so now he is underwater!!!  (But hasn’t missed a payment in over 2 years). Unless someone really gets in there to dig stuff up on this case and others…they’ll be no recourse…but if someone wanted my info…I’d hand it over in a heartbeat!  It’s a long son had the money to pay his mortgage but the loans (2) went up from $825 to almost $2,800 per month.  So don’t tell me he was someone who shouldn’t have gotten a subprime loan..these people just can’t pay the interest when the arm goes up, if the interest rate was lower like all of us that are comfortable with (due to the fact that we all weren’t screwed) then a heck of a lot more families wouldn’t be losing their homes!  I could go on and on..

Kevin Schmidt

Oct. 25, 2010, 1:03 p.m.

If people were to suddenly wake up, there would be a massive run on the big banks that would put them into bankruptcy within a week!

Oops! They already are bankrupt because they are trillions of dollars in the hole. But, since they are too big too fail, the fed only shuts down the little banks who were never involved with the largest ponzi scheme in history.

“Is there a problem. Is it not the “newspeak” of 1984 and Bill Clinton, “I did not sleep with that woman,”

You know, Bill Clinton can get all the extra-marital nookie in the universe and unless it is with me it doesn’t effect my life one whit or twaddle while the actions of this organized gang of banksters most certain effects my life, my family’s life, and the very lifeblood of our community.

Isn’t “ProPublica” financed by Herb and Marion Sandler, the couple that owned World Savings Bank, which they sold to Wachovia, which when the housing bubble burst, the World Savings mortgages caused Wachovia to go under and have a forced sale to a white knight buyer to save the company and the economy, which happened to be Wells Fargo.

Foreclosure Frauds, Wells Fargo-the Fox in Charge, and Victimization

I believe that Wells Fargo’s announcement about refiling 55k foreclosures is because covering up wrongful foreclosures is no longer effective.  Res ipsa loquitur foreclosure frauds occurring here in Louisiana involving Wells Fargo, Freddie Mac, certain foreclosure mills, and certain corrupt judges make it apparent that Wells Fargo CANNOT be trusted to fix its foreclosure wrongdoings, no more than an addict can be trusted to self-reform.

Mortgage lenders are not required to know laws - attorneys are! Most of the time, the attorneys made severe errors - sometimes intentionally, since errors help keep the billable tab going, and commit the very frauds that provide basis, defenses, and reasons to attempt negotiating mortgage contracts.
Compare: blighted neighborhoods and foreclosure deed conveyances to non-existent mortgage lenders; bankruptcy “Lift Stay” motions that “lack standing,” and names on “proof of claims” different from ‘lift stays’ “movers”; and illegal property deeds.

Also, foreclosure lawyers have failed to “effect service,” failed at various substantive Civil Procedure requirements which make it not lawful to proceed with that lawyer’s case until those errors are corrected. As such, homeowners are not to be blamed for refusing to cooperate with erroneous and fraudulent confiscation of their homes!

Often, foreclosure delays are because of the lawyers, but the lawyers keep that fact from clients. It is usually always foreclosure lawyers’ serious mistakes, errors, and frauds that supply reasons, defenses, and basis for anyone with a brain / anyone who prefers to not be homeless to attempt renegotiating his or her mortgage contract.

Also, property owners seeking debt reorganization through Chapter 13 Bankruptcy are not to be blamed for contesting a false “proof of claim” or false “Lift Stay” motion. As such, countless foreclosure lawyers owe a lot of money to their clients for fatally botching foreclosure cases.

Scoffer spew anger about others living ‘rent free’ have absurd responses about ‘White Collar foreclosure fraud’ - which includes confiscating distressed properties via falsified court bankruptcy and state court pleadings. 

Samples of Wells Fargo, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers foreclosure debt collector attorneys (foreclosure mills), and judicial corruption are posted on my website.  Like the matter of the “Bailey” property foreclosure filed under Lehman Brothers, but the Hurricane Katrina insurance money was demanded by Wells Fargo. Also, posted is how Wells Fargo (WF) filed a false IRS form 1099-A despite that Wells Fargo did not foreclose.

My Question is Why has OBama not stepped in and Closed down all foreclosures from the indicated Banks such as Wells Fargo and made them prove each and every ownership and if they can not then make them send all the paper work back to the owners , so that they do not have to pay any illegal moneys to these dirty rotten thieves . .
Is he backing these thieves to allow this theft to go forward to intentionally harm other Americans . ?


Oct. 30, 2010, 12:28 p.m.

After reading this article an many others on pro-publica I got to one conclusion only, Banksters need to be a essentially and substantially more REGULATED, Let me just tell you in 3 phrases what i believe this country needs to do with these Banksters, so this mess does not happens ever again REGULATE THEM, REGULATE THEM , REGULATE THEM !
Yes REGULATE every single transaction, Foreclosure,  DCO’s,  Derivable s, Credit Cards, Bail out ‘s etc REGULATION is the key, if these Banksters are REGULATED they can not extract and suck the money and the wealth from this country, the middle class and they will not be able to be trowing whole families in the street with their FRAUDCLOSURES as they have been doing it for so long REGULATION ! REGULATION ! INTENSE REGULATION ! AND MORE REGULATION, REGULATE THEM TO THE TEETH
And finally,  Break up the Banksters yes that is right Break them in to pieces so none of them are worth more that a few Billions and this way you will create more competition and they will never ever be TO BIG TO FAIL ever again


Nov. 10, 2010, 4:50 a.m.

Get Updates

Our Hottest Stories