Are Lawyers Missing the Boat Again on Foreclosure Defense?

The problem is that while most people think everyone has been bought off, and to a certain extent that is true, the real problem is that the clever plan of securitization is so counter-intuitive that nobody believes the truth that is in plain sight. The reason for fabricated documents is that there were no transactions, so the documents had to be fabricated to fit facially with the requirements of law for administration, collection and enforcement.
To anyone who is not conversant in the language of finance, that seems impossible, unlikely, or just plain wrong. So rather than keeping an open mind about it, they react to such assertions with aggression and incredulity.

I recently received a question from a fairly knowledgeable reader. Why are lawyers dropping the ball on foreclosure defense? His specific question, along with similar questions from other readers is where are the trust lawyers, the securities lawyers, the property lawyers, the civil litigations lawyers, the personal injury lawyers (emotional distress etc), etc.?

Here was my answer with some edits for typos which all of you know I am prone to make and miss on edits.

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The question you posed is the million-dollar question. I think you are correct in your analysis. I have attempted to enlist attorneys who specialize in those areas but I have failed.
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The only explanation that I can give you that has any truth to it is that lawyers, despite their reputation, are easily intimidated, lazy and greedy. I surveyed hundreds of lawyers over a two-year period In 2008–2009.
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The proposition was simple. assuming a client with sufficient financial resources to pay any reasonable fee, were they willing to represent homeowners in distress?
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The fact that the answer was in the negative was frustrating enough. But the reason most often cited was that they would rather represent “the bank.” And when I pointed out that they did not represent any banks nor did they have any prospects for doing so, that’s when they said that it didn’t matter.
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Some did express reservation about the assumption that the client could pay. I pointed it out that if they were not making a monthly payment for housing, they could easily pay. That made no difference. They saw the entire endeavor as futile and unprofitable — but in reality I could tell, like any trial lawyer could detect, that I was dealing with raw unbridled fear.
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So I attacked it with seminars on foreclosure defense that highlighted business strategies in which the lawyer could become rich, and some of the attendees did. Others made a good living.
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But it was based on lowering of expectations. By adopting a hub-and-spoke strategy some lawyers, adopting the business plan that I proposed, began servicing hundreds of homeowners at a time. But like all such practices, their business success depended upon settlement of the cases, which meant modifications. This resulted in adding to the illusion that the servicer had any right to be in the picture.
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My latest plan is that I am working on potential pleadings for a case in Reformation in which the investment banks are literally drafted into the litigation. The Court decides whether the homeowner received consideration for issuing the documents (note and mortgage) that enabled the securitization plan, and whether the homeowner received or should receive adequate or additional consideration that could offset the claim. (There is a lot more to this but for purposes of this article I simply state in brief form).
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I have no doubt that there is an opportunity to achieve immense wealth simply by pursuing the obvious. But it appears that the General Public, law enforcement, the Judiciary, and most lawyers have succumbed to the party line that enables the Investment Bank to sit in the shadows and designate names of irrelevant parties with no stake and the outcome to administer, collect and enforce obligations that were long ago retired through securitization, proof of which is easy to obtain, to wit: is there any company showing the existence of the debt as an asset on their balance sheet and a loss from nonpayment? 
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I definitely know the answer to that question. Current law therefore does not allow the current scheme of securitization to exist nor should it. It depends entirely upon concealment of the most relevant data in any transaction — the terms and conditions under which each party intends to serve the other and the terms and conditions under which each party might profit from the transaction.
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Most of all under the federal and state lending and securities laws (and general laws requiring fair dealing) the identity of the counterparty must be included in order to make the agreement an enforceable contract.
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This concealment allows investment banks to act illegally and against the idea of free markets or capitalism. It prevents both investors and homeowners from bargaining for adequate consideration based upon the true nature of the transaction. 
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The problem is that while most people think everyone has been bought off, and to a certain extent that is true, the real problem is that the clever plan of securitization is so counter-intuitive that nobody believes the truth that is in plain sight. The reason for fabricated documents is that there were no transactions, so the documents had to be fabricated to fit facially with the requirements of law for administration, collection and enforcement.
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To anyone who is not conversant in the language of finance, that seems impossible, unlikely, or just plain wrong. So rather than keeping an open mind about it, they react to such assertions with aggression and incredulity.
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Some lawyers do get it and they win their cases most of the time. Everyone else seems to argue for their own weaknesses (See Steven Covey’s Book) without looking to actual information or data. They insist that the foreclosure cases are both unwinnable and are morally unconscionable if they give the homeowner a free house.
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I insist that there is no debt because the investment bank was never depending upon the economics of a loan to make money. Foreclosures are gravy. They made all their money creating, selling, issuing, trading, and hedging securities. The labelling of the homeowner transaction as a loan was a false representation. The investment bank, who never appeared on any of the paperwork, was the real party in interest and at the end of the day there was no person or company who owned the so-called debt from the homeowner. 
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If that plan had been disclosed — as it was required to be disclosed under both “lending” laws and “securities” laws — both investors and homeowners would have had the opportunity to bargain for more more compensation and better terms — because they would have known they were taking a much larger risk than the one that was actually presented.
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Indeed, investors that were pension or other types of “stable managed funds” would not have been able to invest at all had they known the true nature of the certificate scheme into which they they were investing the futures of workers and companies that had contributed to the fund.
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Such funds, as investors, were critical to the success of the securitization scheme. Investment banks would have been legally required to present additional safeguards to the fund managers such as participation in the trading profits, hedge contracts and insurance contracts in order to make the sale of certificates to stable managed fund investors. 
The same logic holds true for homeowners.
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They were making the largest investments of their lives based upon their reasonable belief that the apprasial was real and the loan was viable — all resposnibilities imposed on the “lender” by law (see TILA).
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Had they known the true incentives and motives and existence of the investment bank they would have understood that this was no loan. It was a service they were performing and an investment — for which they were being paid to issue documents that required them to pay money over time in order to enable the securitization scheme.
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If the true profits of the securitization scheme were disclosed as as required by law, homeowners and originators would have been able to compete for a greater share of the securitization pie or they would have had the opportunity to choose not to do business in such a hazy scheme. 
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Neil F Garfield, MBA, JD, 73, is a Florida licensed trial attorney since 1977. He has received multiple academic and achievement awards in business and law. He is a former investment banker, securities broker, securities analyst, and financial analyst.
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2 Responses

  1. The only explanation that I can give you that has any truth to it is that lawyers, “despite their reputation, are easily intimidated, lazy and greedy.”

    I think the words you’re looking for are “Conforming to their reputation…”

    But enough bashing … I’m just p’od that I didn’t become a lawyer , myself… Neil , if I get into the position where I can fund your plan I will definitely do so ,, this game has got to end. … and I think we have a DOJ now that will force the other executive branch agencies (SEC etc.) to play ball.

  2. This is all so true. Except that investors were taken care of. Sure, they did not get the usury rate they thought would, but they got their principal back. Borrowers – not so good.

    The problem, Neil, despite your truth, is that case law does not support. Attorneys want case law. Sure, there are settlements, but attorneys can’t use a settlement in briefs. So — they take a case without backup case law, and if they lose – borrower calls THEM a crook.

    We need case law. Other people’s settlements are not good enough to convince people, and attorneys, that they have a shot in hell.

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