The district attorney's office for Harris County, Texas, is preparing to bring legal action against Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. (MERS), claiming the system enabled lenders to avoid paying the county at least $10 million in unpaid fees.
According to the Houston Chronicle, County Attorney Vince Ryan plans to ask the Commissioners Court this week for permission to hire a law firm to handle the case. In addition to being on the hook for unpaid fees, MERS may owe as much as $100 million in penalties, the Chronicle reports.
‘MERS has jeopardized the clear title of every Texas homeowner with a mortgage and has cheated Texas counties out of millions of dollars in property recording fees,’ Ryan told the paper in an e-mail.
Ryan is not alone, according to the article. The Chronicle also reports that District Attorney Susan Reed is seeking approval to hire attorneys. When asked how much the county will seek to recoup from MERS, Reed commented, ‘I just know it's going to be high."
Last month, Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins brought legal action against MERS and Bank of America, a MERS shareholder, claiming banks' use of MERS has allowed them to circumvent potentially more than $100 million in recording fees.