While foreclosures nationally fell 3 percent last year, New York City filings climbed 19 percent, or 13,116 properties, according to a new report.
The outer boroughs were the hardest hit, with Queens seeing a 164 percent rise year-over-year and Staten Island rising 19 percent over the same time frame, according to RealtyTrac, which expects another spike this year.
As the new numbers were released, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a paltry $1.9 million settlement deal with robosigning giant Lender Processing Services.
Put another way, LPS, which earned operating income of $290 million in 2011 on revenues of $2.1 billion, has to pay a penalty roughly equal to the average sale price of a Manhattan apartment – for misdeeds affecting New Yorkers statewide. LPS shares rose 1.64, to $24.04, Thursday on the news.
The $1.9 million is New York’s portion of a $121 million multistate deal with LPS and its subsidiaries, LPS Default Solutions and DocX, to settle for misdeeds (including robosigning), overhaul its business and fix mistakes.
Foreclosure experts called the payment stunningly inadequate and noted that faulty documents created by LPS and other firms in the past are still appearing in foreclosure cases.
“It looks like a big number, but it’s truly a failing for the people in New York,” said foreclosure defense attorney Linda Tirelli. “I continue to find these documents every day.”
A source with knowledge of the settlement said the penalties were based on how many documents generated by LPS existed in each state, plus fees.
Experts said the settlement appears to fall far short of addressing all the documents created or the enduring damage done to America’s system of land records. In November, the Department of Justice announced that former DocX President Lorraine Brown admitted participation in “a six-year scheme to prepare and file more than 1 million fraudulently signed and notarized mortgage-related documents with property recorders’ offices throughout the United States.”