My Final Word On Quiet Title Strategies

Most people do not have a clear understanding about Quiet Title, because it means one thing to them and another thing in court. The common misconception about quiet title is that it is a thing that just happens, like the result of a magic bullet. In fact quiet title is a court process that begins with a lawsuit by the homeowner and ends with a court order declaring that the mortgage or deed of trust should be removed from the chain of title.
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The most typical use of quiet title claims is clearing the chain of title of recorded documents that mistakenly or fraudulently describe the wrong property. The use of quiet title against a mortgage or deed of trust does not generally get traction in a court of law.
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But the more recent strategy of attacking the assignment of mortgage and seeking nullification of that instrument has met with some success and it should succeed, because you are attacking the facial and substantive validity of that specific instrument and not the entire mortgage or deed of trust. That strategy merely attacks the technical requirements for creation and recording of an an instrument affecting title to real property and attacking the substantive validity of the assignment by revealing that the debt was not transferred to the assignee by a party who owned the debt.
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The current fad of proving unenforceability of the indebtedness does not provide the foundation for quiet title unless you can prove that that (a) the indebtedness never existed or (b) the debt has been satisfied. It is entirely possible for a court of law to determine that the mortgage or deed of trust cannot be enforced by the parties who initiated foreclosure. But that does not mean that the mortgage or deed of trust is a nullity. So winning the case on the debt against a particular party who sought to enforce it does not automatically mean that you proved a prima facie case that the debt was never or is not now subject to enforcement by anyone.
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The elements for quiet title are fairly simple. The lawsuit asks for a declaratory judgment finding, as a matter of fact and law, that the encumbrance is a nullity, which means that legally the encumbrance does not exist — not that it should not exist. In plain language that means that a judge finds that the mortgage or deed of trust does not secure any indebtedness owed by the owner of the property to the mortgagee on a mortgage or the beneficiary on a deed of trust.
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 The “mortgagee” or “beneficiary” includes legal successors to the named mortgagee on the mortgage or the named beneficiary (lender) on the deed of trust. Successfully attacking the assignment means that you have negated the assignment which returns the title to the mortgage to the previous party who might be the the original mortgagee or beneficiary or lender.
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Where MERS has been used as a buffer in the title chain legal practitioners should be aware that the MERS relationship to the original “lender” is tenuous at best and most probably nonexistent to pretenders who claim to be successors — because most loans were table funded without any legal or equitable relationship between MERS and the investment bank that funded the origination or acquisition of the loan. Since no transfer of beneficial interest or interest of a mortgagee legally exists without transfer of the debt, it is nearly impossible for anyone to show an assignment with a legal transfer of the debt from an owner of that debt.
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The only way the pretender lenders can succeed is by wearing down the homeowner who must be willing to expend considerable time, money and energy defending his property. They can do this by using legal arguments that come from legal presumptions a rising from the apparent facial validity of self serving documents they have fabricated, forged or robosigned to create the illusion of a legal chain of title.
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Securitization has opened many doors to homeowners who persistently and effectively challenge the parties who initiate foreclosures. It is now almost always true that the party who initiates a foreclosure is not the actual owner of the debt nor does that party represent a legal entity that owns the debt. Transfer of a mortgage without the debt has been stated by courts throughout the 50 states to be a “nullity,” which means that the transfer never legally occurred despite the writing on a face of a document purporting to be an assignment of mortgage.
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The word, “nullity” is what you are after and it probably only applies to the assignment. It probably will never be applied, despite arguments to the contrary, to the actual encumbrance except after a period of years after the attempts to foreclose have failed multiple times, it is evident that the the debt will never be enforced or is otherwise barred by the doctrine of latches or the statute of limitations.
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Thus strategically it is important to start off with an analysis of legal title performed by a title analyst who has education and training to do it. That normally means an attorney but it could mean a person who writes title policies or who assesses title risk for title insurance companies. After the analysis, then you need someone who can suggest strategies and tactics that can be reviewed and implemented by local counsel  or pro se with the guidance of local counsel using hybrid legal services.
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We provide the title analysis if you don’t already have it based upon a current title search, including copies of the recorded documents, and we provide a 30 minute recorded CONSULT based upon a review of both the title analysis and unrecorded documents such as notices, correspondence or statements from some party purporting to be the “servicer.”
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Nothing contained in this email or anywhere on this blog should be considered legal advice upon which you can rely. Get a lawyer.

MERS Is NOTHING — The Correct Translation of “MIN”

Without a contract in writing executed with the formalities required for transfer of interests in real property, it is highly probable that any instrument executed on behalf of MERS means nothing without the necessity of drilling into the authority or knowledge of the signor. In fact, it might just be that the execution of an assignment might be the utterance of a false instrument for purposes of recording, which in and of itself constitutes illegal activity.

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Upon close inspection, investigation and research of hundreds of cases we have found no evidence that MERS ever enters into any contract for agency or anything else with originators who are not lenders. So we conclude that in cases where the originator is named on the note as Payee and on the Mortgage as Mortgagee or on the Deed of Trust as beneficiary, no such written contract exists and no correspondence or other communication exists between the originator and MERS.
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The current consensus is that MERS is a naked nominee, something I have repeated myself. But that appears to be true only in cases where the originator is a member of MERS and has therefore entered into an agency agreement with MERS.
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Entities like Broker One and American Brokers Conduit, whose name tells the whole story, are not likely to have had any contract, email, correspondence directly with MERS and are probably not party to any agreement in which the originator, if it exists at all, has agreed to let MERS be its agent and if so, under what conditions and for how long.
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I think the mistake we might have all made is in accepting the implied agency contract inferred from the face of the Mortgage or Deed of Trust. In many if not most courts the assignment by MERS of a Mortgage or Beneficial interest in a Deed of Trust is seen as the act of a “disclosed” naked nominee.
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First, basic law dictates that any contract in which the transfer of title to real property is involved must be written not oral, inferred or implied. Second, each state varies but all require the recording of the instrument.
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Third, there was no disclosure prior to closing which violates TILA disclosure requirements. This raises possibilities  of claims in a lawsuit by the homeowner or affirmative defenses of a homeowner if they are sued. As affirmative defenses they would claims of recoupment.
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Nobody tells the prospective borrower that when they sign the Mortgage or Deed of Trust they will be handing over an interest in their new or existing home to an entity that might serve the interests of just anyone. But, in fact, that is what is happening which means that on the face of the Deed of Trust or Mortgage, the originating parties are violating the provisions of TILA that make table funded loans against public policy. And as any 1st year law student will tell you any contract that violates public policy is probably void.
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At closing, if the borrowers are reading at all, MERS doesn’t show up until the day of closing and it is never pointed out by closing agents, originators or anyone else acting as mortgage broker or lender. Nor is the written agreement appointing MERS as “nominee” appear anywhere ever.
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If the appointment of MERS is void it might void the Mortgage or Deed of Trust. Or, it might be surplusage which is more likely. That means the mention of MERS means nothing.
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Hence the assignment of the Mortgage or Deed of Trust would be required to be executed by the named lender, who in turn probably could not assign the mortgage because at the time they are asked to sign such an instrument they (a) don’t exist and/or (b) don’t own the debt and probably never did. As such they would be uttering a false instrument for recording which amounts to two illegal acts probably constituting crimes.
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PRACTICE NOTE: ASSIGNMENT OF A MORTGAGE WITHOUT TRANSFER OF THE DEBT IS A NULLITY. Lawyers for the foreclosure mills are often using MERS assignments as a substitute for transfer of the debt.

NJ Appellate Court Decision Goes to Achilles Heel of “Securitizers”

“In order to have standing to foreclose a mortgage, a party ‘must own or control the underlying debt.'”

New Jersey litigants need look no further. In fact, in every other state of the U.S. you will find the same decisions each quoting from several other to the same effect. Courts across the country have usually confused the issue and accepted the allegation of ownership as proof of ownership. This court answers that as well:

To establish such ownership or control, Plaintiff must present properly authenticated evidence that it is the holder of the note or a non-holder in possession with rights of the holder.”

So what is a holder, such that the party has established “ownership or control of the underlying debt.” That is the issue that has been blurred by the banks.

The banks focus on the state statutes (UCC) enabling a holder to enforce without ever establishing that the party owns or controls the underlying debt. If you think about it that is nonsense. But that one thing, more than anything else, is responsible for millions of wrongful foreclosures. 

see NJ Decision On POA and MERS

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Here are some basic black letter rules, quoted in the NJ case, that have been followed for centuries:

  1. A holder must possess the original note.
  2. Transfer of possession must be “authenticated by an affidavit or certification based upon personal knowledge.”
  3. A party relying upon power of attorney or other document must produce the authenticated original of that document.
  4. Using the words “as attorney in fact” means nothing unless the party is able to produce a witness who, in their own personal knowledge, knows and states that the POA is in writing and has not been revoked.
  5. That witness must be able to lay the factual foundation and authentication for introduction of the Power of Attorney or any other such document.
  6. Without such foundation and authentication, any testimony or documents proffered by virtue of the POA cannot be admitted into evidence and for purposes of the case then, such statements or documents do not exist.
  7. A party who claims a legal relationship with another party and who relies upon it for proffering evidence must provide evidence of the legal relationship.
  8. A Power of Attorney must be in writing, duly signed and acknowledged as set forth in state statutes. Oral Powers of Attorney cannot be used to circumvent the requirement that interests in real property (including mortgages) must be in writing.
  9. A party seeking to enforce a note must be able to establish, though competent evidence, the location and the previous locations of the note in order to establish possession and the right to enforce, respectively.
  10. Certifications must be based upon personal knowledge and not general familiarity.
  11. If testimony is offered based upon a “review” of records, the records must be present or the witness must identify those records and how the witness acquired personal knowledge of their content.
  12. Assignments of mortgage must be authenticated by a person who has personal knowledge of the assignment (and the circumstances in which the assignment occurred). Otherwise the assignment is hearsay and must be excluded from evidence unless otherwise admitted for different reasons. Hearsay statements in assignments cannot be admitted into evidence and for purposes of the case then, such statements do not exist.
  13. The fact that an assignment or other document exists as an original or a copy does not mean that what is written on it can be admitted into evidence. But without a proper objection, the document can be admitted into evidence as proof of the matters asserted therein.
  14. A document signed by an agent or “nominee” like MERS after the demise of the principal is void because the power of attorney expires upon expiration of the principal. If the originator no longer exists, MERS is not authorized to act on behalf of the originator.

PROOF OF STANDING REQUIRED: SEFFAR v. RESIDENTIAL CREDIT SOLUTIONS INC

It is NOT enough to ALLEGE standing. They must PROVE it. Judges across the country are making mistakes with this simple concept. Standing to SUE is presumed if you allege (in words or by incorporation of exhibits) that you have it. Possession of the “original note” can be alleged but at trial the foreclosing party must PROVE (not argue) that (1) they have the original note and (2) they have the right to enforce it either because they own it or because they have been authorized by a person who owns it or a person who has the right to enforce it. 

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In the end we are closing in on the unthinkable: that anyone who was entitled to be treated as creditor was severed from the transactions leaving all other parties floating and leaving legal analysts to wonder (the borrower, that is) or make fraudulent representations (the banks and servicers) that the putative creditors cannot refute.
In the end, with very few exceptions, none of the trusts own anything and none of the servicers or trustees have any authority over any loans. This is the direct result of asymmetry of knowledge. The investors, the borrowers and the closing agents and even the sales agents do not have sufficient information to know what is going on — forcing everyone to look to the “Bank” who appears to be the source of funding.
And the Banks get to explain it in whatever way benefits them the most. They are thus permitted to explain away any hint that they were stealing investor money on an unprecedented scale. That is what happened in the TARP bailout and that is what happens in court.
Here is a 4th DCA case in Florida that spells out the difference between alleging a case and proving it.

SEFFAR v. RESIDENTIAL CREDIT SOLUTIONS INC

Taoufiq SEFFAR, Appellant, v. RESIDENTIAL CREDIT SOLUTIONS, INC., Appellee.

No. 4D13–3514.

    Decided: March 25, 2015

David H. Charlip of Charlip Law Group, LC, Aventura, for appellant. Raymond Hora of McCalla Raymer, LLC, Orlando, for appellee.

Appellant challenges a final judgment of foreclosure, claiming that the court erred in denying his motion for involuntary dismissal. He claimed that appellee did not prove standing to foreclose at the time suit was filed. We agree that the evidence is insufficient to show the plaintiff had standing and reverse. (e.s.)

Appellant executed a note and mortgage to ABN Amro Mortgage Group [EDITOR’S NOTE: SEARCH ABN AMRO ON THIS BLOG]. (“ABN”) in 2006. In 2009, appellant received a letter from CitiMortgage informing him that the servicing of his note and mortgage was being transferred from CitiMortgage to Residential Credit Solutions (“RCS”). RCS also sent a letter informing appellant of the transfer of the servicing of the loan. When he defaulted on the mortgage, RCS sent him a notice of default and subsequently filed suit, alleging that it had the right to enforce the note and mortgage. [EDITOR’S NOTE: HOMEOWNER DID NOT DEFAULT ON ANY OBLIGATION DUE RCS]

Attached to the complaint was the mortgage and note to ABN. The note was stamped “original” and did not contain any endorsements or allonges. Also attached was an assignment of the mortgage from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”), as receiver for Franklin Bank, to Mortgage Electronic Registrations Systems (“MERS”), as nominee for RCS. [EDITOR’S NOTE: THE PRESENCE OF EITHER FRANKLIN OR MERS TELLS US THAT THE SUBJECT LOAN IS SUBJECT TO FALSE CLAIMS OF SECURITIZATION WHERE THE SOURCE OF FUNDS HAS BEEN CUT OFF FROM ITS INVESTMENT DESTROYING ITS STATUS AS A CREDITOR]

About nine months after filing the complaint, RCS filed what it claimed was the “original” note. Filed with this note was an undated, blank allonge, payable to the bearer, allegedly executed by a vice president of ABN. Nothing about the appearance of this allonge, as contained in the appellate record, shows that it was affixed to the note with which it was filed. (e.s.) [EDITOR’S NOTE: NO PROOF THE “ALLONGE” WAS ATTACHED? THEN THE ALLONGE IS  A NULLITY. NO PRESUMPTION APPLIES].

Just two weeks before the foreclosure trial, RCS moved to substitute Bayview Loan Servicing as the plaintiff, alleging it had transferred servicing of the loan to Bayview. The documents attached to the motion do not mention that the ownership of the loan or mortgage was also transferred. The trial court allowed the substitution over appellant’s objection. (e.s.)

At trial, a litigation manager for Bayview testified. He was not a records custodian for RCS or for Bayview. He was not familiar with the computer systems that either of the prior servicers, CitiMortgage and RCS, used for compiling information on the loan or how it was inputted into the systems. He had no information as to whether the information on the loans was inputted into the prior servicers’ systems correctly. He could not testify to the truth or accuracy of RCS’s records, just that they were provided to Bayview. (e.s. [EDITOR’S NOTE: THESE ARE ELEMENTS OF PROOF THAT ARE ABSENT FROM THE TESTIMONY OF NEARLY EVERY ROBO-WITNESS]

He testified that Bayview was the servicer and holder of the note. He believed that Bayview had acquired the note through a purchase agreement with RCS, but he had not seen the agreement, nor did he have a copy of it. His belief that Bayview was the owner of the note under the purchase agreement was based on “a screen shot of our capital assets systems, which has information in regards to the status of the loan with us.” This screen shot was not produced at trial.

[Editor’s NOTE: Recent case decisions state that screen shots are hearsay and do not fall within any exceptions to the hearsay rule and are therefore barred from being admitted into evidence. The most important point to take away from this is that the witness nearly always knows absolutely nothing other than the script that he was required to memorize. Getting to that is actually fairly easy if you know how to do cross examination.]

 

As to the allonge with the blank endorsement from ABN, he did not know when it was executed or whether the signature on it was a “wet ink” signature or a stamp. He did not know whether the allonge was affixed to the note prior to it being filed in the court file. He did not know if the vice president who signed the allonge on ABN’s behalf was in the employ of ABN in November 2009, when Bayview’s records showed that servicing of the loan had been transferred from ABN to Franklin Bank. (e.s.)

The manager agreed that on January 29, 2010, when RCS mailed appellant a notice of intent to take legal action on the note and mortgage, RCS was not the owner and holder of the note by way of the September 30, 2009 assignment of mortgage, but testified, “[t]here may have been a purchase agreement or some other document.” He testified that, on that date, “I only know that RCS was servicing. I don’t know for a fact who was the holder of the note at the time.” While he did testify that RCS owned the note and mortgage on the date the complaint was filed, he then inconsistently stated that RCS had brought the suit as the servicer of the loan, not its owner. (e.s.)

Although appellant moved for involuntary dismissal on the ground that Bayview had not proved standing because it had not shown that it had the right to enforce the note and foreclose the mortgage, the trial court rejected this claim. It entered a final judgment of foreclosure in which it found that Bayview was due and owing the unpaid balance of the note. This appeal follows.

Appellant argues that Bayview failed to prove that it was the owner or holder of the note and that it had the right to foreclose. Based upon this confusing record, we agree that it presented no competent evidence that RCS was the holder of the note at the time it filed suit or that it was a nonholder in possession and entitled to enforce the note. Therefore, Bayview failed to prove standing.

Standing of the plaintiff to foreclose on a mortgage must be established at the time the plaintiff files suit. See McLean v. JP Morgan Chase Bank Nat’l Ass’n, 79 So.3d 170, 173 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012). McLean set forth the requirements that a plaintiff may prove standing in a mortgage foreclosure:

Standing may be established by either an assignment or an equitable transfer of the mortgage prior to the filing of the complaint ․ For example, standing may be established from a plaintiff’s status as the note holder, regardless of any recorded assignments․

If the note does not name the plaintiff as the payee, the note must bear a special endorsement in favor of the plaintiff or a blank endorsement․ Alternatively, the plaintiff may submit evidence of an assignment from the payee to the plaintiff ․

Even in the absence of a valid written assignment, the mere delivery of a note and mortgage, with intention to pass the title, upon a proper consideration, will vest the equitable interest in the person to whom it is so delivered.

Id. at 173 (citations and quotation marks omitted).

Appellant notes several deficiencies in Bayview’s proof which result in a failure to show standing to foreclose the mortgage. First, while the note and mortgage were originally held by ABN, the only assignment of mortgage attached to the complaint and introduced at trial was one from FDIC as receiver for Franklin Bank to MERS as nominee for RCS. There is no proof of any transfer of the note or mortgage from ABN to Franklin Bank. Second, while Bayview contends that the undated allonge supplies the connection, as it shows a transfer payable to bearer, there was no proof that the allonge was attached to the note, and Bayview presented no proof of when it was executed. (e.s.) [EDITOR’S NOTE: THE ENDORSEMENT MEANS NOTHING IF IT WASN’T ON THE NOTE. IT WASN’T ON THE NOTE UNLESS THE ALLONGE WAS AFFIXED TO THE NOTE. THE ENDORSEMENT MEANS NOTHING WITHOUT FOUNDATION TESTIMONY PROVING THAT THE ENDORSER HAD THE AUTHORITY TO EXECUTE THE ENDORSEMENT] Finally, there was no competent evidence of what rights Bayview acquired from RCS.

We recently addressed how a plaintiff may show it is entitled to foreclose on a promissory note in Murray v. HSBC Bank, 40 Fla. L. Weekly D239 (Fla. 4th DCA Jan. 21, 2015):

“Because a promissory note is a negotiable instrument and because a mortgage provides the security for the repayment of the note, the person having standing to foreclose a note secured by a mortgage may be ․ a nonholder in possession of the note who has the rights of a holder.” Mazine v. M & I Bank, 67 So.3d 1129, 1130 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011).

A “person entitled to enforce” an instrument is: “(1) [t]he holder of the instrument; (2)[a] nonholder in possession of the instrument who has the rights of a holder; or (3)[a] person not in possession of the instrument who is entitled to enforce the instrument pursuant to s[ection] 673.3091 or s[ection] 673.4181(4).” § 673.3011, Fla. Stat. (2013). A “holder” is defined as “[t]he person in possession of a negotiable instrument that is payable either to bearer or to an identified person that is the person in possession.” § 671.201(21)(a), Fla. Stat. (2013). Thus, to be a holder, the instrument must be payable to the person in possession or indorsed in blank. See § 671.201(5), Fla. Stat. (2013).

Although, nine months after filing the complaint, RCS filed what purported to be the original note with an allonge payable to bearer, it was undated and there is no proof it was affixed to the promissory note. “An allonge is a piece of paper annexed to a negotiable instrument or promissory note, on which to write endorsements for which there is no room on the instrument itself. Such must be so firmly affixed thereto as to become a part thereof.” See Booker v. Sarasota, Inc., 707 So.2d 886, 887 n. 1 (Fla. 1st DCA 1998) (quoting Black’s Law Dictionary 76 (6th ed.1990)); see also Isaac v. Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co., 74 So.3d 495, 496 n. 1 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011). The litigation manager did not know when the allonge was executed, or whether it was affixed to the note prior to filing. No evidence was presented that the allonge was executed and attached to the note prior to the filing of the initial complaint. Indeed, RCS did not allege in the complaint that it owned and held the mortgage. It merely alleged that it had the right to foreclose the note and mortgage. Therefore, the allonge provided no evidence that RCS was a “holder” at the time it filed the complaint.

Alternatively, Bayview argues that RCS was a nonholder in possession. However, Murray shows the fallacy of that claim. In Murray, we held that the lender, HSBC, had not proved standing where it had alleged that it was a nonholder in possession of the note and mortgage, because it did not prove that each prior transfer of the note conferred the right to enforce it: (e.s.)

HSBC was thus left to enforce the note under section 673.3011(2) as a nonholder in possession of the instrument with the rights of a holder. The issue then is whether HSBC is a nonholder in possession with the rights of a holder.

Anderson v. Burson, 424 Md. 232, 35 A.3d 452 (2011), is instructive. There, the court held that the plaintiff was a nonholder in possession and analyzed whether it had rights of enforcement pursuant to a Maryland statute that employs the same language as section 673.3011, Florida Statutes. Anderson, 35 A.3d at 462. “A transfer vests in the transferee only the rights enjoyed by the transferor, which may include the right to enforce [ment],” through the “shelter rule.” Id. at 461–62.

A nonholder in possession, however, cannot rely on possession of the instrument alone as a basis to enforce it․ The transferee does not enjoy the statutorily provided assumption of the right to enforce the instrument that accompanies a negotiated instrument, and so the transferee “must account for possession of the unendorsed instrument by proving the transaction through which the transferee acquired it.” (e.s.) [EDITOR’S NOTE: NO PRESUMPTIONS AND THEREFORE NO CASE FOR ENFORCEMENT IF NO TRANSACTION PROVEN. THE TRANSACTION IS NOT PRESUMED] Com. Law § 3–203 cmt. 2. If there are multiple prior transfers, the transferee must prove each prior transfer. Once the transferee establishes a successful transfer from a holder, he or she acquires the enforcement rights of that holder. See Com. Law § 3–203 cmt. 2. A transferee’s rights, however, can be no greater than his or her transferor’s because those rights are “purely derivative.” (e.s.)

Murray, 40 Fla. L. Weekly D239 (emphasis in original) (internal citations omitted). Because HSBC did not offer evidence of one of the prior transfers of the note, we held it did not prove that it was a nonholder in possession.

Similarly, in this case, Bayview did not prove that either RCS or itself was a nonholder in possession. It never connected FDIC as receiver of Franklin Bank, from which RCS acquired an assignment of mortgage, to ABN, the original note holder.

As alternative proof of its “ownership” of the note and mortgage, Bayview relied on a letter from RCS to the appellant, notifying him of the transfer of servicing rights to RCS, and a similar one from Bayview when it became the servicer of the loan. Neither letter addressed a right to enforce the note. None of the servicer agreements were placed in evidence to prove what rights either RCS or Bayview acquired under those agreements. (e.s.) [EDITOR’S NOTE: It is very rare that the servicer agreements are proffered by “Plaintiff” Trust (or other sham nominee) in evidence because those agreements, like Assignment and Assumption Agreements contain information that the securitization players don’t want the borrower, the court or government regulators or enforcers to see].Finally, as to the transfer between RCS and Bayview, the litigation manager testified that while he believed that Bayview purchased the note and mortgage from RCS, he had never seen a purchase agreement, and no document memorializing the purchase was entered into evidence. Therefore, because there is a gap in the transfer of the note and mortgage, Bayview did not prove that RCS, and subsequently Bayview, were nonholders in possession. See Murray, 40 Fla. L. Weekly D239. 

Simply stated, the evidence presented was woefully inadequate to prove standing to foreclose. It was quite apparent from the record that Bayview’s litigation manager did not have the requisite knowledge, nor did he produce documentary evidence, to support the claim.

We thus reverse and direct judgment in favor of the appellant dismissing the foreclosure on the mortgage for failure of the appellee to prove its standing.

Reversed and remanded.

WARNER, J.

CIKLIN and GERBER, JJ., concur.

MERS Ownership Intentionally Obfuscated

By The LendingLies Team

In an ongoing California Appeal (that will go unnamed at this time), a homeowner’s attorney obtained a routine MERS corporate disclosure statement in response to an opening appellate brief he had filed.  The attorney shared the disclosure statement with a colleague in Hawaii who noticed that MERS claimed it was owned by its holding company who was owned by Maroon Holding, an LLC.  Further research revealed that Maroon was more than 10% owned by “Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.” (“ICE”).  Additional digging revealed that ICE was listed as the parent corporation for the New York Stock Exchange.  At that point red flags were raised.

The attorney, flabbergasted, after years of trying to peel the layers off of the proverbial MERS onion, discovered that ICE purchased the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) for around 8 billion dollars, and it is now worth over 11 billion dollars (huge profits fueled by trillions of dollars of foreclosures and the unrecognized devaluation of the dollar) (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/ice-closes-11b-acquisition-nyse-135835485.html) The attorney discovered that ICE also claims to have purchased MERS (so Maroon could not own MERS if ICE does) and when looking into ICE, it is traded (oddly being the NYSE) on NASDAQ.

NASDAQ lists 51 pages of stock ownership in ICE which includes virtually everyone and anyone involved in the financial fraud and corruption scheme.  The pirates include Black Rock who fabricates the forged documents, to Bank of America, N.A., Bank of New York Mellon Corporation; as well as Rothchilds, Rockefellers, Goldman Sachs, T Rowe Price (largest investor), Wells Fargo, Citi, etc…  The list of participants goes on and on with billions of dollars and half a billion shares outstanding.  Not to mention that the government sponsored GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are owners as well.

The risk is evenly distributed among the Too Big To Fail institutions with no party owning more than 10% ownership in shares requiring disclosure (of course).  ICE’s ownership, like MERS, is buried in Delaware corporations with 3 different entities claiming the exact same name.  This shell game of mergers and name changes makes it nearly impossible to identify who actually owns anything since no court in the country will enforce discovery or any subpoena on them since each county/pension is invested themselves.

For additional information check out these links:

http://ir.theice.com/press/press-releases/all-categories/2016/06-17-2016-133008963

http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/ice/institutional-holdings

The bank’s attorneys are also playing the obfuscation game by failing to identify who retained them.

This same attorney reports that he has attempted to sanction opposing counsel for claiming to represent parties that (1) do not exist and/or; (2) were not sued.  In this instance, the lead defendant bounced between two firms, and claimed to represent a party that does not exist.  Nine months into litigation the lender finally admitted they represented the wrong party and then claimed to represent the lender the homeowner first sued instead of who they claimed to currently represent.  The lenders use a game of changing entities, names, servicers and trusts to detract from the real issues while creating such a convoluted mess that plausible deniability can be implied at all junctions.  Outside of foreclosure, no Plaintiff in any other type of litigation would be permitted to act in this manner without being sanctioned.

In this particular case, three different law firms have now made misleading statements and the court takes any lie they spin as fact.  False representations of legal representations for trustees who don’t know or don’t care whether their name is used as Plaintiff or beneficiary are now the norm. Yet, there is no clear procedural method of challenging whether the law firm represents the servicer v REMIC trustee. In a  Florida US bank case,  the Plaintiff’s lawyer admitted to having zero contact with US bank and the attorney could not state that US bank retained him.  It is all but impossible to identify who is truly pulling the strings and violates a consumer’s right to know who their creditor is.

The attorney who brought this situation to our attention writes, “Defendants and their counsel are attempting to obfuscate any ability to identify any actual owner, holder or holder-in-due-course of the purported debt, if such ever existed, its extinguishment notwithstanding.”    When the homeowner, their attorney, the bank, opposing counsel and the judge can’t identify who the true creditor and imposters are, this leads to issues of:

  1. Slander and Disparagement of the Title to Plaintiff’s Property
  2. Lender’s Acts are not Privileged and are without Justification
  3. False Claims
  4. Pecuniary Losses
  5. Fraud
  6. Fraud on the Court
  7. Racketeering
  8. FDCPA and FDCPA violations
  9. Claims are barred for Making False, Deceptive and Misleading Representations
  10. Unconscionable Allegations by Plaintiff
  11. Plaintiff had no Standing to bring Lawsuit

These are issues causing real damages and yet, the Judge in this case will likely ignore the blatant fraud, the use of pseudo-parties and the unconscionable consequences caused by a party with no standing to be in the courtroom.  If you’re a bank you are not required to be honest or have any credible evidence of ownership.  The presentation of fabricated and forged documents, shell companies, and a false affidavit is usually sufficient to foreclose.

Neil Garfield will provide more information on the MERS ownership issue in the next several weeks. Stay up to date at LivingLies.

MERS/GMAC Note and Mortgage Discharged

If only all courts would entertain the possibility that everything presented to them should be the subject of intense scrutiny, 90%+ of all foreclosures would have been eliminated. Imagine what the country would look like today if the mortgages and fraudulent foreclosures failed.

The Banks say that if the mortgages failed they all would go bust and that there is nothing to backstop the financial system. The rest of us say that illegal mortgage lending and foreclosures was too high a price to pay for a dubious theory of national security.

Get a consult! 202-838-6345

https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments.
 
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
—————-

I received the email quoted below from David Belanger who, like many others has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that persistence pays off. (BOLD IS EMPHASIS SUPPLIED BY EDITOR)

Besides the obvious the big takeaway for me was what I have been advocating since 2007 — if any company in in the alleged chain of “creditors” has gone out of business, there probably is a bankruptcy involved or an FDIC receivership. Those records are available for inspection. And what those records will show is that the the bankrupt or insolvent entity did not own the debt that arose when you signed documents for the benefit of parties other than the source of funding. It will also show that the bankrupt or insolvent entity did not own the note or mortgage either.

This is instructional for virtually all parties “involved” in a foreclosure but particularly clear in the cases of OneWest, whose entire business plan depended upon fraudulent foreclosures, and Chase Bank who bet heavily on getting away with it and they have, so far. BUT looking at the bankruptcy and receivership filings of IndyMac and WAMU respectively the nature of the fraud was obvious and born out of pure arrogance and apparently a correct perception of invincibility.

All such bankruptcy proceedings and receivership require schedules of assets right down to the last nickle in bankruptcy. Belanger simply looked at the schedule, knowing he never took the loan, and found without surprise that the bankrupt entity never claimed ownership of the debt, note or mortgage.

The big message here though is not just for those who are being pursued in collection for loans they never asked for nor received. The message here is to look at those schedules to see if your debt, note or mortgage is listed. Lying on those forms is a federal felony punishable by jail. Those forms are the closest you are ever going to get to the truth. Odds are your loan is nowhere to be found — even if you did get a loan.

And the second takeaway is the nonexistence of the “trust.” In most cases it never existed. Your “REMIC Trust” was almost certainly formed under the laws of the State of New York or Delaware that permit common law trusts (i.e., trusts that don’t need to be registered with the state in order to exist). BUT uniform trust laws adopted in virtually all states require for the trust to be considered a “person” it needs to have these elements — (1) trustor (2) trustee (3) trust instrument (PSA) and (4) a “thing” (res in Latin) that is committed to the trust by someone who owns the thing. It is the last element that is wholly absent from nearly all REMIC “Trusts.”

And now, David Belanger’s email:

JUST WANTED TO TELL YOU ALL SOMETHING,  THAT I JUST GOT DONE , FROM MERSCORP!  ON OUR PROPERTY THERE WAS A 2d MORTGAGE ON IT, IT WAS A LINE OF CREDIT THAT WE DID NOT DO, AND WE DID REPORT IT TO THE RIGHT AUTHORITY’S, BACK IN 2006/2007. NOW THE COMPANY WAS GMAC MORTGAGE CORP.

OVER THE YRS, FROM 2006 TILL NOW, IT REMAINED ON PROPERTY, UNTIL JUST LAST WEEK, WHEN I DEMANDED THAT MERS DISCHARGE IT.  AND AFTER THEY FOUND OUT IT WAS NEVER ASSIGNED OUT OF MERS, THEY HAD TO DISCHARGE IT. BECAUSE GMAC MORTGAGE IS DEAD.  NOW THIS GO TO WHAT WE ALL HAVE SAID HERE.

ANY ASSIGNMENT THAT HAS NOT BEEN DONE, OR RECORDED AT REGISTRY OF DEEDS, OUT OF MERS, AND THE MORTGAGE COMPANY IS A DEAD MORTGAGE COMPANY. THEN MERS WILL DISCHARGE IT . I HAVE A COPY OF THE DISCHARGE IN HAND.

AM STILL FIGHTING, BECAUSE OF THIS NEWS,  I HAVE ASK MY ATTORNEY TO NO AVAIL TO DO A QWR ON THE COMPANY THAT RECORDED AN ASSIGNMENT IN 2012, EVEN THOUGH GMAC MORTGAGE CORP WAS IN BK AND AFTER GOING THROUGH ALL BK RECORDS OF EACH ENTITY, THAT HAD TO FILE ALL ASSET OF THERE COMPANY, AND FOUND THAT NO ONE IN GMAC HAD THE MORTGAGE AND NOTE, 3 MONTHS PRIOR TO THE ASSIGNMENT BEING PUT ON MY RECORD.
https://www.kccllc.net/rescap/document/1212020120703000000000033

UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW …
www.kccllc.net
Southern District of New York, New York In re: GMAC Mortgage, LLC UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT Case No. 12-12032 (MG) B6 Summary (Official Form 6 – Summary) (12/07)

THIS IS AGAIN THE REASON, THIS FRAUD TRUST  DOES NOT EXIST, AND I DO HAVE ALL SECRETARY OF STATES, INCLUDING ALL STATING THAT  THIS FRAUD TRUST IN FACT HAS NEVER
BEEN REGISTERED IN ANY STATE. LET ALONG THE STATE OF DELAWARE, THE STATE THEY SAY IT IS REGISTERED IN.  THE SECRETARY OF STATE SAID NO. AND HAS NEVER BEEN A LEGAL OPERATING TRUST, EVER. SIGNED AND NOTARIZED BY THE SECRETARY. THE FRAUD TRUST NAME IS AS FOLLOWS.
GMACM MORTGAGE LOAN TRUST 2006-J1,

FREE HOUSE?

Judges may be biased in favor of “national security” (i.e., protecting the banks), but they have a surprisingly low threshold of tolerance when they are confronted by the bank’s argument that they don’t have to accept the money and that it is the bank’s option as to whether to accept the money or proceed with the foreclosure. To my knowledge that argument has lost 100% of the time. And THAT means the homeowner was able to get the proverbial free house or otherwise settle under seal of confidentiality (which might include the “free house.”)

all too often the Golden Rule of Mortgage Foreclosure is simply ignored and the foreclosure goes ahead as if the rule were not the statutory law of every jurisdiction in the United States — Douglas Whaley

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

Get a consult! 202-838-6345

https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments.
 
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
—————-

The article below demonstrates (with edits from me) just how “hairy” these issues get. Things that laymen presume to be axiomatic don’t even exist in the legal world. I just sent my son a mug that says “Don’t confuse your Google search with my medical degree.” The same could be said for law. You might have discovered something that appears right to you but only a lawyer with actual experience can tell you if it will fly — remember that the bumblebee, according to the known laws of aerodynamics — is incapable of flying. Yet it flies seemingly unconcerned about our laws of aerodynamics. Similar to the lack of concern judges have, as if they were bumblebees, for the laws of contract and negotiation of instruments.

“Be careful what you wish for.” We must not give the banks a condition that they can satisfy with a fake. If the statute says that they must come up with the original promissory note, or the encumbrance is automatically lifted by a Clerk’s signature, then that means that (a) the debt still exists (b) the note could still be enforced with a lost note affidavit (which lies about the origination of the “loan” and subsequent nonexistent transactions), and (c) the debt can still be enforced.

A suit on the note or the debt that is successful will yield a Final Judgment, which in turn can be recorded in the county records. A further action for execution against the property owner will cause execution to issue — namely the judgment becomes a judgment lien that can now be foreclosed with no note whatsoever. The elements of a judgment lien foreclosure are basically (I have the Judgment, the statute says I can record it and foreclose on it).

There are homestead exemptions in many states. Whereas Florida provides a total homestead exemption except in bankruptcy court (up to $125,000 value), Georgia provides very little protection to the property owner which means that Georgia property owners are vulnerable to losing their homes if they don’t pay a debt that has been reduced to a Final Judgment and filed as a Judgment lien.

So the upshot is this: if you ask for the original note they might simply change their routines so that they produce the fabricated original earlier rather than later. Proving that it is a fake is not easy to do, but it can be done. The problem is that even if you prove the note is fabricated, the debt still remains. And in the current climate that means that any “credible” entity can step into the void created by the Wall Street banks and claim ownership of the debt for the purpose of the lawsuit.

What you want to do and in my opinion what you must do is focus on the identity of the creditor in addition to the the demand for the “original” note. When you couple that with tender of the amount demanded (under any one of the scenarios we use in our AMGAR programs) on the industry practice of demanding the identity of the creditor before anyone receives payment, then you really have something going.

But the risk element for tender MUST be present or it will likely be brushed aside who sees it as merely a gimmick — using the state law regarding tender as an offensive tool to get rid of the encumbrance and thus prevent foreclosure.

*

So the commitment is to pay off or refinance the alleged debt conforming to the industry standard of giving estoppel information — with the name of the creditor, where the payment should be sent, and the amount demanded by the creditor, and per diem, escrow and other information.

*

The inability and unwillingness of anyone to name a creditor has been credited with eliminating both the foreclosure and the mortgages in several dozen cases.

*

Judges may be biased in favor of “national security” (i.e., protecting the banks), but they have a surprisingly low threshold of tolerance when they are confronted by the bank’s argument that they don’t have to accept the money and that it is the banks option as to whether to accept the money or proceed with the foreclosure. To my knowledge that argument has lost 100% of the time. And THAT means the homeowner was able to get the proverbial free house or otherwise settle under seal of confidentiality (which might include the “free house.”)

Here is the UCC article by Douglas Whaley. [Words in brackets are from the Livinglies editor and not from Mr. Whaley]

the Golden Rule of Mortgage Foreclosure: the Uniform Commercial Code forbids foreclosure of the mortgage unless the creditor possesses the properly-negotiated original promissory note. If this can’t be done the foreclosure must
stop.
 *
all too often the Golden Rule of Mortgage Foreclosure is simply ignored and the foreclosure goes ahead as if the rule were not the statutory law of every jurisdiction in the United States.1
 *
Why is that? The answer is almost too sad to explain. The problem is that the Uniform Commercial Code is generally unpopular in general, and particularly when it comes to the law of negotiable instruments (checks and promissory notes) contained in Article Three of the Code. Most lawyers were not trained in this law when in law school (The course on the subject, whether called “Commercial Paper” or “Payment Law,” is frequently dubbed a “real snoozer” and skipped in favor or more exotic subjects), and so the only exposure to the topic attorneys have occurs, if at all, in bar prep studies (where coverage is spotty at best). Thus many foreclosures occur without it occurring to anyone that the UCC has any bearing on the issue.
 *
If the defendant’s attorney announces that the Uniform Commercial Code requires the production of the original promissory note, the judge may react by saying something like, “You mean to tell me that some technicality of negotiable instruments law lets someone who’s failed to pay the mortgage get away with it if the promissory note can’t be found, and that I have to slow down my overly crowded docket in the hundreds of foreclosure cases I’ve got pending to hear about this nonsense?” It’s a wonder the judge doesn’t add, “If you say one more word about Article Three of the UCC you’ll be in contempt of court!”
 *
The debt is created by the signing of a promissory note (which is governed by Article Three of the Uniform Commercial Code); the home owner will be the maker/issuer of the promissory note and the lending institution will be payee on the note. There is a common law maxim that “security follows the debt.” This means that it is presumed that whoever is the current holder of the promissory note (the “debt”) is entitled to enforce the mortgage lien (the “security”). The mortgage is reified as a mortgage deed which the lender should file in the local real property records so that the mortgage properly binds the property not only against the mortgagor but also the rest of the world (this process is called “perfection” of the lien).1
 *
{EDITOR’S NOTE: Technically the author is correct when he states that a debt is created by the signing of a promissory note governed by Article 3 of the Uniform Commercial Code. But it is also true that the note is merely a written instrument that memorializes the “loan contract” and which in and unto itself constitutes evidence of the debt.
 *
This means that some sort of transaction with a monetary value to both sides must have taken place between the two parties on the note — the maker (borrower) and the payee (the lender). If no such transaction has in fact occurred then, ordinarily the note is worthless and unenforceable. But in the event that a third party purchases the note for value in good faith and without knowledge of the borrowers defenses, the note essentially and irrevocably becomes the debt and not merely an evidence of the debt. In that case the note is treated as the debt itself for all practical purposes.
 *
Such a purchaser would be entitled to the exalted status of holder in due course. Yet if the borrower raises defenses that equate to an assertion that the note should be treated as void because there was no debt (the maker didn’t sign it or the maker signed it under false pretenses — i.e. fraud in the execution) then in most cases the HDC status won’t prevail over the real facts of the case..The corollary is that if there was no debt there must have been no loan.
 *
This would be fraud in the inducement which moves the case into a gray area where public policy is to protect the innocent third party buyer of the note. All other defenses raised by borrowers are affirmative defenses (violations of lending statutes, for example) raising additional issues that were not presented nor implied in the complaint  enforce the note or the nonjudicial procedure in which the note is being enforced by nonjudicial foreclosure.}
 *
The bankers all knew the importance of the mortgage, and supposedly kept records as to the identity of the entities to whom the mortgage was assigned. But they were damn careless about the promissory notes, some of which were properly transferred whenever the mortgage was, some of which were kept at the originating bank, some of which were deliberately destroyed (a really stupid thing to do), and some of which disappeared into the black hole of the financial collapse, never to be seen again.
 *
Filing fees in real property record offices average $35 every time a new document is filed. The solution was the creation of a straw-man holding company called Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems [MERS]. MERS makes no loans, collects no payments, though it does sometimes foreclose on properties (through local counsel). Instead it is simply a record-keeper that allows its name to be used as the assignee of the mortgage deed from the original lender, so that MERS holds the lien interest on the real property. While MERS has legal title to the property [EDITOR’S NOTE: this assertion of title is now back in a grey area as MERS does not fulfill the definition of a beneficiary under a deed of trust nor a mortgagor under a mortgage deed.], it does not pretend to have an equitable interest. At its headquarters in Reston, Va., MERS (where it has only 50 full time employees, but deputizes thousands of temporary local agents whenever needed) supposedly keeps track of who is the true current assignee of the mortgage as the securitization process moves the ownership from one entity to another.3
 *
Meanwhile the homeowner, who has never heard of MERS, is making payment to the [self proclaimed] mortgage servicer (who forwards them to whomever MERS says is the current assignee of the mortgage) [or as is more likely, forwards the proceeds of payments to the underwriter who sold bogus mortgage bonds, on which every few months another bank takes the hit on a multibillion dollar fine]..

Article 3 of the Uniform Commercial Code could not be clearer when it comes to the issue of mortgage note foreclosure. When someone signs a promissory note as its maker (“issuer”), he/she automatically incurs the obligation in UCC §3-412 that the instrument will be paid to a “person entitled to enforce” the note.5″Person entitled to enforce”—hereinafter abbreviated to “PETE”—is in turn defined in §3-301:

“Person entitled to enforce” an instrument means (i) the holder of the instrument, (ii) a nonholder in possession of the instrument who has the rights of a holder, or (iii) a person

not in possession of the instrument who is entitled to enforce the instrument pursuant to Section 3-309 or 3-418(d) . . . .

[Editors’ note: the caveat here is that while the execution of a note creates a liability, it does not create a liability for a DEBT. The note creates a statutory liability while the debt creates a liability to repay a loan. Until the modern era of fake securitization, the two were the same and under the merger doctrine the liability for the debt was merged into the execution of the note because the note was payable to the party who loaned the money.

And under the merger doctrine, the debt is NOT merged into the note if the parties are different — i.e., ABC makes the loan but DEF gets the paperwork. Now you have two (2) liabilities — one for the debt that arose when the “borrower” received payment or received the benefits of payments made on his/her behalf and one for the note which is payable to an entirely different party. Thus far, the banks have succeeded in making the circular argument that since they are withholding the information, there is not way for the “borrower” to allege the identity of the creditor and thus no way for the “borrower” to claim that there are two liabilities.]

Three primary entities are involved in this definition that have to do with missing promissory notes: (1) a “holder” of the note, (3) a “non-holder in possession who has the rights of a holder, and (3) someone who recreates a lost note under §3-309.6

A. “Holder”

Essentially a “holder” is someone who possesses a negotiable instrument payable to his/her order or properly negotiated to the later taker by a proper chain of indorsements. This result is reached by the definition of “holder” in §1-201(b)(21):

(21) “Holder” means:

(A) the person in possession of a negotiable instrument that is payable either to bearer or to an identified person that is the person in possession . . . .

and by §3-203:

(a) “Negotiation” means a transfer of possession, whether voluntary or involuntary, of an instrument by a person other than the issuer to a person who thereby becomes its holder.

(b) Except for negotiation by a remitter, if an instrument is payable to an identified person, negotiation requires transfer of possession of the instrument and its indorsement by the holder. If an instrument is payable to bearer, it may be negotiated by transfer of possession alone.

The rules of negotiation follow next.

B. “Negotiation”

A proper negotiation of the note creates “holder” status in the transferee, and makes the transferee a PETE. The two terms complement each other: a “holder” takes through a valid “negotiation,” and a valid “negotiation” leads to “holder” status. How is this done? There are two ways: ablankindorsement or aspecialindorsement by the original payee of the note.

 *
With a blank indorsement (one that doesn’t name a new payee) the payee simply signs its name on the back of the instrument. If an instrument has been thus indorsed by the payee, anyone (and I mean anyone) acquiring the note thereafter is a PETE, and all the arguments explored below will not carry the day. Once a blank indorsement has been placed on the note by the payee, all later parties in possession of the note qualify as “holders,” and therefore are PETEs.7
 *
Only if there is a valid chain of such indorsements has a negotiation taken place, thus creating “holder” status in the current possessor of the note and making that person a PETE. With the exception mentioned next, the indorsements have to be written on the instrument itself (traditionally on the back).
 *
the allonge must be “affixed to the instrument” per §3-204(a)’s last sentence. It is not enough that there is a separate piece of paper which documents the unless that piece of paper is “affixed” to the note.10What does “affixed” mean? The common law required gluing. Would a paper clip do the trick? A staple?11
 *
a contractual agreement by which the payee on the note transfers an interest in the note, but never signs it, cannot qualify as an allonge (it is not affixed to the note), and no proper negotiation of the note has occurred. If the indorsement by the original mortgagee/payee on the note is not written on the note itself, there must be an allonge or the note has not been properly negotiated, and the current holder of that note is not a PETE (since there is no proper negotiation chain). THE LACK OF SIGNATURE BECOMES A SERIOUS ISSUE IN THE CURRENT ERA BECAUSE OF WHAT HAS BEEN DUBBED “ROBO-SIGNING” THE EXACT DEFINITION OF WHICH HAS NOT YET BEEN DETERMINED BUT IT REFERS TO THE STAMPED OR EXECUTED SIGNATURE BY ONE POSSESSES NO KNOWLEDGE OR INTEREST IN THE CONTENTS OF THE INSTRUMENT AND ESPECIALLY WHEN THE PERSON HAS NO EMPLOYMENT OR OTHER LEGALR RELATIONSHIP WITHT EH ENTITY ON WHOSE BEHALF THE INDORSEMENT WAS EXECUTED. As stated in one case the base of robo-signing is that it is a forgery and therefore amounts to no signature at all which means the note has not really be negotiated, all appearances to the contrary. ]
 *
The Code never requires the person making an indorsement to have an ownership interest in the note13 (though of course the payee normally does have such an interest), but simply that he/she is the named payee, and the Code clearly allows for correction of a missing indorsement. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Here is where the enforcement tot he note and the ability to enforce the mortgage diverge, See Article 9. The possessor of a note that is properly signed by a party to whom the note was payable or indorsed commits no offense by executing an indorsemtn in blank (bearer) or to another named indorse. The author is correct when he states that ownership of the note is not required to enforce the note; but the implication that the right to foreclose a mortgage works the same way is just plain wrong, to wit: foreclosure is ALL about ownership of the mortgage and Article 9 provisions specifically state the ownership means that the purported holder has paid value for it]. 
 *
  1. 13   Thieves can qualify as a “holder” of a negotiable instrument and thereafter validly negotiate same to another; see Official Comment 1 to 3-201, giving an example involving a thief.
  2. 1.  Subsections (a) and (b) are based in part on subsection (1) of the former section 3-202.  A person can become holder of an instrument when the instrument is issued to that person, or the status of holder can arise as the result of an event that occurs after issuance.  “Negotiation” is the term used in article 3 to describe this post-issuance event.  Normally, negotiation occurs as the result of a voluntary transfer of possession of an instrument by a holder to another person who becomes the holder as a result of the transfer. Negotiation always requires a change in possession of the instrument because nobody can be a holder without possessing the instrument, either directly or  through an agent.  But in some cases the transfer of possession is involuntary and in some cases the person transferring possession is not a holder.  In defining “negotiation” former section 3-202(1) used the word “transfer,” an undefined term, and “delivery,” defined in section 1-201(14) to mean voluntary change of possession. Instead, subsections (a) and (b) used the term “transfer of possession” and subsection (a) states that negotiation can occur by an involuntary transfer of possession.  For example, if an instrument is payable to bearer and it is stolen by Thief or is found by Finder, Thief or Finder becomes the holder of the instrument when possession is obtained.  In this case there is an involuntary transfer of possession that results in negotiation to Thief or Finder. 
  3. [EDITOR’S NOTE: The heading for UCC 3-201 indicates it relates to “negotiation” of a note, not necessarily enforcement. The thief might be able to negotiate the note but enforcement can only be by a party with rights to enforce it. While a holder is presumed to have that right, it is a rebuttable presumption. Hence either a borrower or the party from whom the note was stolen can defeat the thief in court. But if the negotiation of the note includes payment of value in good faith without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses or complicity in the theft, then the successor to the thief is a holder in due course allowing enforcement against the maker. The borrower or victim of theft is then left with actions at law against the thief.]
 

New “Original Notes” from Visionet Systems: How False Original Signatures Are Created

reapplying the “signature images” upon stored copies.”

I have obtained confirmation from a large bank vendor (Visionet Systems, Inc.) that it rectifies “lost notes” by reapplying the “signature images” upon stored copies. —- Bill Paatalo, December 10, 2016

Kudos to Bill Paatalo who has quantified and identified what I have been talking about for years — the production of “original” notes that were previously destroyed. The sarcasm from the bench has dripped ridicule on anyone even suggesting that the “blue ink” signature is merely a reproduction on a fabricated document. The revelations in this article might be a step toward changing that attitude. — Neil Garfield

Get a consult! 202-838-6345

https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments.
 
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
—————-
see

http://bpinvestigativeagency.com/automated-affidavit-verifications-and-lost-note-reproductions-for-bank-vendors-its-standard-business-practice/

This is something that everyone ought to read because it not only reveals the details of how consumers are being screwed by illegal actions taken by the banks, but also shows how we have now institutionalized illegal behavior.

Perhaps most important is the take-away question from this revelation: Why is the fabrication and forging and robosigning documents necessary if these were all bona fide loans? Answer: They were not bona fide loans and the loan documents were fabrications that the borrower was fraudulently induced to sign.

The money given to “borrowers” was not a loan, but it was a liability.  The liability arose because the homeowner received the benefit of the money advanced somewhere near the time of the fictitious closing. But because of the larger scheme of stealing money from pension funds et al, the use of their money at the so-called closing was hidden from BOTH the investors and the “borrowers.” No loan contract was ever formed. Hence the need for repeated fabrications to cover up the illegal behavior and to create the illusion of literally “the greater weight of the evidence.”

In virtually every foreclosure case the money trail (i.e., reality) does not in any way dovetail or reconcile with the false paper trail created by the world’s largest banks.

Excerpts from Bill’s Article:

I have obtained confirmation from a large bank vendor (Visionet Systems, Inc.) that it rectifies “lost notes” by reapplying the “signature images” upon stored copies. 

Astonishingly enough, this is not the only business practice that appears to violate the $25B National Consent Judgment. Visionet advertises that it prepares “OCR Legal Packages” which involves the use of a sophisticated computer software program to create and verify foreclosure affidavits. Apparently, humans are too slow, as Visionet points out, “Servicers routinely lag behind on completing the legal package reviews in a timely manne[r.”]

[For reference, here is a copy of the “Consent Judgement” (CJ) signed on April 11, 2012 (consent_judgment_boa-4-11-12)]

This investigation begins with yet another “surrogate signed” mortgage assignment “Prepared By: Visionet Systems, Inc.,” executed and recorded December 2015 in Collier County Florida (see: collier-county-florida-assignment). The assignment is executed by “Stacy Pierce – Vice President – MERS as nominee for Greenpoint Mortgage Funding, Inc.” Of course, this mortgagee went out of business on August 20, 2007.

I looked up “Stacy Pierce” and found her LinkedIn resume which shows “VP of Operations” for Visionet Systems, Inc. (see: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stacy-pierce-53047162)

I visited Visionet’s website (https://www.visionetsystems.com/about) and found this marketing brochure describing a product called “Visirelease.” (see: visirelease-marketing-brochure) I was curious as to the following language located on page 2:

“A database driven Business Engine enables the users to define complex business conditions. These business conditions are associated with the relevant tasks to ensure verification at completion of each task. A powerful and flexible print engine is implemented for printing of release, assignments and lost notes, with or without signature images.”

The persons signing the eventual automated affidavits are simply relying on the auto-produced document, and do little if any human verification. The prime example is the above assignment on behalf of defunct Greenpoint! Still, if the witness was doing the actual verification, then why the need for OARS? In all the cases I have been involved, having read and heard countless servicer witnesses’ testimony, I have yet to hear any of these bank witnesses divulge that the affidavits relied upon in the proceedings were prepared and “verified” by a third-party automated computer program. How’s that for hearsay?

Here is the laundry list of potential violations to the Consent Judgment. Nowhere do I see room for “automated affidavit verification solutions” by undisclosed third-party vendors such as Visionet Systems, Inc.

[(CJ – A1-A3):

2. Servicer shall ensure that affidavits, sworn statements, and Declarations are based on personal knowledge, which may be based on the affiant’s review of Servicer’s books and records, in accordance with the evidentiary requirements of applicable state or federal law.

3. Servicer shall ensure that affidavits, sworn statements and Declarations executed by Servicer’s affiants are based on the affiant’s review and personal knowledge of the accuracy and completeness of the assertions in the affidavit, sworn statement or Declaration, set out facts that Servicer reasonably believes would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant is competent to testify on the matters stated. Affiants shall confirm that they have reviewed competent and reliable evidence to substantiate the borrower’s default and the right to foreclose, including the borrower’s loan status and required loan ownership information. If an affiant relies on a review of business records for the basis of its affidavit, the referenced business record shall be attached if required by applicable state or federal law or court rule. This provision does not apply to affidavits, sworn statements and Declarations signed by counsel based solely on counsel’s personal knowledge (such as affidavits of counsel relating to service of process, extensions of time, or fee petitions) that are not based on a review of Servicer’s books and records. Separate affidavits, sworn statements or Declarations shall be used when one affiant does not have requisite personal knowledge of all required information.

5. Servicer shall review and approve standardized forms of affidavits, standardized forms of sworn statements, and standardized forms of Declarations prepared by or signed by an employee or officer of Servicer, or executed by a third party using a power of attorney on behalf of Servicer, to ensure compliance with applicable law, rules, court procedure, and the terms of this Agreement (“the Agreement”).

6. Affidavits, sworn statements and Declarations shall accurately identify the name of the affiant, the entity of which the affiant is an employee, and the affiant’s title.

7. Servicer shall assess and ensure that it has an adequate number of employees and that employees have reasonable time to prepare, verify, and execute pleadings, POCs, motions for relief from stay (“MRS”), affidavits, sworn statements and Declarations.

10. Servicer shall not pay volume-based or other incentives to employees or third-party providers or trustees that encourage undue haste or lack of due diligence over quality.

11. Affiants shall be individuals, not entities, and affidavits, sworn statements and Declarations shall be signed by hand signature of the affiant (except for permitted electronic filings). For such documents, except for permitted electronic filings, signature stamps and any other means of electronic or mechanical signature are prohibited.

 

Problems with Lehman and Aurora

Lehman had nothing to do with the loan even at the beginning when the loan was funded, it acted as a conduit for investor funds that were being misappropriated, the loan was “sold” or “transferred” to a REMIC Trust, and the assets of Lehman were put into a bankruptcy estate as a matter of law.

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

—————-
I keep receiving the same question from multiple sources about the loans “originated” by Lehman, MERS involvement, and Aurora. Here is my short answer:
 *

Yes it means that technically the mortgage and note went in two different directions. BUT in nearly all courts of law the Judge overlooks this problem despite clear law to the contrary in Florida Statutes adopting the UCC.

The stamped endorsement at closing indicates that the loan was pre-sold to Lehman in an Assignment and Assumption Agreement (AAA)— which is basically a contract that violates public policy. It violates public policy because it withholds the name of the lender — a basic disclosure contained in the Truth in Lending Act in order to make certain that the borrower knows with whom he is expected to do business.

 *
Choice of lender is one of the fundamental requirements of TILA. For the past 20 years virtually everyone in the “lending chain” violated this basic principal of public policy and law. That includes originators, MERS, mortgage brokers, closing agents (to the extent they were actually aware of the switch), Trusts, Trustees, Master Servicers (were in most cases the underwriter of the nonexistent “Trust”) et al.
 *
The AAA also requires withholding the name of the conduit (Lehman). This means it was a table funded loan on steroids. That is ruled as a matter of law to be “predatory per se” by Reg Z.  It allows Lehman, as a conduit, to immediately receive “ownership” of the note and mortgage (or its designated nominee/agent MERS).
 *

Lehman was using funds from investors to fund the loan — a direct violation of (a) what they told investors, who thought their money was going into a trust for management and (b) what they told the court, was that they were the lender. In other words the funding of the loan is the point in time when Lehman converted (stole) the funds of the investors.

Knowing Lehman practices at the time, it is virtually certain that the loan was immediately subject to CLAIMS of securitization. The hidden problem is that the claims from the REMIC Trust were not true. The trust having never been funded, never purchased the loan.

*

The second hidden problem is that the Lehman bankruptcy would have put the loan into the bankruptcy estate. So regardless of whether the loan was already “sold” into the secondary market for securitization or “transferred” to a REMIC trust or it was in fact owned by Lehman after the bankruptcy, there can be no valid document or instrument executed by Lehman after that time (either the date of “closing” or the date of bankruptcy, 2008).

*

The reason is simple — Lehman had nothing to do with the loan even at the beginning when the loan was funded, it acted as a conduit for investor funds that were being misappropriated, the loan was “sold” or “transferred” to a REMIC Trust, and the assets of Lehman were put into a bankruptcy estate as a matter of law.

*

The problems are further compounded by the fact that the “servicer” (Aurora) now claims alternatively that it is either the owner or servicer of the loan or both. Aurora was basically a controlled entity of Lehman.

It is impossible to fund a trust that claims the loan because that “reporting” process was controlled by Lehman and then Aurora.

*

So they could say whatever they wanted to MERS and to the world. At one time there probably was a trust named as owner of the loan but that data has long since been erased unless it can be recovered from the MERS archives.

*

Now we have an emerging further complicating issue. Fannie claims it owns the loan, also a claim that is untrue like all the other claims. Fannie is not a lender. Fannie acts a guarantor or Master trustee of REMIC Trusts. It generally uses the mortgage bonds issued by the REMIC trust to “purchase” the loans. But those bonds were worthless because the Trust never received the proceeds of sale of the mortgage bonds to investors. Thus it had no ability to purchase loan because it had no money, business or other assets.

But in 2008-2009 the government funded the cash purchase of the loans by Fannie and Freddie while the Federal Reserve outright paid cash for the mortgage bonds, which they purchased from the banks.

The problem with that scenario is that the banks did not own the loans and did not own the bonds. Yet the banks were the “sellers.” So my conclusion is that the emergence of Fannie is just one more layer of confusion being added to an already convoluted scheme and the Judge will be looking for a way to “simplify” it thus raising the danger that the Judge will ignore the parts of the chain that are clearly broken.

Bottom Line: it was the investors funds that were used to fund loans — but only part of the investors funds went to loans. The rest went into the pocket of the underwriter (investment bank) as was recorded either as fees or “trading profits” from a trading desk that was performing nonexistent sales to nonexistent trusts of nonexistent loan contracts.

The essential legal problem is this: the investors involuntarily made loans without representation at closing. Hence no loan contract was ever formed to protect them. The parties in between were all acting as though the loan contract existed and reflected the intent of both the borrower and the “lender” investors.

The solution is for investors to fire the intermediaries and create their own and then approach the borrowers who in most cases would be happy to execute a real mortgage and note. This would fix the amount of damages to be recovered from the investment bankers. And it would stop the hemorrhaging of value from what should be (but isn’t) a secured asset. And of course it would end the foreclosure nightmare where those intermediaries are stealing both the debt and the property of others with whom thye have no contract.

GET A CONSULT!

https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule CONSULT, MAKE A DONATION, leave message or make payments.

 

Appeals Court Challenges Cal. Supreme Court Ruling in Yvanova/Keshtgar

The Court, possibly because of the pleadings and briefs refers to the Trust as “US Bank” — a complete misnomer that reveals a completely incorrect premise. Despite the clear allegation of the existence of the Trust — proffered by the Trust itself — the Courts are seeing these cases as “Bank v Homeowner” rather than “Trust v Homeowner.” The record in this case and most other cases clearly shows that such a premise is destructive to the rights of the homeowner and assumes the corollary, to wit: that the “Bank” loaned money or purchased the loan from a party who owned the loan — a narrative that is completely defeated by the Court rulings in this case.

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

—————-

see B246193A-Kehstgar

It is stunning how lower courts are issuing rulings and decisions that ignore or even defy higher court rulings that give them no choice but to follow the law. These courts are acting ultra vires in open defiance of the senior authority of a higher court. It is happening in rescission cases and it is happening in void assignment cases, like this one.
 *
This case focuses on a void assignment or the absence of an assignment. Keshtgar alleged that “the bank” had no authority to initiate foreclosure because the assignment was void or absent. THAT was the first mistake committed by the California appeals court, to wit: the initiating party was a trust, not a bank. This appeals court completely missed the point when they started out from an incorrect premise. US Bank is only the Trustee of a Trust. And upon further examination the Trust never operated in any fashion, never purchased any loans and never had any books of record because it never did any business.
 *
The absence of an assignment is alleged because the assignment was void, fabricated, backdated and forged purportedly naming the Trust as an assignee means that the Trust neither purchased nor received the alleged loan. Courts continually ignore the obvious consequences of this defect: that the initiator of the foreclosure is claiming rights as a beneficiary when it had no rights as a beneficiary under the deed of trust.
 *
The Court, possibly because of the pleadings and briefs refers to the Trust as “US Bank” — a complete misnomer that reveals a completely incorrect premise. Despite the clear allegation of the existence of the Trust — proffered by the Trust itself — the Courts are seeing these cases as “Bank v Homeowner.” The record in this case and most other cases clearly shows that such a premise is destructive to the rights of the homeowner and assumes the corollary, to wit: that the “Bank” loaned money or purchased the loan from a party who owned the loan — a narrative that is completely defeated by the Courts in this case.
 *
There really appears to be no question that the assignment was void or absent. The inescapable conclusion is that (a) the assignor still retains the rights (whatever they might be) to collect or enforce the alleged “loan documents” or (b) the assignor had no rights to convey. In the context of an admission that the ink on the paper proclaiming itself to be an assignment is “nothing” (void) there is no conclusion, legal or otherwise, but that US Bank had nothing to do with this loan and neither did the Trust.
 *
Bucking the California Supreme Court, this appellate court states that Yvanova has “no bearing on this case.” In essence they are ruling that the Cal. Supreme Court was committing error when it said that Yvanova DID have a bearing on this case when it remanded the case to the lower court of appeal with instructions to reconsider in light of the Yvanova decision.
 *
One mistake committed by Keshtgar was asking for quiet title. The fact that the MORTGAGE is voidable or unenforceable is generally insufficient grounds for declaring it void and removing it from the chain of title. I unfortunately contributed to the misconception regarding quiet title, but after years of research and analysis I have concluded that (a) quiet title is not an available remedy against the mortgage unless you have grounds to declare it void and (b) my survey of hundreds of cases indicates that judges are resistant to that remedy. BUT a similar action for cancellation of instrument could be directed against the an assignment, substitution of trustee on deed of trust, notice of default and notice of sale.
 *
Because there was an admission by Keshtgar that the loan was “non-performing” and because the court assumed that US Bank was a lender or proper successor to the lender, the question of what role the Trust plays was not explored at all. The courts are making the erroneous assumption that (a) there was a real loan contract between the parties who appear on the note and mortgage, (b) that the loan was funded by the originator and that the homeowner is in default of the obligations set forth on the note and mortgage. They completely discount any examination of whether the note is a valid instrument when it names not the actual lender but a third party who is also serving as a conduit. In an effort to prevent homeowners from getting windfalls, they are delivering the true windfalls to the servicers who are behind the initiation of virtually every foreclosure.
*
The problem is both legal and perceptual. By failing to see that each case is “Trust v Homeowner” the Courts are failing to consider that the case is between a private entity and a private person. By seeing the cases as “institution v private person” they are giving far too much credence to what the Banks, up until now, are selling in the courts.
https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments.

Deutsch Bank on Verge of Collapse?

there is no such thing as a soft landing in a cornered marketplace

Despite claiming $52 TRILLION “notional” value in derivatives (nearly all the money in the world) DB has posted a shattering loss and according to the IMF poses the most serious systemic loss to the financial system. Reports indicate that 29 DB employees were at the root of manipulating the LIBOR index which is used as the primary index for variable rate loans. Nobody has addressed the issue of whether adjusted payments should be scrutinized even while knowing that the index was rigged.

 

see http://www.visualcapitalist.com/chart-epic-collapse-deutsche-bank/

Nothing equals nothing. The fact is that DeutschBank allowed itself to be window dressing on bogus REMIC Trusts as though the DB trust department was managing the money for investors. Other than ink on paper, the trusts did not exist and neither did any assets of the purported trusts. DB led the way as a principal party in creating the illusion of “something” when in fact there was nothing at all.

Then DB executives took highly leveraged risks in betting on the bogus mortgage bonds (and other “asset-backed” securities) issued by those bogus REMIC Trusts. Then they papered it over with all kinds of complex derivative products — all of which were based upon the nonexistent ownership of the primary asset — loans. DB claims over $52 Trillion in “value” for those derivatives as a tier 3 asset (i.e., it is worth what management says it is worth). The current leverage ratio for DB is reported at 40x, which is just 2 points lower than Bear Stearns before it toppled over. The leverage is disguised as “sales” for which DB has subsequent liability. All of this was predicted and described by Abraham Briloff  in Unaccountable Accounting published by Harper and Rowe in 1972. Nearly all of these “trades” are merely devices to kick the can down the road, covering over losses that DB would rather not admit.

This situation reminds me of a scene long ago when I was working on Wall Street as a Trainee security analyst in the research department of a medium sized brokerage firm. One of the family partners came into our research department and told us confidently that despite all rumors to the contrary there would be no layoffs in our department. I think I had another job before he returned to his office just ahead of the layoff of the entire department 2 weeks later. My intuition told me that he was lying. On Wall Street it’s not the lying that is frowned upon, it is getting caught. My experience has taught me that the bigger the entity the bigger the lies and the more serious the systemic risk to the whole of society. That was in 1968-9.

At that time the crisis was the “paper crash” — meaning that Wall Street firms had “lost track” of the location and ownership of stock and bond certificates. Now they are filing “lost note” complaints like confetti. When you send a Qualified Written Request or Debt Validation Request, you get nothing unless you are already in litigation where suddenly “original” documentation pops up.

This time it is far more serious as the fortunes of many investors, banks and other institutions rely on the value of DB stock and promises to pay. The problem in 1968-1969 was addressed by “best guesses” and converting from a system where investors received actual certificates to a system where trades were recorded privately on the books and records of the brokerage houses and investors had to rely on the statements from their broker as evidence of their asset holdings.

But the systemic problem is the same. Today it is the notes and loan documents that are lost. The conversion to using a private record of transactions sounds like MERS today. And the claim to $52 Trillion in “notional value” is pure obfuscation. The total of all real money in the world is probably under $70 Trillion. So does DB own most or all of it? I don’t think so and neither does anyone else, which is why DB is in trouble. They got caught.

The report in the link above says that DB is in full crisis mode as DB tries to escape the death spiral that took down Lehman, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch and others.

The importance of these events goes far beyond the significance of DB itself. DB, whose stock is selling at 8% of what it was selling at in 2007, is unfortunately only a symbol of an epic disaster that is slowly unfolding. The fundamentals have changed. Nearly all “debt” that was created over the past 15 years is fatally defective — leaving enforcement only to the good graces of judges who are willing to overlook centuries of law governing the purchase and sale of negotiable paper.

The reason for the continuing weakness in economic systems around the world is that most of the money was sucked out of those systems. The method of the banks in achieving this non-heroic status is responsible for the continuing recession that is creating so much disturbance around the world. Leaders of those countries have been sucking it up in order to create a soft landing.

But here is what we know from history — there is no such thing as a soft landing in a cornered marketplace. The banks converted our economies from 85% reliance on manufacturing and services to an economy where half of the economic activity consists of trading securities back and forth — i.e., trading the same securities over and over again. That means that actual economic activity in the production and delivery of goods and services has declined from 85% to 50% and it is still dropping. The rest is smoke and mirrors. It is the belief or entanglements with the banks that keeps us from moving on, clawing back, and restoring household wealth to the only place that will actually generate real economic activity — the middle class and lower economic tiers.

Henry Ford proved the point spectacularly about 100 years ago when he doubled the wages of his workers — to the astonishment and dismay of his competitors. It was clear to everyone but Ford that he had obviously lost his mind. Despite that clarity that everyone agreed was the true way of looking at things, Ford’s move created the middle class and thus created a stable demographic who continue to buy what he was selling. In a short time, Ford was the dominant player in the marketplace selling automobiles and the “realists” were gone.

Until the middle class is restored (i.e., it gets back the money that was distributed away from them into the hands of a handful of men who had used their positions of influence to corner the market on money), the “recovery” will continue to be smoke and mirrors, the society will be disrupted and eventually companies that do rely on people to purchase their goods and services won’t have anyone to sell them to. And creating debt to cover the shortfall doesn’t work anymore. The middle class must have a pathway to financial security, not to financial ruin.

US Bank, America’s Wholesale Lender, MERS Go Down in Flames

WE HAVE REVAMPED OUR SERVICE OFFERINGS TO MEET THE REQUESTS OF LAWYERS AND HOMEOWNERS. This is not an offer for legal representation. In order to make it easier to serve you and get better results please take a moment to fill out our FREE registration form https://fs20.formsite.com/ngarfield/form271773666/index.html?1453992450583 
Our services consist mainly of the following:
  1. 30 minute Consult — expert for lay people, legal for attorneys
  2. 60 minute Consult — expert for lay people, legal for attorneys
  3. Case review and analysis
  4. Rescission review and drafting of documents for notice and recording
  5. COMBO Title and Securitization Review
  6. Expert witness declarations and testimony
  7. Consultant to attorneys representing homeowners
  8. Books and Manuals authored by Neil Garfield are also available, plus video seminars on DVD.
For further information please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688. You also may fill out our Registration form which, upon submission, will automatically be sent to us. That form can be found at https://fs20.formsite.com/ngarfield/form271773666/index.html?1452614114632. By filling out this form you will be allowing us to see your current status. If you call or email us at neilfgarfield@hotmail.com your question or request for service can then be answered more easily.
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THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.

—————-
“This is a huge win for homeowner’s attorney Kelley A. Bosecker” in St. Petersburg, Florida

see us-bank-v-dimant_2013-ca-001130

See also http://cloudedtitlesblog.com/2016/02/22/st-lucie-florida-circuit-court-ruling-nash-on-steroids/

This case is similar to another case won by Patrick Giunta and myself in Broward County. The gravamen of the case is that AWL is a fictional entity with no standing. it is a nullity. MERS was not proven to have a nexus to the loan or anything else relevant to the case. Unlike some other cases around the country, the court did NOT order the return of all money paid by borrower to parties who had no right to collect or enforce the alleged debt. That might be the subject of a cross appeal if there is an appeal by the Banks.

The underlying issue remains obscured however. The emphasis remains on the paperwork rather than the absence of any real transactions in which the debt was originated or acquired by anyone in the chain relied upon by US Bank as Plaintiff in this action.

The other issue that I have already commented upon is the continued view by many that Quiet title, in and of itself, is a proper strategy to attack the banks. I don’t think it is unless and until the mortgage encumbrance is and has been declared void or has been rendered void by operation of law (rescission under TILA). Decisions in the 11th Circuit in Bankruptcy court along with a number of other decisions around the country make it clear that the lien survives even if it isn’t or can’t be enforced. See this Month’s Florida Bar Journal article on junior lien holders in foreclosure cases.

And my final comment on this is that it isn’t just AWL that is a fictional character. As I stated in sworn testimony when 16 banks took my deposition for 6 straight days, MERS is a fictional character that does not answer to the definition of a beneficiary in non-judicial states and does not answer to the definition of a creditor or holder in judicial states.Some fo you might remember when I said you might just as well have inserted the name of “Donald Duck” in place of MERS or any of the other players who were pretending to have engaged in transactions that either originated or acquired mortgage loans. My observation remains: none of it is true.

In addition the alleged trusts simply do not exist in real life. Since they were never funded and the Trustee is not managing the money in any account where the Trustee has power over it, the proceeds of the alleged sale of mortgage backed securities went elsewhere. The Trust is not even a shell because it has no business and never had any financial statements. The reason for that is that the Trust was simply a ruse by Investment Banks to take money from Pension Funds and other investors. Hence it is impossible for the assignment, regardless of whenever it was created or fabricated, dated or backdated, to be real, to wit: it implies the existence of a transaction in which the Trust bought the loan. If that were true, the banks would say so and would allege the ultimate status under the UCC — Holder in Due Course. And THAT would have eliminated any borrower defenses.

The assumption that somehow the loan IS in the Trust but that it got there in violation of the PSA is, in my view, simply wrong. But paradoxically it seems easier to get judgment for the homeowner by making that false assumption and attacking the paperwork. If any of the transactions were real, the banks would long ago have come to court with proof of payment and transactions that were clearly supportive of their paperwork — and nobody would have lost or destroyed cash equivalent promissory notes.

Significantly, the ruling found that:

  1. On May 13, 2005, there was a Mortgage recorded in the St. Lucie County, Florida land records in favor of “America’s Wholesale Lender” (“AWL”) which is stated to be a New York Corporation.
  2. The Note alleges that the Lender is “America’s Wholesale Lender”, which the Court determined did not file this action, did not appear at trial and it didn’t assign any of the interest in the mortgage (how could it, as it is a “fiction”?).
  3. There was enough evidence on the table to show that AWL was NOT a New York Corporation at the time the Mortgage was recorded and that this entity did NOT have authority to conduct business in the State of Florida.
  4. MERS again was used to facilitate (as a “cover” for the misdeeds of Countrywide Home Loans, Inc.).  This was deemed by the Court NOT to be in statutory compliance with the state’s Uniform Commercial Code!
  5. As in the Nash case (coming out of Seminole County, Florida), there was no evidence provided by the Plaintiff trust (who we know didn’t get the note and mortgage by the cut-off date) that there was any nexus between AWL, Countrywide d/b/a AWL, Countrywide Bank or Bank of America, N.A.
  6. The ruling also made mention of Paragraph 22 as to conditions precedent (which is really NOT the whole point of this ruling); however, the Court appears to have gotten it right when it came to the REMIC trust NOT having standing to foreclose.
  7. The more obvious concern here, is MERS being used to assign a note and mortgage from a “fiction” to a REMIC trust “outside of the parameters and dictates of the PSA”.

 

MERS 2.0: CSP Another MERS for Securitization of Debt

For More information please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688

This article is not a substitute for a legal opinion on your case obtained from an attorney licensed in the jurisdiction in which your property or transaction is located. Get a lawyer.

=====================================

see GMAC Exec Appointed CEO of CSS

see Common Securitization Platform

see Common Securitization Platform — Freddie First

We all know that Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) has been pretty thoroughly discredited although there are still many judges whose attitude is “so what”, and the foreclosure goes forward anyway. MERS does not meet the statutory requirements to be a beneficiary under a deed of trust nor a mortgagee under a mortgage deed. It is a naked nominee, wearing none of the clothes required to be a lender, holder of the note or owner of the mortgage. And it even says so on its website, disclaiming any interest in any loan, debt, note or mortgage. It has been used extensively (an estimated 80 millions loans have been registered in the MERS system). Its purpose was to hide—-

(1) the real lender,  making virtually every loan a table  funded loan and therefore predatory per se (something which people have still not caught onto — until the Supreme Court says AGAIN, predatory per se means that it is against public policy, negating the right to obtain equitable relief [foreclosure]

(2) the real transactions of real money in the origination of loans and the acquisition of loan documents

(3) the real players in the lending process

(4) the real players in the collection process

(5) the real players in the foreclosure process

(6) theft from the investors

(7) theft from the borrowers

(8) fraud on the courts

Many knowledgeable judges, county recorders, legal analysts and title agents around the country have all come to the same conclusion: the use of MERS forever corrupted the public records systems for recording title and interests in real property. And yet those defective encumbrances remain in the public records as though MERS was real and the facts from the MERS platform were true. Clearing the title problems and compensating victims of foreclosure fraud enabled by MERS remains among the great challenges to all branches of government.

The problem for the banks is that if they fess up to the truth, the banks, their stockholders and anyone who relies upon them (i.e., the Federal government) will see their benefits go up in smoke. So they have been quietly seeking a way to cover the whole thing up and sweep it under the rug. Statutory changes were discarded because that would amount to admitting that something was wrong. So they hit upon the idea of institutionalizing the whole concept all over again — which will lead to yet another and bigger catastrophe than the one called the “Great Recession.”

It was obvious that if any of the largest banks were involved, alarm bells would have gone off all over the place. So they are using Fannie and Freddie, with a GMAC exec at the helm to start a “Common Securitization Platform” (CSP) that will not only enhance the illusion that prior fake securitizations were real, but also provide a quasi-governmental entity whose “business records” will seem more real than even the property records of any given county. It is a blatant usurpation of state powers with no more viability or validity than MERS. This is MERS 2.0. They will probably treat it as an administrative function of a quasi governmental agency entitled to the presumption of truth. Sounds like MERS, looks like MERS, smells like MERS, Walks like MERS …. must be a duck. [I said in 2008 in a 6 day marathon deposition of me as expert witness that they might just as well have put the name “Donald Duck” on the note and mortgage — since they were already using fictional characters.]

Bottom Line: They are institutionalizing prior acts of fraud against the taxpayers, the government (Federal, state and city), investors and borrowers and clearing the way for it continue unabated. The reason is clear: our political leaders from all political spectrums don’t have a clue about the real world of finance and they are scared to death by threats from bankers that if they go down, they will take the country down with them.

Where is Teddy Roosevelt (“Trust buster”) when you really need him?

Wells Fargo Skewered by Federal Judge For Forgery as a Pattern of Conduct

For further information please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688

==============================

http://nypost.com/2015/01/31/ny-federal-judge-slams-wells-fargo-for-forged-mortgage-docs/

COURT FINDS PRESUMPTIONS CAN BE REBUTTED BY A SHOWING OF SOME EVIDENCE THAT THE INSTRUMENT AND/OR SIGNATURE IS NOT AUTHENTIC

What I like about the Federal Judge decisions is that they express the reasons for their orders and judgments with much greater specificity than State Court judges tend to do — probably because they have a lighter case load and when they get promoted it can go pretty high (like the US Supreme Court). So it should come as no surprise that a New York Federal Bankruptcy Judge issued a 30 page opinion that essentially said what people have been saying since 2007 — the entire foreclosure process is an exercise in illegal patterns of conduct to the detriment of the homeowners. Since he also made clear that the debt remains, we have yet to get a definitive opinion from a Judge that questions whether the original closing was valid and enforceable. for that we still need to wait.

But by ruling on the specifics of how to rebut presumptions that are used in cases involving negotiable instruments, this Court has definitely opened the door to requiring the banks to do something that he suspects and I know the banks cannot do — prove the loan transaction, and the loan transfers with actual transactions in which a purchase and sale occurred and money exchanged hands after which there was delivery of the paper. Once THAT cat is out of the bag, the banks are doomed. People are going to start asking the question they have been asking for years — except this time it won’t be a rhetorical question: “If the originator didn’t loan the money then who did? And if there was no consideration for the transfer of the loan documents then whose money was used to originate or acquire the loan?” The answers will surprise even veterans of this war.

see franklin-opinion

Excerpts—

The debtor herein (the “Debtor”) has objected to a claim filed in this case by Wells Fargo Bank,

NA (“Wells Fargo”), Claim No. 1‐2, dated September 29, 2010 (amending Claim No. 1‐1), on the basis that Wells Fargo is not the holder or owner of the note and beneficiary of the deed of trust upon which the claim is based and therefore lacks standing to assert the claim.1 This Memorandum of Decision states the Court’s reasons, based on the record of the trial held on December 3, 2013 and the parties’ pre‐ and post‐trial submissions, for granting the Claim Objection….

(i) how could Wells Fargo or Freddie Mac assert a claim under the Note when the Note was neither specifically indorsed to either of them nor indorsed in blank (and was specifically indorsed to ABN Amro, although ABN Amro had subsequently assigned its interest therein to MERS as nominee for Washington Mutual Bank, FA), and (ii) how could Wells Fargo properly assert any rights under the July 12, 2010 Assignment of Mortgage when the person who signed the Assignment of Mortgage from MERS in its capacity “as nominee for Washington Mutual Bank, FA” to Wells Fargo was an employee of Wells Fargo (as well as of MERS),3 and there was no evidence that Washington Mutual Bank, FA authorized MERS to assign…….

if Freddie Mac was the owner of the loan, as both Wells Fargo and Freddie Mac contended, why was Claim No. 1‐1 filed by Wells Fargo not as Freddie Mac’s agent or servicer, but, rather, in its own name? (The ownership/agency issue had practical as well as possible legal consequences because counsel for Wells Fargo contended that Freddie Mac guidelines precluded Wells Fargo from considering loan modification proposals for the Debtor.)….

the parties engaged in discovery disputes that resulted in an order compelling the deposition of John Kennerty, who by then no longer worked for Wells Fargo, see Kennerty v. Carrsow‐Franklin (In re Carrsow‐Franklin), 456 B.R. 753 (Bankr. D. S.C. 2011), and Wells Fargo’s production of a woefully unqualified initial Rule 30(b)(6) witness…..

Wells Fargo responded that it did not need to be the owner of the loan in order to enforce the Note and a secured claim for amounts owing under it. Instead, Wells Fargo relied, under Texas’ version of Article 3 of the Uniform Commercial Code (the “U.C.C.”), solely on being the “holder” of the Note indorsed in blank by ABN Amro that appeared for the first time as an attachment to Claim No. 1‐2.7…

In a bench ruling on March 1, 2012, memorialized by an order dated May 21, 2012, the Court agreed with Wells Fargo, concluding that, under Texas law, if Wells Fargo were indeed the holder of the Note properly indorsed in blank by ABN Amro, Wells Fargo could enforce the Note and the Deed of Trust even if it was not the owner or investor on the Note or properly assigned of Deed of Trust,8 citing SMS Fin., Ltd. Liab. Co. v. ABCO Homes, Inc., 167 F.3d 235, 238 (5th Cir. 1999) (under Texas law, “[t]o recover on a promissory note, the plaintiff must prove: (1) the existence of the note in question; (2) that the party sued signed the note; (3) that the plaintiff is the owner or holder of the note; and (4) that a certain balance is due and owing on the note”) (emphasis added), and In re Pastran, 2010 Bankr. LEXIS 2237, ….

Perhaps wary of relying on an assignment by the assignee to itself without authorization by the purported assignor, Wells Fargo has waived reliance on the July 12, 2010 Assignment of Mortgage to establish its right to assert Claim No. 1‐2, looking only to its status as a holder of the Note. It indeed appears that Mr. Kennerty’s signature on the Assignment of Mortgage was improper in either of his capacities, as an officer of Wells Fargo or as an officer of MERS, without further authorization from Washington Mutual Bank, FA, because ABN Amro assigned MERS the Deed of Trust solely in MERS’ capacity as nominee for Washington Mutual Bank, FA, without the power of foreclosure and sale in its own right and not for its own successors and assigns as well as Washington Mutual Bank, FA’s; and MERS (through Mr. Kennerty) executed the Assignment of Mortgage solely as nominee for Washington Mutual Bank, FA. Compare Kramer v. Fannie Mae, 540 Fed. Appx. 319, 320 (5th Cir. 2013), cert. denied, 134 S. Ct. 1310, 188 L. Ed. 2d 305 (2014) (MERS could assign deed of trust made out to it that specifically granted MERS the power to foreclose and assign its rights); Silver Gryphon, L.L.C. v. Bank of Am. NA, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168950, at *11‐12 (S.D. Tex. Nov. 7, 2013) (same); Richardson v. CitiMortgage, Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123445, at *3, *13‐14 (E.D. Tex. Nov. 22, 2010) (same), and Nueces County v. MERSCORP Holdings, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93424, at *20 (S.D. Tex. July 3, 2013); In re Fontes, 2011 Bankr. LEXIS 1792, at *11‐13 (B.A.P. 9th Cir. Apr. 22, 2011); and In re Weisband, 427 B.R. 13, 20 (Bankr. D. Az. 2010) (MERS as mere “nominee” of mortgage holder lacks power to transfer enforceable mortgage)…..

Because it is undisputed that (a) the Debtor signed the Note (and received the loan proceeds)11 and (b) a properly recorded lien on the Property secures the Debtor’s obligation under the Note (albeit that Wells Fargo does not rely independently on the Deed of Trust assigned to ABN AMRO and then

10 See Supplement to Emergency Motion to Reopen and for Leave to Propound Additional Discovery to Defendant for Additional Evidence Withheld Prior to Trial, dated March 11, 2014.

11 See Trial Tr. at 95‐6 (testimony of the Debtor).

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assigned to MERS as nominee for Washington Mutual Bank, FA (none of which has filed a proof of claim) or the Assignment of Mortgage to sustain its claim), the only issue addressed by the parties is whether Wells Fargo has standing to enforce the Note, and, thus, assert Claim No. 1‐2.12 This is because, as stated above, Texas follows the majority rule that “[w]hen a mortgage note is transferred, the mortgage or deed of trust is also automatically transferred to the note holder by virtue of the common‐law rule that ‘the mortgage follows the note.’” Campbell v. Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys., Inc., 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 4030, at *11‐12 (Tex. App. Austin May 18, 2012), quoting J.W.D., Inc. v. Fed. Ins. Co., 806 S.W.2d 327, 329‐30 (Tex. App. Austin 1991). See also Kiggundu v. Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys., Inc., 469 Fed. Appx. 330, 332; Richardson v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177471, at *13 n.4 (N.D. Tex. Nov. 21, 2014); Nguyen v. Fannie Mae., 958 F. Supp. 2d 781, 790 n.11 (S.D. Tex. 2013); Trimm v. U.S. Bank., N.A., 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 7880, at *14 (Tex. App. Fort Worth July 17, 2014)…..

Wells Fargo’s right to enforce the Note, and thus its standing to assert Claim No. 1‐2, derives from the Note’s status as a negotiable instrument under Texas’ version of the U.C.C. See Tex. Bus. & Com. Code § 3.104(a). The Debtor has not disputed that the Note is negotiable, and the Note in any event satisfies the requirements of a negotiable instrument under Texas law, as it is “an unconditional promise . . . to pay a fixed amount of money . . . payable to . . . order at the time it [was] issued; . . . payable . . . at a definite time; and does not state any other undertaking or instruction by the person promising or ordering payment to do any act in addition to the payment of money” except as permitted by the statute. Id. See also Farkas v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190194, at *6‐7 (W.D. Tex. June 22, 2012), aff’d, 544 Fed. Appx. 324 (5th Cir. 2013), cert. denied, 134 S. Ct. 628, 187 L. Ed. 411

12 One might argue, although Wells Fargo has not, that the parties’ pre‐bankruptcy course of dealing, including the Loan Modification Agreement signed by the Debtor on February 12, 2008 and attached to Claim No 1‐2 (See also Trial Tr. at 96‐104), would independently support Wells Fargo’s right to assert Claim No. 1‐2; however, if the blank ABN Amro indorsement were forged, the Loan Modification Agreement and course of dealing would ultimately improperly derive from Wells Fargo’s fraudulent assertion of the right to enforce the Note and Deed of Trust.

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(2013); Steinberg v. Bank. of Am., N.A., 2013 Bankr. LEXIS 2230, at *12‐14 (B.A.P. 10th Cir. May 30, 2013)…..

“The presumption rests upon the fact that in ordinary experience forged or unauthorized signatures are very uncommon, and normally any evidence is within the control of, or more accessible to, the defendant.”15 Official Comment to Tex. Bus. & Com. Code § 3.308 (“Off. Cmt.”). The presumption is effectively incorporated into Fed. R. Evid. 902(9), which provides that no extrinsic evidence of authenticity is required to admit “[c]ommercial paper, a signature on it, and related documents, to the extent allowed by general commercial law,” and it is loosely analogous to the rebuttable presumption of the prima facie validity of a properly filed proof of claim under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 3001(f).

While Tex. Bus. & Com. Code §§ 3.308(a) and 1.206(a) provide that the presumption of an authentic signature applies “unless and until evidence is introduced that supports a finding of nonexistence,” they do not state the quantum of evidence to overcome the presumption. The Official Comment to § 3.308, however, refers to “some evidence” and to “some sufficient showing of the grounds for the denial before the plaintiff is required to introduce evidence,” and then states, “[t]he defendant’s evidence need not be sufficient to require a directed verdict, but it must be enough to support the denial by permitting a finding in the defendant’s favor.” Off. Cmt. 1 to § 3.308.16 This suggests that the required evidentiary showing to overcome the presumption is similar to that needed to defeat a summary judgment motion: the introduction of sufficient evidence so that a reasonable trier of fact in the context of the dispute could find in the defendant’s favor. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587‐88 (1986); 11 Moore’s Fed. Prac. 3d § 56.22[2] (2014). Because of the general factual context described in the Official Comment, which recognizes that “in ordinary experience forged or unauthorized signatures are very uncommon,” Off. Cmt. 1 to § 3.308, courts have nevertheless required a significant amount of evidence to overcome the presumption. See In re Phillips, 491 B.R. 255, 273 n. 37 (Bankr. D. Nev. 2013) (“This evidence was inconclusive at best. Against this background, the court is prepared to believe that it is more likely that [the claimant] negligently failed to copy the Note and First Allonge when it filed its [first] Proof of Claim rather than it forged the First Allonge later on. In short, when both are equally likely, the court picks sloth over venality.”); see also Congress v. U.S. Bank. N.A., 98 So. 3d 1165, 1169 (Civ. App. Ala. 2012) (referring to requirement of substantial, though not clear and convincing, evidence to rebut the presumption under U.C.C. §§ 3‐308(a) and 1‐206(a), although directing trial court on remand to apply preponderance‐of‐ the‐evidence standard to whether the presumption was overcome)….

See People v. Richetti, 302 N.Y. 290, 298 (1951) (“A presumption of regularity exists only until contrary substantial evidence appears. . . . It forces the opposing party (defendant here) to go forward with proof but, once he does go forward, the presumption is out of the case.”). Thus, in In re Phillips, 491 B.R. at 273 n. 37, quoted above, if the presumption had been overcome by a preponderance of the evidence and the burden shifted and forgery and negligence were found to be equally likely, the holder of the note should lose.

Because Wells Fargo does not rely on the Assignment of Mortgage to prove its claim, the foregoing evidence is helpful to the Debtor only indirectly, insofar as it goes to show that the blank indorsement, upon which Wells Fargo is relying, was forged. Nevertheless it does show a general willingness and practice on Wells Fargo’s part to create documentary evidence, after‐the‐fact, when enforcing its claims, WHICH IS EXTRAORDINARY…..

Wells Fargo has not carried that burden. To do so, it offered only Mr. Campbell’s testimony and, through him, certain exhibits copied from Wells Fargo’s loan file. That testimony was not helpful to it. Mr. Campbell was not involved in the administration of the Debtor’s loan until he became a potential witness in 2013. Trial Tr. at 37. He was not involved in the preparation of Claim No 1‐2. Id. at 37. He had nothing to say about the circumstances under which the blank ABN Amro indorsement appeared on the Note attached to Claim No. 1‐2, with the exception that he located the earliest entry in the electronic loan file where that version of the Note was recorded, pulled up its image and compared it to the original shown him by Wells Fargo’s counsel. Id. at 33, 36, 49‐50. He was offered, therefore, only to qualify Wells Fargo’s proposed exhibits, copied from Wells Fargo’s loan file, as falling within Fed. R. Evid. 803(6)’s business records exception to a hearsay objection under Fed. R. Evid. 802 and to testify that a copy of the Note with the blank ABN Amro indorsement appears in Wells Fargo’s electronic records before the preparation of Wells Fargo’s initial proof of claim in this case….

In large measure, Mr. Campbell was not up to that task (and Wells Fargo offered no other evidence to meet that standard, were the Court to impose it). Mr. Campbell did not know whether there was any person overseeing the accuracy of how the records in the system were stored and maintained. Id. at 32, 40, 42‐3. He did not know who controlled access to the system or the procedure for limiting access, except to say “[A]ccess is granted as needed.” Id. at 40‐1. He did not know of any procedures for backing up or auditing the system. Id. at 42. He stated, “I am not a technology person” and was not able to answer what technology ensures the accuracy of the date and time stamping of the entry of documents into the imaging system. Trial Tr. at 22. In his deposition, he testified that he did not know whether the dates and times of the entry of documents in the system could be changed, but at trial he stated that, after his deposition, “I attempted to look into this, and, to my knowledge, I am not aware of any way to change or remove attachments into the imaging system,” id. at 43, which, given his general lack of knowledge about how the system works and failure to explain the basis for his assertion, did not inspire confidence….

Moreover, in addition to the fact that the specially indorsed version of the Note appears on its own in the file on March 27, 2007, and not as part of an “origination file,” Wells Fargo has offered no explanation, let alone evidence, of who else, if not Wells Fargo, held the original of the Note with the blank ABN Amro indorsement before December 28, 2009, if, in fact, such a version then existed. The file provided by the transferor should have included it, if it did exist during that period, because Washington Mutual Bank, FA would not have been able to enforce the Note, either, without the blank indorsement, and the Assignment of Deed of Trust attached to the proofs of claim states that both the Note and Deed of Trust were transferred to MERS as nominee for Washington Mutual Bank, FA on June 20, 2002, effective November 16, 2001. In other words, why would only an outdated and unenforceable version of the Note have been logged in by Wells Fargo when it took over the file in February 2007 if the only enforceable version of the Note had in fact existed at that time (and should have existed since 2002)? The far more likely inference, instead, is that when the loan was transferred to Wells Fargo, the Note with the blank ABN Amro indorsement did not exist.

Why would the Note with the blank ABN Amro indorsement have appeared in Wells Fargo’s file only on December 28, 2009, twenty‐two months later? Wells Fargo has not provided an explanation, supported by evidence, replying only that the question is irrelevant. All that matters, Wells Fargo contends, is that the enforceable document was imaged into its records before the Debtor’s counsel started raising questions about Claim No 1‐1.

 

MERS Assignments VOID

For further information please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688

===========================

see http://www.msfraud.org/law/lounge/mers-auroraslammed.pdf
While there are a number of cases that discuss the role of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS), this tells the story in the shortest amount of time. MERS was only a nominee to track the off-record claims from multiple parties participating in what we call the securitization of loans. It now appears that the securitization in most cases never took place but the banks and their affiliates are foreclosing in the name of REMIC trusts anyway, relying on “presumptions” to “prove” that the Trust actually purchased and took possession of the alleged loan. In every case I know of  where the homeowner was allowed to probe deeply into the issues of whether the Trust actually received the loan, it has either been determined that the Trust didn’t own the loan, or the case was settled before the court could announce that ruling.

Decided in April of last year, this case slams Aurora, who was and remains one of the worst offenders in the category of fraudulent foreclosures. The Court decided that since the basis of the claim was an assignment from MERS who had no interest int he debt, note or mortgage, there were no “successors.” This logic is irrefutable. And as regular readers know from reading this blog I believe the same logic applies to any other party who has no interest in the debt, note or mortgage — like an unfunded “originator” whose name appears on not only the Mortgage, like MERS, but also on the note.

Judges have trouble with that analysis because in their minds they think the homeowner is trying to get a free house. Even if that were true, it doesn’t change the correct application of law. But the opposite is true. The homeowner is trying to stop the foreclosing party from getting a free house and the homeowner is trying  to find his creditor. I actually had a judge yesterday rule that the source of funds, ownership and balance was essentially irrelevant. Discovery on nearly all issues was blocked by his ruling, leaving the trial to be a very short affair since the defenses have been eliminated by that Judge by express ruling.

The attorney representing the bank basically argued that the case was simple and that anything that happened prior to the alleged default was also irrelevant. The Judge agreed. So when a trial judge makes such rulings, he or she is basically narrowing the issue down to when we were just starting out in 2007 in what I call the dark ages. The trial becomes mostly clerical in which the only relevant issues are whether the homeowner received a loan and whether the homeowner stopped paying. All other issues are treated as irrelevant defenses, including the behavior of the “servicer” whose authority cannot be questioned (because of the presumption raised by an apparently facially valid instrument of virtually ANY sort).

The moral of the story is persistence and appeal. I believe that such rulings are reversible potentially even as interlocutory appeals as to affirmative defenses and discovery. If anyone files a lawsuit they should be required to answer all potential questions about that that lawsuit in good faith. That is what discovery is for. The strategy of moving to strike affirmative defenses is meant to cut off discovery to the point where no defenses can be raised or proven. And cutting off discovery is what the foreclosers need to do or they will face sanctions, charges of fraud, perjury and worse when the real facts are revealed.

Maine Moving toward the Truth About the Mortgages, MERS and Foreclosures

submitted by anonymous reader:

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The Maine Supreme Court has been active in the last few months – issuing several decisions that will likely impact foreclosure actions in that state. The decisions covered a full range of foreclosure issues, from whether a lender can establish standing when it holds an assignment of the mortgage from Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) to the amount a borrower must pay to cure a default. If you originate and/or service RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE LOANS in this state, you may want to review these recent cases. This alert focuses on the court’s holdings in one of these cases, Bank of America, N.A. v. Greenleaf, — A.3d —-, 2014 WL 2988236 (Me., July 3, 2014) (Review the Maine Supreme Court Opinion.)

Assignment from MERS May Only Transfer Right to Record Mortgage

The Maine Supreme Court’s decision in Greenleaf may require lenders to make some changes before they initiate FORECLOSURE actions in this state in which the mortgage identifies MERS as the nominee for the lender. This case presented some simple basic facts, but the court’s holdings may raise concerns. In 2006, Scott Greenleaf executed a promissory note for $385,000 to RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE Services, Inc. (“RMS”) and signed a mortgage securing the debt. The note was endorsed in blank. The mortgage listed RMS as the lender and MERS as the nominee for the lender.
In 2011, Bank of America, N.A. (“BofA”) initiated FORECLOSURE proceedings against Greenleaf. It was undisputed that Greenleaf had failed to make payments on the loan since 2008. Although some interim drama played out in the FORECLOSURE proceeding, a trial was held in 2013. BofA presented the following documents to the court: the original note, the mortgage, and a document recorded in 2011 reflecting the assignment of the mortgage from MERS to BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP (“BAC”), an entity that subsequently merged with BofA. The court entered a judgment of FORECLOSURE IN favor of BofA and Greenleaf appealed.
Greenleaf alleged, among other things, that BofA lacked standing to seek foreclosure of the property since BofA did not have an interest in both the promissory note and the mortgage securing that note. Since the note was endorsed in blank and BofA had possession of the note, the Maine Supreme Court held that BofA met the first prong of the standing test. However, the court found that BofA failed to establish the second prong of the test, ownership of the mortgage.
The court struggled with the 2011 assignment of the mortgage by MERS to BAC. The court focused on one sentence in the 2006 mortgage that specifically provided that MERS was the mortgagee of record for purposes of recording the mortgage. The court held that this provision of the mortgage only granted MERS the right to record the mortgage as the lender’s nominee. When MERS then assigned its interest to BAC, the court held that it granted BAC only the right that it possessed, the right to record the mortgage as nominee for the lender. When BAC then merged with BofA, BofA only obtained the right that BAC had possessed, the right to record the mortgage as nominee. The court also noted that there was no separate and independent assignment of the mortgage from RMS to MERS, BAC, or BofA. As such, the court held that the record only demonstrated a series of assignments of the right to record the mortgage as nominee. In the absence of evidence that BofA owned the Greenleaf mortgage, the Maine Supreme Court held that BofA lacked standing to seek foreclosure and vacated the lower court’s judgment of foreclosure.
Since similar “right to record” language is included in many mortgage forms, lenders and servicers should pay particular attention to whether they are relying on assignments from MERS before initiating a foreclosure action in this state. Unless a lender holds or can obtain an assignment of the mortgage from the originating lender (and many of this lenders may no longer be in business), a lender may need to explore other options for establishing the second prong of the standing test in Maine. A mortgage assignment by MERS, standing alone, may not be sufficient to prove an assignment of a mortgage.
In response to the Greenleaf decision, many of the title insurers in the state have issued guidance regarding title issues under various scenarios in which MERS had assigned the mortgages. At least one title insurer has indicated that if MERS assigned the mortgage in a pending foreclosure action, an assignment from the original lender to the FORECLOSING mortgagee will be required in order for title to be insured without exception.

No Adjustments to Disclosed Payoff Amount Permitted During Cure Period

The Greenleaf court also defined the amount a borrower can be required to pay to cure a default. The notice of default and right to cure sent to Greenleaf included an itemization of all past due amounts and identified the total amount required to be paid by Greenleaf to cure the default. This total amount included a footnote reference that Greenleaf should “[c]ontact the servicer to obtain an up to date figure for outstanding attorney fees, unpaid taxes and costs before sending payment” and the notice also separately provided that Greenleaf should contact BAC at a prescribed telephone number “to obtain an up to date figure before sending payment.” Similar disclosures are generally included in the right to cure notices provided by many lenders and servicers.
Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14, § 6111 provides that the contents of the notice of default and right to cure must include, among other things, an itemization of all past due amounts causing the loan to be in default and an itemization of any other charges that must be paid in order to cure the default. Greenleaf argued that the addition of the “call for updated information” references did not meet the statutory requirement that the notice itself must provide an itemization of other charges that must be paid in order to cure the default. The Maine Supreme Court agreed with Greenleaf and held that state law effectively freezes additions to the payoff amount during the cure period.
As such, the amount stated in the notice of default and right to cure is the only amount the borrower can be required to pay to cure the default during the 35 day cure period. Any attorneys’ fees incurred in continuing efforts to recover on the loan and advances made for property taxes or insurance during the cure period – none of these amounts can be added to the amount a borrower may be required to pay to cure the default. The court noted that the incorrect “call for updated information” references in the cure notice were an independent basis on which they could have vacated the lower court’s foreclosure judgment.

Changing Landscape?

Lenders and servicers should work closely with their foreclosure counsel to ensure they can establish standing before initiating a foreclose action in Maine. Lenders and servicers may also want to work with the title insurers to address any title issues that may arise in connection with MERS assignments. With certain changes in their foreclosure practices, lenders and servicers should still be able to prove up ownership of each mortgage sufficient to pass the Greenleaf court’s standing scrutiny. In addition, lenders and servicers should review their cure notice form templates used in this state and any corresponding policies and procedures to ensure that a borrower is never advised or required to pay more than the total amount due as disclosed in the cure notice. The Greenleaf court may have stirred the lobster pot – but lenders and services have options to adapt to the court’s recipes.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

9th Circuit (Federal) Allows Quiet Title and Damages for Wrongful Filing of False Documents

Hat Tip to Beth Findsen who is a good friend and a great lawyer in Scottsdale, Az and who provided this case to me this morning. I always recommend her in Arizona because her writing is spectacular and her courtroom experience invaluable.

This case needs to be analyzed further. Robert Hager (CONGRATULATIONS TO HAGER IN RENO, NV) et al has succeeded in getting at least a partial and significant victory over the MERS system, and voiding robosigned documents as being forged per se. I disagree that a note and mortgage, once split, can be reunified by mere execution of an instrument. They are avoiding the issue just like the “lost note” issue. The rules of evidence and pleading have always required great factual specificity on the path of transactions leading up to the point where the note was lost or transferred. This Court dodged that bullet for now. Without evidence of the trail of ownership, the money trail and the document trail all the way through the system, such a finding leaves us in the dark. The case does show what I have been saying all along — the importance of pleading and admitting to NOTHING. By not specifically stating that there was no default, the court concluded that Plaintiffs had failed to establish the elements of wrongful foreclosure and left open the entire question about whether such a cause of action even exists.

But the more basic issue us whether the homeowner can sue for quiet title and damages for slander of his title by the use and filing of patently false documentation in Court, in the County records etc. The answer is a resounding YES and will be sustained should the banks try to move this up the ladder to the U.S. Supreme Court. This opinion changes again my earlier comments. First I said you could quiet title, then I said you first needed to nullify title (the mortgage) before you could even file a quiet title action. Now I revert to my prior position based upon the holding and sound reasoning behind this court decision. One caveat: you must plead facts for nullification, cancellation of the instrument on the grounds that it is void before you can get to your cause of action on quiet title and damages for slander of the homeowner’s title. My conclusion is that they may be and perhaps should be in the same lawsuit. This decision makes clear the damage wrought by use of the MERS system. It is strong persuasive authority in other jurisdictions and now the law for all courts within the 9th Circuit’s jurisdiction.

Here are some of the significant quotes.

Writing in 2011, the MDL Court dismissed Count I on four grounds. None of these grounds provides an appropriate basis for dismissal. We recognize that at the time of its decision, the MDL Court had plausible arguments under Arizona law in support of three of these grounds. But decisions by Arizona courts after 2011 have made clear that the MDL Court was incorrect in relying on them.
First, the MDL Court concluded that § 33-420 does not apply to the specific documents that the CAC alleges to be false. However, in Stauffer v. U.S. Bank National Ass’n, 308 P.3d 1173, 1175 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2013), the Arizona Court of Appeals held that a § 33-420(A) damages claim is available in a case in which plaintiffs alleged as false documents “a Notice of Trustee Sale, a Notice of Substitution of Trustee, and an Assignment of a Deed of Trust.” These are precisely the documents that the CAC alleges to be false.
[Statute of Limitations:] at least one case has suggested that a § 33-420(B) claim asserts a continuous wrong that is not subject to any statute of limitations as long as the cloud to title remains. State v. Mabery Ranch, Co., 165 P.3d 211, 227 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2007).
Third, the MDL Court held that appellants lacked standing to sue under § 33-420 on the ground that, even if the documents were false, appellants were still obligated to repay their loans. In the view of the MDL Court, because appellants were in default they suffered no concrete and particularized injury. However, on virtually identical allegations, the Arizona Court of Appeals held to the contrary in Stauffer. The plaintiffs in Stauffer were defaulting residential homeowners who brought suit for damages under § 33-420(A) and to clear title under § 33-420(B). One of the grounds on which the documents were alleged to be false was that “the same person executed the Notice of Trustee Sale and the Notice of Breach, but because the signatures did not look the same, the signature of the Notice of Trustee Sale was possibly forged.” Stauffer, 308 P.3d at 1175 n.2.
“Appellees argue that the Stauffers do not have standing because the Recorded Documents have not caused them any injury, they have not disputed their own default, and the Property has not been sold pursuant to the Recorded Documents. The purpose of A.R.S. § 33-420 is to “protect property owners from actions clouding title to their property.” We find that the recording of false or fraudulent documents that assert an interest in a property may cloud the property’s title; in this case, the Stauffers, as owners of the Property, have alleged that they have suffered a distinct and palpable injury as a result of those clouds on their Property’s title.” [Stauffer at 1179]
The Court of Appeals not only held that the Stauffers had standing based on their “distinct and palpable injury.” It also held that they had stated claims under §§ 33-420(A) and (B). The court held that because the “Recorded Documents assert[ed] an interest in the Property,” the trial court had improperly dismissed the Stauffers’ damages claim under § 33-420(A). Id. at 1178. It then held that because the Stauffers had properly brought an action for damages under § 33-420(A), they could join an action to clear title of the allegedly false documents under § 33-420(B). The court wrote:
“The third sentence in subsection B states that an owner “may bring a separate special action to clear title to the real property or join such action with an action for damages as described in this section.” A.R.S. § 33-420.B. Therefore, we find that an action to clear title of a false or fraudulent document that asserts an interest in real property may be joined with an action for damages under § 33-420.A.”
Fourth, the MDL Court held that appellants had not pleaded their robosigning claims with sufficient particularity to satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). We disagree. Section 33-420 characterizes as false, and therefore actionable, a document that is “forged, groundless, contains a material misstatement or false claim or is otherwise invalid.” Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 33-420(A), (B) (emphasis added). The CAC alleges that the documents at issue are invalid because they are “robosigned (forged).” The CAC specifically identifies numerous allegedly forged documents. For example, the CAC alleges that notice of the trustee’s sale of the property of Thomas and Laurie Bilyea was “notarized in blank prior to being signed on behalf of Michael A. Bosco, and the party that is represented to have signed the document, Michael A. Bosco, did not sign the document, and the party that did sign the document had no personal knowledge of any of the facts set forth in the notice.” Further, the CAC alleges that the document substituting a trustee under the deed of trust for the property of Nicholas DeBaggis “was notarized in blank prior to being signed on behalf of U.S. Bank National Association, and the party that is represented to have signed the document, Mark S. Bosco, did not sign the document.” Still further, the CAC also alleges that Jim Montes, who purportedly signed the substitution of trustee for the property of Milan Stejic had, on the same day, “signed and recorded, with differing signatures, numerous Substitutions of Trustee in the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office . . . . Many of the signatures appear visibly different than one another.” These and similar allegations in the CAC “plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief,” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 681 (2009), and provide the defendants fair notice as to the nature of appellants’ claims against them, Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011).
We therefore reverse the MDL Court’s dismissal of Count I.
[Importance of Pleading NO DEFAULT:] The Nevada Supreme Court stated in Collins v. Union Federal Savings & Loan Ass’n, 662 P.2d 610 (Nev. 1983):
An action for the tort of wrongful foreclosure will lie if the trustor or mortgagor can establish that at the time the power of sale was exercised or the foreclosure occurred, no breach of condition or failure of performance existed on the mortgagor’s or trustor’s part which would have authorized the foreclosure or exercise of the power of sale. Therefore, the material issue of fact in a wrongful foreclosure claim is whether the trustor was in default when the power of sale was exercised…. Because none of the appellants has shown a lack of default, tender, or an excuse from the tender requirement, appellants’ wrongful foreclosure claims cannot succeed. We therefore affirm the MDL Court’s of Count II.
[Questionable conclusion on “reunification of note and mortgage”:] the Nevada Supreme Court decided Edelstein v. Bank of New York Mellon, 286 P.3d 249 (Nev. 2012). Edelstein makes clear that MERS does have the authority, for purposes of § 107.080, to make valid assignments of the deed of trust to a successor beneficiary in order to reunify the deed of trust and the note. The court wrote:
Designating MERS as the beneficiary does . . . effectively “split” the note and the deed of trust at inception because . . . an entity separate from the original note holder . . . is listed as the beneficiary (MERS). . . . However, this split at the inception of the loan is not irreparable or fatal. . . . [W]hile entitlement to enforce both the deed of trust and the promissory note is required to foreclose, nothing requires those documents to be unified from the point of inception of the loan. . . . MERS, as a valid beneficiary, may assign its beneficial interest in the deed of trust to the holder of the note, at which time the documents are reunified.
We therefore affirm the MDL Court’s dismissal of Count III.

Here is the full opinion:

Opinion on MDL

For further information or assistance, please call 520-405-1688 on the West Coast and 954-495-9867 on the East Coast.

New Mexico Supreme Court Wipes Out Bank of New York

bony-v-romero_nm-sup.ct.-reverses-with-instruction_2-14

There are a lot of things that could be analyzed in this case that was very recently decided (February 13, 2014). The main take away is that the New Mexico Supreme Court is demonstrating that the judicial system is turning a corner in approaching the credibility of the intermediaries who are pretending to be real parties in interest. I suggest that this case be studied carefully because their reasoning is extremely good and their wording is clear. Here are some of the salient quotes that I think it be used in motions and pleadings:

We hold that the Bank of New York did not establish its lawful standing in this case to file a home mortgage foreclosure action. We also hold that a borrower’s ability to repay a home mortgage loan is one of the “borrower’s circumstances” that lenders and courts must consider in determining compliance with the New Mexico Home Loan Protection Act, NMSA 1978, §§ 58-21A-1 to -14 (2003, as amended through 2009) (the HLPA), which prohibits home mortgage refinancing that does not provide a reasonable, tangible net benefit to the borrower. Finally, we hold that the HLPA is not preempted by federal law. We reverse the Court of Appeals and district court and remand to the district court with instructions to vacate its foreclosure judgment and to dismiss the Bank of New York’s foreclosure action for lack of standing.

The Romeros soon became delinquent on their increased loan payments. On April 1, 2008, a third party—the Bank of New York, identifying itself as a trustee for Popular Financial Services Mortgage—filed a complaint in the First Judicial District Court seeking foreclosure on the Romeros’ home and claiming to be the holder of the Romeros’ note and mortgage with the right of enforcement.

The Romeros also raised several counterclaims, only one of which is relevant to this appeal: that the loan violated the antiflipping provisions of the New Mexico HLPA, Section 58-21A-4(B) (2003).[They were lured into refinancing into a loan with worse provisions than the one they had].

Litton Loan Servicing did not begin servicing the Romeros’ loan until November 1, 2008, seven months after the foreclosure complaint was filed in district court.

At a bench trial, Kevin Flannigan, a senior litigation processor for Litton Loan Servicing, testified on behalf of the Bank of New York. Flannigan asserted that the copies of the note and mortgage admitted as trial evidence by the Bank of New York were copies of the originals and also testified that the Bank of New York had physical possession of both the note and mortgage at the time it filed the foreclosure complaint.

{9} The Romeros objected to Flannigan’s testimony, arguing that he lacked personal knowledge to make these claims given that Litton Loan Servicing was not a servicer for the Bank of New York until after the foreclosure complaint was filed and the MERS assignment occurred. The district court allowed the testimony based on the business records exception because Flannigan was the present custodian of records.

{10} The Romeros also pointed out that the copy of the “original” note Flannigan purportedly authenticated was different from the “original” note attached to the Bank of New York’s foreclosure complaint. While the note attached to the complaint as a true copy was not indorsed, the “original” admitted at trial was indorsed twice: first, with a blank indorsement by Equity One and second, with a special indorsement made payable to JPMorgan Chase.

the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s rulings that the Bank of New York had standing to foreclose and that the HLPA had not been violated but determined as a result of the latter ruling that it was not necessary to address whether federal law preempted the HLPA. See Bank of N.Y. v. Romero, 2011-NMCA-110, ¶ 6, 150 N.M. 769, 266 P.3d 638 (“Because we conclude that substantial evidence exists for each of the district court’s findings and conclusions, and we affirm on those grounds, we do not addressthe Romeros’ preemption argument.”).

We have recognized that “the lack of [standing] is a potential jurisdictional defect which ‘may not be waived and may be raised at any stage of the proceedings, even sua sponte by the appellate court.’” Gunaji v. Macias, 2001-NMSC-028, ¶ 20, 130 N.M. 734, 31 P.3d 1008 (citation omitted). While we disagree that the Romeros waived their standing claim, because their challenge has been and remains largely based on the note’s indorsement to JPMorgan Chase, whether the Romeros failed to fully develop their standing argument before the Court of Appeals is immaterial. This Court may reach the issue of standing based on prudential concerns. See New Energy Economy, Inc. v. Shoobridge, 2010-NMSC-049, ¶ 16, 149 N.M. 42, 243 P.3d 746 (“Indeed, ‘prudential rules’ of judicial self-governance, like standing, ripeness, and mootness, are ‘founded in concern about the proper—and properly limited—role of courts in a democratic society’ and are always relevant concerns.” (citation omitted)). Accordingly, we address the merits of the standing challenge.[e.s.]

the Romeros argue that none of the Bank’s evidence demonstrates standing because (1) possession alone is insufficient, (2) the “original” note introduced by the Bank of New York at trial with the two undated indorsements includes a special indorsement to JPMorgan Chase, which cannot be ignored in favor of the blank indorsement, (3) the June 25, 2008, assignment letter from MERS occurred after the Bank of New York filed its complaint, and as a mere assignment

of the mortgage does not act as a lawful transfer of the note, and (4) the statements by Ann Kelley and Kevin Flannigan are inadmissible because both lack personal knowledge given that Litton Loan Servicing did not begin servicing loans for the Bank of New York until seven months after the foreclosure complaint was filed and after the purported transfer of the loan occurred. 
[NOTE BURDEN OF PROOF]

(“[S]tanding is to be determined as of the commencement of suit.”); accord 55 Am. Jur. 2d Mortgages § 584 (2009) (“A plaintiff has no foundation in law or fact to foreclose upon a mortgage in which the plaintiff has no legal or equitable interest.”). One reason for such a requirement is simple: “One who is not a party to a contract cannot maintain a suit upon it. If [the entity] was a successor in interest to a party on the [contract], it was incumbent upon it to prove this to the court.” L.R. Prop. Mgmt., Inc. v. Grebe, 1981-NMSC-035, ¶ 7, 96 N.M. 22, 627 P.2d 864 (citation omitted). The Bank of New York had the burden of establishing timely ownership of the note and the mortgage to support its entitlement to pursue a foreclosure action. See Gonzales v. Tama, 1988-NMSC- 016, ¶ 7, 106 N.M. 737, 749 P.2d 1116

[THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REMEDIES ON THE NOTE AND REMEDIES ON THE MORTGAGE]

(“One who holds a note secured by a mortgage has two separate and independent remedies, which he may pursue successively or concurrently; one is on the note against the person and property of the debtor, and the other is by foreclosure to enforce the mortgage lien upon his real estate.” (internal quotation marks and citation omitted)).

3. None of the Bank’s Evidence Demonstrates Standing to Foreclose

{19} The Bank of New York argues that in order to demonstrate standing, it was required to prove that before it filed suit, it either (1) had physical possession of the Romeros’ note indorsed to it or indorsed in blank or (2) received the note with the right to enforcement, as required by the UCC. See § 55-3-301 (defining “[p]erson entitled to enforce” a negotiable instrument). While we agree with the Bank that our state’s UCC governs how a party becomes legally entitled to enforce a negotiable instrument such as the note for a home loan, we disagree that the Bank put forth such evidence.

a. Possession of a Note Specially Indorsed to JPMorgan Chase Does Not Establish the Bank of New York as a Holder

{20} Section 55-3-301 of the UCC provides three ways in which a third party can enforce a negotiable instrument such as a note. Id. (“‘Person entitled to enforce’ an instrument means (i) the holder of the instrument, (ii) a nonholder in possession of the instrument who has the rights of a holder, or (iii) a person not in possession of the instrument who is entitled to enforce the [lost, destroyed, stolen, or mistakenly transferred] instrument pursuant to [certain UCC enforcement provisions].”); see also § 55-3-104(a)(1), (b), (e) (defining “negotiable instrument” as including a “note” made “payable to bearer or to order”). Because the Bank’s arguments rest on the fact that it was in physical possession of the Romeros’ note, we need to consider only the first two categories of eligibility to enforce under Section 55-3-301.

{21} The UCC defines the first type of “person entitled to enforce” a note—the “holder” of the instrument—as “the person in possession of a negotiable instrument that is payable either to bearer or to an identified person that is the person in possession.” NMSA 1978, § 55-1-201(b)(21)(A) (2005); see also Frederick M. Hart & William F. Willier, Negotiable Instruments Under the Uniform Commercial Code, § 12.02(1) at 12-13 to 12-15 (2012) (“The first requirement of being a holder is possession of the instrument. However, possession is not necessarily sufficient to make one a holder. . . . The payee is always a holder if the payee has possession. Whether other persons qualify as a holder depends upon whether the instrument initially is payable to order or payable to bearer, and whether the instrument has been indorsed.” (footnotes omitted)). Accordingly, a third party must prove both physical possession and the right to enforcement through either a proper indorsement or a transfer by negotiation. See NMSA 1978, § 55-3-201(a) (1992) (“‘Negotiation’ means a transfer of possession . . . of an instrument by a person other than the issuer to a person who thereby becomes its holder.”). [E.S.] Because in this case the Romeros’ note was clearly made payable to the order of Equity One, we must determine whether the Bank provided sufficient evidence of how it became a “holder” by either an indorsement or transfer.

Without explanation, the note introduced at trial differed significantly from the original note attached to the foreclosure complaint, despite testimony at trial that the Bank of New York had physical possession of the Romeros’ note from the time the foreclosure complaint was filed on April 1, 2008. Neither the unindorsed note nor the twice-indorsed

7

note establishes the Bank as a holder.

{23} Possession of an unindorsed note made payable to a third party does not establish the right of enforcement, just as finding a lost check made payable to a particular party does not allow the finder to cash it. [E.S.]See NMSA 1978, § 55-3-109 cmt. 1 (1992) (“An instrument that is payable to an identified person cannot be negotiated without the indorsement of the identified person.”). The Bank’s possession of the Romeros’ unindorsed note made payable to Equity One does not establish the Bank’s entitlement to enforcement.

We are not persuaded. The Bank provides no authority and we know of none that exists to support its argument that the payment restrictions created by a special indorsement can be ignored contrary to our long-held rules on indorsements and the rights they create. See, e.g., id. (rejecting each of two entities as a holder because a note lacked the requisite indorsement following a special indorsement); accord NMSA 1978, § 55-3-204(c) (1992) (“For the purpose of determining whether the transferee of an instrument is a holder, an indorsement that transfers a security interest in the instrument is effective as an unqualified indorsement of the instrument.”).

[COMPETENCY OF WITNESS]

the Bank of New York relies on the testimony of Kevin Flannigan, an employee of Litton Loan Servicing who maintained that his review of loan servicing records indicated that the Bank of New York was the transferee of the note. The Romeros objected to Flannigan’s testimony at trial, an objection that the district court overruled under the business records exception. We agree with the Romeros that Flannigan’s testimony was inadmissible and does not establish a proper transfer.

Litton Loan Servicing, did not begin working for the Bank of New York as its servicing agent until November 1, 2008—seven months after the April 1, 2008, foreclosure complaint was filed. Prior to this date, Popular Mortgage Servicing, Inc. serviced the Bank of New York’s loans. Flannigan had no personal knowledge to support his testimony that transfer of the Romeros’ note to the Bank of New York prior to the filing of the foreclosure complaint was proper because Flannigan did not yet work for the Bank of New York. See Rule 11-602 NMRA (“A witness may testify to a matter only if evidence is introduced sufficient to support a finding that the

9

witness has personal knowledge of the matter. [E.S.] Evidence to prove personal knowledge may consist of the witness’s own testimony.”). We make a similar conclusion about the affidavit of Ann Kelley, who also testified about the status of the Romeros’ loan based on her work for Litton Loan Servicing. As with Flannigan’s testimony, such statements by Kelley were inadmissible because they lacked personal knowledge.

[OBJECTION TO HEARSAY BUSINESS RECORDS REVERSED AND SUSTAINED]

When pressed about Flannigan’s basis of knowledge on cross-examination, Flannigan merely stated that “our records do indicate” the Bank of New York as the holder of the note based on “a pooling and servicing agreement.” No such business record itself was offered or admitted as a business records hearsay exception. See Rule 11-803(F) NMRA (2007) (naming this category of hearsay exceptions as “records of regularly conducted activity”).

The district court erred in admitting the testimony of Flannigan as a custodian of records under the exception to the inadmissibility of hearsay for “business records” that are made in the regular course of business and are generally admissible at trial under certain conditions. See Rule 11-803(F) (2007) (citing the version of the rule in effect at the time of trial). The business records exception allows the records themselves to be admissible but not simply statements about the purported contents of the records. [E.S.] See State v. Cofer, 2011-NMCA-085, ¶ 17, 150 N.M. 483, 261 P.3d 1115 (holding that, based on the plain language of Rule 11-803(F) (2007), “it is clear that the business records exception requires some form of document that satisfies the rule’s foundational elements to be offered and admitted into evidence and that testimony alone does not qualify under this exception to the hearsay rule” and concluding that “‘testimony regarding the contents of business records, unsupported by the records themselves, by one without personal knowledge of the facts constitutes inadmissible hearsay.’” (citation omitted)). Neither Flannigan’s testimony nor Kelley’s affidavit can substantiate the existence of documents evidencing a transfer if those documents are not entered into evidence. Accordingly, Flannigan’s trial testimony cannot establish that the Romeros’ note was transferred to the Bank of New York.[E.S.]

[REJECTION OF MERS ASSIGNMENT]

We also reject the Bank’s argument that it can enforce the Romeros’ note because it was assigned the mortgage by MERS. An assignment of a mortgage vests only those rights to the mortgage that were vested in the assigning entity and nothing more. See § 55-3-203(b) (“Transfer of an instrument, whether or not the transfer is a negotiation, vests in the transferee any right of the transferor to enforce the instrument, including any right as a holder in due course.”); accord Hart & Willier, supra, § 12.03(2) at 12-27 (“Th[is] shelter rule puts the transferee in the shoes of the transferor.”).

[MERS CAN NEVER ASSIGN THE NOTE]

As a nominee for Equity One on the mortgage contract, MERS could assign the mortgage but lacked any authority to assign the Romeros’ note. Although this Court has never explicitly ruled on the issue of whether the assignment of a mortgage could carry with it the transfer of a note, we have long recognized the separate functions that note and mortgage contracts perform in foreclosure actions. See First Nat’l Bank of Belen v. Luce, 1974-NMSC-098, ¶ 8, 87 N.M. 94, 529 P.2d 760 (holding that because the assignment of a mortgage to a bank did not convey an interest in the loan contract, the bank was not entitled to foreclose on the mortgage); Simson v. Bilderbeck, Inc., 1966-NMSC-170, ¶¶ 13-14, 76 N.M. 667, 417 P.2d 803 (explaining that “[t]he right of the assignee to enforce the mortgage is dependent upon his right to enforce the note” and noting that “[b]oth the note and mortgage were assigned to plaintiff.

[SPLITTING THE NOTE AND MORTGAGE]

(“A mortgage securing the repayment of a promissory note follows the note, and thus, only the rightful owner of the note has the right to enforce the mortgage.”); Dunaway, supra, § 24:18 (“The mortgage only secures the payment of the debt, has no life independent of the debt, and cannot be separately transferred. If the intent of the lender is to transfer only the security interest (the mortgage), this cannot legally be done and the transfer of the mortgage without the debt would be a nullity.”). These separate contractual functions—where the note is the loan and the mortgage is a pledged security for that loan—cannot be ignored simply by the advent of modern technology and the MERS electronic mortgage registry system.

[THE NOBODY ELSE IS CLAIMING ARGUMENT IS EXPLICITLY REJECTED]

Failure of Another Entity to Claim Ownership of the Romeros’ Note Does Not Make the Bank of New York a Holder

{37} Finally, the Bank of New York urges this Court to adopt the district court’s inference that if the Bank was not the proper holder of the Romeros’ note, then third-party-defendant Equity One would have claimed to be the rightful holder, and Equity One made no such claim.

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{38} The simple fact that Equity One does not claim ownership of the Romeros’ note does not establish that the note was properly transferred to the Bank of New York. In fact, the evidence in the record indicates that JPMorgan Chase may be the lawful holder of the Romeros’ note, as reflected in the note’s special indorsement.

[HOLDER MUST PROVE ENTITLEMENT TO ENFORCE — NO PRESUMPTION ALLOWED]

Because the transferee is not a holder, there is no presumption under Section [55-]3-308 [(1992) (entitling a holder in due course to payment by production and upon signature)] that the transferee, by producing the instrument, is entitled to payment. The instrument, by its terms, is not payable to the transferee and the transferee must account for possession of the unindorsed instrument by proving the transaction through which the transferee acquired it.

[LENDER’S OBLIGATION TO ASSURE THAT THE LOAN IS VIABLE]

B. A Lender Must Consider a Borrower’s Ability to Repay a Home Mortgage Loan in Determining Whether the Loan Provides a Reasonable, Tangible Net Benefit, as Required by the New Mexico HLPA

{39} For reasons that are not clear in the record, the Romeros did not appeal the district court’s judgment in favor of the original lender, Equity One, on the Romeros’ claims that Equity One violated the HLPA. The Court of Appeals addressed the HLPA violation issue in the context of the Romeros’ contentions that the alleged violation constituted a defense to the foreclosure complaint of the Bank of New York by affirming the district court’s favorable ruling on the Bank of New York’s complaint. As a result of our holding that the Bank of New York has not established standing to bring a foreclosure action, the issue of HLPA violation is now moot in this case. But because it is an issue that is likely to be addressed again in future attempts by whichever institution may be able to establish standing to foreclose on the Romero home and because it involves a statutory interpretation issue of substantial public importance in many other cases, we address the conclusion of both the

12

Court of Appeals and the district court that a homeowner’s inability to repay is not among “all of the circumstances” that the 2003 HLPA, applicable to the Romeros’ loan, requires a lender to consider under its “flipping” provisions:

No creditor shall knowingly and intentionally engage in the unfair act or practice of flipping a home loan. As used in this subsection, “flipping a home loan” means the making of a home loan to a borrower that refinances an existing home loan when the new loan does not have reasonable, tangible net benefit to the borrower considering all of the circumstances, including the terms of both the new and refinanced loans, the cost of the new loan and the borrower’s circumstances.

Section 58-21A-4(B) (2003); see also Bank of N.Y., 2011-NMCA-110, ¶ 17 (holding that “while the ability to repay a loan is an important consideration when otherwise assessing a borrower’s financial situation, we will not read such meaning into the statute’s ‘reasonable, tangible net benefit’ language”).

[DOOMED LOANS — WHO HAS THE RISK?]

We have been presented with no conceivable reason why the Legislature in 2003 would consciously exclude consideration of a borrower’s ability to repay the loan as a factor of the borrower’s circumstances, and we can think of none. Without an express legislative direction to that effect, we will not conclude that the Legislature meant to approve mortgage loans that were doomed to end in failure and foreclosure. Apart from the plain language of the statute and its express statutory purpose, it is difficult to comprehend how an unrepayable home mortgage loan that will result in a foreclosure on one’s home and a deficiency judgment to pay after the borrower is rendered homeless could provide “a reasonable, tangible net benefit to the borrower.”

[LENDER’S OBLIGATION TO MAKE SURE IT IS A VIABLE TRANSACTION] a lender cannot avoid its own obligation to consider real facts and circumstances [E.S.] that might clarify the inaccuracy of a borrower’s income claim. Id. (“Lenders cannot, however, disregard known facts and circumstances that may place in question the accuracy of information contained in the application.”) A lender’s willful blindness to its responsibility to consider the true circumstances of its borrowers is unacceptable. A full and fair consideration of those circumstances might well show that a new mortgage loan would put a borrower into a materially worse situation with respect to the ability to make home loan payments and avoid foreclosure, consequences of a borrower’s circumstances that cannot be disregarded.

if the inclusion of such boilerplate language in the mass of documents a borrower must sign at closing would substitute for a lender’s conscientious compliance with the obligations imposed by the HLPA, its protections would be no more than empty words on paper that could be summarily swept aside by the addition of yet one more document for the borrower to sign at the closing.

[THE BLAME GAME]

Borrowers are certainly not blameless if they try to refinance their homes through loans they cannot afford. But they do not have a mortgage lender’s expertise, and the combination of the relative unsophistication of many borrowers and the potential motives of unscrupulous lenders seeking profits from making loans without regard for the consequences to homeowners led to the need for statutory reform. See § 58-21A-2 (discussing (A) “abusive mortgage lending” practices, including (B) “making . . . loans that are equity-based, rather than income based,” (C) “repeatedly refinanc[ing] home loans,” rewarding lenders with “immediate income” from “points and fees” and (D) victimizing homeowners with the unnecessary “costs and terms” of “overreaching creditors”).

[FEDERAL PREEMPTION CLAIM FROM OCC STATEMENT DOES NOT PROVIDE BANK OF NEW YORK ANY PROTECTION]

 

While the Bank is correct in asserting that the OCC issued a blanket rule in January 2004, see 12 C.F.R. § 34.4(a) (2004) (preempting state laws that impact “a national bank’s ability to fully exercise its Federally authorized real estate lending powers”), and that the New Mexico Administrative Code recognizes this OCC rule, neither the Bank nor our administrative code addresses several actions taken by Congress and the courts since 2004 to disavow the OCC’s broad preemption statement.

 

Applying the Dodd-Frank standard to the HLPA, we conclude that federal law does not preempt the HLPA. First, our review of the NBA reveals no express preemption of state consumer protection laws such as the HLPA. Second, the Bank provides no evidence that conforming to the dictates of the HLPA prevents or significantly interferes with a national bank’s operations. Third, the HLPA does not create a discriminatory effect; rather, the HLPA applies to any “creditor,” which the 2003 statute defines as “a person who regularly [offers or] makes a home loan.” Section 58-21A-3(G) (2003). Any entity that makes home loans in New Mexico must follow the HLPA, regardless of whether the lender is a state or nationally chartered bank. See § 58-21A-2 (providing legislative findings on abusive mortgage lending practices that the HLPA is meant to discourage).

Rhode Island Supreme Court Steps Forward for Borrowers

Slowly but surely it seems that the court system are now taking notice of the fact that there is something intrinsically wrong with both the mortgages and the foreclosure process. In this case the Rhode Island Supreme Court specifically found the grounds that could establish that the mortgage was not validly assigned. This case was about whether or not the homeowners case should have been dismissed. The Supreme Court decided that the homeowners case should not have been dismissed.

But in this case the court affirmatively stated that defects in the assignment process would void the assignment and thus defeat the foreclosure.

Paragraph 12 of the complaint alleges: “On or about September 10, 2010, MERS attempted to assign this Mortgage to Aurora. * * * Theodore Schultz signed. Theodore Schultz had no authority to assign.” Thus, the plaintiffs have alleged that the one person who signed the mortgage assignment did not have the authority to do so. This allegation is buttressed by other allegations in the complaint. Paragraph 13 states that “Theodore Schultz was an employee of Aurora, not a Vice-President or Assistant Secretary of MERS.” Paragraph 17 alleges that “MERS did not order the assignment to Aurora.” Finally, paragraph 19 contends that “[n]o power of attorney from MERS to either Theodore Schultz or Aurora is recorded and referenced in the subject assignment.” These allegations, if proven, could establish that the mortgage was not validly assigned, and, therefore, Aurora did not have the authority to foreclose on the property.(e.s.)

SEE Chhun v. Mortgage Elec Registration Sys Inc.

The court also addressed the issue of standing and of course the related issues of standards for review on appeal. In view of decisions like this that are becoming increasingly frequent, the new strategy of the banks is to file for foreclosure in the name of the originator or some remote controlled entity of the broker-dealers. Bank of America has spawned numerous new banks and other entities (e.g. EverBank and Urban Lending Solutions)  In order to put distance between BOA and the irregularities of both the mortgage closing and the foreclosure; and BOA has filed numerous actions where it initially stated that it was the servicer for an undisclosed third-party owner of the loan and then later retracted the allegations of its complaint stated that it was in fact the lender at all times material to the mortgage and the foreclosure.

 

New Bank Strategy: There was no securitization — IRS AMNESTY FOR REMICs

Reported figures on the financial statements of the “13 banks” that Simon Johnson talks about, make it clear that around 96% of all loans originated between 1999 and 2009 are subject to claims of securitization because that is what the investment banks told the investors who advanced money for the purchase of what turned out to bogus mortgage bonds. So the odds are that no matter what the appearance is, the loan went through the hands of an investment banker who sold “bonds” to investors in order to originate or acquire mortgages. This includes Fannie, Freddie, Ginny, and VA.

The problem the investment banks have is that they never funded the trusts and never lived up to the bargain — they gave title to the loan to someone other than the investors and then they insured their false claims of ownership with AIG, AMBAC, using credit default swaps and even guarantees from government or quasi government agencies. Besides writing extensively in prior posts, I have now heard that the IRS has granted AMNESTY on the REMIC trusts because none of them actually performed as required by law. So we can assume that the money from the lender-investors went through the investment banks acting as conduits instead of through the trusts acting as Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits.

This leads to some odd results. If you foreclose in the name of the servicer, then the authority of the servicer is derived from the PSA. But if the trust was not used, then the PSA is irrelevant. If you foreclose in the name of the trustee, using a fabricated, robo-signed, forged assignment backdated or non dated as is the endorsement, you get dangerously close to exposing the fact that the investment banks took a chunk out of the money the investors gave them and booked it as trading profit. One of the big problems here is basic contract law — the lenders and the borrowers were not presented with and therefore could not have agreed to the same terms. Obviously the borrower was agreeing to pay the actual amount of the loan and was not agreeing to pay the overage taken by the investment bank. The lender was not agreeing to let the investment bank short change the investment and increase the risk in order to make up the difference with loans paying higher rates of interest.

When we started this whole process 7 years ago, the narrative from the foreclosing entities and their lawyers was that there was no securitization. Their case was based upon them being the holder of the note. Toward that end they then tried lawsuits and non-judicial foreclosures using MERS, the servicer, the originator, and even foreclosure servicer entities. They encountered problem because none of those entities had an interest in the loan, and there was no consideration for the transfer of the loan. Since they were filing in their own name and not in a representative capacity there were effectively defrauding the actual creditor and having themselves designated as the creditor who could buy the property at foreclosure auction without money using a “credit bid.”

Then we saw the banks change strategy and start filing by “Trustee” for the beneficiaries of an asset backed (securitized) trust. But there they had a problem because the Pooling and Servicing Agreement only gives the servicer the right to enforce, foreclose, or collect for the “investor” which is the trust or the beneficiaries of the asset-backed trust. And now we see that the trust was in fact never used which is why the investment banks were sued by nearly everyone for fraud. They diverted the money and the ownership of the loans to their own use before “returning” it to the investors after defaults.

Now we are seeing a return to the original strategy coupled with a denial that the loan was securitized. One such case I am litigating CURRENTLY shows CitiMortgage as the Plaintiff in a judicial foreclosure action in Florida. The odd thing is that my client went to the trouble of printing out the docket periodically as the case progressed before I got involved. The first Docket printed out showed CPCA Trust 1 as the Plaintiff clearly indicating that securitization was involved. Then about a year later, the client printed out the docket again and this time it showed ABN AMRO as trustee for CPCA Trust-1. Now the docket simply shows CitiMortgage which opposing counsel says is right. We are checking the Court file now, but the idea advanced by opposing counsel that this was a clerical error does not seem likely in view of that the fact that it happened twice in the same file and we never saw anything like it before — but maybe some of you out there have seen this, and could write to us at neilfgarfield@hotmail.com.

Our title and securitization research shows that ACCESS Mortgage was the originator but that it assigned the loan to First National which then merged with CitiCorp., whom opposing counsel says owns the loan. The argument is that CitiMortgage has the status of holder and therefore is not suing in a representative capacity despite the admission that CitiMortgage doesn’t have a nickel in the deal, and that there has been no financial transaction underlying the paperwork purportedly transferring the loan.

Our research identifies Access as a securitization player, whose loan bundles were probably underwritten by CitiCorp’s investment banking subsidiary. The same holds true for First National and CPCA Trust-1 and ABN AMRO. Further we show that ABN AMRO acquired LaSalle Bank in a reverse merger, as I have previously mentioned in other posts. Citi has reported in sworn documents with the SEC that it merged with ABN AMRO. So the docket entries would be corroborated as to ABN AMRO being the trustee for CPCA Trust 1. But Citi says ABN AMRO has nothing to do with the subject loan. And the fight now is what will be allowed in discovery. CitiMortgage says that their answer of “NO” to questions about securitization should end the inquiry. I obviously take the position that in discovery, I should be able to inquire about the circumstances under which CitiMortgage makes its claim as holder besides the fact that they physically possess the note, if indeed they do.

Some of this might be revealed when the actual court file is reviewed and when the clerk’s office is asked why the docket entries were different from the current lawsuit. Was there an initial filing, summons or complaint or cover sheet identifying CPCA Trust 1? What caused the clerk to change it to ABN AMRO? How did it get changed to CitiMortgage?

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