Attack the “Successors”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The bottom line here is that there is no succession regardless of how many times they assert it. Attacking the pleadings, motions, and exhibits with your own motions, answers, affirmative defenses and potential counterclaims is probably a good tactical response to the assertion of this type of lie perpetrators use in the courts every day. Bernie Madoff got away with his Ponzi scheme for decades. It was in most ways identical to what the investment banks have done with what they called “residential lending.”
The banks called it “securitization” without ever selling a single loan to investors or any part thereof. Madoff called it options trading without ever trading a single option. It was all based upon the “hidden magic” and “genius” of some secret formula that nobody else could access. Compare it yourself. Madoff’s scheme, now exposed, reveals what was really happening with homeowner transactions, investor transactions, and “foreclosures” of nonexistent claims.

Nobody paid me to write this. I am self-funded, supported only by donations. My mission is to stop foreclosures and other collection efforts against homeowners and consumers without proof of loss. If you want to support this effort please click on this link and donate as much as you feel you can afford.
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Neil F Garfield, MBA, JD, 73, is a Florida licensed trial and appellate attorney since 1977. He has received multiple academic and achievement awards in business and law. He is a former investment banker, securities broker, securities analyst, and financial analyst.

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Notarized MERS Assignment of DOT as Nominee: Forensic Analysis and Motion Practice

I was looking at an assignment signed by Margaret Dalton, “Vice President”, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc (MERS) “as nominee” for “Hoecomings” (sic) Financial Network, Inc. with an execution date of March 5, 2010 and a notarization date of the same date, notarized by D. Pakusic in Duval County, Florida, naming United Independent Title as Trustee under the Deed of Trust and purporting to assign the Deed of Trust to JP Morgan Chase Bank National Association.

A forensic analysis report would or should state as follows:

  1. The title chain reveals the property is located in the County of Los Angeles, State of California and contains a purported assignment signed by Margaret Dalton, “Vice President”, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc (MERS) “as nominee” for “Hoecomings” (sic) Financial Network, Inc. with an execution date of March 5, 2010 and a notarization date of the same date, notarized by D. Pakusic in Duval County, Florida, naming United Independent Title as Trustee under the Deed of Trust and purporting to assign the Deed of Trust to JP Morgan Chase Bank National Association. in public records book ____, at page ____ of the County of _________, in the State of Florida. The document appears on its face to have been prepared by Malcolm-Cisneros, a Law Corporation located at 2112 Business Center Dr., Irvine, California 92612. Given the location of the property in California, the location of the law firm that prepared it in California and the location of of the other parties, the fact that it was “notarized” in Florida raises numerous forensic questions requiring production of additional documentation and facts.
  2. Location Issues: The property is located in the State of California, as are the Trustors under the Deed of Trust (DOT). Margaret Dalton is believed to be located in Irvine, California, possibly employed by or on the premises of the above-referenced Law Corporation. The Notary is located in Duval County, Florida which has no known connection with any of the parties. MERS offices are reported to be located in states other than California and the IT platform is reported to be located in the Midwest. Homecoming Financial Network, Inc. (which undersigned believes was intended by the referenced instruments and title chain) is authorized to do business in the State of California, but upon research does not appear to be a chartered bank, financial institution or lender. HFN is a mortgage originator acting on behalf of unknown sources of funds who may be located anywhere, since they are neither disclosed nor described in the closing documentation nor any document on record. Accordingly there is a question as to the identity of the creditor at the time of the origination of the loan, the identity of the creditor at the current time, and the identity of the creditor at all times between the origination of the loan and the present. There are also questions requiring additional documentation and fats to reveal whether the purported assignment was executed by or on behalf of anyone in Duval County, Florida where the instrument was notarized or in Irvine, California where the instrument may have been executed.
  3. Margaret Dalton’s employment is unknown but it does not appear that she has ever been an employee of MERS, nor that MERS is located where Margaret Dalton apparently signed the document. Previous investigations by the undersigned indicate that MERS is an electronic database privately owned and operated by fewer than 17 employees, which do not include Ms. Dalton. According to information received from MERS, the database platform operated by MERS for its members, has an access procedure consisting of a user ID and password. With such information any person could enter, alter or amend any entry in the MERS database. The procedure also provides access to an automated procedure wherein the user may name a person to serve as “vice-president” or “limited signing officer” for MERS. No record has been produced for this analysis indicating that Ms. Dalton was named as “vice-president” or whether she did so herself, nor whether she was authorized to do so or from whom said authority would be claimed. There is accordingly a question as to whether the document was in fact signed by Ms. Dalton, and if so whether she had authority to sign a document that conveyed an interest in real property.
  4. Given the above information, there is also a question as to whether the notarization was valid or void. Florida law provides that if the Notary knows that the person signing does not possess authority to sign or knows that the person is ignorant of their authority, that the oath administered is invalid and that the instrument is construed to be not notarized, despite the signature and stamp. Recording laws require notarization. Thus there is a question as to whether the document is or would be construed as a recorded instrument despite its obvious appearance in the title record. If it is not construed as a recorded instrument, then the chain of title should be amended to remove this document.
  5. The chain of title, as stated above, reveals a Deed of Trust (DOT) in favor of MERS as nominee. No issues are readily apparent as to the execution of the Deed of Trust. However, the content of the DOT raises factual issues that require further examination and the production of additional documents and information. Since MERS is an IT platform operated for the purposes of its private owners, it is not authorized by Florida Statutes nor California Statutes to serve as the equivalent of a recording record for instruments in the public records. It is a data entry and retrieval system that is private, not public. Since MERS was named as nominee and the MERS documentation available on the internet clearly state that under no circumstances will MERS ever claim an interest in the real property, the DOT, the note, nor will ever be the actual lender, beneficiary or mortgagee in any transaction, the effect of naming MERS raises factual issues since there are questions regarding title raised by the conflict between naming MERS and MERS disclaiming any such interest. There is no record of MERS accepting the position as nominee and if so under what circumstances. Those terms exist in agreements executed between members of MERS and one of the MERS corporations and are unavailable to the undersigned forensic analyst.
  6. The DOT and the above-referenced purported assignment refer to MERS as nominee for HFN, which was neither the creditor nor the lender at the time of the origination of the loan. Thus the DOT appears to name MERS (who disclaims any interest in the loan) on behalf of HFN (who served as a conduit for a table-funded loan transaction, probably as part of the securitization of the subject loan transaction) both of whom served principals that were not disclosed at the time of the origination of the loan nor, to the knowledge of the undersigned, to the present. The effect of misspelling the name of HFN on the purported assignment is unknown, but based upon advice from title agents consulted, it would be ordinarily required in any subsequent transaction, that the document be re-executed with the proper spelling. Whether this affects the legality of the instrument is unknown to the undersigned analyst.
  7. The purported assignment refers only to the DOT, which raises several questions. It is unknown whether an assignment of the note, as evidence of the underlying obligation, was executed at the same time as the purported assignment of the DOT. It is unknown whether all the necessary parties executed instruments required to authorize the assignments, and if so when this was accomplished. If there were no such other assignments then there is a question as to whether the instrument was effective, and if so, whether it intended to provide ownership of the security instrument (DOT) to one party while the ownership of the note remained or was transferred to another party, while at the same time the underlying obligation to yet another party may have existed between the Trustor as debtor and the source of funds for the origination of the loan, as creditor. Additional documentation and facts would be required to make these determinations.
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