Another Countrywide Sham Goes Down the Drain

Banks use several ploys to distract the court, the borrower and the foreclosure defense attorney from the facts. One of them is citing a merger in lieu of presenting documents of transfer of the debt, note or mortgage. We already know that the debt is virtually never transferred because the transferor never had any interest in the debt and thus had no authority to administer the debt (i.e., as servicer).

So the banks have successfully pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes by citing a merger, as though that automatically transferred the note and mortgage from one party to another. Mergers come in all kinds of flavors and here the 5th Circuit in Florida recognizes that simple fact and emphatically states that the relationship between the parties must be proven along with proof that the note, or authority to enforce the note, must be proven by competent evidence.

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see Green v Green Tree Servicing Countrywide Home Loans et al 5D15-4413.op

*Judgment for Borrower (Involuntary Dismissal)
*Failure to provide evidence to explain relationships in mergers
*Failure to provide evidence of the terms of the merger and the transfer of the subject loan
* Failure to to provide evidence of standing at commencement of the lawsuit

An interesting side note to this case is that it never mentions the debt, which is the third rail of all claims of transfers and securitization. The opinion starts off with a recital of facts that differs from most other cases, to wit: it talks about how the homeowner signed the note and mortgage, and does not reference a loan made to him by the originator, Countrywide Home Loans (CHL).

The court remains strictly in the confines of who owns, controls or has the right to enforce the note — a fact that is relevant only if the note is evidence of an underlying debt. If no such debt exists between CHL and the homeowner, then the note is irrelevant — unless a successor possessor actually paid for it, in which case the successor could claim that it is a holder in due course and that the risk of loss shifts to the maker of the note under such circumstances.

The Green case here stands for the proposition that the banks may not paper over ownership or control or the right to enforce the note with vague references to a merger. The court points out that a merger might not include all the assets of one party or the other. More particularly, a merger, if it occurred must be proven along with some transfer of the subject note and mortgage.

And very specifically, the court says that entities may not be used interchangeably. The foreclosing party must explain the relationship between the parties affiliated with the “merged” entities.

[NOTE: Bank of America did not directly acquire CHL. CHL was merged into Red Oak Merger Corp., controlled by BofA. One of the reasons for doing it that way is to segregate questionable assets and liabilities from the rest of the BofA. BofA claimed ownership of CHL, and changed the name of CHL to BAC Home Loans. But it didn’t just change the name; it also made assertions, when it suited BofA that BAC was a separate entity, possibly an independent entity, which is also not true. So the Court’s objection to the lack of evidence on the merger is very well taken].

The Court also takes note of the claim that DiTech Financial was formerly known as Green Tree Servicing. That is not true. The DiTech name has been used by several different entities, been phased out, then phased in again. Again a reason why the court insists upon evidence that explains the actual relationship between actual entities, and not just names thrown around as though that meant anything.

Ultimately Green Tree, which no longer existed, was made the Plaintiff in the action. Some certificate of merger was introduced indicating a merger again, this time between DiTech Financial and GreenTree. In this lawsuit Green tree was presented as the surviving entity. But in all other cases DiTech Financial is presented as the surviving entity — or at least the DiTech name survived. There is considerable doubt whether the combination of Green Tree was anything more than rebranding an operation merging out of the Ally Financial bankruptcy and ResCap operations.

A sure sign of subterfuge is when the lawyer for the foreclosing party attempts to lead the court into treating multiple independent companies as a single entity. That, according to this court, would ONLY be acceptable if there was competent evidence admitted into the court record showing a clear line of succession such that a reasonable person could only conclude that the present successor company in fact encompasses all of the business activities and assets of the predecessors or, at the very least, encompasses a clear chain of possession, title and authorization of the subject loan.

[PRACTICE NOTES: Discovery of actual merger documents and documents of transfer should be vigorously pursued against expected opposition. Cite this case as mandatory or persuasive authority that the field of inquiry is perfectly proper — as long as the foreclosing entity is attempting tons the mergers and presumptive transfers against the homeowner.]

 

 

 

Pinning Them Down on Musical Chairs

In the final analysis there is nothing about the business model that makes sense. Switching servicers and owners is simply not the norm of the industry except in relation to cases in foreclosure. It only makes sense if you assume that they are hiding the truth.

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THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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So I just responded to a homeowner who, with a little help from us, sent out a QWR and DVL and received a response that was quite revealing.  The homeowner was dealing with the usual chorus line of ever-changing servicers and alleged “lenders” (pretender lenders).
 *
After YEARS of denying that anyone other than BOA owned the loan they now admit that they are now asserting that Freddie Mac owns the loan, although, despite the QWR and DVL letters, they have never produced a single document that shows that.
 *
And after years of denying the involvement, Bayview makes the singular uncomfortable admission that LPS/Blacknight in Jacksonville maintains the system of records for Bayview (along with most everyone else in the “securitization” scheme). I say that means LPS is the servicer. If that opinion is right, then LPS is the servicer for virtually every loan made in the last 15 years. [Remember this is the company who published a menu of services that included the fabrication and forgery of documents]
 *
What they don’t say is that LPS (now known as Blacknight) maintained everything from the beginning because the loan didn’t legally exist nor was it ever purchased or acquired by anyone. The debt was and remains owing to institutional investors who don’t know they are owed money from the party who received their money. Neither the creditor nor the debtor know of each other’s identity or existence.
 *
So here are some of my responses to the array of documents sent to the homeowner leading one to the inevitable conclusion that they are intended merely to confuse and obfuscate.
  1. Freddie Mac is the owner. When did it become the owner?
  2. Did Freddie Mac approve the modification?
  3. Does Bayview have the right to commit to modification? ON behalf of whom did Bayview approve the modification? Who is bound by the modification agreement?
  4. Servicing changed from BAC—>BOA effective 7/11/11. BAC was the new name of Countrywide. So when did Countrywide get involved and how?
  5. When was servicing changed from BOA (the original pretender lender) to BAC or Countrywide?
  6. Servicing changed from BOA—>Bayview 8/1/15. It would be interesting to learn what other events may have prompted this change of servicer.
  7. What documents exist showing BOA right to service the loan?
  8. What documents exist showing Countrywide right to service the loan?
  9. What documents exist showing BAC right to service the loan?
  10. What documents exist showing Bayview right to service the loan.
  11. Request copies of servicing agreement.
  12. Who was the owner of the loan when the loan was first originated?
  13. Who was the owner of the loan when the servicing of the loan was transferred to Countrywide?
  14. Who was the owner of the loan when the servicing of the loan was transferred to BAC?
  15. Who was the owner of the loan when the servicing of the loan was transferred back to BOA?
  16. Who was the owner of the loan when the servicing of the loan was transferred to Bayview?
  17. Why was I not notified that Freddie Mac has become the owner of the loan? [Suggest letter to Freddie Mac asking if they are the owner and if they are aware there is a modification.]
  18. LPS/Blacknight: I am surprised they admitted it. So the question to them would be (a) are all records concerning my loan maintained by Blacknight and (b) is Blacknight actually my servicer? — Since Bayview says Blacknight has the records you could write to Blacknight and ask where your records are kept and who has access to them.
  19. The other question is if LPS/Blacknight maintains the system of records, what does Bayview do?
  20. 11/22/16 statement was prepared by Blacknight? where did they get information from? If there is a credit balance shouldn’t you get the money?
  21. If Freddie Mac is the owner then why did Bayview sign the acknowledgment as lender?
  22. If Bayview is the servicer why doesn’t the acknowledgment say that they are signing on behalf of FreddieMac, the owner?
  23. If Freddie Mac is the owner, why does the modification not state that and why does Bayview sign as and have you sign “in witness whereof, lender and Borrower have executed this agreement.”
  24. Since the modification has supposedly been completed, why hasn’t Freddie Mac or its authorized agent sent a correction to the credit bureaus — with the foreclosure dismissed?

Appellate Court Wrestling with Inconsistent Facts in Foreclosure Cases

For further information please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688

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IT ISN’T BOTCHED PAPERWORK. IT’S FAKE PAPERWORK

It should come as no surprise that Judges have been confused since the dawning of the mortgage crisis launched by Wall Street. Wall Street was counting on it. And the problem they are having is that most courts, including appellate courts, are presuming the loans existed in the first place. You can’t blame for that because nearly everyone still makes that presumption. How could it not be true? What do you mean the loan came from someone else? Then why didn’t that third person  make sure they were made the payee on the note and the mortgagee on the mortgage? The real lenders didn’t know about the loan and would never have approved it? Preposterous!

Yes, I concede it all sounds like nonsense. But here is something that does NOT sound like nonsense. If the loan actually existed (between the named payee on the note and the named mortgagee or beneficiary on the mortgage) there is no circumstances under which a lawyer for the “lender” or “investor” would withhold proof of that transaction to the borrower, the Court or anyone else that was entitled to that information. If they had proof of payment on the loan they would rush to show it. If they had proof of payment on the alleged purchase of the loan, they would rush to show it — because that would make them a holder in due course (where the borrower has virtually no defenses).

The problem is that with the shell game of plaintiffs, servicers and trustees, Judges are getting distracted as they start picking at the foreclosure actions and entering some judgments in favor of the homeowners but failing to even consider the possibility that the entire scheme is fraudulent. Instead we see articles like the one below where the paperwork is considered “botched.” It isn’t botched. It is part of a fraudulent scheme. Look for any case where the underlying monetary transaction has been shown or proven. It isn’t there. 6-7 million foreclosures and still no money changing hands. What lender would endorse a note and assign a mortgage without receiving payment for it? (Unless of course they didn’t pay anything either at the loan closing table).

And why would anyone endorse a note or assign a mortgage without a sale of the loan and without receiving payment for it? The answer is very clear. They wouldn’t.

But the Courts are starting with the premise that the loan, and the transfer of the loan is presumptively legal and valid. And part of that presumption starts with the wrong question in the minds of judges — why would anyone file a foreclosure action if they were not the injured party whose legitimate interests were abridged when the borrower stopped paying? That slippery slope leads them to ratify unsigned, robo-signed, fabricated, forged paperwork in the belief that it really doesn’t matter how much is wrong with the paperwork.

Judges still assume that the underlying transactions must be real; hence judgment for the homeowner is necessary to avoid a windfall. It is circular reasoning to assume that the claim must be true if it was filed — that is what our constitution is all about preventing.

see The Fate of Foreclosure Cases

Will botched paperwork affect the outcome of foreclosure appeals? It depends on the judges.

The decisions in three cases came down to paperwork and procedure Wednesday before the Fourth District Court of Appeal.

For BAC Home Loans Servicing LP, botched documentation at the height of the robo-signing scandal cost it a foreclosure judgment when the court ruled the lender failed to prove standing to sue homeowner Rosanie Joseph.

The appeals court reversed a foreclosure judgment issued by Palm Beach Circuit Judge Diana Lewis since there was no evidence to show Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. owned the mortgage when filing to foreclose on Joseph in July 2009.

The 2008 mortgage issued by Key Mortgage Associates was attached to the lawsuit, but no note or assignments accompanied the filing by Ocala-based Taylor Bean, a leading wholesale mortgage lender. The company reported the note was lost or stolen.

Taylor Bean, one of the spectacular bankruptcies of the housing crash, later assigned the note to BAC, which picked up the foreclosure ball.

In trial, BAC produced the original note and mortgage. The note offered two endorsements by the same person, Erica Carter-Shaw as a Key Mortgage attorney and Taylor Bean “E.V.P.” Neither endorsement was dated.

“A party must establish its standing to bring a mortgage foreclosure complaint by establishing an assignment or equitable transfer of the note and mortgage prior to instituting the complaint,” Judge Martha Warner wrote for the unanimous panel. Judges Carole Taylor and Mark Klingensmith concurred.

No File Review

A different panel split in similar litigation: Gafoor Jaffer and Nina Jaffer v. Chase Home Finance.

The homeowners claimed Chase attached a mortgage note payable to a third party without any proof of transfer and used an amended foreclosure complaint that failed to state a cause of action. However, the Jaffers waived the question of Chase’s standing by failing to respond to the lawsuit before default was entered.

Chase conceded some of its employees signed affidavits about the loan documents without first reviewing the loan file.

But the Fourth DCA upheld summary judgment issued by Broward Circuit Judge Sandra Perlman.

In the 2-1 unsigned decision, Judges Spencer Levine and Klingensmith concurred. Judge Burton Conner dissented, citing Chase’s failure to file an accurate copy of the mortgage note.

Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. wasn’t as lucky when it moved to overturn Broward Circuit Judge Kathleen Ireland’s ruling in favor of homeowner Theresa Boglioli.

Attorneys say the decisions may further complicate already-lengthy and expensive foreclosure litigation.

“Normally you see discrepancies of this nature within different circuits. But what we’re seeing in the Fourth is discrepancies among themselves,” said foreclosure defense attorney Roy Oppenheim of Weston. “It just makes this more complex. When there is cloudiness, it just creates more ambiguity and delays the conclusion of the foreclosure mess. In the end it doesn’t help anybody when you have inconsistent rules.”

“The judges themselves are coming up with different rationale based on the same facts, which makes for wildly different outcomes.”

Powers of Attorney — New Documents Magically Appear

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BONY/Mellon is among those who are attempting to use a Power of Attorney (POA) that they say proves their ownership of the note and mortgage. In No way does it prove ownership. But it almost forces the reader to assume ownership. But it is not entitled to a presumption of any kind. This is a document prepared for use in litigation and in no way is part of normal business records. They should be required to prove every word and every exhibit. The ONLY thing that would prove ownership is proof of payment. If they owned it they would be claiming HDC status. Not only doesn’t it PROVE ownership, it doesn’t even recite or warrant ownership, indemnification etc. It is a crazy document in substance but facially appealing even though it doesn’t really say anything.

The entire POA is hearsay, lacks foundation, and is irrelevant without the proper foundation be laid by the proponent of the document. I do not think it can be introduced as a business records exception since such documents are not normally created in the ordinary course of business especially with such wide sweeping powers that make no sense — unless you recognize that they are dealing with worthless paper that they are trying desperately to make valuable.

They should have given you a copy of the settlement agreement referred to in the POA and they should have identified the original PSA that is referred to in the settlement agreement. Those are the foundation documents because the POA says that the terms used are defined in the PSA, Settlement agreement or both. I want all documents that are incorporated by reference in the POA.

If you have asked whether the Trust ever paid for your loan, I would like to see their answer.

If CWALT, Inc. or CWABS, Inc., or CWMBS, Inc is anywhere in your chain of title or anywhere else mentioned in any alleged origination or transfer of your loan, I assume you asked for those and I would like to see them too.

The PSA requires that the Trust pay for and receive the loan documents by way of the depositor and custodian. The Trustee never takes possession of the loan documents. But more than that it is important to distinguish between the loan documents and the debt. If there is no debt between you and the originator (which means that the originator named on the note and mortgage never advanced you any money for the loan) then note, which is only evidence of the debt and allegedly containing the terms of repayment is only evidence of the debt — which we know does not exist if they never answered your requests for proof of payment, wire transfer or canceled check.

If you have been reading my posts the last couple of weeks you will see what I am talking about.

The POA does not warrant or even recite that YOUR loan or anything resembling control or ownership of YOUR LOAN is or was ever owned by BONY/Mellon or the alleged trust. It is a classic case of misdirection. By executing a long and very important-looking document they want the judge to presume that the recitations are true and that the unrecited assumptions are also true. None of that is correct. The reference to the PSA only shows intent to acquire loans but has no reference or exhibit identifying your loan. And even if there was such a reference or exhibit it would be fabricated and false — there being obvious evidence that they did not pay for it or any other loan.

The evidence that they did not pay consists of a lot of things but once piece of logic is irrefutable — if they were a holder in due course you would be left with no defenses. If they are not a holder in due course then they had no right to collect money from you and you might sue to get your payments back with interest, attorney fees and possibly punitive damages unless they turned over all your money to the real creditors — but that would require them to identify your real creditors (the investors who thought they were buying mortgage bonds but whose money was never given to the Trust but was instead used privately by the securities broker that did the underwriting on the bond offering).

And the main logical point for an assumption is that if they were a holder in due course they would have said so and you would be fighting with an empty gun except for predatory and improper lending practices at the loan closing which cannot be brought against the Trust and must be directed at the mortgage broker and “originator.” They have not alleged they are a holder in course.

The elements of holder in dude course are purchase for value, delivery of the loan documents, in good faith without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses. If they had paid for the loan documents they would have been more than happy to show that they did and then claim holder in due course status. The fact that the documents were not delivered in the manner set forth in the PSA — tot he depositor and custodian — is important but not likely to swing the Judge your way. If they paid they are a holder in due course.

The trust could not possibly be attacked successfully as lacking good faith or knowing the borrower’s defenses, so two out of four elements of HDC they already have. Their claim of delivery might be dubious but is not likely to convince a judge to nullify the mortgage or prevent its enforcement. Delivery will be presumed if they show up with what appears to be the original note and mortgage. So that means 3 out of the four elements of HDC status are satisfied by the Trust. The only remaining question is whether they ever entered into a transaction in which they originated or acquired any loans and whether yours was one of them.

Since they have not alleged HDC status, they are admitting they never paid for it. That means the Trust is admitting there was no payment, which means they were not entitled to delivery or ownership of the note, mortgage, or debt.

So that means they NEVER OWNED THE DEBT OR THE LOAN DOCUMENTS. AS A HOLDER IN COURSE IT WOULD NOT MATTER IF THEY OWNED THE DEBT — THE LOAN DOCUMENTS ARE ENFORCEABLE BY A HOLDER IN DUE COURSE EVEN IF THERE IS NO DEBT. THE RISK OF LOSS TO ANY PERSON WHO SIGNS A NOTE AND MORTGAGE AND ALLOWS IT TO BE TAKEN OUT OF HIS OR HER POSSESSION IS ON THE PARTY WHO TOOK IT AND THE PARTY WHO SIGNED IT — IF THERE WAS NO CONSIDERATION, THE DOCUMENTS ARE ONLY SUCCESSFULLY ENFORCED WHERE AN INNOCENT PARTY PAYS REAL VALUE AND TAKES DELIVERY OF THE NOTE AND MORTGAGE IN GOOD FAITH WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE OF THE BORROWER’S DEFENSES.

So if they did not allege they are an HDC then they are admitting they don’t own the loan papers and admitting they don’t own the loan. Since the business of the trust was to pay for origination of loans and acquisition of loans there is only one reason they wouldn’t have paid for the loan — to wit: the trust didn’t have the money. There is only one reason the trust would not have the money — they didn’t get the proceeds of the sale of the bonds. If the trust did not get the proceeds of sale of the bonds, then the trust was completely ignored in actual conduct regardless of what the documents say. Which means that the documents are not relevant to the power or authority of the servicer, master servicer, trust, or even the investors as TRUST BENEFICIARIES.

It means that the investors’ money was used directly for fees of multiple people who were not disclosed in your loan closing, and some portion of which was used to fund your loan. THAT MEANS the investors have no claim as trust beneficiaries. Their only claim is as owner of the debt, not the loan documents which were made out in favor of people other than the investors. And that means that there is no basis to claim any power, authority or rights claimed through “Securitization” (dubbed “securitization fail” by Adam Levitin).

This in turn means that the investors are owners of the debt but lack any documentation with which to enforce the debt. That doesn’t mean they can’t enforce the debt, but it does mean they can’t use the loan documents. Once they prove or you admit that you did get the loan and that the money came from them, they are entitled to a money judgment on the debt — but there is no right to foreclose because the deed of trust, like a mortgage, is made out to another party and the investors were never included in the chain of title because the intermediaries were  making money keeping it from the investors. More importantly the “other party” had no risk, made no money advance and was otherwise simply providing an illegal service to disguise a table funded loan that is “predatory per se” as per REG Z.

And THAT is why the originator received no money from successors in most cases — they didn’t ask for any money because the loan had cost them nothing and they received a fee for their services.

Wall Street Analysts Don’t Get It

I am not in the habit of giving investment advice and I am not about to start. But it has come to my attention that there are numerous pundits who call themselves analysts that are pumping the stock of Bank of America. I know how this works, but besides the corruption their articles reflect a general consensus on Wall Street that is based on a false premise. In 2007 are predicted that the banks would show and announce losses and then show a steady stream of profits and potential profits. This was because they were essentially stealing money from the investors and committing other fraudulent acts against investors government-sponsored entities and virtually everyone else in the mortgage foreclosure business. In the context of an exploding or imploding “securitization” market where the trading in the bogus mortgage bonds was frozen, the banks would have drawn a lot of attention if they were all reporting the money they had taken as revenue or profit. I predicted that they would later bring that money back in on a steadily increasing basis laundering the stolen cash through the mortgage foreclosure process. One of the basic strategies they employed was the creation of the inclusion of proprietary trading profits that could not be easily audited or confirmed.

 During the period of the mortgage meltdown, the banks were reporting an increase in deposits and an increase in loans. The pundits who are writing articles at the behest of Bank of America and other institutions are looking at the surface of the reports instead of drilling down and doing the analysis that should be done before they open their mouths and say something about the value of the stock.

They still don’t get that the increase in deposits and the increase in loans was completely fake. The “deposits” were really investments from pension funds and the like who thought they were buying mortgage bonds. Instead of brokering the transaction Bank of America took the money in as a deposit. Instead of sending the money to the REMIC trust that “issued” the “mortgage bonds” from the “trust” that didn’t have a cent of money or assets and no revenue stream to pay on the bonds, Bank of America skimmed up to 25% off the top and then created a fake underwriting portfolio where loans were originated or acquired to make it look like the securitization game was on.  That is what accounted for the increase in loans reported by the banks.

But to complete the fraud they issued the bonds in the name of the broker dealer (street name) and issued the promissory notes from borrowers to nominees, which was the equivalent of “street name.”  In most cases the delivery of the promissory note was never completed and certainly never given to the strawman that served as the originator of the loan and was named on the note and mortgage. The investors didn’t stand a chance. And the stockholders of BAC don’t stand a chance either because the cover-up is falling apart. Now the last ditch effort to pretend the loans were not securitized when they are in foreclosure litigation (reverting back to the original strategy in place 2001-2009) is also failing because lawyers are smelling blood in the water. When BAC comes down it will be faster and sooner than any of the pundits can imagine.

 

Sent from the Seeking Alpha Portfolio app. Get the app.

Bank Of America: Billions In Additional Profits Coming, Here’s How

Wed, Jan 29 | by Josh Arnold Includes: bac

Yesterday, I took a look at Bank of America’s (BAC) net interest margin as a way to gauge the company’s ability to increase earnings in the future. Today, we’ll take a look at another piece of BAC’s business, its mix of loans and leases to its deposit base. This is a key metric in banking as it compares the amount of low cost, “sticky” money to the amount of that money that is being lent…

Read more at Seeking Alpha:
http://seekingalpha.com/article/1975551?source=ipadportfolioapp_email

Quicken Loans Cut to the Quick for $3.5 million on $180k Loan

“[Customers and employees] accuse the company of using high-pressure salesmanship to target elderly and vulnerable homeowners, as well as misleading borrowers about their loans, and falsifying property appraisals and other information to push through bad deals….

A group of ex-employees, meanwhile, have gone to federal court to accuse Quicken of abusing workers and customers alike. In court papers, former salespeople claim Quicken executives managed by bullying and intimidation, pressuring them to falsify borrowers’ incomes on loan applications and to push overpriced deals on desperate or unwary homeowners.”

Internet Store Notice: As requested by customer service, this is to explain the use of the COMBO, Consultation and Expert Declaration. The only reason they are separate is that too many people only wanted or could only afford one or the other — all three should be purchased. The Combo is a road map for the attorney to set up his file and start drafting the appropriate pleadings. It reveals defects in the title chain and inferentially in the money chain and provides the facts relative to making specific allegations concerning securitization issues. The consultation looks at your specific case and gives the benefit of litigation support consultation and advice that I can give to lawyers but I cannot give to pro se litigants. The expert declaration is my explanation to the Court of the findings of the forensic analysis. It is rare that I am actually called as a witness apparently because the cases are settled before a hearing at which evidence is taken.
If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our South Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. In Northern Florida and the Panhandle call 850-765-1236. Customer service for the livinglies store with workbooks, services and analysis remains the same at 520-405-1688. The people who answer the phone are NOT attorneys and NOT permitted to provide any legal advice, but they can guide you toward some of our products and services. Get advice from attorneys licensed in the jurisdiction in which your property is located. We do provide litigation support — but only for licensed attorneys.
See LivingLies Store: Reports and Analysis

Editor’s Comment and Analysis: Quicken is one of those company’s that looks like a lender but isn’t. They say they are the bank when they are not. And they have been as predatory or more so than anyone else in the marketplace, despite the PR campaign of Dan Gilbert, formerly of Merrill Lynch Bond Trading department, who now heads up the company after selling it and then buying it back. They also have an “appraisal” company that is called Cornerstone Appraisals, that shares in the appraisal fees a fact missed by every one of the lawsuits I have seen.

The Quicken two step generally involved the company as an aggressive originator and nowhere is their aggressiveness more apparent than in the lawsuit than in the lawsuit described below. The one fact that everyone still has wrong however is that there is an assumption that Quicken loaned the money to the borrower. In fact, Quicken was neither the underwriter nor the lender and never had a risk of loss on any of the loans it originated. It used the Countrywide IT platform to underwrite the loans, inflated appraisals to increase its fees, and lured borrowers into deals that were impossible — like the lawsuit described below where a piece of property was worth about 1/6th of the original appraisal amount. AND when even the borrower thought the appraisal was ridiculous and refused to sign the loan, they reduced the appraisal and loan so it was still more than 4x the value of the property.

After that the closing funds came from an investment bank, not Quicken Loans or even Countrywide. The investor money was applied to the closing but the investors received nothing of what they were promised. They didn’t get a note or a mortgage. THAT paperwork went to naked nominees of the investment bank so they could steal, trade and create the largest inflation of pseudo-dollars in the shadow banking world that we have ever known — ten times the actual money supply.

Quicken Loans arrogantly rolled the dice and ended up with punitive damages in the millions and a large fee award top the the law firm of Bordas and Bordas in Wheeling Ohio. The Bordas firm proved many points worth mentioning.

  1. Appraisal fraud was at the heart of the mortgage meltdown. If industry standards were applied as stated in the petition of more than 8,000 licensed appraisers in 2005, these deals would never have happened and none of the foreclosures would have happened. And let’s remember that the appraisal is a representation of the LENDER not the borrower.
  2. Cases taken on contingency fee represent a huge share of commerce in the legal profession. My opinion is that liability and damages are starting to form a pattern and that cases against lenders for wrongful foreclosure, slander of title, fraud, RICO and other causes of action will start settling like PI cases currently do, which is why so many lawyers go into personal injury law.
  3. Judicial recognition of the overbearing and egregiously fraudulent behavior of the banks against unwary or unsophisticated homeowners is at the brink of total acceptance.
  4. As courts begin to zoom in on these closings they don’t like what they see. None of it makes sense because none of it is legal.
  5. Courts don’t like to be played as the fool or tool of a gangster perpetrating a large scale fraud. They get testy when pushed, and that is exactly what happened in Ohio.
  6. Most importantly, plain old good lawyering will win the day if you are prepared, understand the material and practice your presentation. Jason Causey, Jim Bordas, and their legal team deserve many kudos for taking on a company whose PR image was squeaky clean and then showing the dirt underneath — just as the Trusts were gilded with a few good looking loans and the rest, underneath, were toxic waste.

“Quicken ordered an appraisal of the home that Jefferson was interested in refinancing and the appraisal request included an estimated value of the subject property of $262,500. The trial court would later conclude the value of the property was $46,000.

“Appraiser Dewey Guida of Appraisals Unlimited, Inc. valued the property at $181,700 and after Jefferson backed out of the process for a few weeks because of her concern that she would be unable to afford the payments, Johnson was able to close her on a $144,800 loan.

“Although Jefferson had initially received a written Good Faith Estimate for a loan in the amount of $112.850 with a 2.5 “loan discount points” and no balloon feature, this much larger loan actually charged her for 4.0 points, while only giving her 2.5, and had a balloon payment after 30 years of $107,015.71, the amount of which was not disclosed, according to court documents.”

 

  1. Quicken Loans ordered to pay $3.5M in mortgage case, appeals

    wvrecord.com › Ohio County

    Aug 7, 2013 – WHEELING – A judgment in a fraud lawsuit against Quicken Loans has only gotten bigger since an appeal to the state Supreme Court, so the 

  2. Mortgage Mess: Why Quicken Loans May Not Be as Squeaky Clean

    www.cbsnews.com/…/mortgage-mess-why-quickenloans-may-not-be-as…

    Feb 8, 2011 – Quicken Loans‘ lending practices may not be as exemplary as the company contends. A federal lawsuit starting in Detroit today and other legal 

  3. Ripoff Report | quicken loans directory of Complaints & Reviews

    www.ripoffreport.com/directory/quickenloans.aspx

    Ripoff Report | Complaints Reviews Scams Lawsuits Frauds Reported. Company Directory | quickenloans. Approximately 342 Reports Found Showing 1-25.

Who’s on First?

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Editor’s comment: In a classic Abbott and Costello routine (look it up for those who are too young) the banks are playing “who’s on First” and winning because of the dizzying pace with which they move the goalpost.

I wrote the following comments (see below) on a case I was assisting in which Quicken Loans  purportedly originated the loan but immediately informed the borrower to start paying Countrywide. Countrywide in turn disappeared into what now appears as RED OAK MERGER CORP and the borrower was told to start making the payments to BAC. BAC claimed ownership of the loan until they didn’t at which point they admitted that the loan belonged to some REMIC trust. The REMIC trust turned out not to exist and was never funded.

Then Bank of America informed the borrower that it was BofA that owned the loan despite all evidence and admissions to the contrary. Then BAC disappeared and a little drilling gave up the name Red Oak Merger Corporation which was planned to be the entity that would take over Countrywide. But apparently, like the REMICS, it was set up but never used.

Now the borrower is seeking a short-sale. BofA has performed its usual circus of “errors”in which it loses or purges files for important sounding reasons but which have not one grain of truth. During this time the borrower has lost sales because BofA tried to pawn off the loan servicing to another entity which produced conflicting notices to the borrower that the loan had been transferred for servicing and that the loan had NOT been transferred for servicing.

The borrower has property that is easily salable. BofA came back with a counter-offer for the short-sale. The HUD counselor located in Phoenix and who is extremely savvy about these loans and the legalities of the false moves by the banks finally asked “Who’s on First” by asking who was making decisions and what guidelines they were using.

BofA responded that the trustee BNY Mellon was the only one with that information. So the HUD counselor asked the same questions to BNY Mellon as trustee or the supposedly fully funded trust that included the borrower’s loan. BNY Mellon responded with the same answer Reynaldo Reyes at Deutsch Bank did — we are the trustee in name only.  All decisions regarding short-sales, modification and foreclosure are made by “the servicer.” Of course they didn’t distinguish between the subservicer and the Master Servicer.

The question asked of me was whether this was meaningless double talk and my answer is that it is very meaningful doubletalk providing admissions that the real loan is undocumented, unsecured and leaves the investors (pension funds) holding the bag, while the investment banks were rolling in a redaction of 1/3 of the world’s wealth. Borrowers don’t matter because they are deadbeats anyway and don’t deserve discussion.

Here is my response to the information we had at hand:

How could it be the responsibility of the servicer unless it was the servicer that was acting not as a bookkeeping and collection agent but as the trustee for the investors? If BNY Mellon claims to be the trustee then by definition (look it up) they ARE the investors and they would be the only ones who had the power to make the decision. If they are saying (just like DeutschBank does) that the servicer  makes the decisions then they are saying that  they have delegated(?) the trustee function to the subservicer (usually just referred to as the “servicer”). So like Reynaldo Reyes at Deutsch bank admitted, he is not a trustee for anything and the whole thing is, as he put it, very “Counter-intuitive.”

None of this makes sense until you consider the possibility that nobody ever started a trust, a trust account or gave any powers to a trustee, established beneficiaries of the trust or funded the trust. It makes perfect sense if you consider the alternative: that the investment banks sold bogus mortgage bonds to investors pretending that REMIC trusts were funded and issued the bonds. Read carefully: they are attempting avoid criminal liability and civil liability for the insurance, Federal bailouts and hedge proceeds the banks received on behalf of the investors but which they never reported much less paid the investors. The amount is in the trillions.

By telling you that the trustee has no power they are telling you that the trustee is not a trustee. By telling you that the power to make decisions is in the hands of the servicer, the correct question is which servicer? — the subservicer who dealt only with the borrower or the Master Servicer that dealt with ALL transactions directly or indirectly on behalf of the investment bank that did the selling and underwriting of the bogus mortgage bonds? Assuming either one actually has that power, the next question is how the “servicer” was appointed the manager and why, since they already had a trustee? The answer is what they are avoiding, so far successfully, but which at the end of the day will come out:

NO REMIC trust was used and none of the parties with whom we are dealing ever spent one penny of their own money, capital or deposits (if they were a depository institution) on funding or buying a loan. The true money trail generally looks like this: Investor—> Investment banker- who sold the bonds–> aggregator or intermediary affiliate of investment banker—> closing agent —> payoff seller and prior mortgage (probably paying a non-creditor in exchange for a fabricated release of lien and satisfaction of note which is never given back to borrower marked “PAID).”

The important thing is not who is in the money trail but who is not in the money trail. If you track the wire transfer receipts and wire transfer instructions and are able to track any compensation after closing that was not disclosed but nonetheless paid to undisclosed parties you will NOT find the loan originator whose name, as nominee (but they never said so) was used as the lender and the possessor of the loan receivable.

That is, you won’t find the originator as a funding source but you will find the originator as a paid servicer for the undisclosed aggregator in an illegal and predatory pattern of table-funded loans. In Discovery: PRACTICE TIP: Demand copies of the bookkeeping records that shows that the originator booked the transaction with the borrower as a loan receivable.

You will find that most of the loans were not booked at all on the balance sheet of the originator which means that their own records contain an admission against interest, to wit: that they were not the lender because they did not add the loan receivable to their assets, nor a reserve for bad debt to their liabilities, because they had not funded the loan and were not exposed to any risk of loss. The originator, especially those originators without any financial charter as a depository institution, was merely a paid nominee to ACT as though it was the lender and take the blame if there were findings in court that the closing was illegal or irregular. But there again the originator has no risk because of the corporate veil which shields the operators of the nominee pretender lender leaving the borrower with an empty shell possibly declaring bankruptcy like First Magnus or Century.

The money came from the investors through the investment banker through the aggregator in which the investors’ money was used to create the appearance of an asset consisting of only part of the investor’s money and then sold back to the investor “pool” which turns out not to exist because it was neither funded nor were the conditions of the pool ever followed.  This sale was booked by the investment banker as a “trading profit.” In other words, they took the money of the investor into one pocket and while transferring it from pocket to pocket took out their trading profit on transactions that were a complete illusion.

The documents use the nominee originator (like Quicken Loans) for the note to create “evidence” of an obligation that does not exist because Quicken Loans and its aggregator never funded the loan or the purchase of the loan — but that didn’t stop them from selling the loan several times, insuring it for the benefit of the investment banker and aggregator, and getting paid Federal bailout money and proceeds from credit default swaps all without deducting the amount promised as repayment to the investor, which is why the investors are suing.

The investors are saying there was a false closing based upon no underwriting standards and a fake bond based upon the backing of a mortgage and note that didn’t exist or was never enforceable.

When you boil it all down there was nobody at closing on the lender side. The named payee was a nominee for an undisclosed party and the named secured party was the nominee of an undisclosed party and the consideration came neither from the nominee nor the undisclosed principal. This is what leaves investors holding the bag.

The foreclosures are a grand scheme of cover-up for what was a simple PONZI scheme whose survival depended not upon borrower payments on legitimate loans but rather on the sale of more bogus mortgage bonds. There were no funded REMIC trusts, there were no active trustees, and the job of managing the flood of money fell to the Master Servicer who instructed the subservicer and all other parties what to do with their new found wealth.

The investors are saying they are left with a pile of money owed to them, documented by fake bonds, and no documentation on what was actually done with their money.

That leaves them in a position where they can NEVER claim that the loan money they advanced (and which was commingled beyond recognition) was never secured with a perfected lien or mortgage. The foreclosures that have taken place are based upon an illusion of a transaction that was never consummated — namely that the named payee on the note would loan the borrower money. They didn’t loan the money so the transaction lacks consideration.

Lacking consideration they have nonetheless fabricated, used, executed and recorded papers procured under false pretenses and they are taking the position in court that the borrower may not inquire as to the internal workings of the scheme that defrauded him  and which the investors  (Pension funds) corroborated with their lawsuits.

If you went to the originator and asked to payoff or rescind they would have had to go to the investment banker or aggregator to find out what to do instead of simply following the federal statute (TILA) and returning the documents in exchange for the money. By contract the originator agrees and the wire transfer instructions the originator agrees, just like MERS, to not take, claim or keep any money from the transaction.

PRACTICE TIP: Getting the cancelled check of the borrower to see who cashed the check in which account owned by which party might be helpful in determining the truth about the so-called closing. A good question to ask in discovery is how the”servicer” accounted for each payment it received or disbursed and what notes or notations were used. Then the next question to the subservicer, Master Servicer and investment banker is to whom did you disburse money and why?

Szymoniak: Honesty Pays $46.5 Million in Whistleblower Suit

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Editor’s Comment and Analysis:  

It was and remains a big lie — the securitization the loans, the origination of the loans, the assignments, alleges and endorsements. $46.5 million sounds like a lot and these whistleblowers will get a “windfall” as a result of it. But it is a drop in the bucket and we need to fill the bucket. And our bucket list should include taking down the big banks, removing money from politics, and getting back to government by the people and for the people.

Schiller, the scholar who has been leading the way in economic analysis of the housing market, has offered an audacious plan that is the last possible way for government intervention to save the economy, which is heavily dependent upon consumer spending, particularly in the housing market. Eminent domain has long been sustain as the right of government to take private property and convert it to public use. Whether it is a highway, downtown redevelopment or other reasons, eminent domain has been played by the banks and developers as a way to get land they need, at a price that could not be achieved using the power of the government behind them. 

While seemingly unusual and audacious, Schiller’s proposition has many precedents in history and should be considered as the last great hope after the 50 attorney generals agreed in the 50 state settlement that now prevents them from further investigation and prosecution against the banks. Schiller’s, the originator of the case-Schiller index showing that median income and income disparity is harmful to the economy and deadly to the housing market, proposes that we use the power of eminent domain to seize the remaining mortgages, and perhaps the property that has already been foreclosed, and remake the deals so that they make sense. Translating that means that the homeowners will get the deal that they should have received when they bought o refinanced their house. And it capitalizes on the inconvenient truth that it was the banks who created risks that neither the investors nor the homeowners signed up for.

By paying the value of the remaining mortgages — more than 30% are reported still under water and when carefully analyzed the figure is closer to 60%, the banks get no more and no less than they should, the investors still get their money — 100 cents on the dollar if they insist on payback from the banks in addition to the money from the new mortgages on the old property, and the homeowner is back in charge of his own home paying principal, interest, costs, fees and insurance and taxes that are fair market value indicators. It is better than the proceeds of foreclosures, so the banks now must argue that they have a right to take less money in order to get the foreclosure.

The banks want the foreclosure because they lied. And with the foreclosure it adds to the illusion that they funded or paid for loans in which they do not have a nickel invested. The fact that the balance sheets of the mega banks are going to take a giant hit is only an admission that the assets they are reporting are either not worth anything or are worth far less than the value shown on their public financial statements. They are still lying about that to investors, the SEC and other regulatory agencies.

So whistleblowers must pave the way and show the lies, show the inequality, show the inflated appraisals that could not stand the test of time and force government to act as it should. The chief law enforcement of the country and the chief law enforcement of each state owes his/her citizens at least that much and more. They must find ways to clear up the corruption of title records that are irretrievably lost. 

And the lawyers who keep turning down these cases because they are too complex or too weak should take a close look at these whistleblower  cases. The settlement, as always, comes before the trial because the fact remains that the banks are o the hook for  their bets on the mortgages and not the mortgages themselves. Lawyers need to show a little guts and seek some glory and wealth from these cases, while at the same time doing their country a service.

We are turning the corner and the banks are starting to lose. Keep up the fight and your effort will probably go well-rewarded.

Whistleblowers win $46.5 million in foreclosure settlement

By James O’Toole

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Getting served with foreclosure papers made Lynn Szymoniak rich.

While she couldn’t have known it at the time, that day in 2008 led to her uncovering widespread fraud on the part of some of the country’s biggest banks, and ultimately taking home $18 million as a result of her lawsuits against them. Szymoniak is one of six Americans who won big in the national foreclosure settlement, finalized earlier this year, as a result of whistleblower suits. In total, they collected $46.5 million, according to the Justice Department.

In the settlement, the nation’s five largest mortgage lenders –Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500), J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500), Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) and Ally Financial — agreed to pay $5 billion in fines and committed to roughly $20 billion more in refinancing and mortgage modifications for borrowers.

A judge signed off on the agreement in April, and in May — Szymoniak received her cut.

“I recognize that mine’s a very, very happy ending,” she said. “I know there are plenty of people who have tried as hard as I have and won’t see these kinds of results.”

Related: 30% of borrowers underwater

Whistleblower suits stem from the False Claims Act, which allows private citizens to file lawsuits on behalf of the U.S. when they have knowledge that the government is being defrauded. These citizens are then entitled to collect a portion of any penalties assessed in their case.

The act was originally passed in 1863, during a time when government officials were concerned that suppliers to the Union Army during the Civil War could be defrauding them.

In 1986, Congress modified the law to make it easier for whistleblowers to bring cases and giving them a larger share of any penalties collected. Whistleblowers can now take home between 15% and 30% of the sums collected in their cases. In the cases addressed in the foreclosure settlement, the whistleblowers revealed that banks were gaming federal housing programs by failing to comply with their terms or submitting fraudulent documents.

In Szymoniak’s case alone, the government collected $95 million based on her allegations that the banks had been using false documents to prove ownership of defaulted mortgages for which they were submitting insurance claims to the Federal Housing Administration.

The FHA is a self-funded government agency that offers insurance on qualifying mortgages to encourage home ownership. In the event of a default on an FHA-insured mortgage, the FHA pays out a claim to the lender.

Szymoniak’s case was only partially resolved by the foreclosure settlement, and she could be in line for an even larger payout when all is said and done.

As an attorney specializing in white-collar crime, the 63-year-old Floridian was well-placed to spot an apparent forgery on one of the documents in her foreclosure case, one she saw repeated in dozens of others she examined later.

“At this point, the banks are incredibly powerful in this country, but you just have to get up every morning and do what you can,” she said.

The other five whistleblowers in the settlement came from the industry side, putting their careers at risk by flagging the banks’ questionable practices.

Kyle Lagow, who won $14.6 million in the settlement, worked as a home appraiser in Texas for LandSafe, a subsidiary of Countrywide Financial. He accused the company in a lawsuit of deliberately inflating home appraisals in order to collect higher claims from the FHA, and said he was fired after making complaints internally.

Gregory Mackler, who won $1 million, worked for a company subcontracted by Bank of America to assist homeowners pursuing modifications through the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP. Under HAMP, the government offers banks incentive payments to support modifications.

Mackler said Bank of America violated its agreement with the government by deliberately preventing qualified borrowers from securing HAMP modifications, steering them toward foreclosure or more costly modifications from which it could make more money. He, too, claims to have been fired after complaining internally.

There’s also Victor Bibby and Brian Donnelly, executives from a Georgia mortgage services firm who accused the banks of overcharging veterans whose mortgages were guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, thereby increasing their default risk. Bibby and Donnelly won $11.7 million in the settlement; their attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.

Shayne Stevenson, an attorney who represented both Lagow and Mackler, said the two weren’t aware of possible rewards when they first brought their evidence to his firm.

“The reality of it is that most of the time, whistleblowers don’t even know about the False Claims Act — they don’t know they can make money,” Stevenson said. Both his clients, Stevenson added, “just wanted the government to know about this fraud, so they deserve every penny that they got.”

A Bank of America spokesman declined to comment on individual cases, but said the national settlement was “part of our ongoing strategy to put these issues, particularly these legacy issues with Countrywide, behind us.” BofA acquired mortgage lender Countrywide in 2008, thereby incurring the firm’s legal liabilities.

The other banks involved either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.

Related: Foreclosures spike 9%

While the whistleblowers in the settlement scored big paydays in the end, the road wasn’t easy. Stevenson said his clients “were pushed to the brink” after raising their concerns, struggling to find work and beset by financial problems.

“They were facing evictions, foreclosure, running away from bills, trying to deal with creditors that were coming after them,” Stevenson said. “This went on and on and on, and this is part and parcel of what happens to whistleblowers.”

For Robert Harris, a former assistant vice president in JPMorgan’s Chase Prime division, the experience was similar.

Harris accused the bank of failing to assist borrowers seeking HAMP modifications and knowingly submitting false claims for government insurance based on wrongful foreclosures. He was stymied when he tried to complain internally, and says he was fired for speaking out.

While Harris ended up with a $1.2 million payout in the settlement, the father of five says he’s been blacklisted within the industry and exhausted by the ordeal.

“It completely turned my life upside down,” he said. “I’m trying to raise my kids, recover from a divorce, recover from the loss of my career — it just comes to down to surviving and putting this to an end.”

“I guarantee the other whistleblowers, too, have sacrificed a lot,” he added. “But to be able to sit back and sleep at night is worth it.”


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Editor’s Comment:

When I first suggested that securitization itself was a lie, my comments were greeted with disbelief and derision. No matter. When I see something I call it the way it is. The loans never left the launch pad, much less flew into a waiting pool of investor money. The whole thing was a scam and AG Biden of Đelaware and Schniedermann of New York are on to it.

The tip of the iceberg is that the note was not delivered to the investors. The gravitas of the situation is that the investors were never intended to get the note, the mortgage or any documentation except a check and a distribution report. The game was on.

First they (the investment banks) took money from the investors on the false pretenses that the bonds were real when anyone with 6 months experience on Wall street could tell you this was not a bond for lots of reasons, the most basic of which was that there was no borrower. The prospectus had no loans because there were no loans made yet. The banks certainly wouldn’ t take the risks posed by this toxic heap of loans, so they were waiting for the investors to get conned. Once they had the money then they figured out how to keep as much of it as possible before even looking for residential home borrowers. 

None of the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code on REMICS were followed, nor were the requirements of the pooling and servicing agreement. The facts are simple: the document trail as written never followed the actual trail of actual transactions in which money exchanged hands. And this was simply because the loan money came from the investors apart from the document trail. The actual transaction between homeowner borrower and investor lender was UNDOCUMENTED. And the actual trail of documents used in foreclosures all contain declarations of fact concerning transactions that never happened. 

The note is “evidence” of the debt, not the debt itself. If the investor lender loaned money to the homeowner borrower and neither one of them signed a single document acknowledging that transaction, there is still an obligation. The money from the investor lender is still a loan and even without documentation it is a loan that must be repaid. That bit of legal conclusion comes from common law. 

So if the note itself refers to a transaction in which ABC Lending loaned the money to the homeowner borrower it is referring to a transaction that does not now nor did it ever exist. That note is evidence of an obligation that does not exist. That note refers to a transaction that never happened. ABC Lending never loaned the homeowner borrower any money. And the terms of repayment intended by the securitization documents were never revealed to the homeowner buyer. Therefore the note with ABC Lending is evidence of a non-existent transaction that mistates the terms of repayment by leaving out the terms by which the investor lender would be repaid.

Thus the note is evidence of nothing and the mortgage securing the terms of the note is equally invalid. So the investors are suing the banks for leaving the lenders in the position of having an unsecured debt wherein even if they had collateral it would be declining in value like a stone dropping to the earth.

And as for why banks who knew better did it this way — follow the money. First they took an undisclosed yield spread premium out of the investor lender money. They squirreled most of that money through Bermuda which ” asserted” jurisdiction of the transaction for tax purposes and then waived the taxes. Then the bankers created false entities and “pools” that had nothing in them. Then the bankers took what was left of the investor lender money and funded loans upon request without any underwriting.

Then the bankers claimed they were losing money on defaults when the loss was that of the investor lenders. To add insult to injury the bankers had used some of the investor lender money to buy insurance, credit default swaps and create other credit enhancements where they — not the investor lender —- were the beneficiary of a payoff based on the default of mortgages or an “event” in which the nonexistent pool had to be marked down in value. When did that markdown occur? Only when the wholly owned wholly controlled subsidiary of the investment banker said so, speaking as the ” master servicer.”

So the truth is that the insurers and counterparties on CDS paid the bankers instead of the investor lenders. The same thing happened with the taxpayer bailout. The claims of bank losses were fake. Everyone lost money except, of course, the bankers.

So who owns the loan? The investor lenders. Who owns the note? Who cares, it was worth less when they started; but if anyone owns it it is most probably the originating “lender” ABC Lending. Who owns the mortgage? There is no mortgage. The mortgage agreement was written and executed by the borrower securing terms of payment that were neither disclosed nor real.

Bank Loan Bundling Investigated by Biden-Schneiderman: Mortgages

By David McLaughlin

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Delaware’s Beau Biden are investigating banks for failing to package mortgages into bonds as advertised to investors, three months after a group of lenders struck a nationwide $25 billion settlement over foreclosure practices.

The states are pursuing allegations that some home loans weren’t correctly transferred into securitizations, undermining investors’ stakes in the mortgages, according to two people with knowledge of the probes. They’re also concerned about improper foreclosures on homeowners as result, said the people, who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. The probes prolong the fallout from the six-year housing bust that’s cost Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and other lenders more than $72 billion because of poor underwriting and shoddy foreclosures. It may also give ammunition to bondholders suing banks, said Isaac Gradman, an attorney and managing member of IMG Enterprises LLC, a mortgage-backed securities consulting firm.

“The attorneys general could create a lot of problems for the banks and for the trustees and for bondholders,” Gradman said. “I can’t imagine a better securities law claim than to say that you represented that these were mortgage-backed securities when in fact they were backed by nothing.”

Countrywide Faulted

Schneiderman said Bank of America Corp. (BAC)’s Countrywide Financial unit last year made errors in the way it packaged home loans into bonds, while investors have sued trustee banks, saying documentation lapses during mortgage securitizations can impair their ability to recover losses when homeowners default. Schneiderman didn’t sue Bank of America in connection with that criticism.

The Justice Department in January said it formed a group of federal officials and state attorneys general to investigate misconduct in the bundling of mortgage loans into securities. Schneiderman is co-chairman with officials from the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The next month, five mortgage servicers — Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), Citigroup Inc. (C), JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Ally Financial Inc. (ALLY) — reached a $25 billion settlement with federal officials and 49 states. The deal pays for mortgage relief for homeowners while settling claims against the servicers over foreclosure abuses. It didn’t resolve all claims, leaving the lenders exposed to further investigations into their mortgage operations by state and federal officials.

Top Issuers

The New York and Delaware probes involve banks that assembled the securities and firms that act as trustees on behalf of investors in the debt, said one of the people and a third person familiar with the matter.

The top issuers of mortgage securities without government backing in 2005 included Bank of America’s Countrywide Financial unit, GMAC, Bear Stearns Cos. and Washington Mutual, according to trade publication Inside MBS & ABS. Total volume for the top 10 issuers was $672 billion. JPMorgan acquired Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual in 2008.

The sale of mortgages into the trusts that pool loans may be void if banks didn’t follow strict requirements for such transfers, Biden said in a lawsuit filed last year over a national mortgage database used by banks. The requirements for transferring documents were “frequently not complied with” and likely led to the failure to properly transfer loans “on a large scale,” Biden said in the complaint.

“Most of this was done under the cover of darkness and anything that shines a light on these practices is going to be good for investors,” Talcott Franklin, an attorney whose firm represents mortgage-bond investors, said about the state probes.

Critical to Investors

Proper document transfers are critical to investors because if there are defects, the trusts, which act on behalf of investors, can’t foreclose on borrowers when they default, leading to losses, said Beth Kaswan, an attorney whose firm, Scott + Scott LLP, represents pension funds that have sued Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (BK) and US Bancorp as bond trustees. The banks are accused of failing in their job to review loan files for missing and incomplete documents and ensure any problems were corrected, according to court filings.

“You have very significant losses in the trusts and very high delinquencies and foreclosures, and when you attempt to foreclose you can’t collect,” Kaswan said.

Laurence Platt, an attorney at K&L Gates LLP in Washington, disagreed that widespread problems exist with document transfers in securitization transactions that have impaired investors’ interests in mortgages.

“There may be loan-level issues but there aren’t massive pattern and practice problems,” he said. “And even when there are potential loan-level issues, you have to look at state law because not all states require the same documents.”

Fixing Defects

Missing documents don’t have to prevent trusts from foreclosing on homes because the paperwork may not be necessary, according to Platt. Defects in the required documents can be fixed in some circumstances, he said. For example, a missing promissory note, in which a borrower commits to repay a loan, may not derail the process because there are laws governing lost notes that allow a lender to proceed with a foreclosure, he said.

A review by federal bank regulators last year found that mortgage servicers “generally had sufficient documentation” to demonstrate authority to foreclose on homes.

Schneiderman said in court papers last year that Countrywide failed to transfer complete loan documentation to trusts. BNY Mellon, the trustee for bondholders, misled investors to believe Countrywide had delivered complete files, the attorney general said.

Hindered Foreclosures

Errors in the transfer of documents “hampered” the ability of the trusts to foreclose and impaired the value of the securities backed by the loans, Schneiderman said.

“The failure to properly transfer possession of complete mortgage files has hindered numerous foreclosure proceedings and resulted in fraudulent activities,” the attorney general said in court documents.

Bank of America faced similar claims from Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who accused the Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender of conducting foreclosures without authority in its role as mortgage servicer due improper document transfers. In an amended complaint last year, Masto said Countrywide failed to deliver original mortgage notes to the trusts or provided notes with defects.

The lawsuit was settled as part of the national foreclosure settlement, Masto spokeswoman Jennifer Lopez said.

Bank of America spokesman Rick Simon declined to comment about the claims made by states and investors. BNY Mellon performed its duties as defined in the agreements governing the securitizations, spokesman Kevin Heine said.

“We believe that claims against the trustee are based on a misunderstanding of the limited role of the trustee in mortgage securitizations,” he said.

Biden, in his complaint over mortgage database MERS, cites a foreclosure by Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) as trustee in which the promissory note wasn’t delivered to the bank as required under an agreement governing the securitization. The office is concerned that such errors led to foreclosures by banks that lacked authority to seize homes, one of the people said.

Renee Calabro, spokeswoman for Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank, declined to comment.

Investors have raised similar claims against banks. The Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System last year sued U.S. Bancorp as trustee for mortgage bonds sold by Bear Stearns. The bank “regularly disregarded” its duty as trustee to review loan files to ensure there were no missing or defective documents transferred to the trusts. The bank’s actions caused millions of dollars in losses on securities “that were not, in fact, legally collateralized by mortgage loans,” according to an amended complaint.

“Bondholders could have serious claims on their hands,” said Gradman. “You’re going to suffer a loss as bondholder if you can’t foreclose, if you can’t liquidate that property and recoup.”

Teri Charest, a spokeswoman for Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp (USB), said the bank isn’t liable and doesn’t know if any party is at fault in the structuring or administration of the transactions.

“If there was fault, this unhappy investor is seeking recompense from the wrong party,” she said. “We were not the sponsor, underwriter, custodian, servicer or administrator of this transaction.”

GLOVES OFF? Massive Wave Of Lawsuits To Be Filed By The US Against America’s Biggest Banks

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ANOTHER BANK BAILOUT???

Massive Wave Of Lawsuits To Be Filed By The US Against America’s Biggest Banks As Soon As Tomorrow

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/01/2011 22:30 -0400

FROM www.zerohedge.com

In a move that could either send BAC stock limit down overnight or send it soaring (we are still trying to figure out just what is going on here), the NYT has broken major news that the US is preparing to go nuclear on more than a dozen big banks among which Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, in an attempt for Fannie and Freddie to recoup $30 billion if not much more. The lawsuit is expected to hit the docket in the next few days: “The suits stem from subpoenas the finance agency issued to banks a year ago. If the case is not filed Friday, they said, it will come Tuesday, shortly before a deadline expires for the housing agency to file claims.” Now, taken at face value, this would mean that Bank of America can kiss its ass goodbye as unlike the Walnut Place litigation, this will take place in Federal Court where Article 77 is not applicable. Yet there is something that gives us pause: namely logic, captured by the following words: “While I believe that F.H.F.A. is acting responsibly in its role as conservator, I am afraid that we risk pushing these guys off of a cliff and we’re going to have to bail out the banks again,” said Tim Rood, who worked at Fannie Mae until 2006 and is now a partner at the Collingwood Group, which advises banks and servicers on housing-related issues.” In other words: if the banks are sued, and if justice prevails, the end of the world is nigh and cue TARP 2 – XXX. Now where have we heard that argument over, and over, and over before.

From the NYT:

The suits will argue the banks, which assembled the mortgages and marketed them as securities to investors, failed to perform the due diligence required under securities law and missed evidence that borrowers’ incomes were inflated or falsified. When many borrowers were unable to pay their mortgages, the securities backed by the mortgages quickly lost value.

Fannie and Freddie lost more than $30 billion, in part as a result of the deals, losses that were borne mostly by taxpayers.

In July, the agency filed suit against UBS, another major mortgage securitizer, seeking to recover at least $900 million, and the individuals with knowledge of the case said the new litigation would be similar in scope.

Private holders of mortgage securities are already trying to force the big banks to buy back tens of billions in soured mortgage-backed bonds, but this federal effort is a new chapter in a huge legal fight that has alarmed investors in bank shares. In this case, rather than demanding that the banks buy back the original loans, the finance agency is seeking reimbursement for losses on the securities held by Fannie and Freddie.

The prestory is by now known by everyone:

Besides the angry investors, 50 state attorneys general are in the final stages of negotiating a settlement to address abuses by the largest mortgage servicers, including Bank of America, JPMorgan and Citigroup. The attorneys general, as well as federal officials, are pressing the banks to pay at least $20 billion in that case, with much of the money earmarked to reduce mortgages of homeowners facing foreclosure.

And last month, the insurance giant American International Group filed a $10 billion suit against Bank of America, accusing the bank and its Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch units of misrepresenting the quality of mortgages that backed the securities A.I.G. bought.

Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan all declined to comment. Frank Kelly, a spokesman for Deutsche Bank, said, “We can’t comment on a suit that we haven’t seen and hasn’t been filed yet.”

The response? Why Paulson-esque Mutual Assured Destruction:

But privately, financial service industry executives argue that the losses on the mortgage-backed securities were caused by a broader downturn in the economy and the housing market, not by how the mortgages were originated or packaged into securities. In addition, they contend that investors like A.I.G. as well as Fannie and Freddie were sophisticated and knew the securities were not without risk.

Investors fear that if banks are forced to pay out billions of dollars for mortgages that later defaulted, it could sap earnings for years and contribute to further losses across the financial services industry, which has only recently regained its footing.

The total litigation amount will not be in the trillions… but will certainly be in the tens if not hundreds of billions.

While the banks put together tens of billions of dollars in mortgage securities backed by risky loans, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is not seeking the total amount in compensation because some of the mortgages are still good and the investments still carry some value. In the UBS suit, the agency said it owned $4.5 billion worth of mortgages, with losses totaling $900 million. Negotiations between the agency and UBS have yielded little progress.

Bottom line: the gloves are coming off, and while we want to believe that this is the final nail in BAC’s coffin (Quinn Emanuel is counsel for the FHFA), we do have a nagging feeling that the US will not purposefully do everything in its power to destroy its banking sector.

Motion for Remand: Tool for Counteracting the Notice of Removal

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SEE FULL MOTION FOR REMAND HERE—> 2011-08-01, Motion to Remand to the Arizona Superior Court for Maricopa County – 2

The form attached is from a pro se litigant whom I consider to be particularly savvy in the ways of Court and the issues at hand. I present it, not as the perfect model, but something that I think is well drafted and potentially successful as a vehicle for reversing the removal of a state court action to federal court. It goes without saying that every Judge wants to clear his docket. The removal notice takes the case off of the State Judge’s calendar, making him happy and places on the calendar of the assigned federal judge, which makes him/her unhappy.

Assumption is the enemy of good tactics. Most pro se litigants and lawyers alike see a notice of removal as the kiss of death in terms of the case ever being heard in state court. And most attorneys are a little more reluctant to take on a federal case, in which all motions and filings must be accompanied by a good memorandum of law, with a few exceptions. It is a fatal error in most instances if you Fail to attach a memorandum of law arguing (a) why what you are filing is the right thing to file and (b) arguing why the merits of the pending matter (not the whole case!) should be decided in your favor.

But the notice of removal while seemingly bulletproof is far from it. Reports from all over the country prove that point, where the Notice of removal is met with a Motion to Remand back to state court and the motion to remand is granted. Getting your case back to state court puts the pretenders at greater risk because the state court judges are more concerned with state laws than the federal judges, just by virtue of what they do every day.

The basis for removal is often specious (false). And like all the other pleadings and exhibits and proffering by lawyers it is often a fraud upon the court. Witness the case at hand where the lawyer who filed the notice stated in the notice that the other defendants were in agreement with removal, but they had already elected to file motions in the state court, thus waiving their right to removal.

In addition to being blatantly false (cause for a Rule 11 frivolous pleading), the filing also might be evidence of the fact that in truth, most pretenders’ lawyers don’t know who they represent. They say they do but they don’t. And that is because of the shell game being played out every day during the litigation process where one party pops up one place as the “creditor” and then another pops up when the first one is knocked down. It’s like a child’s game but the stakes are very high and the practice is contrary to the rules of ethics and discipline of every attorney.

The reason why the lawyers don’t know who they represent is because the banks themselves are confused and the command center, mostly out of Chicago, is poorly designed and works inefficiently. So a law firm gets a request from someone who is NOT the client or potential client in the case at bar, asking for them to defend the case, but the lawyer never actually hears from the actual client or anyone authorized to speak for the actual client. That is why I am a proponent of the Motion to Prove Authority to represent — which nails down the actual client, and prevents the lawyer from asserting representation of other pretenders who obviously have adverse interests. I have seen cases simply disappear when that motion is filed.

Lawyers who represent BOA and other such banks would do well to remember that these cases might come back  and haunt them for knowingly presenting false information and frivolous pleadings to the court. While it is true that only a handful of states have passed rules that require the lawyer to vouch for the proffers made in court and the actual evidence offered, it is already in the rules of ethics and conduct of every state that a lawyer may not present evidence or make any statement that he knows is false or that he would know if he had done the due diligence that is required of every lawyer before they go into court.

At this point it seems that lawyers for the pretender banks are ignoring the basic elements of their ethical duties and disciplinary rules and should be held to task administratively through the Bar Association grievance procedure as well as being held financially accountable by the Courts for having breached an element so basic to court procedure.

BAC TRANSFERRING HOME LOANS BACK TO BANK OF AMERICA, N.A.?

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We are receiving reports that BAC is sending out letters declaring that they are transferring loans from BAC or Bank of America, the parent company as of July 1, 2011.

The question is why? It seems that BOA is starting to realize the title problems inherent in its takeover of Countrywide and the initiation of loans using money from investors who bought bogus mortgage bonds. There is no doubt that the fundamental defects in the original loans is starting to bother BOA and other banks, along with their shareholders and creditors. They managed to get the NY Federal Reserve Bank to issue a statement that was dismissive of such claims. But the Fed doesn’t decide contractual or property rights — that is the exclusive province of the judicial branch applying existing laws.

There is a great deal of confusion added to the chaos that is inherent in the illusion of securitization. It comes from the fact that most people, including regulators, lawyers and judges, fail to appreciate the difference between the servicer and the creditor. Indeed, the pretender lenders are counting on this confusion when they go to court and it is working, albeit less and less as Judges start looking behind the veil of attorney representation and false affidavits that leave the court record bereft of any actual evidence. It might be that the servicing rights have been transferred and not the loan.

But remember that the servicing rights arise from the securitization documents and if those were not followed, thus subjecting the loan to servicing as per the pooling and servicing agreement, the administration of the account by the servicer could be alleged as ultra vires.  And remember that just because something is transferred doesn’t make it any more valid than it was before the transfer. So if the original obligation, note, mortgage deed or other closing documents were not in compliance with law, and factually were at variance with how the loan was actually funded and by whom, then the transfer doesn’t make those defects disappear. The pretenders have been largely successful at convincing the courts otherwise, but each day more judges are realizing that the fact that a “loan” was transferred, doesn’t mean that the loan even existed or that the lien was perfected.

In any event, it would seem that if you receive such a letter, you should ask to see the documents evidencing the transfer. First you are entitled by law to this information, according to Dodd-Frank law. Second whatever they send you they are committing themselves in writing to a specific set of facts that they can no longer change in the shell game they are playing in the courts. At that point it makes sense to inquiring about who signed what and to demand the entire chain. The possession of a COMBO title and securitization report and analysis will go nicely with this effort. A retort expressing the desire to rescind and/or a qualified written request will set the stage for starting off any proceeding with your truthful allegation that first, before they do anything else, they must comply with the requirements of law and respond to your request.

LAWYER ADMITS SIGNING DOCUMENTS AS OFFICER OF HIS CLIENT

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EDITOR’S COMMENT: I’d like to see the expression of someone who sits on a Bar grievance committee that meets out discipline to lawyers, when they read this. In any situation, until the mortgage meltdown, if a lawyer signed documents and then presented them as his client’s “evidence” he would be subject to severe discipline if not disbarment. But as long as we have trillions of dollars at stake, nobody at the Bar associations is saying anything. Here we have, courtesy of stopforeclosurefraud.com, part of the transcript in which the lawyer testifies rather arrogantly, that “sure” he signed the documents, so what? No, he didn’t ever speak to anyone about doing it, no he never obtained permission or instructions,  he just did it. 

The bottom line is that as long as we delay applying the law as it was written and followed for hundreds of years concerning property rights, contract rights, lending and attorney misconduct, the foreclosures will continue, the housing mess will get larger, and the economy will continue to sag under the weight of 80 million mortgage transactions that in any other setting would be called grand theft. And as long as we continue to hear that correction and restoration of the wealth taken from investor-lenders and homeowners would be unfair to those who were not defrauded, we will continue to be subjected to Alice in Wonderland policies.

ROY DIAZ TRANSCRIPT

Full Deposition Transcript of ROY DIAZ Shareholder of Smith, Hiatt & Diaz, P.A. Law Firm

Excerpts:

Q. So through that corporate authority as
Exhibit 4 to this deposition, MERS assented to the terms
Of this assignment of mortgage?

A. Through me.

Q. So it was you that assented to the terms of
This assignment of mortgage.

A. The one in this case, yes.

Q. And no one else.

A. Correct

Q. And you signed as vice president of MERS
acting solely as a nominee for America’s Wholesale
Lender; is that correct?

A. Yes, it is.

Q. How did you know that MERS was nominee for
America’s Wholesale Lender?

A. By reviewing documentation.

Q. What documentation?

A. I don’t specifically recall what I reviewed
In this case to see that, to determine that, but I would
have reviewed either the mortgage or I would have
reviewed other documentation that would have established
that to me.

Q. So in this case you don’t remember a single
Document that you looked at that would establish the
Nominee status of MERS for America’s Wholesale Lenders;
Is that correct?

A. I don’t

Q. Did someone at America’s Wholesale Lender
Tell you that MERS was acting as the nominee?

A. No.

Q. Did someone at MERS tell you they were
Acting as Nominee for America’s Wholesale Lender?

A. NO.

Q. Was America’s Wholesale Lender in existence
On May 19, 2010?

A. don’t now.

Q. Did you check that before signing this
assignment of mortgage?

A. No.

<SNIP>

Q. Now, you’ve said you review the MERS
Website and you’ve seen documents like this, like
Composite Exhibit 6. Any reason why you wouldn’t review
the documents contained in Exhibit 6 before executing the
assignment of mortgage?

A. It’s not necessary.

Q. Why not?

A. Because it’s not. Because I decided it’s
not.

Q. You as vice president of MERS?

A. In every possible capacity as it relates to
This case.

Q. Did you sign this assignment of mortgage
after being retained as counsel for the plaintiff?

A. After my law firm was retained?

Q. (Nods head.)

A. Is that the question?

Q. Sure.

A. Yes.

Q. Okay. So you executed an assignment to be
Used as evidence in your case, correct?

A. Sure.

Q. Is that a yes?

A. It’s a sure.

Q. Is that a yes o a no?

A. You said sure earlier. Was that a yes or a
No?

Q. Okay. So…

A. It’s a yes.

Q. It’s a yes.

GET THAT PSA: Alabama judge denies securitization trustee standing to foreclose

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SINGLE TRANSACTION THEORY CORROBORATED: INVESTOR-HOMEOWNER DEAL

“The court is surprised to the point of astonishment that the defendant trust (LaSalle Bank National Association) did not comply with the terms of its own pooling and servicing agreement and further did not comply with New York law in attempting to obtain assignment of plaintiff Horace’s note and mortgage,” the judge’s order, signed March 25 and filed with the court Wednesday, said. “Horace is a third-party beneficiary of the pooling and servicing agreement … without such … plaintiff Horace and other mortgagors similarly situated would never have been able to obtain financing.”

ALABAMA! BORROWER IS THIRD PARTY BENEFICIARY OF PSA!

EDITOR’S NOTE: As Jon Lindemen has been continually saying, GET the PSA (Pooling and Servicing  Agreement). Shotgun the discovery and retreat to “just give me the PSA.” This court, simply following normal existing law, looked at the PSA and agreed with the borrower that since the pool did NOT receive the loan in accordance with the terms of the PSA, the Trustee didn’t have any interest in it.

The pretenders have contended that they could effectuate a remedy by submitting the absent or corrected paperwork (even if it is forged and fabricated). But as Judge Shack said in New York and many other Judges and lawyers around the country, there is something inherently wrong with even a validly executed assignment of a receivable from a loan that is already in default. The PSA is the governing instrument for the transaction with the investor. The investor obviously never agreed to take loans that were already declared in default. That is the OPPOSITE of what the investors wanted and the Opposite of what they were told.

Which leaves us, as I have said all along, with the fact that there was no securitization of ANY debt in most cases. It was an illusion and it can’t be fixed. That leaves some sham entity on the recording books of the county in which the property is located as being the “lender of record.” But they have a real problem — they are not the creditor and they never were. With the receivable instantly split from the security instrument (mortgage or deed of trust) that leaves an unsecured debt to an undisclosed and unknown party — with no room for “declaration fo default,” “Notice of sale”, or summons in foreclosure, eviction, UD, FD or anything else.

In the end, this IS that simple. Making it complicated might save the ass of the mega banks for a while, but this can’t last. Application of existing law on property, contracts and lending, leaves the creditor with remedies, but none of them include foreclosure.

Alabama judge denies securitization trustee standing to foreclose
by KERRI PANCHUK

Friday, April 1st, 2011, 2:41 pm

An Alabama circuit court in Russell County has issued a summary judgment this week in the case of Horace v. LaSalle Bank, preventing the bank from foreclosing due to irregularities with the assignment of a promissory note.

The ruling prevents defendant LaSalle Bank – as the trustee holding the plaintiff’s securitized mortgage – from proceeding with a foreclosure because the trust failed to follow its own pooling and servicing agreement, and did not follow applicable New York law when trying to “obtain assignment of Horace’s note and mortgage,” according to the court order.

Without proof the mortgage had been assigned to the trust, in this case a Bear Stearns-related mortgage trust, the trustee lacked standing to foreclose, the court found.

Specifically, the homeowner alleged LaSalle only “produced a collateral file that included the original, wet-ink, signed note in the case,” according to court records. That note contained a single endorsement in blank, which came from the originator of the mortgage, Encore Credit Corp. While the loan was sent through the securitization process – going through two other parties before reaching the trustee – the only assignment on record was from Encore.

“Accordingly, the endorsement chain … does not comply with that required by the PSA,” Judge Albert Johnson wrote in an order granting summary judgment and permanently enjoining LaSalle from foreclosing on the property, a home in Phenix City, Ala.

“The court is surprised to the point of astonishment that the defendant trust (LaSalle Bank National Association) did not comply with the terms of its own pooling and servicing agreement and further did not comply with New York law in attempting to obtain assignment of plaintiff Horace’s note and mortgage,” the judge’s order, signed March 25 and filed with the court Wednesday, said. “Horace is a third-party beneficiary of the pooling and servicing agreement … without such … plaintiff Horace and other mortgagors similarly situated would never have been able to obtain financing.”

Horace’s attorney, Nick Wooten, said the judge’s decision proves “the securitization process totally and completely failed,” and that many of these “assets were not transferred.”

It does not mean the party gets a free house, however, he said. Rather, Wooten said the issue is “allocation of real losses,” and the next step would be to determine who is the proper foreclosing party.

But Shaun Ramey, an attorney representing LaSalle Bank, said the ruling contradicts existing court opinions and is a debacle for trusts handling loans that have been in default for years.

“They (opposing attorneys)  … say this does not mean the person gets a free house, but my response is it sure looks like that because my client holds the note, and they can’t foreclose.”

He added that if the note holder can’t foreclose, “then it calls into question who can foreclose?”

Ramey said when removing the securitization issues from the case,  he believes under Alabama law the actual holder should have absolute foreclosure rights. The LaSalle ruling seems to contradict other Alabama cases, he said, namely U.S. Bank v. Congress.

In U.S. Bank v. Congress, an Alabama judge ruled that a former homeowner challenging a foreclosure had no third-party standing to challenge the terms of the pooling and servicing agreement connected to the trust. Ramey said he believes the cases are similar.

“The most surprising aspect of the (LaSalle) order is that the holding suggests the mortgagor is a third-party beneficiary to (the pooling and servicing agreement),” Ramey said. He believes the recent decision “definitely shows there is no defined rule.”

But for Wooten, the homeowner’s attorney, the latest decision illustrates just how deep the nation’s securitization issues go.

“There were thousands of documents moved where there was no chain of assignments,” Wooten said. “The problematic side is what are we going to do about the fact that this didn’t occur? My only wish after being in this fight for the three and a half years is that we will get an honest evaluation of what is really wrong, so we can as a country get back on our feet. If we don’t get control of servicing, they will drive us into a depression that will take 20 years to get out of.”

The case involves certificate holders of Bear Stearns Asset Backed Securities I LLC, asset-backed certificates series 2006-EC2. It also names as defendants Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Encore Credit Corp., EMC Mortgage Co. and Bank of America (BAC: 13.37 +0.30%).

Write to Kerri Panchuk.

HAPPY ENDINGS WITH PAIN AND LOSS

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Analyst Note: This transaction was probably really a securities transaction. The homeowner was converted from an owner in real property to an investor in a security that was issued, sold and documented illegally. The obligation was to pay for the security and not for a loan. It probably was unsecured. The mortgage of record probably was thus likely a wild deed — void when executed, void when recorded and probably conveys or grants no interest. Any assignment that occurred would have therefore conveyed no interest. The mortgagor named in the recorded documents never lent any money and was probably not even a conduit for the money that was used to fund the mortgage. Therefore the DOCUMENTS for the so-called mortgage loan are most likely fatally defective in failing to identify the correct parties, contrary to requirements of state and federal statutes. The promissory note is most likely fatally defective in that it relates to a transaction that never occurred between the payee and payor. The obligation, if it still exists, is undocumented, unsecured and subject to affirmative defenses, off-set, and counterclaims. It is probably subject to rescission under the same conditions. Check with a licensed attorney. There may be causes of action for quiet title, slander of title (money damages), fraud, rescission, violation of TILA, RESPA and other claims.

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What happened over the course of the next few years can only be described as Kafka-esque. Wilshire Credit asked her for a hardship letter; she sent one. Nothing happened. Three separate times, Wilshire set up short-term payment agreements — two of which included $7,000 upfront payments — claiming that it would make a decision on a long-term modification once the agreement expired. She paid every penny — to no avail.

“It’s offensive that BofA thinks a foreclosure action, an eviction notice of an elderly woman sitting in her house fearing that she will spend the remainder of her days in a shelter, is some sort of party invitation that can be ‘rescinded,’ ” she wrote in an e-mail. “Their disrespect for the law is appalling. But it is a pattern of behavior that led to this crisis and that is continuing to keep this country in this crisis.”

Let’s face it: Ms. Roberts got a break. Because she had a dogged lawyer, who had the wit to get a New York Times columnist interested in her case, a terrible mistake was uncovered. As a result, an unjustified foreclosure may well be reversed.

LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

EDITOR’S COMMENT AND NOTE: First, don’t pay those “upfront payments” to someone who is actually promising nothing. You’ll probably need that money when they throw you out anyway — unless of course you stand your ground and fight them. The woman in this story paid $30,000 without knowing if she was really saving her home and probably would have lost it but for the intervention described here.

Second, there is no question in my mind that NONE of the so-called servicers can or want to modify your mortgage. They want to stretch out the period that you are in “default” even though you don’t owe THEM a dime and the real creditor has also been paid off. Of course check with an attorney and if you can get press attention like this woman did, BofA or whoever the servicer is will step up and “prove” that we are all wrong and that modifications are going just fine.

LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

A Happy Ending to a Raw, but Common, Tale

By JOE NOCERA, NY TIMES

Lilla Roberts is a 73-year-old retired physical therapist, a pleasant, engaging woman who moved to this country from Jamaica 46 years ago. In 1988, she bought a small house in Jamaica, Queens, putting down $25,000, and taking out a mortgage for around $120,000. For many years, she religiously made her mortgage payments.

Like most homes in this part of Queens, this one is a little on the ramshackle side: a small, two-story home, part brick, part faded gray siding, with a red awning out front and a large backyard. But she raised her children and several of her grandchildren in this home. Her life’s memories are in this home. It means a lot to her.

“My whole life is here,” she said on Tuesday, when I visited her. “Every penny I ever had I put into this house.”

Ms. Roberts pointed down. “I finished the basement,” she said. She pointed up. “I had to put in new windows and repair all the rotting wood,” she said, referring to an upstairs apartment she rents out.

She pointed toward the back of the house, to the yard beyond her cramped kitchen and her two crowded bedrooms. “I love my garden,” she said. She paused, and then sighed. Between her pension, Social Security and rental income, she said, “I have enough income to pay my mortgage. I would love to enjoy the rest of my life here.”

Sitting across from Ms. Roberts was Elizabeth Lynch, a 30-something lawyer who works for MFY Legal Services. Ms. Lynch is a foreclosure specialist who has spent the last few months trying desperately to keep Ms. Roberts from losing her home. In 2007, a year after a refinancing, Ms. Roberts suffered a temporary setback that caused her to stop paying her mortgage for less than a year. Given her situation — steady income, a history of reliability — you would think that she would be a perfect candidate for a mortgage modification.

Instead, her servicer, Bank of America, foreclosed on the property in late August and handed it off to Fannie Mae, which owned the mortgage. Ms. Roberts first learned this when she saw Fannie Mae’s eviction notice taped to her front door.

As part of her effort to save Ms. Roberts’ house, Ms. Lynch filed a lawsuit to undo the foreclosure, on the grounds that fraud had been committed at various points along the way. Although such suits rarely succeed, a judge agreed to hear the case in early January.

Another part of her effort, though, was to try to create some media interest, which is how I got involved. “With all of the foreclosure cases I have seen,” Ms. Lynch wrote in an e-mail, “this is the one that gets at me the most.”

Truth to tell, Ms. Roberts’s story got to me too. Even putting aside the possibility of fraud, nobody should have to endure what she’s been through. Since March 2008 — that’s right, two and a half years — she has spent nearly $30,000 trying to hold onto her home. She has had to deal with a nasty foreclosure mill law firm, with servicing employees who gave her the runaround and with a foreclosure process that took place behind her back. And she has had to deal with the anxiety of not knowing whether she would be able to keep her home.

Yes, there are people who took out mortgages knowing they could never pay the money back. Ms. Roberts is not one of them. Rather, she is one of the many Americans, mostly poor and lower-middle class, who have been devastated by a system that is as rapacious, uncaring — and sloppy — in tossing people out of their homes as it once was in foisting predatory mortgages on them.

Two days after I spoke with Ms. Roberts, Bank of America and Fannie Mae acknowledged that foreclosing on her home had been a mistake, and they vowed to give her back the house. “We are going to work with her on a loan modification,” a Bank of America spokesman promised.

Yet, while Ms. Roberts’s story has a happy ending, it is hard to get too excited — not when so many others are in the same awful place, losing homes as much because of the system’s callousness as because of their own precarious finances.

Ms. Roberts’s troubles began with the rotting wood and upstairs windows. In 2006, her longtime tenant, who paid her $600 a month, moved out; she needed to fix the apartment before she could get a new tenant. The only way she could afford it was by refinancing her home.

The company that gave her the new mortgage was a now-bankrupt outfit, Mortgage Lenders Network, which a former employee described to me as “one of the bad actors” during the subprime bubble. It is hard to know now what kind of mortgage Ms. Roberts got; although it had a fixed interest rate below 6 percent, Ms. Roberts recalls having very little cash left over after the repairs were made — even though, at more than $300,000, the new mortgage was more than double the size of her original mortgage. Her new monthly payment was around $1,700 a month, a $500 increase. But with a new renter paying $900 a month, she felt it was well within her means.

Sometime in 2007, however, the tenant stopped paying his rent. Thanks to New York’s tough rental laws, she couldn’t easily evict him. Without that $900 a month, she couldn’t make ends meet and still pay her mortgage. Thus it was that in March 2008, she requested a mortgage modification from her servicer, the Wilshire Credit Corporation, a division of Merrill Lynch that specialized in delinquent mortgages.

What happened over the course of the next few years can only be described as Kafka-esque. Wilshire Credit asked her for a hardship letter; she sent one. Nothing happened. Three separate times, Wilshire set up short-term payment agreements — two of which included $7,000 upfront payments — claiming that it would make a decision on a long-term modification once the agreement expired. She paid every penny — to no avail.

Sometimes, when she was between short-term agreements, Wilshire would refuse to take her check. Sometimes, it cashed them. Sometimes she was told her request for a modification had been denied. Other times she was told it was being considered. At one point, the foreclosure mill law firm of Steven J. Baum, which represented Wilshire, tried to get her to waive her legal rights as part of the third short-term agreement. (The firm would not discuss the details of the case on the record.) All the while, behind Ms. Roberts’s back, Wilshire was inching toward foreclosure.

In March 2010, Bank of America, which got Wilshire when it bought Merrill Lynch in 2008, sold the servicing company to I.B.M. As part of the deal, though, it kept Wilshire’s servicing clients.

Was life any better with the mighty Bank of America now servicing her mortgage? Not a chance. Bank of America took her money in May and June. But in July and again in August, a bank employee told her not to send a payment because the bank was close to offering her a new repayment plan. Instead, in late August, the bank foreclosed and turned the property over to Fannie Mae.

After taking on Ms. Roberts’s case, Ms. Lynch uncovered the unseemly back story — a story that is playing out in poor neighborhoods all over the country. She found clear evidence of robosigning. She also discovered that the transfer of the mortgage from Mortgage Lenders Network to Wilshire appeared to have been backdated by two years — making it appear that it took place before M.L.N.’s bankruptcy. Assets cannot be sold by a bankrupt company without the assent of a trustee, thus suggesting that the transfer of Ms. Roberts’s mortgage might have been improper. And she found evidence that Ms. Roberts had never been served with the foreclosure papers — something Ms. Roberts swore to in an affidavit. These are the grounds for her lawsuit.

But as I discovered when I began asking around, the story is even worse than that. Why did Fannie Mae begin eviction proceedings? Because Bank of America claimed, wrongly, that Ms. Roberts was a deadbeat who hadn’t made a mortgage payment since March 2008. When Fannie Mae asked the bank to double-check, Bank of America simply repeated this false information. In other words, Ms. Roberts was being thrown out of her house because of Bank of America’s carelessness.

Stunned at what I was hearing, I sent James Mahoney, a bank spokesman, a copy of Ms. Roberts’s legal complaint, which documented all the payments she’d made over the year. Less than 24 hours later, he called to tell me that the bank had requested a “rescission” of the foreclosure sale to Fannie Mae — and that “this decision is receiving favorable consideration from Fannie.”

To Mr. Mahoney, this reversal showed that Bank of America was trying to do right by homeowners. “We have made 700,000 mortgage modifications this year,” he said. He described the bank’s willingness to give Ms. Roberts a loan modification as a “microcosm of Bank of America’s role” in the foreclosure crisis. I agree that it’s a microcosm, though not necessarily in the same way that Mr. Mahoney does.

To my surprise, when I called Ms. Lynch with the good news late Thursday, she did not jump for joy. Although she was pleased for her client, she was furious at what she saw as Bank of America’s presumption.

“It’s offensive that BofA thinks a foreclosure action, an eviction notice of an elderly woman sitting in her house fearing that she will spend the remainder of her days in a shelter, is some sort of party invitation that can be ‘rescinded,’ ” she wrote in an e-mail. “Their disrespect for the law is appalling. But it is a pattern of behavior that led to this crisis and that is continuing to keep this country in this crisis.”

Let’s face it: Ms. Roberts got a break. Because she had a dogged lawyer, who had the wit to get a New York Times columnist interested in her case, a terrible mistake was uncovered. As a result, an unjustified foreclosure may well be reversed.

But it has to make you wonder how many other people have lost their homes because of similar mistakes. I can’t bear to venture a guess. It’s too sickening to contemplate.

FORMS: Kentucky RICO Class Action v MERS, GMAC, DEUTSCH, Nationstar, Aurora, BAC, Citi, US Bank, LSR, DOCX, LPS, and attorneys

SERVICES YOU NEED

“To the judges throughout the Commonwealth and to the homeowners, the foreclosing Plaintiff, a servicing company or “Trust” entity appears to be a bank or lender.    This falsity is due to its name in the style of the case.    They are not banks or lenders to the loan.    They are not a beneficiaries under the loan.    They do not possess a Mortgage in the property.    They will never have a right to posses a mortgage in the property.    It would have been a more honest representation for the foreclosing entity to called itself something like “Billy Bob’s Bill Collectors,”

10.03.10KENTUCKY RICOClassActionComplaint

Salient allegations in very well written complaint, although I still have some doubts about whether they will get the class certified. Kentucky is a non-judicial state”

“Come the Representative Plaintiffs, by counsel, on behalf of themselves and others so situated as putative class members pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23.    and for their Class Action Complaint against the name Defendants and yet to be named Defendants, make their claim for treble and punitive damages, costs and attorneys fees under 18 U.S.C. 1962 and 1964, otherwise known as the “racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act,” hereinafter (“RICO”) and for all violations of law heretofore claimed.

An ongoing criminal investigation has been in place in the state of Florida by both the Florida Attorney General and the Justice Department.    Upon information and belief, a parallel investigation is ongoing in the state of Kentucky and at least three other states.

Defendant Merscorp, Inc., is a foreign corporation created in or about 1998 by conspirators from the largest banks in the United States in order to undermine and eventually eviscerate long-standing principles of real property law, such as the requirement that any person or entity who seeks to foreclose upon a parcel of real property: 1) be in possession of the original note, 2) Have a publicly recorded mortage in the name of the party for whom the underlying debt is actually owed and who is the holder of the original Promissory Note with legally binding assignments, and 3) possess a written assignment giving he, she or it actual rights to the payments due from the borrower pursuant to both the mortgage and note.

MERS is unregistered and unlicensed to conduct mortgage lending or any other type of business in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and has been and continues to knowingly and intentionally illegally and fraudulently record mortgages and conduct business in Kentucky on a large scale and systematic fashion..

LSR Processing LLC, is a document processing company, based in the state of Ohio to generate loan and mortgage documents.    Upon information and belief it is owned by one or more of the partners of LSR law firm.    LSR Processing was created in order to facilitate the conspiratorial acts of the Defendants in relation to the creation of fraudulent Promissory Notes, Note Assignments, Affidavits and Mortgage Assignments LSR Processing has a pattern and practice of drafting missing mortgage and loan documents and in turn, having them executed by their own employees.

This case arises due to the fact that for the Class Plaintiff and the members of this putative class, their Mortgages and in some cases, the foreclosures that followed, were and will be based upon a mortgage and a note in the mortgage that are not held by the same entity or party and are based upon a mortgage that was flawed at the date of origination of the loan because Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (“MERS”) was named as the beneficiary or nominee of the lender on the mortgage or an assignee and because the naming of MERS as the beneficiary was done for the purpose of deception, fraud, harming the borrower and the theft of revenue from in all one hundred (120) Kentucky Counties through the illegal avoidance of mortgage recording fees. (e.s.)

In the case where a foreclosure has been filed, the entity filing the foreclosure has no pecuniary in the mortgage loan.    The foreclosing entity is a third party.    The entity lacks standing, and most times, the capacity to foreclose.    The entity has no first hand knowledge of the loan, no authority to testify or file affidavits as to the validity of the loan documents or the existence of the loan. The entity has no legal authority to draft mortgage assignments relating to the loan.    The foreclosing entity and its agents regularly commit perjury in relation to their testimony.

The “lender,” on the original Promissory Note was not the lender. The originators of the loan immediately and simultaneously securitized the note.    The beneficial interest in the note was never in the lender.    MERS, acting as the mortgagee or mortgage assignee, was never intended to be the lender nor did it represent the true lender of the funds for the mortgage. The Servicer, like GMAC Mortgage, or some party has or is about to declare the default, is not in privity with the lender.    The true owner or beneficiary of the mortgage loan has not declared a default and usually no longer have an interest in the note. The Servicer is not in privity nor does it have the permission of the beneficial owners of the Note to file suit on their behalf.

The obligations reflected by the note allegedly secured by the MERS mortgage have been satisfied in whole or in part because the investors who furnished the funding for these loans have been paid to the degree that extinguishment of the debts has occurred with the result that there exists no obligations on which to base any foreclosure on the property owned by the Class Plaintiffs. Defendants have and will cloud the title and illegally collect payments and attempt to foreclose upon the property of the Plaintiffs when they do not have lawful rights to foreclose, are not holders in due course of the notes.
42.    Any mortgage loan with a Mortgage recorded in the name of MERS, is at most, an unsecured debt.    The only parties entitled to collect on the unsecured debt would be the holders in due and beneficial owners of the original Promissory Note.
43.    The loan agreements were predatory and the Defendants made false representations to the Class Plaintiffs which induced the Class Plaintiffs to enter into the loans and the Defendants knew the representations were false when they were made.

In these cases, the property could be foreclosed by default, sold and transferred without ANY real party in interest having ever come to Court and with out the name of the “Trust” or the owners of the mortgage loan, ever having been revealed. Many times the Servicer will fraudulently keep the proceeds of the foreclosure sale under the terms of a Pooling and Servicing Agreement as the “Trust” no longer exists or has been paid off.    The Court and the property owner will never know that the property was literally stolen.
52.    After the property is disposed of in foreclosure, the real owners of the mortgage loan are still free to come to Court and lay claim to the mortgage loan for a second time.    These parties who may actually be owed money on the loan are now also the victims of the illegal foreclosure.    The purchaser of the property in foreclosure has a bogus and clouded title, as well as all other unsuspecting buyers down the line.    Title Insurance would be impossible to write on the property.

Although the Plaintiffs attempting to foreclosure refer to themselves as “Trustees” of a “Trust,” the entities are not “Trustees” nor “Trusts” as defined by Kentucky law.    Neither are the entities registered as Business Trusts or Business Trustees as required by Kentucky law. In every case, where one of these MBS have come to a Kentucky Court the entity foreclosing lacked capacity sue to file suit in the State of Kentucky.    There is no “Trust Agreement” in existence.    The entity filing has utilized a Kentucky legal term it has no right to use for the sole purpose of misleading the Court.
55.    Although the “Trust” listed may be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) as a Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (“REMIC”), more often than it is not properly registered in any state of the union as a Corporation, Business Trust, or any other type of corporate entity.    Therefore, the REMIC does not legally exist for purposes of capacity for filing a law suit in Kentucky or any other State.

The transfer of mortgage loans into the trust after the “cut off date” (in the example 2006), destroys the trust’s REMIC tax exempt status, and these “Trusts” (and potentially the financial entities who created them) would owe millions of dollars to the IRS and the Kentucky Revenue Cabinet as the income would be taxed at of one hundred percent (100%).
64.    Subsequent to the “cut off date” listed in the prospectus, whereby the mortgage notes and security for these notes had to be identified, and Note and Mortgages transferred,    and    thereafter, the pool is permanently closed to future transfers of mortgage assets.
65.    All Class members have mortgage loans which were recorded in the name of MERS and/or for which were attempted through a Mortgage Assignment to be transferred into a REMIC after that REMIC’s “cut off” and “closing dates.”
66.    In all cases, the lack of acquisition of the Class Members’ mortgage loans violates the prospectus presented to the investors and the IRS REMIC requirements.
67.    If an MBS Trust was audited by the IRS and was found to have violated any of the REMIC requirements, it would lose its REMIC status and all back taxes would be due and owing to the IRS as well as the state of Kentucky.    As previously stated, one hundred percent (100%) of the income will be taxed.

FORM: BAC ASSIGNMENT FRAUD ON THE COURT COMPLAINT‏

SERVICES YOU NEED

9.29.10Florida-Motion-Fraud-on-the-Court-Bank-of-America-vs-Julme-Case-CACE09-21933-05[1]

Editor’s Note: Matis Abravanel, practicing in South Florida has drafted and filed a motion that is a classic in its construction. The result was that BAC caved, which is good, but what really draws my attention to this work is its masterful presentation. Lawyers would do well to look carefully at this pleading. He carefully weaves the securitization facts into a language and context that any Judge can understand. And unlike the opposition he has the goods. So do you, if you know how to use them.


Matis H. Abravanel, Esq.

4closureFraud

A Smith Hiatt and Diaz case in Broward County Florida…

Some short background information on this pleading, it’s an emergency
motion to cancel a final sale based upon Fraud on the Court. This
client came to us a month before his final sale date, and already had
a default and a final summary judgment entered against him. Besides
non-compliance with the pooling and servicing agreement, we uncovered
notary fraud (see paragraphs 1-4 and attached exhibits) and a
fraudulent assignment and endorsement of a note that was dated in
January of 2006, to U.S. Bank National Association, as successor
Trustee to Bank of America, National Association as successor by
merger to LaSalle Bank, N.A.. However its interesting to note that
Bank of America didn’t take over LaSalle Bank until October of 2007,
over 1 and 1/2 years later! (see paragraph 17 and attached exhibits).
Once the ‘pretender lender’ received our motion they immediately
called us and canceled the sale, and we haven’t heard back from them
since. We are waiting to have our evidentiary hearing for Fraud on
the Court.

Matis H. Abravanel, Esq.

4closureFraud

CLASS ACTION FORM: HAMP and UNJUST ENRICHMENT

class_action_against_boa1_kahlo HAMP

Editor’s Note: Excellent Pleading on HAMP, TARP and related matters. They also bring up unjust enrichment which might also be applicable to the receipt and non-disclosure of third party payments.

Good facts on illicit “modification” practices and the reasons why the modifications usually don’t become permanent.

KAMIE KAHLO and DANIEL KAHLO, on
behalf of themselves and all others similarly
situated,
Plaintiffs,
v.
BANK OF AMERICA, N.A. and BAC

HOME LOANS SERVICING, LP,
Defendants

HAGENS BERMAN SOBOL SHAPIRO LLP
By: s/ Steve W. Berman
Steve W. Berman, WSBA #12536
Ari Y. Brown, WSBA #29570
HAGENS BERMAN SOBOL SHAPIRO LLP
1918 Eighth Avenue, Suite 3300
Seattle, Washington 98101
(206) 623-7292
steve@hbsslaw.com
ari@hbsslaw.com

BAC assigned a note in 2010 that they sold in 2003

Editor’s Note: Recontrust appears to be wholly owned by Bank of America. This particular deal looks like a “reconstituted” mortgage backed security comprised of new securities which are “backed” by old mortgage backed securities which in turn are backed by a list of “loans” which may or may not exist, and which certainly have at least in part been paid in whole or in part through insurance, credit default swaps and federal bailout.

From the comment Section of the Blog:

ReconTrust filed a NOD on behalf of BAC “servicer” for GRS Mort. Trust 2003-9, seven days later filed an assignment to GSR Mort. Trust of the deed of trust and note dated 8-13-03. I had no notice of GRS or Recontrust until seven years later. It looks like BAC assigned a note in 2010 that they sold in 2003. It also appears a pattern of fraud is occuring with all of us as their victims. If anyone knows what GSR Mortgage stands for please inform. I any one is interested in exposing the pattern let me know. I have 40 days before the notice of sale. I’m also pursuing this pro se.

Florida 2d DCA Gets It — Rules of Evidence Prevail!

See 2D08-3553 Fla 2d DCA BAC v Ginelle Jean-Jacques

This is the reason why I am offering the workshop on Expert Witnesses, i.e. — to highlight the rules of evidence, to coach those who would present opinions as evidence and to hone the skills of the litigator. While apparently narrow in its scope and reasoning, this decision nails down the issue of evidence versus assumptions or presumptions with finality. The case clearly establishes that merely filing papers with “argument” about what they are or what they mean is insufficient to establish anything at all.

The lesson here is not only that you can beat the pretender lenders, but also that YOU must conform to the rules of evidence, establishing a proper foundation and not try to finesse the court. And in non-judicial states the argument is plain: if they could not prevail in a judicial action, why should the court rubber stamp their non-judicial actions?

U.S. Bank filed documents that named other parties along with defective assignments that were not executed in recordable form. They tried to finesse the court by filing “original Note and Mortgage”. The Trial Court granted Summary Judgment, fooled by the appearance of proper documentation and the appellate court said that was an error and reversed the trial court’s summary final judgment.

Notable excerpts follow:

the space for the name of the assignee on this “assignment” was blank, and the “assignment” was neither signed nor notarized. Further, U.S. Bank did not attach or file any document that would authenticate this “assignment” or otherwise render it admissible into evidence.

U.S. Bank failed to meet this burden because the record before the trial court reflected a genuine issue of material fact as to U.S. Bank’s standing to foreclose the mortgage at issue. The proper party with standing to foreclose a note and/or mortgage is the holder of the note and mortgage or the holder’s representative. See Mortgage Elec. Registration Sys., Inc. v. Azize, 965 So. 2d 151, 153 (Fla. 2d DCA 2007); Troupe v. Redner, 652 So. 2d 394, 395-96 (Fla. 2d DCA 1995); see also Philogene v. ABN Amro Mortgage Group, Inc., 948 So. 2d 45, 46 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006)

When exhibits are attached to a complaint, the contents of the exhibits control over the allegations of the complaint. See, e.g., Hunt Ridge at Tall Pines, Inc. v. Hall, 766 So. 2d 399, 401 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000) (“Where complaint allegations are contradicted by exhibits attached to the complaint, the plain meaning of the exhibits control[s] and may be the basis for a motion to dismiss.”); Blue Supply Corp. v. Novos Electro Mech., Inc., 990 So.2d 1157, 1159 (Fla. 3d DCA 2008); Harry Pepper & Assocs., Inc. v. Lasseter, 247 So. 2d 736, 736-37 (Fla. 3d DCA 1971) (holding that when there is an inconsistency between the allegations of material fact in a complaint and attachments to the complaint, the differing allegations “have the effect of neutralizing each allegation as against the other, thus rendering the pleading objectionable”).

U.S. Bank was required to establish, through admissible evidence, that it held the note and mortgage and so had standing to foreclose the mortgage before it would be entitled to summary judgment in its favor. Whether U.S. Bank did so through evidence of a valid assignment, proof of purchase of the debt, or evidence of an effective transfer, it was nevertheless required to prove that it validly held the note and mortgage it sought to foreclose. See Booker v. Sarasota, Inc., 707 So. 2d 886, 889 (Fla. 1st DCA 1998) (holding that the trial court, when considering a motion for summary judgment in an action on a promissory note, was not permitted to simply assume that the plaintiff was the holder of the note in the absence of record evidence of such).

The incomplete, unsigned, and unauthenticated assignment attached as an exhibit to U.S. Bank’s response to BAC’s motion to dismiss did not constitute admissible evidence establishing U.S. Bank’s standing to foreclose the note and mortgage, and U.S. Bank submitted no other evidence to establish that it was the proper holder of the note and/or mortgage. Essentially, U.S. Bank’s argument in favor of affirmance rests on two assumptions: a) that a valid assignment or transfer of the note and mortgage exists, and b) that a valid defense to this action does not. However, summary judgment is appropriate only upon record proof—not assumptions.

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