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Dear AG Masto: Thank you For Your Courage, Leadership & Common Sense By Abigail Caplovitz Field | November

18, 2011 Dear Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, and your Deputies John P. Kelleher and Robert G. Giunta: Thank you for your courage, leadership and common sense. To date, no other law enforcer has been willing to act on the obvious: the banks document fraud is criminal. Despite the crime-minimizing connotations of the term robo-signing, of course its criminal to forge signatures and lie about notarizing them when creating official public records. The fact that the records start the brutally swift non-judicial foreclosure process only makes the crime worse. Although Attorney General Bill Schuette (R-MI) launched a criminal probe into robosigning several months ago, no indictment has yet followed, and his spokeswoman Joy Yearout would not comment on the status of that investigation or on your indictment. Similarly, Attorneys General Eric Schneiderman and Beau Biden are investigating possible crimes, but no indictments have yet come. You are truly leading the way. I can only imagine the backlash you are facing. Many of us who support you worry you will be Spitzered, meaning publicly humiliated in some way that leads to your resignation and the quiet death of your fight against the banks. The last person so attacked was NYAAG Alisha Smith, and she did indeed resign, though thankfully the NYAG is undeterred in his war against the banks. Selfishly, I hope youve somehow managed to live lives that the banks allies will find impossible to tarnish, and if you are attacked, I hope you stand tall. Your actions to date certainly suggest you will. Your indictment is striking for at least two reasons. First, by bringing charges related to 202 different documents, youre showing the scale of the problem. Second, by prosecuting the managers of the document fraud, your response has been the most serious to date. In Maryland notaries were forced to take The Fifth in response to a robosigning investigation, but weve not seen charges against those directing their activities yet. While its appropriate to prosecute the small fry, its also relatively meaningless and just reinforces what so many people know: our criminal system generally prosecutes the 99%, not the top dogs. I note one of the notaries involved in the activities charged in your massive indictment has pleaded guilty to one related misdemeanor. I can only imagine youve flipped your low-level witness and shes getting a light charge for her cooperation. Great! With luck, both people youve indicted will compete to turn in those above them. Perhaps even more than your indictment, I love this quote that Chief Deputy Kelleher gave to American Banker: If banks sanctioned the alleged robo-signers activities, Kelleher said, they could be the subject of future actions. Our charge is to prosecute criminal

activity by whomever may be committing it, he said. Theres no provision under the law for an industry to collectively decide to circumvent Nevada statutes. Id like to point out to you that at least Wells Fargo had an in-house robosigner, Herman John Kennerty. Id be surprised if he was the only one in-house there or if Wells was the only big bank to have an in-house signer. Does Kennertys name show up in Nevadas records? If so, you can go straight for a big bank, no need to flip the two managers you just charged. UPDATE: I realize that your indictment, in each count, involves people forging the names of the two you indicted, whereas Kennerty was robosigning his own name. Not that his documents have more integrity, but I recognize the fact pattern isnt the same and makes the prosecution of the robosigning harder. UPDATE 2: A commentator helpfully pointed out that Xee Moua and China Brown are Wellss truly high volume in-house robo-signers, which just underscores the point: it shouldnt be too hard to find documents directly tied to the banks. Regardless of whether or not Kennerty (or Moua or Brown) documents are in Nevada, thank you so much for flatly stating the obvious, that theres no banker exemption to the law. These days it really feels like there is. Sincerely, Abigail Caplovitz Field