Tonight! Why the Bankruptcies of DiTech and Aurora Matters! Neil Garfield Show 6PM EDT

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The Neil Garfield Show — WEST COAST

with CHARLES MARSHALL AND BILL PAATALO

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I get that the complexity of securitization and foreclosure litigation can be mind-numbing even to an experienced litigator. But once you start winning you get a rush. Tonight we talk about making some of the more tedious aspects of examination of the case productive for the lawyer and for the homeowner.

The continued appearance of DiTech and or Aurora is actually a sparkling example of arrogance emanating from the investment banks that too often control the narrative. If either DiTech or Aurora ever owned a single debt, it was probably one in a million.

With the bankruptcy petitions involving several entities bearing the name of DiTech or Aurora and additional bankruptcies involving closely related entities like GMAC and Lehman Brothers, somehow we have been led to believe that the investment banks were so negligent that they actually left the loans in the entities that filed petitions for relief in bankruptcy with schedules that were devoid of virtually any loans.

On the Show tonight Charles and Bill address the following:

How MERS misused the transfer of Aurora servicing rights to Nationstar, all starting out of the Lehman Brothers BK following the Mortgage Meltdown.

How borrowers can use these servicer bankruptcies, particularly the one of Ditech, to advance the following:

– Using notices (of the Ditech) of stay to manage litigation options;

– Ditech’s non-judicial foreclosure auctions are apparently on hold, due to the automatic stay rules and restrictions on recording documents, in their BK. Judicial actions by Ditech should be on hold too. These restrictions even limit Ditech’s ability to direct the removal of Lis Pendens in lawsuits in which they received a judgment.

How Ocwen may be using a recent merger with PHH to shore up their book of business, to ameliorate credit issues or avoid bankruptcy.

DiTech: The Pretense Continues

DiTech was not a lender. It was a sales agent or loan broker. Nonetheless a new agreement has been executed in which major creditors of DiTech are resurrecting the illusion that the current use of the DiTech name is sufficient to establish ownership of the debt, note or mortgage on any loan that was “originated” by DiTech. This is nothing less than a brazen attempt to attach orphan loans (no known creditor) to a newly conceived entity bearing little or no resemblance to the entity that once sold loans to the public  under the advertising banner of “lost another one to DiTech.” It’s a lie.

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see DiTech RSA

Courtesy of Philip Koebel, Esq. and Charles Cox, here is a list of the entities involved in the consolidated DiTech Bankruptcy, which was only kept alive because it representing a legacy name that could be used to reconstitute apparent ownership of loans. The creditors are basically reversing the transactions and writing off nearly $1 billion in “debt” and then miraculously allowing orphan loans to appear as though  DiTech was the lender the whole time. It never was the lender. It didn’t own loans at the time of the bankruptcy. It never owned the loans. But the current deal allows the emga banks to use DiTEch as a vehicle of illusion and deception.

Schedule 1
Debtor Case Number Tax ID Number Date Filed District
Green Tree Credit LLC 19-10411 (JLG) 75-3115864 February 11, 2019 S.D.N.Y
Ditech Holding Corporation 19-10412 (JLG) 13-3950486 February 11, 2019 S.D.N.Y
DF Insurance Agency LLC 19-10413 (JLG) 30-0936918 February 11, 2019 S.D.N.Y
Ditech Financial LLC 19-10414 (JLG) 41-1795868 February 11, 2019 S.D.N.Y
Green Tree Credit Solutions LLC 19-10415 (JLG) 27-1311565 February 11, 2019 S.D.N.Y
Green Tree Insurance Agency of Nevada, Inc. 19-10416 (JLG) 88-0187331 February 11, 2019 S.D.N.Y
Green Tree Investment Holdings III LLC 19-10417 (JLG) 20-0031008 February 11, 2019 S.D.N.Y
Green Tree Servicing Corp. 19-10418 (JLG) 20-0843552 February 11, 2019 S.D.N.Y
Marix Servicing LLC 19-10419 (JLG) 56-2646101 February 11, 2019 S.D.N.Y
Mortgage Asset Systems, LLC 19-10420 (JLG) 87-0798148 February 11, 2019 S.D.N.Y
REO Management Solutions, LLC 19-10421 (JLG) 27-2377787 February 11, 2019 S.D.N.Y
Reverse Mortgage Solutions, Inc. 19-10422 (JLG) 77-0672274 February 11, 2019 S..D.N.Y
Walter Management Holding Company LLC 19-10423 (JLG) 86-1059818 February 11, 2019 S.D.N.Y
Walter Reverse Acquisition LLC 19-10424 (JLG) 46-0928837 February 11, 2019 S.D.N.Y

 

Another Countrywide Sham Goes Down the Drain

Banks use several ploys to distract the court, the borrower and the foreclosure defense attorney from the facts. One of them is citing a merger in lieu of presenting documents of transfer of the debt, note or mortgage. We already know that the debt is virtually never transferred because the transferor never had any interest in the debt and thus had no authority to administer the debt (i.e., as servicer).

So the banks have successfully pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes by citing a merger, as though that automatically transferred the note and mortgage from one party to another. Mergers come in all kinds of flavors and here the 5th Circuit in Florida recognizes that simple fact and emphatically states that the relationship between the parties must be proven along with proof that the note, or authority to enforce the note, must be proven by competent evidence.

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see Green v Green Tree Servicing Countrywide Home Loans et al 5D15-4413.op

*Judgment for Borrower (Involuntary Dismissal)
*Failure to provide evidence to explain relationships in mergers
*Failure to provide evidence of the terms of the merger and the transfer of the subject loan
* Failure to to provide evidence of standing at commencement of the lawsuit

An interesting side note to this case is that it never mentions the debt, which is the third rail of all claims of transfers and securitization. The opinion starts off with a recital of facts that differs from most other cases, to wit: it talks about how the homeowner signed the note and mortgage, and does not reference a loan made to him by the originator, Countrywide Home Loans (CHL).

The court remains strictly in the confines of who owns, controls or has the right to enforce the note — a fact that is relevant only if the note is evidence of an underlying debt. If no such debt exists between CHL and the homeowner, then the note is irrelevant — unless a successor possessor actually paid for it, in which case the successor could claim that it is a holder in due course and that the risk of loss shifts to the maker of the note under such circumstances.

The Green case here stands for the proposition that the banks may not paper over ownership or control or the right to enforce the note with vague references to a merger. The court points out that a merger might not include all the assets of one party or the other. More particularly, a merger, if it occurred must be proven along with some transfer of the subject note and mortgage.

And very specifically, the court says that entities may not be used interchangeably. The foreclosing party must explain the relationship between the parties affiliated with the “merged” entities.

[NOTE: Bank of America did not directly acquire CHL. CHL was merged into Red Oak Merger Corp., controlled by BofA. One of the reasons for doing it that way is to segregate questionable assets and liabilities from the rest of the BofA. BofA claimed ownership of CHL, and changed the name of CHL to BAC Home Loans. But it didn’t just change the name; it also made assertions, when it suited BofA that BAC was a separate entity, possibly an independent entity, which is also not true. So the Court’s objection to the lack of evidence on the merger is very well taken].

The Court also takes note of the claim that DiTech Financial was formerly known as Green Tree Servicing. That is not true. The DiTech name has been used by several different entities, been phased out, then phased in again. Again a reason why the court insists upon evidence that explains the actual relationship between actual entities, and not just names thrown around as though that meant anything.

Ultimately Green Tree, which no longer existed, was made the Plaintiff in the action. Some certificate of merger was introduced indicating a merger again, this time between DiTech Financial and GreenTree. In this lawsuit Green tree was presented as the surviving entity. But in all other cases DiTech Financial is presented as the surviving entity — or at least the DiTech name survived. There is considerable doubt whether the combination of Green Tree was anything more than rebranding an operation merging out of the Ally Financial bankruptcy and ResCap operations.

A sure sign of subterfuge is when the lawyer for the foreclosing party attempts to lead the court into treating multiple independent companies as a single entity. That, according to this court, would ONLY be acceptable if there was competent evidence admitted into the court record showing a clear line of succession such that a reasonable person could only conclude that the present successor company in fact encompasses all of the business activities and assets of the predecessors or, at the very least, encompasses a clear chain of possession, title and authorization of the subject loan.

[PRACTICE NOTES: Discovery of actual merger documents and documents of transfer should be vigorously pursued against expected opposition. Cite this case as mandatory or persuasive authority that the field of inquiry is perfectly proper — as long as the foreclosing entity is attempting tons the mergers and presumptive transfers against the homeowner.]

 

 

 

Another Ruse: Realtors Gleeful over Equator Short Sale Platform

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Editor’s Comment:

Banks have adopted a technology platform to process short sale applications. It is called Equator, presumably to imply that it equates one thing with another, and produces a result that either gives a pass or fail to the application. In theory it is a good thing for those people who want to save their homes, save their credit (up to a point) and move on. In practice it essentially licenses the real estate broker to take control over the negotiations and police the transactions so that the new “network” rules are not violated. This reminds me of VISA and MasterCard who control the payment processing business with the illusion of being a quasi governmental agency. Nothing could be further from the truth, but bankers react to net work threats as though the IRS was after them.

Equator is meant as another layer of illusion to the title problem that realtors and title companies are trying to cover up. The short sale is getting be the most popular form of real estate sale because it is a form of principal reduction where there is some face-saving by the banks and the borrowers. The problem is that while short sales are a legitimate form of workout,  they leave the elephant in the living room undisturbed — short sales approved by banks and servicers who have neither the authority nor the interest in the loan to even be involved except as an agent of Equator but NOT as an agent of the lenders,  if they even exist anymore.

So using the shortsale they get the signature of the borrower as seller which gives them a layer of protection if they are the bank or servicer approving the short-sale. But it fails to cure the title defect, especially in millions of transactions in which Nominees (like MERS and dummy originators) are in the chain of title. 

The true owner of the obligation is a group of investor lenders who appear to have only one thing in common— they all gave money to an investment bank or an affiliate of an investment bank, where it was divided up and put into various accounts, some of which were used to fund mortgages and others were used to pay fees and profits to the investment bank on the closing of the “deal” with the investor lenders. As far as the county recorder is concerned, those deposits and splits are nonexistent. 

The investor lenders were then told that their money was pooled in a “Trust” when no such entity ever existed or was registered to do business and no attempt was made to fund the trust. An unfunded trust is not a trust. This, the investor lenders were told was a REMIC entity.  While a REMIC could have been established it never happened  in the the real world because the only communications between participants in the securitization chain consisted of a spreadsheet describing “closed loans.” Such communications did not include transfer, assignment or even transmittal or delivery of the closing papers with the borrower. Thus as far as the county recorder’s office is concerned, they still knew nothing. Now in the shortsales, they want a stranger the transaction to take the money and run — with no requirement that they establish themselves as creditors and no credible documentation that they are the owner of the loan.

This is another end run around the requirements of basic law in property transactions. They are doing it because our government officials are letting them do it, thus implicitly ratifying the right to foreclose and submit a credit bid without any requirement of proof or even offer of proof.

It gets worse. So we have BOA agreeing to accept dollars in satisfaction of a loan that they have no record of owning. The shortsale seller might still be liable to someone if the banks and servicers continue to have their way with creating false chains of ownership. But the real tragedy is that the shortsale seller is probably getting the shaft on a false premise — I.e, that the mortgage or deed of trust had any validity to begin with. 

The shortsale Buyer is most probably buying a lawsuit along with the house. At some point, the huge gaps in the chain of title are going to cause lawyers in increasing numbers to object to title and demand that it be fixed or that the client be adequately covered by insurance arising from securitizatioin claims. Thus when the shortsale Buyer becomes a seller, that is when the problems will first start to surface.

Realtors understand this analysis whereas buyers from Canada and other places do not understand it. But realtors see shortsales as the salvation to their diminished incomes. Thus most realtors are incentivized to misrepresent the risk factors and the title issues in favor of controlling the buyer and the seller into accepting pre-established criteria published by the members of Equator. It is securitization all over again, it is MERS all over again, it is a further corruption of our title system and it is avoiding the main issue — making the victims of this fraud whole even if it takes every penny the banks have. Realtors who ignore this can expect that they and their insurance carriers will be part of the gang of targeted deep pockets when lawyers smell the blood on the floor and go after the perpetrators.

Latest Changes to The Bank of America Short Sale Process

by Melissa Zavala

When processing short sales, it’s important to know about how each of the lending institutions handles loss mitigation and paperwork processing. If you have done a few short sales in Equator with different lenders, you may see what while your same Equator account is used for all your short sales at all the lending institutions, each of the servicers uses the platforms in a different manner.

Using the Equator system

When processing short sales, it’s important to know about how each of the lending institutions handles loss mitigation and paperwork processing. Many folks already know that Equator is the online platform used by 5 major lenders (Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Nationstar, GMAC, and Service One). If you have done a few short sales in Equator with different lenders, you may see what while your same Equator account is used for all your short sales at all the lending institutions, each of the servicers uses the platforms in a different manner.

And, my hat goes off to Bank of America for really raising the bar when it comes to short sale processing online. And, believe me, after processing short sales with Bank of America in 2007, this change is much appreciated.

New Bank of America Short Sale Process

Effective April 13, 2012, Bank of America made a few major changes that may make our short sale processing times more efficient.  The goal of these changes is to make short sale processing through Equator (the Internet-based platform) at Bank of America so efficient that short sale approval can be received in less than one month.

First off, Bank of America now requires their new third party authorization for all short sales being processed through the Equator system. Additionally, the folks at Bank of America will be working to improve task flow for short sales in Equator by making some minor changes to the process.

According to the Bank of America website,

Now you are required to upload five documents (which you can obtain at www.bankofamerica.com/realestateagent) for short sales initiated with an offer:

  • Purchase Contract including Buyer’s Acknowledgment and Disclosure
  • HUD-1
  • IRS Form 4506-T
  • Bank of America Short Sale Addendum
  • Bank of America Third-Party Authorization Form

And, now, you will have only 5 days to submit a backup offer if your buyer has flown the coop.

The last change is a curious one, especially for short sale listing agents, since it often takes awhile to find a new buyer after you learn that the current buyer has changed his or her mind.

Short sale listings agents should be familiar with these changes in order to assure that they are providing their client with the most efficient short sale experience possible.


Like I said, the loans never made into the “pools”

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Editor’s Comment:

When I first suggested that securitization itself was a lie, my comments were greeted with disbelief and derision. No matter. When I see something I call it the way it is. The loans never left the launch pad, much less flew into a waiting pool of investor money. The whole thing was a scam and AG Biden of Đelaware and Schniedermann of New York are on to it.

The tip of the iceberg is that the note was not delivered to the investors. The gravitas of the situation is that the investors were never intended to get the note, the mortgage or any documentation except a check and a distribution report. The game was on.

First they (the investment banks) took money from the investors on the false pretenses that the bonds were real when anyone with 6 months experience on Wall street could tell you this was not a bond for lots of reasons, the most basic of which was that there was no borrower. The prospectus had no loans because there were no loans made yet. The banks certainly wouldn’ t take the risks posed by this toxic heap of loans, so they were waiting for the investors to get conned. Once they had the money then they figured out how to keep as much of it as possible before even looking for residential home borrowers. 

None of the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code on REMICS were followed, nor were the requirements of the pooling and servicing agreement. The facts are simple: the document trail as written never followed the actual trail of actual transactions in which money exchanged hands. And this was simply because the loan money came from the investors apart from the document trail. The actual transaction between homeowner borrower and investor lender was UNDOCUMENTED. And the actual trail of documents used in foreclosures all contain declarations of fact concerning transactions that never happened. 

The note is “evidence” of the debt, not the debt itself. If the investor lender loaned money to the homeowner borrower and neither one of them signed a single document acknowledging that transaction, there is still an obligation. The money from the investor lender is still a loan and even without documentation it is a loan that must be repaid. That bit of legal conclusion comes from common law. 

So if the note itself refers to a transaction in which ABC Lending loaned the money to the homeowner borrower it is referring to a transaction that does not now nor did it ever exist. That note is evidence of an obligation that does not exist. That note refers to a transaction that never happened. ABC Lending never loaned the homeowner borrower any money. And the terms of repayment intended by the securitization documents were never revealed to the homeowner buyer. Therefore the note with ABC Lending is evidence of a non-existent transaction that mistates the terms of repayment by leaving out the terms by which the investor lender would be repaid.

Thus the note is evidence of nothing and the mortgage securing the terms of the note is equally invalid. So the investors are suing the banks for leaving the lenders in the position of having an unsecured debt wherein even if they had collateral it would be declining in value like a stone dropping to the earth.

And as for why banks who knew better did it this way — follow the money. First they took an undisclosed yield spread premium out of the investor lender money. They squirreled most of that money through Bermuda which ” asserted” jurisdiction of the transaction for tax purposes and then waived the taxes. Then the bankers created false entities and “pools” that had nothing in them. Then the bankers took what was left of the investor lender money and funded loans upon request without any underwriting.

Then the bankers claimed they were losing money on defaults when the loss was that of the investor lenders. To add insult to injury the bankers had used some of the investor lender money to buy insurance, credit default swaps and create other credit enhancements where they — not the investor lender —- were the beneficiary of a payoff based on the default of mortgages or an “event” in which the nonexistent pool had to be marked down in value. When did that markdown occur? Only when the wholly owned wholly controlled subsidiary of the investment banker said so, speaking as the ” master servicer.”

So the truth is that the insurers and counterparties on CDS paid the bankers instead of the investor lenders. The same thing happened with the taxpayer bailout. The claims of bank losses were fake. Everyone lost money except, of course, the bankers.

So who owns the loan? The investor lenders. Who owns the note? Who cares, it was worth less when they started; but if anyone owns it it is most probably the originating “lender” ABC Lending. Who owns the mortgage? There is no mortgage. The mortgage agreement was written and executed by the borrower securing terms of payment that were neither disclosed nor real.

Bank Loan Bundling Investigated by Biden-Schneiderman: Mortgages

By David McLaughlin

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Delaware’s Beau Biden are investigating banks for failing to package mortgages into bonds as advertised to investors, three months after a group of lenders struck a nationwide $25 billion settlement over foreclosure practices.

The states are pursuing allegations that some home loans weren’t correctly transferred into securitizations, undermining investors’ stakes in the mortgages, according to two people with knowledge of the probes. They’re also concerned about improper foreclosures on homeowners as result, said the people, who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. The probes prolong the fallout from the six-year housing bust that’s cost Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and other lenders more than $72 billion because of poor underwriting and shoddy foreclosures. It may also give ammunition to bondholders suing banks, said Isaac Gradman, an attorney and managing member of IMG Enterprises LLC, a mortgage-backed securities consulting firm.

“The attorneys general could create a lot of problems for the banks and for the trustees and for bondholders,” Gradman said. “I can’t imagine a better securities law claim than to say that you represented that these were mortgage-backed securities when in fact they were backed by nothing.”

Countrywide Faulted

Schneiderman said Bank of America Corp. (BAC)’s Countrywide Financial unit last year made errors in the way it packaged home loans into bonds, while investors have sued trustee banks, saying documentation lapses during mortgage securitizations can impair their ability to recover losses when homeowners default. Schneiderman didn’t sue Bank of America in connection with that criticism.

The Justice Department in January said it formed a group of federal officials and state attorneys general to investigate misconduct in the bundling of mortgage loans into securities. Schneiderman is co-chairman with officials from the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The next month, five mortgage servicers — Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), Citigroup Inc. (C), JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Ally Financial Inc. (ALLY) — reached a $25 billion settlement with federal officials and 49 states. The deal pays for mortgage relief for homeowners while settling claims against the servicers over foreclosure abuses. It didn’t resolve all claims, leaving the lenders exposed to further investigations into their mortgage operations by state and federal officials.

Top Issuers

The New York and Delaware probes involve banks that assembled the securities and firms that act as trustees on behalf of investors in the debt, said one of the people and a third person familiar with the matter.

The top issuers of mortgage securities without government backing in 2005 included Bank of America’s Countrywide Financial unit, GMAC, Bear Stearns Cos. and Washington Mutual, according to trade publication Inside MBS & ABS. Total volume for the top 10 issuers was $672 billion. JPMorgan acquired Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual in 2008.

The sale of mortgages into the trusts that pool loans may be void if banks didn’t follow strict requirements for such transfers, Biden said in a lawsuit filed last year over a national mortgage database used by banks. The requirements for transferring documents were “frequently not complied with” and likely led to the failure to properly transfer loans “on a large scale,” Biden said in the complaint.

“Most of this was done under the cover of darkness and anything that shines a light on these practices is going to be good for investors,” Talcott Franklin, an attorney whose firm represents mortgage-bond investors, said about the state probes.

Critical to Investors

Proper document transfers are critical to investors because if there are defects, the trusts, which act on behalf of investors, can’t foreclose on borrowers when they default, leading to losses, said Beth Kaswan, an attorney whose firm, Scott + Scott LLP, represents pension funds that have sued Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (BK) and US Bancorp as bond trustees. The banks are accused of failing in their job to review loan files for missing and incomplete documents and ensure any problems were corrected, according to court filings.

“You have very significant losses in the trusts and very high delinquencies and foreclosures, and when you attempt to foreclose you can’t collect,” Kaswan said.

Laurence Platt, an attorney at K&L Gates LLP in Washington, disagreed that widespread problems exist with document transfers in securitization transactions that have impaired investors’ interests in mortgages.

“There may be loan-level issues but there aren’t massive pattern and practice problems,” he said. “And even when there are potential loan-level issues, you have to look at state law because not all states require the same documents.”

Fixing Defects

Missing documents don’t have to prevent trusts from foreclosing on homes because the paperwork may not be necessary, according to Platt. Defects in the required documents can be fixed in some circumstances, he said. For example, a missing promissory note, in which a borrower commits to repay a loan, may not derail the process because there are laws governing lost notes that allow a lender to proceed with a foreclosure, he said.

A review by federal bank regulators last year found that mortgage servicers “generally had sufficient documentation” to demonstrate authority to foreclose on homes.

Schneiderman said in court papers last year that Countrywide failed to transfer complete loan documentation to trusts. BNY Mellon, the trustee for bondholders, misled investors to believe Countrywide had delivered complete files, the attorney general said.

Hindered Foreclosures

Errors in the transfer of documents “hampered” the ability of the trusts to foreclose and impaired the value of the securities backed by the loans, Schneiderman said.

“The failure to properly transfer possession of complete mortgage files has hindered numerous foreclosure proceedings and resulted in fraudulent activities,” the attorney general said in court documents.

Bank of America faced similar claims from Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who accused the Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender of conducting foreclosures without authority in its role as mortgage servicer due improper document transfers. In an amended complaint last year, Masto said Countrywide failed to deliver original mortgage notes to the trusts or provided notes with defects.

The lawsuit was settled as part of the national foreclosure settlement, Masto spokeswoman Jennifer Lopez said.

Bank of America spokesman Rick Simon declined to comment about the claims made by states and investors. BNY Mellon performed its duties as defined in the agreements governing the securitizations, spokesman Kevin Heine said.

“We believe that claims against the trustee are based on a misunderstanding of the limited role of the trustee in mortgage securitizations,” he said.

Biden, in his complaint over mortgage database MERS, cites a foreclosure by Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) as trustee in which the promissory note wasn’t delivered to the bank as required under an agreement governing the securitization. The office is concerned that such errors led to foreclosures by banks that lacked authority to seize homes, one of the people said.

Renee Calabro, spokeswoman for Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank, declined to comment.

Investors have raised similar claims against banks. The Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System last year sued U.S. Bancorp as trustee for mortgage bonds sold by Bear Stearns. The bank “regularly disregarded” its duty as trustee to review loan files to ensure there were no missing or defective documents transferred to the trusts. The bank’s actions caused millions of dollars in losses on securities “that were not, in fact, legally collateralized by mortgage loans,” according to an amended complaint.

“Bondholders could have serious claims on their hands,” said Gradman. “You’re going to suffer a loss as bondholder if you can’t foreclose, if you can’t liquidate that property and recoup.”

Teri Charest, a spokeswoman for Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp (USB), said the bank isn’t liable and doesn’t know if any party is at fault in the structuring or administration of the transactions.

“If there was fault, this unhappy investor is seeking recompense from the wrong party,” she said. “We were not the sponsor, underwriter, custodian, servicer or administrator of this transaction.”

BLOOMBERG: GMAC CASE MAY ESTABLISH ANTI-BANK PRECEDENT

GMAC foreclosure case may set anti-bank precedent

Michael Riley, Bloomberg News

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

When James Renfro had to stop making payments on his two-story fixer-upper in Parma, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, he triggered events that were supposed to result in the forced sale of his home.

That Nov. 15 auction has been canceled because of defects in documents submitted by his loan servicer, Ally Financial Inc.’s GMAC Mortgage unit. Two affidavits about Renfro’s home were signed by Jeffrey Stephan, a GMAC employee who said in sworn depositions in Florida and Maine that he hadn’t read thousands of affidavits he’d signed.

Renfro’s case has created a showdown between GMAC and Ohio’s Attorney General Richard Cordray. Cordray has asked Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Nancy Russo not to let GMAC simply submit new documents to cure defects without consequences. He’s taken the same stand against Wells Fargo & Co., which has said it found defects in 55,000 foreclosures.

“This is just the first,” said Cordray, who filed an amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief in the Renfro case. He argued that Russo should punish GMAC for its conduct.

The judge in Cleveland set an accelerated schedule on Monday for evidence-gathering in the case, leading up to a Feb. 17 hearing on the integrity of the loan documents. Cordray’s office plans to file a motion today asking to take part in the case and participate in so-called discovery.

May speed cases

The precedent set by the case might hasten a settlement between home lenders and the attorneys general of the 50 U.S. states, who are investigating allegations of fraud in foreclosure filings. Those being probed include Wells Fargo, based in San Francisco, which has said it will refile foreclosure affidavits involving statements that “did not strictly adhere to the required procedures.”

In potentially thousands of cases across the United States, judges have the power to impose “sanctions, penalties, fines and even default,” as the banks try to submit substitute paperwork to proceed with flawed foreclosures, Cordray said.

“The banks want to wish this away and pretend like it doesn’t exist,” he said.

In September, Ally briefly suspended foreclosures in 23 states where there is judicial review and later announced an independent survey of foreclosure proceedings that would extend nationwide. After a review, the company began reinstating proceedings in cases it said didn’t involve errors.

Tom Goyda, a spokesman for Wells Fargo, said the lender would go ahead with plans to resubmit thousands of affidavits in cases nationwide, including Ohio. When judges seek information on documents already filed, “we will work with them to meet their concerns,” Goyda said.

Scope of robo signing

The 50-state investigation is focused on uncovering the scope of tainted foreclosures, including how what are being called robo signers processed documents they didn’t review, Cordray said. So far, investigators have identified “double figures of robo signers” working on behalf of lenders such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp., he said.

Such banks are conducting their own reviews to spot errors and determine how many cases with defects are involved. GMAC’s Stephan testified to signing as many as 10,000 documents a month. JPMorgan initially suspended foreclosures in 23 states affecting 56,000 cases to review potentially faulty documents.

Among the least appealing scenarios for the lenders is that affected cases will have to be examined, like the Renfro case, in individual courtrooms across the country, with the possibility of thousands of judges questioning robo signers and other loan processing officials.

Judge Russo said in an interview that until hearing the evidence, she has no way of telling whether the documents represent an error, negligence, or fraud, and that other judges will have to make the same time-consuming inquiries.

“If Ohio has 10,000 of these cases, there should be 10,000 hearings,” Russo said. “I’m sympathetic to the fact that it’s onerous for the lenders, but I still have to do my job.”

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Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/11/08/BUKL1G8UH4.DTL#ixzz14oAobg4Z

FORMS: Kentucky RICO Class Action v MERS, GMAC, DEUTSCH, Nationstar, Aurora, BAC, Citi, US Bank, LSR, DOCX, LPS, and attorneys

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“To the judges throughout the Commonwealth and to the homeowners, the foreclosing Plaintiff, a servicing company or “Trust” entity appears to be a bank or lender.    This falsity is due to its name in the style of the case.    They are not banks or lenders to the loan.    They are not a beneficiaries under the loan.    They do not possess a Mortgage in the property.    They will never have a right to posses a mortgage in the property.    It would have been a more honest representation for the foreclosing entity to called itself something like “Billy Bob’s Bill Collectors,”

10.03.10KENTUCKY RICOClassActionComplaint

Salient allegations in very well written complaint, although I still have some doubts about whether they will get the class certified. Kentucky is a non-judicial state”

“Come the Representative Plaintiffs, by counsel, on behalf of themselves and others so situated as putative class members pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23.    and for their Class Action Complaint against the name Defendants and yet to be named Defendants, make their claim for treble and punitive damages, costs and attorneys fees under 18 U.S.C. 1962 and 1964, otherwise known as the “racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act,” hereinafter (“RICO”) and for all violations of law heretofore claimed.

An ongoing criminal investigation has been in place in the state of Florida by both the Florida Attorney General and the Justice Department.    Upon information and belief, a parallel investigation is ongoing in the state of Kentucky and at least three other states.

Defendant Merscorp, Inc., is a foreign corporation created in or about 1998 by conspirators from the largest banks in the United States in order to undermine and eventually eviscerate long-standing principles of real property law, such as the requirement that any person or entity who seeks to foreclose upon a parcel of real property: 1) be in possession of the original note, 2) Have a publicly recorded mortage in the name of the party for whom the underlying debt is actually owed and who is the holder of the original Promissory Note with legally binding assignments, and 3) possess a written assignment giving he, she or it actual rights to the payments due from the borrower pursuant to both the mortgage and note.

MERS is unregistered and unlicensed to conduct mortgage lending or any other type of business in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and has been and continues to knowingly and intentionally illegally and fraudulently record mortgages and conduct business in Kentucky on a large scale and systematic fashion..

LSR Processing LLC, is a document processing company, based in the state of Ohio to generate loan and mortgage documents.    Upon information and belief it is owned by one or more of the partners of LSR law firm.    LSR Processing was created in order to facilitate the conspiratorial acts of the Defendants in relation to the creation of fraudulent Promissory Notes, Note Assignments, Affidavits and Mortgage Assignments LSR Processing has a pattern and practice of drafting missing mortgage and loan documents and in turn, having them executed by their own employees.

This case arises due to the fact that for the Class Plaintiff and the members of this putative class, their Mortgages and in some cases, the foreclosures that followed, were and will be based upon a mortgage and a note in the mortgage that are not held by the same entity or party and are based upon a mortgage that was flawed at the date of origination of the loan because Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (“MERS”) was named as the beneficiary or nominee of the lender on the mortgage or an assignee and because the naming of MERS as the beneficiary was done for the purpose of deception, fraud, harming the borrower and the theft of revenue from in all one hundred (120) Kentucky Counties through the illegal avoidance of mortgage recording fees. (e.s.)

In the case where a foreclosure has been filed, the entity filing the foreclosure has no pecuniary in the mortgage loan.    The foreclosing entity is a third party.    The entity lacks standing, and most times, the capacity to foreclose.    The entity has no first hand knowledge of the loan, no authority to testify or file affidavits as to the validity of the loan documents or the existence of the loan. The entity has no legal authority to draft mortgage assignments relating to the loan.    The foreclosing entity and its agents regularly commit perjury in relation to their testimony.

The “lender,” on the original Promissory Note was not the lender. The originators of the loan immediately and simultaneously securitized the note.    The beneficial interest in the note was never in the lender.    MERS, acting as the mortgagee or mortgage assignee, was never intended to be the lender nor did it represent the true lender of the funds for the mortgage. The Servicer, like GMAC Mortgage, or some party has or is about to declare the default, is not in privity with the lender.    The true owner or beneficiary of the mortgage loan has not declared a default and usually no longer have an interest in the note. The Servicer is not in privity nor does it have the permission of the beneficial owners of the Note to file suit on their behalf.

The obligations reflected by the note allegedly secured by the MERS mortgage have been satisfied in whole or in part because the investors who furnished the funding for these loans have been paid to the degree that extinguishment of the debts has occurred with the result that there exists no obligations on which to base any foreclosure on the property owned by the Class Plaintiffs. Defendants have and will cloud the title and illegally collect payments and attempt to foreclose upon the property of the Plaintiffs when they do not have lawful rights to foreclose, are not holders in due course of the notes.
42.    Any mortgage loan with a Mortgage recorded in the name of MERS, is at most, an unsecured debt.    The only parties entitled to collect on the unsecured debt would be the holders in due and beneficial owners of the original Promissory Note.
43.    The loan agreements were predatory and the Defendants made false representations to the Class Plaintiffs which induced the Class Plaintiffs to enter into the loans and the Defendants knew the representations were false when they were made.

In these cases, the property could be foreclosed by default, sold and transferred without ANY real party in interest having ever come to Court and with out the name of the “Trust” or the owners of the mortgage loan, ever having been revealed. Many times the Servicer will fraudulently keep the proceeds of the foreclosure sale under the terms of a Pooling and Servicing Agreement as the “Trust” no longer exists or has been paid off.    The Court and the property owner will never know that the property was literally stolen.
52.    After the property is disposed of in foreclosure, the real owners of the mortgage loan are still free to come to Court and lay claim to the mortgage loan for a second time.    These parties who may actually be owed money on the loan are now also the victims of the illegal foreclosure.    The purchaser of the property in foreclosure has a bogus and clouded title, as well as all other unsuspecting buyers down the line.    Title Insurance would be impossible to write on the property.

Although the Plaintiffs attempting to foreclosure refer to themselves as “Trustees” of a “Trust,” the entities are not “Trustees” nor “Trusts” as defined by Kentucky law.    Neither are the entities registered as Business Trusts or Business Trustees as required by Kentucky law. In every case, where one of these MBS have come to a Kentucky Court the entity foreclosing lacked capacity sue to file suit in the State of Kentucky.    There is no “Trust Agreement” in existence.    The entity filing has utilized a Kentucky legal term it has no right to use for the sole purpose of misleading the Court.
55.    Although the “Trust” listed may be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) as a Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (“REMIC”), more often than it is not properly registered in any state of the union as a Corporation, Business Trust, or any other type of corporate entity.    Therefore, the REMIC does not legally exist for purposes of capacity for filing a law suit in Kentucky or any other State.

The transfer of mortgage loans into the trust after the “cut off date” (in the example 2006), destroys the trust’s REMIC tax exempt status, and these “Trusts” (and potentially the financial entities who created them) would owe millions of dollars to the IRS and the Kentucky Revenue Cabinet as the income would be taxed at of one hundred percent (100%).
64.    Subsequent to the “cut off date” listed in the prospectus, whereby the mortgage notes and security for these notes had to be identified, and Note and Mortgages transferred,    and    thereafter, the pool is permanently closed to future transfers of mortgage assets.
65.    All Class members have mortgage loans which were recorded in the name of MERS and/or for which were attempted through a Mortgage Assignment to be transferred into a REMIC after that REMIC’s “cut off” and “closing dates.”
66.    In all cases, the lack of acquisition of the Class Members’ mortgage loans violates the prospectus presented to the investors and the IRS REMIC requirements.
67.    If an MBS Trust was audited by the IRS and was found to have violated any of the REMIC requirements, it would lose its REMIC status and all back taxes would be due and owing to the IRS as well as the state of Kentucky.    As previously stated, one hundred percent (100%) of the income will be taxed.

Wrongful Foreclosure Hits Cash Short-Sale Buyers Too: What? Ask Bank of America!

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“Here is a simpler explanation: the financial services industry is throwing more paper at the system than it can handle. So they are getting away with “representations” rather than solid evidence and proof. If Judges would require at least a copy of the title report, this case would not have occurred — at least not in its current form. Of course THAT requirement would mean that they were looking at the facts, the chain of title and other things that borrowers and their attorneys have been screaming about for years. And the self-serving false affidavits would be tested by actual requirements of proof rather than the current presumptions that Judges are using to clear their calendars.”

EDITOR’S COMMENT: It’s really very simple. This case is not a “mistake”, it is a fatal flaw in the country’s judicial system and a fatal flaw in the country’s property title system. We can kick the can down the road or deal with it.

If this case does not prove to Fort Lauderdale lawyers that there is gold in these wrongful foreclosures (which is virtually every single foreclosure that has ever been started or concluded in the last 9 years) then shame on them for depriving their families of the  riches and luxuries that the owners of the foreclosure mills currently under criminal investigation have enjoyed from their yachts, jets and other perks. Let me put it this way, lawyers, would you rather make $10,000 from a PI case or $100,000 from each wrongful foreclosure case? Do I need to draw you a picture?

This man paid cash and bought the house on a short-sale. The satisfaction of mortgage was recorded and ignored because it is less expensive to use a credit report than to pull down the traditional title report before foreclosure. The satisfaction was a nullity anyway since the party who signed it had no authority to do so and the company for whom the satisfaction of mortgage was signed was not the mortgagee. But the deed was valid transferring title to the new owner. THIS IS WHY YOU NEED the COMBO TITLE AND SECURITIZATION ANALYSIS 6 MONTH SUBSCRIPTION INCLUDES MEMBERSHIP.

So BOA through its brand new BAC (after acquiring Countrywide) forecloses on the house as though the OLD OWNER still owned it and as if the mortgage was a valid encumbrance, and as if the note was evidence of an obligation that was outstanding. They even submitted the same tired false affidavits that caused GMAC to suspend foreclosures.

It is obvious but needs to be stated that ANYONE in the law firm and any person who signed papers in connection with the mortgage that was foreclosed had no personal knowledge of anything because if they did they would have known that the house was sold for cash and that there was no mortgage, even on paper. It is even more obvious that nobody is actually doing their job — not the servicers, not the foreclosure mills, not even the Judges. If they did, there wouldn’t be any foreclosures. But then the billions being made on the new “industry” of foreclosures would stop and that would make some very wealthy people unhappy — especially if they now have to give that back as damages for wrongful foreclosure.

Here is the rub. The old owner does not own it anymore because the old owner signed a deed. But the original mortgage of record is clouded because it is still there and nobody with authority has signed anything to remove it. So now the new owner, who paid cash, must file a quiet title action and maybe a slander of title action, wrongful foreclosure action etc for damages, all because in the magic world of “securitization” the paper doesn’t move, the loan is not securitized, the pool doesn’t own it, the loan was table funded, and there was no valid encumbrance, even though the mortgage was recorded.

Here is a simpler explanation: the financial services industry is throwing more paper at the system than it can handle. So they are getting away with “representations” rather than solid evidence and proof. If Judges would require at least a copy of the title report, this case would not have occurred — at least not in its current form. Of course THAT requirement would mean that they were looking at the facts, the chain of title and other things that borrowers and their attorneys have been screaming about for years. And the self-serving false affidavits would be tested by actual requirements of proof rather than the current presumptions that Judges are using to clear their calendars.

see Man Pays Cash, BOA forecloses and Sells the Property

Foreclosure Wave Hits Cash Buyers, Too

with 29 comments

By James Kwak

Since most of you probably read Calculated Risk, you’ve probably seen the Sun Sentinel story of the man in Florida who paid cash for a house–and still lost it in a foreclosure. Not only that, but he bought the house in a short sale in December 2009, the foreclosure sale happened in July 2010, and only then did he learn about the foreclosure proceeding.

Even after that,

“Grodensky said he spent months trying to figure out what happened, but said his questions to Bank of America and to the law firm Florida Default Law Group that handled the foreclosure have not been answered. Florida Default Law Group could not be reached for comment, despite several attempts by phone and e-mail. . . .

“It wasn’t until last week, when Grodensky brought his problem to the attention of the Sun Sentinel, that it began to be resolved.”

Bank of America now says it will correct the error “at its own expense.” How gracious of them.

If the legal system simply allows Bank of America to correct errors, at cost and with ordinary damages, after they happen, this type of abuse will only get worse. There’s obviously no incentive for banks not to make mistakes, and as a result they will behave as aggressively as possible at every opportunity possible. Yes, this was probably incompetence, not malice, on the part of the bank. But if you don’t force companies to pay for the consequences of their incompetence, they will remain willfully incompetent, and the end result will be the same.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

Lauderdale man’s home sold out from under him in foreclosure mistake

By Harriet Johnson Brackey, Sun Sentinel

2:15 PM EDT, September 23, 2010

When Jason Grodensky bought his modest Fort Lauderdale home in December, he paid cash. But seven months later, he was surprised to learn that Bank of America had foreclosed on the house, even though Grodensky did not have a mortgage.

Grodensky knew nothing about the foreclosure until July, when he learned that the title to his home had been transferred to a government-backed lender. “I feel like I’m hanging in the wind and I’m scared to death,” said Grodensky. “How did some attorney put through a foreclosure illegally?”

Bank of America has acknowledged the error and will correct it at its own expense, said spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens.

Grodensky’s story and other tales of foreclosure mistakes started popping up recently across South Florida. This week, GMAC Mortgage, one of the nation’s largest mortgage servicers and a major mortgage lender, told real estate agents to stop evicting residents and suspend sales of properties that had been taken from homeowners in foreclosure. The company said it might have to “correct” some of its foreclosures, but was not halting those in process.

In Florida courts, which have been swamped with foreclosure cases for several years, mistakes “happen all the time,” said foreclosure defense attorney Matt Weidner in St. Petersburg. “It’s just not getting reported.”

And the legal efforts required to resolve a foreclosure mistake are complicated. “Unwrapping it is like unwrapping Fort Knox,” said Carol Asbury, a Fort Lauderdale foreclosure attorney. “It’s very difficult.”

The process is under increasing scrutiny, as Florida’s court system struggles with the mountain of cases that have resulted from the housing crisis.

Grodensky said he spent months trying to figure out what happened but said his questions to Bank of America and to the law firm Florida Default Law Group that handled the foreclosure have not been answered. Florida Default Law Group could not be reached for comment, despite several attempts by phone and e-mail. Grodensky said he has filed a claim with his title insurance company, but that, too, has not resulted in any action.

It wasn’t until last week, when Grodensky brought his problem to the attention of the Sun Sentinel, that it began to be resolved.

“It looks like it was a mistake in communication between us and the attorneys handling the foreclosure,” said Bauwens.

Court records show Countrywide Home Loans filed a foreclosure case in Broward County civil court against the former owner of the home on Southwest 14th Street in 2008. Bank of America took over Countrywide at the end of that year.

The following year, Grodensky and his father Steven bought the house for cash as an investment property. Jason Grodensky’s brother Kenny Sloan lives in the house now. They negotiated a short sale, which means the lender agreed to accept less than the mortgage amount. Documents show the sale proceeds were wired to Bank of America. The sale was recorded in December 2009 at the Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office.

But in court, the foreclosure case continued, the records show. There was a motion to dismiss the case in July, followed the next day by a motion to re-open it. A court-ordered foreclosure sale took place July 15. The property appraiser’s office recorded the transfer of the title to Fannie Mae the same day.

Bauwens said the lender would go back to court to rescind the foreclosure sale.

Broward Chief Judge Victor Tobin, who set up the county court’s foreclosure system, said this is the first he’s heard of this type of mistake. “From the court’s point of view we have no way of knowing that someone sells a house unless they tell us,” said Tobin. “The bank would first have to tell the lawyers and the lawyers would presumably ask the court for an order dismissing the case.”

Tobin said the court system is under pressure to clear up its foreclosure backlog. This year, the state court system pumped $6 million into the effort, hiring more temporary judges and staffers.

Some say there’s too much effort aimed at simply disposing of the cases.

“The evidence doesn’t matter, the proof doesn’t matter, due process doesn’t matter,” said Asbury, the attorney. “The only thing that matters is that they get rid of these cases.”

Mindy Watson-Cintron of Century 21 Tenace Realty said she was unable to stop a foreclosure even though she had a willing buyer for a Coral Springs home last summer. Watson-Cintron had a letter from GMAC Mortgage, agreeing to sell the house in a short sale. The letter indicates the deal would be accepted through Aug. 20.

Watson-Cintron said she called, pleaded and even spent three hours one day in the lobby of the law offices of David Stern in Plantation trying to get someone to agree to put the foreclosure on hold. Stern’s office is one of the nation’s largest foreclosure firms and, Watson-Citron said, represented GMAC in the foreclosure case.

But the foreclosure continued. The lender took back the home and now has it listed for sale — at a lower price than Watson-Cintron’s buyer offered. “The bank’s not talking to the attorneys and the attorneys are not talking to the courts,” she said.

Stern could not be reached for comment despite several attempts by phone and e-mail to his office. A spokesman for GMAC Mortgage promised to look into the case.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is investigating Stern’s firm, Florida Legal Default Group, based in Tampa, the Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson in Fort Lauderdale and Shapiro & Fishman, which has offices in Boca Raton. Officials have said the investigation centers on whether foreclosure documents submitted by these firms were false, misleading or inaccurate.

In announcing its decision this week to halt evictions and suspend sales in foreclosure cases, GMAC cited a deposition by Jeffrey Stephan in a Palm Beach foreclosure case in which Stephan said he did not verify all the documents and did not sign them all in the presence of a notary. Stephan said he signed as many as 10,000 documents a month.

Some foreclosure defense attorneys have questioned whether similar practices involve other lenders as they push huge numbers of foreclosures through the courts. In one South Florida foreclosure case, Chase Home Finance executive Beth Cottrell said in a deposition in May that her team of eight supervisors signs 18,000 documents a month. Chase’s spokesperson did not comment.

Harriet Johnson Brackey can be reached at hjbrackey@SunSentinel.com or 954-356-4614.

GMAC Drew `False Testimony’ Sanction Years Before Eviction Halt

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The sharks are circling. Industry practices for the past ten years have been based upon intentional misrepresentation. If their lips were moving, if they submitted a document, they were lying.

The lawyers, the banks and the individual people who signed any of these documents are in serious trouble along with those who witnessed and notarized their signatures. The people who prepared these documents face the worst consequences.

For those of you seeking payment of monetary damages remember that errors and commissions policies normally exclude intentional acts of fraud. So your claim should be based upon the gross negligence of the perpetrators rather than an intentional act if you want the insurance coverage. It’s not hard to allege that since they probably knew something was wrong but accepted assurances from people they trusted. Notaries and others involved in this process a re normally insured, at least up to a point.

AND the companies that employed them to notarize thousands of documents in blank are liable under a number of long-standing solid common-law theories of tort, breach of fiduciary obligation and other causes of action, many of which are covered by insurance as well.

GMAC Drew `False Testimony’ Sanction Years Before Eviction Halt
By Dakin Campbell and Lorraine Woellert – Sep 23, 2010 8:46 AM ET

Ally Said to Tell Freddie Mac of Faulty Foreclosures

Fannie Mae , the largest government-backed mortgage firm, said it notified lawyers of flaws in GMAC documentation after it was alerted. Photographer: Bradley C. Bower/Bloomberg

Ally Financial Inc.’s GMAC Mortgage unit, which suspended evictions in 23 states last week after finding employees didn’t verify foreclosure documents, was sanctioned in 2006 for similar practices, court records show.

GMAC gave “false testimony” when it justified foreclosures by submitting sworn affidavits signed by a mortgage executive who later said in a deposition she didn’t actually review the loan documents or sign in the presence of a notary, according to a 2006 court order filed in Duval County, Florida. In response to the sanctions, GMAC Mortgage directed employees to “read and fully understand” court documents before signing.

“Do not sign unless you have that comfort level,” said a policy directive from GMAC Mortgage’s James Barden, then- associate counsel for the legal staff. “It is the integrity of our cases that is at stake and we cannot afford anything less than full accuracy.”

GMAC Mortgage is facing new allegations in court documents that it evicted homeowners without verifying that borrowers actually defaulted or whether the firm had legal standing to seize the homes. Ally, the Detroit-based auto and home lender, said this week it found a “technical” deficiency in its foreclosure process allowing employees to sign documents without a notary present or with information they didn’t personally know was true.

Loan Industry

Ally declined to say how many loans may be affected. The firm, formerly known as GMAC Inc., ranked fourth among U.S. home-loan originators in the first six months of this year with $26 billion, and fifth among loan servicers, with a $349.1 billion portfolio, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, an industry newsletter. It’s also the beneficiary of more than $17 billion in U.S. bailout funds.

Servicers conduct billing and collections on mortgages, sometimes for other firms that actually own the loans, and handle foreclosures when borrowers default.

Gina Proia, a spokeswoman for Ally, confirmed that a policy directive was issued in 2006, “but we recently became aware of a breakdown in the process. The process has since been addressed and the prior practice is no longer taking place.”

Mark Paustenbach, a spokesman for the U.S. Treasury Department, which owns 56.3 percent of Ally, declined to comment. Kim Fennebresque, a director named by the Treasury to serve as an independent board member, didn’t return calls.

In a statement earlier this week, Proia said “the entire situation is unfortunate and regrettable and GMAC Mortgage is diligently working to resolve the situation,” and that “there was never any intent on the part of GMAC Mortgage to bypass court rules or procedures.” Florida was among the 23 states where evictions have been halted.

Verification

Lawyers defending borrowers have accused mortgage firms including GMAC and JPMorgan Chase & Co. of foreclosing on homeowners without making proper efforts to verify the accuracy of the documents. In foreclosure cases, companies typically file affidavits to start court proceedings. Affidavits are statements written and sworn in the presence of someone authorized to administer an oath, such as a notary public.

The 2006 case stems from a GMAC Mortgage foreclosure that began in August 2004 on a home owned by Robert and Lillian Jackson. The filing included an affidavit signed by a GMAC officer laying out the amount owed on the loan.

Florida Circuit Court Judge Bernard Nachman sanctioned GMAC in May 2006, saying that the company “submitted false testimony to the court in the form of affidavits of indebtedness.” The company was ordered to submit an explanation and confirmation that the policies were changed, and told to pay defendants’ legal costs of $8,135.55.

Legal Directive

GMAC’s legal department issued a statement afterward that told employees “not to sign verifications on court pleading documents unless you have independently reviewed and checked the facts.” The policy, distributed in June 2006, also stated in italics and boldface that employees should sign documents only in the presence of a notary. GMAC told the court four years ago that the policies were “being corrected.”

In December 2009, a GMAC Mortgage employee said in a deposition that his team of 13 people signed about 10,000 affidavits and other foreclosure documents a month without verifying their accuracy. The employee’s supervisor is the same executive sanctioned in the 2006 case.

GMAC’s internal review discovered the new discrepancies “a few months ago” and halted the practice, according to Proia’s statement earlier this week. Barden, who wrote the 2006 directive, and the two employees still work at GMAC, Proia said. Barden didn’t return a request for comment left on his work phone.

GMAC Impact

“They’re acting like this is a new problem,” said O. Max Gardner III, a bankruptcy attorney at Gardner & Gardner PLLC in Shelby, North Carolina, who isn’t directly involved in either GMAC case. “It’s the exact same thing,” Gardner said. “This is not just a GMAC problem. This is an industry-wide problem.”

Deborah Rhode, a Stanford University law professor and director of the school’s Center on the Legal Profession, said GMAC Mortgage’s behavior may amount to misleading the court.

“It’s not ‘technical’ when people attest under oath to knowledge they don’t have, and it doesn’t matter that in fact there isn’t actual error or discrepancy,” Rhode said. “Any court would take this very seriously.”

Judges could decide to dismiss the foreclosures, sanction the attorneys and company or levy a “substantial” financial penalty that would “get their attention,” she said.

The U.S. took control of Ally as part of a larger effort to prop up auto manufacturers. On a national level, regulators and lawmakers are trying to persuade bankers to avert foreclosures as seizures of homes by banks set records. Bank repossessions climbed 25 percent in August from a year earlier to 95,364, according to RealtyTrac Inc., the Irvine, California-based data provider.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dakin Campbell in San Francisco at dcampbell27@bloomberg.net; Lorraine Woellert in Washington at lwoellert@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alec McCabe at amccabe@bloomberg.net. Lawrence Roberts at lroberts13@bloomberg.net.

YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO CASH PAYMENT FOR WRONGFUL FORECLOSURE — Coming to a Billboard Near YOU

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Well it has finally happened. Three years ago I couldn’t get a single lawyer anywhere to consider this line of work. I predicted that this area of expertise in their practice would dwarf anything they were currently doing including personal injury and malpractice. I even tried to guarantee fees to lawyers and they wouldn’t take it. Now there are hundreds, if not thousands of lawyers who are either practicing in this field or are about to take the plunge. The early adopters who attended my workshops and read my materials, workbooks and bought the DVD’s are making some serious money and have positioned themselves perfectly ahead of the crowd.

Congratulations, everyone, it was the readers who made this happen. Without your support I would not have been able to reach the many thousands of homeowners and lawyers and government officials whoa re now turning the corner in their understanding of this mess and their willingness to do something about it.

The article below from Streitfeld sounds like it was written by me. No attribution though. No matter. The message is out. The foreclosures were and are wrongful, illegal, immoral and the opposite of any notion we have of justice. They were dressed up to look right and they got way with it for years because so many homeowners simply gave up convinced they had only to blame themselves for getting into a raw deal. Those homeowners who gave up were wrong and now they will find themselves approached by lawyers who will promise them return of the house they lost or damages for the wrongful foreclosure. When you left, you thought your loan had not been paid and that the notice you received was legitimate. You were wrong on both counts. The loan had been paid, there were other people who had signed up for liability along with you to justify the price on steroids that was sold to your lender (investor).

For those who are just catching up, here it is in a nutshell: Borrower signs a note to ABC Corp., which says it is the lender but isn’t. So you start right away with the wrong party named on the note and mortgage (deed of trust) PLUS the use of a meaningless nominee on the mortgage (deed of trust) which completely invalidates the documents and clouds the title. Meanwhile the lender gets a mortgage bond NOT SIGNED BY THE BORROWER. The bond says that this new “entity” (which usually they never bothered to actually form) will pay them from “receivables.” The receivables include but ARE NOT LIMITED TO the payments from the borrower who accepted funding of a loan. These other parties are there to justify the fact that the loan was sold at a huge premium to the lender without disclosure to either the borrower or the lender. (The tier 2 Yield Spread Premium that raises some really juicy causes of action under TILA, RESPA and the 10b-5 actions, including treble damages, attorney fees and restitution).

And and by the way for the more sophisticated lawyers, now would be the time to sharpen up your defense skills and your knowledge of administrative laws. Hundreds of thousands of disciplinary actions are going to filed against the professionally licensed people who attended the borrower’s “closing” and who attended the closing with the “lender.” With their livelihood at stake, their current arrogance will morph into abject fear. Here is your line when you quote them fees: “Remember that rainy day you were saving up for? Well, it’s raining!” Many lawyers and homeowners are going to realize that they have easy pickings when they bring administrative grievances in quasi criminal proceedings (don’t threaten it, that’s a crime, just do it) which results in restitution funded by the professional liability insurer. careful about the way you word the grievance. Don’t go overboard or else the insurance carrier will deny coverage based upon the allegation of an intentional act. You want to allege gross negligence.

EVERYBODY in the securitization structure gets paid premium money to keep their mouth shut and money changes hands faster than one of those street guys who moves shells or cards around on a table. Yes everyone gets paid — except the borrower who never got the benefit of his the bargain he signed up for — a home worth whatever they said it was worth at closing. It wasn’t worth that and it will never be worth that and everyone except the borrower knew it with the possible exception of some lenders who didn’t care because the other people who the borrower knew nothing about, had “guaranteed” the value of the lender’s investment and minimized the risk to the level of “cash equivalent” AAA-rated.

The securitization “partners” did not dot their “i’s” nor cross their “t’s.” And that is what the article below is about. But they failed to do that for a reason. They didn’t care about the documents because they never had any intention of using them anyway. It was all a scam cleverly disguised as a legitimate part of the home mortgage industry. It was instead a Ponzi scheme without any of the attributes of real appraisals, real underwriting reviews and committees and decisions. They bought the signature of the borrowers by promising the moon and they sold the apparent existence of signature (which in many cases) did not even exist) to Lenders by promising the stars.

And now, like it wasn’t news three years ago when we first brought it up, suddenly mainstream media is picking up the possibility that  the foreclosures were all fraudulent also. The pretender lenders were intentionally and knowingly misrepresenting themselves as lenders in order to grab property that didn’t belong to them and to which they had no rights — to the detriment of both the borrowers and the lenders. And some judges, government officials and even lawyers appear to be surprised by that, are you?

———–

GMAC’s Errors Leave Foreclosures in Question

By DAVID STREITFELD

The recent admission by a major mortgage lender that it had filed dubious foreclosure documents is likely to fuel a furor against hasty foreclosures, which have prompted complaints nationwide since housing prices collapsed.

Lawyers for distressed homeowners and law enforcement officials in several states on Friday seized on revelations by GMAC Mortgage, the country’s fourth-largest home loan lender, that it had violated legal rules in its rush to file many foreclosures as quickly as possible.

Attorneys general in Iowa and North Carolina said they were beginning separate investigations of the lender, and the attorney general in California directed the company to suspend all foreclosures in that state until it “proves that it’s following the letter of the law.”

The federal government, which became the majority owner of GMAC after supplying $17 billion to prevent the lender’s failure, said Friday that it had told the company to clean up its act.

Florida lawyers representing borrowers in default said they would start filing motions as early as next week to have hundreds of foreclosure actions dismissed.

While GMAC is the first big lender to publicly acknowledge that its practices might have been improper, defense lawyers and consumer advocates have long argued that numerous lenders have used inaccurate or incomplete documents to remove delinquent owners from their houses.

The issue has broad consequences for the millions of buyers of foreclosed homes, some of whom might not have clear title to their bargain property. And it may offer unforeseen opportunities for those who were evicted.

“You know those billboards that lawyers put up seeking divorcing or bankrupt clients?” asked Greg Clark, a Florida real estate lawyer. “It’s only a matter of time until they start putting up signs that say, ‘You might be entitled to cash payment for wrongful foreclosure.’ ”

The furor has already begun in Florida, which is one of the 23 states where foreclosures must be approved by courts. Nearly half a million foreclosures are in the Florida courts, overwhelming the system.

J. Thomas McGrady, chief judge in the foreclosure hotbed of St. Petersburg, said the problems went far beyond GMAC. Four major law firms doing foreclosures for lenders are under investigation by the Florida attorney general.

“Some of what the lenders are submitting in court is incompetent, some is just sloppy,” said Judge McGrady of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Clearwater, Fla. “And somewhere in there could be a fraudulent element.”

In many cases, the defaulting homeowners do not hire lawyers, making problems generated by the lenders hard to detect.

“Documents are submitted, and there’s no one to really contest whether it is accurate or not,” the judge said. “We have an affidavit that says it is, so we rely on that. But then later we may find out that someone lost their home when they shouldn’t have. We don’t like that.”

GMAC, which is based in Detroit and is now a subsidiary of Ally Financial, first put the spotlight on its procedures when it told real estate agents and brokers last week that it was immediately and indefinitely stopping all evictions and sales of foreclosed property in the states — generally on the East Coast and in the Midwest — where foreclosures must be approved by courts.

That was a highly unusual move. So was the lender’s simultaneous withdrawal of important affidavits in pending cases. The affidavits were sworn statements by GMAC officials that they had personal knowledge of the foreclosure documents.

The company played down its actions, saying the defects in its foreclosure filings were “technical.” It has declined to say how many cases might be affected.

A GMAC spokeswoman also declined to say Friday whether the company would stop foreclosures in California as the attorney general, Jerry Brown, demanded. Foreclosures in California are not judicial.

GMAC’s vague explanations have been little comfort to some states.

“We cannot allow companies to systematically flout the rules of civil procedure,” said one of Iowa’s assistant attorneys general, Patrick Madigan. “They’re either going to have to hire more people or the foreclosure process is going to have to slow down.”

GMAC began as the auto financing arm of General Motors. During the housing boom, it made a heavy bet on subprime borrowers, giving loans to many people who could not afford a house.

“We have discussed the current situation with GMAC and expect them to take prompt action to correct any errors,” said Mark Paustenbach, a spokesman for the Treasury Department.

GMAC appears to have been forced to reveal its problems in the wake of several depositions given by Jeffrey Stephan, the team leader of the document execution unit in the lender’s Fort Washington, Pa., offices.

Mr. Stephan, 41, said in one deposition that he signed as many as 10,000 affidavits and other foreclosure documents a month; in another he said it was 6,000 to 8,000.

The affidavits state that Mr. Stephan, in his capacity as limited signing officer for GMAC, had examined “all books, records and documents” involved in the foreclosure and that he had “personal knowledge” of the relevant facts.

In the depositions, Mr. Stephan said he did not do this.

In a June deposition, a lawyer representing a foreclosed household put it directly: “So other than the due date and the balances due, is it correct that you do not know whether any other part of the affidavit that you sign is true?”

“That could be correct,” Mr. Stephan replied.

Mr. Stephan also said in depositions that his signature had not been notarized when he wrote it, but only later, or even the next day.

GMAC said Mr. Stephan was not available for an interview. The lender said its “failures” did not “reflect any disrespect for our courts or the judicial processes.”

Margery Golant, a Boca Raton, Fla., foreclosure defense lawyer, said GMAC “has cracked open the door.”

“Judges used to look at us strangely when we tried to tell them all these major financial institutions are lying,” said Ms. Golant, a former associate general counsel for the lender Ocwen Financial.

Her assistants were reviewing all of the law firm’s cases Friday to see whether GMAC had been involved. “Lawyers all over Florida and I’m sure all over the country are drafting pleadings,” she said. “We’ll file motions for sanctions and motions to dismiss the case for fraud on the court.”

For homeowners in foreclosure, the admissions by GMAC are bringing hope for resolution.

One such homeowner is John Turner, a commercial airline pilot based near Detroit. Three years ago he bought a Florida condo, thinking he would move down there with a girlfriend. The relationship fizzled, his finances dwindled, and the place went into foreclosure.

GMAC called several times a week, seeking its $195,000. Mr. Turner says he tried to meet the lender halfway but failed. Last week it put his case in limbo by withdrawing the affidavit.

“We should be able to come to an agreement that’s beneficial to both of us,” Mr. Turner said. “I feel like I’m due something.”

Fla Ct Finds JP Morgan Intentionally and Knowingly Committed Fraud on The Court

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As basis for the legal case, WaMu had submitted an assignment of mortgage, which however the court just found never actually belonged to WaMu, and instead was carried on the books of Fannie Mae.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s an old story to us but it’s news to everyone else. Yes it IS fraud, and all you have to do is look, inquire and aggressively press the opposition.

Just like Wells Fargo in Massachusetts, GMAC now in 23 states so far, the story is always the same — the lawyer doesn’t know who he/she represents and doesn’t care, the documents submitted are fabricated and forged and the representation that the would-be forecloser is a creditor is a plan and simple lie — only revealed AFTER they are pressed to support their claim of standing, real party in interest, holder of the note etc.

ALL the foreclosures and notices of sale, motions to lift stay, motions for summary judgment start the same way. Some party picked at random from the securitization chain comes in and starts a foreclosure sale (non-judicial) or a foreclosure lawsuit after documents are fabricated showing a chain of title that never happened and doesn’t exist.

MOST of the time borrowers and the Courts are intimidated by the presence of a “Bank” (which is neither acting as a bank nor was it the lender, creditor, or payee at any point in the process of the closing of the transaction between the homeowner as borrower and the investor as lender).

SOME of the time, borrowers are successful in their challenges to the foreclosure. The reason is not that the rest of the foreclosures are proper, right, legal or equitable. The reason is that in those cases where the borrower is successful they managed to get the Judge to pause long enough to actually look at the documents being presented and to allow the borrower to inquire as to their authenticity and authority. If there is such an inquiry the borrower wins. If there is no such inquiry, the borrower loses.

ALL of the proceedings in which foreclosures were initiated in both non-judicial and judicial states are fatally defective and has resulted in a pile of debris called “title” when in fact no title has been transferred, no credit bid was ever submitted and no deed was issued with authority from a party who possessed the right to convey title.

Each day an angry judge realizes he/she has been duped for years by these antics of people he knew and trusted. Criminal acts, contemptuous of the law and the Courts have been committed in millions of foreclosures.

None of the agencies that are charged with responsibility to regulate the activities of these banks, institutions or companies has lifted a finger to impose existing rules and regulations that were designed to prevent this behavior and punish it when it occurs. None of the Courts want to apply clear Federal law on the subject in the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act. Because when it comes right down to it, the facts unfolding in the lead news stories and in the court orders being entered are downright unthinkable.

We have now come to that fork in the road where we must stop anyone who asks”why would they lie?” and simply admit that it has ALL been a BIG LIE and we have been living this lie for 10 years, hence the name of this blog.

So there is no mistake about it I am stating the opinion that NONE of the foreclosure sales on residential property in which the loan was originated as part of a securitization scheme are valid. They are void. If you think you lost your home you’re wrong no matter what anyone tells you. Any lawyer who studies this instead of responding from a knee-jerk “I remember that issue from law school” will come to the same conclusion — the title chain is not just clouded, it is fatally defective. That means the foreclosures were void according to existing law. It is the same effect as if I signed a warranty deed conveying title to YOUR home now. Such a document might LOOK good, but it is fraudulent, because I don’t have the title to convey much less warrant that it is good title. But if Judge won’t let you speak or won’t even consider the possibility that I would flat out lie and file a totally fraudulent deed, I’ll win and you’ll lose. That’s what is happening.

JPMorgan Brings Foreclosure Case In Mortgage In Which It Was Just A Servicer, Court Finds Bank Committed Fraud

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/16/2010 16:37 -0500

An interesting development out of Jean Johnson, Circuit Judge in Duval Country, Florida, where in a case filed by JPMorgan/WaMu, as Plaintiff, and law firm of Shapiro and Fishman, attempted to evict defendants Hank and Marilyn Pocopanni. As basis for the legal case, WaMu had submitted an assignment of mortgage, which however the court just found never actually belonged to WaMu, and instead was carried on the books of Fannie Mae.

Once this was uncovered is where this case gets really interesting: In point 5 of the filing we read that the “plaintiff predecessor counsel made “clerical errors” when it represented to the Court that the plaintiff was the owner and holder of the note and mortgage rather than the servicer for the owner.”  Which means that only Fannie had the right to foreclose upon the Pocopannis, yet JPM, as servicer, decided to take that liberty itself.

And here the Judge got really angry: “The court finds WAMU, with the assistance of its previous counsel, Shapiro and Fishman, submitted the assignment when [they] knew that only Fannie Mae was entitled to foreclose on the Mortgage, and that WAMU never owned or held the note and Mortgage.” And, oops, “the Court finds by clear and convincing evidence that WAMU, Chase and Shapiro & Fishman committed fraud on this Court” and that these “acts committed by WAMU, Chase and Shapiro amount to a “knowing deception intended to prevent the defendants from discovery essential to defending the claim” and are therefore fraud.

While the Judge in this case did not also find declaratory damages against the plaintiff, and while the case of the defendants is unclear (we would expect Fannie to file a foreclosure act on its own soon enough), the question of just how pervasive this form of “fraud” in the judicial system is certainly relevant. Because if JPM takes the liberty of foreclosing on mortgages as merely servicer, when it has no legal ground for such an action, who knows how many such cases the legal system is currently clogged up with. The implications for the REO and foreclosures track for banks could be dire as a result of this ruling, as this could severely impact the ongoing attempt by banks to hide as much excess inventory in their books in the quietest way possible.

Our advice to any party caught in a foreclosure process is to immediately go to www.fnma.com and use the Lookup Tool to see if Fannie is still mortgage owner of record, if a foreclosure suit has been brought up by a plaintiff other than the GSE. (Editor’s Note: He’s not exactly right here. All you will know is that FNMA claims on its site that it is the owner. The “owner of record” is the party who shows up in the title search of the only place that counts — the county recording office — which is why we tell everyone to get that from us or another party. 99 times out of 100 the “owner of record” is the originating lender who is often out of business — and THAT is why I insist on repeating that these loans are not and never were secured and that no security instrument has ever or could be filed for perfecting a lien on the home.)

We are confident quite a few other such cases will promptly appear.

GMAC HALTS FORECLOSURES ADMITTING FALSE AFFIDAVITS

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From testimony in a Chase case, same as dozens of others I have seen —-

Q. So if you didn’t review any books, records, and documents or computerized records, how is it that you had personal knowledge of all the matters contained therein?

A. Well, I have personal knowledge that my staff has personal knowledge. That is our process.

KEEP IN MIND that these admitted facts now are the same facts treated with incredulity and derision from the bench and opposing counsel. The Judges were wrong. The foreclosures were wrong. Now what? How will homeowners and counsel be treated in court now? Will the Judge still think the homeowner is trying to get out of a legitimate debt or will the Courts start to allow these cases to heard on their MERITS instead of improper PRESUMPTIONS? Will the courts start following rules of evidence or will they continue to give the “benefit of the doubt” (i.e., and improper presumption) to the foreclosure mill that fabricated documents with false affidavits?

The tide is turning from defending borrowers to prosecuting damage claims for slander of title, fraud, appraisal fraud, and criminal prosecutions by state, local and federal law enforcement. GMAC is only the first of the pretender lenders to admit the false representations contained in pleadings and affidavits. The methods used to to obtain foreclosure sales were common throughout the industry. The law firms and fabrication mills will provide precious little cover for the culprits whose interests they served. AND now that millions of homes were foreclosed, their position is set and fixed — they can no longer “fix” the problem by manipulating the documents.

The bottom line is that GMAC mortgagors who “lost” their homes still own them, as I have repeatedly opined on these pages. The damages are obvious and the punitive damages available are virtually inevitable. Maybe Judges will change their minds about applying TILA and RESPA, both of which amply cover this situation. Maybe those teeth in those statutes do NOT lead to windfall gains for homeowners but only set things right.

These people can move back into their homes in my opinion and even taken possession from those who allegedly purchased them, since the title was based upon a fatal defect in the chain. Whether these people will end up owing any money and whether they might still be subject to foreclosure from SOMEBODY is not yet known, but we know that GMAC-sponsored foreclosures are now admitted to be defective. There is no reason to suppose that GMAC was any different from any of the other pretender lenders who initiated foreclosure sales either on false pleading or false instructions using the power of sale in non-judicial states.

Those hundreds of millions of dollars earned by the foreclosure mills, those tens of billions of wealth stolen from homeowner are all up for grabs as lawyers start to circle the kill, having discovered that there is more money here than any personal injury or malpractice suit and that anyone can do it with the right information on title and securitization.

With subpoenas coming in from law enforcement agencies around the country, GMAC is the first to crumble, aware that the choice was to either take a massive commercial hit for damages or face criminal charges. Finger pointing will start in earnest as the big boys claim plausible deniability in a scheme they hatched and directed. The little guys will flip on them like pancakes as they testify under oath about the instructions they received which they knew were contrary to law and the rules governing their licenses and charters. Real Estate Brokers, licensed appraisers, licensed mortgage mortgage brokers, notaries, witnesses, title agents and their collective title and liability insurance carriers will soon discover that their licenses, livelihood and reputations are not only at risk but almost certainly headed for a major hit.

There can be no doubt that all GMAC cases will be affected by this action although GMAC has thus far limited the instruction to judicial states. In non-judicial states, most of the foreclosures were done without affidavits because they were uncontested. GMAC will now find small comfort that they didn’t use affidavits but merely false instructions to “Trustees” whose status was acquired through the filing of “Substitution of Trustee” documents executed by the same folks who falsified the affidavits in the judicial states. But the fact is that GMAC was not the creditor and obtained title through a “credit bid.” THEY CAN’T FIX THIS! Thus the transfer of title was void, in my opinion, or certainly voidable.

The denial that the affidavit contained false information is patently false — and, as usual, not under oath (see below). GMAC takes the position that the affidavits were “inadvertently” signed (tens of thousands of them) by persons without knowledge of their truth or falsity and that the action is taken only to assure that the mortgage holder is actually known. So the fight isn’t over and don’t kid yourself. They are not all going to roll over and play dead. Just take this as another large step toward the ultimate remedy — reinstatement of people in their homes, damage awards to people who were defrauded, and thus restoration of hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth back into the economic sector where money is spent and the economy actually works for people who don’t trade false papers at the expense of pensioners and homeowners around the world.

September 20, 2010

GMAC Halts Foreclosures in 23 States for Review

By DAVID STREITFELD

GMAC Mortgage, one of the country’s largest and most troubled home lenders, said on Monday that it was imposing a moratorium on many of its foreclosures as it tried to ensure they were done correctly.

The lender, which specialized in subprime loans during the boom, when it was owned by General Motors, declined in an e-mail to specify how many loans would be affected or the “potential issue” it had identified with them.

GMAC said the suspension might be a few weeks or might last until the end of the year.

States where the moratorium is being carried out include New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, Florida and 18 others, mostly on the East Coast and in the Midwest. All of the affected states are so-called judicial foreclosure states, where courts control the interactions of defaulting homeowners and their lenders.

Since the real estate collapse began, lawyers for homeowners have sparred with lenders in those states. The lawyers say that in many cases, the lenders are not in possession of the original promissory note, which is necessary for a foreclosure.

GMAC, which has been the recipient of billions of dollars of government aid, declined to provide any details or answer questions, but its actions suggest that it is concerned about potential liability in evicting families and selling houses to which it does not have clear title.

The lender said it was also reviewing completed foreclosures where the same unnamed procedure might have been used.

Matthew Weidner, a real estate lawyer in St. Petersburg, Fla., said he interpreted the lender’s actions as saying, “We have real liability here.”

Mr. Weidner said he recently received notices from the opposing counsel in two GMAC foreclosure cases that it was withdrawing an affidavit. In both cases, the document was signed by a GMAC executive who said in a deposition last year that he had routinely signed thousands of affidavits without verifying the mortgage holder.

“The Florida rules of civil procedure are explicit,” Mr. Weidner said. “If you enter an affidavit, it must be based on personal knowledge.”

The law firm seeking to withdraw the affidavits is Florida Default Law Group, which is based in Tampa. Ronald R. Wolfe, a vice president at the firm, did not return calls. The firm is under investigation by the State of Florida, according to the attorney general’s Web site.

Real estate agents who work with GMAC to sell foreclosed properties were told to halt their activities late last week. The moratorium was first reported by Bloomberg News on Monday. Bloomberg said it had obtained a company memorandum dated Friday in which GMAC Mortgage instructed brokers to immediately stop evictions, cash-for-key transactions and sales.

Nerissa Spannos, a Fort Lauderdale agent, said GMAC represents about half of her business — 15 houses at the moment in various stages of foreclosure.

“It’s all coming to a halt,” she said. “I have so many nice listings and now I can’t sell them.”

The lender’s action, she said, was unprecedented in her experience. “Every once in a while you get a message saying, ‘Take this house off the market. We have to re-foreclose.’ But this is so much bigger,” she said.

Ally Says GMAC Mortgage Mishandled Affidavits on Foreclosures

By Dakin Campbell and Lorraine Woellert – Sep 21, 2010

Ally Financial Inc., whose GMAC Mortgage unit halted evictions in 23 states amid allegations of mishandled affidavits, said its filings contained no false claims about home loans.

The “defect” in affidavits used to support evictions was “technical” and was discovered by the company, Gina Proia, an Ally spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement. Employees submitted affidavits containing information they didn’t personally know was true and sometimes signed without a notary present, according to the statement. Most cases will be resolved in the next few weeks and those that can’t be fixed will “require court intervention,” Proia said.

“The entire situation is unfortunate and regrettable and GMAC Mortgage is diligently working to resolve the situation,” Proia said. “There was never any intent on the part of GMAC Mortgage to bypass court rules or procedures. Nor do these failures reflect any disrespect for our courts or the judicial processes.”

State officials are investigating allegations of fraudulent foreclosures at the nation’s largest home lenders and loan servicers. Lawyers defending mortgage borrowers have accused GMAC and other lenders of foreclosing on homeowners without verifying that they own the loans. In foreclosure cases, companies commonly file affidavits to start court proceedings.

“All the banks are the same, GMAC is the only one who’s gotten caught,” said Patricia Parker, an attorney at Jacksonville, Florida-based law firm, Parker & DuFresne. “This could be huge.”

No Misstatements

Aside from signing the affidavits without knowledge or a notary, “the sum and substance of the affidavits and all content were factually accurate,” Proia wrote in the e-mail. “Our internal review has revealed no evidence of any factual misstatements or inaccuracies concerning the details typically contained in these affidavits such as the loan balance, its delinquency, and the accuracy of the note and mortgage on the underlying transaction.”

Affidavits are statements written and sworn to in the presence of someone authorized to administer an oath, such as a notary public.

GMAC told brokers and agents to halt evictions tied to foreclosures on homeowners in 23 states including Florida, Connecticut and New York and said it may have to take “corrective action” on other foreclosures, according to a Sept. 17 memo. Foreclosures won’t be suspended and will continue with “no interruption,” Proia said in a statement yesterday.

10,000 a Week

In December 2009, a GMAC Mortgage employee said in a deposition that his team of 13 people signed “a round number of 10,000” affidavits and other foreclosure documents a month without verifying their accuracy. The employee said he relied on law firms sending him the affidavits to verify their accuracy instead of checking them with GMAC’s records as required. The affidavits were then used to complete the process of repossessing homes and evicting residents.

Florida Attorney General William McCollum is investigating three law firms that represent loan servicers in foreclosures, and are alleged to have submitted fraudulent documents to the courts, according to an Aug. 10 statement. The firms handled about 80 percent of foreclosure cases in the state, according to a letter from Representative Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat.

“It appears that the actions we have taken and the attention we’ve paid to this issue could have had some impact on the actions that GMAC took today, but we can’t take full credit,” Ryan Wiggins, a spokeswoman for McCollum, said yesterday in a telephone interview.

‘Committed Fraud’

In August, Florida Circuit Court Judge Jean Johnson blocked a Jacksonville foreclosure brought by Washington Mutual Bank N.A. and JPMorgan Chase Bank, which had purchased the failed bank’s assets, and Shapiro & Fishman, the companies’ law firm. Documents eventually showed that the mortgage on the house was in fact owned by Washington-based Fannie Mae.

WaMu and the law firm “committed fraud on this court,” Johnson wrote. JPMorgan had presented a document prepared by Shapiro showing the mortgage was sold directly to WaMu in April 2008.

Tom Ice, founding partner of Ice Legal PA in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, said a fourth law firm representing GMAC in recent weeks has begun withdrawing affidavits signed by the GMAC employee.

“The banks are sitting up and taking notice that they can’t use falsified documents in the courtroom,” Ice said. “There may be others doing the same thing. They’re going to come back and say, ‘We’d better withdraw these,’” Ice said in a telephone interview.

Alejandra Arroyave, a lawyer with Lapin & Leichtling, a law firm in Coral Gables, Florida, who represented the employee at his December 2009 deposition, didn’t respond to a request for comment. A phone call to the employee wasn’t returned.

Mortgage Market

GMAC ranked fourth among U.S. home-loan originators in the first six months of this year, with $26 billion of mortgages, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, an industry newsletter. Wells Fargo & Co. ranked first, with $160 billion, and Citigroup Inc. was fifth, with $25 billion.

Iowa Assistant Attorney General Patrick Madigan said the implications of Ally’s internal review and the GMAC employee’s deposition could be “enormous.”

“It would call into question whether other servicers have engaged in similar practices,” Madigan said in a telephone interview. “It would be a major disruption to the foreclosure pipeline.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Dakin Campbell in San Francisco at dcampbell27@bloomberg.net; Lorraine Woellert in Washington at lwoellert@bloomberg.net.

GMAC v Visicaro Case No 07013084CI: florida judge reverses himself: applies basic rules of evidence and overturns his own order granting motion for summary judgment

Having just received the transcript on this case, I find that what the Judge said could be very persuasive to other Judges. I am renewing the post because there are several quotes you should be using from the transcript. Note the intimidation tactic that Plaintiff’s Counsel tried on the Judge. A word to the wise, if you are going to use that tactic you better have the goods hands down and you better have a good reason for doing it that way.

Fla Judge rehearing of summary judgement 4 04 10

5035SCAN4838_000 vesicaro Briefs

Vesicaro transcript

Posted originally in April, 2010

RIGHT ON POINT ABOUT WHAT WE WERE JUST TALKING ABOUT

I appeared as expert witness in a case yesterday where the Judge had trouble getting off the idea that it was an accepted fact that the note was in default and that ANY of the participants in the securitization chain should be considered collectively “creditors” or a creditor. Despite the fact that the only witness was a person who admitted she had no knowledge except what was on the documents given to her, the Judge let them in as evidence.

The witness was and is incompetent because she lacked personal knowledge and could not provide any foundation for any records or document. This is the predominant error of Judges today in most cases. Thus the prima facie case is considered “assumed” and the burden to prove a negative falls unfairly on the homeowner.

The Judge, in a familiar refrain, had trouble with the idea of giving the homeowner a free house when the only issue before him was whether the motion to lift stay should be granted. Besides the fact that the effect of granting the motion to lift stay was the gift of a free house to ASC who admits in their promotional website that they have in interest nor involvement in the origination of the loans, and despite the obviously fabricated assignment a few days before the hearing which violated the terms of the securitization document cutoff date, the Judge seems to completely missed the point of the issue before him: whether there was a reason to believe that the movant lacked standing or that the foreclosure would prejudice the debtor or other creditors (since the house would become an important asset of the bankruptcy estate if it was unencumbered).

If you carry over the arguments here, the motion for lift stay is the equivalent motion for summary judgment.

This transcript, citing cases, shows that the prima facie burden of the Movant is even higher than beyond a reasonable doubt. It also shows that the way the movants are using business records violates all standards of hearsay evidence and due process. Read the transcript carefully. You might want to use it for a motion for rehearing or motion for reconsideration to get your arguments on record, clear up the issue of whether you objected on the basis of competence of the witness, and then take it up on appeal with a cleaned up record.

Follow the Trail —Don’t get lost in the documents

I THOUGHT THIS COMMENT WAS WORTHY OF MAKING INTO A POST.

See for Deutsch bank references Prospectus offered all over the world: Anyone who had a Deed of Trust with: Indymac, Wells Fargo, Countrywide, GMAC, Ocwen, American Home, Residential Funding Company, Washington Mutual Bank, BofA, and many others you might want to check this link out. SHARPS%20CDO%20II_16.08.07_9347

Editor’s Note: The only thing I would add is that the obligation arose when the borrower executed a note, but the creditor got a securitized bond with different terms, deriving its value from your note and thousands of others. Once you realize that the obligation is NOT the same as the Note, which is only EVIDENCE of the obligation, and that the MORTGAGE is NOT the obligation, it is only incident to the note, THEN you will understand that following the money means following the obligation, not the note or the mortgage. And figuring out what effect there was on the obligation at each step that the note was transferred, bought or paid, is the key to understanding whether the note became a negotiable instrument, and if it did, if it retained that status as a negotiable instrument.

FROM Jan van Eck

to foreclosurefight:

What you are missing in your attempt to analyze this is that you are trying to follow the “mortgage,” not the Note. the reason you are doing this is that only the “mortgage,” as the Security Instrument, is being recorded on the land records – so it is all you get to see.

the reason your adversaries, whoever they really are, “withdrew” from the relief from Stay Motion in the BK Court is that they do not have the Note. Somebody else does. And you have no clue as to who that is.

You have to start by determining what has happened to the Note, and how the Indorsements on the Note flow. And you have not seen the Note, not in years, so the raw truth is that you have no clue.

the “mortgage” never went into any “Trust.” Mortgages do not go into trusts. Only the Note (“maybe”) went into a trust – and only if it had proper Indorsement. Since Deutsche is involved, you can safely bet that it did not. Deutsche is NOTORIOUS for perpetrating fraud on the Courts and by fabricating documents. You may assume that EVERYTHING that Deutsche shows up with is a fraud, and has been fraudulently fabricated, typically in their offices on Liberty Street in Downtown Manhattan NY.

What is missing in your convoluted chain of title is that there was a ton of other parties involved in setting up that “Trust”, including some Delaware sham entity known as the “Depositor,” and then another sham known as the “Seller,” and more. When you burrow through that Prospectus you will find those entities listed. Now you have to dig out the Note, and find if those entities are individually and sequentially listed on the Note by consecutive Indorsements. Since Deutsche had their sticky fingers in the pie, you already know that they did not.

What State are you in? Yes, you need new counsel. You should never have gotten into this with old counsel.

You can still defeat them, but you probably will have to go file in District (Federal ) Court. You will have to sue Deutsche. Think in terms of suing them in the USDC for the Sou.Distr. NY, in White Plains, NY. Now you are not tangled up in the State-Fed politics of your local judges.

You cannot ask for Quiet title as you are asking for that in the State Court. You have to go in with entirely new grounds or they will not hear your case. So you sue them for fraud in interstate commerce. Try the “Commerce Clause” in the US Constitution (Amendment 16? I forget), to try to get “jurisdiction.” You get “venue” easily as Deutsche Bank is in NY. You do not need to show up; you just file and do your papers by mail. If yo ask for enough money, e.g. 40 million, then DB has something to start worrying about.

Right now, DB has no downside. If they lose, all they lose is some paper on some worthless piece of property in some state that is flooded with empty foreclosed houses that nobody can sell. So what do they care? DB probably does not even know or care that your lawsuit is going on; you are just dealing with lawyers that are running up their tab with DB, and DB has so many tabs that they do not try to keep track of it all. So you have to expose them to some serious hurt. A gigantic lawsuit is a good place to start.

You may assume that everything DB and those attys produce is utterly fraudulent. I have seen documents produced where the entire Trust Agreement was fabricated, and notarized by a notary who did not even get his first commission until two years after he swore that the parties were standing in front of him. Welcome to Wall Street banks – the international predator banks.

Besides Deutsche, Credit Suisse is also notorious for this type of flagrant fraud upon our Courts.

Foreclosure Offense and Defense: Cash for Keys Offers, Pitfalls and Opportunities

In response to email from one of our readers who was presented with a “get out” notice and an offer to pay him $1,000 to do so peaceably, which was then later stated to be “negotiable (meaning they would pay more if asked), I wrote:

Sounds like you are on the right track. I am glad to hear you are still there.

If you are inclined to accept the offer, ask for more money. It can’t hurt.

Otherwise, you might want to ask for a copy of any document he has that names him as having authority to make the offer. He could be a scammer that will take the keys from you, make everything look all fine and dandy and then strip the house down right through the walls to the wiring and plumbing.

Then the lender comes in and files suit against you or worse files a criminal complaint against you for trashing the place.

While you are at it, you might want to ask for copies of the assignment or sale documents with which GMAC allegedly bought the mortgage and note. If you really press the point hard, you might get them or even better, you might not get them in which case they might back off completely, or they might negotiate something much more favorable to you.

In many cases, these purchases are not well-documented or they can’t find the documents. It is worth pushing this point.

If they don’t produce the documents you can make the allegation in your petition for BK that the liability is contingent and that your “asset” — the house is a contingent asset as well because it looks like GMAC took title under false pretenses. If things break your way you could end up with the house back and possibly without the mortgage if you announce your rescission due to failure to properly make disclosures in the TILA estimates and loan closing documents.

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