Those letters from the lawyer for the “servicer”: PHH

It is true that someone will execute a release of the lien. What is not true is that they have any authority to do so — nor is it true that PHH has any right to receive any money, whether it is a monthly payment or a payoff.

In fact it is not true that PHH will receive any money. They won’t and they don’t. All payments are  directed through lockbox contracts and FINTECH companies into accounts that may bear the name of a company claiming to be a serrvicer but which are owned by someone else.

This is why I keep successfully annoying opposing counsel about the payment history they wish to introduce as a business record exception to the rule against the use of hearsay evidence.

Since none of the data was entered by anyone employed by the company that is claimed to be the servicer, the payment history is neither a business record that is an exception to the rule against hearsay, nor an acceptable substitute for what has always been required: the accounting ledger showing the history (cradle to grave) of the loan account receivable. In fact, the payment history is not even a partially acceptable substitute for that ledger because it does not reflect payments to creditors.

PHH, Ocwen and Reverse Mortgage Solutions (among others) are all part of the same organization. In a recent dialogue between my client and the lawyer for PHH, he stated that payment to PHH will cause the lien to be released. This got me started thinking about the way he worded that. Normally the lawyer would write something like “Payment to PHH, as agent for XYZ Creditor, will satisfy the debt, note and mortgage. Upon receipt of such payment,m the lien will be released.”

Note that this was a representation from the lawyer not PHH and not any creditor. And the lawyer is protected by a form of immunity as long as he is not intentionally misstating the facts knowing that they’re false. If PHH said that, it could be the basis for a fraud action.  It is true that someone will execute a release of the lien. What is not true is that they have any authority to do so nor is it true that PHH has any right to receive any money, whether it is a monthly payment or a payoff.

It is true that someone will execute a release of the lien. What is not true is that they have any authority to do so nor is it true that PHH has any right to receive any money, whether it is a monthly payment or a payoff.

So this is what I said in a comment to the receipt of an email displaying the comments of the lawyer claiming to represent “somebody” which we presume is a claim to represent PHH which in turn is a claim to represent some company claiming to be a creditor merely because they have some paperwork — and not because they ever entered into any purchase and sale transaction in which they bought the underlying obligation, the legal debt, note or mortgage:

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Of course, what is interesting is that the lawyer is saying that payment to PHH will cause the lien to be released. But it doesn’t say who will release it. It’s leaving the rest to your imagination. Any lien release under this scenario would be executed by a person working for a company that has no legal authority to sign it.

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The way it is set up, the person is authorized by the company he works for, but the company lacks the authority to authorize him to sign it. The company, in turn, claims authority by virtue of some contract or document in which the counterparty grants the company the authority. But the grantor also lacks authority.

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The idea here is to get you to take your eye off the ball. The ball is always the underlying obligation. It is the legal owner of the obligation (i.e., the one who purchased it for value) who has the sole authority to grant powers to anyone else over the administration, collection, and enforcement of the underlying obligation.
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It is only when you take your eye off the ball that these companies get away with claiming the status of “holder” of the note and owner of the mortgage. The holder of the note is defined as a party who has physical possession of the note (or the right to physical possession of the note) together with the authority to enforce it.
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These players have been successfully leveraging the idea that physical possession of the promissory note, or the right to physical possession of the promissory note is all that they need in order to establish the legal presumption that they have the authority to enforce it. That has never been true. But in the absence of a persistent and aggressive challenge from the alleged debtor, these parties have been able to steamroll over all weak objections.
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Further, leveraging one presumption into another, they have been successful in raising the additional presumption that transfer of the note to a “holder” is the legal equivalent of transferring legal title to the underlying obligation, thus satisfying the requirement for enforcement that is contained in Article 9–203 of the Uniform Commercial Code. None of that is true; but all of it seems to be true.
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The bottom line is that they know there is no loan account receivable and therefore no legal owner of the underlying obligation. They have done that intentionally for the benefit of the investment banks that set up this scheme. But it has not been difficult for Wall Street to convince the rest of the world that all of these transactions are, in substance, just what they appear to be. Getting the courts, law enforcement, regulators, and even homeowners and their lawyers to look beyond the appearance has been the principal impediment to defeating the scheme.
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Neil F Garfield, MBA, JD, 74, is a Florida licensed trial and appellate attorney since 1977. He has received multiple academic and achievement awards in business, accounting and law. He is a former investment banker, securities broker, securities analyst, and financial analyst.
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