Urban—One of Bank of America’s Agents of Mod Fraud—Speaks Out

Bert Sheeks, an employee of Urban Settlement Services, did contract work for Bank of America, including HAMP modifications.  One of his tasks was to confirm whether the documents a borrower claimed to have sent appeared on Bank of America’s “I-Portal” system.  In his Declaration, filed in the In re HAMP MDL (Dkt. 210-7), he said:

Urban employees were instructed to close active borrower files based on limited criteria such as by simply seeing a copy of a drafted decline letter or a Missing Items Letter (“MIL”) on either I-Portal or SIEBEL (another Bank of America information management database).  “Closing” a file meant closing the electronic SEIBEL file record.  Once a borrower’s SEIBEL file record was closed, that loan modification application or workout option was deemed finalized and retired.

So they would just look for a “draft” decline letter, would not verify its accuracy or that it wasn’t even sent to the borrower, and use that as an excuse to actually decline the modification.

We were instructed to close the SEIBEL file based on the existence of the draft letter, whether or not the borrower had actually sent in the required documents – even in cases where we knew the borrower, had, in fact, responded with complete documents.

The Urban department at which I worked was daily given a grid consisting of hundreds or even thousands of files with instructions to close the files.  Our job was to find any pretext in the file to justify closing-whether or not justified.

The written notices that borrowers were missing documents and requests that they submit additional documents were often suspect, and likely sent without proper due diligence as to whether the documents were indeed missing.

I recall several instances in which I personally viewed financial documents from a particular borrower on Bank of America’s document system and then personally updated the references on the system, only to see later notation that the same documents were re-requested from the same borrower and electronic file as missing [sic].

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