On March 24, 2011, Idaho's "Anti-Diploma Mill" bill was unanimously passed by the Idaho State Senate. To read a recent article about this and efforts by other states, visit the Accredibase Reports web page at www.accredibase.com/report.
According to an article in the Salem News, written by Julie Manganis, an entity known as the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems or MERS has bypassed thousands of mortgage records. When a property is sold, financed or refinanced, there must be a recording of the mortgage at the local level. But when these mortgages are sold or bundled and sold (as many as four times), MERS was bypassing the recording fees. Per the article "MERS would keep tabs on the mortgage, essentially creating a private registry and avoiding the fees."
Thus, a number of properties can not be properly tracked or searched in public records at the affected local jurisdictions. Also, home owners may not know who holds their mortgages.
Mr. John O'Brien, the Essex South Register of Deeds in Massachusetts estimates that his office has lost over $22 million in recording fees on over 148,000 recordings taken place since 1998. Mr. O'Brien has requested that the Massachusetts Attorney General take action against MERS. According to ther article "MERS has acknowledged that transfers or assignments of mortgages should have been transferred."
Senate Bill 608, introduced February 23, 2011, calls for significant increases for many West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicle fees. These increases include record access fees and cost pertaining to the the issuance of driver licenses and vehicle registrations, among others. For example, the bill increases the cost of a driving record from $5.00 to $10.00. Certification of a motor vehicle record would increase from $1.00 to $3.00. The bill is expected to raise $40 million for the state.
The Bill has passed the Senate and has been introduced in the House. A copy of SB608 can be viewed at www.legis.state.wv.us.
Pending a court ruling in Wake County, NC, the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC) voluntarily postponed their planned March 1 mandate which would have altered the way millions of criminal records are accessed in North Carolina. The docket number is 11cv001548.
The reason for the ruling is that several consumer reporting agencies filed a restraining order against the NCAOC to stop their mandate. A hearing was held late last week on a preliminary injunction to halt the NCAOC from modifying the manner in which criminal record data is released. The judge's decision on the motion is expected within the week. The docket number is 11cv001548.
As previously reported in this newsletter, if the NCAOC changes take place, licensees to the ACIS Daily Criminal Extract would no longer have access to criminal court case details in these daily ACIS extract feeds. Licensees would be forced to use an old technology system - known as the Green Screen - that would greatly increase the turnaround time and fees.
The Director of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, Judge John W. Smith can be reached at John.W.Smith@aoc.nccourts.org. For more information on the Green Screen, contact the NCAOC Remote Public Access group at 919-890-2220 or email@example.com.
A list of licensees who receive the daily bulk fee is found at:
The 2011 Annual Accredibase Report of diploma and accreditation mill activity has revealed an astounding 48% increase worldwide in the number of known diploma and accreditation mills in the past year alone. As the Internet is the primary home for these bogus education and accreditation providers, little action is taken to stop them from helping unscrupulous candidates deceive unsuspecting employers. The Accredibase Report examines the current status of the diploma mill situation and considers what can be done to protect the public and businesses.
U.S - The King of Diploma Mills According to the 2011 report, the U.S. remains the world's fake college capital. This year has seen a 20% increase in known diploma mills in the US, with the number rising from 810 to 1,008. While more than 40% percent of the diploma mills operate in California, Hawaii, Washington and Florida, the Report reveals that District of Columbia has seen the sharpest increase among US states with 74%, rising from 19 to 33 mills over the past year. High school diploma mills are of particular concern in the United States and appear to be a growing segment in this unscrupulous market as well.
A hearing was held late this week (March 4) on a preliminary injunction to halt the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts' (NCAOC) from the modifying the manner in which criminal record data is released. Last week several consumer reporting agencies filed a restraining order against the NCAOC to stop their mandate. The judge’s decision on the motion is expected within the week.
At present, millions of North Carolina criminal record searches are processed annually by licensees of the ACIS Daily Criminal Extract. Licensees receive a daily bulk feed provided by the NCAOC. The data includes full information on criminal court cases. Effective March 1, 2011, NCAOC was to terminate the inclusion of criminal court case details from these daily ACIS extract feeds. The NCAOC plans to replace the current extract with a stripped down version dubbed the "Demographic Extract" which will include name, address, DOB and the last four digits of the SSN. However if the NCAOC prevails, to retrieve specific case details including charge, level of offense, method of disposition, plea, and sentencing, all licensees (or vendors or end users) would incur an added manual step and incur additional fees to access the Remote Public Access system.
The Green Screen The Remote Public Access system, commonly referred to as the "Green Screen" is a Telnet based system that connects users directly with the AOC. Users incur a charge of $.21 per screen or page. There are numerous screens associated with a search, For example there is an initial entry screen, a log-in screen, a log-in confirmation screen, and the case details are shown on multiple screens. Each movement up or down to a new screen incurs the $.21 charge. Users often find that a record search can involve using a dozen or more screens, and of course the associated time. At present, most high volume users and vendors prefer to access records on an instant basis from one of the licensees. Effective Match 1, these record requesters will be forced to either use the Green Screen or to pay someone to look-up the records on the Green Screen.
According to former NC Magistrate Judge Dean Carras, "The current Green Screen system is operating with the same technology and platform it was using in the mid 1990's. The Green Screen is very antiquated and inefficient compared to the other 29 states where the office of court administration offers online access to court record information. The Remote Public Access System is not and was never designed for use as a screening or investigative tool." According to the NCAOC, the reason for the termination of the case information in the data extract feed is to stop the reporting of inaccurate information and the reporting of expunged cases. Licensees and record requesters counter that many expunged cases are already being shown on the Green Screen and that adding a manual process step to criminal record searches will increase and not lesson the chance of inaccurate data be reported.
Record Searches if NCAOC Prevails The licensees who receive the bulk criminal record data will maintain their historical information to provide to vendors, employers, attorneys and other users. However search details on all new, open cases, or amended cases will now need to be searched on the Green System. This means that users will see a fee increase for the added costs and added time needed to access and read records. Also, time delays are expected, especially at the outset with the learning curve users will face with navigating the Green Screen System.
Another concern is the additional bandwidth that will be needed to accommodate the significant increase Green Screen usage. Licensees are fearful that the system will bog down or come to a halt as millions of record searches will be subject to a non-automated access mode.
If you have comments, questions or concerns, you can contact the Director of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, Judge John W. Smith at John.W.Smith@aoc.nccourts.org. For more information on the Green Screen, contact the NCAOC Remote Public Access group at 919-890-2220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.