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

BAD FAITH: Shack Decision Unravels the Chase-Wamu Mystery -At least in Part

Shack Blasts Chase, Fannie Mae for Bad Faith on Wamu Merger

It is obvious that documents were produced for Shack to issue these rulings. The affidavits to which he refers should be obtained in their entirety. There is lots to take away from this decision, but most important, is that Chase never acquired the loans from WAMU. The loans originated or acquired by WAMU were already sold to investors, trusts and Fannie or Freddie. The issue with Fannie and Freddie of course is that they were merely fronting for “private label” securitizations hiding behind the veil of the GSE’s who were mere guarantors and not lenders. I’d like to see any agreement and transactional documents showing the alleged purchase by Fannie, but it is presumed in the Shack Order and Findings.

It is also obvious that the finding that Chase was not the owner of the debt at any time came from an admission from both a Fannie Mae representative in an affidavit from an alleged Fannie Mae representative. We should direct discovery in Chase cases to that person in Fannie Mae who says they acquired the subject debt and that Chase merely received the servicing rights in the Chase-WAMU merger.

Note that Fannie Mae is considered by Shack to have acted in bad faith, and that Fannie was less than forthcoming in its description of itself stating that they might be the owner or they might be the trustee (pursuant to the Master Trustee Agreement published in 2007) for a securitized trust. Note also that Fannie at no time was chartered as a lender. Thus it could not originate any loans and never did so. The vagueness with which Fannie Mae addresses the issue of ownership shows that the hiding and non-disclosure in bankruptcy courts and state courts continues across the country.

The admission from Fannie that they “might” be the Master trustee for allegedly securitized assets (debts arising out of fictitious transactions on paper that looked like mortgage loans) is both alarming and encouraging. The rush to foreclosure is partially explained by this chaotic pile of fraudulent paper trails.

When you take into account the non stop servicer advances, you can see what the parties are hiding — that the real creditor on those debts, has been paid all the interest they were expecting, that the principal is being paid in settlements with pennies on the dollar, and that the default alleged in notices from servicers and informing the borrower of the right to reinstate were defective, to wit: that the amount stated as required to cure the alleged default was and remains incorrect. The amount should have been reduced by third party payments including but not limited to the servicer advances which were not loans, and thus could only be characterized as PAYMENT, which is the ultimate defense against a lawsuit or any enforcement mechanism designed to collect a debt.

The dirty little secret is that they diverted title and money from the investors and converted what could have been a secured loan into an unsecured loan. The advances and payments by third parties satisfied the debt that arose when the borrower took the loan. They in turn MIGHT have claims for contribution or unjust enrichment but they are most certainly not protected by a pledge of collateral either as mortgage or assignment of rents or anything else.

Note that it could not have acquired loans except with money from what were represented as securitized trusts with Fannie as master Trustee. Therefore there are no circumstances under which Fannie or Freddie could be owners of the the debt with rights to enforce except upon the only event in which money is paid by Fannie for the loan — a guarantee payment AFTER FORECLOSURE) that is the only transaction permitted under its charter. This point was missed by Shack or ignored by him, because he had bigger fish to fry — the lawyers for Chase itself with a copy of the order to be served upon Jamie Dimon, the head of Chase.
The fact is that with the WAMU bankruptcy, seizure by OTS and appointment of FDIC, there were no assignments, agreements of sale or even a permission slip under which Chase could or did acquire loans from WAMU. But that didn’t stop Chase from claiming exactly that in tens of thousands of foreclosures.
In cases where Chase is allegedly at the root of title through the merger with WAMU, it would be appropriate to site to the Shack case, get the case documents, get a Title and Securitization report (see http://www.livingliesstore.com) and lawyers should look into a motion for summary judgment, or a motion for involuntary dismissal with prejudice. Even where Chase might allege that it is filing the foreclosure as a representative of Fannie or Freddie, the basis for that allegation needs to be in their pleading or it is not an ULTIMATE fact upon which relief could be granted. Discovery should be aimed at getting the documents upon which Chase allegedly relies in showing that it has the authority to represent Fannie — and don’t stop there. The truth is that nearly all the so-called Fannie and Freddie loans were veils for the private label securitization in which the money was diverted from the trust, as was the title, leaving Fannie and Freddie as well as the investors and the buyers holding nothing.

In cases where the statute of limitations has already run, the dismissal of the foreclosure action, is barred in most cases from ever being brought again by anyone. But the dismissal against Chase should be with prejudice in all events because it isn’t the creditor and therefore does not satisfy the statutory requirements in Florida, and I presume all other states, to submit a credit bid at auction in lieu of cash.
The Judges are beginning to understand that by applying basic contract law, they can clear their dockets. It is up to us to help them. The offer of a loan was met with acceptance by the borrower but the loan never occurred. The transfers also had offer and acceptance but again no money because the investors’ money was used (outside the trust) directly to fund the origination or acquisition of the loan. This was part of a larger scheme to defraud to investors whose money was to have been deposited into the trust and then used to fund origination or acquisition of the he loans within 90 days (the cutoff).

The investment bank fraudulently induced (see complaints filed by investors, insurers, government guarantee entities etc.) the investors to give them money for an investment into a controlled trust when in fact they diverted the money for their own purposes, taking outsized fees for themselves as the toxic loans materialized to “support” the alleged investment into loans. That is the “mismanagement” part of investors’ allegations — diversion of money into a PONZI scheme.

The investment bank fraudulently diverted title to the loans to strawman entities or were — sometimes even by name (see American Brokers Conduit) — mere conduits for undisclosed third party lenders. The argument that the parties managed to hide this from the borrower long enough for the statute of limitations to run out on TILA claims is an affront to the court system and to the statutory scheme enacted by Congress to protect borrowers from predatory lenders and “steal” deals where huge fees were taken, rather than earned, without disclosure to the Borrower.

So the first element of fraud alleged by investors is diversion of the the money. The second is diversion of the paperwork that would have protected the investors at least to some extent. In this scheme title to the loan papers was intentionally diverted from the owners of the the debt, thus rendering the so-called mortgage documents unenforceable — all alleged by investors, insurers and other co-obligors who have discovered to their chagrin that each of them paid the investment bank 100 cents on the the dollar on each loan multiple times.

And yet borrowers continue to seek modifications, which means they are not looking for free houses. Even knowing they are dealing with criminals the borrowers are willing to start paying these thieves if the terms can be adjusted to give them the benefit of the bargain that was intended at origination of the purchase money mortgage or refinancing or second mortgage or HELOC.

That leaves the servicers and their lawyers being the only ones who want Foreclosures because they want a free house and/or they want the foreclosure to recapture Servicer advances to the creditors — advances that vastly reduce the amount owed and which cure the alleged borrower default. That has now become a foreclosure folly in which the servicers and their lawyers are the only parties who want it. The investors don’t care because they are getting settlements for the fraud of the investment banks for creating unenforceable loan documents (that are frequently enforced anyway because of judicial ignorance) and diversion of investor money.

In the end, the “clean hands” that Shack talks about are clearly absent from both Servicer and government sponsored entities and as judge Shack states in his decision, wrongdoers should not be permitted to profitf or their wrongdoing. If that means a windfall to the borrower, so be it. It can be likened to the old usury laws and the current usury laws where the principal of the debt is wiped out and the fraudster is hit with a judgment for three times the principal, three times the interest or both.

Why Are We having So Much Trouble Connecting the Dots?

Matt Weidner reports that he went to court on a case where IndyMAc was the plaintiff. IndyMac was one of the first banks to collapse. It was found that they owned virtually zero mortgages and had “securitized” the rest which is to say they never loaned the money or got paid off by a successor. Now the servicing rights on IndyMac have been sold. So when the time came for trial he finds the lawyer fighting with his own witness. It seems that she would not say she worked for IndyMac because she didn’t. That meant there was no corporate representative present to testify for the plaintiff. case over? Not according to what we have seen where IndyMac foreclosures continue to be rubber stamped by Judges who do not understand the gravity of the situation.

The precedent being set is for anyone who knows about a default to race to the courthouse with a complaint to foreclose after fabricated a notice of default and asserting themselves as the successor to whoever the borrower was paying. The borrower doesn’t know the difference and generally doesn’t care because they mistakenly think they are screwed no matter what. So the pretender lender that was collecting takes it time partly because they are simply collecting fees on “non-performing” loans. Meanwhile our creative criminal goes in and alleges that he is the holder of a lost note, submits affidavits, but of course stays away from the essential allegation that there ever was a transaction between himself and the borrower. These days Judges don’t seem to require that.

Judgment is entered for our creative criminal and he becomes by court order, the creditor who can submit a credit bid at auction. He makes the non-cash bid at the auction and presto he just got himself a free house which he sells at discount on the open market. He only needs to do a few of those before he vanishes with a few million dollars. In fact, we have learned that such “foreclosures” are going on now sometimes creatively named such that it looks like the name of a bank. That is why I have been saying for 7 years that  the foreclosures, if they are allowed to proceed, will eventually create chaos in the marketplace.

You might ask why the banks don’t raise a big stink about this practice. The answer is that there are only a few such scams going on at the moment. And the banks are relying on the loopholes created in pleading practice to get their own foreclosures through the same way as our criminal because they really don’t own the loan or even the servicing rights. Yup! That is called a syllogism: if the creative criminal is a criminal for doing what he did, then the bank or anyone else who engages in the same behavior is also a criminal.

And that is why the justice department and regulators are ramping up their investigations and charges, getting ready to indict the bankers who thought they were untouchable. If you read the reports of securities analysts, you will see three types of authors — those who obviously have drunk the Kool-Aide and believe Bank of America and Chase hinting the stock is a good buy, those who are paid to plant pretty articles about the banks, and supposedly declining foreclosures and increasing housing prices, and those who have looked at the jury conviction of Countrywide, looked at the pace of settlements, and looked at the announcements that there are many more investigations and charges to be resolved, and who have seen the probability of indictments, and they conclude that BOA is soon going to be on the chopping block for sale in pieces and the same will happen with Chase, Citi and maybe even Wells.

While the media is not paying attention to the impending doom of the mega banks, the market is discounting the stock and the book value of these companies is dropping like a stone because real investment analysts under stand that much of what is being carried on the books as assets, is really worthless garbage. Charges of fraud are announced practically everyday, saying that the banks defrauded investors, defrauded Fannie and Freddie, and defrauded each other, as well as insurance companies and counterparties on credit default swaps. In other words it is pretty well settled that the sale of mortgage bonds was a sweeping fraudulent scheme and that the word PONZI scheme is accurate, not some conspiracy theory as I was treated back in 2007-2010.

So now that we know that there was complete fraud at one end of the stick (where the funding for the origination and acquisition of mortgages took place), the question is why is anyone looking at foreclosures as inevitable or proper or even possible. It is the same stick. If one end is burning then it is quite likely that the other end will be burning soon and that is exactly what I predict for the coming months.

Having been in court multiple times over the last month representing clients seeking to retain their homes it is readily apparent that the Judges are changing their minds about whether the foreclosure is inevitable or that collection by these creative criminals is wise or legal — i.e., whether the enire exercise involves an arrogant willingness to commit perjury. Since the mortgages were part of the scheme and the part where the lender appeared with the money is covered in fraud, it is certainly reasonable to assume that the the fraudulent schemes included the origination and transfer of mortgage paper. And that is exactly the case.

If it wasn’t the case there never would have been fraud at the top because the investors would be on the note and mortgage and some some nominee of the broker dealer (“BANK”) or they would have been on a recorded assignment closed out within 90 days of the start of the REMIC trust, which would have been funded by money from investors paid to the investment bank (broker dealer) who then forwarded the net proceeds tot he Trust. None of that ever happened, though, which is how the fraud was enabled.

Practice Hint: I like to demonstrate by drawing a large “V” where the bottom is the closing agent, the left side is the money trail and the right side is the paper trail — and showing that they never meet. That means the paper trail is a fictional story about transactions that never occurred. The money trail is actual facts and data showing actual transactions where money exchanged hands but there was no documentation. The “Trust” was never funded with money or assets, so the money went straight down the left side from the investors at the top of the left side to the closing agent, who applied the investors money to close a transaction that was documented as though the originator had loaned the money. The same reasoning applies to transfers and assignments.

The core of the cases filed by the banks is that the Note is prima facie evidence that a transaction occurred. It is entitled to a presumption of validity. But where the borrower denies the transaction ever occurred, and files the right discovery to get evidence of the wire transfers and canceled checks, the banks go wild because they know their entire case will not only fall apart but subject them to prosecution.

Which brings us to Marshall Watson, who seeks to be licensed again to practice law, and David Stern who is about to be disbarred forever. The good news is that they were disciplined for fabrication and forgery of documents. The bad news is that the inquiry stopped there and nobody ever asked why it was necessary to fabricate or forge documents.

FRAUD! In Foreclosure Court Indymac/Onewest Doesn’t Own Notes and Mortgages, But “They” Continue To Foreclose Anyway
http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1051166/

-Suspended Ft. Lauderdale foreclosure mill head seeks return
http://therealdeal.com/miami/blog/2013/10/24/suspended-fort-lauderdale-foreclosure-mill-head-seeks-return/

Florida Bar referee calls for ex-foreclosure king’s disbarment
http://therealdeal.com/miami/blog/2013/10/30/florida-bar-referee-calls-for-ex-foreclosure-kings-disbarment/

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