How “Standing” Is Causing the Longest Economic Recovery Since the Great Depression

THE PERFECT CRIME: THE VICTIMS DON’T KNOW ANYTHING

WHY INVESTORS AND BORROWERS SHOULD GET RID OF THE SERVICERS AND REPLACE THEM WITH SERVICING COMPANIES THEY CAN TRUST TO MITIGATE THE LOSSES CAUSED BY INVESTMENT BANKS

HOW? It is simple: since the perpetrators ignored the REMIC trust, didn’t fund them and never intended to actually have the REMIC trusts own the loans, the investors can go directly to homeowners or through their own servicers to settle and modify mortgages. This would leave the investors with claims against the investment banks for the balance of the losses, plus punitive damages, interest and court costs. It is the same logic as piercing the corporate veil — if you pay your grocery bills using the account of your limited liability corporation, the corporate entity is ignored.

Vasquez v Saxon (Arizona supreme Court) revisited

Assume the following facts for purposes of analogy and analysis:

  1. John Jones is a Scammer, previously found to have operated outside the law several times. He conceives of yet another PONZI scheme, but with the help of lawyers he has obscured the true nature of his next scheme. He creates a convoluted scheme that ultimately was never understood by regulators.
  2. The first part of his scheme is to offer shares in a company where the money will be held in trust. The money will be disbursed based upon standards that are promised to incoming investors.
  3. The new company will issue the shares based upon the receipt of money from investors who are buying those shares.
  4. Jones approaches Jason Smartguy, who manages a pension fund for 3,000 employees of ABC Company, a Fortune 500 company.
  5. Jason Smartguy manages the pension funds under strict restrictions. A pension fund is a “stable managed fund” whose investments must be at the lowest risk possible and whose purpose is capital preservation.
  6. John Jones promises Jason Smartguy that the new company will invest in assets that are valuable and stable, and that these investments will pay a return on investment higher than what Jason Smartguy is getting for the pension fund under his management. Jason likes the idea because it gives him employment security and probably bonuses for increasing the rate of return on the funds managed for the pension fund.
  7. The lawyers for John Jones have concealed the PONZI nature of the scheme (paying back investors with their own money and with money from new investors) by disclosing the existing of a reserve fund — consisting entirely of money from Jason Smartguy.
  8. Jason advances $100 Million to John Jones who says he is acting as a broker between the new Company (the one issuing the shares) and the Pension fund managed by Jason Smartguy.
  9. The new Company never receives the money. Instead the money is placed in accounts controlled by people who have no relationship with the new Company.
  10. The new Company never receives title or any documentation showing they own shares of the money pool now controlled by John Jones when it should be controlled by the new Company.
  11. John Jones uses the money to bet against the new Company, insurance on the value of the shares of the new Company, and the proceeds of other convoluted transactions — mostly based on the assumption that John Jones owns the money in the pool and based entirely on the assumption that any assets of the pool therefore belong to John Jones — not the new Company as promised.
  12. John Jones also uses the money to buy assets, so everything looks right as long as you don’t get too close.
  13. The assets Jones buys are designed to look good on paper but are pure trash — which is why John Jones bet against the pool and shares in the pool.
  14. Everyone is fooled. The investors get monthly statements from John Jones along with a check showing that the investment is working just as was planned. They don’t know that the money they are receiving comes entirely from the reserve pool and the meager actual returns from the assets. The insurance company believes that Jones is the owner of the money and the assets purchased with money from the pool created by Jason Smartguy’s advance from the pension fund.
  15. John Jones goes further. He pretends to own the shares of the new Company that actually belong to the pension fund managed by Jason Smartguy. He insures those shares naming himself as the insurance beneficiary and naming himself as the receiver of proceeds from his bets that the shares in the new Company would crash, just as he planned.
  16. While the assets are proving as worthless as John Jones had planned, Jason Smartguy receives payments to the pension fund exactly as outlined in the Prospectus and the Operating Agreement for the New Company. Unknown to Jason, the assets are increasingly proving worthless, as a whole and the income is declining. So Jason buys more shares in the new Company, thus providing Jason with a larger “reserve” fund and more “assets” to bet against and more “shares’ to bet against.
  17. John Jones sets out to “acquire” assets that will fail, so his bets will pay off. He buys assets whose value is low (and getting worse) and he creates fictitious transactions in which it appears as though the new Company has bought the assets at a much higher price than their value. The “sales” to the Company are a sham. The Company has no money because Jason Smartguy’s pension money never was made to the new Company in exchange for the new Company issuing shares of the company to Jason’s pension fund.
  18. The difference between the real value of the assets and the price “sold” to the pool is huge. In some cases it is 2-3 times the actual value of the asset. John Jones treats these sales as “proprietary trading profits” for John Jones,when in fact it is an immediate loss to Jason’s pension fund. The shares of the new Company are worthless because it never received any money nor title to any assets. John Jones as “broker” took all the money and assets.
  19. Meanwhile John Jones continues to pay Jason’s pension fund along with distribution reports showing the assets are in great shape and the income is just fine. In reality the assets are virtually worthless and the income is declining just as John Jones planned. John Jones is taking money hand over fist and calling it his own. His bets on the whole thing crashing are paying off handsomely and he is not reporting to Jason how much he is making by taking Jason’s managed money and calling part of it proprietary profits.
  20. The beauty of John Jones PONZI scheme is in the BIG LIE told not only to Jason Smartguy but also to Henry Homebody, who owns a home in Tucson Arizona. Henry is easier to sell on a stupid scheme than Jason Smartguy because Jason requires proof of independent appraisals (ratings), proof of insurance and various other aspects of the investment. Henry Homebody trusts the “lenders” and considers them to be banks, some with reputations and brands that go back 150 years.
  21. Henry Homebody’s house has been in the family for 6 generations and is fully paid off. He pays only insurance and taxes. Unknown to him, he is a special target for scammers like Merendon Mining, whose operators are now in jail. Merendon got homeowners with unencumbered houses to “invest” in a mirage (gold shares) thus putting the fantastic equity in their homes to work. Henry is flown to Canada, wined and dined, and has a very good time, just before he agrees to take out a loan using his family home as collateral, which will provide an income to him of $16,000 over month (which is about ten times his current income).
  22. Henry is approved for a loan equal to twice the value of the property and in which the mortgage broker (now on the run from the law) used projected income from the speculative investment in Merendon mining. This act by the mortgage broker was illegal but worth the risk because the broker was part of the Merendon Mining scam. (look up Merendon Mining and First Magnus Funding).
  23. Henry makes Payments on the mortgage principal, interest, taxes and insurance (all higher because of the false appraisal that was used for the property). He is able to do this because some of the money from the “loan” was given to him and he was able to make payments until the magnificent returns started to come in from his Merendon Mining shares. But those shares were worded in such a way that they were not exactly the ownership of gold that Henry thought he was getting. In fact, it was another pool with options on gold. And of course the money never materialized and neither did the gold. (Note 1996-2014: more than 50% of all loans were “refi’s” in which the home was fully paid or nearly so).
  24. Henry’s lender turned out to be a party pretending to lend him money, using MERS as a nominee for trading purposes, and naming the originator as lender when in fact they were also just a nominee.
  25. Henry’s mortgage and note recite terms that are impossible to meet unless Merendon Mining pays off.
  26. Henry believes at closing that First Magnus was the lender and that some entity called MERS is hanging in the background. Nobody explains anything to him about the lender or MERS. And of course he was told not to get an attorney because nothing can be changed anyway.
  27. Henry did not know that John Jones had spread out Jason’s money into several entities and then used Jason’s money to fund the origination of Henry’s loan.
  28. Jason does not know that the note and mortgage were never executed in the name of the pension fund or the new Company that was supposed to own the loan as an asset.
  29. Eventually the truth starts coming out, the market crashes and prices of homes return to actual value. Merendon Mining is of course a bankrupt entity as is First Magnus, whose operator appears to be on the run.
  30. Henry can’t make the payments after the extra money they gave him runs out. He has $2 million in loans and the “guaranteed” investment in Merendon Mining has left him penniless.
  31. John Jones fabricates and forges dozens of documents to piece together a narrative wherein an “independent” company would claim ownership of Henry’s loan despite the complete absence of any real transactions between any of the companies because the loan was fully funded using Jason Smartguy’s pension money.
  32. Henry knows nothing about the scam John Jones pulled on Jason Smartguy and certainly doesn’t know that the new Company was involved in his loan (because it wasn’t). Henry doesn’t understand that First Magnus and MERS never loaned him any money and that he never owed them money. And Henry knows nothing about John Jones, whose name appears on nothing.
  33. John Jones, the PONZI operator goes about the business of finishing the deal and making sure that the multiple people who bought into Henry’s loan (without knowing of the other sales and bets placed by John Jones) don’t start asking for refunds.
  34. John Jones MUST get a foreclosure or there will be auditing and reporting requirements that most everyone will overlook as long as this looks like just another loan gone bad. His PONZI scheme will be revealed if the true facts become known so he makes sure that nobody sees the actual money trail except him. He might go to jail if the truth is discovered.
  35. The lawyers for John Jones have told him that even fabricated, forged, non-authentic, falsely signed, and falsely notarized documents carry a presumption of validity. Thus the lawyers and Jones concocted a PONZI scheme that would most likely succeed because even the borrower, Henry, still thinks he owes money to First Magnus or its “successors”, whose identity he doesn’t really care about because he knows he took the loan. He doesn’t know that First Magnus and several other entities were involved in collecting fees and making profits the moment he signed the papers, and possibly before.
  36. Meanwhile Jason Smartguy, manager of the pension fund is starting to get disturbing reports about the assets that were purchased. Jason still doesn’t know that the money he gave John Jones never went into the New Company, that the Company never engaged in any transactions, and that John Jones was claiming “losses” that were really Jason’s losses (the pension fund).
  37. John Jones was collecting money from multiple sources without any of them knowing about each other and that he had no losses, he had only profits, and even got the government to lend him more money so he wouldn’t go out of business which might ruin the economy.
  38. Most of all John Jones never made a loan to Henry Homeowner; but that didn’t stop him from saying he did make the loan, and that the paperwork between John Jones and Jason Smartguy’s pension fund was irrelevant — the borrower got a loan and stopped paying. Thus judicial or non judicial process was available to sell the home that had been in Henry’s family for 6 generations.
  39. But the weakness in John Smith’s PONZI scheme is that his entire strategy is based upon presumptions of validity of his false documentation. If courts start applying normal rules and require Jones to disclose the money trail, he is cooked. There can be no foreclosure if a non-creditor initiates it by simply declaring that they are the creditor and that they have rights to enforce the debt — when the only proof of that is that Jason Smartguy, manager of the pension fund, has not yet put the pieces together and demanded ownership of the loan, settled the cases with modifications and went after John Jones for the balance of the money that was skimmed off the deal.
  40. And since Henry’s house is in Tucson, Az, he is subject to non-judicial foreclosure and he is in big trouble. He has no reason to believe the “servicer” is unauthorized, that the debt that is subject to correspondence and monthly statements does not exist, nor that the mortgage or deed of trust was void for lack of consideration — none of the “lenders” at closing ever loaned him a dime. The money came from Jason but Henry didn’t, and possibly still doesn’t know it.
  41. John Jones files a document called “Substitution of Trustee.” In this false document Jones declares that one of his many entities is the “new beneficiary” (mortgagee). Jones holds his breath. If Henry objects to the substitution of trustee he might have to reveal that the new trustee is not independent, it is a company controlled by John Jones.
  42. John Jones has made himself the new trustee. If the substitution of trustee is nullified in a court proceeding, NOTHING can be done by John Jones or his controlled companies.
  43. If the old trustee realizes that they have received no information on the validity of the claim and might still be the trustee, they might file an “interpleader” action in which they say they have received competing claims, demand attorney fees and costs along with their true statement that as the trustee named on the deed of trust, they have no stake in the outcome.
  44. If that happens Jones is cooked, broiled and boiled. He would be required to allege and prove that the “new beneficiary” is in fact the creditor in the transaction by succession, purchase or otherwise. he can’t because it was Jason who gave the money, it was Jason who was supposed to get evidence of ownership of the loan, and it is Jason who should be deciding between foreclosure (which John Jones MUST have to escape enormous civil and criminal liability).
  45. Jones doesn’t file documents for recording unless and until the case goes into foreclosure. That is because he continuing to trade and make claims of losses on “bad loans.”
  46. In fact, just to be on the safe side, he doesn’t file the fabricated, forged perjurious assignment of the loan at all if nobody makes him. He only files the assignment when he absolutely must do so, because he knows each filing is false and potentially proof of identity theft from the pension fund and from the homeowner.
  47. So it often happens that despite laws in each state requiring the filing of any transfer of an interest in real property for recording, Jones files the assignment when there is the least probability and least likelihood that the PONZI scheme will be revealed. Jones knows the mortgage is void and should never have been recorded, as a matter of law.
  48. Henry brings suit against Jones seeking justice and relief. But he really doesn’t know enough to get traction in court. Jones filed the assignment after the notice of default, after the notice of sale, and after the notice of substitution of trustee.
  49. The Judge who knows nothing about the presence of Jason, who still does not know this is going on, rules for Jones saying that it is irrelevant when the assignment was recorded because it is still a valid assignment between the parties to the assignment.
  50. Jason knows nothing about how the money from his pension fund was handled.
  51. Jason knows nothing about how each foreclosure seals the doom and affirms the illegal windfall to intermediaries who were always playing with OPM (other people’s money).
  52. The Court doesn’t know that that the assignment was just on paper, that there was no business reason for it to be executed, that there was no purchase of the loan from Jason’s pension fund, to whom the actual loan was payable. Thus the Judge sees this as much ado about nothing.
  53. Starting from the premise that Henry owed the money anyway, that there were no real defenses, and that since nobody else was making a claim it was obvious that Jones was the creditor, the Arizona Supreme Court says that anyone can can foreclose on an undated, backdated fabricated assignment forged and robo-signed with no real transaction; and they can execute a substitution of trustee even if they are complete strangers to the loan transaction and once they file that, they can foreclose on property that was never used as collateral for the real loan.

Because there are hundreds of John Jones characters in this tragedy, the entire marketplace has been decimated. The middle class is permanently stalled because their only net worth has been stolen from them The borrowers would gladly execute a real mortgage for real value with real terms that make sense 95% of the time, but they need to do it with the owner of the debt — the pension fund. The pension fund the borrower need to be closely aligned on the premise that the loans can be modified for better terms that forced sales, the housing market could recover, and money would start flowing back to the middle class who drives 70% of our consumer based economy.

They are all wrong and are opening the door for more PONZI schemes and even better ways to steal money and get away with it. The Arizona Supreme Court in Vasquez as well as all other decisions from the trial bench, appellate courts, regulators and law enforcement are all wrong. The burden of proof in due process is on the party seeking affirmative relief. Anyone who wants the death penalty equivalent in civil litigation (forfeiture of homestead), should be required to prove beyond all reasonable doubt or by clear and convincing evidence that the mortgage was valid and should have been recorded.

If they didn’t make the loan they had no right to record the mortgage or do anything with the note or mortgage except give it back to the borrower for destruction. If they didn’t make disclosure of the real nature of the loan and all the profits that would arise from the borrower signing an application and the loan documents, those profits are due back to the borrower.

Each time the assumption is made that there are no valid defenses for the borrower, we are cheating investors and screwing the homeowners. And as for the windfall proposition we know who gets it — the John Jones PONZI operating banks that started all of this. Exactly how can this lead anyway other than a continued drag on our economy?

Vasquez v saxon Az S Ct CV110091CQ

For more information call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688

AMGAR

After years of writing about the AMGAR program, people are finally asking about this program. So here is a summary of the program. As usual I caution you against using my articles as the final word on any subject. Before you make any decisions about your loans, whether you are in foreclosure, collection or otherwise you should seek competent legal counsel who is licensed in the jurisdiction in which the collateral is located. Also for those who think they would invest in such a program, you should seek both legal advice and consult with a person qualified and licensed as a financial adviser. And for full disclosure, this plan does include an equity provision and fees to the livinglies team.

The AMGAR program was first developed by me when I was living in Arizona where, after the 2008-2009 crash, the state was facing a $3 Billion deficit. The Chairman of the Arizona House Judiciary Committee invited me to testify about possible solutions to the foreclosure crisis, which at that time was just ramping up. So I developed a program that I called the Arizona Mortgage Guarantee and Resolution plan, which was dubbed “AMGAR.” Now the acronym stands for American Mortgage Guarantee and Resolution program. In Arizona it was mostly a governmental program with some private enterprise components.

For a while it looked as though Arizona would adopt the program and pass the necessary legislation to do it. All departments of the legislative and executive branches of government had examined it carefully and concluded that I was right both as to its premises and its results.

The objective was to tax and fine the various entities that were “trading” in loans improperly, illegally and failing to report it as taxable income, as well as failing to pay the fees associated with filing such transfers in the County records of each county.

The State would essentially call the bluff of the banks, which was already obvious in 2008 — they did not appear to have any ownership interest in the loans upon which they initiated foreclosures.

Thus the State and private investors would offer to pay off the mortgage at the amount demanded if the foreclosing party could prove ownership and the balance (it was already known that the banks had received a lot of money from both public and private sources that reduced the loss and thus should have reduced the balances owed to investors, which in turn reduces the balance owed from borrowers).

The offer to pay off the the money claimed due by the forecloser was on behalf of the homeowner who would enter into an agreement with AMGAR for a new, real, valid mortgage at fair market value with industry standard terms instead of the exotic mortgages that borrowers were lured into signing when they understood practically nothing about the loan. The State would levy a tax or enforce existing taxes against the participants in the alleged securitization plan for the trading they had been doing. The State would foreclose on the tax liens thus opening the door to settlements that would reduce the amount expended on paying off the old loan.

The AMGAR program would receive a mortgage and note equal to what was actually paid out to the foreclosing parties, which was presumed to be discounted sharply because of their inability to prove ownership and balance. Hence the state would receive a valid note and mortgage for every penny they paid and it would receive the taxes and fees that were due and unpaid, and then sell these clean mortgages into the secondary market place. Both the legislative and executive branches of Arizona government — all relevant departments — concluded that the plan would erase the $3 Billion Arizona deficit and put a virtual halt on foreclosures that had already turned new developments into ghost towns.

But the plan went dark when certain influential Republicans in the state apparently received the word from the banks to kill the program.

Not to be deterred from what I considered to be a bold, innovative program aimed at the truth about the hundreds of thousands of wrongful foreclosures, I embarked on a persistent plan of to raise interest and capital to put the program into use. This time the offer to payoff the old loan would come from (1) homeowners who could afford to make the offer and (2) investors who were willing to assume the apparent risk of paying $700,000 as a payoff, only to receive a mortgage and note equal to a much lower fair market value. But the new plan had a kicker for investors to assume that risk.

The plan worked for the few people who were homeowners, in foreclosure and who had the resources to make the offer. Unlike the buyback issue raised by Martha Coakley last week, the plan avoided any possible rule prohibiting the homeowner from getting the house back and in fact employed existing laws permitting the borrower to pay off the loan rather than suffer the loss of the property.

The offer specifies what constitutes proof for purposes of the offer and thus avoids varying interpretations by judges who might think one presumption or another carries the day for the banks. This plan requires actual transactional proof of payments for the origination and acquisition of the loan, and actual disclosure of the loss mitigation payments received by or on behalf of the creditors (investors).

As expected, the banks tried to say that they didn’t have to accept the money. They wanted the foreclosure. But nobody bought that argument. The myth that the bank was “reclaiming” the property was just that — a myth. The bank never owned the property. It was interesting watching the bank back peddle on producing proof that it MUST have had if it brought foreclosure proceedings. But they didn’t have it because it didn’t exist.

Banks claimed to have loaned money to the homeowner and thus were entitled to payment first, or failing that, THEN foreclosure. And what has resulted is an array of confidential settlements in which I cannot reveal the contents without putting the homeowner in danger of losing their home. Suffice it to say they were satisfied.

The reason I am writing about this again is that the latest development is a series of investors have approached me with a request for development of a plan that would put AMGAR into effect. They are looking for profit so that is what I am giving them in the new plan. This has not yet been launched but there are several iterations of the plan that may be offered through one or more entities. You might say this plan is published for comment although we are already processing candidates for which the plan would be used.

If I am right, along with everyone else who says the mortgages, assignments, transactions are all fake with no canceled checks, wire transfer receipts or anything else showing that they funded the origination or acquisition of the loan, then it follows that at the very least the mortgage is an unenforceable document even if it is recorded.

If things go according to plan, then the bank will be forced to either put up or shut up in court — either providing the reasonable proof required by the commitment or offer or suffer a dismissal or judgment for the homeowner. It would not be up to the Judge to state what proof was required. Instead the Judge would only be called upon to determine that the bank had failed to properly respond — giving information they should have had all along. The debt might theoretically exist payable to SOMEONE, but it wouldn’t be secured debt and therefore not subject to foreclosure. The mortgage encumbrance in the public records could then be removed by a court order. Title would be cleared.

Investors would be taking what appears to be a giant risk but obviously perception of the risk is declining.   If the bank comes up with verifiable proof of ownership and balance (according to the terms of the offer or commitment), then the investor pays the bank and gets back a note and mortgage for much less. If the bank loses and the mortgage encumbrance is removed as a result of the assumption of that risk, then the investor gets a fee — 30% of the original loan balance expressed in a new mortgage and note at market rates over 30 years.

So the payoff is quite large to the investors if their assumptions are correct. If they are incorrect they lose all the expenses advanced for the homeowner, all the expenses of selection and potentially the money they put in escrow or the court registry to show proof that the offer is real.

We are currently vetting potential candidates for this program both from the homeowner side and the investor side. This type of investment while potentially lucrative, poses a large risk of loss. People should not invest in such a program unless they do not rely on the money invested for their income or lifestyle. They should be qualified investors as specified by SEC rules even if the SEC rules don’t apply. No money will be accepted and no homeowner will be signed up for the program until we have concluded all registrations necessary for launching the program.

Homeowners who want to be considered as candidates for this program should acquire a title and securitization report, plus a review by our staff, including myself.

You should have a title and securitization report anyway, in my opinion. If you already have one then send it to neilfgarfield@hotmail.com. If you don’t have such a report but would like to obtain one call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688 to order the report and review. If you already know someone who does this work, then call them, but a review by a qualified person with a financial background is important as well as a review by a qualified, licensed attorney.

Hiring an Expert: What Are you Looking For in Foreclosure Litigation?

I have spent the last 7 years developing the narrative for an expert opinion that could be presented, believed and sustained in court. In writing to a probable new expert we will offer through the livinglies.store.com I summarized what attorneys should be looking for when they consult with an expert in structured finance (i.e., derivatives, securitization etc.).

Here  are some of the issues you want covered by the expert declaration and testimony in court. The basic rule of thumb is that the expert must have both the qualifications to testify as an expert and a persuasive narrative of why his conclusions are right. Without both, the testimony of the expert simply doesn’t matter and will be rejected.

If you are a proposed expert in structured finance, then here is what I would want to know, and what I think lawyers should ask, depending upon what fact pattern is present in each case.

One thing I need to know is whether you feel comfortable in talking about the ownership and balance of the loan.

In one example American Brokers Conduit was the payee on the note and mortgage. We alleged that they didn’t loan the money. Our narrative ran something like this: if you ask me for a loan, and I respond “Yes just sign this note and mortgage” AND THEN you sign the note and mortgage AND THEN I don’t give you a loan, ARE YOU PREPARED TO SAY THAT THE NOTE AND MORTGAGE WERE DEFECTIVE IN A BASIC WAY, TO WIT: THAT THE SIGNATURE ON THE NOTE AND MORTGAGE WAS PROCURED BY FRAUD OR MISTAKE AND THAT WITHOUT THE IDENTIFICATION OF THE REAL CREDITOR BOTH INSTRUMENTS ARE DEFECTIVE.

Would you, as a reasonable business person accept a note purporting to be a negotiable instrument under the UCC if you knew that the transferor neither funded the loan nor (if they purport to be a successor) paid for the assignment?

What is your opinion of your position if you found out after acceptance of the note and mortgage that there was doubt as to whether the obligation was funded or purchased for value? What would you do or suggest to a client in either of those positions — (1) knowledge [or "must have known] or (2) no knowledge [and later finding out that there is doubt as to funding and purchasing for value]?

Are you prepared to say that the fact that the borrower actually did receive money as a loan from another different party does not create a circumstance where the borrower is construed to convey any rights to anyone other than the source of funds or someone in actual privity with the lender — and that both note and mortgage are defective under normal recording statutes — and certainly not a commitment by the debtor to BOTH the source of the funds and the receiver of the signed promissory note and mortgage?

In the one case referred to above, the corporate representative conceded that ABC didn’t loan the money. He was unable to explain what was transferred by ABC to Regents and from Regents to 1st Nationwide and thence to CitiCorp by merger. He admitted that “Fannie Mae was the investor from the start.” You and I understand that neither Fannie and Freddie are lenders. They are guarantors and they serve as Master Trustee for hidden REMIC trusts. (Do you know or agree with that assertion?)

But the question is whether the note is actual “evidence of the debt” (the black letter definition of a promissory note when it contains a promise to pay) when the creditor is identified as a party who was not a lender. In the absence of disclosures of some representative capacity for an actual lender, are you prepared to testify that the note is unenforceable even if the debt is otherwise enforceable in relation to the actual source of funds?

Or would you say that it is not enforceable by the stated payee but it might still be evidence of the debt and evidence of the terms of repayment to the third party source? How does the marketplace treat such questions in valuing a note and mortgage?

The question is whether the expert actually believes and is willing to argue that these conclusions are true and correct.  The expert must earnestly believe these assertions to be true, logically and legally.
Is it acceptable to the prospective expert to see a result where the application of law and facts results in the homeowner getting his home free and clear — on the basis that the wrong party sued him or initiated foreclosure (in non judicial states), or that the notice of default, notice of acceleration, and statements of money due were wrong.
The approach is an attack on ownership and balance. The balance would be wrong, even if the ownership was established, if the payments were not applied properly. The payments include all payments received by the creditor.  That includes all servicer advances directly to trust beneficiaries, as well as insurance and loss sharing payments (i.e., from FDIC and others) paid and received on behalf of the investors directly or the trust beneficiaries.
Part of the reasoning here is that you really have an interesting problem. The Trust beneficiaries agreed to “loan” money to a REMIC trust in exchange for a complex formula of repayment under the indenture of the mortgage bond (contained in the Prospectus and Pooling and Servicing Agreement). Those terms are different than the terms signed by the homeowner.
So there are two agreements — the mortgage bond and the mortgage note. Different parties, new parties are in the PSA as insurers, servicers,servicer advances etc. all resulting in a DIFFERENT payment from an assortment of parties expected by the creditor —different than the one promised by the debtor whether you refer to the note as evidence of the debt or not.Add the complicating factor that without evidence that the Trust was ever funded (i.e., without evidence that the broker dealer sent the proceeds from the offering prospectus to the trust) how do we answer the basic contract question: was there a meeting of the minds? The expectations of the lender (investors) and the borrower (homeowner) are entirely different and the documents used are completely different.

How could the Trust have entered into any transaction for the origination or acquisition of loans without evidence of funding?

On what basis can the Trustee or servicer claim any authority if the Trust was not funded and was essentially ignored? Does the expert agree that avoiding or ignoring the trust means avoiding and  ignoring the prospectus AND the PSA, which contains the authority for ANYONE to act on behalf of the investors, who are no longer “trust beneficiaries” but just a group of investors without a vehicle for their investment?

ESSENTIAL QUESTION: Is the expert prepared to testify about this aspect of structured finance — i.e., how do you connect up the debtor and the creditor? As an expert you would be expected to be able to testify on exactly that question.

And finally there is testimony about the mortgage. If the mortgage secures the note (not the debt, necessarily), which is what is stated in the mortgage, then is the expert willing to testify that the mortgage was defective and should never have been recorded?

Would it not be true, in your estimation, that if a homeowner executes a mortgage in favor of a party posing as a lender, and that party is not a lender to the homeowner, that you could testify that the moment such a mortgage is recorded it probably clouds title?

Would you be willing to testify that based upon those facts, you would say that it is an unknown variable as to who to pay?

Would you be wiling to testify that if you don’t know who to pay, you have no basis for trusting a satisfaction of mortgage from any party including the the original mortgagee?

And lastly that if there is no basis on the face of the instruments or in recorded instruments to presume a valid creditor has been named, that no better presumptions would attach to any assignment, endorsement or other instrument of transfer?

For information concerning expert declarations, consultations and testimony from experts with appropriate credentials to be qualified as an expert, or for litigation support, please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688.

National Honesty Day? America’s Book of Lies

Today is National Honesty Day. While it should be a celebration of how honest we have been the other 364 days of the year, it is rather a day of reflection on how dishonest we have been. Perhaps today could be a day in which we say we will at least be honest today about everything we say or do. But that isn’t likely. Today I focus on the economy and the housing crisis. Yes despite the corruption of financial journalism in which we are told of improvements, our economy — led by the housing markets — is still sputtering. It will continue to do so until we confront the truth about housing, and in particular foreclosures. Tennessee, Virginia and other states continue to lead the way in a downward spiral leading to the lowest rate of home ownership since the 1990’s with no bottom in sight.

Here are a few of the many articles pointing out the reality of our situation contrasted with the absence of articles in financial journalism directed at outright corruption on Wall Street where the players continue to pursue illicit, fraudulent and harmful schemes against our society performing acts that can and do get jail time for anyone else who plays that game.

It isn’t just that they escaping jail time. The jailing of bankers would take a couple of thousand people off the street that would otherwise be doing harm to us.

The main point is that we know they are doing the wrong thing in foreclosing on property they don’t own using “balances” the borrower doesn’t owe; we know they effectively stole the money from the investors who thought they were buying mortgage bonds, we know they effectively stole the title protection and documents that should have been executed in favor of the real source of funds, we know they received multiple payments from third parties and we know they are getting twin benefits from foreclosures that (a) should not be legally allowed and (b) only compound the damages to investors and homeowners.

The bottom line: Until we address wrongful foreclosures, the housing market, which has always led the economy, will continue to sputter, flatline or crash again. Transferring wealth from the middle class to the banks is a recipe for disaster whether it is legal or illegal. In this case it plainly illegal in most cases.

And despite the planted articles paid for by the banks, we still have over 700,000 foreclosures to go in the next year and over 9,000,000 homeowners who are so deep underwater that their situation is a clear and present danger of “strategic default” on claims that are both untrue and unfair.

Here is a sampling of corroborative evidence for my conclusions:

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Candid Take on the Foreclosure Crisis

There it was: The Treasury foreclosure program was intended to foam the runway to protect against a crash landing by the banks. Millions of people were getting tossed out on the street, but the secretary of the Treasury believed the government’s most important job was to provide a soft landing for the tender fannies of the banks.”

Lynn Symoniak is Thwarted by Government as She Pursues Other Banks for the Same Thing She Proved Before

Government prosecutors who relied on a Florida whistleblower’s evidence to win foreclosure fraud settlements with major banks two years ago are declining to help her pursue identical claims against a second set of large financial institutions.

Lynn Szymoniak first found proof that millions of American foreclosures were based on faulty and falsified documents while fighting her own foreclosure. Her three-year legal fight helped uncover the fact that banks were “robosigning” documents — hiring people to forge signatures and backdate legal paperwork the firms needed in order to foreclose on people’s homes — as a routine practice. Court papers that were unsealed last summer show that the fraudulent practices Szymoniak discovered affect trillions of dollars worth of mortgages.

More than 700,000 Foreclosures Expected Over Next Year

How Bank Watchdogs Killed Our Last Chance At Justice For Foreclosure Victims

The results are in. The award for the sorriest chapter of the great American foreclosure crisis goes to the Independent Foreclosure Review, a billion-dollar sinkhole that produced nothing but heartache for aggrieved homeowners, and a big black eye for regulators.

The foreclosure review was supposed to uncover abuses in how the mortgage industry coped with the epic wave of foreclosures that swept the U.S. in the aftermath of the housing crash. In a deal with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve, more than a dozen companies, including major banks, agreed to hire independent auditors to comb through loan files, identify errors and award just compensation to people who’d been abused in the foreclosure process.

But in January 2013, amid mounting evidence that the entire process was compromised by bank interference and government mismanagement, regulators abruptly shut the program down. They replaced it with a nearly $10 billion legal settlement that satisfied almost no one. Borrowers received paltry payouts, with sums determined by the very banks they accused of making their lives hell.

Investigation Stalled and Diverted as to Bank Fraud Against Investors and Homeowners

The Government Accountability Office released the results of its study of the Independent Foreclosure Review, conducted by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve in 2011 and 2012, and the results show that the foreclosure process is lacking in oversight and transparency.

According to the GAO review, which can be read in full here, the OCC and Fed signed consent orders with 16 mortgage servicers in 2011 and 2012 that required the servicers to hire consultants to review foreclosure files for efforts and remediate harm to borrowers.

In 2013, regulators amended the consent orders for all but one servicer, ending the file reviews and requiring servicers to provide $3.9 billion in cash payments to about 4.4 million borrowers and $6 billion in foreclosure prevention actions, such as loan modifications. The list of impacted mortgage servicers can be found here, as well as any updates. It should be noted that the entire process faced controversy before, as critics called the IFR cumbersome and costly.

Banks Profit from Suicides of Their Officers and Employees

After a recent rash of mysterious apparent suicides shook the financial world, researchers are scrambling to find answers about what really is the reason behind these multiple deaths. Some observers have now come to a rather shocking conclusion.

Wall Street on Parade bloggers Pam and Russ Martens wrote this week that something seems awry regarding the bank-owned life insurance (BOLI) policies held by JPMorgan Chase.

Four of the biggest banks on Wall Street combined hold over $680 billion in BOLI policies, the bloggers reported, but JPMorgan held around $17.9 billion in BOLI assets at the end of last year to Citigroup’s comparably meager $8.8 billion.

Government Cover-Up to Protect the Banks and Screw Homeowners and Investors

A new government report suggests that errors made by banks and their agents during foreclosures might have been significantly higher than was previously believed when regulators halted a national review of the banks’ mortgage servicing operations.

When banking regulators decided to end the independent foreclosure review last year, most banks had not completed the examinations of their mortgage modification and foreclosure practices.

At the time, the regulators — the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve — found that lengthy reviews by bank-hired consultants were delaying compensation getting to borrowers who had suffered through improper modifications and other problems.

But the decision to cut short the review left regulators with limited information about actual harm to borrowers when they negotiated a $10 billion settlement as part of agreements with 15 banks, according to a draft of a report by the Government Accountability Office reviewed by The New York Times.

The report shows, for example, that an unidentified bank had an error rate of about 24 percent. This bank had completed far more reviews of borrowers’ files than a group of 11 banks involved the deal, suggesting that if other banks had looked over more of their records, additional errors might have been discovered.

Wrongful Foreclosure Rate at least 24%: Wrongful or Fraudulent?

The report shows, for example, that an unidentified bank had an error rate of about 24 percent. This bank had completed far more reviews of borrowers’ files than a group of 11 banks involved the deal, suggesting that if other banks had looked over more of their records, additional errors might have been discovered.

http://www.marketpulse.com/20140430/u-s-housing-recovery-struggles/

http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Latest-News-Wires/2014/0429/Home-buying-loses-allure-ownership-rate-lowest-since-1995

http://www.opednews.com/articles/It-s-Good–no–Great-to-by-William-K-Black–Bank-Failure_Bank-Failures_Bankers_Banking-140430-322.html

[DISHONEST EUPHEMISMS: The context of this WSJ story is the broader series of betrayals of homeowners by the regulators and prosecutors led initially by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and his infamous “foam the runways” comment in which he admitted and urged that programs “sold” as benefitting distressed homeowners be used instead to aid the banks (more precisely, the bank CEOs) whose frauds caused the crisis.  The WSJ article deals with one of the several settlements with the banks that “service” home mortgages and foreclose on them.  Private attorneys first obtained the evidence that the servicers were engaged in massive foreclosure fraud involving knowingly filing hundreds of thousands of false affidavits under (non) penalty of perjury.  As a senior former AUSA said publicly at the INET conference a few weeks ago about these cases — they were slam dunk prosecutions.  But you know what happened; no senior banker or bank was prosecuted.  No banker was sued civilly by the government.  No banker had to pay back his bonus that he “earned” through fraud.

 

 

Fatal Flaws in the Origination of Loans and Assignments

The secured party, the identified creditor, the payee on the note, the mortgagee on the mortgage, the beneficiary under the deed of trust should have been the investor(s) — not the originator, not the aggregator, not the servicer, not any REMIC Trust, not any Trustee of a REMIC Trust, and not any Trustee substituted by a false beneficiary on a deed of Trust, not the master servicer and not even the broker dealer. And certainly not whoever is pretending to be a legal party in interest who, without injury to themselves or anyone they represent, could or should force the forfeiture of property in which they have no interest — all to the detriment of the investor-lenders and the borrowers.
There are two fatal flaws in the origination of the loan and in the origination of the assignment of the loan.

As I see it …

The REAL Transaction is between the investors, as an unnamed group, and the borrower(s). This is taken from the single transaction rule and step transaction doctrine that is used extensively in Tax Law. Since the REMIC trust is a tax creature, it seems all the more appropriate to use existing federal tax law decisions to decide the substance of these transactions.

If the money from the investors was actually channeled through the REMIC trust, through a bank account over which the Trustee for the REMIC trust had control, and if the Trustee had issued payment for the loan, and if that happened within the cutoff period, then if the loan was assigned during the cutoff period, and if the delivery of the documents called for in the PSA occurred within the cutoff period, then the transaction would be real and the paperwork would be real EXCEPT THAT

Where the originator of the loan was neither legally the lender nor legally a representative of the source of funds for the transaction, then by simple rules of contract, the originator was incapable of executing any transfer documents for the note or mortgage (deed of trust in nonjudicial states).

If the originator of the loan was not the lender, not the creditor, not a party who could legally execute a satisfaction of the mortgage and a cancellation of the note then who was?

Our answer is nobody, which I know is “counter-intuitive” — a euphemism for crazy conspiracy theorist. But here is why I know that the REMIC trust was never involved in the transaction and that the originator was never the source of funds except in those cases where securitization was never involved (less than 2% of all loans made, whether still existing or “satisfied” or “foreclosed”).

The broker dealer never intended for the REMIC trust to actually own the mortgage loans and caused the REMIC trust to issue mortgage bonds containing an indenture for repayment and ownership of the underlying loans. But there were never any underlying loans (except for some trusts created in the 1990’s). The prospectus said plainly that the excel spreadsheet attached to the prospectus contained loan information that would be replaced by the real loans once they were acquired. This is a practice on Wall Street called selling forward. In all other marketplaces, it is called fraud. But like short-selling, it is permissible on Wall Street.

The broker dealer never intended the investors to actually own the bonds either. Those were issued in street name nominee, non objecting status/ The broker dealer could report to the investor that the investor was the actual or equitable owner of the bonds in an end of month statement when in fact the promises in the Pooling and Servicing Agreement as to insurance, credit default swaps, overcollateralization (a violation of the terms of the promissory note executed by residential borrowers), cross collateralization (also a violation of the borrower’s note), guarantees, servicer advances and trust or trustee advances would all be payable, at the discretion of the broker dealer, to the broker dealer and perhaps never reported or paid to the “trust beneficiaries” who were in fact merely defrauded investors. The only reason the servicer advances were paid to the investors was to lull them into a false sense of security and to encourage them to buy still more of these empty (less than junk) bonds.

By re-creating the notes signed by residential borrowers as various different instruments, and there being no limit on the number of times it could be insured or subject to receiving the proceeds of credit default swaps, (and with the broker dealer being the Master Servicer with SOLE discretion as to whether to declare a credit event that was binding on the insurer, counter-party etc), the broker dealers were able to sell the loans multiple times and sell the bonds multiple times. The leverage at Bear Stearns stacked up to 42 times the actual transaction — for which the return was infinite because the Bear used investor money to do the deal.

Hence we know from direct evidence in the public domain that this was the plan for the “claim” of securitization — which is to say that there never was any securitization of any of the loans. The REMIC Trust was ignored, thus the PSA, servicer rights, etc. were all nonbinding, making all of them volunteers earning considerable money, undisclosed to the investors who would have been furious to see how their money was being used and the borrowers who didn’t see the train wreck coming even from 24 inches from the closing documents.

Before the first loan application was received (and obviously before the first “closing” occurred) the money had been taken from investors for the expressed purpose of funding loans through the REMIC Trust. The originator in all cases was subject to an assignment and assumption agreement which made the loan the property and liability of the counter-party to the A&A BEFORE the money was given to the borrower or paid out on behalf of the borrower. Without the investor, there would have been no loan. without the borrower, there would have been no investment (but there would still be an investor left holding the bag having advanced money for mortgage bonds issued by a REMIC trust that had no assets, and no income to pay the bonds off).

The closing agent never “noticed” that the funds did not come from the actual originator. Since the amount was right, the money went into the closing agent’s escrow account and was then applied by the escrow agent to fund the loan to the borrower. But the rules were that the originator was not allowed to touch or handle or process the money or any overpayment.

Wire transfer instructions specified that any overage was to be returned to the sender who was neither the originator nor any party in privity with the originator. This was intended to prevent moral hazard (theft, of the same type the banks themselves were committing) and to create a layer of bankruptcy remote, liability remote originators whose sins could only be visited upon the aggregators, and CDO conduits constructed by CDO managers in the broker dealers IF the proponent of a claim could pierce a dozen fire walls of corporate veils.

NOW to answer your question, if the REMIC trust was ignored, and was a sham used to steal money from pension funds, but the money of the pension fund landed on the “closing table,” then who should have been named on the note and mortgage (deed of trust beneficiary in non-judicial states)? Obviously the investor(s) should have been protected with a note and mortgage made out in their name or in the name of their entity. It wasn’t.

And the originator was intentionally isolated from privity with the source of funds. That means to me, and I assume you agree, that the investor(s) should have been on the note as payee, the investor(s) should have been on the mortgage as mortgagees (or beneficiaries under the deed of trust) but INSTEAD a stranger to the transaction with no money in the deal allowed their name to be rented as though they were the actual lender.

In turn it was this third party stranger nominee straw-man who supposedly executed assignments, endorsements, and other instruments of power or transfer (sometimes long after they went out of business) on a note and mortgage over which they had no right to control and in which they had no interest and for which they could suffer no loss.

Thus the paperwork that should have been used was never created, executed or delivered. The paperwork that that was created referred to a transaction between the named parties that never occurred. No state allows equitable mortgages, nor should they. But even if that theory was somehow employed here, it would be in favor of the individual investors who actually suffered the loss rather than the foreclosing entity who bears no risk of loss on the loan given to the borrower at closing. They might have other claims against numerous parties including the borrower, but those claims are unliquidated and unsecured.

The secured party, the identified creditor, the payee on the note, the mortgagee on the mortgage, the beneficiary under the deed of trust should have been the investor(s) — not the originator, not the aggregator, not the servicer, not any REMIC Trust, not any Trustee of a REMIC Trust, and not any Trustee substituted by a false beneficiary on a deed of Trust, not the master servicer and not even the broker dealer. And certainly not whoever is pretending to be a legal party in interest who, without injury to themselves or anyone they represent, could or should force the forfeiture of property in which they have no interest — all to the detriment of the investor-lenders and the borrowers.

Why any court would allow the conduits and bookkeepers to take over the show to the obvious detriment and damage to the real parties in interest is a question that only legal historians will be able to answer.

Don’t Admit the Default

Kudos again to Jim Macklin for sitting in for me last night. Excellent job — but don’t get too comfortable in my chair :). Lots of stuff in another mini-seminar packed into 28 minutes of talk.

A big point made by the attorney guest Charles Marshall, with which I obviously agree, is don’t admit the default in a foreclosure unless that is really what you mean to do. I have been saying for 8 years that lawyers and pro se litigants and Petitioners in bankruptcy proceedings have been cutting their own throats by stating outright or implying that the default exists. It probably doesn’t exist, even though it SEEMS like it MUST exist since the borrower stopped paying.

There is not a default just because a borrower stops paying. The default occurs when the CREDITOR DOESN’T GET PAID. Until the false game of “securitization started” there was no difference between the two — i.e., when the borrower stopped paying the creditor didn’t get paid. But that is not the case in 96% of all residential loan transactions between 2001 and the present. Today there are multiple ways for the creditor to get paid besides the servicer receiving the borrower’s payment. the Courts are applying yesterday’s law without realizing that today’s facts are different.

Whether the creditor got paid and is still being paid is a question of fact that must be determined in a hearing where evidence is presented. All indications from the Pooling and Servicing Agreements, Distribution Reports, existing lawsuits from investors, insurers, counterparties in other hedge contracts like credit default swaps — they all indicate that there were multiple channels for payment that had little if anything to do with an individual borrower making payments to the servicer. Most Trust beneficiaries get paid regardless of whether the borrower makes payment, under provisions of the PSA for servicer advances, Trustee advances or some combination of those two plus the other co-obligors mentioned above.

Why would you admit a default on the part of the creditor’s account when you don’t have access to the money trail to identify the creditor? Why would you implicitly admit that the creditor has even been identified? Why would you admit a payment was due under a note and mortgage (or deed of trust) that were void front the start?

The banks have done a good job of getting courts to infer that the payment was due, to infer that the creditor is identified, to infer that the payment to the creditor wasn’t received by the creditor, and to infer that the balance shown by the servicer and the history of the creditor’s account can be shown by reference only to the servicer’s account. But that isn’t true. So why would you admit to something that isn’t true and why would you admit to something you know nothing about.

You don’t know because only the closing agent, originator and all the other “securitization” parties have any idea about the trail of money — the real transactions — and how the money was handled. And they are all suing the broker dealers and each other stating that fraud was committed and mismanagement of the multiple channels of payments received for, or on behalf of the trust or trust beneficiaries.

In the end it is exactly that point that will reach critical mass in the courts, when judges realize that the creditor has no default in its business records because it got paid — and the foreclosure by intermediaries in the false securitization scheme is a sham.

In California the issue they discussed last night about choice of remedies is also what I have been discussing for the last 8 years, but I must admit they said it better than I ever did. Either go for the money or go for the property — you can’t do both. And if you  elected a remedy or assumed a risk, you can’t back out of it later — which is why the point was made last night that the borrower was a third party beneficiary of the transaction with investors which is why it is a single transaction — if there is no borrower, there wold be no investment. If there was no investment, there would have been no borrower. The transaction could not exist without both the investor and the borrower.

Bravo to Jim Macklin, Dan Edstrom and Charles Marshall, Esq. And remember don’t act on these insights without consulting with a licensed attorney who knows about this area of the law.

Foreclosures on Nonexistent Mortgages

I have frequently commented that one of the first things I learned on Wall Street was the maxim that the more complicated the “product” the more the buyer is forced to rely on the seller for information. Michael Lewis, in his new book, focuses on high frequency trading — a term that is not understood by most people, even if they work on Wall Street. The way it works is that the computers are able to sort out buy or sell orders, aggregate them and very accurately predict an uptick or down-tick in a stock or bond.

Then the same investment bank that is taking your order to buy or sell submits its own order ahead of yours. They are virtually guaranteed a profit, at your expense, although the impact on individual investors is small. Aggregating those profits amounts to a private tax on large and small investors amounting to billions of dollars, according to Lewis and I agree.

As Lewis points out, the trader knows nothing about what happens after they place an order. And it is the complexity of technology and practices that makes Wall Street behavior so opaque — clouded in a veil of secrecy that is virtually impenetrable to even the regulators. That opacity first showed up decades ago as Wall Street started promoting increasing complex investments. Eventually they evolved to collateralized debt obligations (CDO’s) and those evolved into what became known as the mortgage crisis.

in the case of mortgage CDO’s, once again the investors knew nothing about what happened after they placed their order and paid for it. Once again, the Wall Street firms were one step ahead of them, claiming ownership of (1) the money that investors paid, (2) the mortgage bonds the investors thought they were buying and (3) the loans the investors thought were being financed through REMIC trusts that issued the mortgage bonds.

Like high frequency trading, the investor receives a report that is devoid of any of the details of what the investment bank actually did with their money, when they bought or originated a mortgage, through what entity,  for how much and what terms. The blending of millions of mortgages enabled the investment banks to create reports that looked good but completely hid the vulnerability of the investors, who were continuing to buy mortgage bonds based upon those reports.

The truth is that in most cases the investment banks took the investors money and didn’t follow any of the rules set forth in the CDO documents — but used those documents when it suited them to make even more money, creating the illusion that loans had been securitized when in fact the securitization vehicle (REMIC Trust) had been completely ignored.

There were several scenarios under which property and homeowners were made vulnerable to foreclosure even if they had no mortgage on their property. A recent story about an elderly couple coming “home” to find their door padlocked, possessions removed and then the devastating news that their home had been sold at foreclosure auction is an example of the extreme risk of this system to ALL homeowners, whether they have or had a mortgage or not. This particular couple had paid off their mortgage 15 years ago. The bank who foreclosed on the nonexistent mortgage and the recovery company that invaded their home said it was a mistake. Their will be a confidential settlement where once again the veil of secrecy will be raised.

That type of “mistake” was a once in a million possibility before Wall Street directly entered the mortgage loan business. So why have we read so many stories about foreclosures where there was no mortgage, or was no default, or where the mortgage loan was with someone other than the party who foreclosed?

The answer lies in how these properties enter the system. When a bank sells its portfolio of loans into the system of aggregation of loans, they might accidentally or intentionally include loans for which they had already received full payment. Maybe they issued a satisfaction maybe they didn’t. It might also include loans where life insurance or PMI paid off the loan.

Or, as is frequently the case, the “loan” was sold after the homeowner was merely investigating the possibility of a mortgage or reverse mortgage. As soon as they made application, since approval was certain, the “originator” entered the data into a platform maintained by the aggregator, like Countrywide, where it was included in some “securitization package.

If the loan closed then it was frequently sold again with the new dates and data, so it would like like a different loan. Then the investment banks, posing as the lenders, obtained insurance, TARP, guarantee proceeds and other payments from “co-obligors” on each version of the loan that was sold, thus essentially creating the equivalent of new sales on loans that were guaranteed to be foreclosed either because there was no mortgage or because the terms were impossible for the borrower to satisfy.

The LPS roulette wheel in Jacksonville is the hub where it is decided WHO will be the foreclosing party and for HOW MUCH they will claim is owed, without any allowance for the multiple sales, proceeds of insurance, FDIC loss sharing, actual ownership of the loans or anything else. Despite numerous studies by those in charge of property records and academic studies, the beat goes on, foreclosing by entities who are “strangers to the transaction” (San Francisco study), on documents that were intentionally destroyed (Catherine Ann Porter study at University of Iowa), against homeowners who had no idea what was going on, using the money of investors who had no idea what was going on, and all based upon a triple tiered documentary system where the contractual meeting of the minds could never occur.

The first tier was the Prospectus and Pooling and Servicing Agreement that was used to obtain money from investors under false pretenses.

The second tier consisted of a whole subset of agreements, contracts, insurance, guarantees all payable to the investment banks instead of the investors.

And the third tier was the “closing documents” in which the borrower, contrary to Federal (TILA), state and common law was as clueless as the investors as to what was really happening, the compensation to intermediaries and the claims of ownership that would later be revealed despite the borrower’s receipt of “disclosure” of the identity of his lender and the terms of compensation by all people associated with the origination of the loan.

The beauty of this plan for Wall Street is that nobody from any of the tiers could make direct claims to the benefits of any of the contracts. It has also enabled then to foreclose more than once on the same home in the name of different creditors, making double claims for guarantee from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FDIC loss sharing, insurance and credit default swaps.

The ugly side of the plan is still veiled, for the most part in secrecy. even when the homeowner gets close in court, there is a confidential settlement, sometimes for millions of dollars to keep the lawyer and the homeowner from disclosing the terms or the reasons why millions of dollars was paid to a homeowner to keep his mouth shut on a loan that was only $200,000 at origination.

This is exactly why I tell people that most of the time their case will be settled either in discovery where a Judge agrees you are entitled to peak behind the curtain, or at trial where it becomes apparent that the witness who is “familiar” with the corporate records really knows nothing and ahs nothing about the the real history of the loan transaction.

Damages Rising: Wrongful Foreclosure Costs Wells Fargo $3.2 Million

Damage awards for wrongful foreclosure are rising across the country. In New Mexico a judge issued a $3.2 million judgment (including $2.7 million in punitive damages) against Wells Fargo for foreclosing on a man’s home after his death even though he had an insurance policy through the bank that paid the remaining balance on his mortgage. The balance “owed” on the mortgage was $125,000. Despite the fact that the bank knew about the insurance (because it was purchased through the bank) Wells Fargo continued to pursue foreclosure, ignoring the claim for insurance. It is because of cases like this that people are asking “why would they do that?”

The answer is what I’ve been saying for years.  Where a loan is subject to claims of securitization, and the investment banks lied to insurers, investors, guarantors and other co-obligors, they most likely have been paid many times for the same loan and never gave credit to the investors. By not crediting the investors they created the illusion of a higher balance that was due on the loan. They also created the illusion of a default that probably never occurred. But by pursuing foreclosure and foreclosure sale, they compounded the illusion and avoided claims for refund and repayment received from third parties and created claims for recovery of servicer advances. In many foreclosures that I have  reviewed, payments received from the FDIC under loss-sharing were never taken into account. Thus the bank collects money repeatedly for a loss it never incurred.

This case is another example of why I insist on following the money. By following the money trail you will discover that the documents upon which the foreclosure relies referred to  fictitious transactions. The documents are worthless, but nevertheless accepted in court unless a proper objection is made based upon preserving issues for trial and appeal by proper pleading and discovery.

Lawyers should take note of this profit opportunity. Most homeowners are looking for attorneys to take cases on contingency. Typical contingency fee is 40%. If these lawyers were on a typical contingency fee arrangement, their payday would have been around $1.2 million.

I should add that for every one of these judgments that are reported, I hear about dozens of confidential settlements that are of similar nature, to wit: clear title on the house, damages and attorneys fees.

Wells Fargo Ordered to Pay $3.2 Million for “Shocking” Foreclosure

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

The Devil Is In the Details: Summary of Issues

Editor’s note: in preparing a complex motion for the court in several related cases I ended up writing the following which I would like to share with my readers. As you can see, the issues that were once thought to be simple and susceptible to rocket docket determination are in fact complex civil cases involving issues that are anything but simple.

This is a guide and general information. DO NOT USE THIS IF YOU ARE NOT A LICENSED ATTORNEY. THESE ISSUES ARE BOTH PROCEDURALLY AND SUBSTANTIVELY ABOVE THE AVERAGE KNOWLEDGE OF A LAYMAN. CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY LICENSED IN THE GEOGRAPHICAL AREA IN WHICH THE PROPERTY IS LOCATED.

If you are seeking litigation support or referrals to attorneys or representation please call 520-405-1688.

SUMMARY OF ISSUES TO BE CONSIDERED

 

1)   Whether a self proclaimed or actual Trustee for a REMIC Trust is empowered to bring a foreclosure action or any action to enforce the note and mortgage contrary to the terms of the Trust document — i.e., the Pooling and Servicing Agreement (PSA) — which New York and Delaware law declare to be actions that are VOID not VOIDABLE; specifically if the Trust document names a different trustee or empowers only the servicer to bring enforcement actions against borrowers.

2)   Whether a Trustee or Servicer may initiate actions or take legal positions that are contrary to the interests of the Trust Beneficiaries — in this case creating a liability for the Trust Beneficiaries for receipt of overpayments that are not credited to the account receivable from the Defendant Borrowers by their agents (the servicer and the alleged Trustee) and the creation of liability to LaSalle Bank or the Trust by virtue of questionable changes in Trustees.

3)   Whether US Bank is the Plaintiff or should be allowed to claim that it is the Trustee for the Plaintiff Trust. Without Amendment to the Complaint, US Bank seeks to be substituted as Plaintiff in lieu of Bank of America, as successor by merger with LaSalle Bank, trustee for the Plaintiff Trust according to the Trust Document (the Pooling and Servicing Agreement) Section 8.09.

a)    A sub-issue to this is whether Bank of America is actually is the successor by merger to LaSalle Bank or if CitiMortgage is the successor to LaSalle Bank, as Trustee of the Plaintiff Trust — there being conflicting submissions on the SEC.gov website on which it appears that CitiMortgage is the actual party with ownership of ABN AMRO and therefore LaSalle Bank its subsidiary.

b)   In addition, whether opposing counsel, who claims to represent U.S. Bank may be deemed attorney for the Trust if U.S. Bank is not the Trustee for the Trust.

i)     Whether opposing counsel’s interests are adverse to its purported client or the Trust or the Trust beneficiaries, particularly with respect to their recent push for turnover of rents despite full payment to creditors through non stop servicer advances.

4)   Whether any Trustee for the Trust can bring any enforcement action for the debt including foreclosure, assignment of rents or any other relief.

5)   Whether the documentation of a loan at the base of the tree of the assignments and transfers refers to any actual transaction in which the Payee on the note and the Mortgagee on the Mortgage.

a)    Or, as is alleged by Defendants, if the actual transaction occurred when a wire transfer was received by the closing agent at the loan closing with Defendant Borrowers from an entity that was a stranger to the documentation executed by Defendant Borrowers.

b)   Whether the debt arose by virtue of the receipt of money from a creditor or if it arose by execution of documentation, or both, resulting in double liability for a single loan and double payment.

6)   Whether the assignment of mortgage is void on its face as a fabrication because it refers to an event that occurred long after the date shown on the assignment.

7)   Whether the non-stop servicer advances in all of the cases involving these Defendants and U.S. Bank negates the default or the allegation of default by the Trust beneficiaries, the Trust or the Trustee, regardless of the identity of the Trustee.

a)    Whether a DEFAULT exists or ever existed where non stop servicer advances have been paid in full.

b)   Whether the creditor, under the debt obligation of the Defendant borrowers can be allowed to receive more than the amount due as principal , interest and expenses. In this case borrower payments, non stop servicer advances, insurance, credit default swap proceeds and other payments by co-obligors who paid without subrogation or expectation of receiving refunds from the Trust Beneficiaries.

c)    Whether a new debt arises by operation of law as a result of receipt of third party defendants in which a claim might be made by the party who advanced payment to the creditor, resulting in a decrease the account receivable and a corresponding decrease in the borrower’s account (loan) payable.

i)     Whether the new debt is secured by the recorded mortgage that the Plaintiff relies upon without the borrower executing a security instrument in which the real property is pledged as collateral for the advances by third parties.

8)   Whether turnover of rents can relate back to the original default, or default letter, effectively creating a final judgment for damages before evidence is in the court record.

9)   Whether the requirements of a demand letter to Defendants for turnover of rents can be waived by the trial Court, contrary to Florida Statutes.

a)    Whether equity demands that the turnover demand be denied in view of the fact that the actual creditors — the Trust Beneficiaries of the alleged Trust were paid in full up to and including the present time.

b)   Whether, as argued by opposing counsel, the notice of default letter sent to Defendant Borrowers is an acceptable substitute to a demand letter for turnover of the rents if the letter did not mention turnover of rents.

c)    Whether the notice of default letter and acceleration was valid or accurate in view of the servicer non-stop advances and receipt of other third party payments reducing the account receivable of the Trust beneficiaries (creditors).

i)     Whether there was a difference between the account status shown by the Servicer (chase and now SPS) and the account status actually shown by the creditor — the Trust Beneficiaries who were clearly paid in full.

10)         Whether the Plaintiff Trust waived the DUE ON SALE provision in the alleged Mortgage.

a)    Whether the Plaintiff can rely upon the due on sale provision in the mortgage to allege default without amendment to their pleadings.

11)         Whether sanctions should apply against opposing counsel for failure to disclose essential facts relating to the security of the alleged creditor.

Whether this (these cases) case should be treated off the “rocket docket” for foreclosures and transferred to general civil litigation for complex issues

Federal Judge Slams Wells Fargo for Violation of Debt Collector’s Act in Florida

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: this is why I am encouraging attorneys to take cases involving foreclosure, even if the foreclosure itself is problematic. The FDCPA federal counterpart essentially states the same rules. These cases allow for damages and recovery of attorney fees that might aid in the cost of protracted litigation by a pretender lender. Most of my clients are receiving these contacts even after they have expressly told the caller that they are represented by counsel and even that there is a lawsuit pending. I would add that there is clearly a question as to whether the offer of modification is an admission against interest that the loan is in default and that therefore the current “default” is waived.

Danielle Kelley of our firm Garfield, Kelley and White has been writing about this for some time. She firmly believes, and I agree with her, that the time has come to file these actions. I would suggest that a debt validation letter be sent under the FDCPA and that the “borrower” obtain a title and securitization report as well, in order to shore up the potential setoffs and counterclaims against the pretender lender. But the good part of this law is that even if the caller is in fact the true lender or creditor, they must follow the rules — or pay the penalty.

2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172716, *


ANDREW CONKLIN, Plaintiff, v. WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., Defendant.

Case No. 6:13-cv-1246-Orl-37KRS

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA, ORLANDO DIVISION

2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172716

December 8, 2013, Decided
December 9, 2013, Filed 

CORE TERMS: collection, mortgage, debt-collection, phone, cell, collect a debt, telephone, solicitations, exemption, consumer, foreclosure, landline, factual allegations, security interest, express consent, prerecorded, foreclose, servicer, exempt, foreclosure action, emergency calls, business relationship, cellular phones, telephone-solicitation, categorically, communicate, pre-suit, exempted, notice

COUNSEL:  [*1] For Andrew Conklin, Plaintiff: Richard S. Shuster, LEAD ATTORNEY, Shuster & Saben, LLC, Satellite Beach, FL.

For Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., a foreign corporation, Defendant: Aaron S. Weiss, LEAD ATTORNEY, Carlton Fields, PA, Miami, FL; April Y. Walker, LEAD ATTORNEY, Carlton Fields, PA, Orlando, FL; Michael Keith Winston, LEAD ATTORNEY, Carlton Fields, PA – West Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, FL.

JUDGES: ROY B. DALTON, JR., United States District Judge.

OPINION BY: ROY B. DALTON, JR.

OPINION

ORDER

This cause is before the Court on the following:

1. Plaintiff’s Complaint (Doc. 2), filed August 15, 2013;

2. Defendant Wells Fargo’s  Click for Enhanced Coverage Linking SearchesMotion to Dismiss Plaintiff Andrew Conklin’s Complaint and Supporting Legal Memorandum (Doc. 12), filed August 28, 2013; and

3. Plaintiff Andrew Conklin’s Response to Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 18), filed September 23, 2013.

Upon consideration, the Court finds that Defendant’s motion is due to be denied.

BACKGROUND

Defendant is the loan servicer on Plaintiff’s mortgage. (Doc. 2, ¶ 4.) In 2010, Defendant sued Plaintiff to foreclose on his house. (Doc. 18, p. 1.) Defendant allegedly continued to communicate about the foreclosure directly to Plaintiff after he was represented by counsel; this led Plaintiff  [*2] to file a previous Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”) claim against Defendant. (Id. at 1-2.) That case later settled. (Id. at 2.)

Then, earlier this year, Defendant allegedly resumed calling Plaintiff’s cell phone. (Doc. 2, ¶¶ 16-18.) After one of the calls, Defendant left a voicemail stating: “This is . . . your mortgage servicer, calling in regards to your mortgage. . . . This is an attempt to collect a debt . . . .” (Id. ¶ 16.) Plaintiff accordingly filed this suit in state court, alleging that Defendant has violated the FCCPA and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). (Id. ¶¶ 10-26.) Defendant removed the case to this Court on the basis of federal-question jurisdiction. (Doc. 1.)

Defendant now moves to dismiss the Complaint, arguing that it fails to state either an FCCPA or a TCPA claim. 1 (Doc. 12.) Plaintiff opposes. (Doc. 18.) This matter is ripe for the Court’s adjudication.

FOOTNOTES

1 Defendant also argues that Plaintiff failed to give pre-suit notice, which was allegedly required by Plaintiff’s mortgage. (Doc. 12, pp. 2-4.) First, this suit is about the calls, not the mortgage; thus, the mortgage is not “central” to the Complaint, and the Court declines to consider  [*3] it at the motion-to-dismiss stage. See Day v. Taylor, 400 F.3d 1272, 1276 (11th Cir. 2005). Second, the Court is skeptical that a contractual requirement of pre-suit notice to allow the other party an opportunity to cure a breach is applicable to this action, which is not on the contract itself. Nevertheless, because the Court declines to consider this argument now, it will not preclude Defendant from raising it at a later point.

STANDARDS

A plaintiff must plead “a short and plain statement of the claim.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). On a motion to dismiss, the Court limits its consideration to “the well-pleaded factual allegations.” La Grasta v. First Union Sec., Inc., 358 F.3d 840, 845 (11th Cir. 2004). The factual allegations in the complaint must “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 167 L. Ed. 2d 929 (2007). In making this plausibility determination, the Court must accept the factual allegations as true; however, this “tenet . . . is inapplicable to legal conclusions.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 173 L. Ed. 2d 868 (2009). A pleading that offers mere “labels and conclusions” is therefore insufficient. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

DISCUSSION

I. FCCPA

The  [*4] FCCPA provides that “[i]n collecting consumer debts, no person shall . . . [c]ommunicate with a debtor if the person knows that the debtor is represented by an attorney with respect to such debt . . . .” Fla. Stat. § 559.72(18). Defendant argues that Plaintiff has failed to state an FCCPA claim because: (1) enforcing a security instrument does not amount to debt collection within the meaning of the FCCPA; (2) Plaintiff has not alleged that Defendant was attempting to collect a debt; and (3) Plaintiff has not alleged that Defendant “communicated” with him within the meaning of the FCCPA. (Doc. 12, pp. 4-6.) The Court disagrees.

It is true that “a mortgage foreclosure action itself” does not qualify as debt collection under the FCCPA. Trent v. Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys., Inc., 618 F. Supp. 2d 1356, 1360-61 (M.D. Fla. 2007) (Corrigan, J.) (noting that Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) case law applies to FCCPA cases); see also Warren v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 342 F. App’x 458, 460 (11th Cir. 2009) (“[F]oreclosing on a security interest is not debt collection activity [for the purposes of § 1692g of the FDCPA].”). However, the action at issue here is not the invocation  [*5] of “legal process to foreclose,” see Trent, 618 F. Supp. 2d at 1361, but rather debt collection calls made outside that judicial process. It is not as if these calls were made to notify Plaintiff of the foreclosure action or to attempt to comply with the statute. Cf. Diaz v. Fla. Default Law Grp., P.L., No. 3:09-cv-524-J-32MCR, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68541, 2011 WL 2456049, at *4 (M.D. Fla. Jan. 3, 2011) (Corrigan, J.) (“The timing of the filing of the foreclosure complaints [just weeks before the communications] confirms that defendant was not using the [alleged debt collection] letters in an attempt to collect the debt outside the foreclosure process.”). Rather, the calls were made years into the underlying foreclosure action, and after Plaintiff previously filed an FCCPA claim for this very same behavior, in an explicit attempt to collect a debt. (Doc. 2, ¶ 16 (“This is . . . your mortgage servicer, calling in regards to your mortgage. . . . This is an attempt to collect a debt . . . .”).) To try to claim now that these calls were made in an attempt to foreclose the security interest rather than to collect a debt is simply disingenuous. See Reese v. Ellis, Painter, Ratterree & Adams, LLP, 678 F.3d 1211, 1217 (11th Cir. 2012)  [*6] (holding that a letter explicitly stating that the defendant was attempting to collect a debt plainly constituted debt-collection activity, and noting that “[t]he fact that the letter and documents relate to the enforcement of a security interest does not prevent them from also relating to the collection of a debt”). To give credence to that argument would be to give carte blanche to any holder of secured debts to harass consumers in the process of foreclosure, and as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit aptly noted, “That can’t be right. It isn’t.” Id. at 1218.

Plaintiff has alleged that Defendant bypassed his lawyer and called him directly to discuss payment on his mortgage and to attempt to collect a debt. (Doc. 2, ¶¶ 16-18.) This is precisely the kind of behavior that the FCCPA was designed to prevent. The Court therefore finds that Plaintiff has sufficiently stated an FCCPA claim, and Defendant’s motion is due to be denied on that ground.

II. TCPA

The TCPA prohibits making any call using an autodialer to any cell phone, except for emergency calls or calls where the called party has given prior consent. 47 U.S.C. § 227(b)(1)(A)(iii). Defendant argues that all debt-collection  [*7] calls, including those made to cell phones, are categorically exempt from the TCPA. (Doc. 12, p. 7.) However, the case on which Defendant relies for that proposition, Meadows v. Franklin Collection Serv., Inc., 414 F. App’x 230 (11th Cir. 2011), is distinguishable from the one at bar.

In Meadows, the plaintiff was suing under two provisions of the TCPA which are inapplicable here: § 227(b)(1)(B), regarding landlines, 2 and § 227(c)(5), regarding telephone solicitations. 3 Id. at 235-36. Neither of those provisions apply in this case, as Plaintiff is suing under § 227(b)(1)(A)(iii), regarding cell phones. (See Doc. 2, ¶ 21.) Though Meadows does broadly state that “the FCC has determined that all debt-collection circumstances are excluded from the TCPA’s coverage,” that statement is dicta and is also qualified by the narrow holding of the case, which was specifically based on the landline and telephone-solicitation provisions. 414 F. App’x at 235.

FOOTNOTES

2 The court held that the defendant did not violate the landline provision because it had an existing business relationship with the intended recipient of the call and the call was made for a commercial, non-solicitation purpose—both explicit  [*8] exemptions from that provision of the TCPA. Meadows, 414 F. App’x at 235 (citing In re Rules & Regulations Implementing Tel. Consumer Prot. Act of 1991, 7 FCC Rcd. 8752, 8773 (Oct. 16, 1992) (“[P]rerecorded debt collection calls would be exempt from the prohibitions on such calls to residences as: (1) calls from a party with whom the consumer has an established business relationship, and (2) commercial calls which do not adversely affect privacy rights and which do not transmit an unsolicited advertisement.” (emphasis added)).

3 The court held that the defendant did not violate the telephone-solicitation provision because the calls made were debt collections, not telephone solicitations. Meadows, 414 F. App’x at 236. The court rightly noted that the FCC has determined that debt-collection calls are “not subject to the TCPA’s separate restrictions on telephone solicitations.Id. (citation and internal quotation marks omitted) (emphasis added).

Further, this Court must read that statement in Meadows in conjunction with the FCC ruling on which it relies, which provides that “prior express consent [in debt-collection calls made to cell phones] is deemed to be granted only if the wireless  [*9] number was provided by the consumer to the creditor, and that such number was provided during the transaction that resulted in the debt owed.” In re Rules & Regulations Implementing Tel. Consumer Prot. Act of 1991, Request of ACA Int’l for Clarification & Declaratory Ruling, 23 FCC Rcd. 559, 564-65 (Dec. 28, 2007) (FCC Ruling). This ruling clarifies that not all debt-collection calls to cell phones are categorically exempted from the TCPA—unlike the broad exemptions for landline debt-collection calls and telephone solicitations, which are based on the content of the call itself. See id. at 561-62 (“[P]rerecorded debt collection calls are exempted from Section 227(b)(1)(B) of the TCPA which prohibits prerecorded or artificial voice messages to residences.”), 565 (“[C]alls solely for the purpose of debt collection are not telephone solicitations . . . . Therefore, calls regarding debt collection . . . are not subject to the TCPA’s separate restrictions on ‘telephone solicitations.'”). Rather, with regard to cell phones, a debt collector must show that the debtor provided the number during the debt transaction; only then will a debt-collection call fall under the consent exception in  [*10] the cell-phone provision. See Gager v. Dell Fin. Servs., LLC, 727 F.3d 265, 273 (3d Cir. 2013) (“The only exemptions in the TCPA that apply to cellular phones are for emergency calls and calls made with prior express consent. Unlike the exemptions that apply exclusively to residential lines, there is no . . . debt collection exemption that applies to autodialed calls made to cellular phones. Thus, the content-based exemptions invoked by [the defendant] are inapposite.”).

In sum, debt-collection calls to cell phones are only exempt from the TCPA if the debtor had prior express consent, in the form of a number provided by the debtor during the transaction giving rise to that debt. See FCC Ruling, 23 FCC Rcd. at 564-65. As Plaintiff has pled that he did not give consent or alternatively revoked consent (Doc. 2, ¶¶ 22-23), he has adequately stated a TCPA claim, and Defendant’s motion is due to be denied on that ground. It will be Defendant’s task to prove consent at the summary-judgment stage. See FCC Ruling, 23 FCC Rcd. at 565 (putting the burden on the caller to show consent); see, e.g., Osorio v. State Farm Bank, F.S.B., 859 F. Supp. 2d 1326, 1330-31 (S.D. Fla. 2012) (reviewing the issue  [*11] of consent and revocation on summary judgment).

CONCLUSION

Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Defendant Wells Fargo’s  Click for Enhanced Coverage Linking SearchesMotion to Dismiss Plaintiff Andrew Conklin’s Complaint and Supporting Legal Memorandum (Doc. 12) is DENIED.

DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers in Orlando, Florida, on December 8, 2013.

/s/ Roy B. Dalton Jr.

ROY B. DALTON JR.

United States District Judge

 

Insurance and Hedge Proceeds Applied to Loan Balances

One of the more controversial statements I have made is that certain types of payments from third party sources should be applied, pro rata, against loan balances. Some have stated that the collateral source rule bars using third party payments as offset to the debt. But that rule is used in tort cases and contract cases are different. There are certain types of payments, like guarantees from Fannie and Freddie that might not be susceptible to use as offset because they are caused by the default of the debtor and because they are not paid until the foreclosure is complete.

But the insurance, credit default swaps and other hedge products that caused the banks to receive payment are a different story. Those are not paid because of a default by any particular borrower but rather are caused by a unilateral declaration of a “credit event” declared by the Master Servicer and are paid to the holder of the mortgage bonds. The mortgage bonds are issued by a trust based upon the advance of money by investors who wish to pool their money into an asset pool and receive income with what was thought to be a minimum of risk.

Since the broker-dealers (investment banks) were acting as agents for the trust and the bond holders, any money received by them should have first been allocated to the trust, then pro rata to the bond holders. Whether or not this money was actually forwarded to the bond holders is irrelevant if the investment banks were the agents of the investment vehicle and thus owed a duty to the investors to whom they sold the mortgage bonds.

Logic dictates that if the money was paid to the banks as “holders” of the bond (because they were issued in street name as nominee securities) that the balance owed by the trust to the investors was correspondingly reduced — reflecting the devaluation of the bonds declared by the master servicer based upon such criteria as the lack of liquidity of the bonds that had been trading freely on a weekly basis, or because of the severe drop in real estate prices down to their actual values, or because of other factors.

It should be noted that the declaration of the banks is unilateral and in their sole discretion and not subject to challenge by anyone because the declaration creates an irrefutable presumption that the content of the declaration is true. Thus the insurance company must pay, the credit default swap counterparty must pay and other hedge partners must pay as a result of an act by the bank, not the investor nor the borrower.

All the loans contained in the asset pool subject to the declared credit event are affected. And since the reason for the declaration has little relationship to defaults, and plenty of other more important reasons, the amount owed to investors is reduced by the receipt of the payments by their agent, the bank. That means the account receivable of the lender is reduced, regardless of which bank account the money happens to be deposited.

If the account receivable is reduced before, during or after a delinquency of the borrower (assuming the loan is actually in existence) then the borrowers’ balances should be reduced, pro rata for each loan in the asset pool that was the subject of the declaration of a credit event. It is therefore my opinion that the homeowner could and probably should file an affirmative defense for offset for the pro rata share of insurance, credit default swaps etc.

There is one more source that should be considered for offset. Several investors have made claims against the banks claiming that their money was misused and that the terms of the loan were not followed including, bad underwriting and unenforceable documents created at closing. Many of them have already settled those claims and received payment, thus reducing their account receivable from the trust (and by pure logic reducing, dollar for dollar the account payable from the trust). Since the sole source of payment on the bond is the payment of the mortgages, it follows that by utilizing the most simple of accounting standards, the balance owed by the homeowner would be correspondingly be reduced, pro rata, dollar for dollar.

The fact that the underwriting was bad, the loans were not viable or enforceable and based upon inflated appraisals and lies about the income of the borrower, is not something caused by the borrower. The fact that the money was paid to all of the investors in that particular asset pool means that each investor should get a share equal to the amount of money they invested compared to all the money that was invested in that pool.

As to figuring out how much of the offset goes to the borrower’s account payable, it should be calculated in the same way. The amount of the borrower’s debt should be compared with the total amount of loans in the asset pool. This percentage should be applied against all third party payments that did not arise out of the default by the borrowers. In fact, it should be applied against all borrowers whose loans were claimed by that asset pool, whether they were in default or not. This would be grounds for a claim by people who are “current” in their payments for a credit or refund of the amount received from insurance, credit default swaps, or payments by the banks in settlement of investors’ claims of fraud.

This approach should be brought up very early in litigation so that there is plenty of time to pursue the discovery required to determine the amount received and the proper calculation of pro rata shares. If you do it at trial, the best you can hope for is that the judge will take notice of the fact that the foreclosing party only brought part of the documents relating to the loan instead of all of them, which should be the subject of a subpoena for the designated witness of the bank to bring with her or him all of the documents relating to the subject loan or any instrument deriving its value in whole or in part from the subject loan’s existence.

Thus at trial you can have a two pronged attack, getting them coming and going. The first is of course the fact that the originator did not fund the loan and that the break between the money trail (actual transactions) and the paper trail (fictitious transactions) occurred at the closing table. In most cases that is true, but it can be replaced or buttressed by the fact that the same argument holds true for acquired loans that were previously originated. The endorsement of the note or assignment of mortgage is a fictitious instrument if there was no sale of the loan. The important thing is to talk about the money first and then use that to show that the documents are fabricated relating to no real transaction.

Then you also have the argument of offset which hopefully by then you will have set up by discovery.

Practice Note: Many lawyers are accepting fee retainers far below the level that would support properly litigating these cases. Now that the marketplace has matured, lawyers should reconsider their pricing and their prosecution of the defenses, affirmative defenses and counterclaims. Even clients who announce a goal of just staying as long as possible without paying rent or mortgage are probably saying that because they think they owe more money than is actually the case.

The rules matter — CASE DISMISSED, without prejudice

For assistance with your mortgage go to http://www.livingliesstore.com or call 520-405-1688. Remember these issues not only apply to homeowners not paying their mortgages. They apply to everyone who has a mortgage or who has acquired title from someone who had a mortgage that was subject to claims of securitization.

Lenders and buyers can get a risk assessment report and recommendations to clear title from GGKW, with its home office in Tallahassee. Those in litigation can get information and their lawyers can get litigation support by calling 850-765-1236.

For information on direct representation of clients in Florida, call 954-495-9867 in Broward County, and 850-765-1236 for Northern Florida. GGKW is the acronym for Garfield, Gwaltney, Kelley and White, a law firm with offices currently in Tallahassee and Fort Lauderdale.

———————————————————————————–

When the dam breaks, the speed with which the water starts moving increases dramatically at first before it subsides. This is what is happening in the courts. Judges are increasingly becoming aware as they read the newspaper, that the big broker-dealer banks at the center (Master Servicer) of this mess in mortgages, committed civil fraud, and probably committed criminal fraud in connection with the sourcing of money for originating or acquiring loans from homeowners. The presumption of trustworthiness of the banks is gone, except for a fast shrinking group of judges around the country.

  • If there was fraud at the top of the sham securitization chain then why wouldn’t there by fraud at the bottom?
  • And if there was fraud in the origination of the loan, or the sourcing of money for the loan, then why wouldn’t there be a question of whether the note or mortgage or both were invalid empty pieces of paper referring to a non-existent transaction?
  • And therefore might that not explain why the banks do not allege in judicial states that a loan was made by the payee listed on the note?
  • Why didn’t the Trust show up in the County records within 90 days of its creation and right on the the original note and mortgage?
  • Why wouldn’t there be a question about whether there was any lien to foreclose because the banks were too busy screwing investors to create a perfected encumbrance on the collateral for the investors whose money was improperly channeled and used for the sole benefit of the banks.
  • And why are the banks not alleging the existence of a loan or financial injury in their complaints? Are they avoiding a can of worms that will show they have no transaction to sue on?
  • Are the real lenders so much in the dark that they don’t even know the case has been brought by someone without authority or consent of the lender of money (not the lender on paper)?

The colloquy between judge and counsel in the link below clearly shows what is happening in a growing number of cases where the Judges have stopped ignoring the rules of civil procedure, stopped ignoring the rules of evidence, and stopped assuming that the borrower is a deadbeat looking for a free house.

They are now getting the idea that the homeowner is in search of a lender, not a free house.

The homeowner is in search of a balance on his loan whether it is secured or not and is fully willing to execute new documentation in favor of any investor with an unpaid receivable attributable to the property of the homeowner. The banks are playing fast and loose with the rules and the judges are coming down as hard on them as they were knocking around borrowers just a few months ago. I know, I am seeing it in court over and over again. The entire atmosphere has changed.

So when the bank fails to send out a notice required by the judge’s order, civil procedure or the rules of evidence, they lose. And when they lose, without prejudice, if they have been sitting on it for more than 5 years in Florida they are barred by the statute of limitations at least as to the default that occurred 5 years before and probably everything up to the time of dismissal. The payments might not be cutoff by the statute but foreclosure or collection is barred. payments due after such an order are probably subject to a collection or foreclosure action but they should be met with an argument that due to the statute of limitations they are forever time-barred.

If the bank sends a pretrial statement to you saying “corporate representative” is their witness or even worse, attaches a list of 35 potential witnesses, that is the equivalent of not giving any notice of who the witness is going to be. That is subject to a motion in limine to prevent the bank from putting on witnesses. So far the judges are either extending the trial date out further and requiring compliance with the rules or they involuntarily dismissing the case thus entitling the Defendant to recovery of attorney fees in most cases.

Teaser: Take a close look at the laws of evidence passed by the legislature of your state. You will find some things in there that might prove deadly t the bank at the time of trial if you follow the path required and make your motions and preserve your objections. Those business records don’t belong in evidence and we all know it. They are not complete because they don’t include payment OUT to the creditor thus establishing WHO the creditor is and requiring an explanation of WHY the creditor is not the foreclosing party. But the fact that they are not complete is not nearly as strong as that they are by definition hearsay and inadmissible unless they are business records that follow the requirements of the evidence statutes that carve out an exception to the hearsay prohibition. 

Practice Hint: Judges always seem inclined to think they have discretion in virtually all matters. The evidence statute is a rule of law that the Judge has sworn to uphold, defend and enforce. Unless there is some ambiguity in the statute no judicial interpretation is allowed. The ambiguity must be raised by the party seeking to state that the statute is ambiguous. Without that, the Judge has NO DISCRETION, because it is a law and not a rule of civil procedure.

We are sitting on the edge of a cliff where the judges are ready to tip for the borrower. The sanction for trickery in notices and discovery will be judgment for the borrower or dismissal with prejudice. The conversation below shows just how close we are to that moment.

http://4closurefraud.org/2013/10/23/foreclosure-fight-club-another-trial-another-win-by-the-law-offices-of-evan-m-rosen-part-2/

Hearsay Practice Hints: Meeting Intimidation with Facts

I went to a hearing yesterday on the Bank’s Motion for Summary Judgment. The Motion had the usual deficiencies and the affidavit was, as usual, worthless because the witness failed to state any basis for personal knowledge. The attachments to the motion were absent. The Bank avoided the allegation that it ever made a loan and avoided any allegations that there was financial injury and if so, to whom. The Foreclosure Mill was rotating coverage attorneys who knew little about the case. We quickly agreed to drop the motion for summary judgment and move forward to a status conference in 120 days, allowing time to explore modification and discovery.

The interesting thing is that the Bank’s attorney actually said to me that we should not conduct discovery because it would only add to the attorneys fees that the homeowner would owe. This rolled out of his mouth in a manner that indicated to me that it was a standard ruse to get the homeowner to give up rather than fight. Of course I didn’t take his suggestion seriously and I told him so. But I could see how pro se litigants and even inexperienced lawyers have their confidence undermined by that “suggestion.” The ruse is that the Bank is going to win anyway. The facts are that the Bank in that case has potentially insurmountable proof problems. And the tactic is also used because the foreclosure mills are paid a flat fee for all cases, usually $1200 or $1400 and the law firm therefore wants as little work as possible on each case.

Practice Hint: always check the State Statutes (or the Federal Rules) on evidence, especially here say and hearsay exceptions before you open your mouth or file any discovery. There are some juicy morsels in there. Like how you can use business records as an exception to hearsay and how the fundamental issue is the trustworthiness of the records. Simply stated, if the records are those of a non-party who has no interest in the outcome, then the Court should lean toward allowing the business records into evidence upon the proffer of an appropriate witness and compliance with other rules of procedure requiring notice to the opposing party. Those rules should be carefully reviewed and used against the Bank if they don’t comply. REMEMBER ANY INSTRUMENT IS PROBABLY HEARSAY BECAUSE IT ISN’T A WITNESS. the issue is whether the records qualify for an exception to the hearsay rule. If the records come from a party, then they are inherently suspect because they are self-serving even if they are true or could be true. The rules should be strictly applied and you should preserve the issue not only with motions in limine but also by objecting at trial should the issue come up again even after the Court has entered an order barring the introduction of the business records.

As far as I can tell the Banks make no attempt to comply with the law and rules regarding business records, as an exception to the basic rule that hearsay is not admissible in evidence. If you read and study the applicable laws of evidence, rules of civil procedure and hold their feet to the fire, you just might have punctured their case. Failure to comply with those laws and rules is fatal to the foreclosure case, even if they right. It is potentially fatal to the homeowner if there is a Failure to object to hearsay on the basis that the Bank failed to comply with the laws and rules governing introduction of business records.

Practice Hint: lawyers for the foreclosure mill really know very little about securitization. In fact, few foreclosure defense lawyers have mastered it, which is why my law firm is providing litigation support across the country. The proof of that is that when I ask lawyers to informally comply with our request of proving the money trail with cancelled checks, wire transfer receipts, wire transfer instructions, the lawyers say “no problem” only to later nervously evade the issue after they ask the Bank that is foreclosing.

The lawyers for the Banks honestly believe that the homeowner’s closing was largely in compliance with Federal and state laws. They don’t understand that the securitization was an illusion. They don’t understand why a closing agent would take money from a third party and apply it to the closing and then have the homeowner sign a note and mortgage in favor of a party who was not loaning any money at closing, directly or indirectly. They don’t understand that the original note is fatally defective in those circumstances and that the mortgage is a non-perfected encumbrance that is not enforceable. They don’t understand that recording the mortgage doesn’t correct deficiencies in the closing process.

As always, check with an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction before you apply anything contained in this article. And always remember that just because you are right it doesn’t automatically follow that you win. The Judge must also be convinced that you SHOULD win, which is why I counsel pro se litigants to get lawyers or at least legal advice. Remember that the devil is in the details.

Foreclosure Defense: Notes on Practice

I went to a hearing a few days ago and discovered to my surprise a Judge, in a remote section of Florida, who was fully conversant in the rules of procedure, due process and the laws of evidence. It would be improper for me to name him as I am currently counsel of record in an active case before him. The first thing that caught my attention was that in a case before me the Judge reserved ruling on an uncontested motion for summary judgment, to give himself time to review the paperwork and make sure that the paperwork was all in order. That is old style court practice.

In the 1970’s through the 1990’s that is what judges did to make sure the lawyer for the Bank had done his job properly — and that was before routine questions relating to who made the loan, whether the loan was properly originated, whether the loan was properly sold, whether the balance due was properly stated and whether there was an actual creditor who was present in court — someone who fulfilled Florida laws on the description of a creditor who could submit on credit bid at the auction.

The Judge also mentioned that he had presided over three bench trials the day before, two of which he had given judgment to the borrower because the Plaintiff had been unable to make its case. This bespeaks an understanding, knowledge, acceptance and execution of the procedural requirement of establishing a prima facie case thus shifting the burden of proof to the Defendant. And contrary to current practice in many courts, this Judge does not view his role as rubber stamping Foreclosures.

This Judge wants to see the things we have been pointing out on this blog: that if you are the Plaintiff you must prove your case according to the rules. First you must have a witness that actually knows something instead of merely reading off of a computer or a computer report. You must establish a proper foundation rather than an illusion by merely giving the appearance of proffering testimony from an incompetent witness with no knowledge of their own whose employment description consists of testifying in court. And your chain of evidence must be complete before you can be recognized as having established a prima facie case.

In the case in which I appeared the Plaintiff had filed a foreclosure against two homeowners, husband and wife, who then pro se fended off the Plaintiff with materials mostly from this blog and from other sources. But they were at the point where being a lawyer counts, knowing the content and timing of objections, filing motions to strike, motions in limine, responding to 11 th hour motions for protective order etc.

In this case their exists a legitimate question over whether the loan was subject to securitization. Originated in 1996 the loan date goes to the beginning of the era of securitization and this one didn’t have MERS, which I argue is evidence per se of securitization because there is no reason for MERS if your intent is not securitization. But 2 days after the alleged closing the loan was transferred to a player in the world of securitization. Thus the first argument is that this was obviously a table funded loan. Hence the question of where the money came from at the alleged closing table.

Adding to the above, the notice letter to the borrowers of default, acceleration and the right to reinstate suggests that the then “holder” was, in their own words “either a Servicer or lender.” So the very first piece of evidence in the file raises the issue of securitization since the party who sent the notice was not the transferee mentioned above two days after the alleged closing.

Thus questions about the origination and transfers of the loan were appropriately asked in discovery. The Judge was on the fence. Could one slip of the pen open up a whole area of discovery even with the table funded loan allegation?

But in the halls of the foreclosure mills, they had decided to file standardized pretrial statements disclosing witnesses and exhibits. So they filed a motion for protective order as to the discovery, refusing to answer the Discovery, and filed a statement that identified the witness they would use at trial 19 days later as “a corporate representative.” That is no disclosure of a witness and is subject to a motion in limine to block the introduction of any witness. The witness disclosure also attached a list of possible witnesses —37 of them, which I argued is worse than no disclosure and the Judge agreed.

Then in their list of exhibits that they will present at trial they refer to powers of attorney, pooling and servicing agreement, investors, servicer’s, sub-servicers, and all the other parties and documents used in creating the illusion of securitization.

I argued that if they filed a pretrial statement referring to all the parts of securitization of a mortgage loan, then the issues surrounding that are properly the subject of inquiry in discovery and that the 11 th hour filing of a sweeping motion for protective order and failure to respond to any discovery was in bad faith entitling us to sanctions and granting our two motions in limine. The judge agreed but removed the problem by setting the trial for February, and setting forth a schedule of deadlines and hearings a few days after the deadlines so both sides could develop their cases. The ruling was in my opinion entirely proper, even if it denied the motions in limine since he was giving both sides more time to develop their cases.

The moment the hearing ended, opposing counsel approached and was asking about settlement. I countered with a demand that his client immediately show us the chain of actual money starting with origination. He said that wouldn’t be a problem because this was definitely not a securitized loan. I told him I actually knew the parties involved and that most probably this was amongst the first group of securitized loans. I also told him that he would most likely fail in getting the proof of payment at closing, and proof of payment in each of the alleged transfers of the loan.

We’ll see what happens next but I would guess that there will be a lot of wrestling over discovery and more motions in limine. But this time I have a Judge who no matter his personal views that are most likely very conservative, will dispassionately call balls and strikes the way a judge is supposed to do it.

BANKS EDGE CLOSER TO THE ABYSS: Florida Judge Forces Permanent Modification

GGKW (GARFIELD, GWALTNEY, KELLEY AND WHITE) provides Legal Services across the State of Florida. We also provide litigation support to attorneys in all 50 states. We concentrate our practice on mortgage related issues, litigation and modification (or settlement). We are available to represent homeowners, business owners, and homeowner associations seeking to preserve their interest in the property and seeking damages (monetary payment).  Neil F Garfield is a licensed Florida attorney who provides expert witness and consulting fees all over the country. No board certification is offered by the Florida Bar, so the firm may not claim expertise in mortgage litigation. Mr. Garfield’s status as an “expert” is only as a witness and not as an attorney.
If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our South Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. In Northern Florida and the Panhandle call 850-765-1236. Customer service for the livinglies store with workbooks, services and analysis remains the same at 520-405-1688. The people who answer the phone are NOT attorneys and NOT permitted to provide any legal advice, but they can guide you toward some of our products and services.

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

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

For the second time in as many weeks a trial judge has ordered the pretender lender to execute a permanent modification based upon the borrowers total compliance with the provisions of the trial modification.This time Wells Fargo (Wachovia) was given the terms of the modification, told to put it in writing and file it. If they don’t sanctions will apply just as they will be in the Florida Panhandle case we reported on last week.

Remember that before the trial modification begins the pretender lender is supposed to have done all the underwriting required to validate the loan, the value of the property, the income of the borrower etc. That is the responsibility of the lender under the Truth in Lending Act.

Of course we know that cases were instead picked at random with a cursory overview simply because there was no intention to ever give a permanent modification. Borrowers and their attorneys have known this for years. Government, always slow on the uptake, is starting to get restless as more and more Attorneys General are saying that the Banks are not complying with the intent or content of the agreement when the banks took TARP money.

The supreme irony of this case is that Wells Fargo didn’t want the TARP money and was convinced to take it and accept the terms of HAMP because if only the banks that really need it took the money it was argued that this would start a run on the banks named that had to take TARP. The other ironic factoid here is that the whole issue of ownership of the loans blew up in the face of the government officers around the country that thought TARP was a good idea — only to find out that the “toxic assets” (TARP – “Toxic Asset Relief Program”) were not defaulting mortgages.

  1. So instead of telling the banks they were liars and going after them the way Teddy Roosevelt did 100 years ago, they changed the definition of toxic assets to mean mortgage bonds.
  2. This they thought would take care of it since the mortgage bonds were the evidence of “ownership” of the  “underlying” home loans.
  3. Then the government found out that the mortgage bonds were not failing, they were merely the subject of a declaration from the Master Servicer (a necessary and indispensable party to all mortgage litigation, in my opinion) that the value of the bond had fallen ,thus triggering payment from insurers, counterparties on credit default swaps etc to pay up to 100 cents on the dollar for each of the bonds —
  4. which means the receivable account from the borrower had been either extinguished or reduced through third party payment.
  5. But by cheating the investors out of the insurance money (something the investors are taking care of right now in the courts), they thought they could keep saying the loans were in default and the mortgage bond had been devalued and thus the payment of insurance was legally valid.
  6. BUT the real truth is that the loans had never made into the asset pools that issued the mortgage bonds.
  7. So the TARP definitions were changed again to “whatever” and the money kept flowing to the banks while they were rolling in money from all sides — investors, insurers, CDS counterparts, sales of the note to multiple asset pools (REMICs) and then sales of the note to the Federal Reserve for 100 cents on the dollar.
  8. This leaves the loan receivable account in many cases in an overpaid status if one applies generally accepted accounting principles and allocates the Federal, insurance and CDS money to the bonds and the “underlying” loans.
  9. So the Banks took the position that since the money was not coming in to cover the loans (because the loans were not in the asset pool that issued the mortgage bond and therefore the mortgage bond was NO evidence of ownership of the loan) that therefore they could apply the money any way they wanted, and that is where the government left it, to the astonishment and dismay of the the rest of the world. that is when world economies went into a nose dive.

The whole purpose of the mega banks in in entering into trial modification was actually to create the impression that the mega banks were modifying loans. But to the rest of us, the trial modification was supposed to to be last hurdle before the disaster was finally over. Comply with the payment schedule, insurance, taxes, and everything else, and it automatically becomes your permanent modification.

Not so, according to Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase, Citi and their brothers in arms in the false scheme of securitization. According to them they could keep the money paid by the borrower to be approved for the trial modification, keep the money paid by the borrower to comply with the terms of the trial modification and then the banks could foreclose making up any excuse they wanted to deny the permanent modification. The sole straw upon which their theory rests is that they were only obligated to “consider” the modification; according to them they were NEVER required to make it such that the modification would become permanent unless the bank expressly said so, which in most cases it does not.

When you total it all up, the Banks received a minimum of $2.50 for each $1.00 loan “out there” regardless of who owns it. Under the terms of the promissory note signed by the borrower, that means the account is paid in full and then some. If the investor has not stepped up to file a competing claim against the borrower’s new claim for overpayment, then the entire overage should be paid to the borrower.

The Banks want to say, like they did to the government, that the trial modification is nothing despite the presence of an offer, acceptance and consideration. To my knowledge there are at least two judges in Florida who think that is a ridiculous argument and knowing how judges talk amongst themselves behind closed doors, I would expect more of these decisions. If the borrower applies for and is approved for trial modification and they comply with the trial provisions, a contract is formed.

The foreclosure defense attorney in Palm Beach County argued SIMPLE contract. And the Judge agreed. My thought is that if you are in a trial modification get ready to hire that attorney or some other one who gets it and can cover your geographical area. Once that last payment is made, and in most cases, the payment is continued long after the trial modification period is officially over, the Bank has no equitable or legal right to deny the permanent modification.

The only caveat here is whether the Judge was correct in stating the amount of principal due without hearing evidence on third party payments and ownership of the loan. WHY WOULD THE BANK WANT LESS MONEY IN FORECLOSURE RATHER THAN MORE MONEY IN A MODIFICATION? The answer is that out of the $2.50 they received for the loan, they would be required to refund $2.50 because the Bank was supposed to be an intermediary, not a principal in the transaction. So the balance quoted by the judge without evidence was quite probably wrong by a mile.

If there is any balance it is most likely a small fraction of the original principal due on the promissory note. And, as we have been saying for years, it is most likely NOT due to the party that is entering into the modification. This last point is troubling but “apparent authority” doctrines might cover the problem.

Every time a loan does NOT go into foreclosure, the Banks’ representation of defaults and the value of the loan (in order to trigger insurance and other third party payments)  come under question and the prospect of disaster for the Bank rises, to wit:  refunding trillions of dollars in insurance and CDS money as well as money received from co-obligors on the bond (the finished product after the note was moved through the manufacturing process of a false securitization scheme).

Every time a loan is found NOT to have actually been purchased by the asset pool (REMIC, Trust etc.) because there was no money in the asset pool and that the investors merely have an equitable right to claim the note and mortgage under constructive trust or resulting trust theories, the validity of the mortgage encumbrance fades to black. There is no such thing as an equitable mortgage lien or an equitable lien of any sort. And there is plenty of good sense and many law review articles as well as case decisions that explain why that is true.

151729746-Posti-Final-Judgment-062513

PRACTICE HINT FOR ATTORNEYS: Whether you are litigating or negotiating, send a preservation letter to every possible party or witness that might be involved. That way when you ask for production, they can’t say they destroyed or lost it without facing severe consequences. It might even stop the practice of the Banks trashing all documents periodically as has been disclosed in the whistle-blower affidavits from BOA and other banks. If you need assistance in creating a long form preservation letter we are available to provide litigation assistance on that and many other matters that might arise in foreclosure defense.

HOAs CAN STOP FORECLOSURES

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

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

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

EDITOR’S NOTE: One good thing about House Bill 87 recently passed in the Florida legislature is that homeowner associations, condominium associations, and cooperative associations can force a bank to proceed with foreclosure. The problem they have is that once a homeowner knows that foreclosure is “inevitable” they stopped paying the Association dues as well as not making any payments on mortgage debt.

But I think the lead story is that these associations could stop the foreclosures altogether. As I have previously stated on these pages arguments that are frequently rejected by both the trial and appellate courts when they are proposed by homeowners are accepted and even augmented when the same argument is made by an institutional opponent to the foreclosure.

The associations may be included in the institutional category. In my opinion they should take advantage of the new portion of House Bill 87 when appropriate, but their focus should be on filing foreclosures on the homeowners who have not paid their dues. In that same foreclosure it is my opinion that the alleged mortgage that was recorded should be attacked as to both validity and priority.

When I was practicing law in South Florida in the 1970’s and 1980’s I represented hundreds of associations as general counsel and of course as trial counsel for the foreclosure of liens. generally foreclosures were not as pandemic as they are now but there were still plenty of them. The procedure is the same as the mortgage foreclosure.

  1. You plead that the association has the right to a lien as per the the Declaration of Condominium or other enabling document for the association.
  2. You plead that you gave adequate notice in accordance with the statutes.
  3. You plead the amount of monthly dies and special assessments due from this homeowner and you plead that no payments were made (not merely that the homeowner failed to pay). You might want to phrase it as “neither the homeowner nor any other stakeholder has made any payment to the association or its agents on this debt.” (This is to require the Bank to plead the same words).
  4. You plead that you filed the lien to secure past dues and future dues until the foreclosure judgment is entered and the property is sold.
  5. You plead that the dues were so much for monthly maintenance, so much for special assessments, and that the expenses of filing the lien and enforcing it with an attorney should also be awarded.
  6. You plead that all other lienholders are junior to the lien of the association unless you know otherwise. You plead that the mortgage lien recorded at page XX Book XX in the Public Records of the County is junior to the lien of the association.
  7. When the trial or Motion for Summary Judgment comes along you have a witness that verifies that they are the records keeper for the condominium as set forth under the Condominium Statutes, they have personal knowledge regarding the receipts and disbursements with respect to the account of this homeowner, they verify or testify what was received from all sources on this account, and that the balance due to the association, as a receivable, is a specific total amount arrived at through simple addition and subtraction.

When the HOA files such an action it is setting the standard for a foreclosure proceeding and it has the full authority of Florida Statutes behind it. Since in most cases the alleged owner of the mortgage lien is no longer the party named on the instrument, the Association can plead truthfully that this party has no interest in the debt and therefore is not entitled to enforce it nor argue for its validity or priority relative to the Association’s lien and foreclosure.

Any OTHER party would be required to intervene and prove that they can make and prove the SAME ALLEGATIONS AS THE ASSOCIATION — something they clearly cannot do. And if they try, depositions of the leading witnesses for the new guest to the party would occur revealing that they have no money trail to show that they funded either the origination or acquisition of the loan and that if they have any claim, it is unsecured and subject to a separate right of action against the borrower. Instead they have a bunch of fabricated paper that refers to financial transactions that never occurred in reality.

The usual end result, if the HOA is successful, and my firm is prepared to demonstrate this to any association that wants to hire us (or who wants to instruct their association attorneys to do it) is that the Association wins, the homeowner redeems the Association lien because it is a small fraction of the presumed lien of the mortgage and everyone is happy except the bank that tried to foreclose who finds itself foreclosed out of the mortgage.

Or the Association becomes the owner of the property at a foreclosure sale or some other person outbids the association WITH CASH and the association lien is satisfied, along with a new owner who pays the monthly and special assessments.

This is going to cause all the players in the false securitization scheme that masked a massive PONZI scheme a lot of trouble because the investors, insurers, government agencies, counterparties to credit default swaps and others who paid on this debt are going to find out through a Court Order that the whole thing was a sham and that the real lenders, the investors never had the bond secured nor was the mortgage debt ever subject to a valid claim through the bond, nor was it properly perfected and secured, so the mortgage filed in the county records was a sham.

HOAs have good reason to follow this strategy for themselves, their distressed homeowners who can be restored to ownership of the property without the illegal encumbrance filed by the the Wall Street players, and for the other homeowners whose property value decreases each time another foreclosure is filed.

John C. Goede: Can HOAs file for a court order requiring lenders to complete stalled foreclosures?
http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2013/jun/30/john-c-goede-can-hoas-file-for-a-court-order-to/

The Sneaky Game Banking Giants Are Playing to Suck More Money From the Foreclosure Crisis
http://www.alternet.org/economy/banks-and-foreclosure

WHY WOULD A BANK OF ALL THINGS PAY 6 TIMES WHAT THE PROPERTY IS WORTH UNLESS THEY WERE COVERING SOMETHING UP? Big banks sometimes pay 600% above value to retain Sarasota foreclosures
http://www.housingwire.com/fastnews/2013/07/08/big-banks-sometimes-pay-600-above-value-retain-sarasota-foreclosures

WHERE ARE THE CONVICTIONS OF THE BANK OFFICERS WHO TURNED THIEVERY INTO POLICY? More than 40 convictions in mortgage fraud scheme involving Florida properties, Ohio straw buyers
http://www.inman.com/wire/more-than-40-convictions-in-mortgage-fraud-scheme-involving-florida-properties-ohio-straw-buyers/

WHY DO BANKS WANT US HOMELESS? Our bank wants us homeless
http://www.salon.com/2013/07/08/our_bank_wants_us_homeless/

Does Your Mortgage Receive Your Full Attention?
http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/20130709_mortgageattention.htm

 

Federal Reserve Continues Welfare Payments to Banks

If the bond buying program had been directed at direct assistance to investors and homeowners, the crisis would already be over and GDP would be rising by at least 3.5%, unemployment at 5% or less, and the deficit would be eliminated on an annual basis and vastly reduced long term. Debt would cease to be a problem which means that Banks would lose their position of complete dominance.

As Iceland shows all day and all month and all year, even the banks would be prospering and litigation would be virtually eliminated with respect to the validity and enforcement of mortgages and assignments. The cleanup would become the cure. The corruption of title is not problem in several countries because the county recorders wouldn’t accept the garbage that the banks were filing here. We have toxic title and the illusion of a healthy economy. Others do not have toxic title and are dealing with reality, warts and all.

Fed Announces Continued Bond Purchases, Mortgage Rates Fall
http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/20130626_bondpurchases.htm

It’s Official: Bank of America Has the Worst Reputation in the Banking Industry
http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/06/25/its-official-bank-of-america-has-the-worst-reputat.aspx

17 Signs That Most Americans Will Be Wiped Out By The Coming Economic Collapse
http://www.zerohedge.com/node/475692

Meet the Nation’s Toughest New Foreclosure Protection Law
http://www.theatlanticcities.com/housing/2013/06/meet-nations-toughest-new-foreclosure-protection-law/5952/

BUYING A HOUSE, BUYER BEWARE! Foreclosure documentation issues trap investors, creating litigation risk
http://www.housingwire.com/fastnews/2013/06/21/foreclosure-documentation-issues-trap-investors-creating-litigation-risk

Bank Of America Allegedly Gave Cash Bonuses To Workers Pushing Homeowners Into Foreclosure
http://www.businessinsider.com/bofa-sued-over-foreclosure-practices-2013-6

WHY WOULD A BANK BE SO ANXIOUS TO FORECLOSE IF IT WAS GOING TO ABANDON THE PROPERTY? Nearly 3 in 10 Oregon homes in foreclosure vacant
http://www.oregonlive.com/front-porch/index.ssf/2013/06/28_of_oregon_homes_in_foreclos.html

Foreclosures Are Still a Concern
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324520904578553660440428142.html

Florida puts a limit on deficiency Judgments but what happens when the real creditor shows up? Banks Go after Homeowners Years after Foreclosure
http://www.allgov.com/news/top-stories/banks-go-after-homeowners-years-after-foreclosure-130623?news=850369

Conflict for the big accounting firms? They did the audits and certified the balance sheets of both the investment banking companies and the ratings companies. A bad report card would put them at risk: Another Conflicted Foreclosure Review: PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ally/ResCap
http://www.forbes.com/sites/francinemckenna/2013/06/25/another-conflicted-foreclosure-review-pricewaterhousecoopers-and-allyrescap/

Regulatory Looting, Promontory-Style: Botched Foreclosure Reviews Alone Generate More than Double Goldman’s Revenues per Employee
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/06/regulatory-looting-promontory-style-botched-foreclosure-reviews-alone-generate-more-than-double-goldmans-revenues-per-employees.html

Promontory Financial Group Paid More Than $900 Million for Independent Foreclosure Review
http://4closurefraud.org/2013/06/24/promontory-financial-group-paid-more-than-900-million-for-independent-foreclosure-review/

 

New Florida Law: Hurry Up and Wait?

As most lawyers will probably tell you, the new Florida law changes the procedure and frankly contradicts the Rules of Civil Procedure issued by the Florida Supreme Court. In all events foreclosure defense attorneys should move quickly to issue discovery requests and subpoenas in anticipation of the application of this law. The good news is that you have a powerful argument for requiring expedited discovery in view of the fact that the judge can issue a final judgment as early as 20 days after the filing of the lawsuit for foreclosure. The bad news is that the new law seems to eliminate or at least infringe on your right to file a motion to dismiss as set forth in the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.

The new law contains elements that are difficult to decipher.  The new law puts a burden on the borrower to show a genuine issue of material fact that would eliminate the possibility of a summary judgment in favor of the party who filed the lawsuit. In essence, the new law is in conflict with the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure in that an answer and affirmative defenses is only due after disposition of a motion to dismiss, which is a matter of right under the rules in Florida and every other state. I would imagine the Florida Supreme Court will, as it has done before, jealously guarded its right to issue rules of procedure and that this law will eventually be struck down. Meanwhile we have to treat it as the law of the state.

On the flip-side, the law requires proof of ownership of the loan  before the burden shifts to the borrower. But the proof of ownership is in the form of copies of documents which the banks have already shown they are very willing to fabricate and forge. In essence, the new procedure passed by the legislature turns the law on its head, to wit: at this stage in litigation the allegations of the plaintiff are taken as true only for procedural purposes and not for the purpose of entering final judgment without a hearing and without an opportunity to conduct discovery and otherwise cross-examine witnesses and challenge documents. it is a not-so-clever way of abridging the due process rights of everyone in the state and as a precedent in other matters would undoubtedly lead to disaster, but for my supreme confidence that the Florida Supreme Court will treat this as a no-brainer and strike down the law.

Thus the new law is as close to changing Florida to a nonjudicial state as you can get without actually doing it. I would suggest that in order to preserve your procedural and constitutional rights for your clients that you file an immediate motion to dismiss to be heard on an emergency basis where a motion to dismiss is appropriate or proper (which appears to be in nearly all cases).

I would further suggest that in addition to issuing requests for discovery (which under normal rules would be due after the hearing where the judge rules on whether the borrower has raised any material issues of fact, which is a further conflict with the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure as promulgated by the Florida Supreme Court) that you file an emergency motion to expedite discovery.

And lastly I would insist that the hearing on whether the borrower can raise issues of material fact (keeping in mind that the borrower is not even been given a chance to raise those issues without waiving the borrowers right to file a motion to dismiss) must be an evidentiary hearing conforming with the rules of evidence.

As a final note to my remarks on this law, I believe it is incumbent upon the attorney for any client that has been actually affected by this law to bring the matter up directly to Florida Supreme Court. It is difficult for me to imagine any scenario under which the court would uphold this law — simply on the grounds of who has authority to enact rules of civil procedure. The Florida Constitution gives that power to the Florida Supreme Court — not the legislator or the governor. Speaking personally, I intend to follow the rules of appellate procedure on behalf of clients instead of making them up to suit me or my client. That at least is a good starting point.

As a general remark on many of the issues of our day, I think it would be a good  idea to start with the contents of the state Constitution and the United States Constitution before passing any laws pretending as though the Constitution did not exist. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. If you don’t like what it says, there is a provision for amendment. Without the amendment, the law is whatever the Constitution says it is. That is what is meant by a nation of laws as opposed to a nation of men. This latest law from the legislature signed by Gov. Scott is an example of mindless pandering to the banks who are contributing to the campaigns of the legislators and officers of government. But in addition to this particular law I find myself listening to debates that do not make any sense. As a result both sides of the debate on social issues and foreign policy, financial issues and the economy, are wrongly starting with the premise that the issue is even up for debate. Both sides seem to ignore the supreme law of the land as their starting point.  Neither side seems to stake out a defensible position on which we can have a reasonable debate.

Revisions To Mortgage Foreclosure Procedures In Florida
http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/revisions-to-mortgage-foreclosure-proced-31636/

Florida tops the U.S. in May foreclosures
http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2013/jun/14/florida-tops-the-us-in-may-foreclosures/

Bank of America Lied to Homeowners and Rewarded Foreclosures, Former Employees Say
http://www.propublica.org/article/bank-of-america-lied-to-homeowners-and-rewarded-foreclosures

New law to speed foreclosures draws criticism and praise
http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20130618/article/306189993

 

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