People’s Hero – Southern Essex County (MA) Register of Deeds – John O’Brien

This is what fighting for We, the People really means – Register O’Brien is working around the clock to make sure that the biggest mortgage/financial fraud doesn’t go unpunished and swept under the rug…and as we all well know – there are many rugs to be checked out before his task is done…But, he can’t do this alone. He needs our help – and you can help by spreading the story about him and his fight not only for MA Essex County homeowners, but for the American people and for the country our founding fathers fought for…

Register O’Brien:“People need to know that this is not a Democrat or Republican issue! It is an American issue; one that strikes at the very backbone of our country – people’s property rights; and to make deals and turn a blind eye to fraud is awful!”

One day we will all realize how their role is extremely important and these registers can make a change or you can remind them what their job is; it’s better for all of us if we realize it NOW!

SenkaLive Foreclosure Fraud Survivors blogtalk radio interview with Register John O’Brien and his First Assistant Kevin Harvey, on Sunday – February 9, 2014:


May 16, 2013

Do you know what happened in the city of Lynn on Tuesday? People happened…get inspired America, wake up and do the same – challenge the banksters, challenge your politicians – local, state, federal…this city did it with a huge help from one and only Register of Deeds John O’Brien – they were able to wake up their city’s councilors and passed this bill.

We can all do it! We all deserve to be protected from the banksters and ignorant or corrupt government officials – they don’t care when your families are losing their jobs, their homes…

Tuesday – May 14, 2013 – Lynn, MA

Tonight, we’re making history in again – Register O’Brien and his First Assistant Kevin Harvey will be there too – at this historic meeting where we, the people hope that the City Council will vote and override the Mayor’s veto on this important foreclosure bill!

Rally at the steps of Lynn City Hall – Tuesday, May 14, 2013:

The City of Lynn belongs to its people, not to the banksters and their lobbyist!

Here is the first part of the meeting (Register O’Brien speech included):

Lynn United for Change: Lynn, MA stood up to the big banks last night. With a unanimous vote, the City Council overturned Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy’s veto and adopted the strongest anti-foreclosure law in the state.

A huge crowd of Lynn United for Change members and allies rallied outside City Hall beforehand and heard powerful words from homeowners who are fighting foreclosure, including Ella Thomas, Williams Jaquez, Di Thi Son, Atim Thomas, and Joe DiRusso.

Lynn United organizer Isaac Simon Hodes asked supporters to stay involved in the struggle, to help ensure the ordinance is implemented quickly, and to spread the word that residents can fight foreclosure and win if they come together to resist the big banks.

Hundreds of people packed the City Council Chambers to watch the successful override vote. The measure has been described as among the toughest in the entire country, and was originally brought forward by Council President Tim Phelan and Ward 6 Councilor Pete Capano.

Register of Deeds John O’Brien testified in favor of the ordinance, and rebutted objections that had been raised by a very small group of businesses led by Eastern Bank.

Members of Neighbor To Neighbor, the North Shore Labor Council, IUE-CWA Local 201, the Highlands Coalition, and other Lynn groups came to show their support for the anti-foreclosure measure.

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who helped make this happen, especially the Lynn United members who worked incredibly hard to get us here. This is a great step forward, but there’s still a lot more to do. Let’s keep building the movement!


May 8, 2013

John O’Brien is the Register of Deeds for Massachusetts Southern Essex District, a post he has served in faithfully since 1977. He is an elected official and the first county recorder in the nation to stand up to big bank fraudclosures, those manufactured with forged documents.

Having lived his life in the Cradle of Freedom, where the spirit of the American Revolution runs deep, he is that rare public servant who takes the public trust seriously. History will reveal him to be a genuine American hero and the patron saint of homeowners across the country.

On June 7th 2011, saying, “the buck stops here”, Register of Deeds, John O’Brien rejected 2 robo-signed documents submitted to his Registry for recording and plans to continue doing so.

And thus was heard, the shot fired ‘round the World’  in the New American Revolution.

“My Registry will not be a knowing participant in this fraud against homeowners. From today forward, lenders be on notice, the Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds will not record robo-signed documents.”

Register O’Brien said, “Knowing what I now know, it would be a dereliction of my duties as the keeper of the records to record these documents and any other documents that contain questionable signatures. To do so, would make me a willing participant in a continuing scheme which has corrupted the chain of title of thousands of Essex County property owners. I have decided to put a stop to this reckless behavior and hold these lenders and their agents accountable for the authenticity of what they are attempting to record in my Registry. I do not believe this to be unreasonable.”

O’Brien continued, “This is even bigger than the Savings and Loan Scandal. Banks are going to court with fraudulent documents to take people’s homes and that’s not what America is about.”

O’Brien’s office conducted an audit of all mortgage assignments to assess the extent of the forgery and found problems to be wide spread. The problem is further exacerbated by an entity called MERS, short for Mortgage Electronic Registration systems which was created by Wall Street as an alternative to the traditional County Recording systems.

“The Audit makes the finding that this was not only a MERS problem, but a scheme also perpetuated by MERS shareholder banks such Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan and others. I am stunned and appalled by the fact that America’s biggest banks have played fast and loose with people’s biggest asset – their homes. This is disgusting, and this is criminal.

“This evidence has made it clear to me that the only way we can ever determine the total economic loss and the amount of damage done to the taxpayers is by conducting a full forensic audit of all registry of deeds in Massachusetts. I suspect that at the end of the day we are going to find that the taxpayers have been bilked in this state alone of over 400 million dollars not including the accrued interest plus costs and penalties. “

O’Brien figures his County lost as much as $22 million in revenue since 1998 and the number may be even larger. To get some of it back he commissioned,  at no cost to the state or the taxpayers,  an audit of 2010 mortgage assignments.

  • 16% of the assignments were valid, 75% were invalid, and 9%      were deemed questionable.
  • Of those that are invalid, 27% were fraudulent, 35% showed      evidence of robo-signing, and 10% violated the Massachusetts Mortgage      Fraud Statute.
  • The proper owner of the mortgages could only be determined 60%      of the time.

These facts need to be brought to the attention of all county recorders across the nation.  Register O’Brien encourages all County Recorders to join him in protesting this flagrant violation of property laws.

Bring these facts to your own county recorders.  Ask them to join John O Brien  and follow his lead in his efforts to bring integrity back to the County Land Records system.


April 17, 2013

Here is the letter to the Lynn Daily Item from Register O’Brien:


It took 11 Lynn City Councilors to do something that the federal and state government have been unable to do – namely require big banks to sit accross the table face to face and mediate with homeowners who are going through foreclosure, post a $10,000 bond to ensure that any homes that are in foreclosed upon are repaired and maintained, so that they do not become a blight on our neighborhoods.

Why anyone would be opposed to this ordinance is beyond me. I know why the banks are opposed to it – because when they meet with these homeowners who were set up for failure from day one, they will have to bring with them the original note and accompanying documents including the original loan application proving their ownership which in most cases, they do not have, and they know it.

Kevin Kiley of the Mass Bankers Association made the irresponsible statement that this ordinance will impact the bank’s future ability to write mortgages in our city; this, on top of being untrue, is patently silly and he knows better than that. If Mr. Kiley had bothered to come to the Essex South Registry of Deeds and see the 39,000 fraudulent documents sitting on my conference table that were prepared and recorded by the banks he represents maybe this type of outrageous comment could’ve been avoided.

As the Register of Deeds for the Southern Essex District I have agreed to follow the law of our city and not record the foreclosure deeds unless they are accompanied by a certificate of compliance acknowledging that the banks have followed the rules. If I thought for one minute that this was just an attempt by the City Council to make themselves “look good” in an election year I would have never signed on. This ordinance is a reasonable and responsible action drafted by a team of people who are committed to solving a problem. The City of Lynn has always been a city of firsts and last Tuesday evening the City Council made history again. I am hopeful that this ordinance will be adopted into law not only by our city, but by cities across the country.

We can not afford to once again give the banks a pass.


April 11, 2013

America, are you ready – after the people of Lynn stood up and said NO to TBTF, their Mayor is about to veto this legislation! Please leave comments so that they’re aware that America is watching! – LYNN — A newly minted city foreclosure m…ediation and prevention plan will probably face legal challenges from lenders, but Southern Essex Register of Deeds John L. O’Brien Jr. Tuesday dared banks to sue him over his pledge to enforce the ordinance. O’Brien repeated a previous pledge to not record foreclosure deeds not accompanied by the mediation certificate required under the “homeowners bill of rights.” “If they want to sue — come on in,” said O’Brien as more than 250 people crowding the Council Chamber stood and cheered. But assistant city solicitor James Lamanna prior to the 11-0 vote in favor of the anti-foreclosure ordinance said he “anticipates legal challenges” to the measure. Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy on Monday said she “has somewhat of a problem” with the ordinance, and said bank and mortgage company representatives have contacted city officials, raising concerns about the plan.”


April 9, 2013

Received this email from Dawn Jenkins after this historical meeting at Lynn City Hall:

Senka tonight was monumental for the city of Lynn but for the country as well.
There was a unanimous  vote for this legislation by the city counsel. The room was packed standing room only. Basically the banks are going to half to deal with a mediation and a few other gems before foreclosing  i.e. The act to be voted on among other things will guarantee mediation before foreclosure with an emphasis on a lower interest rate, new term and I think a reduction in principal. Lenders will have to post a $10,000 bond if eviction takes place. This amount will guarantee that the vacant house will be maintained by the lender almost guaranteeing that the house and or surrounding property will not become a blight on the street. Before foreclosure, the lender and or their attorney must obtain a certificate of compliance signed off by the City before the foreclosing can take place. What legislation, what a bonanza for the borrower, what a man this John O’Brien our Register of Deeds and his First Assistant Kevin Harvey and the entire staff at the Registry of Deeds in Salem. 

I am so sorry that you were not there to see this.  I told John and Kevin you were there in spirit. This tells the banks you want to do business here you better deal with the people because the people have spoken.

I am in amazement that we had a part of changing history to put a wedge between the courts, the banks and the foreclosure mills to help the homeowner prevent UNLAWFUL AND FRAUDULENT FORECLOSURES.  Thank Lyn City Counsel Members and the Clerk who read 19 pages into the record, which will come into effect in 30 days as I understand.

History my friends………………..history happened last night in relation to these foreclosures in my little city that has always been known by the phrase “Lynn Lynn the city of sin you never come out the way you went in”…………………..well that has new meaning now and our community and people from all walks of life packed the house standing room only!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Harmon Law offices and the other foreclosure mills and the big banks will no longer come into our city to foreclose like they used too…………………the people have spoken!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have put a wedge that will now prevent the banksters and their counterparts from doing business as usual.
This was NOTHING LESS THAN A UNITED EFFORT BY SO MANY……………….we all had our contribution even those who weren’t there in person.
So thank you everyone for everything………………..this really is monumental.  I hope this is just the beginning and that we can continue to make a difference in other cities and towns.
Days like this give me motivation to continue moving forward, stories like I heard last night inspire me to never give up. Together we are strong and solid as a rock.  Maybe we should send a sympathy card to all our friends at the foreclosure mills. 

Senka thank you for all you do to get the word out to help educate those who need help staying in their homes.  Senka you are an ANGEL.  I am so proud to call you my friend.  I will email you some photos of this monumental event so others may be inspired to aid their own communities across the country.

March 8, 2013

Lynn council plan aims to curb foreclosures

LYNN — Banks would not be able to file foreclosures with the Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds until they sat down with homeowners to discuss alternatives under a plan local City Councilors say will help keep residents in their homes.

Phelan and Ward 6 Councilor Peter Capano want loan holders to sit down with homeowners and a city-approved mediation manager to discuss foreclosure alternatives. The city would issue a certificate following discussions, even if the talks did not succeed in avoiding foreclosure. The certificate would be filed at the Registry with the bank’s foreclosure deed.

“If this passes the council, I will not record the foreclosure deed until banks meet all the requirements. I will tell the banks I need certification from the city,” Register John L. O’Brien Jr. said.

That pledge drew fire from Massachusetts Bankers Association senior vice president Jon Skarin, who said O’Brien has engaged in a “long-running feud” with the mortgage industry.

“We take the position he does not have the authority to make this decision,” Skarin said.

But Phelan, along with O’Brien and anti-foreclosure advocate Isaac Hodes, said mortgage mediation helps homeowners and local neighborhoods as well as banks.


February 6, 2013

The Essex Register of Deeds who is seeking $1.3 million in restitution from a reputed “robosigner” company
plans to push forward with his claim after dozens of state attorneys general agreed to a settlement with the company over
fraudulent mortgage foreclosure documents.
John L. O’Brien, Register of Deeds for Southern Essex County, said the amount Massachusetts received would not
address the problem companies like DocX, which produced certified real estate documents with fraudulent signatures
and notarizations for mortgage lenders, created in registries, calling the settlement “chump change.”


Southern Essex District Register of Deeds John O’Brien today is asking the Massachusetts Department of Revenue to file legal action against mortgage giants Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddy Mac”) for their failure to pay deeds excise tax, on property transfers in Register O’Brien’s District. According to O’Brien his district alone is owed approximately $4.2 Million. O’Brien was notified late Friday that a United States District Judge in Michigan concluded that Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac were not entitled to an exemption from excise taxes in Michigan . The Michigan Court cited numerous cases; two of significant interests were a 2011 Nevada case involving Countrywide Home Loans and 1988 United States Supreme Court case involving Wells Fargo Bank. In Nevada , the Court concluded that Fannie Mae was essentially a privately owned mortgage banker and not a federal instrumentality for tax purposes. In the Wells Fargo Case, the United States Supreme Court concluded that a transfer tax is a form of excise tax and are not direct taxes. The Supreme Court decided that direct taxes were exempt, however transfer taxes were not.
According to O’Brien, since 1991 Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac have been involved in property transfers with total sales values of over $920 Million Dollars in his district. These transactions would have generated close to $4.2 Million Dollars in tax revenue to the Commonwealth for his district alone had Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae paid the excise tax rather then claiming exemptions. If a private citizen or corporation sells a piece of Massachusetts real estate, they are required to pay a deeds excise tax of $4.56 per thousand dollars of the purchase price, however Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac pay nothing. Certain tax exemptions are given to governmental entities, however O’Brien points out that Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac although originally created as government entities are now publicly traded companies owned by investors. O’Brien notes that these private corporate entities that have shareholders and are paying their top executives millions of dollars in salaries and bonuses are wrongfully claiming the excise tax exemptions. “This lost revenue goes a long way in providing key services for the people of Massachusetts . The message in our Commonwealth to all those that think that they can circumvent the system should be loud and clear; pay like everyone else, or deal with the consequences.”

O’Brien letter to MA Dept of Revenue Commissione Pitter



March 23, 2012
Paul McMorrow – Commonwealth Magazine

John O’Brien is a national folk hero to anti-foreclosure activists. The Southern Essex Register of Deeds has garnered national attention by accusing big banks of acting like a “criminal enterprise.” After an audit revealed widespread flaws in banks’ handling of mortgage paperwork, O’Brien likened his Salem registry to a crime scene.

So when a New York law firm began soliciting local registries to join a class action lawsuit against an embattled mortgage clearinghouse, O’Brien should’ve been the first to sign on. He wasn’t. O’Brien was told he didn’t have the authority to join the effort. Deed registries in Norfolk , Bristol , and Plymouth counties are now pushing ahead with the case, while O’Brien is left standing on the sidelines.

O’Brien’s inability to sue over mortgage paperwork filed in his own registry highlights a quirk in Massachusetts state government. The state eliminated most of its county governments more than a decade ago, even as it retained some of the trappings of county government. District attorneys and sheriffs are still elected at the county level, for example, but they’re funded by the state. The consolidation of county governments also left the state’s 21 registries of deeds intact.

The registries remain elected offices, but most registers are now employees of Secretary of State Bill Galvin’s office. They don’t have the sort of leeway they once had under county government, and that includes ability to retain outside lawyers and initiate lawsuits on their
own. It’s a constraint registers in Norfolk , Bristol and Plymouth counties aren’t working under.

Several months ago, O’Brien says, he received a call from the New York law firm Bernstein Liebhard. The firm is representing Ohio’s counties in a class action lawsuit against the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS), an electronic clearinghouse large banks and mortgage investors use to buy and sell loans. The Ohio lawsuit alleges that MERS cheated county deed registries out of millions of dollars in recording fees; since MERS handles loans from across the country, Bernstein Liebhard wanted to enlist O’Brien as a plaintiff in a Massachusetts lawsuit.

O’Brien says he would jump at the chance, but has been unable to get authorization to do so from Galvin’s office.



To see whether or not you have a potential robosigned document in your chain of title, please click the following link:


If you are a victim of robosigning, contact MA Southern Essex County Registry of Deeds customer service department at 978-542-1704 to ask about receiving an affidavit as proof that a document being used to take your home contains a fraudulent or surrogate signed document


I always believed that if you continue to do what is right, sooner or later people will start listening and start watching what you are doing. Sooner or later, they will start asking questions. In the beginning, they will be curiously asking you why you’re wasting your time, why you don’t pick the easier way and just give up and accept the rules without questioning authority. As by an unwritten rule, people don’t take it seriously until it is too late. The saddest reason of all is that people at first don’t see it as a threat to themselves personally. So whatever is happening to their neighbors, co-workers, friends, no matter how unjust it is, they will look for and find an excuse for their apathy.

I remember how at first, as a taxpayer, I was extremely upset that there are not more elected officials willing to do their jobs, and stand up not only for the homeowners, but for this country and basic property rights as
well. Register O’Brien was the only one – not only in MA, but nationwide – who was not afraid to do what was right. He is courageously fighting for the homeowners of this country against these unscrupulous and corrupt banks. Without fear of repercussion he stood up for us, doing his job to the best of his ability.

John O’Brien and his team are constantly and tirelessly working on exposing the fraud that the “too big to fail” brought to our lives, sweeping away everything on its way. This is really important and this is WORKING – anyone in immediate danger of foreclosure in any state should contact Register O’Brien’s office. The customer service will assist you in searching over 30,000 robosigners and if the name matches your file, then Register O’Brien’s affidavit can help during the foreclosure fight.

Recently, a lawyer for a 90 year old lady used this affidavit to stop the foreclosure. The judge did stay the foreclsoure because of this document. As of today, Register O’Brien has signed 204 affidavits for the homeowners nationwide.

Could you just imagine what would happen if we had at least a dozen registers like O’Brien?! Could you imagine how many homes, how many lives would be saved from the “too big to fail” grasp…

March 20, 2012

Last week, I met again with our hero – John O’Brien. Every time I enter his office, the pile of fraudulent, robosigned documents on his desk is bigger; and every time I meet with him, my hope and trust that the truth will win in the end is reinforced. He has such a positive attitude, and the most surprising thing to me is that he never gets angry. He can talk about the biggest fraud that is eating away our counties’ recording systems, and our lives, but he always remains calm, with a smile on his face. However, you can always tell by the look in his eyes that this man won’t give up on his way towards justice. Today, his message to America’s county registers is:
– Please stand up and do the right thing! Don’t turn a blind eye to fraud. People elected us to insure the integrity and accuracy of the land recordation system. That is our job. We took an oath to uphold the laws and the Constitution of this great country. By allowing these banks to record whatever they want any register/recorder who allows this to happen knowing what we now know is making a huge mistake. We have more power than the AG’s think we do. If all registers stood up together, we could have stopped this corruption dead in it’s tracks. The registers have the power to stop recording robo signers. I have been doing that for over a year. No one has brought me to court. If I receive a document with a surrogate signer, I record it, place a marginal reference on it to let the world know that I have sent the document to our Attorney General as I believe it violates the Massachusetts law pertaining to mortgage fraud. I have done this hundreds of times. I would be more than happy to show anyone how to do this.
Sadly, the banks have won again. I am convinced, however that many parts of this AGs’ settlement will prove to be the biggest sellout this country has ever seen. I am continuing to do what I have been doing. I have a duty to my constituents and I intend to make sure that I do everything I can to stop fraud from being recorded and expose anyone who is part of this scheme. The Registers who are refusing to follow my steps, should go back and read the oath of office that they took and stand up and be counted. They should meet with people who have been victimized by this fraud and then they may understand why they were elected and maybe, then they would join with us and say enough is enough! –

It is really sad that he has to plead for the registers to do what must be done without any questions asked. They were the guardians of the most important public records of their county. We have elected them, but we have also elected most of the government officials who are constantly turning a blind eye to the fraud, and doing everything to sweep it under the rug. Register O’Brien is also doing something for the people not only from different counties in MA, but for people from other states! He is providing them with a signed affidavit attesting to the presence of a robo-signed signature on their documents. Here is an excerpt from the affidavit:

– If you are currently being foreclosed upon, this affidavit may be presented to your attorney, the lender, or the court to show that your chain of title has been corrupted. For those of you who are not in foreclosure, the affidavit may be presented to your current lender to show that a robo-signed document has in fact been recorded in your chain of title and be part of a request to investigate how this happened and what the lender is going to do to correct it. –

That was the case with a constituent from MA’s Worcester county, who after his unsuccessful attempt to get help from his Register of Deeds, sought out help from Register O’Brien. When John gave him a signed affidavit attesting that a notary on his mortgage documents – Irene Guerrero – is a robo-signer and responsible for forged signatures, do you know what Worcester’s register, Anthony Vigliotti, said?! No, you can’t even imagine that, but here it is – he REFUSED to record the affidavits! He also said that he respectfully disagreed with his colleague, Mr. O’Brien, in regard to his approach to dealing with the robo-signing issue. Mr. Vigliotti takes the position that if a document is presented to him that is signed and notarized, it is a VALID document… PERIOD, end of story! He doesn’t have any concern over the fact that some of these documents are signed by people other than those whose names are presented in the documents. For the record – Mr. Vigliotti has a law degree from Suffolk University Law School…

The homeowners from all around the nation are contacting Register O’Brien asking for this affidavit. The affidavits have been sent to Florida, Illinois, California, Michigan, etc.

Now, I left the best part of our meeting for the end! I want you to finish this read with a smile on your face

So, a couple of weeks ago, a German journalist came to interview another hero – Attorney Lynn Szymoniak from Florida (and this was before she won $18 million). Lynn told him about O’Brien’s fight and he wanted to interview him also, so he came to his office ready to take pictures of all these fraudulent documents that America’s banks are using to steal our homes. He was saying how this could never happen in Germany and then asked O’Brien if there was a possibility that maybe Deutsche Bank was also involved in this fraud. John, with his usual smile, answered – Of course, come here, there is something on this chair I would like to show you! And here it is – a pile of Deutsche banks’ robosingers!

The journalist started laughing, and while taping O’Brien, told him that Germany’s President would be watching this clip and if he has a message for him. O’Brien said:

“Sure, I’m inviting him to get on the plane right now, come to my crime scene, and do something about their bank that is perpetrating this fraud!”


“I commend the counties,” said John O’Brien, the registrar of deeds in Essex County, who has been an active critic of MERS for the past two years. O’Brien was the first public official in Massachusetts to calculate how much the MERS system may have cost the state in allegedly lost recording fees, coming up with a figure of $22 million for his county alone. “If I had the authority, I would have filed this suit two years ago.”

The other registries fall under Secretary of State William Galvin’s jurisdiction. O’Brien said he plans to petition the legislature to recover his ability to bring suit on behalf of Essex County as one of its elected officials.”

Read the full article here:


March 2, 2012

So, today, the MA State Secretary, William Galvin, finally made up his mind about something that Register O’Brien asked him about almost a year ago! However, the question now is: why did he wait so long to make this move?

On April 4, 2011 Register O’Brien asked Secretary Galvin to stop using Bank of America for his county’s deposits. He wanted to move that money to a community bank:

So, Galvin is finally taking county’s money out of BofA, a year after Register O’Brien asked him to do so? As we can see from this article, he doesn’t even mention John’s name, and it seems like this is the Secretary’s only idea to “punish” the bank! Is he afraid that the public will blame him for waiting too long to withdrew the money? I mean, can you imagine how much interest BofA earned since Register O’Brien pleaded with Galvin to take that money out? That is our money, the money of the people that this same bank defrauded for years, and continued to defraud for one more year, till Secretary Galvin finally made up his mind!

Secretary Galvin is fianlly honoring the Register O’Brien’s request!


My View: Deal Lets Big Banks off the Hook

When you enter my registry, you see a sign stating, “The deeds tell the story.”

Before the big banks took it upon themselves to corrupt the land recordation system, the deeds used to tell a happy story — one in which people purchased a home and lived “the American Dream.” Today, however, they tell a story of greed, fraud and forgery.

By now, everyone knows what I have been doing over the past two years to expose and stop the schemes by Mortgage Electronic Recording Systems Inc. and its shareholder banks. The accuracy and integrity of the land records in my registry are of the upmost importance to me.

Earlier this month, the attorneys general of this country entered into a deal with the five largest banks that have agreed to stop robo-signing and provide principal reductions of between $20,000 and $25,000 to a million underwater homeowners.

But this amount will in no way solve the housing crisis we are faced with, nor even begin to turn our economy around. In addition, the settlement suggests that approximately 750,000 people who have had their homes foreclosed on using fraudulent documents will receive a check for $2,000.

This is merely a slap on the wrist to these lenders, and it is my opinion this deal has been crafted for the banks and by the banks. It is not in the best interest of the consumer, the homeowner or the taxpayer. Simply put, I do not trust these lenders, who have flooded my registry with over 32,000 fraudulent documents, to do the right thing.


February 18, 2012

Register John O’Brien was begging all county registers to do the investigation of their files for a long time now – here is a Huffington Post article about his presentation at their annual conference in Atlantic City, NJ last July:

“My registry is a crime scene as evidenced by this forensic examination,” O’Brien said. “This evidence has made it clear to me that the only way we can ever determine the total economic loss and the amount damage done to the taxpayers is by conducting a full forensic audit of all registry of deeds in Massachusetts. I suspect that at the end of the day we are going to find that the taxpayers have been bilked in this state alone of over 400 million dollars not including the accrued interest plus costs and penalties. “

After the presentation O’Brien was inundated by nearly 150 recorders asking questions and wanting to conduct investigations of their own.

So, I’m very happy to see that San Francisco county officals did exactly that. All I can say is – welcome to the club! We’ve been expecting you

February 18, 2012 – via Huffington Post

Mortgage fraud and Local Officials

In the absence of state and federal research about how the nation’s largest mortgage companies are forging mortgage documents and wrongfully foreclosing on borrowers, local officials are stepping up. Earlier this week, San Francisco assessor-recorder Phil Ting released a report concluding that 85 percent of nearly 400 audited foreclosures had serious problems or were outright illegal, providing a rare glimpse into the specifics of foreclosure fraud in America.

“We really wanted to take a look at what the documents would tell us and whether or not it was something systemic,” Ting said. “We had a lot of anecdotal information but never knew if the problems represented 5 percent or 20 percent or 80 percent of the cases. What we have for the first time is hard data about the level of systematic problems going on in the mortgage industry.”

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to follow up on the report’s findings and launch an investigation to determine if federal laws were broken.

Five years into the country’s unprecedented foreclosure crisis, hard data about the exact nature of the mortgage companies’ abuses remains in short supply. Though federal officials insist they have investigated the problems, they haven’t released their findings, leaving the public to piece together the situation from individual stories of struggling homeowners. Ting joins a very short list of local officials who are trying to fix that.

Last year, John O’Brien, the register of deeds for Massachusetts’ Southern Essex District, released a report stating that of the 473 audited mortgage loans — all of which were filed with his office in 2010 — 83 percent included erroneous documentation that made it impossible to know which mortgage company owned the loan. The ownership data is key because only a loan’s legal owner has the right to foreclose. More than 60 percent of the problem documents were fraudulent or included forged signatures.

So incensed was O’Brien with the findings that in June his office announced it would not accept paperwork from any person or company known to engage in document fraud. “We published a certified list of people known to have forged signatures or signed documents they knew weren’t truthful,” said Kevin Harvey, first assistant register of deeds in the Southern Essex District office. “They’d come in and we’d tell them they can sign an affidavit attesting to the fact that they are who they say they are on these documents. Take a wild guess at how many affidavits have been signed. Zero! Zero!”


February 9, 2012

Register O’Brien on the AG’s settlement:

What a sad day in America. I thought for once they would do the right thing and hold these banks accountable . I have been around a long time and I can assure you that this is a deal for the banks and by the banks. It will not benefit the homeowner or the taxpayer. What do I tell the 32000 people in my registry who have fraudulent documents call the AG??

They are sending the message that the big guys can do whatever they want and and get away with it. Let us not forget that people who have lost there home with fraudulent documents will be given two thousand dollars and a wish of good luck. How criminal and sad. Principal reductions of 25000 will not solve the housing crisis. Remember that it was these banks who came up with no doc loans,sub prime mortgages and set people up for failure from day one. The taxpayers lost 250 million in recording fees that these banks did not pay. We need a grand jury to investigate the criminal fraud just like Boone County did. Sadly a year from now we will be still faced with the same issues. These banks will continue to do what they want. I am sure that later today they will be sitting in the boardroom patting each other on the back for a job well done. I suspect they will be giving out bonuses to each other in a week or so.I will continue to do my job and not record fraud. I will continue to expose this scheme to anyone who will listen.

If they think I am going away they are sadly mistaken. The fight will continue because it is the right thing to do!


Reg. O’Brien letter to Coakley 2.2.12

an excerpt:

Let us join together and protect the homeowners!

“I emplore you not to agree to any settlement that would give criminal immunity to MERS and its member-banks. A settlement that includes this feature will not help the homeowners of MA and will permanently damage chains-of-title and property rights forever, with no hope of resolving the permanent damage that these institutions have caused to titles across the state.”

Every AG who signs a deal with the banksters tomorrow is a traitor! This is the time to finally stand up and push for a criminal investigation FIRST… banksters enjoy signing deals like this, they put money aside and they’ll still laugh all way to the bank… that’s their way of doing business!
MA residents must call AG Coakley NOW, and demand that she refuses any deal with the banks: 617-727-2200.
January 18, 2012


Register of Deeds
Phone: 978-542-1704
Fax: 978-542-1706

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds
Shetland Park
45 Congress Street
Suite 4100
Salem , Massachusetts 01970

Salem, MA
January 18th, 2012

Contact: Kevin Harvey 1st Assistant Register

O’Brien calls for criminal action against the Big Banks
Says they acted like “criminal enterprise”

Saying that the time has come for a full scale criminal investigation, Southern Essex District Register of Deeds John O’Brien, today has sent some 31,897 of what he says are fraudulent documents that have been recorded in the Salem Registry to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz. O’Brien said that he is asking these officials to impanel a Grand Jury to look into the evidence that he has presented.

“I am confident that these documents will show a pattern of fraud, uttering and forgery. These documents are signed by known robo or surrogate signers, whose signatures were supposedly witnessed by notary publics. In addition, these documents may contain fraudulent information in the body of the documents. I believe that a criminal investigation is the next step to hold the perpetrators responsible.”

O’Brien praised Attorney General Coakley for her aggressive pursuit of wrongdoing in her civil action but noted that other states such as California , Nevada , Illinois and Michigan have launched criminal investigations, and O’Brien is hopeful that Massachusetts will do the same. O’Brien strongly suggests that the Grand Jury should subpoena both the past and present Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the Mortgage Electronic Recording Systems, Inc. (“MERS”), Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Countrywide, Washington Mutual among others. In addition, he is asking that the top officials of DOCX, Nationwide Title Clearing, Inc. and LPS also be subpoenaed.

“These companies have been retained by MERS and its member-banks to produce the documents that I am alleging contain fraudulent information. It is one thing to go after these institutions with a civil action, but the only way to let them know that you are serious is to call them before a Grand Jury.” O’Brien said, “There is no question in my mind that the officers of these banks and loan processing servicers made a conscious decision to commit fraud and participate in a scheme to deprive the public from knowing the true holder of their mortgage while at the same time avoiding paying billions of dollars in recording fees. It is my opinion that they acted as a criminal enterprise, crossing state lines to commit their crimes and in most cases using the U.S. Postal Service to send these documents to registries of deeds, thereby committing mail fraud. We need to know what they knew and when they knew it. Until the CEOs who allowed these fraudulent activities to happen under their watch are sent to jail for what they did, these types of illegal behaviors will continue.”

Just last week, O’Brien’s Registry received 3 documents from Bank of America, all signed by a known robo-signer, Linda Burton. O’Brien said, “If they are sending them to me, of all people, it is safe to assume that they are sending them to registries across the country.” O’Brien refuses to record any documents signed by a robo-signer on his list unless those documents are accompanied by an affidavit attesting to the signature. So far, he has not received one affidavit. “That clearly shows me that those documents were in fact fraudulent.” O’Brien said that if he or anyone else went into one of these major banks and forged a signature on a loan document they would be arrested and sent into jail. So it begs the question, why haven’t these CEO’S been held accountable? O’Brien cited the case of the individual who walked into a Walmart and tried to make a purchase using a fraudulent One Million Dollar bill. He was arrested and charged with attempting to obtain property by false pretence and uttering a forged instrument.

O’Brien said, “As far as I am concerned, this is what these banks have been doing for years. Make no mistake, MERS and its member-banks are taking people’s homes using fraudulent documents and that is something we do not do in America .” In addition, O’Brien is zeroing in on the major foreclosure law firms that he believes have acted as a co-conspirator in flooding the registries of deeds with these fraudulent instruments. “These attorneys should know better. They have acted as co-conspirators in perpetrating this fraud. I am sending a letter to the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers asking that they conduct an independent investigation into the activities of these firms.

Unlike our Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, I understand that there are other Attorneys General and other public officials across the country who would like nothing better than to sweep this matter under the rug and grant these lenders, loan servicing companies and their foreclosure-mill attorneys immunity for the damage that they have caused, not only to our economy but to people’s property rights. They would be willing to accept pennies on the dollar, a slap on the wrist, and a promise to never do it again. If that should happen, it would be the biggest sellout of the American People that I have ever seen. It would send the wrong message that the big boys can get away with anything.

As I have been saying all along, they may think they are too big to fail, but as far as I am concerned, they are not to big to go to jail. The top officials at MERS, its member-banks, servicers and foreclosure-mill attorneys must be prosecuted and held accountable for their fraudulent schemes that brought profits to their institutions by cutting corners, circumventing land recordation systems through fraud, uttering and forgery.”


Register of Deeds
Phone: 978-542-1704
Fax: 978-542-1706

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds
Shetland Park
45 Congress Street
Suite 4100
Salem , Massachusetts 01970



Salem , MA
December 28th, 2011

Contact: Kevin Harvey 1st Assistant Register

Fraudulent robo-signed documents still attempting to be recorded at the Southern Essex Registry of Deeds

According to Southern Essex District Register of Deeds John O’Brien they are at it again! O’Brien this week received four documents from Bank of America prepared by Recon Trust all signed by robo-signer Linda Burton. O’Brien, who has a number of variations of Burton ’s signature returned the documents to Bank of America along with his affidavit asking that they attest to the signature. O’Brien, who has refused to record robo signed documents in his Salem , Massachusetts registry of deeds said, “If they are sending them to me, I can only assume that they are sending them to registries across the country with little or no regard for the damage that these documents will have on people’s chains of title or property rights. I will continue to expose this type of fraudulent activity”. “They entered into a consent decree whereby they said that they would stop this practice, but they are continuing business as usual”, O’Brien said.

O’Brien has been the national leader in taking on the big banks on the issue of fraud in the land recordation system since November of 2010.


December 5, 2011

John O’Brien Interviewed by Lisa Myers, Senior investigative correspondent for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams
Click here to see the video from 12/2/11

Register O’Brien on Nightly News with Brian Williams
Click here to see the video from 12/1/11


December 2, 2011

Today, once again, I’m so proud of Register John O’Brien, his First Assistant Kevin Harvey, and the whole office at the Southern Essex County Registry of Deeds. Nobody is aware how much work they have invested in this fight for justice; how many fights, small and big, they had to fight with some of the officials that were trying to negotiate with the banks, even trying to simplify and minimize all the fraud and injustice that has been done not only to the homeowners, but to the whole country.

Yesterday MA Attorney General, Martha Coakely, filed a lawsuit against five of the biggest banks, AG Coakley press release – December 1, 2011 against those who have damaged and even been the cause of so many lives taken away. It is the first government lawsuit that places all five banks in the hot seat for fraudulent foreclosure practices.

However, if Register O’Brien hadn’t started his investigation and put pressure on her office back in November 2010, I doubt that we would have this lawsuit today, or it would be on a much lower scale.

To refresh our memory, here is the letter that Register O’Brien sent to AG Coakley on November 18, 2010

Register John O’Brien was the first one in the country to stand up and fight the biggest corruption and injustice we have ever endured! He stood up against all odds to fight the most complex and layered deception he has ever seen in his career.

Wall Street’s biggest brains thought that they would get away with the perfect crime… they have created a monster through mortgage securitization called mortgage derivatives a.k.a. mortgage backed securities…Ugh… pretty interesting name for investments based on fraudulent, worthless mortgages. However, they never thought that somewhere in MA is the guy who would be willing to learn all about it, to learn how this “investment” damaged his constituency, his Registry, and the entire country. Now, the “too big to fail” have to learn about John O’Brien!

Following his letter to AG Coakley, Register O’Brien sent the following letter to the National Association of County Recorders on December 7, 2010 requesting them to join the battle against MERS. He refused to accept the fraudulent docs in his registry, and now has over 30,000 printed robosigned docs on his desk for everyone to see! That is why everything is different this time around – we, the people, were forced to learn about mortgage securitization because the banksters’ puppets were not willing to investigate their crimes.

With government officials like John O’Brian and Martha Coakley, we are ready to fight back!


November 15, 2011

Essex County Registry of Deeds – PRESS RELEASE

Southern Essex District Register of Deeds John O’Brien said today that someone has to take the bull by the horns and stand up for homeowners, who through no fault of their own, have had their chain of title clouded by the actions of the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (“MERS”) and its major shareholder banks, such as Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and others.

He is offering to provide homeowners in his district, who have a robo or surrogate signed document in their chain of title, an affidavit signed by him attesting to the fact that such a document exists in their title and that is recorded at his Registry. O’Brien estimates that there are over 36,000 homeowners in his district alone and suggests Southern Essex County Homeowner’s visit his website at, , where they can search to see if they have been a victim of this scheme, in what O’Brien calls “the largest scandal to affect the integrity of the land recordation system in this country since its inception.” O’Brien went on to say that “the affidavit will allow homeowners to reach out to their banks and ask them what they are going to do to repair their clouded chain of title and if the homeowner is being foreclosed upon, they can use this affidavit as proof that a document being used to take their home contains a fraudulent robo or surrogate signed document.”




November 3, 2011

The mini-movement’s main champions are John L. O’Brien, keeper of land records in Salem, Mass., and Jeff L. Thigpen, the register of deeds in Greensboro, N.C. In April they asked Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who heads a group that’s negotiating with banks over wrongful foreclosures, to press for reform. When O’Brien’s and Thigpen’s letter to Miller made national news, the men began teaching other recorders how to get what they say they’re due.



August 30, 2011 John O’Brien believes that the only way lenders and the attorneys general can fully appreciate the ramifications of the schemes (including the recording of fraudulent documents, which in some cases were used to take people’s homes illegally; the use of robo-signers; and the failure to record assignments) is to travel to Salem, sit across the table from him and review the documents. Only then, will they fully understand the extent of the damage that’s been caused.

“Hopefully,” O’Brien says, “By viewing the thousands of fraudulent documents recorded in my Registry, they will begin to understand how serious this issue is and work with Registers of Deeds across this country to correct the wrongs that have been committed.”

“All I am looking for is justice for these homeowners. I have said all along, that the banks need to talk to Registers of Deeds. What better way, than to come to an actual Registry and see first-hand what I am talking about. It would be the responsible thing for them to do. We would be able to have an open and frank discussion which hopefully would lead to a solution. The last thing the American people need now is to have this issue swept under the rug and settled for pennies on the dollar,” O’Brien said.

To read a full press release click on the following link:
Essex County Register of Deeds Press Release



Register of Deeds
Phone: 978-542-1704
Fax: 978-542-1706

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds
Shetland Park
45 Congress Street
Suite 4100
Salem, Massachusetts 01970


Salem, MA

October 20, 2011

Contact: John O’Brien, Register of Deeds

Southern Essex District Register of Deeds John O’Brien today is calling for a temporary halt on all foreclosures on Massachusetts homeowners until there is time to sort through the complex issues, including the fraudulent documents that have been recorded in people’s chains of title. In addition, O’Brien has cautioned people that they should think twice before buying a foreclosed property in light of the recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Decision in Bevilacqua v. Rodriquez.

Although O’Brien commended the Supreme Court and Judge Long for its sound decision in the Bevilacqua Case, he recommends that any lender, servicer or foreclosure law firm be required to attest in an affidavit, under the pains and penalties of perjury, that all the paperwork involved in a foreclosure has been reviewed by someone in authority at the bank with knowledge of the transaction and that the paperwork is correct, truthful and valid. He believes that lenders should also have to prove, through a forensic audit, that they actually own the note and mortgage upon which they are foreclosing upon.

The Bevilacqua Decision makes it clear that a lender must own the mortgage before it may foreclose. “As I have said all along, had Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and others followed the law and played by the same rules as everyone else, maybe our economy would not be in this crisis today. There is a good reason that we have registries of deeds in this country. It is so that every document that pertains to a parcel of real property is recorded in a public registry, so that anyone, at any time, may view their chain of title.”

“Since the property involved in the Bevilacqua Case is in Haverhill, which is a part of my district, I have reached out to our mortgage fraud and forensic analyst, Marie McDonnell of McDonnell Property Analytics. Ms. McDonnell has certified to me that there are at least three missing assignments in the Bevilacqua chain of title, and that the one assignment which was recorded on the property is fraudulent. This clearly demonstrates the damage to a chain of title when assignments are not timely filed or not filed at all.” said O’Brien.

In calling for a halt on foreclosures, O’Brien said, “This will send a clear message that Massachusetts will not tolerate the practice of using fraudulent documents to put someone out on the street. This is something that we do not do in America. We all have to remember that foreclosures are not good for anyone; they hurt families, neighborhoods, property values and therefore communities as a whole. These big banks have played fast and loose with peoples property rights, and now courts in Massachusetts and other states are standing up and saying that what they have done is wrong. Fraudulent documents are and always should be unacceptable and never be recorded in a registry of deeds. If the average person recorded a fraudulent document and then attempted to present it to a court of law as evidence, they would be prosecuted. So it begs the question, why are the captains of the bank industry and Wall Street being treated differently? Let me make it clear that this fraudulent activity is being done by major lenders, not our local community banks. I think that the lesson here is if anyone is currently looking for a mortgage, they should be dealing with their local hometown banks who have always played by the rules.” O’Brien continued, “Perhaps if people stop buying these foreclosed properties, which in most cases sell for less than what the original homeowner owed the lender, than maybe the banks will rethink their position and do the right thing, namely begin working with homeowners to create a new payment plan that will keep people in their homes.”

In an attempt to provide people with more assistance, O’Brien is now offering any homeowner in his district who has a document in their chain of title signed by a known robo-signer, an affidavit signed by him as Register of Deeds attesting to the presence of that signature which has been recorded at his Registry. For those homeowners that are currently being foreclosed upon, this affidavit may be presented to their attorney, the lender or the court to show that their chain of title has been corrupted. For those who are not in foreclosure, the affidavit may be presented to their current lender to show that a robo-signed document has in fact been recorded in their chain of title and be part of a request to investigate how this happened and what the lender is going to do to correct it.

Homeowners may check to see if there is a known robo-signer in their chain of title by visiting his website or by calling his Customer Service Department at 978-542-1704.



Today we are celebrating a huge victory for us and our hero – Register O’Brien who has been fighting the robosigning, MERS and the banks before it was “sexy” to do so! And yes, he was also fighting the MA Real Estate Bar Association’s President Bloom – they were ready to side with the banks! America – listen and watch – we, the people are winning!

SJC puts foreclosure sales in doubt

– Attorney General Martha Coakley, who acts as an advocate for consumers and also filed a friend-of-the court brief in Bevilacqua’s case, appeared to agree.

“In the rush to foreclose, the banks’ reckless origination and foreclosure practices have created a domino effect that has harmed Massachusetts homeowners as well as third-party purchasers who purchased properties after foreclosure,’’ Coakley said in a statement. “This is yet another clear demonstration that the only way we are going to restore a healthy economy is to address the foreclosure crisis and hold the banks accountable for their actions.’’ –

and MA REBA President Bloom says it all:

– Ibanez created a lot of problems,’’ said Bloom, the Real Estate Bar Association president. “The hope was that the court might solve the title problems created by Ibanez for people who bought at foreclosure sales,’’ he sa…id, but “the Bevilacqua case leaves all those people in limbo.’’ –

While Ibanez case was a light at the end of the tunnel for us, for him it created a lot of problems! What a moron!



Do you remember how only a month ago we were eagerly expecting news about any AG that will have enough decency to stand up and say to the banks that they’re not going to get a free ride this time around? I even had a list on my blog counting those AGs as something extremely precious… but you know when I stopped? On September 17th! I realized then that only two AGs are important, only the first two that stood up and said NO (NY and DE)…the power is slipping away from the hands of every government official and going back to those that always had the power…to We, the People…


““I have lost confidence that the banks will bring to the table an agreement that properly holds them accountable for wrongful foreclosures. Because our office for some time has anticipated that result, we have begun preparing for litigation. Our office is aggressively proceeding with efforts to file lawsuits r…egarding creditor misconduct in connection with unlawful foreclosures, including the failure to establish the right to start a foreclosure as well as filing false or misleading documents with registries in the Commonwealth. We will, as we have in the past, use our resources to hold the big banks accountable to fully protect homeowners and restore a healthy economy.”

Well, well, thank you so much AG Coakley, but somehow We, the People took this in our own hands

The only government officials that are REAL HEROES in all this fraud are MA Essex County Reg of Deeds – John O’Brien and NC Register Jeff Thigpen. So, thank you for everything you did for the people of this country!


Here is a correspondece between Register O’Brien and REBA’s President Edward Bloom

Mr. Bloom is clearly siding with the banks and trying to degrade Register O’Brien and his efforts to unveil and prosecute the biggest financial ponzi scheme that ever occured in this country!

MA Real Estate Bar Association’s letter to Register O’Brien

MA Real Estate Bar Assosication’s (REBA) letter to MA
Attorney General Martha Coakley

Register O’Brien’s response to MA Real Estate Bar Association

The letters above are just an additional proof of the difficult battle that we, the people have in front of us… Mr. Bloom, President of MA Real Estate Bar Association is asking Register O’Brien to accept MERS and its fraudulent practices and even going so far as blaming O’Brien for making “media circus”! For Mr. Bloom, standing up for truth and protecting homeowners is just a media circus!

You know, I could have understood his point of view if he was just an outsider, just a spectator who came to watch the biggest show in town. His choice of words is not far off, because the drama that we are going through is just like a circus… When you are an active player in that show, then you see things differently.

If this was a normal world, then Mr. Bloom would be one of the major players in this circus – because his role is to oversee the work or Registry of Deeds. If this was a normal world, then Mr. Bloom would congratulate Mr. O’Brien on his excellent findings and on his fight for homeowners and justice.

Instead, Mr. Bloom stated in his letter to Register O’Brien: “In the last several months you have brought attention to the “Robo-Signing Crisis”, which received national attention in those states with judicial foreclosures.” He goes on blaming Register O’Brien for: 1) asking the banks with robo-signed paperwork to submit legally signed documents 2) asking the banks to submit the blank affidavit certifying the authenticity of the documents

Mr. Bloom finds it acceptable when banks submit the fraudulent documents to the Registry of Deeds in order to make many homeless families, but is not acceptable to ask those same banks to follow the law or face the consequences!

The seriousness of the situation is beyond our biggest fears… There are only few elected officials that are ready to do their job and stand up not only for the homeowners, but for this country and its basic property rights.

Register O’Brien is one of them. He is not afraid nor bought by the banks, so we, the homeowners, greatly appreciate his efforts.


On August 24th Register O’Brien proved once again his leadership role. When he found out that Attorney General Miller (link to my letters to AG Miller from May and June, 2011: removed New York AG Schneiderman from the negotiations Committee, he immediately had a press release:

“Essex County Register of Deeds John O’Brien today expressed outrage at the removal of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman from a leadership role in the bank foreclosure settlement talks. O’Brien, who has been leading the national effort to hold the banks accountable for the fraudulent recordings in Registries across the country said, “Eric Schneiderman has been one of the few voices for Main Street, not Wall Street when it comes to these negotiations.”
“It is a travesty of justice to have him removed when he is speaking on behalf of the American homeowners. We need more Eric Schneidermans fighting the fight,” O’Brien continued.
According to O’Brien, referring to this unprecedented decision, the Iowa Attorney General, Tom Miller should step down.
“Miller has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the very bankers and their associates that he purports to regulate. It seems to me that he has become the voice of Wall Street and he has abandoned Main Street. If property rights mean anything in this country, the Attorneys General will cease all talks with these banks immediately, and I am urging the American people to contact their Attorney General and ask them to do just that.”

We can’t let this go unanswered! These elected officials must know that people are watching how the biggest financial crime is unfolding before their eyes. New information about this fraud is pouring in every day and State Attorney Generals want to make a settlement without even being close in having a clear picture into the enormous mess that had been perpetrated on this country’s economy and probably the most important – on our basic property rights!


July 19, 2011

I would like to share with you my experience with our “The American Dream” meeting this past Sunday. I’ve organized the meeting hoping that at least five people will show up and we had 26 attendees and 10 more that had registered, but were not able to attend! Register O’Brien and his First Assistant were there doing a wonderful presentation about MERS, robosigning and mortgage securitization. For most attendees this was the first encounter with an enormous fraud that had been perpetrated on all of us.

MA candidate for US Senate-Marisa DeFranco and her husband had attended the meeting as well. We were pleased to see her extensive knowledge about the issue and her willingness to fight with us. She stayed well beyond majority of people left – meeting lasted for 4h

For me, this was one of the happiest days of my life, at least in the last 17 years. I got so many hugs and thank yous that can last me a lifetime (no complains, of course) I would like to say thank you to ALL OF YOU that I met since my hell with BofA began in July of 2010. Only a year ago I felt like a lost sheep, but today, I may still be somehow lost, but I’m no longer a sheep! We are in this together and we will prove that honesty must prevail.

I’m also attaching a letter to MA Attorney General Martha Coakley for your reference (all the meeting attendees will sign), where we are asking her to join Register O’Brien and New York Attorney General in their fight for truth and justice.


In addition, please read the following article from AP where Register O’Brien’s work is finally getting the attention. You will see that they’re talking about Linda Green, a robosigner that John O’Brien mentioned and presented numerous variations of her signature during our Sunday’s meeting:

As you will see, banks are still using robosigners thinking that as usual their illegalities will be covered up. Not this time; because this time people have decided to stand up and hold them accountable together with our government.

In addition, I have been contacted by a non-profit from Chicago – they want to work with me and John O’Brien to help IL Registers of Deeds to join this fight! So, don’t remain silent, because there is nothing left to lose…

Thank you and please stop to smell the roses…out there life is still beautiful…



Essex County Register of Deeds – John O’Brien




BREAKING NEWS – Register O’Brien says:”My Registry is
a crime scene!”


America’s Unsung Heroes


Register O’Brien’s comments about State Attorney Generals
negotiations with the banks

“Government by the Banks and for the Banks! How do you settle something until you know the extend of the full damage. For once can someone stand up for the the homeowners that are taking it on the chin. These banks participated in a scheme to record fraudulent documents and had no respect for the land recordation system in this Country. They should not settle this for pennies on the dollar. To let the banks pick from a menu of options is a disgrace. They should all be ashamed of themselves!”

“These banks need to be stopped once and for all. They need to pay for the way that they have treated the land recordation system and the homeowners of this great country!”

“Why are they (Banks and State Attorney Generals) not talking with the registers of deeds who see this problem everyday? Why can’t we be at those meetings?!”

We are all well aware that the banks have created the massive foreclosures chaos, choking America’s legal system, laying waste to its real estate markets and destroying middle class. They knowingly made millions of loans doomed for. If we, regular people know about all of this, how come that our government officials are silent and turning the blind eye while thousands are becoming homeless every single day? Government reluctance to crack down on banks is beyond betrayal…

However, people in Massachusetts have their hero, a man who stood up for truth. Register O’Brien and his team are tirelessly working on uncovering the facts in regards to the foreclosure proceedings in the Essex County. Banks that were “too big to fail” will realize soon enough that money can’t buy everyone’s silence and cooperation.

After I read about Register O’Brien’s investigation in regards to MERS and Bank of America, I wrote him a letter expressing my gratitude and explaining my personal experience with this bank and my quest for a mortgage modification. Here are his own words about how my letter made him feel: “I wasn’t sure if I should cry or punch someone!” Of course, he neither cried nor punched anyone. What he did was amazing – he asked one of state’s top mortgage fraud examiners to review our mortgage documents…and they found some “interesting staff”… I was not surprised with their findings – for the past two years I read hundreds of stories from people all around the country who were claiming the same irregularities with their mortgage assignments.

Could this vicious circle of fraud, irregularities, misrepresentation, deceptive practices be stopped? After my meeting with Register O’Brien and his First Assistant Kevin Harvey I am sure that Bank of America has met its match!


June 22, 2011

O’Brien: “Bank’s actions speak louder than words…”

Registry infected with Fraud

– On June 7th Essex South District Register John O’Brien announced that he was no longer going to record documents signed by known robo-signers. In the past two weeks, O’Brien has returned 12 documents signed by a Linda Green, Korell Harp, or a Linda Burton, filings that were prepared and submitted on behalf of Bank of America, the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (“MERS”) and MorEquity, Inc. He specifically requested that these Lenders verify the signatories to those documents, as well as the notaries by submitting an affidavit certifying their authenticity.

O’Brien announced today that he has received 6 replacement documents, 5 from Bank of America and 1 from MERS, all with new signatures with new officers and notaries. O’Brien said, “I would like the public to be the judge. The facts are that I refused to record these Lenders robo-signed documents unless these Lenders signed an affidavit certifying to the signatures authenticity. These Lenders chose not to sign my affidavit, but rather to submit completely new documents. I believe the Bank’s actions speak louder than words and show their consciousness of guilt.” –


May 25, 2011

Hank Investigates: Mortgage Documents – 7 News

So far, the Registry of Deeds for just part of Essex County has found 22 DIFFERENT versions of Linda Green signatures on paperwork from 33 DIFFERENT banks and mortgage companies.

If one of those phony signatures is on your mortgage paperwork – it puts the ownership of your house in question.

John O’Brien, Register, Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds

“This is a catastrophe of epic proportions.”

When mortgage analyst Marie McDonnell searched the registry for just part of Essex County she discovered more than 6000 Linda Green signatures.

Marie McDonnell, Forensic Mortgage Analyst

“I’m speechless. The scope of the problem is unimaginable, the depth of the fraud is shocking.”


O’Brien takes on big banks – Please follow Register O’Brien on Twitter: @obriensalemdeed

May 17, 2011

Cross-posted with The Daily Item /By By Sean Leonard

Southern Essex Register of Deeds John L. O’Brien has, since last fall, been going after the nation’s largest banks like an attack dog that won’t loosen its bite on its target.

The 59-year-old Lynn native claims the nation’s largest lenders have cheated the Southern Registry out of upward of $22 million in mortgage assignment recording fees and billions from public deeds registries throughout the country. And he’s hardly stewing over this quietly.

O’Brien this month requested permission from state Treasurer Steve Grossman, and is awaiting the treasurer’s response, to pull all of the Southern Registry’s revenue — more than $25 million annually — out of Bank of America and into a bank not affiliated with the Virginia-based Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. (MERS).

Last November, O’Brien sent a letter to state Attorney General Martha Coakley urging her office to investigate MERS for what O’Brien contends is the intentional hiding of mortgage transfers to avoid paying local assignment recording fees, which he says has corrupted the chain of title for potentially tens of thousands of properties.

MERS is a private corporation established by a consortium of big banks, including Bank of America, in the late 1990s to act as a mortgage title holding company, or mortgagee, on all properties acquired by its member banks.

As O’Brien sees it, MERS was created solely as a vehicle for the banks to avoid paying public mortgage assignment recording fees; the fee is $75 at the Southern Registry, $20 of which is earmarked for community preservation in cities and towns and another $5 for computer system upgrades at the registry.

With the rapid-fire sale of bundled mortgages as securities in the decade leading up to the recession and housing market bust, many homeowners — including many foreclosed upon and many in the process of foreclosure — were left in the dark as to who held their mortgage.

“I’ve been here 34 years and this is the first time during my tenure that if someone comes into my office to ask who owns their mortgage, I can’t give them an honest answer,” O’Brien said Friday. “The chain of title has been broken … That’s why I’m taking a lead on this.”

A spokeswoman for MERS, contacted by phone on Monday for comment, issued an email statement to the Item from Janis L. Smith, vice president of corporate communications for MERSCORP Inc.

“Mr. O’Brien’s premise is unfounded,” Smith wrote. “As we have said before, all MERS mortgages are recorded in the public land records and MERS members pay recording fees when the mortgage is recorded … The use of MERS is in compliance with the purpose and intent of the state recording acts.”


John vs. Goliath

Cross-posted in The Boston Business Jounal by Tim McLaughlin

Friday, April 15, 2011, 6:00am EDT

The registry of deeds is supposed to be a sleepy place where you go to record your mortgage or look up how much your neighbors paid for their homes.

But at the Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds in Salem, haymakers are being thrown in a bare knuckles brawl featuring Registar John O’Brien in one corner and Bank of America Corp. and other large banks in the other.

In O’Brien’s mind, big U.S. banks created a bogeyman called the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems to dodge paying recording fees when a mortgage is assigned. Early estimates indicate Massachusetts taxpayers have been deprived of anywhere from $200 million to $400 million-plus in lost revenue. O’Brien says his office alone has lost more than $22 million, but he calls that a conservative estimate.

Taxpayers have been cheated out of revenue and denied the right to know who owns their mortgage, O’Brien said during a recent interview…. MERS should absolutely be out of business.²

A MERS spokeswoman said O’Brien’s premise is unfounded.

O’Brien, the pride of Lynn, came out slugging recently when he asked and received permission from State Treasurer Steve Grossman to yank about $25 million in deposits from Bank of America. He’s is moving that money to Medford’s Century Bank and Trust, a non-MERS bank. Many community banks in Massachusetts belong to MERS, whose largest shareholders include Fannie Mae , Freddie Mac Bank of America owns a small stake in MERS.

This is not a discussion we’re going to have with Mr. O’Brien through the media, Bank of America spokesman T.J. Crawford said.

O’Brien, meanwhile, is encouraging registers throughout the state and the country to pull their deposits from MERS-related banks. He also has a forensic auditor examining mortgage assignments to help determine the amount of lost revenue for his office.

Nationwide, the estimate for MERS-related penalties on unpaid mortgage assignment fees has been pegged at tens of billions of dollars.

O’Brien turns 60 in August. He has been the register for Southern Essex County since 1977. He was only 19 when he entered his first political battle. He banded together with other Lynn residents to block a connector road proposed for the Lynn Woods Reservation. At the ripe old age of 20, he became a member of Lynn’s city council.

MERS has been around for more than a decade, but the housing and foreclosure crisis has put the bank-created venture in the spotlight as Americans digest the concept of robo-signing and all-around shoddy mortgage paperwork produced by lenders.

When banks teamed up with Wall Street to bundles thousands of mortgages into securities for institutional investors, MERS served a ready purpose. Its motto is simple, ³Process loans, not paperwork.

When a mortgage is originated, MERS records it for the banks and the local registry of deeds gets a fee. The dispute, however, centers on whether the banks or MERS should pay a fee each time that original mortgage is reassigned as a result of the securitization process. MERS’ website plainly states it eliminates the need to prepare and record assignments when trading residential and commercial mortgage loans.

Any loan registered on the MERS System is inoculated against future assignments because MERS remains the nominal mortgagee no matter how many times servicing is traded, according to its website.

Mortgages can be sold several times over, but MERS says no fee is required each time because if no service is needed, then no fee is appropriate. In fact, MERS officials have said the organization has saved billions of dollars in recording costs.

MERS spokeswoman Janis Smith said MERS has filled an information void in the county recording system.

But O’Brien will have none of that. He said MERS has created a shadow registry system, primarily to sidestep recording costs. As a result, he says the chain of custody for titles has been disrupted. He points out that Salem is home to the oldest continuous land records in the country.

The banks don’t have the right to say who and who doesn’t have to pay fees, O’Brien said.

One of the next developments to watch in the dispute is whether Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley files a lawsuit against MERS.

Her office has been weighing the matter at the urging of O’Brien. During an interview with the Boston Business Journal, O’Brien also questioned whether the absence of recording assignments gave rise to securities fraud.


Essex Co. Register Of Deeds takes funds out of Bank of America

Thursday, 07 April 2011

Written by Richard Zombeck

Essex County Register of Deeds’ John O’Brien, after getting the okay to move over $20 million in county funds out of Bank of America and into a local bank chose Century Bank. A bank that has never been a MERS member, Barry Sloane, president and CEO of Century Bank said, because they’ve always kept the mortgage they originated on their own books…. what a novel approach.

Story from the Bankers and Tradesman begins below:

John O’Brien, head of the South Essex Registry of Deeds, got permission this week to remove millions of dollars from Bank of America accounts, and told Banker & Tradesman he intends to move the money to Medford-based Century Bank instead.

O’Brien has publicly requested that Bank of America receive no register money in protest for its involvement in Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS), which is an organization set up by banks that lets them assign mortgages to new owners without filing related documents at registries of deeds. O’Brien has been waging a campaign against MERS, saying its activities denied registries millions of dollars in fees.

Bank of America had already been a target of Treasurer Steve Grossman, who is on his own mission to move state money from national to local banks. Jon Carlisle, spokesman for Treasurer Steve Grossman, stated in media reports that the office gave O’Brien the green light to move the accounts. Kevin Harvey, first assistant register for South Essex, said the office had selected Century Bank to receive the funds.

“We’re grateful. There’s a process, and we’re happy to be part of that process,” said Barry Sloane, president and CEO of Century Bank.

Century Bank has never been a MERS member, he said, because they’ve always kept the mortgage they originated on their own books.

“We have never done a transaction with them, we’ve always held our mortgage loans in our own portfolio. We think that’s in the best interest of our customers,” Sloane said.

A more lengthy response by MERS to the letter O’Brien wrote to Coakley was posted on MERS’ company Web site last December, which states, “MERS pays recording fees when the mortgage is recorded. Fees are paid for a service performed, and if a document is eliminated because it is no longer necessary, no fee is due because there is nothing to record. In fact, MERS greatly reduces the workload of county recorders, resulting in lower operating expenses for the county recorder’s office.”

The statement goes on to explain that if a mortgage is transferred from one MERS- member bank to another, MERS continues as the mortgagee and thus there is no need for a public mortgage assignment recording.

O’Brien, meanwhile, is also vocal on alleged fraudulent foreclosure practices by banks, proof of which he said he has at the Southern Registry.

O’Brien referred to a 60 Minutes segment the CBS news show aired on April 1, “Mortgage paperwork mess: Next housing shock?” in which it showed how a forgery mill was set up in Georgia to generate fraudulent paperwork to replace lost mortgage transfer documents as a means to establish the title holder. The mill, Doc X, hired people off the street to produce fraudulent paperwork for major banks including Wells Fargo, HSBC, Deutche Bank, Citibank, U.S. Bank and Bank of America, 60 Minutes reported. And tens of thousands of those documents had the signature of Linda Green, who the documents identify as a bank executive at 20 or more banks, yet 60 Minutes located and identified as a former auto parts store clerk in rural Georgia.

O’Brien said since the 60 Minutes report, he’s discovered 286 documents on foreclosed properties in Essex County with the name Linda Green. He has forwarded copies of these to state and federal authorities, he said.

Meanwhile, attorneys general in all 50 states, along with a number of federal agencies including the FDIC, are investigating this so-called “robo-signing” of foreclosure documents for the nation’s biggest banks.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has been tasked by his colleagues to lead the probe and this week O’Brien and Gilford County, N.C. Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen publicly asked Miller to halt settlement negotiations with the banks, following up on a letter they sent to Miller in early April asking the same. They also demand that public registers of deeds have a seat at the table in negotiating with the banks.

O’Brien said he is leery that a settlement will end up being pennies on the dollar.

“How can the consumers be fully protected when the extent of the damages are still unknown?” he asked. “We need to bring our knowledge of the land recordation system and consumer’s problematic chain of title issues to the table.”

O’Brien wants MERS to be investigated as part of the probe and he said the government should halt foreclosures in any case where it’s unclear who holds the title.

Geoff Greenwood, spokesman for Iowa Attorney General Miller’s office, told the Item Monday that MERS is, at least to date, not part of the probe spearheaded by his boss.

The investigation, he said, was launched last October into the foreclosure practices of Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase and Ally. All of those banks are members of MERS.

“Together these banks control 59 percent of the (mortgage) market,” Greenwood said. “We’re working on this case every day and we are attempting to settle this without going through litigation. We believe, because there is such a broad impact on homeowners, these businesses and investors, and on the housing market, it’s important that we seek to resolve this as soon as possible.”

Greenwood said there has been no dollar amount discussed concerning a possible settlement with the five banks.

“We have many concerns about past practices and we are looking for a fundamental change in how the banks handle these cases,” he said. “We are attempting to make a dysfunctional system functional.”


Responses to People’s Hero – Register O’Brien

jurisnot3 says:
January 15, 2012 at 12:13 am

The process of Foreclosure is as well predicated many times on just a couple three payments (usually interest) on properties rich in equity. False and created documents are NOT only Robo Signed. In the art of Muscling Into Property … Sharks in the business care little for Families or the Lives they destroy when seizing property. In such matters … extensions should be sanctioned by the Courts IN LIKE FASHION to the TARP and other forms of Tax Payer Bailouts the BIG BOIZ have been given and Exactly Like The Government itself gets in the form of Tax Increases and Debt Ceilings being raised. Foreclosure causes enormous damage to small business as well as Families. I would suggest a period of 12 months to be required by Courts to allow Individuals and Families / Small Businesses to catch up on payments. Allowing the Billionaires Bailouts while sticking it to low and medium income folks and the poor… is OBSCENE.

I want to personally thank ALL the Great People in your office and those that have helped you in these matters. May God Bless You ALL. Judson Witham AKA Son Of Swamp Fox

Geanette says:
June 4, 2011 at 7:22 am (Edit)

This is wonderful!! Gives you hope in the American dream and in Americans doing the right thing!! How dare the banks just undermine and ignore the laws of this land!! They are “too big to exist” and need to be broken down and divested!!

The banks act like an entity unto themselves..what next, they develop their own militia?? There must be criminal charges and prosecution of those who knowingly practiced this fraud…after all, why should the shady big wigs of these large banks and MERS be excluded when others were prosecuted for similar ponzy schemes? And, heavy, heavy financial sanctions and penalties as well as oversight from this point on….the American people (who the politicians lost sight of who they represent and took a sworn oath to protect) deserves nothing less!!

Nora says:
May 31, 2011 at 5:56 pm (Edit)

This is excellent. I never thought of pressing the county registrar.
We have to seek out the honest public servants, who have resisted the mob of banksters and paid-off politicians. We must not lie down and take it, people. Fight back with letters, law suits, class actions and whatever else you can muster the time and attention to do. God please protect John O’Brien ! These banksters and the bought and paid for crooked politicians would try to tell us it was midnight at noon, despite the fact that we can walk outside and see the full sun. Don’t believe a word of their propaganda; know that they have an agenda and money is at the root of it all. “The love of money is the root of all evil.” 1Timothy 6:10
Nora Claypool

C J says:
May 28, 2011 at 9:06 pm (Edit)

I will send you an email with a detailed information about my case and some suggestions for you shortly. However, I would like to start a nationwide action where everyone should write to their Register of Deeds and demand that they follow Reg. O’Brien’s lead. We have to stand up together now, because if we don’t there is no hope for us nor for our kids’ future.

Geanette says:
June 4, 2011 at 7:24 am (Edit)

That’s right…this is our country and we the people must stand up collectively for what is right and just!! The big banks and MERS must be taken down!!


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