AMGAR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Using the Best Evidence Rule As You Follow the Money

The Best Evidence Rule in Florida and Federal Courts Applied to Notes, Mortgages and Assignments

The problem with foreclosure litigation is that the homeowner is dealing with rebuttable presumptions about the testimony and the documents admitted into evidence. They are admitted into evidence because there is no timely objection from the homeowner or the foreclosure defense attorney.

The note, mortgage and assignment are presumed to be valid instruments if they conform to the requirements of law as to form and content. In that case they are facially valid. That means there is a rebuttable presumption that there was a valid underlying transaction. Therefore. as a matter of law, the paper presented is not just facially valid but also presumptive evidence that the transaction existed. This gets tricky in application and is one of the many reasons why lawyers should study up on courtroom procedures, evidence and objections.

On the note, the underlying transaction is the debt. The debt exists not because of the note, but because Party A put money into the hands of Party B who accepted it. The debt arises regardless of whether or not a note was executed. The note is evidence of the debt and it is presumptive evidence that there was an underlying transaction in the amount of the note. The underlying transaction is therefore the payee putting money into the hands of the homeowner, who is the payor.

On the mortgage, the underlying transaction is still the debt and the existence of the note, because a valid mortgage does not exist except if it is based upon an instrument in writing. The mortgage is not presumptive evidence of the existence of the underlying transaction (the actual loan of money from Party A to Party B). Under normal circumstances the existence of a properly executed mortgage would corroborate the evidence supplied by the note.

On the assignment, the underlying transaction is a payment of money from Assignee to the Assignor. The assignment itself might be accepted by the court as presumptive evidence that such an underlying transaction exists (in the absence of an objection). If a proper objection is raised, the presumption vanishes.

So what is a proper objection under these circumstances? Remember if you fail to raise the objection then the burden of proving the transaction did not happen falls on the homeowner. The objective here is to hold the bank’s feet to the fire and make them prove their case. And the reason for this is not to exercise your vocal chords. It is to show that the underlying transaction between the parties stated in the document proffered by the bank never took place. And the reason you are doing that is because those transactions in fact, never occurred.

The hearsay rule is an appropriate objection because the document is being used to establish the truth of the matter implied — i.e., that there was an underlying transaction. But the better objection,in my opinion, is that the existence of the underlying transaction be subject to (1) lack of foundation and (2) best evidence. They are related in this instance.

Under the rules of evidence, the note, mortgage and assignment are secondary documents that imply that a transaction took place but do not show facts to verify that the transaction actually occurred. Hence, the BEST EVIDENCE of the underlying transaction is the canceled check or wire transfer receipt showing the payment and implied acceptance of the money used to fund the loan or purchase the mortgage. Anything less than that is not admissible evidence — unless the objection is overlooked or waived. It would therefore be true that the debt from the homeowner allegedly owed to the payee on the note (and mortgage) or the assignee on the assignment is not supported by foundation in the usual circumstances.

Special note here: I have seen in reported cases that it DOES occur that litigants, including banks, have doctored up copies of wire transfer receipts. Thus any effort to introduce the copy would be met by your objection on the basis of best evidence and the argument, if applicable, that the failure to disclose the document prior to trial deprived you of your ability to confirm the authenticity of the document. Verification is possible but he banks, Federal reserve etc., will not make it easy on you so a court order will be helpful.

Normally the corporate representative of the servicer is the witness. It will usually be established on voir dire or cross examination that the witness neither had access to nor ever personally viewed any records of the actual transaction and in fact never even saw the secondary evidence (the note, mortgage and assignment) until a few days before trial. Thus no testimony will be elicited, in the ordinary course of things, that the transaction took place (i.e., an ACTUAL transaction in which money from the payee was loaned to the homeowner or money from the Assignee was paid to the Assignor). Hence no foundation exists for any testimony or any document that the debt exists or that the loan was actually sold for consideration and then assigned.

This is not a technical matter. If I agree to pay you $100 for your toaster oven, I can’t demand the appliance until I have paid it. If that was the agreement, then the underlying transaction is the payment of money. The evidence — the best evidence — of the payment is a canceled check or wire transfer receipt. The exceptions to the best evidence rule do not seem to apply and there is no adequate explanation for why anything other than direct primary evidence of the transaction itself should be admitted.

In searching the internet I found that a lawyer in West palm beach wrote a pretty good article on the subject although he was concentrating on the use of the best evidence rule in connection with duplicates. see http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/what-is-the-best-evidence-rule-in-florida for the article by Mark R. Osherow, Esq.

Here are some excerpts from that article.

===================

The best evidence rule, set forth in Fla. R. Evid.’90.952 and Fed. Rules Evid. 1001, provides that, where a writing is offered in evidence, a copy or other secondary evidence of its content will not be received in place of the original document unless an adequate explanation is offered for the absence of the original. Fla. R. Evid. ‘90.9520-90.958; Fed. Rules Evid. 1002-1008….
Public records authentication is provided for by section 90.955 and Rule 1005. Under section 90.956 and Rule 1006 voluminous writings, recordings, or photographs which cannot be conveniently examined in court may be presented in the form of a chart, summary or calculation. Of course, admissibility of a summary depends upon the admissibility of the underlying documents. In order to use a summary, timely written notice is required with proof filed in court. Adverse parties must have sufficient time to investigate and inspect underlying records and summaries….
Fla. R. Evid. Section 90.957. Section 90.958 and Rule 1008 set forth the situations where the court determines admissibility and where the jury determines factual issues such as the existence of a document, its content, and the contents accuracy.
The best evidence rule arose during the days when a copy was usually made by a clerk or, worse, a party to the lawsuit. Courts generally assumed that, if the original was not produced, there was a good chance of either a scrivener’s error or fraud.
… there is always a danger of a party questioning a document, so it is important to remember that, unless you have a stipulation to the contrary, or your document fits one of the exceptions listed in the statute, you must be ready to produce originals of any documents involved in your case or to produce evidence of why you cannot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Donald Duck Your Lender?

 

I was asked a question a few days ago that runs to the heart of the problem for the banks in enforcing false claims for foreclosure and false claims of losses that should really allocated to the investors so that the investor would get the benefits of those loss mitigation payments. This is the guts of the complaints by insurers, investors, guarantors et al against the investment banks — that there was fraud, not breach of contract, because the investment bank never intended to follow the plan of securitization set forth in the prospectus and pooling and servicing agreement. The question asked of me only reached the issue of whether borrowers could claim credit for third party payments to the creditor. But the answer, as you will see, branches much further out than the scope of the question.

If you look at Steinberger in Arizona and recent case decisions in other jurisdictions you will see that if third party payments are received by the creditor, they must be taken into account — meaning the account receivable on their books is reduced by the amount of the payment received. If the account receivable is reduced then it is axiomatic that the account payable from the borrower is correspondingly reduced. Each debt must be taken on its own terms. So if the reduction was caused by a payment from a third party, it is possible that the third party might have a claim against the borrower for having made the payment — but that doesn’t change the fact that the payment was made and received and that the debt to the trust or trust beneficiaries has been reduced or even eliminated.

The Court rejected the argument that the borrower was not an intended third party beneficiary in favor of finding that the creditor could only be paid once on the debt. I am finding that most trial judges agree that if loss-sharing payments were made, including servicer advances (which actually come from the broker dealer to cover up the poor condition of the portfolio), the account is reduced as to that creditor. The court further went on to agree that the “servicer” or whoever made the payment might have an action for unjust enrichment against the borrower — but that is a not a cause of action that is part of the foreclosure or the mortgage. The payment, whether considered volunteer or otherwise, is credited to the account receivable of the creditor and the borrower’s liability is corresponding reduced. In the case of servicer payments, if the creditor’s account is showing the account current because it received the payment that was due, then the creditor cannot claim a default.

A new “loan” is created when a volunteer or contractual payment is received by the creditor trust or trust beneficiaries. This loan arises by operation of law because it is presumed that the payment was not a gift. Thus the party who made that payment probably has a cause of action against the borrower for unjust enrichment, or perhaps contribution, but that claim is decidedly unsecured by a mortgage or deed of trust.

You have to think about the whole default thing the way the actual events played out. The creditor is the trust or the group of trust beneficiaries. They are owed payments as per the prospectus and pooling and servicing agreements. If those payments are current there is no default on the books of creditor. If the balance has been reduced by loss- sharing or insurance payment, the balance due and the accrued interest are correspondingly reduced. And THAT means the notice of default and notice of sale and acceleration are all wrong in terms of the figures they are using. The insurmountable problem that is slowly being recognized by the courts is that the default, from the perspective of the creditor trust or trust beneficiaries is a default under a contract between the trust beneficiaries and the trust.

This is the essential legal problem that the broker dealers (investment banks) caused when they interposed themselves as owners instead of what they were supposed to be — intermediaries, depositories, and agents of the investors (trust beneficiaries). The default of the borrower is irrelevant to whether the trust beneficiaries have suffered a loss due to default in payment from the trust. The borrower never promised that he or she or they would make payment to the trust or the trust beneficiaries — and that is the fundamental flaw in the actual mortgage process that prevailed for more than a dozen years. There would be no flaw if the investment banks had not committed fraud and instead of protecting investors, they diverted the money, ownership of the note and ownership of the mortgage or deed of trust to their own controlled vehicles. If the plan had been followed, the trusts and trust beneficiaries would have direct rights to collect from borrowers and foreclose on their property.

If the investment banks had not intended to divert the money, income, notes and mortgages or deeds of trust from the creditor trust or trust beneficiaries, then there would have no allegations of fraud from the investors, insurers and government guarantee agencies.

If the investment banks had done what was represented in the prospectus and pooling and servicing agreements, then the borrower would have known that the loan was being originated for or on behalf of the trust or beneficiaries and so would the rest of the world have known that. The note and mortgage would have shown, at origination, that the loan was payable to the trust and the mortgage or deed of trust was for the benefit of the trust or trust beneficiaries, as required by TILA and all the compensation earned by people associated with the origination of the loan would have had to have been disclosed (or returned to the borrower for failure to disclose). That would have connected the source of the loan — the trust or trust beneficiaries — to the receipt of the funds (the homeowner borrowers).

Instead, the investment banks hit on a nominee strawman plan where the disclosures were not made and where they could claim that (1) the investment bank was the owner of the debt and (2) the note and mortgage or deed of trust were executed for the benefit of a nominee strawman for the investment bank, who then claimed an insurable interest as owner of the debt. As owner of the debt, the investment banks received loss sharing payments from the FDIC. As agents for the investors those payments should have been applied to the balance owed the investors with a corresponding reduction in the balance due from the borrower —- if the payments were actually made and received and were not hypothetical or speculative. The investment banks did the same thing with the bonds, collecting payments from insurers, counterparties to credit default swaps, and guarantees from government sponsored entities.

When I say nominee or strawman I do not merely mean MERS which would have been entirely unnecessary unless the investment banks had intended to defraud the investors. What I am saying is that even the “lender” for whom MERS was the “nominee” falls into the same trapdoor. That lender was also merely a nominee which means that, as I said 7 years ago, they might just as well have made out the note and mortgage to Donald Duck, a fictitious character.

Since no actual lender was named in the note and mortgage and the terms of repayment were actually far different than what was stated on the borrower’s promissory note (i.e., the terms of the mortgage bond were the ONLY terms applicable to the plan of repayment to the creditor investors), the loan contract (or quasi loan contract, depending upon which jurisdiction you are in) was never completed. Hence the mortgage and note should never have been accepted into the file by the closing agent, much less recorded.

For litigation support to law firms or direct representation

Call 520-405-1688  for West Coast and 954-495-9867 for East Coast AND 850-765-1236 for Northern Florida

For Securitization Risk Analysis Report (for Buyers and Lenders) call 954-495-9867.

SEE http://WWW.LIVINGLIESSTORE.COM

Educate Yourself and Your Lawyer: Purchase Memberships, Books, Services from our Online Store Customer Service West Coast 520-405-1688 East Coast 954-495-9867 GET HELP!!!

George W. Mantor Runs for Public Office on “No More Dirty Deeds”

Mantor for Assessor/Recorder/Clerk of San Diego County

Editor’s note: I don’t actually know Mantor so I cannot endorse him personally — but I DO endorse the idea of people running for office on actual issues instead of buzz words and media bullets.

Mantor is aiming straight for his issue by running for the Recorder’s Position. I think his aim is right and he seems to get the nub of some very important issues in the piece I received from him. I’d be interested in feedback on this campaign and if it is favorable, I might give a little juice to his campaign on the blog and my radio show.

His concern is my concern: that within a few years, we will all discover that most of us have defective title, even if we didn’t know there was a loan subject to claims of securitization in our title chain. This is not a phenomenon that affects one transaction at a time. It affects every transaction that took place after the last valid loan closing on every property. It doesn’t matter if it was subject to judicial or non-judicial sale because real property is not to be settled by damages but rather by actual title.

Many investors are buying up property believing they have eliminated the risk of loss by purchasing property either at or after the auction sale of the property. They might not be correct in that assumption. It depends upon the depth and breadth of the fraud. Right now, it seems very deep and very wide.

Here is one quote from Mantor that got my attention:

Despite the fact that everyone knows, despite the fact that they signed consent decrees promising not to steal homes, they go right on doing it.

Where is law enforcement, the Attorneys General, the regulators? They all know but they only prosecute the least significant offenders.

Foreclosures spiked 57% in California last month. How many of those were illegal? Most, if not all.

An audit of San Francisco County revealed one or more irregularities in 99% of the subject loans. In 84% of the loans, there appear to be one or more clear violations of law.

Fortune examined the foreclosures filed in two New York counties (Westchester and the Bronx) between 2006 and 2010.  There were130 cases where the Bank of New York was foreclosing on behalf of a Countrywide mortgage-backed security.  In 104 of those cases, the loan was originally made by Countrywide; the other 26 were made by other banks and sold to Countrywide for securitization.

None of the 104 Countrywide loans were endorsed by Countrywide – they included only the original borrower’s signature.  Two-thirds of the loans made by other banks also lacked bank endorsements.  The other third were endorsed either directly on the note or on an allonge, or a rider, accompanying the note.

No_More_Dirty_Deeds

BeforeYou Open Your Mouth Or Write Anything Down, Know What You Are Talking About

EDITOR’S NOTE: By popular demand I am writing a new workbook that is up to date on the theories and practices of real estate loans, documentation, securitizations and effective enforcement and foreclosure of the collateral (real property — i.e., the house). The book will be finished around the end of January. If you want to purchase an advance subscription to an advance copy we can give you a discount off the price of $599. You will receive the final edit drafts of each section as completed. And your comments might be included in the final text with attribution. This is an excerpt from what I have done so far ( the references to “boxes” is a reference to artwork that has not yet been completed but the meaning is clear enough from the words):

[Note: I did borrow some phrases and cites from Judge Jennifer Bailey's Bench Book for Judges in Dade County. But things have changed substantially since she wrote that guide and my book is intended to update the various treatises, books and articles on the subject of mortgage related litigation in the era of securitization]

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The massive volume of foreclosures and real estate closings have resulted in a failure of the judicial system — both Judges and Attorneys to scrutinize the transactions and foreclosures and other enforcement actions for compliance with basic contract law. This starts with whether there is an actual loan at the base of the tree of assignments, endorsements, powers of attorney etc. If the party at the base of the tree did not in fact make any loan and was not possessed of any actual or apparent authority to represent the party who DID make the loan, then the instruments executed in favor of the originator are void, not voidable. This is simply because the loan contract like any contract requires offer, acceptance and consideration. Lacking any meeting of the minds and/or consideration, there was no contract regardless of what one of the parties signed.

 

The interesting issue at the start of our investigation is how to define the loan contract. Is it a contract that arises by operation of statutory or common law? Is it a contract that arises by execution of instruments? What if the borrower executes an instruments that acknowledges receipt of money he never received from the party he thought was giving him the money? Is it possible for the written instruments to create a conflict between the presumptions at law arising from written, properly executed instruments and the real facts that gave rise to a contract that was created by operation of law?

 

These questions come up because there is no actual written loan contract. The borrower and lender do not come together and sign a contract for loan. The contract is implied from the documents and actions contemporaneously occurring at or around the time of the loan “closing.” It appears to be a case of first impression that the borrower is induced to sign documents in favor of someone who, at the end of the day, does NOT give him the loan. This never was a defect before the era of claims of securitization. Now it is central to the issue of establishing the identity and rights of a creditor and debtor and whether the debt is secured or unsecured.

 

Even where the loan contract is solid, the same legal and factual problems arise at the time of the alleged acquisition of the loan where assignments lack consideration because, like the above origination, an undisclosed third party was the actual source of funds.

 

 

 

Definitions:

 

 

 

1)   Debt: in the context of loans, the amount of money due from the borrower to the lender. This may include successors to the lender. In a simple mortgage loan the amount of money due, the identity of the borrower and the identity of the lender are clear. In cases where the mortgage loan is subject to claims of assignments, transfers, sales or securitization by either the borrower or the party claiming to be the lender or the successor to the lender, there are questions of fact and law that must be determined by the court based on the method by which the money advanced to or on behalf of the borrower that leads to a finding by the court of the identity of the party who advanced the money for the origination of the debt or for the acquisition of the debt.

 

a)    In all cases the debt arises by operation of law at the moment that the borrower receives the advance of money from a lender regardless of the method utilized and regardless of the validity of any instruments that were executed by either the borrower or the lender.

 

i)     The acceptance of the money by the borrower raises a strong presumption that the advance of money in the context of the situation was not a gift.

 

ii)    In simple loans the legal instruments that were executed by the borrower at the loan closing are presumptively supported by consideration as expressed in the note or mortgage and a valid contract presumptively exists such that the court can enforce the note and the mortgage.

 

b)   The factual circumstances and any written instruments that were executed by the parties as part of a loan contract govern terms of repayment of the debt.

 

c)    Enforcement of the repayment obligation of the borrower requires either a lawsuit on the loan of money or a lawsuit on a promissory note.

 

i)     If the lawsuit is on the loan of money plaintiff must state the ultimate facts upon which relief could be granted including the factual circumstances of the loan and the fact that the loan was made. In Florida — F.R.C.P. 1.110 (b), Form 1.936

 

ii)    The lawsuit is on a note plaintiff must state the ultimate facts upon which relief could be granted including that the plaintiff owns and holds the note, that Defendant owes the Plaintiff money, and state the amount of money that is owed. In Florida — F.R.C.P. 1.110 (b), Form 1.934

 

(1)Where the Plaintiff alleges it is a party by virtue of a sale, assignment, transfer or endorsement of the note, Plaintiffs frequently fail to allege the required elements in which case the Court should dismiss the complaint — unless the Defendant has already admitted the debt, the note, the mortgage, and the default.

 

(2)The burden of pleading and proving the required elements is on the Plaintiff and cannot be shifted to the defendant without violating the constitutional requirements of due process.

 

(3)Requiring the Defendant to raise a required but missing element of a defective complaint filed by a Plaintiff would require the Defendant to raise the missing element and then deny it as an attempt at stating an affirmative defense that raises no issue other than an element that was required to be in the complaint of the Plaintiff. This is reversible error in that it improperly shifts the burden of pleading onto the Defendant and requires the Defendant to prove facts mostly in the sole control of the Defendant and which would establish standing to bring the action.

 

d)   In those cases where the loan is subject to claims of assignments, transfers, sales or securitization by either party the court must decide on a case-by-case basis whether the legal consideration for the loan (i.e., the advance of money from lender to borrower or for the benefit of the borrower) supports the debt described in the legal instruments that were executed by the borrower at the loan closing.

 

i)     If the Court finds that the legal instruments that were executed by the borrower at the loan closing are not supported by consideration, then the debt simply exists by operation of law and is not secured.

 

(1)Such a finding could only be based on the court determining that the lender described in the legal instruments is a different party than the party who actually loaned the money.

 

(2)Warehouse lending arrangements may be sufficient for the court to determine that the named payee on the note or the identified lender supplied consideration. The court must determine whether the warehouse lender was an actual lender or a strawman, nominee or conduit.

 

ii)    If the court finds that the legal instruments that were executed by the borrower at the loan closing are supported by consideration, then a valid contract may be found to exist that the court can enforce.

 

2)   Mortgage: a contract in which a borrower agrees that the lender may sell the real property (as described in the mortgage) for the purposes of satisfying a debt described in a promissory note that is described in the mortgage contract. It must be a written instrument securing the payment of money or advances made to or on behalf of the borrower. A lien to secure payment of assessments for condominiums, cooperatives and homeowner association is treated as a mortgage contract, pursuant to the enabling documents. See state statutes. For example, F.S. 702.09, Fla. Stat. (2010)

 

a)    a mortgage, if properly perfected, creates a specific lien against the property and is not a conveyance of legal title or of the right of possession to the real property described in the mortgage contract. See state statutes. For example section 697.02, Fla. Stat. (2010), Fla. Nat’l Bank v brown, 47 So 2d 748 (1949).

 

b)   Mortgagee: the party to home the real property is pledged as collateral against the debt described in the note. Mortgagee is presumptively the party named in the mortgage contract. With the advent of MERS and other situations where there is an assignment of the mortgage (expressly or by operation of law) the named mortgagee might be a strawman or nominee for a party described as the lender. In such cases there is an issue of fact as to perfection of the mortgage contract and therefore the mortgage encumbrance resulting from the recording of the mortgage contract. See state statutes. For example F.S. 721.82(6), Fla. Stat. (2010).

 

i)     In Florida the term mortgagee refers to the lender, the secured party or the holder of the mortgage lien. There are several questions of fact and law that the court must determine in order to define and apply these terms.

 

c)    Mortgagor

 

d)   Lender: the party who loaned money to the borrower. If the lender was identified in the mortgage contract by name then the mortgage contract is most likely enforceable.

 

i)     If the lender described in the mortgage contract is a strawman, nominee or conduit then there is an issue of fact as to whether any party could claim to be a secured party under the mortgage contract. Under such circumstances the mortgage contract must be treated as naming no identified secured party. Whether this results in a finding that the mortgage contract is not complete, not perfected or not enforceable is a question of fact that is decided on a case-by-case basis.

 

e)    No right to jury trial exists for enforcement of provisions of the mortgage. However, a right to jury trial exists if timely demanded provided that the foreclosing party seeks judgment on the note or the loan, to wit: financial damages for financial injury suffered by the Plaintiff.

 

i)     Bifurcation of the trial for damages and trial for enforcement of the mortgage contract may be necessary if the basis for the enforcement of the mortgage is non-payment of the note. Any properly raised affirmative defenses relating to setoff or enforceability of the note would be raised in the case for damages.

 

ii)    In that case the trial on the breach of the note would first be needed to render a verdict on the default and then a trial on enforcement of the mortgage would be held before the court without a jury.  Any properly raised defense relating to fees and other costs assessed in enforcement of the mortgage contract.

 

iii)  A question of fact and law must be decided by the court in actions in which the plaintiff merely seeks to enforce the mortgage by virtue of an alleged default by the plaintiff but does not seek monetary damages. Florida Form 1.944 (Foreclosure Complaint) is not specific as to whether it is allowing for a single trial without jury.

 

(1)Since foreclosures are actions in equity, no jury trial is required, but it can be allowed. Since actions for damages require jury trial if properly demanded, it would appear that this issue was not considered when the Florida Form was created.

 

iv)  The requirement that the Plaintiff must own the loan is a requirement that the Plaintiff is not acting in a representative capacity unless it brings the action on behalf of a principal that is disclosed and alleges and attaches to the complaint an instrument that confers upon Plaintiff its authority to do so.

 

v)    Owning the loan means, as set forth in Article 9 of the UCC that the Plaintiff paid for it in money or other consideration that was equivalent to money. The same thing holds true under Article 3 of the UCC for enforcement of the note if the Plaintiff seeks the exalted status of Holder in Due Course which requires payment PLUS no knowledge of defenses all of which must be alleged and proven by the Plaintiff. [1]

 

3)   Note: a written instrument describing the terms of repayment or terms of payment to the payee or a legal successor in interest. In mortgage loans the payor is often described as the borrower. This instrument is usually described in the mortgage contract as the basis for the forced sale of the property. The note is part of a contract for loan of money. It is often considered the total contract. The loan contract is not complete without the loan of money from the payee on the note. If the lender was identified in the note by name then the note is most likely enforceable.

 


[1] In non-judicial states where the power of sale is recognized as a contractual right, the issue is less clear as to the alignment of parties, claims and defenses. In actions to contest substitution of trustees, notices of sale, notices of default etc. it is the borrower who must bring the lawsuit and in some states they must do so within a very short time frame. Check applicable state statutes. The confusion stems from the fact that the Borrower is actually denying the allegations that would have been made if the alleged beneficiary under the deed of trust had filed a judicial complaint. The trustee on the deed of trust probably should file an action in interpleader if a proper objection is raised but this does not appear to be occurring in practice. This leaves the borrower as the Plaintiff and requiring allegations that would, in judicial states, be either denials or affirmative defenses. Temporary restraining orders are granted but usually only on a showing that the Plaintiff has a likelihood of  prevailing — a requirement not imposed on Plaintiffs in judicial states where the lender or “owner” must file the complaint.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,323 other followers

%d bloggers like this: