Attack the “Successors”

In analyzing the paperwork in front of you, make sure you read every word and do not accept anything said at face value. A popular ruse by foreclosure mills is the use of the word “successor.” I have been saying that this word is used as a cover-up for “we don’t have title to the debt, note or mortgage.” That means they have no loss connected with a claimed scheduled payment that was not received by a “Servicer” who had no right to receive it in the first place.

Hat tip to Gary Dubin, Esq. and Shelley Erickson.

If they have no loss, they have no claim. You don’t have a claim payable to you if you simply know that your neighbor has skipped a payment to someone. You don’t have the right to declare a default. There could be numerous reasons why the payments stopped that are none of your business. In that scenario, any action undertaken as if you did have the claim would be illegal in both the criminal and civil arenas. Such actions would include notice of substitution of trustee, a notice of default, a notice of sale, summons and complaint, etc. The practical problem is that the longer you wait to contest such actions, the more it seems like the perpetrator does have a claim.

Very often, you will see “Successor” used when it makes no sense if you even give it a moment’s thought. For example, if U.S. Bank is recited as successor to Bank of America, that is literally impossible. U.S. Bank did not buy, acquire or purchase Bank of America. They are referring, of course, to the “sale” of the position of “trustee” (without any legal trust powers) from Bank of America to U.S. Bank after Bank of America acquired LaSalle Bank, which is after LaSalle Bank had been effectively acquired by the owners of ABN AMRO, who had merged with Citi.

The key question is whether the position of a trustee if it actually exists, could ever be sold by the trustee without the advice and consent of the beneficiaries and/or the trustor/settlor. Of course, if that was alleged, i.e., that U.S. Bank had acquired the rights to be trustee through purchase, it would then need to disclose the content of the agreement of purchase and sale, and that alone would involve showing the consent of beneficiaries.

Because of the erroneous assumption/presumption that the beneficiaries of a REMIC trust are the investors, it is assumed that they must have consented. But the real beneficiaries are shown in the actual trust agreement (not the PSA most of which is a statement of future intention and not past events).

The real beneficiaries are securities brokerage firms (“investment banks”) which would, in turn, reveal that the investment banks are the primary parties in control of administration, collection, and enforcement — despite the fact that the investment banks retained no financial stake in the outcome of any transaction that was labeled as a loan.

People ask me whether there are cases supporting my analysis. there are hundreds of them, but they are rarely reviewed, much less used, by any homeowner or lawyer. Here is one such example from 2019 that has never been overruled, citing many other cases:

Certo v. Bank of N.Y. Mellon, 268 So. 3d 901, 903 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2019) (“On the other hand, it is insufficient for the plaintiff to rely on its acquisition of the other entity. See Fielding v. PNC Bank Nat’l Ass’n , 239 So.3d 140, 142-43 (Fla. 5th DCA 2018) ; Kyser v. Bank of Am., N.A. , 186 So.3d 58, 61 (Fla. 1st DCA 2016) (despite testimony of merger, witness gave no testimony as to what assets exactly were acquired); Fiorito v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, Nat’l Ass’n , 174 So.3d 519, 520-21 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015) (testimony one entity “took over” another is not sufficient); Lamb v. Nationstar Mortg., LLC , 174 So.3d 1039, 1041 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015) (listing cases). Similarly, listing party status as “successor by merger” or claiming a title is not sufficient; a plaintiff must support its claim by evidence. See Buckingham v. Bank of Am., N.A. , 230 So.3d 923, 924-25 (Fla. 2d DCA 2017) (holding words “successor by merger” were insufficient to “establish the merger, let alone that the [plaintiff] acquired all of [the successor’s] assets”); DiGiovanni v. Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co. , 226 So.3d 984, 988-89 (Fla. 2d DCA 2017) (finding no standing where Deutsche presented no evidence “Bankers Trust had been renamed Deutsche Bank”); Murray v. HSBC Bank USA , 157 So.3d 355, 358-59 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015) (explaining “Option One California” was not “Option One Mortgage Corporation”); Verizzo v. Bank of N.Y. , 28 So.3d 976, 977, 978 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010) (explaining plaintiff listing itself as “successor trustee” was insufficient).”)

Certo v. Bank of N.Y. Mellon, 268 So. 3d 901, 903 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2019) (“The trouble here, similar to the trouble in Conley , is Mellon’s link to Bank of NY and Bank of NY’s link to JP Morgan. Because the final special indorsement is to JP Morgan, Mellon needed to evidence how it obtained the Note or interest. It claims to have it because Bank of NY is a successor to JP Morgan and Mellon is the new Bank of NY. However, the record does not establish either of those necessary links.”)

The bottom line here is that there is no succession regardless of how many times they assert it. Attacking the pleadings, motions, and exhibits with your own motions, answers, affirmative defenses and potential counterclaims is probably a good tactical response to the assertion of this type of lie perpetrators use in the courts every day. Bernie Madoff got away with his Ponzi scheme for decades. It was in most ways identical to what the investment banks have done with what they called “residential lending.”
The banks called it “securitization” without ever selling a single loan to investors or any part thereof. Madoff called it options trading without ever trading a single option. It was all based upon the “hidden magic” and “genius” of some secret formula that nobody else could access. Compare it yourself. Madoff’s scheme, now exposed, reveals what was really happening with homeowner transactions, investor transactions, and “foreclosures” of nonexistent claims.
THE BIG QUESTION IS WHERE ARE THE REGULATORS? THEY MISSED IT WITH MADOFF DESPITE CLEAR SIGNS OF WRONGDOING AND THEY ARE DOING IT AGAIN WITH INVESTMENT BANKS TOUTING NONEXISTENT SECURITIZATION.
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Neil F Garfield, MBA, JD, 73, is a Florida licensed trial and appellate attorney since 1977. He has received multiple academic and achievement awards in business and law. He is a former investment banker, securities broker, securities analyst, and financial analyst.
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FORECLOSURE DEFENSE IS NOT SIMPLE. THERE IS NO GUARANTEE OF A FAVORABLE RESULT. THE FORECLOSURE MILLS WILL DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO WEAR YOU DOWN AND UNDERMINE YOUR CONFIDENCE. ALL EVIDENCE SHOWS THAT NO MEANINGFUL SETTLEMENT OCCURS UNTIL THE 11TH HOUR OF LITIGATION.
  • But challenging the “servicers” and other claimants before they seek enforcement can delay action by them for as much as 12 years or more.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: They report this like $20 billion is a big number. The Banks caused tens of trillions of dollars in damages, stole $13 trillion from investors, stole some $5 trillion worth of property from homeowners who legally still probably own the property but don’t know it, and they are making a big deal out of $20 billion. That number is a rounding error on the real numbers.

 

Foreclosure Fraud Price Tag: $20 Billion

Foreclosure Crisis

First Posted: 06/ 6/11 09:52 PM ET Updated: 06/ 6/11 09:52 PM ET

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WASHINGTON — The nation’s largest mortgage companies are operating on the assumption that they will have to pay as much as $20 billion to resolve claims of widespread foreclosure abuse, an amount four times what they had originally proposed, the top federal official overseeing the discussions told state officials Monday, according to people who participated in the conversation.

Associate U.S. Attorney General Tom Perrelli told a bipartisan group of state attorneys general during a conference call that he believes the banks have accepted the realization that a wide-ranging settlement to the months-long probes will cost them much more than the $5 billion offer they floated last month, according to officials with direct knowledge of the call. Perrelli said he’s basing his belief on his recent conversations with representatives of the five targeted firms: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial.

Three unresolved issues remain, these people said. State and federal officials have not agreed on the scope of banks’ release from liability that would accompany such a deal; negotiators continue to hammer out how much of the money pot will be split between restructuring borrowers’ mortgages and bank fines, and officials are not yet near an agreement on how the coalition of state and federal government agencies will monitor and enforce bank behavior in the wake of a settlement agreement.

The settlement talks are the result of state and federal investigations launched last autumn after widespread reports that the five largest mortgage handlers illegally seized the homes of an unknown number of homeowners and improperly accelerated foreclosure proceedings by failing to amass required paperwork, in some cases allegedly lying about it to local judges. Over the past couple months, government officials have been in discussions with the banks to resolve claims of past abuses and set new standards to govern bank dealings with distressed homeowners.

The banks seek a quick resolution, according to sources who have participated in settlement talks, as falling home prices, a continuing high rate of delinquent borrowers, stagnant home sales, rising unemployment and slower economic growth batters bank stocks. Shares of Bank of America, the largest mortgage servicer, hit a two-year low Monday. Citigroup fell more than four percent. The 24-company KBW Bank Index has fallen nearly 11 percent over the past three months.

Top officials in the Obama administration, like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, have said they want a quick settlement, too. Bank regulator Sheila Bair, the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, told a Senate panel last month that a settlement must be reached due to “significant” damages the banks face from “flawed mortgage banking processes [that] have potentially infected millions of foreclosures.”

The industry could be reeling for years, Bair warned.

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