WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Prince William Residents Blame Robo-signing For Rash Of Foreclosures

Play associated audio
 
A foreclosed home now for sale in the Georgetown South neighborhood of Prince William County, Va.
Elliott Francis
  A foreclosed home now for sale in the Georgetown South neighborhood of Prince William County, Va.

Prince William County has the highest rate of foreclosures in Virginia, and residents of one neighborhood who blame the foreclosure rate on the practice of 'robo-signing,' are demanding accountability from the banks and an investigation by state officials.  At the height of the foreclosure crunch, approximately 25 percent of homes in the Georgetown South development in Manassas were foreclosed and vacant. 

Residents find evidence of robo-signing

A team of citizen advocates, concerned over the disproportionate number of foreclosures, launched an investigation this past summer to find out why. They released a report yesterday that found the rapid and voluminous rate of shuttered homes in Georgetown South was the result of robo-signing.

Robo-signing, a practice allegedly used by some banks to fast track the foreclosure process, involves the signing of documents without confirming information, or, in some cases, the use of forged signatures. 

"Robo-signing and the speed of foreclosure in Virginia have hurt individual homeowners, and entire communities, and we need action now," Rev. Clyde Ellis, one of the activists, said during a rally to announce the results of the investigation on the steps of the Prince William County courthouse Sept. 20. The report is "just a next step in our campaign to hold financial institutions accountable for this foreclosure crisis," Ellis added.

"One woman actually signed documents as a vice president of seven different banks over the course of two years which indicates to us potentially false credentials," says Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd, who helped organize the document investigation.

Complaints of blight left in forclosures' wake

The velocity of foreclosure left no homeowners behind to tell the stories. The neighbors who remain talk about blighted blocks and abandoned homes attracting crime. Ellis says there's a good reason why it happened here.

"I think it goes back to the fact that Prince William County is now predominantly majority minority, and by virtue of that fact, the bankers purposely targeted this area," he says. 

McDonald Ladd says the group is demanding Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli launch a full investigation into the robo-signing. "We have not heard back yet from Ken Cuccinelli and the governor but we're just making those appeals now," she says. 

NPR

With A Little Magic, Small Budget Horror Films Pack A Big Punch

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with Jason Blum, founder and CEO of Blumhouse Productions, about the magic of micro-budget horror films.
NPR

Why California's New Farmworker Overtime Bill May Not Mean Bigger Paychecks

California lawmakers just passed a landmark bill that would make farmworkers eligible for overtime if they work more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week. Some farmers say they can't afford that.
NPR

Republicans Consider Lasting Impression Of Trump On Their Party

Republicans are debating whether — win or lose — Donald Trump has already altered the DNA of the Republican Party.
NPR

Facebook Faces Trending News Problems After Firing Curators

On Friday, news site Quartz reported that Facebook fired its "news curators" and replaced them with algorithms to compile the news that ends up on Facebook's "Trending" news section. Many users took note when a fake article about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly was trending.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.