How to Choose a Forensic Report

If you stick to an objective statement of facts without presumptions, anyone can report and testify with credibility if they have backup. Once you cross the line into opinions the report is undermined as to bias, credibility and lack of foundation. Even if it is admitted into evidence the report will be given zero weight in deciding the case.

You undermine your defense if you are relying upon presumptions instead of actual facts or the absence of actual facts. Most presumptions used by homeowners are not persuasive.

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THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.

About Neil F Garfield, M.B.A., J.D.

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Starting with the tidal wave of foreclosures that hit our shores in 2007-present, a cottage industry emerged to help homeowners contest or negotiate with the pretender lender. Some were better than others. Many were at best a good faith failed attempt at understanding the claimed process of securitization, whose hallmark is complexity and obscurity.  In the words of an executive VP at Deutsch Bank, “it is all very counterintuitive.”

The job of the forensic reporter is to break down the facts so that the defense narrative is understandable and believable. Note that in most cases the defense narrative is going to rely on the absence of facts that should be present if the claims for foreclosure were based in fact. The object should be the production of a report that actually provides traction to the defense and not merely justification for the fee received.

  • RULE #1: If the report sticks to the facts and has an adequate presentation it can serve two purposes, to wit: (a) it provides a checklist of issues for an attorney or pro se litigant to know “what is on the menu” of potential defenses and (b) it might serve as evidence or corroboration of narratives pursued in court in creating and compelling discovery, filing and arguing motions and raising well timed objections at trial. If the preparer did fact checking and investigation, it is permissible to describe inconsistencies in the available evidence that need to be reconciled.
  • RULE #2: Anyone can write a report but few people can satisfy the burden of persuasion in court. Just because something is accepted into evidence or even admitted does not mean that it will be given any weight in the final decision. So if you are going to hire someone to review, investigate and report, that person should have a credible level of knowledge and access to data. Someone who has been through a foreclosure is neither credible nor lacking in credibility, but the other side will no doubt argue that the person had a bias against the banks. Certifications are not a substitute for experience. The greater the credentials the higher the credibility.
  • RULE #3: You are starting with bias against the homeowner. So you must focus on what will persuade the trier of fact (a judge in most cases) to rule in favor of the homeowner. To be persuasive means that the facts are presented without hypotheticals or conclusions that should be made by the judge. The presentation must gradually educate the judge as to how specifically in this case, the foreclosing party should not be allowed to continue. You don’t win by pointing out inconsistencies. You win by showing that the inconsistencies cannot be resolved even with the “help” of the robo-witness at trial.
  • RULE #4: “Everybody knows” is not a defense. If there is information available that might assist in showing that the documents are self-serving, then that might be the the jump-off point for undermining the credibility of the witness and the exhibit, but it needs to be much stronger to exclude the evidence altogether. If the foreclosing party has been the target of investigations, charges and settlement agreements based upon fabrication of documents, forgery and robosigning, that could be the jump-off point to argue that the foreclosing party must present its evidence without benefit of a legal presumption.
  • RULE #5: Wording is critically important. Describing the transaction as a loan or as an assignment basically admits that the description fits. At that point you might just as well pack up and go home. The forensic report should describe documents that have a title, and and then describe the contents and any inconsistencies or disparities. But calling the document an assignment or admitting that the loan was transferred, at least implies that there was a sale of the debt. If you check the documentation you will never see anything that refers to the sale of debt, because there was no sale of the debt.
  • RULE #6: Identify the salient points of the report in a memorandum in support of discovery or motions specifically citing to the page and position of the facts revealed in the report. If the report is for internal use only, attorney work-product etc., the use of bullet points in the report is preferable. Anything that takes less time of the attorney will save time and money. Thus if you want to assert forgery of a document the examiner would state that the signature on Document A appears to be inconsistent with the same person’s signature on Document B. THEN bring in a forensic document examiner who can give an opinion as to whether it is a forgery, back it up with demonstrative exhibits. AND remember, just because there isa  forged document doesn’t mean you win and they lose. You must persuasively argue that the forgery defeats their action.
  • RULE #7: CITATION TO CASE LAW IS LEGAL ARGUMENT — not a forensic report. But the presentation could report that as part of the instructions to the examiner, it has been assumed that X v Y case and Statute § ABC has been used as a reference point.

Here at livinglies and LENDINGLIES we are on our 12th iteration of a forensic report  for homeowners or their counsel. We call it the TERA for Title and Encumbrance Report and Analysis. It is the result of review and research by paralegals who are given instruction by me usually after I get together with the client in a short or long CONSULT.

I have long said that homeowners should stick with people who have or held licenses in professions that might affect the case. And while some people may have a professional license in a relevant field you should not make the mistake, based upon this article, of limiting the scope of work performed by them, just as you should not over-broaden the scope.

After many years of doing unrelenting research and investigation there are many people who have valuable insights that should be shared with the client. So if the forensic examiner says he notices a certain pattern of facts and that this same pattern was used in another case where the homeowner won, you should be listening even though the conclusion might be outside of his report and outside of his/her area of expertise. Note that the same fact pattern is often treated differently by different courts or even the same court.

In the TERA that we currently produce, our mission is to set forth the following elements:

  1. Sufficient information to assist the homeowner (or homeowner’s counsel) in deciding whether to fight, and if so, the toward what end.
  2. Identify the factual discrepancies.
  3. Identify areas for further investigation for discovery.
  4. Identify elements that support demands for discovery.
  5. Answer specifically worded questions posed by existing counsel or me.*
  6. Provide copies of all relevant documents as exhibits to the report.
  7. Identify subject for which a Case Analysis might be of assistance as in developing the specific narrative, strategies or tactics to pursue in the case and what to avoid.

In all cases we defer to local counsel. But with the right support and and guidance most attorneys develop specific knowledge and skills to win these cases. You don’t hear about all the cases won by homeowners because the banks pay for silence in the form of confidentiality agreements.

* EXAMPLE: It is wrong to phrase the question “Does US Bank have standing?” That calls for a legal conclusion that only the court can do. The question is better phrased “What factual evidence has been produced to support the assertion that US Bank has an interest in the subject loan?”

 

 

 

5 Responses

  1. I realize my post is not relevant to the topic of this thread, however, I would like inform all here that my so called substitute trustee di not file a response to our writ of Certiorari filed with the U.S.Supreme court regarding the rescission of our loan. I’m not surprised they waived their right to respond, since it would be a tough road to hoe to tell the 9 justices they were wrong when they unanimously ruled on Jesinoski. I think by waiving their right to respond increases our chances of success above 50-50.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anyone can write an affidavit also.Why is it that the courts are denying motion to strike affidavits?

    Like

  3. I also just figured this out…

    In addition, at the attempted refinancing of the underlying purchase loan with PinnFund, while the property was held in an Illinois Land Trust and not in Gregory”s name, the closing agent Title Services, Inc. and alleged lender New Century Mortgage Corporation did, by modifying the promissory note which did not name the Land Trust Trustee, after Gregory’s special indorsement, as pertains to promissory notes under the UCC 810 ILCS 5 et. seq. which serve as negotiable fungible currency in our economy; violated Illinois state law as they created forged currency, altered a document (currency), delivered a forged currency, and possessed a forged currency with intent to deliver and did deliver (via assignment or securitization with a third party) (720 ILCS 5/17-3(a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(3) (West 2012)).

    Like

  4. All securitization/chain of title/forensic loan audits are absolutely worthless. Mr.Garfield or anyone else can show where a homeowner has ever won a case using one of those audits. http://www.releasewire.com/press-releases/mortgage-fraud-examiners-warns-homeowners-to-beware-of-the-latest-foreclosure-rescue-scam-securitization-audits-682670.htm

    Like

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