Who Has the Power to Execute a Satisfaction and Release of Mortgage?

 The answer to that question is that probably nobody has the right to execute a satisfaction of mortgage. That is why the mortgage deed needs to be nullified. In the typical situation the money was taken from investors and instead of using it to fund the REMIC trust, the broker-dealer used it as their own money and funded the origination or acquisition of loans that did not qualify under the terms proposed in the prospectus given to investors. Since the money came from investors either way (regardless of whether their money was put into the trust) the creditor is that group of investors. Instead, neither the investors or even the originator received the original note at the “closing” because neither one had any legal interest in the note. Thus neither one had any interest in the mortgage despite the fact that the nominee at closing was named as “lender.”

This is why so many cases get settled after the borrower aggressively seeks discovery.

The name of the lender on the note and the mortgage was often some other entity used as a bankruptcy remote vehicle for the broker-dealer, who for purposes of trading and insurance represented themselves to be the owner of the loans and mortgage bonds that purportedly derive their value from the loans. Neither representation was true. And the execution of fabricated, forged and unauthorized assignments or endorsements does not mean that there is any underlying business transaction with offer, acceptance and consideration. Hence, when a Court order is entered requiring that the parties claiming rights under the note and mortgage prove their claim by showing the money trail, the case is dropped or settled under seal of confidentiality.

The essential problem for enforcement of a note and mortgage in this scenario is that there are two deals, not one. In the first deal the investors agreed to lend money based upon a promise to pay from a trust that was never funded, has no assets and has no income. In the second deal the borrower promises to pay an entity that never loaned any money, which means that they were not the lender and should not have been put on the mortgage or note.

Since the originator is an agent of the broker-dealer who was not acting within the course and scope of their relationship with the investors, it cannot be said that the originator was a nominee for the investors. It isn’t legal either. TILA requires disclosure of all parties to the deal and all compensation. The two deals were never combined at either level. The investor/lenders were never made privy to the real terms of the mortgages that violated the terms of the prospectus and the borrower was not privy to the terms of repayment from the Trust to the investors and all the fees that went with the creation of multiple co-obligors where there had only been one in the borrower’s “closing.”.

The identity of the lender was intentionally obfuscated. The identity of the borrower was also intentionally obfuscated. Neither party would have completed the deal in most cases if they had actually known what was going on. The lender would have objected not only to the underwriting standards but also because their interest was not protected by a note and mortgage. The borrower  would have been alerted to the fact that huge fees were being taken along the false securitization trail. The purpose of TILA is to avoid that scenario, to wit: borrower should have a choice as to the parties with whom he does business. Those high feelings would have alerted the borrower to seek an alternative loan elsewhere with less interest and greater security of title —  or not do the deal at all because the loan should never have been underwritten or approved.

Mortgage Lenders Network and Wells Fargo Battled over Servicer Advances

It is this undisclosed yield spread premium that produces the pool from which I believe the servicer advances are actually being paid. Intense investigation and discovery will probably reveal the actual agreements that show exactly that. In the meanwhile I encourage attorneys to look carefully at the issue of “servicer advances” as a means to defeat the foreclosure in its entirety.

As usual, the best decisions come from cases where the parties involved in “securitization” are fighting with each other. When a borrower brings up the same issues, the court is inclined to disregard the borrower’s defense as merely an attempt to get out of  a legitimate debt. In the Case of Mortgage Lenders  versus Wells Fargo (395 B.K. 871 (2008)), it is apparent that servicer advances are a central issue. For one thing, it demonstrates the incentive of servicers to foreclose even though the foreclosure will result in a greater loss to the investor then if a workout or modification had been used to save the loan.

See MLN V Wells Fargo

It also shows that the servicers were very much aware of the issue and therefore very much aware that between the borrower and the lender (investor or creditor) there was no default, and on a continuing basis any theoretical default was being cured on a monthly basis. And as usual, the parties and the court failed to grasp the real economics. Based on information that I have received from people were active in the bundling and sale of mortgage bonds and an analysis of the prospectus and pooling and servicing agreements, I think it is obvious that the actual money came from the broker dealer even though it is called a “servicer advance.” Assuming my analysis is correct, this would further complicate the legal issues surrounding servicer advances.

This case also demonstrates that it is in bankruptcy court that a judge is most likely to understand the real issues. State court judges generally do not possess the background, experience, training or time to grasp the incredible complexity created by Wall Street. In this case Wells Fargo moves for relief from the automatic stay (in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition filed by MLN) so that it could terminate the rights of MLN as a servicer, replacing MLN with Wells Fargo. The dispute arose over several issues, servicer advances being one of them. MLN filed suit against Wells Fargo alleging breach of contract and then sought to amend based on the doctrine of “unjust enrichment.” This was based upon the servicer advances allegedly paid by MLN that would be prospectively recovered by Wells Fargo.

The take away from this case is that there is no specific remedy for the servicer to recover advances made under the category of “servicer advances” but that one thing is clear —  the money paid to trust beneficiaries as “servicer advances” is not recoverable from the trust beneficiaries. The other thing that is obvious to Judge Walsh in his discussion of the facts is that it is in the servicing agreements between the parties that there may be a remedy to recover the advances; OR, if there is no contractual basis for recovering advances under the category of  “servicer advances” then there might be a basis to recover under the theory of unjust enrichment. As always, there is a complete absence in the documentation and in the discussion of this case as to the logistics of exactly how a servicer could recover those payments.

One thing that is perfectly clear however is that nobody seems to expect the trust beneficiaries to repay the money out of the funds that they had received. Hence the “servicer advance” is not a loan that needs to be repaid by the trust or trust beneficiaries. Logically it follows that if it is not a loan to the trust beneficiaries who received the payment, then it must be a payment that is due to the creditor; and if the creditor has received the payment and accepted it, the corresponding liability for the payment must be reduced.

Dan Edstrom, senior securitization analyst for the livinglies website, pointed this out years ago. Bill Paatalo, another forensic analyst of high repute, has been submitting the same reports showing the distribution reports indicating that the creditor is being paid on an ongoing basis. Both of them are asking the same question, to wit:  “if the creditor is being paid, where is the default?”

One attorney for US bank lamely argues that the trustee is entitled to both the servicer advances and turnover of rents if the property is an investment property. The argument is that there is no reason why the parties should not earn extra profit. That may be true and it may be possible. But what is impossible is that the creditor who receives a payment can nonetheless claim it as a payment still due and unpaid. If the servicer has some legal or equitable claim for recovery of the “servicer advances” then it can only be against the borrower, on whose behalf the payment was made. This means that a new transaction occurs each time such a payment is made to the trust beneficiaries. In that new transaction the servicer can claim “contribution” or “unjust enrichment” against the borrower. Theoretically that might bootstrap into a claim against the proceeds of the ultimate liquidation of the property, which appears to be the basis upon which the servicer “believes” that the money paid to the trust beneficiaries will be recoverable. Obviously the loose language in the pooling and servicing agreement about the servicer’s “belief” can lead to numerous interpretations.

What is not subject to interpretation is the language of the prospectus which clearly states that the investor who is purchasing one of these bogus mortgage bonds agrees that the money advanced for the purchase of the bond can be pooled by the broker-dealer; it is expressly stated that the investor can be paid out of this pool, which is to say that the investor can be paid with his own money for payments of interest and principal. This corroborates my many prior articles on the tier 2 yield spread premium. There is no discussion in the securitization documents as to what happens to that pool of money in the care custody and control of the broker-dealer (investment bank). And this corroborates my prior articles on the excess profits that have yet to be reported. And it explains why they are doing it again.

It doesn’t take a financial analyst to question why anyone would think it was a great business model to spend hundreds of millions of dollars advertising for loan customers where the return is less than 5%. The truth in lending act passed by the federal government requires the participants who were involved in the processing of the loan to be identified and to disclose their actual compensation arising from the origination of the loan — even if the compensation results from defrauding someone. Despite the fact that most loans were subject to claims of securitization from 2001 to the present, none of them appear to have such disclosure. That means that under Reg Z the loans are “predatory per se.”

To say that these were table funded loans is an understatement. What was really occurring was fraudulent underwriting of the mortgage bonds and fraudulent underwriting of the underlying loans. The higher the nominal interest rate on the loans (which means that the risk of default is correspondingly higher) the less the broker-dealer needed to advance for origination or acquisition of the loan; and this is because the investor was led to believe that the loans would be low risk and therefore lower interest rates. The difference between the interest payment due to the investor and the interest payment allegedly due from the borrower allowed the broker-dealers to advance much less money for the origination or acquisition of loans than the amount of money they had received from the investors. That is a yield spread premium which is not been reported and probably has not been taxed.

It is this undisclosed yield spread premium that produces the pool from which I believe the servicer advances are actually being paid. Intense investigation and discovery will probably reveal the actual agreements that show exactly that. In the meanwhile I encourage attorneys to look carefully at the issue of “servicer advances” as a means to defeat the foreclosure in its entirety.

I caution that when enough cases have been lost as a result of servicer advances, the opposition will probably change tactics. While you can win the foreclosure case, it is not clear what the consequences of that might be. If it results in a final judgment for the homeowner then it might be curtains for anyone to claim any amount of money from the loan. But that is by no means assured. If it results in a dismissal, even with prejudice, it might enable the servicer to stop making advances and then declare a default if the borrower fails to make payments after the servicer has stopped making the payments. Assuming that a notice of acceleration of the debt has been declared, the borrower can argue that the foreclosing party has elected its own defective remedy and should pay the price. If past experience is any indication of future rulings, it seems unlikely that the courts will be very friendly towards that last argument.

Attorneys who wish to consult with me on this issue can book 1 hour consults by calling 520-405-1688.

ATTENTION LAWYERS: ARE SERVICER ADVANCES ARGUABLY A NOVATION

Where “servicer” advances to the trust beneficiaries are present, it explains the rush to foreclosure completely. It is not until the foreclosure is complete that the payor of the “servicer” advances can stop paying. Thus the obfuscation in the discovery process by servicers in foreclosure litigation is also completely explained. Further this would open the eyes of Judges to the fact that there may be other co-obligors that were involved (insurers, credit default swap counterparties etc.). Thus while the creditor is completely satisfied and has experienced no default, the servicer is claiming a default in order to protect the interest of the servicer and broker-dealer (investment bank). It is a lie. — Neil F Garfield, http://www.livinglies.me

This is not for layman. This is directed at lawyers. Any pro se litigant who tries doing something with this is likely to be jumping off a legal cliff so don’t do it without consultation with a lawyer. If you ARE a lawyer, you might find this very enlightening and helpful in developing a strategy to WIN rather than delay the “inevitable.”

I was thinking about this problem when the servicer advances are paid. Such advances are in an amount that satisfies the creditor. If the creditor is named as the real party in interest in a foreclosure, there is an inherent contradiction on the face of the situation. Someone other than the creditor is alleging a default when the creditor will tell you they are just fine — they have received all scheduled payments. Even though it is most likely that the money came from the broker-dealer I was thinking that this might be a novation or a failed attempt at novation.  A definition of novation is shown below. Here’s my thinking:

1.  the receipt of payment by the trust beneficiaries satisfies in full the payment they were to receive under the contract between them and the REMIC trust.

2.  if the foreclosure action is brought by the trust or the trust beneficiaries, directly or indirectly, they can’t say that they have actually experienced a default, since they have payment in full.

3. Some entity is initiating the foreclosure action and some representative capacity on behalf of of the trust or the trust beneficiaries as the creditor.  If the borrower has ceased making payments and no other payments are received by the trust or the trust beneficiaries relating to the subject loan then it is arguably true that the borrower has defaulted and the lender has experienced the default.

4.  But in those cases where the  borrower has ceased making payments but  full payment has been sent and accepted by the lender as identified in the foreclosure action, does not seem possible for a declaration of default by that lender to be valid or even true.

5. But it is equally true that the borrower has ceased making payments under an alleged contract, which the foreclosing party is alleging as a default relating to the lender that has been identified as such in the subject action.

6. In actuality the servicer advances have probably been paid by the broker-dealer out of a fund that  was permitted to be formed out of the investment dollars advanced by the investors for the purchase of the mortgage bonds. Presumably this fund would exist in a trust account maintained by the trustee for the asset-backed trust. In actuality it appears as though these funds were kept by the broker dealer. The prospectus specifically states that the investors can be repaid out of this fund which consists of the investment dollars advanced by the investors.
7. But these nonstop servicer advances are designated as payments by the servicer.

8.  And it is stated in the pooling and servicing agreement that the nonstop servicer advances may not be recovered from the servicer nor anyone else.

9.  That means that the money received by the trust beneficiaries is simply a payment of the obligation of the trust under the original agreement by which the trust beneficiaries advanced money as investors purchasing the mortgage bonds.

10. In other settings such payments would be in accordance with agreements in which subrogation of the payor occurs or in which the claim is purchased. Here we have a different problem. At no point here is the entire claim subject to any claim of subrogation or purchase. It is only the payments that have been made that is the subject of the dispute. That opens the door to potential claims of multiple creditors each of whom can show that they have attained the status of a creditor by virtue of actual value or consideration paid.

11.  But regardless of who makes payments to the trust beneficiaries or why they made such payments, the trust beneficiaries are under no obligation to return the payments. Hence the trust beneficiaries have experienced no default and the alleged mortgage bond avoids the declaration of a credit event that would decrease the value of the bond. That keeps the investors happy and the broker dealer out of hot water (note the hundreds of claims totaling around $200 billion thus far in settlements because the broker dealer didn’t do many of the things they were supposed to do to protect the investors). NOTE ALSO: The payment and acceptance of the regularly scheduled payments to the trust beneficiaries would cure any default in all events.

12.  But the entity that has initiated the foreclosure action is still going to argue that the borrower has breached the terms of the note and has failed to make the regularly scheduled payments and that therefore the borrower is in default. But they cannot say that the borrower defaulted in its obligation to the creditor since the creditor is already satisfied.

13. Even where we have successfully established that the origination of the loan occurred with the funds of the investor and not the named payee on the note or the named mortgagee on the mortgage, a debt still exists to the investors for the amount that is not paid by anyone. This debt would arise by operation of law since the borrower accepted the money and the investor lenders are the source of that money.

14. So the first issue that arises out of this complex series of transactions and a complex chain of documents (that appear to reflect transactions that never occurred), is whether the creator of this scheme unintentionally opened the door to allow a borrower to stop making payments and require the servicer or broker-dealer to continue making nonstop servicer advances the satisfying the obligation to the so-called secured creditor alleged in the initiation of the foreclosure action. If the obligation is indefinite as to duration, this might have a substantial impact on the amount due, the amount demanded and whether the original notice of default was fatally defective in stating the amount required for reinstatement and even claiming the default.

15.  I therefore come to the second issue which is that in such cases a second obligation arises when the first one has been satisfied by the payment from a third-party. The second obligation is clearly not secured unless a partial assignment of the mortgage and note has been executed and recorded to protect the servicer or broker-dealer or whoever made the payments to the trust beneficiaries under the nonstop servicer advances. This clearly did not occur. And if it did occur it would be void under the terms of the trust instrument, i.e., the pooling and servicing agreement.

16.  The only lawsuits I can imagine filed by the party who made such payments to the trust beneficiaries are causes of action against the homeowner (not to be called a “borrower” anymore) for contribution or unjust enrichment. And as I say, there could be no claims that the debt is secured since the security instrument is pledged to the trust beneficiaries and executed in favor of a third party that is different from the party that made the nonstop servicer advances to the trust beneficiaries.

17.  I am therefore wondering whether or not novation should be alleged in order to highlight the fact that the second obligation has been created. Some sort of equitable novation would also allow the Judge to satisfy himself or herself that he or she is not encouraging people to borrow money and not pay it back while at the same time punishing those who created the mad scheme and thus lost the rights set forth in the security agreement (mortgage, deed of trust etc.). Based on the definition below, it might be that the novation could not have occurred without the signature of the borrower. But  the argument in favor of characterizing the transactions as a novation might be helpful in highlighting the fact that with the undisputed creditors satisfied, that no default has occurred, and that any purported default has been waived or cured, and that we know that a new liability has been created by operation of law in favor of the party that made the payments.

18.  And that brings me to my last point. I would like to see what party it is that claims to have made the non-stop servicer payments. If the payments came from a reserve pool created out of the investment dollars funded by the investors, it would be difficult to argue that the  borrower has become unjustly enriched at the expense of the broker-dealer. The circular logic created in the prospectus and pooling and servicing agreement would obviously not be construed against the borrower who was denied access to the information that would have disclosed the existence of these complex documents and complex transactions, despite federal and state law to the contrary. (TILA and RESPA, Reg Z etc.)

COMMENTS are invited.

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FROM WIKIPEDIA —

In contract law and business law, novation is the act of either:

  1. replacing an obligation to perform with a new obligation; or
  2. adding an obligation to perform; or
  3. replacing a party to an agreement with a new party.

In contrast to an assignment, which is valid so long as the obligee (person receiving the benefit of the bargain) is given notice, a novation is valid only with the consent of all parties to the original agreement: the obligee must consent to the replacement of the original obligor with the new obligor.[1] A contract transferred by the novation process transfers all duties and obligations from the original obligor to the new obligor.

For example, if there exists a contract where Dan will give a TV to Alex, and another contract where Alex will give a TV to Becky, then, it is possible to novate both contracts and replace them with a single contract wherein Dan agrees to give a TV to Becky. Contrary to assignment, novation requires the consent of all parties. Consideration is still required for the new contract, but it is usually assumed to be the discharge of the former contract.

Another classic example is where Company A enters a contract with Company B and a novation is included to ensure that if Company B sells, merges or transfers the core of their business to another company, the new company assumes the obligations and liabilities that Company B has with Company A under the contract. So in terms of the contract, a purchaser, merging party or transferee of Company B steps into the shoes of Company B with respect to its obligations to Company A. Alternatively, a “novation agreement” may be signed after the original contract[2] in the event of such a change. This is common in contracts with governmental entities; an example being under the United States Anti-Assignment Act, the governmental entity that originally issued the contract must agree to such a transfer or it is automatically invalid by law.

The criteria for novation comprise the obligee’s acceptance of the new obligor, the new obligor’s acceptance of the liability, and the old obligor’s acceptance of the new contract as full performance of the old contract. Novation is not a unilateral contract mechanism, hence allows room for negotiation on the new T&Cs under the new circumstances. Thus, ‘acceptance of the new contract as full performance of the old contract’ may be read in conjunction to the phenomenon of ‘mutual agreement of the T&Cs.[1]

Application in financial markets

Novation is also used in futures and options trading to describe a special situation where the central clearing house interposes itself between buyers and sellers as a legal counter party, i.e., the clearing house becomes buyer to every seller and vice versa. This obviates the need for ascertaining credit-worthiness of each counter party and the only credit risk that the participants face is the risk of the clearing house defaulting. In this context, novation is considered a form of risk management.

The term is also used in markets that lack a centralized clearing system, such as swap trading and certain over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives, where “novation” refers to the process where one party to a contract may assign its role to another, who is described as “stepping into” the contract. This is analogous to selling a futures contract.

BAD FAITH: Shack Decision Unravels the Chase-Wamu Mystery -At least in Part

Shack Blasts Chase, Fannie Mae for Bad Faith on Wamu Merger

It is obvious that documents were produced for Shack to issue these rulings. The affidavits to which he refers should be obtained in their entirety. There is lots to take away from this decision, but most important, is that Chase never acquired the loans from WAMU. The loans originated or acquired by WAMU were already sold to investors, trusts and Fannie or Freddie. The issue with Fannie and Freddie of course is that they were merely fronting for “private label” securitizations hiding behind the veil of the GSE’s who were mere guarantors and not lenders. I’d like to see any agreement and transactional documents showing the alleged purchase by Fannie, but it is presumed in the Shack Order and Findings.

It is also obvious that the finding that Chase was not the owner of the debt at any time came from an admission from both a Fannie Mae representative in an affidavit from an alleged Fannie Mae representative. We should direct discovery in Chase cases to that person in Fannie Mae who says they acquired the subject debt and that Chase merely received the servicing rights in the Chase-WAMU merger.

Note that Fannie Mae is considered by Shack to have acted in bad faith, and that Fannie was less than forthcoming in its description of itself stating that they might be the owner or they might be the trustee (pursuant to the Master Trustee Agreement published in 2007) for a securitized trust. Note also that Fannie at no time was chartered as a lender. Thus it could not originate any loans and never did so. The vagueness with which Fannie Mae addresses the issue of ownership shows that the hiding and non-disclosure in bankruptcy courts and state courts continues across the country.

The admission from Fannie that they “might” be the Master trustee for allegedly securitized assets (debts arising out of fictitious transactions on paper that looked like mortgage loans) is both alarming and encouraging. The rush to foreclosure is partially explained by this chaotic pile of fraudulent paper trails.

When you take into account the non stop servicer advances, you can see what the parties are hiding — that the real creditor on those debts, has been paid all the interest they were expecting, that the principal is being paid in settlements with pennies on the dollar, and that the default alleged in notices from servicers and informing the borrower of the right to reinstate were defective, to wit: that the amount stated as required to cure the alleged default was and remains incorrect. The amount should have been reduced by third party payments including but not limited to the servicer advances which were not loans, and thus could only be characterized as PAYMENT, which is the ultimate defense against a lawsuit or any enforcement mechanism designed to collect a debt.

The dirty little secret is that they diverted title and money from the investors and converted what could have been a secured loan into an unsecured loan. The advances and payments by third parties satisfied the debt that arose when the borrower took the loan. They in turn MIGHT have claims for contribution or unjust enrichment but they are most certainly not protected by a pledge of collateral either as mortgage or assignment of rents or anything else.

Note that it could not have acquired loans except with money from what were represented as securitized trusts with Fannie as master Trustee. Therefore there are no circumstances under which Fannie or Freddie could be owners of the the debt with rights to enforce except upon the only event in which money is paid by Fannie for the loan — a guarantee payment AFTER FORECLOSURE) that is the only transaction permitted under its charter. This point was missed by Shack or ignored by him, because he had bigger fish to fry — the lawyers for Chase itself with a copy of the order to be served upon Jamie Dimon, the head of Chase.
The fact is that with the WAMU bankruptcy, seizure by OTS and appointment of FDIC, there were no assignments, agreements of sale or even a permission slip under which Chase could or did acquire loans from WAMU. But that didn’t stop Chase from claiming exactly that in tens of thousands of foreclosures.
In cases where Chase is allegedly at the root of title through the merger with WAMU, it would be appropriate to site to the Shack case, get the case documents, get a Title and Securitization report (see http://www.livingliesstore.com) and lawyers should look into a motion for summary judgment, or a motion for involuntary dismissal with prejudice. Even where Chase might allege that it is filing the foreclosure as a representative of Fannie or Freddie, the basis for that allegation needs to be in their pleading or it is not an ULTIMATE fact upon which relief could be granted. Discovery should be aimed at getting the documents upon which Chase allegedly relies in showing that it has the authority to represent Fannie — and don’t stop there. The truth is that nearly all the so-called Fannie and Freddie loans were veils for the private label securitization in which the money was diverted from the trust, as was the title, leaving Fannie and Freddie as well as the investors and the buyers holding nothing.

In cases where the statute of limitations has already run, the dismissal of the foreclosure action, is barred in most cases from ever being brought again by anyone. But the dismissal against Chase should be with prejudice in all events because it isn’t the creditor and therefore does not satisfy the statutory requirements in Florida, and I presume all other states, to submit a credit bid at auction in lieu of cash.
The Judges are beginning to understand that by applying basic contract law, they can clear their dockets. It is up to us to help them. The offer of a loan was met with acceptance by the borrower but the loan never occurred. The transfers also had offer and acceptance but again no money because the investors’ money was used (outside the trust) directly to fund the origination or acquisition of the loan. This was part of a larger scheme to defraud to investors whose money was to have been deposited into the trust and then used to fund origination or acquisition of the he loans within 90 days (the cutoff).

The investment bank fraudulently induced (see complaints filed by investors, insurers, government guarantee entities etc.) the investors to give them money for an investment into a controlled trust when in fact they diverted the money for their own purposes, taking outsized fees for themselves as the toxic loans materialized to “support” the alleged investment into loans. That is the “mismanagement” part of investors’ allegations — diversion of money into a PONZI scheme.

The investment bank fraudulently diverted title to the loans to strawman entities or were — sometimes even by name (see American Brokers Conduit) — mere conduits for undisclosed third party lenders. The argument that the parties managed to hide this from the borrower long enough for the statute of limitations to run out on TILA claims is an affront to the court system and to the statutory scheme enacted by Congress to protect borrowers from predatory lenders and “steal” deals where huge fees were taken, rather than earned, without disclosure to the Borrower.

So the first element of fraud alleged by investors is diversion of the the money. The second is diversion of the paperwork that would have protected the investors at least to some extent. In this scheme title to the loan papers was intentionally diverted from the owners of the the debt, thus rendering the so-called mortgage documents unenforceable — all alleged by investors, insurers and other co-obligors who have discovered to their chagrin that each of them paid the investment bank 100 cents on the the dollar on each loan multiple times.

And yet borrowers continue to seek modifications, which means they are not looking for free houses. Even knowing they are dealing with criminals the borrowers are willing to start paying these thieves if the terms can be adjusted to give them the benefit of the bargain that was intended at origination of the purchase money mortgage or refinancing or second mortgage or HELOC.

That leaves the servicers and their lawyers being the only ones who want Foreclosures because they want a free house and/or they want the foreclosure to recapture Servicer advances to the creditors — advances that vastly reduce the amount owed and which cure the alleged borrower default. That has now become a foreclosure folly in which the servicers and their lawyers are the only parties who want it. The investors don’t care because they are getting settlements for the fraud of the investment banks for creating unenforceable loan documents (that are frequently enforced anyway because of judicial ignorance) and diversion of investor money.

In the end, the “clean hands” that Shack talks about are clearly absent from both Servicer and government sponsored entities and as judge Shack states in his decision, wrongdoers should not be permitted to profitf or their wrongdoing. If that means a windfall to the borrower, so be it. It can be likened to the old usury laws and the current usury laws where the principal of the debt is wiped out and the fraudster is hit with a judgment for three times the principal, three times the interest or both.

Countrywide Found Guilty of Fraud, JPM Criminal Responsibility for Madoff PONZI Scheme

“The words PONZI SCHEME and FRAUD applied to the mortgage meltdown has been largely dismissed by policy makers, law enforcement and regulators. Instead we heard the terms RISKY BEHAVIOR and RECKLESSNESS. Now law enforcement has finally completed its investigation and determined that those who set the tone and culture of Wall Street were deeply involved in the Madoff PONZI scheme and were regularly committing FRAUD in the creation and sale of mortgage bonds and the underlying “DEFECTIVE” loans. The finding shows that these plans were not risky nor reckless. They were intentional and designed to deceive and cause damage to everyone relying upon their false representations. The complex plan of false claims of securitization is now being pierced making claims of “plausible deniability” RISKY and RECKLESS.

And if the loans were defective there is no reason to believe that this applies only to the loans claimed to be in default. It applies to all loans subject to false claims of securitization, false documentation for non existent transactions, and fraudulent collection practices by reporting and collecting on balances that were fraudulently stated in the first instance. At this point all loans are suspect, all loan balances stated are suspect, and all Foreclosures based on these loans were frauds upon the court, should be vacated and the homeowner reinstated to ownership of the property and possession of the property. All such loans should have the loan balance adjusted by the courts for appropriate set off in denying the borrowers the benefit of the bargain that was presented to them.

“It is now difficult to imagine a scenario where the finding of the intentional use and creation of defective mortgages will not trickle down to all mortgage litigation. The Countrywide decision is the first that expressly finds them guilty of creating defective loans. It is impossible to believe that Countrywide’s intentional acts of malfeasance won’t spread to the investment banks that used Countrywide as the aggregator of defective loans (using the proprietary desk top underwriting software for originators to get approval). The reality is coming up, front and center. And Judges who ignore the defenses of homeowners who were of course defrauded by the same defective mortgages are now on notice that bias towards the banks simply doesn’t work in the real world.” — Neil F Garfield,www.livinglies.me October 24, 2013

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By Neil F Garfield, Esq. Tallahassee, Florida October 24, 2013. If the mortgages were defective and were used fraudulently to gain illicit profits it is not possible to avoid the conclusions that homeowners are among the victims. By using false appraisals the huge banks created the illusion of rising prices. This was manipulation of market prices just as the banks were found guilty of manipulating stated market rates for interbank lending “LIBOR” and use of the manipulated pricing to trade for further benefit knowing that the reality was different. The banks have continued this pattern behavior and are still doing it, and laying fines as a cost of doing business in the manipulation and ownership of natural resources. They are a menace to all societies on the planet. The threat of that menace must be removed In the face of a clear and present danger posed by the real world knowledge that where an opportunity arises for “moral hazard” the banks will immediately use it causing further damage to government, taxpayers, consumers and investors.

None of it was disclosed or even referenced at the alleged loan closing with borrowers despite federal and state laws that require all such undisclosed profits and compensation to be disclosed or suffer the consequence of required payment to the borrower of all such undisclosed compensation. The borrowers are obviously entitled to offset for the false appraisals used by lenders to induce borrowers to accept defective loan products.

Further, borrowers have a clear right of action for treble damages for the pattern of conduct that constituted fraud as a way of doing business. In addition, borrowers can now be scene through a clear lens — that they are entitled to the benefit of the bargain that they reasonably thought they were getting. That they were deceived and coerced into accepting defective loans with undisclosed players and undisclosed compensation and undisclosed repayment terms raises the probability now that borrowers who present their case well, could well start getting punitive damages awards with regularity. It’s easy to imagine the closing argument for exemplary or punitive damages — “$10 billion wasn’t enough to stop them, $25 billion wasn’t enough to stop of them, so you, members of the jury, must decide what will get their attention without putting them out of business. You have heard evidence of the tens of billions of dollars in profits they have reported. It’s up to you to decide what will stop the banks from manipulating the marketplace, fraudulently selling defective loans to borrowers and pension funds alike with the intention of deceiving them and knowing that they would reasonably rely on their misrepresentations. You decide.”

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U.S. prepares to take action against JPMorgan over Madoff
In what would be an almost unheard of move when it comes to U.S. banks, the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office are in talks with JPMorgan (JPM) about imposing a deferred prosecution agreement over allegations that the bank turned a blind eye to Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, the NYT reports.
Authorities would suspend criminal charges against JPMorgan but impose a fine and other concessions, and warn the bank that it will face indictments over any future misconduct.
However, the government has not decided to charge any current or former JPMorgan employees.
The report comes as the bank holds talks with various regulators over a $13B deal to settle claims about its mortgage practices.

Countrywide found guilty in U.S. mortgage suit
A federal jury has found Bank of America’s (BAC -2.1%) Countrywide unit liable for defrauding Fannie Mae (FNMA +22%) and Freddie Mac (FMCC +19.4%) by selling them thousands of defective mortgages.
The judge will determine the amount of the penalty – the U.S. has requested $848M, the gross loss to the GSEs as calculated by its expert witness.
The suit centered on Countrywide’s HSSL – High Speed Swim Lane – program instituted in August 2007, says the government, to keep the music playing as the property market was falling apart.

DOJ probes nine leading banks over sale of mortgage debt
The Department of Justice is reportedly investigating nine major banks over the sale of problematic mortgage bonds, although the probes are for civil infractions rather than criminal ones.
The banks are Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), Credit Suisse (CS), Deutsche Bank (DB), Goldman Sachs (GS), Morgan Stanley (MS), RBS (RBS), UBS (UBS) and Wells Fargo (WFC).
The inquiries span U.S. attorney’s offices from California to Massachusetts, and come as JPMorgan tries to reach a multi-billion dollar settlement over the issue.

Only $4 Billion of JPM $13 Billion Settlement Goes for “Consumer Relief”

For assistance in understanding the content of this article and purchasing services that provide information for attorneys and homeowners see http://www.livingliesstore.com.

Josh Arnold has written an interesting article that reveals both realities and misconceptions arising from gross misconceptions. His misperceptions arise primarily from two factors. First he either ignores the fact that JPM was integrally involved in the underwriting, sale and hedging of the alleged mortgage bonds, never actually acquired the loans or the bonds on which they claimed a loss, and made huge “profits” from fictitious trades disguised as “proprietary” trading which was a cover for tier 2 yield spread premiums that were never disclosed to investors or borrowers. The deregulation of those mortgage securities may have provided cover for the fraud that occurred to investors, but the failure to disclose this “compensation” to borrowers violates the truth in lending act and state deceptive lending laws.

Second, the article is based upon a point of view that is not surprising coming from a Wall Street analyst but which is bad for the country. The ideology behind this is clear — Wall Street is there to make money for itself. That has never been true. Wall Street exists solely because in a growing and complex economy, liquidity must be created by breaking up risks into portions small enough to attract investors to the table. Whether they make money or not depends upon their skill in running a company.

Unfortunately in the early 1970′s the door was flung wide open when broker-dealers were allowed to incorporate and go public. Just ask Alan Greenspan who believed the markets would self correct because the players would act rationally in their own self interest. As he he says in his latest book, the banks did not act rationally nor in their own best interest because they were being run by management that was acting for the self interest of management and not the company. Back in the 1960′s none of this would have occurred when the broker-dealers were partnerships —leading partners to question any transaction by any partner that put the partners at risk. Now the partners are remote and distant shareholders who are among the victims of management fraud or excess risk taking.

The effect on foreclosure defense is that, at the suggestion of the former Fed Chairman, we should stop assuming that the broker dealers that are now called banks were acting with enlightened or rational self-interest. The opening and closing statement should refer to the information like this article Quoted below as demonstrating that the banks were openly violating common law, statutory, and administrative rules because the losses from litigation would not be a liability of the actual people who caused the violations.

Any presumption in favor of the foreclosing bank should be looked at with intense skepticism. And in discovery remember to ask questions about just how bad the underwriting process was and revealing the absolute fact, now proven beyond any reasonable doubt, the goal was for the first time NOT to minimize risk, but rather to force applications to closing because of giant profits that could be booked as soon as the loan was sold, since at the time of closing the loans were already part of a reported chain of securitization. Investigation at real banks as opposed to “originators” will reveal two sets of underwriting rules and practices — one for their own portfolio loans in compliance with industry standards and the other for the vast majority of loans that were claimed to be part of a fictitious cloud of securitization that did not comply with industry standards.

In the end my initial assessment in 2007-2008 on these pages is proving to be true. The unraveling of this mess will depend upon quiet title lawsuits and lawsuits for damages resulting from violations of the Truth in Lending Act — where those gross profit distortions at the broker-dealer level are required to be paid to the homeowner because they were not disclosed at closing.
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From Seeking Alpha website, by Josh Arnold —

JPMorgan’s (JPM) legal woes got a lot worse over the weekend with its well-publicized $13 billion settlement. JPM already has much more than that set aside to pay legal claims so it’s really a non-event for the bank; they saw it coming to a degree. I’m not here to debate whether or not JPM’s employees misled investors, including Fannie and Freddie, but what I think the most important, and disconcerting, piece of this settlement is the way it was undertaken by the Administration.

Think back to 2008 when the world as we knew it was ending. Smaller financial institutions were failing left and right and even the larger players, including Lehman, Bear Stearns, Washington Mutual, Wachovia and others eventually found themselves in enormous trouble to the point where distressed sales were the only way to stave off bankruptcy (save Lehman, of course). The federal government, eager to avoid a massive crisis, asked JPM, Wells Fargo (WFC) and others to aid the effort to avoid such a calamity. Both obliged and we know history shows JPM ended up with Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns while Wells purchased Wachovia as it was on the cusp of going out of business. At the time, JPM CEO Jamie Dimon famously asked the government, as a favor for bailing out WaMu and Bear Stearns, not to prosecute JPM down the road for the sins of the acquired institutions. This is only fair and it should have gone without saying as the idea of prosecuting an acquirer for something the acquired company did as an independent institution is preposterous.

However, that is exactly where we find ourselves today with the settlement that has been struck. JPM has said publicly that 80% of the losses accrued from the loans that are the subject of this settlement were from Bear and WaMu. This means that, despite Dimon’s asking and the fact that the federal government “urged” JPM to acquire these two institutions, JPM is indeed being punished for something it had nothing to do with. This is a watershed moment in our nation’s history as the next time a financial crisis rolls around, who is going to want to help the federal government acquire failing institutions? Now that we know that the reward for such behavior is perp walks, public shaming via our lawmakers (who can’t even fund their own spending) and enormous legal fines and settlements, I’m thinking it will be harder for the government to find a buyer next time.

Not only is the subject of this legal settlement and the very nature of the way it has been conducted suspect, but even the fines themselves as part of the settlement amount to nothing more than tax revenue. The $13 billion is split up as follows: $9 billion in penalties and fees and $4 billion in consumer relief. The penalties and fees are ostensibly for the “wrongdoing” that JPM must have performed in order to be subject such a historic settlement. These penalties and fees are for allegedly misleading investors in these securities and misrepresenting the strength of the underlying loans. The buyers of these securities, however, were all very sophisticated themselves, including the government sponsored entities. These companies had analysts working on these securities purchases and could very well have realized that the underlying loans were bad. However, Fannie and Freddie blindly purchased the mortgages and were eventually saddled with large losses as a result. But instead of the GSE’s taking responsibility for bad investment decisions, the government has decided to simply confiscate $13 billion from a private sector company while Fannie and Freddie have claimed zero responsibility whatsoever for their role in the losses.

The other $4 billion is earmarked for “consumer relief” but the worst part of this is that these loans were sold to institutions. This means that this consumer relief is simply a bogus way to confiscate more money from JPM and the alleged reason has no basis in reality. The consumer relief portion would suggest that JPM misled the individual consumers taking the loans that were eventually securitized but that is not what the settlement is about. In fact, this is simply a way to redistribute wealth and the Administration is taking full advantage. In order for the redistribution of wealth to make the alleged victims whole it would need to be distributed among the institutions that purchased the securities. So is this part of the settlement, under the guise of “consumer relief”, really just another tax levy? Or is it going to consumers that had absolutely nothing to do with this case? Either way, it’s confiscatory and doesn’t make any sense. Based on reports about this consumer relief portion of the settlement, this money is going wherever the Administration sees fit. In other words, this is simply tax revenue that is being redistributed and given to consumers that have absolutely zero to do with this case.

Even the $9 billion in penalties and fees is going to be distributed among various government agencies and as such, this money is also tax revenue. Otherwise, the money for these agencies would eventually come from the Treasury but instead, JPM is going to foot the bill.

I’m not against companies that have done something wrong being punished. In fact, that is a necessary part of a fair and open capitalist system that allows the free world the economic prosperity it has enjoyed over history. However, this settlement is a clear case of the federal government confiscating private assets in order to redistribute them among government operations and consumers that had absolutely nothing to do with the lawsuit. I am extremely disappointed in the way the Administration has handled this case and other banks should be on notice; it doesn’t matter what you did or didn’t do, if you’ve got the money, the government will come after you.

In terms of what this means for the stock, JPM has already set aside $23 billion for litigation reserves so when the bill comes due for this settlement, JPM has more than enough firepower available to pay it. In fact, this settlement is likely a positive for the stock. Since this is likely to be the largest of the fines/settlements handed down on the Bank of Dimon, the fact that the uncertainty has been lifted should alleviate some concern on the part of investors. In addition to this, since JPM still has a sizable reserve, $10 billion or so, left for additional litigation, investors may be surprised down the road if JPM can actually recoup some of that litigation expense and boost earnings. Not only would that remove a multi-billion drain on book value but it could also increase the bank’s GAAP earnings if all litigation reserves weren’t used up. In any event, even if that is not the chosen path, JPM could still recognize higher earnings in the coming quarters if it sees it needs less money set aside each quarter for litigation reserves. Again, this is very positive for the stock but for more tangible reasons.

The bottom line is that JPM got the short end of the stick with this settlement. Not only is the bank paying for the sins of others but it is paying very dearly and sustaining reputational damage in the process. I couldn’t be more disappointed with the way the Administration’s witch hunt was conducted and the end result. But that is the world we apparently live in now and if you want to invest in banks you need to be prepared to deal with confiscatory fines and levies against banks simply because they can’t stop the government from taking it.

However, JPM is better positioned than perhaps any of its too-big-too-fail brethren to weather the storm and I think that is why there was virtually no movement in the stock when the settlement became public. JPM has been stockpiling litigation reserves when no one was looking and has done well in doing so. With the looming threat of this settlement now come and gone, investors can concentrate on what a terrific money making machine JPM is again. Trading at a small premium to book value and only nine times next year’s earnings estimates, JPM is the safe choice among the TBTF banks. Couple its very cheap valuation with its robust, nearly 3% yield and the largest settlement against a single company in our country’s history behind it and you’ve got a great potential long term buy.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Share this ArticleComments(8)

Don Dion
Oct 23 07:49 AM
Josh,

Great article. See also http://seekingalpha.co…

Don

Rescission Returns in 3rd Circuit Opinion

Forbes has taken notice. There is a shift toward borrowers in mortgage litigation. The decision points back to the origination of the loan. This decision follows a similar decision in the 4th circuit. It all comes down to what actually happened at closing? And we don’t actually know if the decision to allow rescission indefinitely on second mortgages will extend to the first mortgage if it is all part of the same transaction. The result of rescission is that all payments of every kind must be returned to the borrower plus interest and attorney fees and potentially treble damages. All payments mean closing costs, fees, costs, expenses, principal interest, escrow and anything else. If the “lender” doesn’t do that the mortgage lien is expressly invalidated by operation of law, which is the same as being subject to a recorded satisfaction of mortgage. TILA is back!! — at least until the Supreme Court gets to weigh in on this ongoing dispute.

TILA requires only a clear statement and communication that the borrower wishes to rescind the transaction. The statute is clear that the burden shifts to the “lender” to either agree to rescission or sue to disqualify the rescission that must be supported by allegations and proof that the lender violated disclosure requirements at the time of origination of the loan. To be sure, there is a loophole created by the courts — that the rescinding borrower have the money to give back to the lender. But that is exactly what is going to cause the problem for Foreclosers. If the borrower can show some credible source of funds, the “lender” is screwed — because the lender is not the party who was named on the note and mortgage.

So the offer of the money will immediately cause an inquiry and discovery into the question who actually was the lender? We certainly don’t want to give the rescission money to the named party on the note and mortgage when the source of funds was a party with no legal relationship to the named “lender.” The facts will show that the mortgage lien was never perfected —and that therefore rescission under TILA is potentially unnecessary.

Either way, the debt turns up unsecured and can be discharged in bankruptcy. The problem for Wall Street is how they will explain to investors why the investors were not identified as the lenders in each closing. The answer is that Wall Street Banks wanted to use those loans as “assets” they could trade, insure, hedge and even sell contrary to the prospectus and PSA shown to pension Funds and other investors who advanced funds to investment banks as “payment” for mortgage bonds underwritten by those banks.

When the limelight is focused on the original closing, Pandora’s box will open for the bankers. It will show that they never used the money from investors to buy bonds issued by a REMIC trust. It will show the trusts to be unfunded. It will show the unfunded trusts never bought or funded the loans. It will show that the disclosure requirements and the reason for TILA (borrowers’ choices in the marketplace) were regularly violated.

That in turn will lead to the inquiry as to the balance of the loan that is now due. Rescission means giving back what you received. But what if, by operation of law, you have already given back some or all of the money? The investment banker will be hard pressed to describe itself as anything but the agent of the lender investors. As agent, it received payments from insurance, hedges and sales to the Federal Reserve. How will the Wall Street Banks explain why those payments should not be applied to reduce the account receivable of the investor lenders? How many times should the lender be paid on the same debt?

Remember that there is no issue of subrogation, contribution or other claims against the borrower here. They were expressly waived in the contracts for insurance and credit default swaps. Hence the payments should equitably be applied to the benefit of the investors whose money was used to start the false securitization scheme under false pretenses. Once the investors are paid or considered paid because their agents received the money from third party co-obligors, what is left for the borrowers to pay? Will the court order the borrower to pay “back” a lender who never made the loan?

Dreamli Zs 6:22pm Sep 28

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielfisher/2013/02/07/court-decision-gives-borrowers-an-ace-in-the-hole-lenders-a-headache/

Court Decision Gives Lenders A Headache, Borrowers An Ace In The Hole
http://www.forbes.com
A court ruling gives borrowers an unlimited deadline for rescinding second mortgages

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