UNFUNDED TRUSTS: WHY IT MATTERS

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On tonight’s show we will talk about the alleged trusts that allegedly own the loans. In most cases, they do not own the loan nor do they represent the interests of the owners. The owners of the DEBT are the investors who advanced money to the investment bank that sold mortgage bonds to the investor (pension fund). There are two main reasons why this is important:

  1. An unfunded trust has no money to buy or originate loans. Therefore it is an improper party to bring any action to collect or enforce the debt. This is especially true when the unfunded trust has no legal claim to enforce the loan on behalf of the owners. The REMIC Trust should not be allowed to cause a foreclosure, or interfere with the rights of borrowers and investors. Its “servicers” have no right to collect money and when they do collect money from the borrower, they owe the money back to the borrower who paid it to the servicer. This has been discussed in cases highlighted on this blog over the last week.
  2. The unfunded trust is evidence of a fraudulent scheme in which the investors (pension funds) were tricked into advancing money to an investment bank who then misused the money, didn’t deliver it to the trust that issued the mortgage bonds that were sold, and then acted as a conduit between the investors and the borrowers — without either one knowing what was really happening. In a foreclosure, this means that the alleged enforcement of the loan is really furtherance of the fraudulent scheme against investors. Raising this issue does NOT mean there is no debt. It means, in most cases, that foreclosure is not an option because the perpetrators of the fraud and the initiators of the collection and enforcement of the alleged “loan” are one and the same. Hence the Court SHOULD be interested in not being part of a fraudulent scheme. It is a classic case of unclean hands.

The issue is proof and mores specifically the willingness of the court to let you prove your case. This comes down to pleading, discovery, motions to compel that spell out your narrative for the case and investigation through forensic auditors and private investigators. Unfunded REMIC Trusts represent a potential attack against the party initiating foreclosure that can be fatal to their claim if properly presented.

As a general observation these attacks are met with claims of presumptions when dealing with negotiable paper, and the claim that the borrower has no standing to raise the issue. But the borrower clearly does have standing to raise the issue if the borrower is claiming return of all money paid and claiming that the foreclosure action is part of a fraudulent scheme to the detriment of the real creditor and the detriment of the borrower, both of whom under Federal Law are required to pursue options for modification or settlement.

And the legal presumptions only apply to paper that is truly negotiable and where there is no evidence of trustworthiness or lack of credibility. The recent transfers from Chase and other entities to SPS are not really transfers of servicing rights. The “loan” is clearly already declared to be in default — making the claim of negotiable paper (and the presumptions) moot. So the entrance of SPS or another “servicer” under these circumstances is just another layer to fool the court and the borrower.

They are merely hiring SPS to

(a) enforce, because SPS is not processing payments from the borrower nor making payments to the investors (that is done by Chase or whoever is the the named servicer in the PSA) and

(b) create the illusion of business records by having an SPS representative testify that the business records of SPS should be admitted because SPS examined the prior records of the prior servicers and found them to be correct in what they call a “boarding” process. This is a blatant attempt to circumvent the rules of evidence. Both the attempt at creating legal presumptions regarding the note and mortgage and the attempt to use the business records of an “enforcer” posing as a “servicer” should be rejected.

THIS ARTICLE IS MY OPINION AND SHOULD NOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE ADVICE FROM AN ATTORNEY LICENSED TO PRACTICE IN THE JURISDICTION IN WHICH YOUR PROPERTY IS LOCATED.

BAP Panel Raises the Stakes Against Deutsch et al — Secured Status May be Challenged

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ALERT FOR BANKRUPTCY LAWYERS — SECURED STATUS OF ALLEGED CREDITOR IS NOT TO BE ASSUMED

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I have long held and advocated three points:

  1. The filing of false claims in the nonjudicial process of a majority of states should not result in success where the same false claims could never be proven in judicial process. Nonjudicial process was meant as an administrative remedy to foreclosures that were NOT in dispute. Any application of nonjudicial schemes that allows false claims to succeed where they would fail in a judicial action is unconstitutional.
  2. The filing of a bankruptcy petition that shows property to be encumbered by virtue of a deed of trust is admitting a false representation made by a stranger to the transaction. The petition for bankruptcy relief should be filed showing that the property is not encumbered and the adversary or collateral proceeding to nullify the mortgage and the note should accompany each filing where the note and mortgage are subject to claims of securitization or a “new” beneficiary.
  3. The vast majority of decisions against borrowers result from voluntary or involuntary waiver, ignorance and failure to plead or object on the basis of false claims based on false documentation. The issue is not the signature (although that probably is false too); rather it is (a) the actual transaction which is missing and the (b) false documentation of a (i) fictitious transaction and (ii) fictitious transfers of fictitious (and non-fictitious) transactions. The result is often that the homeowner has admitted to the false assertion of being a borrower in relation to the party making the claim, admitting the secured status of the “creditor”, admitting that they are a creditor, admitting that they received a loan from within the chain claimed by the “creditor”, admitting the default, admitting the validity of the note and admitting the validity of the mortgage or deed of trust — thus leaving both the trial and appellate courts with no choice but to rule against the homeowner. Thus procedurally a false claim becomes “true” for purposes of that case.

see 11/24/14 Decision: MEMORANDUM-_-ANTON-ANDREW-RIVERA-DENISE-ANN-RIVERA-Appellants-v.-DEUTSCHE-BANK-NATIONAL-TRUST-COMPANY-Trustee-of-Certificate-Holders-of-the-WAMU-Mortgage-Pass-Through-Certificate-Series-2005-AR6

This decision is breath-taking. What the Panel has done here is fire a warning shot over the bow of the California Supreme Court with respect to the APPLICATION of the non-judicial process. AND it takes dead aim at those who make false claims on false debts in both nonjudicial and judicial process. Amongst the insiders it is well known that your chances on appeal to the BAP are less than 15% whereas an appeal to the District Judge, often ignored as an option, has at least a 50% prospect for success.

So the fact that this decision comes from the BAP Panel which normally rubber stamps decisions of bankruptcy judges is all the more compelling. One word of caution that is not discussed here is the the matter of jurisdiction. I am not so sure the bankruptcy judge had jurisdiction to consider the matters raised in the adversary proceeding. I think there is a possibility that jurisdiction would be present before the District Court Judge, but not the Bankruptcy Judge.

From one of my anonymous sources within a significant government agency I received the following:

This case is going to be a cornucopia of decision material for BK courts nationwide (and others), it directly tackles all the issues regarding standing and assignment (But based on Non-J foreclosure, and this is California of course……) it tackles Glaski and Glaski loses, BUT notes dichotomy on secured creditor status….this case could have been even more , but leave to amend was forfeited by borrower inaction—– it is part huge win, part huge loss as it relates to Glaski, BUT IT IS DIRECTLY APPLICABLE TO CHASE/WAMU CASES……….Note in full case how court refers to transfer of “some of WAMU’s assets”, tacitly inferring that the court WILL NOT second guess what was and was not transferred………… i.e, foreclosing party needs to prove this!!

AFFIRMED- NO SECURED PARTY STATUS FOR BK PROVEN 

Even though Siliga, Jenkins and Debrunner may preclude the

Riveras from attacking DBNTC’s foreclosure proceedings by arguing

that Chase’s assignment of the deed of trust was a nullity in

light of the absence of a valid transfer of the underlying debt,

we know of no law precluding the Riveras from challenging DBNTC’s assertion of secured status for purposes of the Riveras’ bankruptcy case. Nor did the bankruptcy court cite to any such law.

We acknowledge that our analysis promotes the existence of two different sets of legal standards – one applicable in nonjudicial foreclosure proceedings and a markedly different one for use in ascertaining creditors’ rights in bankruptcy cases.

But we did not create these divergent standards. The California legislature and the California courts did. We are not the first to point out the divergence of these standards. See CAL. REAL EST., at § 10:41 (noting that the requirements under California law for an effective assignment of a real-estate-secured obligation may differ depending on whether or not the dispute over the assignment arises in a challenge to nonjudicial foreclosure proceedings).
We must accept the truth of the Riveras’ well-pled
allegations indicating that the Hutchinson endorsement on the
note was a sham and, more generally, that neither DBNTC nor Chase
ever obtained any valid interest in the Riveras’ note or the loan
repayment rights evidenced by that note. We also must
acknowledge that at least part of the Riveras’ adversary
proceeding was devoted to challenging DBNTC’s standing to file
its proof of claim and to challenging DBNTC’s assertion of
secured status for purposes of the Riveras’ bankruptcy case. As
a result of these allegations and acknowledgments, we cannot
reconcile our legal analysis, set forth above, with the
bankruptcy court’s rulings on the Riveras’ second amended
complaint. The bankruptcy court did not distinguish between the
Riveras’ claims for relief that at least in part implicated the
parties’ respective rights in the Riveras’ bankruptcy case from
those claims for relief that only implicated the parties’
respective rights in DBNTC’s nonjudicial foreclosure proceedings.

THEY REJECT GLASKI-

Here, we note that the California Supreme Court recently

granted review from an intermediate appellate court decision
following Jenkins and rejecting Glaski. Yvanova v. New Century
Mortg. Corp., 226 Cal.App.4th 495 (2014), review granted &
opinion de-published, 331 P.3d 1275 (Cal. Aug 27, 2014). Thus,
we eventually will learn how the California Supreme Court views
this issue. Even so, we are tasked with deciding the case before
us, and Ninth Circuit precedent suggests that we should decide
the case now, based on our prediction, rather than wait for the
California Supreme Court to rule. See Hemmings, 285 F.3d at
1203; Lewis v. Telephone Employees Credit Union, 87 F.3d 1537,
1545 (9th Cir. 1996). Because we have no convincing reason to
doubt that the California Supreme Court will follow the weight of
authority among California’s intermediate appellate courts, we
will follow them as well and hold that the Riveras lack standing
to challenge the assignment of their deed of trust based on an
alleged violation of a pooling and servicing agreement to which
they were not a party.

BUT……… THEY DO SUCCEED ON SECURED STATUS

Even though the Riveras’ first claim for relief principally

relies on their allegations regarding the assignment’s violation
of the pooling and servicing agreement, their first claim for
relief also explicitly incorporates their allegations challenging
DBNTC’s proof of claim and disputing the validity of the
Hutchinson endorsement. Those allegations, when combined with
what is set forth in the first claim for relief, are sufficient
on their face to state a claim that DBNTC does not hold a valid
lien against the Riveras’ property because the underlying debt
never was validly transferred to DBNTC. See In re Leisure Time
Sports, Inc., 194 B.R. at 861 (citing Kelly v. Upshaw, 39 Cal.2d
179 (1952) and stating that “a purported assignment of a mortgage
without an assignment of the debt which it secured was a legal
nullity.”).
While the Riveras cannot pursue their first claim for relief
for purposes of directly challenging DBNTC’s pending nonjudicial
foreclosure proceedings, Debrunner, 204 Cal.App.4th at 440-42,
the first claim for relief states a cognizable legal theory to
the extent it is aimed at determining DBNTC’s rights, if any, as
a creditor who has filed a proof of secured claim in the Riveras’
bankruptcy case.

TILA CLAIM UPHELD!—–

Fifth Claim for Relief – for violation of the Federal Truth In Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1641(g)

The Riveras’ TILA Claim alleged, quite simply, that they did
not receive from DBNTC, at the time of Chase’s assignment of the
deed of trust to DBNTC, the notice of change of ownership
required by 15 U.S.C. § 1641(g)(1). That section provides:
In addition to other disclosures required by this
subchapter, not later than 30 days after the date on
which a mortgage loan is sold or otherwise transferred
or assigned to a third party, the creditor that is the
new owner or assignee of the debt shall notify the
borrower in writing of such transfer, including–

(A) the identity, address, telephone number of the new

creditor;

(B) the date of transfer;

 

(C) how to reach an agent or party having authority to

act on behalf of the new creditor;

(D) the location of the place where transfer of

ownership of the debt is recorded; and

(E) any other relevant information regarding the new

creditor.

The bankruptcy court did not explain why it considered this claim as lacking in merit. It refers to the fact that the
Riveras had actual knowledge of the change in ownership within
months of the recordation of the trust deed assignment. But the
bankruptcy court did not explain how or why this actual knowledge
would excuse noncompliance with the requirements of the statute.
Generally, the consumer protections contained in the statute
are liberally interpreted, and creditors must strictly comply
with TILA’s requirements. See McDonald v. Checks–N–Advance, Inc.
(In re Ferrell), 539 F.3d 1186, 1189 (9th Cir. 2008). On its
face, 15 U.S.C. § 1640(a)(2)(A)(iv) imposes upon the assignee of
a deed of trust who violates 15 U.S.C. § 1641(g)(1) statutory
damages of “not less than $400 or greater than $4,000.”
While the Riveras’ TILA claim did not state a plausible
claim for actual damages, it did state a plausible claim for
statutory damages. Consequently, the bankruptcy court erred when
it dismissed the Riveras’ TILA claim.

LAST, THEY GOT REAR ENDED FOR NOT SEEKING LEAVE TO AMEND

Here, however, the Riveras did not argue in either the bankruptcy court or in their opening appeal brief that the court should have granted them leave to amend. Having not raised the issue in either place, we may consider it forfeited. See Golden v. Chicago Title Ins. Co. (In re Choo), 273 B.R. 608, 613 (9th Cir. BAP 2002).

Even if we were to consider the issue, we note that the

bankruptcy court gave the Riveras two chances to amend their
complaint to state viable claims for relief, examined the claims
they presented on three occasions and found them legally
deficient each time. Moreover, the Riveras have not provided us
with all of the record materials that would have permitted us a
full view of the analyses and explanations the bankruptcy court
offered them when it reviewed the Riveras’ original complaint and
their first amended complaint. Under these circumstances, we
will not second-guess the bankruptcy court’s decision to deny
leave to amend. See generally In re Nordeen, 495 B.R. at 489-90
(examining multiple opportunities given to the plaintiffs to
amend their complaint and the bankruptcy court’s efforts to
explain to them the deficiencies in their claims, and ultimately
determining that the court did not abuse its discretion in
denying the plaintiffs leave to amend their second amended
complaint).

Business Records Exception — The Loophole That Needs Closing

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see AppellateOpinion Holt v Calchas 4th DCA decision

The clear assumption in this case is that Wells Fargo had stepped into the shoes of the lender and that if Wells Fargo did not win or if its surrogate did not win, it was assumed that the homeowner would be getting a free house, a free ride and a windfall at the expense of Wells Fargo Bank. Despite years of articles and treatises written on the subject, the courts have still not caught up with the basic fact that both the lenders and borrowers were victims of an illegal and fraudulent scheme. At the very least, the court owes it to our society and to all parties involved in foreclosure litigation, to enforce the laws that already exist —  especially the rules concerning the burden of proof in a foreclosure action.

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The Holt decision is a curious case. There are a number of unique factors that occurred in the trial court and again in the appellate court. The first judge recused herself shortly into the trial and was replaced by a senior judge. There is no transcript of the proceedings prior to the point where the senior judge took over. At the same time the homeowners attorney was also replaced. So my first question is how anyone could have reached any decision. In the absence of the transcript of the proceedings leading up to the recusal of the original judge I find it troublesome that either the judge or the attorney for the homeowner could come to a decision or develop any trial strategy or theory of the case for the defense of this foreclosure case.

The second thing that I have trouble with is that the homeowner filed the appeal based on three different theories, to wit:

(1) the proffered promissory note, mortgage, and assignment of mortgage should not have been admitted into evidence—  an argument that the appellate court rejects;

(2)  the homeowner’s motion to dismiss should have been granted for failure to prove compliance with paragraph 22 [default, reinstatement and acceleration] of the mortgage —  with which the appellate court agreed. Since the appellate court agreed with this point and reversed the trial court it would seem that the case should have been dismissed, but instead the 4th District Court of Appeal chose to remand the case for further proceedings thus giving a second bite of the apple to the party who was claiming the right to foreclose —  despite the finding that the trial was over and on appeal and the foreclosing party had failed to make its case. If the homeowner had failed to prove its defenses, would the appellate court have issued legal advice to the homeowner and remanded for another bite at the apple?

(3)  the payment history should not have been admitted into evidence over the hearsay objection raised by the homeowner. The court goes into great lengths essentially tying itself into knots over this one, but eventually sides with the homeowner. Instead of ordering the entry of judgment for the homeowner, the court remanded the action for further proceedings in which the foreclosing party, having received legal advice from the District Court of Appeal, is now permitted to retry the case to fill in the blanks that the appellate court had pointed out with great specificity and particularity.

While I agree with much of the reasoning that is stated in this appellate decision, I still find it very troublesome that there remains an assumption and perhaps even a bias in favor of the foreclosing party. This is directly contrary to the rules of court, common law, and statutory law. The party bringing a claim for affirmative relief (like foreclosure) must bear the burden of proving every element required in their cause of action. This is not a motion to dismiss where every allegation is taken as true. At trial, it is the opposite — there is no case for the homeowner to defend unless the foreclosing party establishes all elements of its right to foreclose. If they fail to do so, the other side wins. In the interest of justice as well as finality courts do not easily allow either side to have another trial unless there are exceptional circumstances.

(In non-judicial states, this is particularly perplexing — the homeowner is required to sue for a TRO (temporary restraining order). In actuality the homeowner probably should have sued immediately upon the notice of the purported “substitution of trustee.” But the point is that the homeowner is required to prove a negative as the non-judicial statutes are construed. What SHOULD happen is that if the homeowner sues for the TRO and objects to the notices filed, challenges the standing of the “new” beneficiary on the deed of trust, and otherwise denies the elements of a foreclosure action, then the parties should be realigned with the new beneficiary required to plead and prove its standing, ownership and ability to prove the default and the balance owed.)

The next thing I find potentially troublesome is that the tactic of inserting a new entity as plaintiff or as servicer in order to shield the actual perpetrator was clearly employed in this case, although it seems not to have been mentioned in the trial court or on appeal. In this case an entity called Consumer Solutions 3 LLC was substituted for Wells Fargo. Then Wells Fargo was substituted for Consumer Solutions. This is a game of three card monte in which everyone loses except for the dealer — Wells Fargo.

As long as they are going back to trial, it would seem that the homeowner would be well served to do some investigations into the parties, and to determine what transactions if any had actually occurred. If there were no transactions, which I think is the case, then any paperwork generated from those fictitious transactions would be completely worthless, lacking in any foundation and could never be enforced against anybody —  with the possible exception of a holder in due course.

 BUSINESS  RECORDS EXCEPTION:

I am continually frustrated by the fact that most people simply do not consider the elements of the business records exception to the hearsay rule within the context of why the hearsay rule exists. By its very nature hearsay tends to be untrustworthy, untested and usually self-serving. That is why the rule exists. It bars any document or testimony offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted unless the person who spoke or wrote the words is present in court to be cross examined as to their personal knowledge, whether they had an interest in creating one appearance or another,  or whether the entire statement could be impeached.

Instead most people on all sides of foreclosure litigation seem to think that the business record should be admitted into evidence unless there is a compelling reason to the contrary. This is incorrect. And if you just scratched the surface of any of these claims you will find that the party who is seeking to introduce these hearsay statements into evidence has a vested interest in the outcome of the case and absolutely no direct knowledge of any of the facts of the case.

Like Chase Bank does with SPS, Wells Fargo has inserted this entity that is essentially run by a hedge fund (Cargill) to prevent any employee or contract party from testifying on behalf of Wells Fargo, because Wells Fargo knows that it has already been sanctioned millions of dollars for telling lies in court.

So instead they have somebody else come in to tell the lies, and that witness is trying to say that they are familiar with the record-keeping of their own company which includes the record-keeping of the previous company, Wells Fargo. Consumer Solutions is a shame shell that never did anything but rent its name for foreclosures while its parent, Cargill, received compensation  (a piece of the pie) for doing nothing.

This obvious ploy has worked for nearly a decade but is coming under increasing scrutiny — with Judges musing out loud about the shuffling of “servicers” and “lenders” and creditors. In an effort to stifle any real challenge to foreclosures courts have often held that the securitization documents are “irrelevant.”

So the courts take jurisdiction over the action and the parties by virtue of claims of securitization, authority allegedly granted by a pooling and servicing agreement, and ownership “proven” merely by claiming it on the basis of self-serving fabricated documents not subject to scrutiny, and a default and balance that excludes the payments received by the creditors from servicer advances and other third party payments paid without right of subrogation.

Then the courts limit discovery, overrule objections and allow the party initiating foreclosure to “prove” its case by using dubious legal “presumptions” instead of facts, most of which were denied by the homeowner.

And now that the Wall Street banks perceive a risk in having real people with real knowledge testify, because they might admit or testify to things that might hurt them, they insert a complete stranger to the process and double down on “business record exception” to get paperwork into evidence, much of which is completely fabricated and nearly all of which contains errors in computation by exclusion of (a) the fact that the creditors were paid every payment despite the declaration of default by the “servicer” and (b) deducting those payments from the original debt owed to those investors who advanced funds for the origination or acquisition of “loans.”

In the Holt decision the 4th DCA declares that the assignment was properly allowed into evidence because it was a “verbal act” and not offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Once in evidence however, the contents were taken as true shifting the burden of proof to the homeowner who was stone walled in discovery. The homeowner in many cases is not allowed to compel the production of evidence of payment or consideration for the assignment — without which the assignment is merely an empty document conferring no rights greater than the assignor had at the time of the alleged “assignment”. Most often the assignor did not require payment for the simple reason that they too had no money in the deal.

PAYMENT  HISTORY HEARSAY OBJECTION

The court inserts Florida Statute 90.803(6)(a), which is part of the evidence code, providing for exceptions to the hearsay rule for business records. In that statute is the general wording for the types of records that might qualify for the exception. But the court completely ignores the last words of that statute — “unless the sources of information or other circumstances show lack of trustworthiness.” (e.s.)

The question is why should we trust a servicer or its “professional witness”? The witness is there and was often hired for the sole purpose of testifying in foreclosure trials. If they lose, they risk their jobs. The “servicer” whether they are designated in the PSA or have been slipped in as another layer of obfuscation, has an interest that is in conflict with the the actual creditors — recovery of “servicer advances” (which were paid from funds provided by the Master Servicer — often the underwriter and seller of mortgage bonds to investors) and to make more money because they are allowed to collect a vast amount of “fees” for enforcement of a “non-performing” loan.

The fact is that the servicer advances negates the default and might give rise to a new cause of action for unjust enrichment against the homeowner but that claim would not be secured. This in turn leads to the unnatural conclusion of aggravating the the alleged damages by forced sale of the property as opposed to modification and reformation of the loan documents to (a) name the true creditor and (b) use the true balance owed to the creditors.

Thus both the specific witness and the company he or she represents have a vested interest in seeing to it that the foreclosure results in a forced sale for their own benefit and contrary to creditors who have no notice of the pending action. At the very least, this certainly raises the question of trustworthiness. Add to that the fraudulent servicing practices, the lies told during the “modification” process, and I would argue that the source and circumstances raise a presumption that the testimony and business records not trustworthy.

Quoting Florida Statute 90.803(6)(a) the court goes not to set forth the elements of the business records exception — the issue being that ALL elements must be met, not just some or even most of them:

  1. The record was made at or near the time of the event [so in many cases where SPS was inserted as the “servicer” when in fact it was merely an enforcer without knowledge of prior events, it is impossible for the records of SPS  to contain entries that were made at or near the time of any relevant event].
  2.  the record was made by or from information transmitted by a person with knowledge [ if the court permitted proper discovery, voir dire, and cross examination is doubtful that any witness would be able to testify that the record was made by a particular person who had actual knowledge]
  3.  the record was kept in the ordinary course of a regularly conducted business activity [ while it might be true that the actual servicer could claim that it’s records were in the ordinary course of a regularly conducted business activity, it is not true where the witness is a representative of a “new” servicer for plaintiff —  neither of whom were processing any data concerning the loan from the moment of origination through the date that the foreclosure was filed]
  4.  that the record was a regular practice of that business to make such a record [ here is where the courts are in my opinion making a singular error —  by accepting proof of only the fourth element required for the business records exception, trial court and appellate courts are ignoring the other elements and therefore allowing untrustworthy documents into evidence.  “While it is not necessary to call the individual who prepared a document, the witness to open a document is being offered must be able to show each of the requirements for establishing a proper foundation.” Hunter v  or Aurora loan services LLC, 137 S 3d 570 (Fla 1st DCA 2014).

The Holt Court then goes on to analyze several cases:

  1. Yisrael v State 993 So 2d 952, 956 (FLA 2008) — a Florida Supreme Court decision quoting the elements of the business records exception. see sc07-1030
  2. Glarum v LaSalle Bank, N.A. 83 So 3d (Fla 4th DCA 2011) — where the witness was unable to lay the proper foundation for the business records exception  because the witness testified that he “did not know who, how, or when the data entries were made into [ the previous mortgage holders’] system and he could not stated the records were made in the regular course of business.” ( My only objection to this is the wording that was used. The predecessors in the document chain are referred to as “mortgage holders” —  indicating an assumption which is probably not true). see Glarum v. LaSalle
  3. Weisenberg v Deutsch Bank N.A. 89 So 3d 1111 (FLA 4th DCA 2012) — Where the court held that “the deposition excerpts show that [the witness] knew how the data was produced and her testimony demonstrated that she was familiar with the bank’s record-keeping system and had knowledge about data is uploaded into the system.” (My problem with the Weisenberg decision is that the word “familiar” is used generically so that the witness is allowed to testify about the business records — without any personal knowledge about the trustworthiness of the data in those records — again with the apparent assumption that the foreclosing party SHOULD win and the second assumption being that the homeowner should not be allowed to take advantage of hairsplitting technicalities to get a free house.  In fact it is the servicer that is taking advantage of such technicalities by getting business records into evidence without verification that those are all the business records. For example, the question I often ask is who did the servicer pay after receiving payment from the borrower or anyone else? The records don’t show that — thus how can the court determine the balance on the creditor’s books and records? The underlying false assumption here is that the servicer records ARE the creditor’s records even though the creditors have not even been identified.)
  4. WAMCO v Integrated Electronic Environments 903 So 2d 230 (Fla 2d DCA 2005) —  Where another appellate court held that “a document which contains the amount of money owed on the loan was admissible under the business records exception even where the testimony as to the amount owed was based on information from a bank that previously held the loan.” (I think this decision was at least partially wrong. The witness testified that it was part of his duties to oversee the collection of loans that the bank urges and the initial members he used his calculations were provided by the previous bank.  In my opinion the court properly concluded that the witness to testify —  that he should have been limited to the business records of the company that employed him. Witness knew nothing about the previous bank practices and did not employ any verification processes. see 2D04-2717
  5. Hunter v Aurora Loan Services 137 So 3d 570 (Fla 1st DCA 2014) — where the witness was incompetent to testify and could not lay a proper foundation for the business records exception and in which the HOLT Court quotes from the Hunter decision with obvious approval:  “At trial, a witness who works for the current note holder, but never worked for the initial note holder, attempted to lay the foundation for the introduction of records pertaining to prior ownership and transfer of the note and mortgage as business records. The witness testified that based on his dealings with the original note holder, the original note holders business practice regarding the transfer of ownership of loans was standard across the industry. He could not testify, based on personal knowledge, who generated the information. He also testified, in general fashion and without any specifics, that some of the documents sought to be introduced were generated by a computer program used across the industry  and that records custodian for the loan servicer was the person who usually it puts the information obtained in the documents. The trial court admitted the documents into evidence.” see hunter-v-aurora-loan-servs-llc

The most interesting quote from the Hunter decision is “absent such personal knowledge, the witness was unable to substantiate when the records were made, whether the information they contain derived from a person with knowledge, whether the original note holder regularly make such records, or indeed, whether the records belong to the original note holder in the first place. The testimony about standard mortgage industry practice only arguably established that such records are generated and kept in the ordinary course of mortgage loan servicing.” 

BONY Mellon Sues Chase Bank et al for Misrepresentation

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see BONY Mellon Sues Chase et al Over Misrepresentations on Loans

It is interesting that at the same time that BONY Mellon has its name attached to foreclosures it is claiming exactly what the borrowers are claiming — misrepresentations about the loans themselves as well as misrepresentations about the mortgage backed securities allegedly issued by trusts in the name of BONY Mellon as Trustee.

The problem here is that while there are tantalizing hints about what was wrong with what Chase did, they don’t go so far as to say anything that would actually help borrowers (homeowners). Several commentators have singled out this pattern of non disclosure even in lawsuits and settlements. Elizabeth Warren brought it to light when she questioned investigators who found fatal defects in many if not most foreclosures. Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone last week found that the settlements with the banks were really PR stunts to appease the public and confuse the judiciary.

The point is that all these cases are being settled for what appears to be big money. But if the allegations are true, then the settlements are actually fractions of a penny on the dollar. But everyone is afraid that if they blow the whistle on everything the repercussions will be vast — affecting the credibility of the Federal Reserve, the Department of Justice, and other regulators and officers of law enforcement. The fact that the effect has already been unimaginably vast — with 6+ million foreclosures and over 15 million displaced by crooked deals apparently is of no concern to the players, the government or even the insurers and investors.

Investors fail to realize that they can offset their losses by dealing directly with homeowners through servicers that actually represent their interests and that the investors are not bound by the pooling and servicing agreements because the loans never made it into the trust.

The Great Chase WAMU $300 Billion Caper?

Hiding in plain sight, Chase may indeed have taken control of the portfolio loans of Washington Mutual. The FDIC receiver clearly stated to me that there was no assignment of mortgages. He also said that he thought Washington Mutual was servicing about $1 Trillion in loans originated by WAMU or its originators (pretender lenders). And he said that it was estimated by him and the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee that about 1/3 of those loans were portfolio loans — I.e. Real loans paid for by WAMU. And of course, as previously reported here and elsewhere we now know that Chase acquired no loans as part of the merger with WAMU.

So the question is “What happened to the $300 Billion in loans that were real assets of WAMU?” Nobody has really asked and obviously no answer has been forthcoming — especially not from Chase who was going around the country foreclosing on loans that it said it acquired “by merger” from WAMU.

Here is my theory: the loans are technically in the WAMU “estate” from the Bankruptcy proceedings. The U.S. trustee disclaimed any interest in some WAMU subsidiaries that probably have an interest in those loans. Those subsidiaries still exist. why? Meanwhile, Chase DID acquire the servicing rights of WAMU.

As the Servicer it receives payments from Borrowers who have no idea about the status of their loan. If Chase receives a payment on a loan that is subject to claims of securitization, we assume that it makes payments to the trust beneficiaries of the REMIC trust claimed to own the loan. That is a whole other subject for forensic auditing. Our focus for today is what does Chase do with payments on loans that are still WAMU loans. I theorize that one likely possibility is that Chase keeps the money because there is nobody claiming a right to receive the payments now that the WAMU Bank has ceased to exist. That would give them an income of around $20 Billion+ per year on loans that WAMU funded and Chase never bought. But that is the tip of the iceberg.

The loans kept as WAMU portfolio loans were probably subject to underwriting that was more in line with industry standards and probably had a much lower default rate than the loans that investors funded. So those loans had a definite value on the secondary market. Hence I postulate that Chase as authorized Servicer is acting as the owner. Without anyone making a claim, they have nobody to pay. So if they sold the WAMU portfolio loans as successor Servicer for WAMU loans, the proceeds of sale went to Chase and Chase then created numerous such transactions wherein they “sold” the mortgages they didn’t own.

The sale proceeds are completely controlled by Chase. They no doubt did sell most of the loans by now and many of them were probably “assigned” to new REMIC trusts. Thus Chase, based upon estimates from those close to the WAMU estate and the Chase WAMU merger, generated more than $300 Billion in sales of loans it never owned or paid for, plus principal and interest payments received on those loans, probably totaling around $400 Billion between the merger and now. No wonder they are so eager to pay fines measured in the tens of billions, when they illegally obtained loans worth in the hundreds of Billions of dollars.

Who is the injured party? It would appear that the Bankruptcy Estate of WAMU, or the Trustee for the estate, is the injured party. They should have the $400 Billion. Why this was not apparent to the U.S. Trustee and the FDIC receiver I don’t know. But isn’t it peculiar that there is a $400 Billion hole in the deal that went entirely to Chase?

Of course this is conjecture not even an opinion, so far. I could be wrong. But in the chaos of the overnight mergers, it seems more likely that Chase found every way available to grab more money.

JP Morgan Sues FDIC for WAMU Cash Over Disputed Mortgage Bonds

EDITOR’S NOTE: The dots are starting to get connected. Here JP Morgan who said they were the successor for everything that was WAMU turns out to be arguing that this didn’t actually happen and that some money is still left in the WAMU “estate.” The issue that is not raised is what else is in the WAMU estate? I content that there are numerous loans or claims to loans that were never transferred to anyone successfully and I think the FDIC and JPM both know that. Chase is trying to limit its exposure for bad bonds while at the same time claiming ownership or servicing rights for the underlying mortgages.

Which brings me to a central procedural point: if these cases are to be properly litigated such that the truth of the transaction(s) comes out, then it cannot be done on the rocket docket of foreclosures. It should be assigned to regular civil litigation or even better complex litigation because the issues cannot be addressed in the 5-10 minutes that are allowed on the rocket docket.

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  • JPMorgan (JPM) has sued the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for a portion of the $2.7B remaining in the FDIC receivership that liquidated Washington Mutual following the sale of its branches and deposits to JPMorgan for $1.88B during the financial crisis in 2008.
  • The lawsuit is the latest development in the dispute between JPMorgan and the FDIC over who should assume Washington Mutual’s legal liabilities, such as those related to the sale of problematic mortgage bonds.
  • Meanwhile, JPMorgan has been sued by the State of Mississippi for alleged misconduct while going after credit-card users for missed payments. The bank’s sins include pursuing consumers for money they didn’t owe, Mississippi said.
  • The state is the second to sue JPMorgan over the issue, the other being California, while 15 others are examining the matter. JPM is already in early settlement talks with 14 of them.

Read more at Seeking Alpha:
http://seekingalpha.com/currents/post/1470511?source=ipadportfolioapp_email

US Bank Antics versus Their Own Website

Editor’s Note: In answer to the many inquiries we get, I am ONLY licensed in the State of Florida. The reason you see my name pop up in other states is that I am frequently an expert witness and trial consultant on cases, working for the lawyer who is licensed in that state. My law firm, Garfield, Kelley and White provides direct representation in most parts of Florida and litigation support to lawyers in Florida and other states.

Many lawyers are now well versed enough to proceed with only a little help from us. But some need our templates, drafting and scripts for oral argument of motions and other court appearances. I have not appeared pro hac vice in any case thus far and I doubt that I will be able to to do so. So if you want litigation support for your cases, the lawyer should contact my office at 850-765-1236. If you are unrepresented it will be much more challenging to provide such support as it might be construed as the unauthroized practice of law.

 

US Bank is popping up all over the place as the Plaintiff in judicial actions and the initiator of foreclosures in non- judicial states. It is one of the leading parties in the shell game that is mistaken for securitization of loans. But on its own website it admits against the interests that it has advanced in courts across the country, that it has NO POWER TO FORECLOSE or to pursue any other remedies.

US Bank pops up as the foreclosing party as trustee for some supposedly securitized asset pool masquerading as a REMIC trust ( which we all know now was breached in virtually every way, which is why the IRS granted a one year amnesty for the trusts to get their acts together — an action of dubious legality).

Both US Bank and the the Pooling and Servicing Agreement will usually state flat out that the servicer makes all decisions and takes all actions relating to the borrower and the borrower’s payments. There are several reasons for this one of which is the obvious conflict that could occur if the the servicer and the trustee were both bringing foreclosure actions.

But the other reason, the hidden one, is that the banks want to keep the court’s attention on the borrower’s contract and keep it away from the lender’s contract which is quite different than the borrower’s contract. And THAT will invite inquiry as to how or even if the two contracts are related or connected such that the mortgage encumbrance gives rights to the trust beneficiaries such that the collection and foreclosure efforts will inure to the benefit of the trust beneficiaries in the REMIC trust.

So why is US Bank violating both the content and intent of the PSA and its own website? In my own law firm I have two entirely different foreclosure cases — one in which US Bank is the foreclosing party and the other where the servicer started the foreclosure action. Both loans are claimed to be in the same trust although one is in California and the other is in Florida. Why would Chase bank as servicer started an action? Even worse, why did Chase bank start the action as though it was the creditor and claim that there was no securitization? [In the Florida case I am lead counsel whereas in the California case I am only an expert witness and consultant].

I am not sure about the answers to these questions but I have some conjectures.

In the Florida case, US Bank is bringing the case because the servicer can’t — it knows and its records show non-stop servicer advances to the trust beneficiaries of the REMIC trust that supposedly was funded and who purchased or originated the loans in the trust. In the California case, even though the servicer advances are still present it is non-judicial so it is easier for Chase to slip by without even pausing because unless the homeowner brings a legal action to stop the foreclosure sale it just happens. And then it is over.

But Chase is treading on thin ice here which is why it is now transferring the servicing rights —- and therefore the rights to litigate — to SPS who did not make the servicer advances. Of course the servicer advances are probably actually paid by the broker dealer who is holding the money of the trust beneficiaries without THEM knowing that the broker dealer has not used their money entirely for mortgage loans — and instead took a large chunk out as a “trading profit” when it was a tier 2 yield spread premium that should have been disclosed at closing.

One of the more interesting questions is whether the modification or refi of the loan renews the effect of TILA violations thus enabling the borrower to claim the undisclosed compensation, treble damages, interest and attorney fees. A suggestion here about that — most lawyers are ignoring the damage aspect of these cases and seeing the TILA has a defined statute of limitations that appears to have run. I would take issue as to whether it has in fact run, but even more importantly there is still an action for common law fraud unless blocked by a separate statute of limitations. The extra profits collected by those entities in the cloud of parties who served in various roles in the securitization process are all fair game for recovery or set-off against the amount claimed as due as principal of the loan. It can also be used to cause severe collateral damage — literally — because it would probably reveal that the mortgage encumbrance was never perfected by completion of the loan contract.

Both Chase and US Bank are going into bankruptcy courts in Chapter 11 proceedings and demanding adequate protection payments while the bankruptcy is proceeding, knowing and withholding the fact that the creditor is being paid every month and there is no default from the creditor’s point of view. This would be important information for the debtor in possession and the his attorney and the Judge to know. But it is withheld in the hope that the borrower/debtor will never discover the truth — and in most cases they don’t, unless they get a loan level account report based upon a solid securitization report which is based upon a good title report. see http://www.livingliesstore.com.

Both US Bank and Chase are wiling to endure awards of sanctions for misleading the court as a cost of doing business because the volume of complaints about their illegal and fraudulent activities is nearly zero when compared with the total of all state court, federal court and bankruptcy actions. But now they are treading on even thinner ice — they are seeking to get turnover of rents with people who own multiple properties. Their arrogance apparently overcame their judgment. The owners of multiple properties frequently have substantial resources to litigate against the US Bank and Chase and now SPS. The truth is coming out in those cases.

Other Banks who say they are trustees simply direct the borrower or other inquirers to the servicer. But where US Bank is involved it is seeking profit at the expense of the trust beneficiaries and the owners of the real property involved. It seems to me that US Bank has gotten too cute by half and is now exposed to multiple actions for fraud. And I question whether the current revelations about US Bank BUYING the position of trustee has any legal support. I don’t think it does — not in the PSA, not in the statutes nor under common law.

SEE US Bank Role-of-Trustee-Sept2013

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