Hooker Case Flirts With Reality – 9th Circuit

SEE AMICUS BRIEF AT END OF ARTICLE

It is interesting to watch the evolution of thought in the Courts. But it is also infuriating. They treat false claims of securitization as a novel issue; but in fact, there is nothing novel about Ponzi Schemes, and other types of fraud. Yet the Court continue to ponder the issue, probably wondering how they could possibly explain their prior decisions, the millions of foreclosures that have already occurred, and the 15 million people who were ejected from homes and lifestyles, jobs, and even lives (murder-suicides).

This is not rocket science despite the layers upon layers of paper that Wall Street throws at the issue. The simple facts and law governing loans, and secured loans in particular, need only be applied as they were written and interpreted for centuries.

If I loan you money, you must pay it back. If I don’t loan you money then I have no reason to demand you pay it “back” because I never loaned you money in the first instance. If I purchase a real loan for real money, then you owe the money to me. If I don’t purchase the loan, then I have no right to your money.

If some other person gives the loan you were looking for then that is a matter between you and them — not you and me. Whether I race to the courthouse or not, I cannot collect, get a judgment or foreclose unless you fail to contest it. The only way I could ever obtain a judgment against you on a false claim is if you don’t answer it. That isn’t because it is right that I should have a judgment against you and for me, it is just because the rules work that way. But even after that you still have some options to set aside the judgment or action on the alleged debt that doesn’t really exist.

Possessing an assignment from a party who never owned the loan has never been considered as conferring some right on the assignee. And Faulty, notes, mortgages, indorsements and assignments have very clear laws and precedent. The defective ones are thrown out. Why? Because the object is to identify REAL transactions in which real value exchanged hands. And because the object is to ignore documentation that REFERS to a transaction that never took place.

It is one thing to have an executed note or some other testimony of proffered evidence of a loan, and another to show the Court the actual canceled check in which you advanced the money. One document talks about the transaction while the other IS the transaction. It is the difference between talking the talk and walking the walk. Talking about Paris doesn’t get you there.

You might have received a loan from someone at closing but the odds are that you didn’t get it from the Payee on the note, the mortgagee on the mortgage, the nominee, the beneficiary on the deed of trust or any of the other parties that were disclosed.

Finally the Courts are asking about the reality that Judge Shack in New York and Judge Boyco in Ohio were talking about 6 years ago, which was picked up by a number of Judges that were suddenly rotated out of the position to hear foreclosure cases. Politics frequently trumps the law, at least for a while. And politics is all about money. And if it is about money, then the banks are the obvious place to look.

I commend to your reading, the short Hooker Case (Link below) and the Amicus Brief (link below) submitted by laymen for your review and study. While not exactly what we would like to see both provide compelling evidence of a movement on the bench toward reality and away from the smoke and mirrors of the largest economic crime in human history.

The implications for both pleading and discovery are, I believe, self evident. HINT: I have it on good authority that the IRS form mentioned in the Amicus Brief is feared by Wall Street as the lynchpin of their position: once pulled the whole thing falls apart as it becomes obvious that the “trusts” neither received funds from the investors nor did they receive loans from the aggregators. That Amicus Brief also contains the only valid diagram of the actual practice of securitization in existence (other than the ones I have drawn in seminars). Notice how different it is from the diagrams of securitization that trace the wording of the securitization documents. it is the simple difference between truth (what happened) and fiction (what they say happened and why you shouldn’t be allowed to ask what really happened).

Hooker v Northwest Trustee Services 11-35534

Wells-Fargo-v-Erobobo-Amicus-Brief_1-14

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The Big Cover-Up in Our Credit Nation

Regulators have confirmed that there were widespread errors by banks but that the errors didn’t really matter. They are trying to tell us that the errors had to do with modifications and other matters that really didn’t have any bearing on whether the loans were owned by parties seeking foreclosure or on whether the balance alleged to be due could be confirmed in any way, after deducting third party payments received by the foreclosing party. Every lawyer who spends their time doing foreclosure litigation knows that report is dead wrong.

So the government is actively assisting the banks is covering up the largest scam in human history. The banks own most of the people in government so it should come as no surprise. This finding will be used again and again to say that the complaints from borrowers are just disgruntled homeowners seeking to find their way out of self inflicted wound.

And now they seek to tell us in the courts that nothing there matters either. It doesn’t matter whether the foreclosing party actually owns the loan, received delivery of the note, or a valid assignment of the mortgage for value. The law says it matters but the bank lawyers, some appellate courts and lots of state court judges say that doesn’t apply — you got the money and stopped paying. That is all they need to know. So let’s look at that.

If I found out you were behind in your credit card payments and sued you, under the present theory you would have no defense to my lawsuit. It would be enough that you borrowed the money and stopped paying. The fact that I never loaned you the money nor bought the loan would be of no consequence. What about the credit card company?

Well first they would have to find out about the lawsuit to do anything. Second they could still bring their own lawsuit because mine was completely unfounded. And they could collect again. In the world of fake REMIC trusts, the trust beneficiaries have no right to the information on your loan nor the ability to inquire, audit or otherwise figure out what happened tot heir investment.

It is the perfect steal. The investors (like the credit card company) are getting paid by the borrowers and third party payments from insurance etc. or they have settled with the broker dealers on the fraudulent bonds. So when some stranger comes in and sues on the debt, or sues in foreclosure or issues of notice of default and notice of sale, the defense that the borrower has no debt relationship with the foreclosing party is swept aside.

The fact that neither the actual lender nor the actual victim of this scheme will ever be compensated for their loss doesn’t matter as long as the homeowner loses their home.  This is upside down law and politics. We have seen the banks intervene in student loans and drive that up to over $1 trillion in a country where the average household is $15,000 in debt — a total of $13 trillion dollars. The banks are inserting themselves in all sorts of transactions producing bizarre results.

The net result is undermining the U.S. economy and undermining the U.S. dollar as the reserve currency of the world. Lots of people talk about the fact that we have already lost 20% of our position as the reserve currency and that we are clearly headed for a decline to 50% and then poof, we will be just another country with a struggling currency. Printing money won’t be an option. Options are being explored to replace the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. No longer are companies requiring payments in U.S. dollars as the trend continues.

The banks themselves are preparing for a sudden devaluation of currency by getting into commodities rather than holding their money in US Currency. The same is true for most international corporations. We are on the verge of another collapse. And contrary to what the paid pundits of the banks are saying the answer is simple — just like Iceland did it — apply the law and reduce the household debt. The result is a healthy economy again and a strong dollar. But too many people are too heavily invested or tied to the banks to allow that option except on a case by case basis. So that is what we need to do — beat them on a case by case basis.

ALERT: COMMUNITY BANKS AND CREDIT UNIONS AT GRAVE RISK HOLDING $1.5 TRILLION IN MBS

I’ve talked about this before. It is why we offer a Risk Analysis Report to Community Banks and Credit Unions. The report analyzes the potential risk of holding MBS instruments in lieu of Treasury Bonds. And it provides guidance to the bank on making new loans on property where there is a history of assignments, transfers and other indicia of claims of securitization.

The risks include but are not limited to

  1. MBS Instrument issued by New York common law trust that was never funded, and has no assets or expectation of same.
  2. MBS Instrument was issued by NY common law trust on a tranche that appeared safe but was tied by CDS to the most toxic tranche.
  3. Insurance paid to investment bank instead of investors
  4. Credit default swap proceeds paid to investment banks instead of investors
  5. Guarantees paid to investment banks after they have drained all value through excessive fees charged against the investor and the borrowers on loans.
  6. Tier 2 Yield Spread Premiums of as much as 50% of the investment amount.
  7. Intentional low underwriting standards to produce high nominal interest to justify the Tier 2 yield spread premium.
  8. Funding direct from investor funds while creating notes and mortgages that named other parties than the investors or the “trust.”
  9. Forcing foreclosure as the only option on people who could pay far more than the proceeds of foreclosure.
  10. Turning down modifications or settlements on the basis that the investor rejected it when in fact the investor knew nothing about it. This could result in actions against an investor that is charged with violations of federal law.
  11. Making loans on property with a history of “securitization” and realizing later that the intended mortgage lien was junior to other off record transactions in which previous satisfactions of mortgage or even foreclosure sales could be invalidated.

The problem, as these small financial institutions are just beginning to realize, is that the MBS instruments that were supposedly so safe, are not safe and may not be worth anything at all — especially if the trust that issued them was never funded by the investment bank who did the underwriting and sales of the MBS to relatively unsophisticated community banks and credit unions. In a word, these small institutions were sitting ducks and probably, knowing Wall Street the way I do, were lured into the most toxic of the “bonds.”

Unless these small banks get ahead of the curve they face intervention by the FDIC or other regulatory agencies because some part of their assets and required reserves might vanish. These small institutions, unlike the big ones that caused the problem, don’t have agreements with the Federal government to prop them up regardless of whether the bonds were real or worthless.

Most of the small banks and credit unions are carrying these assets at cost, which is to say 100 cents on the dollar when in fact it is doubtful they are worth even half that amount. The question is whether the bank or credit union is at risk and what they can do about it. There are several claims mechanisms that can employed for the bank that finds itself facing a write-off of catastrophic or damaging proportions.

The plain fact is that nearly everyone in government and law enforcement considers what happens to small banks to be “collateral damage,” unworthy of any effort to assist these institutions even though the government was complicit in the fraud that has resulted in jury verdicts, settlements, fines and sanctions totaling into the hundreds of billions of dollars.

This is a ticking time bomb for many institutions that put their money into higher yielding MBS instruments believing they were about as safe as US Treasury bonds. They were wrong but not because of any fault of anyone at the bank. They were lied to by experts who covered their lies with false promises of ratings, insurance, hedges and guarantees.

Those small institutions who have opted to take the bank public, may face even worse problems with the SEC and shareholders if they don’t report properly on the balance sheet as it is effected by the downgrade of MBS securities. The problem is that most auditing firms are not familiar with the actual facts behind these securities and are likely a this point to disclaim any responsibility for the accounting that produces the financial statements of the bank.

I have seen this play out before. The big investment banks are going to throw the small institutions under the bus and call it unavoidable damage that isn’t their problem. despite the hard-headed insistence on autonomy and devotion to customer service at each bank, considerable thought should be given to banding together into associations that are not controlled by regional banks are are part of the problem and will most likely block any solution. Traditional community bank associations and traditional credit unions might not be the best place to go if you are looking to a real solution.

Community Banks and Credit Unions MUST protect themselves and make claims as fast as possible to stay ahead of the curve. They must be proactive in getting a credible report that will stand up in court, if necessary, and make claims for the balance. Current suits by investors are producing large returns for the lawyers and poor returns to the investors. Our entire team stands ready to assist small institutions achieve parity and restitution.

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO SCHEDULE CONSULTATIONS BETWEEN NEIL GARFIELD AND THE BANK OFFICERS (WITH THE BANK’S LAWYER) ON THE LINE, EXECUTIVES FOR SMALL COMMUNITY BANKS AND CREDIT UNIONS SHOULD CALL OUR TALLAHASSEE NUMBER 850-765-1236 or OUR WEST COAST NUMBER AT 520-405-1688.

BLK | Thu, Nov 14

BlackRock with ETF push to smaller banks • The roughly 7K regional and community banks in the U.S. have securities portfolios totaling $1.5T, the majority of which is in MBS, putting them at a particularly high interest rate risk, and on the screens of regulators who would like to see banks diversify their holdings. • “This is going to be a multiple-year trend and dialogue,” says BlackRock’s (BLK) Jared Murphy who is overseeing the iSharesBonds ETFs campaign. • The funds come with an expense ratio of 0.1% and the holdings are designed to limit interest rate risk. BlackRock scored its first big sale in Q3 when a west coast regional invested $100M in one of the funds. • At issue are years of bank habits – when they want to reduce mortgage exposure, they typically turn to Treasurys. For more credit exposure, they habitually turn to municipal bonds. “Community bankers feel like they’re going to be the last in the food chain to know if there are any problems with a corporate issuer,” says a community bank consultant.

Full Story: http://seekingalpha.com/currents/post/1412712?source=ipadportfolioapp

Wall Street banks shifting “profits” from mortgage bonds into natural resources

Wall Street banks know all about leveraging. They need to bring back the huge quantity of money they stole from the U.S. economy that they have secreted around the world (without paying a dime in taxes). The strategy they adopted was to bring the money from the shadow banking sector into the real banking world by “investing” in natural resources. The reason for the choice is obvious — high demand for the raw materials, high liquidity in the marketplace for both the products and the futures and related contracts for “trading profits” (like the “trading profits they created with investor money in the mortgage bond market before any loans were made), and an opportunity for virtually unlimited “leverage” where they could control prices and bet against the very same investments they were selling to their customers.

The leverage comes from a primary investment in the warehousing and transport of raw materials and secondarily taking positions in the ownership of natural resources. This allows them to manipulate the cost of raw materials — like copper and aluminum (see articles below), manipulate the politics in our country so that infrastructure repairs and rebuilding is out off until there is a tragedy of a large collapsing bridge killing thousands, and manipulate the bidding process for natural resources (like the Iraq and Afghanistan wars) so that there is a level of panic that causes the nation to send ten times the price of rebuilding now. The natural resources market is basically the only game they can play because it is the only marketplace that is large enough to absorb trillions of dollars stolen from Americans and people all over the world in the securitization scam.

Just as securitization was an illusion, making the base investment (mortgage loans) non existent at the same moment they were created or acquired, so will be the exotic investment vehicles now being prepared for both institutional and ordinary investors that will cover the multiple sales of the same bundle of commodities. Here we go again! Another boom and bust.

Tue, Aug 13

CFTC subpoenas metal warehouse companies • The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has reportedly subpoenaed Goldman Sachs (GS), JPMorgan (JPM), Glencore Xstrata (GLCNF.PK) and their subsidiaries for documents relating to warehouses they operate for aluminum and other metals. • The agency has requested information dating back to January 2010; it also wants documents relevant to the companies’ relationships with the London Metals Exchange. • The CFTC’s investigation follows allegations that the activities of warehousing companies have artificially boosted the price of metals, particularly aluminum. • Earlier speculation said the CFTC had sent subpoenas to an unnamed metals warehousing firm.

Full Story: http://seekingalpha.com/currents/post/1216972?source=ipadportfolioapp

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ELIZABETH WARREN AND JOHN MCCAIN TEAM UP TO REIGN IN BANKS

Go to http://www.msnbc.com. CONTACT YOUR SENATORS AND CONGRESSMEN AND WOMEN. LET THEM KNOW THEY ALREADY HAVE YOUR SUPPORT FOR THIS LAW AND THAT THEY DON’T NEED TO SELL THEMSELVES TO GET SUPPORT FROM THEIR CONSTITUENCY.

MSNBC had a segment today in which they interviewed Elizabeth Warren about a new set of laws reinstating the old style of Chinese walls. There are probably similar interviews on other channels with Senator Warren or Senator McCain and others. Just go to your favorite news channel and look it up. Their approach has bi partisan support because of its simplicity and its history. Historically it is merely a tune-up of the old laws to include definitions of new financial products that did not exist and were not adequately considered in the 1930′s when EVERYONE AGREED THE RESTRICTIONS WERE NEEDED.

Bottom Line: RETURN TO THE BORING BANK SAFETY WITHOUT BOOMS AND BUSTS FROM 1930′s into the 1990′s: leading republicans and democrats are stepping out of gridlock into agreement. They want to stop Wall Street from access to checking and savings accounts for use in high risk investment banking because that is what brought us to the brink and some say brought us Into the abyss. And it would stop commercial banks that are depository institutions for your checking and savings accounts from using your money on deposit in ways where there is a substantial risk of loss that would require FDIC ((taxpayer) intervention.

Banking should be boring. In the years when restrictions were in place we only had one serious breach of banking practices — the S&L Scandal in the 1980′s. But it didn’t threaten the viability of our entire economy and more than 800 people were serving prison terms when the dust cleared. Of course Bankers saw prison terms as an invasion of their business practices and regulation as unnecessary.

But the simple reason for bipartisan support is that the public is enraged that the mega banks (too big to fail) have GROWN 30% SINCE THE 2007-2008 while the people on Main Street are losing jobs, homes, businesses, families (divorce), thus stifling an already grievously injured economy because credit and cash are now scarce — unless you are a mega bank that made hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars because they were able to create an illusion (securitization) and at the same time, knowing it was an illusion, they bet heavily using extreme leverage on the illusion being popped.

They made it so complex as to be intimidating to even bank regulators. So no wonder borrowers could not realize or even contemplate that their mortgage was not a perfected lien, so they admitted it. Foreclosure defense attorneys made the same mistake and added to it by admitting the default without knowing who had paid what money that should have been allocated to the loan receivable account of the borrower that was supposedly converted for a note receivable from the borrower to a bond receivable from an asset pool that supposedly owned the note receivable account.

The complexity made it challenging to enforce regulations and laws. The complexity was hidden behind curtains for reasons of “privacy”. The real reason is that as long as bankers know they are acting behind a curtain, they are subject to moral hazard. In this case it erupted into the largest PONZI scheme in human history.

And the proof of that just beginning to come out in the courts as judges are confronted with an absurd position — where the banks “foreclosing” on homes and businesses want delays and the borrower wants to move the case alone; and where those same banks want a resolution (FORECLOSURE OR BUST) that ALWAYS yields the least possible mitigation damages, the least coverage for the alleged loss on the note because they would be liable for all the money they made on the bond. Just yesterday I was in Court asking for expedited discovery and the Judge’s demeanor changed visibly when the Plaintiff seeking Foreclosure refused to agree to such terms. The Judge wanted to know why the defendant borrower wanted to speed the case up while the Plaintiff bank wanted to slow it down.

And because of all the multiple sales, the insurance funds, the proceeds of credit default swaps, because the initial money funding mortgages came from depositors (“investors”), and all the money from the Federal Reserve who is still paying off these bond receivables 100 cents to the dollar — all that money amounting to far more than the loans to borrowers — because it related to the bond receivable, the banks think they can withhold allocation of that money to the receivable until after foreclosure and avoid refunding all the excess payments to the borrower the investor and everyone else who paid money in this scheme. And the system is letting them because it is difficult to distinguish between the note receivable and the bond receivable and the asset pool that issued the bond to the actual lender/depositor.

Senators Warren and McCain and others want to put an end to even the illusion that such an argument would even be entertained. Support them now if not for yourselves then for your children and grandchildren.

BOA Seeks to Seal Damaging Testimony from Urban Lending

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

WHY ARE THE BANKS FIGHTING TO GET AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE FROM EACH “FAILED” LOAN?

A drama is playing out in the state of Massachusetts. Bank of America is pretending to be the lender or the authorized servicer or both. But it outsourced the task of dealing with borrowers seeking modification. The company that was used is Urban Lending Solutions (ULS).  A deposition was taken from a knowledgeable source from within ULS.  The attorney  taking the deposition was merely looking for evidence of a script prepared by Bank of America that ULS employees were to follow. Not only was the script uncovered but considerable other evidence suggested institutional policies at Bank of America that were in direct conflict with the requirements of law, and in direct violation of the settlements with the Department of Justice and the banking regulators.

The transcript of the deposition was sealed at the request of Bank of America, which the borrower did not interpose any objection. Now there are a lot of people who want to see that deposition and who want to take the deposition of the same witness and other witnesses at ULS who might reveal the real intent of Bank of America. The question which is sought to be answered is why the mega banks are fighting so hard to take less money in a foreclosure sale then they would get in a modification or even a short sale. The policy is obvious. Borrowers are lured into a hole that gets deeper and deeper so that foreclosure seems inevitable and indefensible. Even after a successful trial modification the banks are turning down the permanent modification, as though they had the power to do so.

Now a number of attorneys are preparing motions to the trial court in Massachusetts to unseal the transcript of the ULS employee. Bank of America is opposing these efforts on the grounds of “confidentiality” which from my perspective makes absolutely no sense. Why would Bank of America share confidential information or trade secrets with a vendor whose only purpose was to interfere with the modification process? My opinion is that the only information that Bank of America wishes to keep secret is that the instructions they gave to ULS clearly show that Bank of America was not interested in anything other than achieving a foreclosure sale in as many cases as possible.

In nearly all cases the modification of the loan more than doubles the prospect of proceeds from the loan and in some cases approaches 100%. Thus the full-court press from the megabanks to go to foreclosure is a mystery that will be solved. My sources from inside the industry together with my own analysis indicates that the reason is very simple. The banks took in money from investors, insurers, counterparties in credit default swaps, the Federal Reserve, the Department of the Treasury and other parties based on the representation of the banks that (A) the banks owned the mortgage bonds and therefore on the loans and (B) there was a loss resulting from widespread defaults on mortgages. Under the terms of the various contracts within the false chain of securitization and the Master servicer had sole discretion as to whether or not the value of the mortgage bonds and the asset pools had declined and had sole discretion as to the amount of the loss caused by the defaults. Both representations were false — the Banks did not own the bonds or the loans and the loss was not even close to what was represented to insurers and other third parties.

As a general rule of thumb, the banks computed value of the collateral at around 25% and therefore received payment to compensate the banks for a 75% loss. They received the payment several times over and then sold the mortgage bonds to the Federal Reserve for 100% of the face value of the bonds. It can be fairly estimated that they received no less than 250% of the principal amount due on each of the loans contained within the asset pool that had issued each mortgage bond. While they had to create the appearance of objectivity by showing a number of the loans as performing, they intentionally overestimated the number of loans that were in default or were in the process of going into default.

Let us not forget that while nobody was looking the Federal Reserve has been “purchasing” the worthless mortgage bonds at the rate of $85 billion per month for a long time and doesn’t appear to have any intention of stopping that flow of money to banks that have already received more than 100% of the principal due on the notes. And lest you be confused, the money the banks received should have gone to the investors and should never have been kept by the banks. The purchases by the Federal Reserve at 100% of face value despite a market value of zero is merely a way for the Federal Reserve to keep the mega banks floating on an illusion.

Since the banks received 250% of the principal amount due on the loan, an actual recovery from the borrower of 100% (for example) on the loan would leave the banks with a liability to all of the third parties that paid the banks. The refund liability would obviously be 150% of the principal amount due on the loan and the banks would be required to turn over the hundred percent recovery from the borrower to the investors adding to their liability. THIS IS WHY I SAY CALL THEIR BLUFF AND OFFER THEM ALL THE MONEY DEMANDED ON CONDITION THAT THEY PROVE OWNERSHIP AND PROVE THE LOSS IS ACTUALLY THE LOSS OF THE BANK AND NOT OF THE INVESTORS.

But if the case goes through a foreclosure sale, the banks can take a comfortable position that the number of defaults and the depth of the loss was as great as they represented when they took payment from insurers and other third parties. The liability of 250% is completely eliminated. Thus while it might appear to be in the bank’s interest to take a 60% recovery from the borrower instead of a 25% recovery from a foreclosure sale, the liability that would be created each time alone was modified or settled would dwarf the apparent savings to the pretender lender or actual creditor.

The net result is that on a $100,000 loan, the investor takes an extra $35,000 loss over and above what would normally apply in a workout and the bank avoids $250,000 in liabilities to third parties who paid based upon false representations of losses.

The mere fact that they went to great lengths to seal the transcript indicates how vulnerable they feel.

PRACTICE MEMO TO FORECLOSURE DEFENSE LAWYERS

As a condition precedent I would suggest that in all cases where we feel the deposition transcript would be helpful I think it would create more credibility if you issued a subpoena duces tecum directed at Urban to produce the witness whose deposition was sealed in the existing case and to bring those records that were requested or demanded at that deposition. One of the questions that needs to be answered is whether the witness witness is still working for Urban, whether the witness has “disappeared”, and whether his testimony has changed — thus we would need the other deposition to test credibility and perhaps get exhibits that BANA either didn’t object to, which means they waived confidentiality. If they do not move to quash the subpoena then they might also be arguably waiving the confidentiality objection.
If they do object, you have two bites of the apple — if they move to quash they must state the grounds other than than it will damage their chances in litigation. The trial court would then hear the objections and of course each if the cases that could benefit from unsealing the deposition results in a hearing, then several judges would hear the same objection. The likelihood is that the objection would attempt to bootstrap the order sealing the deposition as reason enough to quash the subpoena. That in turn puts pressure on the Massachusetts judge to release the transcript.
The more Motions filed the better. So I would suggest that we reach out through media to get as many people as possible with separate motions saying that sealing the deposition is causing a disruption in due process. Since Urban reached out on behalf of BANA — an allegation that should be made in opposition test the motion to quash the subpoena in each case — exactly what confidential information needs to be protected? Has the Massachusetts court heard a motion in liming preventing the use of the deposition at trial? If not, then the objection is waived since the Plaintiff will clearly use the deposition at trial, if there is one.
The other issue is that BOA can’t simply allege confidentiality rather than strategy in litigation. They must state with particularity what could be possibly confidential. There is no attorney-client privilege, there is no attorney work product privilege.  At first Bank of America disclaimed any knowledge or relationship with ULS.  When it became obvious that the relationship existed and that ULS was using Bank of America letterhead to communicate with borrowers they finally admitted that the relationship existed and then went one step further by alleging confidentiality and trade secrets so that the contract and instructions between Bank of America and ULS would never see the light of day., For a company that BOA disclaimed any knowledge but who used BOA stationery they were clearly an agent of BANA. What exactly could Urban have other than information about modification and foreclosure? I would also notice or subpoena BANA to produce the person who signed the contract with Urban and to bring the contract with him or her. Who received instructions from BOA? Where are those instructions? Were they produced at the sealed deposition.
 If the Massachusetts court does not unseal the transcript, doesn’t this give BOA an opportunity for a do-over where they fabricate documents that are different from those produced in the sealed deposition?
What were the instructions to Urban? What was the goal of the relationship between BOA and URban? Where are the scripts now that we’re produced in the sealed deposition?
Were the instructions to Urban the same as the instructions to all vendors assisting in the foreclosure process? Why did BOA even need Urban if it had proof of payment, proof of loss,  proof of ownership of the loan? We want to know what scripts were used by Urban and whether the same scripts were distributed to other vendors whose behavior could be plausibly denied. Discovery is a process by which the party seeking it must only show that it might lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. THE POINT MUST BE MADE THAT THE DEFENSE FOR WHICH WE ARE LOOKING FOR SUPPORT AND CORROBORATION IS THAT THE DELIBERATE POLICY AND PRACTICE OF BOA WAS TO MOVE PEOPLE INTO DEFAULT BY TELLING THEM TO STOP MAKING PAYMENTS. WE WANT TO SHOW THAT THEIR GOAL WAS FORECLOSURE NOT MODIFICATION CONTRARY TO THE REQUIREMENTS UNDER HAMP AND HARP AND THAT RATHER THAN PROCESS MODIFICATION OR SETTLEMENTS THE POLICY WAS TO DERAIL AS MANY AS POSSIBLE TO GET THE FORECLOSURE EVEN IF IT MEANT THAT THE INVESTORS WOULD GET LESS MONEY? Why?
The instruction was to use the promise or carrot of modification to trick the homeowner into (a) acknowledging BOA as the right party (b) stop making payments causing an apparent default and causing an escrow shortage (c) thus assuring the foreclosure sale despite the fact that BOA never acquired and (d) thus assuring that claims against them from investors (see dozens of law suits against BOA) and from insurers and counter parties on credit default swaps and payments from co-obligors based on the “default” that BOA fabricated — payments that involved more than the loan itself in multiples of the supposed loan balance.

This is an important battle. Let’s win it. There is strength in numbers. We might find the scripts were prepared by someone who used scripts from other banks and that the banks were in agreement that despite the obligations under HAMP and HARP and despite their ,rinses in the AG and OCC settlement, their goal is to foreclose at all costs because if the general pattern of conduct is to settle these loans and make them “performing” loans again it is highly probable that for each dollar of principal that gets taken of the table there is a liability or claim for $10. This would establish that the requirements of HAMP and HARP has resulted in negotiating with the fox while the fox is in the henhouse getting fat.

The Goal is Foreclosures and the Public, the Government and the Courts Be Damned

13 Questions Before You Can Foreclose

foreclosure_standards_42013 — this one works for sure

If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our South Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. In Northern Florida and the Panhandle call 850-765-1236. Customer service for the livinglies store with workbooks, services and analysis remains the same at 520-405-1688. The people who answer the phone are NOT attorneys and NOT permitted to provide any legal advice, but they can guide you toward some of our products and services.

SEE ALSO: http://WWW.LIVINGLIES-STORE.COM

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 PROVIDE ACTIVE LITIGATION SUPPORT 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.

Danielle Kelley, Esq. is a partner in the firm of Garfield, Gwaltney, Kelley and White (GGKW) in Tallahassee, Florida 850-765-1236

EDITOR’S NOTE: SOMETIMES IT PAYS TO SHOW YOUR EXASPERATION. Danielle was at a hearing recently where all she wanted was to enforce a permanent modification for which her client had already been approved by Bank of America and BOA was trying to get out of it and pursue foreclosure even though the deal was done and there was no good or valid business reason why they would oppose a modification they already approved — except that they want to lure people into defaults and foreclosure to avoid liability for buy-backs, insurance, and credit default swap proceeds they received.

They need the foreclosure because that is the stamp of approval that the loans were valid and the securitization wasn’t a sham. Without the foreclosure, they stand to lose not only a lot of money in paybacks, but their very existence. Right now they are carrying assets that are fictitious and they are not reporting liabilities that are very real. At the end of the day, the public will see and even government officials whose “Services” have been purchased by the banks will not be able to deny that the nation’s top banks are broke and are neither too big to fail nor too big to jail. When that happens, our economy will start to recover ans the flow of credit and funds resumes and the banks’ stranglehold on government and on our society will end, at least until the next time.

THIS IS WHAT DANIELLE KELLEY WROTE TO ME AFTER THE HEARING:

 At the hearing against BOA on an old case of mine and Bill’s [William GWALTNEY, partner in GGKW] today I moved to enforce settlement. They actually agreed to a trial payment with my client in writing at mediation 2 years ago. The Judge granted the motion and wants a hearing in 60 days on the arrears (which he agreed my client isn’t liable for), sanctions and fees. She made her payment post-mediation and they sent the checks back. I gave him the Massachusetts affidavits from the BOA employees.  The Judge looked shocked. Opposing Counsel argued the Massachusetts case had nothing to do with our case.
Judge said “Mrs. Kelley how about I enter an order telling Plaintiff they have so many days to resolve this?”  I said “with all due respect your Honor BOA hasn’t listened to the OCC and followed the consent order, they haven’t listened to DOJ on the consent judgement and they are violating the AG settlement. I can assure you 100% they won’t listen to this Court either. Once we leave this room we are at the mercy of BOA actually working with us and their own attorney nor this court can get them to.  Their own attorney couldn’t reach them yesterday or today.  My client was to send in one utility bill two years ago. She sent it the day after mediation and they’ve sat and racked up two years of arrears and fees. This court has the power to sanction that behavior under rule 1.730 and should because this was orchestrated. The Massachusetts case is a federal class action which includes Florida homeowners like my client. It says Florida on the Motion for class certification so it does matter in this case. This was a scheme and a fraud.  It was planned and deliberate”.
Opposing counsel wanted to start the modification process over because the mediation agreement said “Upon completion of the trial payments Defendant will be eligible for a permanent modification”. Opposing counsel said “just because they meet the trial payments doesn’t mean they get a permanent mod.”  I said “under the consent judgment they better” and told the judge we were not going through the modification again, my client had already been approved. He agreed and said that the trial would become permanent and ordered BOA to provide an address for payment. He told opposing counsel that the argument that a trial period wouldn’t become permanent wasn’t going to work for him.
I love the 14th circuit. There is a great need from here to Pensacola and in the smaller counties like I was in today you can actually get somewhere.
Now the banks won’t even say impasse at mediation. It’s always “no agreement”.   But they’ll tell you to send in documents the next week only to say they didn’t get them. Now after those affidavits I see why.

Danielle Kelley, Esq.

Garfield, Gwaltney, Kelley & White
4832 Kerry Forest Parkway, Suite B
Tallahassee, Florida 32309
(850) 765-1236

 FOLLOW DANIELLE KELLEY, ESQ. ON HER BLOG

Hawaii Federal District Court Applies Rules of Evidence: BONY/Mellon, US Bank, JP Morgan Chase Failed to Prove Sale of Note

This quiet title claim against U.S. Bank and BONY (collectively, “Defendants”) is based on the assertion that Defendants have no interest in the Plaintiffs’ mortgage loan, yet have nonetheless sought to foreclose on the subject property.

Currently before the court is Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment, arguing that Plaintiffs’ quiet title claim fails because there is no genuine issue of material fact that Plaintiffs’ loan was sold into a public security managed by BONY, and Plaintiffs cannot tender the loan proceeds. Based on the following, the court finds that because Defendants have not established that the mortgage loans were sold into a public security involving Defendants, the court DENIES Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment.

Editor’s Note: We will be commenting on this case for the rest of the week in addition to bringing you other news. Suffice it to say that the Court corroborates the essential premises of this blog, to wit:

  1. Quiet title claims should not be dismissed. They should be heard and decided based upon the facts admitted into evidence.
  2. Presumptions are not to be used in lieu of evidence where the opposing party has denied the underlying facts and the conclusion expressed in the presumption. In other words, a presumption cannot be used to lead to a result that is contrary to the facts.
  3. Being a “holder” is a a conclusion of law created by certain presumptions. It is not a plain statement of ultimate facts. If a party wishes to assert holder or holder in due course status they must plead and prove the facts supporting that legal conclusion.
  4. A sale of the note does not occur without proof under simple contract doctrine. There must be an offer, acceptance and consideration. Without the consideration there is no sale and any presumption arising out of the allegation that a party is a holder or that the loan was sold fails on its face.
  5. Self serving letters announcing authority to represent investors are insufficient in establishing a foundation for testimony or other proof that the actor was indeed authorized. A competent witness must provide the factual testimony to provide a foundation for introduction of a binding legal document showing authority and even then the opposing party may challenge the execution or creation of such instruments.
  6. [Tactical conclusion: opposing motion for summary judgment should be filed with an affidavit alleging the necessary facts when the pretender lender files its motion for summary judgment. If the pretender's affidavit is struck down and/or their motion for summary judgment is denied, they have probably created a procedural void where the Judge has no choice but to grant summary judgment to homeowner.]
  7. “When considering the evidence on a motion for summary judgment, the court must draw all reasonable inferences on behalf of the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., 475 U.S. at 587.” See case below
  8. “a plaintiff asserting a quiet title claim must establish his superior title by showing the strength of his title as opposed to merely attacking the title of the defendant.” {Tactical: by admitting the note, mortgage. debt and default, and then attacking the title chain of the foreclosing party you have NOT established the elements for quiet title. THAT is why we have been pounding on the strategy that makes sense: DENY and DISCOVER: Lawyers take note. Just because you think you know what is going on doesn’t mean you do. Advice given under the presumption that the debt is genuine when that is in fact a mistake of the homeowner which you are compounding with your advice. Why assume the debt, note , mortgage and default are genuine when you really don’t know? Why would you admit that?}
  9. It is both wise and necessary to deny the debt, note, mortgage, and default as to the party attempting to foreclose. Don’t try to prove your case in your pleading. Each additional “explanatory” allegation paints you into a corner. Pleading requires a short plain statement of ultimate facts upon which relief could be legally granted.
  10. A denial of signature on a document that is indisputably signed will be considered frivolous. [However an allegation that the document is not an original and/or that the signature was procured by fraud or mistake is not frivolous. Coupled with allegation that the named lender did not loan the money at all and that in fact the homeowner never received any money from the lender named on the note, you establish that the deal was sign the note and we'll give you money. You signed the note, but they didn't give you the money. Therefore those documents may not be used against you. ]

MELVIN KEAKAKU AMINA and DONNA MAE AMINA, Husband and Wife, Plaintiffs,
v.
THE BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON, FKA THE BANK OF NEW YORK; U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, AS TRUSTEE FOR J.P. MORGAN MORTGAGE ACQUISITION TRUST 2006-WMC2, ASSET BACKED PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2006-WMC2 Defendants.
Civil No. 11-00714 JMS/BMK.

United States District Court, D. Hawaii.
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS THE BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON, FKA THE BANK OF NEW YORK AND U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, AS TRUSTEE FOR J.P. MORGAN MORTGAGE ACQUISITION TRUST 2006-WMC2, ASSET BACKED PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2006-WMC2′S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
J. MICHAEL SEABRIGHT, District Judge.
I. INTRODUCTION

This is Plaintiffs Melvin Keakaku Amina and Donna Mae Amina’s (“Plaintiffs”) second action filed in this court concerning a mortgage transaction and alleged subsequent threatened foreclosure of real property located at 2304 Metcalf Street #2, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822 (the “subject property”). Late in Plaintiffs’ first action, Amina et al. v. WMC Mortgage Corp. et al., Civ. No. 10-00165 JMS-KSC (“Plaintiffs’ First Action”), Plaintiffs sought to substitute The Bank of New York Mellon, FKA the Bank of New York (“BONY”) on the basis that one of the defendants’ counsel asserted that BONY owned the mortgage loans. After the court denied Plaintiffs’ motion to substitute, Plaintiffs brought this action alleging a single claim to quiet title against BONY. Plaintiffs have since filed a Verified Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”), adding as a Defendant U.S. Bank National Association, as Trustee for J.P. Morgan Mortgage Acquisition Trust 2006-WMC2, Asset Backed Pass-through Certificates, Series 2006-WMC2 (“U.S. Bank”). This quiet title claim against U.S. Bank and BONY (collectively, “Defendants”) is based on the assertion that Defendants have no interest in the Plaintiffs’ mortgage loan, yet have nonetheless sought to foreclose on the subject property.

Currently before the court is Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment, arguing that Plaintiffs’ quiet title claim fails because there is no genuine issue of material fact that Plaintiffs’ loan was sold into a public security managed by BONY, and Plaintiffs cannot tender the loan proceeds. Based on the following, the court finds that because Defendants have not established that the mortgage loans were sold into a public security involving Defendants, the court DENIES Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background
Plaintiffs own the subject property. See Doc. No. 60, SAC ¶ 17. On February 24, 2006, Plaintiffs obtained two mortgage loans from WMC Mortgage Corp. (“WMC”) — one for $880,000, and another for $220,000, both secured by the subject property.See Doc. Nos. 68-6-68-8, Defs.’ Exs. E-G.[1]

In Plaintiffs’ First Action, it was undisputed that WMC no longer held the mortgage loans. Defendants assert that the mortgage loans were sold into a public security managed by BONY, and that Chase is the servicer of the loan and is authorized by the security to handle any concerns on BONY’s behalf. See Doc. No. 68, Defs.’ Concise Statement of Facts (“CSF”) ¶ 7. Defendants further assert that the Pooling and Service Agreement (“PSA”) dated June 1, 2006 (of which Plaintiffs’ mortgage loan is allegedly a part) grants Chase the authority to institute foreclosure proceedings. Id. ¶ 8.

In a February 3, 2010 letter, Chase informed Plaintiffs that they are in default on their mortgage and that failure to cure default will result in Chase commencing foreclosure proceedings. Doc. No. 68-13, Defs.’ Ex. L. Plaintiffs also received a March 2, 2011 letter from Chase stating that the mortgage loan “was sold to a public security managed by [BONY] and may include a number of investors. As the servicer of your loan, Chase is authorized by the security to handle any related concerns on their behalf.” Doc. No. 68-11, Defs.’ Ex. J.

On October 19, 2012, Derek Wong of RCO Hawaii, L.L.L.C., attorney for U.S. Bank, submitted a proof of claim in case number 12-00079 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Hawaii, involving Melvin Amina. Doc. No. 68-14, Defs.’ Ex. M.

Plaintiffs stopped making payments on the mortgage loans in late 2008 or 2009, have not paid off the loans, and cannot tender all of the amounts due under the mortgage loans. See Doc. No. 68-5, Defs.’ Ex. D at 48, 49, 55-60; Doc. No. 68-6, Defs.’ Ex. E at 29-32.

>B. Procedural Background
>Plaintiffs filed this action against BONY on November 28, 2011, filed their First Amended Complaint on June 5, 2012, and filed their SAC adding U.S. Bank as a Defendant on October 19, 2012.

On December 13, 2012, Defendants filed their Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiffs filed an Opposition on February 28, 2013, and Defendants filed a Reply on March 4, 2013. A hearing was held on March 4, 2013.
At the March 4, 2013 hearing, the court raised the fact that Defendants failed to present any evidence establishing ownership of the mortgage loan. Upon Defendants’ request, the court granted Defendants additional time to file a supplemental brief.[2] On April 1, 2013, Defendants filed their supplemental brief, stating that they were unable to gather evidence establishing ownership of the mortgage loan within the time allotted. Doc. No. 93.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is proper where there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The burden initially lies with the moving party to show that there is no genuine issue of material fact. See Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir. 2007) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323). If the moving party carries its burden, the nonmoving party “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts [and] come forwards with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio, 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986) (citation and internal quotation signals omitted).

An issue is `genuine’ only if there is a sufficient evidentiary basis on which a reasonable fact finder could find for the nonmoving party, and a dispute is `material’ only if it could affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law.” In re Barboza,545 F.3d 702, 707 (9th Cir. 2008) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). When considering the evidence on a motion for summary judgment, the court must draw all reasonable inferences on behalf of the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., 475 U.S. at 587.

IV. DISCUSSION

As the court previously explained in its August 9, 2012 Order Denying BONY’s Motion to Dismiss Verified Amended Complaint, see Amina v. Bank of New York Mellon,2012 WL 3283513 (D. Haw. Aug. 9, 2012), a plaintiff asserting a quiet title claim must establish his superior title by showing the strength of his title as opposed to merely attacking the title of the defendant. This axiom applies in the numerous cases in which this court has dismissed quiet title claims that are based on allegations that a mortgagee cannot foreclose where it has not established that it holds the note, or because securitization of the mortgage loan was defective. In such cases, this court has held that to maintain a quiet title claim against a mortgagee, a borrower must establish his superior title by alleging an ability to tender the loan proceeds.[3]

This action differs from these other quiet title actions brought by mortgagors seeking to stave off foreclosure by the mortgagee. As alleged in Plaintiffs’ pleadings, this is not a case where Plaintiffs assert that Defendants’ mortgagee status is invalid (for example, because the mortgage loan was securitized, Defendants do not hold the note, or MERS lacked authority to assign the mortgage loans). See id. at *5. Rather, Plaintiffs assert that Defendants are not mortgagees whatsoever and that there is no record evidence of any assignment of the mortgage loan to Defendants.[4] See Doc. No. 58, SAC ¶¶ 1-4, 6, 13-1 — 13-3.

In support of their Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants assert that Plaintiffs’ mortgage loan was sold into a public security which is managed by BONY and which U.S. Bank is the trustee. To establish this fact, Defendants cite to the March 2, 2011 letter from Chase to Plaintiffs asserting that “[y]our loan was sold to a public security managed by The Bank of New York and may include a number of investors. As the servicer of your loan, Chase is authorized to handle any related concerns on their behalf.” See Doc. No. 68-11, Defs.’ Ex. J. Defendants also present the PSA naming U.S. Bank as trustee. See Doc. No. 68-12, Defs.’ Ex. J. Contrary to Defendants’ argument, the letter does not establish that Plaintiffs’ mortgage loan was sold into a public security, much less a public security managed by BONY and for which U.S. Bank is the trustee. Nor does the PSA establish that it governs Plaintiffs’ mortgage loans. As a result, Defendants have failed to carry their initial burden on summary judgment of showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact that Defendants may foreclose on the subject property. Indeed, Defendants admit as much in their Supplemental Brief — they concede that they were unable to present evidence that Defendants have an interest in the mortgage loans by the supplemental briefing deadline. See Doc. No. 93.

Defendants also argue that Plaintiffs’ claim fails as to BONY because BONY never claimed an interest in the subject property on its own behalf. Rather, the March 2, 2011 letter provides that BONY is only managing the security. See Doc. No. 67-1, Defs.’ Mot. at 21. At this time, the court rejects this argument — the March 2, 2011 letter does not identify who owns the public security into which the mortgage loan was allegedly sold, and BONY is the only entity identified as responsible for the public security. As a result, Plaintiffs’ quiet title claim against BONY is not unsubstantiated.

V. CONCLUSION

Based on the above, the court DENIES Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

[1] In their Opposition, Plaintiffs object to Defendants’ exhibits on the basis that the sponsoring declarant lacks and/or fails to establish the basis of personal knowledge of the exhibits. See Doc. No. 80, Pls.’ Opp’n at 3-4. Because Defendants have failed to carry their burden on summary judgment regardless of the admissibility of their exhibits, the court need not resolve these objections.

Plaintiffs also apparently dispute whether they signed the mortgage loans. See Doc. No. 80, Pls.’ Opp’n at 7-8. This objection appears to be wholly frivolous — Plaintiffs have previously admitted that they took out the mortgage loans. The court need not, however, engage Plaintiffs’ new assertions to determine the Motion for Summary Judgment.

[2] On March 22, 2013, Plaintiffs filed an “Objection to [87] Order Allowing Defendants to File Supplemental Brief for their Motion for Summary Judgment.” Doc. No. 90. In light of Defendants’ Supplemental Brief stating that they were unable to provide evidence at this time and this Order, the court DEEMS MOOT this Objection.

[3] See, e.g., Fed Nat’l Mortg. Ass’n v. Kamakau, 2012 WL 622169, at *9 (D. Haw. Feb. 23, 2012);Lindsey v. Meridias Cap., Inc., 2012 WL 488282, at *9 (D. Haw. Feb. 14, 2012)Menashe v. Bank of N.Y., ___ F. Supp. 2d ___, 2012 WL 397437, at *19 (D. Haw. Feb. 6, 2012)Teaupa v. U.S. Nat’l Bank N.A., 836 F. Supp. 2d 1083, 1103 (D. Haw. 2011)Abubo v. Bank of N.Y. Mellon, 2011 WL 6011787, at *5 (D. Haw. Nov. 30, 2011)Long v. Deutsche Bank Nat’l Tr. Co., 2011 WL 5079586, at *11 (D. Haw. Oct. 24, 2011).

[4] Although the SAC also includes some allegations asserting that the mortgage loan could not be part of the PSA given its closing date, Doc. No. 60, SAC ¶ 13-4, and that MERS could not legally assign the mortgage loans, id. ¶ 13-9, the overall thrust of Plaintiffs’ claims appears to be that Defendants are not the mortgagees (as opposed to that Defendants’ mortgagee status is defective). Indeed, Plaintiffs agreed with the court’s characterization of their claim that they are asserting that Defendants “have no more interest in this mortgage than some guy off the street does.” See Doc. No. 88, Tr. at 9-10. Because Defendants fail to establish a basis for their right to foreclose, the court does not address the viability of Plaintiffs’ claims if and when Defendants establish mortgagee status.

Housing Will Make or Break US Economy

Az becomes the second state in recent years to adopt gold and silver coin as legal tender. Utah was first. And over the years several successful experiments have occurred wherein a city or county issued its own currency. This should come as no surprise to sophisticated investors. while there is considerable historical support for leaning on gold and other precious metals to protect one’s wealth and liquidity, we should always be cognizant of the fact that precious metals are only precious if they perceived that way.
The U.S. dollar has been propped up using artificial means employed by the Federal Reserve and market makers. There is little doubt that the dollar has been under intense pressure arising out of decades of foolhardy economic policies.
By substituting debt for wages, the appearance of a healthy economy has been maintained. But a quick look at the underlying fundamentals by anyone capable of arithmetic reveals an economy in trouble and a society in turmoil.
This is the result of two factors: (1) we lost our manufacturing base to third world countries and (2) we are in a state of self delusion. We fail to account for many economic events and transactions when we compute our Gross Domestic Product. And the latest trend is to replace real economic activity with trading activity from the financial services industry.
The trigger for what is now seen as the coming devaluation of the dollar has been the essential housing component. The administration and congress, and now state legislatures are setting the stage for a crash that does not have any bottom. In 1983 the financial services industry contributed about 16% of U.S. GDP. This was a fair representation of actual productivity in the country arising out of tangible goods and services created by banks and insurance companies. Now the figure is around 48% of GDP.
The tell-tale sign is that financial service “revenues” and “profits are going up while median come and household wealth has been declining. The extra 32% of GDP does not come from traditional bank intermediation as a payment service, with hedging and other tools to mimicked risk on the purchase of goods and services. It isn’t fees that have increased the apparent increase of the illusion of economic activity from Wall Street and insurance companies. It is proprietary trading profits claimed by the banks and insurance premiums that are artificially inflated by insertion of both banks and insurance companies into economic activity (such as medical care) into commerce that is essentially utility in nature.
The proprietary profits claimed by the banks were predicted here in 2007-2008 and resulted in a projection of a stock market crash and a prediction of the freezing of the credit markets around the world. It was clear then just as it is clear now that Money was being synthesized by the private sector which only means that banks and insurance companies were in essence printing their own money. The dangers of this predicament were apparent and written about by economists whose credentials far exceed my own.
In plain English the banks were stealing money from the marketplace in off balance sheet transactions. And both the banks and insurance companies have been feeding at the public trough for decades. Thus the sole purpose for the existence of investment banks was turned on its head. They were supposed to create active markets in which liquidity (access to capital) was enhanced; instead they surreptitiously siphoned out the liquidity to off-shore accounts and let the markets collapse when investors stopped buying bogus mortgage bonds issued by non-existent trusts. Like any PONZI scheme the entire marketplace collapsed when investor stopped buying the mortgage backed bonds. The correlation is unmistakable and irrefutable.
The insurance companies have been inserting themselves into markets whey contribute no value like medical services and pharmaceutical products.
The end result is that one-third of our entire economy has been eliminated. Taking into account certain productive activities that are not counted (but should be) the real GDP of the U.S. is around $9 trillion but reported at $14 trillion. Using the same logic I pinpointed in 2007, the DOW is actually worth around 8,000, which is where it will go regardless of any remedial policies put in place.
Throughout the world, which is now heavily if not exclusively monetized, obvious steps are being taken to get out of the dollar and into other currencies or assets. The hyper inflation everyone was worried about a few years back was only delayed. And the economic argument of using the dollar as the world’s reserve currency has not been weaker in recent memory.
Accumulation of gold and fixed assets has been responsible in part for propping up our currency. But for our military strength there would be no basis to refer to the U.S. as a world leader. The remedy is obvious — use the reversal of the PONZI scheme to finance new business, expansion of existing business and job training. If that was adopted as policy we would not face an immediate hit to our GDP, equity indexes, and pentup consumer demand together with actual capacity to consume goods and services without plunging into debt would enable us to create fundamental economic activity that would be the envy of the world.
The banking oligarchy currently running our country has a goal that is the anti thesis of the role of government. The oligarchy has profit and wealth accumulation as its goal. The government is required to assure that the referees stay on the playing field and nobody gets an unfair advantage. Just as separation of church and state protects citizens basic rights under natural, constitutional and statutory law, so too should the separation of the banking industry from the government should be well-guarded, lest the power sought by leaders of church, banking and even military and medical services result in the relinquishment of both our freedoms and our prospects.

Arizona Set To Use Gold & Silver As Currency
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-04-22/arizona-set-use-gold-silver-currency

Right of Redemption: Going After the Money Trail

If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. Customer service for the livinglies store with workbooks, services and analysis remains the same at 520-405-1688. The people who answer the phone are NOT attorneys and NOT permitted to provide any legal advice, but they can guide you toward some of our products and services.
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 Comment and Analysis: Most people and lawyers I talk to think there is no life after sale of the property. This is not the case in my opinion and I encourage lawyers to start getting up to speed on the causes of actions and remedies that are available for attacking a foreclosure judgment and separately the foreclosure sale or “auction.”

Of course we know that a cause of action for wrongful foreclosure, slander of title and quiet title, to name a few, are available to attack the foreclosure judgment or the final order in non-judicial states that allows the foreclosure sale to go through. There is also the semi-final order from the bankruptcy court which lifts the stay to allow for the foreclosure wherein the court frequently inserts that the movant is the owner of the loan. (When a different entity than the movant initiates the foreclosure and bids in the property as a creditor without getting leave of court to amend judgment or the motion to lift stay there are some very weighty issues raised that have been covered in earlier posts).

And as pointed out by one reader, the “opportunity to Cure” is another attack that is available before Judgment if you properly challenge the amount demanded. Proof of loss and Proof of Payment is NOT the note and Mortgage. It is a showing that the a party actually paid value for the debt and stands to lose money (economic loss) if it isn’t paid by the homeowner. If they can’t prove the loss, the court has one of two options, one of which is ridiculous: (1) it can order the foreclosure and prohibit the initiator of the foreclosure from submitting a credit bid (they must pay cash at auction) or (2) it can dismiss the foreclosure with prejudice because no injured party is present which is jurisdictional — i.e., STANDING.

In Florida and many other states (pro se litigants: check with local licensed counsel to make sure you know what the procedure is and what is available) there is both a statutory and equitable right of redemption. In some states the sale can be attacked during the redemption period because the consideration was faked or insufficient.

Florida Statute 45.0315 allows for redemption at the amount set forth in the final judgment. The common law equitable right of redemption in Florida has a short window — 10 days — in which you can challenge the sale based on the violation of court ordered procedures (which opens the door to wrongful foreclosure by a non-creditor), bid rigging, unfair practices which are loosely defined, or anything else that leads to a determination of a deficiency.

The deficiency is in Florida a judgment which the bank can pursue after the sale based upon the difference between the amount of the judgment and the amount of the sale which of course the bank fully controls and the cases are replete with references to the obvious fact that the sale price is more often than not governed by an arbitrary decision of the lender.In non-judicial states the deficiency is waived but there could be and usually are tax consequences arising from the “forgiven principal and interest” that cannot be offset by the loss taken on the house.

Some people, at my suggestion are starting funds in which the homeowner is given the means to exercise the right of redemption on one condition: that the forecloser prove loss and prove payment so the new lender can be assured that there are no claims on or off record.

This is leading to some interesting settlements and high profit margin for those people with money who can put up the full amount of the judgment but end up not laying out any money or very little and getting a mortgage from the homeowner that is valid and enforceable and in an amount far less than the original debt — when the pretender lender fails to produce evidence of loss (canceled check, wire transfer receipt etc.).

Frankly I am looking for investors and a manager who can handle that business which is very lucrative. An off shoot of the same idea is to buy the HOA’s lien, and foreclose on it, which is cheaper and messier. Either way the homeowner gets to stay in the home, creditors are paid what theyshould be paid, and the equity in the home is restored.

Procedurally, lawyers should pay close attention to the time limits lest they miss it and commit malpractice. A homeowner can come back at a foreclosure defense attorney alleging that the redemption period was not used properly. My suggestion is that immediately after sale the motion is filed to have the court set the proper amount of redemption based upon evidence of actual loss. You might be met with res judicata arguments or collateral estoppel, because you should have challenged the forecloser to prove their loss before judgment, but I think the period of redemption raises the issue again, or at least does so within the scope of reasonable argument.

It might well be that the pretender lender, now faced with a final judgment they procured, or a final order they procured will be estopped from maintaining the shell game they were able to conduct before judgment and finally pinned down to show that XYZ Bank actually has a receipt showing they paid for the loan either at origination or in a transfer.

At the risk of repeating myself, if you lead with an attack on the documents you are tacitly admitting that the underlying monetary transaction was real. If you lead with an attack on the monetary transactions (the money trail) then the deficiencies in the documents are abundantly clear. The documents should reflect the realities of the monetary transactions. If they don’t, the documents are either invalid or at least lose most of their credibility and all of their presumptions.

Think it through, do the research and don’t do anything until you are satisfied that what I am saying here applies to whatever case you are working on. In the end, you will most likely come tot he same conclusion I did — denial of the debt, note, mortgage and default is not only proper, it is the only truthful thing to do.

In discovery you will prove that the debt did not arise from any transaction between the borrower and the forecloser or any predecessor or successor. The documents, which point to the pretender, are therefore invalid as naming the wrong (and usually a strawman) party as payee and secured party. Add to that the conversion of the promissory note to a mortgage backed bond where the repayment terms offered the lender are different than the repayment terms offered the buyer, and you have a pretty strong argument to set the pretender back on its heels and draw some blood.

Bank of America is desperately trying to rid itself of these mortgages and mortgage bonds almost at any cost or price. They understand that every mortgage carries a potential huge liability. Taking my previous (see yesterday’s post) article, there could be a zero balance owed to the “creditor” after offset for mitigation payments, and the fabrication and forgery of documents, together with general application of TILA provisions might entitle you to recover treble damages plus attorneys fees and costs. In a wrongful foreclosure action the money really piles up, especially where the homeowner was evicted.

And it all can start in motions directed at setting the correct amount of the redemption.

Below is the oddly worded Florida Statutory right of redemption. remember, if you are not an attorney licensed in the state in which the property is located, you are far more likely to make procedural mistakes than the pretender lender and lose a case you might otherwise win. Advice, counsel and preferably representation by competent counsel is in my opinion an absolute requirement. If local counsel disagrees with the application of these principles to the situation presented his or her opinion should be taken as authoritative rather than this blog which is meant to be only informative.

45.0315 Right of redemption.—At any time before the later of the filing of a certificate of sale by the clerk of the court or the time specified in the judgment, order, or decree of foreclosure, the mortgagor or the holder of any subordinate interest may cure the mortgagor’s indebtedness and prevent a foreclosure sale by paying the amount of moneys specified in the judgment, order, or decree of foreclosure, or if no judgment, order, or decree of foreclosure has been rendered, by tendering the performance due under the security agreement, including any amounts due because of the exercise of a right to accelerate, plus the reasonable expenses of proceeding to foreclosure incurred to the time of tender, including reasonable attorney’s fees of the creditor. Otherwise, there is no right of redemption.

Insurance, Credit Default Swaps, Guarantees: Third Party Payments Mitigate Damages to “Lender”

If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. Customer service for the livinglies store with workbooks, services and analysis remains the same at 520-405-1688. The people who answer the phone are NOT attorneys and NOT permitted to provide any legal advice, but they can guide you toward some of our products and services.
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: The topic of conversation (argument) in court is changing to an inquiry of what is the real transaction, who were the parties and did they pay anything that gives them the right to claim they suffered financial damages as a result of the “breach” by the borrower. And the corollary to that is what constitutes mitigation of those damages.

If the mortgage bond derives its value solely from underlying mortgage loans, then the risk of loss derives solely from those same underlying mortgages. And if those losses are mitigated through third party payments, then the benefit should flow to both the investors who were the source of funds and the borrowers balance must be correspondingly and proportionately adjusted. Otherwise the creditor ends up in a position better than if the debtor had paid off the debt.

If your Aunt Sally pays off your mortgage loan and the bank sues you anyway  claiming they didn’t get any payment from YOU, the case will be a loser for the bank and a clear winner for you because of the defense of PAYMENT. The rules regarding damages and mitigation of damages boil down to this — the alleged injured party should not be placed in a position where he/she/it is better off than if the contract (promissory) note had been fully performed.

If the “creditor” is the investor lender, and the only way the borrower received the money was through intermediaries, then those intermediaries are not entitled to claim part of the money that the investor advanced, nor part of the money that was intended for the “creditor” to offset a financial loss. Those intermediaries are agents. And the transaction,  while involving numerous intermediaries and their affiliates, is a single contemporaneous transaction between the investor lender and the homeowner borrower.

This is the essence of the “Single transaction doctrine” and the “step transaction doctrine.” What the banks have been successful at doing, thus far, is to focus the court’s attention on the individual steps of the transaction in which a borrower eventually received money or value in exchange for his promise to pay (promissory note) and the collateral he used to guarantee payment (mortgage or deed of trust). This is evasive logic. As soon as you have penetrated the fog with the single transaction rule where the investor lenders are identified as the creditor and the homeowner borrower is identified as the debtor, the argument of the would-be forecloser collapses under its own weight.

Having established a straight line between the investor lenders and the homeowner borrowers, and identified all the other parties as intermediary agents of the the real parties in interest, the case for  damages become much clearer. The intermediary agents cannot foreclose or enforce the debt except for the benefit of an identified creditor which we know is the group of investor lenders whose money was used to fund the tier 2 yield spread premium, other dubious fees and profits, and then applied to funding loans by wire transfer to closing agents.

The intermediaries cannot claim the house because they are not part of that transaction as a real party in interest. They may have duties to each other as it relates to handling of the money as it passes through various conduits, but their principal duty is to make sure the transaction between the creditor and debtor is completed.

The intermediaries who supported the sale of fake mortgage bonds from an empty REMIC trust cannot claim the benefits of insurance, guarantees or the proceeds of hedge contracts like credit default swaps. For the first time since the mess began, judges are starting to ask whether the payments from the third parties has relevance to the debt of the borrower. To use the example above, are the third parties who made the payments the equivalent of Aunt Sally or are they somehow going to be allowed to claim those proceeds themselves?

The difference is huge. If the third parties who made those payments are the equivalent of Aunt Sally, then the mortgage is paid off to the extent that actual cash payments were received by the intermediary agents. Aunt Sally might have a claim against the borrower or it might have been a gift, but in all events the original basis for the transaction has been reduced or eliminated by the receipt of those payments.

If Aunt Sally sues the borrower, it would  be for contribution or restitution, unsecured, unless Aunt sally actually bought the loan and received an assignment along with a receipt for her funds. If there was another basis on which Aunt Sally made the payment besides a gift, then the money should still be credited to the benefit of the investor lenders who have received what they thought was a bond payable but in reality was still the note payable.

In no event are the intermediary agents to receive those loss mitigation payments when they had no loss. And to the extent that payments were received, they should be used to reduce the receivable of the investor lender and of course that would reduce the payable owed from the homeowner borrower to the investor lender. To do otherwise would be to allow the “creditor” to end up in a much better position than if the homeowner had simply paid off the loan as per the promissory note or faked mortgage bond.

None of this takes away from the fact that the REMIC trust was not source the funds used to pay for the mortgage origination or transfer. That goes to the issue of the perfection of the mortgage lien and not to the issue of how much is owed.

Now Judges are starting to ask the right question: what authority exists for application of the third party payments to mitigate damages? If such authority exists and the would-be foreclosures used a false formula to determine the principal balance due, and the interest payable on that false balance then the notice of delinquency, notice of default, and foreclosure proceedings, including the sale and redemption period would all be incorrect and probably void because they demanded too much from the borrower after having received the third party payments.

If such authority does not exist, then the windfall to the banks will continue unabated — they get the fees and tier 2 yield spread premium profits upfront, they get the payment servicing fees, they get to sell the loan multiple times without any credit to the investor lender, but most of all they get the loss mitigation payments from insurance, hedge, guarantee and bailouts for a third party loss — the investor lenders. This is highly inequitable. The party with the loss gets nothing while a party who already has made a profit on the transaction, makes more profit.

If we start with the proposition that the creditor should not be better off than if the contract had been performed, and we recognize that the intermediary investment bank, master servicer, trustee of the empty REMIC trust, subservicer, aggregator, and others did in fact receive money to mitigate the loss on those certificates and thus on the loans supposedly backing the mortgage bonds, then the only equitable and sensible conclusion would be to credit or allocate those payments to the investor lender up to the amount they advanced.

With the creditor satisfied or partially satisfied the mortgage loan, regardless of whether it is secured or not, is also satisfied or partially satisfied.

So the question is whether mitigation payments are part of the transaction between the investor lender and the homeowners borrower. While this specific application of insurance payments etc has never been addressed we find plenty of support in the case law, statutes and even the notes and bonds themselves that show that such third party mitigation payments are part of the transaction and the expectancy of the investor lender and therefore will affect the borrower’s balance owed on the debt, regardless of whether it is secured or unsecured.

Starting with the DUTY TO MITIGATE DAMAGES, we can assume that if there is such a duty, and there is, then successfully doing so must be applicable to the loan or contract and is so treated in awarding damages without abridgement. Keep in mind that the third party contract for mitigation payments actually refer to the borrowers. Those contracts expressly waive any right of the payor of the mitigation loss coverage to go after the homeowner borrower.

To allow all these undisclosed parties to receive compensation arising out of the initial loan transaction and not owe it to someone is absurd. TILA says they owe all the money they made to the borrower. Contract law says the payments should first be applied to the investor lender and then as a natural consequence, the amount owed to the lender is reduced and so is the amount due from the homeowner borrower.

See the following:

Pricing and Mitigation of Counterparty Credit Exposures, Agostino Capponi. Purdue University – School of Industrial Engineering. January 31, 2013. Handbook of Systemic Risk, edited by J.-P. Fouque and J.Langsam. Cambridge University Press, 2012

  • “We analyze the market price of counterparty risk and develop an arbitrage-free pricing valuation framework, inclusive of collateral mitigation. We show that the adjustment is given by the sum of option payoff terms, depending on the netted exposure, i.e. the difference between the on-default exposure and the pre-default collateral account. We specialize our analysis to Interest Rates Swaps (IRS) and Credit Default Swaps (CDS) as underlying portfolio, and perform a numerical study to illustrate the impact of default correlation, collateral margining frequency, and collateral re-hypothecation on the resulting adjustment. We also discuss problems of current research interest in the counterparty risk community.” pdf4article631

Whether this language  makes sense to you or not, it is English and it does say something clearly — it is all about risk. And the risk of the investor lender was to have protected by Triple A rating, insurance, and credit default swaps, as well as guarantees and provisions of the pooling and servicing agreement, for the REMIC trust. Now here is the tricky part — the banks must not be allowed to say on the one hand that the securitization documents are real even if there was no money trail or consideration to support them on the one hand then say that they are not real for purposes of receiving loss mitigation payments, which they want to keep even if it leaves the real creditor with a net loss.

To put it simply — either the parties to the underwriting of the bond to investors and the loan to homeowners were part of the the transaction (loan from investor to homeowner) or they were not. I fail to see any logic or support that they were not.

And the simple rule of measure of how these parties fit together is found under the single transaction doctrine. If the step transaction under scrutiny would not have occurred but for the principal transaction alleged, then it is a single transaction.

The banks would argue they were trading in credit default swaps and other exotic securities regardless of what lender fit with which borrower. But that is defeated by the fact that it was the banks who sold to mortgage bonds, it was the banks who set up the Master Servicer, it was the banks who purchased the insurance and credit default swaps and it was the underwriting investment bank that promised that insurance and credit default swaps would be used to counter the risk. And it is inescapable that the only risk applicable to the principal transaction between investor lender and homeowner borrower was the risk of non payment by the borrower. These third party payments represent the proceeds of protection from that risk.

Would the insurers have entered into the contract without the underlying loans? No. Would the counterparties have entered into the contract without the underlying loans? No.

So the answer, Judge is that it is an inescapable conclusion that third party loss mitigation payments must be applied, by definition, to the loss. The loss was suffered not by the banks but by the investors whose money they took. The loss mitigation payments must then be applied against the risk of loss on the money advanced by those investors. And the benefit of that payment or allocation is that the real creditor is satisfied and the real borrower receives some benefit from those payments in the way of a reduction of the his payable to the investor.

It is either as I have outlined above or the money — all of it — goes to the borrower, to the exclusion of the investor under the requirements of TILA and RESPA. While the shadow banking system is said to be over $1.2 quadrillion,  we must apply the same standards to ourselves and our cases as we do to the opposing side. Only actual payments received by the participants in the overall obscured investor lender transaction with the homeowner borrower.

Hence discovery must include those third parties and review of their contracts for the court to determine the applicability of third party payments that were actually received in relation to either the subject loan, the subject mortgage bond, or the subject REMIC pool claiming ownership of the subject loan.

The inequality between the rich and not-so-rich comes not from policy but bad arithmetic.

As the subprime mortgage market fell apart in late 2007 and early 2008, many financial products, particularly mortgage-backed securities, were downgraded.  The price of credit default swaps on these products increased.  Pursuant to their collateral agreements, many protection buyers were able to insist on additional collateral protection.  In some cases, the collateral demanded represented a significant portion of the counterparty’s assets.  Unsurprisingly, counterparties have carefully evaluated, and in some cases challenged, protection buyers’ right to such additional collateral amounts.  This tension has generated several recent lawsuits:

• CDO Plus Master Fund Ltd. v. Wachovia Bank, N.A., 07-11078 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 7, 2007) (dispute over demand     for collateral on $10,000,000 protection on collateralized debt obligations).

• VCG Special Opportunities Master Fund Ltd. v. Citibank, N.A., 08 1563 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 14, 2008) (same).

• UBS AG v. Paramax Capital Int’l, No. 07604233 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Dec. 26, 2007) (dispute over demand for $33 million additional capital from hedge fund for protection on collateralized debt obligations).

Given that the collateral disputes erupting in the courts so far likely represent only a small fraction of the stressed counterparties, and given recent developments, an increase in counterparty bankruptcy appears probable.

http://www.capdale.com/credit-default-swaps-the-bankrupt-counterparty-entering-the-undiscovered-country

Fake Notaries: The Weak Link of Each State

If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. Customer service for the livinglies store with workbooks, services and analysis remains the same at 520-405-1688. The people who answer the phone are NOT attorneys and NOT permitted to provide any legal advice, but they can guide you toward some of our products and services.
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 Note: All across the country we are discovering that robo-signing and forgery of notarizations have enabled the pretender lenders to assure the court that they own the debt, note and mortgage or deed of trust. Complaints to the state agencies regulating notaries have resulted in a net loss to borrowers. In Arizona, several notaries were suspended or had their licenses revoked only to have them reinstated a short time later. Lending your notary stamp or stealing a notary stamp without the consent of the notary are both subject to administrative and criminal prosecution.

The reason why the notarizations are going nowhere is, I think, purely political. But there is a misconception about finding a fake notarization without finding that the signature that was notarized was also without authorization or was also forged.

The failure to get a proper notarization (like where the signatory signed in Florida and the notary was in Texas), does NOT invalidate the document itself. In most states where I have read the law it only effects the ability to record the document. So if you know about the document and it wasn’t properly notarized so it couldn’t be recorded, you can still be held to have notice of it and it may well be binding on your client even if it was forged. without more, the attack on the notary seems like a technicality to get out of a legitimate debt.

It is at best an add-on to other claims in which you pray the court will enter an order that removes the nullifies the recording of the offending document from the public records. That won’t get you very far since you obviously have notice of the document’s existence. So you need to attack the document itself and even there, Judges are very reluctant to enter orders granting relief where the borrower has essentially admitted the debt, note, mortgage and the default. How would you like it if you loaned money to someone for real and then were prevented from collection because of some minor technicality? It’s a windfall for the borrower.

This is why I encourage people to start with the money trail instead of the documentary trail. The documentary trail tells a story ABOUT a transaction which is presumed to be true especially if your client’s signature is on it. But the money trail reveals what SHOULD be on the documentary trail and it is by reference to transactions that were real, where money exchanged hands, that you can say that the documents upon which the other side places reliance are wrong.

Tactically the pretenders lenders are relying on the documentary trail. Don’t go there. It’s a trap. Go for the real transactions in which money is supposed to have changed hands. Then you can ask in discovery two alternative lines of questioning: explain why the documentary trail does not reflect the actual money trial and where are the receipts and disbursements (cancelled checks and wire transfer receipts) to support your documentary trail?

The last items that closes the book on them is to show that there was no privity or authorization for them to take the consideration from an independent third party transaction and apply it to their documents.

I can’t take my neighbor’s auto loan and say that proves he owes me money. I have to actually loan him the money and if his documents say that he borrowed money from a finance company, then THEY have to show the same thing I do — that they really loaned the money or really bought the loan with cash. If neither of us can prove we paid anything then the fact that he got money as a coincidence with our paperwork is not going to help either the finance company or me. It must be presumed that the money came from someone else, resulting in voiding the purported transactions and allowing for whoever actually parted with money to come forward and stake his claim.

So fake notarizations are indeed a bad thing and that should be cause for concern in the property records of each county where title is supposed to be recorded. But wasting your time on that attack is not likely to produce much in the way of results in the form of real relief for your client.

Eric Holder Doctrine: Decriminalize Big Crimes

see also Guest Post: Why The Government Is Desperately Trying To Inflate A New Housing Bubble
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-03-25/guest-post-why-government-desperately-trying-inflate-new-housing-bubble

The problem with the theory that criminal prosecution of the banks could have a negative effect on the world economies is that the banks have already had their effect on the world economy. Along with their own well-deserved hit to their reputations they took the U.S. reputation and probably the whole Eurozone with them.

Refusing to prosecute is like saying we should not prosecute organized crime — or even the same crimes committed by smaller institutions — because someone might get killed or jailed or swindled out of more money than they already lost.
Our rating has dropped by all accounts in all the rating services — a consequence of not getting our house in order and not controlling institutions whose importance is obviously parallel to that of a water or electric utility. And people are still losing wealth and homes, thus undermining any prospect of a true economic recovery.
Eric Holder’s logic is simply not sustainable and the people of Maryland are doing the best they can to keep criminal banks out of their state. We should all do that, and do what the State of New York came close to doing — revoking the license of criminal banks to ply their snake oil financial products within their state. Now that does something to protect the public and puts everyone on notice that doing business with criminal mega-banks is risky business no matter what the smiling bank representative tells you.
The biggest flaw in Holder’s so-called logic about the banks being too big to jail is that an important part of justice has been thwarted. In fraud cases the victim receives some restitution from a receiver appointed after the culprit’s assets are seized. That can’t happen as long as we avoid criminal prosecution. And until there is criminal prosecution judges will continue to think that borrowers are deadbeats instead of victims.
Investors is the fake mortgage backed bonds issued by empty REMIC trusts that were never funded and thus never entered into a transaction in which they acquired loans deserve restitution. Clawing back the money held in the Cayman’s, Cyprus and other places can never happen as long as criminal prosecution is avoided.
The trust we earned from world central bankers,investors and borrowers has been destroyed and that is what is causing economic problems all over the world. Nobody knows where to put their money or even what currency will ultimately survive. This uncertainty is undermining our claim to moral superiority across the board in matters of state as well as commercial activity. We have opened the door to allowing Chinese firms to take the lead, like Alibaba which has quietly become larger than Amazon and EBay combined and is on track to become the world’s first trillion dollar company.
If we truly want to survive and prosper we can show the world that we know how to do the right thing rather than become an accessory during and after the fact of a continuing crime that ranks as the greatest fraud in human history. When investors get a check from a court-appointed receiver in a criminal case, when we see bankers go to jail, and when the amount demanded from borrowers is reduced by payments to the banksters, THEN confidence will be restored along with wealth, investment and employment.
We are pursuing a going out of business strategy. By holding back on the basis of the Holder Doctrine we are confirming that we lost our moral high ground. Someone will fill that void and don’t think for a minute that the Chinese are not acutely aware of their opportunity.
Remember when we made fun of Japanese products as cheap unreliable imports? They fixed that, didn’t they. The Chinese are now spreading out creating new standards of morality in the marketplace such as not releasing money to an online seller until the buyer is satisfied.

It won’t be long before Chinese currency and currencies pegged to Chinese currency become the standard medium of value replacing western currencies, unless we change and start running a country that controls and disciplines its players domestically and on the world stage.

Money-laundering firm should get no welcome in Maryland
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-hsbc-20130325,0,1565911.story

What to Do When the “Original” Note is Proferred

If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. Customer service for the livinglies store with workbooks, services and analysis remains the same at 520-405-1688. The people who answer the phone are NOT attorneys and NOT permitted to provide any legal advice, but they can guide you toward some of our products and services.
The selection of an attorney is an important decision  and should only be made after you have interviewed licensed attorneys familiar with investment banking, securities, property law, consumer law, mortgages, foreclosures, and collection procedures. This site is dedicated to providing those services directly or indirectly through attorneys seeking guidance or assistance in representing consumers and homeowners. We are available to any lawyer seeking assistance anywhere in the country, U.S. possessions and territories. Neil Garfield is a licensed member of the Florida Bar and is qualified to appear as an expert witness or litigator in in several states including the district of Columbia. The information on this blog is general information and should NEVER be considered to be advice on one specific case. Consultation with a licensed attorney is required in this highly complex field.
There are two issues when the other side presents original documents. First is that they say these are originals and they do not accompany it with an affidavit from someone with actual personal knowledge of the transactions or the high bar for business records exceptions to hearsay. My experience is that 50-50, the documents are original or fabricated by use of Photoshop and a laser printer or dot matrix printer. So what you need to do is to go down to the clerk’s office and see what they filed. It would not be unusual for them to file a copy saying it was the original. Second, on that same point, the original can be examined. When the signatures are heavy there should be indentations on the back. Also a notary stamp tends to bleed through the paper to the back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prommis Holdings LLC Files for Bankruptcy Protection

I have not followed Prommis Holdings closely but I can recall that some people have sent in reports that Prommis was the named creditor in some foreclosure proceedings. The reason I am posting this is because the bankruptcy filings including the statement of affairs will probably give some important clues to the real money story on those mortgages where Prommis was involved. I’m sure you will not find the loan receivables account that are mysteriously absent from virtually all such filings and FDIC resolutions.

And remember that when the petition for bankruptcy is filed it must include a look-back period during which any assignments or transfers must be disclosed. So there is a very narrow window in which the petitioner could even claim ownership of the loan with or without any fabricated evidence.

US Trustees in bankruptcy are making a mistake when they do not pay attention to alleged assignments executed AFTER the petition was filed and sometimes AFTER the plan is confirmed or the company is liquidated. Such an assignment would indicate that either the petitioner lied about its assets or was committing fraud in executing the assignment — particularly without the US Trustee’s consent and joinder.

The Courts are making the same mistake if they accept such an assignment that does not have US Trustees consent and joinder, besides the usual mistake of not recognizing that the petitioner never had a stake in the loan to begin with. The same logic applies to receivership created by court order, the FDIC or any other “estate” created.

That would indicate, as I have been saying all along, that the origination and transfer paperwork is nothing more than paper and tells the story of fictitious transactions, to wit: that someone “bought” the loan. Upon examination of the money trail and demanding wire transfer receipts or canceled checks it is doubtful that you find any consideration paid for any transfer and in most cases you won’t find any consideration for even the origination of the loan.

Think of it this way: if you were the investor who advanced money to the underwriter (investment bank) who then sent the investor’s funds down to a closing agent to pay for the loan, whose name would you want to be on the note and mortgage? Who is the creditor? YOU! But that isn’t what happened and there is nothing the banks can do and no amount of paperwork can cover up the fact that there was consideration transferred exactly once in the origination and transfer of the loans — when the investors put up the money which the investment bank acting as intermediary sent to the closing agent.

The fact that the closing documents and transfer documents do not show the investors as the creditors is incompatible with the realities of the money trail. Thus the documents were fabricated and any signature procured by the parties from the alleged borrower was procured by fraud and deceit — causing an immediate cloud on title.

At the end of the day, the intermediaries must answer one simple question: why didn’t you put the investors’ name or the trust name on the note and mortgage or a “valid” assignment when the loan was made and within the 90 day window prescribed by the REMIC statutes of the Internal Revenue Code and the Pooling and Servicing Agreement? Nobody would want or allow someone else’s name on the note or mortgage that they funded. So why did it happen? The answer must be that the intermediaries were all breaching every conceivable duty to the investors and the borrowers in their quest for higher profits by claiming the loans to be owned by the intermediaries, most of whom were not even handling the money as a conduit.

By creating the illusion of ownership, these intermediaries diverted insurance mitigation payments from investors and diverted credit default swap mitigation payments from the investors. These intermediaries owe the investors AND the borrowers the money they took as undisclosed compensation that was unjustly diverted, with the risk of loss being left solely on the investors and the borrowers.

That is an account payable to the investor which means that the accounts receivables they have are off-set and should be off-set by actual payment of those fees. If they fail to get that money it is not any fault of the borrower. The off-set to the receivables from the borrowers caused by the receivables from the intermediaries for loss mitigation payments reduces the balance due from the borrower by simple arithmetic. No “forgiveness” is necessary. And THAT is why it is so important to focus almost exclusively on the actual trail of money — who paid what to whom and when and how much.

And all of that means that the notice of default, notice of sale, foreclosure lawsuit, and demand for payments are all wrong. This is not just a technical issue — it runs to the heart of the false securitization scheme that covered over the PONZI scheme cooked up on Wall Street. The consensus on this has been skewed by the failure of the Justice department to act; but Holder explained that saying that it was a conscious decision not to prosecute because of the damaging effects on the economy if the country’s main banks were all found guilty of criminal fraud.

You can’t do anything about the Holder’s decision to prosecute but that doesn’t mean that the facts, strategy and logic presented here cannot be used to gain traction. Just keep your eye on the ball and start with the money trail and show what documents SHOULD have been produced and what they SHOULD have said and then compare it with what WAS produced and you’ll have defeated the foreclosure. This is done through discovery and the presumptions that arise when a party refuses to comply. They are not going to admit anytime soon that what I have said in this article is true. But the Judges are not stupid. If you show a clear path to the Judge that supports your discovery demands, coupled with your denial of all essential elements of the foreclosure, and you persist relentlessly, you are going to get traction.

FDCPA Strikes Again: West Virginia Slams Wells Fargo

YARNEY v. OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC, Dist. Court, WD Virginia 2013

SARAH C. YARNEY, Plaintiff,

v.

OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC, ET AL., Defendants.

No. 3:12-cv-00014. United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Charlottesville Division.

March 8, 2013

MEMORANDUM OPINION

NORMAN K. MOON, District Judge.

The Plaintiff Sarah C. Yarney (“Plaintiff”), pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56, seeks summary judgment as to liability on all claims asserted in her complaint. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Wells Fargo Bank N.A., as Trustee for SABR 2008-1 Trust (“Wells Fargo”), and its loan servicer, Ocwen Loan Servicing, LCC (“Ocwen”), attempted to collect on her home mortgage loan after she had settled the debt with Wells Fargo.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Plaintiff’s FDCPA Claims as a Matter of Law

In summary, mortgage servicers are considered debt collectors under the FDCPA if they became servicers after the debt they service fell into default. At the time Ocwen became the servicer on Plaintiff’s home loan, the loan was already in default. Therefore, Ocwen is a debt collector seeking to collect an alleged debt for the purposes of FDCPA liability in this case.[4]

1. Defendants’ Liability under 15 U.S.C. § 1692e(2)(A)

Given the contents of the monthly bills and notices sent to Plaintiff directly, along with the continued calls she received from collection agents, I find that the least sophisticated consumer in Plaintiff’s position could believe that she still owed a debt. Thus, Plaintiff is entitled to summary judgment on her count that Ocwen violated § 1692e(2)(A) of the FDCPA.
2. Defendants’ Liability under 15 U.S.C. § 1692c(a)(2)

Because Plaintiff continued to directly receive bills, statements and phone calls from Ocwen representatives seeking to collect on an alleged debt obligation, despite notice that she was represented by counsel, Plaintiff is entitled to summary judgment that Ocwen violated section 1692c(a)(2).

B. Plaintiff’s Breach of Contract Claim as a Matter of Law

Plaintiff contends that Wells Fargo breached its agreement with Plaintiff, through the action of its agent, Ocwen ….
plaintiff contends, Wells Fargo failed to comply with its obligations, due to the actions of Ocwen, its servicer.
By attempting to collect payments from Plaintiff on behalf of Wells Fargo, Ocwen acted as Wells Fargo’s agent with respect to the original mortgage loan.[10] Further, the undisputed facts in this case demonstrate that Ocwen continued to behave in all respects towards Plaintiff as Wells Fargo’s agent after the March 18, 2011 settlement agreement.[11] While a party may delegate the performance of its duties under a contract, it retains the ultimate obligation to perform….
[11] While Defendants argued during the February 25, 2013 motion hearing that Wells Fargo shouldn’t be held liable for Ocwen’s conduct from now until eternity, Ocwen’s actions at the center of this case constituted collection efforts in connection with the same mortgage loan debt for which Ocwen had been assigned to service, and that Plaintiff and Wells Fargo had attempted to resolve under the March 18, 2011 settlement agreement. Thus, given the facts of this case, Ocwen continued to act as Wells Fargo’s agent with respect to Plaintiff following the settlement agreement.
Due to Ocwen’s subsequent attempts to collect mortgage loan payments from Plaintiff, Wells Fargo neither absolved Plaintiff of her possible deficiency nor properly accepted the deed in lieu of foreclosure.
. . .
“… and thus, due to the actions of its servicer, Plaintiff is entitled to summary judgment that Wells Fargo breached the March 18, 2011 contract agreement.
IV. CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment is granted. This case is scheduled for a jury trial on April 9, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. in Charlottesville, VA, at which time Plaintiff will have the opportunity to testify in regards to any damages she may be entitled to in this matter.[12] An appropriate order accompanies this memorandum opinion

 

Short-Sale Alert: Shifting the Title Problem to the Borrower

If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. Customer service for the livinglies store with workbooks, services and analysis remains the same at 520-405-1688. The people who answer the phone are NOT attorneys and NOT permitted to provide any legal advice, but they can guide you toward some of our products and services.
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 Comment: In reviewing some documents for a proposed short-sale it appears to me that the reason why the banks are willing to do it is hidden in the legalese contained in the multiple forms that the borrower is asked to sign.

It is important that you have an attorney licensed in the jurisdiction in which the property is located review those short-sale papers before you sign them, thinking your problems are over.

The first big problem that I see is that it appears to be common practice for the borrower to warrant title and lack of encumbrances that others might assert claims. This is a warranty that properly should be made by the servicer, the trust and the trustee on the deed of trust (where applicable) since the information necessary to make such an assertion or acknowledgment or warranty is solely within the care, custody and control of the pretender lenders.

The fact is that the satisfaction of mortgage or release and reconveyance may be executed by a party lacking the authority to do so, just as the wrongful foreclosures are based upon robo-signed fabricated documents. If the Seller in a short-sale makes such a warranty and a claim arises later that the title is corrupted it is the Seller who made the warranty to the new buyer and the title company, and both the buyer and the title company could sue the Seller who thought they were putting an end to the foreclosure nightmare.

The fact is that depending upon the actual money trail and the the documentary trail that preceded the short-sale, there are many parties who could assert a claim, although it appears unlikely they will do so.

If the asset pool (trust or REMIC) actually acquired the loan legally then it should say so and join in the release and reconveyance or satisfaction of mortgage. Which brings me to the second point of concern: when the package is delivered to the Seller in a short-sale, it typically does NOT include the forms that will be used to release the mortgage, waive the deficiency etc. It is entirely possible that a trusting Seller in a short-sale might themselves tied in knots because the satisfaction or reconveyance contains statements, warranties and assertions that are not true and potentially binding the Seller for all responsibilities on title and even deficiencies.

If the onus of potential title problems is not being covered by the title company and disclaimed by the parties executing the release or satisfaction, then the Seller is stuck with a problem he didn’t have before: corruption of title caused by the fake scheme of securitization is transferred to the Seller’s doorstep. It is even possible that you might be inadvertently signing up for a deficiency judgment when in a foreclosure (particularly in non-judicial states) the deficiency is ordinarily waived. This can force the Seller into a bankruptcy they were seeking to avoid. Be Careful!

W VA Court Says Directions to Stop Making Payments and Refusing to Apply Payments is Breach of Contract

BANK OF AMERICA TAKES ANOTHER HIT:
BANKS MISLEAD BORROWERS WHEN THEY INSTRUCT THEM TO STOP MAKING PAYMENTS AND REFUSE PAYMENTS
If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. Customer service for the livinglies store with workbooks, services and analysis remains the same at 520-405-1688. The people who answer the phone are NOT attorneys and NOT permitted to provide any legal advice, but they can guide you toward some of our products and services.
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 Note: We’ve all heard it a million times. “The bank told me to stop making payments in order to get modification or other relief.” It was a blatant lie and it was intended to get the borrower in so deep they couldn’t get out, leading inevitably to foreclosure.

Why would the “bank” want foreclosure? Because they took far more money from investors than they used to fund loans. If the deal fails and dissolves into foreclosure the investors are less likely to probe deeply into the transaction to find out what really happened. The fact is that the banks were all skimming off the top taking as much as 50% f the money from investors and sticking it in their own pockets, using it to gamble and keeping the proceeds of gambling.

If the banks really went the usual route of workouts, deed in lieu, modifications and other relief to borrowers, there would be an accounting night mare for them as eventually the auditing the firms would pick up on the fact that the investment banks were taking far more money than was actually intended to be used for investing in mortgages.

They covered it up by creating the illusion of a mortgage closing in which the named payee on the note and security instrument were neither lenders nor creditors and eventually they assigned the loan to a REMIC trust that had neither received the loan nor paid for it.

In this case the Court takes the bank to task for both lying to the borrower about how much better off they would be if they stopped making payments, thus creating a default or exacerbating it, and the refusal of the bank to accept payments from the borrower. It is a simple breach of contract action and the Court finds that there is merit to the claim, allowing the borrower to prove their case in court.

Another way of looking at this is that if everyone had paid off their mortgages in full, there would still be around $3 trillion owed to the investors representing the tier 2 yield spread premium that the banks skimmed off the top plus the unconscionable fees and costs charged to the accounts.  Where did that money go? See the previous post

This well-reasoned well written opinion discusses the case in depth and represents a treasure trove of potential causes of action and credibility to borrowers’ defenses to foreclosure claims.

 

2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35320, * MOTION TO DISMISS DENIED

JASON RANSON, Plaintiff, v. BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., Defendant.
CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:12-5616
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA, HUNTINGTON DIVISION
2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35320

March 14, 2013, Decided
March 14, 2013, Filed 

CORE TERMS:modification, foreclosure, borrower, citations omitted, mitigation, misrepresentation, servicer, consumer, lender, cause of action, contractual, guaranteed, mortgage, estoppel, contract claim, default, special relationship, reinstatement, collection, quotation, breached, notice, factual allegations, breach of contract, force and effect, indebtedness, thereunder, foreclose, veteran’s, manual

COUNSEL: [*1] For Jason Ranson, Plaintiff: Daniel F. Hedges 1, Jennifer S. Wagner, LEAD ATTORNEYS, MOUNTAIN STATE JUSTICE, INC., Charleston, WV.

For Bank of America, N.A., Defendant: Carrie Goodwin Fenwick, Victoria L. Wilson, LEAD ATTORNEYS, GOODWIN & GOODWIN, Charleston, WV.

JUDGES: ROBERT C. CHAMBERS, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

OPINION BY: ROBERT C. CHAMBERS

OPINION

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Pending before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss by Defendant Bank of America, N.A. (BANA). ECF No. 4. Plaintiff Jason Ranson opposes the motion. For the following reasons, the Court DENIES, in part, and GRANTS, in part, Defendant’s motion.

I.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On September 19, 2012, Defendant removed this action from the Circuit Court of Putnam County based upon diversity of jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332 and 1441. In his Complaint, Plaintiff asserts that he took out a mortgagewith Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. to purchase a house in 2007. The loan was originated pursuant to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Loan Guaranty Program. Plaintiff alleges the loan “contained a contractual guarantee by the . . . (VA), which requires—as incorporated into the contract—that Defendant comply with regulations and [*2] laws governing VA guaranteed loans, including those regulations governing Defendant’s actions in the event of the borrower’s default” as he was, and continues to be, on active duty with the United States Army. Compl. at ¶5, in part. Defendant is the current servicer and holder of the loan.

In 2009, Plaintiff became two months behind on the loan. Plaintiff asserts that Defendant informed him he was eligible for a loan modification and requested he submit certain documentation to have the modification finalized. Plaintiff claims that Defendant also told him to stop making any payments as they would interfere with the finalization process. Plaintiff states he had the means to make the two delinquent payments at that time or he could have sought refinancing or taken other actions to save his house and credit. However, he relied upon Defendant’s statements and stopped making payments, pending its assurance that he was eligible for a modification. In fact, Plaintiff states that Defendant returned his last payment without applying it to his account.

Over the next several months, Plaintiff asserts he repeatedly submitted the documentation requested by Defendant for the modification process. [*3] Plaintiff also contacted Defendant on a weekly basis for updates. Plaintiff claims he was assured by Defendant it would not foreclose, and Defendant discouraged him from calling by stating it would delay finalization of the modification. Approximately eight months after the process began, Plaintiff contends that Defendant informed him the loan would not be modified because VA loans do not qualify for assistance. According to Plaintiff, Defendant nevertheless requested that he submit documentation for another modification. Plaintiff states he complied with the request but, approximately six months later, Defendant again told him the modification was denied because he had a VA loan. Defendant further told him he should vacate the property because it was going to foreclose. Plaintiff asserts he asked Defendant if he could short sell the house, but Defendant said no and stated the only way he could save his house would be by full reinstatement. As fourteen months had passed since he was told to stop making payments, Plaintiff states that he could not afford to pay the full amount owed.

As a result of these alleged activities, Plaintiff filed this action, alleging five counts of action. [*4] Count I is for breach of contract, Count II is for negligence, Count III is for fraud, Count IV is for estoppel, and Count V is for illegal debt collection. Defendant now moves to dismiss each of the counts.

II.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

In Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), the United States Supreme Court disavowed the “no set of facts” language found in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957), which was long used to evaluate complaints subject to 12(b)(6) motions. 550 U.S. at 563. In its place, courts must now look for “plausibility” in the complaint. This standard requires a plaintiff to set forth the “grounds” for an “entitle[ment] to relief” that is more than mere “labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. at 555(internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Accepting the factual allegations in the complaint as true (even when doubtful), the allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . . .” Id. (citations omitted). If the allegations in the complaint, assuming their truth, do “not raise a claim of entitlement to relief, this basic deficiency should . . .be exposed [*5] at the point of minimum expenditure of time and money by the parties and the court.” Id. at 558 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

In Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), the Supreme Court explained the requirements of Rule 8 and the “plausibility standard” in more detail. In Iqbal, the Supreme Court reiterated that Rule 8 does not demand “detailed factual allegations[.]” 556 U.S. at 678(internal quotation marks and citations omitted). However, a mere “unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-

harmed-me accusation” is insufficient. Id. “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Facial plausibility exists when a claim contains “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citation omitted). The Supreme Court continued by explaining that, although factual allegations in a complaint must be accepted as true for purposes of a motion to dismiss, this tenet does not apply to legal conclusions. Id. “Threadbare recitals of the elements [*6] of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. (citation omitted). Whether a plausible claim is stated in a complaint requires a court to conduct a context-specific analysis, drawing upon the court’s own judicial experience and common sense. Id. at 679. If the court finds from its analysis that “the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]‘-’that the pleader is entitled to relief.’” Id. (quoting, in part, Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)). The Supreme Court further articulated that “a court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.” Id.

III.

DISCUSSION

A.

Breach of Contract

In Count I, Plaintiff alleges that the Deed of Trust and the VA Guaranteed Loan and Assumption Policy Rider provide that “Defendant’s rights upon the borrower’s default are limited by Title 38 of the United States Code and any regulations issued thereunder.” [*7] Compl., at ¶22. According to Plaintiff, the contract also provides that Defendant must apply all payments to his account. Plaintiff asserts Defendant breached the contract by (1) discouraging him from making payments, (2) returning his payments, (3) allowing the accumulation of arrears until it was impossible for him to reinstate the loan, (4) initiating foreclosure and failing to grant a modification after assuring him it would be granted, and (5) “failing to comply with VA regulations and guidance requiring, inter alia, that the Defendants [sic] consider Plaintiff for a variety [of] loss mitigation options, and provide notice of such rejection(s) in writing, prior to foreclosure.” Id. at ¶24(d).

To avoid dismissal of a breach of contract claim under Rule 12(b)(6), West Virginia law requires: “the existence of a valid, enforceable contract; that the plaintiff has performed under the contract; that the defendant has breached or violated its duties or obligations under the contract; and that the plaintiff has been injured as a result.” Executive Risk Indem., Inc. v. Charleston Area Med. Ctr., Inc., 681 F. Supp.2d 694, 714 (S.D. W. Va. 2009) (citations omitted). For a claim of breach [*8] of contract to be sufficient, “a plaintiff must allege in his complaint ‘the breach on which the plaintiffs found their action . . . [and] the facts and circumstances which entitle them to damages.’” Id. In this case, Defendant argues Plaintiff has failed to sufficiently allege a breach of contract because he has not specified what specific VA regulations purportedly were violated and, in any event, the regulations only require the foreclosure be conducted in accordance to West Virginia law. As Defendant maintains it complied with the West Virginia law, Defendant asserts it has not breached the contract.

Plaintiff does not dispute that neither the contracts nor West Virginia law require a loan modification. However, Plaintiff argues that the VA has promulgated regulations to limit foreclosures of loans it has guaranteed and Defendant did not comply with those requirements. Plaintiff quotes from the VA Guaranteed Loan and Assumption Policy Rider, which provides, in part:

If the indebtedness secured hereby be guaranteed or insured under Title 38, United States Code, such Title and Regulations issued thereunder and in effect on the date hereof shall govern the rights, duties and liabilities [*9] of Borrower and Lender. Any provisions of the Security Instrument or other instruments executed in connection with said indebtedness which are inconsistent with said Title or Regulations, including, but not limited to, the provision for payment of any sum in connection with prepayment of the secured indebtedness and the provision that the Lender may accelerate payment of the secured indebtedness pursuant to Covenant 18 of the Security Instrument, are hereby amended or negated to the extent necessary to confirm such instruments to said Title or Regulations.

VA Guar. Loan and Assumption Policy Rider, at 2, ECF No. 4-1, at 15. Specifically, Plaintiff cites 38 U.S.C. § 36.4350(f), (g), and (h), which requires, inter alia, Defendant to send Plaintiff a letter outlining his loss mitigation options after he fell behind on his payments and, under certain circumstances, have a face-to-face meeting with Plaintiff. Likewise, 38 C.F.R. § 36.4319 provides incentives to servicers to engage in loss mitigation options in lieu of foreclosure, and 38 C.F.R. § 36.4315expressly allows a loan modification under certain circumstances if it is in veteran’s and the Government’s best interest. Plaintiff also [*10] cites a Servicer Guide for VA guaranteed loans, which contains similar loss mitigation considerations. 1 Plaintiff states that all these requirements are incorporated into the contract, and Defendant violated the contract by stating he could not receive a loan modification because he had a VA loan; by telling him to stop making payments rather than placing him on a repayment plan; by not timely evaluating the loan and considering him for loss mitigation and, instead, placing him in foreclosure; and by refusing to allow Plaintiff to apply for a compromise sale because Defendant had started foreclosure. Moreover, Plaintiff asserts Defendant violated his right to reinstate and failed to exercise its discretion in good faith by refusing his payment; telling him to stop making payments; informing he was qualified for loan modification, and then denying the modification; providing him conflicting, inconsistent, and inaccurate information about his account; refusing to consider a short sale; and never providing him a written explanation of why loss mitigation was denied.

FOOTNOTES

1 U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, VA Servicer Guide 6 (July 2009), available at http:www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/docs/va_servicer_guide.pdf.

Defendant [*11] responds by asserting that the VA regulations and the handbook are permissive in nature, not mandatory, and the VA Servicer Guide is not binding. See VA Servicer Guide, at 4 (“This manual does not change or supersede any regulation or law affecting the VA Home Loan Program. If there appears to be a discrepancy, please refer to the related regulation or law.”); see also 38 C.F.R. § 36.4315(c)(stating “[t]his section does not create a right of a borrower to have a loan modified, but simply authorizes the loan holder to modify a loan in certain situations without the prior approval of the Secretary” 38 U.S.C. § 36.4315(c)). Thus, Defendant argues they establish no affirmative duty for it to act. In support of its position, Defendant cites several older cases which held certain regulations issued by the VA and other governmental agencies do not have the force and effect of law. 2

FOOTNOTES

2 See First Family Mortg. Corp. of Fl. v. Earnest, 851 F.2d 843, 844-45 (6th Cir. 1988)(finding that mortgagors could not state a cause of action based on VA publications against the VA for allegedly failing to monitor lender servicing of VA-backed loans); Bright v. Nimmo, 756 F.2d 1513, 1516 (11th Cir. 1985) [*12] (rejecting the plaintiff’s argument that he has an implied cause of action against the VA or lender based upon the VA’s manual and guidelines); United States v. Harvey, 659 F.2d 62, 65 (5th Cir. 1981)(finding that the VA manual did not have the force and effect of law by itself and it was not incorporated into the promissory notes or deeds to support a contract claim); Gatter v. Cleland, 512 F. Supp. 207, 212 (E.D. Pa. 1981)(holding “that the decision to implement a formal refunding program is one that squarely falls within the committed to agency discretion exception [of the VA] and is not subject to judicial review” (footnote omitted)); and Pueblo Neighborhood Health Ctrs., Inc. v. U.S. Dep’t of Health and Human Serv., 720 F.2d 622, 625 (10th Cir. 1983)(finding a pamphlet issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, referred to as a Grant Application Manual, was not the product of formal rule-making and did not have the force and effect of law).

However, upon review of those cases, the Court finds that they generally involve situations in which the plaintiffs were attempting to assert a cause of action based upon the regulation itself, rather than as a breach of contract [*13] claim. An action based on a contract involves a much different legal theory than one based solely on enforcement of a regulation apart from a contractual duty. Indeed, Plaintiff cites a number of comparable mortgagecases in which courts permitted homeowners to pursue claims against lenders based upon regulations issued by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) where it was alleged that the parties contractually agreed to comply with those regulations. As explained by the Court in Mullins v. GMAC Mortg., LLC, No. 1:09-cv-00704, 2011 WL 1298777, **2-3 (S.D. W. Va. Mar. 31, 2011), plaintiffs, who allege a straightforward breach of contact claim, “are not, as defendants would have the court believe, suing to enforce HUD regulations under some vague and likely non-existent cause of action allowing a member of the public to take upon himself the role of regulatory enforcer. These two theories of recovery are distinct and unrelated,” and the Court held the plaintiffs could proceed on their express breach of contract claim. 2011 WL 1298777, *3. 3Upon review, this Court is persuaded that the same reasoning controls here. Therefore, the Court will not dismiss Plaintiff’s contract claim based [*14] upon Defendant’s argument that the regulations and handbook do not have full force and effect of law because Plaintiff has alleged the contract incorporates the limitations set by the regulations. See Compl., at ¶22 (“The contract provides that Defendant’s rights upon the borrower’s default are limited by Title 38 of the United States Code and any regulations issued thereunder.”).

FOOTNOTES

3 See also Kersey v. PHH Mortg. Corp., 682 F. Supp.2d 588, 596-97 (E.D. Va. 2010), vacated on other grounds, 2010 WL 3222262 (E.D. Va. Aug. 13, 2010) (finding, in part, that the plaintiff sufficiently alleged a claim that the defendant breached an FHA regulation which was incorporated in a Deed of Trust); Sinclair v. Donovan, Nos. 1:11-CV-00010, 1:11-CV-00079, 2011 WL 5326093, *8 (S.D. Ohio Nov. 4, 2011) (“find[ing] that the HUD-FHA regulations concerning loss mitigation are enforceable terms of the mortgagecontract between the parties and that Plaintiffs cannot be denied the benefit of these provisions by virtue of the fact of simple default”); and Baker v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 3:08-CV-0916-B, 2009 WL 1810336, **5-6 (N.D. Tex. June 24, 2009) (stating that a “failure to comply with the [HUD] regulations [*15] made part of the parties’ agreement may give rise to liability on a contact theory because the parties incorporated the terms into their contact”).

Defendant further argues, however, that some of the regulations cited by Plaintiff are irrelevant to this case because, for instance, a face-to-face meeting with a borrower is required only under certain circumstances which do not exist in this case. See 38 C.F.R. § 36.4350(g)(iii). In addition, Defendant asserts that, in any event, it did not breach the contract because it had no duty to engage in loss mitigation and it otherwise complied with the contract’s terms. The Court finds, however, that whether or not Defendant violated any of the terms of the contract is a matter best resolved after discovery. Therefore, at this point, the Court finds that Plaintiff has sufficiently alleged a breach of contract claim and, accordingly, DENIES Defendant’s motion to dismiss the claim. 4

FOOTNOTES

4Plaintiff obviously disagrees with Defendant’s argument and filed a “Notice of Additional Authority” disputing Defendant’s position that the VA regulations require holders to evaluate borrowers for loss mitigation. Plaintiff cites the Veterans Benefits Administration, [*16] Revised VA Making Home Affordable Program, Circular 26-10-6 (May 24, 2010), which states, in part: “Before considering HAMP-style modifications, servicers must first evaluate defaulted mortgages for traditional loss mitigation actions cited in Title 38, Code of Federal Regulations, section 36.4819 (38 CFR § 36.4819); i.e., repayment plans, special forbearances, and traditional loan modifications. . . . If none of the traditional home retention loss mitigation options provide an affordable payment, the servicer must evaluate the loan for a HAMP-style modification prior to deciding that the default is insoluble and exploring alternatives to foreclosure.” (Available at http://www.benefits.va.gov/HOMELOANS/circulars/26_10_6.pdf).

B.

Negligence and Fraud

Defendant next argues that Plaintiff’s claim for negligence and fraud in Counts II and III, respectively, are duplicative of his illegal debt collection claim in Count V under the West Virginia Consumer Credit Protection Act (WVCCPA) and cannot survive because Plaintiff fails to allege Defendant owed him a special duty beyond the normal borrower-servicer relationship. Therefore, Defendant asserts Counts II and III should be dismissed.

In Bailey [*17] v. Branch Banking & Trust Co., Civ. Act. No. 3:10-0969, 2011 WL 2517253 (S.D. W. Va. June 23, 2011), this Court held that the West Virginia Supreme Court in Casillas v. Tuscarora Land Co., 412 S.E.2d 792 (W. Va. 1991), made it clear a plaintiff can pursue claims under the WVCCPA and common law at the same time. 2011 WL 2517253, *3. The Court reasoned that “[i]t would be contrary to both the legislative intent of the WVCCPA and the whole crux of Casillas if the Court were to preclude consumers from bringing actions for violations of the WVCCPA and common law merely because the claims are based upon similar facts.” Id. The Court found that “[n]either the WVCCPA nor Casillasmakes a consumer choose between the two options. A consumer clearly can choose to pursue both avenues provided “separate” claims are set forth in a complaint.” Id.

However, under West Virginia law, a plaintiff “cannot maintain an action in tort for an alleged breach of a contractual duty.” Lockhart v. Airco Heating & Cooling, 567 S.E.2d 619, 624 (W. Va. 2002)(footnote omitted). Rather, “[t]ort liability of the parties to a contract arises from the breach of some positive legal duty imposed by law because of the relationship [*18] of the parties, rather than a mere omission to perform a contract obligation.” Id. (emphasis added). Whether a “special relationship” exists between the parties beyond their contractual obligations is “determined largely by the extent to which the particular plaintiff is affected differently from society in general.” Aikens v. Debow, 541 S.E.2d 576, 589 (W. Va. 2000). “In the lender-borrower context, courts consider whether the lender has created such a ‘special relationship’ by performing services not normally provided by lender to a borrower.” Warden v. PHH Mortgage Corp., No. 3:10-cv-00075, 2010 WL 3720128, at *9 (N.D. W. Va. Sept. 16. 2010 (citing Glascock v. City Nat’l Bank of W. Va., 576 S.E.2d 540, 545-56 (W. Va. 2002) (other citation omitted)).

Here, Plaintiff’s negligence claim is quite simple. He alleges that, where “Defendant engaged in significant communications and activities with Plaintiff[] and the loan, Defendant owed a duty to Plaintiff to provide him with accurate information about his loan account and its obligations and rights thereunder.” Compl., at ¶27. Next, Plaintiff asserts “Defendant[] breached that duty by instructing Plaintiff not to make payments, advising [*19] Plaintiff that he would receive a loan modification, and then instead allowing arrears to accrue for months and ultimately denying Plaintiff[] assistance and pursuing foreclosure.” Id. at ¶28. Upon review of these allegations, the Court finds Plaintiff has failed to allege any positive legal duty beyond Defendant’s purported contractual obligations. There is nothing about these allegations that creates a “special relationship” between the parties. Indeed, a duty to provide accurate loan information is a normal service in a lender-borrower relationship.

In support of their claim Plaintiff relies, inter alia, on Glasock v. City National Bank of West Virginia, 576 S.E.540 (W. Va. 2002), where the West Virginia Supreme Court found that a special relationship existed between a lender and the borrowers. In Glascock, the bank maintained oversight and was significantly involved in the construction of the borrowers’ house. The bank possessed information that there were substantial problems with the house, but it failed to reveal those problems to the borrowers. 576 S.E.2d at 545. The West Virginia Supreme Court found that the bank’s significant involvement in the construction created a special [*20] relationship between the parties which carried “with it a duty to disclose any information that would be critical to the integrity of the construction project.” Id. at 546 (footnote omitted).

To the contrary, Plaintiff’s negligence claim in this case rests merely on the fact Defendant had a duty to provide him accurate information about the loan and failed to do so. Plaintiff has failed to sufficiently allege any facts which support a special relationship between the parties as existed in Glascock. Therefore, the Court GRANTS Defendant’s motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s negligence claim in Count II.

Turning next to Plaintiff’s fraud claim, Defendant argues the claim must be dismissed because it fails to meet the heightened pleading standard found in Rule 9(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 9(b)provides that, “[i]n alleging fraud or mistake, a party must state with particularity the circumstances constituting fraud or mistake. Malice, intent, knowledge, and other conditions of a person’s mind may be alleged generally.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b). Under this heightened pleading standard, a plaintiff is required to “at a minimum, describe the time, place, and contents of the false [*21] representations, as well as the identity of the person making the misrepresentation and what he obtained thereby.” U.S. ex rel. Wilson v. Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc., 525 F.3d 370, 379 (4th Cir. 2008) (quoting Harrison v. Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 176 F.3d 776, 784 (4th Cir. 1999))(internal quotation marks omitted). In other words, the plaintiffs must describe the “‘who, what, when, where, and how’ of the alleged fraud.” Id. (quoting U.S. ex rel. Willard v. Humana Health Plan of Texas Inc., 336 F.3d 375, 384 (5th Cir. 2003) (other citation omitted)).

In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he had trouble making his mortgage payments around 2009. Compl, at ¶6. When he was approximately two months behind on his payments, Defendant informed him that he qualified for a loan modification, but he needed to complete the necessary paperwork to have it finalized. Id. at ¶7(a). “At this time,” Defendant also informed Plaintiff not to make any more payments until the modification was finalized. Id. at ¶7(b). About eight months later, Defendant told Plaintiff that he did not qualify for a modification, but Defendant instructed him to submit documentation for another modification. Id. at [*22] ¶13. After approximately six more months passed, Plaintiff was notified again that he was being denied assistance. Id. at ¶14. Plaintiff further alleges that, before May of 2012, Defendant never gave him “a written decision on his loan modification applications or any explanation for why he had denied him for assistance, other than its statements by telephone that he did not qualify for assistance because he had a VA loan.” Id. at ¶18.

In addition to these alleged facts, Plaintiff specifically states in his cause of action for fraud that “[i]n or around 2009,” Defendant told him to stop making payments and it would modify his loan rather than pursue foreclosure. Id. at ¶31. Plaintiff asserts these “representations were false and material,” and they were made knowingly, recklessly, and/or intentionally. Id. at ¶¶32-33. Plaintiff further claims he detrimentally relied upon these misrepresentations by stopping his payments and not attempting reinstatement, after which Defendant sought foreclosure. Id. at ¶¶34-35.

In considering these allegations, the Court is mindful of the fact it should be hesitant “to dismiss a complaint under Rule 9(b) if the court is satisfied (1) that the defendant [*23] has been made aware of the particular circumstances for which she will have to prepare a defense at trial, and (2) that plaintiff has substantial prediscovery evidence of those facts.” Harrison v. Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 176 F.3d 776, 784 (4th Cir. 1999). Here, the Court finds that Plaintiff adequately alerts Defendant as to “the time, place, and contents of the false representation[.]” U.S. ex rel. Wilson, 525 F.3d at 379(internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Plaintiff clearly alleges the fraudulent activity consisted of Defendant instructing him to stop making payments and assuring him he would receive a loan modification instead of foreclosure. He also asserts the representations were made over the telephone and occurred in 2009, when his payments were two months in arrears, and before Defendant returned his payment. In addition, Plaintiff states that he continued to call Defendant approximately once a week and was assured that it would not proceed with foreclosure. Compl., at ¶12(a), (b), and (c). Given this information, Defendant should be able to prepare its defense based upon the allegations made. In addition, the allegations provide enough information that [*24] Defendant also should be able to identify and review its customer service notes, call logs, account records, and any phone recordings it may have during the specified time period. Thus, the Court DENIES Defendant’s motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s claim for fraud.

C.

Estoppel

Defendant further argues that Plaintiff’s claim in Count IV for estoppel must be dismissed. To maintain a claim for estoppel in West Virginia, a plaintiff must show:

[(1)] a false representation or a concealment of material facts; [(2)] it must have been made with knowledge, actual or constructive of the facts; [(3)] the party to whom it was made must have been without knowledge or the means of knowledge of the real facts; [(4)] it must have been made with the intention that it should be acted on; and [(5)] the party to whom it was made must have relied on or acted on it to his prejudice.

Syl. Pt. 3, Folio v. City of Clarksburg, 655 S.E.2d 143 (W. Va. 2007) (quoting Syl. Pt. 6, Stuart v. Lake Washington Realty Corp., 92 S.E.2d 891 (W. Va. 1956)). Defendant asserts Plaintiff had actual knowledge via correspondence it sent to Plaintiff that he was not guaranteed loan assistance and loan assistance would not impact Defendant’s [*25] right to foreclose. Defendant attached the correspondence to its Motion to Dismiss as Exhibit D. In addition, Defendant argues that Plaintiff admits to missing two payments before the alleged misrepresentations occurred so he cannot state he relied upon those alleged misrepresentations in failing to make his payments.

“[W]hen a defendant attaches a document to its motion to dismiss, ‘a court may consider it in determining whether to dismiss the complaint [if] it was integral to and explicitly relied on in the complaint and [if] the plaintiffs do not challenge its authenticity.’ ” Am. Chiropractic Ass’n v. Trigon Healthcare, Inc., 367 F.3d 212, 234 (4th Cir. 2004) (quoting Phillips v. LCI Int’l, Inc., 190 F.3d 609, 618 (4th Cir. 1999)). In this case, Plaintiff asserts that, “at this point there is no evidence that the letter was actually sent to or received by Plaintiff, nor has Plaintiff had the opportunity to present mailings, call logs, or testimony supporting his claim.” Pl.’s Res. in Opp. to Def.’s Mot. to Dis., ECF No. 7, at 16. 5Therefore, the Court will not consider the letter. Likewise, the Court finds no merit to the argument that Plaintiff’s admission that he was two months [*26] behind on his loan extinguishes his estoppel claim. It is clear from the Complaint that Plaintiff’s claim is that he relied upon the alleged misrepresentations after he was two months delinquent. Accordingly, the Court DENIES Defendant’s motion to dismiss the estoppel claim.

FOOTNOTES

5In addition, the Court notes that the letter appears undated and Defendant sometimes refers to it as a 2009 letter and sometimes as a 2010 letter. At the top right-hand side of the letter, there is a statement providing: “Please complete, sign and return all the enclosed documents by December 5, 2009.” Exhibit D, ECF No. 4-4, at 1.

D.

WVCCPA

Finally, Defendant asserts Plaintiff’s claim under the WVCCPA in Count V must be dismissed because it fails to meet the requirements of Rules 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 8(a)(2)provides that “[a] pleading that states a claim for relief must contain . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief[.]” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Defendant argues that Plaintiff fails to meet this requirement because he merely pled a legal conclusion that Defendant engaged in illegal debt collection and he does not plead sufficient [*27] factual content to support that conclusion. In addition, Defendant states it had a contractual right to return Plaintiff’s partial payment so returning the payment cannot support a WVCCPA claim.

Plaintiff, however, argues that his claims under the WVCCPA are based on three grounds. First, Plaintiff asserts Defendant used fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading representations to collect the debt or get information about him, in violation of West Virginia Code § 46A-2-127. 6 Second, he claims that Defendant used unfair or unconscionable means to collect the debt, in violation of West Virginia Code § 46A-2-128. 7 Third, Plaintiff contends that Defendant’s refusal to apply payments to his account violated West Virginia Code § 46A-2-115. Plaintiff then argues that the first two claims are sufficiently supported in opposition to a motion to dismiss based upon his allegations that (1) Defendant told him he qualified for loan modification and would receive one if he completed the requested financial information; (2) Defendant told him to stop making payments because it would interfere with the modification process, but in reality it increased the likelihood of foreclosure; (3) Defendant assured [*28] Plaintiff it would not foreclose on his home during the time the loan modification application was being processed; (4) Defendant ultimately represented it could not modify the loan because it was a VA loan; and (5) Defendant would not consider a short sale of the house and, instead, proceeded with foreclosure. Plaintiff argues that each of these misrepresentations made by Defendant were intended to collect financial information about him through the modification process or collect the debt via foreclosure. He also states the delay and improper refusal of payments greatly increased the amount he was in arrears, which allowed Defendant to attempt to collect the debt through foreclosure.

FOOTNOTES

6Section 127 provides, in part: “No debt collector shall use any fraudulent, deceptive or misleading representation or means to collect or attempt to collect claims or to obtain information concerning consumers.” W. Va. Code § 46A-2-127, in part.

7Section 128 states, in part: “No debt collector shall use unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any claim.” W. Va. Code §46A-2-128, in part.

Upon consideration of these allegations, the Court finds they are sufficient to state a claim [*29] under the WVCCPA. As stated by the Honorable Thomas E. Johnston stated in Koontz v. Wells Fargo, N.A., Civ. Act. No. 2:10-cv-00864, 2011 WL 1297519 (S.D. W. Va. Mar. 31, 2011), West Virginia “§ 46A-2-127applies to both ‘misrepresentations made in collecting a debt’ and ‘misrepresentations . . . [made] when obtaining information on a customer.’” 2011 WL 1297519, at *6. Therefore, allegations that a financial institution misrepresented to the borrower that it would reconsider a loan modification and, thereby, obtained additional financial information from the borrower, are sufficient to state a claim. Id. Likewise, the Court finds the allegations are sufficient to state a claim that Defendant used “unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any claim” pursuant to West Virginia Code §46A-2-128, in part. Cf. Wilson v. Draper v. Goldberg, P.L.L.C., 443 F.3d 373, 376 (4th Cir. 2006)(stating “Defendants’ actions surrounding the foreclosure proceeding were attempts to collect that debt” under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (citations omitted)). 8

FOOTNOTES

8 Defendant asserts that a debt collection does not give rise to a claim under the WVCCPA. Citing Spoor v. PHH Mortgage [*30] Corp., Civ. Act. No. 5:10CV42, 2011 WL 883666 (N.D. W. Va. Mar. 11, 2011). The Court has reviewed Spoorand finds that it primarily focused only on the plaintiff’s request for a loan modification with respect to her WVCCPA claims. The district court in Spoor stated that the defendant’s consideration of the request is not an attempt to collect a debt. 2011 WL 883666, at *7. In the present case, however, the allegations Plaintiff argues supports his claim extend beyond a mere “request” for a modification. Moreover, the Court finds that, to the extent Spoor is contrary to the reasoning in Wilson and Koontz, the Court declines to apply it to this case.

With respect to Plaintiff’s third claim that Defendant illegally returned his payment pursuant to West Virginia Code § 46A-2-115(c), this provision states:

All amounts paid to a creditor arising out of any consumer credit sale or consumer loan shall be credited upon receipt against payments due: Provided, That amounts received and applied during a cure period will not result in a duty to provide a new notice of right to cure; and provided further that partial amounts received during the reinstatement period set forth in subsection (b) of this [*31] section do not create an automatic duty to reinstate and may be returned by the creditor. Defaultcharges shall be accounted for separately; those set forth in subsection (b) arising during such a reinstatement period may be added to principal.

W. Va. Code § 46A-2-115(c). Plaintiff argues that § 46A-2-115(b)defines the reinstatement period as the time “beginning with the trustee notice of foreclosure and ending prior to foreclosure sale,” and he made clear it clear in his Complaint that Defendant returned his payment prior to the requesting a trustee notice of the foreclosure sale. See Compl., at ¶¶7 & 10. Defendant responds by stating that it was within its contractual right to refuse the payment. However, West Virginia Code § 46A-1-107makes it clear that, “[e]xcept as otherwise provided in this chapter, a consumer may not waive or agree to forego rights or benefits under this chapter or under article two-a, chapter forty-six of this code.” W. Va. Code 46A-1-107. Therefore, upon review, the Court finds that Plaintiff’s claim is sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss. Thus, for the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES Defendant’s motion to dismiss Count V for alleged violations [*32] of the WVCCPA.

V.

CONCLUSION

Accordingly, for the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s claims for breach of contract, fraud, estoppel, and violations of the WVCCPA. However, the Court GRANTS Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s negligence claim.

The Court DIRECTS the Clerk to send a copy of this Memorandum Opinion and Order to all counsel of record and any unrepresented parties.

ENTER: March 14, 2013

/s/ Robert C. Chambers

ROBERT C. CHAMBERS, CHIEF JUDGE

Follow the Money Trail: It’s the blueprint for your case

If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. Customer service for the livinglies store with workbooks, services and analysis remains the same at 520-405-1688. The people who answer the phone are NOT attorneys and NOT permitted to provide any legal advice, but they can guide you toward some of our products and services.
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 and Comment: If you want to know where all the money went during the mortgage madness of the last decade and the probable duplication of that behavior with all forms of consumer debt, the first clues have been emerging. First and foremost I would suggest the so-called bull market reflecting an economic resurgence that appears to have no basis in reality. Putting hundred of billions of dollars into the stock market is an obvious place to store ill-gotten gains.
But there is also the question of liquidity which means the Wall Street bankers had to “park” their money somewhere into depository accounts. Some analysts have suggested that the bankers deposited money in places where the sheer volume of money deposited would give bankers strategic control over finance in those countries.
The consequences to American finance is fairly well known here. But most Americans have been somewhat aloof to the extreme problems suffered by Spain, Greece, Italy and Cyprus. Italy and Cyprus have turned to confiscating savings on a progressive basis.  This could be a “fee” imposed by those countries for giving aid and comfort to the pirates of Wall Street.
So far the only country to stick with the rule of law is Iceland where some of the worst problems emerged early — before bankers could solidify political support in that country, like they have done around the world. Iceland didn’t bailout bankers, they jailed them. Iceland didn’t adopt austerity to make the problems worse, it used all its resources to stimulate the economy.
And Iceland looked at the reality of a the need for a thriving middle class. So they reduced household debt and forced banks to take the hit — some 25% or more being sliced off of mortgages and other consumer debt. Iceland was not acting out of ideology, but rather practicality.
The result is that Iceland is the shining light on the hill that we thought was ours. Iceland has real growth in gross domestic product, decreasing unemployment to acceptable levels, and banks that despite the hit they took, are also prospering.
From my perspective, I look at the situation from the perspective of a former investment banker who was in on conversations decades ago where Wall Street titans played the idea of cornering the market on money. They succeeded. But Iceland has shown that the controls emanating from Wall Street in directing legislation, executive action and judicial decisions can be broken.
It is my opinion that part or all of trillions dollars in off balance sheet transactions that were allowed over the last 15 years represents money that was literally stolen from investors who bought what they thought were bonds issued by a legitimate entity that owned loans to consumers some of which secured in the form of residential mortgage loans.
Actual evidence from the ground shows that the money from investors was skimmed by Wall Street to the tune of around $2.6 trillion, which served as the baseline for a PONZI scheme in which Wall Street bankers claimed ownership of debt in which they were neither creditor nor lender in any sense of the word. While it is difficult to actually pin down the amount stolen from the fake securitization chain (in addition to the tier 2 yield spread premium) that brought down investors and borrowers alike, it is obvious that many of these banks also used invested money from managed funds as gambling money that paid off handsomely as they received 100 cents on the dollar on losses suffered by others.
The difference between the scheme used by Wall Street this time is that bankers not only used “other people’s money” —this time they had the hubris to steal or “borrow” the losses they caused — long enough to get the benefit of federal bailout, insurance and hedge products like credit default swaps. Only after the bankers received bailouts and insurance did they push the losses onto investors who were forced to accept non-performing loans long after the 90 day window allowed under the REMIC statutes.
And that is why attorneys defending Foreclosures and other claims for consumer debt, including student loan debt, must first focus on the actual footprints in the sand. The footprints are the actual monetary transactions where real money flowed from one party to another. Leading with the money trail in your allegations, discovery and proof keeps the focus on simple reality. By identifying the real transactions, parties, timing and subject moment lawyers can use the emerging story as the blueprint to measure against the fabricated origination and transfer documents that refer to non-existent transactions.
The problem I hear all too often from clients of practitioners is that the lawyer accepts the production of the note as absolute proof of the debt. Not so. (see below). If you will remember your first year in law school an enforceable contract must have offer, acceptance and consideration and it must not violate public policy. So a contract to kill someone is not enforceable.
Debt arises only if some transaction in which real money or value is exchanged. Without that, no amount of paperwork can make it real. The note is not the debt ( it is evidence of the debt which can be rebutted). The mortgage is not the note (it is a contract to enforce the note, if the note is valid). And the TILA disclosures required make sure that consumers know who they are dealing with. In fact TILA says that any pattern of conduct in which the real lender is hidden is “predatory per se”) and it has a name — table funded loan. This leads to treble damages, attorneys fees and costs recoverable by the borrower and counsel for the borrower.
And a contract to “repay” money is not enforceable if the money was never loaned. That is where “consideration” comes in. And a an alleged contract in the lender agreed to one set of terms (the mortgage bond) and the borrower agreed to another set of terms (the promissory note) is no contract at all because there was no offer an acceptance of the same terms.
And a contract or policy that is sure to fail and result in the borrower losing his life savings and all the money put in as payments, furniture is legally unconscionable and therefore against public policy. Thus most of the consumer debt over the last 20 years has fallen into these categories of unenforceable debt.
The problem has been the inability of consumers and their lawyers to present a clear picture of what happened. That picture starts with footprints in the sand — the actual events in which money actually exchanged hands, the answer to the identity of the parties to each of those transactions and the reason they did it, which would be the terms agreed on by both parties.
If you ask me for a $100 loan and I say sure just sign this note, what happens if I don’t give you the loan? And suppose you went somewhere else to get your loan since I reneged on the deal. Could I sue you on the note? Yes. Could I win the suit? Not if you denied you ever got the money from me. Can I use the real loan as evidence that you did get the money? Yes. Can I win the case relying on the loan from another party? No because the fact that you received a loan from someone else does not support the claim on the note, for which there was no consideration.
It is the latter point that the Courts are starting to grapple with. The assumption that the underlying transaction described in the note and mortgage was real, is rightfully coming under attack. The real transactions, unsupported by note or mortgage or disclosures required under the Truth in Lending Act, cannot be the square peg jammed into the round hole. The transaction described in the note, mortgage, transfers, and disclosures was never supported by any transaction in which money exchanged hands. And it was not properly disclosed or documented so that there could be a meeting of the minds for a binding contract.
KEEP THIS IN MIND: (DISCOVERY HINTS) The simple blueprint against which you cast your fact pattern, is that if the securitization scheme was real and not a PONZI scheme, the investors’ money would have gone into a trust account for the REMIC trust. The REMIC trust would have a record of the transaction wherein a deduction of money from that account funded your loan. And the payee on the note (and the secured party on the mortgage) would be the REMIC trust. There is no reason to have it any other way unless you are a thief trying to skim or steal money. If Wall Street had played it straight underwriting standards would have been maintained and when the day came that investors didn’t want to buy any more mortgage bonds, the financial world would not have been on the verge of extinction. Much of the losses to investors would have covered by the insurance and credit default swaps that the banks took even though they never had any loss or risk of loss. There never would have been any reason to use nominees like MERS or originators.
The entire scheme boils down to this: can you borrow the realities of a transaction in which you were not a party and treat it, legally in court, as your own? So far the courts have missed this question and the result has been an unequivocal and misguided “yes.” Relentless of pursuit of the truth and insistence on following the rule of law, will produce a very different result. And maybe America will use the shining example of Iceland as a model rather than letting bankers control our governmental processes.

Banking Chief Calls For 15% Looting of Italians’ Savings
http://www.infowars.com/banking-chief-calls-for-15-looting-of-italians-savings/

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