Sheila Bair Had a Plan to Make Banks Pay for Dishonest Dealing Causing the 2008 Crash

Sheila Bair (ex FDIC Chairwoman) has always understood. She was fired for understanding. It’s hard to understand that the TBTF banks were NOT speculating and never lost any money. Harder still to understand how they stole trillions of dollars from the US economy. And finally harder still to understand how “lenders” could cause a crash.

It’s really quite simple. Usually prices and values are within the same range. Fair market value has always been closely related to the ability of people to pay for housing — i.e., household income. Prices rise when demand becomes high OR, and this is the big one, when the big banks flood the market with money.

Like the 2008 crisis if you look at the Case Schiller Index, you will see that prices went through the roof by unprecedented increases while fair market value was flatlined. The crash was thoroughly predictable and was predicted on these pages and by many other economists and financial analysts.

For more than two decades, maybe three, the housing market has been floating on a sea of unsustainable debt because the investment banks became the “source” of funds in a marketplace where their principal objective was movement of money instead of management of risk. That is because investment banks do that while commercial banks and other lenders don’t — unless they are paid to act as though they are the lender in a transaction where they have no risk. Then they will advertise to people with low FICO scores and anyone else whose loan is likely to fail. They bet on the failure of the loan and the collapse of certificates issued as derivatives.

Let us help you plan for trial and draft your foreclosure defense strategy, discovery requests and defense narrative: 202-838-6345. Ask for a Consult.

I provide advice and consent to many people and lawyers so they can spot the key elements of a scam. If you have a deal you want skimmed for red flags order the Consult and fill out the REGISTRATION FORM. A few hundred dollars well spent is worth a lifetime of financial ruin.

PLEASE FILL OUT AND SUBMIT OUR FREE REGISTRATION FORM WITHOUT ANY OBLIGATION. OUR PRIVACY POLICY IS THAT WE DON’T USE THE FORM EXCEPT TO SPEAK WITH YOU OR PERFORM WORK FOR YOU. THE INFORMATION ON THE FORMS ARE NOT SOLD NOR LICENSED IN ANY MANNER, SHAPE OR FORM. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Get a Consult and TERA (Title & Encumbrances Analysis and & Report) 202-838-6345. The TEAR replaces and greatly enhances the former COTA (Chain of Title Analysis, including a one page summary of Title History and Gaps).

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

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Hat tip Greg da Goose

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-does-wells-fargo-still-exist_us_5b80148ee4b0729515126185

From Huffington Post:

“Wells Fargo may not even be the worst big bank out there. Citigroup, another merger monstrosity, is so poorly pieced together that today, Wall Street investors don’t even believe the bank is worth its liquidation price. JPMorgan Chase has notched 52 fines and settlements since the crash. Goldman Sachs has 16, three of them this year.

In a revealing interview with New York Magazine earlier this month, former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair said she wished regulators had broken up a bank after the crisis, probably Citigroup. [Editor’s note: Obama initially gave that order but Tim Geithner refused]. Forcing at least one institution to pay the ultimate corporate price would have put pressure on other major firms to clean up their acts.

Both the Bush and Obama administrations rejected Bair’s plan. And so today, the American banking system ― rescued by taxpayers a decade ago to protect the economy ― has transformed into a very large, very profitable criminal syndicate.”

So I ask the question again: “Why are foreclosure defense lawyers not more aggressive about challenging legal presumptions upon which the banks and judges rely?”
Legal presumptions are ONLY supposed to be used in cases where (1) the source of the document or testimony is credible and has no interest in the outcome of the litigation and (2) it serves “judicial economy.”
The banks have been publicly humiliated for acting like thieves, liars, fabricators, and the source of sophisticated mechanical forgeries. Neither they nor their puppet “servicers” are entitled to a presumption of anything. If they want to proffer a fact, make them prove it. These people are so not credible that we regularly talk about robosigners, robowitnesses and other people who are hired to say or write something about which they have no knowledge or understanding. Where is the credibility in that?
And equally where is the judicial economy? In all cases where the presumptions are used and the homeowner contests the foreclosure it would take FAR LESS time for the so-called lender to prove its case with actual facts (not presumed facts) than to spend years changing servicers, changing recorded documents, changing Power of Attorney, etc.
Where is the prejudice?  If the Defense raises issues as to the standing and facts alleged in the complaint or initiation of foreclosure proceedings, then the obvious answer is to have the “lender” prove their case with real facts in the real world that do not rely upon jsut testimony from robowitnesses or documents that have been robosigned.

Losing Strategy: “Getting it on the Record”

I know I am going to take some heat for what I am about to say. In my opinion “getting it on the record” is an excuse for losing and implies that the judge’s decision was wrong and can be appealed when in fact the judge’s decision was correct and will be easily affirmed on appeal.

Clients and lawyers and others frequently ask me to “review” something they have written. Below you will find my usual responses. The main trap door that losing homeowners fall through is that they bury their own argument in an attempt to litigate the entire case (i.e., to get it on the record, AGAIN) on each and every filing they submit to the court.

Let us help you plan your foreclosure defense strategy, discovery requests and defense narrative: 202-838-6345. Ask for a Consult.

Purchase now Neil Garfield’s Mastering Discovery and Evidence in Foreclosure Defense webinar including 3.5 hours of lecture, questions and answers, plus course materials that include PowerPoint Presentations. Presenters: Attorney and Expert Neil Garfield, Forensic Auditor Dan Edstrom, Attorney Charles Marshall and and Private Investigator Bill Paatalo. The webinar and materials are all downloadable.

Get a Consult and TEAR (Title & Encumbrances Analysis and & Report) 202-838-6345. The TEAR replaces and greatly enhances the former COTA (Chain of Title Analysis, including a one page summary of Title History and Gaps).

https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments. It’s better than calling!

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

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Here is my reply to most people whether they professionals or lay people.

The only caveat to this is that I personally know of many excellent legal writers “out there” for whom this article does not apply. They understand that the goal is to win in litigation and that means victory in as many points in the timeline of motions and discovery as is possible. You don’t win without that.

The second caveat is that persuasion and credibility are two sides of the same coin. You gain nothing by tossing out allegations that you can never prove and that are not backed up with foundation and corroboration. Practices like that lead to stuffing pleadings with irrelevant gibberish which might be true, but will dilute the good arguments and will never be considered, much less allowed into evidence.

Here are some of my common replies, shortly before they ask what it will cost for me to rewrite the pleading or memorandum.

In my opinion this needs to be rewritten, it needs to be much shorter and it must focus in on a small number of bullet points. The first points must catch the attention of the judge since it is unlikely that the judge will read beyond page 2.A “Reply” should be exactly that, to wit: something that answers the objection filed by or on behalf of ABC. While components of a reply are present they are buried under what is largely re-litigating the entire case.
Your point about all defendants being represented by the same attorney is well-taken. Do something with that, don’t just say it. Perhaps you could float an argument like “Opposing counsel seeks to invoke alter ego status on the one hand in order to invoke res judicata and on the other hand wants us to believe that ABC is a separate and independent entity with no connections to the alleged violations of law asserted by Plaintiff.
Under either scenario the baseline narrative is completely dependent upon a chain of ownership of the debt that is neither asserted nor substantiated by any foundation or documentary exhibits or evidence. In a sleight of hand maneuver, Defendants instead want us to focus on the note or mortgage (deed of trust), which at best are only paper instruments supposedly memorializing a transaction that is neither asserted nor in existence.
Thus they argue a false equivalency between the debt and the note despite no allegation nor proof that the note accurately memorialized a financial transaction in the real world between maker and payee on the note. They neither allege nor argue the merger doctrine in which the debt is absorbed into the note. This would force them to prove the money trail which nobody in the shoddy history of false claims of securitization is ever willing to allege or even provide a response.
“Getting it into the record” is not a trial strategy. It is a losing strategy both at the trial level and appellate level. That is because the goal is wrong. The goal is really to win, which can be and has been done in tens of thousands of cases. Getting something into the record is a euphemism for negligence, because it means that it is a data dump rather than a compelling narrative designed to persuade the trier of fact. Data dumps are virtually ignored by judges, just as you would if you were sitting on the bench.
“Defendant Counsel’s “Representation” of all defendants, each with supposedly different interests is at odds with his grouping of all the defendants together — ignoring the fact that if the case is decided against one of them it might be applied to them all. Do all the Defendants consent to this representation? Or, as alleged by Plaintiff, are they all sham conduits working for a fee in a common enterprise to create the illusion of an interest in ownership, servicing and transfers of the recorded encumbrance? Does one of them own the debt or are any of the defendants in privity with the owner of the debt?

Tonight! How to Defend Against a Claim of “Holder” Status to Discredit Standing

“Holder” vs “Agency”

Thursdays LIVE! Click in to the The Neil Garfield Show

Or call in at (347) 850-1260, 6pm Eastern Thursdays

Tonight I will discuss the central point of of false claims of authority to enforce the note, and inferentially the authority to enforce the mortgage.

In 2008, I called to confront a lawyer about the false claim of being authorized to enforce the note and mortgage, his reply to all my questions was “We’re a holder.”

No matter what I said or asked, that was his answer. He was relying upon a carefully thought out strategy of taking the term “holder” and stretching it to unimaginable lengths. And in that conversation it became clear that he — and the rest of the investment banking industry — were essentially “banking” on a single fact, to wit: that Judges are lawyers who went to law school and for the most part slept through classes on negotiable instruments. He was right.

RESCISSION: Reviewing Wells Fargo v Frazee, NJ App.

At what point does a final decision of SCOTUS actually mean anything? When confronted with TILA rescission, virtually all lower courts, state and federal, have taken up legislating from the bench, essentially over-ruling the Supreme Court of the United States (literally legally impossible).

Agree or disagree — everyone has that right. But to obey or not obey a SCOTUS decision attacks the foundation of our democratic and judicial institutions and makes the U.S. Constitution into a optional guide to the universe of disputes, delegating the real power to lower courts and removing the power and finality of SCOTUS as delineated in our Constitution.

Opinions like the one reviewed in this article are thus both irrelevant and irreverent — unless we amend or abandon our Constitution as the highest law of the land.

see Wells Fargo v Frazee

This case is just another example of a judicial tantrum defying the ultimate authority of SCOTUS. Unless the Supreme Court itself reverses the Jesinoski decision, it is quite obvious what the next SCOTUS decision is likely to be on the issue of TILA (Truth in Lending Act) rescission 15 USC §1635. Here is what I expect and hope for:

  1. Any court entering a decision or opinion after a notice of notice of TILA Rescission has been delivered must vacate such orders and must dismiss any pending foreclosure.
  2. Failure to dismiss the foreclosure is acting ultra vires — outside their authority.
  3. Dismissal of foreclosure is mandatory inasmuch as notice of TILA rescission removes the operative documents — note and mortgage — from consideration, rendering them void, by operation of law.
  4. As to all prior decisions, judgments and orders that ignored TILA rescission, all such decisions are void, the title consequences of which are left to state legislatures to decide, so long as the Federal Statute is obeyed and the law does not nullify the effect of delivery of a notice of TILA rescission.
  5. Any claims to vacate the effect of the TILA Rescission must be brought within one year from date of delivery.
  6. Neither tender nor a lawsuit is required for TILA rescission to become effective. An Aggrieved party with standing has adequate remedies at law to vacate a notice of TILA rescission, that must be raised as a new claim for relief from TILA rescission  based upon the pleading that the homeowner was wrong in sending the notice.
  7. TILA Rescission is an event, not a claim that a trial or appellate court can grant or deny. The legislature (Congress) has already granted the remedy. As stated in the Jesinoski SCOTUS decision, the statute is clear and unambiguous on its face, thus barring interpretation by a court. That is the difference between the rule of law vs. the rule of man.
  8. The Courts may neither overrule legislative action nor overrule a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. Legislative action may not be overruled by a court unless there are clear violations of constitutional provisions and restrictions.

It’s possible that we will see the above menu in more than one decision from SCOTUS. The essential focus is going to be this: The rule, as stated repeatedly over decades by SCOTUS in admonishments to lower trial and appellate courts is that if it isn’t broken you can’t “fix” it to suit your personal views. 

Now we turn to the unlawful, ultra vires decision of the Superior Court of New Jersey, appellate division in Frazee (See link above).

The Court starts its analysis on page 6.

The opinion of the court is that Wells Fargo had standing because of its possession of the note and mortgage. But the note and mortgage are and were void at the time of this decision. So there is no standing to enforce except by the actual creditor, i.e., the owner of the debt.

This court recognized a potential “issue” (invented by the court, in opposition to the final decision that no court has any authority to interpret the TILA rescission statute). So it creates its own quagmire and falls deeper and deeper into trouble.

The panel obviously recognized that there could be no standing for Wells Fargo unless the TILA rescission could somehow be ignored without a claim to vacate the rescission from a party who owned the debt where the claim was that the rescission was unwarranted because all necessary disclosures had been made.

Diving right in this appellate court immediately misquotes and totally ignores the 2015 Jesinoski decision. It is only by mangling both the statute and the SCOTUS decision that this court can arrive at its predetermined destination. It intentionally misstates the law and effect of Jesinoski. If TILA Rescission was not effective without tender, there would be no TILA rescission.

The whole purpose and methodology of the statutory procedure was to first void the loan contract, second void the encumbrance by operation of law, third void the note, thus allowing the borrower to obtain refinancing from another institution. The key points of the Truth in Lending Act were (1) make certain the borrower knew who he/she was dealing with and (2) make certain the borrower had a fighting chance of understanding the enormously complex loan products being sold, dating back to the 1960’s when TILA was first passed.

In order to be certain these two disclosures were made, Congress had a choice. They could either greatly enlarge an existing agency to enforce these goals, laws and rules, or they could create a new administrative agency. Neither of those choices were remotely acceptable by most legislators. So they agreed on a plan that would force the banks to comply with TILA with consequences so horrendous that no bank in their right mind would transgress.

Enter TILA Rescission. By putting enormous power in the hands of borrowers that shifted the entire burden of pleading and proof to the banks it was thought that banks would comply. The statute provides for an order of things (a statutory scheme not unlike nonjudicial foreclosure) after notice of rescission is delivered. Like nonjudicial foreclosures it is a form of extrajudicial relief for homeowners who believe they were not protected at closing.

Within 20 days they must either comply or seek relief from a court of competent jurisdiction. The statute was designed to completely bar stonewalling. But like any law, if nobody enforces it, the statute does not enforce compliance with the two main goals of disclosure requirements — the identity of the lender and the breakdown of the main characteristics of the proposed loan.

Failing to seek relief puts them in violation of the statute, and enables a borrower to sue to enforce the three statutory duties under TILA rescission: return of the cancelled note, release of encumbrance and return of moneys paid by the borrower. If the borrower does not bring such suit within 1 year he/she loses the right to enforce compliance with those three duties.

THIS DOES NOT CHANGE THE EFFECT OF RESCISSION. THE MORTGAGE AND NOTE ARE STILL VOID BY OPERATION OF LAW.

If the bank does not comply with the three statutory TILA duties the bank has no right to demand tender or any relief. If the banks fails to comply within the same one year, they lose the right to demand the money under any scenario. The court goes off the tracks when it states

“nothing in the Supreme Court’s opinion . . .would override TILA’s tender requirement”. Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 196 F. Supp. 3d 956, 962 (D. Minn. 2016), aff’d, Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., No. 16- 3385, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 4974 (8th Cir. Feb. 28, 2018).

 

That statement on its face is true. But ignores the content of TILA’s tender requirement. It only arises AFTER the “lender” fulfills the three statutory duties.

That is what Congress wrote. That is what they meant. And that was the substitute for an unwieldy bureaucracy.

The court confirms the content of the statute but repeats the tender “error” when it says

With regard to an alleged TILA violation, it is not enough to seek rescission and stop paying the mortgage to gain ownership of the home outright. Defendants argue they own the home outright because Wells Fargo failed to respond to the rescission notice within twenty days. Although failure to respond to a rescission notice within twenty days would constitute another TILA violation, TILA also explicitly states that if a “creditor does not take possession of the property within 20 days after tender by the obligor, ownership of the property vests in the obligor without obligation on his [or her] part to pay for it.” 15 U.S.C. § 1635(b) (emphasis added).

The problem here is the term “own the home outright.” That’s another way of repeating the myth about the “free house.” More importantly it is contradicting the express wording and purpose of the statute — to force banks to comply with TILA disclosure requirements. The ultra vires interpretation of this court, like so many others, gives the banks a way out without ever being penalized for their lack of proper disclosure.

NOTE: THIS DOES NOT CREATE A FREE HOUSE. If the parties seeking foreclosures were not creditors, the actual creditor can still bring an action for legal and equitable relief. But in order to do so, they would need to show that the parties seeking relief were not in any way authorized to do so by the real creditor.

But the court nevertheless faults the homeowner for not tendering even though tender was not due.

 

The erroneous nature of the court’s decision becomes crystal clear when it says

Additionally, Jesinoski did not overturn Third Circuit precedent that “a notice of rescission is not effective if the obligor lacks either the intention or the ability to perform, i.e., repay the loan.” Sherzer v. Homestar Mortg. Servs., 707

F.3d 255, 265 n.7 (3d Cir. 2013). Jesinoski also did not take away a court’s discretion to modify the rescission procedures. See 15 U.S.C. § 1635(b) (stating that the rescission “procedures prescribed by this subsection shall apply except when otherwise ordered by a court”) (emphasis added); see also 12 C.F.R. 226.23(d)(4) (stating that the rescission “procedures outlined in paragraphs (d)(2) and (3) of [§ 226.23] may be modified by court order”) (emphasis added).

It is quoting yet another court who has put blinders on and is disregarding the intentionally punitive aspect of TILA rescission. In most cases the homeowner cannot perform unless the “lender” gives up the note and mortgage and returns money paid under the canceled loan contract. The homeowner can ONLY perform if the deck is cleared for them to get a new loan from a new lender and to apply the proceeds of disgorgement required by the statute.

And to add insult to injury the court is putting yet another constraint on the borrower that TILA does not mention, to wit: the intention of the borrower to perform (tender). Forget the logistics of “intention” which is ridiculous — any such requirement places TILA rescission in the position of a claim instead of the event that the statute says has occurred by operation of law at the moment of delivery of the note of rescission. In direct contradiction to the TILA rescission statute (and SCOTUS in Jesinoski), this requires the borrower to submit to a trial before the rescission is effective.

The bottom line is that it appears that all courts are only interested in treating rescission under common law in which the rescission would only be effective upon a court order after a trial. The fact that the TILA Rescission statute clearly and unquivocably says otherwise won’t stop them, because they have prejudged the case as presenting a choice to the courts that can only be made by the legislature — who pays the price for violation of disclosure requirements under the Truth in Lending Act.

 

NJ Court: Possession of note + mortgage assignment is prerequisite to foreclosure

Pretender lenders are going to cite this case as support for the idea that the note and mortgage can be separated and that either one can be the basis of a successful foreclosure. They will rely on the “exception” implied in the court decision wherein the owner of the note has an agency relationship with the servicer who is the foreclosing party.

In this case Freddie Mac clearly possessed the note, although there was no evidence cited that Freddie Mac had actually purchased it. That was presumed in this case. The purchase of the note was not an issue on appeal.

Freddie Mac had made it clear in public announcements that foreclosures should be in the name of servicers. So the possession of one part of the paperwork by the agent and the other by the principal are joined as a single unit.

This decision was correct in ruling against the homeowner, given the issues before it. The homeowner was attempting to make a technical distinction contrary to the facts and contrary to law. The issue brought on appeal was whether Freddie Mac was the only party with standing to foreclose. I would say that shouldn’t have been the issue. Both Freddie Mac and Capital One had standing depending upon who asserted it. Either one could have foreclosed.

Any party may foreclose in its own name or through an agent with authority to do so — if they otherwise plead and prove their status as holder in due course, or holder, or non-holder with rights to enforce. The issue on appeal was a non-starter.

Despite the article, there is no exception here. This New Jersey court simply followed the law.

see Court-says-note-and-mortgage-assignment-both-prerequisites-to-foreclosure-but-makes-an-exception/

see case decision: Peck adv Capital One

The difference between this case and most other cases is that in this case there appears to be a tacit admission that Freddie Mac, as possessor of the note, was a holder or non-holder with rights to enforce because they had purchased the note. It is assumed in this case that Freddie was the actual owner of the debt.

The key differences between this case and most other cases are as follows:

  1. The “principal” in this case has been identified and assumed to be the owner of the debt.
  2. The “agent” in this case, Capital One, is a servicer whose authority to act as agent was not contested.

What is missing is whether Freddie Mac actually purchased the debt or the note and whether Freddie Mac still owned anything at all. Purchase of the note does not mean purchase of the debt if the debt is owned by someone other than the seller of the note. It is well settled law that only the owner of the debt can foreclose. But even if a purchase transaction did in fact take place, the question remains as to whether the interest of Freddie Mac was sold back to some private label REMIC Trust or some other third party such as the seller who may have given warranties as tot he performance of loans.

But if the note was purchased in good faith and without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses, if any, then the purchaser of the note increases their status to holder in due course where there are no defenses even if the preceding origination or transfers had defects.

On the other hand, if the seller of the note did not own the note, then the purchase by Freddie would be nullity. This is also well settled law. A seller of an interest that is nonexistent or in which the seller has no interest, cannot create the interest by selling it. This is the basic problem with “originations” and most “transfers” by endorsement or assignment. In such circumstances the buyer would be a possessor without rights to enforce unless the owner of the debt was in privity with the buyer of the note. The buyer would have a potential claim against the seller, but not the maker of the note.

In such circumstances, the owner of the debt or the true owner of the note would be able to file a claim against the maker and the buyer of the note, explaining how the possession of the note was lost and pleading (and proving) ownership of the debt.

NOTE THAT THERE IS A DEEPER ISSUE PRESENT. But it probably won’t get you any traction despite the clear basis in law and fact. Freddie Mac may or may not have actually made a purchase of the subject loan. If they didn’t then asserting them as the owner of the note might be OK for pleading, but the case ought to fail at trial — if the homeowner denies that they are the owner of the note.  

If it paid in money, then to whom was payment sent? This is different than who claimed ownership of the note and mortgage. More often than not the money trail is NOT the same as the paper trail.

Note that many transactions occurred in which the “Mortgage Loan Schedule” was incomplete or nonexistent at the time of the purported sale. The identity of the seller in such purported transactions is also obscured by clever wording.

If they paid using RMBS certificates, then things get more interesting. Because the RMBS certificates were in all probability worthless. Hence there would a failure of consideration and Freddie Mac could not claim to be a purchaser for value. The vast majority of RMBS were sold under the false pretense that they were “backed” my residential mortgages. The issuer of the certificates is asserted to be a named trust. But if the trust never came into ownership of the alleged mortgage loans, then the RMBS certificates were backed by nothing at all.

Not to draw too fine a point here, it is still possible that Freddie could be considered a purchaser for value even if the RMBS certificates appeared to be worthless. That is because in the  shadow banking marketplace, such certificates and the synthetic derivatives deriving their purported value from the purported value of the certificates nevertheless take on a life of their own. Even if they have no fundamental value they may well have a trading value that far exceeds anything that is fundamental to the certificates (i.e.m, zero).

Punitive Damages for Violations of Automatic Stay in Bankruptcy §362

Since 2008 I have called out bankruptcy practitioners for their lack of interest in false claims of securitization. The impact on the bankruptcy estate is usually enormous. But without aggressive education of the presiding judge the case will not only go as planned by the banks, it will also lock in the homeowner to “admissions” in bankruptcy schedules and orders that lead to a false conclusion of fact.

Where a pretender lender ignores the automatic stay Bankruptcy judges are and should be very harsh in their penalty. The stay is the bulwark of consumer protection under bankruptcy proceedings which are specifically enabled by the U.S. Constitution. Hence it is as important as free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion and the right to keep and bear arms.

The attached article shown in the link below gives the practitioner a running start on holding the violator responsible and in giving the homeowner a path to punitive damages, given the corrupt nature of the mortgages and foreclosures that arose during the great mortgage meltdown.

This might be the place where a hearing on evidence is conducted as to the true nature of the forecloser and a place where the petitioner/homeowner will be given far greater latitude in discovery to reveal the emptiness behind the presumptions that the foreclosing “party” exists at all or to show that it never acquired the debt but seeks instead to enforce fabricated paper.

Remember that in cases involving securitization claims or which are based upon apparent securitization patterns the named “Trustee” is not the party in interest. The party is the named “Trust.” If the Trust doesn’t exist it doesn’t matter if the Pope is named as the Trustee, there still is no existing party seeking relief from the Court.

see Eviction Can Lead to Sanctions Including Punitive Damages for Violation of Automatic Stay

The challenge here is that most bankruptcy lawyers are not well equipped for litigation. So it is advised that a litigator be introduced into the case to plead and prove the case for sanctions, if the situation arises in which a violation of stay has occurred or if there is an adversary proceeding seeking to prevent the pretender lender from acting on its false claims.

Most of the litigation in bankruptcy court has simply been directed at motions to lift the automatic stay. In such motions, the petitioner is merely saying we want to litigate this in state court. The burden of proof is as light as a puff of smoke. If the court finds any colorable interest in the alleged loan, it will ordinarily grant the motion to lift stay — as it must under the existing rules. Homeowners in bankruptcy find it a virtually impossible uphill climb to defend because they are required to have evidence only in possession of the opposing party who also might not have the information needed to prove the lack of any colorable interest.

But the lifting of the stay applies to the litigation concerning foreclosure. It does not necessarily extend to the eviction or unlawful detainer that occurs afterwards. And where the stay has not been lifted the pretender lender is out of luck because there is no excuse for ignoring the automatic stay.

So further action by the foreclosing party is probably a violation of the automatic stay. And in certain cases the court might apply punitive damages on top of consequential damages, if any. The inability to prove actual damages is relatively unimportant unless the homeowner has such damages. It is the violation of the automatic stay that is paramount.

The article below starts with a premise that the “creditor” has received notice of the BKR and ignored it — sometimes willfully and arrogantly.

Here are some notable quotes from this well-written article by Carlos J. Cuevas.

The imposition of punitive damages for egregious violations of the automatic stay is vital to the function of the consumer bankruptcy system. Most consumer debtors cannot afford to pay their attorneys to prosecute an automatic stay violation. The enforcement of the automatic stay is predicated upon major financial institutions observing the automatic stay.

If there is a doubt as to the applicability of the automatic stay, then a creditor can obtain a comfort order as to the applicability of the automatic stay, or obtain relief from the automatic stay from the Bankruptcy Court.

“Parties may not make their own private determination of the scope of the automatic stay without consequence.”

What would be sufficient to deter one creditor may not even be sufficient to gain notice from another. Punitive damages must be tailored not only based upon the egregiousness of the violation, but also based upon the particular creditor in violation.

In determining whether to impose punitive damages under Bankruptcy Code Section 362(k), several bankruptcy courts have identified five factors to guide their decision. They are the nature of the creditor’s conduct, the creditor’s ability to pay, the motives of the creditor, any provocation by the debtor, and the creditor’s level of sophistication: In re Jean-Francois, 532 B.R. 449, 459 (Bankr. E.D.N.Y. 2015).

The fact that Church Avenue pursued the eviction more than a week after it learned of the debtor’s bankruptcy suggests that Church Avenue either made its own—incorrect—legal conclusion with respect to whether the eviction would be a stay violation, or decided that moving ahead to empty the building quickly and evict the occupants was worth more to it than the risk associated with defending a future § 362(k) motion.

when a creditor acts in arrogant defiance of the automatic stay it is circumventing the authority of the bankruptcy judge to exercise authority over that particular bankruptcy case. A bankruptcy judge is the only entity vested with the authority to determine whether the automatic stay should be lifted.

Egregious violations of the automatic stay can be deleterious to a consumer bankruptcy debtor. For example, a creditor who refuses to return a repossessed vehicle after the commencement of a bankruptcy case can create a significant hardship for a consumer debtor. A debtor whose vehicle has been repossessed may not be able to rent a substitute vehicle. This can create a significant hardship for a debtor who has to commute to work, who has to transport a child to school, or who is a caregiver for a sick relative.

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?”

 

 

 

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