For years now, evidence has been mounting that the banks, servicers, and their attorneys have been regularly producing fabricated “promissory notes” into courtrooms declaring them to be the “originals.” Despite the mounting evidence, and despite expert examiners testifying that these documents are fake, the courts continue to allow the presumption that the foreclosing parties are indeed holding the “original” note(s). More so, bank and servicer witnesses routinely testify that they themselves personally verified the information in their affidavits, and again, the courts routinely accept under the business records exception rule. Well maybe that tide is about to shift, as I have obtained confirmation from a large bank vendor (Visionet Systems, Inc.) that it rectifies “lost notes” by reapplying the “signature images” upon stored copies.
Astonishingly enough, this is not the only business practice that appears to violate the $25B National Consent Judgment. Visionet advertises that it prepares “OCR Legal Packages” which involves the use of a sophisticated computer software program to create and verify foreclosure affidavits. Interestingly an internet search for “Visionet” leads to Bangalor, India.
Apparently, humans are too slow, as Visionet points out, “Servicers routinely lag behind on completing the legal package reviews in a timely manne[r.”]
[For reference, here is a copy of the “Consent Judgement” (CJ) signed on April 11, 2012 (consent_judgment_boa-4-11-12)]
This investigation begins with yet another “surrogate signed” mortgage assignment “Prepared By: Visionet Systems, Inc.,” executed and recorded December 2015 in Collier County Florida (see: collier-county-florida-assignment). The assignment is executed by “Stacy Pierce – Vice President – MERS as nominee for Greenpoint Mortgage Funding, Inc.” Of course, this mortgagee went out of business on August 20, 2007.
[(CJ – A-8): 6. Servicer shall ensure that mortgage assignments executed by or on behalf of Servicer are executed with appropriate legal authority, accurately reflective of the completed transaction and properly acknowledged.]
I looked up “Stacy Pierce” and found her LinkedIn resume which shows “VP of Operations” for Visionet Systems, Inc. (see: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stacy-pierce-53047162)
I visited Visionet’s website (https://www.visionetsystems.com/about) and found this marketing brochure describing a product called “Visirelease.” (see: visirelease-marketing-brochure) I was curious as to the following language located on page 2:
“A database driven Business Engine enables the users to define complex business conditions. These business conditions are associated with the relevant tasks to ensure verification at completion of each task. A powerful and flexible print engine is implemented for printing of release, assignments and lost notes, with or without signature images.”
“A powerful and flexible print engine” for printing “Lost notes, with or without signature images?” Posing as a prospective client, I contacted Visionet through their online contact form and asked about this specific language. Here is my inquiry and Visionet’s response starting from the bottom:
|Re: Contact Us 1 message|
|Arshad Masood <Arshad@visionetsystems.com>||Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 9:57 AM|
|To: “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>|
So much for those time-consuming “good faith efforts” and “lost note affidavits.”
[(CJ – A-8): 4. If the original note is lost or otherwise unavailable, Servicer shall comply with applicable law in an attempt to establish ownership of the note and the right to enforcement. Servicer shall ensure good faith efforts to obtain or locate a note lost while in the possession of Servicer or Servicer’s agent and shall ensure that Servicer and Servicer’s agents who are expected to have possession of notes or assignments of mortgage on behalf of Servicer adopt procedures that are designed to provide assurance that the Servicer or Servicer’s agent would locate a note or assignment of mortgage if it is in the possession or control of the Servicer or Servicer’s agent, as the case may be. In the event that Servicer prepares or causes to be prepared a lost note or lost assignment affidavit with respect to an original note or assignment lost while in Servicer’s control, Servicer shall use good faith efforts to obtain or locate the note or assignment in accordance with its procedures. In the affidavit, sworn statement or other filing documenting the lost note or assignment, Servicer shall recite that Servicer has made a good faith effort in accordance with its procedures for locating the lost note or assignment.]
If this isn’t bad enough, here is Visionet’s automated affidavit verification solution called “OARS,” the purpose of which is to enable “a quick and accurate foreclosure process.” (See: https://www.visionetsystems.com/oars)
“Mortgage Loan Servicers face challenges in keeping up with the demands of the legal process that requires them to review all legal filings for processing foreclosures in the judicial system. Servicers routinely lag behind on completing the legal package reviews in a timely manner, or overspend on the human resources assigned to these review tasks.”
“Visionet provides OARS software in the cloud through a flexible “pay as you go” pricing model, which eliminates the need for a dedicated internal infrastructure and converts the servicer’s cost model from fixed price and capital-intensive to variable price and capital-efficient.”
“OCR-based Affidavit Review System (OARS) by Visionet is an Enterprise Class solution which facilitates automated validation of foreclosure affidavits to ensure that borrower and loan information listed on the legal documents is accurate. The system employs OCR technology to glean borrower and loan information from legal documents, and compares it with the original loan documents and system data. The results of this automated comparison, and any discrepancies discovered through the automated review process, are presented to the user so that all legal submissions are reviewed by a person before the documents are signed. OARS makes the whole process extremely efficient.”
Here’s the problem with this, as written by Michael O’Connell – Chief Operation Officer for Nationwide Title Clearing, another large bank vendor and assumed competitor of Visionet. (See: (http://www.mortgageorb.com/online/issues/SVM1502/FEAT_03_The-Need-For-Collateral-Audits-When-Transferring-Servicing-Rights.html).
“So, this is where the rubber meets the road. If the servicing data and collateral file management is at all questionable, how is it remotely possible that the assignment is accurate? After all, most assignments are prepared from data or documents supplied by the servicer; if either source data is at all in question, then there must be grave concerns that the assignment is literally assigning away the rights of the servicer with wild abandon.
At our firm, we have come across portfolios where 40% to 60% of the loans have errors when auditing data. Granted, not all the errors would be considered “fatal” and cause the loss of collateral or prevent a foreclosure, but there are consequences that are considered as bad by some that need only be hinted at here.”
“Comparing data at the recorder’s office to the file sounds fairly simple, right? On the face of it, one could say, “yes,” but like everything else in our industry, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. A lot depends upon the process employed. For example, what is the source of data used to compare to the servicing file? There are hundreds of databases used daily across the U.S. Not all databases are constructed the same; some don’t even index certain document types. Others do, but only go back a short time in history. Other data sources make assumptions. Yes, assumptions!”
Something tells me that the persons signing the eventual automated affidavits are simply relying on the auto-produced document, and do little if any human verification. The prime example is the above assignment on behalf of defunct Greenpoint! Still, if the witness was doing the actual verification, then why the need for OARS? In all the cases I have been involved, having read and heard countless servicer witnesses’ testimony, I have yet to hear any of these bank witnesses divulge that the affidavits relied upon in the proceedings were prepared and “verified” by a third-party automated computer program. How’s that for hearsay?
If truth be told, the bank’s witness testimony should sound like this, “Yes your honor. We verified the information in the affidavit by outsourcing a third-party vendor called ‘Visionet Systems.” They used a software program to hook into our servicing platform, whereby the computer verified all the data and prepared the affidavit for this proceeding. In addition, the note shows as lost in our system, so for convenience, our vendor also printed off a copy and placed an image of the borrower’s signature upon the document. That would be the ‘original’ note marked as ‘Exhibit A.’”
Here is the laundry list of potential violations to the Consent Judgment. Nowhere do I see room for “automated affidavit verification solutions” by undisclosed third-party vendors such as Visionet Systems, Inc.
[(CJ – A1-A3):
2. Servicer shall ensure that affidavits, sworn statements, and Declarations are based on personal knowledge, which may be based on the affiant’s review of Servicer’s books and records, in accordance with the evidentiary requirements of applicable state or federal law.
3. Servicer shall ensure that affidavits, sworn statements and Declarations executed by Servicer’s affiants are based on the affiant’s review and personal knowledge of the accuracy and completeness of the assertions in the affidavit, sworn statement or Declaration, set out facts that Servicer reasonably believes would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant is competent to testify on the matters stated. Affiants shall confirm that they have reviewed competent and reliable evidence to substantiate the borrower’s default and the right to foreclose, including the borrower’s loan status and required loan ownership information. If an affiant relies on a review of business records for the basis of its affidavit, the referenced business record shall be attached if required by applicable state or federal law or court rule. This provision does not apply to affidavits, sworn statements and Declarations signed by counsel based solely on counsel’s personal knowledge (such as affidavits of counsel relating to service of process, extensions of time, or fee petitions) that are not based on a review of Servicer’s books and records. Separate affidavits, sworn statements or Declarations shall be used when one affiant does not have requisite personal knowledge of all required information.
5. Servicer shall review and approve standardized forms of affidavits, standardized forms of sworn statements, and standardized forms of Declarations prepared by or signed by an employee or officer of Servicer, or executed by a third party using a power of attorney on behalf of Servicer, to ensure compliance with applicable law, rules, court procedure, and the terms of this Agreement (“the Agreement”).
6. Affidavits, sworn statements and Declarations shall accurately identify the name of the affiant, the entity of which the affiant is an employee, and the affiant’s title.
7. Servicer shall assess and ensure that it has an adequate number of employees and that employees have reasonable time to prepare, verify, and execute pleadings, POCs, motions for relief from stay (“MRS”), affidavits, sworn statements and Declarations.
10. Servicer shall not pay volume-based or other incentives to employees or third-party providers or trustees that encourage undue haste or lack of due diligence over quality.
11. Affiants shall be individuals, not entities, and affidavits, sworn statements and Declarations shall be signed by hand signature of the affiant (except for permitted electronic filings). For such documents, except for permitted electronic filings, signature stamps and any other means of electronic or mechanical signature are prohibited.
For more information see: http://visionetindia.com/sites/default/files/downloads/visiloanreview-services.pdf
Bill Paatalo – Private Investigator – OR PSID#49411
Filed under: foreclosure |