Robo-signing mortgage servicer may have violated state false document statute

The Ninth Circuit held that a mortgage servicer that allegedly engaged in robo-signing may well have violated an Arizona statute, Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-420, that criminalizes filing false property title documents with the state recording offices. In re Mortg. Electronic Registrations Systems, Inc (Robinson v. Am. Home Mortg. Serv. Inc.), 2014 WL 2611314, 2 014 U.S. App. LEXIS 10934 (9th Cir. 2014). There was  evidence that trustee's sale documents were notarized in blank and signed later by a person other than the one who was supposed to sign the document. Such signings were also done in bulk (robo-signing) and because not signed by the correct person were forged. In addition, notaries are supposed to witness the signature not notarize a blank document before any signature appears. The case is notable because the servicer was MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.). Judge William Fletcher engaged in a detailed discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of the MERS system.