Plausible Deniability in Action: See 2010 Deposition of Erika Lynn Lance from Nationwide Title Clearing

I was recently reminded of this deposition. The witness quite innocently indicts the entire foreclosure process as being extra-legal without realizing it. Extra-legal is merely a phrase used by me and some others to describe something that is not prohibited by statute specifically but is (a) not authorized by law and (b) not consistent with existing laws as to intent and content.

Here we have a witness explaining how documents of assignment and transfer are prepared and recorded without any knowledge of any transactions and without any signature or notarization. While the person whose signature appears not the document knows it is being done, he has no knowledge or power to stop it or to verify that it is correct.

To be clear, the law requires something different. No law allows anyone to prepare, execute, notarize or record a document that is not known, for a fact, to be memorializing some actual event in the real world. No signature is valid unless the signor knows that the document is true and accurate as to what is on it. “authorization” to execute an unknown document is no authorization at all and is an excuse for plausible deniability.

see 06-02-10_Deposition_of_Erika_Lance

Q Okay. Have you been required to take any title

14 courses, real estate title courses?

15 A No. They’re not required for this position.

16 Q Do any of the other employees of Nationwide Title

17 Clearing, are they required to take any type of title, real

18 estate title courses?

19 A No, because most real estate title courses don’t

20 actually apply to what we do here on our side.

Q Okay. Why — why don’t you give me a broad

22 description then of what you do at Nationwide?

23 A We do the paperwork for mortgage companies. Most

24 especially we do Assignments of Mortgage, Lien Releases, and

25 document retrieval and research.


Q And just looking at the document, if you look at

14 the very top left hand corner, it says, “When recorded,

15 return to CitiMortgage”; is that correct?

16 A Yes.

17 Q But — and that is C/O NTC. Is that Nationwide?

18 A Yes.

19 Q Why is the document returned to Nationwide?

20 A One of the service — the service that we did for

21 CitiMortgage had to do with the recording and the tracking

22 of Assignments. So we sent it to record at the county, and

23 then we have that so that it gets returned to us so we could

24 mark that it came back recorded image the document.

In this particular case, this is an

3 electronically recorded Assignment which means that it was

4 sent via electronic recording and returned to us that way.

5 Q Is that inputted — after it’s recorded, is that

6 inputted into the oracle-based system that you referred to

7 earlier? You said you were imaging the documents?

8 A Yeah. I do image the documents. To answer your

9 question, we have an image repository where we keep track of

10 the documents being imaged.


9 Q Okay. So in this particular instance,

10 CitiMortgage was NTC’s client?

11 A Uh-huh.

12 Q And they contacted you to prepare an Assignment

13 of Mortgage; is that correct?

14 A They contacted us to prepare a group of

15 Assignments. It wasn’t just one.

16 Q How many is — let me start all over with that

17 one.

18 In this instance, how many did they ask you — or

19 did they send over at one time?

20 A I don’t have that number.

21 Q Would it be — and I’m not asking you to guess,

22 but if you do have a ballpark, would it have been dozens or

23 hundreds?

24 A Hundreds to thousands but I don’t know in this

25 particular case how many.
I was going to say we’ve done over a hundred

3 thousand Assignments so. . .

4 Q So anywhere from a hundred — from hundreds to a

5 hundred thousand, they would send a request?

6 A They send them in groupings.

7 Q And when you say “they send them in groupings,”

8 that’s requests for Assignments of Mortgages —

9 A Yes.

10 Q — in groupings? Okay.

11 Right underneath the portion we just read,

12 there’s a — a CMI L number.

13 A Uh-huh.

14 Q Do you — can you explain that number?

15 A That’s a CitiMortgage loan number, and the one

16 underneath is the assignee loan number.

17 Q And in this instance, do you know who the

18 assignee is?

19 A Bayview.

20 Q Just under that, on the Corey Assignment that

21 we’ve marked as Exhibit 2 —

22 A Uh-huh.

23 Q — there’s an effective date. How — how is the

24 effective date selected?

25 A It’s given to us by the client.

I don’t know what occurred on it because I was not part of

2 the — the sale or of the agreement between Bayview and

3 Citi. We were hired specifically to do Assignments.

4 Normally, this is an action recording at the

5 county to indicate a sale has taken place or a transfer of

6 loans has taken place from one entity to another.

A I’m trying to figure out how to answer this

16 question. It is my understanding that notes are transferred

17 through a sale agreement between mortgage entities. They

18 record Assignments to put on the record who the current

19 beneficiary is for that note and loan, that mortgage.

20 The — the Assignment itself is not the, to my

21 understanding, the actual sale of the loan. Does that make

22 sense?


Q So then let’s talk a little about what Mr. Bly —

8 what he actually does in executing an Assignment of

9 Mortgage. Can you go through that process with me?

10 A Yeah. He is what we refer to as a signer. He is

11 somebody at Nationwide who is designated to execute

12 documents.

13 Q So just can you give me a general idea of what

14 his — his day-to-day activities would be?

15 A He signs and notarizes documents.

Q Does he actually research any of the information

25 contained in the Assignment of Mortgage?

1 A No.

2 Q No?

3 A No.

4 Q About how many documents, including Assignments

5 of Mortgage, would he sign in the average day?

6 A A couple thousand.

7 Q And — and this — is he permanently employed?

8 Well, let me ask that question in a different way.

9 Is his — his employer — his present employer

10 and business address is Nationwide Title at 2100 Alt. 19

11 North; is that correct?

12 A Yeah. He’s presently a full-time employee with

13 Nationwide Title Clearing.

14 Q Okay. In the assign — the Corey Assignment of

15 Mortgage, he lists his address as 10000 [sic] Technology

16 Drive, O’Fallon, Missouri.

17 Why is that particular address used?

18 A That has to do with the question on how Bryan Bly

19 can sign as a vice president as well.

THE WITNESS: This is a copy of the Corporate

9 Resolution signed by the board of directors of

10 CitiMortgage, and it appoints Nationwide Title

11 Clearing, “are appointed as assistant secretaries and

12 vice presidents of the corporation.”

Do you know how they decided to name these

7 employees listed on the consent as assistant secretaries and

8 vice presidents of the corporation?

9 A Generally, we — we provide them a list of the

10 employees that we’d like them to list.

11 Q Do you know how the — they’re — because they’re

12 basically being designated as officers of the corporation.

Do you know how they decided to name these

7 employees listed on the consent as assistant secretaries and

8 vice presidents of the corporation?

9 A Generally, we — we provide them a list of the

10 employees that we’d like them to list.

11 Q Do you know how the — they’re — because they’re

12 basically being designated as officers of the corporation.

13 Do you know why that particular designation was chosen?

14 A You — you have to name them as officers in order

15 to sign documents in certain counties. They’re only

16 designated as officers in regards to the actual signing of

17 the documents. That’s — that’s their limitation. If you

18 read the entire document, that’s what it limits them to.

13 Do you know why that particular designation was chosen?

14 A You — you have to name them as officers in order

15 to sign documents in certain counties. They’re only

16 designated as officers in regards to the actual signing of

17 the documents. That’s — that’s their limitation. If you

18 read the entire document, that’s what it limits them to.


Q So who generated the Corey Assignment, the actual

11 physical piece of paper?

12 A It came out of our printing area.

13 Q Did — was a person responsible for that, or is

14 that something that’s automated?

15 A It’s automated.

16 Q And what is the name of the automated system that

17 creates the actual Assignments?

18 A Planat Press.

19 Q Can you spell that for me?

20 A P-L-A-N-A-T P-R-E-S-S.

21 Q And where does Planat Press get the information

22 needed to create the documents?

23 A The form is created in Planat Press as I

24 described by Jessica Fretwell in the quality control area.

Q So this — the document, the Corey Assignment,

12 was never a physical piece of paper that was manually

13 signed; is that correct?

14 A That is correct.

15 Q Okay. So Mr. Bly didn’t actually sign the Corey

16 Assignment; is that correct?

17 A Well, he didn’t physically sign it, but he —

18 that meets with the standards for electronic document

19 recording.

Q Yes, ma’am. I understand how it was recorded

7 electronically. I’m just trying to — to determine whether

8 or not Mr. Bly actually signed a physical document or if

9 a — his signature was created by Planat Press.

10 A The signature was included by Planat Press

11 because that document was never printed out.

12 Q So did Mr. Bly review the document before it was

13 sent for electronic recording?

14 A No.

15 Q So — and I’m now — I continue to refer to the

16 Corey Assignment.

17 Mr. Bly never saw the Corey Assignment prior to

18 it being recorded; is that correct?

19 A Correct.


Q Okay. Just to go back to make sure that I

12 understand, I thought that previously you mentioned that

13 Mr. Bly signs a couple of thousands of Assignments and

14 releases a day?

15 A Yes.

16 Q So is there another group of documents where he

17 is actually physically signing?

18 A Yes.

19 Q Okay. So we have two groups: One group that he

20 physically signs and then some that — where his signature

21 is just electronically generated?

22 A Correct.

23 Q But with the Corey Assignment, you’re saying this

24 one was electronically generated?

25 A Correct.

Q And how can you tell that this — that the Corey

2 Assignment was electronically generated?

3 A Because I looked it up before I came in here to

4 see how it was recorded, and it’s in what we refer to as an

5 E-record, which is an electronically recorded document.

6 Q So you — if it’s E-recorded, it means it was

7 that it was generated by computer?

8 A Uh-huh.

9 Q And it was not actually signed?

10 A It was not actually physically signed, yes.

11 Q Okay.

12 A Those signatures are counted as signatures for

13 electronic recording.


Q What other types of responsibilities does Mr. Bly

7 have as a vice president?

8 A That is it. It’s solely for the execution of

9 documents as listed in Defense Exhibit 3.

10 Q And is he accountable for the accuracy of the

11 documents that he signs?

12 A To whom?

13 Q To either Nationwide or to the — to the company

14 for which he is a vice president at CitiMortgage.

15 A No. Nationwide’s responsible for the accuracy of

16 the documents.

17 Q So in his position as vice president, he doesn’t

18 have any responsibility under the Joint Consent of the

19 Executive Committee for the accuracy of the documents he

20 executes?

21 A No. All he’s responsible for is signing them.

Q Is there any sort of — did Assignments Mr. Bly

23 have to undergo any sort of screening process or training to

24 become a vice president or assistant secretary of

25 CitiMortgage?

1 A No.

2 Q Does he have any special qualifications to be a

3 vice president or assistant secretary?

4 A In the capacity of signing the documents?

5 Q Yes, ma’am.

6 A No.

7 Q And does he have any — does he communicate with

8 anyone at CitiMortgage relating to his responsibilities as

9 vice president or assistant secretary?

10 A No.

11 Q So does he have any guidelines provided to him by

12 CitiMortgage, Inc., relating to his executed — execution of

13 his duties as vice president or assistant secretary?

14 A The guidelines that are provided are provided via

15 Nationwide Title Clearing since his only capacity is as —

16 as a signer for them. He has no other capacity.

17 Q So he doesn’t have any other duties as — with

18 Citi?

19 A None.

20 Q Doesn’t receive any compensation?

21 A None.

22 Q He doesn’t have to attend board meetings or any

23 other types of meetings with Citi?

24 A No. It actually says that literally the only

25 capacity he works on — and that’s under the second “Further

1 Resolve,” the only capacity he does is as a signer of the

2 documents.


Q Does he have to complete any sort of reports to

12 Citi?

13 A No.

14 Q Do you in your capacity as vice president or

15 secretary?

16 A Do I have to give any reports to Citi?

17 Q Correct.

18 A Not personally, no.

19 Q Okay. But I guess somebody at Nationwide needs

20 to?

21 A We send them reports on the progress of the

22 completion of the projects they give us.

23 Q I noticed in — in this particular situation the

24 note was transferred after the loan was in default.

25 Do you know if that’s the — the normal course of

1 business for these — these mortgages to be transferred

2 after they’re in default?

3 A I have no idea.

4 Q Is that not the type of information that you’ll

5 have to review prior to — to preparing the documents?

6 A No, we don’t.

7 Q And you — I think you mentioned that you have

8 a — a title company at Nationwide; is that correct?

9 A No.

10 Q There is no title company?

11 A There is no title company at Nationwide.


A No. Planat Press is a document generation

13 platform.

14 Q Okay.

15 A That’s used behind the scenes. Release Link is a

16 website.

17 Q Is there a similar website for the preparation of

18 the Assignments of Mortgage?

19 A Not at this time.

20 Q Is that something that you’re working on?

21 A Yes.

22 Q Also there’s a — is there a department,

23 foreclosure collateral management?

24 A There is a — yes.

25 Q Is that a service that — that Nationwide

1 provides?

2 A To one client, yes, which is not Citi.


Q Do you ever transfer mortgages into trusts?

21 A No.

22 Q And could you describe the mortgage foreclosure

23 technology platform?

24 A We don’t have a mortgage foreclosure technology

25 platform.

1 Q And going back to the Corey Assignment, showing

2 you again — this is Exhibit 2, the Corey Assignment, shows

3 Mr. Jones notarizing the document.

4 As I understand, Mr. Bly’s signature was created

5 by Planat Press; is that correct?

6 A Uh-huh.

7 Q So was Mr. Jones’ signature also created by

8 Planat Press as the notary?

9 A Yes.


Nobody paid me to write this. I am self-funded, supported only by donations. My mission is to stop foreclosures and other collection efforts against homeowners and consumers without proof of loss. If you want to support this effort please click on this link and donate as much as you feel you can afford.
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Neil F Garfield, MBA, JD, 74, 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.

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2 Responses

  1. Meant – Bayview – was only a broker – not a lender – who could NOT assign anything.” Sorry. (Last sentence in prior post). Have a bad habit of omitting the “nots.”

  2. This is very interesting. The assignments are bogus, but they become “authenticated” once recorded in County – no matter how false they are.
    The problem is that both people, and courts, believe the bogus “records.’ County Registrar’s Offices perform no research to validate documents filed. They accept whatever is presented to them. The Title issues are a massive problem. Most people facing foreclosure do not care whether “title” is accurate. They only care about avoiding foreclosure, or to reduce payments by a loan mod (which can never have accurate title). Once people realize that they can be held responsible for passing bad title to another “buyer,” and that title insurance will not cover them, we will finally get to review assignments bogusly recorded. Because the practice is so prevalent, it affects borrowers ability to challenge the “true” creditor – if one even exists. And, for ‘crisis” loans – none exists.
    A good way to challenge is to go back further from the assignment in question. “Bayview” was only a broker — not a lender – who could assign anything.

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