Maine Case Affirms Judgment for Homeowner — even with admission that she signed note and mortgage and stopped paying

While this case turned upon an  inadequate foundation for introduction of “business records” into evidence, I think the real problem here for Keystone National Association was that they did not and never did own the loan — something revealed by the usual game of musical chairs that the banks use to confuse and obscure the identity of the real creditor.

When you read the case it demonstrates that the Maine Supreme Judicial Court was not at all sympathetic with Keystone’s “plight.” Without saying so directly the court’s opinion clearly reveals its doubt as to whether Keystone had any plight or injury.

Refer to this case and others like it where the banks treated the alleged note and mortgage as being the object of a parlor game. The attention paid to the paperwork is designed by the banks to distract from the real issue — the debt and who owns it. Without that knowledge you don’t know the principal and therefore you can’t establish authority by a “servicer.”

The error in courts across the country has been that the testimony and records of the servicer are admissible into evidence even if the authority to act as servicer did not emanate from the real party in interest — the debt holder (the party to whom the MONEY is due.

Note that this ended in judgment for the homeowner and not an involuntary dismissal without prejudice.

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Hat Tip to Bill Paatalo

Keybank – maine supreme court

Here are some meaningful quotes from the Court’s opinion:

KeyBank did not lay a proper foundation for admitting the loan servicing records pursuant to the business records exception to the hearsay rule. See M.R. Evid. 803(6).

KeyBank’s only other witness was a “complex liaison” from PHH Mortgage Services, which, he testified, is the current loan servicer for KeyBank and handles the day-to-day operations of managing and servicing loan accounts.

The complex liaison testified that he has training on and personal knowledge of the “boarding process” for loans being transferred from prior loan servicers to PHH and of PHH’s procedures for integrating those records. He explained that transferred loans are put through a series of tests to check the accuracy of any amounts due on the loan, such as the principal balance, interest, escrow advances, property tax, hazard insurance, and mortgage insurance premiums. He further explained that if an error appears on the test report for a loan, that loan will receive “special attention” to identify the issue, and, “[i]f it ultimately is something that is not working properly, then that loan will not . . . transfer.” Loans that survive the testing process are transferred to PHH’s system and are used in PHH’s daily operations.

The court admitted in evidence, without objection, KeyBank’s exhibits one through six, which included a copy of the original promissory note dated April 29, 2002;3 a copy of the recorded mortgage; the purported assignment of the mortgage by Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., from KeyBank to Bank of America recorded on January9, 2012; the ratification of the January 2012 assignment recorded on March 6, 2015; the recorded assignment of the mortgage from Bank of America to KeyBank dated October 10, 2012; and the notice of default and right to cure issued to Kilton and Quint by KeyBank in August 2015. The complex liaison testified that an allonge affixed to the promissory note transferred the note to “Bank of America, N.A. as Successor by Merger to BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP fka Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, LP,” but was later voided.

Pursuant to the business records exception to the hearsay rule, M.R. Evid. 803(6), KeyBank moved to admit exhibit seven, which consisted of screenshots from PHH’s computer system purporting to show the amounts owed, the costs incurred, and the outstanding principal balance on Kilton and Quint’s loan. Kilton objected, arguing that PHH’s records were based on the records of prior servicers and that KeyBank had not established that the witness had knowledge of the record-keeping practices of either Bank of America or Countrywide. The court determined that the complex liaison’s testimony was insufficient to admit exhibit seven pursuant to the business records exception.

KeyBank conceded that, without exhibit seven, it would not be able to prove the amount owed on the loan, which KeyBank correctly acknowledged was an essential element of its foreclosure action. [e.s.] [Editor’s Note: This admission that they could not prove the debt any other way means that their witness had no personal knowledge of the amount due. If the debt was in fact due to Keystone, they could have easily produced a  witness and a copy of the canceled check or wire transfer receipt wherein Keystone could have proven the debt. Keystone could have also produced a witness as to the amount due if any such debt was in fact due to Keystone. But Keystone never showed up. It was the servicer who showed up — the very party that could have information and exhibits to show that the amount due is correctly proffered because they confirmed the record keeping of “Countrywide” (whose presence indicates that the loan was subject to claims of securitization). But they didn’t because they could not. The debt never was owned by Keystone and neither Countrywide nor PHH ever had authority to “service” the loan on behalf of the party who owns the debt.]

the business records will be admissible “if the foundational evidence from the receiving entity’s employee is adequate to demonstrate that the employee had sufficient knowledge of both businesses’ regular practices to demonstrate the reliability and trustworthiness of the information.” Id. (emphasis added).

 

With business records there are three essential points of reference when several entities are involved as “lenders,” “successors”, or “servicers”, to wit:

  1. The records and record keeping practices of the initial “lender.” [If there are none then that would point to the fact that the “lender” was not the lender.] Here you are looking for the first entries on a valid set of business records in which the loan and fees and costs were posted. Generally speaking this does not exist in most loans because the money came a third party source who knows nothing of the transaction.
  2. The records and record keeping practices of any “successors.” Note that this is a second point where the debt is separated from the paper. If a successor is involved there would correspondence and agreements for the purchase and sale of the debt. What you fill find, though, is that there is only a naked endorsement, assignment or both without any correspondence or agreements. This indicates that the paper transfer of any rights to the “loan” was strictly for the purpose of foreclosing and bore new relationship to reality — i.e., ownership of the debt.
  3. The records and record keeping practices of any “servicers.” In order for the servicer to be authorized, the party owning the debt must have directly or indirectly given authorization and come to an agreement on fees, as well as given instructions as to what functions the servicer was to perform. What you will find is that there is no valid document from an owner of the debt appointing the servicer or giving any instructions, like what to do with the money after it is collected from homeowners. Instead you find tenuous documentation, with no correspondence or agreements, that make assertions for foreclosure. The game of musical chairs has bothered judges for a decade: “Why do the servicers keep changing” is a question I have heard from many judges. The typical claims of authorization are derived from Powers of Attorney or a Pooling and Servicing agreement for an entity that neither e exists nor does it have any operating history.

Ocwen Boarding Process Was Shot Down Last Year

As foreclosure defense lawyers have been saying for years, the Ocwen Boarding process is a sham. “This boarding process is a legal fiction, and it means something different to every entity,” Butchko ruled from the bench during a March 17 hearing.

Ocwen does not verify any of the data. It downloads it and then “calls it a day.”

“I have done this investigation for a long time,” he said, noting, “The appellate courts are going under this presumption that there is some type of meaningful auditing and verification.” But Jacobs maintained, “You just heard it from a lawyer who knows how to properly phrase the questions that she’s basically testifying to all — all of this is still hearsay.

”Butchko granted an involuntary dismissal in HSBC Bank USA’s suit against Miami homeowner Joseph Buset, whose loan was initially serviced by Litton Loan Servicing LP, which Ocwen acquired in 2011.

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See Home Foreclosure Fails on OCwen Servicing Records

Bruce Jacobs, a Foreclosure defense lawyer won this case. It was in 2016 and was, as usual, under-reported. The case hinged on the prior records of Litton Loan Servicing that Ocwen had acquired. The robo-witness could only testify that Ocwen employees had matched fields and columns on the payment history and had done nothing else. Hence verification was nonexistent.

[Judge] Butchko had to decide how to treat loan documents that became part of Ocwen’s business records but remained subject to hearsay objections unless the company could show it independently verified the data after transferring the loans. She considered evidence on Ocwen’s boarding process — the procedure by which financial services companies transfer account data from one lenders’ management system to another after trading loan portfolios.

Witnesses for lenders in foreclosure cases must show they did independent fact-checking to qualify their files as business records and not hearsay.

All records in  digital or hard copy are hearsay by definition. The only issue is whether a proper foundation has been offered by the robo-witness to claim that the “documents” qualify as an exception to the hearsay rule and that therefore they should be admitted into evidence. This case on Ocwen clearly shows that the testimony by dozens of Ocwen robo-witnesses has been false.

Based upon information I have received from credible sources I think the problem is worse than that. My sources tell me that the records are not uploaded or transferred. The only thing that happens is that the user name and password is changed. That is why the records of the prior servicer are NEVER introduced. It may be that Ocwen changes the fields and columns to make it appear that the records have been processed, but based upon my information the Ocwen records are often taken from the same database. That being the case, the robo-witness should have been an employee of the former Litton servicing.

 

 

Hunter vs Aurora: Fla 1st DCA Business Records Gets Tougher

Show me any other period in American history where banks lost so many cases.
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THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.

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see http://caselaw.findlaw.com/fl-district-court-of-appeal/1664754.html

The heat on the banks has been steadily increasing for the last three years and has increased at an increasing rate during the past 18 months. More and more banks are losing in what the bank lawyers call a “Simple, standard foreclosure action.” Show me any other period in American history where banks lost so many cases. There is obviously nothing simple and nothing standard about these foreclosures that have caused ruination of some 25 million people living in around 9 million homes.

If things were simple, we wouldn’t be looking at musical chairs in servicing, plaintiffs and “holders.” If things were standard, the creditor would come forth with clear proof that it paid for this loan. Nobody I know has EVER seen that. I have written about why. Suffice it to say, if there was a real creditor who could come forward and end the argument, they would have done so.

Two years ago the Hunter case was decided. The court was presented with a panoply of the usual smoke and mirrors. The court took on the issue of the business records exception as a guide to the trial judges in the 1st District and to the trial lawyers who defend homeowners in foreclosure. This is a sample of the part of the analysis we do. Here are some quotes and comments from the case:

Aurora alleged in its “Complaint to Foreclose Mortgage and to Enforce Lost Loan Documents” that it owned and held the promissory note and the mortgage, [note that the allegation is never made that Aurora was the owner of the debt or was the lender. Why not? Who is the actual creditor?]
 *
original owner of the note and mortgage was MortgageIT, and that MortgageIT subsequently assigned both to Aurora. A letter dated January 27, 2007, from Aurora to Mr. Hunter entitled, “Notice of Assignment, Sale, or Transfer of Servicing Rights,” directed him to remit mortgage payments to Aurora beginning February 1, 2007. The “Corporate Assignment of Mortgage” executed on June 11, 2007, and recorded on January 8, 2008, showed MortgageIT as the assignor and Aurora as the assignee. [MortgageIT was a thinly capitalized originator/ broker who could not have made all the loans it originated. Hence the presumption should be that it didn’t loan money to Hunter. Logically it follows that it never owned the debt and should not have had its name on the note or the mortgage. Nor did the source of funds ever convey ownership to MortgageIT. So what value or validity is there in looking at an assignment or endorsement or even delivery from Mortgage IT? And given that behavior (see below) do we not have circumstances in which the paperwork is suspect? Should that be enough to withhold the statutory presumptions attendant to “holding” a note?]
 *
To establish that it held and had the right to enforce the note as of April 3, 2007, Aurora sought to put in evidence certain computer-generated records: one, a printout entitled “Account Balance Report” dated “1/30/2007,” indicating Mr. Hunter’s loan was sold to Lehman Brothers—of which Aurora is a subsidiary and for which Aurora services loans—and payment in full was received on “12/20/2006;” the second, a “consolidated notes log” printout dated “7/18/2007” indicating the physical note and mortgage were sent—it is not readily clear to whom—via two-day UPS on April 18, 2007. Neither document reflects that it was generated by MortgageIT. -[Interesting that Aurora is identified as a subsidiary of Lehman who was in bankruptcy in October of 2008. Aurora usually represents itself as a stand-alone company which is obviously not true. Equally obvious (see discussion above) is that the reason why Mortgage IT was not identified on the printout is that it had nothing to do with the actual loan money — neither payment of the loan as a lender nor payment for the loan from the homeowner. Mortgage IT, for all intents and purposes, in the real world, was never part of this deal.]

Section 90.803(6) provides one such exception for business records, if the necessary foundation is established:

A memorandum, report, record, or data compilation, in any form, of acts, events, conditions, opinion, or diagnosis, made at or near the time by, or from information transmitted by, a person with knowledge, if kept in the course of a regularly conducted business activity and if it was the regular practice of that business activity to make such memorandum, report, record, or data compilation, all as shown by the testimony of the custodian or other qualified witness, or as shown by a certification or declaration that complies with paragraph (c) and s. 90.902(11), unless the sources of information or other circumstances show lack of trustworthiness. (e.s.) – [THIS is the point of my article. Under current circumstances both in the Hunter case and in the public domain the court should have considered the fact that the parties were well known to have fabricated, forged and otherwise misrepresented documents, together with outright lying about the existence of underlying transactions that would track the paperwork upon which courts have heaping one presumption after another. My argument is that Aurora should not have been given the benefit of the doubt (i.e. a presumption) but rather should have been required to prove each part of its case. My further argument is that virtually none of the foreclosure cases should allow for presumptions in evidence after the massive and continuing settlements for fraud relating to these residential mortgages. If this doesn’t show lack of trustworthiness, then what would?]

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Business Records Exception — The Loophole That Needs Closing

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see AppellateOpinion Holt v Calchas 4th DCA decision

The clear assumption in this case is that Wells Fargo had stepped into the shoes of the lender and that if Wells Fargo did not win or if its surrogate did not win, it was assumed that the homeowner would be getting a free house, a free ride and a windfall at the expense of Wells Fargo Bank. Despite years of articles and treatises written on the subject, the courts have still not caught up with the basic fact that both the lenders and borrowers were victims of an illegal and fraudulent scheme. At the very least, the court owes it to our society and to all parties involved in foreclosure litigation, to enforce the laws that already exist —  especially the rules concerning the burden of proof in a foreclosure action.

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The Holt decision is a curious case. There are a number of unique factors that occurred in the trial court and again in the appellate court. The first judge recused herself shortly into the trial and was replaced by a senior judge. There is no transcript of the proceedings prior to the point where the senior judge took over. At the same time the homeowners attorney was also replaced. So my first question is how anyone could have reached any decision. In the absence of the transcript of the proceedings leading up to the recusal of the original judge I find it troublesome that either the judge or the attorney for the homeowner could come to a decision or develop any trial strategy or theory of the case for the defense of this foreclosure case.

The second thing that I have trouble with is that the homeowner filed the appeal based on three different theories, to wit:

(1) the proffered promissory note, mortgage, and assignment of mortgage should not have been admitted into evidence—  an argument that the appellate court rejects;

(2)  the homeowner’s motion to dismiss should have been granted for failure to prove compliance with paragraph 22 [default, reinstatement and acceleration] of the mortgage —  with which the appellate court agreed. Since the appellate court agreed with this point and reversed the trial court it would seem that the case should have been dismissed, but instead the 4th District Court of Appeal chose to remand the case for further proceedings thus giving a second bite of the apple to the party who was claiming the right to foreclose —  despite the finding that the trial was over and on appeal and the foreclosing party had failed to make its case. If the homeowner had failed to prove its defenses, would the appellate court have issued legal advice to the homeowner and remanded for another bite at the apple?

(3)  the payment history should not have been admitted into evidence over the hearsay objection raised by the homeowner. The court goes into great lengths essentially tying itself into knots over this one, but eventually sides with the homeowner. Instead of ordering the entry of judgment for the homeowner, the court remanded the action for further proceedings in which the foreclosing party, having received legal advice from the District Court of Appeal, is now permitted to retry the case to fill in the blanks that the appellate court had pointed out with great specificity and particularity.

While I agree with much of the reasoning that is stated in this appellate decision, I still find it very troublesome that there remains an assumption and perhaps even a bias in favor of the foreclosing party. This is directly contrary to the rules of court, common law, and statutory law. The party bringing a claim for affirmative relief (like foreclosure) must bear the burden of proving every element required in their cause of action. This is not a motion to dismiss where every allegation is taken as true. At trial, it is the opposite — there is no case for the homeowner to defend unless the foreclosing party establishes all elements of its right to foreclose. If they fail to do so, the other side wins. In the interest of justice as well as finality courts do not easily allow either side to have another trial unless there are exceptional circumstances.

(In non-judicial states, this is particularly perplexing — the homeowner is required to sue for a TRO (temporary restraining order). In actuality the homeowner probably should have sued immediately upon the notice of the purported “substitution of trustee.” But the point is that the homeowner is required to prove a negative as the non-judicial statutes are construed. What SHOULD happen is that if the homeowner sues for the TRO and objects to the notices filed, challenges the standing of the “new” beneficiary on the deed of trust, and otherwise denies the elements of a foreclosure action, then the parties should be realigned with the new beneficiary required to plead and prove its standing, ownership and ability to prove the default and the balance owed.)

The next thing I find potentially troublesome is that the tactic of inserting a new entity as plaintiff or as servicer in order to shield the actual perpetrator was clearly employed in this case, although it seems not to have been mentioned in the trial court or on appeal. In this case an entity called Consumer Solutions 3 LLC was substituted for Wells Fargo. Then Wells Fargo was substituted for Consumer Solutions. This is a game of three card monte in which everyone loses except for the dealer — Wells Fargo.

As long as they are going back to trial, it would seem that the homeowner would be well served to do some investigations into the parties, and to determine what transactions if any had actually occurred. If there were no transactions, which I think is the case, then any paperwork generated from those fictitious transactions would be completely worthless, lacking in any foundation and could never be enforced against anybody —  with the possible exception of a holder in due course.

 BUSINESS  RECORDS EXCEPTION:

I am continually frustrated by the fact that most people simply do not consider the elements of the business records exception to the hearsay rule within the context of why the hearsay rule exists. By its very nature hearsay tends to be untrustworthy, untested and usually self-serving. That is why the rule exists. It bars any document or testimony offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted unless the person who spoke or wrote the words is present in court to be cross examined as to their personal knowledge, whether they had an interest in creating one appearance or another,  or whether the entire statement could be impeached.

Instead most people on all sides of foreclosure litigation seem to think that the business record should be admitted into evidence unless there is a compelling reason to the contrary. This is incorrect. And if you just scratched the surface of any of these claims you will find that the party who is seeking to introduce these hearsay statements into evidence has a vested interest in the outcome of the case and absolutely no direct knowledge of any of the facts of the case.

Like Chase Bank does with SPS, Wells Fargo has inserted this entity that is essentially run by a hedge fund (Cargill) to prevent any employee or contract party from testifying on behalf of Wells Fargo, because Wells Fargo knows that it has already been sanctioned millions of dollars for telling lies in court.

So instead they have somebody else come in to tell the lies, and that witness is trying to say that they are familiar with the record-keeping of their own company which includes the record-keeping of the previous company, Wells Fargo. Consumer Solutions is a shame shell that never did anything but rent its name for foreclosures while its parent, Cargill, received compensation  (a piece of the pie) for doing nothing.

This obvious ploy has worked for nearly a decade but is coming under increasing scrutiny — with Judges musing out loud about the shuffling of “servicers” and “lenders” and creditors. In an effort to stifle any real challenge to foreclosures courts have often held that the securitization documents are “irrelevant.”

So the courts take jurisdiction over the action and the parties by virtue of claims of securitization, authority allegedly granted by a pooling and servicing agreement, and ownership “proven” merely by claiming it on the basis of self-serving fabricated documents not subject to scrutiny, and a default and balance that excludes the payments received by the creditors from servicer advances and other third party payments paid without right of subrogation.

Then the courts limit discovery, overrule objections and allow the party initiating foreclosure to “prove” its case by using dubious legal “presumptions” instead of facts, most of which were denied by the homeowner.

And now that the Wall Street banks perceive a risk in having real people with real knowledge testify, because they might admit or testify to things that might hurt them, they insert a complete stranger to the process and double down on “business record exception” to get paperwork into evidence, much of which is completely fabricated and nearly all of which contains errors in computation by exclusion of (a) the fact that the creditors were paid every payment despite the declaration of default by the “servicer” and (b) deducting those payments from the original debt owed to those investors who advanced funds for the origination or acquisition of “loans.”

In the Holt decision the 4th DCA declares that the assignment was properly allowed into evidence because it was a “verbal act” and not offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Once in evidence however, the contents were taken as true shifting the burden of proof to the homeowner who was stone walled in discovery. The homeowner in many cases is not allowed to compel the production of evidence of payment or consideration for the assignment — without which the assignment is merely an empty document conferring no rights greater than the assignor had at the time of the alleged “assignment”. Most often the assignor did not require payment for the simple reason that they too had no money in the deal.

PAYMENT  HISTORY HEARSAY OBJECTION

The court inserts Florida Statute 90.803(6)(a), which is part of the evidence code, providing for exceptions to the hearsay rule for business records. In that statute is the general wording for the types of records that might qualify for the exception. But the court completely ignores the last words of that statute — “unless the sources of information or other circumstances show lack of trustworthiness.” (e.s.)

The question is why should we trust a servicer or its “professional witness”? The witness is there and was often hired for the sole purpose of testifying in foreclosure trials. If they lose, they risk their jobs. The “servicer” whether they are designated in the PSA or have been slipped in as another layer of obfuscation, has an interest that is in conflict with the the actual creditors — recovery of “servicer advances” (which were paid from funds provided by the Master Servicer — often the underwriter and seller of mortgage bonds to investors) and to make more money because they are allowed to collect a vast amount of “fees” for enforcement of a “non-performing” loan.

The fact is that the servicer advances negates the default and might give rise to a new cause of action for unjust enrichment against the homeowner but that claim would not be secured. This in turn leads to the unnatural conclusion of aggravating the the alleged damages by forced sale of the property as opposed to modification and reformation of the loan documents to (a) name the true creditor and (b) use the true balance owed to the creditors.

Thus both the specific witness and the company he or she represents have a vested interest in seeing to it that the foreclosure results in a forced sale for their own benefit and contrary to creditors who have no notice of the pending action. At the very least, this certainly raises the question of trustworthiness. Add to that the fraudulent servicing practices, the lies told during the “modification” process, and I would argue that the source and circumstances raise a presumption that the testimony and business records not trustworthy.

Quoting Florida Statute 90.803(6)(a) the court goes not to set forth the elements of the business records exception — the issue being that ALL elements must be met, not just some or even most of them:

  1. The record was made at or near the time of the event [so in many cases where SPS was inserted as the “servicer” when in fact it was merely an enforcer without knowledge of prior events, it is impossible for the records of SPS  to contain entries that were made at or near the time of any relevant event].
  2.  the record was made by or from information transmitted by a person with knowledge [ if the court permitted proper discovery, voir dire, and cross examination is doubtful that any witness would be able to testify that the record was made by a particular person who had actual knowledge]
  3.  the record was kept in the ordinary course of a regularly conducted business activity [ while it might be true that the actual servicer could claim that it’s records were in the ordinary course of a regularly conducted business activity, it is not true where the witness is a representative of a “new” servicer for plaintiff —  neither of whom were processing any data concerning the loan from the moment of origination through the date that the foreclosure was filed]
  4.  that the record was a regular practice of that business to make such a record [ here is where the courts are in my opinion making a singular error —  by accepting proof of only the fourth element required for the business records exception, trial court and appellate courts are ignoring the other elements and therefore allowing untrustworthy documents into evidence.  “While it is not necessary to call the individual who prepared a document, the witness to open a document is being offered must be able to show each of the requirements for establishing a proper foundation.” Hunter v  or Aurora loan services LLC, 137 S 3d 570 (Fla 1st DCA 2014).

The Holt Court then goes on to analyze several cases:

  1. Yisrael v State 993 So 2d 952, 956 (FLA 2008) — a Florida Supreme Court decision quoting the elements of the business records exception. see sc07-1030
  2. Glarum v LaSalle Bank, N.A. 83 So 3d (Fla 4th DCA 2011) — where the witness was unable to lay the proper foundation for the business records exception  because the witness testified that he “did not know who, how, or when the data entries were made into [ the previous mortgage holders’] system and he could not stated the records were made in the regular course of business.” ( My only objection to this is the wording that was used. The predecessors in the document chain are referred to as “mortgage holders” —  indicating an assumption which is probably not true). see Glarum v. LaSalle
  3. Weisenberg v Deutsch Bank N.A. 89 So 3d 1111 (FLA 4th DCA 2012) — Where the court held that “the deposition excerpts show that [the witness] knew how the data was produced and her testimony demonstrated that she was familiar with the bank’s record-keeping system and had knowledge about data is uploaded into the system.” (My problem with the Weisenberg decision is that the word “familiar” is used generically so that the witness is allowed to testify about the business records — without any personal knowledge about the trustworthiness of the data in those records — again with the apparent assumption that the foreclosing party SHOULD win and the second assumption being that the homeowner should not be allowed to take advantage of hairsplitting technicalities to get a free house.  In fact it is the servicer that is taking advantage of such technicalities by getting business records into evidence without verification that those are all the business records. For example, the question I often ask is who did the servicer pay after receiving payment from the borrower or anyone else? The records don’t show that — thus how can the court determine the balance on the creditor’s books and records? The underlying false assumption here is that the servicer records ARE the creditor’s records even though the creditors have not even been identified.)
  4. WAMCO v Integrated Electronic Environments 903 So 2d 230 (Fla 2d DCA 2005) —  Where another appellate court held that “a document which contains the amount of money owed on the loan was admissible under the business records exception even where the testimony as to the amount owed was based on information from a bank that previously held the loan.” (I think this decision was at least partially wrong. The witness testified that it was part of his duties to oversee the collection of loans that the bank urges and the initial members he used his calculations were provided by the previous bank.  In my opinion the court properly concluded that the witness to testify —  that he should have been limited to the business records of the company that employed him. Witness knew nothing about the previous bank practices and did not employ any verification processes. see 2D04-2717
  5. Hunter v Aurora Loan Services 137 So 3d 570 (Fla 1st DCA 2014) — where the witness was incompetent to testify and could not lay a proper foundation for the business records exception and in which the HOLT Court quotes from the Hunter decision with obvious approval:  “At trial, a witness who works for the current note holder, but never worked for the initial note holder, attempted to lay the foundation for the introduction of records pertaining to prior ownership and transfer of the note and mortgage as business records. The witness testified that based on his dealings with the original note holder, the original note holders business practice regarding the transfer of ownership of loans was standard across the industry. He could not testify, based on personal knowledge, who generated the information. He also testified, in general fashion and without any specifics, that some of the documents sought to be introduced were generated by a computer program used across the industry  and that records custodian for the loan servicer was the person who usually it puts the information obtained in the documents. The trial court admitted the documents into evidence.” see hunter-v-aurora-loan-servs-llc

The most interesting quote from the Hunter decision is “absent such personal knowledge, the witness was unable to substantiate when the records were made, whether the information they contain derived from a person with knowledge, whether the original note holder regularly make such records, or indeed, whether the records belong to the original note holder in the first place. The testimony about standard mortgage industry practice only arguably established that such records are generated and kept in the ordinary course of mortgage loan servicing.” 

Hearsay on Hearsay: Bank Professional Witnesses Using Business Records Exception as Shield from Truth

Wells Fargo Manual “Blueprint for Fraud”

Hat tip to my law partner, Danielle Kelley, Esq., for sending me the manual and the reports on it. Anyone desirous of a consultation on the application of what is on this blog, must either be a lawyer or have a lawyer who is licensed in the jurisdiction in which the property is located. For scheduling call 954-495-9867 (South Florida Office), 850-765-1236 (North Florida Office), and 520-405-1688 (Western United States). International callers: The same rules apply.

Well that didn’t take long. Like the revelations concerning Urban Lending Solutions and Bank of America, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the the intermediary banks were hell bent for foreclosure regardless of what was best for the investors or the borrowers. This included, fraud, fabrication, unauthorized documents and signatures, perjury and outright theft of money and identities. I understand the agreement between the Bush administration and the large banks. And I understand the reason why the Obama administration continued to honor the agreements reached between the Bush administration and the large banks. They didn’t have a clue. And they were relying on Wall Street to report on its own behavior. But I’m sure the agreement did not even contemplate the actual crimes committed. I think it is time for US attorneys and the Atty. Gen. of each state to revisit the issue of prosecution of the major Wall Street banks.

With the passage of time we have all had an opportunity to examine the theory of “too big to fail.” As applied, this theory has prevented prosecutions for criminal acts. But more importantly it is allowing and promoting those crimes to be covered up and new crimes to be committed in and out of the court system. A quick review of the current strategy utilized in foreclosure reveals that nearly all foreclosures are based on false assumptions, no facts,  and a blind desire for expediency that  sacrifices access to the courts and due process. The losers are the pension funds that mistakenly invested into this scheme and the borrowers who were used as pawns in a gargantuan Ponzi scheme that literally exceeded all the money in the world.

Let’s look at one of the fundamental strategies of the banks. Remember that the investment banks were merely intermediaries who were supposedly functioning as broker-dealers. As in any securities transaction, the investor places in order and is responsible for payment to the broker-dealer. The broker-dealer tenders payment to the seller. The seller either issues the securities (if it is an issuer) or delivers the securities. The bank takes the money from the investors and doesn’t deliver it to an issuer or seller, but instead uses the money for its own purposes, this is not merely breach of contract —  it is fraud.

And that is exactly what the investors, insurers, government guarantors and other parties have alleged in dozens of lawsuits and hundreds of claims. Large banks have avoided judgment based on these allegations by settling the cases and claims for hundreds of billions of dollars because that is only a fraction of the money they diverted from investors and continue to divert. This continued  diversion is accomplished, among other ways, through the process of foreclosure. I would argue that the lawsuits filed by government-sponsored entities are evidence of an administrative finding of fact that causes the burden of proof to be shifted to the cloud of participants who assert that they are part of a scheme of securitization when in fact they were part of a Ponzi scheme.

This cloud of participants is managed in part by LPS in Jacksonville. If you are really looking for the source of documentation and the choice of plaintiff or forecloser, this would be a good place to start. You will notice that in both judicial and non-judicial settings, there is a single party designated as the apparent creditor. But where the homeowner is proactive and brings suit against multiple entities each of whom have made a claim relating to the alleged loan, the banks stick with presenting a single witness who is “familiar with the business records.” That phrase has been specifically rejected in most jurisdictions as proving the personal knowledge necessary for a finding that the witness is competent to testify or to authenticate documents that will be introduced in evidence. Those records are hearsay and they lack the legal foundation for introduction and acceptance into evidence in the record.

So even where the lawsuit is initiated by “the cloud” and even where they allege that the plaintiff is the servicer and even where they allege that the plaintiff is a trust, the witness presented at trial is a professional witness hired by the servicer. Except for very recent cases, lawyers for the homeowner have ignored the issue of whether the professional witness is truly competent,  and especially why the court should even be listening to a professional witness from the servicer when it is hearing nothing from the creditor. The business records which are proffered to the court as being complete are nothing of the sort. They are documents prepared for trial which is specifically excluded from evidence under the hearsay rule and an exception to the business records exception. And the easy proof is that they are missing payments to the investor. That is why discovery should be aggressive.

Lately Chase has been dancing around these issues by first asserting that it is the owner of a loan by virtue of the merger with Washington Mutual. As the case progresses Chase admits that it is a servicer. Later they often state that the investor is Fannie Mae. This is an interesting assertion which depends upon complete ignorance by opposing counsel for the homeowner and the same ignorance on the part of the judge. Fannie Mae is not and never has been a lender. It is a guarantor, whose liability arises after the loss has been completely established following the foreclosure sale and liquidation to a third-party. It is also a master trustee for securitized trusts. To say that Fannie Mae is the owner of the alleged loan is most likely an admission that the originator never loaned any money and that therefore the note and mortgage are invalid. It is also intentional obfuscation of the rights of the investors and trusts.

The multiple positions of Chase is representative of most other cases regardless of the name used for the identification of the alleged plaintiff, who probably doesn’t even know the action exists. That is why I suggested some years ago that a challenge to the right to represent the alleged plaintiff would be both appropriate and desirable. The usual answer is that the attorney represents all interested parties. This cannot be true because there is an obvious conflict of interest between the servicer, the trust, the guarantor, the trustee, and the broker-dealer that so far has never been named. Lawsuits filed by trust beneficiaries, guarantors, FDIC and insurers demonstrate this conflict of interest with great clarity.

I wonder if you should point out that if Chase was the Servicer, how could they not know who they were paying? As Servicer their role was to collect payments and send them to the creditor. If the witness or nonexistent verifier was truly familiar with the records, the account would show a debit to the account for payment to Fannie Mae or the securitized trust that was the actual source of funds for either the origination or acquisition of loans. And why would they not have shown that?  The reason is that no such payment was made. If any payment was made it was to the investors in the trust that lies behind the Fannie Mae curtain.

And if the “investor” had in fact received loss sharing payment from the FDIC, insurance or other sources how would the witness have known about that? Of course they don’t know because they have nothing to do with observing the accounts of the actual creditor. And while I agree that only actual payments as opposed to hypothetical payments should be taken into account when computing the principal balance and applicable interest on the loan, the existence of terms and conditions that might allow or require those hypothetical payments are sufficient to guarantee the right to discovery as to whether or not they were paid or if the right to payment has already accrued.

I think the argument about personal knowledge of the witness can be strengthened. The witness is an employee of Chase — not WAMU and not Fannie Mae. The PAA is completely silent about  the loans. Most of the loans were subjected to securitization anyway so WAMU couldn’t have “owned” them at any point in the false trail of securitization. If Chase is alleging that Fannie Mae in the “investor” then you have a second reason to say that both the servicing rights and the right to payment of principal, interest or monthly payments in doubt as to the intermediary banks in the cloud. So her testimony was hearsay on hearsay without any recognizable exception. She didn’t say she was custodian of records for anyone. She didn’t say how she had personal knowledge of Chase records, and she made no effort to even suggest she had any personal knowledge of the records of Fannie and WAMU — which is exactly the point of your lawsuit or defense.

If the Defendant/Appellee’s argument were to be accepted, any one of several defendants could deny allegations made against all the defendants individually just by producing a professional witness who would submit self-serving sworn affidavits from only one of the defendants. The result would thus benefit some of the “represented parties” at the expense of others.

Their position is absurd and the court should not be used and abused in furtherance of what is at best a shady history of the loan. The homeowner challenges them to give her the accurate information concerning ownership and balance, failing which there was no basis for a claim of encumbrance against her property. The court, using improper reasoning and assumptions, essentially concludes that since someone was the “lender” the Plaintiff had no cause of action and could not prove her case even if she had a cause of action. If the trial court is affirmed, Pandora’s box will be opened using this pattern of court conduct and Judge rulings as precedent not only in foreclosure actions, disputes over all types of loans, but virtually all tort actions and most contract actions.

Specifically it will open up a new area of moral hazard that is already filled with debris, to wit: debt collectors will attempt to insert themselves in the collection of money that is actually due to an existing creditor who has not sold the debt to the collector. As long as the debt collector moves quickly, and the debtor is unsophisticated, the case with the debt collector will be settled at the expense of the actual creditor. This will lead to protracted litigation as to the authority of the debt collector and the liability of the debtor as well as the validity of any settlement.

New Mexico Supreme Court Wipes Out Bank of New York

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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note establishes the Bank as a holder.

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

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

[COMPETENCY OF WITNESS]

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

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

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

[OBJECTION TO HEARSAY BUSINESS RECORDS REVERSED AND SUSTAINED]

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

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

[REJECTION OF MERS ASSIGNMENT]

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

[MERS CAN NEVER ASSIGN THE NOTE]

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

[SPLITTING THE NOTE AND MORTGAGE]

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

[THE NOBODY ELSE IS CLAIMING ARGUMENT IS EXPLICITLY REJECTED]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[DOOMED LOANS — WHO HAS THE RISK?]

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

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

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

[THE BLAME GAME]

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

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

 

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

 

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

The rules matter — CASE DISMISSED, without prejudice

For assistance with your mortgage go to www.livingliesstore.com or call 520-405-1688. Remember these issues not only apply to homeowners not paying their mortgages. They apply to everyone who has a mortgage or who has acquired title from someone who had a mortgage that was subject to claims of securitization.

Lenders and buyers can get a risk assessment report and recommendations to clear title from GGKW, with its home office in Tallahassee. Those in litigation can get information and their lawyers can get litigation support by calling 850-765-1236.

For information on direct representation of clients in Florida, call 954-495-9867 in Broward County, and 850-765-1236 for Northern Florida. GGKW is the acronym for Garfield, Gwaltney, Kelley and White, a law firm with offices currently in Tallahassee and Fort Lauderdale.

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When the dam breaks, the speed with which the water starts moving increases dramatically at first before it subsides. This is what is happening in the courts. Judges are increasingly becoming aware as they read the newspaper, that the big broker-dealer banks at the center (Master Servicer) of this mess in mortgages, committed civil fraud, and probably committed criminal fraud in connection with the sourcing of money for originating or acquiring loans from homeowners. The presumption of trustworthiness of the banks is gone, except for a fast shrinking group of judges around the country.

  • If there was fraud at the top of the sham securitization chain then why wouldn’t there by fraud at the bottom?
  • And if there was fraud in the origination of the loan, or the sourcing of money for the loan, then why wouldn’t there be a question of whether the note or mortgage or both were invalid empty pieces of paper referring to a non-existent transaction?
  • And therefore might that not explain why the banks do not allege in judicial states that a loan was made by the payee listed on the note?
  • Why didn’t the Trust show up in the County records within 90 days of its creation and right on the the original note and mortgage?
  • Why wouldn’t there be a question about whether there was any lien to foreclose because the banks were too busy screwing investors to create a perfected encumbrance on the collateral for the investors whose money was improperly channeled and used for the sole benefit of the banks.
  • And why are the banks not alleging the existence of a loan or financial injury in their complaints? Are they avoiding a can of worms that will show they have no transaction to sue on?
  • Are the real lenders so much in the dark that they don’t even know the case has been brought by someone without authority or consent of the lender of money (not the lender on paper)?

The colloquy between judge and counsel in the link below clearly shows what is happening in a growing number of cases where the Judges have stopped ignoring the rules of civil procedure, stopped ignoring the rules of evidence, and stopped assuming that the borrower is a deadbeat looking for a free house.

They are now getting the idea that the homeowner is in search of a lender, not a free house.

The homeowner is in search of a balance on his loan whether it is secured or not and is fully willing to execute new documentation in favor of any investor with an unpaid receivable attributable to the property of the homeowner. The banks are playing fast and loose with the rules and the judges are coming down as hard on them as they were knocking around borrowers just a few months ago. I know, I am seeing it in court over and over again. The entire atmosphere has changed.

So when the bank fails to send out a notice required by the judge’s order, civil procedure or the rules of evidence, they lose. And when they lose, without prejudice, if they have been sitting on it for more than 5 years in Florida they are barred by the statute of limitations at least as to the default that occurred 5 years before and probably everything up to the time of dismissal. The payments might not be cutoff by the statute but foreclosure or collection is barred. payments due after such an order are probably subject to a collection or foreclosure action but they should be met with an argument that due to the statute of limitations they are forever time-barred.

If the bank sends a pretrial statement to you saying “corporate representative” is their witness or even worse, attaches a list of 35 potential witnesses, that is the equivalent of not giving any notice of who the witness is going to be. That is subject to a motion in limine to prevent the bank from putting on witnesses. So far the judges are either extending the trial date out further and requiring compliance with the rules or they involuntarily dismissing the case thus entitling the Defendant to recovery of attorney fees in most cases.

Teaser: Take a close look at the laws of evidence passed by the legislature of your state. You will find some things in there that might prove deadly t the bank at the time of trial if you follow the path required and make your motions and preserve your objections. Those business records don’t belong in evidence and we all know it. They are not complete because they don’t include payment OUT to the creditor thus establishing WHO the creditor is and requiring an explanation of WHY the creditor is not the foreclosing party. But the fact that they are not complete is not nearly as strong as that they are by definition hearsay and inadmissible unless they are business records that follow the requirements of the evidence statutes that carve out an exception to the hearsay prohibition. 

Practice Hint: Judges always seem inclined to think they have discretion in virtually all matters. The evidence statute is a rule of law that the Judge has sworn to uphold, defend and enforce. Unless there is some ambiguity in the statute no judicial interpretation is allowed. The ambiguity must be raised by the party seeking to state that the statute is ambiguous. Without that, the Judge has NO DISCRETION, because it is a law and not a rule of civil procedure.

We are sitting on the edge of a cliff where the judges are ready to tip for the borrower. The sanction for trickery in notices and discovery will be judgment for the borrower or dismissal with prejudice. The conversation below shows just how close we are to that moment.

http://4closurefraud.org/2013/10/23/foreclosure-fight-club-another-trial-another-win-by-the-law-offices-of-evan-m-rosen-part-2/

Matt Weidner Shows Lawyers How to Do Good Lawyering

The difference between Weidner and many other attorneys is that he goes into a case believing he can win it — and he’s right. Other attorneys believe their position is hopeless and seek only delays or modification — and they are wrong. Weidner has resisted the knee jerk reaction to these cases to believe that if the borrower ceases payment that all elements of a foreclosure are presumed met. He understands that the Banks are playing a shell game to conceal the fact that neither the named plaintiff nor the alleged creditor are in fact the real servicer and real creditor.

Matt Weidner has published his summary of essential issues raised in a hearing in which he was the attorney of record for the homeowner. He shows that knowledge of securitization, good preparation and articulate objections that are logically consistent with the proffer of evidence results in a good record and a good result. This transcript — shown on the link below — should be studied, not merely read. Then read it again. Weidner skills are formidable but they can be learned.

Editor’s Note: The background issue here is the conflict between the law permitting the servicer to commence the action and reality. The Servicer might be able to start a foreclosure but they cannot finish it. They can claim they have authority or power of attorney but the fact is they are not a creditor. And only a creditor can submit a credit bid.

So why is this case being brought this way? Is the creditor aware that their right to the title of the house and their right to sue for collection is being stripped from them. Does the creditor have notice? How do we know? Even if the pleading is not required, the proof demands the evidence that the Trustee of the REMIC testify that they have notice, they own the mortgage, they have not resold it, they have received no augments, directly or indirectly to reduce the balance of the account receivable, and that the investor approves of the Servicer/bookkeeper taking title with a credit bid and getting a judgment in its own name despite the obvious fact that the creditor is entitled to judgment. What authority does the Trustee have to let anyone take away property and assets? What reasonable purpose would be served? Doesn’t this show or at least suggest that the Trust does not own the loan? Maybe it never did, but the investors in the “Trust” know it was their money that funded mortgages — they just don’t actually know which loans they funded.

And as this case suggests, the intervention of the investment banks caused a fatal defect in the chain of title. If they wanted to stay out of trouble all they had to do was name the Trust on the note and mortgage or the assignment and record it as such. But they didn’t because they were playing with OPM (Other people’s money) and they still are playing the same game.

Residential funding gets into trouble. This is a very worthwhile read.

Foreclosure Defense Trial SECRETS EXPOSED! A WEIDNER Transcript of a Foreclosure Trial That Shows How A Homeowner Wins Foreclosure!
http://mattweidnerlaw.com/foreclosure-defense-trial-secrets-exposed-a-transcript-of-a-foreclosure-trial-that-shows-how-a-homeowner-wins-foreclosure/

“Materially Less”: The Foreclosure Deficiency Standard in Tennessee
http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/materially-less-the-foreclosure-defic-21465/

How the Bank Lobby Loosened U.S. Reins on Derivatives
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-04/how-the-bank-lobby-loosened-u-s-reins-on-derivatives.html

Lending Giant Offers Short Sale Webinar
http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2013/09/03/lending-giant-offers-short-sale-webinar

Fla 4th DCA Provides Short Lesson on Business Records Exception to Hearsay Rule

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. If you are an attorney wishing to retain us for litigation support please use 520-405-1688.
See LivingLies Store: Reports and Analysis

It is interesting that the ruling comes from a condo lien case rather than the hot topic of securitized mortgages. But the rules are the same and in this opinion the Court gives the reader a lesson on hearsay, objections, preservation of issues for appeal, and exceptions to hearsay. As a prelude, evidence is properly admitted into the record if it is unopposed. So you must object if you don’t want it in. If you don’t object, you are cooked.

When an objection is properly AND TIMELY raised it specifies what exactly you are challenging and why. Trustworthiness, Credibility and authenticity are at the heart of all evidence questions. The court will tend to allow the evidence if it determines that it has some “probative value” which is to say it might be concluded that a fact is true based on this evidence. But since courts are composed of human beings there are some boundaries to issues of hearsay and exceptions that have been set by both common law and statutes so that the litigator knows what he is entitled to expect from the court as to rulings on his own evidence or that of his opponent.

Business records are hearsay and therefore excluded from evidence if an objection is made. If an objection is made and properly framed, then the burden shifts to the other side (the proponent of the “information” being tendered as evidence) to explain why the records are not hearsay (that is impossible with business records) or why there is an applicable exception.

The guiding principle behind the rules are that evidence should be admitted if it is trustworthy. If the records come from an independent third party who could care less who wins the lawsuit, the chances are that the judge will be liberal in applying the rules. If the the records come from one of the parties in litigation then the possibility or probability of it being self serving and potentially prepared for litigation rise and the judge is supposed to apply the rules very strictly.

In this case the judge did what judges are doing across the country. The Judge erred. He applied a lenient standard to records that were clearly coming from a party with a stake in the outcome and which could have been fabricated for the purposes of litigation and which relied on the work of other parties without any knowledge of the timing of the entries that were made, the knowledge of the person making the entries, and the documents or events upon which the the outside person relied. Therefore it was unlikely that the business records could be admitted without a very tight foundation from a credible witness.

The Judge admitted the records after extremely dubious testimony and obvious evidence that there was a personal fight going on as well as a bribery or theft claim between a group of unit owners and the association’s board. The appellate court reversed. That means the unit owners win the case even though judgment was entered for the association against the unit owners by the trial court. By the way, the defense, as I have suggested in foreclosure defense cases, was payment.

 

The unit owners had made a large prepayment that had not been carried forward. The receipt was acknowledged but somehow, like the foreclosure cases go, the judge felt it was OK to foreclose the association’s lien even though there was unrefuted evidence that the association had indeed received a huge amount of money for no other purpose than to offset the amount of monthly dues and special assessments.

Note on page 4 the Court says “Because the condo owners’ attorney did not object to the ledgers on the ground that they were untrustworthy, this issue is not preserved. The lack of foundation, however, was argued and preserved.” In my seminars and books I have always stressed that objections must be timely, precise and well-focused preferably with back up in case law. And I generally refer people to Trial Objections by Dombroff, a small book that is worth its weight in gold.

Note that in this condo case the association’s attorney was at least smart enough to put the records custodian on the witness stand. Getting business records into evidence without the records custodian ought to be very difficult. In the lone arena of foreclosure litigation, the courts have veered out of bounds because they think they know how the case should end.

“Magic words” do not suffice. The witness must know that the records are trustworthy and how and why they are trustworthy.

Now in foreclosure litigation it gets even crazier. The party on the stand has some title that more or less clearly shows that the title was invented to have him or her testify in court. Strike one. Like the case reported here, the party lacked personal knowledge that is a prerequisite for any witness to testify about anything — it is called competence of the witness. Strike two.

And after the witness has committed to saying she saw all of the records, ask her about he payments that went out, not the payments that were received. After all, she represents the servicer who collects and then forwards the money, right? Who did the servicer forward the money to? Where are the records of that? Has she seen them? Why not? So she has not seen all the records of the servicer, has she? And what did she do to corroborate that the creditors’ books show the same figures in the account receivable or if extraneous third party transactions have resulted in a reduction or increase of the account receivable as it relates to the subject loan? So she doesn’t know if the balance due on the servicer’s books is actually the same balance due shown on the creditor’s books?

That is the part the opposing side doesn’t want to see. By opening the door to payments out to the creditor, you are now tracing the money trail. By showing that there was deception on the part of the servicer, the records are untrustworthy.  Strike 3.

http://www.4dca.org/opinions/August%202013/08-28-13/4D12-3363.12-3364.op.pdf

Nardi Deposition Reveals All about JPM-WAMU Slick Transactions

NOTE IF ANYTHING, THIS DEPOSITION PROVES THE NEED FOR AN EXPERT FORENSIC COMPUTER ANALYST TO ASSIST IN DISCOVERY AND PERHAPS EVEN PLEADING. THAT IS WHY MY LAW FIRMS AND OTHERS ARE CREATING ALLIANCES WITH LAWYERS WHO HAVE EXPERIENCE IN BOTH THE PRACTICE OF LAW, LITIGATION AND DETAILED KNOWLEDGE ABOUT WHAT TO LOOK FOR, HOW TO LOOK FOR FACTS LEADING TO THE DISCOVERY OF ADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE IN A COURT OF LAW.

I am going through the Nardi deposition a line by line. I have completed the first 50 pages. If you have a case where JPM is foreclosing even if it is doesn’t involve WAMU, you should read the whole thing. I have the link below. Below the link are my notes and comments on the first 50 pages of the deposition. IN the context of other things we know this is a picture of fraud in the making while at the same time keeping the people who are the boots on the ground actors unaware of the consequences of what they are doing.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/102949976/120509-JPMC-v-Waisome-FL-Lawrence-Nardi-Deposition

Garfield Notes on Nardi deposition JP Morgan Chase, as successor to Washington Mutual v. Waisome, 5th Judicial Circuit, Florida Case NUmber 2009-CA-005717, May 9 2012

1.  No prior banking experience. No education in banking or finance. No academic degree. No direct knowledge as to any of the events, documents, or transactions relating to the subject loan because her scope of employment was to assist in litigation or settlement of contested cases. Worked at Citibank dealing with credit cards and assisted in programming.
2. Worked with PHH on loan originations. Line 21, Page 9, I was the originations or preserve rare. I worked with the borrowers on collecting documents, getting them prepared for eventual closing of their loan, working with underwriting and making sure that the documents they needed to push the loan package forward were provided. Basically kind of the air traffic controller of the loan origination’s part of the business.
3. Line 12 page 10 I was not a supervisor. I had a support staff but they were pooled into groups that basically support in five or 10 other loan officers. So I was supervised. We were in a pool.
4. Worked with Merrill Lynch as a series 7 and series 66 broker.
5. Worked at Washington Mutual starting in September 2007.
6. My duties were to work with deceased borrowers estates at Washington Mutual
7.   line11 page 16 I didn’t have anything to do with loss mitigation. I was focusing on establishing that line of communication verifying that these people have the authority to act on behalf of of the deceased.
8. RECORDS SYSTEMS CHANGE:  line 18  page 16 I was actually going back and kind of redoing some of the filing systems that they had an kind of getting that more modernized. And that probably took me through the first 1 1/2 years or thereabouts.
9. SHELLY TREVIN BECAME MY SUPERVISOR
10. Worked with a guy named Vinnie and a lady named Laura.
11. Assigned different states. i was assigned Florida and some smaller states (line 20 page 24)
12. Line 5 page MSP: mortgage servicing platform. It’s a widely used system. In fact all of the major services I have ever worked for have used it. So Washington Mutual was using it. Chase was also using it so I had the benefit of that. So the training for that for me was kind of redundant.
13. LIne 6 page 27 (question was whether Fidelity LPS developed the software).  I am not an expert on everything at Fidelity. My understanding is that fidelity developed this software and licensed it to individual servicers. So that’s my understanding is that actually they own it. It’s their property. Where releasing it as a servicer.
14 line 3 page 28. IMAGE WEB: I believe it was called image web. Image web Wesley default software for any time you need to look up image documents, whether it be notes, mortgages, origination packages, applications. You know, whatever was deemed worthy of saving where necessary to save for servicing purposes.
15. line 13 page 28  a separate servicing system for the home-equity loans.  I think it was called ACLS.  And they had a customer service collection system called CACS  that was used for home equity collections.  those are example of systems they had that we would have used at Washington Mutual that weren’t used at the majors. The major system used being MSP.
16. LIne 21 Page 28 Outlook email was major server for communication within Chase.
17. Line 23, Page 28, MSP is really the central repository for all information related to a loan so most people work out of that anytime they’re coming in contact with, you know, servicing.
18. everyone has a unique identifying usually three digit code assigned to them and they have to set their own password.
19. I have the ability you know part of my duties were to document the things that I was doing. So yes I have the ability to enter data into certain areas. Not all areas can be manipulated. I could enter notes into the system. I could change stop code so that if I was dealing with alone that was in litigation and it needed to stop certain things like collection activities or foreclosure processing, I could put stops on the system. (line 13 Page 29)
20. Lin  se 9 page 31.   We had different client numbers that were assigned to different sets of loans. The Washington Mutual client was 156. The Chase client was like 465.
21. MAJOR PROJECT INTEGRATING CHASE AND WAMU LOANO PACKAGES: LINE 2 PAGE 33:  my understanding is that they drew resources from all areas of the business. I don’t think there was any one department that was involved in handling that transaction or that project.
22. Line 8 page 33: I don’t know if there was a specific person in charge of it. I can imagine based on my experience in some of the projects that I’ve seen in other places that there is probably a project manager and several business heads of business people that were running it but I wasn’t in charge I wasn’t part of the project specifically so I don’t really know.
23. LIne 6 page 39: CHASE LOANS VERSUS INVESTOR LOANS:    if you are looking for specific investor or owner information you would go into a screen called MAS1. And then there is a sub screen within that called INV1 which would tell you, if there is an investor, who it is. And if it’s Chase owned, it would say Chase owned.
24. line 17 page 40:  I believe that we keep records of these investor codes potentially outside the system. I’ve never accessed an investor list with an MSP, so it’s possible it’s there. I just don’t know.
25: NO NEED TO MEMORIZE THE USER ID: LINE 6 PAGE 41:  it’s not something you necessarily have to memorize because when you login using your password is going to tell you it’s going to memorialize everything. You don’t have to memorize it. I think mine was OY$.
26. IDENTIFICATION OF INVESTOR: line 17  page 41:   I believe there are also three digits for the investor codes. But when you go into MAS1 and INV1 it actually spells out the name of the investor,.    so if it’, for instance, a chase loan, it will say J.P. Morgan Chase. If it’s Bank of America, it will say Bank of America. It will spell out the name and the address of the investor or owner for you right there on the screen. So you don’t have to interpret a code it’s right there.
27. EXISTENCE OF PRIVATE INVESTOR KEPT HIDDEN FROM EMPLOYEES GIVEN THAT 96% OF ALL LOANS WERE SUBJECT TO CLAIMS OF SECURITIZATION. THIS SHOWS HOW THE BANKS TEMPORARILY CLAIMED OWNERSHIP OF THE LOANS FOR PURPOSES OF TRADING, HEDGING AND COLLECTING INSURANCE, FEDERAL BAILOUTS AND PROCEEDS OF CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS LEAVING THE PRIVATE INVESTORS OUT IN THE COLD AND THEREFORE PREVENTING OR INTERFERING WITH THE PROCESS OF ALLOCATING SUCH PAYMENTS TO THE ACCOUNT RECEIVABLE FO THE INVESTOR AND DECREASING THE ACCOUNT PAYABLE OF THE BORROWER. LINE 11 PAGE 42:  I don’t remember a specific instance where I was dealing with a private investor loan.
28. COLLATERAL FILE SHIPPED OUT WITHIN 15 DAYS OF THE NOTICE OF CHANGE OF SERVICER — BUT HOW DOES SHE KNOW THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED? AND WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT WHAT WAS IN THE COLLATERAL FILE? LINE 2 PAGE 45
29. HANDLING OF FILES AND SHIPPING OF FILES. WHO IS AUTHORIZED. collateral file and credit file: line 8. page 47:  you referenced a collateral file. There is also a credit file. Sometimes you need stuff from the credit file and sometimes you don’t. The collateral file you know sometimes you need it sometimes you don’t. So depending on what you need, there is an electronic request for each one. You send it to the customer service folks. The credit file and there is certain restrictions as to who can actually order it. You have to have certain authorization. You can only send it certain places. You have to either send it to someone if you are sending it to someone within the company they have to have it’s a very short list within the company who can get it. Generally we ship it only to counsel when it needs to go out of custody and services. So you would include your identifier to show you have the authority to order it. You need to identify where it’s going so the firm it’s being shipped to, custody services, will accept that. Basically it’s an email transmission, and that works constantly. So they will go in, pull up the work order, have a person that’s designated to be able to enter the file room, go in and pull the file, and then ship it off to the firm was requesting it. I’m almost 100% certain that they use FedEx almost exclusively for the shipping.
30.  Inside counsel is ANITA Smith or Kendall Forster LINE 3 PAGE 50.
31. NO PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENCE OF THE PHYSICAL FILES. HEARSAY ON HEARSAY. LINE 10 PG 50. This would seem to indicate that all her testimony about the movement of the physical files is hearsay based upon computer entries by people she doesn’t know, or things she was told by counsel or someone else working for other departments, indicating multiple records custodians.

Keystone Fraud by Banks: Business Records Exception to Hearsay Rule

Practice Note: Hearsay is not evidence and should not be used as the basis for any conclusion of facts that would support any conclusion of law. While the banks are extremely vulnerable to having all testimony and documents barred by the hearsay rule, this is ONLY true if the proper objection is made at the proper time — and objections should be made when opposing counsel makes reference to the content of those records as though they were already established. Although representations by counsel are not evidence, the attorney’s failure to object to the representation is a failure to bring to the Judge’s attention the fact that you contest those assertions. The objection could be phrased that counsel is attempting to get his own representations on record based upon facts that are in dispute and not in the record. A good record of those objections — including the use of a court reporter — is the basis for appeal. Without that record the Judge is inclined to do whatever he or she wants and while it is possible to re-establish the record in the absence of a court reporter it is very difficult and time-consuming. The reviewing court looks only to the record. If the objection does not appear, then the reviewing court has no choice but to affirm the lower court decision. An appeal is NOT an opportunity to retry the case. on substantive grounds. It is primarily a vehicle to contest the procedures and rulings in the court below as to procedure and the admissibility of evidence.

see http://livinglies.me/2013/04/29/hawaii-federal-district-court-applies-rules-of-evidence-bonymellon-us-bank-jp-morgan-chase-failed-to-prove-sale-of-note/

If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. 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.
The selection of an attorney is an important decision  and should only be made after you have interviewed licensed attorneys familiar with investment banking, securities, property law, consumer law, mortgages, foreclosures, and collection procedures. This site is dedicated to providing those services directly or indirectly through attorneys seeking guidance or assistance in representing consumers and homeowners. We are available to any lawyer seeking assistance anywhere in the country, U.S. possessions and territories. Neil Garfield is a licensed member of the Florida Bar and is qualified to appear as an expert witness or litigator in in several states including the district of Columbia. The information on this blog is general information and should NEVER be considered to be advice on one specific case. Consultation with a licensed attorney is required in this highly complex field.

Editor’s Analysis: Business records are ALWAYS hearsay and barred by the hearsay rule in state and Federal courts. The question is not whether the business records are hearsay but rather whether the records are deemed reliable enough to waive the requirement of testimony from those with knowledge of the facts offered to prove the case of the proponent of those records. If they are deemed reliable by the Judge then they are allowed to be admitted as evidence to prove the truth of the matters asserted in those records. The tests for reliability are in the statutes of each state and the Federal rules of evidence that allow for exceptions to hearsay in order to allow the business records into evidence, which ARE hearsay and otherwise barred as evidence, under the “business records exception.”

The general rule is that evidence consists of testimony from a knowledgeable witness competent to testify as to the matters asserted. Competency of witnesses is determined by oath, personal perception of events, memory and the ability to communicate the facts as personally experienced, viewed, or heard by the witness. The business records exception requires the custodian of records to provide the foundation for asserting the business records exception. This is the starting point.

The custodian of records must be established by foundation testimony and should not be allowed without testimony that demonstrates the witness’ scope of employment, knowledge and authority. Objection should be made when the leading question is asked “Are you the custodian of the records?” An objection is required that the question is leading and lacks foundation — showing the facts and circumstances under which the witness should be accepted by the court as the custodian of the records.

The records must be from a source that is relevant to the proceedings. If the party seeking foreclosure is an asset pool, represented by a trustee, then the business records of the trustee are the only thing that is relevant unless the foundation is laid by opposing counsel to show that the records of the servicer matches the records of the trustee.

TESTIMONY OF THE SERVICER: Without the custodian of records for the trustee, it seems impossible to establish the proper foundation showing that the trustee asserts that the records of the trustee are the same as the servicer. And if that is true, there may be no reason for the servicer to testify as to the business records since it is only the trustee who can account for all money paid out and all money received, directly or indirectly on account of the subject loan.

[NOTE: THE TRUSTEE SHOULD BE ABLE TO TESTIFY THAT IT IS THE TRUSTEE OF THE TRUST THAT OWNS THE SUBJECT LOAN AND TO PRODUCE DOCUMENTS SHOWING THE SALE OF THE LOAN TO THE TRUST OR ASSET POOL. REMEMBER THAT A SALE REQUIRES CONSIDERATION AND THUS THE RECORDS SHOULD INCLUDE A RECORD OF THAT SALE, THE AMOUNT PAID, AND THE DOCUMENTS MEMORIALIZING THAT TRANSACTION.]

The witness who testifies for the proponent of the documents sought to be admitted into evidence must be competent to testify as records custodian that the trust has been and still is the owner of the loan. The banks will vigorously oppose your effort to hold their feet to the fire because all indications are that the trustee has no records and doesn’t even have a bank account for the “trust’ or asset pool, much less evidence of the amount paid for the loan, and the documents memorializing the “transaction.”

In many cases, the case for ownership or foreclosure collapses completely because in fact the trust or pool never did acquire ownership because there was no sale and the trustee never had any records showing the money paid by the homeowner or other parties who may have paid down the loan under non-subrogated obligations to payoff the debt. The creditor only being entitled to recover once on the debt, must show that there were no mitigating payments received by the trustee or anyone on its behalf as agent, servant or employee or affiliate.

In truth the relevant records are either wholly within the records of the MASTER SERVICER and neither the subservicer that the proponent wishes to offer nor the trustee has a complete record who who funded the origination or purchase of the loan. Thus while the business records of the sub-servicer might eventually be admitted over objection of the homeowner, it can and should be argued that this is only a partial picture; this accomplished on cross examination or if possible voir dire, where the witness is questioned as to what they don’t know, to wit” the details of the origination, purchase or funding of the loan together with all receipts relating to the loan account directly or indirectly.

Having started with the question of whether the witness is in fact a records custodian, the question then becomes whether the proffered witness is the only records custodian. At one trial recently conducted the witness was (a) not a custodian, (b) declared that the records came from numerous “clients” and other departments, the identity of the custodian of those records never being mentioned.

[Practice Note: When the witness is from the “loss mitigation department” or some similar division or department, they are by virtual definition not the records custodian, and cannot be a competent witness to testify as to the records. On voir dire conclusion the objection should be made that the witness is not the records custodian for any or all of the records sought to be introduced and is therefore not competent to provide the foundation for the business records exception to the hearsay rule.]

The first requirement (see Florida statutes below for example) to test the reliability of the records is that the the record entry be made at or near the time of the event.

If the servicer is testifying, then the servicer cannot testify as to the either the origination or sale of the loan, both having preceded the involvement of the servicer virtually by definition. While the impulse of the court is going to be presume that the closing was completed, this is overcome by the denial of the homeowner that the closing was in fact completed because the named payee on the note and mortgage never fulfilled their obligations — to fund the loan. It is not enough to be the party who caused the loan to be made —- that is a mortgage broker who obviously has not rights to ownership or foreclosure. This leaves the proponent with the requirement of proving up the completion of the initial transaction showing the funding by testimony of a competent witness (custodian of records of the relevant parties) to show payment and receipt of the funding of the origination or sale of the loan.

The second test relates to competency of the witness which is that the person offering the testimony or even the affidavit must show that they are a person with personal knowledge sufficient to be either the records custodian or a witness to the event.

The banks in Florida will attempt to get around this problem by offering a certification, but the certification must contain sworn statements as to the personal knowledge of the person who executes such certification. The requirements of testimony on the stand are NOT waived by virtue of submitting a certification. Without establishing the competency of the person to be admitted as a witness custodian of the records, the certification is a sham. And such certification should be determined before trial in a motion in limine before trial begins or objection to certification (see below).

The “certification” must contain the same required statements of fact that would otherwise be required on the stand as a live witness. Timeliness of objections is the key to trial practice. Failure to object and take the offensive on this issue will result in documents being admitted into evidence that establish a prima facie case when no such case exists.

If a certification is intended to be used, the homeowner must receive notice of such intent, the identity and contact information for the person signing the certification and an opportunity to challenge the veracity of the statements contained in the certification and the authenticity of the documents itself given the constant practice of robo-signing and surrogate signing.

Discovery is appropriate to require the proponent of the certification to show the employment record and other indicia that the person is indeed a custodian of all the records and that all the records sought to be introduced at trial are within the custody of the witness. A trick often used in court is that the witness will testify as to custody of one document and without an alert objection from the homeowner, the rest of the documents, which are hearsay, are then admitted into evidence without the certification or the foundation because the homeowner failed to object.

Failure to give notice of the intent to use certification in lieu of live testimony is fatal at trial — if the homeowner objects. Certification should ALWAYS be met with a well written objection — and fee free to plagiarize anything in this article. In most cases in an abundance of caution, the Judge will require live testimony in lieu of certification.

Conversely, failure to object to the certification may well leave the homeowner in the cold, because by the time the trial begins all acts necessary to the prima facie case of the proponent of foreclosure or ownership of the loan will have already been established.

Florida Statutes 90.803 et seq: in pertinent abstract is as follows:

(6)  RECORDS OF REGULARLY CONDUCTED BUSINESS ACTIVITY.–

(a)  A memorandum, report, record, or data compilation, in any form, of acts, events, conditions, opinion, or diagnosis, made at or near the time by, or from information transmitted by, a person with knowledge, if kept in the course of a regularly conducted business activity and if it was the regular practice of that business activity to make such memorandum, report, record, or data compilation, all as shown by the testimony of the custodian or other qualified witness, or as shown by a certification or declaration that complies with paragraph (c) and s. 90.902(11), unless the sources of information or other circumstances show lack of trustworthiness. The term “business” as used in this paragraph includes a business, institution, association, profession, occupation, and calling of every kind, whether or not conducted for profit.

(b)  Evidence in the form of an opinion or diagnosis is inadmissible under paragraph (a) unless such opinion or diagnosis would be admissible under ss. 90.701-90.705 if the person whose opinion is recorded were to testify to the opinion directly.

(c)  A party intending to offer evidence under paragraph (a) by means of a certification or declaration shall serve reasonable written notice of that intention upon every other party and shall make the evidence available for inspection sufficiently in advance of its offer in evidence to provide to any other party a fair opportunity to challenge the admissibility of the evidence. If the evidence is maintained in a foreign country, the party intending to offer the evidence must provide written notice of that intention at the arraignment or as soon after the arraignment as is practicable or, in a civil case, 60 days before the trial. A motion opposing the admissibility of such evidence must be made by the opposing party and determined by the court before trial. A party’s failure to file such a motion before trial constitutes a waiver of objection to the evidence, but the court for good cause shown may grant relief from the waiver.

(7)  ABSENCE OF ENTRY IN RECORDS OF REGULARLY CONDUCTED ACTIVITY.–Evidence that a matter is not included in the memoranda, reports, records, or data compilations, in any form, of a regularly conducted activity to prove the nonoccurrence or nonexistence of the matter, if the matter was of a kind of which a memorandum, report, record, or data compilation was regularly made and preserved, unless the sources of information or other circumstances show lack of trustworthiness.

(8)  PUBLIC RECORDS AND REPORTS.–Records, reports, statements reduced to writing, or data compilations, in any form, of public offices or agencies, setting forth the activities of the office or agency, or matters observed pursuant to duty imposed by law as to matters which there was a duty to report, excluding in criminal cases matters observed by a police officer or other law enforcement personnel, unless the sources of information or other circumstances show their lack of trustworthiness. The criminal case exclusion shall not apply to an affidavit otherwise admissible under s. 316.1934 or s. 327.354.

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