The Real Deal and How to Get There

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The Real Deal and How to Get There

If you read the Glaski case any of the hundreds of other decisions that have been rendered you will see one glaring error — failure to raise an issue or objection in a timely manner. This results from ignorance of the facts of securitization. So here is my contribution to all lawyers, wherever you are, to prosecute your case. I would also suggest that you use every tool available to disabuse the Judge of the notion that your goal is delay — so push the case even when the other side is backpedaling, ask for expedited discovery. Act like you have a winning case on your hands, because, in my opinion, you do.

The key is to attack the Judge’s presumption whether stated or not, that a real transaction took place, whether at origination or transfer. Once you let the Court know that is what you are attacking the Judge must either rule against you as a matter of law which would be overturned easily on appeal and they know it, or they must allow penetrating discovery that will reveal the real money trail. The error made by nearly everyone is that the presumption that the paperwork tells THE story. The truth is that the paperwork tells a story but it is false.

Nevertheless the burden is on the proponent of that argument to properly plead it with facts and as we know the facts are largely in the hands of the investment banker and not even the servicer has it. My law firm represents clients directly in Florida and provides litigation support to any attorney wherever they are located. We now send out a preservation letter (Google it) as soon as we are retained. We send it to everyone we know or think might have some connection to the file. If they can’t find something, the presumption arises they destroyed it if we show that in the ordinary course of business they would keep records like that. We also have a computer forensic analyst who is a lawyer that can go into the computers and the data and see when they were created, by whom and reveal the input that was done to create certain files and instruments.

Once the facts are properly proposed, then the proponent still has the burden of proving the allegations through discovery. That is because the paperwork raises a rebuttable presumption of validity. The Glaski case gives lots of hints as to how and when to do this. Neither judicial notice of an instrument nor the rebuttable presumption arising out of an instrument of commerce gives the bank immunity. And the requests for discovery should attack the root of their position — that the foreclosing party is true beneficiary or mortgagee.

With the Glaski Case in California and we have one just like it in Florida, the allegation must be made that the transaction is void as to the transfer to the Trust. You have a related proof challenge when they insist that the loan was not securitized. You say it was subject to claims of securitization. That puts you in a he said she said situation — which puts you in the position of the Judge ruling against you because you have not passed the threshold of moving the burden back to the Bank. What penetrates that void is the allegation and proof of the absence of any actual transaction — i.e., one in which there was an offer, acceptance of the offer and consideration. The UCC says an instrument is negotiated when sold for value. You say there was no value. Proving the loan is subject to claims of securitization may require discovery into the accounting records of the parties in the securitization chain. What you are looking for is a loan receivable account or account receivable that is owned by the party to whom the money is owed. At the servicer this does not exist, which is why the error in court is to go with the servicer’s records, which are incomplete because they do not reveal the payments OUT to third party creditors or others, nor other payments IN like from the investment bank who funds continued payment to the creditors to keep them ignorant that their portfolio is collapsing.

The transaction is void if there was an attempt to assign the loan into the trust. First, it violated the instrument of the trust (PSA) because of the cutoff rule. The court in Glaski correctly pointed out that under the circumstances this challenge was valid because of the prejudice to the beneficiaries of the trust. They use discretion to assert that there is prejudice to the beneficiaries because of the economic impact of losing their preferential tax status. They did not add (because nobody raised it), that the additional prejudice to the beneficiaries is that it is usually a loan that is already declared in default that is being assigned. Judge Shack in New York has frequently commented on this.

Hence the proposed transfer violates the cutoff date, the tax status and the requirement that the loan be in good standing. Sales of the bonds issued by the trust were based upon the premise that the bonds were extremely low risk. Taking defaulted loans into the trust certainly  violates that and under federal and state regulations the pension funds, as “Stable managed funds” can ONLY invest in extremely low risk securities.

Hence the possibility of ratification is out of the question. First, it is isn’t allowed  under the IRC and the PSA and second, it isn’t allowed under the PSA because the investors are being handed an immediate loss — a purchase with their funds (which you will show never happened anyway) of a defaulted loan. But to close the loop on the argument of possible ratification, you must take the deposition of the trustee of the trust.

Without the possibility of ratification, the transaction is definitely void. In that depo it will be revealed that they had no access or signature authority to any trust account and performed no duties. But they are still the party entrusted with the fiduciary duties to the beneficiaries. So when you ask whether they would allow the purchase of a bad loan or any loan that would cause the REMIC to lose its tax status they must answer either “no” or I don’t know. The latter answer would make appear foolish.

A note in the Glaski case is also very revealing. It is stated there that BOTH sides conceded that the real owner of the debt is probably unknown and can never be known. So tread softly on the proposition that the real owner of the loan NOW is the investor. But there is a deeper question suggested by this startling admission by the Court and both sides of the litigation. If the facts are alleged that a given set of investors somehow pooled their money and it was used to fund the loan origination or to fund the loan acquisition, what exactly do the investors have NOW? It would appear to be a total loss on that loan. They paid for it but they don’t own it because it never made it into the trust.

The alternative, proposed by me, is that this conclusion is prejudicial to the beneficiary, violates basic fairness, and is contrary to the intent of the real parties in interest — the investors as lenders and the homeowners as borrowers. The proper conclusion should be, regardless of the form of transaction and content of instruments that were all patently false, that the investors are lenders and the homeowner is a borrower. The principal is the amount borrowed. The terms are uncertain because the investors were buying a bond with repayment terms vastly different than the repayment terms of the note that the homeowner signed. Where this occurs the note or obligation is generally converted into a demand obligation, which like tender of money in a loan dispute, is enforced unless it produces an inequitable result, which is patently obvious in this case since it would result in a judgment and judgment lien that might be foreclosed against the homeowner.

With the assignment to the trust being void, and the money of the investor being used to fund the loan, and there being no privity between the investor and the homeowner, the only logical conclusion is to establish that the debt exists, but that it is unsecured and subject to the court’s determination to fashion the terms of repayment — or mediation in which the unsecured loan becomes legitimately secured through negotiations with the investors.

Since the loan was not legally assigned into the trust and the trust did not fund the origination of the loan, the PSA no longer governs the transaction; thus the authority of the servicer is absent, but the servicer should still be subpoenaed to produce ALL the records, which is to say the transactions between the servicer and the borrower AND the transactions between the servicer and any third parties to whom it forwarded the payment, or with whom it engaged in other receipts or disbursements related to this loan.

Since the loan was not legally assigned into the trust, the trustee has no responsibility for that loan, but the investment bank who used the investors money to fund the the loan is also a proper target of discovery as is the Maser Servicer and aggregators, all of whom engaged in various transactions that were based upon the ownership of the loan being in the trust. Now we know it isn’t in the trust. The Banks have used this void to jump in and claim that they own the loan, which is obviously inequitable (if not criminal). But the equitable and proper result would be to establish that the investors own an account receivable from borrowers in this type of situation since they were the ones who advanced the money, not the banks.

Since the loan was not legally assigned into the trust, the servicer has no  actual authority or contract with the investors who are now free to enter into direct negotiations with the borrowers and avoid the servicers who are clearly serving the interest of the parties in the securitization chain (which failed) and not the investors. Thus any instrument executed using the securitization or history of “assignments” (without consideration) as the foundation for executing such an instrument is void. That includes substitutions of trustees, assignments, notices of default, notices of sale, lawsuits to foreclose or any effort at collection.

Note that without authority and based upon intentionally false representations, the servicers might be subject to a cause of action for interference with contractual rights, especially where a modification proposal was “turned down by the investor. “ If the investor was not the Trust and it was the Trust allegedly who turned it down (I am nearly certain that the investors are NEVER contacted), then the servicer’s push into foreclosure not only produces a wrongful foreclose but also interference with the rights and obligations of the true lenders and borrowers who are both probably willing to enter into negotiations to settle this mess.

The second inquiry is about the balance of the account receivable and the obvious connection between the account receivable owned by the investors and the account payable owed by the homeowners. I don’t think there is any reasonable question about the initial balance due, because that can easily be established and should be established by reference to a canceled check or wire transfer receipt. But the balance now is affected by sales to the Federal Reserve, insurance, bailouts and credit default swaps (CDS).

Since the loan was not assigned to the trust then the bond issued by the trust that purports to own the loan is wrong. The insurance, CDS, guarantees, purchases and bailouts were all premised on the assumption that the false securitization trail was true, then it follows that the money received by anyone represents proceeds that does not in any way belong to them. They clearly owe that money to the investor to the extent of the investors’ advance of actual money, with the balance due to the homeowner, as per the agreement of the parties at the closing with the homeowner. But the payors of those moneys also have a claim for refund, buy back, or unjust enrichment, fraud, etc.

Those payors have one obvious problem: they executed agreements that waived any right to collect from the borrower. Thus they are stuck with the bond which is worthless through no fault of the beneficiaries. So their claim, I would argue, is against the investment bank. The guarantors (Fannie, Freddie et al) have buyback rights against the parties who sold them the loans they didn’t own or the bonds representing ownership that was non-existent. Here a fair way of looking at it is that the investors are credited with the third party mitigation payments, the account payable of the borrower is reduced proportionately with the reduction of the account receivable (by virtue of cash payment to their agents which reduces the account receivable because the money should be paid to and credited to the investor) and the balance of the money received should then go to the guarantor to the extent of their loss, and then any further balance left divided equally amongst the investors, borrowers and guarantors.

To do it any other way would either leave the banks with their ill-gotten gains and unjust enrichment, or over payment to the investors, over payment to the borrowers who are entitled to such proceeds as per most statutes governing the subject, or over payment to the guarantors. The argument would be made that the investors, borrowers and guarantors are getting a windfall. Yes that might be the case if the over payments resulting from multiple sales of the same loan exceeded all money advanced on the actual loan. But to leave it with the Banks who were never at risk and who are still getting preferential treatment because of their shaky status would be to reward those who intended to be the risk takers, but who masked the absence of risk to them through false statements to the parties who all collectively advanced money and property to this scheme without knowing that they were all doing so.

 

The question is on what basis should the banks be rewarded with the windfall. I can find no support for that proposition. But based upon public policy or other considerations regarding the nature of the hedge transactions used to sell the same loan over and over again, it might be argued that the investment bank is entitled to retain SOME money if the total exceeds the full balances owed to the investors (thereby extinguishing the payable from the borrower), and the full balances owed to the guarantors.

Wake Up Georgia: Courts Are Opening the Door on Wrongful Foreclosure

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE IN GEORGIA
If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 (East Coast, including Georgia – the Atlanta Area) and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. Customer service for the livinglies store with workbooks, services and analysis remains the same at 520-405-1688. The people who answer the phone are NOT attorneys and NOT permitted to provide any legal advice, but they can guide you toward some of our products and services.
The selection of an attorney is an important decision  and should only be made after you have interviewed licensed attorneys familiar with investment banking, securities, property law, consumer law, mortgages, foreclosures, and collection procedures. This site is dedicated to providing those services directly or indirectly through attorneys seeking guidance or assistance in representing consumers and homeowners. We are available to any lawyer seeking assistance anywhere in the country, U.S. possessions and territories. Neil Garfield is a licensed member of the Florida Bar and is qualified to appear as an expert witness or litigator in in several states including the district of Columbia. The information on this blog is general information and should NEVER be considered to be advice on one specific case. Consultation with a licensed attorney is required in this highly complex field.

Editor’s Note: For years Georgia has been considered by most attorneys to be a “red” state that, along with states like Tennessee showed no mercy on borrowers because of the prejudgment that the foreclosure mess was the fault of borrowers. For years they have ignored the now obvious truth that the defective mortgages and wrongful foreclosures do make a difference.

Now, reflecting inquiries from Courts below who are studying the the issue instead of issuing orders based upon a knee-jerk response, the State has taken a decided turn toward the application of law over presumption and bias. There is even reason to believe that the door is open a crack for past wrongful  foreclosures, as the Courts grapple with the fact that thousands of foreclosures were forced through the system by strangers to the transaction and thousands of wrongful foreclosure suits have been dismissed because of the assumption by judges that no bank would lie directly to the court. It was a big lie and apparently the banks were right in thinking there was little risk to them.

Look at Pratt’s Journal of Bankruptcy Law February/ March Issue for an article on “Foreclosure Law in the Wake of Recent Decisions on Residential Mortgage Loans: The Situation in Georgia” by Ashby Kent Fox, Shea Sullivan and Amanda Wilson. Our own lawyers have out in front on these issues for a couple of years but encountering a lot of resistance — although lately they are reporting that the Courts are listening more closely.

The Georgia Supreme Court has now weighed in (Reese v Provident) and decided quite obviously that something is rotten in Georgia. Focusing on Georgia’s foreclosure notice statute but actually speaking to the substantive defects in the mortgages and foreclosures, the majority held, as a matter of law, that

o.c.G.a. § 44-14- 162.2(a), requires the person or entity conducting a non-judicial foreclosure of a residential mortgage loan to provide the borrower/debtor with a written notice of the foreclosure sale that discloses not only “the name, address, and telephone number of the individual or entity who shall have full authority to negotiate, amend, and modify all terms of the mortgage with the debtor” (the language that appears in the statute), but also the identity of the “secured creditor” (not required by the statutory language, but which the majority inferred based on legislative intent). the majority further found that the failure to identify the “secured creditor” in the foreclosure notice renders the notice, and any subsequent foreclosure sale, invalid as a matter of law.

Once again I caution litigators that this will not dispose of your case permanently and that such rulings be used strategically so that you are not another hallway lawyer explaining how you were right but the judge ruled against you anyway. Notice provisions can be cured, non-existent transactions cannot be cured. Leading with the numbers (the money trail” and THEN using decisions like this to corroborate your argument will get you a lot more traction than leading with defective paperwork.

As I have said repeatedly, no judge, no matter how sympathetic to borrowers is going to give much relief when the borrower has admitted the debt, note, mortgage and default. These must be denied and lawyers should study up on the subject as to why they can and should be denied, and to persevere through discovery to show that the note, mortgage, default and even the debt have all been faked by strangers to the transaction.

Forcing the opposing side to show that they are a bona fide holder FOR VALUE  will flush out the truth — that originator in nearly all cases was never the lender, creditor or even broker. They were simply paid naked nominees just like MERS, leaving no real party in interest on the note or mortgage, no consideration between the parties stated on the note and mortgage or notice of default, and no meeting of minds between the real lender (who is NOT in privity with the nominee lender) who, as an investor received a prospectus and Pooling and Servicing Agreement and advanced money under the mistaken belief they were buying bonds of an entity that either did not exist or was simply ignored by the investment banker and the other participants in the false securitization scheme that was used to cover-up a PONZI scheme.

Practice tips: DENY and DISCOVER. Ask for proof of payment and proof of loss. The assignments, the note and the mortgage are not proof of the debt, they are potentially evidence of the debt and the security agreement ONLY if the foundation is there (testimony by witness with personal knowledge, with exhibits of wire transfer receipts and wire transfer instructions, cancelled checks etc.) to show that the originator shown as payee and “Secured party” or “beneficiary” was lender of money.

Make them show that they booked the loan as a receivable with a reserve for default. Discover that they actually booked the transaction as a fee for service (shown on the income statement) and never entered it on their balance sheet.

And PLEASE study up on voir dire, objections and cross examination. If you are not quick and ready objections to leading questions and other issues might well be waived unless you interrupt the questioning as fast as you can stand up. If you study up on hearsay and the business records exception to hearsay you will discover that in practically no case were the business records qualified as exceptions to the hearsay rule. But if you don’t raise it, if you don’t have statutory and case law and even a memo on the subject the judge is going to rule against you. We are talking about good lawyering here and not bias amongst judges.

Top New York Judge Urges Greater Legal Rights for the Poor

Editor’s Note: Judge Lippman is certainly onto something here. There is no doubt that the poor get the short end of the stick when it comes to legal matters. Whether this will have any effect on foreclosures is a question that cannot be answered as yet. With more people moving into the poverty level due to declining real wages and joblessness, it would certainly be a step in the right direction to provide legal assistance to people when it comes to having a roof over their head.

With foreclosures the problem is getting an attorney who understands that most mortgages these days are securitized and that this has important ramifications for defense of foreclosures and evictions. it is entirely possible that the wrong party is acting against the tenant or owner or that the mortgage has been paid in whole or in part through various credit enhancement instruments that protect the creditor (the one who actually advanced the money) from loss.

April Charney is leading the way for Legal Aid and other organizations to provide competent help for indigent or financially challenged persons in the cross hairs of some pretender lender. There is no way for her to do it alone. Inch by inch we seem to be crawling away from this mess. But progress is slow and might be illusory. Recent events in Europe show that these manipulations of exotic financial instruments are wreaking havoc on everyone.

The real answer is to bust the Oligarchy of banking interests who have literally cornered the market on money itself. That takes a lot of will power, a lot of people demonstrating their willingness to engage the banks, and a lot of politicians who need to be coerced into blocking the financial sector from meddling in our lives.
May 3, 2010

Top New York Judge Urges Greater Legal Rights for the Poor

By WILLIAM GLABERSON

New York’s chief judge called on Monday for a new guarantee of a lawyer for poor people in civil cases, like suits over eviction and other disputes where basic needs are at stake, pushing the state to the forefront of a national effort to expand the right to representation for the indigent.

In a speech in Albany, the chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, said his proposal, the first such plan by a top court official in New York, reflected a commitment by the state’s courts “to bring us closer to the ideal of equal access to civil justice” that he described as one of the foundations of the legal system.

“I am not talking about a single initiative, pilot project or temporary program,” Judge Lippman said, “but what I believe must be a comprehensive, multifaceted, systemic approach to providing counsel to the indigent in civil cases.”

There was no price tag on the proposal, which could cost many millions of dollars. But Judge Lippman sought to avoid having it fall victim to the politics of the recession by announcing that he would hold hearings before pushing a detailed plan forward next year.

The government has been required to provide lawyers for people facing jail because of criminal charges since a landmark ruling by the United States Supreme Court in 1963, Gideon v. Wainwright.

But that protection has never included civil cases. Lawyers for the poor argue that it should because civil courts are where people who cannot afford lawyers often face the loss of the necessities of life in lopsided legal battles. Opponents say more government-paid lawyers for the poor will paralyze the courts with needless disputes.

Some Democratic legislators said they were interested in Judge Lippman’s idea. In a statement, Speaker Sheldon Silver said the Assembly had been a strong supporter of civil legal services for nearly 20 years.

Austin Shafran, a spokesman for the State Senate Democratic leader, John L. Sampson, said the senator had always supported programs that provided lawyers for indigent New Yorkers and was looking carefully at what Judge Lippman had put forward.

Judge Lippman, a longtime court administrator, has set an unabashedly liberal course as chief judge, a position he assumed last year after he was nominated by Gov. David A. Paterson. In addition to a seat on the highest court in New York, the chief judge also has a broad role as the top administrative official of the state’s sprawling court system.

The speech may well give Judge Lippman national prominence in efforts in recent years by lawyers for the poor, consumer advocates and some legislators around the country to expand the right to a lawyer. California passed a law in 2009 intended to expand legal counsel in civil cases.

There have been local bills elsewhere, including in New York City, and lawsuits in several states arguing that the protections of the legal system are often meaningless to people too poor to hire lawyers. In 2006, the American Bar Association said there should be a right to a lawyer in civil cases where basic human needs were at stake, like those dealing with shelter, sustenance, safety, health or child custody.

Advocates for the right to a lawyer in civil cases — some of them call it a “civil Gideon” right, referring to the 1963 ruling for criminal cases — said Monday that Judge Lippman’s speech was one of the most notable steps in their efforts.

“It is a very important statement, both in New York and nationally, about the need for access to justice. I don’t know that any stronger voice has come forward,” said Donald Saunders, a vice president of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, the largest national group of lawyers for the poor.

In his speech, Judge Lippman said the recession had swelled the ranks of New Yorkers who could not afford lawyers facing civil legal problems to more than two million a year.

Judge Lippman said he would hold hearings beginning this fall in every part of the state to assess the extent and nature of the unmet need for civil legal representation. He said the hearings would end with recommendations to the Legislature of the kinds of civil cases in which legal representation should be required and what financing would meet those needs.

Legal Aid and other providers of civil legal representation to poor people in New York State operate on about $200 million a year, officials say, a combination of federal, state, local and privately raised money. Those organizations said that they were unable to meet the needs but that the extent of the shortfall was not known.

Steven Banks, the attorney in chief of the Legal Aid Society in the city, called it “a huge step” for the leader of the court system to endorse the idea that poor people had a right to a lawyer, whether they found themselves in criminal or civil court.

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