On the Same Day $26 Billion National Bank Settlement Announced, Senate Democrats Pass Chap Petersen's Bill to Help Virginia Homeowners Who are Victimized by "Robo-Signers"
Senator Petersen, a leader in the Virginia Senate in protecting the rights of homeowners who have been victimized by fraudulent foreclosures said in his office following the vote, "The use of fraudulent documents in foreclosure is a national problem. If you don't believe me, just search for 'robo-signing' on the internet."
The $26 billion settlement announced yesterday between the national banking industry, the federal government and 49 state attorneys general resulted from the banks' fraudulent use of robo-signers to create documents used in foreclosures.
SB 163 does more than just make "robo-signing" illegal. It also gives a consumer remedy for actual costs and attorney fees to a homeowner that loses a house she was entitled to live in. As Petersen stated after the vote, "Previously, these cash-strapped homeowners had no real opportunity to contest robo-signers, as they lacked funds to hire an attorney or a means to stop the misconduct. Now they actually will have an affirmative protection. We can't change what happened in the past. We can protect against it in the future."
The settlement represents years of investigation into the practice of "robo-signing" and other fraudulent acts used to wrongfully evict millions of American homeowners between 2008 and 2011. The funds will be distributed to the various states, with Virginia expected to receive $500 million (note that Prince William County alone has seen 16,000 foreclosures in the past three years).
19 Senate Democrats voted for the bill while only nine Republicans supported the measure.