Consent Order Contains Admission of False Affidavits and False Chains of Title

A lot of student loan debt ends up being claimed by “Trusts” that are exactly like REMIC trusts except they are not about residential mortgages. And as I have previously pointed out on these pages, the enforcement of those debts has gone through the same process of removing the risk of loss from those who made the loan and the creation of a scheme where it is perhaps impossible to find or identify any creditor who owns the debt by reason of having paid for it (as opposed to “owning the debt” by reason of having the promissory note or a copy of it).

As a side note, to the extent that debtors are prevented from discharging such debt because of government guarantees, I argue that such exclusion is inapplicable. Students should be able to discharge most student debt in bankruptcy. The risk has already been eliminated if the loans are subject to claims in securitization. The purpose of the guarantee has thus been eliminated.

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Hat tip to summer chic

In this case, the CFPB filed suit essentially asserting its own administrative findings that mirror the defenses of homeowners in foreclosure, to wit: that the affidavits filed are false, and they are falsely signed and notarized, containing false information about title to the loan and false information about the business records.

What is interesting about this case is that the parties are submitting a consent order which includes as those findings of the court in paragraph 4 of the proposed consent order which states as follows:

See https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/201709_cfpb_national-collegiate-student-loan-trusts_proposed-consent-judgment.pdf

4. Since at least November 1, 2012, in order to collect on defaulted private student loans, Defendants’ Servicers filed Collections Lawsuits on behalf of Defendants in state courts across the country. In support of these lawsuits, Subservicers on behalf of Defendants executed and filed affidavits that falsely claimed personal knowledge of the account records and the consumer’s debt, and in many cases, personal knowledge of the chain of assignments establishing ownership of the loans.In addition, Defendants’ Servicers on behalf of Defendants filed more than 2,000 debt collections lawsuits without the documentation necessary to prove Trust ownership of the loans or on debt that was time-barred. Finally, notaries for Defendants’ Servicers notarized over 25,000 affidavits even though they did not witness the affiants’ signatures.[e.s.]

PRACTICE NOTE: HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION. Sometimes I erroneously assume that people know what to do with this type of information. So let’s be clear.

  • This information means that servicers, subservicers and lawyers claims regarding chain of title, business records, and their use of affidavits or even testimony is not entitled to the same presumption of credibility that might otherwise apply.
  • That means that the presumptions on the use of business records are not entitled to a presumption of credibility and that additional foundation testimony must be offered in order to assure the court that what is contained in the document is authorized, properly signed, properly notarized and most importantly accurate.
  • The entire case against debtors in these situations is entirely dependent upon the use of legal presumptions  that can be rebutted. Rebuttal of presumptions takes place under two general categories.
  • The first is that that the presumed fact can be shown to be untrue.
  • The second ius that the process of presumption should not apply because the proponent of the document clearly has a stake in the outcome of litigation and has a history of falsifying such documents.
  • Once you rebut the presumption, the case against the debot (homeowner, student) is gone.
  • The opposition has no evidence of proof of payment for the debt, and this has no foundation for claiming authority of the servicer, trustee or even the lawyer.
  • Such authority must come from the owner of a debt who has paid value for it.

Dan Edstrom senior forensic loan examiner writes the following:

This is similar to what is in the foreclosure review consent orders (from US Bank Consent Order dated April 13, 2011):
(2) In connection with certain foreclosures of loans in its residential mortgage servicing portfolio, the Bank:​
(a)​ filed or caused to be filed in state and federal courts affidavits executed by its employees making various assertions, such as the amount of the principal and interest due or the fees and expenses chargeable to the borrower, in which the affiant represented that the assertions in the affidavit were made based on personal knowledge or based on a review by the affiant of the relevant books and records, when, in many cases, they were not based on such personal knowledge or review of the relevant books and records;
(b) filed or caused to be filed in state and federal courts, or in local land records offices, numerous affidavits that were not properly notarized, including those not signed or affirmed in the presence of a notary;​
(c)​ failed to devote to its foreclosure processes adequate oversight, internal controls, policies, and procedures, compliance risk management, internal audit, third party management, and training; and​
(d)​ failed to sufficiently oversee outside counsel and other third-party providers handling foreclosure-related services.​
(3)​ By reason of the conduct set forth above, the Bank engaged in unsafe or unsound banking practices.
And what about this quote from the student loan consent order:
In addition, Defendants’ Servicers on behalf of Defendants filed more than 2,000 debt collections​ lawsuits without the documentation necessary to prove Trust ownership of​ the loans or on debt that was time-barred.
So wait a minute. They allege the debt cannot be discharged in BKR, but (alleged) student loan debt that hasn’t been paid on in years – isn’t it time barred?  How does collection action work after decades where they took affirmative debt collection steps after the debt was time barred?  In the instance I am thinking about, a dentist was BARRED from taking patients with some type of federally covered insurance and this forced them out of their occupation.  The student loan debt hadn’t been paid in 2 or 3 decades (in California).
So in a related case (time-barred debt) in BKR in CA, a debtor filed a lawsuit against a creditor for filing a proof of claim on a time-barred debt. He lost, the court ruled that if the proof of claim was not objected to (with the relevant objection being that the debt was time-barred), the debtor waived the affirmative defense.

Minnesota Prepares to Sue A Debt Collection Agency: Robosigning

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“The Minnesota attorney general, Lori Swanson, accused Encore of fraud, saying it had filed false affidavits to collect consumer debt that was not owed or had been already paid off.”

HUGE POTENTIAL EFFECT ON FORECLOSURES

EDITOR’S COMMENT:

The significance here is not just that robo-signing was used, which violates even common sense rules of evidence. It is the fact that the false affidavits were used to collect debts that were not due or had already been paid. This is the same as the current foreclosure mess, where pretenders are using false representations, fabrications, forgeries and perjured testimony to collect on non-existent debt, and debt which has already been paid by parties who have expressly waived any right to subrogation, which means they paid, but they did not purchase the receivable — to protect themselves from being called “lenders” or being subject to claims from homeowners for fraudulent or predatory lending.

As you will see from the description below, this opaque construct of conflicting “deals” and “trades” created a context in which the borrower’s obligation would be paid, regardless of whether the homeowner made the payments or not. The pretender lenders stepped in to the void created by this scheme to enforce a void note, void mortgage and an obligation in which it was neither the lender nor the purchaser of the receivable.

The pretenders are able to do this under the noses of the people who were the actual lenders because the investors don’t want to accept any responsibility for the fraudulent and predatory lending and documentation.

On a basic intuitive level it would seem that if a borrower received the benefit of funding of a loan, that the borrower was responsible for paying it back, regardless of what back-room deals were made. But in the words of Renaldo Reyes, Chief Asset Acquisition Officer (i.e., “trustee”) for Deutsch bank, the whole thing is COUNTER-INTUITIVE. That is why the courts are having so much trouble with these foreclosures — AND THAT IS THE SOLE REASON FOR THE USE OF ROBO-SIGNERS, FABRICATED DOCUMENTS AND FORGERIES TOGETHER WITH PERJURED TESTIMONY.

If the creditor was actually named, the real issues would come out and the issue would be completely reframed — because the the real creditor doesn’t want the house or the foreclosure, and in many cases is still getting paid. This leaves a “floating obligation owed to nobody” which is what the pretenders are exploiting and using on their balance sheets as “assets.”

Payment came from third parties who expressly waived rights of subrogation — it is right there in the insurance, credit default swap and buy-out agreements in the bailouts. That was intentionally done to remove the insurers or counterparts from any potential liability for fraudulent or predatory lending claims. But you can’t pick up one end of the stick without picking up the other end. The payments were received by agents of the investors — and the servicers keep on paying the payments to assure the imposition of absurd fees and costs. So at no time is the borrower’s debt to the investor-lender ever in default despite representations to the contrary in court. AND THAT IS WHY THEY USE ROBO-SIGNING, FABRICATION AND FORGERY — BECAUSE IF THEY WENT TO THE ACTUAL CREDITOR, THE DOCUMENT WOULD NOT BE SIGNED. SAME THING WITH CREDIT CARDS, STUDENT LOANS AND OTHER CONSUMER CREDIT WHICH INCIDENTALLY WAS MOSTLY SECURITIZED AS WELL.

Minnesota Prepares to Sue A Debt Collection Agency

By REUTERS

Minnesota’s attorney general accused the Encore Capital Group of cutting corners by filing “robo-signed” affidavits in debt collection lawsuits, the same practice for which banks have come under fire in home foreclosures.

Encore shares fell as much as 10.3 percent before closing with a 3 percent loss on the day.

The Minnesota attorney general, Lori Swanson, accused Encore of fraud, saying it had filed false affidavits to collect consumer debt that was not owed or had been already paid off.

Encore is one of the nation’s largest debt collection companies, and often buys debt from credit card companies.

The allegations follow an Ohio federal judge’s preliminary approval on March 11 of a $5.2 million class-action settlement of similar claims against Encore’s Midland Funding unit.

An Encore spokesman, Mike Huckman, had no immediate comment.

Robo-signing is a term coined to describe employees’ signing of litigation documents without reviewing their contents. All 50 state attorneys general are investigating robo-signing and other practices by banks in the mortgage industry.

Ms. Swanson said such practices were pervasive in debt collection. Ben Wogsland, a spokesman for Ms. Swanson, said she was investigating about a half-dozen other companies that buy debt.

Encore, which is based in San Diego, had through year-end invested $1.8 billion to buy 33 million accounts with a face value of $54.7 billion, according to its annual report.

Ms. Swanson wants the Ohio court to clarify that the proposed class-action settlement does not bar government agencies from pursuing similar litigation. She is seeking to file her lawsuit in a Minnesota state court, Mr. Wogsland said.

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