George W. Mantor Runs for Public Office on “No More Dirty Deeds”

Mantor for Assessor/Recorder/Clerk of San Diego County

Editor’s note: I don’t actually know Mantor so I cannot endorse him personally — but I DO endorse the idea of people running for office on actual issues instead of buzz words and media bullets.

Mantor is aiming straight for his issue by running for the Recorder’s Position. I think his aim is right and he seems to get the nub of some very important issues in the piece I received from him. I’d be interested in feedback on this campaign and if it is favorable, I might give a little juice to his campaign on the blog and my radio show.

His concern is my concern: that within a few years, we will all discover that most of us have defective title, even if we didn’t know there was a loan subject to claims of securitization in our title chain. This is not a phenomenon that affects one transaction at a time. It affects every transaction that took place after the last valid loan closing on every property. It doesn’t matter if it was subject to judicial or non-judicial sale because real property is not to be settled by damages but rather by actual title.

Many investors are buying up property believing they have eliminated the risk of loss by purchasing property either at or after the auction sale of the property. They might not be correct in that assumption. It depends upon the depth and breadth of the fraud. Right now, it seems very deep and very wide.

Here is one quote from Mantor that got my attention:

Despite the fact that everyone knows, despite the fact that they signed consent decrees promising not to steal homes, they go right on doing it.

Where is law enforcement, the Attorneys General, the regulators? They all know but they only prosecute the least significant offenders.

Foreclosures spiked 57% in California last month. How many of those were illegal? Most, if not all.

An audit of San Francisco County revealed one or more irregularities in 99% of the subject loans. In 84% of the loans, there appear to be one or more clear violations of law.

Fortune examined the foreclosures filed in two New York counties (Westchester and the Bronx) between 2006 and 2010.  There were130 cases where the Bank of New York was foreclosing on behalf of a Countrywide mortgage-backed security.  In 104 of those cases, the loan was originally made by Countrywide; the other 26 were made by other banks and sold to Countrywide for securitization.

None of the 104 Countrywide loans were endorsed by Countrywide – they included only the original borrower’s signature.  Two-thirds of the loans made by other banks also lacked bank endorsements.  The other third were endorsed either directly on the note or on an allonge, or a rider, accompanying the note.

No_More_Dirty_Deeds

“Conversion” of the Note to a Bond Leaves Confusion in the Courts

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The selection of an attorney is an important decision  and should only be made after you have interviewed licensed attorneys familiar with investment banking, securities, property law, consumer law, mortgages, foreclosures, and collection procedures. This site is dedicated to providing those services directly or indirectly through attorneys seeking guidance or assistance in representing consumers and homeowners. We are available to any lawyer seeking assistance anywhere in the country, U.S. possessions and territories. Neil Garfield is a licensed member of the Florida Bar and is qualified to appear as an expert witness or litigator in in several states including the district of Columbia. The information on this blog is general information and should NEVER be considered to be advice on one specific case. Consultation with a licensed attorney is required in this highly complex field.

Brent Bentrim, a regular contributor to the dialogue, posed a question.

I am having some trouble following this.  The note cannot be converted any more than when a stock is purchased by a mutual fund (trust) it becomes a mutual fund share.

You’re close and I understand where you seem to be going…ie, the loans were serviced not based on the note and closing documents, but on the PSA.  What I do not understand is the assumption that the note was converted.  From a security standpoint, it cannot.

You are right. When I say it was “converted” I mean in the lay sense rather a legal one. Of course it cannot be converted without the borrower signing. That is the point. But the treatment of the debt was as if it had been converted and that is where the problem lies for the Courts — hence the diametrically opposed appellate decisions in GA and MA. Once you have pinned down the opposing side to say they are relying on the PSA for their authority to bring the foreclosure action, and relying on the “assignment” without value, the issue shifts —- because the PSA and prospectus have vastly different terms for repayment of interest and principal than the note signed by the borrower.There are also different parties. The investor gets a bond from a special purpose vehicle under the assumption that the money deposited with the investment bank goes to the SPV and the SPV then buys the mortgage or funds the origination. In that scenario the payee on the note would either be the SPV or the originator. But it can’t be the originator if the originator did not fulfill its part of the bargain by funding the loan. And there is no disclosure as to the presence of other parties in the securitization chain much less the compensation they received contrary to Federal Law. (TILA).

Under the terms of the PSA and prospectus the expectation of the investor was that the investment was insured and hedged. That is one of the places where there is a break in the chain — the insurance is not made payable to either the SPV or the investors. Instead it is paid to the investment bank that merely created the entities and served as a depository institution or intermediary for the funds. The investment bank takes the position that such money is payable to them as profit in proprietary trading, which is ridiculous. They cannot take the position that they are agents of the creditor for purposes of foreclosure and then take the position that they were not agents of the investors when the money came in from insurance and credit default swaps.

Even under the actual money trail scenario the same holds true — they were acting as agents of the principal, albeit violating the terms of the “lender” agreement with the investors. Here is where another break occurred. Instead of funding the SPV, the investment bank held all investor money in a commingled undifferentiated mega account and the SPV never even had any account or signatory on any account in which money was placed.

Hence the SPV cannot be said to have purchased the loan because it lacked the funding to do it. The banks want to say that when they funded the origination or acquisition of the loan they were doing so under the PSA and prospectus. But that would only be true if they were following the provisions and terms of those instruments, which they were not. The banks funded the acquisition of loans directly with investor money instead of through the SPV, hence the tax exempt claims of the SPV’s are false and the tax effects on the investors could be far different — especially when you consider the fact that the mega suspense account in the investment bank had funds from many other investors who also thought they were investing in many different SPVs.

The reality of the money trail scenario is that the SPV can’t be the owner of the note or the owner of the mortgage because there simply was no transaction in which money or other consideration changed hands between the SPV and any other party. The same holds true for all the parties is the false securitization trail — no money was involved in the assignments. Thus it was not a commercial transaction creating a negotiable instrument.

In both scenarios the debt was created merely by the receipt of money that is presumed not to be gift. The question is whether the note, the bond or both should be used to re-structure the loan and determine the amount of interest, principal, if any that is left to pay.

The further question is if the originator did not loan any money, how can the recording of a mortgage have been proper to secure a debt that did not exist in favor of the secured party named on the mortgage or deed of trust?
And if the lender is determined by the actual money trail then the lenders consist of a group of investors, all of whom had money deposited in the account from which the acquisition of the loan was funded. And despite investment bank claims to the contrary, there is no evidence that there was any attempt to actually segregate funds based upon the PSA and prospectus. So the pool of investors consists of all investors in all SPVs rather just one — a factor that changes the income and tax status of each investor because now they are in a common law general partnership.

Thus the “conversion” language I have used, is merely shorthand to describe a far more complex process in which the written instruments were ignored, more written instruments were fabricated based upon nonexistent transactions, and no documentation was provided to the investors who were the real lenders. That leaves a common law debt that is undocumented by any promissory note or any secured interest in the property because the recorded mortgage or deed of trust was filed under false pretenses and hence was never perfected.

The conversion factor comes back in when you think about what a Judge might be able to do with this. Having none of the documentation naming and protecting the investors to document or secure the loan, the Judge must enter judgment either for the whole amount due, if any (after deductions for insurance and credit default swap proceeds) or in some payment plan.

If the Judge refers to the flawed documentation, he or she must consider the interests and expectation s of both the lender (investors) and the borrower, which means by definition that he must refer back to the prospectus and PSA as well as the promissory note.
The interesting thing about all this is that homeowners are of course willing to sign new mortgages that reflect the economic reality of the value of their homes, and the principal balance due, as well as money that continued to be paid to the creditor by the same same servicer that declared the default (and was therefore curing the default with each payment to the creditor).
The only question left is where did the money come from that was paid to the creditor after the homeowner stopped making payments and does that further complicate the matter by adding parties who might have an unsecured right of contribution against the borrower for money  advanced advanced by an intermediary sub servicer thereby converting the debt (or that part that was paid by the subservicer from funds other than the borrower) from any claim to being secured to a potential unsecured right of contribution from the borrower.
To that extent the servicer should admit that it is suing on its behalf for the unsecured portion of the loan on which it advanced payments, and for the secured portion they claim is due to other parties. They obviously don’t want to do that because it would focus attention on the actual accounting, posting and bookkeeping for actual transfers or payments of money. The focus on reality could be devastating to the banks and reveal liabilities and reduction of claimed assets on their balance sheets that would cause them to be broken up. They are counting on the fact that not too many people will understand enough of what is contained in this post. So far it seems to be working for them.Remember that as to the insurance and credit default swaps there are express waivers of subrogation or any right to seek collection from the borrowers in the mortgages. The issue arises because the bonds were insured and thus the underlying mortgage payments were insured — a fact that played out in the real world where payments continued being made to creditors who were advancing money for “investment” in bogus mortgage bonds. This leaves only the equitable powers of the court to fashion a remedy, perhaps by agreement between the parties by which the lenders are made parties to the action and the borrowers are of course parties to the action but he servicers are left out of the mix because they have an interest in continuing the farce rather than seeing it settled, because they are receiving fees and picking up property for free (credit bids from non-creditors).

This is precisely the point that the courts are missing. By looking at the paperwork first and disregarding the actual money trail they are going down a rabbit hole neatly prepared for them by the banks. If there was no commercial transaction then the UCC doesn’t apply and neither do any presumptions of ownership, right to enforce etc.

The question of “ownership” of the note and mortgage are a distraction from the fact that neither the note or the mortgage tells the whole story of the transaction. The actions of the participants and the real movement of money governs every transaction.

Whether the courts will recognize the conversion factor or something similar remains to be seen. But it is obvious that the confusion in the courts relates directly to their ignorance of the the fact that the actual money transaction is not brought to their attention or they are ignoring it out of pure confusion as to what law to apply.

Now UCC Me, Now You Don’t: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Ignores the UCC in Requiring Unity of Note and Mortgage for Foreclosure in Eaton v. Fannie Mae
http://4closurefraud.org/2013/05/20/now-ucc-me-now-you-dont-the-massachusetts-supreme-judicial-court-ignores-the-ucc-in-requiring-unity-of-note-and-mortgage-for-foreclosure-in-eaton-v-fannie-mae/

High court rules in favor of bank in Suwanee foreclosure case
http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/news/2013/may/20/high-court-rules-in-favor-of-bank-in-suwanee/

Wells Fargo slows foreclosure sales, BofA not so much
http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/morning_call/2013/05/wells-fargo-slows-foreclosure-sales.html

LAWYER BONANZA!: Wells Fargo Foreclosing on Homeowner Who Made all Payments and Paid Extra

WELLS FARGO MAKES HUGE ERROR ADMITTING LACK OF POWER TO BIND CREDITOR TO MODIFICATIONS OR SETTLEMENTS

The simple truth is that the banks are not nearly as interested in the property as they are in the foreclosure. It is the foreclosure sale that creates the illusion of a stamp of approval from the state government that the entire securitization scheme was valid and it creates the reality of a presumption of the validity of the deed issued at the so-called auction of the property upon submission of  false credit bid from a non-creditor who is a stranger (not in privity) to the transaction alleged. — Neil F Garfield, livinglies.me

see also http://livinglies.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/estoppel-when-the-bank-tells-you-to-stop-making-payments/

Editor’s Comment and Analysis: Wells Fargo is foreclosing on a man who has made his payments early and made extra payments to pay down the principal allegedly due on his mortgage. In response to media questions as to their authority to foreclose, the response was curious and very revealing. Wells Fargo said that the reason was that the securitization documents contain restrictions and prohibitions that prevent modifications of mortgage.

The fact that Wells Fargo offered a particular payment plan and the homeowner accepted it together with the fact that the homeowner made the required payments and even added extra payments, all of which was accepted by Wells Fargo and cashed  doesn’t seem to bother Wells Fargo but it probably will bother a judge who sees both the doctrine of estoppel and a simple contract in which Wells Fargo had the apparent authority to make the offer, accept the payments, and bind the actual creditors (whoever they might be).

It also corroborates our continuing opinion that when Wells Fargo and similar banks received insurance and creditable swap payments, they should have been applied to the receivable account of the investors which in turn would have resulted by definition in a reduction of the amount owed. The reduction in the amount owed would obviously decrease the amount payable by the borrower. If we follow the terms of the only contract that was signed by the borrower then any overpayments to the creditor beyond account receivable held by the creditor would be due and payable to the borrower. It is a violation of the spirit and content of the federal bailout to allow the banks to keep the money that is so desperately needed by the investors who supplied the money and the homeowners whose loans were paid in whole or in part by insurance and credit default swaps.

The reason I am interested in this particular case and the reason why I think it is of ultimate importance to understand the significance of the Wells Fargo response to the media is that it corroborates the facts and theories presented here and elsewhere that the original promissory note vanished and was replaced by a mortgage bond, the terms of which were vastly different than the terms of the promissory note signed by the homeowner.

Wells Fargo seeks to impose the terms, provisions, conditions and restrictions of the securitization documents onto the buyer without realizing that they have admitted that the original promissory note signed by the homeowner and therefore the original mortgage lien or deed of trust were never presented to the actual lenders for acceptance or approval of the loan.

CONVERSION OF PROMISSORY NOTE TO MORTGAGE BOND WITHOUT NOTICE

In fact, Wells Fargo has now admitted that the terms of the loan are governed strictly by the securitization documents. How they intend to enforce securitization documents whose existence was actively hidden from the borrower is going to be an interesting question.  If the position of the banks were to be accepted, then any creditor could change the essential terms of the debt or the essential terms of repayment without notice or consent from the borrower despite the absence of any reference to such power in the documents presented to the borrower for the borrower’s signature.

 But one thing is certain, to wit: the closing documents presented to the borrower  were incomplete and failed to disclose both the real parties in table funded loans (making the loans predatory per se as per TILA and Reg Z) and the existence and compensation of intermediaries, the disclosure of which is absolutely mandatory under federal law. Each borrower who was deprived of knowledge of multiple other parties and intermediaries and their compensation has a clear right of action for recovery of all undisclosed fees, interest, payments, attorney fees and probably treble damages.

This case also clearly shows that despite the representations by counsel and “witnesses” Wells Fargo has now admitted the basic fact behind its pattern of conduct wherein they claim to be the authorized sub servicer fully empowered by the real creditors and then claim to have no responsibility or powers with respect to the loan or the real creditors (which appears to include the Federal Reserve if their purchase of mortgage bonds had any substance).

Wells Fargo, US Bank, Bank of New York and of course Bank of America have all been sanctioned with substantial fines of up to seven figures so far in individual cases where they clearly took inconsistent positions and the judge found them to be in contempt of court because of the lies they told and levied those sanctions on both the attorneys and the banks.

It was only a matter of time before this entire false foreclosure mess blew up in the face of the banks. You can be sure that Wells Fargo will attempt to bury this case by paying off the homeowner and any other people that have been involved who could blow the whistle on their illegal, fraudulent and probably criminal behavior.

This is not the end of the game for Wells Fargo or any other bank, but it is one more concrete step toward revealing basic truth behind the mortgage mess, to it: the Wall Street banks stole the money from the investors, stole the ownership of the loans from the “trusts” and have been stealing houses despite the absence of any monetary or other consideration in the origination or acquisition of any loan. This absence of consideration removes the paperwork offered by the banks from the category of a negotiable instrument. None of the presumptions applicable to negotiable instruments apply.

Once again I emphasize that in practice lawyers should immediately take control of the narrative and the case by showing that the party seeking foreclosure possesses no records of any actual or real transaction in which money exchanged hands. This means, in my opinion, that the allegations of investors in lawsuits against the investment banks on Wall Street are true, to wit: they were entitled to an forcible notes and enforceable mortgages but they didn’t get it. That is an admission in the public record by the real parties in interest that the notes and mortgages are fabricated because they referred to commercial transactions that never occurred.

Going back to my original articles when I started this blog in 2007, the solution to the current mortgage mess which includes the corruption of title records across the country is that the intermediaries should be cut out of the process of modification and settlement. A different agency should be given the power to match up investors and borrowers and facilitate the execution of new promissory notes new mortgages or deeds of trust that are in fact enforceable but based in reality as to both the value of the property and the viability of the loan. It is the intermediaries including the Wall Street banks, sub servicers, Master servicers, and so-called trustees that are abusing the court process and clogging the court calendars with false claims. Get rid of them and you get rid of the problem.

http://4closurefraud.org/2013/05/16/wells-fargo-forecloses-on-florida-man-who-paid-on-time-early/

Alignment of Parties and Cancellation of VOID Instrument

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DENY and DISCOVER: First you need to start with the premise that the origination (“closing”) documents were defective from the start. By naming the wrong payee and containing terms different from the terms agreed by the actual Lender (source of funds) specifically as to how the receivable is to be repaid, the note fails the essential tests required to be considered “evidence of the obligation.”

The defective note therefore cannot be reinvigorated into non-defective merely by mention in the collateral mortgage or deed of trust which is recorded to assure faithful performance by the Payor under the terms of the note.  Perhaps the reverse would be true if the mortgage or deed of trust disclosed the reality of a table funded transaction, but that is not apparent for any loan for which there are claims of securitization or assignment.

Hence, the cause of action for cancellation of a VOID instrument lies in the fact that although the mortgage or deed of trust was recorded, it should not have been recorded because it did not recite the basic requirements of a perfected lien. I would add the caveat that cancellation of the instrument probably does not apply to the note, but does apply to the mortgage or deed of trust.

The note is subject to a cause of action for return of the note as satisfied or cancelled if you allege and prove that the Lender was paid in full and that anyone other than the homeowner who paid it might have a cause of action for contribution but that (a) said cause of action is NOT before the court and (b) an action for contribution cannot be considered secured even by a valid mortgage that was satisfied, much less a mortgage or deed of trust that was never a perfected lien.

The cause of action is NOT in contribution if the allegation is that the “creditor” (after showing the details of the transaction in which money was exchanged) purchased the note and mortgage, which is different. In that case, an assignment would be required or some other bill of sale or other instrument in order to preserve a perfected lien. But the payment and even a transfer does not perfect a lien that is defective.

That bring us to the issue of evidence and the alignment of the parties. Nearly all pro se litigants and lawyers are using the above arguments as affirmative defenses or worse yet, merely as argument at hearings for demurrers, motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment and motions to lift stay. This is understandable in the non-judicial states because of confusion and conflict in the rules of civil procedure.

In seeking a Temporary Restraining Order, the homeowner needs to bring the lawsuit, which is ridiculous when you thin about it because the information about the loan is in the hands of multiple parties, many of whom the known parties refuse to disclose the identity or status of said stakeholders.

Where I see attorneys getting traction in courts previously disposed to be dismissive of defenses and claims of borrowers, is precisely in this realm. First by denying the obligation, note and mortgage, that pouts the matter at issue. At that point it is universally agreed that the burden switches to the other side as to pleading and proof. People often ask me during seminars or conference calls
how do I prove that?”. The answer is that you don’t — you make them plead and prove their allegations. Non-judicial foreclosure was NEVER meant to be a vehicle to allow foreclosures to be completed when they would not have satisfied the statutory requirements of a judicial foreclosure.

This is what you cite: “Where the evidence necessary to establish a FACT that is ESSENTIAL to a CLAIM lies peculiarly within the knowledge and competence of one of the parties, THAT party has the BURDEN of going forward with the evidence on the issue even though it is NOT THE PARTY ASSERTING THE CLAIM.” [Garcia v Industrial Acc. Com (1953) 41 Cal.2d 689, 694; Wigmore Evidence 2d ed. 1940 Sec 2486; Witkin Cal. Evidence (1958) Sec 56(b).]

This doctrine is centuries old. You know something is true or you at least have good reason to believe a fact to be true but he other side has the proof. IN this case you know your denial of the essential elements of the judicial foreclosure forces the forecloser to come forward and prove their claim that they indeed have the right to foreclose.

Most Judges in most instances have realigned the parties and required the party claiming affirmative relief to plead as though they were the plaintiff even though the statute required the initiation of the lawsuit by the other side (the homeowner). It’s like some of the “negative” rulings against borrowers. There are plenty of people who can START a foreclosure, but only the creditor can finish it with a credit bid at auction.

California MEmo on ALignment and Cancellation of Note

Cancellation of Void Instrument

Consider this an add-on to the workbook entitled Whose Lien is It Anyway also known as Volume II Workbook from Garfield Continuum Seminars.

Several Attorneys, especially from California are experimenting with a cause of action in which an instrument is cancelled — because it throws the burden of proof onto the any party claiming the validity or authenticity of the instrument.

I have been researching and analyzing this, and I think they are onto something but I would caution that your pleadings must adopt the deny and discover strategy and that you must be prepared to appeal. There is also a resurgence of tacit procuration doctrines, in which the receiver of communication has a definite duty to respond.

Here is Part I of the analysis: There will be at least one more installment:

Cancellation of Void Instrument

In most cases loans that are later subject to claims of securitization (assignment) are equally subject to cancellation. There are potential defenses to the motion or pleading demanding cancellation of the instrument; but if framed properly, the motion or pleading could be utilized as an advanced discovery tool leading to a final order. This is particularly true if a RESPA 6 (Qualified Written Request) precedes the motion or pleading.

Cancellation of a void instrument is most often directed at a Mortgage or Deed of Trust that is recorded. The elements of cancellation of an instrument include that the document is void (not just the recording). That means that what you are saying is that there is nobody in existence with any legal right, justification or excuse to attempt to use or enforce the document.

I believe that it requires the pleader to allege that the parties on the instrument are unknown to the Pleader in that there never was a financial transaction between the pleader and the the other parties mentioned and accordingly the recording of the document is at best a mistake and at worst, fraud. The element of fraud usually is involved whether you plead it or not.  However the same principles and elements might well apply to the following:

Substitution of Trustee
Notice of Default
Notice of Sale
Deed recorded as a result of foreclosure auction
Judgment for Eviction or Unlawful Detainer
Mortgage Bond
Unrecorded instruments like promissory notes, pooling and servicing agreements, and mortgage bonds, credit default swaps etc.

Another word of caution: an existing document carries a certain amount of the appearance of authenticity and validity. That appearance may rise to an informal presumption by a Judge who believes he understands the “facts” of the case. The informal presumption might be elevated by state or federal statute that may describe the presumption as rebutable, or presumed to be rebuttable. In some cases, the rebutable presumption could be elevated to an irrebutable presumption, which might mean that nobody is permitted to challenge the validity or authenticity of the document. But even irrefutable presumptions are subject to challenge if they are procured by deceit or fraud in the inducement, or fraud in the execution.

The scenario assumed here is that no loan receivable was legally created because there was no financial transaction between the homeowner and whoever is on the note, mortgage or whatever document you are seeking to cancel. Where appropriate, the pleader can allege that they deny ever having signed the instrument to that it was signed with expectation that the parties designated as lender, beneficiary or payee never completed the transaction by funding.

It is probably fair to say that presumptions are only successfully challenged if the allegations involve fraud or at least breach of presumed facts or promises. A note is evidence of an obligation and is presumed to validly recite the terms of repayment of a legitimate debt. But it also possible that the note might be evidence of the amount of the obligation, but not its terms of repayment if the facts and circumstances show that the offer was unclear or the acceptance was unclear. In the case of so-called securitized loans, accepting the allegations made by foreclosers, the offer of the loan contained terms that were never communicated to the borrower. This is because an instrument containing the terms of repayment was at material variance with the terms recited in the note. The instrument received by the lender was a mortgage bond. And most importantly the lender and the borrower were never in direct communication with one another.

The interesting effect of the substitution of the mortgage bond for a loan receivable is that the mortgage bond is NOT signed by the homeowner and is no payments of principal and interest are due to the investor except from the REMIC issuing entity that never received any enforceable documents from the homeowner.

Nor were the terms for repayment ever disclosed to the homeowner. And the compensation of the intermediaries was not disclosed as required under TILA. This constellation of factors throws doubt, at the very least, as to whether the closing was ever completed even without the the funding. The fact that the funding never took place from the designated payee or “lender” more or less seals the deal.

You must have at the ready your clear argument that if the “trust” was the lender or any of its investors then the note should have said so and there would be no argument about funding, or whether the note or mortgage were valid instruments. But Wall Street had other plans for “ownership” of the loan and substituted a series a naked nominees or straw-men for their own financial benefit and contrary to the terms expressed to the investor (pension fund) and the homeowner (borrower).

Wire Transfer instructions to the closing agents tell another story. They do not show any indication that the transfer to the closing agent was for the benefit of the designated lender, whose name was simply borrowed by Wall Street banks in order to trade the “loans” as if they were real and as if the banks owned the bonds instead of the trusts or the investors. This could only have been accomplished by NOT having the investors money travel through the REMIC trust. Hence the moment of origination of the obligation took place when the homeowner received the money from the investors through accounts that were maintained by the banks not for the REMICS but for the investors. This means that investors who believe their rights emanate from the origination documents of the trust are mistaken because of the false statements by the banks when they sold the bogus mortgage bonds.

If that is the case, their is no perfected lien, because the only mortgage or deed of trust recorded shows that it is to protect the payee “lender” (actually a naked nominee) in the vent the borrower fails to make payments and otherwise comply with the terms of the note and mortgage. But the note and mortgage relate to an unfunded transaction in which at not time was any party in the alleged securitization chain the source of funds for origination, and at not time was there ever “value received” for any assignments, bogus or otherwise, robo-signed or otherwise.

It also means that the investors must be disclosed and that for the first time the homeowners and pension funds who actually were involved in the transaction, can compare notes and decide on the balance of the obligation, if any, and what to do about it. Allowing the banks to foreclose as servicer, trustee of an asset-backed trust, or in any other capacity is unsupported by the evidence. The homeowner, as in any mortgage foreclosure, is entitled to examine the loan receivable account from the item of origination through the present. If there is agreement, then the possibility of a HAMP or other modification or settlement is possible.

Allowing the servicers to intermediate between the investors and the homeowners is letting the fox into the hen-house. If any deal is struck, then all the money they received for credit de fault swaps and insurance might be due back to the payors, since the mortgages declared in default are actually still performing loans AND at present are not secured by any perfected lien.

Cancellation of the note does not cancel the obligation. In most cases it converts the obligation from one that provided for periodic payments to a demand loan. Success of the borrower could be dangerous and lead the borrower to adopt portions of the note as evidence of the terms of repayment while challenging other parts of the recitals of the note. Cancellation of the note would also eviscerate the promise of collateral which is a separate agreement that offers the home as collateral to secure the faithful performance  of the terms of the note. Hence the mortgage or deed of trust would be collaterally canceled merely by canceling the note.

If the note is cancelled, the action can move on to cancel the mortgage instrument. In the context of securitized loans it seems unlikely that there could be any success without attacking both the mortgage, as security, and the note, as evidence of an obligation. In its simplest form, the attack would have the highest chance of success by successfully attacking the obligation. If a lender obtains a note from a borrower and then fails to fund the loan, no obligation arises. It follows logically that the recitals of the note would then be meaningless as would the recitals in the mortgage. Having achieved the goal of proving the instrument as invalid or meaningless, the presence of the instrument in the county recorder’s office would naturally cause damage to other stakeholders and should be cancelled.

If the mortgage is in fact cancelled, then the next logical step might be a quiet title action that would have the court declare the rights and obligations of the stakeholders, thus eliminating any further claims based upon off-record transactions or the absence of actions presumed to be completed as stated in the instrument itself.

It must be emphasized that this is not a collateral attack or a flank attack on the obligation based upon theories of securitization, the pooling and servicing agreement or the prospectus. cancellation of an instrument can only be successful if the party who would seek to use the instrument under attack cannot substantiate that the instrument is supported by the facts.

The facts examined usually include the issues of offer, acceptance and consideration at the time of origination of the instrument under attack. A later breach will most likely not be accepted as reasons for cancellation unless the later event is payment of a debt. Failure to return the cancelled note would be a proper subject of cancellation if the allegation was made that the the obligation was completely satisfied. The presence of the original note after such payment and refusal or inability to return the note as cancelled is reason enough for the court to enter an order canceling the note. Any attempt to sell the note or assign it would be ineffective as against the maker of the note and could subject the assignor to both civil and criminal penalties.

Both payment and origination issues arise in connection with the creation of loan documents. The originator (and any successors) must be able to establish offer, acceptance and consideration. The signature element missing from most of the document chains subjecting all deeds of trusts, notes, mortgages and assignments to cancellation is the lack of consideration.

In a money transaction, consideration means money. If money was not tendered by the originator of the documents despite the requirements to do so as set forth in the documents, the putative borrower or debtor who executed the documents is entitled to cancellation.
In the case of securitized loans, the appearance of propriety is created by reams of documents that cover up the origination documents, giving the appearance that numerous parties agreed that the proper elements were present at the time of the origination of the loan. This has successfully been used by banks to create the informal presumption that the essential elements were present at origination — offer, acceptance and consideration.

The originator (or its successors) can easily avoid cancellation by simply establishing the identity of itself as the lender, the signature of the borrower, and the proof of a cashed check, wire transfer or ACH confirmation showing the payment by the originator to the borrower. In loans subject to claims of securitization and multiple assignments, they cannot do this because the original transaction was never completed.

The issue in securitized loans is that while wire transfer instructions exist and might even mention the borrower by name and could even make reference to the originator, the instructions always include directions on where to send the surplus funds, if any exist. Those funds are clearly not to be given or sent to the originator but rather back to the undisclosed lender, which makes the transaction a table funded loan defined as illegal predatory practices under the Federal Truth in Lending Act.

If the documents named the actual lender, then the offer, acceptance and consideration could be shown as being present. Originators may not “borrow” consideration from a deal between the borrower and another party and use it to establish the consideration for the closing loan documents with the originator. That would create two obligations — the one evidenced by the note and the other evidenced by the mortgage bond, that asserts ownership of the obligation.

Borrowers and creditors are restricted by one simple fact. For every dollar of principal borrowed there must be a dollar paid on that obligation. Putting aside the issue of interest on the loan, the creditor is entitled only to one dollar for each dollar loaned, and the borrower is only required to make a payment on an obligation that is due. The obligation becomes due the moment the borrower accepts the money or the benefits of the money, regardless of whether any documents are drafted or executed. The converse is also true — the creation, and even execution of documents does not create the obligation. It is only the actual money transaction that creates the obligation.

Stripping away all other issues and documentation at the time of origination of the loan, it can fairly assumed that in most of the subject cases of “securitization” that the originator was either not a depository institution or was not acting under its charter as a depository or lending institution. If it was not a lending institution, then it loaned money to the borrower out of its borrowed or retained capital — with the source of funds coming from their own bank account. Based upon a review of hundreds of wire transfer instructions, none of the non-lending institutions was the source of funds, yet their name was used specifically recited in the note as “lender.” The accompanying disclosure documents and settlement statement describes the “lender” as being the named originator. Hence, without funds, no consideration was present. If there was an absence of consideration for the documents that were putatively executed, then the documents are worthless.

The originator in the above scenario lacked two capacities: (1) it could not enforce the note or mortgage because it lacked a loan receivable account that would suffer financial damage and (2) it could not legally execute a satisfaction, cancellation or release of the obligation or the putative lien.  Such an originator at the moment of closing is therefore missing the necessary elements to survive a request to cancel the instrument at that time or any other time. No assignments, allonges, indorsements, or even delivery of the loan documents can improve the survival of the loan documents originated, even if some assignee up the chain paid for it.

Yet at the same time that there was no consideration from the originator, there was a loan received by the borrower. If it didn’t come from the originator, and the money actually arrived, the question is properly asked to identify the source of funds and whether that party had the capacity to enforce collection of the loan and could execute a release or satisfaction or cancellation of the note and mortgage. Here is where the hairs split. The source of funds is owed the money regardless of whether there was a note or mortgage or settlement documents or disclosures — simply because they do have a loan receivable that would be damaged by non-payment. But that loan receivable is not supported by any documentation that one would ordinarily find in a mortgage loan.

The creation of documents reciting a false transaction, “borrowing” the fact that the homeowner did receive funds from another source, does NOT create a second obligation. Hence the note, mortgage (Deed of trust) and obligation presumed in favor of the named originator must be cancelled.

Since the sources of funds are neither the owner of the loan, the payee on the note, the lender identified on the note, mortgage and settlement documents, they lack the power to enforce any of those documents and secondly, lack the power to cancel, release or satisfy a note or mortgage on which they are not the payee or secured party. Hence the fact that the borrower received funds gives rise to a demand obligation against the borrower to repay the loan. All the funding source needs is evidence of the payment from their bank account and the receipt by the borrower.

MERS GOES DOWN IN FLAMES IN WA SUPREME COURT DECISION

In questions certified from the United States District Court, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington En Banc concludes that MERS is not and cannot be a lawful beneficiary under Washington State Law. They decline to opine on the effect of the decision but the effects are obvious. They essentially said that only the real creditor (“the actual holder of the promissory note”) and who therefore has the power to appoint a substitute trustee could be a lawful beneficiary.

They rejected all arguments to the contrary, and reaffirmed that the power of sale is a “Significant Power” and thus the deed of trust should be liberally construed in favor of the borrower. The Court also reaffirmed the many decisions about the duties and obligations of trustees that have been routinely ignored by the banks and servicers. “… the process should provide an adequate opportunity for interested parties to prevent wrongful foreclosures.”

Their reasoning boils down to the old saying”you can’t pick up one end of the stick without picking up the other end too.” In this case their point was that financial institutions could not avoid the state recording laws and systems and then use those same laws to foreclose.

The Court also leaves open the door for actions in damages against MERS and those who used MERS for wrongful foreclosures.

see Bain Ruling

 

Discussion Started Between Livinglies and AZ Attorney General Tom Horne

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Editor’s Comment:

Dear Kathleen,

Thank you very much for taking my call this morning.

The question that Neil F. Garfield, Esq. had asked AZ Attorney General Tom Horne at Darrell Blomberg’s meeting was:

Why is the Arizona Attorney General not prosecuting the banks and servicers for corruption and racketeering by submitting false credit bids from non-creditors at foreclosure auctions?

Please feel free to browse Mr. Garfield’s web blog, www.LivingLies.wordpress.com as you may find much of the research and many of the articles to be relevant and of interest.

Mr. Garfield wishes the following comments and observations to be added, in order to clarify the question being asked.

It should probably be noted that in my own research and from the research from at least two dozen other lawyers whose practice concentrates in real property and foreclosures have all reached the same conclusion.  The submission of a credit bid by a stranger to the transaction is a fraudulent act.  A credit bid is only permissible in the event that the party seeking to offer the bid meets the following criteria:

1.  The homeowner borrower owes money to the alleged creditor

2.  The money that is owed to the alleged creditor arises out of a transaction in which the homeowner borrower agreed to the power of sale regarding that debt

3.  Any other creditor would be as much a stranger to the transaction as a non-creditor

Our group is also in agreement that:

4.  Acceptance of the credit bid is an ultra vires act.

5.  The deed issued in foreclosure under such circumstances is a wild deed requiring the title registrar to attach a statement from the office of the title registrar (for example Helen Purcell) stating that the deed does not meet the requirements of statute and therefore does not meet the requirements for recording.

6.  In the event that nobody else is permitted to bid, the auction violates Arizona statutes.

And we arrived at the following conclusions:

7.  In the event that there is no cash bid and the only “bid” was accepted as a cash bid from either a non-creditor or a creditor whose debt is not secured by the power of sale, no sale has legally occurred.

8.  The applicable statutes preventing the corruption of the title chain by such illegal means include the filing of false documents, grand theft, and evasion of the payment of required fees.

9.  This phenomenon is extremely wide spread and based upon surveys conducted by our office and dozens of other offices (including an independent audit of the title registry of San Francisco county) strongly suggest that the vast majority of foreclosures in Arizona resulted in illegal auctions, illegal acceptance of a bid, and illegal issuance of a deed on foreclosure-which resulted in many cases in illegal evictions.

10.  Federal and State-equivalent RICO may also apply, as well as Federal mail fraud which should be referred to the US Attorney.

CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE TO THE NON-JUDICIAL SALE STATUTE AS APPLIED.

It should also be noted that all the same attorneys agreed that the use of an instrument called “Substitution of Trustee” was improper in most cases in that it removed a trustee owing a duty to both the debtor and the creditor and replaced the old trustee with an entity owned or controlled by the creditor.

This is the equivalent of allowing the creditor to appoint itself as Trustee.

In virtually all cases in which a securitization claim was involved in the attempted foreclosure the Substitution of Trustee was used exactly in the manner described in this paragraph.  This method of applying the powers set forth in the Deed of Trust is obviously unconstitutional as applied.

Constitutional scholars agree that the legislature has wide discretion in substituting one form of due process for another.  In this case, non-judicial sale was permitted on the premise that an independent trustee would exercise the ministerial duties of what had previously been a burden on the judiciary.

However, the ability of any creditor or non-creditor to claim the status of being the successor payee on a promissory note, being the secured party on the Deed of Trust, and having the right to substitute trustees does not confer on such a party the right to appoint itself as the trustee, auctioneer, and signatory on the Deed upon foreclosure nor to have submitted a credit bid.

We are very interested in your reply.  If your office has any cogent reasons for disagreement with the above analysis, we would like to “hear back from you” as you promised at Mr. Blomberg’s meeting 22 days ago.  We would encourage you to stay in touch with Mr. Blomberg or myself with regard to your progress in this matter in as much as we are considering a constitutional challenge not to the statute, but to the application of the statute on the above stated grounds.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Sincerely

Neil F Garfield esq

licensed in Florida #229318

www.LivingLies.wordpress.com

MBS TRUSTEES UNDER INVESTIGATION

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“ROYALTY” FEES FOR USE OF THEIR NAME UNDER SCRUTINY

EDITOR’S COMMENT: Investors are starting to get restless as they see what is left of their “equity” in the MBS deals they advanced money to buy, dwindling to zero. They are onto the game and the pension fund and other fund managers responsible for the purchase had best start acting to protect their pensioners or they will find themselves in the same position as the so-called trustees of what are now emerging as non-existent trusts for pools of money that have nothing but the investor money in them as assets and no loans.

Let’s first get our terms straight so you know who the players are and what they do. Start at the beginning:

  1. Working people get a pension benefit that vests to them after a certain number of years of employment. Sometimes they contribute to the fund themselves, and sometimes it is entirely funded by their employer. 
  2. Those contributions are then aggregated into a fund which often is an entity unto itself — like  a corporation, LLC, Trust etc. organized and existing under the laws of the state where the pension fund is located.
  3. A fund manager is hired to invest those funds to assure that the balances keep up with inflation and so forth. Usually there are restrictions as to what kind of investments the fund manager is allowed to buy for the fund, whose purpose is to give the pensioners, the monthly payment they are expecting when they retire. 
  4. The hired fund manager could be an individual or a company. If it is a company then some person who works at the company is appointed to take care of that fund and perhaps some others.
  5. Usually when the media speaks of “investors” they mean the pension funds or other types of funds under management that constitute qualified investors because they are professionally managed by people of financial sophistication and they have a lot more money than the average Joe so they can check things out pretty carefully. When you have $1 billion under management, it doesn’t take much to spend $50,000 checking out a potential investment. 
  6. So “investors” are basically conduits through which the money funding pensions and the money paying pension benefits are processed, managed and invested. The real people who are affected by the performance of the fund manager are those people who worked for their pension benefits.
  7. The fund manager is usually paid for performance and hired and fired on the same basis. If the fund balances are properly maintained and the investments are all AAA and were checked out by the fund manager, they avoid most of the tricks and scams that Wall Street is always generating.
  8. So the fund manager, in order to preserve his employment, compensation and bonuses (everything on Wall Street is about bonuses) has a vested interest in managing the information that reaches the media and members of the fund. If there is a Board of Directors or other overseeing body they should be checking under the hood as well to make sure that the fund manager is investing according to the rules and make sure that the fund manager is not embezzling funds.
  9. Thus fund managers who invested heavily into MBS Mortgage Bonds or other MBS products that carved up and pooled debts arising from student loans, credit cards etc, all with AAA ratings from the rating agencies, are now sitting on some liabilities that they don’t want to report because if they do, then they will probably lose their bonus, job or other compensation.
  10. Enter the MBS Trustee seen often as Deutsch Bank, as Trustee for series abcnde-2005a. As Reynaldo Reyes has stated in taped interviews, the function of Deutsch Bank is to do nothing. Only the servicer calls the shots, along with instructions from other entities created by the investment banks in order to put layers between them and the acts that caused all this mess. See organized crime structure as the model for what Wall Street did. 
  11. The fund managers for the pension funds (investors) are actually representing real people who are expecting their pension benefits. So now some of them are looking to the MBS Trustee to ACT like a Trustee and ACT like they care what happens to the investors (pension funds) and all the pensioners depending upon that fund. But the same disdain and contempt that has been shown to homeowners in foreclosure is being displayed against the pensioners. They are the “little people” who in the culture of Wall Street “don’t count.”
  12. Many fund managers were duped by several attributes of these bogus MBS Bonds. The AAA ratings were a big factor as was the presence of the largest banks in the world acting as “Trustees.” The Trustees’ deal with Wall Street was to get paid a fee so their name could be used in foreclosures and other transactions. That is why the actual Trust Departments of the same banks serving as MBS Trustees don’t have anything to do with the MBS Trusts. Besides the fact that the Trusts probably don’t exist at all, the deal was that the MBS Trustee would be completely insulated from all the actual workings of the securitization chain.
  13. Recent case decisions are pointing  the way toward holding the MBS Trustees liable for their inaction. That is what Biden And Schneiderman are looking into as well, to see if laws were broken with those deals. Of course laws were broken. The MBS Trustee was advertised as a Trustee with fiduciary duties. Neither the Trust nor the duties actually existed, and even if they did the MBS Trustee had no intention of doing anything because that wasn’t the deal. [You might want to look at both the original Trustee on Deed of Trust and the "substitute Trustee" for additional potential liability --- to borrowers.]

At the end of the day, everybody knows everything. I first heard that on Wall Street of all places but they keep forgetting their own little axioms. The MBS Trustees like Deutsch, US BANK, etc. have long been known to be doing absolutely nothing. The purpose of using their name was to provide window dressing: a big name like HSBC is more likely to be taken seriously than some unknown title agent, which is why in the non-judicial states that ALWAYS have a substitution of trustee. The other reason is that the original trustee would insist on performing the due diligence that the statutes require and oops, they are not going foreclose on property at the instruction of someone who is out of the chain of title.

Biden of Delaware and Schneiderman of New York, both Attorney generals in the center of the securitization playground, are now looking at one of the weakest links in the Great Securitization Scam — i.e., the claim that securitization happened when it didn’t. The fact is that the parties took the money as though the securitization documents were followed but they didn’t have the the loans, transfer documents, mortgage documents, or for that matter even a conforming mortgage that was an actual lien on anyone’s property.

Pauley’s BofA MBS ruling is boon to New York, Delaware AGs

10/25/2011 COMMENTS (0)

In 1998, 400 investors in a trust that distributed revenue from a communications satellite got word that their securitization trustee had settled a $41-million suit against the satellite’s fuel supplier. The trustee, IBJ Schroeder, filed a New York State Article 77 proceeding to obtain a judge’s endorsement of the $8.5 million settlement. Some of the investors protested the deal, arguing that the trustee didn’t have the power to settle the case without consulting them. In 2000, a New York appeals court ruled that, in fact, IBJ Schroeder did have that power, under both New York law and the contract governing the satellite revenue trust. The lower court ultimately ruled in the Article 77 case that even if investors considered the settlement amount too low, Schroeder hadn’t acted unreasonably or imprudently in striking the deal.

If you’re wondering why I’m telling you about an 11-year old ruling involving a defunct communications satellite, it’s because the IBJ Schroeder opinion is sure to be invoked by Bank of New York Mellon, the trustee of those Countrywide mortgage-backed securities, as well as the 22 Countrywide MBS investors represented by Gibbs & Bruns as they appeal last week’s decision by U.S. District Judge William Pauley III of Manhattan federal court. In holding that the federal courts have jurisdiction over Bank of America’s proposed $8.5 billion settlement, Pauley took issue with BNY Mellon’s use of an Article 77 proceeding to get the deal approved. The judge wrote that Article 77 is usually employed to resolve garden-variety trust administration issues; BNY Mellon and Gibbs & Bruns will use the IBJ Schroeder ruling to argue at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that, contrary to Pauley’s assertion, there’s precedent for using Article 77 exactly as they did in the BofA MBS case.

But even as the Second Circuit decides whether to take up the issue of the rights and responsibilities of securitization trustees, state attorneys general are likely to pounce upon some of the language in Pauley’s 21-page ruling. I warned that there might be unintended consequences for indentured trustees when the judge asked for briefing on the BNY Mellon’s duties. After Pauley’s ruling, that warning is now a red alert. New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman and his faithful follower, Joseph Biden III of Delaware, have both announced that they’re investigating MBS securitization trustees. Schneiderman showed he’s serious by filing state-law fraud claims against BNY Mellon along with his petition to intervene in the BofA Article 77 proceeding. In his complaint against BNY, Schneiderman argued that once an investment goes south, as many of the MBS trusts have, the indentured trustee has a fiduciary duty to trust beneficiaries under New York common law.

BNY Mellon’s lawyers, on the other hand, argued in a brief to Pauley that an indentured trustee does not have a fiduciary duty to beneficiaries. The investment contract, BNY Mellon said, governs the trustee’s responsibilities. Standard securitization contracts, known as pooling and servicing agreements, say the indentured trustee serves a ministerial function, mostly making revenue distributions to investors. BNY Mellon told the judge that its only responsibilities, aside from those specified in pooling and servicing agreements, are common law duties to avoid conflicts of interest and to exercise due care.

The judge, however, took a broader view of the source of the trustee’s responsibilities — and that’s good news for regulators who are trying to find routes to liability for securitization trustees. Pauley considered the question in the context of determining whether the proposed BofA settlement falls into an exception to federal court jurisdiction in the Class Action Fairness Act. But his reasoning, of course, can be cited in other contexts.

Pauley cited Judge Learned Hand — who sat on the same court a century ago — to conclude that indentured trustees can’t evade a duty of loyalty to beneficiaries just because their responsibilities are defined by a contract. BNY Mellon had asserted its only duty to act in good faith came from the Countrywide pooling and servicing agreements. Pauley said it comes instead from state common law. As New York and Delaware regulators consider causes of action against securitization trustees, they’re going to have stronger claims if they can argue that trustees breached their state-law duties to investors. Similarly, trustee defenses are weakened if they can’t argue that their responsibilities were strictly defined by pooling and servicing agreements.

The New York and Delaware AGs are in an awkward limbo right now in the BofA MBS litigation. When Grais & Ellsworth removed the case to federal court, their intervention petitions were pending before Judge Barbara Kapnick in New York State Supreme Court. (BNY Mellon and Gibbs & Bruns, you may recall, filed fiery briefs opposing the N.Y. AG’s intervention.) The AGs stayed out of the federal court case while Pauley decided whether to remand it. But now they’re likely to renew their intervention petitions before the federal court judge, who has already raised a lot of the same questions as the AGs about the fairness of a binding settlement that was reached without consulting most of the investors it will affect. (The New York AG’s Martin Act counterclaim against BNY Mellon, in case you’re wondering, can technically proceed in federal court as well.) As I’ve said before, it’s too soon to say for sure that the proposed settlement will stay with Pauley. But if it does, invigorated attorneys general are the last thing BofA, BNY Mellon, and the Gibbs & Bruns group need.

(Reporting by Alison Frankel)

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SACCI v. MERS | CA Dist. Court “MYSTIFYING, UTTERLY CONFUSING ASSIGNMENTS, SUBSTITUTIONS, HOST OF ENTITIES

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Every time a Court actually looks at the documents, examines the pleadings and exhibits and asks the most basic questions, they rule in favor of the borrower. It’s not out of bias that they ruled as they did before nor is out of some new bias for borrowers that the latest rulings favor borrowers. It is just application of simple, basic existing law without any need to treat the issues as novel in any way.

The Banks have completed millions of foreclosures side-stepping the issue of whether or not they are in fact the creditor, whether they could submit a credit bid at the auction, whether the money is owed to them, and if they are acting as “agent” whether they will disclose the principal in the transaction. The courts deferred to the banks for too long. Now the Judges are realizing that they have been hoodwinked and that their prior rulings have enabled the worst property title crisis in U.S. history as well as the worst financial scam. The ultimate cost of these errors cannot be calculated in money alone. Ruined lives, divorces and suicides are not just numbers on a page.

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Herrera v Deutsch: CA Appeals Court Deals Death Blow to Deutsch — The House of Cards is Tumbling

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Herrera v Deutsch 5-31-11 Cal 3rd District

SEE HERRERA DECISION GOES PUBLIC MAKING IT BINDING ON OTHER COURTS

The Substitution of Trustee recites that the Bank “is the present beneficiary under” the 2003 deed of trust. As in Poseidon, this fact is hearsay and disputed; the trial court could not take judicial notice of it. Nor does taking judicial notice of the Assignment of Deed of Trust establish that the Bank is the beneficiary under the 2003 deed of trust. The assignment recites that JPMorgan Chase Bank, “successor in interest to WASHINGTON MUTUAL BANK, SUCCESSOR IN INTEREST TO LONG BEACH MORTGAGE COMPANY” assigns all beneficial interest under the 2003 deed of trust to the Bank. The recitation that JPMorgan Chase Bank is the successor in interest to Long Beach Mortgage Company, through Washington Mutual, is hearsay. Defendants offered no evidence to establish that JPMorgan Chase Bank had the beneficial interest under the 2003 deed of trust to assign to the Bank. The truthfulness of the contents of the Assignment of Deed of Trust remains subject to dispute (StorMedia, supra, 20 Cal.4th at p. 457, fn. 9), and plaintiffs dispute the truthfulness of the contents of all of the recorded documents.

STUNNING APPELLATE DECISION “GETS IT” AND DEALS DEUTSCH A BLOW FROM WHICH IT CANNOT RECOVER

The Rules of Evidence Finally Prevail — NO Presumptions and NO Judicial Notice

Slowly but surely, every point made on this blog, started 3 1/2 years ago, is coming true. Don’t lose hope. I knew that eventually the cards would fall the other way. The reason I knew is that the basic law being applied in this decision is inescapable. The failure of the trial judge to apply basic law was reversible error. The failure of the homeowner to properly plead his case might have had something to do with that, but the Appellate Court got the main points anyway. So here are some of the quotes that highlight the decision: (Special Thank You to Jake Naumer)

Plaintiffs Robert and Gail Herrera lost their house in South Lake Tahoe to a nonjudicial foreclosure sale. They brought suit to set aside that sale. They challenge whether the parties that conducted the sale, defendants Deutsche Bank National Trust Company (the Bank) and California Reconveyance Company (CRC), were in fact the beneficiary and trustee, respectively, under a deed of trust secured by their property, and thus had authority to conduct the sale.

Defendants also provided a declaration by a custodian of records for CRC, in which the custodian did not expressly declare that the Bank was the beneficiary and CRC the trustee. Instead, she merely declared that an Assignment of Deed of Trust and a Substitution of Trustee had been recorded and these recorded documents indicated the Bank had been assigned the deed of trust and that CRC had been substituted as trustee.

The Bank claimed to be the owner of the Property by virtue of a trustee’s deed recorded “by an entity purporting to be the trustee.”

Plaintiffs alleged CRC was not the trustee and had no authority to conduct a trustee’s sale, and believed no such sale had taken place. They further alleged any promissory note supporting the 2003 deed of trust was “time barred by the statute” and the maker, if any, “was lulled into believing that no action would be taken to enforce the 2003 [deed of trust] because no collection actions were taken within a reasonable time and no legally required notices of deficiency were sent or recorded.”

Plaintiffs alleged the original promissory note and deed of trust no longer existed and the Bank’s deed was invalid “as it is based solely upon purported copies which have no force and effect.”

The third cause of action was to quiet title to the Property. Plaintiffs alleged defendants had no original, verifiable promissory note or deed of trust and had no standing to foreclose. They further alleged all rights, title and interest asserted by defendants “were sublimated into a non-functional `security’ instrument that gives no one entity rights in individual notes and deeds of trust.” No defendant had an interest in the Property, but they had placed a cloud upon plaintiffs’ title.

The Bank and CRC moved for summary judgment or summary adjudication on each cause of action, contending there was no triable issue of fact as to any of plaintiffs’ claims. They claimed the undisputed evidence showed that the loan was in default, the Bank was the beneficiary under the deed of trust and CRC was the trustee. The default was not cured and CRC properly noticed the trustee’s sale. Notice of the sale was sent to plaintiffs and California law did not require the original promissory note to foreclose. The Bank and CRC further contended that to quiet title, plaintiffs must allege tender, or an offer of tender, of the amount owed.

defendants [Bank and CRC] requested that the court take judicial notice of certain documents pursuant to Evidence Code sections 451, subdivision (f) and 452, subdivisions (d), (g) and (h). These documents were:
(1) the Trustee’s Deed upon Sale recorded August 13, 2008, under which plaintiffs took title to the Property;
(2) a Grant Deed recorded December 13, 2002, showing the transfer of the Property to Sheryl Kotz;
(3) the Deed of Trust recorded April 30, 2003, with Sheryl Kotz as trustor and Long Beach Mortgage Company as trustee and beneficiary (the 2003 deed of trust);
(4) an Assignment of Deed of Trust recorded February 27, 2009, assigning all interest under the 2003 deed of trust to the Bank by JPMorgan Chase Bank, as successor in interest to Washington Mutual Bank, successor in interest to Long Beach Mortgage Company;
(5) a Substitution of Trustee recorded February 27, 2009, under which the Bank substituted CRC as trustee under the 2003 deed of trust;
(6) a “Notice of Default and Election to Sell [the Property] Under Deed of Trust” recorded February 27, 2009;
(7) a Notice of Trustee’s Sale under the 2003 deed of trust recorded May 29, 2009; and
(8) a Trustee’s Deed upon Sale recorded July 6, 2009, under which the Bank, as foreclosing beneficiary, was the grantee of the Property.

plaintiffs admitted the description of the Property and that they purchased it on June 24, 2008, at a foreclosure sale; they disputed all of the remaining facts. They asserted that the Brignac declaration was without foundation and contained hearsay and that all of the recorded documents contained hearsay.

They [Plaintiffs-Homeowners] contended defendants failed to meet their burden of proof for summary judgment because their request for judicial notice and Brignac’s declaration were inadmissible hearsay. They further contended the notice of default and the notice of trustee’s sale failed to meet statutory requirements of California law. Finally, they asserted defendants lacked standing to foreclose because they had not produced even a copy of the promissory note.
Plaintiffs moved to strike the declaration of Brignac as lacking foundation and containing hearsay. They also opposed the request for judicial notice. They argued the recorded documents were all hearsay. Citing only the Federal Rules of Evidence and federal case law grounded on the federal rules, plaintiffs argued a court cannot take judicial notice of disputed facts contained in a hearsay document. Plaintiffs disputed “virtually everything” in the recorded documents, arguing one can record anything, regardless of its accuracy or correctness.

Thus, initial issues framed by the pleadings are whether the Bank was the beneficiary under the 2003 deed of trust and whether CRC was the trustee under that deed of trust.

plaintiffs contend the trial court erred in taking judicial notice of the disputed facts contained within the recorded documents. We agree.

“Taking judicial notice of a document is not the same as accepting the truth of its contents or accepting a particular interpretation of its meaning.” (Joslin v. H.A.S. Ins. Brokerage (1986) 184 Cal.App.3d 369, 374.) While courts take judicial notice of public records, they do not take notice of the truth of matters stated therein. (Love v. Wolf (1964) 226 Cal.App.2d 378, 403.) “When judicial notice is taken of a document, . . . the truthfulness and proper interpretation of the document are disputable.” (StorMedia, Inc. v. Superior Court (1999) 20 Cal.4th 449, 457, fn. 9 (StorMedia).)

Defendants also relied on Brignac’s declaration, which declared that the 2003 deed of trust permitted the beneficiary to appoint successor trustees. Brignac, however, did not simply declare the identity of the beneficiary and the new trustee under the 2003 deed of trust. Instead, she declared that an Assignment of Deed of Trust and a Substitution of Trustee were recorded on February 27, 2009. These facts add nothing to the judicially noticed documents; they establish only that the documents were recorded.
Brignac further declared that “[t]he Assignment of Deed of Trust indicates that JPMorgan Bank [sic], successor in interest to Washington Mutual Bank, successor in interest to Long Beach Mortgage Company, transfers all beneficial interest in connection with the [deed of trust] to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company as Trustee for Long Beach Mortgage Loan Trust 2003-4.” (Italics added.) This declaration is insufficient to show the Bank is the beneficiary under the 2003 deed of trust. A supporting declaration must be made on personal knowledge and “show affirmatively that the affiant is competent to testify to the matters stated.”

At oral argument, defendants contended that the recorded documents were actually business records and admissible under the business record exception. We note that Brignac did not provide any information in her declaration establishing that the sources of the information and the manner and time of preparation were such as to indicate trustworthiness. (Evid. Code, § 1271, subd. (d).)5 Information concerning this foundational element was conspicuously lacking.6 Yet, this information was critical in light of the evidentiary gap establishing the purported assignments from Long Beach Mortgage Company to Washington Mutual Bank to JPMorgan Chase Bank. The records used to generate the information in the Assignment of Deed of Trust, if they exist, were undoubtedly records not prepared by CRC, but records prepared by Long Beach Mortgage Company, Washington Mutual and JPMorgan Chase. Defendants have not shown how Brignac could have provided information about the source of that information or how those documents were prepared. (See Cooley v. Superior Court (2006) 140 Cal.App.4th 1039

the timing of those purported assignments relative to the recording of those events on the Assignment of Deed of Trust cannot be found in the Brignac declaration or anywhere else in the record.
We also note that Brignac did not identify either the February 27, 2009 Assignment of Deed of Trust, or another key document, the February 27, 2009 Substitution of Trustee, as business records in her declaration. Rather, she referenced both documents in her declaration by stating that “[a] recorded copy” was attached as an exhibit. In light of the request for judicial notice, we take this statement to mean that the exhibits represented copies of records on file at the county recorder’s office.7

had the documents reflecting the assignments and the substitution been offered as business records, there would have been no need to request that the court take judicial notice of them. Accordingly, we reject defendants’ newly advanced theory.
Brignac’s declaration is lacking in yet another way. It is confusing as to the effect of the Substitution of Trustee. She declares, “The Substitution by Deutsche Bank National Trust Company as Trustee for Long Beach Mortgage Loan Trust 2003-4 substitutes the original trustee, Long Beach Mortgage Company for California Reconveyance Company.” Brignac’s declaration (and defendants’ statement of undisputed facts) can be read to state that the Bank substituted Long Beach Mortgage Company for CRC as trustee, rather than that CRC was substituted for Long Beach Mortgage Company. We must strictly construe this statement against the moving party. (Mann, supra, 38 Cal.3d at p. 35.) Even if we were to construe Brignac’s declaration to state that the Bank substituted CRC as trustee under the 2003 deed of trust, it would be insufficient to establish CRC is the trustee. A declaration that the Substitution of Trustee by the Bank made CRC trustee would require admissible evidence that the Bank was the beneficiary under the 2003 deed of trust and thus had the authority to substitute the trustee. As explained ante, defendants failed to provide admissible evidence that the Bank was the beneficiary under the 2003 deed of trust.

[SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR DEUTSCH WAS REVERSED AND REMANDED. DEUTSCH, WHO PROBABLY DOESN'T EVEN KNOW THE CASE IS PENDING, IS SCREWED]


J CURLEY AZ BKR CT: “No Docs To Show Ownership Of Loan Or Standing”

ONE ON ONE WITH NEIL GARFIELD ONE ON ONE WITH NEIL GARFIELD

COMBO ANALYSIS TITLE AND SECURITIZATION

EDITOR’S COMMENT: Judge Curley has been wrestling with these issues for more than 2 years. She has heard every argument, seen every memorandum, Expert Declaration (mine) and considered everything else possible. She was led to the inescapable conclusion that BOA’s position was a farce. She denied the Motion to Lift Stay, which effectively puts into question whether BAC or BOA is a creditor at all. In this well-reasoned and extremely well-written opinion, she outlines her analysis and reasoning. IN plain language, we are a nation of laws and civil procedure and not a nation of men and power. Not even the largest Bank on Earth can escape the requirements of our laws.

Arizona Bankruptcy Court Denies BAC “No Docs To Show Ownership Of Loan Or Standing” In re: ZITTA

Arizona Bankruptcy Court Denies BAC “No Docs To Show Ownership Of Loan Or Standing” In re: ZITTA

In re MIKE ZITTA AND IRENA ZITTA, Debtors.
BAC HOME LOANS SERVICING, LP FKA COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS
SERVICING LP, its assignees and/or successors in interest, Movant,
v.
MIKE ZITTA AND IRENA ZITTA, Respondents.

No. 09-bk-19154-SSC

UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA

DATED: January 21, 2011.

Not for Publication-Electronic Docketing ONLY

AMENDED1 MEMORANDUM DECISION

I. PRELIMINARY STATEMENT
This Court recently received a Notice of Appeal filed by BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P., f/k/a Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, L.P.(“BAC”) on December 23, 2010. The Notice of Appeal concerns the Court’s denial of a Motion for Reconsideration filed by BAC relating to its Motion for Relief from Stay in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of Mike and Irena Zitta (“Debtors”). Because BAC may have prematurely filed its Notice of Appeal, and because this Court had anticipated an opportunity to execute some sort of Order, with an appended memorandum decision on the issues presented, this Court will amplify its reasoning in denying the Motion for Reconsideration and clarify the record so that the Motion for Reconsideration may be heard on appeal.

BAC filed its Motion for Relief from Stay on August 30, 2010.2 Copies of the interest-only promissory note (“Note”), along with an allonge (“Allonge”), the recorded deed of trust (“Deed of Trust”), and the Broker’s price opinion were attached to the Motion.3 BAC also filed a declaration in support of the Motion.4 However, no assignment of the Deed of Trust from any entity to BAC was included. The Debtors filed a response/objection to the relief requested.5 The Court denied BAC’s Motion by Minute Entry Order issued on October 20, 2010 (the “Minute Entry Order”), because BAC had failed to provide a copy of an assignment of the Deed of Trust with its Motion.6 The October 20 Minute Entry Order was not executed by this Court.

On October 29, 2010, BAC filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Minute Entry Order, asserting that under Arizona law, an assignment of the Deed of Trust was not necessary to establish standing to move for relief from the automatic stay.7 The Court heard the Motion for Reconsideration on December 15, 2010, and denied the requested relief. BAC never submitted a form of order denying the Motion for Reconsideration, and although a minute entry order was generated that same day outlining briefly the Court’s denial of the Motion, the minute entry order was never executed by this Court.8 Rather than wait for an appropriate form of order to be entered, BAC chose to file a Notice of Appeal on December 23, 2010.

In this Memorandum Decision, the Court has set forth its findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Rule 7052 of the Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. The issues addressed herein constitute a core proceeding over which this Court has jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1334(b) and 157(b) (West 2010).

II. FACTUAL DISCUSSION
In the Motion for Relief from Stay filed on August 30, 2010, BAC asserted that it was the “holder in due course” and that it was the “payee and a holder in due course under that certain Promissory Note dated March 20, 2007.”9 The Note attached to the Motion for Relief from Stay stated that GreenPoint Mortgage Funding, Inc., had provided the financing to the Debtors so that the Debtors could acquire the real property located at 5100 East Blue Jay Lane, Flagstaff, Arizona (“Property”).10 The Note further stated that anyone taking the Note “by transfer and who [was] entitled to receive payments under [the] Note [was] called the “Note Holder.”11 The Allonge, dated March 20, 2007, stated as follows: “Pay to the Order of BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP f/k/a Countrywide Home Loan Servicing, LP without recourse.”12 GreenPoint Mortgage Funding, Inc. had executed the Allonge, although the signature is difficult to discern.13 The Deed of Trust attached to the Motion for Relief from Stay stated that GreenPoint Mortgage Funding, Inc. was the lender and that MERS was the nominee for the lender. Specifically, the Deed of Trust stated:

(E) “MERS” is Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. MERS is a separate corporation that is acting solely as a nominee for Lender and Lender’s successors and assigns. MERS is the beneficiary under this Security Instrument.14

The Deed of Trust stated that the Debtors acknowledged or executed the document on March 21, 2007, although the Allonge and the Note had an execution date of March 20, 2007. Finally, the Declaration submitted in support of the Motion for Relief from Stay stated that “[it] is in the regular course and scope and business for BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP f/k/a Countrywide Home Loans Servicing LP to prepare and maintain books and records relating to the status of the servicing of Movant’s Deed of Trust.”15 The Declaration also stated that “Movant is the payee under that certain Promissory Note dated March 20, 2007…. Further, Movant is the present holder and owner of that certain First Deed of Trust of same date…. securing said Note against Debtors’ property….”16 Thus, BAC’s Declaration creates an ambiguity as to whether BAC is the servicer of the loan or whether it is the Note Holder who is entitled to payments under the Debtors’ Note obligation. The documentation presented by BAC also includes a security agreement, granting BAC a security interest in the Note.17

A review of the Motion for Relief from Stay reflects the myriad problems that this and other Courts are facing in attempting to handle the tremendous volume of such motions that are filed in the numerous bankruptcy cases that are pending across the country. First, the Motion that was filed in this case appears to be a form that may have been imperfectly tailored to the facts of this case. For instance, the Motion for Relief from Stay alleges that GreenPoint Mortgage Funding, Inc. “was the original lender on the subject Note and Deed of Trust. Thereafter, GreenPoint Mortgage Funding, Inc. assigned all of its rights, title and interest in and to said [N]ote and Deed of Trust to BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P., f/k/a Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, L.P. by way of an Allonge….”18 However, as noted previously, the Declaration seems to indicate that BAC was acting as a servicer. If BAC was simply the servicer, then for whom was BAC receiving payments under the Note? If BAC was holding the Note as the servicer, for whom was it acting? If BAC was the Note Holder, as defined in the Note, then why does the Declaration state that BAC operates as a servicer? Another way to state the problem is that the Motion for Relief from the Stay and the Declaration seem to reflect imperfectly the transfer of the various interests in the Note and Deed of Trust. Given the posture of the record presented to the Court, and the lack of clarity, the Court denied the Motion for Relief from Stay by Minute Entry Order on October 20, 2010. Rather than clarify the record by filing the appropriate assignment, a further declaration or affidavit, or some other documentation, BAC filed its Motion for Reconsideration. BAC chose to provide no further information to the Court from a factual standpoint.

III. LEGAL DISCUSSION
The Motion for Reconsideration

As outlined above, part of the problem with the issues to be decided is the context in which the matters have been presented to the Court. When a motion for relief from stay is filed, the Bankruptcy Code, the Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, and the Local Rules of this Court are immediately applicable or implicated.

11 U.S.C. §362 (d) states that the bankruptcy court may, for instance, terminate, modify, or condition the automatic stay (1) “for cause, including the lack of adequate protection of an interest in property of such party in interest,” or (2) “with respect to a stay of an act against
property under subsection (a) of this section if-(A) the debtor does not have an equity interest in such property; and (B) such property is not necessary to an effective reorganization.”19 Section 362(g) states that the party requesting relief from the automatic stay has the burden of proof of whether the debtor has any equity in the property at issue.20 The Local Rules of the Arizona Bankruptcy Court further require that a party filing a motion for relief from the automatic stay be able to provide some support for the relief requested. For instance, if the party is stating that it is a secured creditor requesting relief from the automatic stay to pursue a trustee’s sale under Arizona law, the secured creditor should be able to provide support in the motion that it has a perfected security interest in property of the estate in which the debtor or debtor in possession also has an interest.21

In reviewing the sufficiency of any motion for relief from the automatic stay, the court must also consider under what provision of the Bankruptcy Code the debtor has filed. For instance, if the individual debtor has filed a chapter 7 petition, a trustee in bankruptcy is appointed that must collect and liquidate property of the estate, that has not been claimed exempt by the debtor, for distribution to the debtor’s creditors, according to the priorities set forth in the Bankruptcy Code.22 The trustee in bankruptcy may increase the amount of property of the estate available for distribution to creditors by exercising certain avoidance powers enumerated, inter alia, in Bankruptcy Code Sections 544, 547, and 548.23 An individual debtor may acquire the same duties and responsibilities of a trustee in bankruptcy by filing a chapter 11 petition, seeking to reorganize or to file a plan of liquidation.24 Because the debtor in possession is vested with the same powers of the trustee, the debtor in possession may pursue avoidance actions as well.25 In this case, the individual Debtors filed a chapter 11 petition seeking to reorganize, and no bankruptcy trustee has yet been appointed in this case. As a result, the Debtors exercise the rights of a bankruptcy trustee concerning the ability to avoid certain transfers or transactions.

Because of the avoidance powers of the bankruptcy trustee or the debtor in possession, this Court requires that if a party seeking relief from the automatic stay asserts a perfected security interest in any property of the estate, that moving party must be able to present at least a prima faciecase that it has such a perfected security interest under applicable law.26 The fact that the transaction is not avoidable between the parties to the underlying loan transaction is not dispositive of whether the transaction may be avoided by third parties that are, for instance, bona fidepurchasers.27

Turning to the standards of a motion for reconsideration, the moving party must show a manifest error of fact, a manifest error of law, or newly discovered evidence. School Dist. No. 1J Multnomah County, OR v. ACandS, Inc., 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th Cir. 1993); In re Gurr, 194 B.R. 474 (Bankr. D. Ariz. 1996). A motion for reconsideration is not specifically contemplated by the Federal Rules. To the extent it is considered by the Court, it is under Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e) to alter or amend an order or judgment. In re Curry and Sorensen, Inc., 57 B.R. 824, 827 (Bankr. 9th Cir. 1986). Because BAC presented no new evidence to this Court and has not outlined any manifest error of fact, the sole basis for the BAC Motion for Reconsideration must be a manifest error of law by this Court. BAC has outlined several bases for what it believes is this Court’s manifest error of law.

 

(A) Is the Movant the Real Party in Interest?

A colleague in the Arizona Bankruptcy Court has stated that a party that brings a motion for relief from the automatic stay must first establish a “colorable claim.” “In order to establish [such a claim], a movant…. bears the burden of proof that it has standing to bring the motion.” In re Weisband, 427 B.R. 13, 18 (Bankr. D. Ariz. 2010) (citing In re Wilhelm, 407 B.R. 392, 400 (Bankr. D. Idaho 2009)). In the Weisband decision, the Court states that the moving party may establish standing by showing that it is a “real party in interest.”28 The Weisband Court next states that a holder of a note is a “real party in interest” under FRCP 17 because, under the Arizona Revised Statute (“ARS”) § 47-3301, the note holder has the right to enforce it. Weisband at 18. Relying on a decision from a bankruptcy court in Vermont, the Weisband Court next opines that “[b]ecause there is no federal commercial law which defines who is a note holder, the court must look to Arizona law to determine whether [movant] is [such] a holder.” Id. (citing In re Montagne, 421 B.R. 65, 73 (Bankr. D. Vt. 2009)). Finally, the Weisband Court states that under Arizona law, a holder of a note is defined as, inter alia, “the person in possession of a negotiable instrument that is payable either to bearer or to an identified person that is the person in possession.” Id. (citing ARS § 47-1201(B)(21)(a)).

BAC’s citation to Weisband fails to address this Court’s concerns. In the Motion for Relief, BAC contends that it is the “payee and a holder in due course.” However, the Declaration that it filed appears to reflect that BAC is the servicer for some other party. Obviously there is a difference. A servicer acts pursuant to a separate agreement with the Note Holder and is paid a separate fee to determine what payments have been made, or not made, by a given borrower. However, the servicer would not normally list the loan on its balance sheet as one of its assets. The Note Holder, according to the definition in the Note, is the party that is entitled to receive the payments under the Note, because it has arguably paid some consideration for the transfer of the obligation to it, and has listed the obligation as an asset in its books and records.29 BAC has not provided any additional facts to clarify whether it is the servicer pursuant to an agreement with the Note Holder, or contrary to its Declaration, it actually acquired the loan and has placed the loan on its balance sheet as one of its assets.

From the documentation provided by BAC, it appears that GreenPoint provided the original funding for the loan to the Debtors so that they could acquire the Property. Yet, at the time of the closing, GreenPoint immediately assigned its interest in the Note to BAC. The Declaration submitted by BAC, however, seems to indicate that BAC is only in the business of servicing loans-perhaps for some other entity associated or related to BAC. If BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP, is acting as the servicer of a Bank of America entity, for which entity is it acting? Conversely, if GreenPoint transferred the Debtors’ loan from its books and records to some other entity, was it BAC? If BAC alleges in its Motion for Relief from the Stay that it is the Note Holder, is it, in fact, the one legally entitled, because of the purchase of the Debtors’ obligation, to receive the Debtors’ payments?

As a part of its prima faciecase, BAC should have provided the Court with more factual information in support of its position. As a result, this Court may deny the Motion for Reconsideration, and the underlying Motion for Relief from the Stay, on the basis that BAC has failed to provide sufficient documentation to this Court so that the Court may ensure that BAC is the proper Note Holder, or servicer if appropriate, to pursue such a Motion for Relief from the Stay.

Thus, the focus of the BAC’s Motion for Reconsideration does not consider all of the factual and legal issues that it should. It does not address whether BAC, in this matter, has presented an appropriate factual and legal basis to proceed on this loan concerning the Debtors and their Property. BAC could have easily supplemented the record to provide the appropriate documentation to proceed, but chose not to do so.

(B) Has BAC Set Forth a Prima Facie Case That It Has
A Perfected Security Interest in the Property Given the Status
Of the Debtors As Debtors In Possession?

In its Motion for Reconsideration, BAC relies on ARS § 33-817, which states, “The transfer of any contract or contracts secured by a trust deed shall operate as a transfer of the security for such contract or contracts.” ARS § 33-817. BAC further points out that the Supreme Court of Arizona has held that a mortgage is a “mere incident to the debt,” and its “transfer or assignment does not transfer or assign the debt or the note,” but “the mortgage automatically goes along with the assignment or transfer” of the note. Hill v. Favour, 84 P.2d 575, 578 (Ariz. 1938) (emphasis added). However, at the hearing on December 15, 2010, the Court expressly stated its concern about the ability of BAC to proceed given that it had not provided any information as to a recorded assignment of the Deed of Trust. The Court asked counsel how her analysis was appropriate given (1) the status of the Debtors as Debtors in Possession who had objected to the relief requested, and (2) ARS § 33-818 which provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

[A]ssignment of a beneficial interest under a trust deed,… shall from the time of being recorded impart notice of the content to all persons, including subsequent purchasers and encumbrancers for value.
As outlined above, the Debtors, as Debtors in Possession, acquire the status of a bona fide purchaser and are able to set aside any real estate transaction, concerning their Property, for which the creditor has not taken appropriate steps under Arizona law. See 11 U.S.C. § 544(a)(3) (West 2010). Arizona law requires that if a secured creditor with a lien on the Debtors’ Property wishes to ensure that said interest is not subject to the claims of a bona fide purchaser, that said secured creditor record an assignment of its interest with the Recorder in the County where the Debtors’ Property is located. If notice of the assignment has not been provided, through recordation, the secured creditor may have its interest avoided by a bona fide purchaser. See Rodney v. Arizona Bank, 836 P.2d 434, 172 Ariz. 221 (Ariz. App. Div. 2 1992) (Unless and until the transferee of the beneficial interest in the deed of trust records an assignment of the deed of trust, the security interest in the real property remains unperfected.)

At the time of the hearing on the Motion for Reconsideration, BAC’s counsel agreed that although vis-a-vis the original parties to the transaction, no assignment of the Deed of Trust need be produced or recorded, because of the Debtors’ filing of a bankruptcy petition, ARS § 33-818 required that an assignment be prepared and properly recorded given the new status of the Debtors as Debtors in Possession.30 It is unclear why BAC has not simply supplemented the record to provide the assignment of the Deed of Trust.

The request that an assignment be recorded is not a burdensome requirement. MERS, through its registration system, keeps track of the transfers of the beneficial interests, under a deed of trust, from member to member in the system. When there is some type of default under the loan transaction, MERS generally prepares an assignment of the beneficial interest in the deed of trust for signature and then records the assignment with the appropriate state authority, which in Arizona would be the Recorder in the County where the real property that is subject to the secured creditor’s lien is located. This recordation of the assignment provides the requisite notice to third parties, as required under Arizona law.

Although BAC relies on the decision of Rodney v. Arizona Bank, 836 P.2d 434, 172 Ariz. 221 (Ariz. App. Div. 2 1992), the decision actually supports this Court’s understanding of the importance of the recordation of the assignment of the deed of trust. In Rodney, the borrowers were the Vasquezes, who received purchase money financing from the initial lender, Hal Clonts (“Clonts”), to purchase real property (“Property”) located in Mohave County. The Vasquezes executed a promissory note and deed of trust in favor of Clonts to provide him with a lien on their Property to secure repayment of the note. It is important to keep in mind that the Vasquezes remained the borrowers throughout a series of subsequent transactions that only affected the lender or the party that had a security interest in the promissory note and deed of trust.

Clonts transferred his interest to the Fidlers through an assignment of the beneficial interest in the promissory note and deed of trust. Id. at 435. However, on April 11, 1985, the Fidlers entered into a separate loan transaction in which they borrowed money from a third party, State Bank, later called Security Pacific Bank Arizona (“Security Pacific”). The Fidlers provided security to Security Pacific for their loan transaction by pledging “all monies” received by the Fidlers in “Escrow # 85-02-9290.” Id. Security Pacific immediately notified the title company, for the subject escrow, as to Security Pacific’s interest in the escrow funds. In September 1986, the Fidlers again transferred their beneficial interest in the promissory note and deed of trust to Theron Rodney (“Rodney”). The Fidlers received $20,000 from Rodney for the transfer of their interest. The Fidlers executed an assignment of the beneficial interest under the deed of trust. Rodney recorded his interest in the deed of trust with the Mohave County Recorder’s Officer where the Property was located. Not surprisingly, Security Pacific and Rodney disagreed as to the priority of their respective security interests in the loan proceeds. Security Pacific argued that the interest in the loan proceeds could only be perfected pursuant to the Uniform Commercial Code. Conversely, Rodney argued that the real property provisions of Arizona law were applicable. Id. at 436.

The sole issue to be addressed by the Appellate Court was whether Article Nine of the Uniform Commercial Code (as adopted in Arizona) applied to the creation and perfection of a security interest in a promissory note when the note itself was secured by a deed of trust in real property. Id. Before considering the analysis by the Court, let’s diagram the various loan transactions.

+——————————————————————————————————–+———————————————+
| The Vasquezes |                                                                                                                                                  Clonts |
| —- | |
+——————————————————————————————————–+———————————————+
| initial borrowers purchase money financing |                                                                                     initial lender |
+——————————————————————————————————–+——————————————————————+
| Vasquezes continue to pay on the original note and deed of trust to the title company, as escrow agent | (1) transfer of the interest in the note and deed of trust for consideration to the Fidlers |
|                                                                                                                                                                                                                   | (2) separate loan to the Fidlers–security interest in the note and deed of trust given to Security Pacific-consideration given to Fidlers |
|                                                                                                                                                                                                                   | (3) Fidlers again seek financing–security interest in the note and deed of trust given to Rodney |
|                                                                                                                                                                                                                   | for $20,000. |
+——————————————————————————————————–+——————————————————————–+
| | |
+——————————————————————————————————–+——————————————————————–+

Thus, it is only the parties on one side of the initial loan transaction that are in disagreement as to the priority of their security interests. Noting that Security Pacific only wanted to obtain a perfected security interest in the promissory note proceeds, the Court stated “we find that Security Pacific received a corollary security interest in the real property evidenced by the deed of trust, along with its interest in the note, although the corollary interest remained unperfected.” Id. The Court then stated that Security Pacific need not have a perfected security interest in the real property, because Security Pacific’s interest was only in the note which was a security interest in personal property under ARS § 47-1201(37). Id. at 436-37. The Court concluded that “Arizona case law holds that a mortgage note and the debt evidenced thereby are personal property (citing to Hill v. Favour, 52 Ariz. at 571, 84 P.2d at 579). Article Nine of the UCC applies to security interests in personal property….” Id. at 437. However, Article Nine of the Uniform Commercial Code does not apply to obtaining a lien on real property. In considering the somewhat murky area of “realty paper,” the Court relied on Commentators J White and R. Summers, who described “realty paper” as follows:

B mortgages his real estate to L. L gives B’s note and the real estate mortgage to Bank as security for a loan. Article Nine does not apply to the transaction between L and B, but does apply to that between L and Bank.

Id.31 Turning to the facts of this case, BAC is arguing that its security interest in the Note and Deed of Trust is perfected as to all others, rather than to just other mortgagees. It has forgotten the other side of the transaction, which is the “mortgagor” in the White and Summers analysis, or someone that may acquire an interest from the mortgagor, such as a bona fide purchaser. To perfect its interest as to the “mortgagor,” which would be the Zittas, or someone who may acquire an interest in the Property from the Zittas, BAC needed to record its assignment in the Deed of Trust, as required under real property law, such as ARS § 33-818 (West 2010). BAC has not shown this Court that any such assignment exists, so its Motion for Reconsideration must be denied as a matter of law.

BAC also relies on In re Smith, 366 B.R. 149 (Bank. D. Colo. 2007), which is inapposite. The debtor had been in a chapter 13 proceeding, but had converted his case to one under chapter 7. Id. at 150. Bank of New York, N.A. (“Bank of New York”) subsequently requested relief from the automatic stay as to the real property owned by the debtor. The debtor did not oppose the motion, and a foreclosure sale, pursuant to Colorado law, subsequently occurred. Bank of New York then recorded a deed upon sale as to the debtor’s real property. Without seeking any stay of the foreclosure proceedings, the debtor filed an adversary proceeding with the bankruptcy court. The debtor asserted that the Bank of New York was not the real party in interest, and therefore, it was unable to proceed with a foreclosure of his real property. The bankruptcy court reviewed the evidence presented and determined that Bank of New York was the holder of the promissory note at the time it commenced its foreclosure sale. The court stated that Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., which had originally provided the financing to the debtor, had endorsed the promissory note in blank. Under Colorado law, such a blank endorsement allowed the promissory note to become “payable to bearer.” However, Bank of New York did submit a Certification of Owner and Holder of the Evidence Debt, which allowed the Colorado court to conclude that Bank of New York was the “holder of the original evidence of debt.” The court then reviewed the deed of trust, determining that it was recorded at approximately the same time as the loan closing between the debtor and Countrywide Home Loan, Inc. The bankruptcy court then concluded that the promissory note was assigned to the Bank of New York. As such, once the promissory note was assigned to the Bank of New York, MERS then functioned as the nominee for the Bank of New York. Id. at 151. Presumably, as a result of MERS nominee status, the bankruptcy court concluded, sub silentio, that no additional action needed to be taken by Bank of New York vis-a-vis the debtor.

This Court questions the analysis by the Smith court.32 Although the Smith court relies on a 2002 decision from the Colorado Supreme Court, the court does not analyze the concept of “realty paper” or discuss White and Summers. As noted by this Court supra, the lender in the original loan transaction or a party that may subsequently obtain a security interest in the promissory note, as a result of a separate loan transaction, may be protected, but this Court is viewing the transaction from a different viewpoint: that of the Debtors in Possession that acquire the status of bona fide purchasers. There is no discussion, in Smith, as to how Colorado law would treat such third parties. Moreover, it is unclear whether Colorado has a similar provision as Arizona’s ARS § 33-818 that focuses on the separate requirements of a creditor that may have a beneficial interest under a deed of trust assigned to it.

In considering the ability of the debtor to pursue a claim under 11 U.S.C. § 544, the Colorado court concludes that the debtor does not have the standing of the bankruptcy trustee. Smith at 152. Such an analysis is correct, since the debtor pursued his claim against the Bank of New York only after he had converted his case to one under chapter 7. The chapter 7 trustee also failed to join with the debtor in the adversary proceeding or to pursue the claim separately.33 However, as to the facts before this Court, the Debtors, as Debtor in Possession, in this chapter 11 proceeding do have the standing to pursue claims under Section 544.34 Thus, this Court must reject the analysis in the Smith case.

This Court concludes that given the summary nature of motions for relief from the automatic stay, 35 the general requirements in the case law and the Local Rules of this Court36 that a creditor alleging a security interest in certain property of the debtor and/or the bankruptcy estate at least set forth a prima facie case as to its perfected security interest, 37 BAC should have provided an assignment of the Deed of Trust. It failed to do so; however, the Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay was denied without prejudice. BAC still has the opportunity to refile the Motion with the appropriate documents as exhibits thereto.

IV. CONCLUSION
For the foregoing reasons, the Court denies BAC Home Loans Servicing, LP’s Motion for Reconsideration of this Court’s Denial of the Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay. The Court

SARAH SHARER CURLEY, Bankruptcy Judge

TITLE AND SECURITIZATION ANALYSIS

I HAD A QUESTION FROM ONE OF OUR BLOG READER-CUSTOMERS AND I REALIZED EVERYONE SHOULD SEE THE ANSWER.

Chris: Your question is a smart one. Here is the deal. We provide the search capacity and if you want a complete analysis and accounting you’ll need to retain someone for that. we have that available if you want us to do it.

But the main point I want to stress hear is that the subject of securitization was the receivables and not the obligation, note or mortgage from the borrower.

  • The receivables consist of the proceeds of payment from MULTIPLE sources as you have no doubt seen on the blog.

    The borrower signs a note that is never actually given to the investor.

  • The investor receives a mortgage bond or actually evidence of a mortgage bond that was never disclosed, seen or signed by the borrower.

  • In practice, the obligation, note and mortgage (Deed of Trust) are never actually transmitted, transferred, assigned or indorsed to the lender.

  • It is all an illusion. Any transfer is from one intermediary pretender lender to another intermediary pretender lender. The actual loan transaction never actually reaches the loan pool — but in every foreclosure it is claimed to be there.

  • The legal issue that ensues is whether the originating lender still is the only lender of record without any money owed to it (which means the loan is unsecured but does NOT mean there is no obligation) OR whether the pretender lender can convince the Judge that despite the lack of legal proof and legal requirements, the loan should be treated as equitably in the pool even if it is not legally in the pool.
  • The problem is of course there is no such thing. And in Missouri when they tried to make the legal argument, it was soundly rejected and they never tried it again.
  • But they don’t have to try again because Judges are still confused by the legal effect of securitization. In their confusion they are treating the loan as part of the pool even though they have no actual evidence (because none exists) that the loan ever made it into the pool through normal assignments, indorsements etc..
  • As far as they are concerned, the borrower signed a note, owes the money, didn’t pay it and the case is closed.
  • The idea that that there are MULTIPLE channels of payment between the borrower and the real lender and that therefore the documents in the middle tell the real story is not one they really want to hear — it raises a complexity they don’t wish to deal with.

    It also raises a political hot potato. Any one of these cases if they were considered alone and not in the context of millions of others would be decided in favor of the borrower (in my opinion). Judges are loathe to issue an order that in essence turns the entire mortgage mess on its head in favor of borrowers — which really only means that the real parties in interest must come forward and the real parties in interests must strike a deal in light of the obvious defects in the securitization and title process.

  • So we are presently stuck between a majority of Judges who don’t want to apply the normal rules of evidence, pleadings and substantive law and the minority of Judges who see all too clearly the coming title cliff we are heading toward.
  • What this means for you is that you must realize that the title part of your search is the ground level search which shows the breaks in the chain and the securitization portion of your search shows the REST of the terms that were not contained in the note, describes but does not name the real lender, and adds co-obligors who are providing cover for the bond the the investor thinks he bought with virtually no risk.
  • Without the liability of third parties, the investor would not have entered the deal. Just as with knowledge that the home appraisal was falsely inflated neither the borrower nor the lender would have entered the deal and all that money, billions in bonuses and billions in “profits” would never have been recorded.
  • THIS IS WHY YOU MUST POUND AND POUND AND POUND ON THE FACT THAT THIS WAS A SINGLE TRANSACTION BETWEEN BORROWER AND ACTUAL LENDER AND THAT THE ORIGINATING LENDER AND EVERYONE ELSE WERE INTERMEDIARIES IN THE DEAL. THE REQUIREMENTS OF LAW IN PERFECTING A LIEN WERE NOT PRESENT.

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Conservative NC Court of App: Power of Sale is Not Favored Under the Law

GET LOAN SPECIFIC RECORDS PROPERTY SEARCH AND SECURITIZATION SUMMARY

because a foreclosure under a power of sale is not favored in the law and must be “watched with jealousy,” see In re Foreclosure of Goforth Props., 334 N.C. at 375, 432 S.E.2d at 859 (internal quotation marks omitted), we must conclude that the evidence presented to the trial court was not sufficient to establish that the Note was payable to Deutsche Bank for Soundview, and so was not sufficient to support the trial court’s finding of fact that “Novastar Mortgage, Inc., . . . transferred and assigned its interest in the Note and Deed of Trust to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee for Soundview Home Loan Trust 2005-4 (`Lender’).”

Conservative NC Court of Appeals says “Show us the note!”

Today, June 07, 2010, 31 minutes ago | admin From Home Equity Theft Reporter:

Another trial court screw-up in a foreclosure action was recently reversed – this time by the North Carolina Court of Appeals, which ruled that a lender seeking to foreclose on a mortgage had failed to properly provide sufficient competent evidence that it was the holder of the promissory note secured by the mortgage. Accordingly, it ruled that the lender was not entitled to go forward with a foreclosure

sale.(1)

For the ruling, see In re Foreclosure of Adams, No. COA09-1455 (N.C.

App. June 1, 2010).

(1) An excerpt from the ruling (bold text is my emphasis, not in the original text):

[S]ince the photocopies of the Note and Deed of Trust presented to the trial court indicate that the original holder of both instruments was Novastar, not Deutsche Bank for Soundview, and since these photocopies do not indicate that Novastar negotiated, indorsed or transferred the Note to Deutsche Bank for Soundview, respondents contend the photocopied instruments alone were not sufficient to establish that Deutsche Bank for Soundview is the current holder of the Note.

We recognize that, in the present case, the testimony by affidavit from Ms. Smith, the assistant secretary of Deutsche Bank for Soundview——an out-of-state entity——as well as the in-person testimony offered by Ms. Cole indicated that Deutsche Bank for Soundview is the current holder of the Note and Deed of Trust. However, neither the in-person testimony from Ms. Cole nor the testimony by affidavit from Ms. Smith expressly showed that Novastar transferred or assigned its interest in the Note and Deed of Trust to Deutsche Bank for Soundview.

Moreover, as we discussed above, the photocopied Note and Deed of Trust, which were described in Ms. Smith’s affidavit as “exact reproductions” of the original instruments, do not show that the Note was indorsed, transferred, or otherwise made payable by Novastar, the original holder of the instrument, to Deutsche Bank for Soundview.

Thus, whereas the record in In re Foreclosure of Brown, 156 N.C. App. 477, 577 S.E.2d 398 (2003), also included an Assignment of Deed of Trust as evidence showing that the original holder of the note and deed of trust had assigned its interest in said instruments to the party seeking to foreclose on the respondent—borrowers, the record before the trial court in the present case contained no such additional evidence.

Accordingly, because a foreclosure under a power of sale is not favored in the law and must be “watched with jealousy,” see In re Foreclosure of Goforth Props., 334 N.C. at 375, 432 S.E.2d at 859 (internal quotation marks omitted), we must conclude that the evidence presented to the trial court was not sufficient to establish that the Note was payable to Deutsche Bank for Soundview, and so was not sufficient to support the trial court’s finding of fact that “Novastar Mortgage, Inc., . . . transferred and assigned its interest in the Note and Deed of Trust to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee for Soundview Home Loan Trust 2005-4 (`Lender’).”

TAPE Recording Shows “Trustee” is NOT the party with Fiduciary Powers or Obligations

One of the interesting things about Arizona Law is that it is perfectly legal to tape record a telephone conversation without the knowledge or consent of the parties to that call.

I have a tape recording of a conversation between a borrower up in Scottsdale and an officer of Deutsch bank who is in charge of “Asset Acquisition.” His name might well be on the documents in your case. In that conversation he says that Deutsch is the “beneficiary”.. “for the “benefit of the investors”. He says that the whole arrangement is “counter-intuitive” (used that word more than once). Although the beneficiaries are the investors and Deutsch is named as Trustee, the Trustee has nothing to do. That is because the servicer (One West in the conversation) actually has complete discretion on all issues including modification. As to whether the loan was modifiable he explicitly deferred to the servicer.

Thus he is saying that notwithstanding appearances and what would be logical the ACTUAL arrangement is that the servicer has all power over the assets that have been conveyed to investors. He never mentioned the “Trust” (remember my contention is that there is no trust, that the SPV is merely a conduit vehicle for aggregating the assets and revenue streams from borrowers, insurers, counterparties on CDS etc.) He even refers to the servicer as having “fiduciary” obligations but shies away from any reference to Deutsch having fiduciary duties.

In my opinion, this tape both confirms my opinion and supplements it with a surprising detail, to wit: the servicer is the one with the power of a “Trustee” and not the named “Trustee” (in this case Deutsch). But the power of the real trustee (servicer) is limited to the provisions of the note, excludes third party payments from insurers, counterparties and federal bailouts, and is without reference to the encumbrance allegedly created by the Deed of Trust (Mortgage).

Boiling this down to its essential elements, the owner of the “asset” (the loan) is a group of investors who accepted certificated or non-certificated interests conveying to them a percentage interest in the flow of funds (principal and interest) and ownership of the note. The reference to a “Trust” is nominal (in name only) and the reference to a “Trustee” is both nominal and misleading. The beneficiary under the Deed of Trust, as seen by this representative of Deutsch is also the investor in that Deutsch is only named as a straw man for the investors as a convenience and with the result that the true beneficiaries are not disclosed.

Therefore, on its face, the beneficiary on the original Deed of Trust, the beneficiary named in the instruments used to securitize the loan, and the beneficiary in fact are all different. The original note also names a payee that is different from the payee under the assignments, which is different from the payee under the instruments of securitization and different from the actual party (the servicer) who receives those payments. In practice, according to this officer, the actual payee under the securitization documents (the investors) is different than the parties receiving payment and enforcing payment.

The effect of this “counterintuitive” arrangement is that the beneficiary and the party who represents themselves as the proper holder in due course or owner of the loan are different. All of this presumes that the loan was in fact properly, legally and successfully assigned and securitized — a question of fact since there are multiple conditions to acceptance of the assignment and multiple conditions subsequent (replacement of loan with another, buy back of the loan etc.), which are also questions of fact as to whether those conditions subsequent did or did not occur. In addition there are subsequent events (third party payments in accordance with insurance contracts, credit default swaps and other credit enhancements written into the securitization documents) that are also questions of fact.  And in either related or non-related context, there is the fact that many of these special purpose vehicles (“Trusts”) have been dissolved with the “assets” resecuritized into brand new securities sold to new investors.

The Importance of Discovery and Motion Practice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ID THEFT: Example of one person’s response

Editors’ Note: In response to my post on ID THEFT I received a number of comments and ideas. Here is one example of how someone stuck to the message and forced the issue using ID theft as a defensive tactic as well as preparing for an offensive response.

Are you reading my mind?
Out of the blue in Oct. Got a letter with my mortgage company letterhead stating “welcome to new mortgage company”. Said they changed their name. Separate letter said on Nov 6. stop making payments to them by their name and Nov. 7 start making payments to them by new name.
I know about contracts so I attempted to not contract with new name. It’s been a disaster.

1. No assignment 5 months out, in the Official Real Estate Records.
2. Real Trustee still holds title. I contacted him, but he only represents the beneficiary ‘who has the note and an interest secured in the home”.
3. Checked all three credit reports, 5 months out. Two show old name one show new name all have the same info. I disputed new name in the credit report that had it – stating I didn’t know them.
4. I disputed old name in another credit report since they are no longer exist to force identification of who is updating that report. Got copies of all.
4. Checked SEC filings. Investors bought the first name corporation in 2008. Then on Nov. 6, 2009 they merged the bank into their business. That explains why they said to stop paying one name.
5. Foreclosures under old name on file in Deed of Trust has been without assignment or transfer filings. Using Substitute Trustee. Three problems. Original Trustee still holds title. I already wrote him and know this. Deed of Trust on file has no provision for Substituting the Trustee. By virtue of the ‘merger’ they should have the original documents.
6. Spent 5 months asking them to validate their claim. They send a copy of the Certified copy of my Deed of Trust on file in the public (that does not name them), and a copy of a Certified copy of the Promissory note (that does not name them). Two problems They can’t attach to the Deed of Trust without assignment..name change or not…their name is ‘not’ the named Lender nor beneficiary in the Deed of Trust. And the Promissory Note was made out to a specific entity. You can’t possibly assume that I have to know that when you sell it, they can come up and say ‘pay me’ when the promissory note is supposed to be held by the person you promised to pay. If they sell it, that’s a different agreement between them and the other buyer, but I can’t be forced into their third party agreement as long as I agree to pay you..you stay right there and let me pay you..but don’t force me to pay someone I did not ‘promise to pay’.
7. They’ve hired a law firm (setting up for a substitute trustee situation). I contacted the firm. (not pro bono, not pro se, no attorney..just me and told them I don’t recognize the other company and I have asked them to validate and they respond with stronger demand for money.) Maybe that’s why I got the ‘copies’ I did get from the mortgage company that does not support their claim.
8. Informed the attorney of their violation of FDCPA by forwarding information to another party and by not disclosing the amount attempted to collect is in dispute.
9. I wouldn’t trust an attorney at this time. The United States is in Bankruptcy, China filed a lien for 45 Million dollars in December 2009.
10. Have a copy of a Substitute Trustee sale by this company. They never released the lien on the debtor they foreclosed on after the sale. If they had the papers they could have released the lien.
11. Once you admit there is a contract you can’t use Statue of Frauds which helps me because I have refused to contract and have refused to pay and requested validation of their claim of a debt owed to them.
Thinking seriously about filing SEC complaint and sending the ‘Communications, Notice and Order’ to the named person listed in their SEC filing and a copy of that to the law firm listed with the words “With a copy to” – in their SEC filing
My identity has been stolen by the company. When I establish an account with one firm, that does not give a right to another firm to step up and say I have the account, change the name, change the terms of your initial agreement and start paying me now because I have a ‘new name’. How can you have an account demanding payment when there is no agreement and you are really a new entity, not just a new name?
I’m learning about Statute of Frauds. It would also appear that Deceptive Trade Practices can be proven in this mess. A company who has no contract attaches to your credit report as if you’ve established business agreement with them? They have no definition in your Deed of Trust, yet they can get an attorney to represent their interest in your document and start nonjudicial foreclosure proceedings. If they have the papers it takes to change the name on the credit report, they should have the papers it takes to file an assignment/transfer and change the name on the Deed of Trust.
I’ve not paid them any money, but I have filed FTC and Attorney General complaints. Not sure if I have to pay the 5 months in arrears as Threat, Duress, and Coercion to get some action done by these public resources I’m using to filing the compliant.

SEPARATION OF DEED OF TRUST FROM NOTE: Bellistri Opinion

There is a lot of conflicting opinions about this. My opinion is that the confusion arises not from the law, not from application of the law and not from what is written on the note or deed of Trust. If you look at the Bellistri Missouri case the issue is well settled. And the problem is not what is written, it is what is assumed to be written. The Bellistri case, 284SW 3d 619, (Missouri Appeal, cert. reportedly denied) coupled with its quote from Restatement 3rd is simple: put one name on the note and another on the DOT as beneficiary (particularly when the beneficiary is MERS and therefore an undisclosed principal) and you have direct evidence that the intention of the parties was to separate the note from the mortgage. The burden of proof thus shifts to the alleged creditor.

Conflict comes not from the law or the wording on the instruments but from the inherent question of “why would anyone want to do that?” There are of course many answers to that question in a securitized mortgage context. But it is the existence of the question that causes people to lean toward the idea that no reasonable person would have intended that and to assume that the parties, including the borrower, would never have intended WHAT WAS WRITTEN.

I think the point of the Bellistri case is simple: factually, the note and DOT are split and according to the Restatement 3rd, they can never be put back together again. The note, while still enforceable as an instrument by itself, is no longer secured by an encumbrance on the property. The “mistake” is that of the drafter of the instruments. They want to say, much later in time, what we NOW mean is that the beneficiary is X, who is not the payee on the note,, but X has received an assignment of the note. Thus NOW the beneficiary and the payee are the same which means we can foreclose.

So the question put to the Judge is can a note and security instrument, initially made out to two different parties be LATER joined and if so, what does that mean for enforcement. My first comment is that once you have established that facially the note and DOT were split, your prima facie case is met and the burden goes to the “lender” to prove they are the creditor along with a whole bunch of other things that are not unlike the elements of proving up a lost or destroyed note. You can’t just say it happened. You must explain and prove HOW it happened.

But the simple answer to the question as per the Restatement 3rd, is “NO.” The reason why they cannot be joined later is not just because Restatement 3rd says so, it is the reason Restatement 3rd says that, to wit: if you allowed, particularly in a non-judicial setting, parties not named on the note and not named as beneficiary to later act because of a claim as being both, you are introducing uncertainty into the marketplace which is the precise reason we have the law of contracts, property records and such. The moral hazard is raised from possibility to near certainty when you KNOW from the beginning that the payee and the beneficiary are two different parties and the beneficiary is not the real party so the knowledge includes, from the beginning, that there is at least one additional undisclosed party.

Let’s take the simplest example we can given the complexity of securitized residential mortgages. ABC is named the Payee on the note. MERS is named the beneficiary. MERS obviously has some understanding with a third party DEF not to make a claim on the loan (according to their website). So we must presume that they have that understanding and that maybe it is in writing in some general type of contract which was neither disclosed nor revealed to exist at the time of the closing with the borrower. DEF defaults in its payment obligations to MERS. MERS now says we refuse to perform under our contract with DEF. Borrower knows nothing of DEF nor of DEF’s payment default to MERS. Borrower pays the note in full to ABC. ABC returns the note as paid in full. Borrower wants a release and reconveyance (satisfaction) so the title record is clear.

Now it MIGHT be that DEF=ABC. But we don’t know that. So for purposes of your case, you MUST assume that DEF is simply an undisclosed third party. Borrower asks MERS for the release and reconveyance.  MERS refuses because it wasn’t paid by DEF and because it has no idea whether you paid the right person. With MERS refusing to execute a document releasing the lien, Borrower now has a defect in title that is unmarketable.

Borrower files a quiet title suit against MERS. MERS says it was named as beneficiary but that the DOT clearly states it serves only as nominee and therefore has no power to do anything. Now you have, on record, that the beneficiary is not MERS but the undisclosed third party DEF. The court MIGHT grant the final judgment, but it would then be adjudicating the rights of other parties who are not present in court, thus leaving the title clouded and possibly still unmarketable.

Another possibility is that the Court would inquire or allow discovery to allow the identification of DEF. Assuming MERS wishes to comply, there is still a problem. Data entry is NOT performed by MERS employees. Data entry is performed by “members” with passwords and user ID’s. Thus all MERS can say is that at a particular point in time MERS computer records show DEF, which was assigned to ABC or perhaps yet another party. The assignment is executed by Jane Jones as “limited signing officer” for MERS. MERS can’t say they know Jane Jones or anything about her because she doesn’t work for MERS. Therefore the only competent evidence from MERS is the data in fields populated by unknown sources of data input, and references to documents that were never seen or kept by MERS. The evidence from MERS thus has little or no probative value.

So now the Court or borrower goes to DEF and says “Who is Jane Jones?” DEF replies they don’t know because the assignment document was prepared by a foreclosure processing firm in Jacksonville, Florida named DOCX. DOCX has no contract with ABC or DEF or MERS. They were just following orders from yet a fourth party who is unidentified, and whose instructions were relayed through a fifth firm that serves as the correspondent or document manager once the loan goes into foreclosure (perhaps ordered by the servicer, BAC).

Thus the reason that a note and DOT can never be joined at any time other than the creation of those documents and executed contemporaneously with the funding of the obligation is that the contract and its performance is not based upon a condition subsequent (because such a condition would render the contract inchoate until the condition subsequent arrived or which would extinguish the obligation, note and mortgage). For there to be enforceability there must be certainty in the contract. Certainty can only be achieved if the terms and parties who are expected to perform are identified with sufficient clarity that any reasonable person would say they are known.

A borrower who signs papers without having a known party who is required by law to execute a satisfaction (release and reconveyance) has in effect executed documentation without a counterparty. The document is therefore void. Since the document (note, DOT, etc.) is only evidence of the obligation that arose because the borrower did in fact receive a benefit from the funding of the loan, the obligation survives while the note and/or DOT do not. However, in order to achieve certainty in the marketplace, the obligation is not secured unless and until some party identifies itself as the creditor and establishes a subsequent encumbrance through judgment lien, equitable or constructive trust or some other means.

Such a creditor action would be subject to rigorous requirements of pleading and proof. In the context of a securitized residential mortgage, the creditor can only be the party(ies) who advanced actual money, from which money the borrower’s loan was funded. In the context of mortgage-backed securities, a creditor who pleads that he expected a secured loan, must also plead all the documents and transactions that gave rise to advancing the money. This would mean that the creditor would be required to disclose and account for credit enhancements, insurance, credit default swaps, over-collateralization, cross-collateralization, and payments received from all sources pursuant to the terms under which the creditor advanced said funds.

Those terms are included in the prospectus and bond indenture which incorporate the pooling and service agreement, Depositor Agreement, Assignment and Assumption Agreements etc. In other words, the actual terms upon which the creditor advanced money were different from the actual terms accepted by the borrower. A court in equity would thus be required to allocate equity and liability for the various unpaid and paid obligations of multiple parties whose existence was unknown to borrower at the time of the loan closing, and whose existence even now would be at best dimly understood by the borrower or any other person who was not extremely well-versed in the securitization of credit.

Motion Practice: Arizona Statutes Requires GOOD FAITH and ALL Parties to be Notified

The statute says that the trustee mails the notice to all affected parties at least three months before the sale date. In a non-judicial sale, then, ALL parties having a potential stake in the outcome must be notified. This is the only way the statute can be constitutional. It’s not up to the Trustee to adjudicate the rights of the parties if he wants to keep his exemption from liability, but if he knowingly fails to notify other parties whom he knows to exist, then it is obvious he is taking an interest in the litigation.

The attack on the trustee sale would simply be a certified letter followed by a lawsuit if necessary directed at the trustee. The letter would be an objection to the sale because the trustee has failed to notify the creditors, has not made adequate inquiry into the identity of all parties, and damages for slander of title. The objection, an early draft of which is contained in the forms on this blog,  would also state that the obligation has been satisfied in whole or in part by third party payments from credit default swaps, insurance, guarantees, buy-backs, federal bailouts etc.

The demand would be for proof of inquiry — the “pull-down report” (title report on the property) and all other efforts to identify the parties in what the trustee knows to be a securitized transaction with multiple intermediaries, each of whom appears to claim a stake in the property, and multiple creditors, none of whom have been notified, who have not provided or been asked to provide an accounting for all transactions relating to the their purchase of asset backed securities creating their beneficial ownership in a pool of assets that includes the subject loan, and whether any allocations have been made to account for third party payments.

In the alternative, the demand would be that the foreclosure be conducted in accordance with Arizona statutes governing judicial foreclosures that would then pout the onus on the beneficiary to allege they are they are the creditor, that the obligation is due and to present allegations and , exhibits, witnesses and proof that they are entitled to a judgment in foreclosure. The non-judicial statutes could not have been intended as a direct confrontation with the 5th and 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution requiring no deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process. If that were otherwise, the statute would be unconstitutional on its face.

33-455. Conveyance of absolute title by judicial sale; effect upon rights of persons not parties

Every conveyance of real property by a commissioner, sheriff or other officer legally authorized to sell such property by virtue of a decree or judgment of any court within this state, shall be effectual to pass absolute title to the property to the purchaser thereof, but the conveyance shall not affect the right, title or interest of any person other than the parties to the conveyance, decree or judgment, and those claiming under them.

33-456. Passage of title to real or personal property by judgment

When a judgment directs the conveyance of real property or the delivery of personal property, the judgment shall pass title to such property without any act by the party against whom the judgment is given.

33-458. Resale of realty with intent to defraud; classification

A person who, after selling, bartering or disposing of, or, after executing a bond or agreement for the sale of land, again knowingly and with intent to defraud previous or subsequent purchasers, sells, barters or disposes of, or executes a bond or agreement to sell, barter or dispose of the same land or any part thereof to any other person for a valuable consideration, is guilty of a class 4 felony.

33-705. Purchase money mortgage or deed of trust; priority

A mortgage or deed of trust that is given as security for a loan made to purchase the real property that is encumbered by the mortgage or deed of trust has priority over all other liens and encumbrances that are incurred against the purchaser before acquiring title to the real property.

33-706. Assignment of mortgage; recording as notice

An assignment of a mortgage may be recorded in like manner as a mortgage, and the record is notice to all persons subsequently deriving title to the mortgage from the assignor.

33-708. Release by attorney in fact

An attorney in fact to whom the money due on a mortgage or deed of trust is paid may execute the release provided for in this article. Such acknowledgment of satisfaction or deed of release, duly acknowledged and recorded, showing the docket and page or recording number, releases the mortgage or deed of trust and revests in the mortgagor or person who executed the deed of trust, or his legal representatives, all title to the property affected by the mortgage or deed of trust.

33-721. Foreclosure of mortgage by court action

Mortgages of real property and deeds of trust of a type not included in the definition of deed of trust provided in section 33-801, notwithstanding any other provision in the mortgage or deed, shall be foreclosed by action in a court.

33-722. Election between action on debt or to foreclose

If separate actions are brought on the debt and to foreclose the mortgage given to secure it, the plaintiff shall elect which to prosecute and the other shall be dismissed.

33-741. Definitions

In this article, unless the context otherwise requires:

1. “Account servicing agentmeans a joint agent of seller and purchaser, appointed under the contract or under a separate agreement executed by the seller and the purchaser, to hold documents and collect monies due under the contract, who does business under the laws of this state as a bank, trust company, escrow agent, savings and loan association, insurance company or real estate broker, or who is licensed, chartered or regulated by the federal deposit insurance corporation or the comptroller of the currency, or who is a member of the state bar of Arizona.

2. “Contract” means a contract for conveyance of real property, a contract for deed, a contract to convey, an agreement for sale or any similar contract through which a seller has conveyed to a purchaser equitable title in property and under which the seller is obligated to convey to the purchaser the remainder of the seller’s title in the property, whether legal or equitable, on payment in full of all monies due under the contract. This article does not apply to purchase contracts and receipts, escrow instructions or similar executory contracts which are intended to control the rights and obligations of the parties to executory contracts pending the closing of a sale or purchase transaction.

3. “Monies due under the contract” means:

(a) Any principal and interest payments which are currently due and payable to the seller.

(b) Any principal and interest payments which are currently due and payable to other persons who hold existing liens and encumbrances on the property, the unpaid principal portion of which constitutes a portion of the purchase price, as stated in the contract, if the principal and interest payments were paid by the seller pursuant to the terms of the contract and to protect his interest in the property.

(c) Any delinquent taxes and assessments, including interest and penalty, due and payable to any governmental entity authorized to impose liens on the property which are the purchaser’s obligations under the contract, if the taxes and assessments were paid by the seller pursuant to the terms of the contract and to protect his interest in the property.

(d) Any unpaid premiums for any policy or policies of insurance which are the obligation of the purchaser to maintain under the contract, if the premiums were paid by the seller pursuant to the terms of the contract and to protect his interest in the property.

4. “Payoff deed” means the deed that the seller is obligated to deliver to the purchaser on payment in full of all monies due under the contract to convey to the purchaser the remainder of the seller’s title in the property, whether legal or equitable, as prescribed by the terms of the contract.

5. “Property” means the real property described in the contract and any personal property included under the contract.

6. “Purchaser” means the person or any successor in interest to the person who has contracted to purchase the seller’s title to the property which is the subject of the contract.

7. “Seller” means the person or any successor in interest to the person who has contracted to convey his title to the property which is the subject of the contract.

33-807. Sale of trust property; power of trustee; foreclosure of trust deed

A. By virtue of his position, a power of sale is conferred upon the trustee of a trust deed under which the trust property may be sold, in the manner provided in this chapter, after a breach or default in performance of the contract or contracts, for which the trust property is conveyed as security, or a breach or default of the trust deed. At the option of the beneficiary, a trust deed may be foreclosed in the manner provided by law for the foreclosure of mortgages on real property in which event chapter 6 of this title governs the proceedings. The beneficiary or trustee shall constitute the proper and complete party plaintiff in any action to foreclose a deed of trust. The power of sale may be exercised by the trustee without express provision therefor in the trust deed.

B. The trustee or beneficiary may file and maintain an action to foreclose a deed of trust at any time before the trust property has been sold under the power of sale. A sale of trust property under the power of sale shall not be held after an action to foreclose the deed of trust has been filed unless the foreclosure action has been dismissed.

C. The trustee or beneficiary may file an action for the appointment of a receiver according to sections 12-1241 and 33-702. The right to appointment of a receiver shall be independent of and may precede the exercise of any other right or remedy.

D. The power of sale of trust property conferred upon the trustee shall not be exercised before the ninety-first day after the date of the recording of the notice of the sale. The sale shall not be set for a Saturday or legal holiday. The trustee may schedule more than one sale for the same date, time and place.

E. The trustee need only be joined as a party in legal actions pertaining to a breach of the trustee’s obligation under this chapter or under the deed of trust. Any order of the court entered against the beneficiary is binding upon the trustee with respect to any actions that the trustee is authorized to take by the trust deed or by this chapter. If the trustee is joined as a party in any other action, the trustee is entitled to be immediately dismissed and to recover costs and reasonable attorney fees from the person joining the trustee.

33-808. Notice of trustee’s sale

A. The trustee shall give written notice of the time and place of sale legally describing the trust property to be sold by each of the following methods:

1. Recording a notice in the office of the recorder of each county where the trust property is situated.

2. Giving notice as provided in section 33-809 to the extent applicable.

3. Posting a copy of the notice of sale, at least twenty days before the date of sale in some conspicuous place on the trust property to be sold, if posting can be accomplished without a breach of the peace. If access to the trust property is denied because a common entrance to the property is restricted by a limited access gate or similar impediment, the property shall be posted by posting notice at that gate or impediment. Notice shall also be posted at one of the places provided for posting public notices at any building that serves as a location of the superior court in the county where the trust property is to be sold. Posting is deemed completed on the date the trust property is posted. The posting of notice at the superior court location is deemed a ministerial act.

4. Publication of the notice of sale in a newspaper of general circulation in each county in which the trust property to be sold is situated. The notice of sale shall be published at least once a week for four consecutive weeks. The last date of publication shall not be less than ten days prior to the date of sale. Publication is deemed completed on the date of the first of the four publications of the notice of sale pursuant to this paragraph.

B. The sale shall be held at the time and place designated in the notice of sale on a day other than a Saturday or legal holiday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. mountain standard time at a specified place on the trust property, at a specified place at any building that serves as a location of the superior court or at a specified place at a place of business of the trustee, in any county in which part of the trust property to be sold is situated.

C. The notice of sale shall contain:

1. The date, time and place of the sale. The date, time and place shall be set pursuant to section 33-807, subsection D. The date shall be no sooner than the ninety-first day after the date that the notice of sale was recorded.

2. The street address, if any, or identifiable location as well as the legal description of the trust property.

3. The county assessor’s tax parcel number for the trust property or the tax parcel number of a larger parcel of which the trust property is a part.

4. The original principal balance as shown on the deed of trust. If the amount is not shown on the deed of trust, it shall be listed as “unspecified”.

5. The names and addresses, as of the date the notice of sale is recorded, of the beneficiary and the trustee, the name and address of the original trustor as stated in the deed of trust, the signature of the trustee and the basis for the trustee’s qualification pursuant to section 33-803, subsection A, including an express statement of the paragraph under subsection A on which the qualification is based. The address of the beneficiary shall not be in care of the trustee.

6. The telephone number of the trustee.

7. The name of the state or federal licensing or regulatory body or controlling agency of the trustee as prescribed by section 33-803, subsection A.

D. The notice of sale shall be sufficient if made in substantially the following form:

Notice of Trustee’s Sale

The following legally described trust property will be sold, pursuant to the power of sale under that certain trust deed recorded in docket or book _______________________ at page __________ records of ______________ county, Arizona, at public auction to the highest bidder at (specific place of sale as permitted by law) _______________, in _______________ county, in or near _______________, Arizona, on ________, ____, at ___________ o’clock ___m. of said day:

(street address, if any, or identifiable

location of trust property)

(legal description of trust property)

Tax parcel number _______________

Original principal balance $________________________

Name and address of beneficiary ______________________________

______________________________

______________________________

Name and address of original trustor _________________________

_________________________

_________________________

Name, address and telephone number of trustee ________________

__________________________________

__________________________________

Signature of trustee _____________________________

Manner of trustee qualification ___________________________

Name of trustee’s regulator _______________________________

Dated this _____________ day of ______________, ____.

(Acknowledgement)

E. Any error or omission in the information required by subsection C or D of this section, other than an error in the legal description of the trust property or an error in the date, time or place of sale, shall not invalidate a trustee’s sale. Any error in the legal description of the trust property shall not invalidate a trustee’s sale if considered as a whole the information provided is sufficient to identify the trust property being sold. If there is an error or omission in the legal description so that the trust property cannot be identified, or if there is an error in the date, time or place of sale, the trustee shall record a cancellation of notice of sale. The trustee or any person furnishing information to the trustee shall not be subject to liability for any error or omission in the information required by subsection C of this section except for the wilful and intentional failure to provide such information. This subsection does not apply to claims made by an insured under any policy of title insurance.

F. The notice of trustee sale may not be rerecorded for any reason. This subsection does not prohibit the recording of a new or subsequent notice of sale regarding the same property.

33-820. Trustee’s right to rely; attorney’s right to act for trustee and beneficiary

A. In carrying out his duties under the provisions of this chapter or any deed of trust, a trustee, shall when acting in good faith, have the absolute right to rely upon any written direction or information furnished to him by the beneficiary.

B. An attorney for the beneficiary shall also be qualified to act as attorney for the trustee or to be the trustee.

Pre-foreclosure Period

Court foreclosures begin when the lender files for foreclosure in court and records a notice of the pending lawsuit (Lis Pendens). The court filing includes the debt and default amount. The borrower and any junior lien holders are notified either in person or by publication. If the borrower does not respond to the court action, the court can rule against them and set the amount owed to the lender. The county clerk then directs the county sheriff to conduct a sale of the property to recover the amount owed.

An out-of-court foreclosure sale may occur if a clause in the trust deed permits the lender to sell the property if a borrower defaults. To start the foreclosure, the trustee records a notice of sale, and the sale occurs at least three months after the notice is recorded. Until 5:00 p.m. the day before the sale, the borrower or any junior lien holders may stop the foreclosure by paying the default amount, fees, and costs.

Notice of Sale / Auction

For court foreclosures, the sheriff conducts the sheriff’s sale about 45 days after the county clerk directs the sale. It is a public auction, and anyone may bid.  The bid price must be paid to the sheriff by 5:00 p.m. the day after the sheriff’s sale. After the sale, a certificate of sale is issued.  If the property is not abandoned, the redemption period is six months from the sale date. If the borrower does not redeem, any secondary lenders may do so within a specified time. To redeem the property, the total amount owed plus fees and costs must be paid. If no one redeems the property, the sheriff transfers ownership to the winning bidder.

For out-of-court trustee’s sales, the notice of sale contains a property description, and the date, time and place of the sale. The notice is recorded, and the trustee mails the notice to all affected parties at least three months before the sale date. The notice appears in a local newspaper once a week for four weeks, with the last notice published no less than 10 days before the sale date. At least 20 days before the sale, the notice is posted on the property and the county courthouse. Starting the day before the sale and up to the sale, the trustee must provide the opening bid of the sale to anyone who asks or the sale may have to be postponed.

The trustee or the trustee’s agent conducts the sale at the property, the courthouse, or the trustee’s office.  All bidders must provide a refundable $10,000 deposit in order to bid; the trustee keeps the deposit of the winning bidder. The sale can be postponed up to 90 days by announcement at the originally scheduled sale. The winning bidder has until 5:00 p.m. the next day to pay the full bid price, after which the trustee transfer ownership of the property within seven days. The proceeds of the sale are paid to the primary lender, then to any secondary lenders. There is no right of redemption for the borrower after an out-of-court foreclosure sale.

AZ STATUTE DEFINES BENEFICIARY and CREDIT BID: NOT “NOMINEE”

33-801. Definitions

In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

1. “Beneficiary” means the person named or otherwise designated in a trust deed as the person for whose benefit a trust deed is given, or the person’s successor in interest. [Note that this does not include a nominee like MERS. There is a reason for that. The legislature intended to create certainty in contracts and actions on contracts. Using a nominee immediately creates the question of agency. The question of agency immediately raises the question of "who is the principal?" As long as that question exists, this statute is violated. If this statue is violated the deed of trust is void.]

2. “Business day” means any day other than a saturday or a legal holiday.

3. “Cash” means United States currency.

4. “Contract” means a promise or a set of promises for the breach of which the law gives a remedy, or the performance of which the law in some way recognizes as a duty, including but not limited to a note, A promissory note or provisions of any trust deed.

5. “Credit bid” means a bid made by the beneficiary in full or partial satisfaction of the contract or contracts which are secured by the trust deed. [Note that such credit bids are the rule rather than the exception and that the person making the credit bid is almost never the named the beneficiary. hence the sale is void]. [Note also that without an accounting for third party payments to the creditor in the securitization chain who has succeeded to the position of beneficiary BECAUSE THE SUCCESSION IS SHOWN IN THE COUNTY RECORDS, is voidable because the amount is incorrect, which is a question of fact that must be judicially resolved, which is why NO NON-JUDICIAL sale of securitized property is appropriate.] Such credit bid may only include an amount up to the full amount of the contract or contracts secured by the trust deed, less any amount owing on liens or encumbrances with interest which are superior in priority to the trust deed and which the beneficiary is obligated to pay under the contract or contracts or under the trust deed, together with the amount of other obligations provided in or secured by the trust deed and the costs and expenses of exercising the power of sale and the sale, including the trustee’s fees and reasonable attorney fees actually incurred. (e.s.)

6. “Force majeure” means an act of God or of nature, a superior or overpowering force or an event or effect that cannot reasonably be anticipated or controlled and that prevents access to the sale location for conduct of a sale.

7. “Parent corporation” means a corporation which owns eighty per cent or more of every class of the issued and outstanding stock of another corporation or, in the case of a savings and loan association, eighty per cent or more of its issued and outstanding guaranty capital.

8. “Trust deed” or “deed of trust” means a deed executed in conformity with this chapter and conveying trust property to a trustee or trustees qualified under section 33-803 to secure the performance of a contract or contracts, other than a trust deed which encumbers in whole or in part trust property located in Arizona and in one or more other states.

9. “Trust property” means any legal, equitable, leasehold or other interest in real property which is capable of being transferred, whether or not it is subject to any prior mortgages, trust deeds, contracts for conveyance of real property or other liens or encumbrances.

10. “Trustee” means an individual, association or corporation qualified pursuant to section 33-803, or the successor in interest thereto, to whom trust property is conveyed by trust deed. The trustee’s obligations to the trustor, beneficiary and other persons are as specified in this chapter, together with any other obligations specified in the trust deed.

11. “Trustor” means the person conveying trust property by a trust deed as security for the performance of a contract or contracts, or the successor in interest of such person.

New MERS Standing Case Splits Note and Mortgage: Bellistri v Ocwen Loan Servicing, Mo App.20100309

From Max Gardner – QUIET TITLE GRANTED

Bellistri v Ocwen Loan Servicing, Mo App.20100309

Mortgage Declared Unenforceable in DOT Case: NOTE DECLARED UNSECURED

“When MERS assigned the note to Ocwen, the note became unsecured and the deed of trust became worthless”

Editor’s Note:

We know that MERS is named as nominee as beneficiary. We know that MERS is NOT named on the note. This appellate case from Missouri, quoting the Restatement 3rd, simply says that the note was split from the security instrument, and that there is no enforcement mechanism available under the Deed of Trust. Hence, the court concludes, quiet title was entirely appropriate and the only remedy to the situation because once the DOT and note are split they is no way to get them back together.

NOTE: THIS DOES NOT MEAN THE NOTE WAS INVALIDATED. BUT IT DOES MEAN THAT IN ORDER TO PROVE A CLAIM UNDER THE NOTE OR TO VERIFY THE DEBT, THE HOLDER MUST EXPLAIN HOW IT ACQUIRED ANY RIGHTS UNDER THE NOTE AND WHETHER IT IS ACTING IN ITS OWN RIGHT OR AS AGENT FOR ANOTHER.

The deed of trust, …did not name BNC [AN AURORA/LEHMAN FRONT ORGANIZATION TO ORIGINATE LOANS] as the beneficiary, but instead names Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS), solely as BNC’s nominee. The promissory note does not make any reference to MERS. The note and the deed of trust both require payments to be made to the lender, not MERS.

a party “must have some actual, justiciable interest.” Id. They must have a recognizable stake. Wahl v. Braun, 980 S.W.2d 322 (Mo. App. E.D. 1998). Lack of standing cannot be waived and may be considered by the court sua sponte. Brock v. City of St. Louis, 724 S.W.2d 721 (Mo. App. E.D. 1987). If a party seeking relief lacks standing, the trial court does not have jurisdiction to grant the requested relief. Shannon, 21 S.W.3d at 842.

A Missouri appellate court, without trying, may have drawn a map to a defense to foreclosures-if borrowers can figure it out before the Missouri Supreme Court overturns the decision in Bellistri v Ocwen. The opinion shows how an assignment of a loan to a servicing company for collection can actually make the loan uncollectible from the mortgaged property.

This case concerns the procedures of MERS, which is short for Mortgage Electronic Registration Service, created to solve problems created during the foreclosure epidemic of the 1980s, when it was sometimes impossible to track the ownership of mortgages after several layers of savings and loans and banks had failed without recording assignments of the mortgages. The MERS website contains this explanation:

MERS is an innovative process that simplifies the way mortgage ownership and servicing rights are originated, sold and tracked. Created by the real estate finance industry, MERS eliminates the need to prepare and record assignments when trading residential and commercial mortgage loans.

MERS is the named mortgage holder in transactions having an aggregate dollar value in the hundreds of billions, and its service of providing a way to trace ownership of mortgages has played a large role in the securitization of mortgages and the marketability of derivative mortgage-backed securities, because it seemed to eliminate the necessity of recording assignments of mortgages in county records each time the ownership of a mortgage changed, allowing mortgage securities (packages of many mortgages) to be traded in the secondary market, with less risk.

This case began as a routine quiet title case on a collector’s deed, also known as a tax deed. Following the procedure by which people can pay delinquent property taxes and obtain the ownership of the delinquent property if the owner or lien holder fails after notice to redeem, Bellistri obtained a deed from the Jefferson County (Mo.) collector.

Because of the possibility of defects in the procedures of the county collectors and in the giving of proper notices, the quality of title conferred by a collector’s deed is not insurable.

A suit to cure the potential defects (called a “quiet title suit”) is required to make title good, so that the property can be conveyed by warranty deed and title insurance issued to new lenders and owners. The plaintiff in a quiet title suit is required to give notice of the suit to all parties who had an interest in the property identified in the collector’s deed.

A borrower named Crouther had obtained a loan from BCN Mortgage. The mortgage document (called a deed of trust) named MERS as the holder of the deed of trust as BCN’s nominee, though the promissory note secured by the deed of trust was payable to BCN Mortgage and didn’t mention MERS.

Crouther failed to pay property taxes on the mortgaged property.

Bellistri paid the taxes for three years, then sent notice to Crouther and  BNC that he was applying for a collector’s deed. After BNC failed to redeem (which means “pay the taxes with interest and penalties,” so that Bellistri could be reimbursed), the county collector issued a collector’s deed to Bellistri, in 2006.

Meanwhile, MERS assigned the promissory note and deed of trust to Ocwen Servicing, probably because nobody was making mortgage payments, so that Ocwen would be in a position to attempt to (a) get Crouther to bring the loan payments up to date or (b) to foreclose, if necessary. But this assignment, as explained below, eliminated Ocwen’s right to foreclose and any right to the property.

Bellistri filed a suit for quiet title and to terminate any right of Crouther to possess the property. After discovering the assignment of the deed of trust to Ocwen, Bellistri added Ocwen as a party to the quiet title suit, so that Ocwen could have an opportunity to prove that it had an interest in the property, or be forever silenced.

Bellistri’s attorney Phillip Gebhardt argued that Ocwen had no interest in the property, because the deed of trust that it got from MERS could not be foreclosed. As a matter of law, the right to foreclose goes away when the promissory note is “split”  from the deed of trust that it is supposed to secure. The note that Crouther signed and gave to BNC didn’t mention MERS, so MERS had no right to assign the note to Ocwen. The assignment that MERS made to Ocwen conveyed only the deed of trust, splitting it from the note.

When MERS assigned the note to Ocwen, the note became unsecured and the deed of trust became worthless. Ironically, the use of MERS to make ownership of the note and mortgage easier to trace also made the deed of trust unenforceable. Who knows how many promissory notes are out there that don’t mention MERS, even though MERS is the beneficiary of the deed of trust securing such notes?

O. Max Gardner III

Gardner & Gardner PLLC

PO Box 1000

Shelby NC 28151-1000

704.418.2628 (C)

704.487.0616 (O)

888.870.1647 (F)

704.475.0407 (S)

maxgardner@maxgardner.com

max@maxinars.com

www.maxgardnerlaw.com

www.maxbankruptcybootcamp.com

www.maxinars.com

www.governoromaxgardner.com

Next Boot Camp:  May 20 to May 24, 2010

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