Older Forensic Title Analyses Need Updating — Even Ours

 A recent request from an old client brought to mind the changes that have occurred, as in her case, since 2011 — more than 7 years ago.
A quick review indicates that the facts were correct but the conclusions need tweaking. And the title record should be updated. Many new laws and case decisions have occurred since that report was finished and many new facts have been revealed about these older transactions.

For example it now appears that our assumption about the flow of payments was incorrect.
  1. Your payments were being made to a subservicer who was forwarding money on a separate contract to a Master Servicer.
  2. The Master Servicer then authorized, in its sole discretion, third parties to make certain payments to investors who had purchased certificates issued in the name of a trust, which turns out to not exist.
  3. The trust name was being used as a fictitious name for the named underwriter of the certificate offering. But the actual transaction was not an underwriting; it was simply a sale by the party posing as underwriter (implying it was working for a third party, presumably the nonexistent trust).
  4. By contract, the investors purchased their right to receive money arising out of a promise to pay issued by the named underwriter (i.e., seller) that was unrelated to the terms of repayment on any note.
  5. And most importantly the investors waived any right, title or interest to the loans, debts, notes or mortgages.
  6. Thus you can see that actions undertaken in the name of the holders of certificates or a REMIC Trust or the Trustee of a REMIC trust are all fabricated, to hide the fact that the obligation of the borrower has been transformed into an unsecured obligation to pay intermediaries who converted the investors’ money and thus claim to be principals entitled to enforce a debt in which they had no investment.
  7. Most of the documents uploaded to SEC.gov, if at all, are either unsigned or incomplete (or both) lacking a mortgage loan schedule or any reference to a particular loan. Such documents are ONLY uploaded to SEC.GOV which has no power to charter or approve any entities nor their filings, as long as they have been granted access to upload documents. Their existence on SEC.GOV means nothing.
  8. An assignment without actual transfer of the debt is without effect. In virtually all cases involving false claims of securitization no payment of any kind was ever made by any party in the chain for the origination or purchase of the loan. Our Case Analysis examines the issues arising from transfer of a promissory note which can cause legal presumptions to arise concerning ownership of the debt and transfers thereof.
  9. Analysis of the fictitious “trust” documents reveals the absence of essential elements of a trust hence leading to the conclusion that no actual trust was intended notwithstanding the illusions and implications contained in the documents themselves and the representations of attorneys and representatives of “servicers” to the contrary. Upon case analysis (apart from title analysis contained in our TERA report) the following basic elements of a trust are usually absent.
    1. Complete signed trust instrument
    2. Trustee with powers to administer the affairs of the trust and the trust assets
    3. Trustor/settlor creating the trust.
    4. Beneficiaries of the trust
    5. RES: anything that has been entrusted to the named trustee to manage on behalf of the beneficiaries
My suggestion, if the issues are still pending, is that you order the current TERA and the PDR PLUS, which includes a recorded CONSULT.
CLICK HERE TO ORDER CONSULT (not if you order PDR)
CLICK HERE TO ORDER PRELIMINARY DOCUMENT REVIEW (PDR BASIC or more probably the PDR PLUS, in your case — includes CONSULT)

What good are the reports and analyses?

If you have a medical problem do you want just one doctor to look at your lab results or a team of doctors each doing their own analysis? The same question applies if you are heading into litigation. The problem for homeowners is that having a deep bench of professionals costs money. That is the way our system works, for better or worse.

Let us help you plan for trial and draft your foreclosure defense strategy, discovery requests and defense narrative: 202-838-6345. Ask for a Consult.

I provide advice and consent to many people and lawyers so they can create a compelling defense narrative to foreclosures. If you have a foreclosure or a deal you want skimmed for red flags order the Consult and fill out the REGISTRATION FORM. A few hundred dollars well spent is worth a lifetime of financial ruin.

PLEASE FILL OUT AND SUBMIT OUR FREE REGISTRATION FORM WITHOUT ANY OBLIGATION. OUR PRIVACY POLICY IS THAT WE DON’T USE THE FORM EXCEPT TO SPEAK WITH YOU OR PERFORM WORK FOR YOU. THE INFORMATION ON THE FORMS ARE NOT SOLD NOR LICENSED IN ANY MANNER, SHAPE OR FORM. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Get a Consult and TERA (Title & Encumbrances Analysis and & Report) 202-838-6345. The TEAR replaces and greatly enhances the former COTA (Chain of Title Analysis, including a one page summary of Title History and Gaps).

THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.

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Today I was copied on an email sent by a client who was frustrated by having to pay his attorney to do his own analysis of the status of the loan and litigation in addition to reports of Bill Paatalo and myself. The client regarded the work done by the lawyer as the same as reports done by forensic analysts, and the same as the work that I do at www.lendinglies.com. Here is my answer:

Although it may seem the same, it isn’t. Bill and I are even different. He does a factual report produced by research and investigation. As a lawyer and expert witness on the securitization of debt, etc, my reports are different from Bill’s.

The lawyer is doing something else entirely — making strategic and tactical decisions that will result in a homeowner winning the case — not just being “right.” The lawyer not only uses his unique knowledge of local laws, rules and procedures, he/she will only pursue those issues, claims and defenses that have the highest likelihood for traction and the lawyer makes the difficult decision of selecting 2-3 issues out of dozens because he knows the local bar and can make the best judgment on which tip to put at the end of the spear.

The “bench” for the financial industry is very deep involving as many as 20 people, most of whom are not seen by you because they want it to appear as a “standard foreclosure.” You need to understand that because of finances you are limiting your bench to one person (a lawyer or consultant) when what you need is a full bench.
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For your lawyer to use any specific strategy or tactic he/she needs to believe in it. If not, it will not play well in the courtroom even on motions. If the lawyer wants to do further analysis to bring himself/herself up to that level of confidence then that is what it costs. If the lawyer is satisfied to direct the work of Bill Paatalo or myself to provide “second sight”, then that is what should happen.
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The Justice system is based upon rationing out decision making where there is a dispute. It boils down to a vetting process based upon available resources. In other words it is about money. Lawyers, forensic analysts, and consultants, have spent years, even decades accumulating knowledge, skill and intuition. They have a right to get paid for that when it is applied to your benefit.
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In an event like the past and current tidal wave of foreclosures based upon questionable and fraudulent business practices sometimes law enforcement gets involved; but the real benefit of winning and stopping the foreclosure can only be achieved through direct action by the homeowner and not some agency. That takes money from people who were wiped out by Wall Street banks who are propped up by an executive branch and legislative branch that not only doesn’t help homeowners but actually pass and enforce laws directly opposite to the legitimate interests of homeowners.
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The system, particularly nonjudicial foreclosure, is rigged to favor devious parties who use fraud as their business plan. They have very deep pockets. For a homeowner who wants to win a case, the homeowner must be willing to commit resources required by the effort. Each professional has their own contribution to make, if you let them. Even if they are performing what appears to be identical work you will get a better decision based upon better interpretation.

Falling Into the Traps Set By the Banks

For the past 15 years there has been a huge chasm between what a document says and what actually occurred. In foreclosure settings, the conscious decision has been made to ignore the Truth and proceed on the falsehoods promulgated by the banks. This arises from the “national security” fear that if the banks are not allowed to continue their fraudulent behavior, the entire financial system will collapse taking the entire society down with it. This myth is promulgated by the Banks, who supply the government with people to regulate the banks. Even as a theory it is untested, and unsupported by any real evidence. Unfortunately for Americans, too many people believe it.

Listen to the last Last Neil Garfield Show at http://tobtr.com/s/9673161

Get a consult! 202-838-6345

https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments.
 
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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We are constantly analyzing the documentation that is produced by the banks or their surrogates. But we are failing our clients when we say that something actually occurred just because a piece of paper says it occurred.
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“Prepared by” is just a hearsay statement that the document was prepared by the entity identified after those words. It does not mean that the document was in fact prepared by that entity — usually a title or closing agent — nor does it necessarily mean that the identified entity actually even handled the document.
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Too often, and virtually the rule, is that facially valid documents are telling the truth about what occurred. In the present context of “lending” the facially valid documents relied upon by foreclosing parties are usually fabricated, forged, robosigned and prepared by entities who create and maintain the records upon which the foreclosure proceeds — separate and apart from the alleged “Trust” or other “owner” and separate and apart from the party identified as the servicer but who actually do nothing except lend its name for use in a foreclosure.
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We don’t want to be saying (and therefore admitting) that the title or closing agent DID prepare the document — but rather admit the obvious: that the document says that they prepared it. It is the same with other documents.
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We don’t want to say that an assignment was made; in our reports we say that the document labeled “assignment” says there was an assignment. It is easy to fall into the trap of assuming that basic references are truthful when in fact they are not. We do a disservice to our customers if we submit a report that plays right into the hands of the banks. It also misdirects the lawyer or pro se litigant into failing to object to the references within a facially valid document because then those defenses are probably waived.
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But looking at the “prepared by” and “return to” instructions on an instrument may give you another lead to a witness who is unwilling to lie about the the alleged transaction.
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The closing agent or escrow agent may be willing to state that they received money, as they were instructed, and that they dispersed the money as instructed. They might be willing to admit that they did not prepare the documents but rather received them from a source that also might not have prepared them. And they might be willing to admit that they have no knowledge of from whence the money came for the alleged “closing.” Thus their testimony could be that they can provide no foundation to the assertion that a loan was made by the named mortgagee or beneficiary.
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A facially valid document, particularly if it is recorded in the public records, normally carries with it a presumption of truthfulness unless there is evidence to suggest that the document was fabricated, forged, robosigned or that there are other indications that the document is just a self-serving fabrication. But the admission of such a document into evidence should be the start of the argument not the end.
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Once the document is admitted into evidence, hopefully over the timely objection of foreclosure defense counsel (lack of foundation), the statements within the documents are hearsay unless the hearsay objection is waived. Those statements, without foundation testimony cannot be used as foundation for other testimony about the authority of the “servicer”, the “trustee,” or anyone else posing as owner or servicer of the DEBT.
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A simplified example: A warranty deed executed by John Doe, executed with the formalities required by statute is a facially valid instrument. The recipient Jane Roe received title ownership of the property according to the provisions stated on the face of the deed. If the deed is then recorded in the County records, it establishes notice to all the world that Jane Roe is the owner of the property described in the deed.
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But if John Doe never owned the property then the deed conveys nothing. It is a wild deed. It can be ignored by the world and everyone else. It can be removed from chain of title generally by a quiet title action (lawsuit in local jurisdiction) or simply an affidavit saying that John Doe mistakenly executed the deed describing the wrong property or whatever situation arose to cause the recording of a false deed in the chain of title to someone else’s property.
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But if Jane Roe insists that she does own the property described in the false deed and acts on that assertion, that is where things get messy. If Jane Roe files a quiet title or other lawsuit and presents the facially valid warranty deed from John Doe, the deed will be admitted into evidence, probably over the objections of the real property owner. It is admitted to prove only that the document exists in the county records and NOT to prove that the truthfulness of representations on the deed (“Grantor is full seized and owner of the property”), which is still the burden of proof for Jane Roe. There is also generally a representation as to the payment of good and valuable consideration, which we will presume Jane Roe never paid and obviously can’t prove. And THAT is where Jane Roe’s case should fail.
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The mistake made by pro se litigants and lawyers defending foreclosures is that they don’t go back to these basics. The original note and mortgage may indeed have been signed by the present homeowner. But the representations concerning payment of good and valuable consideration by the party named as mortgagee (or beneficiary under the deed of trust) are untrue as to most of the original “transactions” and therefore all succeeding documentation purporting to “sell’ grant bargain and deed” the note and mortgage to another party. Even where the originator does fund the initial “loan” (a small minority of originated documentation) the assignments are mysteriously missing any actual payment and therefore there can be no proof of payment of good and valuable consideration.
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In plain language, the fact that the homeowner owes SOMEBODY doesn’t mean that they owe just ANYBODY.
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For the past 15 years there has been a huge chasm between what a document says and what actually occurred. In foreclosure settings, the conscious decision has been made to ignore the Truth and proceed on the falsehoods promulgated by the banks. This arises from the “national security” fear that if the banks are not allowed to continue their fraudulent behavior, the entire financial system will collapse taking the entire society down with it. This myth is promulgated by the Banks, who supply the government with people to regulate the banks. Even as a theory it is untested, and unsupported by any real evidence.
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It is this policy of presumptive national security that has sacrificed the lives of 20 million people thus far.
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Questionable Documents: Investigation and Discovery Required
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NOTE: Analytical reports on title or securitization are not evidence without foundation testimony and/or affidavit, as the court permits. Our analytic summaries represent our observation and opinion as to issues regarding Chain of Title, Authenticity, Forgery, Fabrication or Robo-signing. Actions to be considered include sending a Qualified Written Request (QWR) under RESPA, Debt Validation Letter (DVL) under FDCPA, letters/complaints to State Attorney General and Consumer Financial Protections Board, and legal claims and defenses as to Legal Standing.

Most Mortgage Closings Were Sham Closings

“Powers of attorney are fraught with problems. Title attorneys and title insurance companies are reluctant to accept them, and will insist on making sure that the proper form and correct language is included in the document. You should not use the forms that can be obtained free of charge (or even for a fee) on the internet. If you need to provide a power of attorney for your real estate transaction, get the proper form from the settlement attorney that will be handling the closing.” Benny L Kass, realtytimes.com see link below

If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our South Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. In Northern Florida and the Panhandle call 850-765-1236. Customer service for the livinglies store with workbooks, services and analysis remains the same at 520-405-1688. The people who answer the phone are NOT attorneys and NOT permitted to provide any legal advice, but they can guide you toward some of our products and services. Get advice from attorneys licensed in the jurisdiction in which your property is located. We do provide litigation support — but only for licensed attorneys.
See LivingLies Store: Reports and Analysis

Editor’s Analysis: Consider this. You walk in off the street and apply for a loan. The Bank confirms the loan and a closing date and place is set up — usually at a closing agent or title agent (who is also a closing agent). But your friend shows up and wants the loan and says he is willing to sign the papers. What do you think the Bank would do? What do you think the closing agent would do? It’s obvious. The closing is cancelled and the loan never happens.

But suppose your friend has a friend in the bank and that person is in charge of preparing the papers for closing. The friendly bank person switches out the name of the borrower from you to your friend. The closing agent collects the money from the bank and gives your friend the loan. When the loan goes into default the bank finds that it loaned the money to the wrong person. Having no rights against you they are limited to pursuing your friend who by now is long gone. Unless they prove you had something to do with it, they have nothing on you.

Next, assume your friend goes to the closing for you and he has a power of attorney from you, saying you are out of town or whatever excuse he can think of. The closing agent will most likely not accept the power of attorney unless told to do so by the Bank. The Bank will most likely refuse because powers of attorney are subject to cancellation by death or disability.

If your friend adds that he is your successor because you died and he is the personal representative of your estate, there are even more problems and fewer chances that the bank will accept the successor argument or the power of attorney. The assumption would be that something screwy is going on and the Bank wants no part of it. Suppose the power of attorney is a forgery? What if you are not really dead?

But in the modern era of foreclosures the very same succession and powers of attorney are accepted without question FROM the same banks who would turn it down if it were offered TO them. THIS is why you need forensic auditors to give you a report on where the weaknesses are in the chain of title and the money trail. The best way to determine if an assignment is actually valid is to look at the consideration. Who paid how much to whom? And that is the heart of aggressive discovery. The Banks don’t want to get into that because they would be shown to be strangers to the transaction and that the assignment or transfer never actually occurred.

When you went to your loan closing or your client went to their loan closing, there was an assumption that was not true in most cases —- that the payee on the note and the mortgagee on the mortgage was giving the borrower a loan of money. But they didn’t. The money came from investors rather directly through the investment bank that acted as a depository for the funds until they withdrawn for their own fees or to fund mortgages like yours. The party that SHOULD have been on the documents was the actual lender — i.e., the investor or a group of investors in a REMIC trust if indeed the trust was ever funded, which we are finding is increasingly unlikely.

Now the Banks are saying that just because they had their own reasons not to write the right parties and terms on the loan in violation of their duties to the investors, that the Bank is entitled to foreclose! AND if you look closely you see all the succession language and powers of attorney, endorsements, and mergers, all of which lack consideration for any transfer of any loan because the loan was funded from the beginning by the investors who were forced out of the room.

In Court when the judge enters a final judgment of foreclosure or allows the sale to proceed the Judge is unintentionally stripping the investors of their security rights and stripping the investors of any claim for payment against the borrower — which was the ONLY reason they advanced money in the first place. This in turn gives the borrower nobody to talk to to find out the real balance of the account receivable, or to address issues of modification.

If the Judiciary wants to see this bulge of foreclosure cases go away, then enforce the mortgages the same you did when there was no securitization. They will vanish in a flash.

 

Powers of Attorney: A Potential For Fraud
http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/20130828-powersofattorney.htm

 

Using UDCPA Fair Debt Collection Acts to get Money, Information and Fees

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COMBO Title and Securitization Search, Report, Documents, Analysis & Commentary CLICK HERE TO GET COMBO TITLE AND SECURITIZATION REPORT

RIPE AREA FOR STEADY INCOME FOR LAWYERS REPRESENTING HOMEOWNERS

Editor’s Comment: One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind. You have both a private right of action against the debt collector and the right to apply to the FTC to set up administrative hearings, where these cases should probably be heard by experienced hearing officers who know what they are looking at.

The practice of playing the numbers on debt collection has been around for a long time. Whether the debt is real or not, there is a statute of limitations, bankruptcies and other obstacles to collection. A lot of times the debt is now owed at all, but byb pestering customers, the collection agency gets some money out of them, which they keep because they have already bought the portfolio at pennies or less on the dollar.

This is where servicers and other intermediaries in the fake securitization chain are going to get into hot water. The debt was created when the investor loaned the borrower the money. The intermediaries are by definition debt collectors under the UDCPA and they are, and have been banged for fines many times on individual cases.

This is an instance where the Obama administration is attacking the practice head-on and taking away their toys. So when the pretender lender comes knocking, it isn’t just a RESPA 6 (Qualified Written Request) that you send out, it is a UDCPA letter you send demanding to know both the identity and contact information for the creditor. As you can see from this article, failure to provide you with that information  plus the balance due and how it was computed, is a violation of that Federal Statute.

It might also be a shortcut way of identifying the pretender not as holder of the note but as agent for an undisclosed principal seeking to collect on a note that was defective in the first place because they did not identify the correct creditor (in violation of TILA) and it did not provide you with a proper accounting showing exactly what this “creditor” received that would reduce your loan balance.

The MAIN point here is that the servicer might well be the one sending you the notice of delinquency swhen they have performed zero due diligence as to the creditor’s accounting. Where the servicer itself or some other party is keeping the account current, as is often the case, the loan is neither delinquent nor susceptible to being declared in default — but they do it anyway.

Now that the FTC has declared war on debt collectors who perform illegally, and banged them with this fine, we can invoke the same administrative procedures and grievances with the FTC as to the collection efforts on mortgages where the “collector” is not the creditor and where the money demanded is not actually shown as due.

There is a presumption that if you didn’t make the payment as set forth in the note, then you must be delinquent and you must be declared (at some point) in default. But that is not true in most cases. There can only be a delinquency or default under the mortgage loan if the borrower has failed to make a payment or cure a payment that is actually due. If the payment has been made already, then no such payment is due, regardless of whether it came from the borrower or not.

This is why you need to know the four legs of the stool in order to object, sue, defend, and present genuine issues of fact before a trial court that will have no choice but to allow you to proceed to discovery. Discovery is where these cases settle because the pretenders know they didn’t fund the loan, they didn’t pay for the loan and the creditor has been paid in whole or in part, with a lower or zero balance remaining.

Just for reminders, the four legs of the stool are:

  1. The loan closing papers with the investors under which he agrees to advance funds into a pool in exchange for a note or bond from a REMIC (which is never properly constituted). Here the investors expects that the money advanced will be used for funding mortgages conforming with the standards set forth in the prospectus and pooling and servicing agreement. Note that there is no nexus or connection between the investor and the borrower because the borrower usually does not even exist at that point in time. If a nexus ever arises, it is when the loan is transferred into the pool, something which we all now know was never done until the loan went into litigation or foreclosure — obviously in violation of the cut-off date required by the IRS REMIC statute, and the concurrent cut-off date in the PSA. But more importantly is the money angle — the investors didn’t advance money for loans that were delinquent or in default. They invested their money for good quality performing loans. Thus there is no way that the loans could be transferred into the pools if they were already declared problematic, delinquent, or non-performing. The failure to provide a nexus between borrower and lender (investor) is fatal to the enforcement of the mortgage lien. The creditor has no interest in the loan and doesn’t want one. Any claim from third parties who also have no nexus with the borrower would be on causes of action that are separate or apart from the mortgage lien. (SEE COMBO TITLE AND SECURITIZATION REPORT ABOVE)
  2. The loan closing papers with the borrower(s), which are subject to roughly the same analysis with identical result. There is no nexus between the borrower and the investor because neither one knows the other, despite requirements in the TILA and RESPA laws that require disclosure of parties and their compensation. (SEE FORENSIC ANALYSIS TILA+ REPORT on Livinglies-store.com) The note does not describe the actual monetary transaction between the investor lender and the borrower. Instead it inserts a straw-man as “lender” and a straw-man as “beneficiary”. This usually takes the form of a new animal in mortgage lending called an “originator” who is a paid fee service provider whose sole duty is to pretend to be the lender, even though they never funded the loan, never bought the loan and never had any interest in the debt, the note or the mortgage. This is deemed by many in the title industry as a corrupted document that breaks the chain of title if any action was taken on such a loan in foreclosure. 
  3. The actual money trail which varies from both the requirements set forth in the paperwork with the investor lender and the paperwork with the homeowner borrower. A full accounting would show that the parties in the middle without any interest in the loan, bought, sold, transferred and used those fabricated, forged documents to initiate foreclosure and eviction proceedings. Under the investor documentation, the pretenders are allowed to use a legal PONZI scheme in which the investors money is used to pay him his interest income, although it is not reported as such. The servicer also has the option of taking money from other revenue and pools and paying certain investors in complete  violation of the explicit requirements of any standard promissory note from a borrower requiring that payments be credited to the account of the borrower. Instead, they make the payment and do not credit the borrower or they receive the money and they pay neither the investors nor the give credit to the borrowers. (see Loan Level Accounting REPORT on Livinglies-store.com). The servicers and intermediaries and attempting, with some success to take over the position of the investor without an assignment from the investor, and enforce a mortgage to which they are not a party.
  4. The Fourth legal of the stool arises from the false representations made in court or foreclosure proceedings. These representations made by people who purport to be authorized to substitute trustees, or file notice of defaults, notice of sales, notice of evictions, or lawsuits for all of those in judicial states, turn out to be at variance with all three of the other legs of the stool — the investor paperwork, the borrower’s paperwork and the actual money trail. 

Using a service like Elite Litigation Management services or others to present the matrix, which we also offer at livinglies-store.com, dial 480-405-1688, and you can present a poster-size board that shows a number of the discrepancy between all four legs of the stool, thus giving rise to the question of fact necessary to get to the next step in litigation. remember, if you go in thinking you have a magic bullet that will end your case, you are dreaming of a better worked than the one we have.

F.T.C. Fines a Collector of Debt $2.5 Million

See Full Article on New York Times and Firedoglake.com
By

The Federal Trade Commission signaled on Monday that it would continue to crack down on debt collectors who harass consumers for money they may not even be legally obligated to pay.

In the second-largest penalty ever levied on a debt collector, the F.T.C. said that Asset Acceptance, one of the nation’s largest debt collection companies, had agreed to pay a $2.5 million civil penalty to settle charges that the company deceived consumers when trying to collect old debts.

The settlement is part of a broader effort to patrol the industry, agency officials said.

“Our attention to debt collection has increased over the past couple of years because the complaints have been on the rise,” said J. Reilly Dolan, assistant director for the F.T.C.’s division of financial practices.

Consumer complaints about debt collection companies consistently rank as the second-highest category among all complaints at the agency, behind identity theft. But in 2010, complaints jumped 17 percent to 140,036, which represented 11 percent of all complaints in the commission’s database, up from 119,540, or about 9 percent of complaints, in 2009.

Asset Acceptance, based in Warren, Mich., was charged with a variety of complaints, including failing to tell consumers that they could no longer be sued for failing to pay some debts because the debts were too old. The company’s collectors also failed to inform consumers that paying even a small portion of the amount owed would revive the debt — in other words, making a payment would extend the amount of time the collector could legally sue.

Debt collectors have only a certain number of years to sue consumers. The statute of limitations varies by state, but typically ranges from two to 15 years, Mr. Dolan said, beginning when a consumer fails to make a payment. But borrowers often do not realize that making a payment on the old debt may restart the clock.

Among other things, the complaint also contended that the company — which buys unpaid debts for pennies on the dollar from credit card companies, health clubs and telecommunications and utility providers and tries to collect them — reported inaccurate information about the consumers to the credit reporting agencies. It also said that Asset Acceptance failed to conduct a reasonable investigation when it was notified by one of the credit agencies that a debt was being disputed. Moreover, the complaint says that the company used illegal collection practices and that it continued to try to collect debts that consumers disputed even though the company failed to verify that the debt was valid.

The proposed settlement with Asset Acceptance requires the company to tell consumers whose debt may be too old to be collected that it will not sue. It also requires the company to investigate disputed debts and to ensure it has a reasonable basis for its claims before going after the consumer. It is also barred from placing debt on credit reports without notifying the consumer.

The penalty “is certainly a slap on the wrist and probably a little bit more, but it really depends on what the F.T.C. does to enforce this in the coming months and years,” said Robert Hobbs, deputy director at the National Consumer Law Center and author of “Fair Debt Collection” (National Consumer Law Center, 1987). But “it is a great step forward. It is not self-enforcing, and it has a mechanism for the F.T.C. to follow up.”

Still, while the settlement requires the company to take more responsibility for checking the statute of limitations before it contacts consumers, he said most states did not require debt collectors to do that. That means it is up to consumers to know the rules on the statute of limitations, which, he said, can be “an enormously complex legal question.”

In a statement, Asset Acceptance said that the settlement ended an F.T.C. investigation that began nearly six years ago, and that the company did not admit to any of the allegations. “We are pleased to have this matter behind us, and to have clarity on the F.T.C.’s policies and expectations of the debt collection industry,” said Rion Needs, president and chief executive of Asset Acceptance.

In March, another leading debt collection company, West Asset Management, agreed to pay $2.8 million, the largest civil penalty ever levied by the F.T.C., to settle charges that its collection techniques violated the law. The commission charged that West Asset’s collectors often called consumers multiple times a day, sometimes using rude and abusive language, about accounts that were not theirs. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the F.T.C. now share enforcement authority for debt collection companies, though the new bureau has a power that the F.T.C. did not: it can write new rules for debt collectors. But F.T.C. officials said that debt collection enforcement would remain a top priority.

 

FORENSIC FILES: CARBON DATING THE PAPER AND THE SIGNATURE TO PROVE FORGERY

ONE ON ONE WITH NEIL GARFIELD ONE ON ONE WITH NEIL GARFIELD

COMBO ANALYSIS TITLE AND SECURITIZATION

EDITOR’S NOTE: We have received reports of using radioactive carbon-dating and microscopy proving the age the paper and the age of the signature differ by a matter of years. Dating the other writing on the paper further corroborates the allegation of forgery. Sources have reported that in Atlanta, the procedure has been used on the “original” note produced in court by the pretender lender, proving the document was a forgery even though the borrower conceded the signature was authentic.

There are several ways to reproduce an authentic signature on a new document making it appear to be an original document. And there are several conclusions, each leading to proof of forgery:

  1. If the document is dated 5 years ago, and the signature, indorsement or assignment execution is dated on paper that is more recent, or the actual signature is more recent than the rest of the document (the paper, the other writing etc.) then the signature was not on the document at or near the time of the document’s creation.
  2. If it is the borrower’s signature that has been technologically reproduced and introduced as an original it means that the the actual original note is somewhere else. It also raises the possibility that more “originals” are circulating in those fictitious “Trusts” or “pools” purporting to claim the obligation, note or mortgage.
  3. If it is the signature or paper that is presented as an assignment dated at or near the time of closing with the borrower but either the paper, the signature, the witness signature or the notary signature or stamp does not coincide with the date of the purported document, the same analysis holds: it is a forgery. This also raises the possibility that the “original” note or mortgage has been reproduced more than once and has been sold more than once to more than one “Trust” or “Pool.” This will frequently occur where the originator of the loan misrepresenting itself as a lender is said to have executed an indorsement, delivery and assignment of the note and mortgage at the time of the loan transaction as required by the REMIC statute and the Pooling and Services Agreement.
  4. If the originator is out of business or bankrupt and the person signing, executed the instrument a few days before an evidentiary hearing they must prove their authority to execute the instrument on behalf of what is now a defunct company. The document that is produced to enable the “Limited Signing Officer” to execute will also show that it was recently produced, contrary to the requirements of the REMIC statute and the requirements of the Pooling and Servicing Agreement. This raises the additional possibilities mentioned above, but more importantly the probability that the transfer instrument is void.
  5. Even if the originator of the “loan” transaction is still in business and even if the signor was authorized to sign on behalf of the originator (doubtful in most cases) if the alleged transfer documents took place outside of the 90 day window provided by the REMIC statute and the Pooling and Servicing Agreement, the transfer is void without an additional document showing acceptance by the transferee “trust” or “pool” and waiving the requirements of statute and the PSA. [In order to prove this you might need discovery or testimony from the alleged “trustee” that he would accept a non-performing loan or this loan without consent of the investors or that he had consent of the investors in which case he would need to identify the investors, each of whom would be required to authenticate a document that does not exist].
  6. In order to execute such a waiver, the signature of the investors would be required. Since these events inevitably occur long after the loan is declared in”default” (even if the investor continued to receive payments) it is highly unlikely that an investor would agree to accept a non-performing loan or even a loan which on which payments are being made by a third party but where the borrower  has ceased making payments.
  7. In all such events the original note described a transaction that did not occur and the obligation (that arose when the money was received by borrower or paid to a third party on behalf of the borrower) is not documented. Hence the mortgage, unless it identifies the correct parties and the correct obligation, secures an invalid note. This the obligation is not secured and the note which purports to be secured is evidence of a transaction that never occurred.  Thus the mortgage that is incident to the note described in the mortgage is void, in effect a “wild deed.”
  8. The result is that the obligation still exists, although undocumented and unsecured, owed to an unidentified third party who actually funded the loan. In most cases this is the investor who purchased bogus mortgage backed securities or synthetic derivatives based upon MBS.
  9. The investor probably has a right to sue the homeowner claiming unjust enrichment and perhaps an equitable lien in favor of the investor. The risk to the investor is choosing that remedy is that they would be opening the door to defenses and counterclaims for fraudulent acts and violations of statutes committed by their agents at the closing. Thus instead of pursuing an unsecured undocumented obligation from a homeowner whose wealth is tied up in a largely depreciated home, the investors have elected to sue the investment banking houses for selling bogus bonds.

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Document Forgery

Information can serve as evidence in a forensic investigation. Paperwork, computer files, notes, and more can help piece together the incident under study. However, it is not always guaranteed that the information is genuine. Identifying a deliberately altered document or identifying the manufacture of a fictitious, but convincingly real, document or file is a challenge for the forensic investigator.

Forensic scientists examine paper manufacturers’ marks and, if necessary, use radiocarbon dating techniques to verify the age of a document. Handwriting and linguistic style analysis can help determine the document’s author. Forgery specialists also make use of ultraviolet lighting and spectography equipment to determine whether a document contains evidence of tampering through erasure or added characters. Inks and dyes are examined through chemistry, and paper fibers are examined microscopically in order to validate or determine their source. When criminals create elaborate forgeries, such as counterfeit currency, sophisticated computerized printers are often used, and examining their encrypted computer files and printer cartridges can help determine the source of the forgery. Evidence from criminal cases of suspected forgery are probed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Questioned Documents Unit; the United States Secret Service investigates counterfeit currency.

On September 8, 2004, CBS News anchor Dan Rather aired a news report questioning the service record of President George Bush in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War. Several weeks later, when the authenticity of one of the key documents used by CBS News was called into question, Rather publicly apologized. CBS News has since been criticized for failing to follow basic journalistic principles; in essence by failing to properly conduct a forensic investigation.

The CBS debacle is one of literally hundreds of examples of forged documents passing scrutiny as the authentic item. On September 17, 1980, White House press spokesman Jody Powell announced that an unidentified group had sought to sow racial discord by circulating a forged Presidential Review Memorandum on Africa that suggested a racist policy on the part of the United States. The first surfacing of the forgery appears to have been in the San Francisco newspaper, Sun Reporter (September 18, 1980). The Sun Reporter’s political editor, Edith Austin, claims in that issue of the paper to have received the document from an “African official on her recent visit on the continent.” The forgery was replayed by the Soviet news agency TASS on September 18, 1980, and distributed worldwide.

Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Jeanne Kirkpatrick was the target of more than one Soviet forgery. On February 6, 1983, the pro-Soviet Indian weekly, Link published the text of a supposed speech by U.N. Ambassador Kirkpatrick outlining a plan for the Balkanization of India. The speech was never given, but this forgery was replayed many times by Soviet-controlled propaganda outlets. Its most recent appearance was in the book, Devil and His Dart, published in 1986. The author, Kunhanandan Nair, was the European correspondent of Blitz, another pro-Soviet publication.

On November 5, 1982, the British magazine, New Statesman published a photostat of a letter supposedly from a South African official to Kirkpatrick. He was allegedly sending her a birthday gift. The U.S. Mission to the U.N. wrote the magazine on November 19, branding the letter a forgery. The New Statesman countered this by printing another photostat of the forgery with entirely different spacing between the lines. The magazine claimed that the letter was authentic and that they had received it from a source in the U.S. Department of State. A comparison of this forgery with a letter sent by the South African official to a number of U.S. journalists announcing his appointment as Information Counsellor at the embassy revealed that this letter was the exemplar. The real letter had been typed on a computer. The forgery based on it was typed on a typewriter and contained a number of misspellings.

In a particularly bizarre incident, two leaflets were mailed to African and Asian participants in the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics, which were boycotted by the Soviets. Signed by the Ku Klux Klan, they threatened the lives of the athletes. These leaflets later proved to be Soviet forgeries, written in poor English. When the U.S. government exposed them and pointed out that there is no organization in the United States called simply the Ku Klux Klan (the organizations bear individual names like White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan or Invisible Empire of the Ku Klux Klan), TASS, the Soviet official news agency, responded on July 12, 1984, by claiming that the leaflets were signed “the Invisible Empire, The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.” TASS attempted unsuccessfully to correct the error on the leaflets made by the KGB. The forgeries were intended to preoccupy African-American and Asian-American athletes with intimidation, and negatively affect their performance.

In the 1980s, before the downfall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the Soviet Union in 1991, President Ronald Reagan’s signature appeared on a number of forgeries. The last to appear was in May 1987. It was a supposed memorandum to the Secretaries of State and Defense, and the Director of the CIA. In this forgery, which bore the date March 10, 1983, the President was supposedly ordering the establishment of a U.S. military force called the “Permanent Peace Forces” to intervene in Latin America. This forgery received wide circulation in Latin America and was designed to inflame nationalist and anti-American feelings.

These and other examples serve to illustrate how effective a forgery can be. While a typical forensic investigation would likely not have such political ramifications, a forgery could undermine a legal case or lead the investigation in a wrong direction.

LivingLies UPDATED Plan of Engagement: What to Do

UPDATE: This is THE OUTLINE of a plan that is current in its evolution but by no means complete or the last word. It replaces the entry I made in February of this year. The assumption here is that even without taking mortgage foreclosure cases into consideration, the percentage of cases that actually go to trial is between 5%-15% depending upon how you categorize “cases.” On the other hand, if you are not prepared for trial and counting on settlement, your opposition will generally know it and have the upper hand in negotiating a settlement. They are going to play for keeps. You should too. Don’t assume that the note in front of you is the actual original. Close inspection often reveals it is a color copy.

And for heaven sake don’t stand there with your mouth hanging open when someone says you are looking for a free house. You are looking for justice. You had your purse snatched in this transaction, you know there is an obligation, but you also know that they didn’t perfect the security interest (not your fault) and they received multiple payments from multiple parties on these securitized loans. You want a FULL accounting of all such transactions to determine what balance is due after insurance payments, who is subrogated or substituted on claims, and an opportunity to negotiate a settlement or modification with someone who actually has advanced money on THIS transaction and can show it to be so.

WORD OF CAUTION: IF YOU ARE ALREADY IN PROCESS, YOU ARE REQUIRED TO ACT WITHIN THE TIMES SET FORTH BY STATE LAW, FEDERAL LAW, OR THE LAWS OF CIVIL PROCEDURE. FAILURE TO DO SO LEAVES YOU IN AN UPHILL BATTLE TO REVERSE ACTIONS ALREADY TAKEN. ON THE OTHER HAND ACTIONS ALREADY TAKEN “FIX” THE POSITION OF YOUR OPPOSITION, SINCE THEY CAN NO LONGER ASSERT CHANGES IN CREDITOR, LENDER OR TRUSTEE. THUS IT MIGHT BE EASIER, ACCORDING TO SOME SUCCESSFUL LITIGATORS OUT THERE, TO WAIT UNTIL THE SALE HAS OCCURRED AND THEN ATTACK IT AS A FRAUDULENT SALE, THAN TO TRY TO STOP IT WITH A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER ETC.

CONSIDER BANKRUPTCY, ESPECIALLY CHAPTER 13, WHERE THERE ARE MORE REMEDIES THAN YOU MIGHT THINK IF YOU FILL OUT YOUR SCHEDULES PROPERLY. WE ARE SEEING BETTER RESULTS IN SOME BANKRUPTCY COURTS THAN FEDERAL OR STATE CIVIL COURT PROCEEDINGS.

  1. Get your act together, stop fighting amongst the members of your household and make a decision as to what you want to do — fight or flight?
  2. GET SOME HELP NO MATTER WHAT YOU DECIDE. GET THE LOAN SPECIFIC TITLE SEARCH, GET A SECURITIZATION SEARCH, AND GET A LAWYER LICENSED IN THE COUNTY WHERE YOUR PROPERTY IS LOCATED AND MAKE SURE HE/SHE IS NOT STUCK ON THE PROPOSITION THAT YOU SHOULD LOSE.
  3. If you choose flight, then by all means try the short-sale or jingle mail strategies that have been discussed on this blog. Do not try to make money on the short-sale, since nobody is going to give it to you. You can make a few dollars by riding out the time in foreclosure without making payments (and hopefully saving the money you would have paid) and by negotiating as high a price (a few thousand dollars)  as you can in a deal known as “cash for keys.” Even for this, you should employ the services of a local licensed attorney — at least for consultation. There are several short-sale options that have evolved. Google Edge Simonson or Prime financial. I’ve been working on a short-sale-leaseback option that seems to be picking up steam.
  4. STRATEGIC DEFAULTS RISING: More and more people of all walks of life including those that have some considerable wealth, are walking away from these properties that were the subject of transactions in which the presumed value of the property was preposterous. This is an option that scare the hair off the pretender lenders because it pouts the power in your hands. They in turn are trying to scare the public with threats of deficiency judgments etc and collections. It is doubtful that many or indeed any deficiency judgments would be awarded, even if they were allowed. But in many cases, particularly in non-judicial states, deficiency judgments are NOT allowed. A version of the strategic default that many people like is to stay as long as possible without paying and then walk. If you are smart about it, you raise your own capital by socking away the payments you would have made.
  5. If the decision is fight — then the second decision to make is to answer the question “fight for what?” If you want to buy time, there are many strategies that can be employed, which basically are the same strategies as those used if you are fighting for real. And you might be surprised by the result. Some people get a year or two or even more without payments. You are going to take a FICO hit anyway so why not put some cash in your pocket while you hold back payments.
  6. AVOID crazy deals where you give your property or share your property with a stranger. If you persist in engaging such people at least call references and make sure the references are real. Ask questions about their situation and how they feel it worked out to them. Get as much detail as possible.
  7. AVOID mortgage modification firms. If you persist in engaging such people at least call references and make sure the references are real. Ask questions about their situation and how they feel it worked out to them. Get as much detail as possible. My opinion is that if they don’t pursue an aggressive litigation strategy the statistical probability of you accomplishing anything by going to them is near zero.
  8. In all cases, if at all possible:
  9. (a) Get all your information together along with a short executive summary of your “journal” (even if you create the journal now). That means all closing documents, any information you have on title, recording in the county recorder’s office, the names of all parties who were “at” closing (that means not just the actual people who were there, but he names of companies that were represented or mentioned at closing). Also, include in the file any notices of default(NOD) or notice of Trustee sale (NOTS) or summons from a court.

    (b) Get a MORTGAGE ANALYSIS of the loan transaction itself. THIS INVOLVES THREE PARTS — (1) LOAN SPECIFIC TITLE SEARCH AND CHAIN OF TITLE, EXAMINATION OF THE DOCUMENTS, SIGNATURES, AND DATES OF DOCUMENTS PURPORTING TO BE REAL, (2) SECURITIZATION SEARCH THAT CHASES THE MONEY TRAIL AND WILL PROBABLY LEAD YOU TO SOME IMPORTANT ISSUES LIKE THE VERY EXISTENCE OF THE “TRUST” ASSERTING IT HAS THE RIGHT TO FORECLOSE AS WELL AS MONETARY ISSUES SUCH AS APPLICATION OR ALLOCATION OF PAYMENTS RECEIVED BY THE INVESTOR WHO ADVANCED THE FUNDS FOR THE LOAN AND (3) COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS THAT IS USABLE BY AN ATTORNEY IN COURT SUCH THAT HE/SHE CAN ARGUE THAT THERE ARE QUESTIONS OF FACT ENTITLING YOU TO PURSUE DISCOVERY. IF YOU WIN THAT POINT YOU ARE ON YOUR WAY TO A SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION. BUT NOBODY IS GOING TO MAKE IT EASY FOR YOU.

    (c) Who is your creditor? The TILA Audit alone does nothing without taking further steps. The Trustee’s “Take-down” report should be demanded in non-judicial states and if the house is in foreclosure, your written objection should be sent to the Trustee.

    (d) If someone tells you they are “pretty sure” or can “definitely”  stop your foreclosure or promises a favorable outcome, and asks for money up front, then run like hell. This is a scam. IF THEY TELL YOU THEY WILL DO WHAT THEY CAN, AND THEY GIVE YOU SOME EXAMPLES OF WHAT THEY WILL BE DOING FOR YOU THEN LISTEN AND GET REFERENCES.

    (e) Only a Court order stops foreclosure or a Trustee Sale. No letter of any form or substance will stop it unless the other side is intimidated into stopping the action, which sometimes happens when they know their paperwork is “out of order.”

    (f) Get a Forensic Mortgage Analysis Report OR AN EXPERT DECLARATION that summarizes in a few pages the potential issues that you should be investigating AND WHICH LENDS SUPPORT TOY OUR DENIAL OF THE DEFAULT, DENIAL OF THE RIGHT OF THE OPPOSING PARTY TO CLAIM A DEFAULT, DENIAL OF THE RIGHT OF THE OPPOSING PARTY TO FORECLOSE.

    (g) Get an Expert Declaration that uses the forensic report and the expert opinions of specific experts (like appraisers, title analysts) and which identifies the probable chain of securitization and the money trail. You’ll be surprised when you find out there were two yield spread premiums not disclosed to you and that they can total as much or more than the “loan” itself. GET EXPERT OPINION ON PROBABLE DAMAGES INCLUDING RETURN OF UNDISCLOSED FEES, INTEREST, ETC. (SEE LAWYER’S WORKBOOK FROM GARFIELD CONTINUUM).

    (h) Send the Forensic Report and expert declaration to the known parties, with an instruction to forward it to all other parties known to them in the securitization chain. Include a Qualified Written Request(QWR) AND a Debt Validation Letter(DVL) (which is really a debt verification letter). Don’t be surprised if your pretender lenders will come back and tell you your QWR is defective or improper in some way, but that’s OK, you have followed statutory procedure and they didn’t. With the help of an attorney and with consultation with your experts decide on what resolution you will demand — damages, rescission, etc.

    (i) Don’t believe a word about modification. Practically none of them go through. They are leading you into default so they can collect more service fees, and get money out of you that you think is stopping the foreclosure.

    (j) Don’t believe a word that any pretender lender or representative says or represents, even if they are a lawyer, particularly verbal communications that they refuse to confirm in writing. Challenge everything.

    (k) Don’t accept any document as authentic. Many documents are being fabricated or forged, including affidavits. This is why you need a lawyer and an expert and a Forensic mortgage analysis — to determine what documents and parties are suspect and what you should be asking for in discovery and in the QWR and DVL.

    (l) YOUR FIRST STRATEGY IS TO RAISE NOT PROVE ISSUES OF FACT. BY PRODUCING A FORENSIC REPORT AND EXPERT DECLARATION, NEITHER YOU NOR YOUR LAWYER NEEDS TO ACQUIRE EXPERTISE IN SECURITIZED LOANS. YOU ONLY NEED TO RAISE THE ISSUE OF FACT BY SHOWING THE COURT THAT YOU HAVE EXPERTS WHO SAY THE PRETENDER LENDERS/TRUSTEES ETC. ARE NOT CREDITORS AND NOT AUTHORIZED AGENTS WORKING FOR THE CREDITORS. THEY SAY THEY ARE IN FACT THE CREDITORS OR HAVE SOME AUTHORITY GRANTED BY AN ALLEGED CREDITOR. IT IS NOT FOR THE COURT TO ACCEPT ONE VIEW OR THE OTHER, BUT RATHER TO ALLOW DISCOVERY AND AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING ON THE ISSUE OF STANDING (SEE MANY RECENT CASES REPORTED SINCE FEBRUARY ON THIS BLOG).

    (m) Be very aggressive on discovery. They will argue that even if they are not the creditor and even if they refuse to disclose the identity of the creditor, they are still entitled to disclose because they are the holder of the note and/or mortgage. Your argument will probably be that they still have a duty to disclose the identity of the creditor and the source of the their authority to represent the creditor, along with proof that the creditor has received notice of these proceedings.

Moral Hazard in Non-Judicial Sale: Trustee commits violations of FDCPA and other statutes!

From Eaine B

Editor’s Note: I have long advocated sending letters, objections to sale and complaints against “trustees” named (or substituted) on deeds of trust who initiate foreclosure proceedings. Indeed, it is highly probable that because of statutes attempting to protect the trustee from liability, the trustee is at best usually named only as a nominal party in a lawsuit challenging the legality of the non-judicial sale, demanding the identity and contact information of the creditor and getting a full accounting from the real creditor.

I would argue that this reader’s comment is more on target than they even know. Because that is the point — knowledge. If the “trustee” knowingly proceeds when it KNOWS there is a question of title, a question of who is the creditor, and knows that this loan was sold to third parties that have not been disclosed to the Trustor nor the Trustee, then the trustee is more than a nominal party, to wit: they are a co-venturer in a  fraudulent scheme.

Typically non-judicial action commences under a “substitute trustee”.  One would ask why it was necessary to call in a “substitute trustee” from the bullpen, when the current one is just fine. The only possible answer is that the old trustee either doesn’t want any part of this, or won’t do it without following industry standards to confirm ownership etc. It would seem fairly obvious that if the existing trustee is still in business and continues to qualify as a trustee, the only rational reason to change trustees is because the actors wish to do business with people who won’t ask questions.

Often the “substitution of trustee” is backdated, undated or dated after the notice of sale, notice of default etc., so there is a simple procedural angle to set back the sale if you are actually reading the documents, and getting a title report.

More substantively, the “substitute trustee” is granted that position by a party who in all probability does not have the power to grant it — but that requires a forensic analysis, title report, and probably a lawsuit to establish. For example, if some person unknown to MERS assumes the title of “assistant Vice president of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems” and signs the substitution of trustee or any other document, they probably lack the power to do so, or they lack the documentation showing they have the power to do so.

This actually runs to the core of moral hazard in non-judicial states. Anyone who knows you have missed payments, could file a “substitution of Trustee” document in the county records, send you a notice of default, notice of sale and sell your property to the highest bidder — all BEFORE your real servicer (who we know is only a pretender lender) even knows about it. It is a scam waiting to happen. The scammer then takes the money and runs. Meanwhile you have most likely given up and left the house so it is now abandoned. This scenario can only happen in non-judicial states, where the statute authorizing a non-judicial foreclosure sale ASSUMES that the right party is doing the right thing under proper authority.

When mortgages were simple, and securitization was only an idea, the opportunity for abuse in non-judicial states was present but generally controllable because your true lender had control of the loan, they knew when you were delinquent, and they would be in touch with you, during which time it might come out that you had already received a notice of sale from a “substitute trustee.”

In the world of securitization where the potential real parties in interest are almost infinite in number, where the credit report is used rather than the title report, and where various layers of companies are used to create plausible deniability, insulation from liability and the ability to move things around “off-balance sheet” or “off record” at the county recorder’s office, the potential for abuse is practically infinite. And true to form, my experience is that virtually every foreclosure in a non-judicial state contains at least the taint of this abuse and often facially shows the failure to use proper documentation.

Comment submitted by Eaine B—–

Trustee commits violations of Fair Debt Collections Practice Act!
A good cause of action against Northwest Trustee Services Inc, Routh Crabtree Olsen PS is that I have found they sell your private information to the public. Go to http://www.usa-foreclosoure.com and find your foreclosure….then buy for $39.00 a copy of the title report that is supposed to be private between the trustee and the beneficiary. Any public person can order your report online. This is mail and interstate violations. Make a complaint to the Bar association, and the FTC and your state Attorney General.
Call the title company on the top of the form and ask them. Then perhaps you can file a suit against Routh Crabtree Olsen and Northwest Trustee Services Inc for violations of 15 USC 1692 Fair Debt Collection Practices Act violation. It’s triple damages. Most likely they will have sent you a letter from Routh Crabtree Olsen. One I got even quotes the 15 USC 1692. So obviously THEY know about it. The owner of Routh, Crabtree and Olsen is Stephen Routh and Lance Olsen. Routh has various companies in AK, MT, AZ, CA etc. Just look at the list on the various web sites. http://www.usa-foreclosure.com has the same address as Routh Crabtree Olsen and Northwest Trustee Services and as Routh in AK.
Also, the process serving company that they use is owned by them.

DISCOVERY AND MOTION PRACTICE: SHOW ME THE BOND

REGISTER NOW FOR DISCOVERY AND MOTION PRACTICE WORKSHOP

SHOW ME THE BOND!: 9th CIRCUIT AFFIRMS BACKDOOR REQUIREMENT FOR ENHANCED “CREDITOR” DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS IN CHAPTER 13 PLAN: SEE chapter 13 debtorsHerrera Monroy opinion 09-1175 (9th Cir BAP 01 05 2010)

Among the things we will cover at the May workshop on Motion Practice and Discovery, are the many ways the pretender lender lenders are obfuscating the truth. Practitioners and litigants need to know the progression of building a case and the progression of presenting a case. They are not the same thing. Pleading-Motions-Hearings-Argument-Exhibits-Raising Issues of Fact- Discovery-Evidentiary hearings is the rough order of things while lawyers may have stylistic differences. Here are your bullet points when you go to court:

  • The money for the funding of the borrower’s loan came from the investor. Thus the borrower is or at least was the debtor and the investor is or at least was the creditor. In old style transactions the borrower would sign a note and it would be kept by the bank that gave him the loan. Why? Because the note was evidence, presumptively correct of the terms of the obligation that came into existence when the borrower accepted the benefits of the funding of the loan.
  • If the borrower did not execute a note, the obligation would still exist, if the borrower accepted the benefit of the funding the loan.
  • If the bank did not fund the loan, the note would not be evidence of any obligation, because there was no obligation. Signing a note does not create the obligation. It is the monetary transaction — the transfer of actual money — that gives rise to the transaction.
  • In securitized residential mortgages, the borrower signs a note which is conveyed to the investor as the lender by way of a mortgage backed bond. Hence the evidence of the holder of the note is in the bond.
  • The only place to start is where the bond was issued and to see the bond that conveyed the ownership interest in the loan pool to the investor.
  • So you want them to produce all the mortgage backed bonds that conveyed an ownership interest in the pool. Without the bond there is no evidence of who owns the note.
  • Remember the terms of the bond: (1) conditional non-recourse payment of interest; (2) conditional non-recourse payment of principal; and (3) conditional non-recourse conveyance of the borrower’s note. The SPV that issued the bond is not the actual Payor or obligor on the Bond. The mortgage backed bond is strictly dependent upon the various conditions, provisions and terms contained in the indenture, prospectus, pooling and service agreement and assignment and assumption agreement.
  • Hence legally the note is “given” to the investor both as collateral and as owner for the obligation acquired when the investor advanced funds to purchase these unregistered securities.
  • The reason why “show me the note” is so powerful is that 40% of them were destroyed and the pleaders have no credible story to explain why or when (key elements in establishing a “lost instrument”).  But the reason it creates a trap door for borrowers is that 60% of the time they do have the note, or they create one using advanced color copying and printing technology off of copies. So if you don’t know the story behind securitization and the litigation tools — motions, discovery, compelling answers, use of qualified written requests etc. you are left with your mouth hanging open.
  • Since you know the loan has a 96% statistical probability of having been securitized, you know that an investor funded it, you have a forensic analysis and expert declaration to support and corroborate your pleading and argument, and a question of fact exists as to how and when the investor received and/or parted with possession of the note and under what circumstances.
  • The only way then that the transaction can be completely presented in court or out of court is for the them to show you the note AND SHOW YOU THE BOND WITH THE INVESTOR’S NAME ON IT. This requires a request to produce the minute books, trustee’s records and actual copies of the certificates, or failing that the names, addresses and contact information of the investor, so you can get a copy from them and find out if they still have it or if they ever had it.
  • You may find they never received the note. You may find that the “depositor” or “trustee” or any other “entity in the securitization chain either never received the note or doesn’t have it anymore. That doesn’t mean the obligation is dead. It means that the two pieces of evidence of the obligation are deed and the court has the power to reform the transaction into what “the parties” (i,e, the real parties) intended.
  • But it also means that if the investor, his agents, servants or employees or servicers or affiliates have received payoffs from insurance, credit default swaps or otherwise that the obligation would of necessity be correspondingly reduced. The corroboration of the existence of the likely reduction is the current opinion evidence and allegation that the entire transaction was based upon fraud — inflated appraisal of the property, inflated rating of the mortgage, inflated appraisal of the mortgage backed bond and inflated rating of the collateral resulting in the issuance of a fictitious security without the collateralization upon which both the borrower and the investor relied.
  • And the last point for today’s “lesson” is that you are entitled to the same presumptions that your allegations are true as they are — nothing more and nothing less. So you better know how to plead, and how to argue when you’re dealing with a presumption of credibility in the brand name of a big bank and a judge who isn’t interested in complex theories. That’s why your argument boils down to “show me the BOND.”
  • So don’t try to win the whole case in the first or even the 10th motion hearing. You should use each hearing as an opportunity to educate the Judge on a little more of securitization and plan out your educational curriculum, demonstrative exhibits, affidavits, declarations, and forensic analysis reports.

Forensic Analysis: Unions Amass Armory of Research on Foreclosures of Securitized Mortgages

“We did not service the loan,” Mr. Dale said. “We did not originate the loan, and we were not the financial entity that placed it into foreclosure. Do you understand what a trustee does?”
Editor’s Note: Well, Yes Mr. Dale, we do understand what a trustee does and can do —- nothing. So why are you initiating foreclosures if you say that a trustee doesn’t do that?
Mr. Dale is reading from the end of the enabling documents instead of the first page where it looks like Trustee is really a trustee and that there really is a trust and that the trust holds assets. But by the time you read to the end of the document, the trustee is not a trustee, there is no trust and even if there was, there is nothing in the trust.
It is all an illusion. The “Trustee” is a “contingent agent” for a “conduit” (REMIC) that holds nothing. The enabling document is nothing more than the equivalent of an operating agreement in an LLC.
The “pool of loans” is owned by the investors who, as creditors, purchased mortgage backed derivative securities whose value is derived SOLELY from the promise to pay executed by the homeowners.
March 24, 2010

Unions Make Strides as They Attack Banks

By STEVEN GREENHOUSE and LOUISE STORY

When the city of Los Angeles started looking into its complex financial contracts with banks earlier this year, some council members turned to an unusual corner for financial advice: labor unions.

Turns out that union leaders had amassed an armory of research on derivatives, mortgage foreclosures and even Wall Street pay as part of their effort to hold bankers accountable for the economic pain they helped cause in Los Angeles and across the country.

Unions have criticized Wall Street before. But their attacks have taken on a new shape, both in ferocity and style, over the last 18 months, ever since the federal government doled out billions of dollars in bank bailouts.

Why? Labor leaders say the fortunes of banks and unions are linked more than people realize. Wall Street manages union pension portfolios worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Much of that is invested in financial institutions, giving unions a loud voice as shareholders.

Then there are all the unionized workers whose fates are indirectly shaped by the world of high finance. The jobs of hundreds of thousands of union members, like police officers and teachers, have been threatened by municipal budget cuts, made worse in some cases by exotic investments gone bad.

More abstractly, union leaders are framing their fight against Wall Street as a symbolic one, underscoring America’s large disparities in wealth and wages.

“Many unions see that they need to be responsible for not just members’ needs at the bargaining table, but other hardships in their lives, like foreclosures and high mortgage costs,” said Peter Dreier, a political science professor at Occidental College in Los Angeles.

Unions are holding up many of their own members as victims of the banks’ bad bets, like subprime mortgages, and are providing a steady stream of research in an effort to demystify the exotic financial products that they say are harming dozens of cities. Unions have also helped underwrite Americans for Financial Reform, a prominent group pushing for further bank regulation.

Labor leaders were among the first to call for the resignation of Bank of America’s chief executive, who did retire months later. Unions issued a scathing report on bank bonuses, months before the federal pay czar presented his findings, and they criticized Goldman Sachs’s bonus pool just before the bank said its chief would receive only stock.

This month, the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the nation’s main labor federation, has organized 200 protests nationwide to publicly shame bankers, calling for new taxes on bankers’ bonuses and on speculative short-term financial transactions — in the hope of collecting tens of billions of dollars to finance a job creation program.

“They played Russian roulette with our economy, and while Wall Street cashed in, they left Main Street holding the bag,” Richard L. Trumka, the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s president, said last Friday at a rally in Philadelphia. “They gorge themselves in a trough of taxpayers’ dollars, while we struggle to make ends meet.”

Labor is directly at odds with Wall Street on unionization drives and many other matters. Banks and private equity firms own stakes in many businesses that unions would like to unionize, like nursing home chains and food service companies. Labor groups like the Service Employees International Union and the A.F.L.-C.I.O. are pressuring financial companies not to oppose union membership drives.

It is hard to know for certain whether the unions’ efforts have affected decisions made by Wall Street firms. But for cities like Los Angeles, feeling the squeeze of lower tax receipts, the service employees’ pressure campaign seemed to have had an impact.

“They knew more about our own water deal than I knew,” said Richard Alarcón, a Los Angeles councilman, referring to an interest-rate swap between the city’s water system and the Bank of New York Mellon that converted the system’s variable-rate bonds into bonds with a fixed rate. “They also knew the dynamics of swap deals, and they were very helpful.”

As the city faces a deficit of nearly $500 million, the council was unhappy that Los Angeles would have to pay Bank of New York millions of dollars a year.

“Our members don’t like it any more than other Americans when cities have less firefighters, less teachers or less police officers,” said Andy Stern, president of the service employees’ union.

The labor protests against the banks sometimes have murky targets. This month, service employees joined community leaders on the City Hall steps in Oakland, Calif., to denounce Goldman Sachs for arranging interest-rate swaps that have the city paying the bank millions a year.

After that rally, union leaders led a march to a local Citigroup branch. Goldman declined to comment, but a Citigroup representative scoffed.

“We weren’t even involved in those deals,” said Alex Samuelson, a Citigroup spokesman. “We were just a symbolic place to go and rail against Wall Street. You can’t go to a Goldman Sachs branch.”

Many bankers criticize the protests, saying they make lots of noise but often accomplish little. Steve Bartlett, president of the industry’s Financial Services Roundtable, who has been the target of several union-led protests, including one outside his home on a Sunday morning, said, “Protests can be misguided or even damaging to your cause.”

While union leaders say they are championing the concerns of Main Street, their antibank campaign has certainly advanced some of labor’s longtime objectives, like unionizing workers.

For instance, the S.E.I.U. has pressed several banks and private equity firms to agree to allow card check — a process that makes unionization easier — at companies in which they own stakes.

Service employees officials say they urged Goldman Sachs, which owns part of the food service company Aramark, to get Aramark to accept card check and not oppose an organizing drive. In December, the union’s president, Mr. Stern, even met with Goldman’s chief executive, Lloyd C. Blankfein, about universal health care and other labor-related issues.

Labor unions are using some of their members’ hard-luck stories to frame their battle as one between the haves and the have-nots, and in some cases that tactic is advancing the unions’ traditional goals in contract talks.

In February, for example, the service employees’ union publicized that one of its members cleaned the office of U.S. Bank’s chief in Minneapolis. That janitor, Rosalina Gomez, was facing foreclosure, and the union publicized that U.S. Bank had purchased her home in the foreclosure.

Steve Dale, a spokesman for the bank, said the union was attacking U.S. Bank even though JPMorgan Chase was the bank servicing Ms. Gomez’s mortgage. U.S. Bank, he said, was just the trustee, holding the loan for a mortgage bond.

“We did not service the loan,” Mr. Dale said. “We did not originate the loan, and we were not the financial entity that placed it into foreclosure. Do you understand what a trustee does?”

That aside, when the union threatened to have Ms. Gomez approach U.S. Bank’s chief, Richard K. Davis, at an awards luncheon, the bank rushed to set up a meeting between Ms. Gomez and JPMorgan. Fifty union supporters were at the site of the luncheon to conduct a silent vigil, with several reporters on hand.

Also at that time, the union was in contract negotiations with Ms. Gomez’s employer, the janitorial company that cleans U.S. Bank’s headquarters. Javier Morillo-Alicea, a leader of the union’s Minneapolis local, said its effort to embarrass the bank helped persuade the cleaning company to reach a contract that raised wages and provided better health insurance for the janitors.

“We put a lot of pressure on the bank,” he said, “and that led to a really good contract settlement in a tough economy.”

Ambac Clients May Receive 25 Cents on Dollar in Cash

Editor’s Note: The significance of this announcement is that the bondholders, who were insured directly by AMBAC (as opposed to the investment bankers who bought “bets” like credit default swaps) are receiving 25 cents on every dollar they funded as creditors for the funding of loan to homeowners (debtors/ borrowers).

This supports and corroborates two basic premises of this blog:

1. That the bondholders (i.e., the creditors in every securitized residential mortgage) have been paid or are covered, at least in part by insurance. Thus the allegation of a defense of payment or partial payment is confirmed. This supports the contention of the borrower that he is entitled to a FULL accounting of ALL monies relating to his obligation before any claim for default can be verified.

2. That the requirement of principal reduction is neither a gift nor any display of inequity. It is clear that principal reduction is as much a simple consequence of arithmetic as it is damages for appraisal fraud.

By Andrew Frye and Jody Shenn

March 25 (Bloomberg) — Ambac Financial Group Inc. clients will probably get about 25 cents on the dollar in cash for claims on about $35 billion of home-loan bonds backed by the insurer, the firm’s regulator said.

“Currently, my expectation is we’d be at approximately 25 cents cash” on the portfolio, with Ambac meeting the rest of its obligation by handing over surplus notes, Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Sean Dilweg said today in a telephone interview from New York. The arrangement isn’t final until approved by a court, he said. The notes may be repaid, with regulator permission, if surplus funds remain.

Dilweg is taking over a portion of Ambac’s policies to protect municipal bondholders who count on the company’s guarantees. He halted payments on the $35 billion of mortgage bond policies and other contracts, saving Ambac about $120 million this month. That move will encourage the hedge funds, pension plans and other investors that hold the protection to negotiate with New York-based Ambac, Dilweg said.

“The only way to start negotiating is if regulatory action is taken,” Dilweg said. Investors holding securities backed by Ambac “watched our activities but every month they’ve been getting 100 cents on the dollar, so what incentive is there to come and talk to us?”

The $35 billion of mortgage-bond policies are part of the contracts seized by Dilweg’s office under the plan announced today and are separate from a group of collateralized debt obligations backed by Ambac, he said.

Counterparty Settlement

Ambac’s main unit, domiciled in Wisconsin, has offered to pay $2.6 billion in cash and $2 billion of surplus notes to settle with counterparties including banks on CDOs tied to assets such as subprime loans, the parent company said in a statement today. The notes will collect 5 percent annual interest, also payable with regulatory approval, Ambac said.

The insurer’s existing assets will be used to pay claims, Dilweg’s office said in a court filing yesterday requesting permission to take over the policies. The regulator said clients should continue to pay premiums to maintain coverage.

Ambac “maintains the assets to continue paying claims in full as they arise,” the regulator said in the filing. By offering a mix of cash and notes, the company “will not need to liquidate long-term assets prematurely.”

Ambac, created in 1971 to insure debt sold by states and municipalities, lost its top credit ratings and 99 percent of its stock-market value after expanding from its main business into guaranteeing bonds backed by riskier assets and CDOs. The company guarantees $256 billion of the $1.4 trillion in insured municipal issuance, according to Bloomberg data. The muni market totals $2.8 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve.

Shares Plunge

The company said that while it doesn’t consider the regulator’s move to constitute a default, it may consider a “prepackaged bankruptcy.”

The company fell 14 cents to 66 cents in New York Stock Exchange composite trading as of 4:15 p.m. The shares are down from as high as $96.10 in May 2007.

Ambac sold the industry’s first insurance policy on municipal debt 39 years ago, for a $650,000 bond of the Greater Juneau Borough Medical Arts Building in Alaska. The business thrived, with a handful of competitors obtaining the top AAA credit rating needed to guarantee debt of state and local governments and their agencies that seldom defaulted.

Ambac’s main unit was stripped of its top ratings in 2008 and has since seen its grade cut 17 levels to Caa2 by Moody’s Investors Service.

“At this point, it’s not a question of AAA coverage,” Dilweg told Bloomberg Television today. “It’s a question of coverage.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrew Frye in New York at afrye@bloomberg.net; Jody Shenn in New York at jshenn@bloomberg.net;

Livinglies Posts $100 Reward for HERS Fabrication Index

Announcing the establishment of the Homeowners Electronic Registration System (HERS) to assist in mortgage negotiations, litigation, foreclosures and modifications. HERS v MERS, Get It?

We are looking for someone to go through the comments and blog posts that give the name of an officer or other person signing any paper involved in the mortgage or foreclosure of property and to create a index using EXCEL or ACCESS cross referencing the state, financial institution, actual employer etc. that was revealed. If you are successful we will set up a subscription site for people to pay for the inquiries and you will receive income from that site.

You must submit your resume and all relevant contact information to ngarfield@msn.com by March 31, 2010. And you must commit to having the project in final form, subject to continuing revisions no later than April 30, 2010. Upon your selection you will receive a check for $100 in advance.

Good Comment from Rand:

It’s a good idea but you should put a few more requirements for the database. It’s not enough to simply look at the affidavits of indebtedness. Any affidavit filed is worthy of note because if you can establish than any of them were signed by a questionable, including an affidavit by another law firm or attorney verifying the validity of the attorneys fees being sought as reasonable (requirement here in FL to get attorneys fees) then you can through the entire case in doubt.

Example, bad attorney who gets cited personally by a judge or the local bar, any case he’s signed an affidavit in is questionable. I don’t know say “Coucgh”ivd “hack”ern. or the elk.

Finally, there is no such thing as narrowing the focus to filings withing a state. With due respect Ian the person who signs for PA probably also signs for FL, CA and anywhere else that’s not within 100 miles of where they live in MO. However, it’s important to not only note who signs, but when and where. How else could the sign in two different states on the same day? Better be ready to show plane tickets.

Intricate Cloaks for Securitized Transaction – Wells Fargo and Thornburg

Editor’s Note: Here is where the foreclosure or mortgage analysts get separated — the ones who understand the process of securitization and the ones who don’t. I received this from a pro se litigant in a case where Wells Fargo identified itself as the creditor/lender (as usual, not true). In fact Wells denied that the loan was securitized. In some corner of a document the homeowner noticed a reference that looked like it had something to do with securitization. It did. And after some research on the internet came up with a little known entity (Thornburg) that served in multiple capacities, possibly even as unregistered and unlicensed underwriter of securities, although it is impossible to know for sure.

The recitals in this document, the date of it, and the order in which it was signed relative to other events and other documents is what makes this document important. It is doubtful that any of the parties were properly identified or even had any authroity to execute the document and even if it was executed with the proper “formalities” it the document actually changed anything.

What it reveals is another desperate attempt to cover tracks in the sand.

RECONSTITUTED SERVICING AGREEMENT see Thornburg-Wells fargo Reconstituted Service Agreement

THIS RECONSTITUTED SERVICING AGREEMENT (this “Agreement”), entered
into as of the 1st day of August, 2006, by and among THORNBURG MORTGAGE HOME LOANS, INC., a Delaware corporation (“Thornburg” or the “Seller”), WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., as servicer (the “Servicer”) and THORNBURG MORTGAGE SECURITIES TRUST 2006-5 (the “Trust”), and acknowledged by WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., as master servicer (the “Master Servicer”), recites and provides as follows:

Lehman Execs and Auditors Face Civil and Criminal Inquiries and Lawsuits

This is pretty aggressive and pretty abusive. I don’t know how under GAAP this follows the rules whatsoever,” he said, referring to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.“That reeks of an auditor who, rather than being really truly independent, is beholden to management,” he said, adding that the S.E.C. and the Justice Department should follow up on Mr. Valukas’s findings.

Executives at other Wall Street banks professed surprise at Lehman’s accounting maneuvers. Goldman Sachs, Barclays Capital and other banks said on Friday they did not use repos to hide liabilities on their balance sheets.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Surprised? Other than the people who thought they would not get caught, who is surprised by the fact that upon close scrutiny Lehman’s books were cooked and Ernst and Young “auditors” went along with it? Ask any “Joe” or “Jane” in the street if they are surprised.

So a few scapegoats are going to jail in the usual perp walk while most of the “masterminds” walk away with taxpayer money jingling in their pocket, with homeowners being bounced from their homes, with the economy in a death spin, and while their wallets bursting with cash, are replaced with more wallets in more places with more pockets.

Let’s put it very simply: If the experts are surprised they are not experts. Or, if they are experts, they are co-conspirators. To paraphrase Brad in the survey workshops they were either stupid or just plain lying.

But I didn’t post this because I am angry and outraged over the behavior of Wall Street, regulators, congress and the Obama administration. The reason I write this is to highlight the fact that persistence pays off. What was unthinkable, crazy, conspiratorial 3 years ago when i first started writing on this subject is now being accepted as axiomatically true.

If you persist in challenging the pretender lenders and demanding that the real creditor step forward, if you persist in getting a full accounting from the creditor (investor) down to the the debtor (borrower, homeowner), then you will magnify your chances of prevailing against a fraudulent foreclosure. Nearly all of the foreclosures during the past 3 years were fraudulent. Millions of people are thinking of their old homestead while they probably still own it, even though they left or were evicted.

Get your facts together, get that forensic analysis, get an expert to declare the truth, and get a lawyer who either understands securitized mortgage loans or is willing to learn. And don’t stop, don’t give and don’t leave until the last option of the last move has been played — because it is only THEN that the other side will cave in and offer you a reasonable settlement. And even then you still need to go to court with a quiet title action because the people offering you the deal are NOT your creditor and don’t know the name(s) of your creditor much less represent them.

March 12, 2010

Findings on Lehman Take Even Experts by Surprise

By MICHAEL J. de la MERCED

For the year that it took the court-appointed examiner to complete his report on the demise of Lehman Brothers, officials from Wall Street to Washington were anticipating it as the definitive account of the largest bankruptcy in American history.

And the report did just that when it was unveiled on Thursday, riveting readers with the exhaustive detail contained in its nine volumes and 2,200 pages. Yet almost immediately, it raised a host of new questions.

Now government regulators have what some lawyers call a road map for further inquiry into former Lehman executives like Richard S. Fuld Jr. and the auditing firm Ernst & Young.

Whether the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission will actually pursue their own legal actions is unclear. But legal experts said on Friday that the examiner, Anton R. Valukas, had provided plenty of material for civil regulatory action at the least with his findings of “materially misleading” accounting and “actionable balance sheet manipulation.”

“It’s certainly not helpful to any of them,” Michael J. Missal, a partner at the law firm K&L Gates and the examiner in the bankruptcy case of New Century Financial, said of some individuals accused of impropriety in the report. “It certainly assists private litigants and probably increases the pressure on the government to take some kind of action here.”

Representatives for the S.E.C. and the United States attorneys offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn declined to comment.

While Mr. Fuld and other former top Lehman officials are already defendants in a number of civil lawsuits, the new discoveries by Mr. Valukas have taken even veteran observers by surprise. Chief among these was the revelation of a particularly aggressive accounting practice, known internally as Repo 105, that Mr. Valukas said helped the investment bank mask the true depths of its financial woes.

Examiners in bankruptcy cases are appointed by the Justice Department to investigate accusations of wrongdoing or misconduct. Their job is to determine whether creditors can recover more money in these cases, and their findings often serve as guides for more lawsuits and even regulatory action.

What examiners are not asked to do is play judge and jury. Though the report contains strong language — Mr. Valukas deems Mr. Fuld “at least grossly negligent” in his role overseeing Lehman — it stops short of accusing anyone of criminal conduct or of violating securities law.

Patricia Hynes, a lawyer for Mr. Fuld, said on Thursday that her client “did not know what those transactions were — he didn’t structure or negotiate them, nor was he aware of their accounting treatment.” She did not return an e-mail seeking additional comment on Friday.

Mr. Valukas’s findings have stirred loud discussion among legal and accounting experts over the ways Lehman sought to improve its quarterly results months before it collapsed.

Over hundreds of pages, Mr. Valukas details the genesis of and the process behind Repo 105. Based on standard repurchase agreements — short-term loans commonly used by many firms for daily financing needs, in which borrowers temporarily exchange assets in return for cash up front — Lehman took a particularly aggressive accounting approach to these transactions.

Here, the investment bank used repos to temporarily park assets off its books to make its end-of-quarter debt levels look better than they did — while calling them sales instead of loans.

The accounting tactic, first used by Lehman in 2001, had one catch, according to Mr. Valukas: no American law firm would sign off on its use.

Enter Linklaters, a highly respected British law firm that gave Lehman the answer it wanted. So long as the repos were conducted in London through the bank’s European arm, and so long as the company took other cosmetic steps to make these transactions appear to be sales instead of financings, Linklaters determined that they would pass regulatory muster.

A spokeswoman for Linklaters said on Friday that the firm was not contacted by Mr. Valukas and that its legal opinions were not criticized in the examiner’s report as wrong or improper.

Lehman also had the backing of Ernst & Young, which certified the bank’s financial statements despite receiving warnings from a whistle-blower who said there were accounting improprieties. An Ernst & Young spokesman said on Thursday that the firm stood by its work for 2007, the last year it conducted an audit of Lehman’s financial results.

But Lynn E. Turner, a former chief accountant for the S.E.C., accused Ernst & Young of abdicating its responsibility to the audit committee of Lehman’s board by not presenting the concerns.

“This is pretty aggressive and pretty abusive. I don’t know how under GAAP this follows the rules whatsoever,” he said, referring to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

“That reeks of an auditor who, rather than being really truly independent, is beholden to management,” he said, adding that the S.E.C. and the Justice Department should follow up on Mr. Valukas’s findings.

Executives at other Wall Street banks professed surprise at Lehman’s accounting maneuvers. Goldman Sachs, Barclays Capital and other banks said on Friday they did not use repos to hide liabilities on their balance sheets.

Judicial Watch Clashes with FNMA and Freddie Over Public Documents Request

March 9, 2010, 3:29 p.m. EST · Recommend · Post:

Obama Administration Tells Court Government-Run Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Not Subject to Open Records FOIA Law

Judicial Watch Battles in Federal Court to Release Fannie and Freddie Political Contribution Information

WASHINGTON, DC, Mar 09, 2010 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has filed a new motion in its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) that would force the Obama administration to release documents related to political contributions made by the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. According to the FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac might possess documents responsive to Judicial Watch’s initial FOIA request; however, the agency claims it is not obligated to release such documents to the public. Judicial Watch maintains that since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now wholly operated by the federal government they are subject to FOIA law.

Judicial Watch filed its original FOIA request on May 29, 2009. The FHFA acknowledged receipt of Judicial Watch’s FOIA request July 1, 2009. The agency claimed that while Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac might possess the requested documents, the FHFA was not obligated to release them under FOIA because the agency does not “control” them. As noted in a recent Obama administration court filing: “…Any records created by or held in the custody of the Enterprises [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] reflecting their political campaign contributions or policies, stipulations and requirements concerning campaign contributions necessarily are private corporate documents. They are not ‘agency records’ subject to disclosure under FOIA.”

According to Judicial Watch’s motion filed on March 5, 2009, Fannie and Freddie are no longer private enterprises, and therefore their records are subject to FOIA law:

“At issue in this Freedom of Information Act (‘FOIA’) lawsuit is whether FHFA, the federal agency that has custody and control of the records of Federal National Mortgage Association (‘Fannie Mae’) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Company (‘Freddie Mac’), must comply with a FOIA request for records relating to those previously independent entities. Until they were seized by FHFA in September 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were private corporations with independent directors, officers, and shareholders. Since that time, FHFA, a federal agency subject to FOIA, has assumed full legal custody and control of the records of these previously independent entities. Hence, these records are subject to FOIA like any other agency records.”

“Apparently, American taxpayers are paying the tab for the collapse of Fannie and Freddie, but are not allowed to ask any questions about why it happened. When it comes to Fannie and Freddie, the Obama administration is saying, in effect, ‘None of your business,'” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Obama administration officials and their lawyers can argue until they are blue in the face that Fannie and Freddie are not federal agencies, but their reasoning is straight out of Alice in Wonderland. There is nothing ambiguous about the government’s absolute control of Fannie and Freddie. Which raises the question: What does the Obama administration have to hide?”

According to a review of the top recipients of Fannie and Freddie campaign contributions from 1989 through 2008, President Obama is second on the list, sandwiched between Democratic Senators Chris Dodd (first) and Senator John Kerry (third). The president achieved this ranking during his relatively brief three-year stint in the U.S. Senate.

“Judicial Watch’s effort to open up Fannie and Freddie to public scrutiny as the law requires is not just about political corruption — it also about accountability. Largely through Freddie and Fannie, the Obama administration essentially has taken government control of the United States mortgage market and its attendant liabilities. This unprecedented takeover of the private sector is being executed by government entities that the Obama administration says are not subject to any open records request. Judicial Watch’s FOIA lawsuit is the only litigation that stands against this massive government abuse and secrecy,” continued Fitton.

Visit www.JudicialWatch.org to read Judicial Watch’s recent court filing in its lawsuit against the FHFA.

Contact:

Jill Farrell

202-646-5188

Why Show Me the Note Isn’t Enough

see no-silver-bullet

The reason lawyers should attend the forensics workshop is not so they can do forensic analysis (although they certainly would be in a better position to do so), but rather because they need to know what to do with the information once they get a report of results from a forensic review and analysis.

My observation is that many lawyers and pro se litigants are left with their mouths hanging open when the the other side (pretender lender) does in fact produce a note, copy of a note, assignment, separated allonge, indorsement or other document giving the appearance of propriety. You have to ask yourself what if I was physically holding that note, copy etc.? Would that mean I had the power to enforce it?

Those who have not studied securitization don’t know what to say because deep down inside they think the show is over — when in fact it has only just begun, which is the point of Brad’s Workshop on forensic analysis.

Lawyers have complained that we tried to pack too much information into one day in the our workshops we did over the last two years. They are right. The reason lawyers should attend the forensics workshop is not so they can do forensic analysis (although they certainly would be in a better position to do so), but rather because they need to know what to do with the information once they get a report of results from a forensic review and analysis.

That note or copy they produced is probably not the evidence that is required. It probably is a copy of the note as it existed at the closing, and does not contain the chain of custody, assignment, indorsements or other indicia of ownership.

There is no doubt that a workshop on motion practice and discovery for lawyers only needs to be done and I am working on that. My problem is the same as any trial judge would have. How can we go that level unless the lawyer knows what evidence exists, what evidence to ask for, and how to use that evidence? That is the purpose of the forensic workshop. Unless the lawyer or pro se litigant knows what to do and say about the information produced in a forensic analysis, it is of little use. Logically, they could not possibly know what to say or do with the information unless they understood the significance of the information when it is presented to them.

Brad’s forensic workshop, together with my participation and other guest speakers, weaves together the issues presented by the loan transaction itself, the securitization of the mortgage, the transfers and chain of title issues combined with what works and doesn’t work with Judges because it is seen as truly significant as opposed to merely technicalities designed to delay the proceedings. Indisputable evidence that raises questions of fact that helps the Judge “get it” is what is necessary to win.

Sample Interrogatories

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY

CHANCERY DIVISION – ESSEX VICINAGE

——————————————————————X                Civil Action

Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, As Trustee Of

Argent Securities, Inc. Asset Backed Pass Through Certificates, Series 2004-PW1

Docket Number: XXX

REQUEST FOR

INTERROGATORIES

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

XXX; John Doe,

Husband Of XXX                                                                            XXX Avenue

Rosedale, NY 11422

Defendant(s)/Pro Se ——————————————————————X

REQUEST FOR DISCOVERY: INTERROGATORIES

i). Defendant, XXX, serves these interrogatories on Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as authorized by Case Management Order dated September 30, 2009, and by the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33. Deutsche Bank National Trust Company must serve an answer to each interrogatory separately and fully, in writing and under oath within 30 days after service to: XXX, XXX Ave., Rosedale, NY 11422.

INSTRUCTIONS

ii). These requests for interrogatories are directed toward all information known or available to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company – not its lawyer, Ralph F. Casale, Esq. – including information contained in the records and documents in Deutsche Bank National Trust Company’s custody or control or available to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company upon reasonable inquiry.

iii). Each request for interrogatory is to be deemed a continuing one. If, after serving an answer, you obtain or become aware of any further information pertaining to that request, you are requested to serve a supplemental answer setting forth such information.

iv). As to every request for interrogatory which an authorized officer of Deutsche Bank National Trust Company fails to answer in whole or in part, the subject matter of that request will be deemed confessed and stipulated as fact to the Court.

v). Kindly attach additional sheets as required identifying the Interrogatory being answered.  You have a continuing obligation to update the information in these Interrogatories as you acquire new information. If no such update is provided in a reasonable period of time that you acquired such information, it may be excluded at trial or hearing.

DEFINITIONS

vi). “You” and “your” include Deutsche Bank National Trust Company and any and all persons acting for or in concert with Deutsche Bank National Trust Company.

vii). “Document” is synonymous in meaning and equal in scope to the usage of this term in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34(a) and includes computer records in any format. A draft or non-identical copy is a separate document within the meaning of this term. The term “document” also includes any “tangible things” as that term is used in Rule 34(a).

viii). Parties. The term “plaintiff” or “defendant”, as well as a party’s full or abbreviated name or a pronoun referring to a party, means the party and, where applicable, (his/her/its) agents, representatives, officers, directors, employees, partners, corporate parent, subsidiaries, or affiliates.

ix). Identify (person). When referring to a person, “identify” means to give, to the extent known, the person’s full name, present or last known address, telephone number, and when referring to a natural person, the present or last known place of employment. Once a person has been identified in compliance with this paragraph, only the name of that person needs to be listed in response to later discovery requesting the identification of that person.

x). Identify (document). When referring to a document, “identify” means to give, to the extent known, the following information: (a) the type of document; (b) the general subject matter of the document; (c) the date of the document; (d) the authors, address, and recipients of the document; (e) the location of the document; (f) the identity of the person who has custody of the document; and (g) whether the document has been destroyed, and if so, (i) the date of its destruction, (ii) the reason for its destruction, and (iii) the identity of the person who destroyed it.

xi). Relating. The term “relating” means concerning, referring, describing, evidencing, or constituting, directly or indirectly.

xii). Any. The term “any” should be understood in either its most or its least inclusive sense as necessary to bring within the scope of the discovery request all reasons that might otherwise be construed to be outside of its scope.

REQUEST FOR INTERROGATORIES

1. Please identify each person who answer these interrogatories and each person (attach pages if necessary) who assisted, including attorneys, accountants, employees of third party entities, or any other person consulted, however briefly, on the content of any answer to these interrogatories.

ANSWER:

2. For each of the above persons please state whether they have personal knowledge regarding the subject loan transaction.

ANSWER:

3. Please state the date of the first contact between Deutsche Bank National Trust Company and the borrower in the subject loan transaction, the name, address and telephone number of the person(s) in your company who was/were involved in that contact.

ANSWER:

4. Please identify every potential party to this lawsuit.

ANSWER:

5. Please identify the person(s) involved in the underwriting of the subject loan. “Underwriting” refers to any person who made representations, evaluations or appraisals of value of the home, value of the security instruments, and ability of the borrower to pay.

ANSWER:

6. Please identify any person(s) who had any contact with any third party regarding the securitization, sale, transfer, assignment, hypothecation or any document or agreement, oral, written or otherwise, that would effect the funding, closing, or the receipt of money from a third party in a transaction that referred to the subject loan.

ANSWER:

7. Please identify any person(s) known or believed by anyone at Deutsche Bank National Trust Company who had received physical possession of the note and allonges, the mortgage, or any document (including but not limited to assignment, endorsement, allonges, Pooling and Servicing Agreement, Assignment and Assumption Agreement, Trust Agreement,  letters or email or faxes of transmittals  including attachments) that refers to or incorporates terms regarding the securitization, sale, transfer, assignment, hypothecation or any document or agreement, oral, written or otherwise, that would effect the funding, or the receipt of money from a third party in a transaction, and whether such money was allocated to principal, interest or other obligation related to the subject loan.

ANSWER:

8. Please identify all persons known or believed by anyone in Deutsche Bank National Trust Company or any affiliate to have participated in the securitization of the subject loan including but not limited to mortgage aggregators, mortgage brokers, financial institutions, Structured Investment Vehicles, Special Purpose Vehicles, Trustees, Managers of derivative securities, managers of the company that issued an Asset-backed security, Underwriters, Rating Agency, Credit Enhancement Provider.

ANSWER:

9. Please identify the person(s) or entities that are entitled, directly or indirectly to the stream of revenue from the borrower in the subject loan.

ANSWER:

10 Please identify the person(s) in custody of any document that identifies the loan servicer(s) in the subject loan transaction.

ANSWER:

11. Please identify any person(s) in custody of any document which refers to any instruction or authority to enforce the note or mortgage in the subject loan transaction.

ANSWER:

12. Other than people identified above, identify any and all persons who have or had personal knowledge of the subject loan transaction, underwriting of the subject loan transaction, securitization, sale, transfer, assignment or hypothecation of the subject loan transaction, or the decision to enforce the note or mortgage in the subject loan transaction.

ANSWER:

13. Please state address, phone number, and employment history for the past 3 years of Tamara Price, Vice President, Argent Mortgage Company, LLC, “designated as the Assignor” of the mortgage loan to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company (Assignment of Mortgage recorded in Essex County Register’s Office on June 25, 2008).

ANSWER:

14. Please state the date on which Argent Mortgage Company, LLC (originator) sold the mortgage loan to Ameriquest Mortgage Company (Seller and Master Servicer).

ANSWER:

15. Please state the date on which Ameriquest Mortgage Company (Seller and Master Servicer) sold the mortgage loan to Argent Securities, Inc. (Depositor).

ANSWER:

16. Did Argent Mortgage Company, LLC (originator) or previous servicers of this account receive any compensation, fee, commission, payment, rebate or other financial considerations from Ameriquest Mortgage Company (Seller and Master Servicer) or any affiliate or from the trust funds, for handling, processing, originating or administering this loan?

ANSWER:

17. If yes, please describe and itemize each and every form of compensation, fee, commission, payment, rebate or other financial consideration paid to Argent Mortgage Company, LLC, the originator or previous servicers of this account by Ameriquest or any affiliate, or from the trust fund.

ANSWER:

18. Please identify any party, person or entity known or suspected by Deutsche Bank National Trust Company or any of your officers, employees, independent contractors or other agents, or servants of your company who might possess or claim rights under the subject loan or mortgage and/or note.

ANSWER:

19. Please identify the custodian of the records that would show all entries regarding the flow of funds for the subject loan transaction prior to and after closing of the loan. (Flow of funds, means any record of money received, any record of money paid out and any bookkeeping or accounting entry, general ledger and accounting treatment of the subject loan transaction at your company or any affiliate including but not limited to whether the subject loan transaction was ever entered into any category on the balance sheet at any time or times, whether any reserve for default was ever entered on the balance sheet, and whether any entry, report or calculation was made regarding the effect of this loan transaction on the capital reserve requirements of your company or any affiliate.)

ANSWER:

20. Please identify the auditor and/or accountant of your financial statements or tax returns.

ANSWER:

21. Please identify any attorney with whom you consulted or who rendered an opinion regarding the subject loan transaction or any pattern of securitization that may have effected the subject loan transaction directly or indirectly.

ANSWER:

22. Please identify any person who served as an officer or director with Deutsche Bank National Company or Argent Mortgage Company LLC commencing with 6 months prior to closing of the subject loan transaction through the present. (This interrogatory is limited only to those people who had knowledge, responsibility, or otherwise made or received reports regarding information that included the subject loan transaction, and/or the process by which solicitation, underwriting and closing of residential mortgage loans, or the securitization, sale, transfer or assignment or hypothecation of residential mortgage loans to third parties.)

ANSWER:

23. Did any investor/certificate holder approve or authorize foreclosure proceedings on XXX’s property?

ANSWER:

24. Please identify the person(s) involved or having knowledge of any insurance policy or product, plan or instrument describing over-collateralization, cross-collateralization or guarantee or other instrument hedging the risk of default as to any person or entity acting as an issuer of any securities or certificates. (Such instrument(s) relate to the composition of a pool, tranche or other aggregation of assets that was created, included or referred to the subject loan and the pool or aggregation was transmitted, transferred, assigned, pledged or hypothecated to any entity or buyer. A person who “transmitted, transferred, assigned, pledged or hypothecated” refers to any person who suggested, approved, received or accepted the composition of the pool or aggregation made or confirmed representations, evaluations or appraisals of value of the home, value of the security instruments, ability of the borrower to pay.)

ANSWER:

25. Please identify the person(s) involved or having knowledge of any credit default swap or other instrument hedging the risk of default as to any person or entity acting as an issuer of any securities or certificates. (Such instrument(s) relate to the composition of a pool, tranche or other aggregation of assets that was created, included or referred to the subject loan.)

ANSWER:

Submitted by:  XXX

XXX  Ave

Rosedale, NY 11422

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I, I, XXX certify that on this 29th day of the month of October, 2009.

1. A true copy of the 10-page Request for Interrogatories was served on The New Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division – Essex Vincinage, at 212 Wasington Street, Eighth Floor, Newark, New Jersey.

2. A copy of the foregoing was mailed on October 28, 2009 to

Dated: Queens New York

This _________ day of ___________ 2009    XXX

XXX Ave

Rosedale, NY 11422

MERS Cover-Up of REAL INVESTOR

More and more authorities are holding that in order for a claimant to prove itself to be the real party in interest to support a proof of claim or motion for relief from stay in bankruptcy, as well as to prove itself to be a holder in due course, they have to prove the entire chain of “ownership” and “holdership” of the Note complete with proof of “value paid to purchase the note ownership.” —  Lane Houk

Thanks to Ron Ryan

Editor’s note: If you really think about it there is no reason for MERS to exist EXCEPT to hide transactions under a veil of a “private” association of members, sidestepping the recording statues of every state and fooling Judges, Lawyers and homeowners around the state. Ron came up with the suspicion that Wells Fargo, HSBC and others were posting false entries on ownership of the note so as to dissuade homeowners from a “real party in interest” challenge.

He’s right and the information is starting to pop up showing this pattern of deceit, as you can see from the exchange below and MERS report below. Finding the creditor is this vast array of players is a task that must not be overlooked.

It’s just another example of why “auditors” and “analysts” need to include a complete review and research of the chain before they come to any conclusions about the TILA Report. These factors have a deep impact on APR, undisclosed fees and parties, and a host of other issues that are missed by most TILA Audits.

Brad Keiser’s Forensic Analysis Workshop will show you how to perform this analysis and research. If you are not already well versed in the securitization process and its impact on the mortgage, note, obligation and closing documents, you need to attend this workshop before you send out any more reports without referencing these factors.

——————————————————————–

Ronald Ryan: [It is highly probable] that HSBC, Wells Fargo and some others have come up with an extra creative way to hide the fact that a Note has been pooled into a MBS Pool. As many know, if one is able to obtain the MERS Milestone History and MERS Min Summary there is a great wealth of useful information. These documents are available online, but not to the public. It is not always easy to obtain these. Also, the information that is even on this is not perfect. The information that is shown depends on the information provided by the MERS Membership. I think that HSBC, Wells and others routinely list loans in which they are the Servicer as showing they are both Servicer and Current Investor. In other words, they publish on these secret data bases that they actually own and hold the Note in their own right, when they are really only the Servicer and the Note is pooled just like in every other instance of a Note executed between 2001-early 2008. The idea is that they know that attorneys for borrowers may obtain these documents, and this may dissuade an attack on their “real party in interest” status.

RONALD RYAN
ATTORNEY AT LAW
RONALD RYAN PC
1413 E HEDRICK DRIVE
TUCSON AZ 85719
(520)298‐3333
(520)743‐1020 fax
ronryanlaw@cox.net
http://www.ronryanlaw.com
MILESTONES for 1000302-0055800082-2
Description Date Initiating
Organization / User Milestone Information
Foreclosure Status
Update
11/27/2007 1000115 CitiMortgage, Inc. MIN Status: Active (Registered)
Foreclosure Status: Foreclosure
Pending (option 2), retained on
MERS
Quality Review: Y
Batch
Transfer of Flow
TOS/TOB
Servicing Rights
10/17/2005 1000302 Cherry Creek Mortgage Company,
Inc.
MIN Status: Active (Registered)
New Investor: 1000115
CitiMortgage, Inc.
Old Investor: 1000302 Cherry
Creek Mortgage Company, Inc.
Batch Number: 2785251
Transfer Date: 10/14/2005
Christy Martin
Transfer of Flow
TOS/TOB
Servicing Rights
10/17/2005 1000302 Cherry Creek Mortgage Company,
Inc.
MIN Status: Active (Registered)
New Servicer: 1000115
CitiMortgage, Inc.
Old Servicer: 1000302 Cherry
Creek Mortgage Company, Inc.
Batch Number: 2785251
Sale Date: 10/14/2005
Transfer Date: 10/14/2005
Christy Martin
Release Interim
Funder Interests
10/14/2005 1000108 GMAC Bank (1) MIN Status: Active (Registered)
Old Interim Funder: 1000108
Batch GMAC Bank (1)
Registration 10/03/2005 1000302 Cherry Creek Mortgage Company,
Inc.
MIN Status: Active (Registered)
Servicer: 1000302 Cherry Creek
Batch Mortgage Company, Inc.
Page 1 of 1
https://www.mersonline.org/mers/mininfo/minviewmiles.jsp?aux=A968006867765676A
RONALD RYAN
From: RONALD RYAN [ronryanlaw@cox.net]
Sent: Sunday, March 07, 2010 7:02 AM
To: ‘Lane Houk’
Subject: MERS RE: QUESTION AND REQUEST FOR FEEDBACK
Attachments: image001.png; image002.gif
Thank you. That is very helpful. As to discovery on MERS, do you mean a subpoena or a request for production? I have
had them ignore subpoenas. Do you have a ruling on enforcement of a request for production against them, if they are not named? Also, see below. If you would like a copy of my latest briefing on the relevant issues, I would be happy to provide it to you for the assistance you provided. Thanks again.
RONALD RYAN
ATTORNEY AT LAW
RONALD RYAN PC
1413 E HEDRICK DRIVE
TUCSON AZ 85719
(520)298‐3333
(520)743‐1020 fax
ronryanlaw@cox.net
http://www.ronryanlaw.com
From: Lane Houk [mailto:Lane@thePatriotsWar.com]
Sent: Sunday, March 07, 2010 6:19 AM
To: ‘RONALD RYAN’
Subject: RE: QUESTION AND REQUEST FOR FEEDBACK
Ron,
Your suspicions are correct. See attached milestone report… Citimortgage is listing itself as Servicer and Investor.
Citimortgage does not invest in the loans. At the very least, the owner is Citibank but more likely a private trust or public trust since the loan is a jumbo.
Also, another thing to note on this report is the 10/14/2005 milestone… “Release Interim Funder Interests” naming GMAC Bank as the Interim Funder. On this transaction, GMAC Bank was never named in any document, no disclosure,
nothing. Cherry Creek Mortgage Company was supposedly the “Lender” in this transaction and is listed on HUD‐1 as lender, was the entity which disclosed under the TILA.
The “Lender” on the Note and DOT is never the actual source of funds. Is it your position that TILA requires that the actual source of funding be disclosed?
When we got this milestone report, it prompted specific discovery for all bailee agreements subject to this transaction; still waiting on that. There will also be a break in chain of title since the only assignment they’ve ever produced/recorded is from MERS to Citimortgage.
When you say break in the chain of title, you mean break in the chain of ownership of the Note? More and more authorities are holding that in order for a claimant to prove itself to be the real party in interest to support a proof of claim or motion for relief from stay in bankruptcy, as well as to prove itself to be a holder in due course, they have to prove the entire chain of “ownership” and “holdership” of the Note complete with proof of “value paid to purchase the note ownership.”
2
Lastly, you can get these milestone reports through discovery served on MERS regardless if they are named.
Hope this helps,
Lane Houk, CLA
National Institute of Consumer Advocacy, LLC
Consumer Debt Analyst & Investigator

Keiser’s Forensic Analysis Workshop

You must remember the judiciary moves slowly is assimilating new facts or patterns in the marketplace. In order to break through a Judge’s preconception of the mortgage origination process, you need to have something that is clear in is presentation of facts, and obvious in its impact.

The reasons for having analysis performed by an independent third party is that it transforms empty argument into a question of fact. Anything that leads to a questions of fact gives you leverage in and out of court. In court, it allows you to credibly raise the issues so that discovery and an evidentiary hearing will allow your claims to be heard on the merits. No “audit” or analysis is PROOF or EVIDENCE unto itself. What it should do is give you something to hold in your had while talking to the Court, and which clearly contests the “facts” that the pretender lender is trying to have the Court assume (which is why objections, motion practice, discovery and evidentiary hearings are so important).

Lots of mistakes are being made on both sides of the mortgage crisis. Brad, in hosting this new forensic analysis workshop, seeks to help analysts avoid the usual pitfalls, recognize the issues that an expert or lawyer or homeowner may be required to present, and work toward providing the litigation support required to achieve a successful result.

There are a number of good workshops out there that can help forensic auditors, lawyers, experts and even lay people understand how to proceed when they wish to challenge some company that claims to be your lender or servicer. Max Gardner’s boot-camps are very good venues for understanding securitized loans, applying law and procedure to the challenge and coming out with good results. April Charney, who is giving a workshop soon in California is adding non-judicial states to the scope of her workshops for the first time. And Brad Keiser, who has been doing the survey workshops with me for a year and a half is now offering an important, even essential, workshop that drills down on forensic analysis of mortgages and foreclosure proceedings.

Brad, being a former banker himself with one of the nations largest banks, has performed virtually all of the research I use in connection with TILA, RESPA etc. A long-time friend, he has worked with me to bring LivingLies from two dimensional blog postings to three dimensional live presentations.

The output is what is important in any analysis of your mortgage or foreclosure situation. It doesn’t matter what work a company says they will do, even if they completed their engagement. The question is whether it is useful in producing an actual result. That is where the intersection of what is working in court and what is not comes into play. The issue here is knowing what you have, planning your strategy, and choosing the right procedures, lawyers, experts etc. in achieving a well-defined goal. Brad and I have carefully analyzed the forensic process and found a number of things that rise to the level of prime importance:

  1. Finding out whether there are patent violations of existing federal and state lending laws that can be identified for further action by the homeowner or their attorney. This among other things involves an examination of the Annual Percentage rate disclosed on the Good faith estimate, the timing of the good faith estimate, the presence of the traditional (but illegal) yield spread premium), affordability and other factors including discrepancies between the GFE and the HUD settlement statement. A key component of this part of the analysis often overlooked by “TILA Auditors” is an examination of the settlement transaction where the alleged loan was closed revealing discrepancies between the beneficiaries of the mortgage, the note, the title insurance, the mortgage insurance etc. and the use of “nominees” instead of naming the real parties in interest, which is evidence of a table-funded loan.
  2. Revealing the latent violations of lending laws and regulations caused by securitization of loans. Here is where the second and much larger yield spread premium appears and must be estimated by your expert or analyst using tables prepared by an expert. In addition. it reveals discrepancies in signatures, dates and parties in connection with fabricated or forged assignments used to justify the foreclosure by a party not named as lender or beneficiary.
  3. Determining whether there are refunds or rebates due back to the homeowner/borrower either from the original named lender or some other party in a securitization chain.
  4. Discovering facts that show a pattern of deceptive or predatory lending.
  5. Researching the loan to determine the record title chain, the probable securitization of your loan, and providing you with the right questions to ask as tot he identity of the creditor and demanding an accounting from the creditor, as opposed to simply a servicer that serves as a buffer between the debtor (homeowner) and the creditor (Investor owning mortgage backed securities).
  6. Providing adequate information and forms to the lawyer or client on sending out a Qualified Written Request, Debt Validation Letter or Demand Letter.
  7. Highlighting the most significant issues in your loan for the expert to use in preparing a declaration or the lawyer to use in filing a lawsuit, a petition for temporary injunction, or a bankruptcy petition.

As I have repeatedly stated on these pages, a TILA Audit is a start but it usually won’t produce the result of a modified loan that is acceptable tot he homeowner or the nullification of the obligation, note or mortgage.

Before securitization of mortgage loans, the process of examining loan transactions was fairly straight forward and fairly simple. With securitization the analysis requires a much higher level of sophistication that enables the lawyer or homeowner to present or proffer evidence of wrong-doing or improper procedures accounting or disclosure on the part of the securitization chain that produced your loan from the investment in mortgage backed bonds by investors.

New York Judges Slam Baum Law Firm and JP Morgan Chase Citing Questionable Legal Work

Liening on NY homeowners

TRUSTEE SAYS “Chase filed documents that appear to be patently false or misleading”

As pointed out in this article, 95% of foreclosures are NOT scrutinized. This is why homeowners need to go to forensic analysts, experts and lawyers. Most people are walking away from homes they still own on the basis of a claim by a party who is NOT a creditor. The TILA Audit, if it includes conclusions drawn from an analysis of the securitization of the transaction, will provide the homeowner with ample ammunition to raise issues of fact and require proof from the pretender lender.

As in many cases, careful scrutinization will reveal that the assignment and other documents are fabricated, forged and/or improperly notarized. The most obvious example is shown here where the document was signed in Florida and notarized in Buffalo, NY at the offices of the foreclosure mill (Baum law offices).

This type of scrutiny and research on the securitization of the loan is an essential part of the forensic analysis. If ignored, the “audit” becomes a vehicle for potential recovery of a minor amount of damages, plus attorney fees. If used properly the damages rise and the potential for principal reduction or even elimination of the obligation, note and mortgage if the other side can’t come up with the real party in interest.

By RICHARD WILNER, NY POST

Last Updated: 12:01 PM, February 28, 2010

Posted: 12:54 AM, February 28, 2010

As the mortgage melt down paralyzed the economy across the US and throughout New York State, one company in the center of the storm had all the business it could handle.The little-known law firm of Steven J. Baum PC

, which is based in suburban Buffalo, NY, and represents dozens of banks in matters of failed mortgages, last year filed a staggering 12,551 foreclosure lawsuits in New York City and the suburbs, which works out to about 48 a day.The foreclosure mill is one of a handful of super-regional law firms used by the country’s banks — and its lawyers appear to have practiced in every county courthouse and bankruptcy court from Staten Island to Plattsburgh and from Montauk to Niagara Falls.

But as the volume of its workload increased, so did complaints from opposing lawyers and judges that some of the thousands of lawsuits contained questionable legal work.

One bank caught in the crosshairs is JPMorgan Chase Bank, one of the largest mortgage lenders in the city.

Last month, Diana Adams, the US Trustee in Manhattan, filed papers in court supporting punitive financial sanctions against the bank for a string of bad behavior, including seeking to foreclose on homes after they rejected the attempts to make on-time payments and for failing to prove they own the mortgage on a home even as they move to seize it.

Chase filed documents that appear to be patently false or misleading, Adams said in the filing.

Although Chase has recently taken steps to address concerns expressed by courts in connection with other cases, based on Chase’s past and current conduct it needs to be sanctioned, Adams wrote.

A spokesperson for Chase had no comment on the US Trustee’s action.

The complaints against Baum — on the record during hearings, in legal pleadings and, eventually, borne out in judges’ decisions — include:

* Not divulging mortgage payments: In the White Plains bankruptcy of Blanca Garcia, Baum’s firm filed papers claiming Garcia was in arrears — when she actually made payments and showed the court her receipts, but they were not credited to her account. When Garcia’s lawyer complained, Baum’s firm answered the claim but, the lawyer said in court papers, ignored the receipts and continued to claim the mortgage was in arrears.

* Creating questionable assignments: A Suffolk County judge took it upon himself to investigate a filing by Baum’s firm when it attempted to foreclose on the home of Gloria E. Marsh. “A careful review,” the judge wrote in a four-page order, “reveals a number of glaring discrepancies and unexplained issues of substance.”

The judge found that Baum filed the action before the date it claimed its client took ownership of the mortgage.

* Botched legal papers: In the bankruptcy of Matthew Austin, Baum’s firm tried to prove that its client owned the mortgage backing Austin’s house by filing an assignment of that mortgage from a Florida company signed by an executive of that company — but it was notarized in Buffalo, NY.

To the extent assignor flew to upstate New York to appear before a notary in the law offices of Steven J. Baum, PC, defies all logic,” the lawyer said in court papers. “Clearly this is a manufactured document intended to defraud the Court.” The bank and Austin, in hopes of settling the matter, are discussing a mortgage modification.

The Baum firm has not been found to have committed any fraud. It did not return calls for comment.

Those lawyers’ complaints appear to have gained critical traction.

Judges are taking action. A few, like Justice Jeffrey Spinner in a widely reported case in Suffolk last November, are ripping up mortgages and tossing entire cases brought by Baum after it couldn’t prove its case.

Second, the US Trustee, the arm of the Department of Justice charged with keeping the country’s bankruptcy courts free from malpractice, has had its Manhattan office monitoring cases involving the Baum firm.

And just last month, a New York bankruptcy judge said he now has “probable cause” to believe that lawyers for the Baum firm acted inappropriately.

The problems involving Baum and others highlight the increasingly nasty foreclosure problem in the US after banks started the profitable (for them) system of securitizing mortgages and then slicing and dicing pieces of the loans and selling them around the world. Little attention was paid to having an easy-to-use system tracking mortgage ownership. (MERS ANYONE?)

Now, as foreclosure actions clog the country’s courts, some lawyers are fighting back and asking bank lawyers or mortgage servicers to provide proof they own the mortgage.

In most instances, it can’t be done.

“In 85 percent of the cases I handle, the paperwork submitted by the bank or mortgage service company is not in order,” said Linda Tirelli, a consumer bankruptcy lawyer based in White Plains and Stamford, CT. For example, she said, one mortgage servicer recently filed paperwork to prove it owned a mortgage and it said it was assigned ownership by Lehman Brothers in October 2009.

“Now everyone knows there was no Lehman last October,” Tirelli said.

For clients with aggressive lawyers, pushing back against banks — and forcing them to realize that they can’t prove they own the mortgage and therefore will not be able to foreclose — often result in the banks offering a mortgage modification.

Tirelli said the case of the faulty Lehman assignment resulted in her client getting the interest rate on her mortgage cut to 3 percent and $15,000 being cut from her principal.

“And she was denied a mortgage modification by the bank twice before that,” Tirelli said. “If we didn’t fight back she would have lost her house.”

David Shaev, who also represents consumers in bankruptcy court, concurs that most claims filed by banks are defective.

“I mean as the court and everyone in the country knows, the number of foreclosures has increased exponentially, and the volume — I think frankly — had an impact on the quality of the work that was done and submissions to the court,” Jay Teitelbaum, a lawyer for JPMorgan Chase Bank, said in a Jan. 7 court hearing.

Chase hired Teitelbaum after debtors raised questions about the quality of work by the Baum firm.

Steven J. Baum, 41, took over his father’s sleepy Buffalo law practice several years ago, moved it to suburban Amherst and super-sized it. It now has about 500 employees, according to an ad it placed on an online jobs site, plus has started Pillar Processing, a legal-document processing company. Pillar, too, has gotten the attention of judges.

One judge blasted Baum for trying to distance himself from a bad courtroom gambit by having a non-lawyer employed by Pillar file a motion canceling the request.

Last year, Baum filed 5,312 foreclosure actions in New York City, according to state court online records: 2,231 cases in Queens, 1,592 cases in Brooklyn, 692 cases in Staten Island, 678 cases in the Bronx and 119 cases in Manhattan.

One bank executive told a judge during a hearing in a Poughkeepsie court hearing that the bank pays law firms $650 for every referral — presumably just to file the foreclosure action. Additional pleadings would be extra.

And Baum counts nearly every bank that provided a mortgage in The Big Apple as a client — Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, HSBC, US Bank, GMAC Mortgage, Deutsche Bank, Sovereign Bank, Citibank, OneWest, M&T Bank, Bank of New York Mellon, to name just a dozen, according to court records.

While embattled homeowners with aggressive lawyers like Tirelli and Shaev fight the banks and lawyers and end up with mortgage modifications. most of Baum’s 5,312 cases in NYC last year were fought against no legal opponent. Usually, delinquent homeowners can’t afford to hire lawyers. The result is a slam-dunk win for Baum — and the foreclosure of another house — in what amounts to a legal heavyweight picking a fight with a 98-pound legal weakling.

There’s no telling how many houses could have been saved from foreclosure, how many homeowners would still be in their homes and how far down the recovery road the housing market would have been had each embattled homeowner fought back against a broken foreclosure system.

The case of Sylvia Nuer, a Bronx home health care aide, is one exam ple. Nuer owns a one-bedroom Parkchester condo and moved to buy a larger two-bedroom unit in the same building. After her lawyer, who also represented the seller and collected a commission on the sale, messed up some paperwork, Nuer was unable to take possession of the larger unit.

She had to pay two mortgages on her modest salary and soon was forced to file bankruptcy. But Nuer was lucky. She hired a lawyer and fought the bank, which at first refused to simply take back the larger apartment Nuer knew she couldn’t afford to pay for and not live in.

The bank filed costly motion after costly motion.

Finally, Manhattan Bankruptcy Judge Robert E. Gerber had hadenough and told the bank’s lawyer to work out a deal with Nuer.

Alluding to those fighting foreclosure actions without a lawyer, Gerber said: “There must be hundreds, if not thousands of [Nuers] . . . who get this stuff done to them all the time.”

Shaev, of Shaev & Fleischman, citing a recent study, said more than 95 percent of claims in foreclosure cases are not scrutinized. Until that changes, homeowners are going to be needlessly tossed from their homes.

Playing with house money

JPMorgan Chase Bank, under CEO Jamie Dimon, and the law firm of Steven Baum are drawing unwanted attention from bankruptcy judges who are upset over how they are handling some foreclosure actions. Federal authorities are asking for punitive monetary sanctions to be levied against Chase, citing these three cases:

Case #1

Name: Christopher and Bobbi Ann Schuessler

Home: $299K Sullivan County home with $120K equity.

Wrong: Chase refused to accept payment made at bank branch, then moved to foreclose on house after falsely claiming debtor was two months in arrears and that no equity existed in the home.

Result: Bank backs down, pays Schuesslers’ costs.

Judge: “The system utilized by [Chase] constitutes an abuse of the bankruptcy process.” Court’s action should “serve as warning to all [banks].”

Case #2

Name: William R. Pawson

Home: $1.5M Midtown Manhattan Co-op with $220K mortgage.

Wrong: Chase refused online payments then went after apartment because Pawson was delinquent.

Result: Chase paid $50K to settle after Pawson complained.

Judge: “But what concerns me is, after reading Schuessler case [and] having seen [Chase’s] papers here, it’s kind of two strikes. Three strikes and you’re out, frankly.”

Case #3

Name: Sylvia Nuer

Home: $39K Bronx condo plus $104K second property lien.

Wrong: Chase wrongly claims it owns the mortgage to condo; its own witness couldn’t explain bank’s paperwork.

Result: US Trustee joins Nuer’s lawyer’s move for punitive monetary sanctions against Chase.

Judge: “There must be hundreds, if not thousands of [Nuers] . . . who get this stuff done to them all the time.”

Busy bees

Steven J. Baum’s law firm filed 12,551 foreclosure actions in the New York area last year.

Queens 2,231

Brooklyn 1,592

Staten Isl. 692

Bronx 678

Manhattan 119

ALL NYC: 5,312 or 102/week

Nassau 2,210

Suffolk 3,083

Westchester 796

Rockland 444

Orange 706

SUBURBS: 7,239 or 139/week

NYC & SUBURBS: 12,551 or 241/week or 48/day

Source: Official Web site, New York State Courts

richard.wilner@nypost.com

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