9th Circuit (Federal) Allows Quiet Title and Damages for Wrongful Filing of False Documents

Hat Tip to Beth Findsen who is a good friend and a great lawyer in Scottsdale, Az and who provided this case to me this morning. I always recommend her in Arizona because her writing is spectacular and her courtroom experience invaluable.

This case needs to be analyzed further. Robert Hager (CONGRATULATIONS TO HAGER IN RENO, NV) et al has succeeded in getting at least a partial and significant victory over the MERS system, and voiding robosigned documents as being forged per se. I disagree that a note and mortgage, once split, can be reunified by mere execution of an instrument. They are avoiding the issue just like the “lost note” issue. The rules of evidence and pleading have always required great factual specificity on the path of transactions leading up to the point where the note was lost or transferred. This Court dodged that bullet for now. Without evidence of the trail of ownership, the money trail and the document trail all the way through the system, such a finding leaves us in the dark. The case does show what I have been saying all along — the importance of pleading and admitting to NOTHING. By not specifically stating that there was no default, the court concluded that Plaintiffs had failed to establish the elements of wrongful foreclosure and left open the entire question about whether such a cause of action even exists.

But the more basic issue us whether the homeowner can sue for quiet title and damages for slander of his title by the use and filing of patently false documentation in Court, in the County records etc. The answer is a resounding YES and will be sustained should the banks try to move this up the ladder to the U.S. Supreme Court. This opinion changes again my earlier comments. First I said you could quiet title, then I said you first needed to nullify title (the mortgage) before you could even file a quiet title action. Now I revert to my prior position based upon the holding and sound reasoning behind this court decision. One caveat: you must plead facts for nullification, cancellation of the instrument on the grounds that it is void before you can get to your cause of action on quiet title and damages for slander of the homeowner’s title. My conclusion is that they may be and perhaps should be in the same lawsuit. This decision makes clear the damage wrought by use of the MERS system. It is strong persuasive authority in other jurisdictions and now the law for all courts within the 9th Circuit’s jurisdiction.

Here are some of the significant quotes.

Writing in 2011, the MDL Court dismissed Count I on four grounds. None of these grounds provides an appropriate basis for dismissal. We recognize that at the time of its decision, the MDL Court had plausible arguments under Arizona law in support of three of these grounds. But decisions by Arizona courts after 2011 have made clear that the MDL Court was incorrect in relying on them.
First, the MDL Court concluded that § 33-420 does not apply to the specific documents that the CAC alleges to be false. However, in Stauffer v. U.S. Bank National Ass’n, 308 P.3d 1173, 1175 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2013), the Arizona Court of Appeals held that a § 33-420(A) damages claim is available in a case in which plaintiffs alleged as false documents “a Notice of Trustee Sale, a Notice of Substitution of Trustee, and an Assignment of a Deed of Trust.” These are precisely the documents that the CAC alleges to be false.
[Statute of Limitations:] at least one case has suggested that a § 33-420(B) claim asserts a continuous wrong that is not subject to any statute of limitations as long as the cloud to title remains. State v. Mabery Ranch, Co., 165 P.3d 211, 227 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2007).
Third, the MDL Court held that appellants lacked standing to sue under § 33-420 on the ground that, even if the documents were false, appellants were still obligated to repay their loans. In the view of the MDL Court, because appellants were in default they suffered no concrete and particularized injury. However, on virtually identical allegations, the Arizona Court of Appeals held to the contrary in Stauffer. The plaintiffs in Stauffer were defaulting residential homeowners who brought suit for damages under § 33-420(A) and to clear title under § 33-420(B). One of the grounds on which the documents were alleged to be false was that “the same person executed the Notice of Trustee Sale and the Notice of Breach, but because the signatures did not look the same, the signature of the Notice of Trustee Sale was possibly forged.” Stauffer, 308 P.3d at 1175 n.2.
“Appellees argue that the Stauffers do not have standing because the Recorded Documents have not caused them any injury, they have not disputed their own default, and the Property has not been sold pursuant to the Recorded Documents. The purpose of A.R.S. § 33-420 is to “protect property owners from actions clouding title to their property.” We find that the recording of false or fraudulent documents that assert an interest in a property may cloud the property’s title; in this case, the Stauffers, as owners of the Property, have alleged that they have suffered a distinct and palpable injury as a result of those clouds on their Property’s title.” [Stauffer at 1179]
The Court of Appeals not only held that the Stauffers had standing based on their “distinct and palpable injury.” It also held that they had stated claims under §§ 33-420(A) and (B). The court held that because the “Recorded Documents assert[ed] an interest in the Property,” the trial court had improperly dismissed the Stauffers’ damages claim under § 33-420(A). Id. at 1178. It then held that because the Stauffers had properly brought an action for damages under § 33-420(A), they could join an action to clear title of the allegedly false documents under § 33-420(B). The court wrote:
“The third sentence in subsection B states that an owner “may bring a separate special action to clear title to the real property or join such action with an action for damages as described in this section.” A.R.S. § 33-420.B. Therefore, we find that an action to clear title of a false or fraudulent document that asserts an interest in real property may be joined with an action for damages under § 33-420.A.”
Fourth, the MDL Court held that appellants had not pleaded their robosigning claims with sufficient particularity to satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). We disagree. Section 33-420 characterizes as false, and therefore actionable, a document that is “forged, groundless, contains a material misstatement or false claim or is otherwise invalid.” Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 33-420(A), (B) (emphasis added). The CAC alleges that the documents at issue are invalid because they are “robosigned (forged).” The CAC specifically identifies numerous allegedly forged documents. For example, the CAC alleges that notice of the trustee’s sale of the property of Thomas and Laurie Bilyea was “notarized in blank prior to being signed on behalf of Michael A. Bosco, and the party that is represented to have signed the document, Michael A. Bosco, did not sign the document, and the party that did sign the document had no personal knowledge of any of the facts set forth in the notice.” Further, the CAC alleges that the document substituting a trustee under the deed of trust for the property of Nicholas DeBaggis “was notarized in blank prior to being signed on behalf of U.S. Bank National Association, and the party that is represented to have signed the document, Mark S. Bosco, did not sign the document.” Still further, the CAC also alleges that Jim Montes, who purportedly signed the substitution of trustee for the property of Milan Stejic had, on the same day, “signed and recorded, with differing signatures, numerous Substitutions of Trustee in the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office . . . . Many of the signatures appear visibly different than one another.” These and similar allegations in the CAC “plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief,” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 681 (2009), and provide the defendants fair notice as to the nature of appellants’ claims against them, Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011).
We therefore reverse the MDL Court’s dismissal of Count I.
[Importance of Pleading NO DEFAULT:] The Nevada Supreme Court stated in Collins v. Union Federal Savings & Loan Ass’n, 662 P.2d 610 (Nev. 1983):
An action for the tort of wrongful foreclosure will lie if the trustor or mortgagor can establish that at the time the power of sale was exercised or the foreclosure occurred, no breach of condition or failure of performance existed on the mortgagor’s or trustor’s part which would have authorized the foreclosure or exercise of the power of sale. Therefore, the material issue of fact in a wrongful foreclosure claim is whether the trustor was in default when the power of sale was exercised…. Because none of the appellants has shown a lack of default, tender, or an excuse from the tender requirement, appellants’ wrongful foreclosure claims cannot succeed. We therefore affirm the MDL Court’s of Count II.
[Questionable conclusion on “reunification of note and mortgage”:] the Nevada Supreme Court decided Edelstein v. Bank of New York Mellon, 286 P.3d 249 (Nev. 2012). Edelstein makes clear that MERS does have the authority, for purposes of § 107.080, to make valid assignments of the deed of trust to a successor beneficiary in order to reunify the deed of trust and the note. The court wrote:
Designating MERS as the beneficiary does . . . effectively “split” the note and the deed of trust at inception because . . . an entity separate from the original note holder . . . is listed as the beneficiary (MERS). . . . However, this split at the inception of the loan is not irreparable or fatal. . . . [W]hile entitlement to enforce both the deed of trust and the promissory note is required to foreclose, nothing requires those documents to be unified from the point of inception of the loan. . . . MERS, as a valid beneficiary, may assign its beneficial interest in the deed of trust to the holder of the note, at which time the documents are reunified.
We therefore affirm the MDL Court’s dismissal of Count III.

Here is the full opinion:

Opinion on MDL

For further information or assistance, please call 520-405-1688 on the West Coast and 954-495-9867 on the East Coast.

New Mexico Supreme Court Wipes Out Bank of New York

bony-v-romero_nm-sup.ct.-reverses-with-instruction_2-14

There are a lot of things that could be analyzed in this case that was very recently decided (February 13, 2014). The main take away is that the New Mexico Supreme Court is demonstrating that the judicial system is turning a corner in approaching the credibility of the intermediaries who are pretending to be real parties in interest. I suggest that this case be studied carefully because their reasoning is extremely good and their wording is clear. Here are some of the salient quotes that I think it be used in motions and pleadings:

We hold that the Bank of New York did not establish its lawful standing in this case to file a home mortgage foreclosure action. We also hold that a borrower’s ability to repay a home mortgage loan is one of the “borrower’s circumstances” that lenders and courts must consider in determining compliance with the New Mexico Home Loan Protection Act, NMSA 1978, §§ 58-21A-1 to -14 (2003, as amended through 2009) (the HLPA), which prohibits home mortgage refinancing that does not provide a reasonable, tangible net benefit to the borrower. Finally, we hold that the HLPA is not preempted by federal law. We reverse the Court of Appeals and district court and remand to the district court with instructions to vacate its foreclosure judgment and to dismiss the Bank of New York’s foreclosure action for lack of standing.

The Romeros soon became delinquent on their increased loan payments. On April 1, 2008, a third party—the Bank of New York, identifying itself as a trustee for Popular Financial Services Mortgage—filed a complaint in the First Judicial District Court seeking foreclosure on the Romeros’ home and claiming to be the holder of the Romeros’ note and mortgage with the right of enforcement.

The Romeros also raised several counterclaims, only one of which is relevant to this appeal: that the loan violated the antiflipping provisions of the New Mexico HLPA, Section 58-21A-4(B) (2003).[They were lured into refinancing into a loan with worse provisions than the one they had].

Litton Loan Servicing did not begin servicing the Romeros’ loan until November 1, 2008, seven months after the foreclosure complaint was filed in district court.

At a bench trial, Kevin Flannigan, a senior litigation processor for Litton Loan Servicing, testified on behalf of the Bank of New York. Flannigan asserted that the copies of the note and mortgage admitted as trial evidence by the Bank of New York were copies of the originals and also testified that the Bank of New York had physical possession of both the note and mortgage at the time it filed the foreclosure complaint.

{9} The Romeros objected to Flannigan’s testimony, arguing that he lacked personal knowledge to make these claims given that Litton Loan Servicing was not a servicer for the Bank of New York until after the foreclosure complaint was filed and the MERS assignment occurred. The district court allowed the testimony based on the business records exception because Flannigan was the present custodian of records.

{10} The Romeros also pointed out that the copy of the “original” note Flannigan purportedly authenticated was different from the “original” note attached to the Bank of New York’s foreclosure complaint. While the note attached to the complaint as a true copy was not indorsed, the “original” admitted at trial was indorsed twice: first, with a blank indorsement by Equity One and second, with a special indorsement made payable to JPMorgan Chase.

the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s rulings that the Bank of New York had standing to foreclose and that the HLPA had not been violated but determined as a result of the latter ruling that it was not necessary to address whether federal law preempted the HLPA. See Bank of N.Y. v. Romero, 2011-NMCA-110, ¶ 6, 150 N.M. 769, 266 P.3d 638 (“Because we conclude that substantial evidence exists for each of the district court’s findings and conclusions, and we affirm on those grounds, we do not addressthe Romeros’ preemption argument.”).

We have recognized that “the lack of [standing] is a potential jurisdictional defect which ‘may not be waived and may be raised at any stage of the proceedings, even sua sponte by the appellate court.’” Gunaji v. Macias, 2001-NMSC-028, ¶ 20, 130 N.M. 734, 31 P.3d 1008 (citation omitted). While we disagree that the Romeros waived their standing claim, because their challenge has been and remains largely based on the note’s indorsement to JPMorgan Chase, whether the Romeros failed to fully develop their standing argument before the Court of Appeals is immaterial. This Court may reach the issue of standing based on prudential concerns. See New Energy Economy, Inc. v. Shoobridge, 2010-NMSC-049, ¶ 16, 149 N.M. 42, 243 P.3d 746 (“Indeed, ‘prudential rules’ of judicial self-governance, like standing, ripeness, and mootness, are ‘founded in concern about the proper—and properly limited—role of courts in a democratic society’ and are always relevant concerns.” (citation omitted)). Accordingly, we address the merits of the standing challenge.[e.s.]

the Romeros argue that none of the Bank’s evidence demonstrates standing because (1) possession alone is insufficient, (2) the “original” note introduced by the Bank of New York at trial with the two undated indorsements includes a special indorsement to JPMorgan Chase, which cannot be ignored in favor of the blank indorsement, (3) the June 25, 2008, assignment letter from MERS occurred after the Bank of New York filed its complaint, and as a mere assignment

of the mortgage does not act as a lawful transfer of the note, and (4) the statements by Ann Kelley and Kevin Flannigan are inadmissible because both lack personal knowledge given that Litton Loan Servicing did not begin servicing loans for the Bank of New York until seven months after the foreclosure complaint was filed and after the purported transfer of the loan occurred. 
[NOTE BURDEN OF PROOF]

(“[S]tanding is to be determined as of the commencement of suit.”); accord 55 Am. Jur. 2d Mortgages § 584 (2009) (“A plaintiff has no foundation in law or fact to foreclose upon a mortgage in which the plaintiff has no legal or equitable interest.”). One reason for such a requirement is simple: “One who is not a party to a contract cannot maintain a suit upon it. If [the entity] was a successor in interest to a party on the [contract], it was incumbent upon it to prove this to the court.” L.R. Prop. Mgmt., Inc. v. Grebe, 1981-NMSC-035, ¶ 7, 96 N.M. 22, 627 P.2d 864 (citation omitted). The Bank of New York had the burden of establishing timely ownership of the note and the mortgage to support its entitlement to pursue a foreclosure action. See Gonzales v. Tama, 1988-NMSC- 016, ¶ 7, 106 N.M. 737, 749 P.2d 1116

[THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REMEDIES ON THE NOTE AND REMEDIES ON THE MORTGAGE]

(“One who holds a note secured by a mortgage has two separate and independent remedies, which he may pursue successively or concurrently; one is on the note against the person and property of the debtor, and the other is by foreclosure to enforce the mortgage lien upon his real estate.” (internal quotation marks and citation omitted)).

3. None of the Bank’s Evidence Demonstrates Standing to Foreclose

{19} The Bank of New York argues that in order to demonstrate standing, it was required to prove that before it filed suit, it either (1) had physical possession of the Romeros’ note indorsed to it or indorsed in blank or (2) received the note with the right to enforcement, as required by the UCC. See § 55-3-301 (defining “[p]erson entitled to enforce” a negotiable instrument). While we agree with the Bank that our state’s UCC governs how a party becomes legally entitled to enforce a negotiable instrument such as the note for a home loan, we disagree that the Bank put forth such evidence.

a. Possession of a Note Specially Indorsed to JPMorgan Chase Does Not Establish the Bank of New York as a Holder

{20} Section 55-3-301 of the UCC provides three ways in which a third party can enforce a negotiable instrument such as a note. Id. (“‘Person entitled to enforce’ an instrument means (i) the holder of the instrument, (ii) a nonholder in possession of the instrument who has the rights of a holder, or (iii) a person not in possession of the instrument who is entitled to enforce the [lost, destroyed, stolen, or mistakenly transferred] instrument pursuant to [certain UCC enforcement provisions].”); see also § 55-3-104(a)(1), (b), (e) (defining “negotiable instrument” as including a “note” made “payable to bearer or to order”). Because the Bank’s arguments rest on the fact that it was in physical possession of the Romeros’ note, we need to consider only the first two categories of eligibility to enforce under Section 55-3-301.

{21} The UCC defines the first type of “person entitled to enforce” a note—the “holder” of the instrument—as “the person in possession of a negotiable instrument that is payable either to bearer or to an identified person that is the person in possession.” NMSA 1978, § 55-1-201(b)(21)(A) (2005); see also Frederick M. Hart & William F. Willier, Negotiable Instruments Under the Uniform Commercial Code, § 12.02(1) at 12-13 to 12-15 (2012) (“The first requirement of being a holder is possession of the instrument. However, possession is not necessarily sufficient to make one a holder. . . . The payee is always a holder if the payee has possession. Whether other persons qualify as a holder depends upon whether the instrument initially is payable to order or payable to bearer, and whether the instrument has been indorsed.” (footnotes omitted)). Accordingly, a third party must prove both physical possession and the right to enforcement through either a proper indorsement or a transfer by negotiation. See NMSA 1978, § 55-3-201(a) (1992) (“‘Negotiation’ means a transfer of possession . . . of an instrument by a person other than the issuer to a person who thereby becomes its holder.”). [E.S.] Because in this case the Romeros’ note was clearly made payable to the order of Equity One, we must determine whether the Bank provided sufficient evidence of how it became a “holder” by either an indorsement or transfer.

Without explanation, the note introduced at trial differed significantly from the original note attached to the foreclosure complaint, despite testimony at trial that the Bank of New York had physical possession of the Romeros’ note from the time the foreclosure complaint was filed on April 1, 2008. Neither the unindorsed note nor the twice-indorsed

7

note establishes the Bank as a holder.

{23} Possession of an unindorsed note made payable to a third party does not establish the right of enforcement, just as finding a lost check made payable to a particular party does not allow the finder to cash it. [E.S.]See NMSA 1978, § 55-3-109 cmt. 1 (1992) (“An instrument that is payable to an identified person cannot be negotiated without the indorsement of the identified person.”). The Bank’s possession of the Romeros’ unindorsed note made payable to Equity One does not establish the Bank’s entitlement to enforcement.

We are not persuaded. The Bank provides no authority and we know of none that exists to support its argument that the payment restrictions created by a special indorsement can be ignored contrary to our long-held rules on indorsements and the rights they create. See, e.g., id. (rejecting each of two entities as a holder because a note lacked the requisite indorsement following a special indorsement); accord NMSA 1978, § 55-3-204(c) (1992) (“For the purpose of determining whether the transferee of an instrument is a holder, an indorsement that transfers a security interest in the instrument is effective as an unqualified indorsement of the instrument.”).

[COMPETENCY OF WITNESS]

the Bank of New York relies on the testimony of Kevin Flannigan, an employee of Litton Loan Servicing who maintained that his review of loan servicing records indicated that the Bank of New York was the transferee of the note. The Romeros objected to Flannigan’s testimony at trial, an objection that the district court overruled under the business records exception. We agree with the Romeros that Flannigan’s testimony was inadmissible and does not establish a proper transfer.

Litton Loan Servicing, did not begin working for the Bank of New York as its servicing agent until November 1, 2008—seven months after the April 1, 2008, foreclosure complaint was filed. Prior to this date, Popular Mortgage Servicing, Inc. serviced the Bank of New York’s loans. Flannigan had no personal knowledge to support his testimony that transfer of the Romeros’ note to the Bank of New York prior to the filing of the foreclosure complaint was proper because Flannigan did not yet work for the Bank of New York. See Rule 11-602 NMRA (“A witness may testify to a matter only if evidence is introduced sufficient to support a finding that the

9

witness has personal knowledge of the matter. [E.S.] Evidence to prove personal knowledge may consist of the witness’s own testimony.”). We make a similar conclusion about the affidavit of Ann Kelley, who also testified about the status of the Romeros’ loan based on her work for Litton Loan Servicing. As with Flannigan’s testimony, such statements by Kelley were inadmissible because they lacked personal knowledge.

[OBJECTION TO HEARSAY BUSINESS RECORDS REVERSED AND SUSTAINED]

When pressed about Flannigan’s basis of knowledge on cross-examination, Flannigan merely stated that “our records do indicate” the Bank of New York as the holder of the note based on “a pooling and servicing agreement.” No such business record itself was offered or admitted as a business records hearsay exception. See Rule 11-803(F) NMRA (2007) (naming this category of hearsay exceptions as “records of regularly conducted activity”).

The district court erred in admitting the testimony of Flannigan as a custodian of records under the exception to the inadmissibility of hearsay for “business records” that are made in the regular course of business and are generally admissible at trial under certain conditions. See Rule 11-803(F) (2007) (citing the version of the rule in effect at the time of trial). The business records exception allows the records themselves to be admissible but not simply statements about the purported contents of the records. [E.S.] See State v. Cofer, 2011-NMCA-085, ¶ 17, 150 N.M. 483, 261 P.3d 1115 (holding that, based on the plain language of Rule 11-803(F) (2007), “it is clear that the business records exception requires some form of document that satisfies the rule’s foundational elements to be offered and admitted into evidence and that testimony alone does not qualify under this exception to the hearsay rule” and concluding that “‘testimony regarding the contents of business records, unsupported by the records themselves, by one without personal knowledge of the facts constitutes inadmissible hearsay.’” (citation omitted)). Neither Flannigan’s testimony nor Kelley’s affidavit can substantiate the existence of documents evidencing a transfer if those documents are not entered into evidence. Accordingly, Flannigan’s trial testimony cannot establish that the Romeros’ note was transferred to the Bank of New York.[E.S.]

[REJECTION OF MERS ASSIGNMENT]

We also reject the Bank’s argument that it can enforce the Romeros’ note because it was assigned the mortgage by MERS. An assignment of a mortgage vests only those rights to the mortgage that were vested in the assigning entity and nothing more. See § 55-3-203(b) (“Transfer of an instrument, whether or not the transfer is a negotiation, vests in the transferee any right of the transferor to enforce the instrument, including any right as a holder in due course.”); accord Hart & Willier, supra, § 12.03(2) at 12-27 (“Th[is] shelter rule puts the transferee in the shoes of the transferor.”).

[MERS CAN NEVER ASSIGN THE NOTE]

As a nominee for Equity One on the mortgage contract, MERS could assign the mortgage but lacked any authority to assign the Romeros’ note. Although this Court has never explicitly ruled on the issue of whether the assignment of a mortgage could carry with it the transfer of a note, we have long recognized the separate functions that note and mortgage contracts perform in foreclosure actions. See First Nat’l Bank of Belen v. Luce, 1974-NMSC-098, ¶ 8, 87 N.M. 94, 529 P.2d 760 (holding that because the assignment of a mortgage to a bank did not convey an interest in the loan contract, the bank was not entitled to foreclose on the mortgage); Simson v. Bilderbeck, Inc., 1966-NMSC-170, ¶¶ 13-14, 76 N.M. 667, 417 P.2d 803 (explaining that “[t]he right of the assignee to enforce the mortgage is dependent upon his right to enforce the note” and noting that “[b]oth the note and mortgage were assigned to plaintiff.

[SPLITTING THE NOTE AND MORTGAGE]

(“A mortgage securing the repayment of a promissory note follows the note, and thus, only the rightful owner of the note has the right to enforce the mortgage.”); Dunaway, supra, § 24:18 (“The mortgage only secures the payment of the debt, has no life independent of the debt, and cannot be separately transferred. If the intent of the lender is to transfer only the security interest (the mortgage), this cannot legally be done and the transfer of the mortgage without the debt would be a nullity.”). These separate contractual functions—where the note is the loan and the mortgage is a pledged security for that loan—cannot be ignored simply by the advent of modern technology and the MERS electronic mortgage registry system.

[THE NOBODY ELSE IS CLAIMING ARGUMENT IS EXPLICITLY REJECTED]

Failure of Another Entity to Claim Ownership of the Romeros’ Note Does Not Make the Bank of New York a Holder

{37} Finally, the Bank of New York urges this Court to adopt the district court’s inference that if the Bank was not the proper holder of the Romeros’ note, then third-party-defendant Equity One would have claimed to be the rightful holder, and Equity One made no such claim.

11

{38} The simple fact that Equity One does not claim ownership of the Romeros’ note does not establish that the note was properly transferred to the Bank of New York. In fact, the evidence in the record indicates that JPMorgan Chase may be the lawful holder of the Romeros’ note, as reflected in the note’s special indorsement.

[HOLDER MUST PROVE ENTITLEMENT TO ENFORCE -- NO PRESUMPTION ALLOWED]

Because the transferee is not a holder, there is no presumption under Section [55-]3-308 [(1992) (entitling a holder in due course to payment by production and upon signature)] that the transferee, by producing the instrument, is entitled to payment. The instrument, by its terms, is not payable to the transferee and the transferee must account for possession of the unindorsed instrument by proving the transaction through which the transferee acquired it.

[LENDER'S OBLIGATION TO ASSURE THAT THE LOAN IS VIABLE]

B. A Lender Must Consider a Borrower’s Ability to Repay a Home Mortgage Loan in Determining Whether the Loan Provides a Reasonable, Tangible Net Benefit, as Required by the New Mexico HLPA

{39} For reasons that are not clear in the record, the Romeros did not appeal the district court’s judgment in favor of the original lender, Equity One, on the Romeros’ claims that Equity One violated the HLPA. The Court of Appeals addressed the HLPA violation issue in the context of the Romeros’ contentions that the alleged violation constituted a defense to the foreclosure complaint of the Bank of New York by affirming the district court’s favorable ruling on the Bank of New York’s complaint. As a result of our holding that the Bank of New York has not established standing to bring a foreclosure action, the issue of HLPA violation is now moot in this case. But because it is an issue that is likely to be addressed again in future attempts by whichever institution may be able to establish standing to foreclose on the Romero home and because it involves a statutory interpretation issue of substantial public importance in many other cases, we address the conclusion of both the

12

Court of Appeals and the district court that a homeowner’s inability to repay is not among “all of the circumstances” that the 2003 HLPA, applicable to the Romeros’ loan, requires a lender to consider under its “flipping” provisions:

No creditor shall knowingly and intentionally engage in the unfair act or practice of flipping a home loan. As used in this subsection, “flipping a home loan” means the making of a home loan to a borrower that refinances an existing home loan when the new loan does not have reasonable, tangible net benefit to the borrower considering all of the circumstances, including the terms of both the new and refinanced loans, the cost of the new loan and the borrower’s circumstances.

Section 58-21A-4(B) (2003); see also Bank of N.Y., 2011-NMCA-110, ¶ 17 (holding that “while the ability to repay a loan is an important consideration when otherwise assessing a borrower’s financial situation, we will not read such meaning into the statute’s ‘reasonable, tangible net benefit’ language”).

[DOOMED LOANS --- WHO HAS THE RISK?]

We have been presented with no conceivable reason why the Legislature in 2003 would consciously exclude consideration of a borrower’s ability to repay the loan as a factor of the borrower’s circumstances, and we can think of none. Without an express legislative direction to that effect, we will not conclude that the Legislature meant to approve mortgage loans that were doomed to end in failure and foreclosure. Apart from the plain language of the statute and its express statutory purpose, it is difficult to comprehend how an unrepayable home mortgage loan that will result in a foreclosure on one’s home and a deficiency judgment to pay after the borrower is rendered homeless could provide “a reasonable, tangible net benefit to the borrower.”

[LENDER'S OBLIGATION TO MAKE SURE IT IS A VIABLE TRANSACTION] a lender cannot avoid its own obligation to consider real facts and circumstances [E.S.] that might clarify the inaccuracy of a borrower’s income claim. Id. (“Lenders cannot, however, disregard known facts and circumstances that may place in question the accuracy of information contained in the application.”) A lender’s willful blindness to its responsibility to consider the true circumstances of its borrowers is unacceptable. A full and fair consideration of those circumstances might well show that a new mortgage loan would put a borrower into a materially worse situation with respect to the ability to make home loan payments and avoid foreclosure, consequences of a borrower’s circumstances that cannot be disregarded.

if the inclusion of such boilerplate language in the mass of documents a borrower must sign at closing would substitute for a lender’s conscientious compliance with the obligations imposed by the HLPA, its protections would be no more than empty words on paper that could be summarily swept aside by the addition of yet one more document for the borrower to sign at the closing.

[THE BLAME GAME]

Borrowers are certainly not blameless if they try to refinance their homes through loans they cannot afford. But they do not have a mortgage lender’s expertise, and the combination of the relative unsophistication of many borrowers and the potential motives of unscrupulous lenders seeking profits from making loans without regard for the consequences to homeowners led to the need for statutory reform. See § 58-21A-2 (discussing (A) “abusive mortgage lending” practices, including (B) “making . . . loans that are equity-based, rather than income based,” (C) “repeatedly refinanc[ing] home loans,” rewarding lenders with “immediate income” from “points and fees” and (D) victimizing homeowners with the unnecessary “costs and terms” of “overreaching creditors”).

[FEDERAL PREEMPTION CLAIM FROM OCC STATEMENT DOES NOT PROVIDE BANK OF NEW YORK ANY PROTECTION]

 

While the Bank is correct in asserting that the OCC issued a blanket rule in January 2004, see 12 C.F.R. § 34.4(a) (2004) (preempting state laws that impact “a national bank’s ability to fully exercise its Federally authorized real estate lending powers”), and that the New Mexico Administrative Code recognizes this OCC rule, neither the Bank nor our administrative code addresses several actions taken by Congress and the courts since 2004 to disavow the OCC’s broad preemption statement.

 

Applying the Dodd-Frank standard to the HLPA, we conclude that federal law does not preempt the HLPA. First, our review of the NBA reveals no express preemption of state consumer protection laws such as the HLPA. Second, the Bank provides no evidence that conforming to the dictates of the HLPA prevents or significantly interferes with a national bank’s operations. Third, the HLPA does not create a discriminatory effect; rather, the HLPA applies to any “creditor,” which the 2003 statute defines as “a person who regularly [offers or] makes a home loan.” Section 58-21A-3(G) (2003). Any entity that makes home loans in New Mexico must follow the HLPA, regardless of whether the lender is a state or nationally chartered bank. See § 58-21A-2 (providing legislative findings on abusive mortgage lending practices that the HLPA is meant to discourage).

Rhode Island Supreme Court Steps Forward for Borrowers

Slowly but surely it seems that the court system are now taking notice of the fact that there is something intrinsically wrong with both the mortgages and the foreclosure process. In this case the Rhode Island Supreme Court specifically found the grounds that could establish that the mortgage was not validly assigned. This case was about whether or not the homeowners case should have been dismissed. The Supreme Court decided that the homeowners case should not have been dismissed.

But in this case the court affirmatively stated that defects in the assignment process would void the assignment and thus defeat the foreclosure.

Paragraph 12 of the complaint alleges: “On or about September 10, 2010, MERS attempted to assign this Mortgage to Aurora. * * * Theodore Schultz signed. Theodore Schultz had no authority to assign.” Thus, the plaintiffs have alleged that the one person who signed the mortgage assignment did not have the authority to do so. This allegation is buttressed by other allegations in the complaint. Paragraph 13 states that “Theodore Schultz was an employee of Aurora, not a Vice-President or Assistant Secretary of MERS.” Paragraph 17 alleges that “MERS did not order the assignment to Aurora.” Finally, paragraph 19 contends that “[n]o power of attorney from MERS to either Theodore Schultz or Aurora is recorded and referenced in the subject assignment.” These allegations, if proven, could establish that the mortgage was not validly assigned, and, therefore, Aurora did not have the authority to foreclose on the property.(e.s.)

SEE Chhun v. Mortgage Elec Registration Sys Inc.

The court also addressed the issue of standing and of course the related issues of standards for review on appeal. In view of decisions like this that are becoming increasingly frequent, the new strategy of the banks is to file for foreclosure in the name of the originator or some remote controlled entity of the broker-dealers. Bank of America has spawned numerous new banks and other entities (e.g. EverBank and Urban Lending Solutions)  In order to put distance between BOA and the irregularities of both the mortgage closing and the foreclosure; and BOA has filed numerous actions where it initially stated that it was the servicer for an undisclosed third-party owner of the loan and then later retracted the allegations of its complaint stated that it was in fact the lender at all times material to the mortgage and the foreclosure.

 

New Bank Strategy: There was no securitization — IRS AMNESTY FOR REMICs

Reported figures on the financial statements of the “13 banks” that Simon Johnson talks about, make it clear that around 96% of all loans originated between 1999 and 2009 are subject to claims of securitization because that is what the investment banks told the investors who advanced money for the purchase of what turned out to bogus mortgage bonds. So the odds are that no matter what the appearance is, the loan went through the hands of an investment banker who sold “bonds” to investors in order to originate or acquire mortgages. This includes Fannie, Freddie, Ginny, and VA.

The problem the investment banks have is that they never funded the trusts and never lived up to the bargain — they gave title to the loan to someone other than the investors and then they insured their false claims of ownership with AIG, AMBAC, using credit default swaps and even guarantees from government or quasi government agencies. Besides writing extensively in prior posts, I have now heard that the IRS has granted AMNESTY on the REMIC trusts because none of them actually performed as required by law. So we can assume that the money from the lender-investors went through the investment banks acting as conduits instead of through the trusts acting as Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits.

This leads to some odd results. If you foreclose in the name of the servicer, then the authority of the servicer is derived from the PSA. But if the trust was not used, then the PSA is irrelevant. If you foreclose in the name of the trustee, using a fabricated, robo-signed, forged assignment backdated or non dated as is the endorsement, you get dangerously close to exposing the fact that the investment banks took a chunk out of the money the investors gave them and booked it as trading profit. One of the big problems here is basic contract law — the lenders and the borrowers were not presented with and therefore could not have agreed to the same terms. Obviously the borrower was agreeing to pay the actual amount of the loan and was not agreeing to pay the overage taken by the investment bank. The lender was not agreeing to let the investment bank short change the investment and increase the risk in order to make up the difference with loans paying higher rates of interest.

When we started this whole process 7 years ago, the narrative from the foreclosing entities and their lawyers was that there was no securitization. Their case was based upon them being the holder of the note. Toward that end they then tried lawsuits and non-judicial foreclosures using MERS, the servicer, the originator, and even foreclosure servicer entities. They encountered problem because none of those entities had an interest in the loan, and there was no consideration for the transfer of the loan. Since they were filing in their own name and not in a representative capacity there were effectively defrauding the actual creditor and having themselves designated as the creditor who could buy the property at foreclosure auction without money using a “credit bid.”

Then we saw the banks change strategy and start filing by “Trustee” for the beneficiaries of an asset backed (securitized) trust. But there they had a problem because the Pooling and Servicing Agreement only gives the servicer the right to enforce, foreclose, or collect for the “investor” which is the trust or the beneficiaries of the asset-backed trust. And now we see that the trust was in fact never used which is why the investment banks were sued by nearly everyone for fraud. They diverted the money and the ownership of the loans to their own use before “returning” it to the investors after defaults.

Now we are seeing a return to the original strategy coupled with a denial that the loan was securitized. One such case I am litigating CURRENTLY shows CitiMortgage as the Plaintiff in a judicial foreclosure action in Florida. The odd thing is that my client went to the trouble of printing out the docket periodically as the case progressed before I got involved. The first Docket printed out showed CPCA Trust 1 as the Plaintiff clearly indicating that securitization was involved. Then about a year later, the client printed out the docket again and this time it showed ABN AMRO as trustee for CPCA Trust-1. Now the docket simply shows CitiMortgage which opposing counsel says is right. We are checking the Court file now, but the idea advanced by opposing counsel that this was a clerical error does not seem likely in view of that the fact that it happened twice in the same file and we never saw anything like it before — but maybe some of you out there have seen this, and could write to us at neilfgarfield@hotmail.com.

Our title and securitization research shows that ACCESS Mortgage was the originator but that it assigned the loan to First National which then merged with CitiCorp., whom opposing counsel says owns the loan. The argument is that CitiMortgage has the status of holder and therefore is not suing in a representative capacity despite the admission that CitiMortgage doesn’t have a nickel in the deal, and that there has been no financial transaction underlying the paperwork purportedly transferring the loan.

Our research identifies Access as a securitization player, whose loan bundles were probably underwritten by CitiCorp’s investment banking subsidiary. The same holds true for First National and CPCA Trust-1 and ABN AMRO. Further we show that ABN AMRO acquired LaSalle Bank in a reverse merger, as I have previously mentioned in other posts. Citi has reported in sworn documents with the SEC that it merged with ABN AMRO. So the docket entries would be corroborated as to ABN AMRO being the trustee for CPCA Trust 1. But Citi says ABN AMRO has nothing to do with the subject loan. And the fight now is what will be allowed in discovery. CitiMortgage says that their answer of “NO” to questions about securitization should end the inquiry. I obviously take the position that in discovery, I should be able to inquire about the circumstances under which CitiMortgage makes its claim as holder besides the fact that they physically possess the note, if indeed they do.

Some of this might be revealed when the actual court file is reviewed and when the clerk’s office is asked why the docket entries were different from the current lawsuit. Was there an initial filing, summons or complaint or cover sheet identifying CPCA Trust 1? What caused the clerk to change it to ABN AMRO? How did it get changed to CitiMortgage?

12 QUESTIONS THAT COULD END THE CASE

http://dtc-systems.net/2013/05/top-democrats-introduce-legislation-protect-military-families-foreclosure/

CALL OR WRITE TO FLORIDA GOVERNOR — THE CLOCK IS TICKING

Veto Clock Ticking on Florida Foreclosure Bill HB 87
http://4closurefraud.org/2013/05/30/veto-clock-ticking-on-florida-foreclosure-bill-hb-87/

DISCOVERY TIP: Has anyone asked for a received the actual agreement between the party designated as “lender” and MERS? Please send to neilfgarfield@hotmail.com.

Questions for interrogatory and request to produce, possible request for admissions:

(1) If we accept the proffer from opposing counsel that the transaction (i.e, the loan) was done for the express purpose of fulfilling an obligation to investors for backing mortgage bonds through a REMIC asset pool, then why was MERS necessary?

(2) Why wasn’t The asset pool disclosed to the borrower?

(3) Why wasn’t the asset pool made the payee on the promissory note at origination of the loan?

(4) Why wasn’t the asset pool shown on a recorded assignment immediately after closing as the new payee and secured party?

(5) What was the business purpose of using MERS?

(6) Was the lender the source of funding on the loan or was it too just another nominee?

(7) Is there any identified real party in interest on the note and mortgage as the creditor?

(8) If there is no real party in interest on the note and mortgage, then how can the mortgage be considered perfected when nobody has notice of who they can go to for a satisfaction or release or rescission of the mortgage?

(9) In which document and what provision are the parties at the loan “closing” empowered to identify a party other than the source of funds as the payee and secured party?

(10) Who were the parties to the loan? — (a) the borrower and the source of funds or (b) the borrower and the holder of paper documenting a transaction that is incomplete (the payee and secured party never fulfilled their obligation to fund the loan)?

(11)If the servicer’s scope of employment, authority or apparent authority was limited to tracking the payments of the borrower only, and did not include accounting for the creditor, then how does the servicer know what is contained in the creditor’s accounting records? — Since the creditor in any loan subject to claims of securitization received a bond whose indenture provided repayment terms different than those terms signed by the borrower to another party entirely, how can any finding of money damages be determined by any court without a full accounting for all transactions relating to the loan?

(12) What is the identity of the party who was injured by the refusal of the borrower to make any further payments? To what extent were they injured? Are they qualified to submit a “credit bid” or must they pay cash for the property at auction? If they are not qualified to submit a credit bid then (see below) then under what legal theory should they be permitted to foreclose or for that matter seek any collection? Are these intermediary parties violating the FDCPA because they are neither the creditor nor the agent of the creditor and yet demanding payment for themselves?

THE COURTS ARE STARTING TO GET THE POINT:

FLORIDA 5th DCA: To establish standing to foreclose, Plaintiff must show that it acquired the right to enforce the note before it filed suit to foreclose. Important: the right to enforce the note means either they were the injured party or they represent the injured party. An assignment from a party who is proffered to be the injured party must be established with proper foundation from a competent witness.

GREEN V CHASE 4-5-2013

————-

FLORIDA 4TH DCA: DATES MATTER: While the note introduced had a blank endorsement (note conflict with PSA, which is supposedly source of authority to represent creditor: note may not be endorsed in blank and in fact must be endorsed and assigned in recordable form and recorded where the law allows or requires it) and was sufficient [under normal rules governing commercial transactions — except if the parties agree otherwise which they certainly did in the PSA) to prove ownership by appellee, who possessed the note, nothing in the record (e.s) shows that the note was endorsed prior to filing of the complaint (or if you want to use this decision by analogy prior to initiation of the notice of default and notice of sale in non-judicial states). The endorsement did not cotnain a date, nor did the affidavit filed in support of the motion for summary judgment contain any sworn statement that the note was owned by the Plaintiff on the date that the suit was filed. [PRACTICE TIP: THEY DON'T WANT TO GIVE A DATE BECAUSE THAT WILL LEAD TO YOU ASKING FOR DETAILS OF THE TRANSACTION, PROOF OF PAYMENT, THE ASSIGNMENT AND WHETHER THE TRANSACTION CONFORMED TO THE PSA, NONE OF WHICH WILL BE PRODUCED. But  considering past behavior it is highly probable that they will fabricate documents that ALMOST give you a copy of the canceled check or wire transfer receipt but don't quite get them to the finish line. Being aggressive on this point will clearly  put them on the defensive].

4th DCA Cromarty v Wells Fargo 4-17-2013

2d DCA: IS THE TRANSACTION GOVERNED BY THE UCC PROVISIONS EVEN IF THE PARTIES HAVE AGREED OTHERWISE? This is the nub of the issue in the Stone case (link below). We think that the courts are confused i applying ordinary rules from the UCC regarding the negotiation of commercial instruments and certainly we understand why — the UCC is the basis upon which we can conducted trusted business transaction and maintain liquidity in the marketplace. But if the party attempting to foreclose derives its powers from the Prospectus, PSA,or purchase and Assumption Agreement, then they cannot invoke the powers in those instruments on the one hand and disregard the provisions that prohibit blank endorsements of loans of dubious quality without an assignment that can only be accepted by the supposed creditor if it complies with the assignment provisions of the agreement under which the foreclosing party is claiming to have authority to enforce the note and mortgage. And this is precisely the risk and consequences of a lawyer not understanding claims of securitization and the reality of what the UCC means when it says things like “unless otherwise agreed” and “for value.” Without raising those issues on the record, the homeowner was doomed:

Stone v BankUnited May 3 2013

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 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.

Banks Throw $20 Billion at Securitized Debt Market to Avoid Markdowns

Bloomberg Reports that the big banks are borrowing big time money using money market funds as source money for financing repurchase agreements. This stirs the obvious conclusion that the mortgage bonds — and hence the claim on underlying loans — are in constant movement making the proof problems in foreclosure proceedings difficult at best.

The underlying theme is that there is tremendous pressure to make good on the mortgage bonds that never actually existed issued by REMIC trusts that were never actually funded who made claims on loans that never actually existed. All that is why I say you should argue away from the presumption and keep the burden of persuasion or burden of proof on the party who has exclusive access to the actual proof of payment and proof of loss.

The banks are still claiming assets on their balance sheet that are either without value of any kind or something close to zero. If I was wrong about this, the banks would be flooding all the courts with proof of payment (canceled check, wire transfer receipt etc) and the contest with borrowers would be over.

Instead they argue for the presumption that attaches to the “holder” and mislead the court into thinking that possession is the same as being the holder. It isn’t. The holder is someone who acquired the instrument “for value.” By denying the holder status and contesting whether there was any consideration for the endorsement or assignment of the loan, you are putting them in position to force them to come clean and show that there was NO consideration, NO money paid, and hence they are not holders in any sense of the word.

If you research the law in your state you will find that the prima facie case required from the would-be forecloser depends factually upon whether they are an injured party. If they didn’t pay anything for the origination or transfer of the loan, they can’t be an injured party. They must also show that their injury stems from the breach of the borrower and the breach of some intermediary. That is where the repurchase agreements and financing for all those purchases comes into the picture.

So far the banks have been largely successful in using bootstrap reasoning that a possessor is a holder and a holder is therefore a holder in due course by operation of the presumptions arising from the Uniform Commercial Code. And since normally a presumption shifts the burden to the other side (the borrower in this case) to come up with legally admissible evidence that the facts do not support the presumption, the borrower or borrower’s counsel sits there in the courtroom stumped.

Further research, however, will show that if the facts needed to prove the presumption to be unsupported by facts are in the sole care, custody and control of the claiming party, you are entitled to conduct discovery and that means they must come up with the actual cancelled check, wire transfer receipt, wire transfer instructions etc. The would-be forecloser cannot block discovery by asserting the presumption arising from their own self-serving allegation of holder status.

In this case the presumption arising from the allegation that the would-be forecloser is a “holder” is defeated by mere denial because it is ONLY the would-be forecloser that has access to the the actual proof of payment and proof of loss. I remind you again that the debt is not the note and the note is not the mortgage. They are all separate issues.

This is becoming painfully obvious as reports are coming in from across the country indicating that courts at all levels and legislatures are under intense pressure to find a loophole through which the mega banks can escape the truth, to wit: that they are holding worthless paper and that the only transaction that ever actually occurred was the one between the investors and the borrowers without either  of those parties in interest being aware of the slight of hand pulled by the banks. The banks diverted the money invested by pension funds from the REMIC trusts into their own pockets. The banks diverted the documents that would have solidified the interest of the investors in those loans to themselves.

And let there be no mistake that the banks planned the whole thing out ahead of time. The only reason why MERS and other private label title databases were necessary was to hide the fact that the banks were trading the investments made by pension funds as if they were their own. Otherwise there would have been no reason to have anyone’s name on the note or mortgage other than the asset pool designated as a REMIC trust.

These exotic instruments are being tested by the marketplace and they are failing miserably. So the banks are throwing tens of billions of dollars to refinance the repurchase of the derivatives that were worthless in the first place. It’s worth it to them to retain the trillions of dollars they are claiming as assets that are unsupported by any actual monetary transactions. AND THAT is why in the final analysis, after they have beaten you to a pulp in court, if you are still standing, you get some amazing offers of settlement that actually are still fractions of a cent on the dollar.

Banking giants lead repo funding of securitized debt
http://www.housingwire.com/fastnews/2013/04/16/banking-giants-lead-repo-funding-securitized-debt

Follow the Money Trail: It’s the blueprint for your case

If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. 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.
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.
Editor’s Analysis and Comment: If you want to know where all the money went during the mortgage madness of the last decade and the probable duplication of that behavior with all forms of consumer debt, the first clues have been emerging. First and foremost I would suggest the so-called bull market reflecting an economic resurgence that appears to have no basis in reality. Putting hundred of billions of dollars into the stock market is an obvious place to store ill-gotten gains.
But there is also the question of liquidity which means the Wall Street bankers had to “park” their money somewhere into depository accounts. Some analysts have suggested that the bankers deposited money in places where the sheer volume of money deposited would give bankers strategic control over finance in those countries.
The consequences to American finance is fairly well known here. But most Americans have been somewhat aloof to the extreme problems suffered by Spain, Greece, Italy and Cyprus. Italy and Cyprus have turned to confiscating savings on a progressive basis.  This could be a “fee” imposed by those countries for giving aid and comfort to the pirates of Wall Street.
So far the only country to stick with the rule of law is Iceland where some of the worst problems emerged early — before bankers could solidify political support in that country, like they have done around the world. Iceland didn’t bailout bankers, they jailed them. Iceland didn’t adopt austerity to make the problems worse, it used all its resources to stimulate the economy.
And Iceland looked at the reality of a the need for a thriving middle class. So they reduced household debt and forced banks to take the hit — some 25% or more being sliced off of mortgages and other consumer debt. Iceland was not acting out of ideology, but rather practicality.
The result is that Iceland is the shining light on the hill that we thought was ours. Iceland has real growth in gross domestic product, decreasing unemployment to acceptable levels, and banks that despite the hit they took, are also prospering.
From my perspective, I look at the situation from the perspective of a former investment banker who was in on conversations decades ago where Wall Street titans played the idea of cornering the market on money. They succeeded. But Iceland has shown that the controls emanating from Wall Street in directing legislation, executive action and judicial decisions can be broken.
It is my opinion that part or all of trillions dollars in off balance sheet transactions that were allowed over the last 15 years represents money that was literally stolen from investors who bought what they thought were bonds issued by a legitimate entity that owned loans to consumers some of which secured in the form of residential mortgage loans.
Actual evidence from the ground shows that the money from investors was skimmed by Wall Street to the tune of around $2.6 trillion, which served as the baseline for a PONZI scheme in which Wall Street bankers claimed ownership of debt in which they were neither creditor nor lender in any sense of the word. While it is difficult to actually pin down the amount stolen from the fake securitization chain (in addition to the tier 2 yield spread premium) that brought down investors and borrowers alike, it is obvious that many of these banks also used invested money from managed funds as gambling money that paid off handsomely as they received 100 cents on the dollar on losses suffered by others.
The difference between the scheme used by Wall Street this time is that bankers not only used “other people’s money” —this time they had the hubris to steal or “borrow” the losses they caused — long enough to get the benefit of federal bailout, insurance and hedge products like credit default swaps. Only after the bankers received bailouts and insurance did they push the losses onto investors who were forced to accept non-performing loans long after the 90 day window allowed under the REMIC statutes.
And that is why attorneys defending Foreclosures and other claims for consumer debt, including student loan debt, must first focus on the actual footprints in the sand. The footprints are the actual monetary transactions where real money flowed from one party to another. Leading with the money trail in your allegations, discovery and proof keeps the focus on simple reality. By identifying the real transactions, parties, timing and subject moment lawyers can use the emerging story as the blueprint to measure against the fabricated origination and transfer documents that refer to non-existent transactions.
The problem I hear all too often from clients of practitioners is that the lawyer accepts the production of the note as absolute proof of the debt. Not so. (see below). If you will remember your first year in law school an enforceable contract must have offer, acceptance and consideration and it must not violate public policy. So a contract to kill someone is not enforceable.
Debt arises only if some transaction in which real money or value is exchanged. Without that, no amount of paperwork can make it real. The note is not the debt ( it is evidence of the debt which can be rebutted). The mortgage is not the note (it is a contract to enforce the note, if the note is valid). And the TILA disclosures required make sure that consumers know who they are dealing with. In fact TILA says that any pattern of conduct in which the real lender is hidden is “predatory per se”) and it has a name — table funded loan. This leads to treble damages, attorneys fees and costs recoverable by the borrower and counsel for the borrower.
And a contract to “repay” money is not enforceable if the money was never loaned. That is where “consideration” comes in. And a an alleged contract in the lender agreed to one set of terms (the mortgage bond) and the borrower agreed to another set of terms (the promissory note) is no contract at all because there was no offer an acceptance of the same terms.
And a contract or policy that is sure to fail and result in the borrower losing his life savings and all the money put in as payments, furniture is legally unconscionable and therefore against public policy. Thus most of the consumer debt over the last 20 years has fallen into these categories of unenforceable debt.
The problem has been the inability of consumers and their lawyers to present a clear picture of what happened. That picture starts with footprints in the sand — the actual events in which money actually exchanged hands, the answer to the identity of the parties to each of those transactions and the reason they did it, which would be the terms agreed on by both parties.
If you ask me for a $100 loan and I say sure just sign this note, what happens if I don’t give you the loan? And suppose you went somewhere else to get your loan since I reneged on the deal. Could I sue you on the note? Yes. Could I win the suit? Not if you denied you ever got the money from me. Can I use the real loan as evidence that you did get the money? Yes. Can I win the case relying on the loan from another party? No because the fact that you received a loan from someone else does not support the claim on the note, for which there was no consideration.
It is the latter point that the Courts are starting to grapple with. The assumption that the underlying transaction described in the note and mortgage was real, is rightfully coming under attack. The real transactions, unsupported by note or mortgage or disclosures required under the Truth in Lending Act, cannot be the square peg jammed into the round hole. The transaction described in the note, mortgage, transfers, and disclosures was never supported by any transaction in which money exchanged hands. And it was not properly disclosed or documented so that there could be a meeting of the minds for a binding contract.
KEEP THIS IN MIND: (DISCOVERY HINTS) The simple blueprint against which you cast your fact pattern, is that if the securitization scheme was real and not a PONZI scheme, the investors’ money would have gone into a trust account for the REMIC trust. The REMIC trust would have a record of the transaction wherein a deduction of money from that account funded your loan. And the payee on the note (and the secured party on the mortgage) would be the REMIC trust. There is no reason to have it any other way unless you are a thief trying to skim or steal money. If Wall Street had played it straight underwriting standards would have been maintained and when the day came that investors didn’t want to buy any more mortgage bonds, the financial world would not have been on the verge of extinction. Much of the losses to investors would have covered by the insurance and credit default swaps that the banks took even though they never had any loss or risk of loss. There never would have been any reason to use nominees like MERS or originators.
The entire scheme boils down to this: can you borrow the realities of a transaction in which you were not a party and treat it, legally in court, as your own? So far the courts have missed this question and the result has been an unequivocal and misguided “yes.” Relentless of pursuit of the truth and insistence on following the rule of law, will produce a very different result. And maybe America will use the shining example of Iceland as a model rather than letting bankers control our governmental processes.

Banking Chief Calls For 15% Looting of Italians’ Savings
http://www.infowars.com/banking-chief-calls-for-15-looting-of-italians-savings/

How the Presence of MERS or Any Private Database Is Circumstantial Evidence of Fraudulent Intent

If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 (East Coast) and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. 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.
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.

While writing an expert declaration I managed to express something more clearly than I had previously done in other declarations. It starts off with the question “why does MERS” exist? And remember that the large banks all have the own version of MERS in house as well. My conclusion is that if the loans were truly securitized as represented, the county recording system would have been used.

While the argument is often advanced that MERS and equivalent databases at Aurora, Wells Fargo and Chase were created to facilitate the transfer of loans and mortgages, in my opinion this is a specious argument and certainly contrary to custom and practice in the industry.

If the loan was originated with funds of the REMIC, then the REMIC would have been named on the note and mortgage, disclosed to the borrower and there would be no reason to transfer the loans.

If the loans were purchased from the originator then a simple transaction would have taken place — the REMIC would have withdrawn funds, paid the originator, and received an indorsement and assignment of the note that would have been recorded. Again there would be no need for an elaborate system for transferring loans — unless the loans were being transferred in ways that the original investors did not know, and would not have permitted.

These passive unsecured databases are therefore merely tools of an illusion such that an official looking computer printout can be issued with different information about the loan tailored to the intended recipient of the report. The ability to manipulate data is infinite in these private databases whereas use of the county recording systems would have shown the actual trail of the loan, the money and the documents as required by law. Hence the obvious conclusion that the loans were not originated by the REMIC.

The real transactions would be disclosed if the alleged “holders” are required to show proof of loss and proof of payment. The banks are seeking to rely on a presumption about the real transaction rather than showing the actual transaction where the loan was transferred. That would require them to show money exchanging hands, which simply did not happen in virtually all cases where transfer of the loan is alleged.

By focusing on the “holder” definitions, the Court and counsel skip over the obvious. Who really is out of pocket on this transaction and why wasn’t it properly recorded in the county records. No, it isn’t to save money on filing fees. It was to cover-up the fact that they were trading with investor money.

It’s like someone gives you $10 to go to the store and buy something and on your way you stop off and gamble off 1/3 of it. Of course you are going to come back with less groceries. But if you make up a plausible story about prices going up at the store or getting mugged on your way home, you might get away with it. If you keep your own database on these events as proof of your lies, and if it looks formal enough, anyone might believe the reports.

Now your bets pay off. You still leave the person who gave you the $10 with a $3 loss and you keep the proceeds of the bets. The fact that the money you gambled was money entrusted to you for a specific purpose doesn’t even enter into the equation.

The conclusion I reach is that the only reason for these private databases is that the banks knew in advance that they would be diverting money into their own pockets and they wanted something that looked official to cover-up their illegal acts. It doesn’t seal the deal but it should get you some traction in court.

MERSCORP Shell Game Attacked by Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway

CHECK OUT OUR EXTENDED DECEMBER SPECIAL!

What’s the Next Step? Consult with Neil Garfield

For assistance with presenting a case for wrongful foreclosure, please call 520-405-1688, customer service, who will put you in touch with an attorney in the states of Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, California, Ohio, and Nevada. (NOTE: Chapter 11 may be easier than you think).

EDITOR’S NOTES AND COMMENTS: My congratulations to Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and his staff. They nailed one of the key issues that cut revenues on transfers of interests in real property AND they nailed one of the key issues in perfecting the mortgage lien.

As we all know now MERSCORP has been playing a shell game with multiple corporate identities, the purpose of which, as explained in Conway’s complaint, was to add mud to the waters already polluted by predatory loan practices and outright fraud in the appraisal and identification of the lender. This of course is in addition to the very gnarly issue of using a nominee that explicitly disclaims any interest in the property or loan.

The use of MERS, just like the use of fabricated, forged, robo-signed documents doesn’t necessarily wipe out the debt. The debt is created when the borrower accepts the money, regardless of what the paperwork says — unless the state’s usury laws penalize the lender by eliminating the debt entirely and adding treble damages.

But the use of a nominee that has no interest in the loan or the property creates a problem in the perfection of the mortgage lien. The use of TWO nominees doubles the problem. It eliminates the most basic disclosure required by Federal and state lending laws — who is the creditor?

By intentionally naming the originator as the lender when it was merely a nominee and by using MERS, as nominee to have the rights under the security interest, the Banks created layers of bankruptcy remote protection as they intended, as well as the moral hazard of stealing or “borrowing” the loan to create fictitious transactions in which the bank kept part of the money intended for mortgage funding. Since the mortgage or deed of trust contains no stakeholders other than the homeowner and the note fails to name any actual creditor with a loan receivable account, the mortgage lien is fatally defective rendering the loan unsecured.

When you take into consideration that the funding of the loan came from a source unrelated (stranger tot he transaction) then the debt doesn’t exist either — as it relates to any of the parties named at the “closing” of the mortgage loan. So you end up with no debt, no note, and no mortgage. You also end up with a debt that is undocumented wherein the homeowner is the debtor and the source of funds is the creditor — in a transaction that neither of them knew took place and neither of them had agreed.

The lender/investors were expecting to participate in a REMIC trust which was routinely ignored as the money was diverted by the banks to their own pockets before they made increasingly toxic over-priced loans on over-valued property. The borrower ended up in limbo with no place to go to settle, modify or even litigate their loan, mortgage or foreclosure. This is not the statutory scheme in any state and Conway in Kentucky spotted it. Besides the usual “dark side” rhetoric, the plan as executed by the banks creates fatal uncertainty that cannot be cured as to who owns the loan or the lien or the debt, note or mortgage. The answer clearly does not lie in the documents presented to the borrower.

Now Conway has added the hidden issue of the MERS shell game. Confirming what we have been saying for years, the Banks, using the MERS model, have made it nearly impossible for ANY borrower to know the identity of the actual lender/creditor before during and even one day after the “closing” of the loan (which I have postulated may never have been completed because the money didn’t come from MERS nor the other nominee identified as the “lender”).

The Banks are trying to run the clock on the statute of limitations with these settlements, like the the last one in which Bank of America would have owed tens of millions of dollars had the review process continued, and instead they cancelled the program with a minor settlement in which homeowners will get some pocket change while BofA walks off with the a mouthful of ill-gotten gains.

The plain truth is that in most cases BofA never paid a dime for the funding or purchase of the loan. That is called lack of consideration and in order for the rules of negotiable paper to apply, there must be transfer for value. There was no value, there was no cancelled check and there was no wire transfer receipt in which BofA was the lender or acquirer of the loan. Now add this ingredient: more than 50% of the REMIC trusts BofA says it “represents no longer exist, having been long since dissolved and settled.

The same holds true  for US Bank, Mellon, Chase, Deutsch and others. Applying basic black letter law, the only possible conclusion here is that the mortgages cannot be foreclosed, the notes cannot be enforced, the debt can be collected ONLY upon proof of payment and proof of loss. This is how it always was, for obvious reasons, and this is what we should re turn to, providing a degree of certainty to the marketplace that does not and will never exist without the massive correction in title corruption and the wrongful foreclosures conducted by what the reviewers in the San Francisco audit called “strangers to the transaction.”

See Louisville Morning Call here

See Bloomberg Article here

Notice of Violation Under California Bill of Rights

“If we accept the Bank’s argument, then we are creating new law. Under the new law a borrower would owe money to a non-creditor simply because the non-creditor procured the borrower’s signature by false pretenses. The actual lender would be unable to retrieve money paid to the fake lender and the borrower would receive credit for neither his own payments nor any payment by a third party on the borrower’s behalf.” Neil F Garfield, livinglies.me

CHECK OUT OUR DECEMBER SPECIAL!

What’s the Next Step? Consult with Neil Garfield

For assistance with presenting a case for wrongful foreclosure, please call 520-405-1688, customer service, who will put you in touch with an attorney in the states of Florida, California, Ohio, and Nevada. (NOTE: Chapter 11 may be easier than you think).

Barry Fagan submitted the Notice below.

Editor’s Notes: Fagan’s Notice gives a good summary of the applicable provisions of the Bill of Rights recently passed by California. The only thing I would add to the demands is a copy of all wire transfer receipts, wire transfer instructions or other indicia of funding or buying the loans. everything I am getting indicates that in most cases they can’t come up with it.

If you went into Chase and applied for a loan and they approved your application but didn’t fund it, you wouldn’t expect Chase to be able to sue you or start foreclosure proceedings for a loan they never funded. It’s called lack of consideration.

If you actually got the loan from BofA but they forgot to have you sign papers, you would still owe the money to them but it wouldn’t be secured because there was no mortgage lien recorded in their name. And BofA would have a thing or two to say to Chase about who is the real creditor — either the one or advanced the money or the one who got documents fraudulently or wrongfully obtained.

So then comes the question of whether Chase could assign their note and lien rights to BofA. If TILA disclosures had been made showing the relationship between the two banks, it might be possible to do so. But in these closings, the actual identity of the creditor (source of funds) was actively hidden from the borrower.

Thus we have a simple proposition to be decided in the appellate and trial courts: can a party who obtains signed loan documentation including a note and mortgage perfect the lien they recorded in the absence of any consideration. The floodgates for fraud would open wide if the answer were yes.

If the answer is NO, then the origination documents and all assignments, indorsements, transfers and allonges emanating from the original transaction without consideration are void. AND if each assignment or transfer recites that it is for value received, and they too had no money exchange hands thus producing lack of consideration, then they cannot even begin to assert themselves as a BFP (Bona Fide Purchaser for value without notice). The part about “without notice” is going to be difficult to sustain in proof since this was a pattern of table funded loans deemed “predatory per se” by Reg Z.

The reason they diverted the document ownership away from the creditor who actually advanced the money was to create the appearance of third party ownership (and transfers, which was why MERS was created) in the documentary chain arising out of the original of the non-existent loan (i.e., no money exchanged hands pursuant to the recitals on the note and mortgage as between the payor and payee). They needed the appearance of ownership was to create the appearance of an ownership and insurable interest.

Thus even though the money did not come from the originator, the aggregator or even the Master Servicer or Trustee of the pool, affiliates of the investment bank who underwrote and sold bogus mortgage bonds, were able (as “owners”) to purchase insurance, credit default swaps, and receive bailouts because they could “document” that they had lost money even though the reality was that the the third party source of funding, and the real creditors were actual parties suffering the loss.

Had those windfall distributions been applied to balances due to the owners of the mortgage bonds, the balance due from the bond would have been correspondingly reduced. AND if the balance due to the creditor had been reduced or paid in full, then the homeowner/borrower’s obligation to that creditor would have been extinguished entitling the homeowner to receipt of a note paid in full and a release of the mortgage lien (or at least cooperation in nullification of the imperfect mortgage lien).

PRACTICE TIP: Don’t just go after the documents that talk about the transaction by which they claim a liability exists from the borrower to one or more pretender lenders. Push for proof of payment in discovery and don’t be afraid to deny the debt, the note or the mortgage.

In oral argument before the Judge, when he or she asks whether you are contesting the note and mortgage, the answer is yes. When asked whether you are contesting the liability, the answer is yes – and resist the temptation to say why. The less said the better. This is why it is better preempt the pretender lenders with your own suit — because all allegations in the complaint must be taken as true for purposes of a motion to dismiss.

Don’t get trapped into disclosing your evidence in a motion to dismiss. If it is set for a motion to dismiss the sole question before the court is whether your lawsuit contains a short plain statement of ultimate facts upon which relief could be granted and all allegations you make must be assumed to be true. When opposing counsel starts to offer facts, you should object reminding the Judge that this is a motion to dismiss, it is not a motion for summary judgment and there are no facts in the record to corroborate the proffer by opposing counsel.

From Barry Fagan:

Re:  Notice of “Material Violations” under California’s Newly Enacted Homeowners Bill of Rights pursuant to California Civil Code sections, 2923.55, 2924.12, and 2924.17.
See attached and below

Reference is made to Wells Fargo’s (“Defendant”) December 13, 2012 response to Barry Fagan’s (“Plaintiff”) October 25, 2012 request for copies of the following:

(i)           A copy of the borrower’s promissory note or other evidence of indebtedness.

(ii)         A copy of the borrower’s deed of trust or mortgage.

(iii)       A copy of any assignment, if applicable, of the borrower’s mortgage or deed of trust required to demonstrate the right of the mortgage servicer to foreclose.

(iv)        A copy of the borrower’s payment history since the borrower was last less than 60 days past due.

Please be advised that I find Defendant’s response to be woefully defective. This letter is being sent pursuant to my statutory obligation to “meet and confer” with you concerning the defects before bringing an action to enjoin any future foreclosure pursuant to Civil Code § 2924.12.

Defendant’s are in violation of both the notice and standing requirements of California law, and the California newly enacted Homeowner Bill of Rights (“HBR”). In July 2012, California enacted the Homeowner Bill of Rights (“HBR”). Among other things, the HBR authorizes private civil suits to enjoin foreclosure by entities that record or file notices of default or other documentsfalsely claiming the right to foreclose. Civil Code § 2923.55 requires a servicer to provide borrowers with their note and certain other documents, if the borrowers request them.

Civil Code § 2924.17 requires any notice of default, notice of sale, assignment of deed of trust, or substitution of trustee recorded on behalf of a servicer in connection with a foreclosure, or any declaration or affidavit filed in any court regarding a foreclosure, to be “accurate and complete and supported by competent and reliable evidence.” It further requires the servicer to ensure it has reviewed competent and reliable evidence to substantiate the borrower’s default and the right to foreclose.

Civil Code § 2924.12 authorizes actions to enjoin foreclosures, or for damages after foreclosure, for breaches of §§ 2923.55 or 2924.17. This right of private action is “in addition to and independent of any other rights, remedies, or procedures under any other law.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter, limit, or negate any other rights, remedies, or procedures provided by law.” Civil Code § 2924.12(h). Any Notice of Default, or Substitution of Trustee recorded on Plaintiffs’ real property based upon a fraudulent and forged Deed of Trust shall be considered a “Material Violation”, thus triggering the injunctive relief provisions of Civil Code § 2924.12 & § 2924.17(a) (b).

I therefore demand that Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. provide Barry Fagan with the UNALTERED original Deed of Trust along with the ORIGINAL Note, as the ones provided by Kutak Rock LLP on October 13, 2011 to Ronsin Copy Service were both photo-shopped and fraudulent fabrications of the original documents, thus not the originals as ordered to be produced by Judge Tarle under LASC case number SC112044. Attached hereto and made a part hereof is the October 13, 2011 Ronsin Copy Service Declaration with copies of the altered and photo-shopped Note and Deed of Trust concerning real property located at Roca Chica Dr. Malibu, CA 90265.

Judge Karlan under LASC case number SC117023 “DENIED” Wells Fargo’s Request for Judicial Notice of the very same Deed of Trust, Notice of Default, Substitution of Trustee and the Notice of Rescission concerning real property located at Roca Chica Dr. Malibu, CA 90265.
Attached hereto and made a part hereof is the relevant excerpt of Judge Karlan’s October 23, 2012 Court Order along with a copy of Wells Fargo’s Request for Judicial Notice of those very same documents. Court Order: REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE “DEFENDANT’S REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE IS DENIED AS TO EXHIBITS A, B, C, D, K, L, & M.” 

As a result of the above stated facts, please be advised that the fraudulently altered deed of trust and photo-shopped Note that you claim to have been previously provided to Barry Fagan shall not be considered in compliance with section 2923.55 and therefore Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. has committed a “Material Violation” under California’s Newly Enacted Homeowners Bill of Rights pursuant to Civil Code sections, 2923.55, 2924.12, and 2924.17 (a) (b).

Please govern yourselves accordingly.

Regards,

/s/Barry Fagan

Barry S. Fagan Esq.

Thank you.

Barry S. Fagan Esq.
PO Box 1213, Malibu, CA 90265-1213
[T] +1.310.717.1790 – [F] +1.310.456.6447

Banks Attempting to Fight MERS Decision With Public Relations

What’s the Next Step? Consult with Neil Garfield

CHECK OUT OUR NOVEMBER SPECIAL

For assistance with presenting a case for wrongful foreclosure, please call 520-405-1688, customer service, who will put you in touch with an attorney in the states of Florida, California, Ohio, and Nevada. (NOTE: Chapter 11 may be easier than you think).

Editor’s Analysis: The banks are threatening to slow down lending because of the Oregon MERS decision. They want to be fear in the hearts of realtors and sellers alike who will no doubt be recruited to join in lobbying efforts to change the law in Oregon to allow MERS in the chain of title. People who live in Oregon should be VERY vigilant to see that such a provision doesn’t get tacked onto to some innocuous bill that has nothing to do with MERS, foreclosures, mortgages or even real property.

Here is the problem for the banks: The reality is that that under real property law in every state you must record transfers of interest in real property if you want to be able to protect yourself against subsequent buyers or lenders who nothing about prior off-record dealings. Recording is what stabilizes the market. Where the recording rules are followed then there is notice to the world of who has what stake in any particular piece of property. A buyer or lender can buy or lend without worrying if they are really getting title or a perfected lien.

MERS is an intentional parallel universe in which transfer are NOT recorded and someone can pop up later claiming to be the new owner, beneficiary, trustee or whatever. It creates uncertainty in the marketplace which is bad for business generally and no doubt is going to spawn thousands of lawsuits on title insurance and title claims because MERS by its own admission never handles a dime, never gets the origination documents, and never does anything except maintain a relatively unsecured technology platform in which the members make, change, alter or amend data relating back to the so-called origination of the loan.

They attempt to cure this fatal defect with signed affidavits and other documents fabricated only when there is litigation executed by unauthorized people, robosignors, surrogate signors without corporate resolutions that the bank would require from borrowers but don’t want applied to themselves. The robo-signed, fabricated or fraudulent documents become part of the record but on close reading say nothing, which means that under case law in all the states the filings would be considered “wild” which means that it is out of the chain of title.

But the problem lies even deeper than that. MERS is the nominal trustee on the deed of trust or the nominal mortgagee on a mortgage. It disclaims any interest in the obligation, note or mortgage, saying that it is there to “facilitate” the transfer, sale or securitization of loans and other forms of credit — a function easily performed for a statutorily required fee by the statutorily authorized recording office in each county in which each property is located.

If you drill down a little deeper, you will find that MERS, as nominee is named as nominee for an apparently disclosed principal identified as the “lender.” But the “lender” loans nothing in most of these transactions, as the wire transfer receipt and wire transfer instructions will show.

So what you REALLY have is a nominee for  a nominee for an undisclosed principal, whom we all know should be the investors or their REMIC, but isn’t because the investment banks took the ownership diverting the paperwork and the money away from the investors, leaving them, and the borrowers, holding an empty bad or perhaps better said “a holographic image of an empty paper bag.”

These are table funded loans (predatory per se as per TILA and Reg Z) on steroids. While the banks are temporarily claiming ownership, they are trading selling and hedging and insuring the loans in packages making a fortune while the investors are left with fatally defective, unenforceable claims against he borrowers (see the various complaints filed by investors against the investment banks).

The flow of money from insurance — promised to investors and hedge products promised to investors never materializes because the banks kept the loans as though they owned them and then sold them at a premium to pools that were never funded with the investors’ money. Their money went to the banks as well which the banks used as their own money to make all those trades.

So the Oregon Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case called Niday vs. GMAC Mortgage because the lower appellate court said that in order to collect or foreclose on a debt, the debt must be owed to you and not someone else. This is also the law in all states —  only an actual creditor who is owed money from the borrower can submit a “credit bid”in lieu of cash assuming the debt is owed in connection with the financing of the property.

So the Banks and servicers are getting the story out through the media wherever they can that these rulings are misguided and will have terrible consequences on the marketplace when in fact the reverse is true. What the banks and servicers are doing is introducing a level of uncertainty that has never been seen before in the American marketplace. Their response to attempts to curb their illicit practices has been to threaten the marketplace with a freeze on lending. In other words, they are trying to bully us into letting them get away with it. Will you let them?

controversial-mers-decision-breaks-oregons-chain-nonjudicial-foreclosures

CLASS ACTION: PA COUNTY RECORDERS WIN RIGHT TO SUE MERS FOR FEES

For legal representation in Florida Call 520-405-1688

Consult with Neil F Garfield, MBA. JD

MORE REASONS TO DENY AND DISCOVER

The usual stuff from MERS: We’re right and everyone else is wrong. Except that not so many people are taking them at their word. The MERS “Business Model” was simply a vehicle to hide a simple PONZI scheme. This class action lawsuit aims to show that you cannot pick up one end of the stick without picking up the other. If MERS wants to take the position that the transfers on their books are valid, which they must or there wouldn’t be any foreclosures, then they must pay the transfer taxes and recording fees required under Pennsylvania law. It is pretty simple, and the order allowing the class action to proceed is basically a final decision waiting to be made final.

The case also goes forward on unjust enrichment, declaratory and injunctive relief. Now comes the decision where the MERS entity must decide whether and when to assert that MERS shouldn’t be sued because it was only acting as agent of the members. If they do that then they are admitting they were acting for a undisclosed principal at the closing of the loan, a clear violation of the Truth in Lending Act. If they don’t do that they get a judgment that puts them out of business and which will be executed and enforced against those who organized MERS — Title companies, banks, servicers included — when  it comes out that this is indeed the case during discovery.

It is difficult to conjure up a scenario where this case won’t be settled. The facts are devastating to the banks and servicers and title companies. They can’t go to trial. And THAT is the same strategy I am pushing lawyers to use in individual cases in DENY AND DISCOVER.

REMIC Status Under Fire: HUGE LOSSES FROM TAX LIABILITIES

If, however, the transaction does not coincide with the parties’ bona fide intentions, courts will ignore the stated intentions.19  The analysis of ownership cannot merely look to the agreements the parties entered into because the label parties give to a transaction does determine its character.20  Consequently, the analysis must examine the underlying economics and the attendant facts and circumstances to determine who owns the mortgage notes for tax purposes.21

(Bradley T. Borden & David Reiss are professors at Brooklyn Law School.1)

“They take aggressive positions, and they figure that if enough of them take an aggressive position, and there’s billions of dollars at stake, then the IRS is kind of estopped from arguing with them because so much would blow up. And that is called the Wall Street Rule. That is literally the nickname for it.”2

Editor’s Note: We have been discussing the sham nature of securitization and assignment claims for years. The IRS and others have begun to take notice. The effect will be staggering unless “the Wall Street rule” is established. The article below from two professors at Brooklyn Law School is a mirror of the Fordham Law Review Article written 7 years ago entitled “Will the Real Party in Interest Please Stand Up.”

The author’s state “This calamity is compounded by the fact that those professional advisers should have known that the REMICs they created were flawed from the start.  If these losses are realized, those professionals will face suits for damages so large that they could put them out of business.” We are talking about bankers, insurers, lawyers, accounting firms and all the other players that were engaged in the make-believe game of securitization.

The scheme was not flawed in my opinion, it was intentional and based on the sole premise of every PONZI scheme artist: they thought they could get away with it and they still think so. Madoff, whose PONZI scheme is now being traced to the early 1970″s, Drier who used Solow’s name to create the appearance of legitimate transactions that were faked from start to finish, are all in the same pot. When you look closely, there isn’t any difference. They took money, they used it not the way the lender or investor intended, and they ended up lavishing on themselves huge bonuses, salaries and other gains (off-shore) that make Madoff and Dreir look like small potatoes.

A REMIC allows for the pooling of mortgage loans that can then be issued as a mortgage-backed security.  It is a pass-through entity for tax purposes, meaning that unlike corporations, they do not pay income tax and their owners thereby avoid the double taxation they would face from receiving corporate dividends.  A REMIC is intended to be a passive investment.

Because of its passive nature, a REMIC is limited as to how and when it can acquire mortgage.  In particular, a REMIC must in most cases acquire its mortgages within 90 days of its start-up.3  The Internal Revenue Code provides for draconian penalties for REMICs that fail to comply with applicable legal requirements.”

“By failing to transfer possession of the note to the pool backing the securities, Countrywide failed to comply with the requirements necessary to obtain REMIC status.  Numerous other filings and reports suggest that Countrywide’s practice was typical of many major lenders during the early 2000s.  Thus, although we rely on the facts in the Kemp case in this brief article, it has very broad application.”

The article maintains a focus on the paperwork which is a common occurrence in these analyses, assuming that the REMIC existed and was somehow funded with cash and/or “assets.” But this was not the case and so the scenario that these authors paint are actually understated. The money appears to have been diverted from the REMIC from the very start, with no bank account or other “account” held by a financial institution or trustee in control of it.

The authors give the banks the benefit of the doubt when they describe the actions as negligent. They stop at the doorway leading to the PONZI scheme that went into full swing at the beginning of the 2000’s. BY diverting the money and then diverting the documents away from the REMICs, the banks were able to assert “ownership” of the loan thus enabling them to collect insurance, credit default swap and Federal bailout proceeds for themselves instead of the REMICs or the REMIC investors.

The reason why so many notes were lost, destroyed, stolen or whatever is that if the insurers, investors, and counterparties on hedge products had actually seen the notes rather than data describing the notes, they would have known that the wrong parties were named on all the instruments, and that the REMICs were violating the rules to avoid double-taxation on a regular basis — all without the investors knowledge. Further, the profits from tier 2 yield spread premiums, which were huge (especially in loans classified as subprime) together with the payoffs from entities who contractually agreed to waive subrogation, left the investors with no way to know, much less understand, that trillions of dollars were being paid on notes, whether they were in default or not — because they were in pools where the Master Servicer ordered a write-down of the pool.

Like any PONZI scheme, two things are true here i the scheme that is papered over with false claims of securitization and assignments: the deal falls apart when people stop buying the bogus mortgage bonds and when it comes time to pay up or prove the transaction, there is no money to cover it. So the banks painted themselves into a corner that is causing the long arm of the law to close in on them due to upcoming statutes of limitations: in an ironic twist, if the loans turn out to be performing or were false declared to be in default or were false declared to be devalued, then the money received by the banks is due back to the insurers and other parties who paid.

And that is why the insurers and counterparties are suing the banks — based upon the misrepresentation of the quality of the loans or even the existence of the loans, and the fact that the payment was predicated upon a good faith belief that defaults had occurred when in fact they had not.

Since the loans were aggregated into false mortgage bonds, the banks were able to sell the same pool  multiple times which they called leveraging. And THAT is why a modified loan represents a huge loss to them. When the number of modified, reinstated or  settled loans reaches critical mass, the recipients of the insurance, credit default swap and federal bailouts must pay that money back under either contract law or tort law (fraud). In monetary terms a $30 million commercial loan might have been sold a few times with the “lender” receiving tens of millions of dollars, or even hundreds of millions of dollars (depending upon how bold they became).

So the “lender” must do everything within its power to maintain the appearance of a default even if there was no default or else they not only give up their claim for default interest, they must give up multiples of the original loan that they received from third parties based upon false pretenses.

It gets worse. Having received the insurance, credit default swap and federal bailout money, the original debt has been extinguished because the “creditor” has been paid in full according to the paperwork existing at the time of the payment from these co-obligors. The parties that paid would ordinarily have a claim for contribution against the borrower, but in most cases they contracted that right away. Hence the commercial property could emerge debt free and definitely unencumbered by a mortgage.

Whether we are discussing residential loans or commercial property loans, the borrower should do their homework and realize that they actually have more leverage than the lender who is pressing for foreclosure. We already have had one case where a whistle-blower received a huge sum of money for reporting these practices and the IRS collected enormous tax revenues from one deal.

The article below shows that out of the $13 trillion in mortgages, most of it followed a path of false paper and diverted money; the liability for the professionals that put these deals together might include a criminal conspiracy — but even without that the REMIC rules are very clear. Violation means double taxation, and with interest and penalties that alone could be enough to change the landscape of banks, insurers, law firms and accountants.

That failure appears to cause the trusts to fail both the definitional requirement and the timing requirement that are necessary to elect REMIC status. They fail the definition requirement because they do not own obligations, and what they do own does not appear to be secured by interests in real property.

Wall Street Rules Applied to REMIC Classification

By Bradley T. Borden & David Reiss 

(Bradley T. Borden & David Reiss are professors atBrooklyn Law School.1)

“They take aggressive positions, and they figure that if enough of them take an aggressive position, and there’s billions of dollars at stake, then the IRS is kind of estopped from arguing with them because so much would blow up. And that is called the Wall Street Rule. That is literally the nickname for it.”2

Investors in mortgage-backed securities, built on the shoulders of the tax-advantaged Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (“REMIC”), may be facing extraordinary tax losses because of how bankers and lawyers structured these securities.  This calamity is compounded by the fact that those professional advisers should have known that the REMICs they created were flawed from the start.  If these losses are realized, those professionals will face suits for damages so large that they could put them out of business.  That is, unless the Wall Street Rule is applied.

The issue of REMIC failure for tax purposes is important in at least three contexts:

(1) in any potential effort by the IRS to clean up this industry;

(2) in civil lawsuits brought by REMIC investors against promoters, underwriters, and other parties who pooled mortgages and sold mortgage-backed securities; and

(3) state and federal prosecutors and regulators who consider bringing criminal or civil claims against promoters, underwriters, and other parties who pooled mortgages and sold MBSs.

A History of REMIC-able Growth

The first mortgage-backed securities (“MBS”) were issued by entities related to the federal government, like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in the early 1970s.  These MBS paid out to investors from their proportional share of ownership of a securitized pool of mortgages’ cash flow.  Starting in the late 1970s, private issuers such as commercial banks and mortgage companies began to issue residential mortgage-backed securities.  These “private label” securities are issued without the governmental or quasi-governmental guaranty that a federally related issuer would give.  Private label securitization gained momentum during the savings-and-loan crisis in the early 1980s, when Wall Street firms were able to expand market share at the expense of the beleaguered thrift sector.

Before 1986, mortgage-backed securities had various tax-related inefficiencies.  First among them, such securities were taxable at the entity level, thus investors faced double taxation.  Wall Street firms successfully lobbied Congress to do away with double taxation in 1986.  This legislation created the REMIC, which was not taxed at the entity level.  This one change automatically boosted its yields over other types of mortgage-backed securities.  Unsurprisingly, REMICs displaced these other types of mortgage-backed securities and soon became the dominant choice of entity for such transactions.

A REMIC allows for the pooling of mortgage loans that can then be issued as a mortgage-backed security.  It is a pass-through entity for tax purposes, meaning that unlike corporations, they do not pay income tax and their owners thereby avoid the double taxation they would face from receiving corporate dividends.  A REMIC is intended to be a passive investment.

Because of its passive nature, a REMIC is limited as to how and when it can acquire mortgage.  In particular, a REMIC must in most cases acquire its mortgages within 90 days of its start-up.3  The Internal Revenue Code provides for draconian penalties for REMICs that fail to comply with applicable legal requirements.

In the 1990s, the housing finance industry, still faced with the patchwork of state and local laws relating to real estate, sought to streamline the process of assigning mortgages from one mortgage pool to another.  Industry players, including Fannie and Freddie and the Mortgage Bankers Association, advocated for The Mortgage Electronic Recording System (“MERS”), which was up and running by the end of the decade.

A MERS mortgage contains a statement that “MERS is a separate corporation that is acting solely as nominee for the Lender and Lender’s successors and assigns. MERS is the mortgagee under this Security Instrument.”4

MERS is not named on any note endorsement.  This new system saved lenders a small but not insignificant amount of money every time a mortgage was transferred.  However, the legal status of this private recording system was not clear and had not been ratified by Congress.  Notwithstanding that fact, nearly all of the major mortgage originators participated in MERS and MERS registered millions of mortgages within a couple of years of being up and running.

Beginning in early 2000s, MERS and other parties in the mortgage securitization industry began to relax many of the procedures and practices they originally used to assign mortgages among industry players.  Litigation documents and decided cases reveal how relaxed the procedures and practices became.  Hitting a crescendo right before the global financial crisis hit, the practices became egregiously negligent.

The practices at Countrywide Home Loans Inc. (then one of the nation’s largest loan originators in terms of volume and now part of Bank of America) illustrate the outrageous behavior of mortgage securitizers that was typical during that period.

Kemp-temptable Practices

 In re Kemp demonstrates that securitizers did not follow the rules applicable to REMICs when issuing mortgage-backed securities.

On May 31, 2006, Countrywide Home Loans Inc., lent $167,000 to John Kemp.5  At that time, Kemp signed a note listing Countrywide Home Loans Inc., as the lender; no indorsement appeared on the note.

An unsigned allonge (a piece of paper attached to a negotiable note that allows for the memorialization of additional assignments if there is not sufficient room on the note itself to do so) of the same date accompanied the note and directed Kemp to “Pay to the Order of Countrywide Home Loans Inc., d/b/a America’s Wholesale Lender.”

On the same day, Kemp signed a mortgage in the amount of $167,000, which listed the lender as America’s Wholesale Lender.  The mortgage named MERS as the mortgagee and authorized it to act solely as nominee for the lender and the lender’s successors and assigns.  The mortgage referenced the note Kemp signed, and it was recorded in the local county clerk’s office on July 13, 2006.

On June 28, 2006, Countrywide Home Loans Inc., as seller, entered into a Pooling and Servicing Agreement (PSA) with CWABS, Inc., as depositor; Countrywide Home Loans Servicing LP as master servicer; and Bank of New York as trustee.  The PSA provided that Countrywide Home Loans Inc., sold, transferred, or assigned to the depositor “all the right, title and interest of [Countrywide Home Loans, Inc.] in and to the Initial Mortgage Loans, including all interest and principal received and receivable by” Countrywide.

The PSA further provided that the depositor would then transfer the Initial Mortgage Loans, which include Kemp’s loan, to the trustee in exchange for certificates referred to as Asset-backed Certificates, Series 2006-8.  The depositor apparently then sold the certificates to investors.

The PSA also provided that the depositor would deliver “the original Mortgage Note, endorsed by manual or facsimile signature in blank in the following form: ‘Pay to the order of ________ without recourse’, with all intervening endorsements from the originator to the Person endorsing the Mortgage Note.”

Although Kemp’s note was supposed to be subject to the PSA, it was never endorsed in blank or delivered to the depositor or trustee as required by the PSA.  At that time, no one recorded a transfer of the note or the mortgage with the county clerk.

On March 14, 2007, MERS assigned Kemp’s mortgage to Bank of New York as trustee for the Certificate Holders CWABS Inc. Asset-backed Certificates, Series 2006-8.  The assignment purported to assign Kemp’s mortgage “[t]ogether with the Bond, Note or other obligation described in the Mortgage, and the money due and to become due thereon, with interest.”  That assignment was recorded on March 24, 2008.

On May 9, 2008, Kemp filed a voluntary bankruptcy petition.  On June 11, 2008, Countrywide, identifying itself as servicer for the Bank of New York, filed a secured proof of claim noting Kemp’s property as collateral for the claim.  In response, Kemp filed an adversary complaint on October 16, 2008, against Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., seeking to expunge its proof of claim.

At trial, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., produced a new undated Allonge to Promissory Note, which directed Kemp to “Pay to the Order of Bank of New York, as Trustee for the Certificate-holders CWABS, Inc., Asset-backed Certificates, Series 6006-8.”  A supervisor and operational team leader for the apparent successor entity of Countrywide Home Loans Servicing LP testified that the new allonge was prepared in anticipation of the litigation and was signed weeks before the trial.  That same person testified that the Kemp’s original note never left the possession of Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., but instead, it went to its foreclosure unit.  She also testified that the new allonge had not been attached to Kemp’s note and that customarily, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., maintained possession of the notes and related loan documents.  In a later submission, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., represented that it had the original note with the new allonge attached, but it provided no additional information regarding the chain of title of the note.  It also produced a Lost Note Certificate dated February 1, 2007, providing that Kemp’s original note had been “misplaced, lost or destroyed, and after a thorough and diligent search, no one has been able to locate the original Note.”

The court therefore concluded that at the time of the filing of the proof of claim, Kemp’s mortgage had been assigned to the Bank of New York, but Countrywide had not transferred possession of the associated note to the Bank of New York.

By failing to transfer possession of the note to the pool backing the securities, Countrywide failed to comply with the requirements necessary to obtain REMIC status.  Numerous other filings and reports suggest that Countrywide’s practice was typical of many major lenders during the early 2000s.  Thus, although we rely on the facts in the Kemp case in this brief article, it has very broad application.

Sloppiness and REMICs Rules Don’t Mix Well

Even though a minority of securitizers may have followed the terms contained in the applicable Pooling and Servicing Agreements, there is very low tolerance for deviation in the REMIC rules.  This suggests that compliance in a minority of situations would not prevent the IRS from finding that individual REMICs fail to comply with their strict requirements in an overwhelming number of cases.  And the failure of a very small number of mortgages to comply with the rules would be sufficient to cause a putative REMIC to lose its preferred-tax status.

Federal tax treatment of REMICs is important in two respects.  First, it treats regular interests in REMICs as debt instruments.6 Second, federal tax law specially classifies REMICs as something other than tax corporations, tax partnerships, or trust and generally exempts them from federal income taxation.7

These two aspects of REMICs work hand in hand to provide REMICs favorable tax treatment.  REMICs must compute taxable income, but because the regular interests are treated as debt instruments, REMICs deduct amounts that constitute interest payments to the holders of residual interests.8

Without these rules, a REMIC could be a tax corporation and the regular interests could be equity interests.  If that were the case, the REMIC would not be able to deduct payments made to the regular interest holders and would owe federal income tax on its taxable income.  That is how the REMIC classification provides significant tax benefits.

To obtain REMIC classification, a trust must satisfy several requirements.  Of particular interest is the requirement that within three months after the trusts startup date, substantially all of its assets must be qualified mortgages.9  The regulations provide that substantially all of the assets of a trust are qualified mortgages if no more than a de minimis amount of the trust’s assets are not qualified mortgages.10 

The regulations do not define what constitutes a de minimis amount of assets, but they provide that substantially all of the assets are permitted assets if no more than one percent of the aggregate basis of all of the trust’s assets is attributed to prohibited assets.11  If the aggregate basis of the prohibited assets exceeds the one percent threshold, the trust may nonetheless be able to demonstrate that it owns no more than a de minimis amount of prohibited assets.12 Thus, almost all of a REMIC’s assets must be qualified mortgages.

A ‘qualified mortgage’ is an obligation that is principally secured by an interest in real property.13  The trust must acquire the obligation by contribution on the startup date or by purchase within three months after the startup date.14  Thus, to be a qualified mortgage, an asset must satisfy both a definitional requirement (be an obligation principally secured by an interest in real property) and a timing requirement (be acquired within three months after the startup date).

Industry practices raise questions about whether trusts satisfied either the definitional requirement or the timing requirement.  The general practice was for trusts and loan originators to enter into PSAs, which required the originator to transfer the mortgage note and mortgage to the trust.  Nonetheless, as with Kemp, reports and court documents indicate that originators and trusts frequently did not comply with the terms of the PSAs and the originator typically retained the mortgage notes and mortgages.

That failure appears to cause the trusts to fail both the definitional requirement and the timing requirement that are necessary to elect REMIC status. They fail the definition requirement because they do not own obligations, and what they do own does not appear to be secured by interests in real property.

They fail the timing requirement because they do not acquire the requisite interests within the three-month prescribed time frame.  And even if the trusts acquired some obligations principally secured by interests in real property, many of their assets would not satisfy the REMIC requirements.  This would result in the trusts owning more than a de minimis amount of prohibited assets.  If more than a de minimis amount of a trust’s assets are prohibited assets, then it would not be eligible for REMIC status.

The Un-MERS-iful Stringency of the REMIC Regulations

Federal tax law does not rely upon the state-law definition of ownership, but it looks to state law to determine parties’ rights, obligations, and interests in property.15  Tax law can also disregard the transfer (or lack of transfer) of formal title where the transferor retains many of the benefits and burdens of ownership.16

Courts focus on whether the benefits and burdens of ownership pass from one party to another when considering who is the owner of property for tax purposes.17  As the Tax Court has stated, to “properly discern the true character of [a transaction], it is necessary to ascertain the intention of the parties as evidenced by the written agreements, read in light of the attending facts and circumstances.”18

If, however, the transaction does not coincide with the parties’ bona fide intentions, courts will ignore the stated intentions.19  Thus, the analysis of ownership cannot merely look to the agreements the parties entered into because the label parties give to a transaction does determine its character.20  Consequently, the analysis must examine the underlying economics and the attendant facts and circumstances to determine who owns the mortgage notes for tax purposes.21 

Courts in many states have considered the legal rights and obligations of REMICs with respect to mortgage notes and mortgages they claim to own.  The range of issues state courts have considered with respect to REMIC mortgage notes and mortgages range from standing to foreclose,22 entitlement to notice of bankruptcy proceeding against a mortgagor,23 to ownership of a mortgage note under a state’s commercial code.24 As these cases indicate, at least with respect to the question of security interest, the courts are split with some ruling in favor of MERS and others ruling in favor of other parties whose interests are adverse to MERS. Apparently, no court has considered how significant these rules are with respect to REMIC classification. Standing to foreclose and participate in a bankruptcy proceeding will likely affect the analysis of whether REMIC trust assets are secured by an interest in real property, but they probably do not affect the analysis of whether the REMIC trusts own obligations. This analysis turns on the ownership of the mortgage notes.

In re Kemp addressed the issue of enforceability of a note under the uniform commercial code (UCC) for bankruptcy purposes.25 The court in that case held that a note was unenforceable against the maker of the note and the maker’s property under New Jersey law on two grounds.26 The court held that because the owner of the note, the Bank of New York, did not have possession and the lack of proper indorsement upon sale made the note unenforceable.27 Recognizing that the mortgage note came within the UCC definition of negotiable instrument,28 the court then considered who is a party entitled to enforce a negotiable instrument.29

Only the following three types persons are entitled to enforce a negotiable instrument:

1) “the holder of the instrument,”

2) “a nonholder in possession of the instrument who has the right of a holder,” or

3)  “a person not in possession of the instrument who is entitled to enforce the instrument pursuant to UCC § 3-309 or 3-418(d).”30

The Kemp court then explained why the Bank of New York did not come within the definition of a party entitled to enforce the negotiable instrument.

This analysis illustrates how courts may reach results that undercut arguments that REMICs were the owners of the mortgage notes and mortgages for tax purposes.  But even if the majority of states rule in favor of REMICs, the few that do not can destroy the REMIC classification of many MBS that were structured to be – and promoted to investors as – REMICs.

Because rating agencies require that REMICs be geographically diversified in order to spread the risk of default caused by local economic conditions, REMICs hold notes and mortgages from multiple jurisdictions.  Most, if not all, REMICs own mortgages notes and mortgages from states governed by laws that the courts determine do not support REMIC eligibility for the mortgages from those jurisdictions.  This diversification requirement ensures that REMICs will have more than a de minimis amount of mortgages notes that do not come within the definition of qualified mortgage under the REMIC regulations.

IRS-ponsible Industry Regulation

Law firms issued opinions that MBS transactions would qualify as REMICs.  They did so even though they knew or should have known that an insufficient percent of trust assets would satisfy the definition of qualified mortgage under the REMIC rules.  Nonetheless, the IRS does not appear to be engaged in auditing REMICs.  Its reasons for not challenging REMIC status at this time may be justified as they study the issue and observe the outcome of the numerous actions against REMICs and originators.

Because REMICs did not file the correct returns and may have committed fraud, the statute of limitations for earlier years will remain open indefinitely, giving the IRS adequate time to pursue REMIC litigation after it obtains the information it needs.  If the IRS does not take action at the appropriate time, however, it will be a serious failure and will result in the loss of billions of dollars of tax revenue for the federal government.

More troubling still is the IRS’s failure to address the wide-scale abuse and problems that existed during the years leading up to the financial meltdown.  The IRS’s failure to adequately police REMICs is one more reason that the mortgage industry was able to overly inflate the housing market.  And that, inexorably, led to the crash and our tepid recovery from it.

More generally, by overlooking the serious defects in the transactions, courts and governmental agencies encourage the type of behavior that led to the financial crisis.  Lawmakers, law enforcement agencies and the judiciary cede their governing functions to private industry if they allow players to disregard the law and stride to create law through their own practices.

If we allow the Wall Street Rule to apply, then Wall Street rules.  If the rule of law is respected, then Main Street can look forward to the equal protection of the law and returned prosperity without fear of bubbles inflating because powerful special interests can flout the law that applies to the rest of us.

Notes

1          This brief article is drawn from a forthcoming study by the authors.  © 2012 Bradley T. Borden and David Reiss.

Professor David Reiss is the founding director of the Community Development Clinic at Brooklyn Law School and teaches property law and real estate law. His articles expound upon the secondary mortgage markets, predatory lending, and housing policy and he is a regular commentator in the news on these topics.

Professor Bradley Borden is a leading authority on taxation of real property transactions and flow-through entities. He teaches Partnership Taxation, Taxation of Real Estate Transactions, and a general income tax course. He is also a prolific writer whose articles appear in numerous journals and is the author or co-author of several books. He is also a regular commentator on these topics in the news.

2          Lee Shepard,  Bain Capital Tax Documents Draw Mixed Reaction, ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, (NPR Business broadcast Aug. 28, 2012) (discussing taxation of private equity management compensation), available at http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=160196045&m=160201502 (emphasis added).

3          26 U.S.C. § 860G(a)(3), (9).

4          See, e.g., Brook Boyd, Real Estate Financing § 14.05[9] (2005).

5          See In re Kemp, 440 B.R. 624, 627 (Bkrtcy D.N.J. 2010).

6          SeeIRC §§ 860B(a), 860C(b)(1)(A).

7          SeeIRC § 860A(a).

8          SeeIRC §§ 163(a), 860C(b)(1)(A).

9          SeeIRC § 860D(a)(4).

10        SeeTreas. Reg. § 1.860D-1(b)(3)(i).

11        SeeTreas. Reg. § 1.860D-1(b)(3)(ii).

12        See Treas. Reg. § 1.860D-1(b)(3)(ii).

13        SeeIRC § 860G(a)(3)(A).

14        SeeIRC § 860G(a)(3)(A)(i), (ii).

15        See, e.g., Burnet v. Harmel, 287 U.S. 103, 110 (1932).

16        See Bailey v. Comm’r, 912 F.2d 44, 47 (2d Cir. 1990).

17        Grodt & McKay Realty, Inc. v. Comm’r, 77 T.C. 1221, 1237 (1981).

18        See Haggard v. Comm’r, 24 T.C. 1124, 1129 (1955), aff’d 241 F.2d 288 (9th Cir. 1956).

19        See Union Planters National Bank of Memphis v. United States, 426 F.2d 115, 117 (6th Cir. 1970).

20        See Helvering v. F. & R. Lazarus & Co.308 U.S. 252, 255 (1939).

21        See Helvering v. F. & R. Lazarus & Co., 308 U.S. 252, 255 (1939).

22        See Bain v. Metropolitan Mortgage Group, Inc., 2012 WL 3517326 (Wash. 2012) (holding that MERS was not a beneficiary under Washington Deed of Trust Act because it did not hold the mortgage note); Eaton v. Federal National Mortgage Association, 462 Mass. 569 (Mass. 2012); Ralph v. Met Life Home Loans, ____ (5th D. Idaho August 10, 2011) (holding that MERS was not the beneficial owner of a deed of trust, so its assignment was a nullity and the assignee could not bring a nonjudicial foreclosure against the borrower); Fowler v. Recontrust Company, N.A., 2011 WL 839863 (D. Utah March 10, 2011) (holding that MERS is the beneficial owner under Utah law); Jackson v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., 770 N.W.2d 487 (Minn. 2009) (holding that MERS, as nominee, could institute a foreclosure by advertisement, i.e., a nonjudicial foreclosure, based upon Minnesota “MERS statute” that allows nominee to foreclose).

23        See Landmark National Bank v. Kesler, 289 Kan. 528, 216 P.3d 158 (Kan. 2009) (holding that MERS had no interest in the property and was not entitled to notice of bankruptcy or to intervene to challenge it).

24        See In re Kemp, 440 B.R. 624 (Bkrtcy.D.N.J. 2010).

25        See In re Kemp, 440 B.R. 624 (Bkrtcy.D.N.J. 2010). A claim in bankruptcy is disallowed after an objection “to the extent that . . . such claim is unenforceable against the debtor and property of the debtor, under any agreement or applicable law for a reason other than because such claim is contingent or unmatured.” See id. at 629 (citing 11 U.S.C. § 502(b)(1). New Jersey adopted the UCC in ____. See ____. This article cites to the UCC generally instead of specifically to the New Jersey UCC to illustrate the general applicability of the holding.

26        See In re Kemp at 629–30.

27        See In re Kemp at 629–30.

28        See In re Kempat 630.

29        See In re Kempat 630.

30        SeeUnif. Commercial Code § 3-301.

Banks Trying to Get Bill Through Congress Protecting MERS

Editor’s Comment: It is no small wonder that the banks are scared. After all they created MERS and they control MERS and many of them own MERS. The Washington Supreme Court ruling leaves little doubt that MERS is a sham, leaving even less doubt that an industry is sprouting up for wrongful foreclosure in which trillions of dollars are at stake.

The mortgages that were used for foreclosure are, in my opinion, and in the opinion of a growing number of courts and lawyers and regulatory agencies around the country, State and Federal, were fatally defective and that leads to the conclusion that (1) the foreclosures can be overturned and (2) millions of dollars in damages might be payable to those homeowners who were foreclosed and evicted from homes they legally owned.

But the problem for the megabanks is even worse than that. If the mortgages were defective (deeds of trust in some states), then the money collected by the banks from insurance, credit default swaps, federal bailouts and buyouts and other hedge instruments pose an enormous liability to the large banks that promulgated this scam known as securitization where the last thing they had in mind was securitization. In many cases, the loans were effectively sold multiple times thus creating a liability not only to the borrower that illegally had his home seized but a geometrically higher liability to other financial institutions and governments and investors for selling them toxic waste.

There is a reason that that the bailout is measured at $17 trillion and it isn’t because those are losses caused by defaults in mortgages which appear to total less than 10% of that amount. The total of ALL mortgages during that period that are subject to claims of securitization (false claims, in my opinion) was only $13 trillion. So why was the $17 trillion bailout $4 trillion more than all the mortgages put together, most of which are current on their payments?

The reason is that some bets went well, in which case the banks kept the profits and didn’t tell the investors about it even though it was investor with which money they were betting.

If the loan went sour, or the Master Servicer, in its own interest, declared that the value of the pool had been diminished by a higher than expected default rate, then the insurance contract and credit default contract REQUIRED payment even though most of the loans were intact. Of course we now know that the loans were probably never in the pools anyway.

The bets that ended up in losses were tossed over the fence at the Federal Government and the bets that were “good” ended up with the insurers (AIG, AMBAC) having to pay out more money than they were worth. Enter the Federal Government again to make up the difference where the banks collected 100 cents on the dollar, didn’t tell the investors and declared the loans in default anyway and then proceeded to foreclose.

The banks’ answer to this knotty problem is predictable. Overturn the Washington Supreme Court case and others like it appellate and trial courts around the country by having Congress declare that the MERS transactions were valid. The biggest hurdle they must overcome is not a paperwork problem —- it is a money problem.

In many if not most cases, neither MERS nor the named payee on the note nor the “lender” identified on the note and mortgage had loaned any money at all. Even the banks are saying that the loans are owned by the “Trusts” but it now appears as though the trusts were never funded by either money or loans and that there were no bank accounts or any other accounts for those pools.

That leaves nothing but nominees for unidentified parties in all the blank spaces on the note and mortgage, whose terms were different than the payback provisions promised to the investor lenders. And THAT means that much of the assets carried on the books of the banks are simply worthless and non-existent AND that there is a liability associated with those transactions that is geometrically higher than the false assets that the banks are reporting.

So the question comes down to this: will Congress try to save MERS? (I.e., will they try to save the banks again with a legal bailout?). Will the effort even be constitutional since it deals with property required to be governed under States’ rights under the constitution or are we going to forget the Constitution and save the banks at all costs?

When you cast your ballot in November, remember to look at the candidates you are considering. If they are aligned with the banks, we can expect slashed pension benefits next year along with a whole new round of housing and economic decline.

mers-is-dead-can-be-sued-for-fraud-wa-supreme-court.html

Renters and Owners: Beware of Craig’s List

The marketplace is filled with “listings” on Craig’s List for rental of properties at prices that are too good to be true. The scammers are posing as local property owners who actually are out of town. They change the locks, enter the house, and prepare it for sale or rent. The owner comes back and finds a renter who demands that the lease be enforced as to possession, because the scammers were either apparent agents or actual agents of the owners. Suddenly the owner of a parcel becomes embroiled in litigation that takes their home off the market and possibly forces them into foreclosure or bankruptcy.

Prospective renters are taking a risk if they do not confirm the title of the property, the status of the property with respect to foreclosure, and the actual identity of the “broker” and the “owner” demanding proof thereof. If you put down first and last month rent, plus security of whatever, you could be kicked out in a matter of days unless you can show that the owner received some portion of those funds. The funds will never be recovered from thieves who are spending the money as they get it.

More sophisticated scammers are sending deposit checks to the real owner to have them cash it. When that happens, the law enforcement people might have no choice but to call it a civil matter. It is not inconceivable for the renter to challenge the title of the owner in such a situation although the law states otherwise.

The acceptance of the money (consideration) is one thing. But if the complaint says that a stranger stole their identity and then sold or rented the house, they might be opening the door for a challenge to that owner if defective title was acquired in a foreclosure sale that was faked by the banks, or where title was obtained from someone who obtained defective title.There is an open question about the right to challenge title where the sole reason for the eviction alleged is that the title is in the hands of the Plaintiff. Under the rules, a simple denial of that fact is a question of fact that must be heard by the court.

If it stays in a summary eviction proceeding the trial could be in a matter of days. But if the renter files in a higher court using causes of action challenging the right of the present “owner” to challenge the executed transaction because they didn’t suffer any damage (i.e., they didn’t own the house anyway and therefore were not entitled to proceeds of sale or rental)

That being the case, the argument could be made that the “strangers” had as much right to pose as the owners and agents of the named owners with or without their knowledge. Unlikely any renter would win on such an issue but possible that it could get by a motion to dismiss and tie up the property in litigation for months plus appeals.

This is the problem (see Grethen Morgneson’s article in New York Times about MERS) caused by MERS and pretender lenders, none of whom handle any money, accept any payments, or engage in any financial transactions with the homeowner who thinks they are getting a loan from the named payee. They are ALL naked nominees without a stake in the transaction.

The situation gets thick with fog as documents are piled on documents each one reciting that the previous document was valid even though the original document at the base of the pile was invalid, unenforceable and lacked the essential attributes of a valid contract — offer, acceptance of the same terms as the offer, and consideration (funding).

It’s the title, Stupid!

“What is surprising is the fresh evidence these cases are turning up of cockeyed mortgage practices, during both the boom and the bust. As these matters are adjudicated, perhaps we will finally learn whether these practices were intended or accidental.” — Gretchen Morgenson, NY Times

Editor’s Analysis: Gretchen Morgenson has latched onto the key element of the “securitization” of home loans that was faked to cover a Ponzi scheme in which the largest financial players in the world were pulling all the strings.

While the propaganda would have us believe that the situation is improving, the looming number of decisions from now alerted Judges may well produce a tidal change in the outcome of foreclosure litigation, the value of the bogus mortgage bonds which appear to be worthless from start to finish, and the balance owed on any of the debt issued under the guise of securitization.

Romney and the Republicans, taking their talking points from Wall Street are saying let’s wait until the market “bottoms out.” What people want and could have is a market where prices are going up, not “bottoming out.” Voters do not want to hear that because each year the predictions are the same: the market is finally hit bottom and is recovering, only to be bashed by news of ever-decreasing prices on homes.

The judicial system is where it all happening, albeit at the usual frustrating snails pace that the courts are known for, some of which is caused by the sheer volume through which the banks and servicers, masquerading as note holders push good-looking documents with not a single word of truth recited.

Judges are starting to realize that the issue of the identity of the creditor is important if any of these cases are going to settle or where a modification is the final result.

Under HAMP the servicers and “owners” of the mortgages are required to consider the mortgage modification proposal from borrowers. But they are not doing that, complaining that it is straining their resources and infrastructure since they are not set up for that. Whose fault is that? They took the TARP money and they agreed to modify where appropriate and even get paid for it.

The borrower is left in purgatory with no knowledge of the proper party to whom they can submit a proper proposal for modification, with principal loan r eduction or actually principal loan correction since the original appraisal was false and procured by the bank. Judges like settlements. But they can’t get it if they keep siding with the banks that the identity of the lender and the actual accounting for all money paid in or paid out of the loan receivable account is irrelevant.

The problem is MERS and the entire origination process where the rented name of a payee on the note, the rented name of the lender described in the note and mortgage, and the rented name of the mortgagee or beneficiary was used instead of the actual source of funds.

The second problem is the balance due, on which the servicers and attorneys have piled illegal fees.

The answer is the strategy of deny and discover which is being pursued by alliance partners of livinglies and the garfieldfirm.com. By the way, we are especially ready in South Florida. Call our customer service number 520-405-1688 for details on getting legal representation.

The banks and servicers are pretending that the report from the most recent sub-servicer is sufficient for the foreclosure. That has never been the case. Historically, if a lender felt it needed to foreclose it came to court with the entire loan receivable account starting with the funding and origination of the loan and continuing without breaks, up to and including the date of filing.

The banks and servicers have been steadfast in their stonewalling to prevent the homeowner from knowing the true status of their account, the true identity of the creditor, all of which can be gleaned not from the the records of the subservicer but from the records of the Master Servicer and the “Trustee” of the supposed common law trust which was “qualified” as a REMIC for tax purposes.

An accounting from the Master Servicer and Trustee would lead to the discovery of admissible evidence as to what the real creditor was owed after receipt of all payments, and who the current real creditor might be. After all, they looking for foreclosure and they are taking these properties by “credit bids” instead of paying cash at the auction. Only a creditor whose debt was secured by the mortgage or deed of trust can submit a credit bid.

The truth is that virtually all credit bids that have been submitted are invalid because they were not submitted by a secured creditor. And that leads to an even larger problem for the banks. Those “assets” they are holding on their balance sheet are not just fake, worth zero, they are also offset by a liability to those whose money was taken by the same investment banks that sold bogus mortgage bonds to the investors.

Since those sales were made through elaborate CDOs, CDS and other devices, we have known since 2007, that the reported “leverage” (using investor money) was as much as 42 times the amount of the average loan in the portfolio.

So that loan for $300,000 resulted in a 100 cents on the dollar payoff to banks who had neither funded nor purchased the loans but were representing themselves as the legal holder of the note and thus the obligation.

If the mortgage was invalid, the note was unenforceable because it wasn’t funded by the parties named on the note, and the “assignment,” or other transfer or sale of the “note” were all equally null and void, then the bank that has picked one end of the stick saying the assets on their balance sheet are real, should also have put a contingent liability on their balance sheet for as much as $12 million on the $300,000 loan.

Each time foreclosure is completed, or appears to be completed, that huge liability is wiped out arguably. Then the banks keep the $12 million, and dump the loss on the individual loan on the investors, which is usually some 50%-65% of the loan amount.

THAT is why the banks and servicers are in the business of foreclosure, not modification or settlement. They have no choice. They could owe back all that money they received. It isn’t the loss of $300,000 or some part thereof  they are worried about, it is the liability of $12 million on that loan that they are avoiding.

The political impact of this will be devastating to incumbents not in 2012 but in 2014 when the pension funds, who have already reported they are “underfunded” start slashing pension benefits, thus requiring another round of Federal Bailouts because the government so far has refused to claw back all of the money that was made by the banks and distribute it to the investors and reduce the borrowers balance owed on the “loan.”

Given the above scenario and the widespread use of nominees in lieu of real lenders and real sources of funding, it is highly probable that the title to potentially tens of millions of properties have clouds either because the foreclosure was wrongful or because the wrong party executed the satisfaction of mortgage or both.

And as stated in the previous post, this is not a gift to homeowners. They will owe tax on the elimination of the mortgages and loans because the loans were paid, not forgiven.

It is left-handed way of providing huge principal reductions because of PAYMENT (not forgiveness). With the balance paid, the borrowers must report the claim as a gain paid by co-obligors they never knew existed. With a top tax rate of 35% currently, soon to be 38%, the homeowner will have a tax obligation for no more than the tax rate applied against the balance due on the loan — the equivalent of a loan reduction of 65%-75%, which would satisfy anyone.

Modification proposals from homeowners are much higher than that. The only reason they are rejected is because each modification would transform each loan into the class of “performing” and would materially change the balance sheet of each of the mega banks with adverse consequences for the mega banks and a bonanza for the 7,000 community banks sand credit unions in this country.

But in order to determine the balance due, the accounting must be a total accounting starting from the original funding of the loan right up to the present. When Judges realize that the would-be foreclosers can’t or won’t provide that they will start making the opposite presumption — that it is the banks and servicers that are the deadbeats.

Bain Decision Brings Us Back to Reality

People are asking in emails and calls why I think this decision from Washington State is so basic and decisive. So here is my answer.

If MERS was right, then there would be no point to having a statutory scheme for recording of deeds and mortgages. Let’s take a simple example, if MERS was named on the deed as the Grantee by a real person who was selling the property as Grantor. So far so good. Everything is in order if the deed is recorded in the county recorder’s office in the same county as where the property is located.

So you decide you would like to make an offer to MERS for purchase of the property. MERS says we don’t own the property and you say but the recorded deed says you are the owner and the statute says that makes you the owner. MERS says no, we are not the owner we are just a nominee for a succession of owners. You’ll have to figure it out for yourself.

So you go to a lawyer and you say I want to buy this property and I went to the owner of record, but they say they have no power to sell it because they don’t own it. So who owns it? The lawyer makes some calls and is finally told that on the MERS data files the owner is XYZ Corp. He looks into the title record and finds no evidence of any XYZ Corp. nor that they ever had an interest or stake in the property.

So the lawyer goes back to his client and tells the prospective buyer, well, they have identified XYZ Corp as the owner and here is their telephone number. And ask “how do I know they are the owner if there is nothing in the title record? Are we to simply take the word of someone at MERS? IS that the way title works in this state?”

So the lawyer thinks for a minute and says well, MERS says they will sign off if XYZ signs off and XYZ is willing to show an assignment from MERS to XYZ that hasn’t been recorded yet. But you are still concerned. “We are still taking the word of someone at MERS that XYZ Corp is the owner. I guess if we get a deed  or assignment of deed from MERS that helps but isn’t something wrong here?”

The lawyer does some research and finds out that MERS is designed to pass around the title to the property by way of an unsecured database and that neither MERS nor XYZ can actually be trusted source of title without their being a final order from a judge declaring the rights of the stakeholders. But then he gives you the bad news. You are just a prospective purchaser who has no interest in the property so you cannot get that order from a court. It must be MERS or XYZ and they refuse to do that. But the good news is that they have accepted your offer to purchase the property.

Head scratch. The lawyer is saying that you must have a final order from a judge which can be certified and recorded in the county recorder’s office and you don’t have the right (standing) to go get that order and the “sellers” refuse to participate in that strategy, for whatever reason.

So you go to your local title insurance company and find out that that sure, they will issue a policy, but the policy will exclude off-record transactions so if there are any claims that are different than what is represented in the MERS or XYZ documents, the problem is yours.

So there you are, ready to buy the property, you have a willing “Seller” and no certainty or insurance that you can get title.

THAT is exactly what the statutory scheme for recordation of title instruments is all about. It creates certainty without all the steps above and it provides a free marketplace where people can trust that they are getting what they think they are buying. The same holds true for mortgages. So you want to pay off your mortgage now? Go to MERS and start at the top of this blog and work your way down again. That is why the decision in Washington is so important and why it is the only right decision to make.

MERS: No Agency with Undisclosed Rotating “Principals”

THE WASHINGTON SUPREME COURT DECISION WILL BE USED EXTENSIVELY AT THE EMERYVILLE AND ANAHEIM CLE WORKSHOPS.

The Stunning clarity of the decision rendered by the Washington Supreme Court, sitting En Banc, corroborates the statements I have made on this blog and under oath that they might just as well have put the name “Donald Duck” in as the mortgagee or beneficiary.

The argument, previously successful, has been that even if the entity MERS had nothing to do with financial transaction and even if they didn’t know about the transaction because the “knowledge” was all contained on a database that nobody at MERS checked for authenticity or veracity, the instrument was still valid. This coupled with a “public policy”argument that if the courts were to rule otherwise none of the MERS “mortgages” would be valid thus making the creditor unsecured.

The Washington Supreme court rejected that argument and further added that if such was the result, then it was through no fault of the borrower. SO now we have a situation where the law in the State of Washington is that MERS beneficiary instruments do not establish a perfected lien and therefore there is no opportunity to foreclose using either non-judicial or judicial means. A word of caution here is that this applies right now as law only in that state but that it closely follows the Landmark decision in Kansas Supreme Court. But the decision is extremely persuasive and reinvigorates the fight over whether the loans were secured loans or unsecured — especially powerful in bankruptcy courts.

It should be noted that the Washington Supreme Court has wider application than might appear at first blush. This is because the question was certified not from a state judge but from a federal court. Thus in Federal Courts, the decision might be all the more persuasive that MERS, which never had anything to do with the financial transaction, never handled a dime of the money going in or out of the loan receivable account, and never had any person with personal knowledge who could identify and verify that there was a disclosed principal for whom they were acting should be identified as a non-stakeholder with bare (naked) title recited in a fatally defective instrument.

This does not mean the obligation vanishes. It just means that they can’t foreclose through non-judicial foreclosure and probably can’t foreclose even through judicial means unless they accompany it with a request that the court reconstruct the mortgage — in which case they would need to allege and prove that the disclosed parties were the sources of funds for the origination of the loans, which in most cases, they were not.

The actual parties who were the source of funds either still exist or have been settled or traded out into new investment vehicles. This is why putting intense pressure to move the discovery along is so powerful. You are demanding what they should have had when they started the foreclosure timeline with a defective notice of default signed by a person who had no idea what the loan receivable account looked like or even the identity of the party or entity that had the loan booked as a loan receivable.

You’ll remember that MERS issued a proclamation to everyone that nobody should use its name in foreclosures in 2011. But that doesn’t address the underlying fatal defect of the MERS business model and the instruments that recite MERS as the mortgagee or beneficiary.

Th reasoning behind the rejection of the “Agency” argument is also very important. The court states that “While we have no reason to doubt that the lendersand their assigns control MERS, agency requires a specific principal that is accountable for the acts of its agent. If MERS is an agent, its principals in the two cases before us remain unidentified.12 MERS attempts to sidestep this portion of traditional agency law by pointing to the language in the deeds of trust that describe MERS as “acting solely as a nominee for Lender and Lender’s successors and assigns.” Doc. 131-2, at 2 (Bain deed of trust); Doc. 9-1, at 3 (Selkowitz deed of trust.); e.g., Resp. Br. of MERS at 30 (Bain). But MERS offers no authority for the implicit proposition that the lender’s nomination of MERS as a nominee rises to an agency relationship with successor noteholders.13 MERS fails to identify the entities that control and are accountable for its actions. It has not established that it is an agent for a lawful principal.” Hat tip again to Yves Smith on picking up on that before I did.

And the court even went further than that on the issue of modification that I have been pounding on for so long — how can you submit a request for modification with a proposal unless you know the identity of the secured party and the identity of any party or stakeholder who is unsecured? Hoe can anyone settle or modify a claim without knowing the identity of the claimant or the actual status of the claim as affected by payments of co-obligors? “While not before us, we note that this is the nub of this and similar litigation and has caused great concern about possible errors in foreclosures, misrepresentation, and fraud. Under the MERS system, questions of authority and accountability arise, and determining who has authority to negotiate loan modifications and who is accountable for misrepresentation and fraud becomes extraordinarily difficult.”

BUT WAIT! THERE IS MORE! The famed Deutsch bank acting as trustee ruse is also exposed by the court, leaving doubt ( a question of material fact that is in dispute) as to the identity and character of the creditor and the status of the loan. Without those nobody can state with personal knowledge that the principal due is now this figure or that and that the following fees apply. The Supreme Court in the footnotes takes this on too, although it wasn’t argued (but will be in the future I can assure you): “It appears Deutsche Bank is acting as trustee of a trust that contains Bain’s note, along with many others, though the record does not establish what trust this might be.”

The Court also is not shy. It also takes on the notion that the borrower is not entitled to know the identity of the creditor or principal and that the borrower only has a right to know the identity of the servicer. This of course is patently absurd argument. If it were true anyone could assert they were the servicer and you could not look behind that assertion to determine its veracity.

“MERS insists that borrowers need only know the identity of the servicers of their loans. However, there is considerable reason to believe that servicers will not or are not in a position to negotiate loan modifications or respond to similar requests. See generally Diane E. Thompson, Foreclosing Modifications: How Servicer Incentives Discourage Loan Modifications, 86 Wash. L. Rev. 755 (2011); Dale A. Whitman, How Negotiability Has Fouled Up the Secondary Mortgage Market, and What To Do About It, 37 Pepp. L. Rev. 737, 757-58 (2010). Lack of transparency causes other problems. See generally U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n v. Ibanez, 458 Mass. 637, 941 N.E.2d 40 (2011) (noting difficulties in tracing ownership of the note).”

And lastly, about making the rules up as you along, and moving the goal posts around, the Court challenges the argument and rejects the MERS position that the parties are free to contract as they choose despite any statutory language. Specifically the question what is what is the definition of a beneficiary. In Washington as in other states, the definitions of the Act apply to all transactions described and there is no room for anyone to change the law by contract. “Despite its ubiquity, we have found no case—and MERS draws our attention to none—where this common statutory phrase has been read to mean that the parties can alter statutory provisions by contract, as opposed to the act itself suggesting a different definition might be appropriate for a specific statutory provision.”

And again corroborating my work and manuals on the livinglies store. the Court finally addresses for the first time that I am aware, the essential reason why all this is so important. It is the auction itself and the acceptance of the credit bid from a non-creditor. Besides the challenges as to whether the substitution of trustee and instructions to trustee are valid, nobody can claim title suddenly born as a result of a “transfer” or assignment” or other document from MERS, an entity that had specifically claimed any interest in the obligation. The Court concludes that you either have the proof of being the actual creditor to whom the obligation is owed, in which case you can submit a credit bid if it is properly secured, or you must pay cash.

“Other portions of the deed of trust act bolster the conclusion that the legislature meant to define “beneficiary” to mean the actual holder of the promissory note or other debt instrument. In the same 1998 bill that defined “beneficiary” for the first time, the legislature amended RCW 61.24.070 (which had previously forbidden the trustee alone from bidding at a trustee sale) to provide:
(1) The trustee may not bid at the trustee’s sale. Any other person, including the beneficiary, may bid at the trustee’s sale.
(2) The trustee shall, at the request of the beneficiary, credit toward the beneficiary’s bid all or any part of the monetary obligations secured by the deed of trust. If the beneficiary is the purchaser, any amount bid by the beneficiary in excess of the amount so credited shall
18
Bain (Kristin), et al. v. Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys., et al., No. 86206-1
be paid to the trustee in the form of cash, certified check, cashier’s check, money order, or funds received by verified electronic transfer, or any combination thereof. If the purchaser is not the beneficiary, the entire bid shall be paid to the trustee in the form of cash, certified check, cashier’s check, money order, or funds received by verified electronic transfer, or any combination thereof. Laws of 1998, ch. 295, § 9, codified as RCW 61.24.070. As Bain notes, this provision makes little sense if the beneficiary does not hold the note.”

Thus this court has now left open the possibility of challenging wrongful foreclosures both in equity and at law for damages (slander of title etc.) It would be hard to believe that Washington State Attorneys won’t pounce on this opportunity to do some good for their clients and themselves.

MERS GOES DOWN IN FLAMES IN WA SUPREME COURT DECISION

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

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

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

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

see Bain Ruling

 

Thank you for the inspiration

Featured Products and Services by The Garfield Firm

——–>SEE TABLE OF CONTENTS: WHOSE LIEN IS IT ANYWAY TOC

LivingLies Membership – If you are not already a member, this is the time to do it, when things are changing.

For Customer Service call 1-520-405-1688

Editor’s Comment:  

We get many letters thanking us for our efforts to set things straight. And as I embark on escalating those efforts I found this letter especially timely and uplifting. While many of our readers write in with their successes, the distinguishing feature of this thank you letter was despite losses, so far in the courts. I think the next major push should be with administrative agencies regulating the banks where there are procedures for review and the possibility of administrative hearings to consider the quest for truth.

I have followed your blog semi-religiously for several years now.  I started long before I filed a RICO suit against IndyMac/MERS in Federal District Court in Seattle (May 2011).  So for certain my complaint was laced as best I could with the very arguments which you have been espousing and refining over the years.  Of course my Complaint was dismissed (not unexpected since, after all, I am a pro se know-nothing in the eyes of the “justice system”).  I appealed to the Ninth Circuit case No. 11-358626, got evicted in the interim and now await a decision from the Appeals Court.  I am telling you this not as a plea for assistance or pity but as a thank you for your tenacity in trying to set things straight.

Until the bubble burst in 2008, I was a self-employed homebuilder for the previous 35 years. Prior to that, I had obtained a 2 year associates degree in Tampa (1975). Dealing with an unconscionable truth has different impacts on different people. For me (and I am only 3 years or so younger than yourself), the impact prompted me to return to college at the University of Washington at the branch campus in Bothell.  This town is nearby to my former home which I still own but from which I was exiled.  Soon after my exile I became intrigued by a new degree program offered by UWB called “Law, Economics and Public Policy”.  I wondered if it was what it appeared to be and if my college credits from 37 years ago would transfer, well, yes and yes.  I am midway through my second quarter now.  Doing great.  The class sizes are quite small, usually 25 or less, so in-class discussions are encouraged and frequent.   This quarter, the book “The Big Short” was a required reading for one class.  Having already read that book 2 years ago, I’m sure you can imagine what sort of flavor that a fellow of my background and attitude might bring to the table in a room full of clueless kids who could easily pass as my grandchildren.

I know you’ve had some recent health issue which I hope are behind you.  I don’t have the time (or patience, quite frankly) to engage in the blogging which follows your every post, including your most recent one regarding the familiar theme of corrupted titles and Canadian neophytes.  On this Friday evening, I just wanted to wish you well and thank you for your inspiration.  The next generation must not be denied the truth.  I’ll keep talking to the kids (and the professors, some half my age) at UWB.  In a classroom environment, none of them can hide from me.  So yes, thanks once again.  We hear you and by proxy, they hear you too.

Best regards,

Name redacted for privacy


BUY THE BOOK! CLICK HERE!

BUY WORKSHOP COMPANION WORKBOOK AND 2D EDITION PRACTICE MANUAL

GET TWO HOURS OF CONSULTATION WITH NEIL DIRECTLY, USE AS NEEDED

COME TO THE 1/2 DAY PHOENIX WORKSHOP: CLICK HERE FOR PRE-REGISTRATION DISCOUNTS

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,268 other followers

%d bloggers like this: