NY AG funds $1 million to borrowers contesting foreclosures
New York Attorney General Eric Scheiderman is making $1 million available to nonprofit legal organizations representing homeowners in foreclosures cases. Scheiderman's office sent out a request for applications this week. The money comes from a 2006 settlement with now defunct subprime lender Ameriquest Mortgage. The firm paid the states participating in the settlement at the time roughly $295 million of which $22 million went to New York. "This funding will provide thousands of New Yorkers with the legal expertise they desperately need to defend their rights and avoid falling prey to unscrupulous mortgage servicers or foreclosure mill law firms filing fabricated or robo-signed documents," Schneiderman said. Currently, about 10% of mortgages in the Empire State are either in the foreclosure process or on the verge of it. According to RealtyTrac, foreclosures completed in New York in the fourth quarter took an average 1,019 days to complete, the longest in the country. Scheiderman broke away from the multistate settlement talks with the largest mortgage servicers last year. He is investigating allegedly faulty documents signed en masse and filed in New York courthouses as well as securitization issues. The application process for the $1 million will be expedited and is scheduled to last less than eight weeks. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.