The US BANK-BOA-LaSalle-CitiGroup Shell Game

‘The bottom line is that the notice of substitution of Plaintiff in judicial states, or notice of substitution of Trustee in non-judicial states should be the first line of battle. Neither one of them is valid and in both cases you have a stranger to the transaction being allowed to name itself as creditor, name its own controlled entity or subsidiary as trustee, and then ignore the realities of the money paid to the real creditor. They are claiming damages from the borrower — all for a debt that in the ordinary course of things has already been paid several times over. But it is true that it wasn’t paid to THEM because THEY were never and are not now the creditor fulfilling the definition of a creditor who could bid at the foreclosure auction. It is not that the borrower doesn’t owe money when he borrows it, it is that he doesn’t owe it to any of the people who are claiming it. And that is what gives rise to liability of law firms to borrowers.” Neil F Garfield, http://www.livinglies.me

If our information can be corroborated through discovery with a corporate representative of US BANK or Chase Bank as the servicer, it is possible that a solid cause of action can be filed against the law firm that brought the action, particularly if the law firm took its instructions from the Desktop system of LPS.

In that system law firms are instructed to file foreclosures without contact with the actual client. We saw several cases where sanctions were levied against lawyers and their alleged clients, but none so stark as the one in Florida where the lawyer for US Bank as Trustee for XXX, when faced with questions he couldn’t answer admitted that he had never spoken with anyone from U.S> Bank and didn’t know who had retained his firm.

The law firm that brought the foreclosure action and especially the law firm that is demanding an assignment of rent to protect a creditor who has already been paid through non stop servicer advances was most likely not authorized to demand the assignment of rents which might be why there was no written demand as required by statute. I am considering the possibility of an actual lawsuit against one such law firm for interference with contract on both the foreclosure and the assignment of rents issue.

The Banks are being very cagey about this system — one which they would never use for their own portfolio loans, which begs the question of why they would have two entirely different system of accounting and legal process. But the long and the short of it is that LPS in Jacksonville, Florida is used much the same way as MERS. It maintains a database service that requires a user name and password and that gives unlimited access to the client folders. Anyone can go in and authorize the foreclosure based upon a default that is invested by the person entering the data. They leave out any servicer advances or other third party payments and arrive at an amount to reinstate that is just plain wrong. So virtually all notices of default are wrong which means that the required notice is defective.

You should know that many judges appear unimpressed that there was no valid assignment of the mortgage. I think that it is clearly reversible error. The assignment frequently is clearly fabricated and back-dated because of references to events that happened a year after the assignment was executed. The assignment clearly did not exist at the time of the lawsuit and the standing issue is clear under Florida law although some courts are balking at the idea that standing cannot be cured after the lawsuit. The reasoning is quite simple — if it were otherwise, you could file suit against a grocery store for a slip and fall, and the go over to the store to have your slip and fall.

In one of my cases involving multiple properties, they have an assignment that was prepared and executed by Shapiro and Fishman supposedly dated in 2007 —- but it refers to Bank of America as successor by merger to LaSalle. it is backdated, fabricated and fictional, which is to say, fraudulent.

The assignment has two problems -– FACIALLY DEFECTIVE FABRICATION OF ASSIGNMENT:  the first problem is that the alleged BOA merger with LaSalle could not have happened before 2008 — one year after the assignment was executed. So the 2007 assignment refers to a future event that was not reported by BOA until 2008, and was not approved by the Federal Reserve until 2008. On its face, then, based upon public record, the assignment is void as a total fabrication.

The second problem is that it is unclear as to how the merger could have occurred between BOA and La Salle, to wit:. you might need to read this a few times to understand the complexity of the issues involved — issues that few judges or lawyers are interested enough to master.

LASALLE ABN AMRO ACQUISITION:
Since neither entity vanished in the deal it is an acquisition and not a merger. LaSalle and ABN AMRO did a reverse merger in 2007.

That means that while LASalle was technically the acquirer, because it “bought” ABN AMRO, and ABN AMRO became a subsidiary — the reality is that LaSalle issued so many shares for the acquisition of ABN AMRO that the ABN AMRO shareholders received the overwhelming majority of LaSalle Shares compared to the former owners of LaSalle shares.

Hence in substance LaSalle Bank was a subsidiary of ABN AMRO and the consolidated financial statements show it. But in form it appears as the parent.

So if someone, like BOA, was to say they merged with or acquired LaSalle, they would also be saying that included its subsidiary ABN AMRO — and they would have to do the deal with the shareholders of ABN AMRO because those shareholders control LaSalle Bank, which brings us to CitiGroup —-

CITIGROUP MERGER WITH ABN AMRO: Also in 2007, CitiGroup announced and continues to file sworn statements with the SEC that it had merged with ABN AMRO, which means, if you followed the above, that CitiGroup actually owned LaSalle. It looks more like an acquisition than a merger to me but the wording makes it unclear. This would mean that LaSalle still technically exists as a subsidiary of  CitiGroup.

ALLEGED BOA MERGER WITH LASALLE: In 2008 the Federal Reserve issued an order approving the merger of BOA and LaSalle, in which case LaSalle vanishes — but ABN AMRO is the one with all the assets. BUT LaSalle is named as Trustee of the asset pool. And the only other allowable trustee would be another bank that merged with LaSalle as a successor without the requirement of filing more papers to be a Trustee and BOA clearly qualifies on all counts for that. Section 8.09 of PSA.

But the Federal Reserve order states that the identities of ABN AMRO and LaSalle are the same and the acquisition of one is the acquisition of the other — thus unintentionally ratifying CitiGroup’s apparent position that it owns ABN AMRO and thus LaSalle.

Findings of fact by an administrative agency are presumptively true although subject to rebuttal.

Here is the kicker: there is no further mention in any SEC filings of a merger between BOA and LaSalle, unless I missed it. There is no reference to the fact that CitiGroup controlled LaSalle and ABN AMRO at the time of the Federal Reserve order approving the BOA merger with LaSalle Bank in 2008.

CitiGroup has not, to my knowledge ever reported the sale or loss or merger of LaSalle. Since Citi made the acquisition before BOA, and since BOA apparently did not buy LaSalle from Citi, how could BOA claim to be a successor by merger with LaSalle?

Hence there are questions of fact as to whether BOA ever consummated any transaction in which it acquired or Merged with LaSalle, which while technically possible, makes no business sense. UNLESS the OBJECTIVE was to transfer the interest of LaSalle as trustee to BOA, as a precursor to a much wider deal in which BOA then sold its position as Trustee to US Bank as a  commodity and then filed in the Kalam cases a notice of substitution of Plaintiff without amending the pleadings.

US BANK Notice of Substitution of Plaintiff without Any Motion to Amend Pleadings: The reason they filed it as a notice was that they obviously did not want to allege the purchase of “being a trustee”, which would have been a contested issue in the pleadings. But the amendment is required in my opinion and there should be a motion to strike the notice of substitution of Plaintiff without amendment. The motion to strike should state that no objection to granting the order to amend, but that the circumstances should be pled and we should be able to respond with a denial and affirmative defenses if you choose.

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

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

The risks include but are not limited to

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BLK | Thu, Nov 14

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

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

Bailout Treachery Sequel?

BUSINESS DAY | Five Years Later, Poll Finds Disapproval of Bailout

The simple answer is yes, there will be another bailout attempt and it appears likely that the Banks will continue to confuse things enough so that it again happens only “this time” there will be some “stern regulations”. The reason is not some esoteric financial mumbo jumbo, nor does it take brilliant economic insight — and shame on Democrats who “concede” the bailout was necessary. A little realism from my fellow Democrats in joining with Republicans on this pervasive issue might just be the stepping stone to loosening the idiotic gridlock being engineered by Republicans, who are dead right about the last bailout, and dead right about the next one.

The reason the attempt will be made is because the last one worked. The banks got trillions of dollars as compensation for creating the illusion that they had lost the entire economy. It was a lie then, it is a lie now and it will be a lie when they try it again. I agree that magicians as entertainers are worth whatever the market will bear. But I don’t agree that Wall Street bankers are entertainers and I agree with the vast majority of Americans who say the bankers or gangsters. They belong in jail. They won’t go to jail because of agreements made by law enforcement under Political pressure.

The last bailout worked because nobody understood securitization other than the investment bank collateral debt obligation (CDO) managers. If your sole source of information, analysis and interpretation is the perpetrator, it should come as no surprise that they lead you down a path that belongs in fiction, not reality. The result was we turned over the control of our currency to the bankers and we have never retrieved it. We gave them the country and indeed the world because our leaders were ignorant of the true facts and failed to ferret out the real ones, and therefore never had a chance to refute or corroborate the narrative from Wall Street.

Things haven’t changed much. Even the witnesses and lawyers for the banks in Foreclosures don’t understand securitization. When they say this is a Fannie Mae loan, everyone but me thinks that is the end of it. Nobody can answer my questions because they don’t understand them. Fannie is not a lender. If the statement is that “this is a Fannie Mae loan”, the question is how did it get that way? There are only one of two possibilities: (1) it was guaranteed by Fannie and then sold into the secondary market to a REMIC pool where in the master Trustee is Fannie and the individual trustee is the manager of the asset pool or (2) Fannie paid the loan or the loss off and is considered to own the loan even though the documents are absent showing the transfer. Either way you want to see reality — the movement of money to determine who is the lender, and to determine the real balance owed rather than the fabricated story of the subservicer.

So as long as ignorance prevails in government, there will be yet another bailout for losses that never happened on fictional transactions. Regulators will see no choice because they see no facts and have learned nothing from the last round of securitization. The new round is already underway and the stealing, lying, and treachery continues while pensioners’ money is flushed down the toilet for processing at the Wall Street money conversion plant where losses are turned into pure profit.

Will the Findings from the Brief “Foreclosure Review” Process Be Released?

“The truth is that they stopped the review process and “Settled” because the regulators were under a mandate to protect the banks. They were finding far too many wrongful and illegal foreclosures. The investigator testified that the small sampling they used was not random but rather designed to show how few foreclosures were illegal. But even that showed that at least 6500 homeowners had been illegally foreclosed and evicted. The banks and regulators were sitting on a time bomb so they swept it under the rug with “settlements” to cover up the widespread pandemic rush to illegal, wrongful foreclosures where strangers to the transaction took title to property at a foreclosure sale by submitting a “Credit bid” in which they had absolutely no interest or authority.”  —- Neil F Garfield Livinglies.me

Not long ago, if someone told you that the government would review the foreclosure process, find that many people were foreclosed illegally and wrongfully — perhaps up to 90% — and then step in to protect the banks with a pennies on the dollar settlement WITHOUT TELLING THE FAMILIES THAT WERE WRONGFULLY FORECLOSED THAT IT HAD BEEN DETERMINED THAT THEY WERE ILLEGALLY AND WRONGFULLY FORECLOSED — you might have said, it can’t be true — things are not that bad.

Besides, you might say, how could the foreclosures have been illegal and wrongful to the point that the banks would agree to pay any settlement, even if it was pennies on the dollar. After all, as Judges are want to say “You took the loan, you didn’t pay, you lose your house.”

But in open session sworn testimony before the Senate Committee on banking and finance, under questioning from Senator Warren (see recent post for the video) that is exactly what the investigator admitted. In fact, it gets worse — they entered into the settlement to get this out of the way fast and sweep it under the rug.  And, the investigator admitted that they had not yet notified those whom the agency had already found had definitely been illegally and wrongfully foreclosed and evicted from their homes. Worse, the investigator admitted that no decision had been made when or if those families would be notified.

So here we have the government withholding information of civil and perhaps criminal wrongdoing, not informing the victims that they not only have a cause of action for damages, but that the proof is already in the hands of the regulatory agencies. And perhaps worse, this admission comes AFTER Bernanke assured Senator Warren that the victims would be notified.

So Judges, lawyers, borrowers and investors across the land and indeed across the world are still laboring under the misapprehension that when the dust settles the home will still be foreclosed. Not so.

If the real creditor has not stepped up to enforce the debt there can only be one reason — they have already been paid. And if they have already been paid, then the balance due from the borrower to that creditor is zero. And if someone else paid it, the most they COULD have is an action in contribution or unjust enrichment against the borrower; but they don’t have that right because they expressly waived it. Nonetheless, the Federal reserve is “buying” these mortgage bonds, supposedly backed by mortgage loans that we have now seen were paid or unenforceable at the rate of $85 Billion per month.

The presumption ought to be, based upon the filings of the regulatory agencies, the settlements and the sworn testimony before Congress, that the foreclosure is suspect and Judges should stop ramming these wrongful foreclosures down the throat of lawyers whose objections and arguments are dismissed without a thought. We don’t have to wait for the evidence before we decide. The time to decide is now because the evidence IS in.

And even if you can’t get the information from the regulatory agencies who claim the results to be confidential even though they admit what is in them, aggressive lawsuits against the pretender lenders should lead to huge awards to borrowers and their attorneys. What are you waiting for? Stop wasting time by delaying the cases so that the client gets another month of free rent and start being the aggressor in discovery, pleading and litigating.

Watch Elizabeth Warren Grill Regulators Over Illegal Foreclosures

A Brief Refresher on Glass Stegal From Barry Ritholtz

http://www.housingwire.com/fastnews/2013/07/18/bernanke-regulators-will-release-some-details-foreclosure-reviews

The Notice Letters and Legal Strategies

Now that I am actively practicing law I see the reasons for the anger and recriminations regarding the conduct of proceedings involving foreclosure. But whether the judge likes it or not the law is very clear regarding a condition precedent to the filing of foreclosure action. The borrower must receive notice. The notice must state that the borrower is in default and must also state the conditions for reinstatement to cure the default. The law is very clear that failure to give proper notice is reason enough to deny the foreclosure. It doesn’t stop the bank from coming back later after giving proper notice, but it does stop the current foreclosure proceeding.

Generally speaking you’ll find the required language in the mortgage in paragraph 22. There are other paragraphs that speak to default have the right to reinstatement —  usually in the preceding paragraphs to the paragraph 22.

Notwithstanding the law, I am finding that there are many judges who consider it to be their political mandate to push the foreclosures through to sale. They may be right as to the political mandate but they are wrong to use it in a court of law. Failure to give proper notice or any other material fact that might be in issue is sufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment as long as it is clearly in the record at the time the order on summary judgment is entered. In Florida at least I detect an attitude from the bench which disregards the facts of the case in favor of entering judgment for the banks.

Having the facts and law on your side does not mean that you will be able to stop the foreclosure. This does not stop judges from blaming borrowers for delays in the proceedings despite the fact that it is the obligation of the foreclosing party to prosecute the action. And yesterday I saw a judge enter an order granting summary judgment despite the fact that there were dozens of facts in dispute. His reason appeared to be that the case had been hanging around for four or five years —  during which time the homeowner could have filed a motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute the action at least twice.

Of course homeowners do not know the Rules of Civil Procedure which is why I have stated so strongly and so often why they should retain counsel if they really want to keep their home.

In the course of my research on a related topic I uncovered the information shown below. It is obvious that under federal and Florida law the notice must contain information concerning the right to reinstate the loan and a demand for a specific amount of money required for reinstatement. Some banks have chosen to ignore the right to reinstatement because of their enthusiasm for obtaining a foreclosure judgment. And there are judges that will ignore the issue of notice and enter judgment for the bank. But on appeal there seems to be little doubt that the judges order will be reversed, the sale will be reversed, and the foreclosure action will be dismissed (without prejudice to refile).

Most judges appeared to approach a foreclosure case as a fairly simple matter that is very annoying to them. Instead of asking the attorney for the bank to present his/her case there are several judges who are announcing that everything seems to be in order and so judgment will be entered. While this is wrong I would caution the reader not to draw the  further conclusion that the judge is corrupt or has an agenda designed to hurt homeowners. In the eyes of the judge, based upon actual experience for several years, most defenses that have been presented to judges have been for the purposes of delay. In part this was allowed and even encouraged by the banks who were unready to fully prosecute the foreclosure action because of the potential liability for taxes, insurance and maintenance.

In my firm we generally refer clients who are simply looking for delays to other attorneys whose down payment and monthly payment is far less than what we charge. After years of writing about it I have reentered the practice of law and I am attempting to set a standard of vigorous and aggressive prosecution of the case against the bank. This of course is only possible if the bank has done something wrong. But you are not going to know that without someone going through the entire process starting with the application for mortgage and going through the present time. It also requires discovery in the form of interrogatories, requests for admission, requests to produce, and subpoenas issued to appropriate witnesses requiring them to bring documents with them.

In my opinion the more lawyers that aggressively pursue the case, the more judges will start questioning why the bank is backpedaling. Once you get a judge thinking that you are the aggressor, you have succeeded in taking control of the narrative. Once you have taken control of the narrative you can raise questions in the judge’s mind as to whether or not there might actually be something wrong with this particular foreclosure action.

I don’t deny that there is a value to any homeowner in getting free rent or no mortgage payment and that an attorney might be useful in maximizing the length of time in which the homeowner is not required to pay anything. It might be the only way that the homeowner can recover part of his or her investment. But delay tactics seem to dominate the litigation landscape. So it should come as no surprise that any judge would approach a foreclosure case with the assumption that the debt is valid and that the documents are in order; the only question left is when will the sale take place.

My mission, as I conceive it, is to make some changes in the litigation landscape. Specifically, I think that with proper pleading and discovery, it may be revealed that the party seeking the foreclosure lacks any ownership interest in the loan and lacks any authority to represent anyone with an ownership interest in the loan. I also think that the amount demanded for reinstatement or redemption is also misstated in that the borrower is not getting the benefit of offset from third-party payments that should be credited to the account in which the loan receivable is held. In short, I still believe what I said six years ago, to wit: as crazy as it might seem, the loan was prepaid at the time of origination and then repaid several times over after which it was then sold to the Federal Reserve probably multiple times  and sold two government-sponsored entities multiple times. If the loan is paid (several times over, no less) then there can be action to collect on it, least of all foreclosure.

While the presumption is on preventing a homeowner from getting a free ride, courts have been giving the financial industry the equivalent of corporate welfare with each  foreclosure sale. And in doing so they have actually stripped the true creditor from any collateralized claim and further stripped the true creditor from making any claim at all. The beneficiaries of this idiotic system are obviously the banks. The victims include everyone else including the investors, insurers, taxpayers, borrowers, and the Federal Reserve. Of course in the case of the Federal Reserve, it knows that it is a victim and that it is buying completely worthless paper from the banks who have previously sold the same paper to others. That doesn’t seem to matter to the federal reserve and so far it doesn’t seem to matter to any of the judges sitting on the bench.

http://www.credit.com/credit_information/credit_law/Understanding-Your-Foreclosure-Rights.jsp

http://floridaforeclosurefraud.com/2010/03/notice-of-default-prior-to-acceleration-whats-in-your-mortgage/

http://stopforeclosurefraud.com/2011/06/09/fl-2dca-reverses-sj-acceleration-letter-failed-to-state-the-default-as-required-by-the-mortgage-terms-konsulian-v-busey-bank-na/

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