LOAN MODIFICATIONS

Modifications are like a dirty word in the marketplace. Frustration, chicanery, luring borrowers into default, and crating modifications that are bound to fail so that the banks can get that ever precious foreclosure sale. But there is another side to it, as our guest writer David Abellard points out below.

And while I think the entire mortgage foreclosure thing is a complete sham, it is nonetheless true that homeowners want a a modification far more often than just getting a “free home.” Most of us understand that litigation is about preventing the banks from getting a “free home” — which is to say not just any home, but the home that a family resides in.

Litigation also provides the homeowner with presenting a credible threat, especially if they are after discovery on the money trail. So it is impossible to say how much litigation is necessary to get the best terms, or even if the homeowner SHOULD litigate, because much of that has more to do with personal decisions than the likelihood of success in litigation.

There is also a point I want to make to people who are not sophisticated in finance. An interest rate that is far under market rates IS the equivalent of a principal reduction. If you want to learn more about this, Google “present value” and “future value.” If you stay in the home for the duration of the loan, the impact gets larger and larger. But if you are staying in the home for only a short while then reducing the interest rate won’t do much without an actual principal reduction. As pointed out in prior broadcasts and articles here on livinglies, make sure whoever you are talking to about modification, short-sale or any other settlement is aware of two things:

  1. There are hidden programs throughout the country that provide direct financial assistance to those who want to bring their loan current or who need a reduction in principal. The “expert” you are hiring had better know about them or you might turn down a deal that would otherwise be acceptable.
  2. Get a court order approving the modification as a settlement. Submit an agreed order that expressly refers tot he legal description of the property, the fact that the homeowner is the owner in fee simple absolute — by name — and that the holder of the mortgage and note is identified by name. The order should approve the settlement even if the the settlement agreement is confidential and even if the settlement agreement is not attached to the order.
  3. Snatch and Grab: Many of the banks are still secretly scripting their customer service people to lure you into a default with the promise of a modification, even accepting trial payments, and then foreclosing anyway. The courts are not amused and they are getting banged by this practice — but only where the homeowner brings it up loudly.
  4. People ask me “should I stop paying?” The answer is universally that you don’t want to put yourself in a worse position than the one in which you are already stuck. Voluntary nonpayment is only for those who are pursuing strategies based upon strategic default. If the bank tells you to fall behind by 90 days, don’t believe it — it’s a trap. At best they are trying to steer you into an in house modification where the interest rates and payments are higher than in HAMP, HARP or other programs that do NOT require you to be i default for modification, no matter what anyone tells you.

But modifying the mortgage is a legitimate way of ending your problem as long as you take the necessary steps to protect your title. Thus I am inviting people to write in about modification. David Abellard sketches the modification process below:

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Loan Modification Information

Most homeowners have lost faith in loan modifications. Lenders have been alleged to routinely used the process to trick unsuspected homeowners into agreeing to consent judgment in pending foreclosure cases. The skepticism of some is understandable. However, the foreclosure landscape has shifted a bit in favor of the homeowners. The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently promulgated rules that make loan modification more effective.

Lenders and their servicers could face serious penalty for not complying with the federal regulations that went into effect January 10, 2014. If a loan is modified, the new payment will be based on the household income; which is generally 31% of the household monthly gross income. Loans on a primary residence as well as non-owner residence can be modified.  There are several loan modification programs. The Home Affordable Modification Program (“HAMP”) is a government  program that has been extended until 12/31/15.  If a homeowner does not qualify for HAMP, or the investor doesn’t participate in the HAMP program, banks and servicers also offer internal private modification programs as an alternative.  Loan modifications are primarily designed to create an affordable payment plan for the homeowner based on their current income; it does not create equity by reducing the principle balance of a loan based on current property value.

There are mainly three ways a loan can be modified to create an affordable payment:
1) reduction of interest rate;
2) extension of loan term;
3) waiver or deferment of principle balance.

Regardless of what someone may tell you, applying for a loan modification does not guarantee that you will receive one, nor can anyone guarantee specific results.
Normally, the homeowner will have to complete a trial period which usually last 3 months before the modification becomes final.  Applying for a loan modification under certain circumstances may stop the court from entering a final judgment or selling the property while the modification application is being reviewed.  The application process can be daunting and intimidating. There are some law firms which concentrate on loan modification. They can become a very effective interface between the lender and the borrower and facilitate the process.

David Abellard at The Law Office of Paul A. Krasker, P.A.
Office: 561.328.2268,  or 877-332-1965 ext 194
Email: dabellard@kraskerlaw.com,

 

BONY Objections to Discovery Rejected

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It has been my contention all along that these cases ought to end in the discovery process with some sort of settlement — money damages, modification, short-sale, hardest hit fund programs etc. But the only way the homeowner can get honest terms is if they present a credible threat to the party seeking foreclosure. That threat is obvious when the Judge issues an order compelling discovery to proceed and rejecting arguments for protective orders, (over-burdensome, relevance etc.). It is a rare bird that a relevance objection to discovery will be sustained.

Once the order is entered and the homeowner is free to inquire about all the mechanics of transfer of her loan, the opposition is faced with revelations like those which have recently been discovered with the Wells Fargo manual that apparently is an instruction manual on how to commit document fraud — or the Urban Lending Solutions and Bank of America revelations about how banks have scripted and coerced their employees to guide homeowners into foreclosure so that questions of the real owner of the debt and the real balance of the debt never get to be scrutinized. Or, as we have seen repeatedly, what is revealed is that the party seeking a foreclosure sale as “creditor” or pretender lender is actually a complete stranger to the transaction — meaning they have no ties i to any transaction record, and no privity through any chain of documentation.

Attorneys and homeowners should take note that there are thousands upon thousands of cases being settled under seal of confidentiality. You don’t hear about those because of the confidentiality agreement. Thus what you DO hear about is the tangle of litigation as things heat up and probably the number of times the homeowner is mowed down on the rocket docket. This causes most people to conclude that what we hear about is the rule and that the settlements are the exception. I obviously do not have precise figures. But I do have comparisons from surveys I have taken periodically. I can say with certainty that the number of settlements, short-sales and modifications that are meaningful to the homeowner is rising fast.

In my opinion, the more aggressive the homeowner is in pursuing discovery, the higher the likelihood of winning the case or settling on terms that are truly satisfactory to the homeowner. Sitting back and waiting to see if the other side does something has been somewhat successful in the past but it results in a waiver of defenses that if vigorously pursued would or could result in showing the absence of a default, the presence of third party payments lowering the current payments due, the principal balance and the dollar amount of interest owed. If you don’t do that then your entire case rests upon the skill of the attorney in cross examining a witness and then disqualifying or challenging the testimony or documents submitted. Waiting to the last minute substantially diminishes the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

What is interesting in the case below is that the bank is opposing the notices of deposition based upon lack of personal knowledge. I would have pressed them to define what they mean by personal knowledge to use it against them later. But in any event, the Judge correctly stated that none of the objections raised by BONY were valid and that their claims regarding the proper procedure to set the depositions were also bogus.

tentative ruling 3-17-14

The Devil Is In the Details: Summary of Issues

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

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

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

SUMMARY OF ISSUES TO BE CONSIDERED

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BOA, Urban Lending Sued for Rackateering on Fraudulent “Modification” Program

In a case that may have far-reaching consequences, a lawsuit was filed in federal court in Colorado accusing Bank of America of racketeering, which is what borrowers have been screaming about for years. It was a game to the bank. They intentionally lured people into what they thought was a good faith modification program, encouraged people to get deeper and deeper into “debt”, and then foreclosed when they were sure that the person could not reinstate nor exercise a right of redemption. A key player in this scheme was Urban Lending Solutions.

In a case that I am currently litigating, Bank of America at first denied any knowledge of Urban Lending Solutions. When confronted with correspondence issued from urban lending solutions under the letterhead of Bank of America, they finally conceded that they knew who who the company was.  In a Massachusetts case depositions were taken and it is quite clear that this affiliate of Bank of America had their employees working off of Scripts and that anyone who went off the reservation would be disciplined or fired. Going off the reservation merely meant that they actually tried to help a borrower achieve a modification.

There are at least six whistleblowers who have executed sworn affidavits stating that the modification program was a sham. I think we might be getting closer to the point where whistleblowers tell us that the origination of the loan was a sham and that the so-called sales of loans were also sham transactions. Those employees of Bank of America or their affiliates who were successful in throwing homeowners into foreclosure were rewarded with $500 gift certificates to Target and other stores.

The claims against Bank of America are using laws that were designed to target organized crime. For seven years experts and laymen have been claiming that the banks were engaged in organized crime in the  the sale of mortgage mines, origination of loans, the assignment of loans, the recording of unperfected mortgage liens, wrongful foreclosures, illegal foreclosure sales in which the property was sold without any cash being paid, interference  in the right of the borrower to reinstate, modify, or redeem.

We are just around the corner from the key question, to wit: why would the banks engage in organized crime to create foreclosures when it is painfully obvious to homeowners and local government officials across the country that the banks have no interest in acquiring the property but only causing the sale of the property at a foreclosure auction?  Why would the banks delay the prosecution of their cases for years? Why would the banks argue against expediting discovery against them and against the borrower? Why would the banks argue for less money in foreclosure rather than more money in modification?

The answer to all of those questions is simply that there is more money in this scheme than has been divulged.  In the coming weeks and months the revelations about the true nature of these transactions will shock the conscience of the country and cause voters and politicians to rethink their position regarding the ability of regulators and courts to clawback illegally obtained proceeds that started with the transactions originated with the money of investors and somehow ended up with the banks growing by 30% despite a failing economy and a diving housing market.

We are now at the point where filing RICO charges against the banks is likely to gain traction whereas in prior years it was considered overkill for what appeared to be negligence in paperwork caused by the volume of mortgages and foreclosures. Volume had nothing to do with it. The banks made a ton of money selling those mortgage bonds.  Out the money they made selling the mortgage bonds was dwarfed by the amount they made when they received insurance, credit default swap proceeds, and taxpayer money on investments owned by the investors and not by the banks. So far more than 5 million foreclosures have proceeded illegally which means that 5 million families have been disrupted in some cases beyond repair. Recent estimates suggest that another 5 million foreclosures will be added to the list unless the banks are required to conform with their regulations and the laws of the federal and state government.

BOA and Urban Lending Sued on Racketeering Charges

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

GGKW (GARFIELD, GWALTNEY, KELLEY AND WHITE) provides Legal Services across the State of Florida. We also provide litigation support to attorneys in all 50 states. We concentrate our practice on mortgage related issues, litigation and modification (or settlement). We are available to represent homeowners, business owners, and homeowner associations seeking to preserve their interest in the property and seeking damages (monetary payment).  Neil F Garfield is a licensed Florida attorney who provides expert witness and consulting fees all over the country. No board certification is offered by the Florida Bar, so the firm may not claim expertise in mortgage litigation. Mr. Garfield’s status as an “expert” is only as a witness and not as an attorney.
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The selection of an attorney is an important decision  and should only be made after you have interviewed licensed attorneys familiar with investment banking, securities, property law, consumer law, mortgages, foreclosures, and collection procedures. This site is dedicated to providing those services directly or indirectly through attorneys seeking guidance or assistance in representing consumers and homeowners. We are available TO PROVIDE ACTIVE LITIGATION SUPPORT to any lawyer seeking assistance anywhere in the country, U.S. possessions and territories. Neil Garfield is a licensed member of the Florida Bar and is qualified to appear as an expert witness or litigator in in several states including the district of Columbia. The information on this blog is general information and should NEVER be considered to be advice on one specific case. Consultation with a licensed attorney is required in this highly complex field.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

151729746-Posti-Final-Judgment-062513

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

Forcing Modification on a Reluctant Servicer

DON’T FORGET THAT THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SERVICER WITH WHOM YOU ARE DEALING (THE SUBSERVICER) AND THE MASTER SERVICER WHO IS CALLING THE SHOTS ON BEHALF FOR THE INVESTMENT BANKER. DEMAND PROOF OF WHO IS HANDLING THE MODIFICATION, WHO IS ASSIGNED AND WHO THEY CONSULTED.

After interviewing Danielle Kelley on the issue of modification, there is a lot of red meat that can be used to bring relief to the homeowner and sanctions against the servicer that was negligently or intentionally avoiding its responsibilities under HAMP. Danielle points out that according to the DOJ judgment against BOA, there seems to be direct guidelines (which BOA has intentionally breached as a matter of policy) that under HAMP, the servicer is required to submit the proposal for underwriting prior to offering a trial payment plan. This would suggest something that is certain to be attractive to the Judge who neither wants to throw anyone out of their home nor let the borrower off the hook because there is a coffee stain on the documents.

It may be presumed that the servicer HAS submitted the plan for underwriting if they offer a trial modification. That means the borrower has been twice approved for the loan — first at origination and then under the trial modification. No more documents or financial statements, no more “consideration,” and no more denials based upon nothing. If the bank refuses, then the appropriate motion would be to enforce a settlement agreement — which is the way I would entitle it. And the argument would be that if the trial modification is not a gateway to permanent modification after underwriting twice the same borrower and after accepting trial payments, then what is it — a survey?

As we have already seen in a recent case litigated by Danielle Kelley the Judge didn’t buy the argument that the permanent modification is not automatic even if the borrower fulfills all requirements under the trial modification. remember, this borrower has already been qualified in the loan origination. Use that against the bank, saying that you approved them twice and now you want to deny them a modification after they have demonstrated the loan is viable by making the actual payments?

If the situation gets hairy then go into discovery and identify all the actual people who were involved, who they contacted, what computers they used, what software and what criteria they used in approving the trial modification. You will find they contacted nobody and did not actually underwrite the trial modification at all even though they were required to do so before the trial modification was offered by them. That’s their choice. If they want to approve trial modifications the same way they approved loans — without conforming to industry underwriting standards — they have made their election. They do not now have the excuse or basis for denying the permanent modification or demanding that the loan modification process begin all over again.

Once again we are confronted with a bank that doesn’t want the money, doesn’t want the loan reinstated, and who refuses to mitigate their damages, electing instead to push the borrower into foreclosure where both the investor/creditor (who probably knows nothing about the situation because they were never contacted, contrary to the condition precedent in HAMP and the DOJ judgment) and the borrower end up screwed.

This is only now coming out through whistle blowers. I have been predicting that this would be revealed for years and most people thought I was nuts. Maybe I am nuts but I am still right. The servicers and investment bankers have painted themselves into a corner. The truth is that none of them has any authority to negotiate the terms of the modification, nor to pursue foreclosure because not even they know if there is an actual balance left on the old loan receivable which has long since been converted into something else thanks to payment by a third party who expressly waived their right of substitution, subrogation or contribution against the borrower.

This is not theory — it is about the facts. Why would you take a document handed to you by the bank or attached to a pleading or recording be assumed by the attorney for the homeowner to be true and correct. We know it isn’t. So it is the lawyer’s job to probe through discovery down to see what transactions occurred, when they occurred and who were the parties to the transaction, as well as the terms of the transaction. Then the lawyer should compare the actual transactions, (shown by canceled checks, wire transfer receipts or other indicia of payment that can be corroborated through the national payments systems), with the documents proffered by the forecloser who is now pretending to modify when in fact they are steering the borrower into foreclosure, contrary to normal banking practice of maximizing the mitigation of damages such that the bank loses nothing or close to nothing. Listen to any seminar, as late as the last year, on foreclosure defaults and the seminar is all about workouts because that is the best answer for both the bank and the borrower. Now they would rather lose more money than less.  Why?

Workouts are the furthest thing from the bankers’ minds because the dirty secret they are hiding is that at all times they were dealing with investor money, much of which they stole. The assets on the balance sheet, the proceeds of insurance, CDS proceeds, and subservicer continuing payments after default (thus curing the default) all tell the story that has yet to be told in Court. Now with me practicing again with great lawyers like Danielle Kelley, William Gwaltney and Ian White, the story will be told.

BANKS ARE NOT MITIGATING LOSSES. THEY ARE AVOIDING LIABILITY TO INVESTORS, INSURERS AND THE GOVERNMENT

The only hope for the banks is getting a foreclosure sale that gives the further appearance that the reason the investor, the insurer, the credit default swap counter party, the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve lost money was because of the vast number of defaults on mortgages. But even with the banks tricking and pushing borrowers into “default” [from a script written by BOA officers and lawyers --- "you have to be 3 months behind in your payments before we can consider modification" --- a criteria ABSENT from HAMP], the number of defaults and the amount the banks are reporting that investors lost don’t add up — and THAT is why you must be relentless in discovery..

The simple truth is that the banks that are dealing with the foreclosures and modifications stand to lose nothing if the loan results in a zero return to mitigate damages. They stand to lose everything if the loan is reinstated because of all that money they took from investors, insurers, CDS counterparties, the U.S. Treasury, and the Federal Reserve. BOA would not have made it a policy to lie, cheat and deceive borrowers until they ended up in foreclosure unless it was in their interest to do so. What reason would that be other than the one postulated by this paragraph?

“Servicer shall promptly send a final modification agreement to borrowers who have enrolled in a trial period plan under current HAMP guidelines (or fully underwritten proprietary modification programs with a trial payment period) and who have made the required number of timely trial period payments, where the modification is underwritten prior to the trial period and has received any necessary investor, guarantor or insurer approvals. The borrower shall then be converted by Servicer to a permanent modification upon execution of the final modification documents, consistent with applicable program guidelines, absent evidence of fraud.” -HAMP

It is FACT not THEORY: Money Trail is a Trail of Facts; Paper Trail is a Trail of Lies

Neil F Garfield, July 1, 2013: Modification “experts” are criticizing what they see on this site. It gives them the willies to think that they are participating in a fraud or enabling a fraud when they modify a loan with someone who doesn’t own it. So lately they are saying that the articles here have been discredited in court decisions (not true) and that the “theories” described here lack credibility.

What we are talking about here is facts, not theory. Either the foreclosing party, modifying party, or party accepting the short sale owns the note or not — and the FACTS lead wherever they bring us, namely, that if they didn’t pay for the funding of the origination of the loan, they didn’t pay for the acquisition of the loan, and that they didn’t acquire servicing rights to the loan, the lack of standing (legal doctrine, not theory) is complete. The non-ability to submit a credit bid at auction is complete (state statutes, not theory). The liability for slander of title, abuse of process, fraud, forgery, and fabrication of documents describing non-existent transactions needs to be proven, and the damages must also be proven. But with a dismissal or judgment for borrower, the liability part of the case is fairly easy.

Whether you are buying, selling, refinancing, short-selling, modifying or in any way settling or resolving issues with a mortgage loan you do so at your own risk. Banks that offer refinancing are either part of the securitization scheme and are kicking the liability can down the road or they are ignorant of the risk elements of title and liability for a loan that is subject to securitization claims.

If you want to criticize, go ahead and do it. But all people need to know is they can ask the questions in litigation and get the answers and the facts are whatever they are — there is either a cancelled check or wire transfer receipt or there is nothing. If you want to know if it is hot outside, just stick your head out a window, if reading the thermometer is too theoretical for you.

It is often true that the borrower admitted the debt, the note, the mortgage and the default. The trial judge had no choice and neither did the appellate court. These cases come from the inexperience of the pro se litigant or the lawyer who has not researched all of the material.

Don’t get caught in a spitting match about my “theories” versus the rulings of some courts. This is all a work in progress and there are going to be conflict in rulings. One state may appear to give one set of rulings another state may seem just the opposite. the point is that if you are doing good lawyering you are following the facts wherever they take you. And what we are saying is that the money trail does not support the paper trail that the banks have fabricated forged or proffered.

For example: Go to eFANNIE site. They are boasting about funding even before allocating your whole loan commitment or MBS pool, so you can maximize your execution. TRANSLATION: we’ll give you the money before you have to come up with it in real time. The investors put up the money,then the loan applications are solicited, then the money is funded with investor money, then the originator reports the loan closing and assigns it without a paper assignment to the next party in the paper train (securitization) usually the aggregator who assigns them without an actual assignment to the CDO manager at the investment bank that created the mortgage bonds and sold them through a “third party” which was owned or controlled by the investment bank. The paper trail neither reflects nor follows the money trail.

Full Deposition of Angela Edwards “Robo-Verifier” as Servicer for the Plaintiff for Verification of Foreclosure Complaint
http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2013-06-28/full-deposition-angela-edwards-“robo-verifier”-servicer-plaintiff-verificatio

 

 

Sales by Insiders AT BOA — RATS JUMPING SHIP? THE MARKET TRADERS ARE TAKING POSITIONS FOR A DEATH SPIRAL BY BOA: Somebody knows something… Rats are jumping ship  http://wallstcheatsheet.com/stocks/bank-of-american-corp-director-sells-580k-shares-and-4-insider-sales-to-note.html/?a=viewall

COURTS CAN RETURN PARTIES TO THEIR ORIGINAL POSITION: this would apply to cases where there is no default – through the “stop payment” script and through those who were actually paying. The Court can return the parties to the original position and wipe out arrears and fees.

INVESTIGATION: BOA TRIES SELLING OFF SERVICING RIGHTS TO AVOID LIABILITY (Remember just because they SAY they sold it doesn’t mean they did. We have seen several instances where BOA announced the loan or servicing rights or both were sold off but they were not and BOA ended up being the one “approving” the short-sale or modification).: GREEN TREE SERVICING AND BANK OF AMERICA

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

13 Questions Before You Can Foreclose

foreclosure_standards_42013 — this one works for sure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Danielle Kelley, Esq.

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

 FOLLOW DANIELLE KELLEY, ESQ. ON HER BLOG

What to say about BOA

13 Questions Before You Can Foreclose

foreclosure_standards_42013 — this one works for sure

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

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

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

My partner, Danielle Kelley, Esq.  was in a hearing for the simple purpose of enforcing a modification agreement that had been approved by Bank of America. In typical style the bank was now saying that the homeowner was not entitled to a permanent modification even though the client had satisfied all of the terms of the trial modification. You might think this should be easy and you would be right.

Sometimes it is good courtroom strategy to show your exasperation with the system, with the court and with banks that are so arrogant that they think that they can continue to violate court orders, consent decrees, laws, rules and regulations.

Here is part of what Danielle wrote to me shortly after the hearing:

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

Fannie and Freddie Ignore Homeowners in Detroit

LAW FIRM OFFERS CONTINGENCY ON SOME CASES
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 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.

————————————-

In the upside down world of the foreclosure of mortgages that are neither in default nor owned by the parties initiating foreclosure, and where applications for modification are submitted that clearly exceed federal standards for approval (and are denied)  and should come as no surprise that the government sponsored entities, Fannie and Freddie, canceled their appearance at a Metro Detroit foreclosure hearing which they had scheduled.

These are essentially federal agencies. Their first duty is to serve the country and its citizens. But they canceled their appearance because of pending litigation against them. Here was an opportunity for them to understand the impact of foreclosure on families, businesses, investors and the government. Here was an opportunity for them to utilize information provided to them by people on the ground to fashion remedies that are appropriate and legal.

This is all part of state and federal government policy to sweep the mortgage tragedies under the rug. Despite the fact that we know that most of the foreclosures that have already been deemed completed were in fact illegal, we have had millions of “auction sales” in which strangers to the transaction were awarded title to the house without ever having made a single payment of any amount of money to originate or acquire the loan that was allegedly in default but which was fatally defective and certainly not in default  despite the illusions created by Wall Street banks.

I am leading the charge on this one. It is my intention to file suit against the Wall Street banks who have accepted monthly payments, short sale payments, and full payments on loans that were subject to claims of securitization. In fact, my law firm is offering to represent homeowners who lost or sold their homes on a contingency fee, as long as only economic damages are sought. It is my goal to show payments to the sub servicer or anyone else in the false securitization chain should never have been made and were never due. It is my opinion that these payments are owed back to the homeowner in all events, together with interest, costs of the court action, and attorney fees where those are provided by statute or contract.  Each case will be evaluated as to viability utilizing this strategy.

If Bank of America or any other bank responds to an estoppel letter for payoff or short sale without knowing or showing that they have paid for the origination or acquisition of the loan, then they have no business providing the estoppel information or approving or denying a request for a short sale. Their acceptance of the money at closing and their execution of a satisfaction of mortgage or release and reconveyance is a sham. In the absence of any other creditor demanding payment and showing that they are in fact a true creditor (having paid actual money for the origination or acquisition of the loan), proceeds of all such closings should, in my opinion, go to the homeowner. If the bank got the money, it is my opinion that the bank should be sued for recovery of the entire proceeds of the closing.

Each of those closings described above represents a gift to the banks and a horror show for the homeowner and many attorneys for homeowners. The spin machine for the banks has created the illusion that homeowners are seeking a free home when in fact it is the banks that are seeking and getting free money and free homes. In auction sales where the banks are submitting a credit bid, they do not qualify as a creditor who can submit a credit bid. But the credit bid is accepted anyway and the bank gets the house for free despite the fact that the bank has no status as a creditor or even the authorized representative of a creditor.

Fannie and Freddie are colluding with the banks and the federal reserve  to maintain the illusion that the notes and mortgages are in proper form, were properly executed, and contain true representations concerning the real parties in interest. Many theories have been advanced as to why the Federal Reserve and other agencies are colluding with the banks. I think the reason is because many layers of policies are based upon the false assumption that the origination of the loans complied with existing laws, rules and regulations. The federal reserve and other federal agencies would look pretty stupid if they had paid or advanced trillions of dollars for worthless notes and mortgages and worthless mortgage bonds.

It is highly probable that the reason why the real lenders (investors) have not pursued loss mitigation with homeowners directly is that they know the note and mortgage is unenforceable and they have said so in their lawsuits against the investment banks that sold them the bogus mortgage bonds. What they don’t fully appreciate is the fact that most homeowners would willingly give them a valid mortgage and note based upon the reality of the current market. But the intermediaries (servicers) are doing everything possible to prevent modification or successful mediation of claims; which of course results from those intermediaries falsely claiming to be owners of loans that were funded by investors and falsely claiming losses on those loans that were paid by insurance and credit defaults swaps. Those intermediaries are the leading Wall Street banks in this mortgage mess. As long as we include them in the process of resolving the mortgage meltdown, the problems will be compounded rather than cured.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/18/detroit-foreclosure-hearing-fannie-mae-freddie-mac_n_3293854.html

Fed Pours Huge Sums Into Foreign Bank Coffers
http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2013/05/fed-pours-huge-sums-into-foreign-bank-coffers/

Nearly half of all US homeowners with a mortgage still ‘underwater’ in Q1
http://www.inman.com/2013/05/22/nearly-half-of-all-us-homeowners-with-a-mortgage-still-underwater-in-q1/

Foreclosure Victims Protesting Wall Street Impunity Outside DOJ Arrested, Tasered
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/16527-victims-of-foreclosure-arrested-tasered-protesting-wall-street-impunity-outside-doj

Foreclosure Fraud Failures Come To A Head In Justice Dept. Protest
http://jdeanicite.typepad.com/i_cite/2013/05/foreclosure-fraud-failures-come-to-a-head-in-justice-dept-protest.html

Bank of America Zombie Foreclosure Protest (VIDEO)
http://4closurefraud.org/2013/05/22/bank-of-america-zombie-foreclosure-protest-video/

This is what it looks like when foreclosure fighters demand Wall Street criminals be prosecuted
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvwaFJdr13Q

Chasing The Shadow Of Money
http://zerohedge.blogspot.ca/2009/05/chasing-shadow-of-money.html

BOA, Urban Lending Sued in Qui Tam by WHistleblower: They never intended to modify the loans

Just a quick note as follow up to my article this morning. Read this qui tam complaint and see how it corroborates the facts and theories presented on this blog. Note the following quote: ” these mechanisms of fraud were and are interconnected and directly observed by Relator Mackler, who worked with various BOA executives while at Urban Lending Solutions beginning in April 2010. BOA outsources various HAMP obligations to Urban. Upon witnessing the unlawful, fraudulent practices listed above, among others, Mackler brought his concerns to the highest levels of Urban and to executives at Bank of America. Eventually, his objections to these practices led to his termination on March 17, 2011.”

US ATTORNEY GOT THIS DISMISSED BUT ANOTHER ONE IS PENDING IN MASSACHUSETTS UNDER SEAL.

Read, plagiarize This, and use it: http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/324428-greg-mackler-complaint.html

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/03/08/440628/whistleblower-claims-bofa-blocked-help/?mobile=nc

Seminars Corroborate Title Problems and HAMP LItigation

It might seem to many that the industry is blind to title problems caused by false claims of securitization or even real claims based upon securitization. It might also seem that there is nothing about which you can litigate when it comes to HAMP and HARP modifications. The big seminar promoters are offering a gaggle of of short and long seminars on these subjects, indicating that they recognize that litigation and title snarls are getting traction across the country and they admit that the future litigation will include clearing title and litigating over HAMP modifications.

The principal problem that homeowners and their lawyers are missing is that the duty to consider the modification does not require the the acceptance of a homeowner for modification. Some servicers are getting more lenient than others, including, from what I hear, Ocwen. But the litigation that is being filed and which the pretender lenders are losing is on the precise question of whether the actual creditor was given notice of the offer of modification and whether the servicer did anything to apply any formula to the the almost inevitable denial of modification.

What we have started doing at my firm is (a) supplying the required material, return receipt requested, together with (b) a specific offer of modification on which an expert (real estate broker, mortgage broker or other professional in the real estate industry) gives an opinion that is worded something like the auditors do when they complete an audit, to wit:

“Based upon industry standards and conditions, the enclosed offer of modification reflects actual current conditions in the relevant real estate market and provides the creditor with two benefits that are not present in the event of foreclosure. The first is that the question of the perfection of the mortgage lien and enforcement of the lien is completely resolved, thus clearing title and the second, is that the net proceeds from the enclosed proposal for modification results in a far higher benefit to the actual creditor than the proceeds from foreclosure, which is a fraction of the offer. There is no known criteria in the industry under which this proposal would be rejected under normal circumstances unless the parties rejecting the modification had some risk of loss unrelated to the loan itself.”

When the denial comes back, you have a basis for alleging that they are lying to the court, that the modification was never considered, that inappropriate criteria was used to guarantee denial and that the creditor was never notified. The anecdotal reports I am receiving strongly suggests that this strategy is getting a lot of traction and is resulting in very favorable settlements within hours after the Judge enters an order requiring the servicer and pretender lender to show cause why they should not be ordered to provide a evidence of the “consideration” and the reasons why the proposal or request was denied.

The National Business Institute is offering three seminars that will be the subject of the member teleconferences (become a member of this blog now to get into the discussion: Become a member, for discounts, online teleconferences etc.). I strongly recommend that these short seminars be attended and that you even order the recordings as well.

Go to http://www.nbi-sems.com (livinglies is not paid for this endorsement directly or indirectly). I would suggest ordering the following seminars:

  1. HAMP litigation: breach of contract and related claims, June 21, 2013 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  2. Resolving complex commercial title defects June 11 2013 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

  3. Handling short sales and deed in lieu of foreclosure 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. July 11 2013

  4. The Role of MERS in Mortgage Origination and Foreclosure June 3 2013 1PM-2:30PM

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

The PR of Modifications: Banks Want Foreclosure Not Reinstatement of Loan

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 Comment: There has been a spike of questions about modifications, short sales and settlements with the banks. My unvarnished opinion is that all this activity is Public Relations and a substantive policy intended to increase rather than avert foreclosures. Quite the contrary, offers of modifications are excuses to drag more money out of borrowers, give them a “trial run” and then deny the modification. I will admit that there have been more modifications of late but they are few in comparison to the number of loans that should be modified, naming the creditor, the balance due, the terms of repayment and perfecting what is now an empty unperfected lien.

In the law we look to the intent to determine the intent. If a reasonable person would understand the consequences of their actions, it is deemed intentional despite all protestations to the contrary.

The result we see from bank policies and conduct is that people go into a declared “default” on a false loan because the bank representative who has no money in the game told them that the only way they can apply for relief is by being behind in their payments at least 90 days. Translation: We are advising you to breach your loan documents and go into debt on past due payments such that you won’t be able to reinstate.

People go into trial modifications on a false loan with a bank or entity with no authority to offer it during which they deplete their savings and retirement, go totally broke from paying the “offer of trial modification” thinking they are saving their home. Then they are told that the permanent modification was denied because of some obscure reason and they have a few days to reinstate the loan with money they don’t have and with a credit score that took a major hit because of the reporting by the same non-creditor who threatened them with foreclosure.

The objective is to wear people down financially, emotionally and physically. Turmoil in the household caused by the stress of impending foreclosure causes divorce, physical ailments and even suicides. The result is that the house goes into foreclosure despite the fact that the borrower made a perfectly valid offer of modification whose proceeds far exceed the proceeds from foreclosure.

The banks are like any other business searching for profit. So at first blush one might assume that anything they can do to mitigate their loss they would jump at, which is the way it always was until the whole “securitization” thing came along. What changed was that instead of having a risk of loss if the loan failed, the banks made tons of money betting on the failure. So as soon as mortgages were declared in default, they collected 100 cents on the dollar, insurance and the proceeds of hedges like credit default swaps. The irony here is that the banks collected the mitigation payments from insurance and credit default swaps while it was investors who were actually losing the money.

The payment from insurance and credit default swaps was triggered by a declaration from the Master Servicer that the value of the portfolio had decreased. This was not subject to challenge by the insurance company or the counterparty of the credit default swap contract. So in effect the loans were being sold multiple times. In the case of Bear Stearns, they were leveraged as much as 42 times. That means they were in a double bind position of taking fees for insuring portfolios that were sure to fail or at least sure to be declared as having failed, and they were getting money on their own insurance and credit default swap protections.

Translation: a loan that comes out of delinquency or declared default represents a huge liability for a bank that has already collected millions of dollars on a $200,000 loan. If everyone paid off their loan, the banks would owe back the money they received from insurance and credit default swaps. It isn’t the difference between the foreclosure proceeds and the offer of modification that motivates them, it is the difference between the millions they already received from insurers and counterparties and the nominal principal of the loan. And the only way they can be sure that they never have that liability to pay back millions of dollars on a loan they declared in default is by forcing it into foreclosure.

But the government and public are expecting the banks to act reasonably in the context of the old mortgages where the lenders had a risk of loss if the borrower didn’t pay. Now they have a risk of loss of the borrower does pay. Confusion over this had led the government, courts and borrowers to expect that the modification process would bring a stop to the tsunami of foreclosures, but as we have seen in recent weeks, the wave of foreclosures is coming again and millions of people are going to lose their homes to non-creditors who have already been paid multiple times for the “value” of the loan.

The only way out of this which has received some traction in the courts is to allege that contrary to the requirements of HAMP and HARP and other programs, the servicer and creditor did NOT “Consider” the modification proposal, which of course is an accurate portrayal of the the real world of loans that are subject to claims of securitization —  even though those claims are probably false.

People who have made this challenge and who do so with professional help point out the obvious: that the proceeds from the modification are far better than the proceeds of a foreclosure. But the question is better for whom? If we take the real creditors, the investor lenders, the analysis is simple. They want the most money they can get. Since they were not included in the payment of insurance and credit de fault swaps, their only hope to mitigate their real loss is by real money from the homeowner which the homeowner is offering, based upon real documentation which is enforceable unlike the current fabricated, forged documents done without authority, right justification or excuse.

So the banks have an interest that is entirely adverse to that of the investors who were their clients. The banks want foreclosure so they can keep the insurance money and the investors want the loans reinstated so they can get their money back. This conflict of interest is so severe that the country is barely grinding through a recession that is entirely caused by the behavior of these banks who sucked the money out of the economy and are now holding it all over the world in tens of thousands of  shell companies around the world.

The moral of the story is that if you are serious about modification or short-sale be prepared for a long journey where in the end your petition is denied and you must still litigate. For those who get the modification they want arising from the cover-up PR campaign of the banks, congratulations you are one in thousands who should have received the same benefit.

Illinois Takes A Step in the Right Direction

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 Comment: Illinois has taken a step forward but they are still plagued by the wrong assumption — that the courts are dealing with a legitimate debt. There is no debt if it is paid and in many cases the original debt has been paid down or paid off by  third party mitigation payments from insurance and credit default swaps.

Remember the note raises the presumption of the existence of the debt which is rebuttable. It does not prove the loss. Without proof of loss there is no foreclosure or any other lawsuit for that matter. The party seeking relief must show they have been or will be injured in some way to get money damages, equitable relief (like foreclosure) or anything else. Without injury they don’t belong in court, which is why we have a jurisdictional rule regarding standing. No injury=no standing.

So the bad point about the new rules is that the forecloser must prove the debt, but it doesn’t specifically say they must plead or prove the loss. The problem with that is production of the note (whether the the real note or something that looks like the real note) raises the presumption of the debt. It also causes Judges to assume that the loss is self-evident — i.e., if someone has the note it is presumed that they paid for it and will suffer a loss of their expectancy of payment under the terms of the note.

If you don’t demand to see the canceled check or the wire transfer receipt and wire transfer instructions or other forms of actual payment of money (where it can be seen that money actually exchanged hands) then there is no consideration, the paper is not negotiable, the UCC doesn’t apply and the party seeking to foreclose has no standing because they have not been injured by the borrower, even if the borrower didn’t make any payments. At the root of this mess is a scheme of illusions created by the banks. Demand reality and you will get traction.

But there are also some good points about the new rules. The one requiring counseling for the homeowners would be good if the counselors knew what they were talking about and understood the perfectly valid defenses available to homeowners who got swindled into signing papers in favor of a company that never made a loan to them. From what I have seen, the counselors don’t have any idea about such things and it is merely a debt counseling session about getting your life in order, which is a good thing, but not what you can do about having your life turned upside down by an illegal foreclosure.

The part I like is the burden placed on foreclosers that would show that a modification is not possible. This is simple: if the results of foreclosure are that the net proceeds are substantially less than what the homeowner is offering, then the loan  can be modified. Demand should be made for the methodology and the person who calculated the modification for the forecloser and their authority to do so. And demand should be made for what contact they had with the “creditor.” Then you contact the creditor and find out (a) if they are the creditor (b) whether they were contacted and (c) how they feel about getting $150,000 from the homeowner rather than $50,000 from foreclosure.

As for the modification part, the banks are going to fake it just like they fake everything else. Be ready with an expert declaration that shows that the modification offered is far better than foreclosure, and that this is evidence of the fact that the servicer never even “Considered” the modification, which is violation of HAMP and HARP.

W VA Court Says Directions to Stop Making Payments and Refusing to Apply Payments is Breach of Contract

BANK OF AMERICA TAKES ANOTHER HIT:
BANKS MISLEAD BORROWERS WHEN THEY INSTRUCT THEM TO STOP MAKING PAYMENTS AND REFUSE PAYMENTS
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 Note: We’ve all heard it a million times. “The bank told me to stop making payments in order to get modification or other relief.” It was a blatant lie and it was intended to get the borrower in so deep they couldn’t get out, leading inevitably to foreclosure.

Why would the “bank” want foreclosure? Because they took far more money from investors than they used to fund loans. If the deal fails and dissolves into foreclosure the investors are less likely to probe deeply into the transaction to find out what really happened. The fact is that the banks were all skimming off the top taking as much as 50% f the money from investors and sticking it in their own pockets, using it to gamble and keeping the proceeds of gambling.

If the banks really went the usual route of workouts, deed in lieu, modifications and other relief to borrowers, there would be an accounting night mare for them as eventually the auditing the firms would pick up on the fact that the investment banks were taking far more money than was actually intended to be used for investing in mortgages.

They covered it up by creating the illusion of a mortgage closing in which the named payee on the note and security instrument were neither lenders nor creditors and eventually they assigned the loan to a REMIC trust that had neither received the loan nor paid for it.

In this case the Court takes the bank to task for both lying to the borrower about how much better off they would be if they stopped making payments, thus creating a default or exacerbating it, and the refusal of the bank to accept payments from the borrower. It is a simple breach of contract action and the Court finds that there is merit to the claim, allowing the borrower to prove their case in court.

Another way of looking at this is that if everyone had paid off their mortgages in full, there would still be around $3 trillion owed to the investors representing the tier 2 yield spread premium that the banks skimmed off the top plus the unconscionable fees and costs charged to the accounts.  Where did that money go? See the previous post

This well-reasoned well written opinion discusses the case in depth and represents a treasure trove of potential causes of action and credibility to borrowers’ defenses to foreclosure claims.

 

2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35320, * MOTION TO DISMISS DENIED

JASON RANSON, Plaintiff, v. BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., Defendant.
CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:12-5616
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA, HUNTINGTON DIVISION
2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35320

March 14, 2013, Decided
March 14, 2013, Filed 

CORE TERMS:modification, foreclosure, borrower, citations omitted, mitigation, misrepresentation, servicer, consumer, lender, cause of action, contractual, guaranteed, mortgage, estoppel, contract claim, default, special relationship, reinstatement, collection, quotation, breached, notice, factual allegations, breach of contract, force and effect, indebtedness, thereunder, foreclose, veteran’s, manual

COUNSEL: [*1] For Jason Ranson, Plaintiff: Daniel F. Hedges 1, Jennifer S. Wagner, LEAD ATTORNEYS, MOUNTAIN STATE JUSTICE, INC., Charleston, WV.

For Bank of America, N.A., Defendant: Carrie Goodwin Fenwick, Victoria L. Wilson, LEAD ATTORNEYS, GOODWIN & GOODWIN, Charleston, WV.

JUDGES: ROBERT C. CHAMBERS, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

OPINION BY: ROBERT C. CHAMBERS

OPINION

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Pending before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss by Defendant Bank of America, N.A. (BANA). ECF No. 4. Plaintiff Jason Ranson opposes the motion. For the following reasons, the Court DENIES, in part, and GRANTS, in part, Defendant’s motion.

I.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On September 19, 2012, Defendant removed this action from the Circuit Court of Putnam County based upon diversity of jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332 and 1441. In his Complaint, Plaintiff asserts that he took out a mortgagewith Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. to purchase a house in 2007. The loan was originated pursuant to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Loan Guaranty Program. Plaintiff alleges the loan “contained a contractual guarantee by the . . . (VA), which requires—as incorporated into the contract—that Defendant comply with regulations and [*2] laws governing VA guaranteed loans, including those regulations governing Defendant’s actions in the event of the borrower’s default” as he was, and continues to be, on active duty with the United States Army. Compl. at ¶5, in part. Defendant is the current servicer and holder of the loan.

In 2009, Plaintiff became two months behind on the loan. Plaintiff asserts that Defendant informed him he was eligible for a loan modification and requested he submit certain documentation to have the modification finalized. Plaintiff claims that Defendant also told him to stop making any payments as they would interfere with the finalization process. Plaintiff states he had the means to make the two delinquent payments at that time or he could have sought refinancing or taken other actions to save his house and credit. However, he relied upon Defendant’s statements and stopped making payments, pending its assurance that he was eligible for a modification. In fact, Plaintiff states that Defendant returned his last payment without applying it to his account.

Over the next several months, Plaintiff asserts he repeatedly submitted the documentation requested by Defendant for the modification process. [*3] Plaintiff also contacted Defendant on a weekly basis for updates. Plaintiff claims he was assured by Defendant it would not foreclose, and Defendant discouraged him from calling by stating it would delay finalization of the modification. Approximately eight months after the process began, Plaintiff contends that Defendant informed him the loan would not be modified because VA loans do not qualify for assistance. According to Plaintiff, Defendant nevertheless requested that he submit documentation for another modification. Plaintiff states he complied with the request but, approximately six months later, Defendant again told him the modification was denied because he had a VA loan. Defendant further told him he should vacate the property because it was going to foreclose. Plaintiff asserts he asked Defendant if he could short sell the house, but Defendant said no and stated the only way he could save his house would be by full reinstatement. As fourteen months had passed since he was told to stop making payments, Plaintiff states that he could not afford to pay the full amount owed.

As a result of these alleged activities, Plaintiff filed this action, alleging five counts of action. [*4] Count I is for breach of contract, Count II is for negligence, Count III is for fraud, Count IV is for estoppel, and Count V is for illegal debt collection. Defendant now moves to dismiss each of the counts.

II.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

In Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), the United States Supreme Court disavowed the “no set of facts” language found in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957), which was long used to evaluate complaints subject to 12(b)(6) motions. 550 U.S. at 563. In its place, courts must now look for “plausibility” in the complaint. This standard requires a plaintiff to set forth the “grounds” for an “entitle[ment] to relief” that is more than mere “labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. at 555(internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Accepting the factual allegations in the complaint as true (even when doubtful), the allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . . .” Id. (citations omitted). If the allegations in the complaint, assuming their truth, do “not raise a claim of entitlement to relief, this basic deficiency should . . .be exposed [*5] at the point of minimum expenditure of time and money by the parties and the court.” Id. at 558 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

In Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), the Supreme Court explained the requirements of Rule 8 and the “plausibility standard” in more detail. In Iqbal, the Supreme Court reiterated that Rule 8 does not demand “detailed factual allegations[.]” 556 U.S. at 678(internal quotation marks and citations omitted). However, a mere “unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-

harmed-me accusation” is insufficient. Id. “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Facial plausibility exists when a claim contains “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citation omitted). The Supreme Court continued by explaining that, although factual allegations in a complaint must be accepted as true for purposes of a motion to dismiss, this tenet does not apply to legal conclusions. Id. “Threadbare recitals of the elements [*6] of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. (citation omitted). Whether a plausible claim is stated in a complaint requires a court to conduct a context-specific analysis, drawing upon the court’s own judicial experience and common sense. Id. at 679. If the court finds from its analysis that “the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]‘-’that the pleader is entitled to relief.’” Id. (quoting, in part, Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)). The Supreme Court further articulated that “a court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.” Id.

III.

DISCUSSION

A.

Breach of Contract

In Count I, Plaintiff alleges that the Deed of Trust and the VA Guaranteed Loan and Assumption Policy Rider provide that “Defendant’s rights upon the borrower’s default are limited by Title 38 of the United States Code and any regulations issued thereunder.” [*7] Compl., at ¶22. According to Plaintiff, the contract also provides that Defendant must apply all payments to his account. Plaintiff asserts Defendant breached the contract by (1) discouraging him from making payments, (2) returning his payments, (3) allowing the accumulation of arrears until it was impossible for him to reinstate the loan, (4) initiating foreclosure and failing to grant a modification after assuring him it would be granted, and (5) “failing to comply with VA regulations and guidance requiring, inter alia, that the Defendants [sic] consider Plaintiff for a variety [of] loss mitigation options, and provide notice of such rejection(s) in writing, prior to foreclosure.” Id. at ¶24(d).

To avoid dismissal of a breach of contract claim under Rule 12(b)(6), West Virginia law requires: “the existence of a valid, enforceable contract; that the plaintiff has performed under the contract; that the defendant has breached or violated its duties or obligations under the contract; and that the plaintiff has been injured as a result.” Executive Risk Indem., Inc. v. Charleston Area Med. Ctr., Inc., 681 F. Supp.2d 694, 714 (S.D. W. Va. 2009) (citations omitted). For a claim of breach [*8] of contract to be sufficient, “a plaintiff must allege in his complaint ‘the breach on which the plaintiffs found their action . . . [and] the facts and circumstances which entitle them to damages.’” Id. In this case, Defendant argues Plaintiff has failed to sufficiently allege a breach of contract because he has not specified what specific VA regulations purportedly were violated and, in any event, the regulations only require the foreclosure be conducted in accordance to West Virginia law. As Defendant maintains it complied with the West Virginia law, Defendant asserts it has not breached the contract.

Plaintiff does not dispute that neither the contracts nor West Virginia law require a loan modification. However, Plaintiff argues that the VA has promulgated regulations to limit foreclosures of loans it has guaranteed and Defendant did not comply with those requirements. Plaintiff quotes from the VA Guaranteed Loan and Assumption Policy Rider, which provides, in part:

If the indebtedness secured hereby be guaranteed or insured under Title 38, United States Code, such Title and Regulations issued thereunder and in effect on the date hereof shall govern the rights, duties and liabilities [*9] of Borrower and Lender. Any provisions of the Security Instrument or other instruments executed in connection with said indebtedness which are inconsistent with said Title or Regulations, including, but not limited to, the provision for payment of any sum in connection with prepayment of the secured indebtedness and the provision that the Lender may accelerate payment of the secured indebtedness pursuant to Covenant 18 of the Security Instrument, are hereby amended or negated to the extent necessary to confirm such instruments to said Title or Regulations.

VA Guar. Loan and Assumption Policy Rider, at 2, ECF No. 4-1, at 15. Specifically, Plaintiff cites 38 U.S.C. § 36.4350(f), (g), and (h), which requires, inter alia, Defendant to send Plaintiff a letter outlining his loss mitigation options after he fell behind on his payments and, under certain circumstances, have a face-to-face meeting with Plaintiff. Likewise, 38 C.F.R. § 36.4319 provides incentives to servicers to engage in loss mitigation options in lieu of foreclosure, and 38 C.F.R. § 36.4315expressly allows a loan modification under certain circumstances if it is in veteran’s and the Government’s best interest. Plaintiff also [*10] cites a Servicer Guide for VA guaranteed loans, which contains similar loss mitigation considerations. 1 Plaintiff states that all these requirements are incorporated into the contract, and Defendant violated the contract by stating he could not receive a loan modification because he had a VA loan; by telling him to stop making payments rather than placing him on a repayment plan; by not timely evaluating the loan and considering him for loss mitigation and, instead, placing him in foreclosure; and by refusing to allow Plaintiff to apply for a compromise sale because Defendant had started foreclosure. Moreover, Plaintiff asserts Defendant violated his right to reinstate and failed to exercise its discretion in good faith by refusing his payment; telling him to stop making payments; informing he was qualified for loan modification, and then denying the modification; providing him conflicting, inconsistent, and inaccurate information about his account; refusing to consider a short sale; and never providing him a written explanation of why loss mitigation was denied.

FOOTNOTES

1 U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, VA Servicer Guide 6 (July 2009), available at http:www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/docs/va_servicer_guide.pdf.

Defendant [*11] responds by asserting that the VA regulations and the handbook are permissive in nature, not mandatory, and the VA Servicer Guide is not binding. See VA Servicer Guide, at 4 (“This manual does not change or supersede any regulation or law affecting the VA Home Loan Program. If there appears to be a discrepancy, please refer to the related regulation or law.”); see also 38 C.F.R. § 36.4315(c)(stating “[t]his section does not create a right of a borrower to have a loan modified, but simply authorizes the loan holder to modify a loan in certain situations without the prior approval of the Secretary” 38 U.S.C. § 36.4315(c)). Thus, Defendant argues they establish no affirmative duty for it to act. In support of its position, Defendant cites several older cases which held certain regulations issued by the VA and other governmental agencies do not have the force and effect of law. 2

FOOTNOTES

2 See First Family Mortg. Corp. of Fl. v. Earnest, 851 F.2d 843, 844-45 (6th Cir. 1988)(finding that mortgagors could not state a cause of action based on VA publications against the VA for allegedly failing to monitor lender servicing of VA-backed loans); Bright v. Nimmo, 756 F.2d 1513, 1516 (11th Cir. 1985) [*12] (rejecting the plaintiff’s argument that he has an implied cause of action against the VA or lender based upon the VA’s manual and guidelines); United States v. Harvey, 659 F.2d 62, 65 (5th Cir. 1981)(finding that the VA manual did not have the force and effect of law by itself and it was not incorporated into the promissory notes or deeds to support a contract claim); Gatter v. Cleland, 512 F. Supp. 207, 212 (E.D. Pa. 1981)(holding “that the decision to implement a formal refunding program is one that squarely falls within the committed to agency discretion exception [of the VA] and is not subject to judicial review” (footnote omitted)); and Pueblo Neighborhood Health Ctrs., Inc. v. U.S. Dep’t of Health and Human Serv., 720 F.2d 622, 625 (10th Cir. 1983)(finding a pamphlet issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, referred to as a Grant Application Manual, was not the product of formal rule-making and did not have the force and effect of law).

However, upon review of those cases, the Court finds that they generally involve situations in which the plaintiffs were attempting to assert a cause of action based upon the regulation itself, rather than as a breach of contract [*13] claim. An action based on a contract involves a much different legal theory than one based solely on enforcement of a regulation apart from a contractual duty. Indeed, Plaintiff cites a number of comparable mortgagecases in which courts permitted homeowners to pursue claims against lenders based upon regulations issued by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) where it was alleged that the parties contractually agreed to comply with those regulations. As explained by the Court in Mullins v. GMAC Mortg., LLC, No. 1:09-cv-00704, 2011 WL 1298777, **2-3 (S.D. W. Va. Mar. 31, 2011), plaintiffs, who allege a straightforward breach of contact claim, “are not, as defendants would have the court believe, suing to enforce HUD regulations under some vague and likely non-existent cause of action allowing a member of the public to take upon himself the role of regulatory enforcer. These two theories of recovery are distinct and unrelated,” and the Court held the plaintiffs could proceed on their express breach of contract claim. 2011 WL 1298777, *3. 3Upon review, this Court is persuaded that the same reasoning controls here. Therefore, the Court will not dismiss Plaintiff’s contract claim based [*14] upon Defendant’s argument that the regulations and handbook do not have full force and effect of law because Plaintiff has alleged the contract incorporates the limitations set by the regulations. See Compl., at ¶22 (“The contract provides that Defendant’s rights upon the borrower’s default are limited by Title 38 of the United States Code and any regulations issued thereunder.”).

FOOTNOTES

3 See also Kersey v. PHH Mortg. Corp., 682 F. Supp.2d 588, 596-97 (E.D. Va. 2010), vacated on other grounds, 2010 WL 3222262 (E.D. Va. Aug. 13, 2010) (finding, in part, that the plaintiff sufficiently alleged a claim that the defendant breached an FHA regulation which was incorporated in a Deed of Trust); Sinclair v. Donovan, Nos. 1:11-CV-00010, 1:11-CV-00079, 2011 WL 5326093, *8 (S.D. Ohio Nov. 4, 2011) (“find[ing] that the HUD-FHA regulations concerning loss mitigation are enforceable terms of the mortgagecontract between the parties and that Plaintiffs cannot be denied the benefit of these provisions by virtue of the fact of simple default”); and Baker v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 3:08-CV-0916-B, 2009 WL 1810336, **5-6 (N.D. Tex. June 24, 2009) (stating that a “failure to comply with the [HUD] regulations [*15] made part of the parties’ agreement may give rise to liability on a contact theory because the parties incorporated the terms into their contact”).

Defendant further argues, however, that some of the regulations cited by Plaintiff are irrelevant to this case because, for instance, a face-to-face meeting with a borrower is required only under certain circumstances which do not exist in this case. See 38 C.F.R. § 36.4350(g)(iii). In addition, Defendant asserts that, in any event, it did not breach the contract because it had no duty to engage in loss mitigation and it otherwise complied with the contract’s terms. The Court finds, however, that whether or not Defendant violated any of the terms of the contract is a matter best resolved after discovery. Therefore, at this point, the Court finds that Plaintiff has sufficiently alleged a breach of contract claim and, accordingly, DENIES Defendant’s motion to dismiss the claim. 4

FOOTNOTES

4Plaintiff obviously disagrees with Defendant’s argument and filed a “Notice of Additional Authority” disputing Defendant’s position that the VA regulations require holders to evaluate borrowers for loss mitigation. Plaintiff cites the Veterans Benefits Administration, [*16] Revised VA Making Home Affordable Program, Circular 26-10-6 (May 24, 2010), which states, in part: “Before considering HAMP-style modifications, servicers must first evaluate defaulted mortgages for traditional loss mitigation actions cited in Title 38, Code of Federal Regulations, section 36.4819 (38 CFR § 36.4819); i.e., repayment plans, special forbearances, and traditional loan modifications. . . . If none of the traditional home retention loss mitigation options provide an affordable payment, the servicer must evaluate the loan for a HAMP-style modification prior to deciding that the default is insoluble and exploring alternatives to foreclosure.” (Available at http://www.benefits.va.gov/HOMELOANS/circulars/26_10_6.pdf).

B.

Negligence and Fraud

Defendant next argues that Plaintiff’s claim for negligence and fraud in Counts II and III, respectively, are duplicative of his illegal debt collection claim in Count V under the West Virginia Consumer Credit Protection Act (WVCCPA) and cannot survive because Plaintiff fails to allege Defendant owed him a special duty beyond the normal borrower-servicer relationship. Therefore, Defendant asserts Counts II and III should be dismissed.

In Bailey [*17] v. Branch Banking & Trust Co., Civ. Act. No. 3:10-0969, 2011 WL 2517253 (S.D. W. Va. June 23, 2011), this Court held that the West Virginia Supreme Court in Casillas v. Tuscarora Land Co., 412 S.E.2d 792 (W. Va. 1991), made it clear a plaintiff can pursue claims under the WVCCPA and common law at the same time. 2011 WL 2517253, *3. The Court reasoned that “[i]t would be contrary to both the legislative intent of the WVCCPA and the whole crux of Casillas if the Court were to preclude consumers from bringing actions for violations of the WVCCPA and common law merely because the claims are based upon similar facts.” Id. The Court found that “[n]either the WVCCPA nor Casillasmakes a consumer choose between the two options. A consumer clearly can choose to pursue both avenues provided “separate” claims are set forth in a complaint.” Id.

However, under West Virginia law, a plaintiff “cannot maintain an action in tort for an alleged breach of a contractual duty.” Lockhart v. Airco Heating & Cooling, 567 S.E.2d 619, 624 (W. Va. 2002)(footnote omitted). Rather, “[t]ort liability of the parties to a contract arises from the breach of some positive legal duty imposed by law because of the relationship [*18] of the parties, rather than a mere omission to perform a contract obligation.” Id. (emphasis added). Whether a “special relationship” exists between the parties beyond their contractual obligations is “determined largely by the extent to which the particular plaintiff is affected differently from society in general.” Aikens v. Debow, 541 S.E.2d 576, 589 (W. Va. 2000). “In the lender-borrower context, courts consider whether the lender has created such a ‘special relationship’ by performing services not normally provided by lender to a borrower.” Warden v. PHH Mortgage Corp., No. 3:10-cv-00075, 2010 WL 3720128, at *9 (N.D. W. Va. Sept. 16. 2010 (citing Glascock v. City Nat’l Bank of W. Va., 576 S.E.2d 540, 545-56 (W. Va. 2002) (other citation omitted)).

Here, Plaintiff’s negligence claim is quite simple. He alleges that, where “Defendant engaged in significant communications and activities with Plaintiff[] and the loan, Defendant owed a duty to Plaintiff to provide him with accurate information about his loan account and its obligations and rights thereunder.” Compl., at ¶27. Next, Plaintiff asserts “Defendant[] breached that duty by instructing Plaintiff not to make payments, advising [*19] Plaintiff that he would receive a loan modification, and then instead allowing arrears to accrue for months and ultimately denying Plaintiff[] assistance and pursuing foreclosure.” Id. at ¶28. Upon review of these allegations, the Court finds Plaintiff has failed to allege any positive legal duty beyond Defendant’s purported contractual obligations. There is nothing about these allegations that creates a “special relationship” between the parties. Indeed, a duty to provide accurate loan information is a normal service in a lender-borrower relationship.

In support of their claim Plaintiff relies, inter alia, on Glasock v. City National Bank of West Virginia, 576 S.E.540 (W. Va. 2002), where the West Virginia Supreme Court found that a special relationship existed between a lender and the borrowers. In Glascock, the bank maintained oversight and was significantly involved in the construction of the borrowers’ house. The bank possessed information that there were substantial problems with the house, but it failed to reveal those problems to the borrowers. 576 S.E.2d at 545. The West Virginia Supreme Court found that the bank’s significant involvement in the construction created a special [*20] relationship between the parties which carried “with it a duty to disclose any information that would be critical to the integrity of the construction project.” Id. at 546 (footnote omitted).

To the contrary, Plaintiff’s negligence claim in this case rests merely on the fact Defendant had a duty to provide him accurate information about the loan and failed to do so. Plaintiff has failed to sufficiently allege any facts which support a special relationship between the parties as existed in Glascock. Therefore, the Court GRANTS Defendant’s motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s negligence claim in Count II.

Turning next to Plaintiff’s fraud claim, Defendant argues the claim must be dismissed because it fails to meet the heightened pleading standard found in Rule 9(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 9(b)provides that, “[i]n alleging fraud or mistake, a party must state with particularity the circumstances constituting fraud or mistake. Malice, intent, knowledge, and other conditions of a person’s mind may be alleged generally.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b). Under this heightened pleading standard, a plaintiff is required to “at a minimum, describe the time, place, and contents of the false [*21] representations, as well as the identity of the person making the misrepresentation and what he obtained thereby.” U.S. ex rel. Wilson v. Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc., 525 F.3d 370, 379 (4th Cir. 2008) (quoting Harrison v. Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 176 F.3d 776, 784 (4th Cir. 1999))(internal quotation marks omitted). In other words, the plaintiffs must describe the “‘who, what, when, where, and how’ of the alleged fraud.” Id. (quoting U.S. ex rel. Willard v. Humana Health Plan of Texas Inc., 336 F.3d 375, 384 (5th Cir. 2003) (other citation omitted)).

In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he had trouble making his mortgage payments around 2009. Compl, at ¶6. When he was approximately two months behind on his payments, Defendant informed him that he qualified for a loan modification, but he needed to complete the necessary paperwork to have it finalized. Id. at ¶7(a). “At this time,” Defendant also informed Plaintiff not to make any more payments until the modification was finalized. Id. at ¶7(b). About eight months later, Defendant told Plaintiff that he did not qualify for a modification, but Defendant instructed him to submit documentation for another modification. Id. at [*22] ¶13. After approximately six more months passed, Plaintiff was notified again that he was being denied assistance. Id. at ¶14. Plaintiff further alleges that, before May of 2012, Defendant never gave him “a written decision on his loan modification applications or any explanation for why he had denied him for assistance, other than its statements by telephone that he did not qualify for assistance because he had a VA loan.” Id. at ¶18.

In addition to these alleged facts, Plaintiff specifically states in his cause of action for fraud that “[i]n or around 2009,” Defendant told him to stop making payments and it would modify his loan rather than pursue foreclosure. Id. at ¶31. Plaintiff asserts these “representations were false and material,” and they were made knowingly, recklessly, and/or intentionally. Id. at ¶¶32-33. Plaintiff further claims he detrimentally relied upon these misrepresentations by stopping his payments and not attempting reinstatement, after which Defendant sought foreclosure. Id. at ¶¶34-35.

In considering these allegations, the Court is mindful of the fact it should be hesitant “to dismiss a complaint under Rule 9(b) if the court is satisfied (1) that the defendant [*23] has been made aware of the particular circumstances for which she will have to prepare a defense at trial, and (2) that plaintiff has substantial prediscovery evidence of those facts.” Harrison v. Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 176 F.3d 776, 784 (4th Cir. 1999). Here, the Court finds that Plaintiff adequately alerts Defendant as to “the time, place, and contents of the false representation[.]” U.S. ex rel. Wilson, 525 F.3d at 379(internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Plaintiff clearly alleges the fraudulent activity consisted of Defendant instructing him to stop making payments and assuring him he would receive a loan modification instead of foreclosure. He also asserts the representations were made over the telephone and occurred in 2009, when his payments were two months in arrears, and before Defendant returned his payment. In addition, Plaintiff states that he continued to call Defendant approximately once a week and was assured that it would not proceed with foreclosure. Compl., at ¶12(a), (b), and (c). Given this information, Defendant should be able to prepare its defense based upon the allegations made. In addition, the allegations provide enough information that [*24] Defendant also should be able to identify and review its customer service notes, call logs, account records, and any phone recordings it may have during the specified time period. Thus, the Court DENIES Defendant’s motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s claim for fraud.

C.

Estoppel

Defendant further argues that Plaintiff’s claim in Count IV for estoppel must be dismissed. To maintain a claim for estoppel in West Virginia, a plaintiff must show:

[(1)] a false representation or a concealment of material facts; [(2)] it must have been made with knowledge, actual or constructive of the facts; [(3)] the party to whom it was made must have been without knowledge or the means of knowledge of the real facts; [(4)] it must have been made with the intention that it should be acted on; and [(5)] the party to whom it was made must have relied on or acted on it to his prejudice.

Syl. Pt. 3, Folio v. City of Clarksburg, 655 S.E.2d 143 (W. Va. 2007) (quoting Syl. Pt. 6, Stuart v. Lake Washington Realty Corp., 92 S.E.2d 891 (W. Va. 1956)). Defendant asserts Plaintiff had actual knowledge via correspondence it sent to Plaintiff that he was not guaranteed loan assistance and loan assistance would not impact Defendant’s [*25] right to foreclose. Defendant attached the correspondence to its Motion to Dismiss as Exhibit D. In addition, Defendant argues that Plaintiff admits to missing two payments before the alleged misrepresentations occurred so he cannot state he relied upon those alleged misrepresentations in failing to make his payments.

“[W]hen a defendant attaches a document to its motion to dismiss, ‘a court may consider it in determining whether to dismiss the complaint [if] it was integral to and explicitly relied on in the complaint and [if] the plaintiffs do not challenge its authenticity.’ ” Am. Chiropractic Ass’n v. Trigon Healthcare, Inc., 367 F.3d 212, 234 (4th Cir. 2004) (quoting Phillips v. LCI Int’l, Inc., 190 F.3d 609, 618 (4th Cir. 1999)). In this case, Plaintiff asserts that, “at this point there is no evidence that the letter was actually sent to or received by Plaintiff, nor has Plaintiff had the opportunity to present mailings, call logs, or testimony supporting his claim.” Pl.’s Res. in Opp. to Def.’s Mot. to Dis., ECF No. 7, at 16. 5Therefore, the Court will not consider the letter. Likewise, the Court finds no merit to the argument that Plaintiff’s admission that he was two months [*26] behind on his loan extinguishes his estoppel claim. It is clear from the Complaint that Plaintiff’s claim is that he relied upon the alleged misrepresentations after he was two months delinquent. Accordingly, the Court DENIES Defendant’s motion to dismiss the estoppel claim.

FOOTNOTES

5In addition, the Court notes that the letter appears undated and Defendant sometimes refers to it as a 2009 letter and sometimes as a 2010 letter. At the top right-hand side of the letter, there is a statement providing: “Please complete, sign and return all the enclosed documents by December 5, 2009.” Exhibit D, ECF No. 4-4, at 1.

D.

WVCCPA

Finally, Defendant asserts Plaintiff’s claim under the WVCCPA in Count V must be dismissed because it fails to meet the requirements of Rules 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 8(a)(2)provides that “[a] pleading that states a claim for relief must contain . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief[.]” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Defendant argues that Plaintiff fails to meet this requirement because he merely pled a legal conclusion that Defendant engaged in illegal debt collection and he does not plead sufficient [*27] factual content to support that conclusion. In addition, Defendant states it had a contractual right to return Plaintiff’s partial payment so returning the payment cannot support a WVCCPA claim.

Plaintiff, however, argues that his claims under the WVCCPA are based on three grounds. First, Plaintiff asserts Defendant used fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading representations to collect the debt or get information about him, in violation of West Virginia Code § 46A-2-127. 6 Second, he claims that Defendant used unfair or unconscionable means to collect the debt, in violation of West Virginia Code § 46A-2-128. 7 Third, Plaintiff contends that Defendant’s refusal to apply payments to his account violated West Virginia Code § 46A-2-115. Plaintiff then argues that the first two claims are sufficiently supported in opposition to a motion to dismiss based upon his allegations that (1) Defendant told him he qualified for loan modification and would receive one if he completed the requested financial information; (2) Defendant told him to stop making payments because it would interfere with the modification process, but in reality it increased the likelihood of foreclosure; (3) Defendant assured [*28] Plaintiff it would not foreclose on his home during the time the loan modification application was being processed; (4) Defendant ultimately represented it could not modify the loan because it was a VA loan; and (5) Defendant would not consider a short sale of the house and, instead, proceeded with foreclosure. Plaintiff argues that each of these misrepresentations made by Defendant were intended to collect financial information about him through the modification process or collect the debt via foreclosure. He also states the delay and improper refusal of payments greatly increased the amount he was in arrears, which allowed Defendant to attempt to collect the debt through foreclosure.

FOOTNOTES

6Section 127 provides, in part: “No debt collector shall use any fraudulent, deceptive or misleading representation or means to collect or attempt to collect claims or to obtain information concerning consumers.” W. Va. Code § 46A-2-127, in part.

7Section 128 states, in part: “No debt collector shall use unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any claim.” W. Va. Code §46A-2-128, in part.

Upon consideration of these allegations, the Court finds they are sufficient to state a claim [*29] under the WVCCPA. As stated by the Honorable Thomas E. Johnston stated in Koontz v. Wells Fargo, N.A., Civ. Act. No. 2:10-cv-00864, 2011 WL 1297519 (S.D. W. Va. Mar. 31, 2011), West Virginia “§ 46A-2-127applies to both ‘misrepresentations made in collecting a debt’ and ‘misrepresentations . . . [made] when obtaining information on a customer.’” 2011 WL 1297519, at *6. Therefore, allegations that a financial institution misrepresented to the borrower that it would reconsider a loan modification and, thereby, obtained additional financial information from the borrower, are sufficient to state a claim. Id. Likewise, the Court finds the allegations are sufficient to state a claim that Defendant used “unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any claim” pursuant to West Virginia Code §46A-2-128, in part. Cf. Wilson v. Draper v. Goldberg, P.L.L.C., 443 F.3d 373, 376 (4th Cir. 2006)(stating “Defendants’ actions surrounding the foreclosure proceeding were attempts to collect that debt” under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (citations omitted)). 8

FOOTNOTES

8 Defendant asserts that a debt collection does not give rise to a claim under the WVCCPA. Citing Spoor v. PHH Mortgage [*30] Corp., Civ. Act. No. 5:10CV42, 2011 WL 883666 (N.D. W. Va. Mar. 11, 2011). The Court has reviewed Spoorand finds that it primarily focused only on the plaintiff’s request for a loan modification with respect to her WVCCPA claims. The district court in Spoor stated that the defendant’s consideration of the request is not an attempt to collect a debt. 2011 WL 883666, at *7. In the present case, however, the allegations Plaintiff argues supports his claim extend beyond a mere “request” for a modification. Moreover, the Court finds that, to the extent Spoor is contrary to the reasoning in Wilson and Koontz, the Court declines to apply it to this case.

With respect to Plaintiff’s third claim that Defendant illegally returned his payment pursuant to West Virginia Code § 46A-2-115(c), this provision states:

All amounts paid to a creditor arising out of any consumer credit sale or consumer loan shall be credited upon receipt against payments due: Provided, That amounts received and applied during a cure period will not result in a duty to provide a new notice of right to cure; and provided further that partial amounts received during the reinstatement period set forth in subsection (b) of this [*31] section do not create an automatic duty to reinstate and may be returned by the creditor. Defaultcharges shall be accounted for separately; those set forth in subsection (b) arising during such a reinstatement period may be added to principal.

W. Va. Code § 46A-2-115(c). Plaintiff argues that § 46A-2-115(b)defines the reinstatement period as the time “beginning with the trustee notice of foreclosure and ending prior to foreclosure sale,” and he made clear it clear in his Complaint that Defendant returned his payment prior to the requesting a trustee notice of the foreclosure sale. See Compl., at ¶¶7 & 10. Defendant responds by stating that it was within its contractual right to refuse the payment. However, West Virginia Code § 46A-1-107makes it clear that, “[e]xcept as otherwise provided in this chapter, a consumer may not waive or agree to forego rights or benefits under this chapter or under article two-a, chapter forty-six of this code.” W. Va. Code 46A-1-107. Therefore, upon review, the Court finds that Plaintiff’s claim is sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss. Thus, for the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES Defendant’s motion to dismiss Count V for alleged violations [*32] of the WVCCPA.

V.

CONCLUSION

Accordingly, for the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s claims for breach of contract, fraud, estoppel, and violations of the WVCCPA. However, the Court GRANTS Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s negligence claim.

The Court DIRECTS the Clerk to send a copy of this Memorandum Opinion and Order to all counsel of record and any unrepresented parties.

ENTER: March 14, 2013

/s/ Robert C. Chambers

ROBERT C. CHAMBERS, CHIEF JUDGE

HAMP-PRA Program Explained

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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 Note: The PRA (Principal reduction Alternative) portion of HAMP has not been utilized with efficiency by homeowners. First of all  it is a good idea to have several copies —digital and on paper — when you submit your modification proposal. The pattern that is clear. They claim to have not received it, they destroy the file because one thing was missing, etc. So be prepared to submit multiple times and get in writing that the foreclosure will not go forward while this process is underway. A demand letter from an attorney referencing the Dodd-Frank Act and its prohibition against dual tracking, will probably produce some results, especially if it is sent to every known party at every known address including the tiny letters in a font so light you can barely see it on the bank of the end of month statement.

Remember you are in all probability communicating with people who never owned nor funded the loan nor the purchase of the loan and that in order to clear the title on your client’s home you will need a “Guarantee of Title” from the title company and I think it is a good idea to get a judge’s order (a) approving the settlement and (b) declaring that these are the only stakeholders. That Order probably will require notice by publication for a period of weeks, but it is the only sure way of ending the corruption of your title. If you are not in court yet, then see if you can work into the agreement that you can file a quiet title action and that the party approving the modification will not contest it.

As you know, if you have been reading this blog for any length of time, I do not consider the lowering of the principal due as a reduction or a forgiveness. This raises tax issues but also raises your chances of getting a very good settlement.

Don’t limit yourself to the documents requested by the bank. The package you submit should contain a spreadsheet of calculations and the formulas used by an expert to determine a reasonable value for the property and a reasonable rate of interest and term. In your submission letter, you should demand that the party receiving it (which I think should include the subservicer, Master Servicer, Investment Banker and “trustee” of the investment pool) must respond in kind unless they accept the modification as proposed.

Realize also that modification is a sham PR stunt, but it can have teeth if you use it properly. The current pattern is the “servicer” or “pretender lender” tells you that in order to get relief you must stop paying on your mortgage. Their excuse is that if you are paying, there is nothing wrong. My position is that if you are paying, you are undoubtedly paying the wrong amount of interest and principal because of the receipts and disbursements that occurred off balance sheet and off the income statements of the intermediaries who claimed the insurance and bailout money as their own.

Thus your expert should provide a formula and estimate of the amount of money that should have been paid to investors but which is sitting in  custodial or operating accounts in the name of the investment banker or its affiliate. If that doesn’t bring down the principal then move on to the hardship stuff mentioned in the article below. But remember that if the expert is able to estimate the amount of principal that was mitigated by the subservicer (continuing to make payments after the loan was declared in default) and When the receipts occurred, this would reduce not only the principal demanded by demonstrate the extra interest paid on a principal balance that was misstated in the EOM statements and the notice of default and notice of sale (or service of process in the  judicial states). In such cases, which is by far the majority of all loans out there including those paid off and refinanced, the overpayment of interest and perhaps even an overpayment of principal.

This is tricky stuff. You need an expert who understands this article and has some ideas of his/her own. AND you need a lawyer who wants more than to simply justify his/her fee. You want a lawyer, obsessed with winning, and who won’t let go until the other side gives in. Remember these cases rarely if ever go to trial. Once the pretender lender takes you as a credible threat they cannot afford to posture any longer lest they end up in trial where it comes out they never owned or purchased the loan, the investor’s agents were prepaid by insurance, CDS and federal bailouts. Millions of foreclosures preceded you in which title was corrupted by the submission of a credit bid by a stranger (non-creditor to the transaction. The tide is turning — be part of the solution!

The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) was established a few years ago by the Departments of the Treasury and Housing and Urban Development to help homeowners who are underwater avoid foreclosure.

Since 2010, one of HAMP’s programs has been the Principal Reduction Alternative (HAMP-PRA). Borrowers who qualify for the program have their mortgage principal reduced by a predetermined amount (called the PRA forbearance amount).

A borrower qualifies for the HAMP-PRA program only if:

  • the mortgage is not owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
  • the borrower owes more than the home is worth
  • the house is the borrower’s primary residence
  • the borrower obtained the mortgage before January 1, 2009
  • the borrower’s mortgage payment is more than 31 percent of gross (pre-tax) monthly income.
  • up to $729,750 is owed on the 1st mortgage.
  • the borrower has a financial hardship and is either delinquent or in danger of falling behind
  • the borrower has sufficient, documented income to support the modified payment, and
  • the borrower has not been convicted of a real estate related fraud or felony in the last ten years.

The end goal of the HAMP-PRA program is to reduce the borrower’s mortgage loan until the borrower’s monthly payment is reduced to a monthly payment amount determined under the HAMP guidelines.

Banks Manipulating Housing Prices

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Editor’s Note: Buyers Beware! The Banks are manipulating housing prices like the Arabs manipulate oil prices. When it suits them the prices go up and down depending upon whether they let the flow of empty houses flood the market or they hold back.

When we think about the tens of thousands of homes that were forced into foreclosure after so many of the homeowners requested a modification payment that they could meet, it isn’t hard to come to the conclusion that the banks are not interested in preserving housing prices, they are interested in foreclosures and making the housing prices bottom out far below market forces would allow. They have cornered the market on housing and they are using it the same way they cornered the market on money.

If you’re are thinking that this is all conspiracy theory answer this: “why were tens of thousands of homes bulldozed in Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis and other cities when many of the homeowners had submitted modifications proposals? The servicers and banks had a duty to “consider” those proposals which is to say they had a duty to accept the proposals if they made sense. They didn’t consider the proposals. They pretended to consider the proposals. So the pretender lenders are at it again.

They want the foreclosures because they want the foreclosure deed. That deed is evidence of the fact and carried a presumption of validity that the credit bid was valid, the beneficiary or mortgagee was properly identified and that the amount due was correctly stated. None of those things are true in most cases. Why law enforcement is not grasping this simple fact begs a political question in an election year.

Wall Street is now forming partnerships and other vehicles by which they are pooling their money and buying the homes at the rock bottom prices that they are creating.

They can do so with full confidence that the market will not go up until they want it to do so, based on their control of the housing supply (defined as houses for sale).

Why are we letting the banks take us for another ride? And while I am at it, why are we not holding candidates feet to the fire on the new Dodd-Frank Law and the regulations for the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Board?

The arguments against implementing proper regulations are completely discredited by the mortgage meltdown and the historical similarities with the great depression.

If you take the referees of the field, the players are going to make up the rules as they go around. The clearinghouses that were supposed to be transparent transactions and exchanges are now all but dead as the banks have created “innovative” ways to avoid them. The referees should step in and put some teeth behind the bite of Dodd-Frank.

home-sales-dip-tight-inventories-provide-price-support

Where is the Loan Receivable? Invitation to Investors Who Bought Mortgage Bonds

INVESTORS READ CAREFULLY

IF YOU BOUGHT MORTGAGE BONDS DURING THE MELTDOWN

As for the Borrower, we have the obligation, then the note supposedly evidence of the obligation, and then the mortgage which pledges the home as collateral for faithful performance as per the terms of the note.

As for the investor/lenders we also have a mortgage bond, supposedly backed by loans, in which repayment terms are vastly different from the note signed by the borrower.

This problem could have been alleviated if the investment bankers had simply placed the name of the REMIC on the note and mortgage but they had other ideas about trading with and on claims of ownership of the note, hence MERS and other intermediaries were introduced so that ownership would be obscured, thus creating unenforceable notes and mortgages as several investor suits have stated.

In accounting terms if a bank or other entity or institution provides a loan to someone, it would adjust its books and records to reflect (a) a loan receivable and (b) a reserve for bad debt against that loan receivable. The loan receivable goes into assets, and the reserve for bad debt goes on the liability side of the balance sheet.

After 6 years of this craziness I have come to the opinion that it is virtually certain that no entity, person or institution EVER had a loan receivable on their books with respect to most loans (96%) that were all subjected to false claims of securitization and assignments. What does that mean for the loan?

Assuming that the failure of any institution to properly record the loan was intentional, which it was, it undermines any claim on the documents or instruments in the fake chain of securitization and assignments. The most I have ever seen is a category in the asset section of the balance sheet called “Held for sale” which basically encompassed 96% on average of all loans on the books of originators, even if they were banks.

So what is the difference and how can this be used? What does it show? Is this something the Judge can understand? Yes, if you understand it and explain it correctly.

  1. The borrower signed a note to which the lender was not a party.
  2. The lender accepted a bond to which the borrower was not a party.
  3. The note only suggests one obligor — the borrower and provides for use of proceeds of payments on that note.
  4. The note only provides for one creditor — the payee on the note payable to the party the borrower THOUGHT was the lender, but wasn’t.
  5. The note and riders provide for the method and manner of repayment.
  6. The bond suggests multiple obligors and the record shows that the subservicer, master servicer, insurers, credit default swap counterparties, and diversion of payments from one tranche to another and one loan to another all cover the repayment of the interest and principal on the bond.
  7. The bond has a different interest rate than the note.
  8. The bond provides for cross collateralization and overcollateralization which is a fancy way of commingling multiple payments received from multiple parties and allocated them in a manner that appears to be exclusively determined by the Master Servicer.
  9. The bond provides for continued payment by the subservicer of the monthly payment whether or not the original borrower makes a payment.
  10. The note does not contain or even refer tot hose terms. In fact the note contradicts the bond in that the proceeds of payment made or allocated to the subject loan must be utilized in specific ways expressed in the note — ways that are far different than the ways the money is to be used when it comes to paying some lenders and not others.
  11. The lender advances funds, part of which are used to fund the loan but the lender’s interests are not protected by the closing documents that the borrower signs.
  12. The borrower signs the documents without receiving disclosure required by Federal and state laws as to the identity of the lender and terms of compensation, repayment etc.
  13. In short, the note doesn’t match the bond. If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit, like it or not.
  14. Neither the note nor the bond match the common law obligation between the borrower and the lender(s).
  15. Thus three sets of repayment schedules are presented — those in the note, those in the bond, and the common law demand repayment.
  16. If the note was payable to the lender, it could be secured by a mortgage. Since it was not made payable to the lender, the mortgage recorded is subject to cancellation of instrument.
  17. The bond is not secured obviously because the lender was not party to the documents signed by the borrower.
  18. The common law obligation appears to be the only valid obligation or debt that could be collected by providing the loan to borrower. The presumption would be that it is a demand loan but obviously unsecured by a mortgage signed by the borrower.

Thus when all is said and done and reality is introduced to most of these foreclosures, judicial, non-judicial or in bankruptcy courts or otherwise, you are left with an undocumented demand loan that is unsecured and which can be discharged in bankruptcy.

But most homeowners would be more than happy to negotiate in good faith just as the hundreds of thousands of people who applied for loan modifications believing the servicer was actually authorized when it wasn’t.

If you sweep away all the debris, the investors/lenders are NOT at risk for being fraudulent lenders but are the victims of securities fraud. And the borrowers are victims of deceptive lending practices, fraud and a host of other causes of action against virtually everyone except the actual lender. All of this is true only if you accept the premises described above which I consider to be unavoidable.

Thus the obvious answer is for a clearinghouse arrangement to be established by which the borrowers could communicate with investor lenders, unless the investors simply want to stick with their claims against the investment bank for selling them trash described as bonds.

I submit that the borrowers would enter into a true, non-defective mortgage directly with the investors to mitigate the investors loss and that the amount borrowers are willing to offer as the loan balance exceeds the value of the property and far exceeds the value of the proceeds on foreclosure.

I offer the services of my various technology platforms to be the intermediary through which the investors’ claims are collated into distinct groups which may or may not match up with the REMICs that were described in the prospectus because those REMICs were never funded.

Having done that we can provide investors with proof of how their money was misused and at the same time mitigate their losses.

This platform would match borrowers to groups of investors who would set forth the guidelines for accepting modification, given the current market conditions and the fact that the obligation is not secured.

Several managed funds have expressed some interest in this idea. I need to hear from more of you. If any managed fund or other investor in mortgage bonds would like to discuss this further, please call our customer service number 520-405-1688 and you will either receive an immediate call back or a  telephone appointment for a teleconference will be set up for you and/or your colleagues. We are looking for groups of fund managers because I don’t want to have 300 conversations when I could have just 5-6.

Modification Scam by Banks and Servicers

NOTICE: IN ANSWER TO INQUIRIES RECEIVED FROM CITIES AND COUNTIES, YES EMINENT DOMAIN IS A GOOD IDEA BUT NOT BECAUSE OF THE REASONS STATED THUS FAR. IT IS A GOOD IDEA BECAUSE THE PARTIES CLAIMING TO BE INJURED BY THE SEIZURE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO SHOW THAT THEY WERE INJURED IN REAL DOLLARS AND REAL WIRE TRANSFERS, CANCELLED CHECKS AND WITNESSES. THEY CAN’T DO THAT. INITIATION OF EMINENT DOMAIN WOULD BE THE ULTIMATE DISCOVERY TOOL THAT WOULD END FORECLOSURES ANYWHERE IT IS INVOKED. AND IT WOULDN’T COST A DIME.

And see end of this article where the federal government could recoup $2.5 trillion right now and at the same time provide a $10 trillion stimulus to the economy without spending one dime.

 

Modification Scam by Banks and Servicers

The above link will tell you a lot about what is happening in the industry — but it still assumes that the loans were bundled and sold when they were not. So far as I can tell in 6 years of analysis and study by myself, my team and the published reports in the public domain, there is no evidence of bundling, no evidence the “pools” or “trusts” were ever funded by either money or loans.

To understand WHY and HOW modifications would be turned into a scam by the banks you must understand their motivation for intentionally taking less in a “foreclosure sale” than they can get in the secondary market for selling a new mortgage, modified mortgage or refinanced mortgage. As Reynaldo Reyes from Deutsch Bank put it — “it is all very counter-intuitive.” In other words, a big fat lie on a scale unparallelled in human history.

The motivation lies in the fact that everything is already paid. The money from insurance, credit default swaps and federal bailouts, together with multiple resales of the same portfolio and hence the multiple sales of each loan going into the pocket of each banker. Anytime a loan goes into foreclosure, it seals the deal — allowing the banks to keep their ill-gotten gains that could amount to as much as 40 times the principal due under the loan.

So they don’t want your $400,000 even if you have it, because it endangers the $16 million they received and might mean they must pay it back. And THAT is a contingent liability not shown on any of the mega bank financial statements. If it was, they would be declared insolvent, which is exactly the case — unless they can get all the loans into foreclosure with the exception of a few modifications or settlements done for PR, expediency or other reasons.

Hence the quote from one employee of a servicer that when he asked why a perfectly valid modification proposal was being rejected the answer from his boss was “we are in the foreclosure business, not the modification business.” Unfortunately the media report ended there. I always ask for something more, however. If they consider themselves in any business, as a “servicer” why would that not be simply to process the receipts and disbursements and correspondence with the borrower and the creditor? Why would they care one way or the other whether the loan was modified, settled, refinanced, paid through short-sale or regular sale? Why indeed.

The answer lies in the fact that the subservicers and Master Servicers are the real people handling the actual money and hiding the movement of the money, while they are forced to fabricate, forge and perjure themselves in millions of recorded documents to cover up the fact that the original loan documents were a sham.

If they did the original loan right, which would take no more effort than doing it wrong, then we wouldn’t have this mess. That would be because loan origination would return to the right business proposition — loaning money with the intention of getting repaid.

But here, because of the tricks and maneuvering of the investment banks, the goal was to fund loans that (a) would not and could not be repaid and (b) even if they were repaid, would be labelled as being devalued in a non-existent pool over which the Master Servicer had the exclusive right in its sole discretion to say that the portfolio had failed and the mortgage bonds had to be written down or written off.

It’s like buying 40 different policies of life insurance on your partner and then killing him. Without a conscience, you would be looking for lots of partners even as the grieving families buried the dead, their hopes and dreams forever changed.

Modification has never been about modification. It has always been about foreclosure, which puts the state stamp of approval that the loan failed. Everything LOOKS right, so the Judges rubber stamp them, because, as stated by thousands of Judges, these securitization arguments sound like a gimmick to get out of a legitimate debt. After all would a Bank with 150 year old gold plated reputation put itself in the position where all of its managers and executives could go to jail along with the legions of lawyers representing them? Of course not. But they did.

If you look closely at modification just as I have looked closely at the loan origination, you will see that like the original documents you are left with a holographic image of an empty paper bag.

The documents don’t track the movement of money which is to say that the payee and lender and the beneficiary had already agreed never to touch the money going in or coming out of the deal. Hence the note, which is a contract, and the mortgage or deed of trust, which is a contract was never funded. Those contracts may be in writing but they are useless pieces of paper that can’t ever be worth a dime without the signature of the homeowner on new documents connecting the dots to the the real lender and allowing the non-disclosure of the real lender to stand.

All of that is presumptively cured by the appearance of a deed on foreclosure arising out of a credit bid which we all know was not from a creditor and which the auctioneer and the trustee and the stated mortgagee and the stated substituted trustee, and the lawyers using it all know is a big fat lie. Since no cash was paid at auction, and the credit bid was invalid, the sale never occurred. Bu the issuance of the deed anyway creates the presumption that the sale did in fact occur.

Now we can look at how the modifications are a total scam just like the origination of false notes and mortgages followed by false assignments, endorsements and allonges.

Probably half the “foreclosures” (I put that in quotes because someday, I hope the homes will be returned to their rightful owner) result from the servicers telling the first lie: “stop paying your mortgage payments, because we can’t consider your offer of modification without you being delinquent.” Once again, borrowers are duped because they are hearing music in the ears. Stop paying? And it is the BANK that is telling us to stop paying? What could be better?

Then the games start. You might remember that in 2007 Katherine Ann Porter did a ground-breaking study that blew the lid off of this gigantic fraud not in theory but in a scientific study which found that no less than 40% of the notes signed by borrowers were INTENTIONALLY lost or destroyed. Once again, that is an interesting fact but I asked why a bank would take a valuable piece of paper and shred it. The answer is simple: if they showed it to the investors and others, they would be in obvious breach if not accused of Madoff or Drier type fraud and Ponzi schemes. So better to claim they can’t find it and make up the rest, than to show the actual notes, many of which were not signed by borrowers ever, but whose signature was photo-shopped onto the document.

Why mention that again? Because 80% and perhaps more, of the modification proposals are claimed as not received, lost or accidentally destroyed while month after month the homeowner gets deeper and deeper in debt on missed payments (that are actually not due at all, but that is another story). So the strategy is simple. Make sure people stop paying, make sure you can declare the default and acceleration of the full amount due, and then either foreclose or tell them their proposal for modification is rejected by the investor after consideration required by HAMP.

The homeowner is faced with 9-18 months of missed payments, plus fees and costs to reinstate the loans and some of them do just that. But most people have spent at least part of the money and are unable to reinstate the loan with this “creditor” who never funded nor purchased the loan and who is the servicer for a party that never funded or purchased the loan. Wall Street wins. Half of the people who were foreclosed were losing their homes not only to fraudulent tricky documents, but because the Bank had manipulated them into going into de fault when they were not in default, even assuming the loan origination documents were actually valid and enforceable (which of course they are not).

Sprinkle a little guilt and moral dilemma into the soup and you have the perfect scenario for Wall Street to foreclose on millions of homes, thus sealing the deal on profits that were multiples of the entire funding of the mortgages but which probably never reached the investors.

Here is something to think about: $13 Trillion in loans were written, $2.6 trillion went into “default” on which the loss was around $1.3 trillion because of the residual value of the house, and last but best of all, Wall Street has received no less than $17 Trillion more than the principal of all the loans written during the mortgage meltdown.

Is there any reason anyone should be making payments on their mortgage? If so, it should be to the federal government not the banks. If the homeowners were “given”their homes free and clear, they could be taxed on the windfall since it would not be forgiveness of debt of rather avoidance of debt through third party payment.

 

The tax liability would be a small fraction of the original mortgage which of course is invalid, but the loan proceeds were still received by or on behalf of the borrower so an obligation does exist (albeit without documentation like a note or mortgage) and its extinguishment is a taxable benefit to homeowners. The tax liability would be around $2.5 trillion, which means that the average liability of the household would be reduced by around 80% as it relates to the house. Everyone wins except the Banks who still will come out ahead because we all know that it never happens that the scam artist doesn’t have some of the money stashed away.

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