For further information and assistance, please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688
Let’s start with the study that planted the seed of doubt as to the validity of the debt, note, mortgage and foreclosure and whether any of those “securitized debt” foreclosures should have been allowed to even get to first base. Katherine Ann Porter, when she was a professor in Iowa (2007) did a seminal study of “lost” documents and found that at least 40% of ALL notes were lost as a result of intentional destruction or negligence. You can find her study on this blog.
The issue with “lost notes” is actually simple. If the note is lost then the court and the borrower are entitled to an explanation of the the full story behind the loss of the note, why it was intentionally destroyed and whose negligence caused the loss of the note. And the reason is also simple. If the Court and the borrower are not fully satisfied that the whole story has been told, then neither one can determine whether the party claiming rights to collect or enforce the note actually has those rights.
This is the question posed to me by a knowledgeable person involved in the challenge to the validity of the debt, note, mortgage and foreclosure:
Who is finding the Note? Can a servicer execute a Lost Note Affidavit as a holder? Non holder in possession?
It took me a while to get to the obvious point of the above defense. It is intended in the event that party A loses the Note and files a LNA [Lost Note Affidavit}, that the Issuer, does not have to pay party B even if he appears with a blank endorsed note, unless B can prove holder in due course (virtually impossible these days, esp in foreclosure cases).
This is critical. The foreclosing party, through a series of mergers and successions, files a case as successor by merger to ABC. Can’t locate note, so it files a LNA, stating ABC lost the Note. Note is found, but the foreclosing party says, oops, was in a custodial file for which we were the servicer for XYZ. While the foreclosing party has the note, it cannot unring the fact it got the Note from XYZ after ABC lost it.
Good questions. He understands that the requirements as expressly stated in the law (UCC, State law etc.) are quite stringent. You cannot re-establish a lost note with a copy of it unless you can prove that you had it and that you were the person entitled to enforce it (known as PETE). You also cannot re-establish the note unless you can prove that the note was lost or destroyed under circumstances where it is far more likely than not that the original won’t show up later in the hands of someone else claiming PETE status. So there should be a heavy burden placed on any party seeking to foreclose or even just to collect on a “lost note.” But courts have steamrolled over this obvious problem requiring something on the order of “probable cause” rather than actual proof. While there is some evidence the judiciary is turning the corner against the banks, the great majority of cases fly over these issues either because of presumptions by the bench or because the “borrower” fails to raise it — and fails to make appropriate motions in limine and raise objections in trial.
But the person who posed this question drills down deeper into the real factual issues. He wants to know details. We all know that it is easier to allege that you destroyed it accidentally or even intentionally than to allege the loss of the note. A witness from the party asserting PETE can say, truthfully or not, “I destroyed it.” Proving that he didn’t and that the copy is fabricated is very difficult for a homeowner with limited resources. If the allegation and the testimony is that the note was lost, we get into the question of what, when where, how and why. But in a lost note situation most states require some sort of indemnification from the party asserting PETE status or holder in due course status. That is also a problem. I remember rejecting the offer of indemnification from Taylor, Bean and Whitaker after I reviewed their financial statements. It was obvious they were going broke and they did. And the officers went to jail for criminal acts.
So the first question is exactly when was the “original” note last seen and by whom? In whose possession was it when it was allegedly lost? How was it lost? Who has direct personal information on the location of the original and the timing and method of loss? And what happens when the note is “found?” We know that original documents are being fabricated by advanced technology such that even the borrower doesn’t realize he is not being shown the original (that is why I suggest denying that they are the holder of the note, denying they are PETE, denying they are holder in due course etc.)
In the confusion of those issues, the homeowner usually fails to realize that this is just another lie. But in discovery, if you are awake to the issue, you can either learn the facts (or deal with the inevitable objections to discovery). And then the lawyer for the homeowner should graph out the allegations and testimony as best as possible. The questioner is dead right — if the party NOW claiming PETE status or HDC status received the “found” original note but received it from someone other than the party who “lost” it, there is no chain upon which the foreclosing party can rely. In simple language, what they are attempting to do is fly over the gap between when the note was lost and destroyed and the time that the current claimant took possession of the paper. And once again I say that the real proof is the real money trail. If the underlying transactions exist, then there will be some correspondence, agreements and a payment of money that will reveal the true transfer.
And again I say, that if you are attacking the paper you need to be extremely careful not to give the impression that the borrower is attempting to get out of a legitimate debt. The position is that there is no legitimate debt IN THIS CHAIN. The debt lies outside the chain. The true debt is owed to whoever supplied the money that was received at the loan closing, regardless of what paperwork was signed. Failure to prove the original loan transaction should be fatal to the action on the note or the mortgage (except if the foreclosing party can prove the status of a holder in due course). The fact that the paperwork was signed only creates a potential second liability that does not benefit the party whose money was used for the loan.
The foreclosure is a thinly disguised adventure in greed — where the perpetrators of the false foreclosure, use fabricated, robo-signed paper without ANY loan at the base of the paper trail and without any payments made by any of the parties for possession or enforcement of the paper. They are essentially stealing the house, the proceeds, and the money that was used to fund the “loan” all to the detriment of the real parties in interest, to wit: the investors who were tricked into directly lending the money to borrowers and the homeowners who were tricked into signing paperwork that created a second liability for the same loan.