Congratulations to the experts and attorneys on this. As Marie McDonnell states in the article reproduced below this case is important because it is the first time that Robo-signing has resulted in an award of damages for fraud. I would add that the lawyers must have done a fine job at trial — because ordinarily we don’t see jury instructions that would support punitive damages for robo-signing. The pages are turning on a new chapter.
As for the rest, I’ll let Marie speak for herself ———-
H/T Marie McDonnell
Below, I have attached the jury award from the Wolf v. Wells Fargo trial. The jury concluded its deliberations on Tuesday afternoon, November 10th.
It is my belief that this is the first jury verdict of its kind where the jury was asked to determine whether a robo-signed Transfer of Lien (assignment of mortgage) was fraudulent, and on that basis, award damages.
The jury awarded the Wolfs $190,000 in actual and emotional distress damages; $190,000 in attorneys’ fees — which is sufficient to take them through an appeal all the way up to the Texas Supreme Court; and $5 million in punitive damages to be paid equally by Wells Fargo and Carrington.
Plaintiffs David and Mary Ellen Wolf testified on their own behalf, and I testified as their expert.
I explained to the jury the sequence of “true sales” that were necessary to properly securitize the Wolfs’ mortgage loan using my “Securitization Flow Chart” which I have attached below.
Once the jury understood the requirements of the Mortgage Loan Purchase Agreement and the Pooling and Servicing Agreement, they were able to see why the Transfer of Lien executed by Tom Croft was fraudulent on the face of the document.
The Defendants called robo-signer Tom Croft and Clayton Gordon as witnesses, both of whom are employed by Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC.
The jury also found that even though Wells Fargo Bank was in physical possession of the original note, it did not own the mortgage loan because it was never securitized into the Carrington Mortgage Loan Trust, Series 2006-NC3 over which Wells Fargo serves as Trustee.
The jury verdict, and especially their finding that the Transfer of Lien was fraudulent, supports my findings in all of the registry of deeds audits I have conducted for:
- John L. O’Brien, Register of Deeds, Essex Southern District, MA
- Nancy J. Becker, Recorder of Deeds, Montgomery County, PA
- Seattle City Council, Seattle, WA
- In re: Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. Litigation, Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal Counties, AZ
The jury verdict in the Wolf v. Wells Fargo trial is epic. Among other things, it demonstrates that when given all the facts, average people can distinguish the difference between “deadbeat borrowers” and a family who fell upon hard times and always tried to do the right thing.
This case should send a message of hope for others; it also provides a road map for cutting through the complexities of modern finance to arrive at a just result.
Filed under: foreclosure