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Assessor Finds Broken Laws In Majority Of SF Foreclosures

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) - The City and County of San Francisco's Office of Assessor-Recorder released a report Wednesday saying that a review of nearly 400 foreclosures in the county revealed that bank and lender mistakes were found in nearly 99% of the cases.

According to San Francisco Assessor, Phil Ting, a vast majority of the cases broke California foreclosure laws.

"These loans didn't have one thing wrong with them, these loans had many things wrong with them," Ting explained.

Among the violations were missing documents, back-dating, and conflicting or inaccurate information.

The 382 cases analyzed occurred between January 2009 and October 2011. In total, there were over 2,400 foreclosure cases within that time.

While not every case was reviewed, auditors believe the findings are representative of what is going on not only in the city, but state-wide. This is the first wide-scale audit of foreclosure documents in California.

"Where there's smoke you naturally expect to find fire, and what this report uncovers unfortunately is an inferno," auditor Lou Pizzante said.

Unlike many other states, California does not require judges to oversee the foreclosure process known as the "judicial review."

"The reason that other states have been able to pick up on these items much faster is because people have to go in front of judges and the judges clearly understand what the laws are," Ting said.

Along with lack of oversight, the other problem is that many state foreclosure laws and processes are antiquated, some dating back to over 100 years ago.

Ting said he plans on passing on his findings to the Attorney General in hopes that the state will change the way foreclosures in the state occur before people wrongfully lose their homes.

"This whole process is absolutely 100 percent broken," Ting said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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