CHARLESTON -- West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw announced on Wednesday he has joined a multi-state investigation into mortgage foreclosures.
Now, 50 state attorneys general and more than 30 state banking or mortgage departments have joined in investigating allegations that mortgage companies mishandled documents and broke laws in foreclosing on hundreds of thousands of homeowners.
Alabama Attorney General Troy King was the 50th attorney general to join the multi-state effort. Late Wednesday, King said he would participate but noted no allegations of violations of Alabama law have been made concerning the handling of foreclosures.
The officials plan to look into whether mortgage company employees made false statements or prepared documents improperly.
According to McGraw's office, some documents were said to be signed by persons "who did not have personal knowledge of the facts contained therein."
"Homeowners have been devastated by foreclosures," McGraw said in a statement. "Now it appears the process utilized by the mortgage servicers is flawed."
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is leading the investigation.
So far, four large lenders already have stopped "questionable" foreclosures after evidence surfaced that bank employees processed foreclosure documents without even reading them.
Other banks have yet to stop, arguing they did nothing wrong.
If the state attorneys general and other banking officials are successful, mortgage companies could have to revamp the way they handle the foreclosure process.