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Citizens sue Mortgage Banks for Unauthorized Practice of Law

The practice of mortgage companies using notaries or other non-lawyers to provide settlement services was banned in 2003, but apparently many companies have not gotten the message. Two West Virginia individuals have sued, claiming that Bank of America used notary publics to close mortgage loans instead of licensed lawyers or their assistants, an illegal act. The plaintiffs are seeking to be certified as a class action.

The lawsuit against BofA and Countrywide alleges West Virginian residents were charged hundreds of dollars for illegal settlement services. The services were illegal since the fees surpassed the state’s permitted fees for notaries. No more than $2 can be garnered for a single notarized document.

The lawsuit also extends to the claim that many customers had their home loans closed by non-lawyers, an illegal act according to West Virginian law. Thus, the lawsuit seeks damages for any West Virginian customer of BofA and Countrywide who had their home loans closed by individuals without a license to practice law.

Richard Simon, a spokesman for BofA, had no comment.

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