What is the difference between the note and the debt? What difference does it make?

NOTE: This case reads like  law review article. It is well worth reading and studying, piece by piece. Judge Marx has taken a lot of time to research, analyze the documents, and write a very clear opinion on the truth about the documents that were used in this case, and by extension the documents that are used in most foreclosure cases.

Simple answer: if you had a debt to pay would you pay it to the owner of the debt or someone else who says that you should pay them instead? It’s obvious.

Second question: if the owner of the debt is really different than the party claiming to collect it, why hasn’t the owner shown up? This answer is not so obvious nor is it simple. The short version is that the owners of the risk of loss have contracted away their right to collect on the debt, note or mortgage.

Third question: why are the technical requirements of an indorsement, allonge etc so important? This is also simple: it is the only way to provide assurance that the holder of the note is the owner of the note. This is important if the note is going to be treated as evidence of ownership of the debt.

NY Slip Opinion: Judge Paul I Marx carefully analyzed the facts and the law and found that there was a failure to firmly affix the alleged allonge which means that the note possessor must prove, rather than presume, that the possessor is a holder with rights to enforce. U.S. Bank, N.A. as Trustee v Cannella April 15, 2019.

Now the lawyers who claim U.S. Bank, N.A. is their client must prove something that doesn’t exist in the real world. This a problem because U.S. Bank won’t and can’t cooperate and the investment bank won’t and can’t allow their name to be used in foreclosures.

GET FREE HELP: Just click here and submit  the confidential, free, no obligation, private REGISTRATION FORM.
Let us help you plan for trial and draft your foreclosure defense strategy, discovery requests and defense narrative: 202-838-6345. Ask for a Consult or check us out on www.lendinglies.com. Order a PDR BASIC to have us review and comment on your notice of TILA Rescission or similar document.
I provide advice and consultation to many people and lawyers so they can spot the key required elements of a scam — in and out of court. If you have a deal you want skimmed for red flags order the Consult and fill out the REGISTRATION FORM.
PLEASE FILL OUT AND SUBMIT OUR FREE REGISTRATION FORM 
Get a Consult and TERA (Title & Encumbrances Analysis and & Report) 202-838-6345 or 954-451-1230. The TERA replaces and greatly enhances the former COTA (Chain of Title Analysis, including a one page summary of Title History and Gaps).
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
========================
Words actually matter — in the world of of American Justice, under law, without words, nothing matters.
*
So it is especially important to presume nothing and actually read words without making any assumptions. Much of what we see in the language of what is presented as a conveyance is essentially the same as a quitclaim deed in which there is no warranty of title and which simply grants any interest that the grantor MIGHT have. It is this type of wording that the banks use to weaponize the justice system against homeowners.
*
There is no warranty of title and there is no specific grant of ownership in an assignment of mortgage that merely says the assignor/grantor conveys “all beneficial interest under a certain mortgage.” Banks want courts to assume that means the note and the debt as well. But that specific wording is double-speak.
*
It says it is granting rights to the mortgage; but the rest of wording  is making reference only to what is stated in the mortgage, which is not the note, the debt or any other rights. So in effect it is saying it is granting title to the mortgage and then saying the same thing again, without adding anything. That is the essence of double speak.
*
In the Cannela Case Judge Marx saw the attempt to mislead the court and dealt with it:

The language in RPAPL § 258, which this Court emphasized—”together with the bond or obligation described in said mortgage“—stands in sharp contrast to the language used here in the Assignment—”all beneficial interest under a certain Mortgage”. If such language is mere surplusage, as Plaintiff seems to believe, the drafters of RPAPL § 258 would not have included it in a statutory form promulgated for general use as best practice.

So here is the real problem. The whole discussion in Canella is about the note, the indorsement and the allonge. But notice the language in the opinion — “The Assignment did not go on to state that the referenced debt “…. So the Judge let it slip (pardon the pun) that when he refers to the note he means the debt.

*

The courts are using “the debt” and “the note” as being interchangeable words meaning the same thing. I would admit that before the era of false claims of securitization I used the words, debt, note and mortgage interchangeably because while there were technical  difference in the legal meaning of those terms, they all DID mean the same thing to me and everyone else.
*
While a note SHOULD be evidence of the debt and the possession of a note SHOULD be evidence of being a legal note holder and that SHOULD mean that the note holder probably has rights to enforce, and therefore that note “holder” should be the the owner of a debt claiming foreclosure rights under a duly assigned mortgage for which value was paid, none of that is true if the debt actually moved in one or more different directions — different that is from the paper trail fabricated by remote parties with no interest in the loan other than to collect their fees.
*
The precise issue is raised because the courts have almost uniformly assumed that the burden shifts to the homeowner to show that the debt moved differently than the paper. This case shows that might not be true. But it will be true if not properly presented and argued. In effect what we are dealing with here is that there is a presumption to use the presumption.
*
If Person A buys the debt (for real) for value (money) he is the owner of the debt. But that is only true if he bought it from Person B who also paid value for the debt (funded the origination or acquisition of the loan). If not, the debt obviously could not possibly have moved from B to A.
*
It is not legally possible to move the debt without payment of value. It IS possible to appoint agents to enforce it. But for those agents seeking to enforce it the debtor has a right to know why he should pay a stranger without proof that his debt is being collected for his creditor.
*
The precise issue identified by the investment banks back in 1983 (when securitization started) is that even debts are made up of component parts. The investment banks saw they could enter into “private contracts” in which the risk of loss and other bets could be made totalling far more than the loan itself. This converted the profit potential on loans from being a few points to several thousand percent of each loan.
*
The banks knew that only people with a strong background in accounting and investment banking would realize that the investment bank was a creditor for 30 days or less and that after that it was at most a servicer who was collecting “fees’ in addition to “trading profits” at the expense of everyone involved.
*
And by creating contracts in which the investors disclaimed any direct right, title or interest in the collection of the loan, even though the investor assumed the entire risk of loss, the investment banks could claim and did claim that they had not sold off the debt. Any accountant will tell you that selling the entire risk of loss means that you sold off the entire debt.
*
* Thus monthly payments, prepayments and foreclosure proceeds are absorbed by the investment bank and its affiliates under various guises but it never goes to reduce a debt owned by the people who have paid value for the debt. In this case, and all similar cases, U.S. Bank, N.A. as trustee (or any trustee) never received nor expected to receive any money from monthly payments, prepayments or foreclosure proceeds; but that didn’t stop the investment banks from naming the claimant as U.S. Bank, N.A. as trustee.
*
**So then the note might be sold but the alleged transfer of a mortgage is a nullity because there was no actual transfer of the debt. Transfer of the debt ONLY occurs where value is paid. Transfer of notes occurs regardless of whether value was paid.
*
US laws in all 50 states all require that the enforcer of a mortgage be the same party who owns the debt or an agent who is actually authorized  by the owner of the debt to conduct the foreclosure. For that to be properly alleged and proven the identity of the owner of the debt must be disclosed.
*
That duty to disclose might need to be enforced in discovery, a QWR, a DVL or a subpoena for deposition, but in all events if the borrower asks there is no legal choice for not answering, notwithstanding arguments that the information is private or proprietary.
*
The only way that does not happen is if the borrower does not enforce the duty to disclose the principal. If the borrower does enforce but the court declines that is fertile grounds for appeal, as this case shows. Standing was denied to U.S. Bank, as Trustee, because it failed to prove it was the holder of the note prior to initiating foreclosure.
*
It failed because the fabricated allonge was not shown to be have been firmly attached so as to become part of the note itself.
*
Thus the facts behind the negotiation of the note came into doubt and the presumptions sought by attorneys for the named claimant were thrown out. Now they must prove through evidence of transactions in the real world that the debt moved, instead of presuming the movement from the movement of the note.
*
But if B then executes an indorsement to Person C you have a problem. Person A owns the debt but Person C owns the note. Both are true statements. Unless the indorsement occurred at the instruction of Person B, it creates an entirely new and separate liability under the UCC, since the note no longer serves as title to the debt but rather serves as presumptive liability of a maker under the UCC with its own set of rules.
*
And notwithstanding the terms of the mortgage to the contrary, the mortgage no longer secures the note, which is no longer evidence of the debt; hence the mortgage can only be enforced by the person who owns the debt, if at all. The note which can only be enforced pursuant to rules governing the enforcement of negotiable instruments, if that applies, is no longer secured by the mortgage because the law requires the mortgage to secure a debt and not just a promissory note. See UCC Article 9-203.
*
This is what the doctrine of merger is intended to avoid — double liability. But merger does not happen when the debt owner and the Payee are different parties and neither one is the acknowledged agent of a common principal.
*
Now if Person B never owned the debt to begin with but was still the payee on the note and the mortgagee on the mortgage you have yet another problem. The note and debt were split at closing. In law cases this is referred to as splitting the note and mortgage which is presumed not to occur unless there is a showing of intent to do so. In this case there was intent to do so. The source of lending did not get a note and mortgage and the broker did get a note and mortgage.
*
Normally that would be fine if there was an agency contract between the originator and the investment bank who funded the loan. But the investment bank doesn’t want to admit such agency as it would be liable for lending and disclosure violations at closing, and for servicing violations after closing.
*
***So when the paperwork is created that creates the illusion of transfer of the mortgage without any real transaction between the remote parties because it is the investment bank who is all times holding all the cards. No real transactions can occur without the investment bank. The mortgage and the note being transferred creates two separate legal events or consequences.
*
Transfer of the note even without the debt creates a potential asset to the transferee whether they paid for it or not. If they paid for it they might even be a holder in due course with more rights than the actual owner of the debt. See UCC Article 3, holder in due course.
*
Transfer of the note without the debt (i.e. transfer without payment of value) would simply transfer rights under the UCC and that would be independent of the debt and therefore the mortgage which, under existing law, can only be enforced by the owner of the debt notwithstanding language in the mortgage that refers to the note. The assignment of mortgage was not enough.
Some quotables from the Slip Opinion:

A plaintiff in an action to foreclose a mortgage “[g]enerally establishes its prima facie case through the production of the mortgage, the unpaid note, and evidence of default”. U.S. Bank Nat. Ass’n v Sabloff, 153 AD3d 879, 880 [2nd Dept 2017] (citing Plaza Equities, LLC v Lamberti, 118 AD3d 688, 689see Deutsche Bank Natl. Trust Co. v Brewton, 142 AD3d 683, 684). However, where a defendant has affirmatively pleaded standing in the Answer,[6] the plaintiff must prove standing in order to prevail. Bank of New York Mellon v Gordon, 2019 NY Slip Op. 02306, 2019 WL 1372075, at *3 [2nd Dept March 27, 2019] (citing HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Roumiantseva, 130 AD3d 983, 983-984HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Calderon, 115 AD3d 708, 709Bank of NY v Silverberg, 86 AD3d 274, 279).

A plaintiff establishes its standing in a mortgage foreclosure action by showing that it was the holder of the underlying note at the time the action was commenced. Sabloff, supra at 880 (citing Aurora Loan Servs., LLC v Taylor, 25 NY3d 355, 361U.S. Bank N.A. v Handler, 140 AD3d 948, 949). Where a plaintiff is not the original lender, it must show that the obligation was transferred to it either by a written assignment of the underlying note or the physical delivery of the note. Id. Because the mortgage automatically passes with the debt as an inseparable incident, a plaintiff must generally prove its standing to foreclose on the mortgage through either of these means, rather than by assignment of the mortgage. Id. (citing U.S. Bank, N.A. v Zwisler, 147 AD3d 804, 805U.S. Bank, N.A. v Collymore, 68 AD3d 752, 754).

Turning to the substantive issue involving UCC § 3-202(2), Defendant contends that the provision requires that an allonge must be “permanently” affixed to the underlying note for the note to be negotiated by delivery. UCC § 3-202(1) states, in pertinent part, that if, as is the case here, “the instrument is payable to order it is negotiated by delivery with any necessary indorsement”. UCC § 3-202(1) (emphasis added). The pertinent language of UCC § 3-202(2) provides that when an indorsement is written on a separate piece of paper from a note, the paper must be “so firmly affixed thereto as to become a part thereof.” UCC § 3-202(2) (emphasis added); Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC v Kelly, 166 AD3d 843 [2nd Dept 2018]; HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Roumiantseva, supra at 985see also One Westbank FSB v Rodriguez, 161 AD3d 715, 716 [1st Dept 2018]; Slutsky v Blooming Grove Inn, 147 AD2d 208, 212 [2nd Dept 1989] (“The note secured by the mortgage is a negotiable instrument (see, UCC 3-104) which requires indorsement on the instrument itself `or on a paper so firmly affixed thereto as to become a part thereof’ (UCC 3-202[2]) in order to effectuate a valid `assignment’ of the entire instrument (cf., UCC 3-202 [3], [4])”).

[Editor’s note: if it were any other way the free spinning allonge would become a tradable commodity in its own right. ]

The Assignment did not go on to state that the referenced debt was simultaneously being assigned to Plaintiff.

 

Enforcement of Note vs. Enforcement of Mortgage

Watch out for the discrepancy between enforcement of a note and enforcement of an encumbrance. Enforcement of the note requires proof that the claimant is the owner of the debt, or has been authorized by the owner of the debt to enforce the note. Enforcement of the mortgage requires that the claimant be the owner of the debt. 

Judgment on the note can be rendered based upon legal presumptions arising from the UCC as adopted by state law as it applies to negotiable instruments. Mortgages (deeds of trust) are not negotiable instruments. The courts err when they apply Article 3 presumptions to the enforcement of a mortgage.

And take note that not all promissory notes are necessarily negotiable instruments and that therefore they too are not entitled to the benefit of legal presumptions under Article 3.

Always remember that legal presumptions are not intended to created findings of act that are contrary to reality. Quite the contrary, they are intended only as a convenience by which the court, in the absence of any meaningful objection, can presume such facts as part of its conclusion; no presumption should be employed if the evidence is tinged with a self serving nature and produced by the named claimant, and all such presumptions are rebuttable by exposing the reality. 

==============================
Let us help you plan for trial and draft your foreclosure defense strategy, discovery requests and defense narrative: 202-838-6345. Ask for a Consult or check us out on www.lendinglies.com. Order a PDR BASIC to have us review and comment on your notice of TILA Rescission or similar document.
I provide advice and consultation to many people and lawyers so they can spot the key required elements of a scam — in and out of court. If you have a deal you want skimmed for red flags order the Consult and fill out the REGISTRATION FORM.
A few hundred dollars well spent is worth a lifetime of financial ruin.
PLEASE FILL OUT AND SUBMIT OUR FREE REGISTRATION FORM WITHOUT ANY OBLIGATION. OUR PRIVACY POLICY IS THAT WE DON’T USE THE FORM EXCEPT TO SPEAK WITH YOU OR PERFORM WORK FOR YOU. THE INFORMATION ON THE FORMS ARE NOT SOLD NOR LICENSED IN ANY MANNER, SHAPE OR FORM. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Get a Consult and TERA (Title & Encumbrances Analysis and & Report) 202-838-6345 or 954-451-1230. The TERA replaces and greatly enhances the former COTA (Chain of Title Analysis, including a one page summary of Title History and Gaps).
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
========================

 Possession of the original note usually results in a presumption that the possessor is a holder, and being holder usually results in the presumption that the holder is authorized to enforce as an agent of the owner of the debt.

Those are the rules for negotiable paper (notes). It is easier to state a case for enforcement of the note than enforcement of a mortgage or deed of trust. The intent in the law is to make it easy for notes to flow through the marketplace as cash equivalents. 

It is entirely possible for the same party to be awarded judgment on a note and denied judgment for enforcement of a mortgage or deed of trust, which are not negotiable instruments. An assignment of mortgage without a transfer of the debt is a nullity. But when the note is transferred, that is generally treated as though title to the debt has been transferred. That is an error in most cases involving claims of “securitization.” The reason it is an error is that the transferor of the note did not own the debt.

Both the endorsement of the note and the assignment of the mortgage can be attacked on the basis that authorization from the owner of the debt has not been shown. But the burden is on the claimed debtor (You) to rebut the assumptions and presumptions.

The only way to do that appears to be through discovery in which you request the owner of the debt to be identified. This is tricky and the other side knows it. They will reply that a designated party has some sort of authority to claim ownership without actually saying that they are the owner. So if you merely ask for the owner of the debt to be identified you probably won’t get very far.

You need to probe deeper than that. Go to an accountant and find out what the attributes are under GAAP and the FASB of an owner of the debt. The answer will be that the owner will have entries in its own books and records of an asset consisting of the claimed debt. Those entries must include an entry on the asset side of the amount of the supposed debt. Usually on the liability side there is a reserve for bad debt or default.

Any accountant will tell you that if the loan is not carried as  an asset on the books and records of the named claimant, they are not the owner of the debt.

This dichotomy is revealed easily in Article 3 UCC as adopted by state statute, which applies to notes and Article 9 UCC as adopted by state statute which applies to mortgages.

The legislative intent is that nobody should be allowed to enforce a mortgage without actually owning the debt. This is backed up by your jurisdictional argument, to wit: the party named as claiming the right to foreclose is not the party who will receive the benefits of that remedy because they have no financial injury in the first place. 

It’s one thing to get a money judgment against someone. But the legislature of every state has already decided that is quite another thing to take the homestead away from a homeowner. The big safeguard is the requirement that the claimant in foreclosure actually has ownership of the debt and therefore would be injured financially if the encumbrance were not enforced. 

Using TILA Rescission as Jurisdictional Issue

I think TILA Rescission should be approached as a jurisdictional issue since it focuses on the procedural aspects of the TILA Rescission statute. In other words it should always be front and center.

I think a problem with TILA Rescission is that not even borrowers understand that the rescission issue is over. By asking a court to  make rescission effective you underline the correct premise that rescission has already occurred. All your pleadings after that should be based upon that premise or you undermine yourself.

==============================
Let us help you plan for trial and draft your foreclosure defense strategy, discovery requests and defense narrative: 202-838-6345. Ask for a Consult or check us out on www.lendinglies.com.
I provide advice and consultation to many people and lawyers so they can spot the key required elements of a scam — in and out of court. If you have a deal you want skimmed for red flags order the Consult and fill out the REGISTRATION FORM.
A few hundred dollars well spent is worth a lifetime of financial ruin.
PLEASE FILL OUT AND SUBMIT OUR FREE REGISTRATION FORM WITHOUT ANY OBLIGATION. OUR PRIVACY POLICY IS THAT WE DON’T USE THE FORM EXCEPT TO SPEAK WITH YOU OR PERFORM WORK FOR YOU. THE INFORMATION ON THE FORMS ARE NOT SOLD NOR LICENSED IN ANY MANNER, SHAPE OR FORM. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Get a Consult and TERA (Title & Encumbrances Analysis and & Report) 202-838-6345 or 954-451-1230. The TERA replaces and greatly enhances the former COTA (Chain of Title Analysis, including a one page summary of Title History and Gaps).
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
===========================
The plain wording of the statute says that rescission is effective, as a matter of law, when delivered (or sent via USPS). SCOTUS says no lawsuit is required to make rescission effective. The fact that the banks treat it as ineffective is something they do at their own peril. The statute explicitly says otherwise along with REG Z procedures based on the statute 15 USC §1635 and the Jesinoski decision.
*
Under the statute and Reg Z the loan contract is eliminated and replaced with a new relationship under the statute — a set of procedures creating a statutory claim for the debt. It follows that ONLY a party who is an actual creditor or owner of the debt can even appear much less claim or defend anything about rescission. If they claim standing from the loan contract, they have no standing.
*
Hence if the formers holders of the now nonexistent note and mortgage are also creditors they have no problem. They can plead anything they want, including defenses to or motions (or lawsuits) to vacate TILA Rescission. 
*
BUT usually the former holders of the loan contract (note and mortgage) were using the loan CONTRACT as the sole basis of their standing — desiring to raise legal presumptions from the existence of those contracts (note and mortgage).
*
What happens next is incontrovertible by logic or legal reasoning. Although they might be named parties to an action pending in court such ex-holders have lost their standing in that court action or they never had it to begin with. By operation of law the note and mortgage from which all their claims derive do not exist. That is a jurisdictional issue and it MUST be decided against the banks — by operation of law. Failure to present this has resulted in a number of escape hatches for judges who don’t like TILA Rescission. Your job is to close those hatches.
*
The whole point of the rescission strategy is to remove any possibility of an arguable claim for standing to foreclose on the now nonexistent mortgage or deed of trust. Unless the claim for standing is based upon ownership of the debt subject matter jurisdiction is absent.
*
This means that no claim or defense against the effectiveness of the rescission can be raised by anyone other than the owner of the debt.  
*
This also means that there can be no foreclosure because the loan contract has been replaced by a statutory “contract.”
*
Borrowers undermine this premise by filing lawsuits asking the court to declare that the rescission is effective. The TILA Rescission statute 15 USC §1635 has already answered that and THAT is what should be pled. SCOTUS has also already answered that in the Jesinoski case. Asking the court to declare it so means that you take the position that the statute has not already answered that question, that SCOTUS has not already ruled and that therefore it is now up to the trial court to make a ruling.
*
You are opening the door for argument when there is no such argument intended by the statute or the US Supreme Court. Upon being invited to do so a judge who doesn’t like the statute will come with reasons not to declare the rescission effective — usually based upon objections from parties who could not possibly have standing to raise such objections.
*
If that is true (and it is true by definition in our legal system once the highest court has ruled) then a party seeking relief from rescission would need to allege that they are the owners of the debt and then  prove it without reference to the note or mortgage. In other words they would need to prove they funded the debt or they purchased it with actual money.
*
We all know that the fake securitization scheme was entirely dependent upon illegally funding the origination and purchase of the loans in the fictitious name of the trust for the account of the underwriter and that the investors were cut off contractually from having any right, title, interest or even opportunity to review or audit the portfolio of loans claimed to be in a fictitious pool that was being managed by a trust that did not exist, which in turn was managed by a trustee that had no powers of administration for the benefit of nonexistent beneficiaries.
*
Hence the problem of the banks is clearly that they can’t prove funding or purchase because doing so would expose their illegal activities. Whether this would actually lead to a free house is debatable, depending upon the exercise of equitable jurisdiction in the courts.
*
What is clear is that the banks were told by their own lawyers not to ignore rescission or they would lose everything. They ignored it anyway believing they could steamroll through the courts, which was in fact an accurate measurement of their own power.
*
BUT as the banks persist along this strategy they continually build the inventory of homes that by operation of law are still owned by the borrowers, all other actions being void ab initio, not voidable by any stretch of the imagination.
*
AND the banks are by their own actions and inaction causing the debt to slip away from them as well. Under TILA Rescission the old loan contract is replaced with a new statutory contract. Actions for enforcement under that contract must be based on violation of TILA. TILA has a statute of limitations. Thus claims beyond the statute of limitations are barred. And THAT means that claims for the debt are barred after the statute of limitations (on claims arising from TILA) has run — as result of plain arrogance of the banks — and no fault of any borrower.

Does the Debt Need to Transfer with the Mortgage?

The answer is yes but the movement of the debt is often, all too often, presumed to have occurred. After more than a decade of research and analysis I find no support for the informal “doctrine” that the debt, note and mortgage can be used interchangeably. But the human inclination is to treat them the same. In foreclosure defense it is the job of the advocate to establish the separate nature of each of them.

The debt is what arises, regardless of whether it is in writing or not, by virtue of money being paid to the recipient or paid on his/her/their behalf. The only way the debt is extinguished is by payment or a court order (e.g. bankruptcy) declaring that the debt no longer exists. The recipient of the money is the obligor. The party who paid the money is the obligee under the debt. The transaction itself gives rise to the duty to repay the loan. A writing (e.g. note or mortgage or deed of trust) that purports to relate to or memorialize the debt, is separate from the debt.

If the written instrument (note) is made payable to the obligee under the debt, then they both are saying the same thing. That causes the debt and the written instrument (note) to merge. That way the obligor does not subject himself to an additional liability (double liability) when he executes the note. The note is incident to the debt but not the debt itself. The mortgage is incident to the debt and is neither the note nor the debt itself.

The debt is a demand loan if there is no written instrument. The note, where merger has occurred, sets forth the plan of repayment. The mortgage (if merger occurred on the note) sets forth the plan for enforcement of the debt. The mortgage does not set forth the terms of enforcement of the note since the note already contains its own enforcement provisions.

If the debt and the note don’t say the same thing (i.e., if the obligee and the payee are different), the doctrine of merger does not apply. The obligation to repay still exists but not under the terms and conditions of any note nor is it subject to enforcement of the mortgage. The debt (obligation to repay), the note and the mortgage (or deed of trust) can each be transferred; but the transfer of one does not mean the transfer of all three. Transfer of a note or mortgage does not move the debt unless merger has occurred. And transfer of a mortgage without the debt is a nullity.

Let us help you plan for trial and draft your foreclosure defense strategy, discovery requests and defense narrative: 202-838-6345. Ask for a Consult.

I provide advice and consent to many people and lawyers so they can spot the key required elements of a scam — in and out of court. If you have a deal you want skimmed for red flags order the Consult and fill out the REGISTRATION FORM. A few hundred dollars well spent is worth a lifetime of financial ruin.

PLEASE FILL OUT AND SUBMIT OUR FREE REGISTRATION FORM WITHOUT ANY OBLIGATION. OUR PRIVACY POLICY IS THAT WE DON’T USE THE FORM EXCEPT TO SPEAK WITH YOU OR PERFORM WORK FOR YOU. THE INFORMATION ON THE FORMS ARE NOT SOLD NOR LICENSED IN ANY MANNER, SHAPE OR FORM. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Get a Consult and TERA (Title & Encumbrances Analysis and & Report) 202-838-6345 or 954-451-1230. The TERA replaces and greatly enhances the former COTA (Chain of Title Analysis, including a one page summary of Title History and Gaps).

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

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

NY Case Citation

see NY Court: Transfer of a mortgage without transfer of the debt

Common sense is not necessarily the law or policy. Any number of people can enforce a note even if they don’t own the debt and even if they don’t actually have physical possession of the note (although there is a lot of explaining to do).

BUT nobody can enforce a mortgage unless they are the owner of the debt and the owner of the mortgage or the owner of the beneficial interest under a deed of trust. The assignment of a mortgage or DOT cannot, under any circumstances CREATE an interest in the debt by either party. The assignor must own the debt for the assignment to transfer the debt. All states agree that an assignment means nothing if the assignor had nothing to assign. Such an assignment confers no rights on the assignor and the assignee gets nothing even though the “assignment” document physically exists.

BUT a facially valid note is given many presumptions as to enforcement of the note and those presumptions have led courts to erroneously conclude and presume that the enforcer of the note is the owner of the debt.

The only party who is entitled to claim ownership of the debt (obligation) is the one who paid for it. Any party claiming to represent the owner of the debt must show the agency connection between themselves and the owner of the debt. All other “transfer” documents are fabrications.

The only way the “agent” can prove the “agency” is by disclosing the identity of the owner of the debt, who can corroborate the claim of agency — if the party identified can prove ownership of the debt. Self serving statements are not without some value but if the party proffering self serving statements is unable or unwilling to proffer corroborating evidence at trial or in response to discovery, their self serving statements must be given scant weight.

So in the above link the Court summarized the law in the same way that the courts in all states — when pushed — understand the law. Note the huge difference between alleging standing and proving standing. The allegation makes it through a motion to dismiss. Failure of proof of standing results in denial of summary judgment or any judgment.

“A plaintiff in a mortgage foreclosure action establishes its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by producing the mortgage, the unpaid note, and evidence of the defendant’s default (see Loancare v Firshing, 130 AD3d 787, 788 [2015]; Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Erobobo, 127 AD3d 1176, 1177 [2015]; Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v DeSouza, 126 AD3d 965 [2015]; Citimortgage, Inc. v Chow Ming Tung, 126 AD3d 841, 842 [2015]; US Bank N.A. v Weinman, 123 AD3d 1108, 1109 [2014]). Where, as here, a defendant challenges the plaintiff’s standing to maintain the action, the plaintiff must also prove its standing as part of its prima facie showing (e.s.)(see HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Roumiantseva, 130 AD3d 983 [2015]; HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Baptiste, 128 AD3d 773, 774 [2015]; Plaza Equities, LLC v Lamberti, 118 AD3d 688, 689 [2014]).” LNV Corp. v Francois, 134 AD3d 1071, 1071—72 [2d Dept 2015].

“[A] plaintiff has standing where it is both the holder or assignee of the subject mortgage and the holder or assignee of the underlying note at the time the action is commenced. (Bank of NY v. Silverberg, 86 AD3d 274, 279 [2nd Dept. 2011], U.S. Bank N.A. v. Cange, 96 AD3d 825, [*3]826[2d Dept. 2012]; U.S. Bank, N.A. v. Collymore, 68 AD3d 752-754 [2d 2009]; Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. v. Gress, 68 AD3d 709[2d Dpt. 2009].) Either a written assignment of the underlying note or the physical delivery of the note prior to the commencement of the foreclosure action is sufficient to transfer the obligation, and the mortgage passes with the debt as an inseparable incident (citations omitted). However, a transfer or assignment of only the mortgage without the debt is a nullity and no interest is acquired by it, since a mortgage is merely security for a debt and cannot exist independently of it (citations omitted). Where…the issue of standing is raised by a defendant, a plaintiff must prove its standing in order to be entitled to relief (citations omitted).” (e.s.)Homecomings Fin., LLC v Guldi, 108 AD3d 506-508[2d Dept. 2013].

What Difference Does It Make?

It is in court that the “loan contract” is actually created even though it is a defective illusion. In truth and at law, placing the name of the originator on the note and/or mortgage was an act of deceit.

In a singular sweep of making public policy as opposed to following it, the Courts have been hell bent on letting strangers achieve massive windfalls through the illegal and improper use of state laws on foreclosure while ignoring Federal laws on TILA rescission, FDCPA and RESPA. The courts have a clear bias based upon the policy of allowing the financial industry to prosper while at the same time deeming individual consumers and homeowners worthy of sacrifice for the greater good.

This is evident in the ever popular questions from the bench — “what difference does it make, you got the loan, didn’t you.”

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.
—————-
In response to the question posed above most lawyers and pro se litigants readily admit they received “the loan.” The admission is wrong in most cases, but it gives the judge great clarity on what he/she must do next.

 

Having established that there was a loan and that the homeowner received it as admitted by the the lawyer or pro se litigant, there is no longer any question that the note and mortgage are void instruments as are the assignments, endorsements and powers of attorney that are proffered in evidence by complete strangers to the transaction.

 

The purpose of this article is to suggest that a different answer than “Yes, but” should be employed. In discussions with our senior forensic analyst, Dan Edstrom, he suggested an alternative answer that I think has merit and which avoids the deadly “Yes, but” answer.
 

 

We start from the presumption that the originator did not fund any transaction with the homeowner and in most cases didn’t have anything to with underwriting. The originator’s job was to sell financial products that were dubbed “loans.” “The loan” does not exist. Period.

 

Then we can assume that the first defect in the documents of the purported loan is that the the originator who unfortunately appears on the note as payee and on the mortgage (or deed of trust) as mortgagee or beneficiary was NOT the “lender.”

 

Hence placement of the name of the originator had no more foundation to it than placing the name of a closing agent or title agent or an attorney.

 

None of them are lenders or creditors. They are all vendors paid a fee for doing what they did.  And neither is the “originator” (a term with various inconsistent meanings).

 

Admission to the existence of “the loan” contract is an admission contrary to (a) the truth and (b) your defense. Once you have admitted that you received the loan you are implicitly admitting that you were party to a valid loan contract, consisting of the defective note and mortgage.

 

As a matter of law that means that you have admitted the note and mortgage were not void or even voidable but instead you have presented a closed cage in which the Judge has no choice but to proceed on “the law of the case,” to wit: the assumption that there was a valid loan, that the originator made the loan, and that the note and mortgage are valid instruments that are both evidence of the loan and instruments that set forth the duties of the homeowner who has admitted to being a borrower under that “loan contract.”

 

So it is in court that the “loan contract” is actually created even though it is a defective illusion. In truth and at law, placing the name of the originator on the note and/or mortgage was an act of deceit.

 

In MERS cases, being the “nominee” of the “lender”(who was incorrectly described as the lender), means nothing. And THAT is why when my deposition was taken in Phoenix AZ for 6 straight days by 16 banks (9am-5pm) I told them what I have consistently maintained for the past 10 years: “You might just as well have placed the name of Donald Duck or some other fictional character on the note and mortgage.”

 

ALL of the named players were in fact fictional characters for purposes of being represented in a nonexistent transaction (between the originator/”lender” and the homeowner/”borrower.”) Hence the term “pretender lender.” And the actions undertaken after the homeowner was induced (a) to avoid lawyers and (b) to sign the note and mortgage as though the originator had in fact loaned them money were all lies. Hence the title of this blog “Livinglies.”

Bottom Line: WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE! Don’t admit anything. Don’t admit that the loan was assigned (say instead that a party executed a document entitled “assignment” which contained no warranties of title or interest.

Here is what Dan Edstrom wrote:
=====================================

What difference does it make?

By Daniel Edstrom
DTC Systems, Inc.

What difference does it make, you got the loan didn’t you?

No, I did not get a loan, no I did not authorize “the loan,” no I did not mean to enter into a contract with anyone other than the party who was lending me money and no I did not receive money from the party claiming to be a lender. [Editor’s note: fraud in the inducement and fraud in the execution — or best, a mistake].

Yvanova v. New Century Mortgage Corp., 365 P.3d 845, 62 Cal. 4th 919, 199 Cal. Rptr. 3d 66 (2016). laid this out (without an in depth review) when the court said (emphasis added):

Nor is it correct that the borrower has no cognizable interest in the identity of the party enforcing his or her debt. Though the borrower is not entitled to 938*938 object to an assignment of the promissory note, he or she is obligated to pay the debt, or suffer loss of the security, only to a person or entity that has actually been assigned the debt. (See Cockerell v. Title Ins. & Trust Co., supra, 42 Cal.2d at p. 292 [party claiming under an assignment must prove fact of assignment].) The borrower owes money not to the world at large but to a particular person or institution, and only the person or institution entitled to payment may enforce the debt by foreclosing on the security.

Here is more, much more:

Identification of Parties

The following is from: Jackson v. Grant, 890 F.2d 118 (9th Cir. 1989).

If an essential element of the contract is reserved for the future agreement of both parties, there is generally no legal obligation created until such an agreement is entered into. Transamerica Equip. Leasing Corp. v. Union Bank, 426 F.2d 273, 274 (9th Cir.1970); Ablett v. Clauson, 43 Cal.2d 280, 272 P.2d 753, 756 (1954); 1 Witkin Summary of California Law, Contracts §§ 142, 156 (9th ed. 1987). It is essential not only that the parties to the contract exist, but that it is possible to identify them. Cal.Civ.Code § 1558. See San Francisco Hotel Co. v. Baior, 189 Cal.App.2d 206, 11 Cal.Rptr. 32, 36 (1961) (names of seller and buyer are essential factors in considering whether contract is sufficiently certain to be specifically enforced); Cisco v. Van Lew, 60 Cal.App.2d 575, 141 P.2d 433, 437 (1943) (contract for sale of land must identify the parties to the transaction); Losson v. Blodgett, 1 Cal.App.2d 13, 36 P.2d 147, 149 (1934) (valid real property lease must contain names of parties).

And looking further at what Cisco v. Van Lew, 60 Cal. App. 2d 575, 141 P.2d 433 (Ct. App. 1943) actually says:

“There is a settled rule of law that a note or memorandum of a contract for a sale of land must identify by name or description the parties to the transaction, a seller and a buyer.” (Citing cases.)9

The statute of frauds, section 1624 of the Civil Code, provides that the following contracts are invalid unless the same or some note or memorandum thereof is in writing and subscribed by the party to be charged or by his agent:

“… 4. An agreement … for the sale of real property, or of an interest therein; …” In 23 Cal.Jur. page 433, section 13, it is said: “Matters as to Which Certainty Required.–The requirement of certainty as to the agreement made in order that it may be specifically enforced extends not only to its subject matter and purpose, but to the parties, to the consideration and even to the place and time of performance, where these are essential.” (Citing Breckenridge v. Crocker, 78 Cal. 529 [21 P. 179].) In that case it was held that when a contract of sale of real estate is evidenced by three telegrams, one from the agent of the owner of the property communicating a verbal offer, without naming the proposed purchaser; and second, from the owner to his agent, telling him to accept the offer; and a third from the agent addressed to the proposed purchaser by name, simply notifying him of the contents of the telegram from the owner, but not otherwise indicating who the purchaser was, the contract is too uncertain as to the purchaser to be enforced, or to sustain an action for damages for its breach. In that case it was held that the judgment granting a nonsuit was proper.(e.s.)

[2] The general rule stated in 25 Cal.Jur. page 506, section 34, is that

“a contract for the purchase and sale of real property must be mutual and reciprocal in its obligations. Otherwise, it is not obligatory upon either party. Hence, an agreement to convey property to another upon his making payment at a certain time of a named amount, without a reciprocal agreement of the latter to purchase and pay the amount specified, is unenforceable.” (See, also, 25 Cal.Jur. p. 503, sec. 32, and cases cited.)

This brings up many issues between a so called promissory note, which may or may not be a negotiable instrument, and a security instrument, which appears to be a transfer of an interest in real property.

The first question is: how can an endorsement in blank without an assignment EVER transfer an interest in real property? How can the security interest be enforced from a party that has not been identified?

– We know what the Supreme Court said in Carpenter v. Longan, 83 U.S. 271, 21 L. Ed. 313, 1873 U.S.L.E.X.I.S. 1157 (1873), but does that take the above into account? Does it need to? Does it conflict?

And then we have the issues of who advanced the money to fund the alleged loan closing, who are the parties to table funding, and what security interests or encumbrances were authorized by the homeowner PRIOR to delivery of the signed note and security instrument?

And further, the parties must exist and be identifiable. It is NOT ok if they existed in the past but do not exist now (at the time of the agreement or contract or assignment).

So the originator goes into bankruptcy and is dissolved, and then a year or more later they (somehow) record an assignment to another entity.

And in many cases the assignment from the originator comes after the originator already executed an assignment to one or more parties previously.

What really happens to a security interest when a company is dissolved or shutdown and they haven’t assigned it to another party or released the security interest? (and this is an interest in real property where the release or assignment has to be in writing).

What really happens if it is a person and they die? And then a year later the deceased assigns the security interest to somebody else?

In CA. the procedure for real property transactions is to comply with CA. Civ. Code 1096, which provides the following:

  1. Civ. Code 1096

Any person in whom the title of real estate is vested, who shall afterwards, from any cause, have his or her name changed, must, in any conveyance of said real estate so held, set forth the name in which he or she derived title to said real estate. Any conveyance, though recorded as provided by law, which does not comply with the foregoing provision shall not impart constructive notice of the contents thereof to subsequent purchasers and encumbrancers, but such conveyance is valid as between the parties thereto and those who have notice thereof.

See: Puccetti v. Girola, 20 Cal. 2d 574, 128 P.2d 13 (1942).

All of Prince’s property (real and personal) went into probate after he died. When they finally sell his real property, it won’t (or shouldn’t) be from Prince to John Doe, it should be something like Jerry Brown, executor of the estate of Prince to John Doe.

Jesinoski Update: Homeowner, Bank and Court All Get it Wrong

We get it. Judges don’t like statutory rescission under TILA. They are not required to like TILA rescission but they are required to follow it. This decision openly defies the SCOTUS ruling and refuses to apply it.

Despite clear legislative intent to prevent banks from stonewalling rescission they are succeeding in doing so nonetheless as they play upon the bias of courts against TILA Rescission.

This Federal Judge attempts to grapple with the issue of damages claimed by Jesinoski’s rescission. It is stunning that these are the same people who argued the case before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). The plain truth is that nobody in that courtroom seemed to understand rescission or how to apply it. The singular overriding point is that the only substantive part of the rescission statute is that when mailed, rescission is effective and the loan contract is canceled, the mortgage and note are void.  There is no maybe in that statement. Nor is there a sentence that starts with “well, not if….”.

It appears in this case that this Jesinoski proceeding clouded the issues when plaintiff sued for damages under rescission. In so doing they apparently were trying to prove the basis of their rescission which was sent, as per SCOTUS, within the 3 years. Pleading the basis of rescission was a mistake because it raised the very issue that the statute and the SCOTUS decision said was unnecessary. The factual issue for Plaintiff was whether the rescission had been sent. PERIOD. Whether it was proper when sent was an issue the Defendant was required to raise, not the Plaintiff.

The next move within 20 days of receipt of the rescission would be for a creditor to plead a case to vacate the rescission. The danger here is that this decision could be affirmed because it was Jesinoski who raised the issue of whether or not the rescission was properly sent. Jesinoski might have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. By raising the issue of whether the rescission was proper, Jesinoski might have waived their objection that would be based upon the fact that no creditor had filed any lawsuit at any time, much less within the 20 day window.

But the court probably erred when it ignored the fact that the rescission was effective, plain and simple. It compounded the error by effectively ruling that rescission was only effective if a Court said it was effective and only if the borrower showed the ability to tender the full amount allegedly owed. In short this federal Judge was effectively overruling SCOTUS — a legal impossibility.

The statute and the SCOTUS decision on Jesinoski both clearly state that neither a lawsuit nor tender nor anything else is required of the borrower in the unique statutory scheme of rescission. The court is once again re-introducing common law rescission in direct contravention of the unanimous SCOTUS decision. Justice Scalia made it clear that NOTHING is required from the borrower after sending that notice.

Once the rescission is effective, the Court can only vacate it upon timely proper pleading from a party claiming injury. All the rest of the rescission statute is procedural. The failure of the creditor to actually bring an action to vacate the rescission within 20 days was fatal. Any other reading would require us to overrule SCOTUS and re-write the statute. It would mean that the rescission is NOT effective when mailed despite the clear wording of the statute that says it IS effective when mailed.

We get it. Judges don’t like statutory rescission under TILA. They are not required to like TILA rescission but they are required to follow it. This decision openly defies the SCOTUS ruling and refuses to apply it.

But the Plaintiff seems to have contributed to the problem. The damages sought are not based upon whether the rescission was proper. It was based upon the statute that says only if all three conditions are satisfied may the creditor demand any money. One of those conditions is the payment of all money ever paid to the “lender”. Those are the damages.

The issue is only the factual determination of the amount of those damages — not whether they are due at all. All three parties seem to have missed that point — Plaintiff, Defendant and Judge.

By inserting the tender requirement the Judge was not only ruling opposite to the content of the statute and opposite to the SCOTUS decision; it was expressly opposite the reasoning behind the “no-tender” component of TILA rescission, to wit: that payment could only be requested after the cancellation of the note, the release of the mortgage encumbrance, and the return of all money paid by the borrower since inception.

The clear reasoning behind this was that legislators in Congress expressly did not want to provide any method of stonewalling rescission. By requiring the disgorgement of money and the release of the encumbrance, the borrower was given the means to pay through application of the money received from the bank and the ability to get a new mortgage without damage to his/her/their credit. It was presumed by Congress that virtually no homeowner would have the means to tender without being able to cancel the old mortgage, release the encumbrance and get back their money FIRST.

Judges seem not to like the punitive nature of the statute. It is intended to be punitive, covering a wide array of possible lending violations and failures — instead of establishing a huge Federal agency that would review every mortgage loan.

The idea was to make the consequences of such behavior so gothic that the banks would police themselves. There is no Judge in the country who has the power or authority to re-write this very clear statute to match their own perceptions and belief that this statute is too draconian in its results. Public policy is for the legislative branch to decide. By resisting TILA rescission courts are encouraging more of the same bank behavior that still threatens all of the world’s economies and societies. By refusing to apply TILA rescission the courts are making themselves complicit in the greatest economic crime in human history.

——————————

Larry D. Jesinoski and Cheryle Jesinoski, individuals, Plaintiffs,
v.
Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., d/b/a America’s Wholesale Lender, subsidiary of Bank of America N.A.; BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP, a subsidiary of Bank of America, N.A., a Texas Limited Partnership f/k/a Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, LP; Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., a Delaware Corporation; and John and Jane Does 1-10, Defendants.

Civil No. 11-474 (DWF/FLN).United States District Court, D. Minnesota.

July 21, 2016.Larry D. Jesinoski, Plaintiff, represented by Bryan R. Battina, Trepanier MacGillis Battina, P.A. & Daniel P. H. Reiff, Reiff Law Office, PLLC.

Cheryle Jesinoski, Plaintiff, represented by Bryan R. Battina, Trepanier MacGillis Battina, P.A. & Daniel P. H. Reiff, Reiff Law Office, PLLC.

Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., Defendant, represented by Andre T. Hanson, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, Joseph Mrkonich, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, Ronn B. Kreps, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP & Sparrowleaf Dilts McGregor, Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP.

BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP, Defendant, represented by Andre T. Hanson, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, Joseph Mrkonich, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, Ronn B. Kreps, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP & Sparrowleaf Dilts McGregor, Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP.

Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., Defendant, represented by Andre T. Hanson, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, Joseph Mrkonich, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, Ronn B. Kreps, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP & Sparrowleaf Dilts McGregor, Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

DONOVAN W. FRANK, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the Court on a Motion for Summary Judgment brought by Defendants Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (“Countrywide”), Bank of America, N.A. (“BANA”) and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) (together, “Defendants”) (Doc. No. 51).[1] For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants Defendants’ motion.

BACKGROUND

I. Factual Background

This “Factual Background” section reiterates, in large part, the “Background” section included in the Court’s April 19, 2012 Memorandum Opinion and Order. (Doc. No. 23.)

On February 23, 2007, Plaintiffs Larry Jesinoski and Cheryle Jesinoski (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) refinanced their home in Eagan, Minnesota, by borrowing $611,000 from Countrywide, a predecessor-in-interest of BANA. (Doc. No. 7 (“Am. Compl.”) ¶¶ 7, 15, 16, 17; Doc. No. 55 (“Hanson Decl.”) ¶ 5, Ex. D (“L. Jesinoski Dep.”) at 125.) MERS also gained a mortgage interest in the property. (Am. Compl. ¶ 25.) Plaintiffs used the loan to pay off existing loan obligations on the property and other consumer debts. (L. Jesinoski Dep. at 114-15; Hanson Decl. ¶ 6, Ex. E (“C. Jesinoski Dep.”) at 49-50; Am. Compl. ¶ 22.)[2] The refinancing included an interest-only, adjustable-rate note. (L. Jesinoski Dep. at 137.) Plaintiffs wanted these terms because they intended to sell the property. (L. Jesinoski Dep. at 125-26, 137; C. Jesinoski Dep. at 38, 46-7.)

At the closing on February 23, 2007, Plaintiffs received and executed a Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”) Disclosure Statement and the Notice of Right to Cancel. (Doc. No. 56 (Jenkins Decl.) ¶¶ 5, 6, Exs. C & D; L. Jesinoski Dep. at 61, 67, 159; C. Jesinoski Dep. at 30-33; Hanson Decl. ¶¶ 2-3, Exs. A & B.) By signing the Notice of Right to Cancel, each Plaintiff acknowledged the “receipt of two copies of NOTICE of RIGHT TO CANCEL and one copy of the Federal Truth in Lending Disclosure Statement.” (Jenkins Decl. ¶¶ 5, 6, Exs. C & D.) Per the Notice of Right to Cancel, Plaintiffs had until midnight on February 27, 2007, to rescind. (Id.) Plaintiffs did not exercise their right to cancel, and the loan funded.

In February 2010, Plaintiffs paid $3,000 to a company named Modify My Loan USA to help them modify the loan. (L. Jesinoski Dep. at 79-81; C. Jesinoski Dep. at 94-95.) The company turned out to be a scam, and Plaintiffs lost $3,000. (L. Jesinoski Dep. at 79-81.) Plaintiffs then sought modification assistance from Mark Heinzman of Financial Integrity, who originally referred Plaintiffs to Modify My Loan USA. (Id. at 86.) Plaintiffs contend that Heinzman reviewed their loan file and told them that certain disclosure statements were missing from the closing documents, which entitled Plaintiffs to rescind the loan. (Id. at 88-91.)[3] Since then, and in connection with this litigation, Heinzman submitted a declaration stating that he has no documents relating to Plaintiffs and does not recall Plaintiffs’ file. (Hanson Decl. ¶ 4, Ex. C (“Heinzman Decl.”) ¶ 4.)[4]

On February 23, 2010, Plaintiffs purported to rescind the loan by mailing a letter to “all known parties in interest.” (Am. Compl. ¶ 30; L. Jesinoski Dep., Ex. 8.) On March 16, 2010, BANA denied Plaintiffs’ request to rescind because Plaintiffs had been provided the required disclosures, as evidenced by the acknowledgments Plaintiffs signed. (Am. Compl. ¶ 32; L. Jesinoski Dep., Ex. 9.)

II. Procedural Background

On February 24, 2011, Plaintiffs filed the present action. (Doc. No. 1.) By agreement of the parties, Plaintiffs filed their Amended Complaint, in which Plaintiffs assert four causes of action: Count 1—Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1601, et seq.; Count 2—Rescission of Security Interest; Count 3—Servicing a Mortgage Loan in Violation of Standards of Conduct, Minn. Stat. § 58.13; and Count 4—Plaintiffs’ Cause of Action under Minn. Stat. § 8.31. At the heart of all of Plaintiffs’ claims is their request that the Court declare the mortgage transaction rescinded and order statutory damages related to Defendants’ purported failure to rescind.

Plaintiffs do not dispute that they had an opportunity to review the loan documents before closing. (L. Jesinoski Dep. at 152-58; C. Jesinoski Dep. at 56.) Although Plaintiffs each admit to signing the acknowledgement of receipt of two copies of the Notice of Right to Cancel, they now contend that they did not each receive the correct number of copies as required by TILA’s implementing regulation, Regulation Z. (Am. Compl. ¶ 47 (citing C.F.R. §§ 226.17(b) & (d), 226.23(b)).)

Earlier in this litigation, Defendants moved for judgment on the pleadings based on TILA’s three-year statute of repose. In April 2012, the Court issued an order granting Defendants’ motion, finding that TILA required a plaintiff to file a lawsuit within the 3-year repose period, and that Plaintiffs had filed this lawsuit outside of that period. (Doc. No. 23 at 6.) The Eighth Circuit affirmed. Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 729 F.3d 1092 (8th Cir. 2013). The United States Supreme Court reversed, holding that a borrower exercising a right to TILA rescission need only provide his lender written notice, rather than file suit, within the 3-year period. Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 790, 792 (2015). The Eighth Circuit then reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings. (Doc. No. 38.) After engaging in discovery, Defendants now move for summary judgment.

DISCUSSION

I. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate if the “movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). Courts must view the evidence and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Weitz Co. v. Lloyd’s of London, 574 F.3d 885, 892 (8th Cir. 2009). However, “[s]ummary judgment procedure is properly regarded not as a disfavored procedural shortcut, but rather as an integral part of the Federal Rules as a whole, which are designed `to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action.'” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 1).

The moving party bears the burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Enter. Bank v. Magna Bank of Mo., 92 F.3d 743, 747 (8th Cir. 1996). A party opposing a properly supported motion for summary judgment “must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986); see also Krenik v. Cty. of Le Sueur, 47 F.3d 953, 957 (8th Cir. 1995).

II. TILA

Defendants move for summary judgment with respect to Plaintiffs’ claims, all of which stem from Defendants’ alleged violation of TILA—namely, failing to give Plaintiffs the required number of disclosures and rescission notices at the closing.

The purpose of TILA is “to assure a meaningful disclosure of credit terms so that the consumer will be able to compare more readily the various credit terms available to him and avoid the uninformed use of credit . . .” 15 U.S.C. § 1601(a). In transactions, like the one here, secured by a principal dwelling, TILA gives borrowers an unconditional three-day right to rescind. 15 U.S.C. § 1635(a); see also id. § 1641(c) (extending rescission to assignees). The three-day rescission period begins upon the consummation of the transaction or the delivery of the required rescission notices and disclosures, whichever occurs later. Id. § 1635(a). Required disclosures must be made to “each consumer whose ownership interest is or will be subject to the security interest” and must include two copies of a notice of the right to rescind. 12 C.F.R. § 226.23(a)-(b)(1). If the creditor fails to make the required disclosures or rescission notices, the borrower’s “right of rescission shall expire three years after the date of consummation of the transaction.” 15 U.S.C. § 1635(f); see 12 C.F.R. § 226.23(a)(3).

If a consumer acknowledges in writing that he or she received a required disclosure or notice, a rebuttable presumption of delivery is created:

Notwithstanding any rule of evidence, written acknowledgment of receipt of any disclosures required under this subchapter by a person to whom information, forms, and a statement is required to be given pursuant to this section does no more than create a rebuttable presumption of delivery thereof.

15 U.S.C. §1635(c).

A. Number of Disclosure Statements

Plaintiffs claim that Defendants violated TILA by failing to provide them with a sufficient number of copies of the right to rescind and the disclosure statement at the closing of the loan. (Am. Compl. ¶ 47.) Defendants assert that Plaintiffs’ claims (both TILA and derivative state-law claims) fail as a matter of law because Plaintiffs signed an express acknowledgement that they received all required disclosures at closing, and they cannot rebut the legally controlling presumption of proper delivery of those disclosures.

It is undisputed that at the closing, each Plaintiff signed an acknowledgement that each received two copies of the Notice of Right to Cancel. Plaintiffs argue, however, that no presumption of proper delivery is created here because Plaintiffs acknowledged the receipt of two copies total, not the required four (two for each of the Plaintiffs). In particular, both Larry Jesinoski and Cheryle Jesinoski assert that they “read the acknowledgment . . . to mean that both” Larry and Cheryle “acknowledge receiving two notices total, not four.” (Doc. No. 60 (“L. Jesinoski Decl.”) ¶ 3; Doc. No. 61 (“C. Jesinoski Decl.”) ¶ 3.) Thus, Plaintiffs argue that they read the word “each” to mean “together,” and therefore that they collectively acknowledged the receipt of only two copies.

The Court finds this argument unavailing. The language in the Notice is unambiguous and clearly states that “[t]he undersigned each acknowledge receipt of two copies of NOTICE of RIGHT TO CANCEL and one copy of the Federal Truth in Lending Disclosure Statement.” (Jenkins Decl. ¶¶ 5, 6, Exs. C & D (italics added).) Plaintiffs’ asserted interpretation is inconsistent with the language of the acknowledgment. The Court instead finds that this acknowledgement gives rise to a rebuttable presumption of proper delivery of two copies of the notice to each Plaintiff. See, e.g., Kieran v. Home Cap., Inc., Civ. No. 10-4418, 2015 WL 5123258, at *1, 3 (D. Minn. Sept. 1, 2015) (finding the creation of a rebuttable presumption of proper delivery where each borrower signed an acknowledgment stating that they each received a copy of the disclosure statement—”each of [t]he undersigned acknowledge receipt of a complete copy of this disclosure”).[5]

The only evidence provided by Plaintiffs to rebut the presumption of receipt is their testimony that they did not receive the correct number of documents. As noted in Kieran, this Court has consistently held that statements merely contradicting a prior signature are insufficient to overcome the presumption. Kieran, 2015 WL 5123258, at *3-4 (citing Gomez v. Market Home Mortg., LLC, Civ. No. 12-153, 2012 WL 1517260, at *3 (D. Minn. April 30, 2012) (agreeing with “the majority of courts that mere testimony to the contrary is insufficient to rebut the statutory presumption of proper delivery”)); see also Lee, 692 F.3d at 451 (explaining that a notice signed by both borrowers stating “[t]he undersigned each acknowledge receipt of two copies of [notice]” creates “a presumption of delivery that cannot be overcome without specific evidence demonstrating that the borrower did not receive the appropriate number of copies”); Golden v. Town & Country Credit, Civ. No. 02-3627, 2004 WL 229078, at *2 (D. Minn. Feb. 3, 2004) (finding deposition testimony insufficient to overcome presumption); Gaona v. Town & Country Credit, Civ. No. 01-44, 2001 WL 1640100, at *3 (D. Minn. Nov. 20, 2001)) (“[A]n allegation that the notices are now not contained in the closing folder is insufficient to rebut the presumption.”), aff’d in part, rev’d in part, 324 F.3d 1050 (8th Cir. 2003).

Plaintiffs, however, contend that their testimony is sufficient to rebut the presumption and create a factual issue for trial. Plaintiffs rely primarily on the Eighth Circuit’s decision in Bank of North America v. Peterson, 746 F.3d 357, 361 (8th Cir. 2014), cert. granted, judgment vacated, 135 S. Ct. 1153 (2015), and opinion vacated in part, reinstated in part, 782 F.3d 1049 (8th Cir. 2015). In Peterson, the plaintiffs acknowledged that they signed the TILA disclosure and rescission notice at their loan closing, but later submitted affidavit testimony that they had not received their TILA disclosure statements at closing. Peterson, 764 F.3d at 361. The Eighth Circuit determined that this testimony was sufficient to overcome the presumption of proper delivery. Id. The facts of this case, however, are distinguishable from those in Peterson. In particular, the plaintiffs in Peterson testified that at the closing, the agent took the documents after they had signed them and did not give them any copies. Id. Here, it is undisputed that Plaintiffs left with copies of their closing documents. (L. Jesinoski Dep. at 94-95.) In addition, Plaintiffs did not testify unequivocally that they did not each receive two copies of the rescission notice. Instead, they have testified that they do not know what they received. (See, e.g., id. at 161.) Moreover, Cheryle Jesinoski testified that she did not look through the closing documents at the time of closing, and therefore cannot attest to whether the required notices were included. (C. Jesinoski Dep. at 85.)[6]

Based on the evidence in the record, the Court determines that the facts of this case are more line with cases that have found that self-serving assertions of non-delivery do not defeat the presumption. Indeed, the Court agrees with the reasoning in Kieran, which granted summary judgment in favor of defendants under similar facts, and which was decided after the Eighth Circuit issued its decision in Peterson. Accordingly, Plaintiffs have not overcome the rebuttable presumption of proper delivery of TILA notices, and Defendants’ motion for summary judgment is granted as to the Plaintiffs’ TILA claims.

B. Ability to Tender

Defendants also argue that Plaintiffs’ claims fails as a matter of law on a second independent basis—Plaintiffs’ admission that they do not have the present ability to tender the amount of the loan proceeds. Rescission under TILA is conditioned on repayment of the amounts advanced by the lender. See Yamamoto v. Bank of N.Y., 329 F.3d 1167, 1170 (9th Cir. 2003). This Court has concluded that it is appropriate to dismiss rescission claims under TILA at the pleading stage based on a plaintiff’s failure to allege an ability to tender loan proceeds. See, e.g., Franz v. BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP, Civ. No. 10-2025, 2011 WL 846835, at *3 (D. Minn. Mar. 8, 2011); Hintz v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, Civ. No. 10-119, 2010 WL 4220486, at *4 (D. Minn. Oct. 20, 2010). In addition, courts have granted summary judgment in favor of defendants where the evidence shows that a TILA plaintiff cannot demonstrate an ability to tender the amount borrowed. See, e.g., Am. Mortg. Network, Inc. v. Shelton, 486 F.3d 815, 822 (4th Cir. 2007) (affirming grant of summary judgment for defendants on TILA rescission claim “given the appellants’ inability to tender payment of the loan amount”); Taylor v. Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co., Civ. No. 10-149, 2010 WL 4103305, at *5 (E.D. Va. Oct. 18, 2010) (granting summary judgment on TILA rescission claim where plaintiff could not show ability to tender funds aside from selling the house “as a last resort”).

Plaintiffs argue that the Supreme Court in Jesinoski eliminated tender as a requirement for rescission under TILA. The Court disagrees. In Jesinoski, the Supreme Court reached the narrow issue of whether Plaintiffs had to file a lawsuit to enforce a rescission under 15 U.S.C. § 1635, or merely deliver a rescission notice, within three years of the loan transaction. Jesinoski, 135 S. Ct. at 792-93. The Supreme Court determined that a borrower need only provide written notice to a lender in order to exercise a right to rescind. Id. The Court discerns nothing in the Supreme Court’s opinion that would override TILA’s tender requirement. Specifically, under 15 U.S.C. § 1635(b), a borrower must at some point tender the loan proceeds to the lender.[7] Plaintiffs testified that they do not presently have the ability to tender back the loan proceeds. (L. Jesinoski Dep. at 54, 202; C. Jesinoski Dep. at 118-119.) Because Plaintiffs have failed to point to evidence creating a genuine issue of fact that they could tender the unpaid balance of the loan in the event the Court granted them rescission, their TILA rescission claim fails as a matter of law on this additional ground.[8]

Plaintiffs argue that if the Court conditions rescission on Plaintiffs’ tender, the amount of tender would be exceeded, and therefore eliminated, by Plaintiffs’ damages. In particular, Plaintiffs claim over $800,000 in damages (namely, attorney fees), and contend that this amount would negate any amount tendered. Plaintiffs, however, have not cited to any legal authority that would allow Plaintiffs to rely on the potential recovery of fees to satisfy their tender obligation. Moreover, Plaintiffs’ argument presumes that they will prevail on their TILA claims, a presumption that this Order forecloses.

C. Damages

Next, Defendants argue that Plaintiffs are not entitled to TILA statutory damages allegedly flowing from Defendants’ decision not to rescind because there was no TILA violation in the first instance. Plaintiffs argue that their damages claim is separate and distinct from their TILA rescission claim.

For the reasons discussed above, Plaintiffs’ TILA claim fails as a matter of law. Without a TILA violation, Plaintiffs cannot recover statutory damages based Defendants refusal to rescind the loan.

D. State-law Claims

Plaintiffs’ state-law claims under Minn. Stat. § 58.13 and Minnesota’s Private Attorney General statute, Minn. Stat. § 8.31, are derivative of Plaintiffs’ TILA rescission claim. Thus, because Plaintiffs’ TILA claim fails as a matter law, so do their state-law claims.

ORDER

Based upon the foregoing, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

1. Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. [51]) is GRANTED.

2. Plaintiffs’ Amended Complaint (Doc. No. [7]) is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

LET JUDGMENT BE ENTERED ACCORDINGLY.

[1] According to Defendants, Countrywide was acquired by BANA in 2008, and became BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP (“BACHLS”), and in July 2011, BACHLS merged with BANA. (Doc. No. 15 at 1 n.1.) Thus, the only two defendants in this case are BANA and MERS.

[2] Larry Jesinoski testified that he had been involved in about a half a dozen mortgage loan closings, at least three of which were refinancing loans, and that he is familiar with the loan closing process. (L. Jesinoski Dep. at 150-51.)

[3] Plaintiffs claim that upon leaving the loan closing they were given a copy of the closing documents, and then brought the documents straight home and placed them in L. Jesinoski’s unlocked file drawer, where they remained until they brought the documents to Heinzman.

[4] At oral argument, counsel for Plaintiffs requested leave to depose Heinzman in the event that the Court views his testimony as determinative. The Court denies the request for two reasons. First, it appears that Plaintiffs had ample opportunity to notice Heinzman’s deposition during the discovery period, but did not do so. Second, Heinzman’s testimony will not affect the outcome of the pending motion, and therefore, the request is moot.

[5] See also, e.g., Lee v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 692 F.3d 442, 451 (6th Cir. 2012) (rebuttable presumption arose where each party signed an acknowledgement of receipt of two copies); Hendricksen v. Countrywide Home Loans, Civ. No. 09-82, 2010 WL 2553589, at *4 (W.D. Va. June 24, 2010) (rebuttable presumption of delivery of two copies of TILA disclosure arose where plaintiffs each signed disclosure stating “[t]he undersigned further acknowledge receipt of a copy of this Disclosure for keeping prior to consummation”).

[6] This case is also distinguishable from Stutzka v. McCarville, 420 F.3d 757, 762 (8th Cir. 2005), a case in which a borrower’s assertion of non-delivery was sufficient to overcome the statutory presumption. In Stutzka, the plaintiffs signed acknowledgements that they received required disclosures but left the closing without any documents. Stutzka, 420 F.3d at 776.

[7] TILA follows a statutorily prescribed sequence of events for rescission that specifically discusses the lender performing before the borrower. See § 1635(b). However, TILA also states that “[t]he procedures prescribed by this subsection shall apply except when otherwise ordered by a court.” Id. Considering the facts of this case, it is entirely appropriate to require Plaintiffs to tender the loan proceeds to Defendants before requiring Defendants to surrender their security interest in the loan.

[8] The Court acknowledges that there is disagreement in the District over whether a borrower asserting a rescission claim must tender, or allege an ability to tender, before seeking rescission. See, e.g. Tacheny v. M&I Marshall & Ilsley Bank, Civ. No. 10-2067, 2011 WL 1657877, at *4 (D. Minn. Apr. 29, 2011) (respectfully disagreeing with courts that have held that, in order to state a claim for rescission under TILA, a borrower must allege a present ability to tender). However, there is no dispute that to effect rescission under § 1635(b), a borrower must tender the loan proceeds. Here, the record demonstrates that Plaintiffs are unable to tender. Therefore, their rescission claim fails on summary judgment.

 

Quiet Title Revisited: Not Quite a Dead End

Void means that the instrument meant nothing when it was filed, not that it is unenforceable now.

 

I know how hard it is to let go of something that you really want to believe in. But for practical reasons I consider it unwise to continue on the QT path until we can find a way to get rid of the void assignment. That unto itself might a form of quiet title action and it is far easier to do. The allegation need only be that neither the assignor nor the assignee (a) had any right, justification or excuse to claim an interest in the recorded mortgage and (b) neither one was ever party to a completed transaction in which either of them had paid value for any interest in the recorded mortgage. Hence the assignment is void and should be removed from the chain of title reflected in the county records. So that takes care of one of several problems and the attack does not seek to remove the mortgage — yet.

 

Quiet title is a very limited remedy. In nearly all cases if the facts are contested it almost automatically means that there is no quiet tile relief available. It is meant to remove wild deeds or any other void (not voidable) instrument. Void means that the instrument meant nothing when it was filed, not that it is unenforceable now.

I contributed to the mystery of quiet title because it was apparent that the mortgage was void because it never named the true lender. In fact the existence and identity of the true source of funds for the transaction was intentionally withheld from the borrower leaving the mortgage with only one party instead of two.

 

The problem many courts are having with this is that the mortgage might still be subject to reformation that would insert the correct name of the actual lender (theoretically, potentially reformation). The fact that there is no such creditor whose name can be inserted does not make the mortgage void. It makes it voidable. Actually proving that there is no such creditor won’t be easy since only the banks have the information that shows that.

 

If there are any future events that could revive the mortgage deed, then quiet title can’t work. Add to that the fact that judges are not treating these attacks seriously and routinely ruling for the banks and you have a what appears to be a dead end.

 

All that said, there ARE causes of action that could attack the void assignment and the voidable mortgage in which the court could theoretically declare that in the absence of information sought from the defendants, who appear to be the only potential claimants, the mortgage is THEN declared void by court order, THEN a second count in quiet title would be in order. I cannot emphasize enough the fact that Judges are going to be very resistant to this but I think that appellate courts are starting to understand what happened with false claims of securitization.

 

Essentially, the Court must state that:

  1. The mortgage failed to name the correct party as lender.
  2. That failure makes the mortgage voidable.
  3. Despite publication and notice, there are no parties who could answer to the description of the creditor whose name should have been on the mortgage.
  4. The mortgage is therefore void
  5. Court declares title to be vested in the name of Smith and Jones without any encumbrance arising out of the mortgage recorded at Page 123 Book 456 of the public records of XXXX County, Florida.
 This of course directly challenges the judicial notion that once the homeowner receives money, it is a loan, it is enforceable and it doesn’t matter who comes into court to enforce it. To say that this judicial “law” opened the door to mayhem and moral hazard would be an understatement. Using the opinions written by trial judges, appellate judges and even Supreme Court justices, people who like to “leverage the system” have seized on this obvious opening to steal receivables from the rightful recipient — with no negative consequences. They write a letter that appears on its face to be correct and valid. According to current practices this raises the presumption that the contents of the letter are true.
 Hence the self-serving letter creates the legal presumption that the writer is authorized to tell the debtor that the writer is now the owner of the debt and to direct payments to the “new owner.” This isn’t speculation. Starting in California this business plan is spreading across the country. By the time the rightful owner of the debt wakes up the Newco Debt Servicing company has collected or settled the account.
Since the presumption is raised that the thief writing the letter is authorized, the real party in interest cannot beat the defense of payment by a debtor who thought they were doing the right thing. Reasonable reliance by the borrower is presumed since the authority and the validity of the letter was presumed. And that is not just a description of some dirty rag tag gangsters; it is a verifiable description of what the banks have been doing for years with mortgage debt, credit card debt, student loan debt and every other kind of debt imaginable.
By the time the investors wake up and find out their money was not used to fund a trust or real business entity, their money is gone and they are at the mercy of the big time banks who will offer settlements of claims that should have resulted in jail time for the bankers. Instead we have literally authorized small time crooks to emulate the behavior of the banks thus throwing the marketplace into further chaos.
So if you start off knowing that the banks can never come up with the name and contact information of a creditor, then you begin to see how there are some attacks on the position of banks that could have enormous traction even though on their face those strategies look like losers.

Yale Law Review: “In Defense of “Free Houses”

MEGAN WACHSPRESS, JESSIE AGATSTEIN & CHRISTIAN MOTT published an article that takes dead aim at the “free house” controversy. In the Yale Law Review they come to the conclusion that (1) the house isn’t free to any homeowner even if they escape the mortgage and (2) the projected social cost of  market values are wrong. But probably the most stinging criticism of the judicial system is that judges are abandoning the rule of law for ad hoc rulings whose only purpose is to avoid a result the judge doesn’t like.

Unfortunately, the article does not fully address the issue of why the banks are failing to prove what is ordinarily a slam dunk case. The authors seem to assume that the debt is legitimate and that it is mainly a paperwork problem. I would add my usual comment: if the banks simply had continued with the standard procedures they would not have had any paperwork problems no matter how many times the loan was sold. The greater evil that is not addressed in case decisions and law review articles is that this was all part of fraudulent scheme and THAT is why the banks had to resort to more fraud (in documentation).

We should remember that banks basically drafted the statutes and are the source of all paperwork on consumer loans, especially mortgage loans. For hundreds of years they knew how to do it, knew how to keep it and rarely misplaced anything. It strains belief to think that suddenly the banks  forgot what took hundreds of years to develop. The more insidious reason is what is feared to be the nuclear option — that the mortgages, notes and loan contracts were all an illusion, even if the money was real.

In the end, for reasons other than those expressed on these pages, the authors come to the same conclusion that I did — the “free house” is going to the banks every time a foreclosure is granted.

Here are some quotes from their article that I think are self-explanatory.

When addressing faulty foreclosures, courts are afraid to bar future attempts to foreclose—that is, afraid of giving borrowers “free houses.” While courts rarely explain the reasoning behind this aversion, it seems to arise from a reflexive belief that such an outcome would be unjust. Courts are therefore quick to sidestep well-established principles of res judicata in favor of ad hoc measures meant to protect banks against the specter of “free houses.” [e.s.]

This Comment argues that this approach is misguided; courts should issue final judgments in favor of homeowners in cases where banks fail to prove the elements required for foreclosure. Furthermore, these judgments should have res judicata effect—thus giving homeowners “free houses.” This approach has several benefits: it is consistent with longstanding res judicata principles in other forms of civil litigation, it provides a necessary market-correcting incentive to promote greater responsibility among foreclosure litigators, and it alleviates the tremendous costs of successive foreclosure proceedings.

In a foreclosure suit, the bank must generally prove the following: (1) the homeowner has signed both the note (the underlying loan) and the mortgage assigning the house as collateral for that note; (2) the bank owns the note and mortgage; (3) the homeowner still owes a debt to the bank; (4) the homeowner is behind on that debt; and (5) the bank has accelerated that remaining debt in accordance with the terms of the note itself. When a bank fails to prove these elements, a judge is legally required to rule in favor of the homeowner.

Recently, courts have been inundated with suits where homeowners question the bank’s ability to prove the second element. Litigation over “proof- of-ownership” issues in foreclosures is a growing nationwide problem; sampling suggests a ten-fold increase between the periods immediately preceding and following the 2007 collapse of the housing market.

To demonstrate ownership without expending more resources than pooling and servicing agreements allotted, bank employees signed hundreds of thousands of affidavits asserting that they had seen and could attest to the contents of original documents demonstrating ownership of the underlying mortgage. Although such affidavits were a legally acceptable means of demonstrating such ownership, a significant number of them were actually fraudulent.

…ethical transgressions have affected hundreds of thousands of foreclosures.

Judge Schack, a trial judge sitting in the New York Supreme Court for Kings County, has repeatedly sanctioned law firms for bringing improper foreclosure suits when he has independently discovered the inadequacy of the plaintiffs’ evidence as to defendants’ indebtedness or plaintiffs’ ownership of the note. See, e.g., Argent Mortg. Co. v. Maitland, 958 N.Y.S.2d 306 (Sup. Ct. 2010); Wells Fargo Bank v. Hunte, 910 N.Y.S.2d 409 (Sup. Ct. 2010); NetBank v. Vaughn, 841 N.Y.S.2d 827 (Sup. Ct. 2007).

By focusing on the immediate consequence of a ruling for homeowners, the courts ignore perverse incentives created by allowing banks to continue to externalize the costs of their mistakes.

…one approach—that taken by the Florida and Maine Supreme Courts—is to bend the rules of res judicata to avoid a windfall for homeowners. This approach creates few benefits and significant economic problems. In this Part, we argue that further subsidizing banks’ poor litigation practices results in deadweight loss by contributing to negative public-health outcomes and by disincentivizing banks from improving their servicing and litigation techniques. We also explain how granting winning homeowners “free houses” will not negatively affect the mortgage market.

…broader social subsidization of irresponsible [bank] behavior.

…prolonged foreclosure proceedings create negative social externalities, depressing surrounding homes’ resale value, reducing local governments’ tax revenues, and increasing criminal activity.44 Foreclosures also appear to have significant effects on community members’ physical and mental health, and correlate with increased rates of depression, anxiety, suicide, cardiovascular disease, and emergency-care treatment.

…although judges have expressed concern about homeowner windfalls, the alternative creates a windfall for banks that cut corners in managing and prosecuting foreclosures. The risk and costs of losing foreclosures should already be internalized in the price of current mortgages. Empirical studies suggest that greater protection for mortgagors historically corresponds to slightly higher mortgage rates among lenders. These studies indicate that lenders adjust the price of mortgages based on what they anticipate the cost, and not just the likelihood, of foreclosures will be.

 

The Money Trail: Does anyone meet the definition of a creditor?

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.
================================

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

—————-
I speak to people across the country. As I discuss the issues that get increasingly complex, we reach areas in which there are differences of opinion which is why you need to consult with someone who is licensed in your state and who has done the heavy research (no skimming allowed). The issue is what payments should be credited to whom. And the answer really is you should be asking an accountant and a lawyer. This is why my team is reaching out to accountants and auditors to round out what is needed in cases.

The problem is that this is a grey area. Payments made to the beneficiaries of the trust were never intended to discharge the debt from the “borrower.” That’s obvious. But payments were made on account of this debt. So we go back to the law of presumptions. If the creditor receives a payment and the payment is on account of a particular debt due from a particular debtor, then it is discharged to the extent of the payment — regardless of the stated “intent” of the payor after the fact. So servicer advances definitely fall into that category. But in addition, if the entire debt has been discharged by the replacement of the obligation with another obligation from another party, then you have similar issues.

So first of all, the beneficiaries agreed to take payments from the REMIC Trust — not the “borrowers”. There is no relationship between the beneficiaries of a trust and any single “borrower” or group of “borrowers.” The REMIC Trust doesn’t pay the beneficiaries despite the paperwork to the contrary. The REMIC Trust is inactive with no assets, bank accounts, business activity etc.

It is the Master Servicer that pays the beneficiaries. And the Master Servicer makes those payments regardless of whether it has received payments from the beneficiaries. (servicer advances). The note and mortgage name a specific payee that is neither the Trust (or Trustee) nor the Master Servicer. So the first real legal question that I raised back in 2007 was the issue of who was the owner of the debt or the holder in due course?

The debt arose when the “borrower” accepted the benefits of funding that came from an unidentified source. It is presumed not to be a gift. The “borrower” has signed a note and mortgage in favor of a party that never loaned him any money — hence there is no loan contract and the signed note and mortgage should have been destroyed or released back to the “borrower.” Such a loan is table-funded and is almost certainly “predatory per se” as described in REG Z.

Since there is no privity between the “originator” and the Trust or Master Servicer the loan documents cannot be said to be useful, much less enforceable. Those documents should be considered void, not voidable, when the payee and mortgagee failed to fund the loan. The repeated transfers of the loan documents without anyone ever paying for them clearly means that the consideration at the base “closing” was absent. Hence there is no consideration at either the origination or acquisition of the loan documents. Acquisition of the loan documents does not mean acquisition of the loan. If there was no valid loan contract or there is no valid loan contract (rescission) executing endorsements, assignments and powers of attorney are meaningless.

So there is a serious question about whether there is a legal creditor involved in any of these loans. There are parties with equitable and legal claims, but not with respect to the loan documents that should have been shredded at the very beginning. All those claims are unsecured. And the foreclosures, in truth, are for the benefit of parties who have no relationship with the actual money that was used to the benefit of the alleged “borrower” who is looking more and more like a party who is not a borrower but who could be debtor if there is anyone answering to the description of “creditor.” No party in this scenario seems to answer to that description.

And THAT would explain why NO PARTY steps forward to challenge rescissions as a creditor and instead they attempt to retain their status of having apparent “Standing” and attack the rescission through arguments that require the court to interpret the TILA Rescission Statute, 15 USC §1635. But the US Supreme Court has already declared that it is the law of the land that this statute is not subject to interpretation by the courts because it is clear on its face. So such parties are seeking relief they didn’t ask for (vacating the rescission) using the void note and void mortgage as their basis for standing.

Thus without someone filing an equitable claim showing that their money is tied up in the money given to the “borrower” there does not seem to be a creditor at law.

Add that to the fact that most of the “Trusts” were resecuritized by more empty trusts and you have the original beneficiaries completely out of the picture as to any particular loan and the so-called REMIC Trust being completely out of the picture with respect to the loan or loan documents that were originated, even if they were not consummated.

BIAS IN THE COURTS: UCC and TILA REVIEW

Our legal history has many examples of enormous errors committed by the Courts that were obvious to some but justified by many. The result is usually mayhem. The cause is a bias toward some underlying fact that was untrue at the time. Some examples include
  1.  the infamous Dred Scott decision where the Supreme Court ruled that a black man is not a person within the meaning of the constitution and therefore could not sue to protect his rights because he was not a citizen by virtue of the FACT that his ancestors had been brought to America as slaves. The underlying bias was considered axiomatically true: that “negroes” were fundamentally subhuman. It took a civil war that took 500,000 casualties and a constitutional amendment to change the results of that decision. We are still dealing with lingering thoughts about whether the color of one’s skin is in any way related to our status as humans, persons and citizens.
  2. the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The Supreme Court upheld that decision on the basis of national security. The underlying bias was considered axiomatically true: that people of Japanese descent would have loyalty to the Empire of Japan and not the United States. People of German descent were not interred, probably because they looked more like other Americans. As the war progressed and the military realized that people of Japanese descent were resources rather than enemies, the government came to realize that acknowledging these people as citizens with civil rights was more important than the perception of a nonexistent threat to national security. Americans of Japanese descent proved invaluable in the war effort against Japan.
  3. the Citizens United decision in which the Supreme Court gave the management of corporations a “Second vote” in the court of public opinion. The underlying bias was considered axiomatically true: that entities created on paper were no less important than the rights of real people as citizens. The additional underlying bias was that corporations are better than people.
  4. the hundreds of thousands of decisions from thousands of courts that relied on the fictitious power of the court to rewrite legislation that Judge(s) didn’t like. A current perfect example was reading common law (inferior, legally speaking) precedent to override express statutory procedures for the exercise and effect of statutory rescission under the Federal Truth in Lending Act. Over many years and many courts at the trial and appellate level the Judges didn’t like TILA rescission so they changed the wording of the statute to mean that common law procedures and principles apply — thus requiring the homeowner to file suit in order to make rescission effective, and requiring the tender of money or property to even have standing to rescind. This was contrary to the express provisions of the TILA rescission statute. Approximately 8 million+ people were displaced from their homes because of those decisions and the property records of thousands of counties have been forever debauched, likely requiring some legislative action to clear title on some 80+ million transactions involving tens of trillions of dollars. The underlying bias was considered axiomatically true: that the legislature could not have meant that individuals have as much power as big corporation and they should not have such power. Then the short Supreme Court decision from a unanimous court in Jesinoski v Countrywide made the correction, effectively overturning hundreds of thousands of incorrect decisions. A court may not interpret a statute that is clear on its face. A court may not MAKE the law.
  5. the millions of foreclosures that have been allowed on the premise that the “holder” of a note should get the same treatment as a “holder in due course.” More than 16 million people have been displaced from their homes as a result of an underlying bias that was and often remains axiomatically true: decisions in favor of homeowners would give them a free house and decisions that allow foreclosure protect legitimate creditors. Both “axioms” are as completely wrong as the decisions about TILA Rescission.
It is the last item that I address in this article. A holder in due course is allowed to both plead and prove only the elements of Article 3 of the UCC. Article 3 of the UCC states that a party who purchases negotiable paper in good faith without knowledge of the maker’s defenses and before the terms are breached is presumed to be entitled to relief upon making their prima facie case — which are the elements already listed here. Even if there were irregularities or even fraud at the time of the origination of the loan or at a later time but before the HDC purchased the paper, the HDC will get judgment for the relief demanded. A “holder” (on the other hand) comes in many flavors under Article 3 but they all have one thing in common: they are not holders in due course.
The fundamental error of the courts has been to treat the “holder” as a “holder in due course” at the time of trial. It is true that the holder may survive a motion to dismiss merely by alleging that it is a holder — but fundamental error is being committed at trial where the holder must prove its underlying prima facie case. It should be noted that the requirement of consideration is repeated in Article 9 where it states that a security instrument must be purchased by a successor not merely transferred. So regardless of whether one is proceeding under Article 3 or Article 9, no foreclosure can be allowed without paying real money to a party who actually owned the mortgage. The Courts universally have ignored these provisions under the bias that it is axiomatically true that the party seeking to enforce the paper is so sophisticated and trustworthy that their mere request for relief should result in the relief demanded. This bias is “supported” by an additional bias: that failure to enforce such documents would undermine the entire economy of the country — a policy decision that is not within the province of the courts. And deeper still the bias is that it is axiomatically true that the paper would not exist without the actual existence of monetary transactions for origination and transfer of the paper. These “axioms” are not true.
As a result, courts have regularly rubber-stamped the extreme equitable remedy of foreclosure in favor of a party who has no financial interest in the alleged paper, nor any risk of loss or actual loss. The foreclosures are part of a scheme to make money at the expense of the actual people who are losing money. If this was not true, there would have been thousands of instances in which the “holder” presented the money trail that supposedly was the foundation for the paper that was executed and delivered, destroyed or lost. They never do. If they did, the volume of litigated foreclosure cases would drop to a drizzle. And these parties fight successfully to avoid not only the burden of proof but even the ability of the homeowner to inquire (discovery) about the “transactions” about which the paper is referring — either at origination or in purported transfers. Backdating assignments and endorsements would be unnecessary. “Robo-signing” would also be unnecessary. And the constant flux of new servicer and new trustees would also be unnecessary. Many of these events consist of illegal acts that are routinely ignored by the courts for reasons of bias rather than judicial interpretation.
A holder in due course proves their prima facie case by
a) proffering a witness with personal knowledge
b) proffering testimony that allows the commercial paper to be admitted as evidence (the note). This evidence need only be to the effect that the witness, or his company, physically has possession of the original note and presents it in court.
c) proffering testimony and records showing that the paper (the note) was purchased for good and valuable consideration by the party seeking to enforce it. This means showing proof of payment for the paper like a wire transfer receipt or a cancelled check.
d) proffering testimony and records showing that the mortgage, which is not a negotiable instrument, was purchased withe the note.
e) proffering testimony and records that the transactions were real and in good faith
f) proffering testimony that the purchaser of the paper had no knowledge of the maker’s defenses
g) proffering testimony that no default existed at the time of purchase of the paper.
Because of bias, the Courts, just as they did with TILA rescission, have mostly committed fundamental error by allowing to alleged “holders” a lesser standard of proof than the party who is legitimately in a superior position of being a holder in due course. It starts with a correct decision denying the homeowner’s motion to dismiss but ends up in fundamental error when the court “forgets” that the enforcing party has a factual case to prove beyond mere possession of an instrument they say is the original note.
The holder, in contrast to the holder in due course, is not entitled to any such presumptions at trial, except that they hold with rights to enforce. They don’t hold with automatic rights to win the case however.
A holder proves its prima facie case by
a) proffering a witness with personal knowledge
b) proffering testimony and records that allow the commercial paper to be admitted as evidence (the note). This evidence need only be to the effect that the witness, or his company, physically has possession of the original note and presents it in court.
c) proffering testimony and evidence as to the chain of custody of the paper the party seeks to enforce.
d) proffering testimony and records together with proof of payment of the original transaction (a requirement generally ignored by the courts). This means proof that the original party in the “chain” relied upon by the party seeking to enforce actually funded the alleged “loan” with funds of its own or for which it is responsible (e.g., a real warehouse credit arrangements where the originator bears the risk of loss).
e) proffering testimony and records showing that the paper (note) was purchased for good and valuable consideration by the creditor on whose behalf the party is seeking to enforce it. This means showing proof of payment for the paper like a wire transfer receipt or a cancelled check.
f) proffering testimony and records showing that the mortgage was also purchased by the creditor for good and valuable consideration. This means showing proof of payment for the paper like a wire transfer receipt or a cancelled check.
g) proffering testimony and records that the transactions was real and in good faith
h) proffering testimony that no default existed at the time of purchase of the paper. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be commercial paper and the party seeking to enforce would need to allege and prove  its standing and its prima facie case without benefit of the note or mortgage.
It should be added here that the non-judicial foreclosure states essentially make it even easier for an unrelated party to force the sale of property. Those statutory procedures are wrongly applied leaving the burden of proof as to UCC rights to enforce squarely on the homeowner who in most cases is not even a “borrower” in the technical sense. Such states are allowing parties to obtain a forced sale of property in cases where they would not or should not prevail in a judicial foreclosure. The reason is simple: the procedure for realignment of the parties has been ignored. When a homeowner files an action against the “new trustee” (substituted by virtue of the self proclaimed and unverified status of a third party beneficiary under the note and mortgage), the homeowner is somehow seen as the party who must prove that the prima facie case is untrue (giving the holder the rights of a holder in due course); the homeowner is being required to defend a case that was never filed or alleged. Instead of immediately shifting the burden of proof to the only party that says it has the rights and paperwork to justify the forced sale. This is an unconstitutional aberration of the rights of due process. The analogy would be that a defendant accused of murder must prove he did not commit the crime before the State had any burden to accuse the defendant or put on evidence. Realignment of the parties would comply with the constitution without changing the non-judicial statutes. It would require the challenged party to prove it should be allowed to enforce the forced sale of the property. Any other interpretation requires the the homeowner to disprove a case not yet alleged, much less proven in a prima facie case.

Rockwell P. Ludden, Esq. — A Lawyer who gets it on Securitization and Mortgages

see FORECLOSURE, SECURITIZATION DON’T MIX ROCKY&#39S+ARTICLE+in+the+CAPE+COD+TIMES+February+21,+2015

As I write this, I have no recall of Mr. Ludden before today. BUT his article in of all places, the Cape Cod Times, struck me as astonishing in its concise description of the illegal foreclosures that are skimming past Judges desks with hardly a look much less the usually required judicial scrutiny. He says

No one should have the legal right to take your home merely by winking and nodding their way around a significant flaw in the securitization model and whatever burrs it may leave on the industry’s saddle. …

Is there anyone with a present contractual connection to you or the loan who has actually suffered a default? If not, any… foreclosure begins to bear an uncanny resemblance to double dipping.

It is time for Judges to dust off the principle of fundamental fairness that lies at the heart of our legal system, demand a level playing field, and stand behind alternatives to foreclosure that serve the legitimate interests of homeowner and industry alike.

His article is both insightful and concise, which is more than I can say for some of the things that I have written at length. And I guess if you are in the Cape Cod area it probably would be a good idea to contact him at rpl@luddenkramerlaw.com. He pierces through layers upon layers of subterfuge by the financial industry and comes up with the right conclusion — separation not just of note and mortgage — but more importantly the separation between the note and the ultimate certificate that spells out the rights of a creditor to repayment and the rights of anonymous individuals and entities to foreclose. In securitization practice the note ceases to exist.

He correctly concludes that the assignments (and I would add endorsements and powers of attorney) are a sham, designed to conceal basic flaws in the entire securitization model. The only thing I would add is something that has not quite made it to the surface of these chaotic waters — that the money from the investors never made it into the trust — something that is perfectly consistent with ignoring the securitization model and the securitization documents.

The ‘assignment’ creates the appearance of [the] missing connection. But it is all hogwash, the only discernible purpose of which is to grease the skids for an illegal foreclosure. It is done long after the Trust has closed its doors. [referring to both the cutoff date and the fact that the trust actually does not ever get to own the debt, loan, note or mortgage]

The banks kept the money and assigned the losses to the investors. Then they bet on the losses and kept the profits from their intentionally watered down underwriting practices. Then they stole the identity of the borrowers and the investors and bought insurance that covered “losses” that were never incurred by the named insured — the Banks. The family resemblance to Ponzi scheme seems closer than mere double dipping in an infinite scheme of dipping into the funds of thousands of institutional investors and into the lives of millions of homeowners.

see also A 21st Century Trust Indenture Act?

posted by Adam Levitin

Two Different Worlds — Note and Mortgage

Further information please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688

No radio show tonight because of birthday celebration — I’m 68 and still doing this

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

The enforcement of promissory notes lies within the context of the marketplace for currency and currency equivalents. The enforcement of mortgages on real property lies within the the context of the marketplace for real estate transactions. While certainty is the aim of public policy in those two markets, the rules are different and should not be ignored.

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

see http://www.uniformlaws.org/Shared/Committees_Materials/PEBUCC/PEB_Report_111411.pdf

This article is not a substitute for getting advice from an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction in which your property is or was located.

Back in 2008 I had some correspondence and telephone conversations with an attorney in Chicago, Robert Wutscher when I was writing about the reality of the way in which banks were doing  what they called “securitization of mortgages.” Of course then they were denying that there were any trusts, denying that any transfers occurred and were suing in the name of the originator or MERS or anyone but the party who actually had their money used in loan transactions.  It wasn’t done the right way because the obvious intent was to play a shell game in which the banks would emerge as the apparent principal party in interest under the illusion created by certain presumptions attendant to being the “holder” of a note. For each question I asked him he replied that Aurora in that case was the “holder.” No matter what the question was, he replied “we’re the holder.” I still have the letter he sent which also ignored the rescission from the homeowner whose case I was inquiring about for this blog.

He was right that the banks would be able to bend the law on rescission at the level of the trial courts because Judges just didn’t like TILA rescission. I knew that in the end he would lose on that proposition eventually and he did when Justice Scalia, in a terse opinion, simply told us that Judges and Justices were wrong in all those trial court decisions and even appellate court decisions that applied common law theories to modify the language of the Federal Law (TILA) on rescission. And now bank lawyers are facing the potential consequences of receiving notices of TILA rescission where the bank simply ignored them instead of preserving the rights of the “lender” by filing a declaratory action within 20 days of the rescission. By operation of law, the note and mortgage were nullified, ab initio. Which means that any further activity based upon the note and mortgage was void. And THAT means that the foreclosures were void.

Is discussing the issue of the “holder” with lawyers and even doing a tour of seminars I found that the confusion that was apparent for lay people was also apparent in lawyers. They looked at the transaction and the rights to enforce as one single instrument that everyone called “the mortgage.” They looked at me like I had three heads when I said, no, there are three parts to every one of these illusory transactions and the banks fail outright on two of them.

The three parts are the debt, the note and the mortgage. The debt arises when the borrower receives money. The presumption is that it is a loan and that the borrower owes the money back. it isn’t a gift. There should be no “free house” discussion here because we are talking about money, not what was done with the money. Only a purchase money mortgage loan involves the house and TILA recognizes that. Some of the rules are different for those loans. But most of the loans were not purchase money mortgages in that they were either refinancing, or combined loans of 1st mortgage plus HELOC. In fact it appears that ultimately nearly all the outstanding loans fall into the category of refinancing or the combined loan and HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit that exactly matches the total loan requirements of the transaction (including the purchase of the home).

The debt arises by operation of law in favor of the party who loaned the money. The banks diverged from the obvious and well-established practice of the lender being the same party as the party named on the note as payee and on the mortgage as mortgagee (or beneficiary under a Deed of Trust). The banks did this through a process known as “Table Funded Loans” in which the real lender is concealed from the borrower. And they did this through agreements frequently called “Assignment and Assumption” Agreements, which by contract called for both parties (the originator and the aggregator to violate the laws governing disclosure (TILA and frequently state law) which means by definition that the contract called for an illegal act that is by definition a contract in contravention of public policy.

A loan contract is created by operation of law in which the borrower is obligated to pay back the loan to the source of the funds with or without a written instrument. If the loan contract (comprised of offer, acceptance and consideration) does not exist, then there is nothing to enforce at law although it is possible to still force the borrower to repay the money to the actual source of funds through a suit in equity — mainly unjust enrichment. The banks, through their lawyers, argue that the Federal disclosure requirements should be ignored. I think it is pretty clear that Justice Scalia and a unanimous United States Supreme Court think that argument stinks. It is the bank’s argument that should be ignored, not the law.

Congress passed TILA specifically to protect consumers of financial products (loans) from the overly burdensome and overly complex nature of loan documents. This argument about what is important and what isn’t has already been addressed in Congress and signed into law against the banks’ position that it doesn’t matter whether they really follow the law and disclose all the parties involved in the transaction, the true identity of the lender, the compensation of all the parties that made money as a result of the origination of the loan transaction. Regulation Z states that a pattern of behavior (more than 5) in which loans are table funded (disclosure of real lender withheld from borrower) is PREDATORY PER SE.

If it is predatory per se then there are remedies available to the borrower which potentially include treble damages, attorneys fees etc. Equally important if not more so is that a transaction, whether illusory or real, that is predatory per se, is therefore against public policy and the party seeking to enforce an otherwise enforceable document cannot do so because of the doctrine of unclean hands. In fact, if the transaction is predatory per se, it is dirty hands per se. And this is where Judges get stuck and so do many lawyers. The outcome of that unavoidable analysis is, they say, a free house. And their remedy is to give the party with unclean hands a free house (because they paid nothing for the origination or acquisition of the loan). I think the Supreme Court will not look kindly upon this “legislating from the bench.” And I think the Court has already signaled its intent to hold everyone to the strict construction of TILA and Regulation Z.

So there are two reason the debt can’t be enforced the way the banks want. (1) There is no loan contract because the source of the money and the borrower never agreed to anything and neither one knew about the other. (2) the mortgage cannot be enforced because it is an action in equity and the shell game of parties tossing the paperwork around all have unclean hands. And there is a third reason as well — while the note might be enforceable based merely on an endorsement, the mortgage is not enforceable unless the enforcer paid for it (Article 9, UCC).

And THAT is where the confusion really starts — which bank lawyers depend on every time they go to court. Bank lawyers add to the confusion by using the tired phrase of “the note follows the mortgage and the mortgage follows the note.” At one time this was a completely true presumption backed up by real facts. But now the banks are asking the courts to apply the presumption even when the courts actually know that the facts presumed by the legal presumption are untrue.

Notes and mortgages exist in two different marketplaces or different worlds, if you like. Public policy insists that notes that are intended to be negotiable remain negotiable and raise certain presumptions. The holder of a note might very well be able to sue and win a judgment ON THE NOTE. And the judgment holder might be able to record a judgment lien and foreclose on it subject to homestead exemptions.

But it isn’t as simple as the banks make it out to be.

If someone pays for the note in good faith and without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses when the note is not in default, THAT holder can enforce the note against the signor or maker of the note regardless of lack of consideration or anything else unless there is a provable defense of fraud and perhaps conspiracy. But any other holder steps into the shoes of the original lender. And if there was no consummated loan contract between the payee on the note and the borrower because the payee never loaned any money to the borrower, then the holder might have standing to sue but they don’t have the evidence to win the suit. The borrower still owes the money to whoever was the source, but the “holder” of the note doesn’t get a judgment. There is a difference between standing to sue and a prima facie case needed to win. Otherwise everyone would get one of those mechanical forging machines and sign the name of someone with money and sue them on a note they never signed. Or they would promise to loan money, get the signed note and then not complete the loan contract by making the loan.

So public policy demands that there be reasonable certainty in the negotiation of unqualified promises to pay. BUT public policy expressed in the UCC Article 9 says that if you want to enforce a mortgage you must not only have some indication that it was transferred to you, you must also have paid valuable consideration for the mortgage.

Without proof of payment, there is no prima facie case for enforcement of the mortgage, but it does curiously remain on the chain of title of the property (public records) unless nullified by the fact that the mortgage was executed as collateral for the note which was NOT a true representation of the loan contract based upon the real debt that arose by operation of law. The public policy is preserve the integrity of public records in the real estate marketplace. That is the only way to have reasonable certainty of title and encumbrances.

Forfeiture, an equitable remedy, must be done with clean hands based upon a real interest in the alleged default — not just a pile of paper that grows each year as banks try to convert an assignment of mortgage into a substitute for consideration.

Hence being the “holder” might mean you have the right to sue on the note but without being a holder in due course or otherwise paying fro the mortgage, there is no automatic basis for enforcing the mortgage in favor of a party with no economic interest in the mortgage.

see also http://knowltonlaw.com/james-knowlton-blog/ucc-article-3-and-mortgage-backed-securities.html

Adam Levitin on Backdating: A Pattern of Conduct at Ocwen and Other Players in the Foreclosure Frenzy

see also http://themreport.com/news/government/01-13-2015/california-moving-suspend-ocwens-mortgage-license

Adam Levitin has definitely established himself as one of the more respected figures in analyzing and commenting on mortgage and foreclosure practices. In this article below, he reveals the fraudulent nature of even the most benign looking foreclosures. Various parties, including Ocwen which he cites in particular, regularly backdated denials of modification and backdated ownership paperwork.

His emphasis is on the pattern of conduct dating back many years which continues unabated despite administrative findings of wrongdoing, and settlements in which they agreed to correct these practices. If you look at Select Portfolio Servicing, formerly Fairfield Capital, (and now owned by Credit Suisse) you will see that they were guilty of fraudulent servicing practices as far back as 2003.In a recent case where Patrick Giunta and I represented the homeowners the court found that there was no authority of the servicer and no loan transfer to the alleged Trust. The Judge specifically expressed her displeasure with the obvious indications of backdating and fabrication of endorsements, assignments and the attempt at using Powers of Attorney that were a fabricated work-around

Levitin is right in his conclusion. And I would add that any “presumption” rebuttable or otherwise, should not be allowed regarding any paperwork that is produced by these players. Levitin should be a regular read for those of you who are following this evolving mess.

http://www.creditslips.org/creditslips/

Corporate Recidivism? Ocwen’s Charter Problems

posted by Adam Levitin
Last month mortgage servicer Ocwen (that’s NewCo backwards) was mauled by the NY State Department of Financial Services. Now the California Department of Corporations is seeking to revoke Ocwen’s license to do business in that state.
Here’s the thing that is often forgotten: this ain’t the first time! Ocwen used to be a federal thrift. In 2005, however, Ocwen “voluntarily” surrendered its thrift charter in the face of predatory lending/servicing investigation. And here we are, a decade later. What’s changed? By the NY and California allegations, not much. In other words, we’re looking at a potential case of corporate recidivism. I’ll refrain from commenting on the merits of the allegations, but there should be zero tolerance for corporate recidivism.
While I’m at it, a word about the substance of the NY allegations and remedy. NYDFS accused Ocwen of backdating loan modification denial letters to borrowers facing foreclosure (and thereby depriving the borrowers of a chance to timely appeal the denial). Sadly, this isn’t the first time backdating has reared its head in the servicing business. Remember how the robo-signing story broke? A GM/Ally employee named Jeffrey Stephan stated in a deposition that he personally signed some 10,000 foreclosure affidavits a month. That was the story that the media glommed onto. But the 10,000 affidavits/month was an unexpected deposition by-product. The real issue uncovered in that deposition was that GM/Ally had been backdating foreclosure documents to show that it had standing at the time it filed foreclosure suits, despite not actually being the noteholder and mortgagee until a subsequent date. Loans were supposedly transferred on Christmas Day, Easter, New Year’s Day, etc. So it would seem that backdating may not be an isolated problem to Ocwen. Lastly, it’s worth comparing the NYDFS remedy with the National Mortgage Settlement. NYSDFS got $150 million in “hard dollar” loan mods (not mods paid for on investors’ dime). Ocwen is subject to an independent monitor’s supervision for three years and cannot acquire any more mortgage servicing rights (MSRs). And, Ocwen’s Chairman must resign and two additional independent board members must be added.
In contrast, the National Mortgage Settlement (NMS) was largely based on “soft dollar” mods, rather than real borrower relief. It did come with an independent monitor, but the NMS monitor isn’t able to be in the banks’ face the way the Ocwen monitor can. The NMS didn’t limit acquisition of MSRs. And it didn’t touch existing bank management or board structure. Put it this way: if the federal government and state AGs had as much spine as Ben Lawsky, Mssrs. Dimon, Moynihan, and Stumpf would be looking for new jobs (or enjoying their retirement). Of course, Ocwen is a scrappy, non-bank, non-SIFI. So it doesn’t enjoy the kid glove treatment.
The NYDFS Ocwen settlement sets out a new potential paradigm for mass consumer financial abuse settlements: real money, serious monitoring, and heave-ho to the old management. If senior management thinks that their job security is at risk for consumer abuse, they might well be more proactive at preventing it in the first place.

UNANIMOUS SCOTUS: TILA Rescission Effective on Notice: No Borrower Lawsuit Required

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

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

TENDER IS NOT REQUIRED FOR RESCISSION TO BE EFFECTIVE

SCOTUS DECISION CONVERTS RESCINDED SECURED DEBT TO UNSECURED

EFFECT ON OLD BANKRUPTCY CASES UNKNOWN

see TILA Rescission

The decision is merely a statement of the obvious. Scalia, writing for a UNANIMOUS court said that the statute means what it says. All the decisions in all the states requiring the borrower to file suit to enforce rescission are wrong. The court says the rescission is effected upon notice to the “lender.” What that means to me is that the subsequent foreclosure, non-judicial or judicial is void because there is no mortgage. TILA says that unless the “lender” files suit within a specified period of time the rescission is effective as of the date of notice. It goes on to say that the “lender” just send back all payments and a satisfaction of mortgage and canceled note.

The three year statute of limitations applies to notice — not a lawsuit filed by borrower. The burden is on the lender to contest the rescission and failing to do so within the 20 days (the time varies depending upon when you sent your notice of rescission) the deal is over.

What you have left is an unsecured debt that can be discharged in bankruptcy because TILA says the mortgage is gone. What effect this will have on the thousands of cases in which borrowers sent notices of rescission and were foreclosed remains to be seen, but it sure will be interesting to see what the courts do.

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/13-684_ba7d.pdf

“Held: A borrower exercising his right to rescind under the Act need only provide written notice to his lender within the 3-year period, not file suit within that period. Section 1635(a)’s unequivocal terms—a borrower “shall have the right to rescind . . . by notifying the creditor . . . of his intention to do so” (emphasis added)—leave no doubt that rescission is effected when the borrower notifies the creditor of his intention to rescind. This conclusion is not altered by §1635(f), which states when the right to rescind must be exercised, but says nothing about how that right is exercised. Nor does §1635(g)—which states that “in addition to rescission the court may award relief . . . not relating to the right to rescind”—support respondents’ view that rescission is necessarily a consequence of judicial action. And the fact that the Act modified the common-law condition precedent to rescission at law, see §1635(b), hardly implies that the Act thereby codified rescission in equity. Pp. 2–5.”

729 F. 3d 1092, reversed and remanded.

SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

While there are certain parts of this statute that are not completely clear, I have always felt that this law would eventually be the downfall of the entire foreclosure mess.

As for the statute of limitations it is not yet determined when the “transaction” has been “Consummated.” But one thing is clear — the three year period and the more narrow three day period for rescission is not “fixed.” The framers of this law understood that there might be defective disclosures that would and should defeat the claim of the “lender” that the transaction was consummated on the date that the documents were signed. If the disclosures were incomplete or just plain wrong, it appears that the framers did not want the time limit running on borrowers until the disclosures were correct and proper.

If the disclosures had the wrong numbers (more than $35 deviation from true numbers) then delivery of the disclosures has not yet occurred. And the statute is very specific in stating that the “closing” is not complete until those disclosures have been made to the borrower and accepted by the borrower.

There remains many questions that will need to be answered in the Courts. Probably the biggest one is what happens in cases where the borrower properly gave notice of rescission, and where some entity initiated foreclosure after the notice of rescission. Since TILA says that the mortgage no longer exists, the foreclosure would logically be void. Any sales of the property pursuant to the foreclosure of a nonexistent mortgage would also be void.

And any claim for quiet title directed against the parties who claim interests in the recorded mortgage would appear to be a slam dunk in cases where the notice of rescission is effective. The right to receive a satisfaction of mortgage, which TILA calls for, means that the mortgage should not be in the chain of title of the owner of the property.

But that doesn’t clear up the question of what to do about events that have long since passed. There is no statute of limitations (except perhaps adverse possession) on title defects. If the title defect exists, it is there, by law, for all time. People who have purchased property that was involved in foreclosure and where the former owner canceled the mortgage by giving notice of rescission have a built in title defect. None of the sales of such property either through forced sale in foreclosure or third party sales would be anything more than a wild deed.

For more free information about TILA Rescission use the search engine on this blog going back to 2007-2008. The Supreme Court has unanimously confirmed what I wrote back when I was the sole voice in the wilderness. Opinions ranging from scathing orders from trial judges to lofty opinions from appellate courts in the state court and federal system unanimously stated that I was wrong. Now the U.S. Supreme Court — the final stop in any dispute — has also been unanimous, stating that all those orders, opinions and judgments were wrong on this issue. As a result millions of homes were subject to foreclosure actions on mortgages that no longer existed. And millions more, hearing advice from attorneys, failed to send the notice of rescission to take advantage of this important remedy.

Levitin and Yves Smith – TRUST=EMPTY PAPER BAG

Living Lies Narrative Corroborated by Increasing Number of Respected Economists

It has taken over 7 years, but finally my description of the securitization process has taken hold. Levitin calls it “securitization fail.” Yves Smith agrees.

Bottom line: there was no securitization, the trusts were merely empty sham nominees for the investment banks and the “assignments,” transfers, and endorsements of the fabricated paper from illegal closings were worthless, fraudulent and caused incomprehensible damage to everyone except the perpetrators of the crime. They call it “infinite rehypothecation” on Wall Street. That makes it seem infinitely complex. Call it what you want, it was civil and perhaps criminal theft. Courts enforcing this fraudulent worthless paper will be left with egg on their faces as the truth unravels now.

There cannot be a valid foreclosure because there is no valid mortgage. I know. This makes no sense when you approach it from a conventional point of view. But if you watch closely you can see that the “loan closing” was a shell game. Money from a non disclosed third party (the investors) was sent through conduits to hide the origination of the funds for the loan. The closing agent used that money not for the originator of the funds (the investors) but for a sham nominee entity with no rights to the loan — all as specified in the assignment and assumption agreement. The note and and mortgage were a sham. And the reason the foreclosing parties do not allege they are holders in due course, is that they must prove purchase and delivery for value, as set forth in the PSA within the 90 day period during which the Trust could operate. None of the loans made it.

But on Main street it was at its root a combination pyramid scheme and PONZI scheme. All branches of government are complicit in continuing the fraud and allowing these merchants of “death” to continue selling what they call bonds deriving their value from homeowner or student loans. Having made a “deal with the devil” both the Bush and Obama administrations conscripted themselves into the servitude of the banks and actively assisted in the coverup. — Neil F Garfield, livinglies.me

For more information on foreclosure offense, expert witness consultations and foreclosure defense please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688. We offer litigation support in all 50 states to attorneys. We refer new clients without a referral fee or co-counsel fee unless we are retained for litigation support. Bankruptcy lawyers take note: Don’t be too quick admit the loan exists nor that a default occurred and especially don’t admit the loan is secured. FREE INFORMATION, ARTICLES AND FORMS CAN BE FOUND ON LEFT SIDE OF THE BLOG. Consultations available by appointment in person, by Skype and by phone.

————————————

John Lindeman in Miami asked me years ago when he first starting out in foreclosure defense, how I would describe the REMIC Trust. My reply was “a holographic image of an empty paper bag.” Using that as the basis of his defense of homeowners, he went on to do very well in foreclosure defense. He did well because he kept asking questions in discovery about the actual transactions, he demanded the PSA, he cornered the opposition into admitting that their authority had to come from the PSA when they didn’t want to admit that. They didn’t want to admit it because they knew the Trust had no ownership interest in the loan and would never have it.

While the narrative regarding “securitization fail” (see Adam Levitin) seems esoteric and even pointless from the homeowner’s point of view, I assure you that it is the direct answer to the alleged complaint that the borrower breached a duty to the foreclosing party. That is because the foreclosing party has no interest in the loan and has no legal authority to even represent the owner of the debt.

And THAT is because the owner of the debt is a group of investors and NOT the REMIC Trust that funded the loan. Thus the Trust, unfunded had no resources to buy or fund the origination of loans. So they didn’t buy it and it wasn’t delivered. Hence they can’t claim Holder in Due Course status because “purchase for value” is one of the elements of the prima facie case for a Holder in Due Course. There was no purchase and there was no transaction. Hence the suing parties could not possibly be authorized to represent the owner of the debt unless they got it from the investors who do own it, not from the Trust that doesn’t own it.

This of course raises many questions about the sudden arrival of “assignments” when the wave of foreclosures began. If you asked for the assignment on any loan that was NOT in foreclosure you couldn’t get it because their fabrication system was not geared to produce it. Why would anyone assign a valuable loan with security to a trust or anyone else without getting paid for it? Only one answer is possible — the party making the assignment was acting out a part and made money in fees pretending to convey an interest the assignor did not have. And so it goes all the way down the chain. The emptiness of the REMIC Trust is merely a mirror reflection of the empty closing with homeowners. The investors and the homeowners were screwed the same way.

BOTTOM LINE: The investors are stuck with ownership of a debt or claim against the borrowers for what was loaned to the borrower (which is only a fraction of the money given to the broker for lending to homeowners). They also have claims against the brokers who took their money and instead of delivering the proceeds of the sale of bonds to the Trust, they used it for their own benefit. Those claims are unsecured and virtually undocumented (except for wire transfer receipts and wire transfer instructions). The closing agent was probably duped the same way as the borrower at the loan closing which was the same as the way the investors were duped in settlement of the IPO of RMBS from the Trust.

In short, neither the note nor the mortgage are valid documents even though they appear facially valid. They are not valid because they are subject to borrower’s defenses. And the main borrower defense is that (a) the originator did not loan them money and (b) all the parties that took payments from the homeowner owe that money back to the homeowner plus interest, attorney fees and perhaps punitive damages. Suing on a fictitious transaction can only be successful if the homeowner defaults (fails to defend) or the suing party is a holder in due course.

Trusts Are Empty Paper Bags — Naked Capitalism

student-loan-debt-home-buying

Just as with homeowner loans, student loans have a series of defenses created by the same chicanery as the false “securitization” of homeowner loans. LivingLies is opening a new division to assist people with student loan problems if they are prepared to fight the enforcement on the merits. Student loan debt, now over $1 Trillion is dragging down housing, and the economy. Call 520-405-1688 and 954-495-9867)

The Banks Are Leveraged: Too Big Not to Fail

When I was working with Brad Keiser (formerly a top executive at Fifth Third Bank), he formulated, based upon my narrative, a way to measure the risk of bank collapse. Using a “leverage” ration he and I were able to accurately define the exact order of the collapse of the investment banks before it happened. In September, 2008 based upon the leverage ratios we published our findings and used them at a seminar in California. The power Point presentation is still available for purchase. (Call 520-405-1688 or 954-495-9867). You can see it yourself. The only thing Brad got wrong was the timing. He said 6 months. It turned out to be 6 weeks.

First on his list was Bear Stearns with leverage at 42:1. With the “shadow banking market” sitting at close to $1 quadrillion (about 17 times the total amount of all money authorized by all governments of the world) it is easy to see how there are 5 major banks that are leveraged in excess of the ratio at Bear Stearns, Lehman, Merrill Lynch et al.

The point of the article that I don’t agree with at all is the presumption that if these banks fail the economy will collapse. There is no reason for it to collapse and the dependence the author cites is an illusion. The fall of these banks will be a psychological shock world wide, and I agree it will obviously happen soon. We have 7,000 community banks and credit unions that use the exact same electronic funds transfer backbone as the major banks. There are multiple regional associations of these institutions who can easily enter into the same agreements with government, giving access at the Fed window and other benefits given to the big 5, and who will purchase the bonds of government to keep federal and state governments running. Credit markets will momentarily freeze but then relax.

Broward County Court Delays Are Actually A PR Program to Assure Investors Buying RMBS

The truth is that the banks don’t want to manage the properties, they don’t need the house and in tens of thousands of cases (probably in the hundreds of thousands since the last report), they simply walk away from the house and let it be foreclosed for non payment of taxes, HOA assessments etc. In some of the largest cities in the nation, tens of thousands of abandoned homes (where the homeowner applied for modification and was denied because the servicer had no intention or authority to give it them) were BULL-DOZED  and the neighborhoods converted into parks.

The banks don’t want the money and they don’t want the house. If you offer them the money they back peddle and use every trick in the book to get to foreclosure. This is clearly not your usual loan situation. Why would anyone not accept payment in full?

What they DO want is a judgment that transfers ownership of the debt from the true owners (the investors) to the banks. This creates the illusion of ratification of prior transactions where the same loan was effectively sold for 100 cents on the dollar not by the investors who made the loan, but by the banks who sold the investors on the illusion that they were buying secured loans, Triple AAA rated, and insured. None of it was true because the intended beneficiary of the paper, the insurance money, the multiple sales, and proceeds of hedge products and guarantees were all pocketed by the banks who had sold worthless bogus mortgage bonds without expending a dime or assuming one cent of risk.

Delaying the prosecution of foreclosures is simply an opportunity to spread out the pain over time and thus keep investors buying these bonds. And they ARE buying the new bonds even though the people they are buying from already defrauded them by NOT delivering the proceeds fro the sale of the bonds to the Trust that issued them.

Why make “bad” loans? Because they make money for the bank especially when they fail

The brokers are back at it, as though they haven’t caused enough damage. The bigger the “risk” on the loan the higher the interest rate to compensate for that risk of loss. The higher interest rates result in less money being loaned out to achieve the dollar return promised to investors who think they are buying RMBS issued by a REMIC Trust. So the investor pays out $100 Million, expects $5 million per year return, and the broker sells them a complex multi-tranche web of worthless paper. In that basket of “loans” (that were never made by the originator) are 10% and higher loans being sold as though they were conventional 5% loans. So the actual loan is $50 Million, with the broker pocketing the difference. It is called a yield spread premium. It is achieved through identity theft of the borrower’s reputation and credit.

Banks don’t want the house or the money. They want the Foreclosure Judgment for “protection”

 

Securitization for Lawyers: How it was Written by Wall Street Banks

For more information on foreclosure offense, expert witness consultations and foreclosure defense please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688. We offer litigation support in all 50 states to attorneys. We refer new clients without a referral fee or co-counsel fee unless we are retained for litigation support. Bankruptcy lawyers take note: Don’t be too quick admit the loan exists nor that a default occurred and especially don’t admit the loan is secured. FREE INFORMATION, ARTICLES AND FORMS CAN BE FOUND ON LEFT SIDE OF THE BLOG. Consultations available by appointment in person, by Skype and by phone.

————————————

Continuing with my article THE CONCEPT OF SECURITIZATION from yesterday, we have been looking at the CONCEPT of Securitization and determined there is nothing theoretically wrong with it. That alone accounts for tens of thousands of defenses” raised in foreclosure actions across the country where borrowers raised the “defense” securitization. No such thing exists. Foreclosure defense is contract defense — i.e., you need to prove that in your case the elements of contract are absent and THAT is why the note or the mortgage cannot be enforced. Keep in mind that it is entirely possible to prove that the mortgage is unenforceable even if the note remains enforceable. But as we have said in a hundred different ways, it does not appear to me that in most cases, the loan contract ever existed, or that the acquisition contract in which the loan was being “purchased” ever occurred. But much of THAT argument is left for tomorrow’s article on Securitization as it was practiced by Wall Street banks.

So we know that the concept of securitization is almost as old as commerce itself. The idea of reducing risk and increasing the opportunity for profits is an essential element of commerce and capitalism. Selling off pieces of a venture to accomplish a reduction of risk on one ship or one oil well or one loan has existed legally and properly for a long time without much problem except when a criminal used the system against us — like Ponzi, Madoff or Drier or others. And broadening the venture to include many ships, oil wells or loans makes sense to further reduce risk and increase the likelihood of a healthy profit through volume.

Syndication of loans has been around as long as banking has existed. Thus agreements to share risk and profit or actually selling “shares” of loans have been around, enabling banks to offer loans to governments, big corporations or even little ones. In the case of residential loans, few syndications are known to have been used. In 1983, syndications called securitizations appeared in residential loans, credit cards, student loans, auto loans and all types of other consumer loans where the issuance of IPO securities representing shares of bundles of debt.

For logistical and legal reasons these securitizations had to be structured to enable the flow of loans into “special purpose vehicles” (SPV) which were simply corporations, partnerships or Trusts that were formed for the sole purpose of taking ownership of loans that were originated or acquired with the money the SPV acquired from an offering of “bonds” or other “shares” representing an undivided fractional share of the entire portfolio of that particular SPV.

The structural documents presented to investors included the Prospectus, Subscription Agreement, and Pooling and Servicing Agreement (PSA). The prospectus is supposed to disclose the use of proceeds and the terms of the payback. Since the offering is in the form of a bond, it is actually a loan from the investor to the Trust, coupled with a fractional ownership interest in the alleged “pool of assets” that is going into the Trust by virtue of the Trustee’s acceptance of the assets. That acceptance executed by the Trustee is in the Pooling and Servicing Agreement, which is an exhibit to the Prospectus. In theory that is proper. The problem is that the assets don’t exist, can’t be put in the trust and the proceeds of sale of the Trust mortgage-backed bonds doesn’t go into the Trust or any account that is under the authority of the Trustee.

The writing of the securitization documents was done by a handful of law firms under the direction of a few individual lawyers, most of whom I have not been able to identify. One of them is located in Chicago. There are some reports that 9 lawyers from a New Jersey law firm resigned rather than participate in the drafting of the documents. The reports include emails from the 9 lawyers saying that they refused to be involved in the writing of a “criminal enterprise.”

I believe the report is true, after reading so many documents that purport to create a securitization scheme. The documents themselves start off with what one would and should expect in the terms and provisions of a Prospectus, Pooling and Servicing Agreement etc. But as you read through them, you see the initial terms and provisions eroded to the point of extinction. What is left is an amalgam of options for the broker dealers selling the mortgage backed bonds.

The options all lead down roads that are absolutely opposite to what any real party in interest would allow or give their consent or agreement. The lenders (investors) would never have agreed to what was allowed in the documents. The rating agencies and insurers and guarantors would never have gone along with the scheme if they had truly understood what was intended. And of course the “borrowers” (homeowners) had no idea that claims of securitization existed as to the origination or intended acquisition their loans. Allan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve Chairman, said he read the documents and couldn’t understand them. He also said that he had more than 100 PhD’s and lawyers who read them and couldn’t understand them either.

Greenspan believed that “market forces” would correct the ambiguities. That means he believed that people who were actually dealing with these securities as buyers, sellers, rating agencies, insurers and guarantors would reject them if the appropriate safety measures were not adopted. After he left the Federal Reserve he admitted he was wrong. Market forces did not and could not correct the deficiencies and defects in the entire process.

The REAL document is the Assignment and Assumption Agreement that is NOT usually disclosed or attached as an exhibit to the Prospectus. THAT is the agreement that controls everything that happens with the borrower at the time of the alleged “closing.” See me on YouTube to explain the Assignment and Assumption Agreement. Suffice it to say that contrary to the representations made in the sale of the bonds by the broker to the investor, the money from the investor goes into the control of the broker dealer and NOT the REMIC Trust. The Broker Dealer filters some of the money down to closings in the name of “originators” ranging from large (Wells Fargo, Countrywide) to small (First Magnus et al). I’ll tell you why tomorrow or the next day. The originators are essentially renting their names the same as the Trustees of the REMIC Trusts. It looks right but isn’t what it appears. Done properly, the lender on the note and mortgage would be the REMIC Trust or a common aggregator. But if the Banks did it properly they wouldn’t have had such a joyful time in the moral hazard zone.

The PSA turned out to be the primary document creating the Trusts that were creating primarily under the laws of the State of New York because New York and a few other states had a statute that said that any variance from the express terms of the Trust was VOID, not voidable. This gave an added measure of protection to the investors that the SPV would not be used for any purpose other than what was described, and eliminated the need for them to sue the Trustee or the Trust for misuse of their funds. What the investors did not understand was that there were provisions in the enabling documents that allowed the brokers and other intermediaries to ignore the Trust altogether, assert ownership in the name of a broker or broker-controlled entity and trade on both the loans and the bonds.

The Prospectus SHOULD have contained the full list of all loans that were being aggregated into the SPV or Trust. And the Trust instrument (PSA) should have shown that the investors were receiving not only a promise to repay them but also a share ownership in the pool of loans. One of the first signals that Wall Street was running an illegal scheme was that most prospectuses stated that the pool assets were disclosed in an attached spreadsheet, which contained the description of loans that were already in existence and were then accepted by the Trustee of the SPV (REMIC Trust) in the Pooling and Servicing Agreement. The problem was that the vast majority of Prospectuses and Pooling and Servicing agreements either omitted the exhibit showing the list of loans or stated outright that the attached list was not the real list and that the loans on the spreadsheet were by example only and not the real loans.

Most of the investors were “stable managed funds.” This is a term of art that applied to retirement, pension and similar type of managed funds that were under strict restrictions about the risk they could take, which is to say, the risk had to be as close to zero as possible. So in order to present a pool that the fund manager of a stable managed fund could invest fund assets the investment had to qualify under the rules and regulations restricting the activities of stable managed funds. The presence of stable managed funds buying the bonds or shares of the Trust also encouraged other types of investors to buy the bonds or shares.

But the number of loans (which were in the thousands) in each bundle made it impractical for the fund managers of stable managed funds to examine the portfolio. For the most part, if they done so they would not found one loan that was actually in existence and obviously would not have done the deal. But they didn’t do it. They left it on trust for the broker dealers to prove the quality of the investment in bonds or shares of the SPV or Trust.

So the broker dealers who were creating the SPVs (Trusts) and selling the bonds or shares, went to the rating agencies which are quasi governmental units that give a score not unlike the credit score given to individuals. Under pressure from the broker dealers, the rating agencies went from quality culture to a profit culture. The broker dealers were offering fees and even premium on fees for evaluation and rating of the bonds or shares they were offering. They HAD to have a rating that the bonds or shares were “investment grade,” which would enable the stable managed funds to buy the bonds or shares. The rating agencies were used because they had been independent sources of evaluation of risk and viability of an investment, especially bonds — even if the bonds were not treated as securities under a 1998 law signed into law by President Clinton at the behest of both republicans and Democrats.

Dozens of people in the rating agencies set off warning bells and red flags stating that these were not investment grade securities and that the entire SPV or Trust would fail because it had to fail.  The broker dealers who were the underwriters on nearly all the business done by the rating agencies used threats, intimidation and the carrot of greater profits to get the ratings they wanted. and responded to threats that the broker would get the rating they wanted from another rating agency and that they would not ever do business with the reluctant rating agency ever again — threatening to effectively put the rating agency out of business. At the rating agencies, the “objectors” were either terminated or reassigned. Reports in the Wal Street Journal show that it was custom and practice for the rating officers to be taken on fishing trips or other perks in order to get the required the ratings that made Wall Street scheme of “securitization” possible.

This threat was also used against real estate appraisers prompting them in 2005 to send a petition to Congress signed by 8,000 appraisers, in which they said that the instructions for appraisal had been changed from a fair market value appraisal to an appraisal that would make each deal work. the appraisers were told that if they didn’t “play ball” they would never be hired again to do another appraisal. Many left the industry, but the remaining ones, succumbed to the pressure and, like the rating agencies, they gave the broker dealers what they wanted. And insurers of the bonds or shares freely issued policies based upon the same premise — the rating from the respected rating agencies. And ultimate this also effected both guarantors of the loans and “guarantors” of the bonds or shares in the Trusts.

So the investors were now presented with an insured investment grade rating from a respected and trusted source. The interest rate return was attractive — i.e., the expected return was higher than any of the current alternatives that were available. Some fund managers still refused to participate and they are the only ones that didn’t lose money in the crisis caused by Wall Street — except for a period of time through the negative impact on the stock market and bond market when all securities became suspect.

In order for there to be a “bundle” of loans that would go into a pool owned by the Trust there had to be an aggregator. The aggregator was typically the CDO Manager (CDO= Collateralized Debt Obligation) or some entity controlled by the broker dealer who was selling the bonds or shares of the SPV or Trust. So regardless of whether the loan was originated with funds from the SPV or was originated by an actual lender who sold the loan to the trust, the debts had to be processed by the aggregator to decide who would own them.

In order to protect the Trust and the investors who became Trust beneficiaries, there was a structure created that made it look like everything was under control for their benefit. The Trust was purchasing the pool within the time period prescribed by the Internal Revenue Code. The IRC allowed the creation of entities that were essentially conduits in real estate mortgages — called Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits (REMICs). It allows for the conduit to be set up and to “do business” for 90 days during which it must acquire whatever assets are being acquired. The REMIC Trust then distributes the profits to the investors. In reality, the investors were getting worthless bonds issued by unfunded trusts for the acquisition of assets that were never purchased (because the trusts didn’t have the money to buy them).

The TRUSTEE of the REMIC Trust would be called a Trustee and should have had the powers and duties of a Trustee. But instead the written provisions not only narrowed the duties and obligations of the Trustee but actual prevented both the Trustee and the beneficiaries from even inquiring about the actual portfolio or the status of any loan or group of loans. The way it was written, the Trustee of the REMIC Trust was in actuality renting its name to appear as Trustee in order to give credence to the offering to investors.

There was also a Depositor whose purpose was to receive, process and store documents from the loan closings — except for the provisions that said, no, the custodian, would store the records. In either case it doesn’t appear that either the Depositor nor the “custodian” ever received the documents. In fact, it appears as though the documents were mostly purposely lost and destroyed, as per the Iowa University study conducted by Katherine Ann Porter in 2007. Like the others, the Depositor was renting its name as though ti was doing something when it was doing nothing.

And there was a servicer described as a Master Servicer who could delegate certain functions to subservicers. And buried in the maze of documents containing hundreds of pages of mind-numbing descriptions and representations, there was a provision that stated the servicer would pay the monthly payment to the investor regardless of whether the borrower made any payment or not. The servicer could stop making those payments if it determined, in its sole discretion, that it was not “recoverable.”

This was the hidden part of the scheme that might be a simple PONZI scheme. The servicers obviously could have no interest in making payments they were not receiving from borrowers. But they did have an interest in continuing payments as long as investors were buying bonds. THAT is because the Master Servicers were the broker dealers, who were selling the bonds or shares. Those same broker dealers designated their own departments as the “underwriter.” So the underwriters wrote into the prospectus the presence of a “reserve” account, the source of funding for which was never made clear. That was intentionally vague because while some of the “servicer advance” money might have come from the investors themselves, most of it came from external “profits” claimed by the broker dealers.

The presence of  servicer advances is problematic for those who are pursuing foreclosures. Besides the fact that they could not possibly own the loan, and that they couldn’t possibly be a proper representative of an owner of the loan or Holder in Due Course, the actual creditor (the group of investors or theoretically the REMIC Trust) never shows a default of any kind even when the servicers or sub-servicers declare a default, send a notice of default, send a notice of acceleration etc. What they are doing is escalating their volunteer payments to the creditor — made for their own reasons — to the status of a holder or even a holder in due course — despite the fact that they never acquired the loan, the debt, the note or the mortgage.

The essential fact here is that the only paperwork that shows actual transfer of money is that which contains a check or wire transfer from investor to the broker dealer — and then from the broker dealer to various entities including the CLOSING AGENT (not the originator) who applied the funds to a closing in which the originator was named as the Lender when they had never advanced any funds, were being paid as a vendor, and would sign anything, just to get another fee. The money received by the borrower or paid on behalf of the borrower was money from the investors, not the Trust.

So the note should have named the investors, not the Trust nor the originator. And the mortgage should have made the investors the mortgagee, not the Trust nor the originator. The actual note and mortgage signed in favor of the originator were both void documents because they failed to identify the parties to the loan contract. Another way of looking at the same thing is to say there was no loan contract because neither the investors nor the borrowers knew or understood what was happening at the closing, neither had an opportunity to accept or reject the loan, and neither got title to the loan nor clear title after the loan. The investors were left with a debt that could be recovered probably as a demand loan, but which was unsecured by any mortgage or security agreement.

To counter that argument these intermediaries are claiming possession of the note and mortgage (a dubious proposal considering the Porter study) and therefore successfully claiming, incorrectly, that the facts don’t matter, and they have the absolute right to prevail in a foreclosure on a home secured by a mortgage that names a non-creditor as mortgagee without disclosure of the true source of funds. By claiming legal presumptions, the foreclosers are in actuality claiming that form should prevail over substance.

Thus the broker-dealers created written instruments that are the opposite of the Concept of Securitization, turning complete transparency into a brick wall. Investor should have been receiving verifiable reports and access into the portfolio of assets, none of which in actuality were ever purchased by the Trust, because the pooling and servicing agreement is devoid of any representation that the loans have been purchased by the Trust or that the Trust paid for the pool of loans. Most of the actual transfers occurred after the cutoff date for REMIC status under the IRC, violating the provisions of the PSA/Trust document that states the transfer must be complete within the 90 day cutoff period. And it appears as though the only documents even attempted to be transferred into the pool are those that are in default or in foreclosure. The vast majority of the other loans are floating in cyberspace where anyone can grab them if they know where to look.

AMGAR

After years of writing about the AMGAR program, people are finally asking about this program. So here is a summary of the program. As usual I caution you against using my articles as the final word on any subject. Before you make any decisions about your loans, whether you are in foreclosure, collection or otherwise you should seek competent legal counsel who is licensed in the jurisdiction in which the collateral is located. Also for those who think they would invest in such a program, you should seek both legal advice and consult with a person qualified and licensed as a financial adviser. And for full disclosure, this plan does include an equity provision and fees to the livinglies team.

The AMGAR program was first developed by me when I was living in Arizona where, after the 2008-2009 crash, the state was facing a $3 Billion deficit. The Chairman of the Arizona House Judiciary Committee invited me to testify about possible solutions to the foreclosure crisis, which at that time was just ramping up. So I developed a program that I called the Arizona Mortgage Guarantee and Resolution plan, which was dubbed “AMGAR.” Now the acronym stands for American Mortgage Guarantee and Resolution program. In Arizona it was mostly a governmental program with some private enterprise components.

For a while it looked as though Arizona would adopt the program and pass the necessary legislation to do it. All departments of the legislative and executive branches of government had examined it carefully and concluded that I was right both as to its premises and its results.

The objective was to tax and fine the various entities that were “trading” in loans improperly, illegally and failing to report it as taxable income, as well as failing to pay the fees associated with filing such transfers in the County records of each county.

The State would essentially call the bluff of the banks, which was already obvious in 2008 — they did not appear to have any ownership interest in the loans upon which they initiated foreclosures.

Thus the State and private investors would offer to pay off the mortgage at the amount demanded if the foreclosing party could prove ownership and the balance (it was already known that the banks had received a lot of money from both public and private sources that reduced the loss and thus should have reduced the balances owed to investors, which in turn reduces the balance owed from borrowers).

The offer to pay off the the money claimed due by the forecloser was on behalf of the homeowner who would enter into an agreement with AMGAR for a new, real, valid mortgage at fair market value with industry standard terms instead of the exotic mortgages that borrowers were lured into signing when they understood practically nothing about the loan. The State would levy a tax or enforce existing taxes against the participants in the alleged securitization plan for the trading they had been doing. The State would foreclose on the tax liens thus opening the door to settlements that would reduce the amount expended on paying off the old loan.

The AMGAR program would receive a mortgage and note equal to what was actually paid out to the foreclosing parties, which was presumed to be discounted sharply because of their inability to prove ownership and balance. Hence the state would receive a valid note and mortgage for every penny they paid and it would receive the taxes and fees that were due and unpaid, and then sell these clean mortgages into the secondary market place. Both the legislative and executive branches of Arizona government — all relevant departments — concluded that the plan would erase the $3 Billion Arizona deficit and put a virtual halt on foreclosures that had already turned new developments into ghost towns.

But the plan went dark when certain influential Republicans in the state apparently received the word from the banks to kill the program.

Not to be deterred from what I considered to be a bold, innovative program aimed at the truth about the hundreds of thousands of wrongful foreclosures, I embarked on a persistent plan of to raise interest and capital to put the program into use. This time the offer to payoff the old loan would come from (1) homeowners who could afford to make the offer and (2) investors who were willing to assume the apparent risk of paying $700,000 as a payoff, only to receive a mortgage and note equal to a much lower fair market value. But the new plan had a kicker for investors to assume that risk.

The plan worked for the few people who were homeowners, in foreclosure and who had the resources to make the offer. Unlike the buyback issue raised by Martha Coakley last week, the plan avoided any possible rule prohibiting the homeowner from getting the house back and in fact employed existing laws permitting the borrower to pay off the loan rather than suffer the loss of the property.

The offer specifies what constitutes proof for purposes of the offer and thus avoids varying interpretations by judges who might think one presumption or another carries the day for the banks. This plan requires actual transactional proof of payments for the origination and acquisition of the loan, and actual disclosure of the loss mitigation payments received by or on behalf of the creditors (investors).

As expected, the banks tried to say that they didn’t have to accept the money. They wanted the foreclosure. But nobody bought that argument. The myth that the bank was “reclaiming” the property was just that — a myth. The bank never owned the property. It was interesting watching the bank back peddle on producing proof that it MUST have had if it brought foreclosure proceedings. But they didn’t have it because it didn’t exist.

Banks claimed to have loaned money to the homeowner and thus were entitled to payment first, or failing that, THEN foreclosure. And what has resulted is an array of confidential settlements in which I cannot reveal the contents without putting the homeowner in danger of losing their home. Suffice it to say they were satisfied.

The reason I am writing about this again is that the latest development is a series of investors have approached me with a request for development of a plan that would put AMGAR into effect. They are looking for profit so that is what I am giving them in the new plan. This has not yet been launched but there are several iterations of the plan that may be offered through one or more entities. You might say this plan is published for comment although we are already processing candidates for which the plan would be used.

If I am right, along with everyone else who says the mortgages, assignments, transactions are all fake with no canceled checks, wire transfer receipts or anything else showing that they funded the origination or acquisition of the loan, then it follows that at the very least the mortgage is an unenforceable document even if it is recorded.

If things go according to plan, then the bank will be forced to either put up or shut up in court — either providing the reasonable proof required by the commitment or offer or suffer a dismissal or judgment for the homeowner. It would not be up to the Judge to state what proof was required. Instead the Judge would only be called upon to determine that the bank had failed to properly respond — giving information they should have had all along. The debt might theoretically exist payable to SOMEONE, but it wouldn’t be secured debt and therefore not subject to foreclosure. The mortgage encumbrance in the public records could then be removed by a court order. Title would be cleared.

Investors would be taking what appears to be a giant risk but obviously perception of the risk is declining.   If the bank comes up with verifiable proof of ownership and balance (according to the terms of the offer or commitment), then the investor pays the bank and gets back a note and mortgage for much less. If the bank loses and the mortgage encumbrance is removed as a result of the assumption of that risk, then the investor gets a fee — 30% of the original loan balance expressed in a new mortgage and note at market rates over 30 years.

So the payoff is quite large to the investors if their assumptions are correct. If they are incorrect they lose all the expenses advanced for the homeowner, all the expenses of selection and potentially the money they put in escrow or the court registry to show proof that the offer is real.

We are currently vetting potential candidates for this program both from the homeowner side and the investor side. This type of investment while potentially lucrative, poses a large risk of loss. People should not invest in such a program unless they do not rely on the money invested for their income or lifestyle. They should be qualified investors as specified by SEC rules even if the SEC rules don’t apply. No money will be accepted and no homeowner will be signed up for the program until we have concluded all registrations necessary for launching the program.

Homeowners who want to be considered as candidates for this program should acquire a title and securitization report, plus a review by our staff, including myself.

You should have a title and securitization report anyway, in my opinion. If you already have one then send it to neilfgarfield@hotmail.com. If you don’t have such a report but would like to obtain one call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688 to order the report and review. If you already know someone who does this work, then call them, but a review by a qualified person with a financial background is important as well as a review by a qualified, licensed attorney.

Using the Best Evidence Rule As You Follow the Money

The Best Evidence Rule in Florida and Federal Courts Applied to Notes, Mortgages and Assignments

The problem with foreclosure litigation is that the homeowner is dealing with rebuttable presumptions about the testimony and the documents admitted into evidence. They are admitted into evidence because there is no timely objection from the homeowner or the foreclosure defense attorney.

The note, mortgage and assignment are presumed to be valid instruments if they conform to the requirements of law as to form and content. In that case they are facially valid. That means there is a rebuttable presumption that there was a valid underlying transaction. Therefore. as a matter of law, the paper presented is not just facially valid but also presumptive evidence that the transaction existed. This gets tricky in application and is one of the many reasons why lawyers should study up on courtroom procedures, evidence and objections.

On the note, the underlying transaction is the debt. The debt exists not because of the note, but because Party A put money into the hands of Party B who accepted it. The debt arises regardless of whether or not a note was executed. The note is evidence of the debt and it is presumptive evidence that there was an underlying transaction in the amount of the note. The underlying transaction is therefore the payee putting money into the hands of the homeowner, who is the payor.

On the mortgage, the underlying transaction is still the debt and the existence of the note, because a valid mortgage does not exist except if it is based upon an instrument in writing. The mortgage is not presumptive evidence of the existence of the underlying transaction (the actual loan of money from Party A to Party B). Under normal circumstances the existence of a properly executed mortgage would corroborate the evidence supplied by the note.

On the assignment, the underlying transaction is a payment of money from Assignee to the Assignor. The assignment itself might be accepted by the court as presumptive evidence that such an underlying transaction exists (in the absence of an objection). If a proper objection is raised, the presumption vanishes.

So what is a proper objection under these circumstances? Remember if you fail to raise the objection then the burden of proving the transaction did not happen falls on the homeowner. The objective here is to hold the bank’s feet to the fire and make them prove their case. And the reason for this is not to exercise your vocal chords. It is to show that the underlying transaction between the parties stated in the document proffered by the bank never took place. And the reason you are doing that is because those transactions in fact, never occurred.

The hearsay rule is an appropriate objection because the document is being used to establish the truth of the matter implied — i.e., that there was an underlying transaction. But the better objection,in my opinion, is that the existence of the underlying transaction be subject to (1) lack of foundation and (2) best evidence. They are related in this instance.

Under the rules of evidence, the note, mortgage and assignment are secondary documents that imply that a transaction took place but do not show facts to verify that the transaction actually occurred. Hence, the BEST EVIDENCE of the underlying transaction is the canceled check or wire transfer receipt showing the payment and implied acceptance of the money used to fund the loan or purchase the mortgage. Anything less than that is not admissible evidence — unless the objection is overlooked or waived. It would therefore be true that the debt from the homeowner allegedly owed to the payee on the note (and mortgage) or the assignee on the assignment is not supported by foundation in the usual circumstances.

Special note here: I have seen in reported cases that it DOES occur that litigants, including banks, have doctored up copies of wire transfer receipts. Thus any effort to introduce the copy would be met by your objection on the basis of best evidence and the argument, if applicable, that the failure to disclose the document prior to trial deprived you of your ability to confirm the authenticity of the document. Verification is possible but he banks, Federal reserve etc., will not make it easy on you so a court order will be helpful.

Normally the corporate representative of the servicer is the witness. It will usually be established on voir dire or cross examination that the witness neither had access to nor ever personally viewed any records of the actual transaction and in fact never even saw the secondary evidence (the note, mortgage and assignment) until a few days before trial. Thus no testimony will be elicited, in the ordinary course of things, that the transaction took place (i.e., an ACTUAL transaction in which money from the payee was loaned to the homeowner or money from the Assignee was paid to the Assignor). Hence no foundation exists for any testimony or any document that the debt exists or that the loan was actually sold for consideration and then assigned.

This is not a technical matter. If I agree to pay you $100 for your toaster oven, I can’t demand the appliance until I have paid it. If that was the agreement, then the underlying transaction is the payment of money. The evidence — the best evidence — of the payment is a canceled check or wire transfer receipt. The exceptions to the best evidence rule do not seem to apply and there is no adequate explanation for why anything other than direct primary evidence of the transaction itself should be admitted.

In searching the internet I found that a lawyer in West palm beach wrote a pretty good article on the subject although he was concentrating on the use of the best evidence rule in connection with duplicates. see http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/what-is-the-best-evidence-rule-in-florida for the article by Mark R. Osherow, Esq.

Here are some excerpts from that article.

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

The best evidence rule, set forth in Fla. R. Evid.’90.952 and Fed. Rules Evid. 1001, provides that, where a writing is offered in evidence, a copy or other secondary evidence of its content will not be received in place of the original document unless an adequate explanation is offered for the absence of the original. Fla. R. Evid. ‘90.9520-90.958; Fed. Rules Evid. 1002-1008….
Public records authentication is provided for by section 90.955 and Rule 1005. Under section 90.956 and Rule 1006 voluminous writings, recordings, or photographs which cannot be conveniently examined in court may be presented in the form of a chart, summary or calculation. Of course, admissibility of a summary depends upon the admissibility of the underlying documents. In order to use a summary, timely written notice is required with proof filed in court. Adverse parties must have sufficient time to investigate and inspect underlying records and summaries….
Fla. R. Evid. Section 90.957. Section 90.958 and Rule 1008 set forth the situations where the court determines admissibility and where the jury determines factual issues such as the existence of a document, its content, and the contents accuracy.
The best evidence rule arose during the days when a copy was usually made by a clerk or, worse, a party to the lawsuit. Courts generally assumed that, if the original was not produced, there was a good chance of either a scrivener’s error or fraud.
… there is always a danger of a party questioning a document, so it is important to remember that, unless you have a stipulation to the contrary, or your document fits one of the exceptions listed in the statute, you must be ready to produce originals of any documents involved in your case or to produce evidence of why you cannot.

Hiring an Expert: What Are you Looking For in Foreclosure Litigation?

I have spent the last 7 years developing the narrative for an expert opinion that could be presented, believed and sustained in court. In writing to a probable new expert we will offer through the livinglies.store.com I summarized what attorneys should be looking for when they consult with an expert in structured finance (i.e., derivatives, securitization etc.).

Here  are some of the issues you want covered by the expert declaration and testimony in court. The basic rule of thumb is that the expert must have both the qualifications to testify as an expert and a persuasive narrative of why his conclusions are right. Without both, the testimony of the expert simply doesn’t matter and will be rejected.

If you are a proposed expert in structured finance, then here is what I would want to know, and what I think lawyers should ask, depending upon what fact pattern is present in each case.

One thing I need to know is whether you feel comfortable in talking about the ownership and balance of the loan.

In one example American Brokers Conduit was the payee on the note and mortgage. We alleged that they didn’t loan the money. Our narrative ran something like this: if you ask me for a loan, and I respond “Yes just sign this note and mortgage” AND THEN you sign the note and mortgage AND THEN I don’t give you a loan, ARE YOU PREPARED TO SAY THAT THE NOTE AND MORTGAGE WERE DEFECTIVE IN A BASIC WAY, TO WIT: THAT THE SIGNATURE ON THE NOTE AND MORTGAGE WAS PROCURED BY FRAUD OR MISTAKE AND THAT WITHOUT THE IDENTIFICATION OF THE REAL CREDITOR BOTH INSTRUMENTS ARE DEFECTIVE.

Would you, as a reasonable business person accept a note purporting to be a negotiable instrument under the UCC if you knew that the transferor neither funded the loan nor (if they purport to be a successor) paid for the assignment?

What is your opinion of your position if you found out after acceptance of the note and mortgage that there was doubt as to whether the obligation was funded or purchased for value? What would you do or suggest to a client in either of those positions — (1) knowledge [or “must have known] or (2) no knowledge [and later finding out that there is doubt as to funding and purchasing for value]?

Are you prepared to say that the fact that the borrower actually did receive money as a loan from another different party does not create a circumstance where the borrower is construed to convey any rights to anyone other than the source of funds or someone in actual privity with the lender — and that both note and mortgage are defective under normal recording statutes — and certainly not a commitment by the debtor to BOTH the source of the funds and the receiver of the signed promissory note and mortgage?

In the one case referred to above, the corporate representative conceded that ABC didn’t loan the money. He was unable to explain what was transferred by ABC to Regents and from Regents to 1st Nationwide and thence to CitiCorp by merger. He admitted that “Fannie Mae was the investor from the start.” You and I understand that neither Fannie and Freddie are lenders. They are guarantors and they serve as Master Trustee for hidden REMIC trusts. (Do you know or agree with that assertion?)

But the question is whether the note is actual “evidence of the debt” (the black letter definition of a promissory note when it contains a promise to pay) when the creditor is identified as a party who was not a lender. In the absence of disclosures of some representative capacity for an actual lender, are you prepared to testify that the note is unenforceable even if the debt is otherwise enforceable in relation to the actual source of funds?

Or would you say that it is not enforceable by the stated payee but it might still be evidence of the debt and evidence of the terms of repayment to the third party source? How does the marketplace treat such questions in valuing a note and mortgage?

The question is whether the expert actually believes and is willing to argue that these conclusions are true and correct.  The expert must earnestly believe these assertions to be true, logically and legally.
Is it acceptable to the prospective expert to see a result where the application of law and facts results in the homeowner getting his home free and clear — on the basis that the wrong party sued him or initiated foreclosure (in non judicial states), or that the notice of default, notice of acceleration, and statements of money due were wrong.
The approach is an attack on ownership and balance. The balance would be wrong, even if the ownership was established, if the payments were not applied properly. The payments include all payments received by the creditor.  That includes all servicer advances directly to trust beneficiaries, as well as insurance and loss sharing payments (i.e., from FDIC and others) paid and received on behalf of the investors directly or the trust beneficiaries.
Part of the reasoning here is that you really have an interesting problem. The Trust beneficiaries agreed to “loan” money to a REMIC trust in exchange for a complex formula of repayment under the indenture of the mortgage bond (contained in the Prospectus and Pooling and Servicing Agreement). Those terms are different than the terms signed by the homeowner.
So there are two agreements — the mortgage bond and the mortgage note. Different parties, new parties are in the PSA as insurers, servicers,servicer advances etc. all resulting in a DIFFERENT payment from an assortment of parties expected by the creditor —different than the one promised by the debtor whether you refer to the note as evidence of the debt or not.Add the complicating factor that without evidence that the Trust was ever funded (i.e., without evidence that the broker dealer sent the proceeds from the offering prospectus to the trust) how do we answer the basic contract question: was there a meeting of the minds? The expectations of the lender (investors) and the borrower (homeowner) are entirely different and the documents used are completely different.

How could the Trust have entered into any transaction for the origination or acquisition of loans without evidence of funding?

On what basis can the Trustee or servicer claim any authority if the Trust was not funded and was essentially ignored? Does the expert agree that avoiding or ignoring the trust means avoiding and  ignoring the prospectus AND the PSA, which contains the authority for ANYONE to act on behalf of the investors, who are no longer “trust beneficiaries” but just a group of investors without a vehicle for their investment?

ESSENTIAL QUESTION: Is the expert prepared to testify about this aspect of structured finance — i.e., how do you connect up the debtor and the creditor? As an expert you would be expected to be able to testify on exactly that question.

And finally there is testimony about the mortgage. If the mortgage secures the note (not the debt, necessarily), which is what is stated in the mortgage, then is the expert willing to testify that the mortgage was defective and should never have been recorded?

Would it not be true, in your estimation, that if a homeowner executes a mortgage in favor of a party posing as a lender, and that party is not a lender to the homeowner, that you could testify that the moment such a mortgage is recorded it probably clouds title?

Would you be willing to testify that based upon those facts, you would say that it is an unknown variable as to who to pay?

Would you be wiling to testify that if you don’t know who to pay, you have no basis for trusting a satisfaction of mortgage from any party including the the original mortgagee?

And lastly that if there is no basis on the face of the instruments or in recorded instruments to presume a valid creditor has been named, that no better presumptions would attach to any assignment, endorsement or other instrument of transfer?

For information concerning expert declarations, consultations and testimony from experts with appropriate credentials to be qualified as an expert, or for litigation support, please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688.

The Banks: Consideration is Irrelevant, Really? Then so is payment!

The issue is what are the elements of the loan contract? Who are the parties? And who can enforce it?

I would agree that an overpayment at closing from the source of funds is rare. What is not rare and in fact common is that the wire transfer instructions that accompany the wire transfer receipt often instructs the closing agent to refund any overpayment to the party who wired the money — not the originator. This leads to questions. If it is a true warehouse lender, such instructions could be explained without affecting the validity of the note or mortgage.

In truth, the procedures used usually prevent the originator from ever touching the flow of funds. Wall Street banks were afraid of fraud — that if the originators could touch the money, they might have faked a number of closings and taken the money. In short, the investment banks were afraid that the originators would not use the money the way it was intended. So instead of doing that, they created relationships by having the originators sign Assignment and Assumption agreements before they started lending. This agreement says the loan belongs to an “aggregator” that is merely a controlled entity of the broker dealer. But the money doesn’t come from either the originator or the aggregator. Thus they have an agreement that controls the loan closings but no consideration for that either.
But this is a lot like the insurance payments, proceeds of credit default swaps etc. The contracts almost always specifically waive subrogation or any other right of action against the borrowers or any other enforcement of the notes or mortgages. It has been presumed that these contracts were for the mitigation of losses and that is true. But they are payable to the broker dealers and not the trust or trust beneficiaries. The investment banks committed fraud when they represented to the insurers, FDIC, Fannie, Freddie and CDS counterparties that they had an insurable interest. Those parties presumed that the investment banks were creating these hedge products for the benefit of the owner of the mortgage bonds or the owner of the loans. But it was paid to the investment banks. That is why all those parties are claiming losses that resulted from fraud — all of which have resulted in settlements (except the Countrywide verdict for fraud).
The similarity is this: in both the closing with borrowers and the closings with investors the same fraud occurred. When dealing with the closing agent they interposed their nominee in the closing which resulted in no note and no mortgage in favor of the investors or the trust. Whether the closing agent is liable is another issue. The point is that the money came from a third party which was a controlled entity of the broker dealer. Thus the investor gets a promise from a trust that is not funded while their money is used to pay fees, create the illusion of trading profits for the broker dealer and funding mortgages.
The wire transfer is not a wire transfer from the originator, nor from the bank at which the originator maintains any account. The wire transfer instructions and the wire transfer receipt fail to identify the actual source of funds and fail to refer to the originator as a real party. If they did, there would not be a problem for the banks to enforce the note and mortgage. If they did, the banks would simply show the transaction record and there would be nothing to fight about.
The only occasion in which the banks appeared to be willing to provide adequate documentation for consideration appears to be in a merger or acquisition with the party that was named as the mortgagee in the mortgage document or the beneficiary in the deed of trust. And all the other transactions, the banks say that consideration is irrelevant or they quote the law that says that courts cannot question the adequacy of consideration. They are dodging the issue. We are not saying that consideration was not adequate; what we are saying is that there was no consideration at all. The banks are fighting this issue  because when it comes out that there really was no consideration the entire house of cards could fall.
 The issue is counterintuitive because everyone knows that there was money on the closing table. Unless the issue is argued and presented with clarity, it will appear to the judge that you are trying to say that there was no money on the closing table. And when a judge hears that, or thinks that he heard that, he or she will not take you seriously. There are three parts to every contract —  offer, acceptance, and consideration. A few courts have started to deal with this question. In the context of foreclosure litigation all three elements are in question. If the lenders are investors who believed that their money was being put into a trust that they were beneficiaries of a trust, they are unaware of the fact that their money is being offered to borrowers on terms that are contrary to their instructions. And the loan is not made on behalf of the investors or the trust. It is made on behalf of some sham entity controlled by the broker dealer. Sometimes the origination is made by an actual bank that is acting in the capacity of a sham lender. Either way the money came from the investors.
So the issue is not whether there was money on the table but rather whether there was a meeting of the minds between the investors and lenders in the homeowners as borrowers. The lender documents (trust documents) reveal far different terms of repayment than the borrower documents. Each of them signed on to a deal that actually didn’t exist because neither of them had agreed to the same terms.
 The fact that money was on the table at the time of the alleged closing of the loan can only mean that the homeowner owed money to repay the source of the money. This duty to repay arises by operation of law and extends from the homeowner to the investor despite the lack of any documentation that explicitly states that. The result is false documentation in which the homeowner was induced to sign under the mistaken belief that the payee on the note and the mortgagee on the mortgage was the source of funds.
If you receive funds from John Smith and the note and mortgage are drafted for the benefit of Nancy Jones as “lender” would that bother you? What would you do as closing agent? Why?
%d bloggers like this: