The Importance of Discovery and Motion Practice

Practically all the questions I get relate to how to prove the case that the loan was securitized. This is the wrong question. While it is good to have as much information about the pool a loan MIGHT BE INCLUDED, that doesn’t really answer the real question.

The real question is what is the identity of the creditor(s). The secondary question is what is owed on my obligation — not how much did I pay the servicer.

It might seem like a subtle distinction but it runs to the heart of the burden of proof. You can do all the research in the world and come up with the exact pool name that lists your property in the assets as a secured loan supporting the mortgage backed security that was issued and sold for real money to real investors.  But that will not tell you whether the loan was ever really accepted into the pool, whether it is still in the pool, or whether it is paid in whole or in part by third parties through various credit enhancement (insurance) contracts or federal bailout.

You must assume that everything is untrue. That includes the filings with the SEC. They may claim the loan is in the pool and even show an assignment. But as any first year law student will tell you there is no contract unless you have an offer AND an acceptance. If the terms of the pooling and service agreement say that the cutoff date is April 30 and the assignment is dated June 10, then by definition the loan is not in the pool unless there is some other documentation that overrides that very clear provision of the pooling and service agreement.

Even if it made it into the pool there are questions about the authenticity of the assignment, forgery and whether the pool structure was broken up (trust dissolved, or LLC dissolved) only to be broken up further into one or more new resecuritized pools. And even if that didn’t happen, someone related to this transaction most probably received payments from third parties. Were those allocated to your loan yet? Probably not. I haven’t heard about any borrower getting a letter with a new amortization schedule showing credits from insurance allocated to the principal originally due on the loan.

The pretender lenders want to direct the court’s attention to whether YOU paid your monthly payments, ignoring the fact that others have most likely made payments on your obligation. Remember every one of these isntruments derives its value from your loan. Therefore every payment on it needs to be credited to your loan whether the payment came from you or someone else. [You know all that talk about $20 billion from AIG going to Goldman Sachs? They are talking about YOUR LOAN!]

The error common to pro se litigants, lawyers and judges is that this is not a matter of proof from the borrower. The party sitting there at the other table in the courtroom with a file full of this information is the one who has it — and the burden of proof. Your case is all about the fact that the information was withheld and you want it now. That is called discovery. And it is in motion practice that you’ll either win the point or lose it. If you win the point about proceeding with discovery you have won the case.

You still need as much information as possible about the probability of securitization and the meaning it has in the context of the subject mortgage. But just because you don’t have it doesn’t mean the pretender lender has proved anything. What they have done, if they prevailed, is they blocked you from getting the information.

By rights you shouldn’t have to prove a thing about securitization where there is a foreclosure in process. By rights you should be able to demand proof they are the right people with the full accounting of all payments including receipts from insurance and credit default swaps. The confusion here emanating from Judges is that particularly in non-judicial states, since the borrower must bring the case to court in the first instance, the assumption is made that the borrower must prove a prima facie case that they don’t owe the money or that the foreclosing pretender lender is an impostor. That’s what you get when you convert a judicial issue into a non-judicial one on the basis of “judicial economy.”

In reality, the ONLY way that non-judicial statutes can be constitutionally applied is that if the borrower goes to the trouble of raising an objection by bringing the matter to court, the burden of proof MUST shift immediately to the pretender lender to show that in a judicial proceeding they can establish a prima facie case to enforce the obligation, the note and the mortgage (deed of trust). ANY OTHER INTERPRETATION WOULD UNCONSTITUTIONALLY DENY THE BORROWER THE RIGHT TO A HEARING ON THE MERITS WHEREIN THE PARTY SEEKING AFFIRMATIVE RELIEF (THAT IS THE FORECLOSING PARTY, NOT THE BORROWER) MUST PROVE THEIR CASE.

Wells Fargo, Option One, American Home Mortgage Relationship

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. appears in many ways including as servicer (America Servicing Company), Trustee (although it does not appear to be qualified as a “Trust Company”), as claimed beneficiary, as Payee on the note, as beneficiary under the title policy, as beneficiary under the property and liability insurance, and it may have in actuality acted as a mortgage broker without getting licensed as such.

In most securitized loan situations, Wells Fargo appears with the word “BANK” used, but it acted neither as a commercial nor investment bank in the deal. Sometimes it acted as a commercial bank meaning it processed a deposit and withdrawal, sometimes (rarely, perhaps 3-4% of the time) it did act as a lender, and sometimes it acted as a securities underwriter or co-underwriter of asset backed securities.

It might also be designated as “Depositor” which in most cases means that it performed no function, received no money, disbursed no money and neither received, stored, handled or transmitted any documentation despite third party documentation to the contrary.

In short, despite the sue of the word “BANK”, it was not acting as a bank in any sense of the word within the securitization chain. However, it is the use of the word “BANK” which connotes credibility to their role in the transaction despite the fact that they are not, and never were a creditor. The obligation arose when the funds were advanced for the benefit of the homeowner. But the pool from which those funds were advanced came from investors who purchased certificates of asset backed securities. Those investors are the creditors because they received a certificate containing three promises: (1) repayment of principal non-recourse based upon the payments by obligors under the terms of notes and mortgages in the pool (2) payment of interest under the same conditions and (3) the conveyance of a percentage ownership in the pool, which means that collectively 100% of the ivnestors own 100% of the the entire pool of loans. This means that the “Trust” does NOT own the pool nor the loans in the pool. It means that the “Trust” is merely an operating agreement through which the ivnestors may act collectively under certain conditions.  The evidence of the transaction is the note and the mortgage or deed of trust is incident to the transaction. But if you are following the money you look to the obligation. In most  transactions in which a residential loan was securitized, Wells Fargo did not work under the scope of its bank charter. However it goes to great lengths to pretend that it is acting under the scope of its bank charter when it pursues foreclosure.

Wells Fargo will often allege that it is the holder of the note. It frequently finesses the holder in due course confrontation by this allegation because of the presumption arising out of its allegation that it is the holder. In fact, the obligation of the homeowner is not ever due to Wells Fargo in a securitized residential note and mortgage or deed of trust. The allegation of “holder” is disingenuous at the least. Wells Fargo is not and never was the creditor although ti will claim, upon challenge, to be acting within the scope and course of its agency authority; however it will fight to the death to avoid producing the agency agreement by which it claims authority. remember to read the indenture or prospectus or pooling and service agreement all the way to the end because these documents are created to give an appearance of propriety but they do not actually support the authority claimed by Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo often claims to be Trustee for Option One Mortgage Loan Trust 2007-6 Asset Backed Certificates, Series 2007-6, c/o American Home Mortgage, 4600 Regent Blvd., Suite 200, P.O. Box 631730, Irving, Texas 75063-1730. Both Option One and American Home Mortgage were usually fronts (sham) entities that were used to originate loans using predatory, fraudulent and otherwise illegal loan practices in violation of TILA, RICO and deceptive lending practices. ALL THREE ENTITIES — WELLS FARGO, OPTION ONE AND AMERICAN HOME MORTGAGE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS A SINGLE JOINT ENTERPRISE ABUSING THEIR BUSINESS LICENSES AND CHARTERS IN MOST CASES.

WELLS FARGO-OPTION ONE-AMERICAN HOME MORTGAGE IS OFTEN REPRESENTED BY LERNER, SAMPSON & ROTHFUSS, more specifically Susana E. Lykins. They list their address as P.O. Box 5480, Cincinnati, Oh 45201-5480, Telephone 513-241-3100, Fax 513-241-4094. Their actual street address is 120 East Fourth Street, Suite 800 Cincinnati, OH 45202. Documents purporting to be assignments within the securitization chain may in fact be executed by clerical staff or attorneys from that firm using that address. If you are curious, then pick out the name of the party who executed your suspicious document and ask to speak with them after you call the above number.

Ms. Lykins also shows possibly as attorney for JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. as well as Robert B. Blackwell, at 620-624 N. Main street, Lima, Ohio 45801, 419-228-2091, Fax 419-229-3786. He also claims an office at 2855 Elm Street, Lima, Ohio 45805

Kathy Smith swears she is “assistant secretary” for American Home Mortgage as servicing agent for Wells Fargo Bank. Yet Wells shows its own address as c/o American Home Mortgage. No regulatory filing for Wells Fargo acknowledges that address. Ms. Smith swears that Wells Fargo, Trustee is the holder of the note even though she professes not to work for them. Kathy Smith’s signature is notarized by Linda Bayless, Notary Public, State of Florida commission# DD615990, expiring November 19, 2010. This would indicate that despite the subject property being in Ohio, Kathy Smith, who presumably works in Texas, had her signature notarized in Florida or that the Florida Notary exceeded her license if she was in Texas or Ohio or wherever Kathy Smith was when she allegedly executed the instrument.

Bondholders Get It Now and Are Firing Servicers

Thanks to Gator Bradshaw

Editor’s Comment: Like I said, the investors and the homeowners have a lot of interests in common. When they finally get together and compare notes, they find a giant donut hole where assets or money were supposed to be. The amount of theft or undisclosed fees and profits staggers the imagination. It would take 200 like Bernie Madoff to even get close.

Watch these lawsuits and the news reports. As the investors start firing the servicers (who probably don’t have any authority now anyway) and start hiring new servicers they will be performing due diligence. As they trace the paperwork and discover the incurable gaps in title, ownership, credit and money trails, you will find them changing the narrative considerably from blame the borrower to how can we work with borrowers to minimize our losses?

And wait until they figure out that millions of foreclosed homes are NOT being held for the investors in inventory and hundreds of thousands of homes “sold” have toxic titles where the proceeds of sale were not given tot he investors either. I’m no psychic but I’ll bet those investors will be surprised and pretty damned angry.

see subprimeshakeout.blogspot.com

see bondholders-considering-plan-to-tell.html

With lawsuits against servicers grinding a slow path through the court system, investors are looking to make an end-run around the intransigent banks who are refusing to service mortgages in accordance with bondholder wishes. Their solution to break through the gridlock surrounding so-called “toxic” mortgage-backed securities? Use the mechanisms in their pooling and servicing agreements (PSAs)–the agreements that govern the creation, maintenance and payment streams of mortgage-backed securities–to remove conflicted servicers from their roles and insert friendly institutions willing to service the loans consistent with the best interests of the investors.

According to one group of prominent investors (hereinafter the “Securitization Syndicate”), who asked to remain anonymous because the plan is still in the works, investors with large holdings in mortgage-backed securities are beginning to join forces to petition securitization Trustees to relieve Master Servicers from their posts. Under the terms of most PSAs (which tend to vary little from trust to trust), the Master Servicer is required to service loans in such a way as to maximize investor returns. However, due to recognized conflicts of interest (such as significant holdings in junior mortgages and an interest in accumulating fees from delinquent loans), servicers instead have frequently breached these obligations and refused to liquidate or modify loans that borrowers are incapable of repaying.

The problem is that, under the terms of most PSAs, the only party with the power to do anything about a breach of an obligation by a Master Servicer is the Trustee. Trustees are generally large financial institutions that are paid a fee to oversee the flow of money through the securitization waterfall and to carry out certain administrative tasks. Though the Trustee may remove a Master Servicer, because the Trustee was designed to play a fairly passive role, it is not required to enforce servicer breaches on its own initiative.

Instead, bondholders must petition the Trustee to take action. In this regard, most PSAs require that at least 25% of the Voting Rights (evidenced by beneficial ownership of 25% of the bonds) give notice to the Trustee of a breach by the Master Servicer before triggering any obligations by the Trustee. Only when the Trustee fails to remedy the breach within 60 days after such a petition may the bondholders bring legal action on behalf of the Trust.

However, most PSAs also provide the following: “The Holders of Certificates entitled to at least 51% of the Voting Rights may at any time remove the Trustee and appoint a successor trustee.” (quoted from the representative PSA for Countrywide Alternative Loan Trust 2005-35CB) Anticipating that the Trustee will not take action against the Master Servicer, and reluctant to engage in yet another protracted legal battle to enforce servicers’ obligations, the Securitization Syndicate is shooting for a more ambitious goal: amass a 51% interest in one securitization so that they may remove the Trustee, appoint a friendly successor, and get that successor to fire the Master Servicer.

Sound difficult? It will be. Most prudent investors seek to diversify their holdings so that they do not hold too high a percentage in any one securitization, let alone any one asset class. Finding a few investors with large enough holdings in one particular securitization to obtain 51% could be a challenge. Finding institutional investors willing to take on large financial institutions with which they have longstanding relationships–and risk being portrayed as opposed to politically popular loan modifications–may be even harder.

Yet, according to one member of the Securitization Syndicate, “all it takes is one. What do you think will happen if we tell a Trustee or a Master Servicer, ‘you’re fired’? What will happen the next time we notify a Trustee that we’ve caught a servicer breaching its obligations? I think you’ll find they begin to sit up and take notice.”

I would tend to agree with this assessment. Many large banks earn significant fees from serving as the Trustee or Master Servicer of securitizations, and would not want to lose those revenues. Further, while many institutional investors may be reluctant to go out on a limb an take on a major bank, just one reported instance of this plan being successful will likely create a chain reaction. Soon, many bondholders will be open to joining forces and taking on Servicers and Trustees who aren’t honoring their fiduciary duties.

With Treasury officials admitting last month to the failure of their efforts to cajole servicers into modifying loans or working with borrowers to allow short-sales (the sale of the property for an amount less than the amount owed on the mortgage), maybe it’s time that institutional investors take matters into their own hands. Large funds such as CalPERS, whose investment portfolio took a hit of over $56 billion in the last fiscal year, should be eager to find a way to cut their losses and rid their books of their large holdings in mortgage-backed securities.

This can only be done with the cooperation of servicers, who have the sole power to modify a loan, foreclose, or allow a short sale, and who have generally been responsible for dragging their feet and keeping these loans in stasis. When servicers refuse to service loans in the best interests of the ultimate owners, which they’re contractually-obligated to do, they should be shown the door just like anyone else that fails to perform their basic job functions. The question is whether any of these institutional investors will have the courage to break ranks and stand up to banks that have demonstrated unparalleled influence in Washington and on Wall Street.

Donald W. Bradshaw Esq.
Law Office of Donald W. Bradshaw
303 SE 17th Street #309-218
Ocala, Florida 34471
Phone: (352) 484-1145
Fax: (352) 484-1117
gator.bradshaw@yahoo.com

How to Search for the Trust or SPV Claiming Your Loan to Be Part of the SPV Pool

Thank You ABBY!

This post is from Abby. You can catch her email in comments where she originally posted. Just one word of caution: Just because the Trustee or officer of the SPV pool claims to have your loan doesn’t mean they really do. In fact they may only have a spreadsheet with no documentation, no original notes, no copies of the note, no copy of the deed, deed of trust or mortgage deed. They may have something they called an allonge and are treating it as though it was an assignment. The attempted transfer will almost ALWAYS violate the terms of the the SPV mortgage backed bonds and almost certainly violate the terms of the pooling and service agreement which is the document governing the pools created by aggregators before they were “sold” to the SPV. For one thing these documents usually state that the execution of the transfer documentation must be in recordable form and some of them even say they should be recorded. There are many other terms as well that conflict with each other and conflict with the actions of the intermediary participants in the securitization chain.

This is why this research is so important — but you should not be doing it to prove your case. You should be doing it to make them justify their position.

By delving deep in discovery or seeking an order compelling them to answer the QWR or DVL, they will eventually anger the judge by their stonewalling. Judicial anger is behind some of the most favorable decisions on record so far. The Judge gets there by recognizing that he/she has been duped and now the truth is coming out that these foreclosing parties are illegiitimate: they are not creditors, they are not lenders, they are not beneficiaries. They are simply interlopers seeking a windfall leaving the homeowners and the investor who advanced the funds in the dark. Shine the light and they scatter like roaches in the middle of the night.

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WANT TO SEARCH FOR THE TRUST YOUR LOAN WENT INTO??

Some steps below to use the SEC website to locate your loan and the trust it is in (mortgage pool).

This example uses WAMU (Washington Mutual).
Typically, Chase had JPMAC (JP Morgan Acquisition Corp) as the name of trusts.

http://www.sec.gov/

1. click on above link
2. if you have not yet created a free account and it asks you for login info…create the account
3. click on ’search’ in upper right corner
4. in the blue area, type in WAMU in the ‘company name’ field
5. click find companies at bottom
6. this brings up all the WAMU filings
7. search around for one that is the year you got your WAMU refi
8. it will be tedious, but you have to click on each CIK number (in red) over on left, and that will take you to a whole big list of more filings for that particular trust
9. go through and click on any ‘fwp’….read/scan to see if it lists any loan numbers….some will….check to see if your loan number is in it.
10. when you click on an ‘fwp’, which means free writing prospectus, you will see even more files…try to avoid looking at the ones that have .txt ending (the other, usually an html file, will have any infor you may need.

Note: you may want to also search around in years just prior to or just after your loan was done.

Some of these deals were set up even prior to you getting your loan.

Again, another place you may find the trust name is on your recorded docs, in MERS or on a Power of Attorney filed at the county recorder by the Securities trustee in your local county (if required by law).

FORECLOSURE AUCTIONS AND MODIFICATIONS: CLOUD ON TITLE

There are a few things that have occurred to me with the evolution of this mortgage meltdown crisis and the entire improper process by which it is being handled. The foreclosures are of course improper and there are many offensive and defensive strategies that have been presented here in this blog.

The main issues are whether the “lender” or “trustee” has any authority to foreclose, agree to short sale, or modify the loan. The answer is no, they don’t. A secondary and more exotic issue is that (a) co-obligors were added as the loan documents moved up the chain of securitization and (b) the pooling and service agreement combined with the structural requirements of the SPV require a misapplication of payments.

Co-obligors are added by (a) the people who received fees to insure, guarantee or otherwise pay for the income stream or the principal (credit default swaps etc.) and (b) starting with the toxic waste z tranche of the SPV, each tranche is obligated to apply its payments upwards to the more senior tranches. The effect of this latter point is that even if the borrower pays his mortgage payment, it is applied to someone else’s mortgage payment. It also effectively splits the note from the mortgage. Thus, it is apparent that the pleadings of the “lender” in a judicial state or the assumptions of the trustee in getting instructions from the “lender” in a non-judicial state are wrong. They are only presenting a small part of the story. Requesting the Court to take Judicial notice of 8k and 10k filings which are sworn statements made to a Federal Agency (SEC) should get you over the hump of proving your point.

The single transaction scenario is easily proved. No Investor, No Note. No Note, No Investor. Thus everything in between is part of the same transaction, including the insurance, CDS, guarantees, and payment application agreements (between tranches) which of course the borrower never signed off on and never would.

Thus the investor is the only party who could claim to being a holder in due course because the investor is the only party that can claim ignorance of the predatory loan tactics, lack of disclosure of real parties, lack of disclosure of fees paid to undisclosed parties etc. Hence the issue is NOT whether the “lender” received payment, it is whether the holder of the note received payment, regardless of the source of that payment. If my aunt wishes to pay off my mortgage payment or the entire balance, she is perfectly within her rights to do so and and my obligation would be required to reduced accordingly.

The Trustee is breaching his fiduciary duties to the borrower by not requiring the “lender” to make representations that (a) disclose the holder in due course and (b) that the holder did not receive payment. There is also the issue as to whether the nominal trustee on the deed of trust was replaced by the trustee of the pooling and services agreement and thus whether the Trustee is misrepresenting itself as having continued authority to even communicate with the borrower regarding the collection of a debt, the foreclosure of the property or to pursue the eviction of the homeowner.

The bottom line of all this is that anyone who takes title following an auction sale is taking title subject to claims that have not been resolved. The title to the property, the title to the mortgage, and the title tot he note, a negotiable instrument is clearly not what is represented by the actions and statements of the “lender” and “Trustee.”

That is why the form used to communicate with the Trustee is so important. It requires a response from the Trustee as to the demand for a satisfaction of mortgage to be filed. And that response requires the Trustee to perform due diligence to determine the holder in due course. Due diligence further requires the Trustee to inquire as to all payments made by or on behalf of the borrowers. If the investor was paid out of some reserve within the SPV, or by insurance, CDS, or some other guarantee or contribution, there is no delinquency or default because the payment is made. A third party payment MIGHT give rise to a an unsecured claim by that third party against the borrower, but at that point the mortgage and note are severed and the borrower is entitled to a satisfaction of mortgage or quiet title.

Thus the option for people who have alrady “lost the their homes” is to regain them by filing quiet title actions. The option for investors who did not get paid is to file a claim against the borrower for both foreclosure and collection, thus creating an additional cloud on the title to the property, the mortgage and the note.

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