Why Are the Banks Abandoning Homes? Hundreds of Thousands of Homes Bulldozed After Foreclosure

For More Information and assistance please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688

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No reasonable person would abandon this many homes after taking the trouble to foreclose on them. There is an obvious preference for foreclosure over workouts, modifications, short sales, resales, and other tools. This shows clearly that loss mitigation is not one of the factors in the minds of those who say they represent investors or REMIC trusts.

So they must have a reason to force the sale of a home other than loss mitigation. The people initiating these foreclosures and subsequent abandonment are acting against the interest of the investors who actually put up the money for the “securitization fail” that I identified and Adam Levitin named.

Thus it must be concluded that those who control the foreclosure process at the big investment banks benefit in some way other than loss mitigation. That can only mean one of two things:

  • The people making the decision make more money foreclosing than in pursuing workouts, modifications, or other settlements and/or
  • The people making the decision are using the foreclosing process to institutionalize “securitization fail” and thus avoid trillions of dollars in liability owed to the investors, insurers, guarantors, counterparties on hedge products, the borrowers and local, state and federal government.

This can only mean that the purpose of the foreclosure is not to mitigate damages to the actual lender or creditor. They don’t want performing loans even if it means that the homeowner is paying off the entire balance of the loan. And they make it difficult if not impossible to get a correct figure for a payoff.

So if the money is not the issue, and the house is not really in issue why do they pursue foreclosures, fabricate documents to do it and use robo-signers and robo witnesses to force through foreclosures on homes they will only abandon at the end of the process?

Should we not be asking whether good faith and clean hands have been established to justify the equitable remedy of forfeiture of the home?

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In South Florida news this morning, local Sheriffs are banding together to board up more than 1,000 homes in Lake Worth. In each case the home was foreclosed. In most cases, the homeowner applied for a modification and was told they could not apply until they were 90 days in arrears. In most cases, all efforts at modification were turned down under the guise that the investors refused to modify or workout the loan. That was most probably a lie. Neither the servicer nor the Trustee or other “enforcer” ever went to the investors with a single workout plan.

Continuous allegations of fraudulent foreclosures on predatory and fraudulent loans have been “settled” but not with the effected homeowners nor with local governments and homeowner associations who are deeply effected by this tragic fraud on the courts, the borrowers, the governments, and the society at large — as millions of jobs were lost and hundreds of thousands of businesses closed down as their customers were displaced from their homes (around 16 Million people directly displaced by fraudulent foreclosures thus far).

As foreclosures continue to increase in number (despite news reports to the contrary) more homeowners are being forced out of their homes, including many that were in the family for generations. The houses, now empty, lay dormant sometimes for 6 years or more before the actual “auction” sale takes place. During that time, miscreants move in creating meth labs, crack houses, safe houses for gangs etc. In the end the property is abandoned, and it leads to more foreclosures and more abandonment. Eventually entire neighborhoods are converted to ghost towns reducing the property values to zero — perfect for an intermediary who wants to cheat investors. The foreclosure sale and abandonment show the recovery at zero. Investors are even told that they should be happy that they didn’t incur further liability than their investment in the property.

In most states, effort to reclaim the homes have failed because they were stripped of the vital mechanical systems and even building materials — a new industry resulting from this process of foreclosure and abandonment. The local property taxes are unpaid for years — leading to forever where the homes are completely abandoned and demolished. But the local government is stuck with the bill because with the new construction from the false boom created by the banks they expanded infrastructure and social services (police, fire, medical etc.).

Meanwhile the same local government is being told that their investment in mortgage bonds have produced losses. So they are stuck with the double whammy of non-payment of property and other taxes plus a direct loss incurred from the “securitization fail” scheme. I believe that attorneys ought to take cases on contingency where local government files suit against the banks. The allegation should be made that not only did the banks NOT act in good faith, they acted in BAD faith because they had no right to foreclose on false papers created at the closing of a loan wherein the borrower and investors were unaware of the true nature of the transaction.

A Foreclosure Judgment and Sale is a Forced Assignment Against the Interests of Investors and For the Interests of the Bank Intermediaries

For more information on foreclosure offense, expert witness consultations and foreclosure defense please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688. We offer litigation support in all 50 states to attorneys. We refer new clients without a referral fee or co-counsel fee unless we are retained for litigation support. Bankruptcy lawyers take note: Don’t be too quick admit the loan exists nor that a default occurred and especially don’t admit the loan is secured. FREE INFORMATION, ARTICLES AND FORMS CAN BE FOUND ON LEFT SIDE OF THE BLOG. Consultations available by appointment in person, by Skype and by phone.

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Successfully hoodwinking a Judge into entering a Judgment of Foreclosure and forcing the sale of a homeowner’s property has the effect of transferring the loss on that loan from the securities broker and its co-venturers to the Pension Fund that gave the money to the securities broker. Up until the moment of the foreclosure, the loss will fall on the securities brokers for damages, refunds etc. Once foreclosure is entered it sets in motion a legal cascade that protects the securities broker from further claims for fraud against the investors, insurers, and guarantors.

The securities broker was thought to be turning over the proceeds to the Trust which issued bonds in an IPO. Instead the securities broker used the money for purposes and in ways that were — according to the pleadings of the investors, the government, guarantors, and insurers — FRAUDULENT. Besides raising the issue of unclean hands, these facts eviscerate the legal enforcement of loan documents that were, according to those same parties, fraudulent, unenforceable and subject to claims for damages and punitive damages from borrowers.

There is a difference between documents that talk about a transaction and the transaction documents themselves. That is the essence of the fraud perpetrated by the banks in most of the foreclosure actions that I have reviewed. The documents that talk about a transaction are referring to a transaction that never existed. Documents that “talk about” a transaction include a note, mortgage, assignment, power of attorney etc. Documents that ARE the transaction documents include the actual evidence of actual payments like a wire transfer or canceled check and the actual evidence of delivery of the loan documents — like Fedex receipts or other form of correspondence showing that the recipient was (a) the right recipient and (b) actually received the documents.

The actual movement of the actual money and actual Transaction Documents has been shrouded in secrecy since this mortgage mess began. It is time to come clean.

THE REAL DEBT: The real debt does NOT arise unless someone gets something from someone else that is legally recognized as “value” or consideration. Upon receipt of that, the recipient now owes a duty to the party who gave that “something” to him or her. In this case, it is simple. If you give money to someone, it is presumed that a debt arises to pay it back — to the person who loaned it to you. What has happened here is that the real debt arose by operation of common law (and in some cases statutory law) when the borrower received the money or the money was used, with his consent, for his benefit. Now he owes the money back. And he owes it to the party whose money was used to fund the loan transaction — not the party on paperwork that “talks about” the transaction.

The implied ratification that is being used in the courts is wrong. The investors not only deny the validity of the loan transactions with homeowners, but they have sued the securities brokers for fraud (not just breach of contract) and they have received considerable sums of money in settlement of their claims. How those settlement effect the balance owed by the debtor is unclear — but it certainly introduces the concept that damages have been mitigated, and the predatory loan practices and appraisal fraud at closing might entitle the borrowers to a piece of those settlements — probably in the form of a credit against the amount owed.

Thus when demand is made to see the actual transaction documents, like a canceled check or wire transfer receipt, the banks fight it tooth and nail. When I represented banks and foreclosures, if the defendant challenged whether or not there was a transaction and if it was properly done, I would immediately submit the affidavits real witnesses with real knowledge of the transaction and absolute proof with a copy of a canceled check, wire transfer receipt or deposit into the borrowers account. The dispute would be over. There would be nothing to litigate.

There is no question in my mind that the banks are afraid of the question of payment and delivery. With increasing frequency, I am advised of confidential settlements where the homeowner’s attorney was relentless in pursuing the truth about the loan, the ownership (of the DEBT, not the “note” which is supposed to be ONLY evidence of the debt) and the balance. The problem is that none of the parties in the “chain” ever paid a dime (except in fees) and none of them ever received delivery of closing documents. This is corroborated by the absence of the Depositor and Custodian in the “chain”.

The plain truth is that the securities broker took money from the investor/lender and instead of of delivering the proceeds to the Trust (I.e, lending the money to the Trust), the securities broker set up an elaborate scheme of loaning the money directly to borrowers. So they diverted money from the Trust to the borrower’s closing table. Then they diverted title to the loan from the investor/lenders to a controlled entity of the securities broker.

The actual lender is left with virtually no proof of the loan. The note and mortgage is been made out in favor of an entity that was never disclosed to the investor and would never have been approved by the investor is the fund manager of the pension fund had been advised of the actual way in which the money of the pension fund had been channeled into mortgage originations and mortgage acquisitions.

Since the prospectus and the pooling and servicing agreement both rule out the right of the investors and the Trustee from inquiring into the status of the loans or the the “portfolio” (which is nonexistent),  it is a perfect storm for moral hazard.  The securities broker is left with unbridled ability to do anything it wants with the money received from the investor without the investor ever knowing what happened.

Hence the focal point for our purposes is the negligence or intentional act of the closing agent in receiving money from one actual lender who was undisclosed and then applying it to closing documents with a pretender lender who was a controlled entity of the securities broker.  So what you have here is an undisclosed lender who is involuntarily lending money directly a homeowner purchase or refinance a home. The trust is ignored  an obviously the terms of the trust are avoided and ignored. The REMIC Trust is unfunded and essentially without a trustee —  and none of the transactions contemplated in the prospectus and pooling and servicing agreement ever occurred.

The final judgment of foreclosure forces the “assignment” into a “trust” that was unfunded, didn’t have a Trustee with any real powers, and didn’t ever get delivery of the closing documents to the Depositor or Custodian. This results in forcing a bad loan into the trust, which presumably enables the broker to force the loss from the bad loans onto the investors. They also lose their REMIC status which means that the Trust is operating outside the 90 day cutoff period. So the Trust now has a taxable event instead of being treated as a conduit like a Subchapter S corporation. This creates double taxation for the investor/lenders.

The forced “purchase” of the REMIC Trust takes place without notice to the investors or the Trust as to the conflict of interest between the Servicers, securities brokers and other co-venturers. The foreclosure is pushed through even when there is a credible offer of modification from the borrower that would allow the investor to recover perhaps as much as 1000% of the amount reported as final proceeds on liquidation of the REO property.

So one of the big questions that goes unanswered as yet, is why are the investor/lenders not given notice and an opportunity to be heard when the real impact of the foreclosure only effects them and does not effect the intermediaries, whose interests are separate and apart from the debt that arose when the borrower received the money from the investor/lender?

The only parties that benefit from a foreclosure sale are the ones actively pursuing the foreclosure who of course receive fees that are disproportional to the effort, but more importantly the securities broker closes the door on potential liability for refunds, repurchases, damages to be paid from fraud claims from investors, guarantors and other parties and even punitive damages arising out of the multiple sales of the same asset to different parties.

If the current servicers were removed, since they have no actual authority anyway (The trust was ignored so the authority arising from the trust must be ignored), foreclosures would virtually end. Nearly all cases would be settled on one set of terms or another, enabling the investors to recover far more money (even though they are legally unsecured) than what the current “intermediaries” are giving them.

If this narrative gets out into the mainstream, the foreclosing parties would be screwed. It would show that they have no right to foreclosure based upon a voidable mortgage securing a void promissory note. I received many calls last week applauding the articles I wrote last week explaining the securitization process — in concept, as it was written and how it operated in the real world ignoring the REMIC Trust entity. This is an attack on any claim the forecloser makes to having the rights to enforce — which can only come from a party who does have the right to enforce.

see http://livinglies.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/securitization-for-lawyers-conflicts-between-reality-the-documents-and-the-concept/

The Logic of Wall Street “Securitization:” The transaction that never existed

For more information on foreclosure offense and defense please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688. We offer litigation support in all 50 states to attorneys. We refer new clients without a referral fee or co-counsel fee unless we are retained for litigation support. Bankruptcy lawyers take note: Don’t be too quick admit the loan exists nor that a default occurred and especially don’t admit the loan is secured. FREE INFORMATION, ARTICLES AND FORMS CAN BE FOUND ON LEFT SIDE OF THE BLOG. Consultations available by appointment in person, by Skype and by phone.

The logic of Wall Street schemes is simple: Create the trusts but don’t use them. Lie to everyone and assure everyone that Trusts were used to “securitize” loans. The strategy is so successful and the lie is so big and has been going on for so long, that most people believe it.

You see it in the decisions of the appellate courts who render opinions like the recent 3rd district in California which expresses the premise that the borrower was loaned money by the originator. Once you start with THAT premise, the outcome is no surprise. But start with reverse premise — that the borrower was NOT loaned money BY THE ORIGINATOR and you end up with a very different result.

We could assume that Wall Street is reckless in lending money. They can afford to be reckless because they are using investor money. And, so the story goes, the boys on Wall Street got a little wild with loans that they would never have approved for themselves.

Without risk of any loss, Wall Street investment banks make money regardless of whether the loan succeeds or goes into default.

But Wall Street is not content with earning fees. The basic credo is a question: “How can we make YOUR money OUR money.” And they have successfully devised and followed that goal for many years. As one insider told me in an interview that must remain anonymous, “It is like a magic trick. You create a trust and everyone is looking at the trust and everyone is looking at transactions affecting the trust, when in fact all the action is occurring off record, off the books and away from scrutiny by investors, trustees, rating agencies, insurers, borrowers, and of course, the courts.” 

So the question becomes “what happens to investor money after it is received by the investment bank?” If the money passes from the bank account of the managed fund (pension) fund to the bank account of the investment bank that sold bonds issued by a Trust then the Trust would receive the money. It didn’t.

The Trust would then issue funds for the origination or acquisition of loans. In return it would get the loan documents and they would be placed with the Depositor or Depository — pretty much the way ordinary loans are done. It didn’t. Instead we had millions of loan documents lost or destroyed and then re-created for litigation purposes. Why would an entire industry have engaged in that behavior? Was it really a “volume” problem where there was too much paper or was it something more sinister?

The problem is that the investment bank that acts as broker in selling the bonds is in control of the loans and investments of the Trusts. Since the fees of the investment bank are based on the existence of transactions in which the Trust issues money in exchange for investment certificates, the Wall Street bank is incentivized to make that Trust money move regardless of the quality of the investment. And since the Trust has no say in the actual underwriting decision to originate or acquire the loan, the investment bank is the only one in charge. That leaves the fox guarding the hen house.

But that doesn’t satisfy Wall Street either. They realized that they can create “proprietary profits” for the investment banks by creating a yield spread premium. A yield spread premium is the difference in value between two different loans to the same party for the same transaction — one is the honest one and the other is fictitious.

At closing the borrower is steered into the fictitious one which is far more risky and expensive than the one the borrower is actually qualified to receive.

At the investor level the “trust” is ordered to take loans that are far less valuable than they appear. This means that the Trust buys the investment bonds or shares that the investment bank has created with nobody checking the quality or ownership of the investment. The Pooling and Servicing Agreement contains provisions that effectively bars the Trustee or the investors from knowing or even inquiring about these transactions. Look at any PSA and you will see it.

The bottom line is that the worse the loan terms for the borrower and the more likely it is that the loan will fail, the lower the value of the loan. But if it is sold as though it was an ordinary conventional loan at 5%, then the price, charged for a crappy loan is much higher than its true value. Same scenario as the inflated appraisals of real property and homes. 

So the investment bank inserts itself as the Seller of the loan to the trust. At their proprietary trading desk the investment bank sells its ownership interest in the loan to the trust for the higher “value” because the investment bank is making the decisions on what loans the trust will buy. Meanwhile they have created loans that are worth far less and even have principal due on the “notes” that is far less than what the trust is forced to “pay.”

Checking with informed sources, it is evident that those proprietary transactions were fictitious and allowed the investment banks to report huge “profits” while everyone else was losing their shirts trading bonds, equities and anything else. The transaction at the proprietary trading desk of the investment bank was fictitious because the trust did not issue any payment to the investment bank, who never formally owned the loan in the first place.

You don’t see investment banks anywhere in the chain of title whether you review public records or even MERS. So you have the investment bank selling a loan they don’t own to a trust that never paid for it. The entire transaction is recorded but does not exist.

In the case of a 15% $300,000 loan to a “borrower”, it is “SOLD” as a 5% conventional loan giving the investment bank a reason to declare that it made a profit on a “proprietary trade.” How much profit? Figure it out — on the back of a napkin you can see how the investment banks “sold” the $300,000 loan but “received” $900,000 from the Trust leaving the investors with an instant $600,000 loss and the probability of losing the rest of the $300,000 as well. This is exactly opposite to the provisions of the Prospectus and PSA.

Upon examination, my sources tell me, the money to cover that declared “trading” profit does exist at the investment bank. That is because the investment bank took the money from investors, never funded the trust, and pocketed the $600,000 in advance of the “proprietary trade, which they could cause to be recorded and reported at any time, since the investment bank was in total control.

Enter moral hazard.

The only incentive that the investment bank to stay honest is to report good results so the managed funds buy more bonds. But that does not protect investors. The investment bank creates a classic PONZI scheme in which it uses investor money to make the monthly payments on the bonds or shares and reports that “all is well.” The report disclaims reliability, credibility and authenticity. Wells Fargo has an especially strong disclaimer on the distribution report to investors. The disclaimers were ignored as “boiler plate” by fund managers who made the investment on behalf of the their pensioners or mutual fund shareholders.

All the fund managers needed to know was that they were getting paid — but they did not realize that a significant part of the payment came from their own investment dollars advanced to the investment bank, as broker for the purchase of trust bonds or shares.

So the investment bank makes much less money on good investments for the trust than on really bad investments. In fact they have the  incentive to make certain the loan fails. Not only do they get the yield spread premium described above, the investment bank, is trading on inside information in which only the investment bank knows the truth. It places bets against the viability of the loan and bets further against the value of the mortgage bonds, and buys contracts for insurance, betting that the value of the bond will fall in a “credit event” without the necessity of an actual default.

SO IF THE INVESTMENT BANK DID NOT GIVE THE TRUST THE MONEY FROM INVESTORS, WHERE DID THE INVESTORS’ MONEY GO?

That is the trillion dollar question. And THIS is where the Courts have it completely wrong. Either we are a nation of laws or a nation governed by the financial industry. The banks bet on themselves, and so far, they were right to do so.

The money given to the investment banks was spread out over a long list of intermediaries owned or controlled by the investment bank. AND then SOME of it was spread out funding loans to borrowers. But the investment bank obviously could not name itself on the note and mortgage. That would have revealed that the tax advantages of a REMIC trust were nonexistent because the trust was not involved in the transaction.

So an elaborate, complicated, circuitous route was chosen for the “approval” of loans for origination or acquisition. First you have a nominee, which is often MERS plus a “lender” who was also a nominee even though they were called lender. The “lender” was subject to an assignment and assumption agreement that prohibited the “lender” from exercising any control over the closing on the loan that was being “originated.” In short, they were being paid to pretend to be a lender — hence the term pretender lender. 

The closing agent, whose fee depends upon actually closing, and the mortgage broker, whose fee depends upon actually closing, and the title company, whose fee depends upon the actual closing, have no interest in protecting the borrower from what is about to transpire.

The closing agent gets money from any one of a variety of sources OTHER THAN THE “LENDER.” The closing agent applies those funds to the closing as though the “Lender” made the loan. As stated by one mortgage document specialist for a large “originator”, “We knew that table funded loans were predatory and illegal, but we didn’t take that seriously. And the borrowers didn’t know who the lender was — that was the point. We used table funded loans to conceal the actual lender.”

Those funds came from the investors, although the money did not come through the trust. It came from the investment bank which was acting in the capacity, as they tell it, as a depository bank — which is why the Federal government allowed them to become commercial banks able to act as depositories. And every effort was made to prevent any evidence as to whose money was actually involved in the loan. Since it was the investor money that was used to originate or acquire the loan, it should have been the investors who were named as owner of the loan and recorded as such in the public records.

If you look at the PSA, it requires funding of the trust, of course. But it also requires that its acquisition of loans contain all the elements of a holder in due course, thus barring any claims from borrowers about irregularities at the closing, violations of state and federal law, etc. In summary the only defenses a borrower could raise against a holder in due course is that they paid or that they never signed the note. So a person who pays money in good faith without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses is pretty well protected. In litigation with borrowers, borrowers would be told they must sue the intermediaries that caused the problems with their loans.

The fact that no foreclosure of a loan subject to “claims of securitization” alleges HDC (holder in due course) status is very substantial corroboration that the Trust did not pay for the loan in good faith without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses.

The banks have been betting on a lot of things and winning every bet. In court they are betting that they will be treated as holders in due course and not as simply holders either with or without any right to enforce where they might be required to prove the actual loan of money from the originator, or the payment of money for an assignment and endorsement. And THAT is why the appellate court is assuming that the loan actually occurred — you, know, the loan that is underlying the execution of the note and mortgage, because the borrower didn’t know the truth.

The factual problem is that the presumptions and assumptions relied upon by the courts are in direct conflict with the real facts. The legal problem is that starting with the original loan, many cases, and always with the assignment of loan, is that somewhere in the chain (and probably at more than one point in the “chain”) there is no underlying transaction for the paper upon which the bankers rely in foreclosure.

Some OTHER transaction occurred, which is why the note is evidence of a loan that does not exist between the “lender” and the “borrower” and why the assignment is evidence of a transaction that does not exist between the assignor and assignee. The mistake being made is basic law: the courts are confusing “evidence” of a transaction with the transaction itself. In so doing they are escalating the status of the forecloser from a mere holder to a holder in due course without any actual claim or allegation of HDC status. Once that is done, the borrower is doomed.

The doom should fall on the investment bank and all the intermediaries that participated in this scheme. They left the investors with no coverage — the investors money was used in ways that were expressly prohibited by the offering, the PSA, and even the rules governing investments by stable managed funds whose risk is required to be extremely low in any investment. The investors are the involuntary lenders with no note and no mortgage.

The good news is that nearly all borrowers would be happy to execute a note and mortgage to investors who actually funded their loan or even a trust that was identified by the investors to represent them. The terms would be based upon current economic reality and would thus mitigate the damages to both the investor lenders and the borrowers. The balance, as we have already seen, lies in lawsuits for damages against the investment banks and their intermediaries demanding refunds, damages and even punitive damages. Those lawsuits are being brought by investors, borrowers, insurers, and guarantors and in some cases by counterparties to credit default swaps.

Without the execution of a real note and real mortgage, the foreclosures are fatally defective. So the bad news is that as long as the courts assume and then presume and then enter judgment for the foreclosing party, the Judge is inadvertently sealing a greater loss applied against the investor lender, removing the tax advantages of a REMIC trust, and creating another bar to liability and accountability of the investment bank who effectively has been lying and cheating its way through the system — using legal “presumptions” that are directly contrary to the facts.

Relevance: THE FORECLOSER HAS NO RIGHT TO BE IN COURT WITHOUT THE SECURITIZATION DOCUMENTS AND RECORDS

 Courts and lawyers are continually ignoring the obvious. By zeroing in on the NOTE, they are ignoring the documents that allow the person in possession of the note to be in court. That results in elimination of critical elements of a prima facie case in which the Defendant borrower lacks the superior knowledge and resources of the Plaintiff and its co-venturers that would show the truth about his loan ownership and balance.

Premise:

Chronologically the document trail starts with the securitization documents. Without the securitization documents there is no privity or nexus between the borrowers and the lenders. Neither one of them signed the deal that the other signed. Without the Assignment and Assumption Agreement, the Prospectus and the Pooling And Servicing Agreement, the trust does not exist, the servicer has no powers, the trustee has no powers, and there is no right of representation or agency between any of those parties as it relates to either the lender investors or the homeowner borrowers.

 

The Assignment and Assumption Agreement between the originator and the aggregator sets forth all the rules and actions preceding, during and after the loan”closing”, including the underwriting by parties other than the originator and the ownership of the loan by parties other than the originator. It is a contract to violate public policy, the Federal Truth in Lending Law prohibiting table funded loans designed to withhold disclosure, and usually state deceptive and predatory lending statutes.

 

The Assignment and Assumption Agreement was an agreement to commit illegal acts that were in fact committed and which strictly governed the conduct of the originator, the closing agent, the document processing, the delivery of documents, the due diligence, the underwriting, the approval by parties other than the originator and the risk of loss on parties other than the originator. The Assignment and Assumption Agreement is essential to the Court’s knowledge of the intent and reality of the closing, intentionally withheld from the borrower at closing. It cannot be anything other than relevant in any action sought to enforce the documents produced at a loan closing that was conducted in strict adherence to the illegal Assignment and Assumption Agreement.

 

The other closing is with the investors who were accepting a proposed transaction to lend money for the origination or acquisition of loans through a trust. Those documents and records (Prospectus, Pooling and Servicing Agreement, Distribution reports, etc) provide for the creation and governance of the trust, the appointment of a trustee and the powers of the trustee, and the appointment and the powers of the Master Servicer and subservicers. Those documents also provide for there requirements of reporting and record keeping, including the physical location and custody of actual loan documents. Without those documents, there is no power or authority for the trustee, the trust, the Master Servicer, the subservicer, the Depository, the Securities Administrator the purchase of insurance, credit default swap trading, funding the origination or acquisition of loans, or collection and enforcement of loan documents. without those documents the Court cannot know what records should be kept and thus what records need to be produced to show the status of the obligation in the books and records of the creditor — regardless of whether the loan was actually securitized or just claimed to be securitized.

 

Procedure and UCC
In Judicial States, the Plaintiff is bringing suit alleging a default by the Defendant on a promissory note and for enforcement of a mortgage. The name of the payee on the note is different from the name of the Plaintiff in the lawsuit. The name of the mortgagee is different from the the name of the Plaintiff. The suit is bought by (a) a trustee on behalf of the holders of securities that make the holders of those securities (Mortgage Bonds) in a NY Trust (b) the “servicer” on behalf of the trust or the holders or (c) a company that alleges it is a holder or a holder with rights to enforce. None of them assert they are holders in due course which means they concede that the Plaintiff did not buy the loan in good faith without knowledge of the borrowers defenses. They assert they are holder in which case they are subject to all of the borrowers defense — which procedurally means the issues concerning the initial loan and any subsequent transfers can be in issue if the preemptive facts are denied and appropriate affirmative defenses and counterclaims are filed. These defenses are waived at trial if an objection is not timely raised.

 

In Non-Judicial States, the name of the “new” beneficiary is different from the name of the payee on the promissory note and the name of the beneficiary on the Deed of Trust. The “new beneficiary” files a “Substitution of Trustee”, the Trustee sends a notice of default, notice of sale and notice of acceleration based upon “representations” from the “new beneficiary.” This process allows a stranger to the transaction to assert its position outside of a court of law that it is the new beneficiary and even allows the new beneficiary to name a company as the “new trustee” in the Notice of Substitution of Trustee. The foreclosure is initiated by the new trustee on the deed of trust on behalf of (a) a trustee on behalf of the holders of securities that make the holders of those securities (Mortgage Bonds) in a NY Trust (b) the “servicer” on behalf of the trust or the holders or (c) a company that alleges it is a holder or a holder with rights to enforce. None of them assert they are holders in due course which means they concede that the Plaintiff did not buy the loan in good faith without knowledge of the borrowers defenses. They assert they are holder in which case they are subject to all of the borrowers defense — which procedurally means the issues concerning the initial loan and any subsequent transfers can be in issue if the preemptive facts are denied and appropriate affirmative defenses and counterclaims are filed. These defenses are waived at trial if an objection is not timely raised. In these cases it is the burden of the borrower to timely file a motion for Temporary Injunction to stop the trustee’s sale of the property.

 

Argument:
By failing to assert with clarity the identity of the creditor on whose behalf they are “holding” the note and mortgage (or deed of trust) and failing to assert the presence of the actual creditor (holder in due course) the parties initiating foreclosure have (a) failed to assert the essential elements to enforce a note and mortgage and (b) have failed to establish a prima facie case in which the burden should shift to the borrowers to defend. The present practice of challenging the defenses first is improper and contrary to the requirements of due process and the rules of civil procedure. If the Plaintiff in Judicial states or beneficiary in non-judicial states is unable to sustain their burden of proof for a prima facie case, then Judgment should be entered for the alleged borrower.

 

Evidence:
Virtually all loans initiated or originated or acquired between 1996 and the present are subject to claims of securitization, which is the first reason why the securitization documents are relevant and must be introduced as evidence along with proof of compliance with those documents because they are almost all governed by New York State law governing common law trusts. Any act not permitted by the trust instrument (Pooling and Servicing Agreement) is void, which means for purposes of the case narrative, the act or event never occurred.

If the Plaintiff or beneficiary is alleging that it is a holder and not alleging it is a holder in due course then there is a 96% probability that the creditor is either a trust or a group of investors who paid money to a broker dealer in an IPO where securities were issued by the trust and the investors money should have been paid to the trust. In all events, the assertion of “holder” status instead of “Holder in Due Course” means by definition that one of two things is true: (1) there is no holder in due course or (2) there is a Holder in Due Course and the party initiating the foreclosure and collection proceedings is asserting authority to represent the holder in due course. In all events, the representation of holder rather than holder in due course is an admission that the party initiating the foreclosure proceeding is there in a representative capacity.

 

THE FORECLOSER HAS NO RIGHT TO BE IN COURT WITHOUT THE SECURITIZATION DOCUMENTS:

 

If the proceeding is brought by a named trust, then the existence of the trust, the authority of the trust, the manner in which the trust may acquire assets, and the authority of the servicer, Master servicer, trustee of the trust, depository, securities administrator and others all derive from the trust instrument. If there is a claim of securitization and the provisions of the securitization documents were not followed then in virtually all foreclosure cases the wrong parties are initiating the foreclosures — because the money of the investors went direct to the origination and purchase of loans rather than through the SPV Trust which for tax purposes was designed to be a REMIC pass through trust.

 

If the foreclosing party identifies itself as a servicer and as a holder it is admitting that it is there in a representative capacity. Their prima facie case therefore includes the documents and events in which acquired the right to represent the actual creditor. Those are only the securitization documents.

 

If the foreclosing party identifies itself as a holder but does not mention that it is a servicer, the same rules apply — the right to be there is a representative capacity must derive from some written instrument, which in virtually cases is the Pooling and Servicing Agreement.

 

Representations that the loan is a portfolio loan not subject to securitization are generally untrue. In a true portfolio loan the UCC would not apply but the rules governing a holder in due course can be used as guidance for the alleged transaction. The “lender” must show that it actually funded the loan, in good faith (in accordance with the requirements of Federal and State law governing lending) and without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses. They would be able to show their underwriting committee notes, reports and correspondence, the verification of the loan, the property value, the ability of the borrower to repay and all other national standards for underwriting and appraisals. These are only absent when there is no risk of loss on the alleged loan, because if the borrower doesn’t pay, the money was never destined to be received by the originator anyway.

 

In addition, the Prospectus offering to the investors combined with the Pooling and Servicing Agreement constitute the “indenture” describing the manner in which the investment will be returned to the investors, including interest, insurance proceeds, proceeds of credit default swaps, government and non government guarantees, etc. This specifies the duties and records that must be kept, where they must be kept and how the investors will receive distributions from the servicer. Proof of the balance shown by investors is the only relevant proof of a dealt and the principal balance due, applicable interest due, etc. The provisions of the contract between the creditors and the trust govern the amount and manner of distributions to the creditor. Thus it is only be reference to the creditors’ records that a prima facie case for default and the right to accelerate can be made. The servicer records do not include third party payments but do include servicer advances. If records of servicer advances are not shown in court, and the provision for servicer advances is in the prospectus and/or pooling and servicing agreement, then the Court is unable to know the balance and whether any default occurred as a result of the borrower ceasing to make payments to the servicer.

 

In short, it is the prospectus and pooling and servicing agreement that provide the framework for determining whether the creditors got paid as per their expectations pursuant to their contract with the Trust. It is only by reference to these documents that the distribution reports to the investors can be used as partial evidence of the existence of a default or “credit event.” Representations that the borrower did not pay the servicer are not conclusive as to the existence of a default. Only the records of the creditor, who by virtue of its relationships with multiple co-obligors, can establish that payments due were paid to the creditor. Servicer records are relevant as to whether the servicer received payments, but not relevant as to whether the creditor received those payments directly or indirectly. The servicer and creditors’ records establish servicer advance payments, which if made, nullify the creditor default. The creditors’ records establish the amount of principal or interest due after deductions from receipt of third party payments (insurance, credit default swaps, guarantees, loss sharing etc.).

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

 

 

AMGAR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

The Banks: Consideration is Irrelevant, Really? Then so is payment!

The issue is what are the elements of the loan contract? Who are the parties? And who can enforce it?

I would agree that an overpayment at closing from the source of funds is rare. What is not rare and in fact common is that the wire transfer instructions that accompany the wire transfer receipt often instructs the closing agent to refund any overpayment to the party who wired the money — not the originator. This leads to questions. If it is a true warehouse lender, such instructions could be explained without affecting the validity of the note or mortgage.

In truth, the procedures used usually prevent the originator from ever touching the flow of funds. Wall Street banks were afraid of fraud — that if the originators could touch the money, they might have faked a number of closings and taken the money. In short, the investment banks were afraid that the originators would not use the money the way it was intended. So instead of doing that, they created relationships by having the originators sign Assignment and Assumption agreements before they started lending. This agreement says the loan belongs to an “aggregator” that is merely a controlled entity of the broker dealer. But the money doesn’t come from either the originator or the aggregator. Thus they have an agreement that controls the loan closings but no consideration for that either.
But this is a lot like the insurance payments, proceeds of credit default swaps etc. The contracts almost always specifically waive subrogation or any other right of action against the borrowers or any other enforcement of the notes or mortgages. It has been presumed that these contracts were for the mitigation of losses and that is true. But they are payable to the broker dealers and not the trust or trust beneficiaries. The investment banks committed fraud when they represented to the insurers, FDIC, Fannie, Freddie and CDS counterparties that they had an insurable interest. Those parties presumed that the investment banks were creating these hedge products for the benefit of the owner of the mortgage bonds or the owner of the loans. But it was paid to the investment banks. That is why all those parties are claiming losses that resulted from fraud — all of which have resulted in settlements (except the Countrywide verdict for fraud).
The similarity is this: in both the closing with borrowers and the closings with investors the same fraud occurred. When dealing with the closing agent they interposed their nominee in the closing which resulted in no note and no mortgage in favor of the investors or the trust. Whether the closing agent is liable is another issue. The point is that the money came from a third party which was a controlled entity of the broker dealer. Thus the investor gets a promise from a trust that is not funded while their money is used to pay fees, create the illusion of trading profits for the broker dealer and funding mortgages.
The wire transfer is not a wire transfer from the originator, nor from the bank at which the originator maintains any account. The wire transfer instructions and the wire transfer receipt fail to identify the actual source of funds and fail to refer to the originator as a real party. If they did, there would not be a problem for the banks to enforce the note and mortgage. If they did, the banks would simply show the transaction record and there would be nothing to fight about.
The only occasion in which the banks appeared to be willing to provide adequate documentation for consideration appears to be in a merger or acquisition with the party that was named as the mortgagee in the mortgage document or the beneficiary in the deed of trust. And all the other transactions, the banks say that consideration is irrelevant or they quote the law that says that courts cannot question the adequacy of consideration. They are dodging the issue. We are not saying that consideration was not adequate; what we are saying is that there was no consideration at all. The banks are fighting this issue  because when it comes out that there really was no consideration the entire house of cards could fall.
 The issue is counterintuitive because everyone knows that there was money on the closing table. Unless the issue is argued and presented with clarity, it will appear to the judge that you are trying to say that there was no money on the closing table. And when a judge hears that, or thinks that he heard that, he or she will not take you seriously. There are three parts to every contract —  offer, acceptance, and consideration. A few courts have started to deal with this question. In the context of foreclosure litigation all three elements are in question. If the lenders are investors who believed that their money was being put into a trust that they were beneficiaries of a trust, they are unaware of the fact that their money is being offered to borrowers on terms that are contrary to their instructions. And the loan is not made on behalf of the investors or the trust. It is made on behalf of some sham entity controlled by the broker dealer. Sometimes the origination is made by an actual bank that is acting in the capacity of a sham lender. Either way the money came from the investors.
So the issue is not whether there was money on the table but rather whether there was a meeting of the minds between the investors and lenders in the homeowners as borrowers. The lender documents (trust documents) reveal far different terms of repayment than the borrower documents. Each of them signed on to a deal that actually didn’t exist because neither of them had agreed to the same terms.
 The fact that money was on the table at the time of the alleged closing of the loan can only mean that the homeowner owed money to repay the source of the money. This duty to repay arises by operation of law and extends from the homeowner to the investor despite the lack of any documentation that explicitly states that. The result is false documentation in which the homeowner was induced to sign under the mistaken belief that the payee on the note and the mortgagee on the mortgage was the source of funds.
If you receive funds from John Smith and the note and mortgage are drafted for the benefit of Nancy Jones as “lender” would that bother you? What would you do as closing agent? Why?
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