Those VA Loans and Ginny Mae Loans Were ALso Securitized

Probably the most misunderstood aspect of the securitization process is that the banks are able to claim there was no securitization when in fact there was. This is especially true in GSE’s like Fannie, Freddie, Ginny and the VA. When you are researching loans you hit a brick wall when you get to the GSE. And there are terms thrown around like smoke and mirrors that this was or this is a Fannie loan and that therefore the loan was not securitized. This is wrong.

None of the GSE’s are lenders. They don’t loan money to anyone. So if the allegation is made that this was a Fannie or Freddie or VA loan from the start, then the originator was not the lender and neither was Fannie or Freddie or any other GSE. These are strictly guarantee agencies who don’t part with a nickle until the loan is foreclosed and the home is sold. THEN they guarantee up a certain amount and pay it out, drawing from the US Treasury as necessary.

All the loans that were considered GSE loans from the start constitute an admission that the loan was securitized or subjected to claims of securitization. Fannie and Freddie for example have a Master Trustee agreement in which they do nothing but they serve as the Master Trustee for asset-backed pools that have a regular trustee (who also does nothing). These pools are REMIC trusts.

As you can see from the attached files,if you will read them carefully, you will see that the custom and practice of the GSE was, if it guaranteed the loan, to serve as either the conduit or the Master trustee for an asset backed pool where the trust beneficiaries funded the origination or acquisition of the loan. This is a factor that did not get adequately covered in Shack’s excellent opinion recently in New York where he chastised Chase and others for playing with the ownership of the loan to suit the need for foreclosure instead of presenting facts that would protect the people who are actually taking a loss.

see Pooled_Loans_and_Securitizations_032309 and VA-FinancialPolicyVolumeVIChapter06

 

Another Small Fry Thrown Under the Bus

Another Small Fry Thrown Under the Bus

Editor’s Comment:

It is a familiar playbook in drug enforcement, police corruption, and now corruption arising out of the millions of faked, fraudulent Foreclosures — find a guy low down in the chain and throw him under the bus. This guy was making millions on False Inspections. But the government is complicit in an active way in public settlements like the Missouri settlement announced yesterday when they forgive and condone the continuing fraud arising from those who made False Appraisal Reports, false loan documents, false loan assignments, false Notices of Default, false monthly statements on loans that were paid in full several times over.

And the system will continue until we, the people stop it. We are divided politically by concept, polarized by slogans when we agree on virtually all of the details that our current elected officials refuse to acknowledge. It is destroying the social and business fabric of our country. But as long as politicians can be bought without going to prison, the Banks will get to keep both the money advanced by investors for loans and the homes foreclosed after the loan balance had been
Paid in full.

As long as we focus on our differences — even where there are none — they keep us from discovering our similarities and the pension funds, savings and 401k funds, the city, county and state operating funds will be cut slashing budgets in a country that can afford it except that we let the banks hold the purse-strings of power. It is too late to assess blame individually. It is time for a clean sweep.

Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Fabricating Thousands of Foreclosure Inspection Reports, Faces Up to 20 Years in Prison
http://4closurefraud.org/2012/09/19/florida-man-pleads-guilty-to-fabricating-thousands-of-foreclosure-inspection-reports-faces-up-to-20-years-in-prison/


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Countrywide settlement pays fraction to investors – Shell Game Continues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The shell game continues. While the media picks up stories about “settlements” giving rise to the presumption that Countrywide Home Loans and Bank of America and the rest of the securitization players committed various violations of statutes, duties, rules and regulations, the main point gets lost. Where is this money going and WHY? What is the tacit or express admission in paying that money and what effect does it have on the average homeowner sitting with a loan whose obligation is being paid in these settlements?

Think about it. If Bank of America, which now owns Countrywide, is paying “fractions” to investors who purchased mortgage bonds then who is it that owns the underlying mortgages and loans? Did Bank of America pay the investors do it under a reservation of rights (subrogation) to enforce the underlying loans? If not, then why are they foreclosing? All evidence is to the contrary. There is no subrogation under these purchases, insurance, credit default swaps or any other contract — not that I ever saw and not that my sources in the industry tell me was ever even contemplated much less executed. The same holds true for all those bonds the Federal Reserve is holding.

If Bank of America is paying “fractions” to investors who purchased mortgage bonds, why was it a fraction? Is it because the value of the bond was much lower than the price paid by the investor? Is it just a convenient settlement? Or is it because the investors have also received funds from other sources?

This is what I am referring to when I address “factual constipation.” How are these payments being allocated? Did the owners of the bonds actually have any definable interest in the underlying mortgage loans? If they did, why are these payments not being allocated to the obligations or payments due under those underlying mortgage loans? If they didn’t, why did they get paid anything? How will we ever know without getting a full accounting from all the parties that claim some stake or ownership interest or receivable interest in me is underlying mortgage loans?

It is black letter law as well as common law dating back centuries that nobody can collect the same debt more than once. If they do collect more than once there is a clear right of action by the borrower to collect the excess payment through a lawsuit for unjust enrichment, breach of contract and other causes of action. Here we have an intentional act designed to collect the same debt multiple times. In my opinion this does not merely indicate the presence of an action for fraud, it clearly shows an interstate pattern of racketeering that at one time in our history had the Department of Justice and the FBI busy putting people in jail.

Only in America where the news has turned into an entertainment blitz used by those with the most power and the most money to get their message across, even if it is a total lie. Somehow many if not most people have the impression that the borrowers and the securitized mortgages executed between 2001 and 2009 are not entitled to the relief that any other debtor is entitled to receive––that is the obligation has been reduced for any reason, the borrowers should get credit and if any party receives money in excess of the net amount due after credits, the creditor becomes the debtor owing money to the former borrower.

The bullet point that is being used to distort the perception of our citizens and policymakers is that these borrowers should not get a  “free house.” Without getting a full accounting from all parties that advanced funds to and from the original investors who purchased mortgage bonds or collateralized debt obligations and related hedge products, there is no way of knowing the amount of the credit which is due to the borrower. Yes, it is possible that the amount received by the various intermediaries in the securitization chain exceeded the original obligation due from the borrower.

In that case, the borrower owes nothing to the originating lender or the successors to that lender. But if there is still a class of investor or institution that can prove a loss resulting from the nonpayment of the obligation by the borrower (as opposed to non-payment from other parties in the securitization chain) then the law allows that party to recover the loss from those that caused it.  That probably includes the borrower, which means that we are not seeking a free house, we are seeking a truthful accounting.

BUT the fact that this obligation theoretically exists does not mean and never did mean under any legal decision in existence that the obligation should be paid to anybody who claims it. By all substantive and procedural law, the obligation is payable to one who proves the obligation and to one who proves it is owed to them and nobody else.

Yet in the view of many judges the challenge by the borrower is viewed as a delay tactic or an attempt to use technical deficiencies to a gain a free house on a lawn that the borrower sought but could not pay.  No doubt this is true in some cases. But in nearly all the cases, armies of salespeople using names like “loan expert” pounded on doors and rang the phones of people who had no thought of borrowing money on homes, in many cases, that were debt-free and had been in the family for generations. Now many of those homes are bank owned property.

The simple question that needs to be posed to anyone who looks at the borrower as anything other than a victim is which is more likely? Did the owners of 20 million homes enter into a conspiracy to defraud the financial system, half society and our taxpayers? Did these people have the sophistication, education, knowledge, experience or training to pull off such a caper? Or is it more likely that the Wall Street titans stepped over the line and instead of increasing liquidity for the benefit of consumers and small businesses, used their position to deplete the resources of unsuspecting citizens, pension funds, financial institutions and governmental units from the top federal levels down to the smallest local geographical areas?

Countrywide settlement pays fraction to investors

By ALAN ZIBEL (AP) – Aug 3, 2010

WASHINGTON — Former shareholders of fallen mortgage giant Countrywide Financial Corp. are in line to recoup a fraction of their investments now that a Los Angeles judge has approved a settlement worth more than $600 million settlement.

The payoff doesn’t come close to compensating for the money lost by investors. But it could prompt more lenders to settle legal disputes at the center of the housing bust.

Bank of America, which bought Countrywide two years ago, agreed to pay $600 million to end a class-action case filed against the company. KPMG, Countrywide’s accounting firm, will pay $24 million.

Several New York pension funds who served as lead plaintiffs alleged that Countrywide hid how risky its business had become during the housing market’s boom years. Calabasas, Calif.-based Countrywide was once the nation’s largest mortgage lender.

The agreement stands to return about 40 cents per share of Countrywide’s common stock, before legal fees and expenses. Consider that the stock peaked at $45 a share in February 2007, before the financial crisis. So an investor who held 100 shares could bank on receiving $40 for an investment that was once worth $4,500.

Shareholders did receive 0.1822 shares of Bank of America’s stock for each share of Countrywide they owned when Bank of America acquired Countrywide. That worked out to about one share for every 5.5 shares of Countrywide stock. Shares of Bank of America closed at $14.34 on Tuesday. So that same 100 shares of Countrywide would be worth about $261 today in Bank of America stock.

Add the $40 from the settlement and those shares are now worth little more than $300.

Lawyers for the pension funds are requesting $56 million, or 4 cents per share, for fees and other costs.

Investors “will be compensated for a significant portion of the legal damages that they suffered as a result of what we believe was a violation of the securities laws,” said Joel Bernstein, a lawyer for the pension funds. “They won’t be compensated for every penny of that.”

Bank of America has been trying to put Countrywide’s legal problems behind it. In June, the Charlotte, N.C.-based company agreed to pay $108 million to settle the Federal Trade Commission’s charges that Countrywide collected outsized fees from about 200,000 borrowers facing foreclosure.

It reached a settlement Monday primarily to keep legal fees from escalating, a bank spokeswoman said.

“Countrywide denies all allegations of wrongdoing and any liability under the federal securities laws,” said Shirley Norton, a spokeswoman for Bank of America. “We agreed to the settlement to avoid the additional expense and uncertainty associated with continued litigation.”

Plaintiffs attorneys have pursed lawsuits against numerous lenders and investment banks in the wake of the housing market’s devastating downturn, and the Countrywide settlement could encourage even more such cases, said Paul Hodgson, a senior research associate at The Corporate Library, an independent corporate governance research firm.

“There are a lot of suits out there waiting to get launched,” Hodgson said. “I think this is the opening of the floodgates.”

Former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo, former President David Sambol, former CFO Eric Sieracki and former board members were named in the litigation but are not contributing to the settlement.

But it does not end their legal problems. More than a year ago the Securities and Exchange Commission brought civil fraud charges against Mozilo and the two other former executives. Mozilo, the most high-profile individual to face charges from the government in the aftermath of the financial crisis, has denied any wrongdoing.

For Countrywide, “This is only a chapter and not the end of the book,” said John Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia University.

Mortgage bond holders taking collective action

SHELL GAME CONTINUES. WHO HAS THE BOND? WHO HAS THE RECEIVABLE? WHO HAS THE SECURITY INTEREST? WHO IS GETTING PAID? WHERE ARE THE MONTHLY PAYMENTS GOING? FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC ARE BIG PLAYERS, AS IS THE FEDERAL RESERVE. ARE THEY THE ONES REALLY FORECLOSING UNDER COVER OF SECURITIZATION?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Another entry under the category of “I told you so.” Sooner or later the investors were going to figure out that they had real claims against the investment bankers and other intermediary entities in the illusion of the securitization chain, together with the servicers and other players at the loan closing. Not long ago investors would not talk with each other. Now they are banding together. Things change. This development will lead to further unraveling of the factual constipation that those players arrogantly thought they keep a lid on. The inevitable and only logical outcome here is the entry of real facts portraying the reality of these transactions.

The current reality is very simple: the investors were tricked, the borrowers were tricked, and the intermediaries took all the money. The ONLY way this can be fixed from a National perspective is to bring the borrowers and the investors together, realizing that they both have the same interests — recovery from their financial ruin. Investors need to bring certainty to what is left of their “investments.” They need to know the value of their investments and how best to recover that value. Without that they can’t bring a specific action for damages. Without that they can’t fire the intermediaries and get an honest deal launched with borrowers on property that just isn’t worth what was advertised.

There is no way to avoid principal reduction in some form because it is already there. The value is down to where it should have been at the beginning and it isn’t going up. Investors, sellers,, buyers and borrowers need to accept this fact and government, including the judiciary, need to realize that this wasn’t normal market movement, this was cornering the market and manipulating it. The investors will prove that in their own lawsuits.

A direct approach from investors to borrowers will eliminate the ridiculous fees being sucked out of what is left of these deals, and allow the investors to recoup far more than  what they are being offered. Most homeowners would be willing to accept a principal reduction that splits the loss fairly between the investors and borrowers if they were able to get fair terms.

The difference is night and day. What would have been zero recovery for the investor could be as much as $100,000 or more in a genuine modified or new mortgage. And with cooperation between borrower and investors the security interest, which is in my opinion completely invalid and unenforceable, could be perfected, title cleared and the marketplace renewed with confidence in contract , property laws and the rights of consumers and investors. Community banks could fund the new mortgages  giving the investors an immediate exist or the investors could hold the paper through REAL special purpose vehicles that were REALLY created and REALLY existing.

Mortgage bond holders get legal edge; buybacks seen

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Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:44pm EDT

By Al Yoon

NEW YORK July 21 (Reuters) – U.S. mortgage bond investors have quietly banded together to gain the long-sought power needed to challenge loan servicers over losses the investors claim resulted from violations in securities contracts.

A group holding a third of the $1.5 trillion mortgage bond market has topped the key 25 percent threshold for voting rights on 2,300 “private-label” mortgage bonds, said Talcott Franklin, a Dallas-based lawyer who is shepherding the effort.

Reaching that threshold gives holders the means to identify misrepresentations in loans, and possibly force repurchases by banks, Franklin said.

Banks are already grappling with repurchase demands from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the U.S.-backed mortgage finance giants.

The investors, which include some of the largest in the nation, claim they have been unfairly taking losses as the housing market crumbled and defaulted loans hammered their bonds. Requests to servicers that collect and distribute payments — which include big banks — to investigate loans are often referred to clauses that prohibit action by individuals, investors have said.

Since loan servicers, lenders and loan sellers sometimes are affiliated, there are conflicts of interest when asking the companies to ferret out the loans that destined their private mortgage bonds for losses, Franklin said in a July 20 letter to trustees, who act on behalf of bondholders.

“There’s a lot of smoke out there about whether these loans were properly written, and about whether the servicing is appropriate and whether recoveries are maximized” for bondholders, Franklin said in an interview.

He wouldn’t disclose his clients, but said they represent more than $500 billion in securities managed for pension funds, 401(k) plans, endowments, and governments. The securities are private mortgage bonds issued by Wall Street firms that helped trigger the worst financial crisis since the 1930s.

Franklin’s effort, using a clearinghouse model to aggregate positions, is a milestone for investors who have been unable to organize. Some have wanted to fire servicers but couldn’t gather the necessary voting rights.

“Investors have finally reached a mechanism whereby they can act collectively to enforce their contractual rights,” said one portfolio manager involved in the effort, who declined to be named. “The trustees, the people that made representations and warranties to the trust, and the servicers have taken advantage of a very fractured asset management industry to perpetuate a circle of silence around these securities.”

Laurie Goodman, a senior managing director at Amherst Securities Group in New York, said at an industry conference last week, “Reps and warranties are not enforced.”

Increased pressure from bondholders comes as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been collecting billions of dollars from lender repurchases of loans in government-backed securities. With Fannie and Freddie also big buyers of Wall Street mortgage bonds, their regulator this month used its subpoena power to seek documents and see if it could recoup losses for the two companies, which have received tens of billions in taxpayer-funded bailouts.

Some U.S. Federal Home Loan banks and at least one hedge fund are looking to force repurchases or collect for losses.

Investors are eager to scrutinize loans against reps and warranties in ways haven’t been able to before. Where 50 percent voting rights are required for an action, the investors in the clearinghouse have power in more than 900 deals.

Franklin said the investors are hoping for a cooperative effort with servicers and trustees. While he did not disclose recipients of the letter, some of the biggest trustees include Bank of New York, US Bank and Deutsche Bank.

A Bank of New York spokesman declined to say if the firm received the trustee letter. US Bancorp and Deutsche Bank spokesmen did not immediately return calls.

“You have a trustee surrounded by smoke, steadfastly claiming there is no fire, and what the letter gets to is there is fire,” the portfolio manager said. “And we are now directing you … to take these steps to put out the fire and to do so by investigating and putting loans back to the seller.”

Servicers are most likely to spot a breach of a bond’s warranty, Franklin said in the letter.

Violations could be substantial, he said. In an Ambac Assurance Corp review of 695 defaulted subprime loans sold to a mortgage trust by a servicer, nearly 80 percent broke one or more warranties, he said in the letter, citing an Ambac lawsuit against EMC Mortgage Corp.

The investors are also now empowered to scrutinize how servicers decide on either modifying a loan for a troubled borrower, or proceed with foreclosure, Franklin said. Improper foreclosures may be done to save costs of creating a loan modification, he asserted. (Editing by Leslie Adler)

NON-DISCLOSURE DETAILS FROM THE OTHER SIDE

ONE MORE QUESTION TO ASK IN DISCOVERY: WHAT ENTITIES WERE CREATED OR EMPLOYED IN THE TRADING OF MORTGAGE BONDS, CDO’S, SYNTHETIC CDO’S OR TOTAL RETURN SWAPS (NEW TERM)?

EDITOR’S COMMENT: LOUISE STORY, in her article in the New York Times continues to dig deeper into the games played by Wall Street firms. You’ll remember that the executives of the major Wall Street firms were spouting off the message that the risks and consequences were unknown to them. They didn’t know anything was wrong. Maybe they were stupid or distracted. And maybe they were just plain lying. The risks to these fine gentlemen and their companies are now enormous. If the veil of non-disclosure (opaque, in Wall Street jargon) continues to be eroded, they move closer and closer to root changes in Wall Street and both criminal and civil liability. It also leads inevitably to the conclusion that the loans and the bonds were bogus.

Yes it is true that money exchanged hands — but not in any of the ways that most people imagine and not in any way that was disclosed as required by TILA, state law, Securities Laws and other applicable statutes, rules and regulations. They continue to pursue foreclosure principally for the purpose of distracting everyone from the truth — that the transactions were wrong in every conceivable way and they knew it.

If there was nothing wrong with these innovative financial products why were they “off-balance sheet.” If there isn’t any problem with them now, then why can’t they produce an accounting, like any other situation, and say “this person borrowed money and didn’t pay it back. We will lose money if they don’t — here is the proof.” If everything was proper and appropriate, then why are we seeing revealed new entities and new layers of deception as Ms. Story and other reporters dig deeper and deeper?

The answer is simple: they were hiding the truth in circular transactions that were partially off balance sheet and partially on. I wonder how many borrowers would be charged with fraud for doing that? Now, thanks to Louise Story, we have some new names to research — Pyxis, Steers, Parcs, and unnamed “customer trades. They all amount to the same thing.

The bonds and the loans claimed to be attached to the bonds were being bought and sold in and out of the investment banking firm that created them. If they produce the real accounting the depth and scope of their fraud will become obvious to everyone, including the Judges that say we won’t give a borrower a free house. What these Judges are doing is ignoring the reality that they are giving a free house and a free ride to companies with no interest in the transaction. And they are directly contributing to a title mess that will take decades to untangle.

August 9, 2010

Merrill’s Risk Disclosure Dodges Are Unearthed

By LOUISE STORY

It was named after a faint constellation in the southern sky: Pyxis, the Mariner’s Compass. But it helped to steer the mighty Merrill Lynch toward disaster.

Barely visible to any but a few inside Merrill, Pyxis was created at the height of the mortgage mania as a sink for subprime securities. Intended for one purpose and operated off the books, this entity and others like it at Merrill helped the bank obscure the outsize risks it was taking.

The Pyxis story is about who knew what and when on Wall Street — and who did not. Publicly, banks vastly underestimated their exposure to the dangerous mortgage investments they were creating. Privately, trading executives often knew far more about the perils than they let on.

Only after the housing bubble began to deflate did Merrill and other banks begin to clearly divulge the many billions of dollars of troubled securities that were linked to them, often through opaque vehicles like Pyxis.

In the third quarter of 2007, for instance, Merrill reported that its potential exposure to certain subprime investments was $15.2 billion. Three months later, it said that exposure was actually $46 billion.

At the time, Merrill said it had initially excluded the difference because it thought it had protected itself with various hedges.

But many of those hedges later failed, and Merrill, the brokerage giant that brought Wall Street to Main Street, soon collapsed into the arms of Bank of America.

“It’s like the parable of the blind man and the elephant: you had some people feeling the trunk and some the legs, and there was nobody putting it all together,” Gary Witt, a former managing director at Moody’s Investors Service who now teaches at Temple University, said of the situation at Merrill and other banks.

Wall Street has come a long way since the dark days of 2008, when the near collapse of American finance heralded the end of flush times for many people. But even now, two years on, regulators are still trying to piece together how so much went so wrong on Wall Street.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether banks adequately disclosed their financial risks during the boom and subsequent bust. The question has taken on new urgency now that Citigroup has agreed to pay $75 million to settle S.E.C. claims that it misled investors about its exposure to collateralized debt obligations, or C.D.O.’s.

As Merrill did with vehicles like Pyxis, Citigroup shifted much of the risks associated with its C.D.O.’s off its books, only to have those risks boomerang. Jessica Oppenheim, a spokeswoman for Bank of America, declined to comment.

Such financial tactics, and the S.E.C.’s inquiry into banks’ disclosures, raise thorny questions for policy makers. The investigation throws an uncomfortable spotlight on the vast network of hedge funds and “special purpose vehicles” that financial companies still use to finance their operations and the investments they create.

The recent overhaul of financial regulation did little to address this shadow banking system. Nor does it address whether banking executives should be required to disclose more about the risks their banks take.

Most Wall Street firms disclosed little about their mortgage holdings before the crisis, in part because many executives thought the investments were safe. But in some cases, executives failed to grasp the potential dangers partly because the risks were obscured, even to them, via off-balance-sheet programs.

Executives’ decisions about what to disclose may have been clouded by hopes that the market would recover, analysts said.

“There was probably some misplaced optimism that it would work out,” said John McDonald, a banking analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Company. “But in a time of high uncertainty, maybe the disclosure burden should be pushed towards greater disclosure.”

The Pyxis episode begins in 2006, when the overheated and overleveraged housing market was beginning its painful decline.

During the bubble years, many Wall Street banks built a lucrative business packaging home mortgages into bonds and other investments. But few players were bigger than Merrill Lynch, which became a leader in creating C.D.O.’s

Initially, Merrill often relied on credit insurance from the American International Group to make certain parts of its C.D.O.’s attractive to investors. But when A.I.G. stopped writing those policies in early 2006 because of concerns over the housing market, Merrill ended up holding on to more of those pieces itself.

So that summer, Merrill Lynch created a group of three traders to reduce its exposure to the fast-sinking mortgage market. According to three former employees with direct knowledge of this group, the traders first tried sell the vestigial C.D.O. investments. If that did not work, they tried to find a foreign bank to finance their own purchase of the C.D.O.’s. If that failed, they turned to Pyxis or similar programs, called Steers and Parcs, as well as to custom trades.

These programs generally issued short-term I.O.U.’s to investors and then used that money to buy various assets, including the leftover C.D.O. pieces.

But there was a catch. In forming Pyxis and the other programs, Merrill guaranteed the notes they issued by agreeing to take back any securities put in the programs that turned out to be of poor quality. In other words, these vehicles were essentially buying pieces of C.D.O.’s from Merrill using the proceeds of notes guaranteed by Merrill and leaving Merrill on the hook for any losses.

To further complicate the matter, Merrill traders sometimes used the cash inside new C.D.O.’s to buy the Pyxis notes, meaning that the C.D.O.’s were investing in Pyxis, even as Pyxis was investing in C.D.O.’s.

“It was circular, yes, but it was all ultimately tied to Merrill,” said a former Merrill employee, who asked to remain anonymous so as not to jeopardize ongoing business with Merrill.

To provide the guarantee that made all of this work, Merrill entered into a derivatives contract known as a total return swap, obliging it to cover any losses at Pyxis. Citigroup used similar arrangements that the S.E.C. now says should have been disclosed to shareholders in the summer of 2007.

One difficulty for the S.E.C. and other investigators is determining exactly when banks should have disclosed more about their mortgage holdings. Banks are required to disclose only what they expect their exposure to be. If they believe they are fully hedged, they can even report that they have no exposure at all. Being wrong is no crime.

Moreover, banks can lump all sorts of trades together in their financial statements and are not required to disclose the full face value of many derivatives, including the type of guarantees that Merrill used.

“Should they have told us all of their subprime mortgage exposure?” said Jeffery Harte, an analyst with Sandler O’Neill. “Nobody knew that was going to be such a huge problem. The next step is they would be giving us their entire trading book.”

Still, Mr. Harte and other analysts said they were surprised in 2007 by Merrill’s escalating exposure and its initial decision not to disclose the full extent of its mortgage holdings. Greater disclosure about Merrill’s mortgage holdings and programs like Pyxis might have raised red flags to senior executives and shareholders, who could have demanded that Merrill stop producing the risky securities that later brought the firm down.

Former Merrill employees said it would have been virtually impossible for Merrill to continue to carry out so many C.D.O. deals in 2006 without the likes of Pyxis. Those lucrative deals helped fatten profits in the short term — and hence the annual bonuses paid to its employees. In 2006, even as the seeds of its undoing were being planted, Merrill Lynch paid out more than $5 billion in bonuses.

It was not until the autumn of 2007 that Pyxis and its brethren set off alarm bells outside Merrill. C.D.O. specialists at Moody’s pieced together the role of Pyxis and warned Moody’s analysts who rated Merrill’s debt. Merrill soon preannounced a quarterly loss, and Moody’s downgraded the firm’s credit rating. By late 2007, Merrill had added pages of detailed disclosures to its earnings releases.

It was too late. The risks inside Merrill, virtually invisible a year earlier, had already mortally wounded one of Wall Street’s proudest names.

WORLD HUNGER PROVIDES PROOF OF FINANCIAL DERIVATIVES INFLATING PRICES

One of the hardest things for people to get their minds around is how borrowers were defrauded. The nagging question keeps coming to mind “But you DID sign the loan and take the money, didn’t you?” Yes you did, but you did it because of a representation and virtual guarantee from several parties at the closing table who knew the appraisal was a lie, that you were believing it, that you relied on it, and that you never would have done a deal where the real appraised fair market value was far less than the amount of the loan.

So then the question becomes “How can you be sure the appraisal was inflated? Were all appraisals inflated? How do you know that?” Answers: Read on, YES, Read On, in that order.

I start with the proposition that the only legitimate factors that cause changes in housing prices (up or down) are changes in supply and demand, rising costs or labor and materials and related services. Anything else is a manipulation UNLESS it is thoroughly disclosed in language that a normal reasonable person would understand. Even if such disclosure is made and the deal goes through BOTH parties would be defrauding someone by definition, to wit: they are agreeing that the stated price or value of the property is inflated but they are doing the deal anyway.

How could anyone inflate the price of a house without everyone knowing it? ANSWER: By inflating the entire market in that geographical area. Note that during the securitization era, ONLY the places that were targeted had sharply rising prices, sometimes from one month to the next. Other places, like Seneca Falls, NY (highlighted in NY Times article) were not not affected by either the boom or bust except indirectly where they are dealing with decreased services from the state and county resulting from budget deficits resulting from an expectation of rising revenues based upon the apparent rise in tax appraised value.

How does one inflate values of any commodity or property in the entire relevant marketplace? ANSWER: By creating false liquidity (i.e, availability of money) and by speculation pushing up the “value” of the derivatives and other hedge products which in turn raises the value of the actual commodity, or in our case, the actual house. Since the cost of the money decreases, despite government attempts to raise interest rates, and speculation is allowed without supervision, the speculators control the market on the way up and on the way down. They win on both sides because they are controlling the events. That is not a free market. That is a privately controlled market.

So the reason I am sure that false appraisals were the rule, not just the norm are as follows:

  1. There was no abnormal trends or changes in demand, supply, or costs — except that supply actually outpaced demand by a factor of at least 200%. Thus prices should have probably dropped as developers increased competition for buyers. There is no observable reason for prices to rise, much less at the pace seen in the period 2002-2007. By all public accounts it will be at least 2030 before the current inventory of houses are sold. This level of overbuilding is unprecedented and cannot be tied to an expectation of increased demand but rather an expectation that the seller controlled the transaction and collectively with loan brokers, originators, aggregators, and investment bankers would do anything to close the deal even if it meant having the borrower sign for a loan that called for NO PAYMENTS.
  2. 8,000 certified licensed appraisers signed a petition to Congress in 2005 complaining they were being coerced into justifying the deal rather than actually estimating fair market value. They feared they would be blacklisted from all the deals because an honest appraisal would have slowed down sales of homes and sales of financial products to borrowers.
  3. This was a complete reversal of practices existing before the securitization era. The value of the collateral was the Lender’s only guarantee of repayment. hence the tendency was to minimize the estimate of fair market value. Once the risk of repayment was eliminated “lenders” (i.e., mortgage brokers and originators) were under pressure to close loan transactions dollar volumes. The easiest way of doing that was to increase the value of the properties. The more this practice took hold of meeting the contract terms  which were always disclosed to the appraiser (contrary to prior practice) the easier it became, since the “comparables” used by the appraisers were produced by the same practice, incentives and pressures. As the mortgage bonds were sold in increasing dollar volumes, the pressure to place investment dollars increased exponentially. Incentives for mortgage brokers and originators to close deals at any level of risk or terms increased proportionately. Marketing and selling of loan products became big business, with large fees and apparently no risk as the managers of such companies perceived it. The upward pressure to increase the size of loans directly resulted in an upward pressure on sale prices and the perception of “value” in the marketplace. A snowball effect was thus created producing a spike in housing prices that is completely unprecedented in the history of housing since the 1870’s when such measurements began to  be recorded. No other boom or bust cycle in any part of the country had ever experienced spikes of this magnitude.
  4. Starting 3-4 loan products in the 1970’s, the number of possible loan products has skyrocketed to over 400 different kinds of loans — a bewildering array that increases asymmetry of information — causing the buyer to depend and rely upon the more sophisticated side (“lender”) for information about the loan product they were steered into.
  5. The number of loan originating companies masquerading as actual lenders went from 1 (Household Finance, now HSBC) to hundreds during the entire securitization period (circa 1990-2008) and then back down again as most of them went out of business, liquidated, or went bankrupt. New business start-ups would not  have flooded the market but for the virtual certainty of high fees without regard to whether the product worked or not (i.e., whether the loan was repaid or not).
  6. The amount of money attributable to derivatives that increased availability of loans increased from zero in 1983 to more than $30 trillion in 2007 — twice the Gross National Product of this country.
  7. I see no reason for price increases other than the flood of money into certain marketplaces, which in turn gave some color of verification of an appraisal that was plainly wrong, inflated, and where fees for such appraisals increased geometrically.

Yes they were virtually all inflated. That was the requirement. Just as the rating agencies falsely inflated the value and risk of the mortgage bonds that were used to attract the $30 trillion in capital used to flood the marketplace, the appraisers likewise inflated the appraisals of the value and thus the risk to the borrowers AND investors. The proof is simply in the present situation where prices have fallen by as much as 80%. This is further corroborated by the price levels before the flood of money into the marketplace. The final verification is that median income was flat during this period. Most economists and housing experts agree that ultimately median income is the main determinant in housing prices.

How do I know this is true? It is the only workable explanation that is being offered, even including comments, reports and statements issued by the financial services industry.

For an example of how this has worked against the poorest, starving people of the world, see the following, which demonstrates that the Wall Street process, if unregulated, leads to bizarre social and financial consequences.

//

Johann Hari: How Goldman gambled on starvation

Speculators set up a casino where the chips were the stomachs of millions. What does it say about our system that we can so casually inflict so much pain?

Friday, 2 July 2010

Is Your Bank In Trouble?
Free list Of Banks Doomed To Fail.The Banks and Brokers X List.

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By now, you probably think your opinion of Goldman Sachs and its swarm of Wall Street allies has rock-bottomed at raw loathing. You’re wrong. There’s more. It turns out that the most destructive of all their recent acts has barely been discussed at all. Here’s the rest. This is the story of how some of the richest people in the world – Goldman, Deutsche Bank, the traders at Merrill Lynch, and more – have caused the starvation of some of the poorest people in the world.

It starts with an apparent mystery. At the end of 2006, food prices across the world started to rise, suddenly and stratospherically. Within a year, the price of wheat had shot up by 80 per cent, maize by 90 per cent, rice by 320 per cent. In a global jolt of hunger, 200 million people – mostly children – couldn’t afford to get food any more, and sank into malnutrition or starvation. There were riots in more than 30 countries, and at least one government was violently overthrown. Then, in spring 2008, prices just as mysteriously fell back to their previous level. Jean Ziegler, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, calls it “a silent mass murder”, entirely due to “man-made actions.”

Earlier this year I was in Ethiopia, one of the worst-hit countries, and people there remember the food crisis as if they had been struck by a tsunami. “My children stopped growing,” a woman my age called Abiba Getaneh, told me. “I felt like battery acid had been poured into my stomach as I starved. I took my two daughters out of school and got into debt. If it had gone on much longer, I think my baby would have died.”

Most of the explanations we were given at the time have turned out to be false. It didn’t happen because supply fell: the International Grain Council says global production of wheat actually increased during that period, for example. It isn’t because demand grew either: as Professor Jayati Ghosh of the Centre for Economic Studies in New Delhi has shown, demand actually fell by 3 per cent. Other factors – like the rise of biofuels, and the spike in the oil price – made a contribution, but they aren’t enough on their own to explain such a violent shift.

To understand the biggest cause, you have to plough through some concepts that will make your head ache – but not half as much as they made the poor world’s stomachs ache.

For over a century, farmers in wealthy countries have been able to engage in a process where they protect themselves against risk. Farmer Giles can agree in January to sell his crop to a trader in August at a fixed price. If he has a great summer, he’ll lose some cash, but if there’s a lousy summer or the global price collapses, he’ll do well from the deal. When this process was tightly regulated and only companies with a direct interest in the field could get involved, it worked.

Then, through the 1990s, Goldman Sachs and others lobbied hard and the regulations were abolished. Suddenly, these contracts were turned into “derivatives” that could be bought and sold among traders who had nothing to do with agriculture. A market in “food speculation” was born.

So Farmer Giles still agrees to sell his crop in advance to a trader for £10,000. But now, that contract can be sold on to speculators, who treat the contract itself as an object of potential wealth. Goldman Sachs can buy it and sell it on for £20,000 to Deutsche Bank, who sell it on for £30,000 to Merrill Lynch – and on and on until it seems to bear almost no relationship to Farmer Giles’s crop at all.

If this seems mystifying, it is. John Lanchester, in his superb guide to the world of finance, Whoops! Why Everybody Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay, explains: “Finance, like other forms of human behaviour, underwent a change in the 20th century, a shift equivalent to the emergence of modernism in the arts – a break with common sense, a turn towards self-referentiality and abstraction and notions that couldn’t be explained in workaday English.” Poetry found its break with realism when T S Eliot wrote “The Wasteland”. Finance found its Wasteland moment in the 1970s, when it began to be dominated by complex financial instruments that even the people selling them didn’t fully understand.

So what has this got to do with the bread on Abiba’s plate? Until deregulation, the price for food was set by the forces of supply and demand for food itself. (This was already deeply imperfect: it left a billion people hungry.) But after deregulation, it was no longer just a market in food. It became, at the same time, a market in food contracts based on theoretical future crops – and the speculators drove the price through the roof.

Here’s how it happened. In 2006, financial speculators like Goldmans pulled out of the collapsing US real estate market. They reckoned food prices would stay steady or rise while the rest of the economy tanked, so they switched their funds there. Suddenly, the world’s frightened investors stampeded on to this ground.

So while the supply and demand of food stayed pretty much the same, the supply and demand for derivatives based on food massively rose – which meant the all-rolled-into-one price shot up, and the starvation began. The bubble only burst in March 2008 when the situation got so bad in the US that the speculators had to slash their spending to cover their losses back home.

When I asked Merrill Lynch’s spokesman to comment on the charge of causing mass hunger, he said: “Huh. I didn’t know about that.” He later emailed to say: “I am going to decline comment.” Deutsche Bank also refused to comment. Goldman Sachs were more detailed, saying they sold their index in early 2007 and pointing out that “serious analyses … have concluded index funds did not cause a bubble in commodity futures prices”, offering as evidence a statement by the OECD.

How do we know this is wrong? As Professor Ghosh points out, some vital crops are not traded on the futures markets, including millet, cassava, and potatoes. Their price rose a little during this period – but only a fraction as much as the ones affected by speculation. Her research shows that speculation was “the main cause” of the rise.

So it has come to this. The world’s wealthiest speculators set up a casino where the chips were the stomachs of hundreds of millions of innocent people. They gambled on increasing starvation, and won. Their Wasteland moment created a real wasteland. What does it say about our political and economic system that we can so casually inflict so much pain?

If we don’t re-regulate, it is only a matter of time before this all happens again. How many people would it kill next time? The moves to restore the pre-1990s rules on commodities trading have been stunningly sluggish. In the US, the House has passed some regulation, but there are fears that the Senate – drenched in speculator-donations – may dilute it into meaninglessness. The EU is lagging far behind even this, while in Britain, where most of this “trade” takes place, advocacy groups are worried that David Cameron’s government will block reform entirely to please his own friends and donors in the City.

Only one force can stop another speculation-starvation-bubble. The decent people in developed countries need to shout louder than the lobbyists from Goldman Sachs. The World Development Movement is launching a week of pressure this summer as crucial decisions on this are taken: text WDM to 82055 to find out what you can do.

The last time I spoke to her, Abiba said: “We can’t go through that another time. Please – make sure they never, never do that to us again.”

REMIC EVASION of TAXES AND FRAUD

I like this post from a reader in Colorado. Besides knowing what he is talking about, he raises some good issues. For example the original issue discount. Normally it is the fee for the underwriter. But this is a cover for a fee on steroids. They took money from the investor and then “bought” (without any paperwork conveying legal title) a bunch of loans that would produce the receivable income that the investor was looking for.

So let’s look at receivable income for a second and you’ll understand where the real money was made and why I call it an undisclosed tier 2 Yield Spread Premium due back to the borrower, or apportionable between the borrower and the investor. Receivable income consists or a complex maze designed to keep prying eyes from understanding what theya re looking at. But it isn’t really that hard if you take a few hours (or months) to really analyze it.

Under some twisted theory, most foreclosures are proceeding under the assumption that the receivable issue doesn’t matter. The fact that the principal balance of most loans were, if properly accounted for, paid off 10 times over, seems not to matter to Judges or even lawyers. “You borrowed the money didn’t you. How can you expect to get away with this?” A loaded question if I ever heard one. The borrower was a vehicle for the commission of a simple common law and statutory fraud. They lied to him and now they are trying to steal his house — the same way they lied to the investor and stole all the money.

  1. Receivable income is the income the investor expects. So for example if the deal is 7% and the investor puts up $1 million the investor is expecting $70,000 per year in receivable income PLUS of course the principal investment (which we all know never happened).

  2. Receivable income from loans is nominal — i.e., in name only. So if you have a $500,000 loan to a borrower who has an income of $12,000 per year, and the interest rate is stated as 16%, then the nominal receivable income is $80,000 per year, which everyone knows is a lie.

  3. The Yield Spread premium is achieved exactly that way. The investment banker takes $1,000,000 from an investor and then buys a mortgage with a nominal income of $80,000 which would be enough to pay the investor the annual receivable income the investor expects, plus fees for servicing the loan. So in our little example here, the investment banker only had to commit $500,000 to the borrower even though he took $1 million from the investor. His yield spread premium fee is therefore the same amount as the loan itself.  Would the investor have parted with the money if the investor was told the truth? Certainly not. Would the borrower sign up for a deal where he was sure to be thrown out on the street? Certainly not. In legal lingo, we call that fraud. And it never could have happened without defrauding BOTH the investor and the borrower.

  4. Then you have the actual receivable income which is the sum of all payments made on the pool, reduced by fees for servicing and other forms of chicanery. As more and more people default, the ACTUAL receivables go down, but the servicing fees stay the same or even increase, since the servicer is entitled to a higher fee for servicing a non-performing loan. You might ask where the servicer gets its money if the borrower isn’t paying. The answer is that the servicer is getting paid out of the proceeds of payments made by OTHER borrowers. In the end most of the ACTUAL income was eaten up by these service fees from the various securitization participants.

  5. Then you have a “credit event.” In these nutty deals a credit event is declared by investment banker who then makes a claim against insurance or counter-parties in credit default swaps, or buys (through the Master Servicer) the good loans (for repackaging and sale). The beauty of this is that upon declaration of a decrease in value of the pool, the underwriter gets to collect money on a bet that the underwriter would, acting in its own self interest, declare a write down of the pool and collect the money. Where did the money come from to pay for all these credit enhancements, insurance, credit default swaps, etc? ANSWER: From the original transaction wherein the investor put up $1 million and the investment banker only funded $500,000 (i.e., the undisclosed tier 2 yield spread premium).

  6. Under the terms of the securitization documents it might appear that the investor is entitled to be paid from third party payments. Both equitably, since the investors put up the money and legally, since that was the deal, they should have been paid. But they were not. So the third party payments are another expected receivable that materialized but was not paid to the creditor of the mortgage loan by the agents for the creditor. In other words, his bookkeepers stole the money.

Very good info on the securitization structure and thought provoking for sure. Could you explain the significance of the Original Issue Discount reporting for REMICs and how it applies to securitization?

It seems to me that the REMIC exemptions were to evade billions in taxes for the gain on sale of the loans to the static pool which never actually happened per the requirements for true sales. Such reporting was handled in the yearly publication 938 from the IRS. A review of this reporting history reveals some very interesting aspects that raise some questions.

Here are the years 2007, 2008 and 2009:

2009 reported in 2010
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p938.pdf

2008? is missing and reverts to the 2009 file?? Don’t believe me. try it.
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-prior/p938–2009.pdf

2007 reported in 2008
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-prior/p938–2007.pdf

A review of 2007 shows reporting of numerous securitization trusts owned by varying entities, 08 is obviously missing and concealed, and 2009 shows that most reporting is now by Fannie/Freddie/Ginnie, JP Morgan, CIti, BofA and a few new entities like the Jeffries trusts etc.

Would this be simply reporting that no discount is now being applied and all the losses or discount is credited to the GSEs and big banks, or does it mean the trusts no longer exist and the ones not paid with swaps are being resecuritized?

Some of the tell tale signs of some issues with the REMIC status especially in the WAMU loans is a 10.3 Billion dollar tax claim by the IRS in the BK. It is further that the balance of the entire loan portfolio of WAMU transferred to JPM for zero consideration. A total of 191 Billion of loans transferred proven by an FDIC accounting should be enough to challenge legal standing in any event.

I believe that all of the securitized loans were charged back to WAMU’s balance sheet prior to the sale of the assets and transferred to JPM along with the derivative contracts for each and every one of them. [EDITOR’S NOTE: PRECISELY CORRECT]

The derivatives seem to be accounted for in a separate mention in the balance sheet implying that the zeroing of the loans is a separate act from the derivatives. Add to that the IRS claim which can be attributed to the gain on sale clawback from the voiding of the REMIC status and things seem to fit.

I would agree the free house claim is a tough river to row but the unjust enrichment by allowing 191 billion in loans to be collected with no Article III standing not only should trump that but additionally forever strip them of standing to ever enforce the contract.

The collection is Federal Racketeering at the highest level, money laundering and antitrust. Where are the tobacco litigators that want to handle this issue for the homeowners? How about an attorney with political aspirations that would surely gain support for saving millions of homes for this one simple case?

Documents and more info on the FDIC litigation fund extended to JPM to fight consumers can be found here:

http://www.wamuloanfraud.com

You can also find my open letter to Sheila Bair asking her to personally respond to my request here:

http://4closurefraud.org/2010/06/09/an-open-letter-to-sheila-bair-of-the-federal-deposit-insurance-corporation-fdic-re-foreclosures/

Any insight into the REMIC and Pub. 938 info is certainly appreciated

FRAUD IS THE CENTRAL PROBLEM

It is hard to state this strongly enough. The entire mortgage backed securitization structure was based upon FRAUD. An intentional misstatement of a material fact known to be untrue and which the receiving party reasonably relies to his detriment is fraud. BOTH ends of this deal required fraud for completion. The investors had to believe the securities were worth more and carried less risk than reality. The borrowers had to believe that their property was worth more and carried less risk than reality. Exactly the same. Using ratings/appraisals and distorting their contractual and statutory duties, the sellers of this crap defrauded the investors, who supplied the money and the borrowers were accepted PART of the benefit.

See this article posted by our friend Anonymous:

Posts by Aaron Task
“A Gigantic Ponzi Scheme, Lies and Fraud”: Howard Davidowitz on Wall Street
Jul 01, 2010 08:00am EDT by Aaron Task in Newsmakers, Banking
Related: XLF, AIG, GS, JPM, BAC, C, FNM
Play Video
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Day one of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission’s two-day hearing on AIG derivatives contracts featured testimony from Joseph Cassano, the former head of AIG’s financial products unit. Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn was also on the Hill.
Meanwhile, the Democrats are still trying to salvage the regulatory reform bill, with critical support from Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) reportedly still uncertain.
According to Howard Davidowitz of Davidowitz & Associates, what connects the hearings and the Reg reform debate is the lack of focus on the real underlying cause of the financial crisis: Fraud.
“It was a massive fraud… a gigantic Ponzi Scheme, a lie and a fraud,” Davidowitz says of Wall Street circa 2007. “The whole thing was a fraud and it gets back to the accountants valuing the assets incorrectly.”
Because accountants and auditors allowed Wall Street firms to carry assets at “completely fraudulent” valuations, he says the industry looked hugely profitable and was able to use borrowed funds to make leveraged bets on all sorts of esoteric instruments. “Their bonuses were based on profits they never made and the leverage they never could have gotten if the numbers were right – no one would’ve given them the money in their right mind,” Davidowitz says.

To date, the accounting and audit firms have escaped any serious repercussions from the credit crisis, a stark difference to the corporate “death sentence” that befell Arthur Anderson for its alleged role in the Enron scandal.
To Davidowitz, that’s perhaps the greatest outrage of all: “Where were the accountants?,” he asks. “They did nothing, checked nothing, agreed to everything” and collected millions in fees while “shaking hands with the CEO.”

“KING” DEUTSCH CITED FOR DESTRUCTION OF CITIES

The article below was purloined from www.foreclosureblues.wordpress.com — the comments are mine. Neil Garfield

“According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Deutsche Bank now holds loans for American single-family and multi-family houses worth about $3.7 billion (€3.1 billion). The bank, however, claims that much of this debt consists of loans to wealthy private customers. (EDITOR’S NOTE: THUS ALL THE OTHER LOANS IT CLAIMS TO OWN, IT DOESN’T OWN)

The bank did not issue the mortgages for the many properties it now manages, and yet it accepted, on behalf of investors, the fiduciary function for its own and third-party CDOs. In past years, says mortgage expert Steve Dibert, real estate loans were “traded like football cards” in the United States. (Editor’s Note: This is why we say that the loan never makes it into the pool until litigation starts AND even if it was ever in the pool there is no guarantee it remained in the pool for more than a nanosecond). Sworn testimony from Deutsch employees corroborate that no assignments are done until “needed,” which means that in the mean time they are still legally owned by the loan originator. The loan originator therefore created an obligation that was satisfied simultaneously with the closing on the loan. The note is therefore evidence of an obligation that does not legally exist. Thus there are possible equitable theories under which investors could assert claims against the borrower, but the note and deed of trust or mortgage are only PART of the evidence and ONLY the investor has standing to bring that claim. Recent cases have rejected claims of “equitable transfer.”)

How many houses was he responsible for, Co was asked? “Two thousand,” he replied. But then he corrected himself, saying that 2,000 wasn’t the number of individual properties, but the number of securities packages being managed by Deutsche Bank. Each package contains hundreds of mortgages. So how many houses are there, all told, he was asked again? Co could only guess. “Millions,” he said.

The exotic financial vehicles are sometimes managed by an equally exotic firm: Deutsche Bank (Cayman) Limited, Boundary Hall, Cricket Square, Grand Cayman. In an e-mail dated Feb. 26, 2010, a Deutsche Bank employee from the Cayman Islands lists 84 CDOs and similar products, for which she identifies herself as the relevant contact person.

However, C-BASS didn’t just manage abstract securities. It also had a subsidiary to bring in all the loans that were subsequently securitized. By the end of 2005 the subsidiary, Litton Loan, had processed 313,938 loans, most of them low-value mortgages, for a total value of $43 billion.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Whether it is Milwaukee which is going the the way of Cleveland or thousands of other towns and cities, Deutsch Bank as a central player in more than 2,000 Special Purpose Vehicles, involving thousands more pools and sub-pools, is far and away the largest protagonist in the foreclosure crisis. This article, originally written in German, details just how deep they are into this mess, while at the same time disclaiming any part in it. It corroborates the article I wrote about the Deutsch Bank executive who said ON TAPE, which I have, that even though Deutsch is named as Trustee it knows nothing and does nothing.

SPIEGEL ONLINE
06/10/2010 07:42 AM
‘America’s Foreclosure King’
How the United States Became a PR Disaster for Deutsche Bank
By Christoph Pauly and Thomas Schulz

Deutsche Bank is deeply involved in the American real estate crisis. After initially profiting from subprime mortgages, it is now arranging to have many of these homes sold at foreclosure auctions. The damage to the bank’s image in the United States is growing.

The small city of New Haven, on the Atlantic coast and home to elite Yale University, is only two hours northeast of New York City. It is a particularly beautiful place in the fall, during the warm days of Indian summer.

But this idyllic image has turned cloudy of late, with a growing number of houses in New Haven looking like the one at 130 Peck Street: vacant for months, the doors nailed shut, the yard derelict and overgrown and the last residents ejected after having lost the house in a foreclosure auction. And like 130 Peck Street, many of these homes are owned by Germany’s Deutsche Bank.

“In the last few years, Deutsche Bank has been responsible for far and away the most foreclosures here,” says Eva Heintzelman. She is the director of the ROOF Project, which addresses the consequences of the foreclosure crisis in New Haven in collaboration with the city administration. According to Heintzelman, Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank plays such a significant role in New Haven that the city’s mayor requested a meeting with bank officials last spring.

The bank complied with his request, to some degree, when, in April 2009, a Deutsche Bank executive flew to New Haven for a question-and-answer session with politicians and aid organizations. But the executive, David Co, came from California, not from Germany. Co manages the Frankfurt bank’s US real estate business at a relatively unknown branch of a relatively unknown subsidiary in Santa Ana.

How many houses was he responsible for, Co was asked? “Two thousand,” he replied. But then he corrected himself, saying that 2,000 wasn’t the number of individual properties, but the number of securities packages being managed by Deutsche Bank. Each package contains hundreds of mortgages. So how many houses are there, all told, he was asked again? Co could only guess. “Millions,” he said.

Deutsche Bank Is Considered ‘America’s Foreclosure King’

Deutsche Bank’s tracks lead through the entire American real estate market. In Chicago, the bank foreclosed upon close to 600 large apartment buildings in 2009, more than any other bank in the city. In Cleveland, almost 5,000 houses foreclosed upon by Deutsche Bank were reported to authorities between 2002 and 2006. In many US cities, the complaints are beginning to pile up from homeowners who lost their properties as a result of a foreclosure action filed by Deutsche Bank. The German bank is berated on the Internet as “America’s Foreclosure King.”

American homeowners are among the main casualties of the financial crisis that began with the collapse of the US real estate market. For years, banks issued mortgages to homebuyers without paying much attention to whether they could even afford the loans. Then they packaged the mortgage loans into complicated financial products, earning billions in the process — that is, until the bubble burst and the government had to bail out the banks.

Deutsche Bank has always acted as if it had had very little to do with the whole affair. It survived the crisis relatively unharmed and without government help. Its experts recognized early on that things could not continue as they had been going. This prompted the bank to get out of many deals in time, so that in the end it was not faced with nearly as much toxic debt as other lenders.

But it is now becoming clear just how deeply involved the institution is in the US real estate market and in the subprime mortgage business. It is quite possible that the bank will not suffer any significant financial losses, but the damage to its image is growing by the day.

‘Deutsche Bank Is Now in the Process of Destroying Milwaukee’

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Deutsche Bank now holds loans for American single-family and multi-family houses worth about $3.7 billion (€3.1 billion). The bank, however, claims that much of this debt consists of loans to wealthy private customers.

More damaging to its image are the roughly 1 million US properties that the bank says it is managing as trustee. “Some 85 to 90 percent of all outstanding mortgages in the USA are ultimately controlled by four banks, either as trustees or owners of a trust company,” says real estate expert Steve Dibert, whose company conducts nationwide investigations into cases of mortgage fraud. “Deutsche Bank is one of the four.”

In addition, the bank put together more than 25 highly complex real estate securities deals, known as collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, with a value of about $20 billion, most of which collapsed. These securities were partly responsible for triggering the crisis.

Last Thursday, Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann was publicly confronted with the turmoil in US cities. Speaking at the bank’s shareholders’ meeting, political science professor Susan Giaimo said that while Germans were mainly responsible for building the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, “Deutsche Bank is now in the process of destroying Milwaukee.”

As Soon as the Houses Are Vacant, They Quickly Become Derelict

Then Giaimo, a petite woman with dark curls who has German forefathers, got to the point. Not a single bank, she said, owns more real estate affected by foreclosure in Milwaukee, a city the size of Frankfurt. Many of the houses, she added, have been taken over by drug dealers, while others were burned down by arsonists after it became clear that no one was taking care of them.

Besides, said Giaimo, who represents the Common Ground action group, homeowners living in the neighborhoods of these properties are forced to accept substantial declines in the value of their property. “In addition, foreclosed houses are sold to speculators for substantially less than the market value of houses in the same neighborhood,” Giaimo said. The speculators, according to Giaimo, have no interest in the individual properties and are merely betting that prices will go up in the future.

Common Ground has posted photos of many foreclosed properties on the Internet, and some of the signs in front of these houses identify Deutsche Bank as the owner. As soon as the houses are vacant, they quickly become derelict.

A Victorian house on State Street, painted green with red trim, is now partially burned down. Because it can no longer be sold, Deutsche Bank has “donated” it to the City of Milwaukee, one of the Common Ground activists reports. As a result, the city incurs the costs of demolition, which amount to “at least $25,000.”

‘We Can’t Give Away Money that Isn’t Ours’

During a recent meeting with US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, representatives of the City of Milwaukee complained about the problems that the more than 15,000 foreclosures have caused for the city since the crisis began. In a letter to the US Treasury Department, they wrote that Deutsche Bank is the only bank that has refused to meet with the city’s elected representatives.

Minneapolis-based US Bank and San Francisco-based Wells Fargo apparently took the complaints more seriously and met with the people from Common Ground. The activists’ demands sound plausible enough. They want Deutsche Bank to at least tear down those houses that can no longer be repaired at a reasonable cost. Besides, Giaimo said at the shareholders’ meeting, Deutsche Bank should contribute a portion of US government subsidies to a renovation fund. According to Giaimo, the bank collected $6 billion from the US government when it used taxpayer money to bail out credit insurer AIG.

“It’s painful to look at these houses,” Ackermann told the professor. Nevertheless, the CEO refused to accept any responsibility. Deutsche Bank, he said, is “merely a sort of depository for the mortgage documents, and our options to help out are limited.” According to Ackermann, the bank, as a trustee for other investors, is not even the actual owner of the properties, and therefore can do nothing. Besides, Ackermann said, his bank didn’t promote mortgage loans with terms that have now made the payments unaffordable for many families.

The activists from Wisconsin did, however, manage to take home a small victory. Ackermann instructed members of his staff to meet with Common Ground. He apparently envisions a relatively informal and noncommittal meeting. “We can’t give away money that isn’t ours,” he added.

Deutsche Bank’s Role in the High-Risk Loans Boom

Apparently Ackermann also has no intention to part with even a small portion of the profits the bank earned in the real estate business. Deutsche Bank didn’t just act as a trustee that — coincidentally, it seems — manages countless pieces of real estate on behalf of other investors. In the wild years between 2005 and 2007, the bank also played a central role in the profitable boom in high-risk mortgages that were marketed to people in ways that were downright negligent.

Of course, its bankers didn’t get their hands dirty by going door-to-door to convince people to apply for mortgages they couldn’t afford. But they did provide the distribution organizations with the necessary capital.

The Countrywide Financial Corporation, which approved risky mortgages for $97.2 billion from 2005 to 2007, was the biggest provider of these mortgages in the United States. According to the study by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative journalism organization, Deutsche Bank was one of Countrywide’s biggest financiers.

Ameriquest — which, with $80.7 billion in high-risk loans on its books in the three boom years before the crash, was the second-largest subprime specialist — also had strong ties to Deutsche Bank. The investment bankers placed the mortgages on the international capital market by bundling and structuring them into securities. This enabled them to distribute the risks around the entire globe, some of which ended up with Germany’s state-owned banks.

‘Deutsche Bank Has a Real PR Problem Here’

After the crisis erupted, there were so many mortgages in default in 25 CDOs that most of the investors could no longer be serviced. Some CDOs went bankrupt right away, while others were gradually liquidated, either in full or in part. The securities that had been placed on the market were underwritten by loans worth $20 billion.

At the end of 2006, for example, Deutsche Bank constructed a particularly complex security known as a hybrid CDO. It was named Barramundi, after the Indo-Pacific hermaphrodite fish that lives in muddy water. And the composition of the deal, which was worth $800 million, was muddy indeed. Many securities that were already arcane enough, like credit default swaps (CDSs) and CDOs, were packaged into an even more complex entity in Barramundi.

Deutsche Bank’s partner for the Barramundi deal was the New York investment firm C-BASS, which referred to itself as “a leader in purchasing and servicing residential mortgage loans primarily in the Subprime and Alt-A categories.” In plain language, C-BASS specialized in drumming up and marketing subprime mortgages for complex financial vehicles.

However, C-BASS didn’t just manage abstract securities. It also had a subsidiary to bring in all the loans that were subsequently securitized. By the end of 2005 the subsidiary, Litton Loan, had processed 313,938 loans, most of them low-value mortgages, for a total value of $43 billion.

One of the First Victims of the Financial Crisis

Barramundi was already the 19th CDO C-BASS had issued. But the investment firm faltered only a few months after the deal with Deutsche Bank, in the summer of 2007. C-BASS was one of the first casualties of the financial crisis.

Deutsche Bank’s CDO, Barramundi, suffered a similar fate. Originally given the highest possible rating by the rating agencies, the financial vehicle stuffed with subprime mortgages quickly fell apart. In the spring of 2008, Barramundi was first downgraded to “highly risky” and then, in December, to junk status. Finally, in March 2009, Barramundi failed and had to be liquidated. (EDITOR’S NOTE: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LOANS?)

While many investors lost their money and many Americans their houses, Deutsche Bank and Litton Loan remained largely unscathed. Apparently, the Frankfurt bank still has a healthy business relationship with the subprime mortgage manager, because Deutsche Bank does not play a direct role in any of the countless pieces of real estate it holds in trust. Other service providers, including Litton Loan, handle tasks like collecting mortgage payments and evicting delinquent borrowers.

The exotic financial vehicles are sometimes managed by an equally exotic firm: Deutsche Bank (Cayman) Limited, Boundary Hall, Cricket Square, Grand Cayman. In an e-mail dated Feb. 26, 2010, a Deutsche Bank employee from the Cayman Islands lists 84 CDOs and similar products, for which she identifies herself as the relevant contact person.

Trouble with US Regulatory Authorities and Many Property Owners

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is now investigating Deutsche Bank and a few other investment banks that constructed similar CDOs. The financial regulator is looking into whether investors in these obscure products were deceived. The SEC has been particularly critical of US investment bank Goldman Sachs, which is apparently willing to pay a record fine of $1 billion to avoid criminal prosecution.

Deutsche Bank has also run into problems with the many property owners. The bank did not issue the mortgages for the many properties it now manages, and yet it accepted, on behalf of investors, the fiduciary function for its own and third-party CDOs. In past years, says mortgage expert Steve Dibert, real estate loans were “traded like football cards” in the United States.

Amid all the deal-making, the deeds for the actual properties were often lost. In Cleveland and New Jersey, for example, judges invalidated foreclosures ordered by Deutsche Bank, because the bank was unable to come up with the relevant deeds.

Nevertheless, Deutsche Bank’s service providers repeatedly try to have houses vacated, even when they are already occupied by new owners who are paying their mortgages. This practice has led to nationwide lawsuits against the Frankfurt-based bank. On the Internet, angry Americans fighting to keep their houses have taken to using foul language to berate the German bank.

“Deutsche Bank now has a real PR problem here in the United States,” says Dibert. “They want to bury their head in the sand, but this is something they are going to have to deal with.”

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

JP Morgan: 8 people, 18,000 signed affidavits per month

The bottom line is that none of these signors of affidavits have ANY personal knowledge regarding any document, event, or transaction relating to any of the loans they are “processing.” It’s all a lie.

In a 35 hour workweek, 18,000 affidavits per month computes as 74.23 affidavits per JPM signor per hour and 1.23 per minute. Try that. See if you can review a file, verify the accounting, execute the affidavit and get it notarized in one minute. It isn’t possible. It can only be done with a system that incorporates automation, fabrication and forgery.

Editor’s Note: Besides the entertaining writing, there is a message here. And then a hidden message. The deponent is quoted as saying she has personal knowledge of what her fellow workers have as personal knowledge. That means the witness is NOT competent in ANY court of law to give testimony that is allowed to be received as evidence. Here is the kicker: None of these loans were originated by JPM. Most of them were the subject of complex transactions. The bottom line is that none of these signors of affidavits have ANY personal knowledge regarding any document, event, or transaction relating to any of the loans they are “processing.” It’s all a lie.

In these transactions, even though the investors were the owners of the loan, the servicing and other rights were rights were transferred acquired from WAMU et al and then redistributed to still other entities. This was an exercise in obfuscation. By doing this, JPM was able to control the distribution of profits from third party payments on loan pools like insurance contracts, credit defaults swaps and other credit enhancements.

Having that control enabled JPM to avoid allocating such payments to the investors who put up the bad money and thus keep the good money for itself. You see, the Countrywide settlement with the FTC focuses on the pennies while billions of dollars are flying over head.

The simple refusal to allocate third party payments achieves the following:

  • Denial of any hope of repayment to the investors
  • Denial of any proper accounting for all receipts and disbursements that are allocable to each loan account
  • 97% success rate in sustaining Claims of default that are fatally defective being both wrong and undocumented.
  • 97% success rate on Claims for balances that don’t exist
  • 97% success rate in getting a home in which JPM has no investment

(THE DEPONENT’S NAME IS COTRELL NOT CANTREL)

JPM: Cantrel deposiition reveals 18,000 affidavits signed per month

HEY, CHASE! YEAH, YOU… JPMORGAN CHASE! One of Your Customers Asked Me to Give You a Message…

Hi JPMorgan Chase People!

Thanks for taking a moment to read this… I promise to be brief, which is so unlike me… ask anyone.

My friend, Max Gardner, the famous bankruptcy attorney from North Carolina, sent me the excerpt from the deposition of one Beth Ann Cottrell, shown below.  Don’t you just love the way he keeps up on stuff… always thinking of people like me who live to expose people like you?  Apparently, she’s your team’s Operations Manager at Chase Home Finance, and she’s, obviously, quite a gal.

Just to make it interesting… and fun… I’m going to do my best to really paint a picture of the situation, so the reader can feel like he or she is there… in the picture at the time of the actual deposition of Ms. Cottrell… like it’s a John Grisham novel…

FADE IN:

SFX: Sound of creaking door opening, not to slowly… There’s a ceiling fan turning slowly…

It’s Monday morning, May 17th in this year of our Lord, two thousand and ten, and as we enter the courtroom, the plaintiff’s attorney, representing a Florida homeowner, is asking Beth Ann a few questions…  We’re in the Circuit Court of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, Palm Beach County, Florida.

Deposition of Beth Ann Cottrell – Operations Manager of Chase Home Finance LLC

Q.  So if you did not review any books or records or electronic records before signing this affidavit of payments default, how is it that you had personal knowledge of all of the matters stated in this sworn document?

A.  Well, it is pretty simple, I have personal knowledge that my staff has personal knowledge of what is in the affidavit on personal knowledge.  That is how our process works.

Q.  So, when signing an affidavit, you stated you have personal knowledge of the matters contained therein of Chase’s business records yet you never looked at the data bases or anything else that would contain those records; is that correct?

A.  That is correct.  I rely on my staff to do that part.

Q.  And can you tell me in a given week how many of these affidavits you might sing?

A.  Amongst all the management on my team we sign about 18,000 a month.

Q.  And how many folks are on what you call the management?

A.  Let’s see, eight.

And… SCENE.

Isn’t that just irresistibly cute?  The way she sees absolutely nothing wrong with the way she’s answering the questions?  It’s really quite marvelous.  Truth be told, although I hadn’t realized it prior to reading Beth Ann’s deposition transcript, I had never actually seen obtuse before.

In fact, if Beth’s response that follows with in a movie… well, this is the kind of stuff that wins Oscars for screenwriting.  I may never forget it.  She actually said:

“Well, it is pretty simple, I have personal knowledge that my staff has personal knowledge of what is in the affidavit on personal knowledge.  That is how our process works.”

No you didn’t.

Isn’t she just fabulous?  Does she live in a situation comedy on ABC or something?

ANYWAY… BACK TO WHY I ASKED YOU JPMORGAN CHASE PEOPLE OVER…

Well, I know a homeowner who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona… lovely couple… wouldn’t want to embarrass them by using their real names, so I’ll just refer to them as the Campbell’s.

So, just the other evening Mr. Campbell calls me to say hello, and to tell me that he and his wife decided to strategically default on their mortgage.  Have you heard about this… this strategic default thing that’s become so hip this past year?

It’s when a homeowner who could probably pay the mortgage payment, decides that watching any further incompetence on the part of the government and the banks, along with more home equity, is just more than he or she can bear.  They called you guys at Chase about a hundred times to talk to you about modifying their loan, but you know how you guys are, so nothing went anywhere.

Then one day someone sent Mr. Campbell a link to an article on my blog, and I happened to be going on about the topic of strategic default.  So… funny story… they had been thinking about strategically defaulting anyway and wouldn’t you know it… after reading my column, they decided to go ahead and commence defaulting strategically.

So, after about 30 years as a homeowner, and making plenty of money to handle the mortgage payment, he and his wife stop making their mortgage payment… they toast the decision with champagne.

You see, they owe $865,000 on their home, which was just appraised at $310,000, and interestingly enough, also from reading my column, they came to understand the fact that they hadn’t done anything to cause this situation, nothing at all.  It was the banks that caused this mess, and now they were expecting homeowners like he and his wife, to pick up the tab.  So, they finally said… no, no thank you.

Luckily, she’s not on the loan, so she already went out and bought their new place, right across the street from the old one, as it turns out, and they figure they’ve got at least a year to move, since they plan to do everything possible to delay you guys from foreclosing.  They’re my heroes…

Okay, so here’s the message I promised I’d pass on to as many JPMorgan Chase people as possible… so, Mr. Campbell calls me one evening, and tells me he’s sorry to bother… knows I’m busy… I tell him it’s no problem and ask how he’s been holding up…

He says just fine, and he sounds truly happy… strategic defaulters are always happy, in fact they’re the only happy people that ever call me… everyone else is about to pop cyanide pills, or pop a cap in Jamie Dimon’s ass… one or the other… okay, sorry… I’m getting to my message…

He tells me, “Martin, we just wanted to tell you that we stopped making our payments, and couldn’t be happier.  Like a giant burden has been lifted.”

I said, “Glad to hear it, you sound great!”

And he said, “I just wanted to call you because Chase called me this evening, and I wanted to know if you could pass a message along to them on your blog.”

I said, “Sure thing, what would you like me to tell them?”

He said, “Well, like I was saying, we stopped making our payments as of April…”

“Right…” I said.

“So, Chase called me this evening after dinner.”

“Yes…” I replied.

He went on… “The woman said: Mr. Campbell, we haven’t received your last payment.  So, I said… OH YES YOU HAVE!”

Hey, JPMorgan Chase People… LMAO.  Keep up the great work over there.

In States Requiring Mediation

More and more states are following the example set by the federal government in requiring mediation or modification attempts before going forward with litigation. We think that is a good idea in theory, but without the teeth that is in the enabling rules and statutes in Florida, you are just going to end up playing the same game of “who’s my lender.?”

Even in Florida, as in all cases, YOU must bring up the the issue of the authroity of the person being offered as a decision-maker.” 99 times out of a hundred they are not. The most they have is some authority from a dubious source to agree to some minor adjustments, like adding the payments to the back end of the mortgage.

Make no mistake about it — there is no decision-maker unless they have full power over that mortgage. That means they could if they want to, reduce the principal. They will argue that nobody has that power because the securitization documetns prohibit it. That is their little way of getting your eye off the ball.

Of course the securitization documents don’t allow certain things to be done to the mortgage. Those documents are aimed at restricting the actions of the agents of the principal (i.e. the creditor/lender).

It is ONLY an authorized representative of the investors who DO have the final say over any settlement that is needed in that mediation room and proof of that authority, which means notice to the investors, which means disclosing that notice to the investors and proof that a sufficient number of investors under the documents have approved the grant of decision-making authority to modify, amend, alter or change the obligation, note and/or mortgage.

Unless the person offered for the mediation has the authority to sign a satisfaction of mortgage on whatever terms he/she sees fit, they are not the decision-maker. If the other side refuses to comply move for contempt, sanctions and to strike their pleadings with prejudice.

If the other side fights this and they probably will, you should probably argue that this is a flat out admission that the principal (i.e., real party in interest, creditor, lender) is not represented in the proceedings because the other party in your litigation refuses to disclose them contrary to the requirements of federal law, state law and the rules of civil procedure.

If they can’t produce this authority then they also lack authority to foreclose. It might even be an admission that they are seeking to steal the house, put in their own entity and keep the proceeds of sale contrary to the interests of the investor who is entitled to be paid and contrary to the borrower who is entitled to a credit against the obligation that is due.

Lender Processing Services, Inc. Contact Info

In the secured offices (and network operations center) of this entity is the REAL STORY about the fraud being perpetrated upon the U.S. Court system and every post 2001 borrower, whether they are in distress or not. Here is where the system works its charms — from avoiding actual title reports, relying upon much less expensive credit reports, to the fabrication and probable forgery of thousands of documents in hundreds of thousands of foreclosures.

In law there is a duty to preserve evidence once party is aware of litigation concerning that evidence. If you are filing a fraud count you might want to consider naming LPS as a co-defendant. Either way you definitely want to issue a subpoena for their records concerning your loan.

Contact Kyle Lundstedt
and tell him to stop harassing us.

Lender Processing Services, Inc.

601 Riverside Avenue
Jacksonville, FL 32204

General Information: 904.854.5100
Toll-free (U.S. only): 800.991.1274
Fax: 904.854.4124

E-mail: mortgage.marketing@lpsvcs.com

Borrower Bailout?: Goldman Sachs Conveyor Belt

  • If you have a GSAMP securitized loan you might want to pay particular attention here. In fact, if you ever had a securitized loan of any kind you should be very interested.
  • Hudson Mezzanine: The use of the word “mezzanine” is like the use of the word “Trust.” There is no mezzanine and there is no trust in the legal sense. It is merely meant to convey the fact that a conduit was being used to front multiple transactions — any one of which could be later moved around because the reference to the conduit entity does not specifically incorporate the exhibits to the conduit.
  • The real legal issue here is who owns the profit from these deals? The profit is derived from insurance. The cost of insurance was funded from the securitized chain starting with the sale of securities to investors for money that was pooled.
  • That pool was used in part to fund mortgages and insurance bets that those mortgages would fail. 93% of the sub-prime mortgages rated Triple AAA got marked down to junk level even if they did not fail, and insurance paid off because of the markdown. That means money was paid based upon loans executed by borrowers, whether they were or are in default or not. In fact, if you follow the logic here, it is highly doubtful than any mortgage loan ever was actually in default if a payment was received from third party insurance, contract, bailout or guarantee. If the creditor received payment, where is the default?
  • If enough of the pool consisted of sub-prime mortgages, then the entire pool was marked down and insurance paid off. So whether you have a sub-prime mortgage or a conventional mortgage, whether you are up to date or in default, there is HIGH PROBABILITY that a payment has been made from insurance which should be allocated to your loan, whether foreclosed or not.
  • The rest of the proceeds of investments by investors went as fees and profits to middlemen. If you accept the notion that the entire securitization chain was a single transaction in which fraud was the principal ingredient on both ends (homeowners and ivnestors), then BOTH the homeowner borrowers and the investors have a claim to that money.
  • Homeowners have a claim for undisclosed compensation under the Truth in Lending Act and Investors have a claim under the Securities laws.  (That is where these investor lawsuits and settlements come from).
  • What nobody has done YET is file a claim for borrowers. The probable reason for this is that the securities transactions giving rise to these profits seem remote from the loan transaction. But if they arose BECAUSE of the execution of the loan documents by the borrower, then lending laws apply, along with REG Z from the Federal reserve. The payoff to borrowers is huge, potentially involving treble damages, interest, court costs and attorney fees.
  • Under common law fraud and just plain common sense, there is no legal basis for allowing the perpetrator of a fraud to keep the benefits arising out of the the fraud. So who gets the money?
April 26, 2010

Mortgage Deals Under Scrutiny as Goldman Faces Senators

By LOUISE STORY

WASHINGTON — The legal storm buffeting Goldman Sachs continued to rage Tuesday just ahead of what is expected to be a contentious Senate hearing at which bank executives plan to defend their actions during the housing crisis.

Senate investigators on Monday claimed that Goldman Sachs had devised not one but a series of complex deals to profit from the collapse of the home mortgage market. The claims suggested for the first time that the inquiries into Goldman were stretching beyond the sole mortgage deal singled out by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The S.E.C. has accused Goldman of defrauding investors in that single transaction, Abacus 2007-AC1, have thrust the bank into a legal whirlwind.

The stage for Tuesday’s hearing was set with a flurry of new documents from the panel, the Permanent Senate Subcommittee on Investigations. That was preceded by a press briefing in Washington, where the accusations against Goldman have transformed the politics of financial reform.

In the midst of this storm, Lloyd C. Blankfein, Goldman’s chairman and chief executive, plans to sound a conciliatory note on Tuesday.

In a statement prepared for the hearing and released on Monday, Mr. Blankfein said the news 10 days ago that the S.E.C. had filed a civil fraud suit against Goldman had shaken the bank’s employees.

“It was one of the worst days of my professional life, as I know it was for every person at our firm,” Mr. Blankfein said. “We have been a client-centered firm for 140 years, and if our clients believe that we don’t deserve their trust we cannot survive.”

Mr. Blankfein will also testify that Goldman did not have a substantial, consistent short position in the mortgage market.

But at the press briefing in Washington, Carl Levin, the Democrat of Michigan who heads the Senate committee, insisted that Goldman had bet against its clients repeatedly. He held up a binder the size of two breadboxes that he said contained copies of e-mail messages and other documents that showed Goldman had put its own interests first.

“The evidence shows that Goldman repeatedly put its own interests and profits ahead of the interests of its clients,” Mr. Levin said.

Mr. Levin’s investigative staff released a summary of those documents, which are to be released in full on Tuesday. The summary included information on Abacus as well as new details about other complex mortgage deals.

On a page titled “The Goldman Sachs Conveyor Belt,” the subcommittee described five other transactions beyond the Abacus investment.

One, called Hudson Mezzanine, was put together in the fall of 2006 expressly as a way to create more short positions for Goldman, the subcommittee claims. The $2 billion deal was one of the first for which Goldman sales staff began to face dubious clients, according to former Goldman employees.

“Here we are selling this, but we think the market is going the other way,” a former Goldman salesman told The New York Times in December.

Hudson, like Goldman’s 25 Abacus deals, was a synthetic collateralized debt obligation, which is a bundle of insurance contracts on mortgage bonds. Like other banks, Goldman turned to synthetic C.D.O.’s to allow it to complete deals faster than the sort of mortgage securities that required actual mortgage bonds. These deals also created a new avenue for Goldman and some of its hedge fund clients to make negative bets on housing.

Goldman also had an unusual and powerful role in the Hudson deal that the Senate committee did not highlight: According to Hudson marketing documents, which were reviewed on Monday by The Times, Goldman was also the liquidation agent in the deal, which is the party that took it apart when it hit trouble.

The Senate subcommittee also studied two deals from early 2007 called Anderson Mezzanine 2007-1 and Timberwolf I. In total, these two deals were worth $1.3 billion, and Goldman held about $380 million of the negative bets associated with the two deals.

The subcommittee pointed to these deals as examples of how Goldman put its own interests ahead of clients. Mr. Levin read from several Goldman documents on Monday to underscore the point, including one in October 2007 that said, “Real bad feeling across European sales about some of the trades we did with clients. The damage this has done to our franchise is very significant.”

As the mortgage market collapsed, Goldman turned its back on clients who came knocking with older Goldman-issued bonds they had bought. One example was a series of mortgage bonds known as Gsamp.

“I said ‘no’ to clients who demanded that GS should ‘support the Gsamp’ program as clients tried to gain leverage over us,” a mortgage trader, Michael Swenson, wrote in his self-evaluation at the end of 2007. “Those were unpopular decisions but they saved the firm hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The Gsamp program was also involved in a dispute in the summer of 2007 that Goldman had with a client, Peleton Partners, a hedge fund founded by former Goldman workers that has since collapsed because of mortgage losses.

According to court documents reviewed by The Times on Monday, in June 2007, Goldman refused to accept a Gsamp bond from Peleton in a dispute over the securities that backed up a mortgage security called Broadwick. A Peleton partner was pointed in his response after Goldman refused the Gsamp bond.

“We do appreciate the unintended irony,” wrote Peter Howard, a partner at Peleton, in an e-mail message about the Gsamp bond.

Bank of America ended up suing Goldman over the Broadwick deal. The parties are awaiting a written ruling in that suit. Broadwick was one of a dozen or so so-called hybrid C.D.O.’s that Goldman created in 2006 and 2007. Such investments were made up of both mortgage bonds and insurance contracts on mortgage bonds.

While such hybrids have received little attention, one mortgage researcher, Gary Kopff of Everest Management, has pointed to a dozen other Goldman C.D.O.’s, including Broadwick, that were mixes of mortgage bonds and insurance policies. Those deals — with names like Fortius I and Altius I — may have been another method for Goldman to obtain negative bets on housing.

“It was like an insurance policy that Goldman stuck in the middle of the sandwich with all the other subprime bonds,” Mr. Kopff said. “And it was an insurance policy designed to protect them.”

An earlier version of this article misidentified Senator Levin’s home state.

Foreclosure Prevention 1.1

Nobody ever thought that returning a lady’s purse to her after a purse snatcher ran away with it was a gift. So why is anyone contesting returning the purse to homeowners who had their lives snatched from them?

The baby steps of the Obama administration are frustrating. Larry Summers, Tim Geithner and those who walk with Wall Street are using ideology and assumptions instead of reality and facts.

First they started with the idea of modifications. That would do it. Just change the terms a little, have the homeowner release rights and defenses to what was a completely fraudulent and deceptive loan transaction (and a violation of securities regulations) and the foreclosure mess would end. No, it doesn’t work that way.

The reality is that these homeowners are being drained every day and displaced from their lives and homes by the consequences of a scheme that depended upon fooling people into signing mortgages under the false assumption that the appraisal had been verified and that the loan product was viable. All sorts of tricks were used to make borrowers think that an underwriting process was under way when in fact, it was only a checklist, they were even doing title checks (using credit reports instead), and the viability of the loan was antithetical to their goals, to wit: to have the loans fail, collect on the insurance and get the house too without ever reporting a loss.

Then it went to modification through interest rate reduction and adding the unpaid monthly payments to the end of the mortgage. Brilliant idea. The experts decided that an interest rate reduction was the equivalent of a principal reduction and that everything would even out over time.

Adding ANYTHING to principal due on the note only put these people further under water and reduced any incentive they had to maintain their payments or the property. Reducing the interest was only the equivalent of principal reduction when you looked at the monthly payments; the homeowner was still buried forever, without hope of recovery, under a mountain of debt based upon a false value associated with the property and a false rating of the loan product.

Adding insult to injury, the Obama administration gave $10 billion to servicing companies to do modifications — not even realizing that servicers have no authority to modify and might not even have the authority to service. Anyone who received such a modification (a) got a temporary modification called a “trial” (b) ended up back in foreclosure anyway (c) was used once again for unworthy unauthorized companies to collect even more illegal fees and (d) was part of a gift to servicers who were getting a house on which they had invested nothing, while the real source of funds was already paid in whole or in part by insurance, credit default swaps or federal bailout.

Now the Obama administration is “encouraging” modifications with reductions in principal of perhaps 30%. But the industry is pushing back because they don’t want to report the loss that would appear on their books now, if a modification occurred, when they could delay reporting the “loss” indefinitely by continuing the foreclosure process. The “loss” is fictitious and the push-back is an illusion. There is no loss from non-performance of these mortgages on the part of lending banks because they never lent any money other than the money of investors who purchased mortgage-backed bonds.

You want to stop the foreclosures. It really is very simple. Stop lying to the American people whether it is intentional or not. Admit that the homes they bought were not worth the amount set forth in the appraisal and not worth what the “lender” (who was no lender) “verified.” Through criminal, civil and/or administrative proceedings, get the facts and change the deals like any other fraud case. Nobody ever thought that returning a lady’s purse to her after a purse snatcher ran away with it was a gift. So why is anyone contesting returning the purse to homeowners who had their lives snatched from them?

Kansas S Ct Decision Annotation 2: Reversing Default

The point must be made, and the evidence must be allowed, that the pretender lenders are gaming the system every day and literally stealing homes from both homeowners and investors who thought they had an interest in those homes when they bought mortgage backed securities. This leaves the borrower in a position of financial double jeopardy wherein the true owner of the loan can still make a claim and the investor is simply out of luck — usually have been misinformed about the payments or status of the pool of assets the investor bought into.

From Landmark v Kesler — see entire decision: kansas-supreme-court-sets-precedent-key-decision-confirming-livinglies-strategies

“6. It is appropriate for a trial court to consider evidence beyond the bare pleadings to determine whether it should set aside a default judgment. In a motion to set aside default, a trial court should consider a variety of factors to determine whether the defendant or would-be defendant had a meritorious defense, and the burden of establishing a meritorious defense rests with the moving party.
7. Relief under K.S.A. 60-255(b) is appropriate only upon a showing that if relief is granted the outcome of the suit may be different than if the entry of default or the default judgment is allowed to stand; the showing should underscore the potential injustice of allowing the case to be disposed of by default. In most cases the court will require the party in default to demonstrate a meritorious defense to the action as a prerequisite to vacating the default entry or judgment. The nature and extent of the showing that will be necessary lie within the trial court’s discretion.”

A highly important finding in this decision and affecting those whose homes have already been subject to a foreclosure sale, judgment or eviction (unlawful detainer) proceeding. In most cases these proceedings have resulted in actions taken by the parties upon the default of the alleged borrower. The default occurs when the borrower fails to answer in a judicial state or fails to file a lawsuit in a non-judicial state. The first time the matter comes before a court is when the foreclosing party files something in court — like an eviction action or petition for writ of possession. The mistake that courts are making at the trial court level is that they are treating the matter as though it has been judicially concluded, as if there was a hearing or trial where the parties were heard on the merits. This is simply not the case.

Judges must come to the realization that this is not the end of the matter — it is the beginning. And they should consider any motion directed to the merits of the would-be forecloser’s claim and the defenses of the homeowner. And unlike a motion to dismiss, where there will be plenty of time to consider factual matters later, the motion to set aside the sale, foreclosure judgment, notice of default, notice of sale, or judgment of unlawful detainer or eviction is a final determination of the merits — most often without hearing one shred of evidence offered or proffered by the homeowner. In fact, there are numerous cases where the trial judge abruptly and even rudely silenced the lawyer or pro se litigant saying that this was a simple matter of eviction (or whatever the motion was pending) and this is not an evidentiary hearing. Other Judges see the inherent unfairness and the denial of due process when the homeowner raises objections that the pretender lender had no right to foreclose, did so improperly and essentially stole the title abusing state process and creating a fraud upon the court and everyone else. But the application of this approach has been inconsistent and uneven.

While we have seen numerous cases turned on their head where a homeowner has been restored to possession of the house, and even clear title awarded to the homeowner thus blocking any future foreclosure, we have seen many other cases where Judges are still viewing these cases as dead beat borrowers trying to game the system.

The point must be made, and the evidence must be allowed, that the pretender lenders are gaming the system every day and literally stealing homes from both homeowners and investors who thought they had an interest in those homes when they bought mortgage backed securities. This leaves the borrower in a position of financial double jeopardy wherein the true owner of the loan can still make a claim and the investor is simply out of luck — usually have been misinformed about the payments or status of the pool of assets the investor bought into.

“How do I prove that?” is the usual question. You don’t prove it you ask it. After performing a forensic review, hopefully by an independent expert, you present allegations and evidence that upon the best information you have, you believe the loan was securitized and that the owner of the loan is not the party who brought the action. You offer further your belief that the loan might have been paid or transferred by reason of federal bailout or insurance or credit default swaps, and that this pretender lender refuses to answer the questions put to them in the qualified written request and debt validation letter.

Since the QWR and DVL are statutory letters giving rise to an obligation to answer and resolve the issue, and the pretender lender is already in violation, the only answer the pretender lender could have to avoid sanction for failing to conform to statute is to say they are not a lender and therefore they don’t have any obligation to answer. This of course knocks them out of the position of would-be forecloser. If the pretender lender simply fails to comply, then your position is that no creditor can seek to collect on a debt without proving the debt is due. Since you have asked for a full accounting of the chain of title on the loan and the money received from all parties, not just the borrower, it is impossible to state how much of the obligation is due and to whom it is owed.

Thus the answer is that you allege the facts, you present probable cause (forensic review) for your allegations and then enter the discovery phase in which you press the pretender lender into eventually taking the position that they don’t need care, custody or control over the note or loan. They will take the position that they have the bare right to enforce the note and mortgage with or without the proper documentation. Most judges won’t buy that.

By the way, a simple and deadly question to ask the pretender lender in litigation is whether they have complete decision-making authority to modify the loan. You’ll be killing several birds with one stone when answer or refuse to answer that question — especially in California where there is an obligation on the part of the lender to have a modification program in place. The current programs in place are from servicers, not lenders.


Give me a little help here: Trusts, REMICs, and the Authority of the Trustee or Trustee’s Attorney to Represent

When U.S. Bank comes in as Trustee for the the holders of series xyz etc., the use of the words Trustee and series certificates give it an air of legitimacy. But this is probably just another bluff. Reading the indenture on the bond (mortgage backed security) and the prospectus, you will see that the “Trust” may or may not be the the Special Purpose Vehicle that issued the bonds.

And of course I remind you that the “borrower” (whom I call an “issuer” for reason explained in other posts) signed a note with one set of terms and the source of funding, the investor received a bond with another set of terms (and parties) who in turn received some sort of transmittal delivery or conveyance of a pool of “assets” from a pool trustee or other third party who obtained the “assets” under an entirely different set of terms (and parties) including a buy back provision which would appear to negate the entire concept of any unconditional “assignment” (a primary condition for negotiability being the absence of conditions and the certainty that the instrument sets forth all obligations without any “off-record” activity creating a condition on payment).

In short, we have a series of independent contracts that are part of a common scheme to issue unregulated securities under false pretenses making the “borrower” and the “investor” both victims and making the “borrower” an unknowing issuer of an instrument that was intended to be used as a negotiable instrument and sold as as a security.

One of the more interesting questions raised by another reader is this issue of trusts. care to comment on the following? I’ll make it an article and post it. Send it to me at ngarfield@msn.com. Want to be a guest on the podcast show? Submit an article that gets posted.

1. What is a trust? How is it defined? How is it established for legal existence? Does it need to be registered or recorded anywhere?
2. Can a trust legally exist if it is unfunded? (If there is nothing in the trust to administer, is there a trust?)
3. What are the powers of the Trustee of an unfunded trust? Can a Trustee claim apparent or actual authority to represent the holders of bonds (mortgage backed securities) issued by a Special Purpose Vehicle — as an agent? as a trustee? Again what are the “Trustee’s” (agent?) powers?
4. Who can be a Trustee.
5. Can a financial services entity otherwise qualified to do business in the state claim to be an institutional trustee?
6. Can a financial services entity that does not qualify to do business in the state, not chartered or licensed do business as a bank? a lender? a securities issuer? a trustee? a trust company?
7. If the mortgage backed securities (bonds) are sold to investors what asset or res can be arguably in the trust?
8. If the mortgage backed securities (bonds) contain an indenture that purports to convey a pro rata share of the mortgages and notes in a pool to the owner of the certificate of mortgage backed security (bond) what asset or res can be arguably in the trust?
9. If the Special Purpose Vehicle has filed with the IRS as a REMIC conduit (see below) then how it own anything since by definition it is a conduit and must act as a conduit or else it loses tax exempt status and subjects itself to income and capital gains taxes?

FROM WIKOPEDIA:

Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits, or “REMICs,” are a type of special purpose vehicle used for the pooling of mortgage loans and issuance of mortgage-backed securities. They are defined under the United States Internal Revenue Code (Tax Reform Act of 1986), and are the typical vehicle of choice for the securitization of residential mortgages in the US.

REMIC usage

REMICs are investment vehicles that hold commercial and residential mortgages in trust and issue securities representing an undivided interest in these mortgages. A REMIC assembles mortgages into pools and issues pass-through certificates, multiclass bonds similar to a collateralized mortgage obligation (CMO), or other securities to investors in the secondary mortgage market. Mortgage-backed securities issued through a REMIC can be debt financings of the issuer or a sale of assets. Legal form is irrelevant to REMICs: trusts, corporations, and partnerships may all elect to have REMIC status, and even pools of assets that are not legal entities may qualify as REMICs.[2]

The Tax Reform Act eliminated the double taxation of income earned at the corporate level by an issuer and dividends paid to securities holders, thereby allowing a REMIC to structure a mortgage-backed securities offering as a sale of assets, effectively removing the loans from the originating lender’s balance sheet, rather than a debt financing in which the loans remain as balance sheet assets. A REMIC itself is exempt from federal taxes, although income earned by investors is fully taxable. As REMICs are typically exempt from tax at the entity level, they may invest only in qualified mortgages and permitted investments, including single family or multifamily mortgages, commercial mortgages, second mortgages, mortgage participations, and federal agency pass-through securities. Nonmortgage assets, such as credit card receivables, leases, and auto loans are ineligible investments. The Tax Reform Act made it easier for savings institutions and real estate investment trusts to hold mortgage securities as qualified portfolio investments. A savings institution, for instance, can include REMIC-issued mortgage-backed securities as qualifying assets in meeting federal requirements for treatment as a savings and loan for tax purposes.

To qualify as a REMIC, an entity or pool of assets must make a REMIC election, follow certain rules as to composition of assets (by holding qualified mortgages and permitted investments), adopt reasonable methods to prevent disqualified organizations from holding its residual interests, and structure investors’ interests as any number of classes of regular interests and one –- and only one -– class of residual interests.[3] The Internal Revenue Code does not appear to require REMICs to have a class of regular interests.[4]

Qualified mortgages

Qualified mortgages encompass several types of obligations and interests. Qualified mortgages are defined as “(1) any obligation (including any participation or certificate of beneficial ownership therein) which is principally secured by an interest in real property, and is either transferred to the REMIC on the startup day in exchange for regular or residual interests, or purchased within three months after the startup day pursuant to a fixed-price contract in effect on the startup day, (2) any regular interest in another REMIC which is transferred to the REMIC on the startup day in exchange for regular or residual interests in the REMIC, (3) any qualified replacement mortgage, or (4) certain FASIT regular interests.”[5] In (1), “obligation” is ambiguous; a broad reading would include contract claims but a narrower reading would involve only what would qualify as “debt obligations” under the Code.[6] The IRC defines “principally secured” as either having “substantially all of the proceeds of the obligation . . . used to acquire or to improve or protect an interest in real property that, at the origination date, is the only security for the obligation” or having a fair market value of the interest that secures the obligation be at least 80% of the adjusted issue price (usually the amount that is loaned to the mortgagor)[7] or be at least that amount when contributed to the REMIC.[8]

Permitted investments

Permitted investments include cash flow investments, qualified reserve assets, and foreclosure property.

Cash flow investments are temporary investments in passive assets that earn interest (as opposed to accruing dividends, for example) of the payments on qualified mortgages that occur between the time that the REMIC receives the payments and the REMIC’s distribution of that money to its holders.[9] Qualifying payments include mortgage payments of principal or interest, payments on credit enhancement contracts, profits from disposing of mortgages, funds from foreclosure properties, payments for warranty breaches on mortgages, and prepayment penalties.[10]

Qualified reserve assets are forms of intangible property other than residual interests in REMICs that are held as investments as part of a qualified reserve fund, which “is any reasonably required reserve to provide for full payment of” a REMIC’s costs or payments to interest holders due to default, unexpectedly low returns, or deficits in interest from prepayments.[11] REMICs usually opt for safe, short term investments with low yields, so it is typically desirable to minimize the reserve fund while maintaining “the desired credit quality for the REMIC interests.”[12]

Foreclosure property is real property that REMICs obtain upon defaults. After obtaining foreclosure properties, REMICs have until the end of the third year to dispose of them, although the IRS sometimes grants extensions.[13] Foreclosure property loses its status if a lease creates certain kinds of rent income, if construction activities that did not begin before the REMIC acquired the property are undertaken, or if the REMIC uses the property in a trade or business without the use of an independent contractor and over 90 days after acquiring it.[14]

Regular interests

It is useful to think of regular interests as resembling debt; they tend to have lower risk with a corresponding lower yield. Regular interests are taxed as debt.[15] A regular interest must be designated as such, be issued on the startup day, contain fixed terms, provide for interest payments and how they are payable, and unconditionally entitle the holder of the interest to receive a specific amount of the principal.[16] Profits are taxed to holders.

Residual interests

Residual interests tend to involve ownership and resemble equity more than debt. However, residual interests may be neither debt nor equity. “For example, if a REMIC is a segregated pool of assets within a legal entity, the residual interest could consist of (1) the rights of ownership of the REMIC’s assets, subject to the claims of regular interest holders, or (2) if the regular interests take the form of debt secured under an indenture, a contractual right to receive distributions released from the lien of the indenture.”[17] The risk is greater, as residual interest holders are the last to be paid, but the potential gains are greater. Residual interests must be designated as such, be issued on the startup day, and not be a regular interest (which it can effortlessly avoid by not being designated as a regular interest). If the REMIC makes a distribution to residual interest holders, it must be pro rata; the pro rata requirement simplifies matters because it usually prevents a residual class from being treated as multiple classes, which could disqualify the REMIC.[18]

Forms

A REMIC can issue mortgage securities in a wide variety of forms: securities collateralized by Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) pass-through certificates, whole loans, single class participation certificates and multiclass mortgage-backed securities; multiple class pass-through securities and multiclass mortgage-backed securities; multiple class pass-through securities with fast-pay or slow-pay features; securities with a subordinated debt tranche that assumes most of the default risk, allowing the issuer to get a better credit rating; and Collateralized Mortgage Obligations with monthly pass-through of bond interest, eliminating reinvestment risk by giving investors call protection against early repayment.

The advantages of REMICs

REMICs abolish many of the inefficiencies of collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs) and offer issuers more options and greater flexibility..[19] REMICs have no minimum equity requirements, so REMICs can sell all of their assets rather than retain some to meet collateralization requirements. Since regular interests automatically qualify as debt, REMICs also avoid the awkward reinvestment risk that CMO issuers bear to indicate debt. REMICs also may make monthly distributions to investors where CMOs make quarterly payments. REMIC residual interests enjoy more liquidity than owner’s trusts, which restrict equity interest and personal liability transfers. REMICs offer more flexibility than CMOs, as issuers can choose any legal entity and type of securities. The REMIC’s multiple-class capabilities also permit issuers to offer different servicing priorities along with varying maturity dates, lowering default risks and reducing the need for credit enhancement.[20] REMICs are also fairly user-friendly, as the REMIC election is not difficult, and the extensive guidance in the Code and in the regulations offers “a high degree of certainty with respect to tax treatment that may not be available for other types of MBSs.”[21]

The limitations of REMICs

Though REMICs provide relief from entity-level taxation, their allowable activities are quite limited “to holding a fixed pool of mortgages and distributing payments currently to investors.”[22] A REMIC has some freedom to substitute qualified mortgages, declare bankruptcy, deal with foreclosures and defaults, dispose of and substitute defunct mortgages, prevent defaults on regular interests, prepay regular interests when the costs exceed the value of maintaining those interests,[23] and undergo a qualified liquidation,[24] in which the REMIC has 90 days to sell its assets and distribute cash to its holders.[25] All other transactions are considered to be prohibited activities and are subject to a penalty tax of 100%,[26] as are all nonqualifying contributions.

To avoid the 100% contributions tax, contributions to REMICs must be made on the startup day. However, cash contributions avoid this tax if they are given three months after the startup day, involve a clean-up call or qualified liquidation, are made as a guarantee, or are contributed by a residual interest holder to a qualified reserve fund.[27] Additionally, states may tax REMICs under state tax laws.[28] “Many states have adopted whole or partial tax exemptions for entities that qualify as REMICs under federal law.”[29]

REMICs are subject to federal income taxes at the highest corporate rate for foreclosure income and must file returns through Form 1066.[30] The foreclosure income that is taxable is the same as that for a real estate investment trust (REIT)[31] and may include rents contingent on making a profit, rents paid by a related party, rents from property to which the REMIC offers atypical services, and income from foreclosed property when the REMIC serves as dealer.[32]

The REMIC rules in some ways exacerbate problems of phantom income for residual interest holders, which occurs when taxable gain must be realized without a corresponding economic gain with which to pay the tax.[33] Phantom income arises by virtue of the way that the tax rules are written. There are penalties for transferring income to non-taxpayers, so REMIC interest holders must pay taxes on gains that they do not yet have.

Wells Fargo Steps on A Rake (We Hope) — EGGS — a New Country

And when that rakes hits them in the head, it will hopefully start a domino effect with the rest of the pretender lenders. OH Sup Ct – Wells Fargo Appeal

WF has decided to go for the brass ring by bringing an appeal from a case they lost. What they are saying to the Ohio Supreme Court is that if the borrower doesn’t raise the issue of “who owns the loan” early enough, they have waived it. They are also saying that when they finally record the assignment documents should have no effect on who can enforce the note and mortgage. Lastly, and most importantly they are really saying “this is the way we do things now and the courts must conform to industry practice even if it leads to unjust, inequitable, foul results.”All of this would have been considered a bad joke on a law school exam deserving an “F” for failure to have absorbed even the the most basic elements of Black Letter Law or even common decency. Now it is being treated as a real issue.

TRANSLATION: WF wants the Ohio Supreme Court to rule that ANYONE in the securitization chain can enforce the note and mortgage and that the effect on the marketability of title to the property and the clouding of title should be ignored. And they are saying they can do that without notifying, serving or suing anyone else in the securitization chain — even though WF never funded the loan, doesn’t have a dime in the deal and basically is using procedural devices the steal homes from unwary homeowners who do not have the legal expertise or access to to lawyers with sufficient understanding of securitization to oppose the obviously unfair and unjust result.

When we started this blog we predicted that the entire issue, in legal circles, would come down to whether the pretender lenders were successful in getting the courts to see only the individual transactions, rather than all the transactions in the securitization chain taken as a whole. In legal theory this is known as the single transaction doctrine or the step transaction doctrine. The basic test is whether the deal would have ever happened if all the parties knew what was going on. The answer is clearly “NO!”

  • Would an investor have knowingly invested cash into a pool where the loans were based upon obviously inflated property values that could not, would not and did not withstand the test of time (even a few weeks in some cases), NINJA (no income, no job, no assets, no problem) or were subprime borrowers with credit histories that were questionable?
  • Would investors have funded $800,000 for a bond (mortgage-backed security) where the proceeds were to be used for funding a $300,000 mortgage and the rest was kept for fees and profits? Who would buy something for investment where the moment they executed the paperwork they were taking a 60% loss? Never mind the fact that on the secondary market the bonds are selling for $.01-$.03 cents on the dollar. So what does that mean? They are either worthless, unenforceable or both. The mortgage and the note have been “separated” unlike what you have always heard about mortgages following notes and vice versa….the legal consequences of securitization are this…the note is at best unsecured and worst ….for the investor unenforceable.
  • Would borrowers have signed papers and put up their home for collateral if they knew about the inflated home values when they were depending upon the appraisers who were hired by the lenders?
  • Would investors have signed papers and put up the cash for the securitization chain if they knew about inflated securities values, bogus AAA ratings and security quality when they were depending upon rating agencies that were hired by investment banks who were the issuers of the bonds and insurance policies from companies insuring the potential default of the mortgages backing the cash flows that provided the return on the securities without  insufficient assets to cover the liability to pay in the event of a claim?
  • Would borrowers have signed papers knowing that the profit being made by intermediaries was as much or more than the amount of their loan? Obviously not.
  • How many borrowers would have knowingly signed papers and moved into a house from which it was certain they would be evicted? because the “lender” knew or should have know that mortgage would default with the first adjustment in payment…
  • This all occurred because Wall Street and all the intermediaries, banks, mortgage originators, mortgage brokers etc. kept the investor and the borrower from ever meeting or even knowing they existed.

Even if this tricky theory of WF was to be accepted arguendo, in order to have a complete adjudicate of all rights and obligations and in order to clear title and present a certificate of title that was marketable (not subject to being later overturned by claims of fraud on the court) ALL parties in the securitization scheme must be given notice and an opportunity to be heard. Just how well would some hedge fund like it if they received a notice from Wells Fargo or Countrywide or Ocwen or HSBC saying that there was a foreclosure going on, that the hedge fund was named as a defendant because their interest mortgages and notes they were told they had purchased were about to be extinguished and kept by an intermediary?

WF is trying to make the Ohio Supreme Court a party to fraud. Isn’t that why Countrywide was sued by Greenwich Financial et al? The investors were saying that Countrywide had no right to agree to short sales, modifications or anything else because the Hedge fund owned the loans not the servicer. This is not theoretical… it is actual. Why did “mortgage modifications” come to a halt last fall and early this year? Despite Obama and Financial Institution rehetoric about assisting homeowners and modifyin “millions of mortgages” the Greenwich vs. Countrywide suit “froze” all modifications because the parties, from servicers to “loan mod” companies claiming to assit borrowers have NO authority to modify the mortgage and would not act for fear of similar litigation. WF admits in its brief that the issue is multiple liability for the borrower because ANYONE in the securitization chain can sue, but says that doesn’t matter. Probably true. It doesn’t matter to these interlopers but it sure matters to the “borrower” and the “investor” (both of which could simply be regarded as VICTIMS). They are the only parties that stand to lose money or assets….READ: actually be damaged.

Of course the effect on title to the property is horrific. Think about it. You have a homeowner who is on the deed and upon foreclosure a certificate of title is issued to a party that was not named in the mortgage or deed of trust. You have a bondholder who has received a bond (mortgage backed security) listing the borrower and the security interest in the property as being conveyed to the investor. And it is all in the public record and public domain. You have a mortgage or deed of trust that when all the smoke and mirrors are cleared away says “we are going to pass the title around here to whomever we want and when we are good and ready we’ll tell you who has title.” So the notice of record declares that there will off-record transactions but that nobody can know until private parties declare the effect of those transactions. What they are advocating is the judicial act of ignoring the requirements of federal law, state law and common law.

Why don’t they just come out and say it like Dick Durbin, Senior Senator from Illinois said it “When it comes to banking, they own the the government.” They certainly used the government as their private bank account (TARP, Federal Bailout, U.S. Treasury bailout and credits, etc.). Why don’t we just come right out and say it — forget the constitution, forget the declaration of independence, forget the rule of law, forget federal legislation, executive agency rules, state laws and common law, we are now the Empire of Great Goldman Sachs.

And they are saying this is “industry practice” now. True, it IS industry practice and that is why the indsutry as a whole has put itself in the position of potential civil, administrative and criminal liability and sanctions. But up until the last few years any such practice would have have been properly condemned.

Everything is relative, a new “common industry practice” over a brief 5-10 years  is not what changes Black Letter Property Law, which for 200 plus years has been belonged to the states. Just because the banking industry quit crossing their T’s and dotting their I’s and devised a scheme, using their own proprietary, member based, electronic system(MERS) to avoid the various state and local taxes and fees dues states and counties for recording an interest in real property.

In a society of laws (not men) it is government that has the power to declare true title of record. It is only in a nation where we governed by the rule of privileged men instead of laws that we grant such powers to private entities and bind public branches of government to the edict of companies like MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems). EGGS seeks to complete its bloodless coup turning a republic into an oligopoly and unfortunately the Obama administration doesn’t seem to get it even though the citizens of this once great country see it clearly. If this doesn’t turn the rule of law on its head, I don’t know what does.

We can only hope that as these cases slowly move up the appellate process that all judges come to realize this is not an ideological issue it is a moral issue and a constitutional issue. We are under attack — even the people who don’t think they under attack. The most basic rights enunciated in the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are being siphoned away. This is no longer about the people who have lost their homes or the people who are in the process of losing their homes. This is about the clear and present danger that any of us could lose anything we have by edict from the rich and powerful. If the Courts go along with it, we are doomed as a nation, as a society and as hope for the world.

The genius’ on Wall Street forgot that we are dealing with REAL property here and more importantly REAL people…and families. When we talk about “Black Letter Law” we are not just talking about circa last 200 years adopted from the English Lords where the issue of “standing”  came from….Go back to your Bible and read the Old Testament Book of Ruth….even Boaz took off his shoe and had 10 elders in the town witness the legal transfer of interest in real property from Naomi’s heirs so there would be no “cloud on his title” or one might say today that he “perfected his interest” in that property.  Wells Fargo’s argument is that a group of us in the mortgage industry came up with our own set of rules a few years ago and in recent history(the last 10 years not the last 100 years) it kind of became industry practice so ….we expect the courts ….after the fact to adapt to OUR standard….yeah right. Talk about a weak argument….it would get you an “F” in Law school…consequently the American public knows it doesn’t hold water.

Judges are you listening?

Due Process, Discovery and Burden of Proof

Non-judicial process was never intended and could never be constitutionally applied as a mere trick to avoid due process. If these parties wish to initiate foreclosure they must, whether it is a judicial process or a judicial process, possess the attributes of the basic jurisdictional elements of standing and they must possess the attributes of being authorized to proceed by the true parties in interest i.e., the necessary and indispensable parties. The fact that a state allows non-judicial process does not grant carte blanche to any wily person or entity to try its hand at foreclosure and see if they get away with it.

If they are allowed to continue to raise defenses and make allegations without establishing the basic jurisdictional elements of legal standing and without establishing and disclosing the real parties in interest, then the entire case and all foreclosures are a mere charade, inviting any unscrupulous character to attempt to create color of title over the loan and the  foreclose on it.

“How do I prove that?” There are several answers. You know your loan has been securitized but the Judge doesn’t. And even if it has been securitized, how do you show that defeats the foreclosure? In this post I will answer these questions, which appear to be the most asked.

First, do NOT fall through the trap door of taking on the burden of proof. This is trickier in non-judicial states than judicial states but it is still possible to shift the burden of proof onto the pretender lenders if you do the right things and of course, if the Judge agrees with you. Remember these strategies presented here are valid in my judgment — but tactical, strategic and legal considerations by local licensed counsel trump anything I say here.  And for those of you considering class actions, which appear to be popping up all over the country, leave the door open to “fraud on the market.” By its very nature it is ipso facto a class action and eliminates many hurdles.

In all cases, I strongly recommend a forensic review with all four legs of the stool, lest you tip over and fall on your ass. The TILA audit is not only not enough, it is incomplete without considering inflated appraisals, UCC, SEC and chain of title. Without ALL elements present you can’t allege the right things that will enable you to argue that the right to rescind never started running because they withheld the identity of the real lender. Without the securitization information, you can’t allege that the opposing party is a pretender lender. Without the chain of title information you can’t allege that your rescission is effective and that off-record unreported fees and profits were earned. Without the inflated appraisal, you can’t allege that the APR on the good faith estimate is not only wrong, it is fraudulent diverting the borrower’s attention from what is clearly a usurious loan.

And the forensic review process should INCLUDE the debt validation letter (DVL), the  Qualified Written Request (QWR) and probably a notice of rescission under the three-day rule even if the closing was years ago. The good news is that with the QWR there is no restriction on the number of questions you can ask, there is a statutory duty to answer it and you can get a TRO just based upon the fact that RESPA has been invoked.

I strongly advise that you retain a firm with a subscription to ABSnet that renders a separate and independent report on the loans of the specific class representatives so that you can produce, in court, copies of public records documents in the public domain that are subject to judicial notice to create the presumption that these defendants can’t possibly own the note. By doing this, when asked about these specific loans rather than the way things work generally, you can say that these loans definitely did operate in the usual way, that you have copies of the public records to show, and that if the facts are any different it is only because the defendants did not properly report their activities to the SEC or have otherwise failed to answer basic questions of the borrowers like “who is my lender?”

Don’t leave an issue floating which is central to the entire securitization defense and offense: that it isn’t so much whether they will suffer a loss for each foreclosure, but rather that they stand to lose nothing and gain everything. One of the following is true:

1. They don’t own the note and they have no authority to enforce the note or mortgage because they are not named on it and they have not been given express authority by the holders of the the note and mortgage along with indemnification for all costs, expenses, and claims.
2. They don’t own the note and they have authority to enforce the note or mortgage because they have been given express authority by the holders of the the note and mortgage along with indemnification for all costs, expenses, and claims.

Either way they don’t own the note. By definition that is what securitization means. The reason for the procedure invoking limited discovery is to force these parties to either put up or shut up. Non-judicial process was never intended and could never be constitutionally applied as a mere trick to avoid due process. If these parties wish to initiate foreclosure they must, whether it is a judicial process or a judicial process, possess the attributes of the basic jurisdictional elements of standing and they must possess the attributes of being authorized to proceed by the true parties in interest i.e., the necessary and indispensable parties. The fact that a state allows non-judicial process does not grant carte blanche to any wily person or entity to try its hand at foreclosure and see if they get away with it.

Whether you started in non-judicial or judicial forum, you are in court now. The pretender lenders wish to defend the against the borrowers’ claims. They have no standing to defend except as nominal parties unless they can show they have legal standing and that the necessary and indispensable parties are present, disclosed and accounted for in this action. Defendants seek to divert the court’s attention from the most basic elements of due process and fairness when they allege the “loss” they will suffer as “lenders.” They are not lenders. That is the point of the lawsuit. If they are allowed to continue to raise defenses and make allegations without establishing the basic jurisdictional elements of legal standing and without establishing and disclosing the real parties in interest, then the entire case and all foreclosures are a mere charade, inviting any unscrupulous character to attempt to create color of title over the loan and the  foreclose on it.

Each day these defendants (pretender lenders) are allowed to proceed under cover of plausible deniability is another day in which the title of Plaintiffs/Borrowers will be further clouded by further off-record activity that will become on-record when they choose to do so, all in transactions conducted under cloak of secrecy and deception. The situation is bad enough without allowing these defendants (pretender lenders) to make this court complicit in their fraudulent claims, resulting in clouded and unmarketable title.

Media picks up on evil business practices of servicers: Watch These Videos

HOMEOWNER FIGHTS AND WINS WITH ACORN: watch

HOMEOWNER FIGHTS AND WINS ON PRODUCE THE NOTE: watch

BLACKMAIL: NO LATE PAYMENTS? NO PROBLEM. GET OUT!: watch

PRODUCE THE NOTE: WHEN THE BANK LOST OR DESTROYED THE EVIDENCE: watch

“EVERYONE SHOULD PUT THE ‘LENDER’ TO TASK”: watch

Servicers do everything they can to keep loans in default, make money on foreclosures too: watch

FED BAILOUT BUYING DEFAULTED LOANS? Why servicers try to force homeowners into foreclosures: watch

I WANT SOME TARP — THEY’RE GIVING MONEY AWAY FOR FREE: watch

CHILLING PARODY: watch

TAKE YOUR COUNTRY BACK: I WANT MY BAILOUT MONEY RAP: watch

“THE MOST IMPORTANT VIDEO ON THE INTERNET”:  watch

Former EMC Employee Publicly Discloses the Ugly Truth About the Mortgage Servicing Industry: See comments to this blog
By Denise Richardson on July 11, 2008 10:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

The Consumer Warning Network released a stunning video that has a former EMC employee reciting an inside story that paints a picture of why so many people can’t get their loan out of default and why some people lost homes even though they had the money to pay off their note. Investigative studies, insiders and victims -have claimed that mortgage servicing companies can make MORE money off of homeowners when they keep your loan in default.

“the media has failed to tell the full story” says Danny Schechter, producer and director of In Debt We Trust and the ‘News Dissector” from mediachannel.org. See: Bringing the Wall Street Crisis to Main Street!

Professor Katherine Porter described many of the same disturbing findings in her recent study: “Misbehavoir and Mistakes…”

To watch her on CNN see: Are you facing an Unfair Foreclosure?

Professor Porter was also a guest on our weekly radio show SpotLight.

During that interview we discussed her findings that additionally indicated the mortgage servicing industry has zero regulations. In fact, the system currently in place for servicing companies is set up in such a way that it actually gives servicing companies an incentive not to communicate with the borrower and then make more money by collecting late fees and penalties -much like this insider’s story.

 

EMC

 

Time to Write to Obama, Senators and Congressman

Many Thanks to Ron Ryan, Esq. representing the Tucson Bankruptcy Bar for the submission below:

Editor’s Note: Obama wasn’t kidding when he he said the thing that humbled or frustrated him the most was how slow Washington is to “get on board.” Dick Durbin had the class and guts to say it outright. The banks own the city — and we the taxpayers gave them the money. WHERE IS YOUR OUTRAGE AND WHY ARE YOU NOT EXPRESSING IT?

The Troubled Asset Relief Program money went to bank holding companies that were (a) not holding any troubled assets and (b) not lenders.  While we can and should cut Obama some slack because this was Bush-Paulson policy, to quote his own words back to him “We Can’t Wait!” The vote on amending the bankruptcy showed just how much of a strangleghold the banks have on Washington. The oligopoly that controls our government is driving us into another ditch, this time worse than the one we just visited at the end of the Bush term.

The code was amended by Republican majority with the aid of Democrats to basically say that you can reduce the principal on,loans on 2nd, third, fourth, fifth and sixth residences but not on your first and only residence.  So the wealthy, the speculators and other people who essentially DON’T need the relief have it while 20 million homeowners are eating crow. This crisis was spawned and promoted by appraisal fraud at both ends of the spectrum — lying to the borrower about the value of the house and lying to the investor about the value of his investment. We are helping the liars.The recipients of taxpayer lenders are neither lenders nor holders of toxic assets.

Federal Policy and Federal Money should be first aimed at stabilizing the free fall of people who have lost all their wealth in the middle and lower “classes” and second at making some sort of restitution to the investors who lost all their money. (MBS securities are said to be trading thinly at 3 cents on the dollar). Current policy and programs continue the MYTH that the intermediaries who are foreclosing, collecting, or modifying loans have any legal right to do so. They don’t. And if the reality doesn’t sink in, then  the eventual remedy is going to be that 20 million homeowners are going to be sitting in homes that have no mortgage or note and the investors are left eating crow. It is inevitable that the judicial outcome is the elimination of virtually all securitized mortgages and the reversal of virtually all foreclosures of securitized debt.

From Ron Ryan and Tucson BKR Bar:

Log on to the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Lawyer to read more and with one click send a letter to your Senators and the President. NACBA has been a major lobbyist in favor of this amendment for over two years. When you write Obama, you might want to add a little bit about how he needs to use his muscle and insist on the Senators passing measures he is in favor of. It doesn’t seem that he has done much arm twisting, and it will be necessary if he wants to get anything done. http://www.nacba.com/. Also, here is the mailing address and fax number for the President:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
via fax 202-456-2461

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