Document Review for Dummies: Why homeowners and their lawyers get confused by documents proffered by foreclosure mills

It occurs to me that most questions I receive contain either an inquiry about the meaning of documents or statements as if they know the meaning of documents. So here is a short primer on reviewing documents that might help.

WHAT (IF ANYTHING) IS THE TITLE OF THE DOCUMENT?

While this seems to be simply a matter of reading and common sense, there is more to it than that. If I draw a rough picture of a dollar bill and hand it to you, nobody will accept it as payment for anything even if the writing on it says “United States Currency” or “One Dollar.”

The reason for that is simply one short statement: No document is an event. And no label can change that. In the case of my artistic dollar, the event would have been a law that says anyone can draw a dollar bill and that everyone must accept it for all debts, public and private. No such preceding event has ever happened nor is it ever going to happen. People don’t issue currency.  Governments do that.

Labeling it as “one dollar” has no more meaning than angel wings in the snow. But while it is a lot less fun than angel wings, a really good fabricated picture of a dollar is likely to be accepted as if it was a real dollar bill. But passing the fake dollar is an illegal act subject to criminal and civil liability.

APPLICATION: Just because a document bears the label “deed,” “assignment” or “allonge” doesn’t make it so. But most homeowners, lawyers, judges and even regulators fail to recognize this basic common sense precept that has been enshrined in law since the law was first written. This error has even become doctrine, supported by legal presumptions if the face of the document confirms to what would ordinarily expect on the face of such a document.

EXAMPLE: An “assignment” is not an assignment of the mortgage unless (a) the grantor owns it and (b) the assignment also conveys ownership of the underlying debt (or the underlying debt was conveyed in a separate instrument by a grantor who owned the underlying debt). [NOTE: Even then the assignment might not be legally effective such as in the case where someone with toxic waste liability conveys the property to a dummy corporation to avoid being hit with damages, fines and penalties. The grantee must expressly or tacitly accept the assignment.] Ref: Article 9 §203 UCC.

WHY WAS THE DOCUMENT CREATED?

The answer to this question there’s actually another question, to wit: what was the event in real life that the document was intended to memorialize?

This reminds me of what my contract professor in law school pounded into our heads on a daily basis, to wit: The note is not the debt — although it may be evidence of a debt.

The debt exists only in the event of a real-world transaction that is enforceable by law. In the case of loans, that is created upon delivery to the closing table. The debtor is the one who accepted that money with eh understanding he/she had to pay it back and the creditor is the one who gave him/her the money. The debt exists regardless f whether there was my written document. It exists independently of any written document.

If the Payee named on the promissory note is the one who paid money to the debtor/maker), the note is admissible evidence in court to prove the terms of repayment and the existence of the debt. In fact, the law has developed that such a note merges with the debt such that the maker and debtor are the same and the Payee and creditor are the same.

BUT if the Payee named on the promissory note is NOT the one who paid money to the debtor/maker), the note is NOT admissible evidence in court to prove the terms of repayment or the existence of the debt. HOWEVER, under modern law, the execution of the promissory note gives rise to its own independent liability of the maker regardless of whether there was any debtor-creditor relationship between maker and payee. Ref: Article 3 UCC.

Such liability can be enforced over the objection of the maker (that here was no real-world transaction giving rise to the obligation) if the party enforcing the note was a bona fide purchaser for value, acting in good faith and without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses at the time the note was purchased.

APPLICATION: Generally speaking, if there is no real-world event memorialized by the document proffered by a party in litigation, the document is inadmissible as proof of the matter asserted — i.e., that the homeowner owes a debt to the party seeking to enforce it. If there is some real-world event (i.e., the homeowner received the money), then the question becomes whether there existed a legal binding relationship between the Payee on the note and the party who paid the money.

BUT, if the party who paid the money did so with no intent to acquire it or retain ownership of the debt, directly or indirectly, then the payment to the homeowner must be categorized as something other than a loan.

There might still be a liability of the homeowner, but only after the court is able to look at the transaction as a whole, and determine the reason for payment and whether that reason was satisfied by the homeowner’s conduct — which in the case of mortgage loans means the execution of documents that might not have any real value except to start the process of the sale of securities having no relation to the ownership of the debt, note or mortgage.

Such a review would also take into account whether the real terms of the contract were disclosed and whether the homeowner had an opportunity to decline participation or bargain for other terms.

EXAMPLE: As explained above an assignment of mortgage is a legal nullity in all States unless the grantee has also paid value in exchange for a conveyance of ownership of the underlying debt —from someone who owns it. Article 9 §203 UCC, adopted in all 50 states, takes it one step further requiring such purchase before anyone could even e considered as a bona fide claimant to enforce a security instrument (mortgage or deed of trust).

So the question is ALWAYS whether such payment of value for the underlying debt ever occurred as an event in the real world.

BUT, an assignment of mortgage that APPEARS to be facially valid is often taken at face value by the homeowner, the lawyers, the course, and the regulators even though the document is not facially valid. Sometimes this is the result of ignorance or laziness. And that brings us to the next point.

WHO SIGNED THE DOCUMENT? WHERE IS WALDO?

This can be really tricky and unless you are prepared to really look at the signature block like you might look at a painting where various figures and shapes appear, you will probably tacitly admit the entire case against you. You have to look long and hard. Think “Where’s Waldo?”

Take absolutely nothing for granted.

So in court, the correct answer is “I don’t know.” After 10-20 years the homeowner has no idea what he/she signed. He/she doesn’t know if the document presented is real or fabricated. He/she, therefore, doesn’t know if that signature on that document is real or fake. SO why admit it? Tell the truth. You don’t know. Make them prove that the document is authentic, valid, and was properly signed by the homeowner(s) at the time fo the original transaction (note that I don’t call it “loan closing” anymore because I don’t think the transaction is legally or logically a loan).

Next on that assignment of mortgage or beneficial rights under a deed of trust: can you tell me in easy English who signed that document and on whose behalf the document was supposedly executed? On close examination in most cases, you cannot. If that cannot be determined from the face of the document then the document is not facially valid. If the document is not facially valid no legal presumptions can arise about its authenticity or validity.

APPLICATION: In most cases, the validity of an assignment cannot be determined without reference to “parol” (external) evidence. Such instruments are facially invalid unless there is something in the public official record that clears up the mystery. Only official public records carry the legal presumption of authenticity and validity as proof of the matter asserted.

NOTE THAT EVEN DOCUMENTS THAT APPEAR TO PASS THE FACIAL VALIDITY SMELL TEST MIGHT STILL BE EXCLUDED AS PROOF OF THE MATTER ASSERTED IF TIMELY OBJECTION IN PROPER FORM IS RAISED AS TO THE CREDIBILITY OF THE SOURCE: Self-proclaimed servicers are preferred by foreclosure mills as thought hey are third parties with no stake in the outcome of the litigation. Good discovery and motion practice could reveal that the reverse is true — the claimed servicer is really a foreclosure vehicle acting for concealed third parties and who goes out of business if the foreclosures are unsuccessful.

EXAMPLE: “John Smith, Official Document Examiner, SOLVANG SERVICING, LLC, as attorney in fact for CSLOBS, INC., successor to Jasmine Bank, as attorney in fact, for AMERICAN BANK AND TRUST, AS SUCCESSOR FOR MAKE A WISH MUTUAL BANKING, ON BEHALF OF THE REGISTERED HOLDERS OF CSLOBS, INC. PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES Series 2006-ZX1.”

There are lots of it assumptions that you could make about such a signature block at the end of the document. None of them would be true. And none of them would make any sense. But it is custom and practice to ignore such signature block as though an authorized signature had occurred on behalf of a grantor who possessed something to grant.

QUESTIONS:

      1. Does John Smith exist? [If you were creating a false document who would want to sign it with their real name?]
      2. Was John Smith an authorized signatory for Solvang?
      3. Was John Smith an employee who knew something about the content of what he was signing or did he just sign it because his job consisted of stamping it writing his signature on thousands of documents per day?
      4. Was John Smith employed by some other company that doesn’t appear on this signature block?
      5. Who owns Solvang? {If the answer is some investment bank then documents executed or created by them suffer from a lack of credibility that could bar their admission into evidence.]
      6. Is the power of attorney attached to the document?
      7. Is there any descriptive language that would enable the reader to ascertain the existence, provisions, and validity of any power of attorney at the time of signing? If not my opinion is that the document is facially invalid. External proof is required to determine whether such power exists and was granted by someone who (a) intended to grant it and (b) had ownership or control over the subject matter (i.e., the mortgage or deed of trust).
      8. Where does Make  A Wish Mutual Bank fit into the chain?
      9. Who is CSLOBS, Inc.?
      10.  Where and what is the registry of holders of certificates? See power of attorney analysis)
      11. Who are the holders of the certificates? [Since they are defined as the parties on whose behalf the document as executed, the absence of an actual name by which they could be identified renders the document facially invalid.]
      12. Are the holders of the certificates the owners of pro-rata shares of debts, notes or mortgages? How do we know that? If not, why are they mentioned?
      13. What exactly passes through where and who is involved in that?
      14. IS THERE A HIDDEN TRUST NAME INVOLVED IN THIS CHAIN? IF SO WHAT I OWNED BY THE TRUSTEE OR THE TRUST? WHO IS THE TRUSTEE? WHAT ARE THE TRUSTEE POWERS? WHO ARE THE BENEFICIARIES? WHO WERE THE TRUSTORS OR SETTLORS?
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Neil F Garfield, MBA, JD, 73, is a Florida licensed trial and appellate 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.
NOTE: I HAVE PREPARED A 2 HOUR PRESENTATION ON DOCUMENT ANALYSIS FOR A ZOOM PRESENTATION. I HAVE NOT YET SELECTED A DATE. THE PRICE IS $595 AND INCLUDES A FOLLOW UP ONE HOUR Q&A MEETING ONE WEEK AFTER THE PRESENTATION FOR THOSE WHO PARTICIPATE LIVE. NO DISCOUNTS ARE AVAILABLE. IT WILL PROBABLY BE THE FIRST WEEK OF DECEMBER. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING PLEASE WRITE TO ME AT NEILFGARFIELD@ICLOUD.COM. CLE ACCREDITATION FOR LAWYERS IS EXPECTED. 
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4 Responses

  1. Correction: People don’t issue currency. PRIVATE company Federal Reserve owned by Big Investment Banks do that.

    This is Federal Reserve (read: Big Investment Banks) game and they are exempt from all rules.

    They can and WILL commit any crime – and ALWAYS walk away from it.

    American Government does not control Federal Reserve. Its totally opposite. This is why this crime is never investigated and never prosecuted. And will be concealed until The People will learn the Truth

    But as long as Investors bring their money to Federal Reserve owners – Big Banks – all crimes will be covered.

    It is already went too far.

    Banks say: Ginnie Mae, WILL buy mortgages (but DID they?) and issue unsecured “securities” backed by full faith in American Government.

    Read: We will shake down the entire country after our Ponzi Scheme collapsed; and steal as many homes as we want, forge any document we need and nobody will do anything about it because Federal Reserve owns every public office – as well as everything in America.

    Did you hear that Federal Reserve “buy” trillions of GSE’s “mortgage backed notes” . I did. But I never received any Notices about these changes of “ownership”

    Because Federal Reserve DID NOT buy anything from GSEs.

    They merely turned a switch on their internal system operated by Depository Trust Corporation to remove GSEs names and replace with someone else.

    According to Wall Street on Parade, as of this past Wednesday, the Fed has a $7 trillion balance sheet and $2 trillion of its agency Mortgage-Backed Securities are sitting at JPMorgan Chase,

    Since JPMorgan Chase first inked a contract with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on December 31, 2008, it has been the sole custodian of all of the agency Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) that the Fed had bought in its long-running Quantitative-Easing programs. The contract was updated on January 30, 2017 and continues to this day. We confirmed that fact with the New York Fed yesterday. As of this past Wednesday, JPMorgan Chase was holding $2,000,305,000,000 (principal amount) in MBS backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae that belongs to the Fed.

    The trick is – JP Morgan and Federal Reserve is the SAME company.
    And these $2 Trillion are NOT BACKED by GSEs who merely pretend to be “guarantors” for mortgages they WILL buy.

    Basically after Big Banks aka Federal Reserve Ponzi Scheme collapsed sometime in June- July 2019, GSEs demanded Federal Reserve (aka Big Banks who want to appear as a separate entities) to remove them from the hook and liabilities to investors.

    So, Federal Reserve (aka Big Banks) removed GSEs names and replaced with the actual players – JP Morgan for example, who will later assign (give a new password to sham conduits like PennyMac or Ocwen) who will flood all Courts with forged by Black Knight documents – while all money will go to Big Banks

    Here is that Ginnie Mae say: Ginnie Mae WILL guarantee the timely payment of principal and interest on the Securities. The Ginnie Mae Guaranty is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States of America
    The Trust WILL own a Ginnie Mae Platinum Certificate (#781764) backed by Ginnie Mae II Certificates.

    Neil’s document review is good on Utopia Island – where the Law exists.

    I presented all these arguments in my Motions, plus all documents that the Plaintiff does not exists; mortgage documents were forged, ect.

    Judges laughed in my face and criminally concealed key evidence.

    Courts will continue to cover as well as Biden and Harris (who diverted $9.2 billion of bogus settlement and turned California into a biggest homeless swamp in the World. )

    BTW, the President will be Harris, and very soon. I guess in 12 to 24 months from now

  2. My AOMs are robosigned from Security Connection out of Idaho anc NTC out of Florida. Fraud on the court !!!!

    Unfortunately the Homeowner is constantly told they are not allowed to object or question the AOM. So I asked what’s the purpose of the documents and why are the taxpayers paying a bunch of public employees to type like monkeys if none of this matters ????????

  3. You will only be able to play by THEIR rules. Rules that cover up for them. Which is why we have had to fight like hell for so long. Should not be.

    And, their rules are about to get much worse. See pick by Biden for Covid task force team You are worthless at age 75. Hmmm — I guess that includes Biden. Mr. Biden — admit what you covered up before your task force tells you — you are worthless.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/bidens-pick-for-coronavirus-task-force-living-too-long-is-also-a-loss/

  4. Thanks Neil. As always you add to my understanding. Now all we need is for them to play by their own rules.

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