The Logic of Wall Street “Securitization:” The transaction that never existed

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The logic of Wall Street schemes is simple: Create the trusts but don’t use them. Lie to everyone and assure everyone that Trusts were used to “securitize” loans. The strategy is so successful and the lie is so big and has been going on for so long, that most people believe it.

You see it in the decisions of the appellate courts who render opinions like the recent 3rd district in California which expresses the premise that the borrower was loaned money by the originator. Once you start with THAT premise, the outcome is no surprise. But start with reverse premise — that the borrower was NOT loaned money BY THE ORIGINATOR and you end up with a very different result.

We could assume that Wall Street is reckless in lending money. They can afford to be reckless because they are using investor money. And, so the story goes, the boys on Wall Street got a little wild with loans that they would never have approved for themselves.

Without risk of any loss, Wall Street investment banks make money regardless of whether the loan succeeds or goes into default.

But Wall Street is not content with earning fees. The basic credo is a question: “How can we make YOUR money OUR money.” And they have successfully devised and followed that goal for many years. As one insider told me in an interview that must remain anonymous, “It is like a magic trick. You create a trust and everyone is looking at the trust and everyone is looking at transactions affecting the trust, when in fact all the action is occurring off record, off the books and away from scrutiny by investors, trustees, rating agencies, insurers, borrowers, and of course, the courts.” 

So the question becomes “what happens to investor money after it is received by the investment bank?” If the money passes from the bank account of the managed fund (pension) fund to the bank account of the investment bank that sold bonds issued by a Trust then the Trust would receive the money. It didn’t.

The Trust would then issue funds for the origination or acquisition of loans. In return it would get the loan documents and they would be placed with the Depositor or Depository — pretty much the way ordinary loans are done. It didn’t. Instead we had millions of loan documents lost or destroyed and then re-created for litigation purposes. Why would an entire industry have engaged in that behavior? Was it really a “volume” problem where there was too much paper or was it something more sinister?

The problem is that the investment bank that acts as broker in selling the bonds is in control of the loans and investments of the Trusts. Since the fees of the investment bank are based on the existence of transactions in which the Trust issues money in exchange for investment certificates, the Wall Street bank is incentivized to make that Trust money move regardless of the quality of the investment. And since the Trust has no say in the actual underwriting decision to originate or acquire the loan, the investment bank is the only one in charge. That leaves the fox guarding the hen house.

But that doesn’t satisfy Wall Street either. They realized that they can create “proprietary profits” for the investment banks by creating a yield spread premium. A yield spread premium is the difference in value between two different loans to the same party for the same transaction — one is the honest one and the other is fictitious.

At closing the borrower is steered into the fictitious one which is far more risky and expensive than the one the borrower is actually qualified to receive.

At the investor level the “trust” is ordered to take loans that are far less valuable than they appear. This means that the Trust buys the investment bonds or shares that the investment bank has created with nobody checking the quality or ownership of the investment. The Pooling and Servicing Agreement contains provisions that effectively bars the Trustee or the investors from knowing or even inquiring about these transactions. Look at any PSA and you will see it.

The bottom line is that the worse the loan terms for the borrower and the more likely it is that the loan will fail, the lower the value of the loan. But if it is sold as though it was an ordinary conventional loan at 5%, then the price, charged for a crappy loan is much higher than its true value. Same scenario as the inflated appraisals of real property and homes. 

So the investment bank inserts itself as the Seller of the loan to the trust. At their proprietary trading desk the investment bank sells its ownership interest in the loan to the trust for the higher “value” because the investment bank is making the decisions on what loans the trust will buy. Meanwhile they have created loans that are worth far less and even have principal due on the “notes” that is far less than what the trust is forced to “pay.”

Checking with informed sources, it is evident that those proprietary transactions were fictitious and allowed the investment banks to report huge “profits” while everyone else was losing their shirts trading bonds, equities and anything else. The transaction at the proprietary trading desk of the investment bank was fictitious because the trust did not issue any payment to the investment bank, who never formally owned the loan in the first place.

You don’t see investment banks anywhere in the chain of title whether you review public records or even MERS. So you have the investment bank selling a loan they don’t own to a trust that never paid for it. The entire transaction is recorded but does not exist.

In the case of a 15% $300,000 loan to a “borrower”, it is “SOLD” as a 5% conventional loan giving the investment bank a reason to declare that it made a profit on a “proprietary trade.” How much profit? Figure it out — on the back of a napkin you can see how the investment banks “sold” the $300,000 loan but “received” $900,000 from the Trust leaving the investors with an instant $600,000 loss and the probability of losing the rest of the $300,000 as well. This is exactly opposite to the provisions of the Prospectus and PSA.

Upon examination, my sources tell me, the money to cover that declared “trading” profit does exist at the investment bank. That is because the investment bank took the money from investors, never funded the trust, and pocketed the $600,000 in advance of the “proprietary trade, which they could cause to be recorded and reported at any time, since the investment bank was in total control.

Enter moral hazard.

The only incentive that the investment bank to stay honest is to report good results so the managed funds buy more bonds. But that does not protect investors. The investment bank creates a classic PONZI scheme in which it uses investor money to make the monthly payments on the bonds or shares and reports that “all is well.” The report disclaims reliability, credibility and authenticity. Wells Fargo has an especially strong disclaimer on the distribution report to investors. The disclaimers were ignored as “boiler plate” by fund managers who made the investment on behalf of the their pensioners or mutual fund shareholders.

All the fund managers needed to know was that they were getting paid — but they did not realize that a significant part of the payment came from their own investment dollars advanced to the investment bank, as broker for the purchase of trust bonds or shares.

So the investment bank makes much less money on good investments for the trust than on really bad investments. In fact they have the  incentive to make certain the loan fails. Not only do they get the yield spread premium described above, the investment bank, is trading on inside information in which only the investment bank knows the truth. It places bets against the viability of the loan and bets further against the value of the mortgage bonds, and buys contracts for insurance, betting that the value of the bond will fall in a “credit event” without the necessity of an actual default.

SO IF THE INVESTMENT BANK DID NOT GIVE THE TRUST THE MONEY FROM INVESTORS, WHERE DID THE INVESTORS’ MONEY GO?

That is the trillion dollar question. And THIS is where the Courts have it completely wrong. Either we are a nation of laws or a nation governed by the financial industry. The banks bet on themselves, and so far, they were right to do so.

The money given to the investment banks was spread out over a long list of intermediaries owned or controlled by the investment bank. AND then SOME of it was spread out funding loans to borrowers. But the investment bank obviously could not name itself on the note and mortgage. That would have revealed that the tax advantages of a REMIC trust were nonexistent because the trust was not involved in the transaction.

So an elaborate, complicated, circuitous route was chosen for the “approval” of loans for origination or acquisition. First you have a nominee, which is often MERS plus a “lender” who was also a nominee even though they were called lender. The “lender” was subject to an assignment and assumption agreement that prohibited the “lender” from exercising any control over the closing on the loan that was being “originated.” In short, they were being paid to pretend to be a lender — hence the term pretender lender. 

The closing agent, whose fee depends upon actually closing, and the mortgage broker, whose fee depends upon actually closing, and the title company, whose fee depends upon the actual closing, have no interest in protecting the borrower from what is about to transpire.

The closing agent gets money from any one of a variety of sources OTHER THAN THE “LENDER.” The closing agent applies those funds to the closing as though the “Lender” made the loan. As stated by one mortgage document specialist for a large “originator”, “We knew that table funded loans were predatory and illegal, but we didn’t take that seriously. And the borrowers didn’t know who the lender was — that was the point. We used table funded loans to conceal the actual lender.”

Those funds came from the investors, although the money did not come through the trust. It came from the investment bank which was acting in the capacity, as they tell it, as a depository bank — which is why the Federal government allowed them to become commercial banks able to act as depositories. And every effort was made to prevent any evidence as to whose money was actually involved in the loan. Since it was the investor money that was used to originate or acquire the loan, it should have been the investors who were named as owner of the loan and recorded as such in the public records.

If you look at the PSA, it requires funding of the trust, of course. But it also requires that its acquisition of loans contain all the elements of a holder in due course, thus barring any claims from borrowers about irregularities at the closing, violations of state and federal law, etc. In summary the only defenses a borrower could raise against a holder in due course is that they paid or that they never signed the note. So a person who pays money in good faith without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses is pretty well protected. In litigation with borrowers, borrowers would be told they must sue the intermediaries that caused the problems with their loans.

The fact that no foreclosure of a loan subject to “claims of securitization” alleges HDC (holder in due course) status is very substantial corroboration that the Trust did not pay for the loan in good faith without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses.

The banks have been betting on a lot of things and winning every bet. In court they are betting that they will be treated as holders in due course and not as simply holders either with or without any right to enforce where they might be required to prove the actual loan of money from the originator, or the payment of money for an assignment and endorsement. And THAT is why the appellate court is assuming that the loan actually occurred — you, know, the loan that is underlying the execution of the note and mortgage, because the borrower didn’t know the truth.

The factual problem is that the presumptions and assumptions relied upon by the courts are in direct conflict with the real facts. The legal problem is that starting with the original loan, many cases, and always with the assignment of loan, is that somewhere in the chain (and probably at more than one point in the “chain”) there is no underlying transaction for the paper upon which the bankers rely in foreclosure.

Some OTHER transaction occurred, which is why the note is evidence of a loan that does not exist between the “lender” and the “borrower” and why the assignment is evidence of a transaction that does not exist between the assignor and assignee. The mistake being made is basic law: the courts are confusing “evidence” of a transaction with the transaction itself. In so doing they are escalating the status of the forecloser from a mere holder to a holder in due course without any actual claim or allegation of HDC status. Once that is done, the borrower is doomed.

The doom should fall on the investment bank and all the intermediaries that participated in this scheme. They left the investors with no coverage — the investors money was used in ways that were expressly prohibited by the offering, the PSA, and even the rules governing investments by stable managed funds whose risk is required to be extremely low in any investment. The investors are the involuntary lenders with no note and no mortgage.

The good news is that nearly all borrowers would be happy to execute a note and mortgage to investors who actually funded their loan or even a trust that was identified by the investors to represent them. The terms would be based upon current economic reality and would thus mitigate the damages to both the investor lenders and the borrowers. The balance, as we have already seen, lies in lawsuits for damages against the investment banks and their intermediaries demanding refunds, damages and even punitive damages. Those lawsuits are being brought by investors, borrowers, insurers, and guarantors and in some cases by counterparties to credit default swaps.

Without the execution of a real note and real mortgage, the foreclosures are fatally defective. So the bad news is that as long as the courts assume and then presume and then enter judgment for the foreclosing party, the Judge is inadvertently sealing a greater loss applied against the investor lender, removing the tax advantages of a REMIC trust, and creating another bar to liability and accountability of the investment bank who effectively has been lying and cheating its way through the system — using legal “presumptions” that are directly contrary to the facts.

The Truth: Was the Loan Sold or Not?

see http://livinglies.me/2013/04/29/hawaii-federal-district-court-applies-rules-of-evidence-bonymellon-us-bank-jp-morgan-chase-failed-to-prove-sale-of-note/

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The selection of an attorney is an important decision  and should only be made after you have interviewed licensed attorneys familiar with investment banking, securities, property law, consumer law, mortgages, foreclosures, and collection procedures. This site is dedicated to providing those services directly or indirectly through attorneys seeking guidance or assistance in representing consumers and homeowners. We are available to any lawyer seeking assistance anywhere in the country, U.S. possessions and territories. Neil Garfield is a licensed member of the Florida Bar and is qualified to appear as an expert witness or litigator in in several states including the district of Columbia. The information on this blog is general information and should NEVER be considered to be advice on one specific case. Consultation with a licensed attorney is required in this highly complex field.

Editor’s Analysis: Suppose you wanted to foreclose on property for which you never made a loan. Suppose you don’t have a lien and never did. Suppose you wanted to do this on a grand scale. How could you get away with it?

If you start with the premise in the preceding paragraph then the entire foreclosure and mortgage mess comes into focus and makes a lot of sense. Conversely if you start with the premise that all mortgage claims are presumptively valid then nothing makes sense and when you try to fix it you get nowhere. That’s what the Florida legislature is attempting to do with Senate Bill 1666 (appropriately numbered).

If you start with the premise that the mortgage claims are valid then it is quite logical and appropriate to conclude that the attempts by borrowers to escape inevitable consequences of their own bad judgment are clogging the court system and that borrowers are essentially abusing their due process rights costing each state billions of dollars in one form or another. But you have to ask yourself why there has been a sudden meteoric rise in the percentage of cases in which the borrower vigorously defends and brings claims against the supposedly valid holder of the note. What if all your assumptions and presumptions are not valid?

This is the essence of the issue confronting the courts, borrowers and their attorneys. And in a display of extreme irony the Wall Street banks even have the borrowers and their attorneys convinced that the loan was closed and the loan was sold. “The Loan”  refers to the transaction that is memorialized in the loan documents. “The sale” refers to the transaction in which  the loan was sold by the owner of the loan to a buyer of the loan.

There are two key questions:

  1. The first (origination) fact pattern is usually the same.  A borrower applies to an entity that advertises itself as a lender and that “lender” agrees to loan the money to the borrower.  A closing agent contacts the borrower  with information concerning the closing of the loan.  The borrower goes to the closing,  the money appears, and the borrower signs a myriad of documents.  Here’s the question:  what if the  “lender” did not loan the money and either played the part of an undisclosed nominee, and unlicensed mortgage broker or licensed mortgage broker, and never had a valid legal claim to collect on the note or enforce the mortgage?
  2.  The second (assignment) fact pattern is also usually the same. In cases where there is litigation documents magically appear showing the assignment or endorsement of the loan using a claim of authority or the production of an apparent power of attorney. The assignment or endorsement frequently occurs more than once. There are actually two questions here: (A) assuming the facts in paragraph 1 above are true what difference does it make if there were one or 100 assignments? If there is no valid or perfected lien and the assignor never had a claim to collect on the “loan,” the assignment may give the appearance of propriety but it conveys nothing; (B) If the assignee never paid for the sale of the note how could the assignment transaction be considered complete?  The Uniform Commercial Code governing the creation and sale of negotiable instruments indicates that each transaction must be for value received or consideration.  Is the so-called assignment merely an offer lacking acceptance and payment?

 You can have 100 or 1000 pages of documentation, but without a completed underlying transaction nothing in the documentation will have any legal effect on anyone despite the apparent “weight of the evidence.”

 The point is actually very simple. Don’t get lost in the weeds of the documentation. The first question to be asked at the threshold is whether or not a transaction actually occurred containing the legal elements required for a completed transaction. If there is no consideration there is no transaction. If there is no transaction then there are no rights to enforce by or against anyone.

 The arguments about the holder of the note are frankly silly. In the absence of consideration the party holding the note is merely possessing the note without any rights of collection or enforcement. If it were otherwise then  any Courier, attorney or closing agent would be able to collect on the note and even foreclose on the mortgage leaving the lender out in the cold.

 Whether or not a party is a holder or holder in due course  is a question of law which raises presumptions if the proper foundation is established in order to conclude that a party is a holder or holder in due course. These are all legal conclusions and not factual issues.  In order to establish the legal conclusion of holder or holder in due course the proponent of that legal conclusion must have a prima facie case showing a legal transaction in which ownership of the loan was transferred. Imagine if it were otherwise: accepting the circular logic of the banks, if six people were sitting around a table with a note in the middle the one with the fastest hands would be able to collect on a note and foreclose the mortgage. This is not the law.

 As a tactical note, the practitioner should be relentless in the pursuit of the actual proof of payment (at origination or purported sale of the loan) without which there can be no proof of loss. If there is no proof of loss than there is no creditor. If there is no creditor there can be no credit bid at the time of auction of the property. And since that has occurred on a regular basis in all 50 states it would be fair to say that the sale of the property in foreclosure was never completed and that the homeowners still owns the home —  or is entitled to compensatory damages equal to the value of the home because of breach of contract,  slander of title, fraud etc.  I believe that the claim that is easier to pursue is the one for compensatory and punitive damages plus attorneys fees and costs of the action.

 In discovery what you are looking for is the actual wire transfer receipt, wire transfer instructions, ACH confirmation, cancelled check or Check 21 confirmation,  showing the name of the party who paid and the name of the party who received the payment.  Whether you are in small claims court or federal court the requirement is always the same. Any party seeking affirmative relief from the court must show that they were injured or damaged by the party whom they have sued. If they can’t show the payment and an unbroken chain of payments leading up and including the supposed assignment, then they have no claim because the court lacks jurisdiction and the party lacks standing to enforce or even consider a claim in which there is no injury.

 So the answer to the question posed in the title of this article is no, the loan was never sold. We know that because the investors deposited money with the investment bank and it was the investors’ money that funded the loan. Contrary to popular misconception the money from the investors was never used to fund any pool of assets or trust. It was used directly to fund loans and the various fees to undisclosed third parties contrary to the requirements of the truth in lending act. The investment by the investors into each loan was the only time  money changed hands which in turn means it was the only time that consideration existed.

 That is why you will never find payment from one party to another in the alleged securitization chain.  the truth is that there is no securitization chain and the banks intentionally failed to document the interest of the investors in each mortgage because the banks wanted to assert their own claim to ownership of the loan and the bogus securities allegedly backed by the loan. If they had been honest, then they would have taken the investor money, put it into an account that was owned by the asset pool, fund the loan from the asset pool and then document the transaction showing the interest  of the asset pool at the time of origination of the loan or at the time that the loan was in fact sold to the asset pool for payment received.

And THAT is why I say that the existence of MERS is proof of fraudulent intent. There would have been no need for MERS or anything like it (See Chase Bank and Wells Fargo) if the Banks were not going to trade securities based upon THEIR ownership of a loan they never made.

 If you prove these points in court I believe you will win the case.

SB 1666: Fast Foreclosure Bill Resurrected in Senate After Thought Dead
http://4closurefraud.org/2013/05/01/sb-1666-fast-foreclosure-bill-resurrected-in-senate-after-thought-dead/

WOULD THEY STILL BE TIGHT LIPPED IF THE NEWS WAS GOOD FOR THE BANKS? Regulators to Keep Tight Lips on Foreclosure Improprieties
http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/regulators_keep_tight_lips_over_foreclosure_improprieties_20130430/

Foreclosure Scams Rampant in Florida
http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/foreclosure-scams-rampant-in-florida-21904/

UBS faces calls for break-up at investor meeting
http://www.foxbusiness.com/news/2013/05/02/ubs-faces-calls-for-break-up-at-investor-meeting/

Macro Factors and Their Impact on Monetary Policy, The Economy and Financial Markets
http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2013/05/macro-factors-and-their-impact-on-monetary-policy-the-economy-and-financial-markets/

Roubini: Fed Risking Sequel to 2008 Financial Crisis
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100698405

BULK SALES OF MORTGAGE LOANS: WHAT ARE THEY BUYING?

Wall Street is gearing up to buy properties en masse from Fannie, Freddie and other holders (including the Federal Reserve. The question for these investors is what are they buying and what are they doing?

I think these sales represent an attempt to create a filler for an empty hole in the title chain. we already know that strangers to the transaction were submitting credit bids at rigged auctions of these properties. The auctions were based upon declarations of default and instructions from a “beneficiary” that popped up out of nowhere. The borrowers frequently contested the sale with a simple denial that they ever did business with the forecloser and that the chain of “assignments” were fabricated, forged, robo-signed, surrogate signed and executed by unauthroized people on behalf of unauthroized entities.

The reason the banks and servicers resorted to such illegal tactics was that they understood full well that the origination documents were fatally defective and they were papering over the defects that continually recited the validity of the preceding documents. That is putting lipstick on a pig. It is still a pig.

While apparently complex, the transaction in a mortgage loan is quite simple — money is loaned, a note is made payable to the lender and a separate agreement collateralizes the loan as guarantee for faithful performance of repayment in accordance with the terms of the note. An examination of the money trail shows that this procedure was not followed and that the practices followed and which have become institutionalized industry standards lead to grave moral hazard, fabrication, forgery and fraud. The entire matter can be easily resolved if the forecloser is required to produce original documentation and appropriate witnesses to lay the foundation of the introduction of documents starting with the funding of the loan through the present, including all receipts and disbursements relating to the loan.

Since the receipts and disbursements clearly involve third parties whose existence was not contemplated or known at the time of origination of the loan, it would probably be wise to appoint an independent receiver with subpoena powers to obtain full records from the subservicer, Master Servicer, trustee, other co-obligors or co-venturers including the investment bank that sold mortgage bonds and investors with the sole restriction that it relate to the accounting and correspondence, agreements and other media relating to the subject loan and the subject pool claiming to own the loan.

Starting from that point, (knowing all receipts and disbursements, sources and recipients, the rest is relatively uncomplicated. Either the documents follow the money trail or they don’t. If they do, then the foreclosure should proceed. If they don’t then there are discretionary decisions of the court as well as mandatory applications of law that are required to determine whether or not the discrepancies are material.

The chain of documents relied upon by the foreclosing party is neither supported by consideration nor do the origination documents recite the terms of the transaction authorized by the lender. Hence there was no meeting of the minds. At a minimum, the recorded lien is a wild deed or should otherwise be subject to invalidation or removal from county records, and the note should be excluded as evidence of the obligation. The actual obligation runs through a different chain the terms of which were never documented between the lenders and the borrower. Hence at common law, it is a demand loan, unsecured.

But the sale from a GSE or other entity creates yet another layer of paper giving the appearance that the origination documented were valid, even though the evidence strongly points in the opposite direction. The purchase of such loans or properties would thus lead to the inevitable wrongful foreclosure suits in which the property is sought to be returned to its rightful owner, and/or compensatory and punitive damages including damages for emotional distress in California.

So my answer is that these buyers did not buy property or loans. They bought themselves into lawsuits that they will lose once discovery is opened up on the underlying transactions, all of which were faked. Is the government colluding with these “buyers” to fix an fixable title problem?

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