The CLOUD: No Name, No Docs, No Terms, No Balance Due: MBS Investors Screwed and Taking Borrowers Down With Them

Writing with the flu. Despite symptoms and medication that makes me dizzy, I feel compelled to write about something that is getting traction out there. The more you look at the false claims of securitization the more it stinks. We are dealing with a system that is based on really big lies. I’m sure our leaders of government have a very appealing rationalization why we must pretend the mortgage bonds are real, why we must pretend the mortgages are real, why we must pretend the notes are real, and why we must pretend the debts and defaults are real. But those are lies based on sham transactions. And those lies are based in public policy. And public policy is contrary to law.

My focus is on cases pending in the judicial branch of government. Our system of government was designed to insert the judicial branch into disputes so that fractures in public policy do not cheat citizens out of their basic rights. In this case, the failure of the other two branches of government to include the rights of homeowners is damaging both to the society generally and producing millions of cases of unjust enrichment and displacement of millions of people from their homes in cases, where if all facts were known two facts would be inescapably accepted: (1) mortgages filed as encumbrances against real property were fatally defective and unenforceable and (2) the balance owed on the debt is either impossible to ascertain or zero, with a liability owed to homeowners on the overpayments received in the midst of that opaque cloud we are calling “securitization.”

The trigger for the writing of this article is once again coming from BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON as the “Trustee” of vast numbers of REMIC Trusts. Bill Paatalo, a private investigator, uncovered an officer of BONY who is very frustrated with BOA and others who are telling borrowers that BONY is the owner of their loan. Indeed, suits have been brought in the name of BONY without any reference to the trust; and of course suits have been brought in the name of BONY as Trustee of a REMIC Trust, which represents but does not own the loans (the ownership interest being “conveyed” with the issuance of the mortgage bond to investors who were duped into thinking they were buying high grade investments. BONY and DEUTSCH both say such suits are brought without their authorization and have instructed servicer’s to cease and desist using the name of Deutsch of BONY MELLON in foreclosure suits.

The problem revealed is contained in an email Paatalo posted from an officer of BONY MELLON, who wants BOA to stop telling people that BONY is the owner of their loans. He says BONY doesn’t own the loans and has no right, power or obligation to modify or mitigate damages caused by the borrower failing or stopping payments on the loan they unquestionably received. He says BONY is the Trustee for the loan and denies ownership and further denies the ability or right to modify.

What he doesn’t say is what he means by “Trustee for the loan” and why the “trust” should be considered real as a legal person when there is no financial account or assets held in the name of the Trust. Like Reynaldo Reyes at Deutsch Bank, he is basically saying there are no trust assets, there never was any funding of the trust, and there never was an assignment or purchase of the loan by the trust — for the simple reason that the Trust never had a bank account much less the money to buy loans or anything else.

So Reyes and this newly revealed actor from BONY are saying the same thing. They are Trustees in name only without any duties because no money or assets are in the trust. Which brings us back to the beginning. If the loan was securitized, the Trust would have had a bank account to receive money advanced by investors who were purchasing alleged mortgage bonds that promised that the investor also was an owner of the loans — an undecided percentage interest in the loans.

That money in the Trust account would have been used to fund or purchase the loan to the borrower. And the Trust would have been the mortgagee or beneficiary on the mortgage or deed of trust. There would have been no need for MERS, or originators or any of the countless sham corporations that are now out of business and who supposedly loaned money to borrowers. If it was real, the records would show the Trust paid for the loan and the recorded documents from the loan closing would clearly show the Trust as the lender.

It is really a very simple deal, if it is real. But complexity was introduced by Wall Street, the effect of which was that the lenders didn’t get the loans they were expecting, didn’t get the collateral they thought they were getting and didn’t even get named as lenders despite the fact that it was investor money that was used to make and acquire the loans. Like the borrowers, investors were stepping into a cloud that intentionally obscured the ownership of the loan.

On the one hand, the Banks covered ownership by the issuance and execution of an Assignment and Assumption Agreement, but that was before any loan applications existed, just like the prospectus and sale of the bonds — a process known as selling forward on Wall Street. On the other hand, the bonds were issued in the name of the investment banks, a process called Street Name on Wall Street. On the third hand, the loan documents showed neither the investment banks nor the investors or even the REMIC Trusts. instead they showed some other entity as the lender even though the “lender” had advanced mooney whatsoever — a process later dubbed as “pretender lenders” by me in in my writing and seminars.

By pushing title through pretender lenders and private exchanges that registered title that was never published (like the county recorders’ offices publish recorded deeds, mortgages and liens), the Banks created a Cloud which by definition created clouded title to the property, the loan and created a mortgage document that was recorded despite naming the wrong terms and the wrong payee.

Pushing title away from the investors who advanced the money and toward themselves, the Banks were able to play with the money as if it were their own, and even purchase insurance and credit default swaps payable to the banks, who were clearly the intermediary agents of the investors. And the Banks even got the government to guarantee half the loans even though the underwriting standards were ignored — since the banks had no risk of loss on the loans (they were using investor money and they were getting the right to receive third party payments from the government and private parties). Eventually after the meltdown, the Banks became part of a program where tens of billions of dollars worth of the bogus mortgage bonds owned by the investors were sold to the Federal government (some $50 Billion per month).

Through their creation of the Cloud, the banks were able to take the money of the investors and receive it as their own, concealing the initial theft (skimming) off the top by creating sham proprietary trades. Now they are receiving judgments and deeds from foreclosure auctions based upon their submission of a credit bid that clearly violates the very specific provisions of state statutes that identify who can submit a credit bid rather than cash at the auction. Only the actual owner of the unpaid account receivable has the right to submit a credit bid.

And by the creation of the Cloud judges and lawyers missed the point completely. The result is stripping the investors of value, ownership and right to collect on the loans they advanced. At no time has any Servicer filed a foreclosure in the name of the investors whose money was used to fund the deal. In no case is there any underlying real transaction in which real money was paid and something was received in exchange. The Courts are now the vehicle of public policy and manifest injustice by enforcement of unenforceable mortgages for fabricated notes referring to non existent debts.

The net result is that public policy and government action is contrary to the rule of law.

What to Do When the “Original” Note is Proferred

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The selection of an attorney is an important decision  and should only be made after you have interviewed licensed attorneys familiar with investment banking, securities, property law, consumer law, mortgages, foreclosures, and collection procedures. This site is dedicated to providing those services directly or indirectly through attorneys seeking guidance or assistance in representing consumers and homeowners. We are available to any lawyer seeking assistance anywhere in the country, U.S. possessions and territories. Neil Garfield is a licensed member of the Florida Bar and is qualified to appear as an expert witness or litigator in in several states including the district of Columbia. The information on this blog is general information and should NEVER be considered to be advice on one specific case. Consultation with a licensed attorney is required in this highly complex field.
There are two issues when the other side presents original documents. First is that they say these are originals and they do not accompany it with an affidavit from someone with actual personal knowledge of the transactions or the high bar for business records exceptions to hearsay. My experience is that 50-50, the documents are original or fabricated by use of Photoshop and a laser printer or dot matrix printer. So what you need to do is to go down to the clerk’s office and see what they filed. It would not be unusual for them to file a copy saying it was the original. Second, on that same point, the original can be examined. When the signatures are heavy there should be indentations on the back. Also a notary stamp tends to bleed through the paper to the back.

The second major point is the issue of holder v owner. The owner of the debt is entitled to the ultimate relief, not the note-holder unless the other side fails to object. So along with the proffering of the “originals” they must tell the story, using competent foundation testimony, how they came into possession of the note. In discovery this is done by asking to see proof of payment and proof of loss. Which is to say that you want to see the canceled check or wire transfer receipt that paid for the “transaction” in which the possessor of the note became a holder under UCC and is entitled to a rebuttable presumption that they are the owner. If there is no transaction for value, then the note was not negotiated under the terms of the UCC.

Since they possess the note there is a hairline allowance that they may sue for the collection on a note in which they have no financial sake but there is no ability to win if the borrower denies they received the money or that the possessor of the note obtained the note for purposes of litigation and is not the creditor — i.e., the party who could properly submit a credit bid at auction by a creditor as defined by Florida statutes, nor are they able to execute a satisfaction of mortgage because even upon the receipt of the money they have no loss, and under the terms of the note itself the overpayment is due back to the borrower.

And just as importantly, they cannot modify the mortgage so any submission to them for modification is futile without them showing proof of payment, proof of loss and/or authority to speak for and represent the interests of an identified creditor.

An identified creditor is not merely a name but is a report of the name of the owner of the debt, the contact person and their contact information. Then you can contact the owner and ask for the balance and how it was computed. So the failure to identify the actual owner is interference with the borrower’s right to seek HAMP or HARP modifications — potentially a cause of action for intentional interference in the contractual relations of another (asserting that the note and mortgage incorporated existing law) or violation of statutory duties since the Dodd-Frank act includes all participants in the securitization scheme as servicers.

The key is the money trail because that is the actual transaction where money exchanged hands and it must be shown that the money trail leads from A to B to C etc. The documents would then be examined to see if they are in fact relating to the transaction or a particular leg of the chain.

If the documents don’t conform to the actual monetary transaction, then the documents are refuted as evidence of the debt or any right to enforce the debt. What we know is that in nearly all cases the documents at origination do NOT reflect the actual monetary transaction which means they (a) do not show the actual owner of the debt but rather a straw-man nominee for an undisclosed lender contrary to several provisions of the Truth in Lending Act. The same holds true for the false securitization” chain in which documents are fabricated to refer to transactions that never occurred — where there was a transfer of the debt on paper that was worthless because no transaction took place.

One last thing on this is the issue of blank endorsements. There is widespread confusion between the requirements of the UCC and the requirements of the Pooling and Servicing Agreement. It is absolutely true that a blank endorsement on a negotiable instrument is valid and that the holder possesses all rights of a holder including the presumption (rebuttable) of ownership.

But hundreds of Judges have erred in stopping their inquiry there. Because the UCC says that the agreement of the parties is paramount to any provision of the act. So if the PSA says the endorsement and assignment must be in a particular form (recordable) made out to the trust and that no blank endorsements will be accepted, then the indorsement is an offer which cannot be accepted by the asset pool or the trustee for the asset pool because it would violate an express prohibition in the PSA.

And that leads to the last point which is that a document calling itself an assignment is not irrefutable evidence of an actual transfer of the loan. If the assignee does not agree to take it, then the transaction is void.  None of the assignments I have seen have any joinder and acceptance by the trustee or anyone on behalf of the pool because nobody on the trustee level is willing to risk jail, even though Eric Holder now says he won’t prosecute those crimes. If you take the deposition of the trustee and ask for information concerning the trust account, they will get all squirrelly because there is no trust account on which the trustee is a signatory.

If you ask them whether they accepted the assignment of a defaulted loan and if so, what was the basis for them doing so they will get even more nervous. And if you ask them specifically if they accepted the assignment which you attach to the interrogatory or which you show them at deposition, they will have to say that they did not execute any document accepting that assignment, and then they will be required to agree, when you point out the PSA provisions that no such assignment or endorsement would be valid.

Whistleblower Bangs BofA for $14.5 million in Mortgage Case

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Editor’s Comment:

Countrywide Financial Inflated Appraisals 

For people in law enforcement this is a time when it gets to be fun going after the big guys.  Being arrogant to the highest degree going into this mortgage mess you can only imagine the ego of the Titans of Wall Street after making trillions of dollars in turning the entire mortgage process on its head and reversing all common sense criteria in underwriting loans.

The rats are leaving the ship by the thousands, whether they want to or not.  There is hardly a day that goes by that some former employee of Countrywide, Bank of America, Chase, Citi or Wells Fargo does not reveal that they were under instructions to violate regulations and law.

The inflation of appraisals of the securities and the inflation of the homes themselves was the key to the success of the Wall Street plan.  This plan was devoted to sucking out as much o the liquidity in the marketplace as they could possibly achieve.  This in itself is a reversal of even the purpose of allowing Wall Street to exist.  Wall Street’s mandate is to provide liquidity in the marketplace and not taking it away.  Instead they took the equivalent of the gross domestic product of several countries combined (including the United States) and converted the proceeds to “trading profits”.

It is good that these whistleblowers are appearing and it’s even good they are making so much money.  This will encourage other whistleblowers and will encourage those attorneys who thought mortgage litigation was beneath them.  As these cases proceed we will see more and more understandable facts emerge that explain the tragic reversal of our financial model and the historic consequences to most of the major countries of the world.

Bank of America Whistleblower Receives $14.5 million in Mortgage Case

By Rick Rothacker

(Reuters) – A former home appraiser will receive $14.5 million as part of a whistleblower lawsuit that accused subprime lender Countrywide Financial of inflating appraisals on government-insured loans, his attorneys said Tuesday.

Kyle Lagow’s lawsuit sparked an investigation that culminated in a $1 billion settlement announced in February between Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) and the U.S. Justice Department over allegations of mortgage fraud at Countrywide, his attorneys said in a news release. Bank of America bought Countrywide in 2008.

Lagow’s suit was one of five whistleblower complaints that were folded into the $25 billion national mortgage settlement that state and federal officials reached with Bank of America and four other lenders this year. His suit was unsealed in February, but the amount of his settlement had not been disclosed.

Gregory Mackler, a whistleblower who challenged Bank of America’s handling of the government’s HAMP mortgage modification program, has also finalized a settlement, said Shayne Stevenson, an attorney with the Hagens Berman law firm, which represented both whistleblowers. Stevenson declined to comment on Mackler’s settlement amount.

The complaints were brought under a whistleblower provision in the U.S. False Claims Act, which allows private individuals with knowledge of wrongdoing to bring suits on behalf of the government and share in the proceeds of any settlement.

Both Lagow and Mackler lost their jobs after raising concerns about practices at their companies and faced difficult times awaiting settlements, Stevenson said. Lagow, who worked in a Countrywide appraisal unit, filed his suit in 2009; Mackler, who worked at a firm called Urban Lending Solutions, brought his case in 2011.

“These guys are inspirational,” Stevenson said. “They both did the right thing. They should inspire other people to come forward.”

Bank of America declined to comment. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York, which handled the Bank of America settlement, also declined to comment.

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