Beaufort County joins several other counties across the country, but is the first county in South Carolina, suing Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS), an electronic document registry system owned by members who are large national banks that bundle and sell mortgage loans to investors without having to record assignments of each new transaction in the local property registry.
“These activities have caused massive confusion and has made many of the Beaufort County Register of Deeds recording systems inaccurate and unreliable”, said County Attorney Josh Gruber.
Typically when a piece of property is bought or refinanced, the mortgage is recorded with the county and reflects the actual lender or owner of the loan. Beaufort County claims the MERS electronic registry, which records mortgages in the name of MERS rather than the real lender or owner of the loan, has eroded the transparency and corrupted the chain of title of real property records required to be maintained by State law and have rendered these records inaccurate and unreliable for public use.
Beaufort County is asking the court to prohibit MERS and its member banks from filing fraudulent documents, immediately correct all fraudulent documents currently residing in the Beaufort County Register of Deeds office. Additionally, Beaufort County is seeking remediation of its public records, if possible, or if not possible to remediate such records, compensatory, consequential and punitive damages for the destruction and harm caused to the Beaufort County Recording System.