Foreclosure News in Review

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PRETENDER MENDERS: GOVERNMENT IGNORES THE ELEPHANT IN THE LIVING ROOM — DOW HEADED FOR 8,000?

Starting with the Clinton and Bush administration and continued by the Obama administration (see below), the public, the media, the financial analysts, economists and regulators are uniformly ignoring the obvious pointed out originally by Roubini, myself and many others (Simon Johnson, Yves Smith et al). We are pretending the fix the economy, not actually doing it. The fundamental weakness of world economies is that the banks caused a drastic reduction in household wealth through credit cards and mortgages. Credit was used to replace a living wage. That is a going out of business strategy. The economies in Europe are stalling already and our own stock market has started down a slippery path. The prediction in the above-linked article seems more likely than the blitzkrieg of planted articles from pundits for Bank of America, and other banks pushing their common stock as a great investment. The purpose of that blitzkrieg of news is simple — the more people with a vested interest in those banks, the more pressure against real regulation, real enforcement and real correct.

As the facts emerge, there were no actual financial transactions within the chain of documents relied upon by foreclosing parties. That cannot change. So the foreclosures are simply part of a larger fraudulent scheme. If the government regulators and the Federal reserve would tell the truth that they definitely know is the truth, the the mortgages would all be recognized as completely void and the notes would not only be void but subject to civil and potentially criminal charges of fraud. Most importantly it would eliminate foreclosures, for the most part, and allow borrowers to get together with their real (even if reluctant) lenders and settle up with new mortgages., This would restore at least some of house hold wealth and end the policy of making the little guy bear the burden of this gross error in regulation and this gross fraudulent scheme of non-securitization of mortgage debt, student debt, auto loan debt, credit card debt and other consumer debt.

It is ONLY be restoration of a vibrant middle class that our economy and the world economic marketplace can avoid the coming and recurring disaster. This is a matter of justice, not relief. See also Complete absence of mortgage and foreclosures are the largest component of our problems

What happens to restitution and why is the government ignoring the obvious benefits from restitution? NY Times

So a trader no longer needs to be subject to a requirement of restitution because he has already entered into civil agreement to restore creditors who bought bogus mortgage bonds that were issued by REMIC Trusts that were never funded by any cash or any assets. Since the “securitization fail” originated as a fraudulent scheme by the world’s major banks, and restitution is the primary remedy to defrauded victims, it follows that restitution should be the principal focus of enforcement actions, civil suits and criminal prosecutions. Meanwhile some restitution is occurring, just like this case.

The question is, assuming the investors who were in fact the creditors, how are the proceeds of settlement posted in accounting for the recovery of potential losses? If, as is obviously the case, the payments reduce the losses of the investors, then why are those settlements not credited to the books of account of those creditors and why isn’t that a matter subject to discovery of what the “Trust” or “Trust beneficiaries” are showing as “balance due” and what effect does that have on the existence of a default — especially where servicer advances are involved, which appears to be most cases.

The courts are wrong. Those judges that rule that the accounting and posting on the actual creditors’ books and records are irrelevant are succumbing to political and economic pressure (Follow Tom Ice on this issue) instead of calling balls and strikes like they are supposed to do. If third party payments are at least includable in discovery and probably admissible at trial, then the amount that the creditor is allowed to expect would be reduced. In accounting there is nothing more black letter that a reduction in the debt affects both the debtor and the creditor. So a principal reduction would occur by simple application of justice and arithmetic — not some bleeding heart prayer for “relief.”

Why the economy can;t budge — consumers are not participating in greater productivity caused by consumers as workers

Simple facts: our economy is driven by, or was driven by 70% consumer spending. Like it or not that is the case and it is a resilient element of U.S. Economics. Since 1964 workers wages have been essentially stagnant — despite huge gains in productivity that was given ONLY to management and shareholders. I know this is an unpopular position and I have some misgivings about it myself. But the fact remains that when unions were strong EVERYONE was getting paid better and single income households were successful with even some padding in savings account.

By substituting credit for a proper wage commensurate with merit (productivity), the country has moved most of the population in the direction of poverty, burdened by debt that should have been wages and savings.

But the big shock that is not over is the sudden elimination of household wealth and the sudden dominance of the banks in the economy, world politics and our national politics. Proper and appropriate sharing of the losses imposed solely on borrowers in a mean spirited “rocket docket” is not the answer. (see above) The expediting of foreclosures is founded on a completely wrong premise — that the debts, notes and mortgages are, for the most part, valid. They are not valid as to the parties who seek to enforce them for their own benefit at the expense and detriment to both the creditors (investors) and borrowers.

GDP of the United States is now composed of a virtually dead heat between financial “services” and all the rest of real economic activity (making things and doing services). This means that trading paper based upon the other 50% of real economic activity has tripled from 16% to nearly 48%. That means our real economic activity is composed, comparing apples to apples, of about 1/3 false paper. A revision of GDP to 2/3 of current reports would cause a lot of trouble. But it is the truth and it opens the door to making real corrections.

The Basic Premise of the Bailout, TARP, Bond Purchases was Wrong

Now that Bernanke, Geithner, Paulson and others are being forced to testify, it is apparent that they had no idea what they were really doing because they were proceeding on false information (from the banks) and false premises (from the banks). Most revealing is that both Paulson and Bernanke were relying upon Geithner while he was President of the NY Fed. Everyone was essentially asleep at the wheel. Greenspan, former Federal Reserve chairman, admits he was mistaken in believing that while his staff of 100 PhD’s didn’t understand the securitization scheme, market forces would mysteriously cause a correction. Perhaps that would have been painfully true if market forces had been allowed to continue — resulting in the failure of most of the major banks.

The wrong premise was the TBTF assumption — the fall of AIG or the banks would have plunged into a worldwide depression. That would only have been true if government didn’t simply step in, seize bank assets around the world, and provide restitution to the victims — pension funds, homeowners, insurers, guarantors, et al. We already know that size is no guarantee of safety (Lehman, AIG, Bear Stearns et al). There are over 7,000 community banks and credit unions, some with more than $10 billion on deposit, that could easily pick up where bank of America left off before its own crash. Banking is marketing and electronic data processing. All  banks, right down to the smallest bank in America, have access to the exact same IT backbone for transfer of funds, deposits and loans. Iceland showed us the way and we ignored it. They sent the bad bankers to jail and reduced household debt by more than 25%. They quickly recovered from the “failed” banks and things are running quire smoothly.

JDSUPRA.COM: What good is the statute of limitations if it never ends?

A word of caution. In the context of a quiet title action my conclusion is that it should not be available just because the statute of limitations has run on enforcement of the note. But it remains on the public records as a lien. The idea proposed by me, initially, and others later that a quiet title action was the right path is probably wrong. documents in the public records may not be eliminated without showing that they never should have been recorded in the first place. Thus the mortgage or assignment of record remains unless we prove that those documents were void and therefore should not have been recorded.

That said, I hope the Supreme Court of Florida makes the distinction between the context of quiet title, where I agree that it should not easy to eliminate matters in the public record, and the statute of limitations, where parties should not be permitted to bring repeated actions on the same debt, note and mortgage after they have lost. Both positions cause uncertainty in the marketplace — if quiet title becomes easy to allege due to statute of limitations and statute of limitations becomes  harder to raise because despite choosing the acceleration option, and despite existing Florida law and precedent, the court decides that the the foreclosing party is estopped by res judicata, collateral estoppel and the statute of limitations.

JDSUPRA.COM: Association Lien Superior to 1st Mortgage

As I predicted years ago and have repeated from time to time, one strategy that is absent is collaboration between the homeowner and the association whose lien is superior to the 1st Mortgage which can be foreclosed out of existence. This was another area of concentration in my prior practice of law. We provide litigation support to attorneys. We will not make any attempt nor accept direct engagement of associations. But I can show you how to use this to advantage of our law firm, your client’s interests and avoid an empty abandoned dwelling unit.

What a surprise?!? Servicers are steering unsophisticated and emotionally challenged borrowers into foreclosure

by string them along in modifications. This is something many judges are upset about. They don’t like it. More motions to compel mediation (with a real decider) or to enforce a settlement that has already been approved (and then the NEXT servicer says they are not bound by the prior agreement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It Was the Banks That Falsified Loan Documents

I know it doesn’t make sense. Why would a lender falsify documents in order to make a loan? I had a case in which a major regional bank had their loan representatives falsify loan documents by having the borrower certify that there were houses on his two vacant lots. The bank swore up and down that they were never involved in securitization.

When the client refused to make such a false statement — the bank did the loan anyway AS THOUGH THE NONEXISTENT HOMES WERE ON THE VACANT LOTS. Thus they loaned money out on a loan that was guaranteed to lose money unless the borrower simply paid up despite the obvious loss. The borrower’s error was in doing business with what were obviously unsavory characters. True enough. But he was dealing with the regional bank in his area that had the finest reputation in banking.

He figured they knew what they were doing. And he was right, they did know what they were doing. What he didn’t know is that they were doing it to him! And they were doing it to him in furtherance of a larger fraudulent scheme in which investors were systematically defrauded.

When I took the client’s history all I had to hear was this little vignette and I knew (a) the bank was involved in securitization and (b) this loan was securitized BEFORE the closing and even before any application for loan was solicited or accepted by the bank. The client balked at first, not believing that a bank would openly declare its non-involvement with Wall Street when the truth would so easily be known.

But the truth is not easily known — especially when the bank is involved in “private label” trusts in which there are no filing with the SEC or other agencies.

The real question is why would the bank ask the borrower to certify the existence of two homes that were never built? Why would they want to increase their risk by giving a loan on vacant land that supposedly had improvements? Or to put it bluntly, Why would a bank try to cheat itself?

The answer is that no bank, no lender, no investor would ever try to cheat themselves. The whole purpose of our marketplace is to allow market conditions to correct inefficiencies and moral hazards. So if the bank was cheating or lying, the only rational conclusion is not that they were lying to themselves, but rather lying to someone else. They were increasing the risk of non repayment and decreasing the probability that the loan would ever succeed, while maximizing the potential for economic loss to the lender. Why would anyone do that?

The answer is simple. These were not “overly exuberant” loans, misjudgments or “risky” behavior situations. The ONLY reason or bank or any lender or investor would engage in such behavior is that it was in their self interest to do it. And the only way it could be in their self interest to do it is that they were (a) not lending the money and (b) had no risk of of loss on any of these loans. There is no other conclusion that makes any sense. The bank was being paid to crank out loans that looked valid and viable on their face, but in fact the loans were neither valid nor viable.

Why would anyone pay a bank or other “originator” to pump out bad loans? The answer is simple again. They would pay the originator because they were being paid to solicit originators who would do this and then aggregate over-priced, non-viable loans into bundles where the top layer contained apparently good loans on credit-worthy individuals. And who would pay these aggregators? The CDO manager for the broker dealers that sold toxic waste mortgage bonds to unwitting investors. As for the risk of loss they created an empty unfunded trust entity upon whom they would dump defaulted loans after the 90 day cutoff period and contrary to the terms of the trust.

So it would LOOK LIKE there was a real lending entity that had approved, directly or indirectly, of the the “underwriting” of a loan. But there was no underwriting because there was no need for underwriting because the originators and aggregators never had a risk of loss and neither was the CDO manager of the broker dealer exposed to any risk, nor the broker dealer itself that did the underwriting and selling of the mortgage bonds.

Reynaldo Reyes states that “it is all very counter-intuitive.” That is code for “it was all a lie.” But we keep treating the securitization infrastructure as real. In the 2011 article (see below) in Huffpost, the Federal Reserve cited Wells Fargo for such behavior — and then the Federal Reserve started buying the toxic waste mortgage bonds at the rate of some $60 billion PER MONTH, which is to say that approximately $3 Trillion of toxic waste mortgage bonds have been purchased by the Federal Reserve from the Banks. The Banks settled with investors, insurers, guarantors, loss sharing agencies, and hedge counterparties for pennies on the dollar, but so far those settlements total nearly $1 Trillion, which is a lot of pennies.

Meanwhile in court, lawyers are neither receiving nor delivering the correct message in court. They seek a magic bullet that will end the litigation in their favor which immediately puts them in a classification of lawyers who lose foreclosure defense cases. The bottom line: the lawyers who win understand at least most of what is written in this article, have drawn their own conclusions, and are merciless during discovery and/or at trial. Then the opposition files a notice of voluntary dismissal or judgment is entered for the homeowner “borrower.” Right now, these losses are acceptable to banks who are still playing with other people’s money. If lawyers did their homeowner and litigated these cases aggressively, the bank’s illusion of securitization would end. And THAT means most foreclosures would end or never be started.

Wells Fargo Illegally Pushed Borrowers into SubPrime Mortgages

Another Short Treatise on Securitization

Patrick Giunta brought this article to my attention. He practices in South Florida and I co-counsel cases with him. Although there are some errors in facts and I have some differences of opinion with the writer, I think the article is a MUST-READ for anyone effected by “securitization” — especially foreclosure defense attorneys. If nothing else there is corroboration of what I have said all along. The entire thing is the emperor’s new clothes — see article I wrote about 7 years ago. If you don’t understand that, then you don’t know how to cross examine the “corporate representative” at trial.

The following is an excerpt from the article, and the link to the entire article is below:

“A serious problem with modern securitization is that it destroys “privity.” Privity of contract is the traditional notion that there are two parties to a contract and that only a party to the contract can enforce or renegotiate that contract. Put simply, if A and B have a contract, C cannot enforce B’s rights against A (unless A expressly agrees or C otherwise shows a lawful agency relationship with B). The frustration for Joe is that he cannot find the other party to his transaction. When Joe talks to his “bank” (really his Servicer) and tries to renegotiate his loan, his bank tells him that a mysterious “investor” will not approve. He can’t do this because they don’t exist, have been paid or don’t have the authority to negotiate Joe’s loan.

“Joe’s ultimate “investor” is the Fed, as evidenced by the trillion of MBSs on its balance sheet. Although Fannie/Freddie purportedly now “own” 80 percent of all U.S. “mortgage loans,” Fannie/Freddie are really just the Fed’s repo agents. Joe has no privity relationship with Fannie/Freddie. Fannie, Freddie and the Fed know this. So they are using the Bailout Banks to frontrun the process – the Bailout Bank (who also have no cognizable connection to the note and therefore no privity relationship with Joe) conducts a fraudulent foreclosure by creating a “record title” right to foreclose and, when the fraudulent process is over, hands the bag of stolen loot (Joe’s home) to Fannie and Freddie.”

http://butlerlibertylaw.com/foreclosure-fraud/

The Big Cover-Up in Our Credit Nation

Regulators have confirmed that there were widespread errors by banks but that the errors didn’t really matter. They are trying to tell us that the errors had to do with modifications and other matters that really didn’t have any bearing on whether the loans were owned by parties seeking foreclosure or on whether the balance alleged to be due could be confirmed in any way, after deducting third party payments received by the foreclosing party. Every lawyer who spends their time doing foreclosure litigation knows that report is dead wrong.

So the government is actively assisting the banks is covering up the largest scam in human history. The banks own most of the people in government so it should come as no surprise. This finding will be used again and again to say that the complaints from borrowers are just disgruntled homeowners seeking to find their way out of self inflicted wound.

And now they seek to tell us in the courts that nothing there matters either. It doesn’t matter whether the foreclosing party actually owns the loan, received delivery of the note, or a valid assignment of the mortgage for value. The law says it matters but the bank lawyers, some appellate courts and lots of state court judges say that doesn’t apply — you got the money and stopped paying. That is all they need to know. So let’s look at that.

If I found out you were behind in your credit card payments and sued you, under the present theory you would have no defense to my lawsuit. It would be enough that you borrowed the money and stopped paying. The fact that I never loaned you the money nor bought the loan would be of no consequence. What about the credit card company?

Well first they would have to find out about the lawsuit to do anything. Second they could still bring their own lawsuit because mine was completely unfounded. And they could collect again. In the world of fake REMIC trusts, the trust beneficiaries have no right to the information on your loan nor the ability to inquire, audit or otherwise figure out what happened tot heir investment.

It is the perfect steal. The investors (like the credit card company) are getting paid by the borrowers and third party payments from insurance etc. or they have settled with the broker dealers on the fraudulent bonds. So when some stranger comes in and sues on the debt, or sues in foreclosure or issues of notice of default and notice of sale, the defense that the borrower has no debt relationship with the foreclosing party is swept aside.

The fact that neither the actual lender nor the actual victim of this scheme will ever be compensated for their loss doesn’t matter as long as the homeowner loses their home.  This is upside down law and politics. We have seen the banks intervene in student loans and drive that up to over $1 trillion in a country where the average household is $15,000 in debt — a total of $13 trillion dollars. The banks are inserting themselves in all sorts of transactions producing bizarre results.

The net result is undermining the U.S. economy and undermining the U.S. dollar as the reserve currency of the world. Lots of people talk about the fact that we have already lost 20% of our position as the reserve currency and that we are clearly headed for a decline to 50% and then poof, we will be just another country with a struggling currency. Printing money won’t be an option. Options are being explored to replace the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. No longer are companies requiring payments in U.S. dollars as the trend continues.

The banks themselves are preparing for a sudden devaluation of currency by getting into commodities rather than holding their money in US Currency. The same is true for most international corporations. We are on the verge of another collapse. And contrary to what the paid pundits of the banks are saying the answer is simple — just like Iceland did it — apply the law and reduce the household debt. The result is a healthy economy again and a strong dollar. But too many people are too heavily invested or tied to the banks to allow that option except on a case by case basis. So that is what we need to do — beat them on a case by case basis.

National Honesty Day? America’s Book of Lies

Today is National Honesty Day. While it should be a celebration of how honest we have been the other 364 days of the year, it is rather a day of reflection on how dishonest we have been. Perhaps today could be a day in which we say we will at least be honest today about everything we say or do. But that isn’t likely. Today I focus on the economy and the housing crisis. Yes despite the corruption of financial journalism in which we are told of improvements, our economy — led by the housing markets — is still sputtering. It will continue to do so until we confront the truth about housing, and in particular foreclosures. Tennessee, Virginia and other states continue to lead the way in a downward spiral leading to the lowest rate of home ownership since the 1990’s with no bottom in sight.

Here are a few of the many articles pointing out the reality of our situation contrasted with the absence of articles in financial journalism directed at outright corruption on Wall Street where the players continue to pursue illicit, fraudulent and harmful schemes against our society performing acts that can and do get jail time for anyone else who plays that game.

It isn’t just that they escaping jail time. The jailing of bankers would take a couple of thousand people off the street that would otherwise be doing harm to us.

The main point is that we know they are doing the wrong thing in foreclosing on property they don’t own using “balances” the borrower doesn’t owe; we know they effectively stole the money from the investors who thought they were buying mortgage bonds, we know they effectively stole the title protection and documents that should have been executed in favor of the real source of funds, we know they received multiple payments from third parties and we know they are getting twin benefits from foreclosures that (a) should not be legally allowed and (b) only compound the damages to investors and homeowners.

The bottom line: Until we address wrongful foreclosures, the housing market, which has always led the economy, will continue to sputter, flatline or crash again. Transferring wealth from the middle class to the banks is a recipe for disaster whether it is legal or illegal. In this case it plainly illegal in most cases.

And despite the planted articles paid for by the banks, we still have over 700,000 foreclosures to go in the next year and over 9,000,000 homeowners who are so deep underwater that their situation is a clear and present danger of “strategic default” on claims that are both untrue and unfair.

Here is a sampling of corroborative evidence for my conclusions:

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Candid Take on the Foreclosure Crisis

There it was: The Treasury foreclosure program was intended to foam the runway to protect against a crash landing by the banks. Millions of people were getting tossed out on the street, but the secretary of the Treasury believed the government’s most important job was to provide a soft landing for the tender fannies of the banks.”

Lynn Symoniak is Thwarted by Government as She Pursues Other Banks for the Same Thing She Proved Before

Government prosecutors who relied on a Florida whistleblower’s evidence to win foreclosure fraud settlements with major banks two years ago are declining to help her pursue identical claims against a second set of large financial institutions.

Lynn Szymoniak first found proof that millions of American foreclosures were based on faulty and falsified documents while fighting her own foreclosure. Her three-year legal fight helped uncover the fact that banks were “robosigning” documents — hiring people to forge signatures and backdate legal paperwork the firms needed in order to foreclose on people’s homes — as a routine practice. Court papers that were unsealed last summer show that the fraudulent practices Szymoniak discovered affect trillions of dollars worth of mortgages.

More than 700,000 Foreclosures Expected Over Next Year

How Bank Watchdogs Killed Our Last Chance At Justice For Foreclosure Victims

The results are in. The award for the sorriest chapter of the great American foreclosure crisis goes to the Independent Foreclosure Review, a billion-dollar sinkhole that produced nothing but heartache for aggrieved homeowners, and a big black eye for regulators.

The foreclosure review was supposed to uncover abuses in how the mortgage industry coped with the epic wave of foreclosures that swept the U.S. in the aftermath of the housing crash. In a deal with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve, more than a dozen companies, including major banks, agreed to hire independent auditors to comb through loan files, identify errors and award just compensation to people who’d been abused in the foreclosure process.

But in January 2013, amid mounting evidence that the entire process was compromised by bank interference and government mismanagement, regulators abruptly shut the program down. They replaced it with a nearly $10 billion legal settlement that satisfied almost no one. Borrowers received paltry payouts, with sums determined by the very banks they accused of making their lives hell.

Investigation Stalled and Diverted as to Bank Fraud Against Investors and Homeowners

The Government Accountability Office released the results of its study of the Independent Foreclosure Review, conducted by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve in 2011 and 2012, and the results show that the foreclosure process is lacking in oversight and transparency.

According to the GAO review, which can be read in full here, the OCC and Fed signed consent orders with 16 mortgage servicers in 2011 and 2012 that required the servicers to hire consultants to review foreclosure files for efforts and remediate harm to borrowers.

In 2013, regulators amended the consent orders for all but one servicer, ending the file reviews and requiring servicers to provide $3.9 billion in cash payments to about 4.4 million borrowers and $6 billion in foreclosure prevention actions, such as loan modifications. The list of impacted mortgage servicers can be found here, as well as any updates. It should be noted that the entire process faced controversy before, as critics called the IFR cumbersome and costly.

Banks Profit from Suicides of Their Officers and Employees

After a recent rash of mysterious apparent suicides shook the financial world, researchers are scrambling to find answers about what really is the reason behind these multiple deaths. Some observers have now come to a rather shocking conclusion.

Wall Street on Parade bloggers Pam and Russ Martens wrote this week that something seems awry regarding the bank-owned life insurance (BOLI) policies held by JPMorgan Chase.

Four of the biggest banks on Wall Street combined hold over $680 billion in BOLI policies, the bloggers reported, but JPMorgan held around $17.9 billion in BOLI assets at the end of last year to Citigroup’s comparably meager $8.8 billion.

Government Cover-Up to Protect the Banks and Screw Homeowners and Investors

A new government report suggests that errors made by banks and their agents during foreclosures might have been significantly higher than was previously believed when regulators halted a national review of the banks’ mortgage servicing operations.

When banking regulators decided to end the independent foreclosure review last year, most banks had not completed the examinations of their mortgage modification and foreclosure practices.

At the time, the regulators — the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve — found that lengthy reviews by bank-hired consultants were delaying compensation getting to borrowers who had suffered through improper modifications and other problems.

But the decision to cut short the review left regulators with limited information about actual harm to borrowers when they negotiated a $10 billion settlement as part of agreements with 15 banks, according to a draft of a report by the Government Accountability Office reviewed by The New York Times.

The report shows, for example, that an unidentified bank had an error rate of about 24 percent. This bank had completed far more reviews of borrowers’ files than a group of 11 banks involved the deal, suggesting that if other banks had looked over more of their records, additional errors might have been discovered.

Wrongful Foreclosure Rate at least 24%: Wrongful or Fraudulent?

The report shows, for example, that an unidentified bank had an error rate of about 24 percent. This bank had completed far more reviews of borrowers’ files than a group of 11 banks involved the deal, suggesting that if other banks had looked over more of their records, additional errors might have been discovered.

http://www.marketpulse.com/20140430/u-s-housing-recovery-struggles/

http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Latest-News-Wires/2014/0429/Home-buying-loses-allure-ownership-rate-lowest-since-1995

http://www.opednews.com/articles/It-s-Good–no–Great-to-by-William-K-Black–Bank-Failure_Bank-Failures_Bankers_Banking-140430-322.html

[DISHONEST EUPHEMISMS: The context of this WSJ story is the broader series of betrayals of homeowners by the regulators and prosecutors led initially by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and his infamous “foam the runways” comment in which he admitted and urged that programs “sold” as benefitting distressed homeowners be used instead to aid the banks (more precisely, the bank CEOs) whose frauds caused the crisis.  The WSJ article deals with one of the several settlements with the banks that “service” home mortgages and foreclose on them.  Private attorneys first obtained the evidence that the servicers were engaged in massive foreclosure fraud involving knowingly filing hundreds of thousands of false affidavits under (non) penalty of perjury.  As a senior former AUSA said publicly at the INET conference a few weeks ago about these cases — they were slam dunk prosecutions.  But you know what happened; no senior banker or bank was prosecuted.  No banker was sued civilly by the government.  No banker had to pay back his bonus that he “earned” through fraud.

 

 

Fatal Flaws in the Origination of Loans and Assignments

The secured party, the identified creditor, the payee on the note, the mortgagee on the mortgage, the beneficiary under the deed of trust should have been the investor(s) — not the originator, not the aggregator, not the servicer, not any REMIC Trust, not any Trustee of a REMIC Trust, and not any Trustee substituted by a false beneficiary on a deed of Trust, not the master servicer and not even the broker dealer. And certainly not whoever is pretending to be a legal party in interest who, without injury to themselves or anyone they represent, could or should force the forfeiture of property in which they have no interest — all to the detriment of the investor-lenders and the borrowers.
There are two fatal flaws in the origination of the loan and in the origination of the assignment of the loan.

As I see it …

The REAL Transaction is between the investors, as an unnamed group, and the borrower(s). This is taken from the single transaction rule and step transaction doctrine that is used extensively in Tax Law. Since the REMIC trust is a tax creature, it seems all the more appropriate to use existing federal tax law decisions to decide the substance of these transactions.

If the money from the investors was actually channeled through the REMIC trust, through a bank account over which the Trustee for the REMIC trust had control, and if the Trustee had issued payment for the loan, and if that happened within the cutoff period, then if the loan was assigned during the cutoff period, and if the delivery of the documents called for in the PSA occurred within the cutoff period, then the transaction would be real and the paperwork would be real EXCEPT THAT

Where the originator of the loan was neither legally the lender nor legally a representative of the source of funds for the transaction, then by simple rules of contract, the originator was incapable of executing any transfer documents for the note or mortgage (deed of trust in nonjudicial states).

If the originator of the loan was not the lender, not the creditor, not a party who could legally execute a satisfaction of the mortgage and a cancellation of the note then who was?

Our answer is nobody, which I know is “counter-intuitive” — a euphemism for crazy conspiracy theorist. But here is why I know that the REMIC trust was never involved in the transaction and that the originator was never the source of funds except in those cases where securitization was never involved (less than 2% of all loans made, whether still existing or “satisfied” or “foreclosed”).

The broker dealer never intended for the REMIC trust to actually own the mortgage loans and caused the REMIC trust to issue mortgage bonds containing an indenture for repayment and ownership of the underlying loans. But there were never any underlying loans (except for some trusts created in the 1990’s). The prospectus said plainly that the excel spreadsheet attached to the prospectus contained loan information that would be replaced by the real loans once they were acquired. This is a practice on Wall Street called selling forward. In all other marketplaces, it is called fraud. But like short-selling, it is permissible on Wall Street.

The broker dealer never intended the investors to actually own the bonds either. Those were issued in street name nominee, non objecting status/ The broker dealer could report to the investor that the investor was the actual or equitable owner of the bonds in an end of month statement when in fact the promises in the Pooling and Servicing Agreement as to insurance, credit default swaps, overcollateralization (a violation of the terms of the promissory note executed by residential borrowers), cross collateralization (also a violation of the borrower’s note), guarantees, servicer advances and trust or trustee advances would all be payable, at the discretion of the broker dealer, to the broker dealer and perhaps never reported or paid to the “trust beneficiaries” who were in fact merely defrauded investors. The only reason the servicer advances were paid to the investors was to lull them into a false sense of security and to encourage them to buy still more of these empty (less than junk) bonds.

By re-creating the notes signed by residential borrowers as various different instruments, and there being no limit on the number of times it could be insured or subject to receiving the proceeds of credit default swaps, (and with the broker dealer being the Master Servicer with SOLE discretion as to whether to declare a credit event that was binding on the insurer, counter-party etc), the broker dealers were able to sell the loans multiple times and sell the bonds multiple times. The leverage at Bear Stearns stacked up to 42 times the actual transaction — for which the return was infinite because the Bear used investor money to do the deal.

Hence we know from direct evidence in the public domain that this was the plan for the “claim” of securitization — which is to say that there never was any securitization of any of the loans. The REMIC Trust was ignored, thus the PSA, servicer rights, etc. were all nonbinding, making all of them volunteers earning considerable money, undisclosed to the investors who would have been furious to see how their money was being used and the borrowers who didn’t see the train wreck coming even from 24 inches from the closing documents.

Before the first loan application was received (and obviously before the first “closing” occurred) the money had been taken from investors for the expressed purpose of funding loans through the REMIC Trust. The originator in all cases was subject to an assignment and assumption agreement which made the loan the property and liability of the counter-party to the A&A BEFORE the money was given to the borrower or paid out on behalf of the borrower. Without the investor, there would have been no loan. without the borrower, there would have been no investment (but there would still be an investor left holding the bag having advanced money for mortgage bonds issued by a REMIC trust that had no assets, and no income to pay the bonds off).

The closing agent never “noticed” that the funds did not come from the actual originator. Since the amount was right, the money went into the closing agent’s escrow account and was then applied by the escrow agent to fund the loan to the borrower. But the rules were that the originator was not allowed to touch or handle or process the money or any overpayment.

Wire transfer instructions specified that any overage was to be returned to the sender who was neither the originator nor any party in privity with the originator. This was intended to prevent moral hazard (theft, of the same type the banks themselves were committing) and to create a layer of bankruptcy remote, liability remote originators whose sins could only be visited upon the aggregators, and CDO conduits constructed by CDO managers in the broker dealers IF the proponent of a claim could pierce a dozen fire walls of corporate veils.

NOW to answer your question, if the REMIC trust was ignored, and was a sham used to steal money from pension funds, but the money of the pension fund landed on the “closing table,” then who should have been named on the note and mortgage (deed of trust beneficiary in non-judicial states)? Obviously the investor(s) should have been protected with a note and mortgage made out in their name or in the name of their entity. It wasn’t.

And the originator was intentionally isolated from privity with the source of funds. That means to me, and I assume you agree, that the investor(s) should have been on the note as payee, the investor(s) should have been on the mortgage as mortgagees (or beneficiaries under the deed of trust) but INSTEAD a stranger to the transaction with no money in the deal allowed their name to be rented as though they were the actual lender.

In turn it was this third party stranger nominee straw-man who supposedly executed assignments, endorsements, and other instruments of power or transfer (sometimes long after they went out of business) on a note and mortgage over which they had no right to control and in which they had no interest and for which they could suffer no loss.

Thus the paperwork that should have been used was never created, executed or delivered. The paperwork that that was created referred to a transaction between the named parties that never occurred. No state allows equitable mortgages, nor should they. But even if that theory was somehow employed here, it would be in favor of the individual investors who actually suffered the loss rather than the foreclosing entity who bears no risk of loss on the loan given to the borrower at closing. They might have other claims against numerous parties including the borrower, but those claims are unliquidated and unsecured.

The secured party, the identified creditor, the payee on the note, the mortgagee on the mortgage, the beneficiary under the deed of trust should have been the investor(s) — not the originator, not the aggregator, not the servicer, not any REMIC Trust, not any Trustee of a REMIC Trust, and not any Trustee substituted by a false beneficiary on a deed of Trust, not the master servicer and not even the broker dealer. And certainly not whoever is pretending to be a legal party in interest who, without injury to themselves or anyone they represent, could or should force the forfeiture of property in which they have no interest — all to the detriment of the investor-lenders and the borrowers.

Why any court would allow the conduits and bookkeepers to take over the show to the obvious detriment and damage to the real parties in interest is a question that only legal historians will be able to answer.

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