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Illinois sheriff may halt evictions

dart.gi.top.jpgCook County sheriff Thomas J. Dart has asked three banks for assurances that their foreclosures are proper. By Charles Riley, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The sheriff of Cook County, Illinois says he will stop evicting residents from foreclosed properties unless he is assured that the foreclosures are legitimate.

Sheriff Thomas J. Dart mailed letters to Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), JP Morgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) and Ally Financial on Friday asking that they provide complete assurance that foreclosures were done properly and legally.

If Dart is not satisfied with their response, he will halt evictions starting Monday.

"I can't possibly be expected to evict people from their homes when the banks themselves can't say for sure everything was done properly," Dart said in a statement. "I need some kind of assurance that we aren't evicting families based on fraudulent behavior by the banks."

Each bank is conducting a review of documents, and all say they have found no improper foreclosures.

Dart previously halted foreclosures in the county, which includes the city of Chicago, in 2008, alleging that tenants were not being properly notified that the home they were living in was in foreclosure.

According to the sheriff's office, the county currently has 500 evictions ready to be served, while another 1,000 are being prepped.

Foreclosures performed by Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Ally financial account for one third of foreclosures Dart isn't the only elected official to investigate the foreclosure document mess.

State attorneys general have stepped up pressure on banks in recent weeks after it was revealed that some bank employees had signed foreclosure affidavits without verifying that the documents were accurate, a process known as "robo-signing."

On Monday, Bank of America restarted the foreclosure process in the 23 states where a court must sign off on the proceedings. The company said the first of the new affidavits will be submitted by Oct. 25, and that it will continue its review in 27 other states.

Ally has previously announced that it was temporarily suspending evictions and post-foreclosure closings in the 23 states in which judges must sign off before someone loses their home.  To top of page

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