You don’t mess with Lynn Szymoniak.
Bloomberg Businessweek has a story about a woman who discovered something fishy with her mortgage documents. She was well-equipped to fight against fraud – she’s an attorney and fraud investigator who specializes in forged documents:
As an attorney in West Palm Beach, Fla., Lynn Szymoniak built a career investigating fraudulent insurance claims, scouring documents for inconsistencies that revealed a con. So in 2008, when she was served with foreclosure papers on her home, she put on her cat’s-eye reading glasses and quickly spotted something amiss. What she found started a multiyear battle that helped change the fate of billions in foreclosed mortgages. It’s also earned her millionsand may make her millions more.
It seems "Linda Green" was everywhere.
Ms. Szymoniak and others discovered that many banks did not have the correct documents they needed to foreclose on homes. So to speed up the process of foreclosure, the banks hired mortgage servicing firms who rushed to get the documents completed, even if they had to fake them. That meant that if they couldn’t get the real signature of "Linda Green, Vice President", they merely signed her name.
That’s a big no-no with legal documents.
Ms. Szymoniak sued, saying that banks did not own the loans they said they owned, and were falsifying documents.
And since the loans were insured by the federal government, the banks were also filing bogus mortgage insurance claims with the federal government and getting paid insurance money for something they didn’t own.
The investigative program Sixty Minutes did a story about her role in what became known as the "robo-signing" fraud. It’s an older report from 2011, but still worthwhile. And it reveals the true identity of Linda Green.
Whistleblower Lynn Szymoniak
Read more of the story:
– Mortgage Fraud Whistle-Blower Lynn Szymoniak Exposed Robosigning’s Sins, Bloomberg Businessweek>>
– Whistleblower facing foreclosure wins $18 million, Sixty Minutes>>