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.

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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

 

The Goal is Foreclosures and the Public, the Government and the Courts Be Damned

13 Questions Before You Can Foreclose

foreclosure_standards_42013 — this one works for sure

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.

Danielle Kelley, Esq. is a partner in the firm of Garfield, Gwaltney, Kelley and White (GGKW) in Tallahassee, Florida 850-765-1236

EDITOR’S NOTE: SOMETIMES IT PAYS TO SHOW YOUR EXASPERATION. Danielle was at a hearing recently where all she wanted was to enforce a permanent modification for which her client had already been approved by Bank of America and BOA was trying to get out of it and pursue foreclosure even though the deal was done and there was no good or valid business reason why they would oppose a modification they already approved — except that they want to lure people into defaults and foreclosure to avoid liability for buy-backs, insurance, and credit default swap proceeds they received.

They need the foreclosure because that is the stamp of approval that the loans were valid and the securitization wasn’t a sham. Without the foreclosure, they stand to lose not only a lot of money in paybacks, but their very existence. Right now they are carrying assets that are fictitious and they are not reporting liabilities that are very real. At the end of the day, the public will see and even government officials whose “Services” have been purchased by the banks will not be able to deny that the nation’s top banks are broke and are neither too big to fail nor too big to jail. When that happens, our economy will start to recover ans the flow of credit and funds resumes and the banks’ stranglehold on government and on our society will end, at least until the next time.

THIS IS WHAT DANIELLE KELLEY WROTE TO ME AFTER THE HEARING:

 At the hearing against BOA on an old case of mine and Bill’s [William GWALTNEY, partner in GGKW] today I moved to enforce settlement. They actually agreed to a trial payment with my client in writing at mediation 2 years ago. The Judge granted the motion and wants a hearing in 60 days on the arrears (which he agreed my client isn’t liable for), sanctions and fees. She made her payment post-mediation and they sent the checks back. I gave him the Massachusetts affidavits from the BOA employees.  The Judge looked shocked. Opposing Counsel argued the Massachusetts case had nothing to do with our case.
Judge said “Mrs. Kelley how about I enter an order telling Plaintiff they have so many days to resolve this?”  I said “with all due respect your Honor BOA hasn’t listened to the OCC and followed the consent order, they haven’t listened to DOJ on the consent judgement and they are violating the AG settlement. I can assure you 100% they won’t listen to this Court either. Once we leave this room we are at the mercy of BOA actually working with us and their own attorney nor this court can get them to.  Their own attorney couldn’t reach them yesterday or today.  My client was to send in one utility bill two years ago. She sent it the day after mediation and they’ve sat and racked up two years of arrears and fees. This court has the power to sanction that behavior under rule 1.730 and should because this was orchestrated. The Massachusetts case is a federal class action which includes Florida homeowners like my client. It says Florida on the Motion for class certification so it does matter in this case. This was a scheme and a fraud.  It was planned and deliberate”.
Opposing counsel wanted to start the modification process over because the mediation agreement said “Upon completion of the trial payments Defendant will be eligible for a permanent modification”. Opposing counsel said “just because they meet the trial payments doesn’t mean they get a permanent mod.”  I said “under the consent judgment they better” and told the judge we were not going through the modification again, my client had already been approved. He agreed and said that the trial would become permanent and ordered BOA to provide an address for payment. He told opposing counsel that the argument that a trial period wouldn’t become permanent wasn’t going to work for him.
I love the 14th circuit. There is a great need from here to Pensacola and in the smaller counties like I was in today you can actually get somewhere.
Now the banks won’t even say impasse at mediation. It’s always “no agreement”.   But they’ll tell you to send in documents the next week only to say they didn’t get them. Now after those affidavits I see why.

Danielle Kelley, Esq.

Garfield, Gwaltney, Kelley & White
4832 Kerry Forest Parkway, Suite B
Tallahassee, Florida 32309
(850) 765-1236

 FOLLOW DANIELLE KELLEY, ESQ. ON HER BLOG

Unrhetorical Questions — Money, Lies and Accounting Records: Gander and Goose

Why are our courts routinely accepting allegations and documents from foreclosing banks that they would summarily throw out if the same allegations and documents came from borrowers?

 How can possession of an ALLONGE construed as ownership

of the debt without any other evidence being presented?

Why is the standard definition of “Allonge” ignored?

IF THE COURT IS USING THE TERMS OF “ALLONGE”, “ASSIGNMENT”AND “ENDORSEMENT” INTERCHANGEABLY, WHY DOES ALL THE LITERATURE ON LEGAL DEFINITION AND ELEMENTS SAY OTHERWISE? ARE WE MAKING A NEW UCC?

WHY ARE COURTS ALLOWING ENDORSEMENTS (SHOULD BE SPELLED “INDORSEMENT”) IN BLANK TO TRANSFER THE LOAN WHEN THE BASIS OF THE PROPONENT’S AUTHORITY TO FORECLOSE IS A DOCUMENT THAT FORBIDS ACCEPTANCE OF  ENDORSEMENTS IN BLANK?

 I recently received a question from an old friend of mine who was a solicitor in Canada and who is frustrated with our court system that continues to assume the validity of loans that have already been thoroughly discredited. He has attempted on numerous occasions to get information through a qualified written request or a debt validation letter and has attempted to verify the authority of any party to whom he would address a request for modification of his loan in Florida. While chatting with him online I realized that this information might be of some value to attorneys and borrowers. The principal point of this article is the old expression “what is good for the goose is good for the gander.” For those of you who are unfamiliar with the old expression it means that there should be equality of treatment, all other things being equal. In mortgage litigation is apparent that when an allegation is made or a proffer is made through counsel rather than the introduction of evidence, the courts continue to function from both a misconception and  misapplication of the Rules of Court and the rules of evidence.

 When the case involves one institution against another, the same arguments that are summarily  rejected when they are advanced by a borrower are given considerable traction because the argument was advanced by a financial institution or financial player that identifies itself as a financial institution. In fact, a review of most cases reveals a much heavier burden on the party defending against the loss of their homestead than the party seeking to take it —  which is a complete reversal of the way our justice system is supposed to work.  The burden of proof in both judicial and nonjudicial states is constitutionally required to be on the party seeking affirmative relief and not on the party defending against it.

In the nonjudicial states, in my opinion, the courts are violating this basic constitutional requirement on a regular basis under circumstances where the party announcing a right to enforce a dubious deed of trust, collection on a dubious note, and therefore having the right to sell the property without judicial intervention despite the inability of the foreclosing entity to produce any evidence that it owns the debt, note, mortgage rights,  or even demonstrate a financial interest in the outcome of the foreclosure sale; to make matters worse the courts are allowing trustees on deeds of trust to be appointed or substituted even though they have a direct or indirect financial relationship with the alleged lender.

These trustees are accepting “credit bids” without any due diligence as to whether or not the party making the offer of the credit bid at auction is in fact the creditor who may submit such a credit bid according to the statutes governing involuntary auctions within that state.  In nonjudicial states the burden is put on the borrower to “make a case” and thus obtain a temporary restraining order preventing the sale of the property. This is absurd. These statutes governing nonjudicial sales were created at a time when the lender was easily identified, the borrower was easily identified, the chain of title was easily demonstrated, and the chain of money was also easily demonstrated. Today in the world of falsely securitized loans, the courts have maintain a ministerial attitude despite the fact that 96% of all loans are subject to competing claims by false creditors. The borrower is forced to defend against allegations that were never made but are presumed in a court of law. If anything is a violation of the due process requirements of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of most of the individual states of the union, this must be it.

 In the judicial states,  the problem is even more egregious because the same presumptions and assumptions are being used against borrowers as in the nonjudicial states. Thus in addition to being an unconstitutional application of an otherwise valid law, the judicial states are violating their own rules of civil procedure mandated by the Supreme Court of each such state (or to be more specific where the highest court is not called the Supreme Court, we could say the highest court in the state).  This is why I have strongly suggested for years that an action in mandamus be brought directly to the highest court in each state alleging that the laws and rules, as applied, violate constitutional standards and any natural sense of fairness.

 Here is the question posed by my Canadian friend:

(1)  The documents are phony documents (copies) produced by Ben Ezra Katz. It will cost me several thousand dollars to have a document expert evaluate the documents and then testify if they find them to be copies. At the beginning of this case, The Plaintiff’s attorney (Ben Ezra Katz associate) told the court (I do have a transcript) that they has found the ORIGINAL documents (note, mortgage, etc.) and that they had couriered the ORIGINAL documents to the clerk of Court. They did a Notice of Filing which on its’ face states ORIGINAL documents. I can not afford a document expert, however the AG in S. Florida has an open investigation into this case. Would I be out of line in requesting that they include this case per-se as part of their investigation and accordingly make a determination as to if or if not the subject documents which are on file with the clerk of court are originals or copies ??
(2)  The only nexus that Wells Fargo produces to establish themselves as a real party in interest is a hand filled out allonge (copy attached). Please note that the signer only signs as “assistant secretary” without further specifics. On the basis of what they provide it is virtually impossible to depose this person to determine if she actually did or did not sign this document, and if so what is her authority to do so.  I want to launch some sort of discovery that seeks to discover what else the Plaintiff has which would support the alleged allonge. Things such as any contracts, copies of any consideration, what was the consideration, who authorized the transaction, etc.  Do you have any suggestions in this regard. I bounced this off my attorney and I am not sure that we are on the same page. He wants to go to trial and have the proven phony documents as the main thrust. I agree with that, however I also would feel far better if we were able to cut them off at the knees as to standing such as the alleged allonge is part of the phony documents, and there are no documents that the Plaintiff can produce to support not only its’ authenticity, but its’ legitimate legal function. I do not like to have all of my eggs in one basket.

 And here is my response:

 You are most probably correct in your assessment of the situation. If they lied to the court and filed phony documents you should file motion for contempt. You should also file a motion for involuntary dismissal based on the fact that they have had plenty of time to either come up with the original documents or alleged facts to establish lost documents. The affidavit that must accompany the allegation of lost documents must be very specific as to the content of the documents and the path of the documents and it must the identify the person or records from which the allegations of fact are drawn. They must be able to state with certainty when they last had the original documents if they ever did have the original documents. If they didn’t ever have the original documents then an affidavit from them is meaningless. They have to establish the last party had physical custody of the original documents and establish the reason why they are missing. If they can’t do those things then their foreclosure should be dismissed. The more vague they are in explaining what happened to the original documentation the more likely it is that somebody else has the original documentation and may sue you again for recovery. So whatever it is that they allege should result in your motion to strike and motion to dismiss with prejudice. As far as the attorney general’s office you are correct that they ought to cooperate with you fully but probably incorrect in your assumption that they will do so.

I think you should make a point about the allonge being filled out by hand as being an obviously late in the game maneuver. You can also make a point about the “assistant Sec.” since that is not a real position in a corporation. Something as valuable as a note would be reviewed by a real official of the Corporation who would be able to answer questions as to how the note came into the possession of the bank (through interrogatories or requests for admission) and  what was paid and to whom for the possession and rights to the note, when that occurred and where the records are that show the payment and how Wells Fargo actually came into possession of the note or the rights to collect on the note. As you are probably aware the predecessor that is alleged to have originated the note or alleged to have had possession of the note must account for whether they provided the consideration for the note and what they did with it after the closing. If they say they provided consideration than they should have records showing a payment to the closing agent and if they received consideration from Wells Fargo they should have those records as well.

But the likelihood is that neither Option One nor Wells Fargo ever funded this mortgage which means that the note and mortgage lack consideration and neither one of them has any right to collect or foreclose.   In fact, since they are taking the position that the loan was not securitized and therefore that no securitization documents are relevant,  neither of them can take the position that they are representing the real party in interest as an authorized agent for the real lender.  And the reason you are seeing lawsuits especially by Wells Fargo in which it names itself as the foreclosing party is that the bank knows that Iit ignored and routinely violated essential and material provisions of the securitization documents including the prospectus and pooling and servicing agreement upon which investors relied when they gave money to an investment banker.

In that case, since you seek to modify the loan transaction and determine whether or not it is now or is potentially subject to  a valid mortgage, you should seek to enforce a request for information concerning the exact path of the money that was used to fund the mortgage. And you should request any documentation or records showing any guarantee, payment, right to payment, or anything else that would establish a loan to you where actual money exchanged hands between the declared lender and yourself. The likelihood is that the money was in a co-mingled account somewhere —  possibly Wells Fargo —  which came from investors whose names should have been on the closing and the closing documents.  Those investors are the actual creditors. Or at least they were the actual creditors at the time that the loan money showed up at the alleged “loan closing.” Since then, hundreds of settlements and lawsuits were resolved based upon the bank tacitly acknowledging that it took the money and used it for different purposes than those disclosed in the prospectus and pooling and servicing agreement. These settlements avoid the embarrassing proof problems of any institution since they not only ignored the securitization documents, more importantly, they chose to ignore all of the basic industry standards for the underwriting of a real estate loan because the parties who appeared to be underwriting the loan and funding the loan had absolutely no risk of loss and only had the incentive to close deals in exchange for sharing pornographic amounts of money that were identified as proprietary trading profits or fees.

And the reason why this is so important is that the mortgage lien could never be perfected in the absence of the legitimate creditor who had advanced actual money to the borrower or on behalf of the borrower. This basic truth undermines the industry and government claims about the $13 trillion in loans that still are alleged to exist (despite multiple payments from third parties in multiple resales, insurance contracts and contracts for credit default swaps). The abundant evidence in the public domain as well as the specific factual evidence in each case negates any allegation of ultimate facts upon which relief could be granted, to wit: the money came from third-party investors who are the only real creditors. The fact that the money went through intermediaries is no more important or relevant than the fact that you are a depository bank is intended to honor checks drawn on your account provided you have the funds available. The inescapable conclusion is that the investors were tricked into making unsecured loans to homeowners and that the entire foreclosure scandal that has consumed our nation for years is based on completely false premises.

Your attorney could pose the question to the court in a way that would make it difficult for the court to rule against you. If the lender had agreed to make a loan provided you put up the property being financed PLUS additional collateral in the form of ownership of a valid mortgage on another piece of property,  would the court accept a handwritten allonge from you as the only evidence of ownership or the right to enforce the other mortgage? I think it is clear that neither the banks nor the court would accept the hand written instrument as sufficient evidence of ownership and right to collect payment if you presented the same instruments that they are presenting to the court.

PRACTICE HINT: In fact, you could ask the bank for their policy in connection with accepting its mortgages on other property as collateral for a business loan or for a loan on existing property or the closing on a new piece of property being acquired by the borrower. You could drill down on that policy by asking for the identification of the individual or committee that would decide whether or not a handwritten allonge would be sufficient or would satisfy them that they had  adequate collateral in the form of a mortgage on the first property and the pledge of a mortgage on a second piece of property.

The answer is self-evident. No bank or other lending institution or lending entity would loan money on the basis of a dubious self-serving allonge.  There would be no deal. If you sued them for not making the loan after the bank issued a letter of commitment (which by the way you should ask for both in relation to your own case and in relation to the template used by the bank in connection with the issuance of a letter of commitment), the bank would clearly prevail on the basis that you provided insufficient documentation to establish the additional collateral (your interest in the mortgage on another piece of property).

The bank’s position that it would not loan money on such a flimsy assertion of additional collateral would be both correct from the point of view of banking practice and sustained by any court has lacking sufficient documentation to establish ownership and the right to enforce. Your question to the court should be “if justice is blind, what difference does it make which side is using an unsupportable position?”

HSBC Hit with Foreclosure Suit; FHA’s $115 Billion Loss Scenario; Return of the Synthetic CDO?
http://www.americanbanker.com/bankthink/hsbc-hit-with-foreclosure-suit-fhas-115-billion-dollar-loss-scenario-1059622-1.html
Massachusetts foreclosures decline 79% as local laws stall the process
http://www.housingwire.com/news/2013/06/05/massachusetts-foreclosures-decline-79-local-laws-stall-process
———————————————–
Money from thin air? If the bank does not create currency or money then where does the money come from? Answer investor deposits into what they thought was an account for a REMIC trust. And if the money came from investors then the banks were intermediaries whether they took money on deposit, or they were the underwriter and seller of mortgage bonds issued from non existent entities, backed by non existent loans. And any money received by the banks should have been for benefit of the investors or the REMIC trust if the DID deposit the money into a trust or fiduciary account.Dan Kervick: Do Banks Create Money from Thin Air?
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/06/dan-kervick-do-banks-create-money-from-thin-air.html

STRATEGY: FORECLOSURE BY PRETENDER LENDER FOLLOWED BY BORROWER’S ACTION FOR DAMAGES

OCC: 13 Questions to Answer Before Foreclosure and Eviction

13 Questions Before You Can Foreclose

foreclosure_standards_42013 — this one works for sure

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 ANALYSIS AND PRACTICE TIPS FOR LAWYERS: One of the things that I noticed about the cases which I have followed or which have been reported to me anecdotally is that the borrower or borrower’s attorney invokes defenses and counterclaims that makes the case far more complex than the judge is willing to hear.

If you really want to win on the trial court level or make a good record for a successful appeal, the legal and factual argument needs to be simplified. I have previously made a big point about how a judge has very little choice but to allow the foreclosure to proceed once the elements of a foreclosure have been admitted by the borrower or borrower’s attorney. All the other issues are really the basis of a lawsuit in which the causes of action seek the remedy of monetary damages.

Foreclosure is an equitable remedy which calls for less judgment on the part of the judge that it does for him or her to perform a ministerial act. The mistake that is being made by most attorneys (and perhaps I added to the confusion unintentionally) is that  they have failed to distinguish between the equitable and legal remedies. This calls for some careful action by the lawyer or else he or she will be open to a later argument of collateral estoppel or res judicata.

In the nonjudicial states the equitable remedy of foreclosure is made even more ministerial and less subject to challenge based upon the merits of the claim of the pretender lender to collect payments from the borrower and to foreclose when the borrower ceases to make payments. The fact that the system was not set up by the legislature to accommodate or regulate wrongful foreclosures by non-creditors is not a basis for asking a judge to rewrite the law.

In Massachusetts this issue was highlighted in the Eaton case. Before that case Massachusetts specifically allowed the equitable remedy of foreclosure merely upon allegation and proof that the foreclosing party possessed the mortgage document under circumstances where there was at least probable cause to believe that the foreclosing party had the right to enforce it and use it.

In the Eaton case the court was careful to state that the ruling applied only prospectively and not retroactively. In that case they attempted to deal with the issue of whether an actual debt existed,  whether a creditor debtor relationship existed between the foreclosing party and the homeowner, whether the note and mortgage were valid, and whether a foreclosure could go forward without any showing that the foreclosing party was a creditor or even had possession of the note. The court decided that ownership of the note was essential to allowing the foreclosure to proceed.

Based upon the huge volume of statistical and anecdotal evidence there can be little doubt that most of the foreclosures and foreclosure sales have been illegally conducted and wrongful. That doesn’t mean they are void. The purpose of the statutes as they are written is to enhance  liquidity and certainty in the marketplace; thus they allow almost every type of foreclosure to proceed through the conclusion of those proceedings as set forth in the statutes, with the added presumption that if malfeasance lay at the core of the foreclosure proceeding, the borrower would have an adequate remedy at law, to wit: a lawsuit for compensatory damages, punitive damages and exemplary damages.

Of course we all know that an action for damages is not an adequate remedy for somebody who has been evicted from their own home. But the problem is that before the securitization scam, the idea that anyone would attempt to foreclose on a mortgage without being a creditor and having no relationship to a creditor and without having a single cent invested in either the origination or acquisition of the loan would have been regarded as pure fantasy. From that standpoint the legislation makes sense. If you feel you are fighting an uphill battle, look at it from the point of view of the legislature and the banks that were making conventional loans and you can easily see why the law facilitated the mortgage foreclosure process.

When I was first interviewing law professors and judges back in 2007 and 2008 the unanimous opinion was that it would be very difficult to stop the foreclosures from proceeding but very easy to win an action after the foreclosure seeking monetary damages. The interesting thing here is that these people instantly understood that the lawsuit would have alternative counts. Either the pretender lender had an actual interest in the loan as evidenced by the note and mortgage or they didn’t.

If they did have an interest in the loan then the causes of action would be based on breach of contract and perhaps unjust enrichment along with statutory violations taken from federal and state law. There could also be an action for wrongful foreclosure that is recognized to exist in the common law and appears to be more of an action in tort than contract.

If they didn’t have an interest in the loan then there would be no action in contract since you would be alleging a lack of privity and defects in the disclosure documents, and closing documents including but not limited to the note and mortgage. It appears to me that this action would be based mostly on intentional interference in the contractual relations of another and both statutory and common law fraud in the inducement and fraud in the execution. Statutory actions brought under the truth in lending act might be sufficient to state a cause of action for treble damages, interest, costs of the action and recovery of attorney’s fees.

The point raised by the law professors and other experts with whom I consulted was that the goalpost would constantly be moved as the borrower attempted to stop the foreclosure and sale from going forward. Once completed, however, the actions of the pretender lender are essentially engraved in stone.

The action for damages should of course be accompanied by a demand for jury trial. The liability portion of the trial should be relatively simple involving simple arithmetic and a logical progression of claimed ownership of the loan. The last defensive strategy of the banks is going to be based on circular logic, to wit: that there is no damage because the foreclosure sale was valid and that the sale must be considered valid because it is already done; and if it is already done the deed issued upon foreclosure sale at the alleged auction is presumptively valid. In other words “what we did was valid because we did it.”

In my opinion there is big money in these lawsuits for damages and lawyers are encouraged to do the research and analysis. My firm is taking these cases on contingency where the right elements are present. So far everyone who has done their own research and analysis has arrived at the same conclusion expressed in this article. But there is a huge trapdoor that litigators must avoid.

Just like a petition for bankruptcy creates an administrative proceeding before a bankruptcy judge which is not the same as a civil litigation proceeding which would be filed in front of the federal district judge, a litigator in a foreclosure action must be careful to narrow the issues such that the foreclosure proceedings do not include allegations and proof directed against the pretender lender for not being the creditor and not having any authority to represent a creditor.

In judicial states this would mean a motion to dismiss or motion to strike any allegation that might lead to a final judgment in which the court finds a debt owed  to the pretender lender from the homeowner.

The point must be made that the preoccupation of the judge with the payments from the borrower should mean that “payments” are at issue. If payments are at issue than the payments made and received by the pretender lender and its predecessors or successors must be given equal time in a court of law — not just payments made and received by the alleged borrower.

Strategically the litigator should point out that the foreclosure process is essentially an administrative process involving ministerial duties by the judge. It should be argued that if the judge wants to allow the foreclosure to proceed and to allow the sale at auction to proceed, that is one issue.

But if the judge wants to enter a judgment based upon a debt, and a note and mortgage which supposedly describe the debt and the repayment terms, and based upon alleged ownership of the debt —  then the party intending to foreclose must allege injury which means that they too are required to produce evidence of payment and evidence of loss. The only acceptable evidence for that would be a canceled check, wire transfer receipt or other actual document generated by a third-party showing the actual movement of money.

Thus the judge should be guided towards a judgment that he or she already wants to enter, to wit: allow the foreclosure to proceed. In the lawsuit filed by the borrower after the foreclosure sale a different judge will probably hear the case. If presented skillfully, the judge may react warmly to the opportunity of getting another case off of their docket.

Critics say Michigan foreclosure bills seek to ‘get people out of their homes quicker’
http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/05/critics_say_michigan_foreclosu.html

Keeping The ‘Recovery’ Dream Alive; 3 Big Banks Halt Foreclosures In May
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-05-28/keeping-recovery-dream-alive-3-big-banks-halt-foreclosures-may

Banks Snap Up Foreclosure Aid Meant for Borrowers
http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2013/5/28/banks_snap_up_foreclosure_aid_meant.htm

Activist homeowners take foreclosure fight to the DOJ
http://www.housingwire.com/fastnews/2013/05/28/activist-homeowners-take-foreclosure-fight-doj

Regulators probing banks for faulty debt collection practices
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/regulators-probing-banks-for-faulty-debt-collection-practices/2013/05/28/9f40bca2-bbd0-11e2-89c9-3be8095fe767_story.html

 

TALLAHASSEE LAW FIRM OFFERS PRO BONO SERVICE TO MILITARY PEOPLE IN ACTIVE COMBAT SERVICE

PRO BONO SERVICES ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN RESTRICTIONS

CONTINGENCY FEE OFFERED FOR DAMAGE SETTLEMENTS AND TRIALS
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 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.

Tallahassee, Florida. Memorial Day. GARFIELD, GWALTNEY, KELLEY AND WHITE has announced that any person who was or is in active military service — uniform or civilian — who has been the victim of wrongful foreclosure will be represented without payment or fees or costs. Federal Law prohibits such action until the person is out of active combat service. Thus all such foreclosure actions are wrongful regardless of the circumstances. Yet the Banks continue to violate this law with impunity, except for some minor settlements on those few foreclosures where they were caught red-handed.

This is my law firm, along with three very able partners with whom I am proud to join as partners — William Gwaltney, Danielle Kelley and Ian White — all veterans of the foreclosure wars and all licensed in Florida and admitted to the Federal Northern District and Central District. I am admitted to the Southern District and Bankruptcy Bar in the Southern District.

Over a million people as uniformed service and civilian contractors assigned to combat zones fall into the category of people against whom no action should be taken. While they risk life and limb and their sanity for this country the law prohibiting legal actions against them and their families is the obvious right thing to do, it is the law of the land, and the violation of it should be enforced aggressively. Most people in service are unaware they have this protection and when they receive a notice of foreclosure they think there is nothing they can do about it.

Anecdotal evidence across the country suggests that a majority of judges are unaware of this protection for the military and have summarily disregarded the law even when it is brought to their attention.

It is our firm’s position that it is the duty of every member of the Bar to offer this service which is easy to do and requires very little time. We would a happy to assist other attorneys, after they done the basic research, in enforcing this law and preventing the foreclosure of homes while some man or woman is ducking bullets and mortars and IED’s abroad.

The offer extends to all those who were or are in combat zones against whom foreclosure proceedings were commenced. It covers only stopping the foreclosure and does not cover any other defenses dozens of which have been detailed on this blog. The probability is that the debt has long since been paid off by co-obligors you knew nothing about — information that was illegally withheld from you at he loan closing.

The firm reserves the right to review all potential cases to determine whether the case qualifies for this offer — but all cases that DO qualify will be accepted. Veterans and active duty soldiers and civilians in and out of combat zones have many remedies that are unknown to them. We are not experts in all aspects of military law or civilian laws that protect active combat personnel. But we know about this one and we are going to do something about it.

OUR FIRM MISSION IS JUSTICE: To stop foreclosures and get compensation that is truly adequate for those who were tricked into fake mortgages or tricked into fake foreclosures.

OUR FIRM STRATEGY IS TO REVEAL THE TRUTH: To provide the highest level of legal services to the most people who have been defrauded, tricked and fooled into thinking they had attending a bona fide loan closing and who have been defrauded, tracked and fooled into thinking they deserve to have their home foreclosed. Most people think the loan closing was bona fide because the money showed up. They are most probably wrong. Most people think that they are in default because they know they stopped paying the servicer claiming rights to collect on their account. They too are most probably wrong.

SPREAD THE WORD

SEE ALSO

OCC: 13 Questions to Answer Before Foreclosure and Eviction

13 Questions Before You Can Foreclose

foreclosure_standards_42013 — this one works for sure

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