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.

BAD FAITH: Shack Decision Unravels the Chase-Wamu Mystery -At least in Part

Shack Blasts Chase, Fannie Mae for Bad Faith on Wamu Merger

It is obvious that documents were produced for Shack to issue these rulings. The affidavits to which he refers should be obtained in their entirety. There is lots to take away from this decision, but most important, is that Chase never acquired the loans from WAMU. The loans originated or acquired by WAMU were already sold to investors, trusts and Fannie or Freddie. The issue with Fannie and Freddie of course is that they were merely fronting for “private label” securitizations hiding behind the veil of the GSE’s who were mere guarantors and not lenders. I’d like to see any agreement and transactional documents showing the alleged purchase by Fannie, but it is presumed in the Shack Order and Findings.

It is also obvious that the finding that Chase was not the owner of the debt at any time came from an admission from both a Fannie Mae representative in an affidavit from an alleged Fannie Mae representative. We should direct discovery in Chase cases to that person in Fannie Mae who says they acquired the subject debt and that Chase merely received the servicing rights in the Chase-WAMU merger.

Note that Fannie Mae is considered by Shack to have acted in bad faith, and that Fannie was less than forthcoming in its description of itself stating that they might be the owner or they might be the trustee (pursuant to the Master Trustee Agreement published in 2007) for a securitized trust. Note also that Fannie at no time was chartered as a lender. Thus it could not originate any loans and never did so. The vagueness with which Fannie Mae addresses the issue of ownership shows that the hiding and non-disclosure in bankruptcy courts and state courts continues across the country.

The admission from Fannie that they “might” be the Master trustee for allegedly securitized assets (debts arising out of fictitious transactions on paper that looked like mortgage loans) is both alarming and encouraging. The rush to foreclosure is partially explained by this chaotic pile of fraudulent paper trails.

When you take into account the non stop servicer advances, you can see what the parties are hiding — that the real creditor on those debts, has been paid all the interest they were expecting, that the principal is being paid in settlements with pennies on the dollar, and that the default alleged in notices from servicers and informing the borrower of the right to reinstate were defective, to wit: that the amount stated as required to cure the alleged default was and remains incorrect. The amount should have been reduced by third party payments including but not limited to the servicer advances which were not loans, and thus could only be characterized as PAYMENT, which is the ultimate defense against a lawsuit or any enforcement mechanism designed to collect a debt.

The dirty little secret is that they diverted title and money from the investors and converted what could have been a secured loan into an unsecured loan. The advances and payments by third parties satisfied the debt that arose when the borrower took the loan. They in turn MIGHT have claims for contribution or unjust enrichment but they are most certainly not protected by a pledge of collateral either as mortgage or assignment of rents or anything else.

Note that it could not have acquired loans except with money from what were represented as securitized trusts with Fannie as master Trustee. Therefore there are no circumstances under which Fannie or Freddie could be owners of the the debt with rights to enforce except upon the only event in which money is paid by Fannie for the loan — a guarantee payment AFTER FORECLOSURE) that is the only transaction permitted under its charter. This point was missed by Shack or ignored by him, because he had bigger fish to fry — the lawyers for Chase itself with a copy of the order to be served upon Jamie Dimon, the head of Chase.
The fact is that with the WAMU bankruptcy, seizure by OTS and appointment of FDIC, there were no assignments, agreements of sale or even a permission slip under which Chase could or did acquire loans from WAMU. But that didn’t stop Chase from claiming exactly that in tens of thousands of foreclosures.
In cases where Chase is allegedly at the root of title through the merger with WAMU, it would be appropriate to site to the Shack case, get the case documents, get a Title and Securitization report (see www.livingliesstore.com) and lawyers should look into a motion for summary judgment, or a motion for involuntary dismissal with prejudice. Even where Chase might allege that it is filing the foreclosure as a representative of Fannie or Freddie, the basis for that allegation needs to be in their pleading or it is not an ULTIMATE fact upon which relief could be granted. Discovery should be aimed at getting the documents upon which Chase allegedly relies in showing that it has the authority to represent Fannie — and don’t stop there. The truth is that nearly all the so-called Fannie and Freddie loans were veils for the private label securitization in which the money was diverted from the trust, as was the title, leaving Fannie and Freddie as well as the investors and the buyers holding nothing.

In cases where the statute of limitations has already run, the dismissal of the foreclosure action, is barred in most cases from ever being brought again by anyone. But the dismissal against Chase should be with prejudice in all events because it isn’t the creditor and therefore does not satisfy the statutory requirements in Florida, and I presume all other states, to submit a credit bid at auction in lieu of cash.
The Judges are beginning to understand that by applying basic contract law, they can clear their dockets. It is up to us to help them. The offer of a loan was met with acceptance by the borrower but the loan never occurred. The transfers also had offer and acceptance but again no money because the investors’ money was used (outside the trust) directly to fund the origination or acquisition of the loan. This was part of a larger scheme to defraud to investors whose money was to have been deposited into the trust and then used to fund origination or acquisition of the he loans within 90 days (the cutoff).

The investment bank fraudulently induced (see complaints filed by investors, insurers, government guarantee entities etc.) the investors to give them money for an investment into a controlled trust when in fact they diverted the money for their own purposes, taking outsized fees for themselves as the toxic loans materialized to “support” the alleged investment into loans. That is the “mismanagement” part of investors’ allegations — diversion of money into a PONZI scheme.

The investment bank fraudulently diverted title to the loans to strawman entities or were — sometimes even by name (see American Brokers Conduit) — mere conduits for undisclosed third party lenders. The argument that the parties managed to hide this from the borrower long enough for the statute of limitations to run out on TILA claims is an affront to the court system and to the statutory scheme enacted by Congress to protect borrowers from predatory lenders and “steal” deals where huge fees were taken, rather than earned, without disclosure to the Borrower.

So the first element of fraud alleged by investors is diversion of the the money. The second is diversion of the paperwork that would have protected the investors at least to some extent. In this scheme title to the loan papers was intentionally diverted from the owners of the the debt, thus rendering the so-called mortgage documents unenforceable — all alleged by investors, insurers and other co-obligors who have discovered to their chagrin that each of them paid the investment bank 100 cents on the the dollar on each loan multiple times.

And yet borrowers continue to seek modifications, which means they are not looking for free houses. Even knowing they are dealing with criminals the borrowers are willing to start paying these thieves if the terms can be adjusted to give them the benefit of the bargain that was intended at origination of the purchase money mortgage or refinancing or second mortgage or HELOC.

That leaves the servicers and their lawyers being the only ones who want Foreclosures because they want a free house and/or they want the foreclosure to recapture Servicer advances to the creditors — advances that vastly reduce the amount owed and which cure the alleged borrower default. That has now become a foreclosure folly in which the servicers and their lawyers are the only parties who want it. The investors don’t care because they are getting settlements for the fraud of the investment banks for creating unenforceable loan documents (that are frequently enforced anyway because of judicial ignorance) and diversion of investor money.

In the end, the “clean hands” that Shack talks about are clearly absent from both Servicer and government sponsored entities and as judge Shack states in his decision, wrongdoers should not be permitted to profitf or their wrongdoing. If that means a windfall to the borrower, so be it. It can be likened to the old usury laws and the current usury laws where the principal of the debt is wiped out and the fraudster is hit with a judgment for three times the principal, three times the interest or both.

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