Who Has the Power to Execute a Satisfaction and Release of Mortgage?

 The answer to that question is that probably nobody has the right to execute a satisfaction of mortgage. That is why the mortgage deed needs to be nullified. In the typical situation the money was taken from investors and instead of using it to fund the REMIC trust, the broker-dealer used it as their own money and funded the origination or acquisition of loans that did not qualify under the terms proposed in the prospectus given to investors. Since the money came from investors either way (regardless of whether their money was put into the trust) the creditor is that group of investors. Instead, neither the investors or even the originator received the original note at the “closing” because neither one had any legal interest in the note. Thus neither one had any interest in the mortgage despite the fact that the nominee at closing was named as “lender.”

This is why so many cases get settled after the borrower aggressively seeks discovery.

The name of the lender on the note and the mortgage was often some other entity used as a bankruptcy remote vehicle for the broker-dealer, who for purposes of trading and insurance represented themselves to be the owner of the loans and mortgage bonds that purportedly derive their value from the loans. Neither representation was true. And the execution of fabricated, forged and unauthorized assignments or endorsements does not mean that there is any underlying business transaction with offer, acceptance and consideration. Hence, when a Court order is entered requiring that the parties claiming rights under the note and mortgage prove their claim by showing the money trail, the case is dropped or settled under seal of confidentiality.

The essential problem for enforcement of a note and mortgage in this scenario is that there are two deals, not one. In the first deal the investors agreed to lend money based upon a promise to pay from a trust that was never funded, has no assets and has no income. In the second deal the borrower promises to pay an entity that never loaned any money, which means that they were not the lender and should not have been put on the mortgage or note.

Since the originator is an agent of the broker-dealer who was not acting within the course and scope of their relationship with the investors, it cannot be said that the originator was a nominee for the investors. It isn’t legal either. TILA requires disclosure of all parties to the deal and all compensation. The two deals were never combined at either level. The investor/lenders were never made privy to the real terms of the mortgages that violated the terms of the prospectus and the borrower was not privy to the terms of repayment from the Trust to the investors and all the fees that went with the creation of multiple co-obligors where there had only been one in the borrower’s “closing.”.

The identity of the lender was intentionally obfuscated. The identity of the borrower was also intentionally obfuscated. Neither party would have completed the deal in most cases if they had actually known what was going on. The lender would have objected not only to the underwriting standards but also because their interest was not protected by a note and mortgage. The borrower  would have been alerted to the fact that huge fees were being taken along the false securitization trail. The purpose of TILA is to avoid that scenario, to wit: borrower should have a choice as to the parties with whom he does business. Those high feelings would have alerted the borrower to seek an alternative loan elsewhere with less interest and greater security of title —  or not do the deal at all because the loan should never have been underwritten or approved.

Discovery and Due Process in California

I produced a memorandum as an expert witness and consultant in litigation support for a lawyer in California that after re-reading it, I think would be helpful in all foreclosure litigation. I have excerpted paragraphs from the memo and I present here for your use.

Plaintiff/Appellant has pre-empted the opposing parties with a lawsuit that seeks to determine with finality the status and ownership of her loan. She has received, in and out of court, conflicting answers to her questions. The Defendant/Appellees continue to stonewall her attempt to get simple answers to simple questions — to whom does she owe money and how much money does she owe after all appropriate credits from payments received by the creditor on her mortgage loan.

 

She does not take the position that money is not owed to anyone. She asserts that the opposing parties to this litigation are unable and unwilling to provide any actual transaction information in which the subject loan was originated, transferred or acquired. If she is right none of them can issue a satisfaction and release of mortgage without further complicating a tortuous chain of title — and none of them had any right to collect any money from her. A natural question arising out of this that Plaintiff/Appellant seeks to answer is who is the creditor and have they been paid? If they have been paid or their agents have been paid, how much were they paid and on what terms if the payments were from third parties who were strangers to the original loan contract between the Plaintiff/Appellant and the apparent originator.

 

She asserts that based upon the limited information available to her that the original debt that arose (by operation of law) when she received the benefits of a loan was mischaracterized from the beginning, and has changed steadily over time. She asserts that the “originator” was a sham nominee and the closing documents were both misrepresented as to the identity of the lender, and incomplete because of the failure to disclose the real terms of a loan that at best would be described as partially represented on a promissory note and partially represented on a certificated or uncertificated “mortgage bond.”

 

Neither the actual lender/investors nor the homeowner/borrower were parties to the contract for lending in which the Plaintiff/Appellant was a real party in interest.  And the homeowner/borrower in this case was not party to the promise to repay issued to the actual lenders (investors) who advanced the money. The investor/lenders were party to a bond indenture, prospectus and pooling and servicing agreement, while the borrower was party to a promissory note and deed of trust. It is only by combining the two —- the bond and the note — that the full terms of the transaction emerge — something that the major banks seek to avoid at all costs.

 

When it suits them they characterize it as one cloud of related transactions in which there is a mysterious logic, and when it suits them otherwise they assert that the transactions and documents are not a cloud at all but rather a succession of unrelated individual transactions. Hence they can foreclose under the cloud theory, but under the theory of individual (step) transactions, they don’t have to account for the receipt of exorbitant compensation through tier 2 yield spread premiums, the receipt of insurance, servicer advances, credit default swaps, over-collateralization, cross collateralization, guarantees and other hedge contracts; under this theory they were not acting as agents for the investors (whom they had already defrauded) when they received payments from third parties who thought that the losses on the bonds and loans were losses of the banks — because those banks selling mortgage bonds, while serving as intermediaries, created the illusion that the trillions of dollars invested in mortgage bonds was actually owned equitably and legally by the banks.

 

Plaintiff/Appellant seeks to resolve this conflict with finality so she can move on with her life and property.

 

 If she is right, several debts arose out of the subject transaction and probably none of them were secured by a valid deed of trust or mortgage. If she is right the issues with her mortgage debt have been mitigated and she can settle that with finality and it is possible that she owes other parties on unsecured debts who made payments on account of this loan, by reason of contracts to which the Plaintiff/Appellant was not a party but which should have been disclosed in the initial loan contract. In simply lay language she wants an accounting from the real creditor who would lose money if they did not receive payment or credit toward the balance due on the loan for principal and interest.

 

If she is wrong, then the loan is merely one debt, secured by a valid deed of trust. But one wonders why the banks have steadfastly stonewalled any attempts to establish this as a simple fact by producing the actual record of transactions and passage of money exchanging hands in real transactions that support any appearance or presumption of validity of the documents that are being used by her opposition to claim the right to collect on the loan that she freely admits occurred. Why did the bank oppose her attempts at discovery before litigation and after litigation began?

 

If she is wrong and no third party payments were made, then the bookkeeping and accounting entries of the opposition would show that the loan was posted as loan receivable, with an appropriate reserve for default on the balance sheet, and there would be an absence of any documentation showing transfer or attempted transfer of the loan to a party who actually was the source of funds for the origination or acquisition of the loan. The same books and records would show an absence of any entries that reduce the balance due on the loan. And the loan file correspondence of the opposition would not have any reference to fees earned for servicing the loan on behalf of a third party and the income statement would have no underlying bookkeeping entries for receiving fees for acting as the lender, acting as the servicer or acting as a trustee.

 

In some ways this is an ordinary case regarding a deprivation of due process in connection with the potential forfeiture of property and present denial of access to the courts. She is left with both an inability to determine the status of her title, whether it is superior to any claim of encumbrance from the recorded deed of trust, the status of the ownership of her loan where she could obtain a satisfaction of mortgage from a party who either was the creditor or properly represented the creditor, or whether her existing claims evolve into other claims under tort or contract — i.e., a consequent forfeiture of potential claims against the Appellant’s opposing party. For example, by denying the Plaintiff/Appellant’s motions to compel discovery, Plaintiff/Appellant was denied access to information that would have either settled the matter or provided Plaintiff/Appellant with the information with which to prove her existing claims and would most likely have revealed further causes of action. The information concerning the ownership status of her loan, and the true balance of her loan is essentially the gravamen of her claim.

 

But if, as she suspects and has alleged, the parties purporting to be the lender or successor to the lender have engaged in no actual transactions in which the loan was originated or acquired, then the claims and documents upon which her opposition relies, are obviously a sham. This in turn prevents her from being able to contact her real lender for satisfaction, refinance, or modification of her loan under any factual scenario — because the parties with whom she is dealing are intentionally withholding information that would enable her to do so. Hence their claims and documents would constitute the basis for slander of title if she is right about the actual status and balance of her loan.

 

Her point is not that this Court should award her a judgment — but only the opportunity to complete discovery that would act as the foundation fro introduction of appropriate testimony and evidence proving her case. The trial court below essentially acted in conflict with itself. While upholding her claims as being sufficient to state causes of action, it denied her the ability to conduct full discovery to prove her claim.

 

Hagar v. Reclamation Dist., 111 U.S. 701, 708 (1884). “Due process of law is [process which], following the forms of law, is appropriate to the case and just to the parties affected. It must be pursued in the ordinary mode prescribed by law; it must be adapted to the end to be attained; and whenever necessary to the protection of the parties, it must give them an opportunity to be heard respecting the justice of the judgment sought. Any legal proceeding enforced by public authority, whether sanctioned by age or custom or newly devised in the discretion of the legislative power, which regards and preserves these principles of liberty and justice, must be held to be due process of law.” Id. at 708; Accord, Hurtado v. California, 110 U.S. 516, 537 (1884).

685 Twining v. New Jersey, 211 U.S. 78, 101 (1908); Brown v. New Jersey, 175 U.S. 172, 175 (1899). “A process of law, which is not otherwise forbidden, must be taken to be due process of law, if it can show the sanction of settled usage both in England and this country.” Hurtado v. California, 110 U.S. at 529.

686 Twining, 211 U.S. at 101.

687 Hurtado v. California, 110 U.S. 516, 529 (1884); Brown v. New Jersey, 175 U.S. 172, 175 (1899); Anderson Nat’l Bank v. Luckett, 321 U.S. 233, 244 (1944).

Non-Judicial Proceedings.—A court proceeding is not a requisite of due process.688 Administrative and executive proceedings are not judicial, yet they may satisfy the due process clause.689 Moreover, the due process clause does not require de novo judicial review of the factual conclusions of state regulatory agencies,690 and may not require judicial review at all.691 Nor does the Fourteenth Amendment prohibit a State from conferring judicial functions upon non-judicial bodies, or from delegating powers to a court that are legislative in nature.692 Further, it is up to a State to determine to what extent its legislative, executive, and judicial powers should be kept distinct and separate.693

The Requirements of Due Process.—Although due process tolerates variances in procedure “appropriate to the nature of the case,”694 it is nonetheless possible to identify its core goals and requirements. First, “[p]rocedural due process rules are meant to protect persons not from the deprivation, but from the mistaken or unjustified deprivation of life, liberty, or property.”695 Thus, the required elements of due process are those that “minimize substantively unfair or mistaken deprivations” by enabling persons to contest the basis upon which a State proposes to deprive them of protected interests.696 The core of these requirements is notice and a hearing before an impartial tribunal. Due process may also require an opportunity for confrontation and cross-examination, and for discovery; that a decision be made based on the record, and that a party be allowed to be represented by counsel.

688 Ballard v. Hunter, 204 U.S. 241, 255 (1907); Palmer v. McMahon, 133 U.S. 660, 668 (1890).

 

PICK-A-PARTY — BOA – RED OAK – Countrywide Merger Revealed in all its “Glory”

Maybe now I will get something other than a blank look when I referred to anomalies in what appears to be the merger of Bank of America with Countrywide. For about 18 months now I have been saying that there is something wrong with that report, because the documents in the public domain show two things, to wit: first, that BAC was merely a name change for Countrywide;  and second, it appears to be a merger between Red Oak Merger Corp. and Countrywide.  My conclusion was that Bank of America was claiming what it wanted depending upon the circumstances and disregarding the actual transactions. In fact, in various court actions ranging from foreclosures to investor and insurer lawsuits over bogus mortgage bonds, Bank of America was submitting documents referring to agreements that referred to fictional transactions.

This behavior should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following the actions and statements of the major banks throughout the financial crisis.  The various positions asserted by Bank of America in court actions around the country contradict each other and are obviously intended to mislead the court. It is for that reason that I have maintained the position that any benefit claimed by Bank of America by virtue of its alleged merger with Countrywide should be tested thoroughly in discovery.  Lawyers, judges and borrowers should stop assuming that if the bank says something it must be true. My position is that if a bank says something it probably is not true or it is misleading or both.

This is not merely some technical objection. This issue runs to the heart of our title system. There are many of us who are sending up warning flares. Judges, attorneys, title agents, and other experts have examined this issue and concluded that we are headed for a crash of the recording system that will undermine the title and priority of owners and lenders.

Thanks to one of my readers, I obtained the following quote and link which requires substantial study and analysis to see how this will impact any case in which  your opposition is Bank of America.

BAC is not just a “shareholder” of
Countrywide, as it argued to the Court at the outset of the case.
Then from Charles Koppa on the idiotic practice of allowing a controlled company or subsidiary be substituted for the trustee on the deed of trust on record — namely in this case Bank of America (AGAIN) who owns and controls Recontrust. SO in this case, like nearly all of the non-judicial situations, pick-a-party: the beneficiary on the deed of trust vanishes and is replaced with a “new beneficiary” by fiat more than anything in fact. Then the new beneficiary effectively names itself as the new trustee on the deed of trust. THIS PRACTICE SHOULD BE CHALLENGED AND NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO DO IT. THE COURTS ARE GETTING WISE TO THESE ANTICS.
From Koppa:
ReconTrust is “owned” by Bank of America Corporation.
 
Bank National Associations are governed by The Office of Controller of The Currency.
Anything on ReconTrust, NA?  It should be Governed by OCC, part of the US Treasury Dept (NOT the SEC)?
 
If ReconTrust is a subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation…. This is NOT Bank of America, “NA”or “BANA”.  So, which are THEY??
How can one “NA”= National Association, own a second “NA”.  Looks like self-dealing to us whistleblowers! 
Jes Thinkin: Who receives proceeds of lien foreclosure sales conducted by ReconTrust  which become REO re-sales of Land Titles @ 100% profit??
Who receives proceeds from Trustee Sales to third parties where “bid purchase proceeds” are delivered to ReconTrust @ 100% profit (to WHO)???
 
OPINION 1: Add common ownership by BANA of LandSafe Title for “corrections” on all ReconTrust foreclosure land title transactions; means possible crimes of “Conversion”.  Borrowers real property Trust Deed/Mortgage (a hard record asset) transfers via MERS/REMIC and off-balance sheet accounting into purported RMBS Products via Bank of America Securities, etc. as a non-transparent new soft asset class, which funds lien security investment credits without reference to the borrower.
 
Opinion 2: Countrywide/BAC converts “loan obligations debt” with homeowners… into pre-funded aggregated “securities credits” assigned to affiliated servicers by the Sponsor of the SEC Prospectus (Like BANA).  Upon loan default servicer changes hats and squires foreclosure liquidation of the fabricated “lien security” (under SEC).  This delivers “huge profits” beyond the REMIC Trust —- via BAC Home Loans and “controlled servicers” named by the Shadow Sponsor.  Affiliated servicer names ReconTrust as a self-substituted Foreclosure Trustee which seems to be clear of all regulation and criminality!!
 
Opinion 3:  Double income on a single transaction = “Embezzlement”.  20% Real Estate Equity is confiscated into the RBMS via “identity theft”of innocent homeowners using proceeds to the REMIC via the FED discount process! 
 
Opinion 4:  Vertical integration of all steps accomplishes “conversion for purposes of embezzlement”, which violates Anti-Trust Act, RICO, mail/wire fraud, etc.  What part of organized crime might IRS, OCC and SEC regulators actually understand when the California18 brings legal action via the evidence against ReconTrust prepared in vain for CA-AG Harris a year ago?
 
What is your opinion?
 
Charles J. Koppa 760-787-9966, www.TitleTrail.com

Glaski Court refuses to “depublish” decision, two judges recuse themselves.

Corroborating what I have been saying for years on this blog, the Supreme Court of the state of California is reasserting its position that if entity ABC wants to collect on a debt in California, then that particular entity must own the debt. This is basic common sense and simply follows article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code. If a court were to adopt the position of the banks, then a new industry would be born, to wit: spying on people to determine whether or not they are behind on any payment to anyone and then beating the real creditor to court, filing a complaint and getting a judgment without the real creditor even knowing about it. The Supreme Court of the state of California obviously understands this.

This is not really complicated although the words used are complicated. If you find out that your neighbor is behind in payments on their credit cards, it is obvious that you cannot serve your neighbor and collect. You don’t own the debt because you never loaned any money and because you never purchased the debt. If you are allowed to sue and collect on the credit card debt, you and the court would be committing a fraud on the actual creditor. This is why it is absurd for lawyers or judges to say “what difference does it make who they owe the debt to?  They stopped making payments and they are clearly in default.”  Any lawyer or judge makes that statement is wrong. It lacks the foundation of the factual determinations required to establish the existence of the debt, the current balance of the debt after deductions for all payments received from all parties on this account, and the ownership of the debt.

In the first year of law school, we learned that the note is not the debt.  The note is evidence of the debt and the terms of repayment but it is not a substitute for the actual transaction documents. Those transaction documents would have to include proof of transfer of consideration, which in this case would mean wire transfer receipts and wire transfer instructions. The banks don’t want to show the court this because it will show that the originator in most cases never made any loan at all and was merely serving as a sham nominee for an undisclosed lender. The banks are attempting to use this confusion to make themselves real parties in interest when in fact they were never more than intermediaries. And as intermediaries that misused their positions of trust to misrepresent and create fraudulent “mortgage bond” transactions with investors that led to fraudulent loans being made to borrowers.

The banks diverted or stole money from investors on several different levels through multiple channels of conduit sham entities that they called “bankruptcy remote vehicles.” The argument of “too big to fail” is now being rejected by the courts. That is a policy argument for the legislative branch of government. While the bank succeeded in scaring the executive and legislative branches into believing the risk of “too big to fail” most of the people in the legislative and executive branches of government on the federal and state level no longer subscribe to this myth.

There are dozens of other courts on the trial and appellate level across the country that are also grasping this issue. The position of the banks, which is been rejected by Congress and the state legislatures for good reason, would mean  the end of negotiable paper. The banks are desperate because they know they are not the owner of the debt, they are not the creditor, they have no authority to represent the creditor, and their actions are contrary to the interests of the creditor. They are pushing millions of homeowners into foreclosure, or luring them into an apparent default and foreclosure with false promises of modification and settlement.

The reason is simple. Without a foreclosure sale at auction, the banks are exposed to an enormous liability for all the money they collected on the alleged defaulted loans. The amount of the liability is vastly in excess of the entire principal of the loans, which is why I say that the major banks are publishing financial statements that are based on fictitious assets and fictitious income. Nobody can ignore the fact that the broker-dealers (investment banks) are getting sued by investors, insurers, counterparties on credit default swaps, government agencies who have already paid for alleged “losses”, and government agencies that have paid on guarantees for mortgages that did not conform to the required industry-standard underwriting practice.

This latest decision in which the Glaski court, at the request of the banks, revisited its prior decision and then reaffirmed it as a law of the land in the state of California, is evidence that the courts are turning the corner in favor of the real creditors and the real debtors. The recusal by two judges on the California Supreme Court is interesting but at this point there are no conclusions that can be drawn from that.

This opens the door in the state of California for people to regain title to their property or damages for the loss of title. It also serves to open the door to discovery of the actual money trail in order to trace real transactions as opposed to fictitious ones based upon fabricated documentation which often contain forgery, backdating, and are signed by people without authority or people claiming authority through a fictitious power of attorney.

Glaski Court Reaffirms Law of the Land In California: If you don’t own the debt, you cannot collect on it.

George W. Mantor Runs for Public Office on “No More Dirty Deeds”

Mantor for Assessor/Recorder/Clerk of San Diego County

Editor’s note: I don’t actually know Mantor so I cannot endorse him personally — but I DO endorse the idea of people running for office on actual issues instead of buzz words and media bullets.

Mantor is aiming straight for his issue by running for the Recorder’s Position. I think his aim is right and he seems to get the nub of some very important issues in the piece I received from him. I’d be interested in feedback on this campaign and if it is favorable, I might give a little juice to his campaign on the blog and my radio show.

His concern is my concern: that within a few years, we will all discover that most of us have defective title, even if we didn’t know there was a loan subject to claims of securitization in our title chain. This is not a phenomenon that affects one transaction at a time. It affects every transaction that took place after the last valid loan closing on every property. It doesn’t matter if it was subject to judicial or non-judicial sale because real property is not to be settled by damages but rather by actual title.

Many investors are buying up property believing they have eliminated the risk of loss by purchasing property either at or after the auction sale of the property. They might not be correct in that assumption. It depends upon the depth and breadth of the fraud. Right now, it seems very deep and very wide.

Here is one quote from Mantor that got my attention:

Despite the fact that everyone knows, despite the fact that they signed consent decrees promising not to steal homes, they go right on doing it.

Where is law enforcement, the Attorneys General, the regulators? They all know but they only prosecute the least significant offenders.

Foreclosures spiked 57% in California last month. How many of those were illegal? Most, if not all.

An audit of San Francisco County revealed one or more irregularities in 99% of the subject loans. In 84% of the loans, there appear to be one or more clear violations of law.

Fortune examined the foreclosures filed in two New York counties (Westchester and the Bronx) between 2006 and 2010.  There were130 cases where the Bank of New York was foreclosing on behalf of a Countrywide mortgage-backed security.  In 104 of those cases, the loan was originally made by Countrywide; the other 26 were made by other banks and sold to Countrywide for securitization.

None of the 104 Countrywide loans were endorsed by Countrywide – they included only the original borrower’s signature.  Two-thirds of the loans made by other banks also lacked bank endorsements.  The other third were endorsed either directly on the note or on an allonge, or a rider, accompanying the note.

No_More_Dirty_Deeds

Bank Lawyers Beware!

I know from past experience that the prosecuting attorneys at bar associations tend to move in packs. There is actually a pretty good reason for this. Certain practices by attorneys are emulated by other attorneys and spreads from state to state. Based upon a recent decision in New York State, I believe we’re going to see some serious prosecutions against attorneys for the pretender lenders.

In this case the censured attorney, David A. Cohen,  and his Long Island firm was trying to collect debts from people who weren’t already pay their bills or were not the ones who owed money to the firm’s client – creditors. I will concede that this is not the case against a foreclosure mill. And I think there is still political resistance to going after the lawyers  who represent the pretender lenders. But if you look at the reasoning in this case, it is not hard to see where the New York State Bar Association is going with this.

There were voluminous complaints about the firm spanning a 16 year period. That suggests that in cases where the homeowner believes that the attorney representing the pretender lender is violated ethical rules, or where the attorney for the homeowner believes that to be the case, a grievance should be filed.  But I caution people about doing this because they  frequently don’t know enough about the facts to be sure if a violation occurred.  It is unfair to attribute unethical conduct to an attorney who was merely advocating on behalf of a client and taking positions with which you do not agree. False filings will also create a paper jam in which the real filings for real violations get lost. SO don’t take this article as a green light to pepper the Bar Associations with vague grievances.

Cohen and his firm received numerous admonitions about his firm’s practices.

The court concluded in Matter of Cohen & Slamowitz, 2008-10218, that Cohen and Cohen & Slamowitz “engaged in a pattern and practice of conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice” under the Code of Professional Responsibility DR 1-102(A)(5)(223 NYCRR 1200.3[a][5]. The judges said an attorney does not necessarily have to have personal knowledge of the specifics of his firm’s misconduct to be held responsible.“Even if the individual respondent lacked personal knowledge of the particular client matters … the pattern and practice of misconduct established at the hearing, which were pervasive within C&S [Cohen & Slamowitz] since 1996, were sufficient to impute such knowledge to him as senior partner of C&S,” [e.s.] the panel held in its per curiam ruling. The judges added that not only was Cohen personally advised in 2002 to “exercise caution,” “supervise [his] staff adequately,” and put in place “appropriate and reasonable procedures” that could be monitored, but he and his firm also received numerous letters of caution and admonition. The court said Cohen & Slamowitz has about 300 employees, including attorneys, paralegals and other staff.

Among the problems noted by the court was an attempt in 2005 to collect from a debtor identified as “Ghulam Mujtaba” of Flushing. The court said that Cohen & Slamowitz mistakenly pursued collection from Dr. Gholam Mujtaba of Corona.
 Given the various settlement and OCC consent decrees that have been entered against virtually all of the major banks and servicers, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which the lawyers have not been put on notice of the existence of major defects in the claims of their clients. Unlike civil litigation, lawyers are held to a higher standard of behavior in connection with their practice of law. The ethical and disciplinary rules make it clear that the lawyer should avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Here in this case, the court opened up the possibility for imputing knowledge to the attorney even though there are attempts to create compliance departments and other organizational tools that are meant to isolate the actual licensed attorneys from the illegal conduct perpetrated by their firm.
 If a bank came to me for representation in the foreclosure properties based upon loans that are subject to claims of securitization, I would make absolutely certain that there were procedures in effect within the bank to make sure that we were naming the right plaintiff, naming the right defendant, that a default was definitely present, and that we could account for the balance due. I would ask the bank “are you actually owed the money on this loan?”
 The use of professional witnesses that are hired specifically for that purpose is somewhat understandable given the volume of foreclosure litigation. What is not understandable or forgivable is hiring people specifically for the purpose of giving false testimony based upon records that were specially prepared for trial and not prepared in the ordinary course of business. It is improper and perhaps perjury to state that the entire business record is present when it clearly does not show the original loan transaction, all the transactions that occurred between the time of the loan closing and the filing of foreclosure, and all the transactions that occurred as disbursements to trust beneficiaries or other third parties. It is improper and perhaps perjury to state that the entire business record is present when the witness cannot state from personal knowledge or with the use of business records that qualify as an exception to the hearsay rule, that the record of disbursements is also present —  including all payments received by the alleged creditor.
 Some attorneys haven’t thrown under the bus, but there are dozens of other law firms that may be involved in the production or proffering of false, fraudulent, fabricated or forged documents.
 On the other hand it should be stated that withholding evidence is not necessarily a violation of the code of conduct for attorneys —  unless the withholding of that evidence results in making prior testimony or evidence subject to a charge of perjury. I don’t think that attorneys can or should be held to a standard in which their conduct is subject to variable interpretations. Any grievance filed on these grounds must be very specific as to what is being alleged is a violation. I publish this article merely as a prediction and warning that certain behavior which is now condoned in the foreclosure mills can be and probably will be imputed to the partners, regardless of how well they think they have insulated themselves.
 One of the things I wonder about is the practice of asserting in court that the attorney for the foreclosure represents “everybody.” The risk here is twofold: first that might include the trust beneficiaries that his client is screwing; second that might include the borrower because some of the parties included in “everybody” have a fiduciary duty to the borrower. I wonder if there are potential trap doors for the attorneys who are representing pretender lenders that include not only disciplinary complaints but perhaps joinder as defendants in a lawsuit filed for negligent undertaking.
 As always, nothing in this article should be interpreted as a definitive statement on the law. Pro se litigants should consult with an attorney licensed in the area in which the property is located before making a decision or taking any action. Attorneys should do their own research and make their own decisions as to what constitutes a breach of ethics or a breach of the disciplinary rules.

Here it is: Nonjudicial Foreclosure Violates Due Process in Complex Structured Finance Transactions

No, there isn’t a case yet. But here is my argument.

The main point is that we are forced to accept the burden of disproving a case that had not been filed — the very essence of nonjudicial foreclosure. In order to comply with due process, a simple denial of the facts and legal authority to foreclosure should be sufficient to force the case into a courtroom where the parties are realigned with the so-called new beneficiary is the Plaintiff and the homeowner is the Defendant — since it is the “beneficiary” who is seeking affirmative relief.

But the way it is done and required to be done, the Plaintiff must file an attack on a case that has never been alleged anywhere in or out of court. The new beneficiary anoints itself, files a fraudulent substitution of trustee because the old one would never go along with it, and then files a notice of default and notice of sale all on the premise that they have the necessary proof and documents to support what could have been an action in foreclosure brought by them in a judicial manner, for which there is adequate provision in California law.

Instead nonjudicial foreclosure is being used to sell property under circumstances where the alleged beneficiary under the deed of trust could never prevail in a court proceeding. Nonjudicial foreclosure was meant to be an expedient method of dealing with the vast majority of foreclosures when the statute was passed. In that vast majority, the usual procedure was complaint, default, judgment and then sale with at least one hearing in between. Nearly all foreclosures were resolved that way and it become more of a ministerial act for Judges than an actual trier of fact or judge of procedural rights and wrongs.

But the situation is changed. The corruption on Wall Street has been systemic resulting in whole sale fraudulent fabricated forged documents together with perjury by affidavit and even live testimony. Contrary to the consensus supported by the banks, these cases are complex because the party seeking affirmative relief — i.e., the new “beneficiary” is following a complex script established long before the homeowner ever applied for a loan or was solicited to finance her property.

The San Francisco study concluded, like dozens of other studies across the country that most of the foreclosures were resolved in favor of “strangers to the transaction.” By definition, the use of several layers of companies and multiple sets of documents defining two separate deals (one with the investor lenders and one with the borrower, with the only party in common being the broker dealer selling mortgage bonds and their controlled entities) has turned the mundane into highly complex litigation that has no venue. In non-judicial foreclosures the Trustee is the party who acts to sell the property under instructions from the beneficiary and does so without inquiry and without paying any attention to the obvious conflict between the title record, the securitization record, the homeowner’s position and the prior record owner of the loan.

The Trustee has no power to conduct a hearing, administrative or judicial, and so the dispute remains unresolved while the Trustee proceeds to sell the property knowing that the homeowner has raised objections. Under normal circumstances under existing common law and statutory authority, the Trustee would simply bring the matter to court in an action for interpleader saying there is a dispute that he doesn’t have the power to resolve. You might think this would clog the court system. That is not the case, although some effort by the banks would be made to do just that. Under existing common law and statutory law, the beneficiary would then need to file a complaint, verified, sworn with real exhibits and that are subject to real scrutiny before any burden of proof would shift to the homeowner. And as complex as these transactions are they all are subject to simple rules concerning financial transactions. If there was no money in the alleged transaction then the allegation of a transaction is false.

It was and remains a mistake to allow such loans to be foreclosed through any means other than strictly judicial where the “beneficiary” must allege and prove ownership and the balance due on the loan owed to THAT beneficiary. Requiring homeowners with zero sophistication in finance and litigation to bear the initial burden of proof in such highly complex structured finance schemes defies logic and common sense as well as being violative of due process in the application of the nonjudicial statutes to these allegedly securitized loans.

By forcing the parties and judges who sit on the bench to treat these complex issues as though they were simple cases, the enabling statutes for nonjudicial foreclosure are being applied unconstitutionally.

Ken McLeod Files Complaints Against Notaries: 3 Licenses Revoked so far

So far he is three for three and he has no plans to stop filing complaints against notaries who signed false, fabricated affidavits. Ken McLeod (Arizona) is about the best investigator for economic crimes that I have ever come across. I won’t publish his number because the last time I did that he was swamped with calls and couldn’t do his work. If you can get to him, hire him. He has helped my law firm in a variety of ways sometimes tracking down witnesses within minutes and even telling us where they were standing at that moment. And he is devoted to bringing down this false system of foreclosures based upon false documents, false debts, and false testimony.

“The robo-signing notaries need to be stripped of their professional licenses.  I fully intend to file a complaint against every single notary who ever signed a false affidavit in Arizona.  It may take me years, but, this is how it’s done.  One at a time until they are all gone.

“Notice the Garcia revocation.  The notary presented after the fact falsified logs to try to cover his ass.  His other problems were accepting expired passports as proof of idea.  He even acknowledged the demand by a ‘detective’ but made a (wrong) legal decision he didn’t have to comply.

“Revocation of these commissions will have to be disclosed by these notaries any time they need a bond or apply for a government job.

The subtext for this is that if the notaries were committing crimes or violations of the rules and regulations governing their licenses as notaries, then two things are true: (1)  if a false notarization was affixed by a notary in order to record a document in public records or to authenticate an affidavit as testimony, then the document or affidavit needs to be expunged from the record or coupled with a notation that the affidavit or document was falsely notarized, and  (2) if the document was falsely notarized and is therefore not effective for the purpose for which it was improperly recorded, then any action based upon that recordation is void or voidable.

The one thing that I need to remind readers is that a false notary does not completely invalidate a document. It may invalidate the recording and it may imply that the entire document was false. But it doesn’t prove the entire document was false. For example, if you in fact signed a mortgage and a note and the mortgage was required to have two witnesses and a notary, you have a contract regardless of whether or not it was recorded.  The failure to provide the proper notarization does not nullify the instrument. When the notarization was not fraudulent, and affidavit attached to the instrument will suffice to correct the problem.

Luz Anaya Notary revocation letter from AZ SOS 09232013

Letter from AZ SOS revocation of notary commission Felix Garcia

Gloria Cramer AZ SOS Revocation Letterdated 1-20-2014

What is the right return on investment for stolen capital?

Editor’s Comment: One of the interesting things about this case is where we all stood on application of law back in 1979 versus what goes on now. If you read the entire case — pointed out to me by “KC” in her comments to the blog, you see how the court approached this case in an entirely different state of mind. If the courts had maintained the state of mind they had in 1979, and applied the law the way they did in 1979, the dockets would be free from foreclosures. Why?

Taking someone’s property by forfeiture is not like horse shoes — getting close doesn’t count at all, or at least it didn’t until the courts bent themselves into pretzels looking for ways not only to justify the forfeiture but to expedite in the fools errand of supposedly clearing the docket. What they have done is swept a mountain of explosive litigation under the rug, which as Judge Holloway in New Mexico said, is going to come back and haunt us in years to come.

But you can’t just blame the courts. Until 2007, no lawyer was presenting cases and defenses based upon any knowledge of actual securitization of debt and the illusion of securitization. Such defenses were classified along side of “Television intoxication” and other creative criminal defenses that have been tried. But now there is a difference. Since the middle of 2012, lawyers have gradually made the turn to realizing that they don’t need some elaborate legal excuse for their client to win. No, they simply need the truth.

And since then the tide has been turning. Because the truth is that the banks were and always will be intermediaries who violated every oath, law, rule and sense of fair play that could ever be applied. They stole the investors money, stole the investor’s identities, stole the borrower’s identity and made two different deals with each of them without either one knowing the identity of the other or the terms of the deal. It was a neat trick, because both sides  THOUGHT they knew the terms of the deal and many still labor under that delusion.

The problem that is creeping up on the banks is that at the end of the day, everybody knows everything. They made a deal with the lenders (investors) and agreed to get them repaid through the trust. The trust joined into the deal by issuing mortgage bonds or certificates of indebtedness and ownership of loans. The deal called for all kinds of safeguards to protect the investor, but those safeguards were diverted from the investor to the intermediaries themselves. In most cases the investors HAVE been paid part or all of the amount they were due and the rest has been settled in deals totaling over $200 Billion and moving toward $300 Billion.

In the final analysis the deal with the investors was between the broker dealers (investment banks) and the investors directly — because the investment banks never followed through on the plan they had presented to the lenders (investors) through the prospectus and pooling and servicing agreement. The investment banks didn’t pool the money in the trust because the trust had no account. The bonds were completely bogus issued by an entity (REMIC trust, which has now been granted “amnesty” by the IRS to get their ducks in a row) that had no money, no assets, no income and no prospects — the very same thing that happened down at the borrower’s level with the NINJA loans (no income, no job, no assets — no problem, here’s is your loan). And the investment banks didn’t make the loans they said they would fund.

So the money that SHOULD have gone into the REMIC trust was instead funneled into the accounts of closing agents along with closing instructions from an originator who was not allowed to touch the money and who wasn’t the author of the closing instructions. The terms of repayment were, well, undocumented. There is no other way to say it. The terms of repayment were also false — fraudulent in the true sense of the word (as opposed to “selling forward” and putting the bonds in “street name nominee, non-objecting” status). No, this was all a lie.

So the broker dealers then  created relationships with existing entities and brand new entities that would have official sounding names, or existing reputations that were being sold down the toilet to participate in the largest PONZI scheme in human history — a  mark that will no doubt be retained for hundreds of years. The originators never entered into any financial transaction with anyone, for the most part, and no assignee ever paid for the assignment of the debt, note, mortgage, deed of trust, contract for loan or anything else; they didn’t need to pay it because the investors’ money was in play and nobody had to observe the usual nicety of actually paying a reasonable price for a $300,000 mortgage loan. There is of course an exception to this rule — each player in the chain was paid a FEE for pretending that there was an actual transaction. So technically, money did change hands.

Of course the deal with the borrowers was entirely different than the one that the lenders approved and gave up pension money to fund this scheme. The average interest rate was higher than projected. This seemed good too except for those nasty people who deal in truth. They argued that if the interest rate was rising then so was the risk of loss. The risk that investment banks were taking with the investor’s money was literally illegal. Those managed funds that invested in these bogus mortgage bonds were regulated such that they COULD NOT invest in anything other than the highest rated income securities. Using their money to fund higher risk loans, let alone toxic waste loans was and remains illegal.

The interest rate and the risk started to go up sharply in 2004 when the investment banks ran out of credit worthy people to finance new home purchases or refinance old home purchases. BUT the income was kept constant by “servicer advances” which I am sure will turn out to be funded by the broker dealers, because the servicers would have no other reasonable business purpose to advance payments on defaulted loans. If the borrower had learned that the participants in this scheme were being paid at the rate of 3-5 times the principal amount of the loan they would have been alerted to the fact that this loan would blow up in the face of everyone (except the investment banks who were claiming losses because they were claiming ownership, but in the final analysis pitched the loss over to the investor when they were done squeezing the orange for the last drop).

So we have two deals created by the investment bank — one with the lender and one with the borrower, with a “bankruptcy remote vehicle” layered between the investor lenders and the broker dealer and another “bankruptcy remote vehicle” (much of the time) layered between the borrower and the broker dealer.

So here is the real question: what is the proper rate of return on investment when the pretender lender was a thief who used the money of other people in a manner that was completely violative of the intent of the real lenders — and also violates law? If the answer is zero, so goes the foreclosures.

The REAL DEAL should be between the investors and the borrowers who meet for the first time and make a deal they can both live with. The servicers, investment bankers et al should be removed from the communication lines. And most of all, the decision as to whether the servicer can foreclose or foreclose in the name of the investors should NOT be entirely up to a third party; the principal in the transaction should actually see the proposed settlements and modifications that are being rejected by the servicers who report that the investor turned down the offer when in fact, the investor never knew about it.

MGIC FIN. v. HA Briggs Co., 600 P.2d 573 (Wash. Ct. App. 1979)

Court of Appeals of Washington

Date Filed: August 9th, 1979

Status: Precedential

Citations: 600 P.2d 573, 24 Wash. App. 1

Docket Number: 3481-2

Judges: Reed

24 Wn. App. 1 (1979)

600 P.2d 573

Having examined the record submitted, we agree with the trial court’s conclusion that this case is ripe for summary judgment. It is undisputed that MGIC knew of the Davises’ surety interest. Yet without the Davises’ consent, MGIC garnered title to virtually all of the debtor’s real estate, released the debtor’s personal liability on the deed of trust note, and failed for more than 3 years to join the Davises as defendants in the foreclosure suit while interest steadily accrued on the debt. Whether by design or neglect, the net result of these omissions was decidedly one-sided in favor of MGIC. The trial court properly balanced the equities when it released the Davises from the danger of losing their land to satisfy the debt of a principal who already had been discharged of all liability.

*10• The summary judgment in favor of the Davises is affirmed

New Mexico Supreme Court Wipes Out Bank of New York

bony-v-romero_nm-sup.ct.-reverses-with-instruction_2-14

There are a lot of things that could be analyzed in this case that was very recently decided (February 13, 2014). The main take away is that the New Mexico Supreme Court is demonstrating that the judicial system is turning a corner in approaching the credibility of the intermediaries who are pretending to be real parties in interest. I suggest that this case be studied carefully because their reasoning is extremely good and their wording is clear. Here are some of the salient quotes that I think it be used in motions and pleadings:

We hold that the Bank of New York did not establish its lawful standing in this case to file a home mortgage foreclosure action. We also hold that a borrower’s ability to repay a home mortgage loan is one of the “borrower’s circumstances” that lenders and courts must consider in determining compliance with the New Mexico Home Loan Protection Act, NMSA 1978, §§ 58-21A-1 to -14 (2003, as amended through 2009) (the HLPA), which prohibits home mortgage refinancing that does not provide a reasonable, tangible net benefit to the borrower. Finally, we hold that the HLPA is not preempted by federal law. We reverse the Court of Appeals and district court and remand to the district court with instructions to vacate its foreclosure judgment and to dismiss the Bank of New York’s foreclosure action for lack of standing.

The Romeros soon became delinquent on their increased loan payments. On April 1, 2008, a third party—the Bank of New York, identifying itself as a trustee for Popular Financial Services Mortgage—filed a complaint in the First Judicial District Court seeking foreclosure on the Romeros’ home and claiming to be the holder of the Romeros’ note and mortgage with the right of enforcement.

The Romeros also raised several counterclaims, only one of which is relevant to this appeal: that the loan violated the antiflipping provisions of the New Mexico HLPA, Section 58-21A-4(B) (2003).[They were lured into refinancing into a loan with worse provisions than the one they had].

Litton Loan Servicing did not begin servicing the Romeros’ loan until November 1, 2008, seven months after the foreclosure complaint was filed in district court.

At a bench trial, Kevin Flannigan, a senior litigation processor for Litton Loan Servicing, testified on behalf of the Bank of New York. Flannigan asserted that the copies of the note and mortgage admitted as trial evidence by the Bank of New York were copies of the originals and also testified that the Bank of New York had physical possession of both the note and mortgage at the time it filed the foreclosure complaint.

{9} The Romeros objected to Flannigan’s testimony, arguing that he lacked personal knowledge to make these claims given that Litton Loan Servicing was not a servicer for the Bank of New York until after the foreclosure complaint was filed and the MERS assignment occurred. The district court allowed the testimony based on the business records exception because Flannigan was the present custodian of records.

{10} The Romeros also pointed out that the copy of the “original” note Flannigan purportedly authenticated was different from the “original” note attached to the Bank of New York’s foreclosure complaint. While the note attached to the complaint as a true copy was not indorsed, the “original” admitted at trial was indorsed twice: first, with a blank indorsement by Equity One and second, with a special indorsement made payable to JPMorgan Chase.

the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s rulings that the Bank of New York had standing to foreclose and that the HLPA had not been violated but determined as a result of the latter ruling that it was not necessary to address whether federal law preempted the HLPA. See Bank of N.Y. v. Romero, 2011-NMCA-110, ¶ 6, 150 N.M. 769, 266 P.3d 638 (“Because we conclude that substantial evidence exists for each of the district court’s findings and conclusions, and we affirm on those grounds, we do not addressthe Romeros’ preemption argument.”).

We have recognized that “the lack of [standing] is a potential jurisdictional defect which ‘may not be waived and may be raised at any stage of the proceedings, even sua sponte by the appellate court.’” Gunaji v. Macias, 2001-NMSC-028, ¶ 20, 130 N.M. 734, 31 P.3d 1008 (citation omitted). While we disagree that the Romeros waived their standing claim, because their challenge has been and remains largely based on the note’s indorsement to JPMorgan Chase, whether the Romeros failed to fully develop their standing argument before the Court of Appeals is immaterial. This Court may reach the issue of standing based on prudential concerns. See New Energy Economy, Inc. v. Shoobridge, 2010-NMSC-049, ¶ 16, 149 N.M. 42, 243 P.3d 746 (“Indeed, ‘prudential rules’ of judicial self-governance, like standing, ripeness, and mootness, are ‘founded in concern about the proper—and properly limited—role of courts in a democratic society’ and are always relevant concerns.” (citation omitted)). Accordingly, we address the merits of the standing challenge.[e.s.]

the Romeros argue that none of the Bank’s evidence demonstrates standing because (1) possession alone is insufficient, (2) the “original” note introduced by the Bank of New York at trial with the two undated indorsements includes a special indorsement to JPMorgan Chase, which cannot be ignored in favor of the blank indorsement, (3) the June 25, 2008, assignment letter from MERS occurred after the Bank of New York filed its complaint, and as a mere assignment

of the mortgage does not act as a lawful transfer of the note, and (4) the statements by Ann Kelley and Kevin Flannigan are inadmissible because both lack personal knowledge given that Litton Loan Servicing did not begin servicing loans for the Bank of New York until seven months after the foreclosure complaint was filed and after the purported transfer of the loan occurred. 
[NOTE BURDEN OF PROOF]

(“[S]tanding is to be determined as of the commencement of suit.”); accord 55 Am. Jur. 2d Mortgages § 584 (2009) (“A plaintiff has no foundation in law or fact to foreclose upon a mortgage in which the plaintiff has no legal or equitable interest.”). One reason for such a requirement is simple: “One who is not a party to a contract cannot maintain a suit upon it. If [the entity] was a successor in interest to a party on the [contract], it was incumbent upon it to prove this to the court.” L.R. Prop. Mgmt., Inc. v. Grebe, 1981-NMSC-035, ¶ 7, 96 N.M. 22, 627 P.2d 864 (citation omitted). The Bank of New York had the burden of establishing timely ownership of the note and the mortgage to support its entitlement to pursue a foreclosure action. See Gonzales v. Tama, 1988-NMSC- 016, ¶ 7, 106 N.M. 737, 749 P.2d 1116

[THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REMEDIES ON THE NOTE AND REMEDIES ON THE MORTGAGE]

(“One who holds a note secured by a mortgage has two separate and independent remedies, which he may pursue successively or concurrently; one is on the note against the person and property of the debtor, and the other is by foreclosure to enforce the mortgage lien upon his real estate.” (internal quotation marks and citation omitted)).

3. None of the Bank’s Evidence Demonstrates Standing to Foreclose

{19} The Bank of New York argues that in order to demonstrate standing, it was required to prove that before it filed suit, it either (1) had physical possession of the Romeros’ note indorsed to it or indorsed in blank or (2) received the note with the right to enforcement, as required by the UCC. See § 55-3-301 (defining “[p]erson entitled to enforce” a negotiable instrument). While we agree with the Bank that our state’s UCC governs how a party becomes legally entitled to enforce a negotiable instrument such as the note for a home loan, we disagree that the Bank put forth such evidence.

a. Possession of a Note Specially Indorsed to JPMorgan Chase Does Not Establish the Bank of New York as a Holder

{20} Section 55-3-301 of the UCC provides three ways in which a third party can enforce a negotiable instrument such as a note. Id. (“‘Person entitled to enforce’ an instrument means (i) the holder of the instrument, (ii) a nonholder in possession of the instrument who has the rights of a holder, or (iii) a person not in possession of the instrument who is entitled to enforce the [lost, destroyed, stolen, or mistakenly transferred] instrument pursuant to [certain UCC enforcement provisions].”); see also § 55-3-104(a)(1), (b), (e) (defining “negotiable instrument” as including a “note” made “payable to bearer or to order”). Because the Bank’s arguments rest on the fact that it was in physical possession of the Romeros’ note, we need to consider only the first two categories of eligibility to enforce under Section 55-3-301.

{21} The UCC defines the first type of “person entitled to enforce” a note—the “holder” of the instrument—as “the person in possession of a negotiable instrument that is payable either to bearer or to an identified person that is the person in possession.” NMSA 1978, § 55-1-201(b)(21)(A) (2005); see also Frederick M. Hart & William F. Willier, Negotiable Instruments Under the Uniform Commercial Code, § 12.02(1) at 12-13 to 12-15 (2012) (“The first requirement of being a holder is possession of the instrument. However, possession is not necessarily sufficient to make one a holder. . . . The payee is always a holder if the payee has possession. Whether other persons qualify as a holder depends upon whether the instrument initially is payable to order or payable to bearer, and whether the instrument has been indorsed.” (footnotes omitted)). Accordingly, a third party must prove both physical possession and the right to enforcement through either a proper indorsement or a transfer by negotiation. See NMSA 1978, § 55-3-201(a) (1992) (“‘Negotiation’ means a transfer of possession . . . of an instrument by a person other than the issuer to a person who thereby becomes its holder.”). [E.S.] Because in this case the Romeros’ note was clearly made payable to the order of Equity One, we must determine whether the Bank provided sufficient evidence of how it became a “holder” by either an indorsement or transfer.

Without explanation, the note introduced at trial differed significantly from the original note attached to the foreclosure complaint, despite testimony at trial that the Bank of New York had physical possession of the Romeros’ note from the time the foreclosure complaint was filed on April 1, 2008. Neither the unindorsed note nor the twice-indorsed

7

note establishes the Bank as a holder.

{23} Possession of an unindorsed note made payable to a third party does not establish the right of enforcement, just as finding a lost check made payable to a particular party does not allow the finder to cash it. [E.S.]See NMSA 1978, § 55-3-109 cmt. 1 (1992) (“An instrument that is payable to an identified person cannot be negotiated without the indorsement of the identified person.”). The Bank’s possession of the Romeros’ unindorsed note made payable to Equity One does not establish the Bank’s entitlement to enforcement.

We are not persuaded. The Bank provides no authority and we know of none that exists to support its argument that the payment restrictions created by a special indorsement can be ignored contrary to our long-held rules on indorsements and the rights they create. See, e.g., id. (rejecting each of two entities as a holder because a note lacked the requisite indorsement following a special indorsement); accord NMSA 1978, § 55-3-204(c) (1992) (“For the purpose of determining whether the transferee of an instrument is a holder, an indorsement that transfers a security interest in the instrument is effective as an unqualified indorsement of the instrument.”).

[COMPETENCY OF WITNESS]

the Bank of New York relies on the testimony of Kevin Flannigan, an employee of Litton Loan Servicing who maintained that his review of loan servicing records indicated that the Bank of New York was the transferee of the note. The Romeros objected to Flannigan’s testimony at trial, an objection that the district court overruled under the business records exception. We agree with the Romeros that Flannigan’s testimony was inadmissible and does not establish a proper transfer.

Litton Loan Servicing, did not begin working for the Bank of New York as its servicing agent until November 1, 2008—seven months after the April 1, 2008, foreclosure complaint was filed. Prior to this date, Popular Mortgage Servicing, Inc. serviced the Bank of New York’s loans. Flannigan had no personal knowledge to support his testimony that transfer of the Romeros’ note to the Bank of New York prior to the filing of the foreclosure complaint was proper because Flannigan did not yet work for the Bank of New York. See Rule 11-602 NMRA (“A witness may testify to a matter only if evidence is introduced sufficient to support a finding that the

9

witness has personal knowledge of the matter. [E.S.] Evidence to prove personal knowledge may consist of the witness’s own testimony.”). We make a similar conclusion about the affidavit of Ann Kelley, who also testified about the status of the Romeros’ loan based on her work for Litton Loan Servicing. As with Flannigan’s testimony, such statements by Kelley were inadmissible because they lacked personal knowledge.

[OBJECTION TO HEARSAY BUSINESS RECORDS REVERSED AND SUSTAINED]

When pressed about Flannigan’s basis of knowledge on cross-examination, Flannigan merely stated that “our records do indicate” the Bank of New York as the holder of the note based on “a pooling and servicing agreement.” No such business record itself was offered or admitted as a business records hearsay exception. See Rule 11-803(F) NMRA (2007) (naming this category of hearsay exceptions as “records of regularly conducted activity”).

The district court erred in admitting the testimony of Flannigan as a custodian of records under the exception to the inadmissibility of hearsay for “business records” that are made in the regular course of business and are generally admissible at trial under certain conditions. See Rule 11-803(F) (2007) (citing the version of the rule in effect at the time of trial). The business records exception allows the records themselves to be admissible but not simply statements about the purported contents of the records. [E.S.] See State v. Cofer, 2011-NMCA-085, ¶ 17, 150 N.M. 483, 261 P.3d 1115 (holding that, based on the plain language of Rule 11-803(F) (2007), “it is clear that the business records exception requires some form of document that satisfies the rule’s foundational elements to be offered and admitted into evidence and that testimony alone does not qualify under this exception to the hearsay rule” and concluding that “‘testimony regarding the contents of business records, unsupported by the records themselves, by one without personal knowledge of the facts constitutes inadmissible hearsay.’” (citation omitted)). Neither Flannigan’s testimony nor Kelley’s affidavit can substantiate the existence of documents evidencing a transfer if those documents are not entered into evidence. Accordingly, Flannigan’s trial testimony cannot establish that the Romeros’ note was transferred to the Bank of New York.[E.S.]

[REJECTION OF MERS ASSIGNMENT]

We also reject the Bank’s argument that it can enforce the Romeros’ note because it was assigned the mortgage by MERS. An assignment of a mortgage vests only those rights to the mortgage that were vested in the assigning entity and nothing more. See § 55-3-203(b) (“Transfer of an instrument, whether or not the transfer is a negotiation, vests in the transferee any right of the transferor to enforce the instrument, including any right as a holder in due course.”); accord Hart & Willier, supra, § 12.03(2) at 12-27 (“Th[is] shelter rule puts the transferee in the shoes of the transferor.”).

[MERS CAN NEVER ASSIGN THE NOTE]

As a nominee for Equity One on the mortgage contract, MERS could assign the mortgage but lacked any authority to assign the Romeros’ note. Although this Court has never explicitly ruled on the issue of whether the assignment of a mortgage could carry with it the transfer of a note, we have long recognized the separate functions that note and mortgage contracts perform in foreclosure actions. See First Nat’l Bank of Belen v. Luce, 1974-NMSC-098, ¶ 8, 87 N.M. 94, 529 P.2d 760 (holding that because the assignment of a mortgage to a bank did not convey an interest in the loan contract, the bank was not entitled to foreclose on the mortgage); Simson v. Bilderbeck, Inc., 1966-NMSC-170, ¶¶ 13-14, 76 N.M. 667, 417 P.2d 803 (explaining that “[t]he right of the assignee to enforce the mortgage is dependent upon his right to enforce the note” and noting that “[b]oth the note and mortgage were assigned to plaintiff.

[SPLITTING THE NOTE AND MORTGAGE]

(“A mortgage securing the repayment of a promissory note follows the note, and thus, only the rightful owner of the note has the right to enforce the mortgage.”); Dunaway, supra, § 24:18 (“The mortgage only secures the payment of the debt, has no life independent of the debt, and cannot be separately transferred. If the intent of the lender is to transfer only the security interest (the mortgage), this cannot legally be done and the transfer of the mortgage without the debt would be a nullity.”). These separate contractual functions—where the note is the loan and the mortgage is a pledged security for that loan—cannot be ignored simply by the advent of modern technology and the MERS electronic mortgage registry system.

[THE NOBODY ELSE IS CLAIMING ARGUMENT IS EXPLICITLY REJECTED]

Failure of Another Entity to Claim Ownership of the Romeros’ Note Does Not Make the Bank of New York a Holder

{37} Finally, the Bank of New York urges this Court to adopt the district court’s inference that if the Bank was not the proper holder of the Romeros’ note, then third-party-defendant Equity One would have claimed to be the rightful holder, and Equity One made no such claim.

11

{38} The simple fact that Equity One does not claim ownership of the Romeros’ note does not establish that the note was properly transferred to the Bank of New York. In fact, the evidence in the record indicates that JPMorgan Chase may be the lawful holder of the Romeros’ note, as reflected in the note’s special indorsement.

[HOLDER MUST PROVE ENTITLEMENT TO ENFORCE — NO PRESUMPTION ALLOWED]

Because the transferee is not a holder, there is no presumption under Section [55-]3-308 [(1992) (entitling a holder in due course to payment by production and upon signature)] that the transferee, by producing the instrument, is entitled to payment. The instrument, by its terms, is not payable to the transferee and the transferee must account for possession of the unindorsed instrument by proving the transaction through which the transferee acquired it.

[LENDER’S OBLIGATION TO ASSURE THAT THE LOAN IS VIABLE]

B. A Lender Must Consider a Borrower’s Ability to Repay a Home Mortgage Loan in Determining Whether the Loan Provides a Reasonable, Tangible Net Benefit, as Required by the New Mexico HLPA

{39} For reasons that are not clear in the record, the Romeros did not appeal the district court’s judgment in favor of the original lender, Equity One, on the Romeros’ claims that Equity One violated the HLPA. The Court of Appeals addressed the HLPA violation issue in the context of the Romeros’ contentions that the alleged violation constituted a defense to the foreclosure complaint of the Bank of New York by affirming the district court’s favorable ruling on the Bank of New York’s complaint. As a result of our holding that the Bank of New York has not established standing to bring a foreclosure action, the issue of HLPA violation is now moot in this case. But because it is an issue that is likely to be addressed again in future attempts by whichever institution may be able to establish standing to foreclose on the Romero home and because it involves a statutory interpretation issue of substantial public importance in many other cases, we address the conclusion of both the

12

Court of Appeals and the district court that a homeowner’s inability to repay is not among “all of the circumstances” that the 2003 HLPA, applicable to the Romeros’ loan, requires a lender to consider under its “flipping” provisions:

No creditor shall knowingly and intentionally engage in the unfair act or practice of flipping a home loan. As used in this subsection, “flipping a home loan” means the making of a home loan to a borrower that refinances an existing home loan when the new loan does not have reasonable, tangible net benefit to the borrower considering all of the circumstances, including the terms of both the new and refinanced loans, the cost of the new loan and the borrower’s circumstances.

Section 58-21A-4(B) (2003); see also Bank of N.Y., 2011-NMCA-110, ¶ 17 (holding that “while the ability to repay a loan is an important consideration when otherwise assessing a borrower’s financial situation, we will not read such meaning into the statute’s ‘reasonable, tangible net benefit’ language”).

[DOOMED LOANS — WHO HAS THE RISK?]

We have been presented with no conceivable reason why the Legislature in 2003 would consciously exclude consideration of a borrower’s ability to repay the loan as a factor of the borrower’s circumstances, and we can think of none. Without an express legislative direction to that effect, we will not conclude that the Legislature meant to approve mortgage loans that were doomed to end in failure and foreclosure. Apart from the plain language of the statute and its express statutory purpose, it is difficult to comprehend how an unrepayable home mortgage loan that will result in a foreclosure on one’s home and a deficiency judgment to pay after the borrower is rendered homeless could provide “a reasonable, tangible net benefit to the borrower.”

[LENDER’S OBLIGATION TO MAKE SURE IT IS A VIABLE TRANSACTION] a lender cannot avoid its own obligation to consider real facts and circumstances [E.S.] that might clarify the inaccuracy of a borrower’s income claim. Id. (“Lenders cannot, however, disregard known facts and circumstances that may place in question the accuracy of information contained in the application.”) A lender’s willful blindness to its responsibility to consider the true circumstances of its borrowers is unacceptable. A full and fair consideration of those circumstances might well show that a new mortgage loan would put a borrower into a materially worse situation with respect to the ability to make home loan payments and avoid foreclosure, consequences of a borrower’s circumstances that cannot be disregarded.

if the inclusion of such boilerplate language in the mass of documents a borrower must sign at closing would substitute for a lender’s conscientious compliance with the obligations imposed by the HLPA, its protections would be no more than empty words on paper that could be summarily swept aside by the addition of yet one more document for the borrower to sign at the closing.

[THE BLAME GAME]

Borrowers are certainly not blameless if they try to refinance their homes through loans they cannot afford. But they do not have a mortgage lender’s expertise, and the combination of the relative unsophistication of many borrowers and the potential motives of unscrupulous lenders seeking profits from making loans without regard for the consequences to homeowners led to the need for statutory reform. See § 58-21A-2 (discussing (A) “abusive mortgage lending” practices, including (B) “making . . . loans that are equity-based, rather than income based,” (C) “repeatedly refinanc[ing] home loans,” rewarding lenders with “immediate income” from “points and fees” and (D) victimizing homeowners with the unnecessary “costs and terms” of “overreaching creditors”).

[FEDERAL PREEMPTION CLAIM FROM OCC STATEMENT DOES NOT PROVIDE BANK OF NEW YORK ANY PROTECTION]

 

While the Bank is correct in asserting that the OCC issued a blanket rule in January 2004, see 12 C.F.R. § 34.4(a) (2004) (preempting state laws that impact “a national bank’s ability to fully exercise its Federally authorized real estate lending powers”), and that the New Mexico Administrative Code recognizes this OCC rule, neither the Bank nor our administrative code addresses several actions taken by Congress and the courts since 2004 to disavow the OCC’s broad preemption statement.

 

Applying the Dodd-Frank standard to the HLPA, we conclude that federal law does not preempt the HLPA. First, our review of the NBA reveals no express preemption of state consumer protection laws such as the HLPA. Second, the Bank provides no evidence that conforming to the dictates of the HLPA prevents or significantly interferes with a national bank’s operations. Third, the HLPA does not create a discriminatory effect; rather, the HLPA applies to any “creditor,” which the 2003 statute defines as “a person who regularly [offers or] makes a home loan.” Section 58-21A-3(G) (2003). Any entity that makes home loans in New Mexico must follow the HLPA, regardless of whether the lender is a state or nationally chartered bank. See § 58-21A-2 (providing legislative findings on abusive mortgage lending practices that the HLPA is meant to discourage).

The most important thing about cross examination in foreclosure cases

Whether it is on voir dire, which is a limited examination before the witness testifies to determine the legal competency of the witness, or on actual cross examination, the object is to bring out facts that are helpful in making your case or defending your position. When I teach cross examination, I refer to the triad — three things you must do in order to reach your goal. The three things are first to have a simple question with a goal in mind. Second to listen to the answer. Third, is the follow up, because you knew the probable answer and now you want to bring home your point. This applies to every question.

The first requires preparation for trial in which you decide your narrative and then develop the key points necessary to bring the court to the point where the trier of fact (mostly judges in foreclosure cases) joins your narrative. You’ll know if they have joined you or are leaning that way by their ruling on objections, by the questions they ask — and one warning sign that you are losing them is when they ask you for the relevancy of your question. Without preparation and a strong narrative to which you are committed, you won’t be able to answer the question about relevancy and you will have no issue preserved for appeal. You are probably looking to establish a question of ownership of the loan and to establish a question of the balance due, if any. The details on this are left out of this article because the opposition reads this and will be ready for you if we publish the series of retreads that apply to trying a foreclosure case.

Second is listening. This is something that lawyers need to do and is the reason they were hired in the first place. The homeowner is too emotionally attached to listen. They hear but they don’t listen and they don’t understand the significance of the question or the answer. Coming to court with a list of questions is a good idea. But many lawyers and pro se litigants fail because of the difference between hearing and listening. The answer is that most people just hear what’s being said. Others take the time to actually listen to what’s being said. There is a significant and monumental difference between hearing and listening. Hearing means that someone “hears” what’s being said and then translates the message into a meaning for himself. When you listen, however, you also take an extra moment to think about the person who’s speaking. It’s only then that you’ll have a clear understanding of what is trying to be conveyed. And only then can you move on to the third step.

The third step is follow-up. This is often confused with moving on to the next question. But your first question in the triad is merely the set up. The real stuff is in your follow-up because you actually listen to exactly what is being said. If the lawyer for the bank asks if the witness is familiar with the books and records of the Servicer, your objection is going to be leading, lack of foundation, and potentially hearsay. If you don’t object then the testimony comes in simply because you failed to object and thus preserve the issue for appeal. You will be subject to the same objections from the other side if you don’t have your ducks in a row.

So if the witness says he is “familiar” with the books and records, you should ask why, and then follow up with questions directed at how he prepared, how he actually knows (personal knowledge) that there was a loan from ABC, and exactly what he looked at in terms of documentation or computer screens. The answers will surprise you in some cases. Take the time to listen to the surprise answer and pause a moment on what you want to do with it and how you can make that answer serve the interests of your client.

Banks Still Out Cheating Their Customers and Everyone Else

It is easy to think of the mortgage meltdown as a period of time in which the banks went wild. Unfortunately that period of time never ended. They are still doing it. The level of sophistication it takes to do the kinds of things that banks have been doing for the last 20 years is probably beyond the knowledge and experience of any of the regulators. In addition, it is beyond the knowledge and experience of most consumers, lawyers and judges; in fact as to non-regulators, bank behavior makes no sense. After having seen the results of what are euphemistically called subprime mortgages, Wells Fargo is plunging back in and obviously expecting to make a profit. Apparently the quasi governmental entities that issue guarantees on certain mortgages will allow these subprime mortgages. Wells Fargo says it now understands the parameters under which the guarantors (Fannie and Freddie) will approve those mortgages without a risk that Wells Fargo will be required to buy them back.

That is kind of a mouthful. We have thousands of transactions that are being conducted that directly affect the ownership and balance of various types of loans including mortgage loans. The picture presented in court is that the ownership and status of each loan is stable enough for representations to be made. But the truth is that the professional witnesses hired by the bank’s foreclosure actions only present a slice of the life of a loan. They neither know nor do they inquire about the rest of the information. For example, they come to court with a a report showing the borrower’s record of payments to the servicer but they do not show servicer’s record of payments to the creditor. By definition they are saying that they only know part of the financial record and that consists of a made for trial report on the borrower’s activities. It does not show what happened to the payments made by the borrower and does not show payments made by others —  like loss sharing with the FDIC, servicer advances, insurance, and other actual payments that were made.

These payments are not allocated to any specific loan account because that would reduce the amount claimed as due from the borrower to the creditor — as it should. And the intermediaries and conduits who are making claims against the borrower have no intention of paying the actual creditors (the investors) any more than they absolutely have to. So you have these intermediaries claiming to be real parties in interest or claiming to represent the real parties in interest when in fact they are representing themselves.

They cheat the investor by not disclosing payments received from insurance and FDIC loss sharing. They cheat the borrower by not disclosing those payments that reduce the count receivable and therefore the account payable. They cheat the borrower again when they fail to show “servicer advances” which are payments received by the alleged trust beneficiaries regardless of whether or not the borrower submits monthly payments.  (That is, there can’t be a default in payments to the “trust” because the pass through beneficiaries are getting paid. Thus if there is any liability of the borrower it would be to intermediaries who made those servicer payments by way of a new liability created with each such payment and which is NOT secured by any mortgage because the borrower never entered into any deal with the servicer or investment bank — the real source of servicer advances).

Then they cheat the investor again by forcing a case into a foreclosure sale when the borrower was perfectly prepared, willing and able to enter into a settlement agreement that would have paid the rest are far more than the proceeds of a foreclosure sale and final liquidation. Their object is to maximize the loss of the investor and maximize the loss of the borrower to the detriment of both and solely for the benefit of the intermediary or conduit that is pulling the strings and handling the money.  And they are still doing it.

The banks have become so brazen that they are manipulating currency markets in addition to the debt markets. While we haven’t seen any reports about activities in the equity markets, there is no reason to doubt that their illegal activities are not present in equity transactions. For the judicial system to assume that the Banks are telling the truth or presenting an accurate picture of the  transaction activity relating to a particular loan is just plain absurd now. The presumption in court should be what it used to be, at a minimum. Before the era of securitization, most judges scrutinized the documentation to make sure that everything was in order. Today most judges will say that everything is in order because they are pieces of paper in front of them, regardless of whether any of those pieces of paper represents an accurate rendition of the facts related to the loan in dispute. Most judges in most cases are rubber-stamping judgments for intermediaries and thus are vehicles for the intermediaries and conduits to continue cheating and stealing from investors and borrowers.

The latest example is the control exercised by the large banks over currency trading. Regulators are clueless.  The banks are no longer even concerned with the appearance of propriety. They are cheating the system, the society, the government and of course the people with impunity. They are continuing to pay or promote their stocks as healthy investment opportunities. Perhaps they are right. If they continue to be impervious to prosecution for violating every written and unwritten rule and law then their stock is bound to rise both in price and in price-to-earnings ratio. They now have enough money which they have diverted out of the economy of this country and other countries that they can create fictitious transactions showing proprietary trading profits for the next 20 years.

This is exactly what I predicted six years ago. They are feeding the money back into the system and laundering it through the appearance of proprietary trading. It is an old trick. But they have enough money now to make their earnings go up every year indefinitely. On the other hand, if the regulators and investigators actually study the activities of the banks and start to bring enforcement actions and prosecutions, maybe some of that money that was taken from our economy can be recovered, and the financial statements of those banks will be revealed and smoke and mirrors. Then maybe their stock won’t look so good. Right now everyone is betting that they will get away with it.

New forex lawsuit parses data to make case

Yesterday, 03:13 PM ET · JPM

  • There have been a number of suits against the global banks over claims of forex manipulation, but this latest by the City of Philadelphia Board of Pensions and Retirement is the first to include research highlighting unusual movements in major currencies.
  • Using data compiled by Fideres, the plaintiffs analyzed daily trading right around the 4 PM fix of currency prices … curiously, anomalous price movements became rarer and less pronounced after the initial reports of rigging surfaced last summer.
  • Morgan Stanley has spent some time looking at euro/dollar spikes at 4 PM and also concluded they were unrelated to economic events. Instead of collusion though, Morgan pins the blame on computerized trading programs.
  • The seven banks sued by Philadelphia which is seeking damages as high as $10B: Barclays (BCS), Citigroup (C), Deutsche Bank (DB), HSBC, JPMorgan (JPM), RBS, and UBS.

Read more at Seeking Alpha:
http://seekingalpha.com/currents/post/1565171?source=ipadportfolioapp_email

MGIC Paid Off 2,400 Loans last month! Why Does the Borrower Still Need to Pay the Same Creditor?

Among the many insurance companies that paid off loans or assets based on loans, MGIC. Off 2400 loans a month of January alone, which appears to be virtually all residential mortgages. Press the reason that nobody is paying any attention to this is that normally the insurer acquires the claim through a legal process called subrogation. In the world of securitization the insurer waives subrogation. So we are left with a payment to a creditor. The creditor is identified as the lender for purposes of the insurance. There is no doubt in any venue that once a settlement is accepted by a creditor or claimant the case is over.

But in mortgage foreclosures in appears as though even the most basic and common sense knowledge is ignored. The creditor receives full payment and then allows an agent to foreclose on the property even though the account receivable not longer exists. The same failure of logic exists with respect to servicer advances where the creditor has been receiving payments regardless of whether the borrower has been making payments or not. For reasons beyond my comprehension courts have thus far mostly accepted the premise that it doesn’t make any difference how much money the creditor has received on this debt, as long as the borrower hasn’t paid the amount stated as due in the promissory note (even if the promissory note has been paid in full by third-party).

To top things off, GKW (my law firm — 850-765-1236) is handling a case where insurance paid off a loan upon the death of the owner. BOA filed the appropriate satisfaction of Mortgage. But then in the giant roulette we know as LPS they still had the loan active and a servicer convinced the decedent’s family to enter into a modification of the loan without telling them that the loan had been paid off. Eventually, after years of “modification” payments on a loan that did not exist, the servicer has filed a judicial foreclosure in Florida! And after being informed we have the recorded satisfaction they had yet another entity file a document that was signed by still another entity and they recorded it in the county records — stating that the BOA satisfaction was a mistake!

Do I still need need to convince anyone that they need a forensic report and expert declaration? Call 520-405-1688. And for the lawyers, my firm also provides litigation support and coaching for this litigation across the country.

Dan Edstrom sent me the following:

Neil,

You said in your seminar there are  on your3 ways to discharge an obligation.  Payment, Waiver of Payment or Magic.  Spend to much for the holidays?  Would you believe in magic …

Quote

There were 9,365 new notices of delinquency in January, 385 more than the number received for December, but a significant improvement over the 11,098 new notices received in January 2013. Meanwhile, 7,745 loans returned to performing status during the month, while MGIC paid the claim on another 2,393 loans.The company denied or rescinded coverage on another 204 loans. This moved the inventory to 102,351 from 103,328 at the start of the month.

In December, 7,259 loans cured and it paid 2,445 claims.

Typically, delinquencies are up in January because of holiday-related spending with those bills coming due.

MGIC wrote $1.7 billion of primary new insurance during the month, compared with $2.2 billion in both December and January 2013.

It would be interesting to know who pays for the coverage and if the homeowner was notified and claim was filed (and paid/denied/rescinded/etc.).  Also, why were the claims denied or coverage rescinded on the other loans?  Was the loan bad, was a defective claim filed, or was a bad faith claim filed?  What government entity (if any) has regulatory authority over MGIC, Radian and others?  What can a homeowner do to find out if insurance coverage exists, whether a claim has been filed and what the status of the filed claim is?

Thanks,

Office: 916.207.6706
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. This is for educational and informational purposes only. Take no action on this information without consulting an attorney in your jurisdiction. If our information conflicts with your attorneys information, disregard our information. it’s’s and the right what

 

Casablanca Deja Vu: Shocked and Total Disbelief

Maybe it is true that some of the earlier attorneys for the banks were caught by surprise when they learned of fabrication of documents, unauthorized signatures and of course Robo signing. In this case lawyers from the state of Maine face possible discipline for their failure to take appropriate action in over 100 cases. This stems from the revelation that GMAC mortgage have an employee named Jeffrey Stephan, who was signing between 6000 and 8000 legal foreclosure documents per month without knowing anything. His job apparently was simply to sign his name. He wasn’t told anything, he didn’t see anything, and he never asked anything.  See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

The law firm is Drummond and Drummond.  One of the attorneys for that firm, Paul Peck, testified at a hearing last Thursday that he was completely surprised that Stephan never read the affidavit. The problem for the firm is that they had 100 other cases in which the same employee had executed an affidavit that was being used in litigation. The firm did nothing to inform the court of the potential problem. The Bar Association is accusing the firm of violating its ethics and failing to notify the court in the other cases. There does not appear to be any allegation that the firm was complicit in the filing of a false affidavit. Most people on the foreclosure defense side of these issues believe that lawyers should be disbarred for not only failing to notify the court of the potential problem, but also failing to perform due diligence intentionally to avoid knowing that they were submitting false testimony.

While I agree that the lawyers probably had more than an inkling as to what was going on, it is my opinion that the firm should be put under supervision and probation. We are walking a fine line here and we must be careful what we wish for. Lawyer is obligated to advocate every possible position that might be beneficial to his client. If the lawyer does not absolutely know for sure that his client is lying, I think most people who are engaged in the enforcement of ethics and discipline of lawyers would agree that there is no foul. Those of you who have been represented by counsel in connection with some matter in litigation probably know that there are always more than one interpretation of the facts and always more than one opinion as to which facts are important and which are not. You expect your lawyer to use the things that are most beneficial to your position.

However, that said, I think the attorneys who used those affidavits after hearing the revelation about GMAC mortgage and subsequent revelations are in a different position. For self-preservation alone they had an obligation to inquire. They might face liability for their part in submitting false testimony to the courts of various states. Their insurance company will probably take the position that they were committing an intentional act for the benefit of preserving an extraordinarily large channel of fee revenue.  I think the insurance company would be right. And I think that those attorneys should face harsh discipline.

With all that we know about fraudulent conduct of all of our major financial institutions, which so far has resulted in perhaps $200 billion in settlements, it is hard to imagine why any attorney would not closely scrutinize documents submitted for support of a foreclosure action unless they were intentionally avoiding information that they knew or should have known existed. Of course each such case should be examined separately on its own fact pattern. Not all lawyers work for a foreclosure mill should be subject to major discipline or even investigation. The layering that  occurred on Wall Street was also happening in the foreclosure mills. They were creating imaginary lines so that they could throw the junior associates under the bus if the truth was exposed. I would advocate that the junior associates should be given immunity from prosecution and that the  discipline should be directed at the managing partners who were aware of the issues.

Maine Lawyers in Foreclosure Mill Face Discipline

 Of course all of this is just a distraction from the main question, to wit: why was it necessary to fabricate documents, commit perjury, and create all of this layering if the loans were actually enforceable?

My answer is the same as the allegations made by the investors who thought they were buying mortgage bonds, the insurers who thought that they were paying broker-dealers who had a loss, and the guarantors who thought that they were paying broker-dealers who had a loss. They are all claiming (in an out-of-court) that the broker-dealers committed fraud and mismanagement of money.

In plain language they are alleging that the investment banks (broker-dealers) stole the money that was intended to be invested in the trusts. They are alleging that the investment banks created a web of controlled companies that served as sham originators  on loans that were made using the money that investors advanced for the purchase of mortgage bonds issued by a REMIC trust that turned out to be unfunded and without any assets or income.  They are alleging that the mortgage documents are unenforceable.  Don’t take my word for it —  you can Google up the complaints and read it for yourself.

It must be fair to assume that the investment banks would not pay $200 billion unless they were saving themselves from liability for much more than that. It is also fair to assume that the settlements with the investors reduced the loss of the investors.  Therefore is also fair to assume that any demand for payment that does not reflect a reduction in principal (and therefore a reduction in interest) is wrong. Any notice of default would similarly be defective and so would the notice of acceleration. Any lawsuit were nonjudicial foreclosure  would also be defective. The parties involved have actual knowledge of both the documentary problems outlined in the case above in Maine and the money problems that have been announced with great fanfare.

So the question is why isn’t the borrower getting credit on the loan account when these settlements occur and can be allocated to the loan account?  If the actual creditor has experienced a reduction in the account receivable, what is the basis for allowing anyone to claim that the full amount is still due?

And that leads to my final question of the day, to wit: why would anyone try to claim that the full amount is due and enter into needless litigation?  I can think of no answer other than pure greed and the failure to present this question properly  in a court of law.

After seeing the above article, our own Dan Edstrom, Senior Securitization Analyst adds the following:

 

Excellent article.  Here is what I have seen in a case that seems to relate to that duty:
Without good cause Deutsche, OneWest, attorney ******** and the Law Firm ****** relied on preposterous representations from the invalid Proof of Claim and closed their eyes to avoid discovery of the truth.  See In re Eashai, 87 F.32 1082, 1090-91 (9th Cir. 1996); In re Apte, 180 B.R. 223 (9th Cir. BAP 1995); See CA. Civ. Code § 1710.  See also Townsend v. Holman Consulting Corp., en banc, 929 F2d 1358 (9th Cir. 1990), “sanctions may be imposed for failure to conduct reasonable investigation before filing complaint”.  See: In re Villa Madrid, 110 B.R. 919 (9th Cir. B.A.P. 1990), Sanctions on attorney for filing bad faith bankruptcy petition (comparable in this case to filing a bad faith Proof of Claim and then under F.R.B.P. Rule 9011(b) the attorney “later advocates” the creditors claim).  Once again see Keystone Driller Co. v. General Excavator CO., supra, 290 U.S. 240 (1933) “that [290 U.S. 240, 245] whenever a party who, as actor, seeks to set the judicial machinery in motion and obtain some remedy, has violated conscience, or good faith, or other equitable principle, in his prior conduct, then the doors of the court will be shut against him in limine; the court will refuse to interfere on his behalf, to acknowledge his right, or to award him any remedy.”

 

Rhode Island Supreme Court Steps Forward for Borrowers

Slowly but surely it seems that the court system are now taking notice of the fact that there is something intrinsically wrong with both the mortgages and the foreclosure process. In this case the Rhode Island Supreme Court specifically found the grounds that could establish that the mortgage was not validly assigned. This case was about whether or not the homeowners case should have been dismissed. The Supreme Court decided that the homeowners case should not have been dismissed.

But in this case the court affirmatively stated that defects in the assignment process would void the assignment and thus defeat the foreclosure.

Paragraph 12 of the complaint alleges: “On or about September 10, 2010, MERS attempted to assign this Mortgage to Aurora. * * * Theodore Schultz signed. Theodore Schultz had no authority to assign.” Thus, the plaintiffs have alleged that the one person who signed the mortgage assignment did not have the authority to do so. This allegation is buttressed by other allegations in the complaint. Paragraph 13 states that “Theodore Schultz was an employee of Aurora, not a Vice-President or Assistant Secretary of MERS.” Paragraph 17 alleges that “MERS did not order the assignment to Aurora.” Finally, paragraph 19 contends that “[n]o power of attorney from MERS to either Theodore Schultz or Aurora is recorded and referenced in the subject assignment.” These allegations, if proven, could establish that the mortgage was not validly assigned, and, therefore, Aurora did not have the authority to foreclose on the property.(e.s.)

SEE Chhun v. Mortgage Elec Registration Sys Inc.

The court also addressed the issue of standing and of course the related issues of standards for review on appeal. In view of decisions like this that are becoming increasingly frequent, the new strategy of the banks is to file for foreclosure in the name of the originator or some remote controlled entity of the broker-dealers. Bank of America has spawned numerous new banks and other entities (e.g. EverBank and Urban Lending Solutions)  In order to put distance between BOA and the irregularities of both the mortgage closing and the foreclosure; and BOA has filed numerous actions where it initially stated that it was the servicer for an undisclosed third-party owner of the loan and then later retracted the allegations of its complaint stated that it was in fact the lender at all times material to the mortgage and the foreclosure.

 

Trial Objections in Foreclosures

 

NOTE: This post is for attorneys only. Pro se litigants even if they are highly sophisticated are not likely to be able to apply the content of this article without knowledge and experience in trial law. Nothing in this article should be construed as an acceptable substitute for consultation with a licensed knowledgeable trial lawyer.

If you need help with objections, then you probably need our litigation support, so please call my office at 850-765-1236.

It is of course impossible for me to predict how the Plaintiff will attempt to present their case. The main rule is that objections are better raised prematurely than late. The earliest time the objection can be raised it should be raised. In these cases the primary objections are lack of foundation and hearsay.

As to lack of foundation, the real issue is whether the witness is really competent to testify. The rules, as you know, consist of four elements — oath, personal perception, independent recall, and the ability to communicate. The corporate representative should be nailed on lack of personal knowledge — if they had nothing to do with the closing, the funding of the loan, the execution of the documents, delivery of the note, delivery of the mortgage etc., or processing of payments or even the production of the reports or the program that presents the data from which the report populates the information the bank is attempting to present. Generally they fail on any personal knowledge.
The only thing that could enable them to be there is whether they can testify using hearsay, which is generally barred from evidence. If that is all they have, then the witness is not competent to testify. The objection should be made at the moment the attorney has elicited from the witness the necessary admissions to establish the lack of personal perception, personal knowledge.
On hearsay, their information is usually obtained from what they were told by others and what is on the computers of the forecloser like BofA which based on the transcript from cases run on at least 2 server systems and probably a third, if you include BAC/Countrywide. All of such testimony and any documents printed off the computers are hearsay and therefore are barred — unless the bank can establish that the information is credible because it satisfies the elements of an exception to hearsay. The only exception to hearsay that usually comes up is the business records exception. Any other testimony about what others told the witness is hearsay and is still barred.
The business records exception can only be satisfied if they satisfy the elements of the exception. First the point needs to be made that these records are from a party to litigation and are therefore subject to closer scrutiny because they would be motivated to change their documents to be self serving. If you have any documentation to show that they omitted payments received in their demand or that there are other financial anomalies already known it could be used to bolster your argument as an example of how they have manipulated the documents and created or fabricated “reports” strictly for trial and therefore are not regular business records created at the or close to the time of an event or payment.
The business records exception requires the records custodian, first and foremost. Since the bank never brings their records custodian to court, they are now two steps removed from credibility — the first being that they are not some uninterested third party and the second that they are not even bringing their records custodian to court to state under oath that the report being presented is simply a printout of regular business records kept by bank of America.
So the exception to business records under which they will attempt to get the testimony of their witness in will be that the witness has personal knowledge of the record keeping at Bank of America and this is where lawyers are winning their cases and barring the evidence from coming in. Because the witnesses are most often professional witnesses who actually know nothing about anything and frequently have reviewed the file minutes before they entered the courtroom.
The usual way the evidence gets in is by counsel for the homeowner failing to object. That is because failure to object allows the evidence in and once in it generally can’t be removed. It is considered credible simply because the opposing side didn’t object.
TRAPDOOR: Waking up at the end of a long stream of questions that are all objectionable for lack of foundation (showing that the witness has any personal knowledge related to the question) or because of hearsay, the objection will then be denied as late. So the objection must be raised with each question before the witness answers, and if the witness answers anyway, the response should be subject to a motion to strike.
THE USUAL SCENARIO: The lawyer will ask or the witness will say they are “familiar” with the practices for record keeping. That is insufficient. On voir dire, you could establish that the witness has no knowledge and nothing to recall and that their intention is to testify what the documents in front of him say. That is “hearsay on hearsay.” That establishes, if you object, that the witness is not competent to testify.
The bottom line is that the witness must be able to establish that they personally know that the records and everything on them are true. In order for the records to be admitted there must be a foundation where the witness says they actually know that the printouts being submitted are the same as what is on the BofA computers and what is on the BofA computers was put there in the regular course of business and not just in preparation for trial. And they must testify that these records are permanent and not subject to change. If they are subject to change by anyone with access they lack credibility because they may have been changed for the express purpose of proving a point in trial rather than a mere reflection of regular business transactions.
There is plenty of law nationwide on these subjects. Personal knowledge, “familiarity with the records,” and testifying about what the records say are all resolved in favor of the objector. The witness cannot read from or testify from memory of what the records say. The witness must know that the facts shown in those records are true. This they usually cannot do.

JP Morgan Corners Gold Market — where did they get the money?

Zerohedge.com notes that JP Morgan has cornered the market in gold derivatives. They ask how the CFTC, who supposedly regulates the commodities markets could have let this happen. I ask some deeper questions. If JPM has cornered the market on those derivatives, is this a reflection that they, perhaps in combination with others, have cornered the market on actual gold reserves? Zerohedge.com leaves this question open.

I suggest that this position in derivatives (private contracts that circumvent the actual futures market) is merely a reflection of a much larger position — the actual ownership or right to own gold reserves that could total more than a trillion dollars in gold. And the further question is that if JPM has actually purchased gold or rights to own gold, where did the money come from? And the same question could be asked about other commodities like tin, aluminum and copper where Chase and Goldman Sachs have already been fined for manipulating market prices.

This is the first news corroborating what I have previously reported — that trillions of dollars have been diverted from investors and stolen from homeowners by the major banks, parked off shore, and then laundered through investments in natural resources including precious metals. This diversion occurred as an integral part of the mortgage madness and meltdown. It was intentional and knowing behavior — not bad judgment. It was bad because of what happened to anyone who wasn’t an insider bank (see Thirteen Bankers by Simon Johnson). But to attribute stupidity to a group of bankers who now have more money, property and investments than anyone else in the world is pure folly. What Is stupid about pursuing a strategy that brings a geometric increase in wealth and power? This was no accident.

And the answer is yes, all of this is relevant to foreclosure litigation. The question is directed at the source of funds for JP Morgan, Chase, Goldman Sachs and the other main players on Wall Street. And the answer is that they stole it. In the complicated world of Wall Street finance, the people at the Department of Justice and the SEC and other regulatory agencies, there are scant resources to investigate this threat to the entire financial system, the economy in each of the world marketplaces, and thus to national security for the U.S. And other nations.

It would be naive in the context of current litigation over mortgages and Foreclosures to expect any judge to allow pleading, discovery or trial on evidence that traces these investments backward from gold derivatives to the origination or acquisition of mortgages. Perhaps one of the regulators who read this blog might make some inquiries but there is little hope that they will connect the dots. But it is helpful to know that there is plenty of corroboration for the position that the REMIC Trusts could not have originated or acquired mortgages because they were never funded with the money given to the broker dealers who sold “mortgage bonds” issued by those Trusts with no chance of repayment because the money was never used to fund the trusts.

The unfunded trusts could not originate or acquire the loans because they never had the money. In fact, they never had a trust account. Thus in a case where the Plaintiff is US Bank as trustee is not only wrong because the PSA and their own website says that trustees don’t initiate Foreclosures — that is reserved to the servicers who appear to have the actual powers of a trustee. The real argument is that the trust was never a party to the loan because the trust was never party to a transaction in which any loan was acquired or originated.

Investors and governmental agencies have sued the broker dealers accusing them of fraud (not bad judgment) and mismanagement of money — all of which lawsuits are being settled almost as quickly as they are filed. The issue is not just bad loans and underwriting of bad loans. That would be breach of contract and could not be subject to claims of fraud. The fraud is that the investment banks took the money from investors and then used it for their own purposes. The first step was skimming a large percentage of the investor funds from the top, in addition to fake underwriting fees on the fake issuance of mortgage bonds from an unfunded trust.

And here is where the first step in mortgage transactions and foreclosure litigation reveals itself — compensation that was never disclosed closed to the borrower in violation of he the Truth in lending Act. While most judges consider the 3 year statute of limitations to run absolutely, it will eventually be recognized by the courts that the statute doesn’t start to run until discovery of the undisclosed compensation by an undisclosed party who was a principal player in permeating the loan. This will be a fight but eventually success will visit someone like Barbara Forde in Scottsdale or in one of the cases my firm handles directly or where we provide litigation support.

The reason it is relevant is that by tracing the funds, it can be determined that the actual “lender” was a group of investors who thought they were buying mortgage bonds and who did not know their money had been diverted into the pockets of the broker dealers, and then used to create fictitious transactions that the banks falsely reported as trading profits. In order to do this the broker dealers had to create the illusion of mortgage loans that were industry standard loans and they had to divert the apparent ownership of those loans from the investors through fraudulent paper trails based on the appearance of transactions that in fact never happened. In truth, contrary to their duties under the prospectus and pooling and servicing agreement, the broker dealers created a false “proprietary” trade in which the investment bank was the actual trader on both sides of the transaction.

They booked some of these “trades” as profits from proprietary trading, but the truth is that this was a yield spread premium that falls squarely within the definition of a yield spread premium — for which the investment bank is liable to be named as a party to the closing of the loan with borrowers. As such, the pleading and proof would be directed at the fact that the investment bank was hiding their identity or even their existence along with the fact that their compensation consisted of a yield spread premium that sometimes was greater than the principal amount of the loan. Under federal law under these facts (if proven) and the pleading would establish that the investment bank should be a party to the claim, affirmative defenses or counterclaim of borrowers for “refund” of the undisclosed compensation, treble damages, interest and attorney fees. I might add that common law doctrines that are not vulnerable to defenses of the statute of limitations under TILA or RESPA, could be used to the same effect. See the Steinberger decision.

Lawyers take note. Instead of getting lost in the weeds of the sufficiency of documentation, you could be pursuing a claim that is likely to more than offset the entire loan. I make this suggestion to attorneys and not to pro se litigants who will probably never have the ability to litigate this issue. My firm offers litigation support to those law firms who have competent litigators who can appear in court and argue this position after our research, drafting and scripting of litigation strategies. Once taught and practiced, those firms should no longer require us to provide support except perhaps for our expert witnesses (including myself). For more information on litigation support services offered to attorneys call 850-765-1236 or write to neilfgarfield@hotmail.com.

I conclude with this: it is unlikely that any judge would seriously entertain discharging liability or stop enforcement of a mortgage merely because of a defect in the documentation. These defects should be used — but only as corroboration for a more serious argument. That the attempted enforcement of the documentation is a cover-up of a fraud against the investors and the borrower; this requires artful litigating to show the judge that your client has a legitimate claim that offsets the alleged debt to the investors who are seeking damage awards not from the borrowers but from the investment bankers. As long as the Judge believes that the right lender and the right borrower are in his court, the judge is not likely to make rulings that would create additional uncertainties in a market that is already unstable.

I have always maintained that a pincer action by investor lenders and homeowner borrowers would bring home the point. The real culprits have been left out of foreclosure litigation. Tying investment banks to the loan closing would enable the homeowner to show that the intermediaries are in fact inserting themselves as parties in interest — to the detriment of the real parties. The investors are bringing their claims against the broker dealers. Now it is time for the borrowers to do their part. This could lead to global settlements in which borrowers and investors are able to mitigate (or even eliminate) their losses.

Unconscionable and Negligent Conduct in Loan Modification Practices

JOIN US EVERY THURSDAY AT 6PM Eastern time on The Neil Garfield Show. We will discuss the Stenberger decision and other important developments affecting consumers, borrowers and banks. We had 561 listeners so far who were on the air with us or who downloaded the show. Thank you — that is a good start for our first show. And thank you Patrick Giunta, Esq. (Broward County Attorney) as our first guest. For more information call 954-495-9867.

In the case of Wane v. Loan Corp. the 11th Circuit struck down the borrower’s attempt to rescind. The reasoning in that case had to do with whether the originator was the real lender. I think, based upon my review of that and other cases, that the facts were not totally known and perhaps could have been and then included in the pleading. It is one thing to say that you don’t think the originator actually paid for the loan. It is quite another to say that a third party did actually pay for the loan and failed to get the note and mortgage or deed of trust executed properly to protect the real source of funds. In order to do that you might need the copy of the wire transfer receipt and wire transfer instructions and potentially a forensic report showing the path of “securitization” which probably never happened.

The importance of the Steinberger decision (see prior post) is that it reverts back to simple doctrines of law rather the complexity and resistance in the courts to apply the clear wording in the Truth in Lending Act. The act says that any statement indicating the desire to rescind within the time limits set forth in the statute is sufficient to nullify the mortgage or deed of trust by operation of law unless the alleged creditor/lender files an action within the prescribed time limits. It is a good law and it covers a lot of the abuses that we see in the legal battleground. But Judges are refusing to apply it. And that includes Appellate courts including the 9th Circuit that wrote into the statute the requirement that the money be tendered “back to the creditor” in order for the rescission to have any legal effect.

The 9th Circuit obviously is saying the they refuse to abide by the statute. The tender back to the creditor need only be a statement that the homeowner is prepared to execute a note and mortgage in favor of the real lender. To tender the money “back” to the originator is to assume they made the loan, which ordinarily was not the case. The courts are getting educated but they are not at the point where they “get it.”

But with the Steinberger decision we can get similar results without battling the rescission issue that so far is encountering nothing but resistance. That case manifestly agrees that a borrower can challenge the authority of those who are claiming money from him or her and that if there are problems with the mortgage, the foreclosure or the modification program in which the borrower was lured into actions that caused the borrower harm, there are damages for the “lender” to pay. The recent Wells Fargo decision posted a few days ago said the same thing. The logic behind that applies to the closing as well.

So lawyers should start thinking about more basic common law doctrines and use the statutes as corroboration for the common law cause of action rather than the other way around. Predatory practices under TILA can be alleged under doctrines of unconscionability and negligence. Title issues, “real lender” issues can be attacked using common law negligence.

Remember that the common allegation of the “lenders” is that they are “holders” — not that they are holders in due course which would require them to show that they paid value for the note and that they have the right to enforce it and collect because the money is actually owed to them. The “holders” are subject to claims detailed in the Steinberger decision without reference to TILA, RESPA or any of the other claims that the courts are resisting. As holders they are subject to all claims and defenses of the borrower. And remember as well that it is a mistake to assume that the mortgage or deed of trust is governed by Article 3 of the UCC. Security instruments are only governed by Article 9 and they must be purchased for value for a party to be able to enforce them.

All of this is predicated on real facts that you can prove. So you need forensic research and analysis. The more specific you are in your allegations, the more difficult it will be for the trial court to throw your claims and defenses out of court because they are hypothetical or too speculative.

Question: who do we sue? Answer: I think the usual suspects — originator, servicers, broker dealer, etc. but also the closing agent.

Arizona Appeals Court Reverses Direction: Dismissal of Borrower’s Claims Reversed

JOIN US TONIGHT AT 6PM Eastern time on The Neil Garfield Show. We will discuss this decision and other important developments affecting consumers, borrowers and banks.

Congratulations to Attorney Barbara J. Forde!!

HIGHLIGHTS: Steinberger v Hon. McVey/OneWest

Discharge of Debt — money that OneWest received from FDIC to pay off loss on loan discharges the debt. If it is true that the FDIC has already reimbursed OneWest for all or part of [the borrower’s] default, OneWest may not be entitled to recover that amount from [the borrower}. This corroborates what we have been writing in this blog regarding third-party payments and the existence of co-obligors. To the extent that third party payments have been received by the creditor this court is saying that nobody can collect those same payments (on the same debt) from the borrower.

Unconscionability: Procedural and Substantive: Unfair surprise and fairness, respectively, are the main elements. This opinion raises the possibility of bringing claims that might have been barred by the TILA Statute of Limitations. Pleading requirements are strict. But if you read the decision you can tell that there is room for borrowers to oppose enforcement of contracts that produced sticker shock and other unfair surprises.

Quiet title: This Court concluded that you can’t quiet title based upon the weakness of someone else’s claim. You must allege your right to title and that the parties served have no claim.

Negligence Per Se: Opening a whole new area for litigation this Court concluded that negligence and negligence per se, were valid causes of action for damages and other relief in connection with the handling of modification and other requests.

Negligent Performance of an Undertaking:  This court concluded that the borrower has a cause of action is the lender or the lenders agents or representatives Lord her into defaulting on her loan with the prospect of a loan modification and then negligently administered her application for the modification, causing her to fall so far behind on her payments that it was no longer possible to reinstate her original loan. Borrower must allege that she never obtained a loan modification and that the bank’s conduct ultimately led to the foreclosure on her home.

Good Samaritan Doctrine:  Lender may be held liable under the Good Samaritan Doctrine when a lender or its agent or representative induces a borrower to default on his or her loan by promising a loan modification if he or she defaults. If the borrower in reliance on the promise to modify the loan subsequently defaults on the loan and the lender fails to process the loan modification or due to the lender or agent or representative’s negligence the borrower is not granted a loan modification and the lender subsequently forecloses on the borrower’s property. Note: this is in Arizona decision and is subject to review by the Arizona Supreme Court. It is not dispositive as to all actions in Arizona and can only be used as persuasive authority in other states or federal court.

 Cause of action to avoid a trustee’s sale: The Hogan decision was considered governing but as we pointed out when the decision was made, the Arizona Supreme Court went out of its way to say that  the borrower never alleged that the trustee lacked the authority to conduct a trustee sale and therefore its decision did not address this issue. This court points that out and upheld the borrowers cause of action to avoid a trustee sale based upon the claim that the trustee did not have the authority to conduct a sale of the property. The reasoning behind this decision may well apply in judicial states as well.

 This decision needs to be analyzed carefully. I have only just received it. In the coming days I will provide additional analysis.

The Rush to Foreclosure: Wells Fargo Loses the Argument on Trial Modifications

As Danielle Kelley, Esq. (Tallahassee) has repeatedly predicted, the trial modification practices of the big banks are getting them into hot water. Scenarios vary. But one typical scenario  is that the trial modification is “approved” (which under current law means that it has been through underwriting) and the borrower makes the trail payments. Then the bank says the “investor” (with whom they have most likely NOT been in contact) has denied the modification. After receiving the trial payments and assuring the borrowers that they were safe in their home, the bank then forecloses. Many homeowners, unaware that they in fact probably have a binding contract with the bank on the modification, walk away.

Kelley has won cases based upon the argument that the bank had no choice but to modify the loan according to the terms of the trial modifications — and to make any other adjustments necessary to make the numbers come out right. The important point being that the payments offered in the trial modification are the same payment they will have for the rest of the term of the loan. The Bank argued that they were under no obligation to make the trial modification permanent. The Judge was furious with the bank and its attorneys, reminding them that forfeiture of one’s home is an extreme remedy, not to be taken lightly.

Of course the game of the Banks has been, all along, that they want as many of the mortgage loans in foreclosure, because that is the only way out of potential liability for refunds and buybacks of loans that have now been “assigned” to REMIC trusts, most of which were never funded and thus lacked the capacity to originate or acquire any loans. The servicers are rushing to foreclosure sale because that is an opportunity for them to claim the proceeds of liquidation of the property to get back “servicer advances” paid while they claimed the homeowner was in default (but the creditors (investors) were being paid on time in the right amount — i.e., NO DEFAULT).

The investors are suing the broker dealers (investment banks) for fraud, mismanagement of funds, documents and title. The investors affirmatively allege that the loan documents are unenforceable but when it gets down to state court level in the foreclosure cases, those assertions by the creditors are not considered relevant by a standard that does not seem to have any support under the law but which is nonetheless applied.

In all probability no investor knows of any foreclosures nor do they get notice of how the Servicers and Trustees are forcing the cases into foreclosures where the investors do the worst, the borrowers do the worst, and the banks, trustees and servicers get to take all the spoils of the largest economic fraud in human history.  I know that sounds like hyperbole. But I will bet anything that the time will come when the real truth comes out in its entirety — and the shock and awe of the whole thing becomes apparent to everyone.

While most of the cases involving trial modifications result in confidential settlements that cannot be discussed here or I would be violating the confidentiality agreement, one case recently stands out as having been at least partially litigated now.

Borrowers Can Sue Wells Fargo Over Mortgage Modifications — Reuters

The 9th Circuit, which has been considered unfriendly to borrowers, changed course in this decision.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Wells Fargo was required under the federal Home Affordable Modification Program [HAMP] to offer loan modifications to borrowers who demonstrated their eligibility during a trial period. … the appeals court rejected the argument that Wells Fargo became bound only upon sending borrowers signed modification agreements.

 

The court said this would create “unfettered discretion” for the San Francisco-based bank to reject modifications “for any reason whatsoever – interest rates went up, the economy soured, (or) it just didn’t like the borrower.”

While a federal appeals court in Chicago reached a similar conclusion last year, the 9th Circuit decision applies in several western U.S. states – among them California, Arizona and Nevada – that have been particularly hard-hit by foreclosures.

Corvello v. Wells Fargo Bank NA et al, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 11-16234.

 

This decision, like others coming out of Federal and State courts shows a growing anger and mistrust of the banks and their attorneys that most borrowers would say is long overdue.

For people familiar with determining the present value of a flow of funds, the analysis of the modification deals is easier. The average length of time a home is held by its owner is around 7 years, but many people stay in the home for life. Just to make things easier, here is a way of looking at certain modifications that don’t seem to offer anything of value on their face.

Assuming the original mortgage was $500,000 and now with default interest, attorneys fees etc. the total demanded is $600,000 the bank might offer a low interest rate (2%-5%) with amortization for forty years at a payment you can afford. But you don’t like the deal because you were the victim of appraisal fraud so you would be accepting a mortgage and waiving your defenses and ratifying the ownership of the loan in exchange for what?

The payment over 40 years changes the equation dramatically and does address the appraisal fraud if you stay in the house for a long time. In 40 years, with even low inflation, each dollar you are spending now is going to be worth around 20 cents. And even without any organic growth in prices from demand, your house might be worth $300,000 now, will be priced in 40 years at around $1,200,000. This assumes 2% rate of inflation. The risk factors are deflation and stagnation, which at this point most economists are not predicting.

For more information on trial modifications, litigation support, or other related information contact Danielle Kelley at 850-765-1236.

 

 

 

 

 

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