In Massachusetts, Essex South Register of Deeds John O’Brien announced he said he will be seeking over $22 million dollars from MERS.
O’Brien says he bases the $22 Million number on the fact that the Salem registry has recorded over 148,663 MERS mortgages since 1998 and after a careful review of a number of these mortgages, O’Brien said it became very clear to him that MERS had assigned mortgages to other entities at least twice without paying a recording fee. Based on this information the taxpayers have been defrauded out of $22,299,450 in Southern Essex County alone. It is quite possible that in some cases they may have assigned the notes more than twice resulting in even greater loss of revenue.
O’Brien called MERS, “one of the greediest schemes ever perpetrated on the American people. They have compromised the integrity of the public land recordation system and in doing so, have wreaked havoc on our economy”.
Last week, MERS announced a major policy change conceding that assignments by requiring mortgage servicers to take “assignments out of MERS’s name.”
O’Brien further states “MERS has now finally acknowledged that their business model was flawed, and they didn’t adhere to the legal requirement that all assignments of a mortgage must be recorded at the local Registry of Deeds. If they had followed the law the public would know who was buying and selling their mortgage. The fact is that they deliberately chose to create a for-profit private cyber Registry of Deeds whose only purpose was to avoid paying recording fees..”
The Essex South Registry of Deeds is one of 21 Registries in Massachusetts which have recorded MERS mortgages. O’Brien estimates that based on his calculations, the Commonwealth may be owed statewide upwards of $200 million dollars in lost recording fees.
In November, 2010, O’Brien who notified Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley about MERS, will now be forwarding this additional information to her. “We need to act quickly to recover these funds,” O’Brien said.