David Dayen’s Chain of Title Interview Confirms What You Always Suspected: The Game is Rigged

Chain of Title should be required reading in every college-level business ethics class in America. At a time when “business ethics” is an oxymoron, perhaps the current generation that adores Bernie Sanders might better understand the dangers big banking monopolies hold. David Dayen’s book, Chain of Title, unearths a system with the power and collateral to stonewall millions of homeowners from obtaining one very simple answer: Who owns my mortgage?

If you haven’t been able to wrap your head around why the federal government has failed to prosecute one banker for the foreclosure crisis there is a very simple answer that Chain of Title alludes to. The federal government has a dark secret: the trusts are empty and the falsified notes cannot be traced back to their true owners so they must be “recreated” if a default occurs. This means that the investors, the pensions and the trusts own nothing. It also means that the banks now own everything- including the U.S. federal government. It hardly matters that we have separation of powers if the bankers and elite control all three branches.

Salon contributing writer David Dayen and winner of the coveted Ida and Studs Terkel Prize, illuminates how home buyers have ended up illegally evicted from their homes as the result of dishonesty, greed, and deception at the hands of mortgage lenders, servicers, investment bankers, and unscrupulous lawyers. Dayen states that Alan Greenspan “viewed regulations the way an exterminator viewed termites.” If this is true, then the President viewed homeowners the way a sunbather views 300 million gnats at the beach.

What is truly amazing about this book is how Dayen who has never gone through foreclosure himself is able to recreate the desperation, optimism, and naiveté of homeowners fighting foreclosure while concurrently examining the systematic collapse of the economy. The insight into his three protagonists borders on the voyeuristic and compels the reader to proceed voraciously. The reader keeps rooting for the underdogs to prevail-but it never happens. Through Dayen’s expose you can literally smell the black mold on vacant houses, and feel the desperation of those who lack the tools and resources to fight back- but try with all their might to do so.

Dayen’s writing explores the possibilities for the housing crash while remaining detached from the outcome.  For example, he writes, “There is a rot at the heart of our democracy, rooted in a nagging mystery that has yet to be unraveled. It gnaws at people, occupies their thoughts, leaves them searching for answers in the chill of the night. Americans want to know why no high-ranking Wall Street executive has gone to jail for the conduct that precipitated the financial crisis. The oddest thing about the predominance of the question is that everyone already assumes they know the answer. They believe that too many politicians, regulators, and law enforcement officials, bought off with campaign contributions or the promise of a future job, simply allowed banker miscreants to annihilate the law in pursuit of profit.”

Dayen’s story begins when two of the protagonists start corresponding via discussion posts on Neil Garfield’s Living Lies blog, and come to the conclusion that they are being deceived by unscrupulous loan servicers. The homeowners will eventually meet other activists along their journey including Lynn Szymoniak and decide to take on the Foreclosure Machine. The personal sacrifices they make to become activists will leave all but Szymoniak permanently altered, and uncompensated for their efforts.

The homeowners include Lisa Epstein, a cancer nurse; Michael Redman, an auto dealership employee; and Lynn Szymoniak, a lawyer who investigates insurance fraud. Dayen chronicles their almost futile and life altering battles to save their homes from illegal foreclosure while acting on behalf of millions of homeowners without voices to complain. The author begins with Epstein’s case, followed by Redman’s; one-third of the way into the narrative, the two of them meet Szymoniak, who then pool their meager resources to raise public consciousness about banks who forge, fabricate and robosign to create the appearance of standing.

Dayen profiles hundreds of other individuals, many of them crooks, cowards, or corrupt men and women, many of whom had the authority to halt the fraudulent activities but were unwilling to do anything that would undermine their position or social standing.  Although the efforts of the whistle-blowers educated millions of homeowners wrongfully facing foreclosure—ultimately hundreds of thousands of houses remain empty and only now are people starting to put their lives back together with a paradigm shift- that their government doesn’t care. Dayen relates how prosecutors, judges, and the Department of Justice have caved to powerful mortgage industry donors while illegal foreclosures continue.

Whereas politicians and the banks have been indifferent that a mortgage is properly endorsed and assigned, Dayen believes that the technicalities matter and are there to protect the homeowner and investors. Without a clear chain of assignment from one entity to the next, there is no way to determine how the loan is transferred except to rely on banks who are not noted for their honesty or accurate business records.

Exposing the lies of the banks becomes a moral crusade for the three main characters and their decision to pursue justice will create an emotional smorgasbord, which Dayen meticulously reports. Chain of Title settles on the fact that the banks’ behavior not just indefensible, but criminal and duly executed with precision. This book won’t tell readers of Living Lies anything they don’t already know- but it will help the victims of foreclosure to recognize that the United States is now full of hard working Americans who were sucked into the vortex of banking greed- and who will never again believe in the rule of law or their leaders. This is a yet undiagnosed disease in the general public and the long-term repercussions are not yet known.

Dayen describes a bank pursuing foreclosure without legal signatures as “flailing away like a boxer in the dark”- and this is a feeling that also captures the feelings of many homeowners who continue to fight illegal foreclosure. Not sure where their well-funded opponent will come from next or what tactic will be used, the homeowner will flail away like a boxer in the dark hoping that some tactic will create sympathy or even due process from the court or cause the bank to retreat back to their hellish cave.
After reading this epic novel, it can’t be avoided that a free-market economy will function best when people have the ability to prove they own what they own and owe who they owe.



If we don’t return to the rule of law soon, the average American’s confidence will be undermined and alternatives will be sought.  Remember, those who tired of the Federal Reserve created Bitcoin and lending isn’t so complicated to enact that a similar solution among revolutionaries will not be created. It is amazing that the greed of banks, to save a recording fee, or pass around notes like bubblegum cards could undermine an entire industry- but that is exactly what has happened. Ominously, the first housing crash has yet to be resolved and it appears that the second wave, or what we call 2008 Part II is on the horizon. David Dayen’s book will be read well into the next century- and hopefully Americans will one day say, “How could people standby and let that happen?”  We won’t, but sometimes the wheels of justice take time.
How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud
By David Dayen
385 pp. The New Press.

16 Responses

  1. […] David Dayen’s Chain of Title Interview Confirms What You Always Suspected: The Game is Rigged […]

  2. […] David Dayen’s Chain of Title Interview Confirms What You Always Suspected: The Game is Rigged […]

  3. […] David Dayen’s Chain of Title Interview Confirms What You Always Suspected: The Game is Rigged […]

  4. As a homeowner thank God for you David Dayen and others for telling the true story and when the crooked Banks, nonbanks, servicers, and the crooked lawyers that so call represent them are sent to JAIL the true theft of our great country and the fleecing of America people will stop. Until then I will pray with all my might for God to intervene and stop these cooks and if you lawyers and judges and fake banks and servicers are listening you may be able to steal right now; from the American homeowners; but guaranteed your day of reckoning in God’s Kingdom and in his court will make you eternally damned in Hell were you belong. God Bless us all, Homeowners unite and keep all fighting Time to bring them Down!!

  5. Hey everybody … does anybody around here know how to search FDIC for a loan #/mortgage?

    Weren’t a ton of these discharged in various merger’s et cetera?

    Thanks and Make it a Great Day.

    Scott Thompson

  6. This reply is directed at Dave Dayen and Neil Garfield. I would hope that either might read the comments.
    I have a story.

    In 2009 I read an article by Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/waking-up-to-discover-the-mortgage-market-was-a-giant-criminal-enterprise-20091007

    After reading this I checked my documents to discover that MERS was on all of them. I next checked online and found 2 very good websites to help. http://www.foreclosurehamlet.com – Lisa Epstein and http://www.4closurefraud.com – Michael Redman. At the top of Michael’s website page was a sponsor, that was Save My Home Law Group – Carol Asbury. I talked to Carol. She was a very educated attorney. Carol, Lisa, and Michael were also involved in a radio show which I listened to frequently. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the show.
    After consulting with Carol Asbury, I gave her a $5000 retainer and all of my documents and we decided upon a strategic default.
    I stopped payment and in 3 months I was given a summons for foreclosure.
    The last thing that Save My Home Law Group did for me was file a motion to the bank’s attorneys requesting “Chain of Title”.
    The bank responded by saying that they did not have this information and they needed more time.
    About 2 weeks after that Carol Asbury was tried and convicted in a real estate scandal (?). Carol turned over her clients and her radio show to Joanne Hennessey. Joanne sent out letters stating the transition, but at this point my trust in attorneys and the system had almost vanished. I requested that she return my documents.
    I never had the opportunity to meet Joanne, but she put a lien on me saying that I owed her money.
    I, for the life of me, could not find another attorney that knew what I was talking about or they did not want to understand, so I decided to try myself, pro se. I was waiting for “Chain of Title”.
    I waited for over 5 years. I tried to find an attorney to help once again. That is not an easy task when you are poor with not so good credit.
    I visited an attorney Evan Rosen for help. Evan and I never met. I was greeted at my attorney consult by Lisa Epstein and Michael Redman. I assumed that they ended up working for Evan Rosen in some capacity. I never asked. All they could tell me was, “We’re sorry”.
    So, 7 years later, I am still in my house. The bank has taken my house, but I’m still in it now. I have received a letter to vacate and the thugs sent a letter to remove myself or eviction is next.
    So, eviction is next.


    Is there an attorney out there that would sue the banks on a contingency?

  7. I prefer Iceland myself ……
    Wouldn’t that just frost their balls?

    Many Blessings to All!
    Granny Out

  8. Obama pushing TTIP Agreement to Protect the TBTF from Prosecutions.
    TTIP has a Snowballs Chance of Survival in a Boiling Kettle.
    Its Bad for Everyone Except the Banksters! !!!

    Theres still Hope!!!
    Iceland or Boiling Kettle ?

  9. I ❤ David!

  10. Black…Knight




  11. Deerfield beach florida blackstone alive and renting out homes in the middle class section of eastway park. Spitfire, i have known this for 6 years and Chase holds the mortgages. This is why they have been after my house which chase holds the note. apparently no body is wanting to pay their hefty rent at the moment. House has been empty for better than a month. They own several homes in the eastway park subdivision. Local government does not care, the tax revenues are higher when it is rental property. It is all one big government land grab conspiracy.

  12. Spitfire, you are wrong. The loss share agreements between the GSE’s and Blackstone actually protect taxpayers, and the entire portfolios purchased by Blackstone are REO’s, meaning… the GSE has already completed the fraud.

  13. […] David Dayen’s Chain of Title Interview Confirms What You Always Suspected: The Game is Rigged […]

  14. Today I researched and found multiple articles about a “Hedge Fund” straw man that is buying up ALL these foreclosures, sometimes paying ABOVE MARKET VALUE. It is a company called Blackstone, affiliated with Blackwater formerly Xe Mercenaries which was bought in whole recently by Monsanto.

    Yes. You read that right. Mercenaries. Black Op’s.

    Can’t help but wonder why, Oh why… would a Black Op’s mercenary company operating as a Hedge Fund middle man be buying up all these foreclosures….


    Next Big Thing on Wall Street

    “The business of buying foreclosed homes, renovating and renting them out is morphing from a largely mom-and-pop business into the next big thing on Wall Street.

    Blackstone Group LP has become the biggest U.S. investor in single-family rental homes by spending more than $1 billion since the start of 2012 to acquire more than 6,500 foreclosed homes … fresh evidence that the purchase of foreclosed homes, which began as a mom-and-pop pursuit, is gaining legitimacy among the biggest private-equity firms.”

    “A Land Grab Unlike Anything We’ve Ever Seen”

    “The Blackstone shopping spree, and those of half a dozen other big investment firms and hedge funds, could radically change the local home landscape, as big-money brokers compete with first-time buyers and mom-and-pop landlords over homes in tight supply.

    ‘It’s a land grab unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” said Peter Murphy, CEO of Home Encounter, the largest manager of rental homes in Tampa Bay. “You’re going to drive through parts of town and all of it is going to be institutionally owned.'”

    And here:


    Thnigs that make you go Hmmmm…..

  15. Reblogged this on Deadly Clear and commented:
    Send a copy to your favorite legislators with a note that says: “Please take the time to read this educational material. From your constituents and the homeowners of our state.”

  16. The homeowners perspective has been missing throughout. Shame is no longer an excuse.

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