NEW LOAN CLOSINGS — BEWARE!!!— NonJudicial Deeds of Trust Slipped into New Mortgage Closings in Judicial States

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EDITOR’S NOTE: It is no secret that the Bank’s have a MUCH easier time foreclosing on property in states that have set up non-judicial foreclosure. Banks like Bank of America set up their own “Substitute Trustee” (“RECONTRUST”) — the first filing before the foreclosure commences. In this “Substitution of Trustee” Bank of America declares itself to be the new beneficiary or acting on behalf of the new beneficiary without any court or agency verification of that claim. So in essence BOA is naming itself as both the new beneficiary (mortgagee) and the “Trustee” which is the only protection that the homeowner (“Trustor”). This is a blatant violation of the intent of the the laws of any state allowing nonjudicial foreclosure.
The Trustee is supposed to serve as the objective intermediary between the borrower and the lender. Where a non-lender issues a self serving statement that it is the beneficiary and the the borrower contests the “Substitution of Trustee” the OLD trustee is, in my opinion, obligated to file an interpleader action stating that it has competing claims, it has no interest in the outcome and it wants attorneys fees and costs. That leaves the new “beneficiary” and the borrower to fight it out under the requirements of due process. An Immediate TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) should be issued against the “new” Trustee and the “new” beneficiary from taking any further action in foreclosure when the borrower denies that the substitution of trustee was a valid instrument (based in part on the fact that the “beneficiary” who appointed the “substitute trustee” is not the true beneficiary. This SHOULD require the Bank to prove up its case in the old style, but it is often misapplied in procedure putting the burden on the borrower to prove facts that only the bank has in its care, custody and control. And THAT is where very aggressive litigation to obtain discovery is so important.
If the purpose of the legislation was to allow a foreclosing party to succeed in foreclosure when it could not succeed in a judicial proceeding, then the provision would be struck down as an unconstitutional deprivation of due process and other civil rights. But the rationale of each of the majority states that have adopted this infrastructure was to create a clerical system for what had been a clerical function for decades — where most foreclosures were uncontested and the use of Judges, Clerks of the Court and other parts of the judicial system was basically a waste of time. And practically everyone agreed.
There are two developments to report on this. First the U.S. Supreme Court turned down an appeal from Bank of America who was using Recontrust in Utah foreclosures and was asserting that Texas law must be used to enforce Utah foreclosures because Texas was allegedly the headquarters of Recontrust. So what they were trying to do, and failed, was to apply the highly restrictive laws of Texas with a tiny window of opportunity to contest the foreclosure in the State of Utah that had laws that protected consumers far better than Texas. The Texas courts refused to apply that doctrine and the U.S. Supreme court refused to even hear it. see WATCH OUT! THE BANKS ARE STILL COMING!
But a more sinister version of the shell game is being played out in new closings across the country — borrowers are being given a “Deed of Trust” instead of a mortgage in judicial states in order to circumvent the laws of that state. By fiat the banks are creating a “contract” in which the borrower agrees that if the “beneficiary” tells the Trustee on the deed of trust that the borrower did not pay, the borrower has already agreed by contract to allow the forced sale of the property. See article below. As usual borrowers are told NOT to hire an attorney for closing because “he can’t change anything anyway.” Not true. And the Borrower’s ignorance of the difference between a mortgage and a deed of trust is once again being used against the homeowners in ways that are undetected until long after the statute of limitations has apparently run out on making a claim against the loan originator.
Foreclosure News: Who Gets to Decide Whether a State is a Judicial Foreclosure State or a Non-Judicial Foreclosure State, Legislatures or the Mortgage Industry?

posted by Nathalie Martin
Apparently some mortgage lenders feel they can make this change unilaterally. Big changes are afoot in the process of granting a home mortgage, which could have a significant impact on a homeowner’s ability to fight foreclosure. In many states in the Unites States (including but not limited to Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin), a lender must go to court and give the borrower a certain amount of notice before foreclosing on his or her home. Now the mortgage industry is quickly and quietly trying to change this, hoping no one will notice. The goal seems to be to avoid those annoying court processes and go right for the home without foreclosure procedures. This change is being attempted by some lenders simply by asking borrowers to sign deeds of trust rather than mortgages from now on.
Not long ago, Karen Myers, the head of the Consumer Protection Division of the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, started noticing that some consumers were being given deeds of trust to sign rather than mortgages when obtaining a home loan. She wondered why this was being done and also how this change would affect consumers’ rights in foreclosure. When she asked lenders how this change in the instrument being signed would affect a consumer’s legal rights, she was told that the practice of having consumers sign deeds of trust rather than mortgages would not affect consumers’ rights in foreclosure at all. Being skeptical, she and others in her division dug further into this newfound practice to see if it was widespread or just a rare occurrence in the world of mortgage lending. Sure enough, mortgages had all but disappeared, being replaced with a deed of trust.
As a general matter, depending on the law in a state, a deed of trust can be foreclosed without a court’s involvement or any oversight at all. More specifically, the differences between judicial and non-judicial foreclosures are explained here in the four page document generated by the Mortgage Bankers’ Association. It is not totally clear whether this change will affect the legal rights of borrowers in all judicial foreclosure states, but AGs around the country should start looking into this question. Lenders here in New Mexico insist that this change in practice will not affect substantive rights but if not, why the change? The legal framework is vague and described briefly here.
Eleven lenders in New Mexico have been notified by the AG’s Office to stop marketing products as mortgages when, in fact, they are deeds of trust, according to Meyers and fellow Assistant Attorney General David Kramer. As a letter to lenders says: “It is apparent … that the wholesale use of deeds of trusts in lieu of mortgage instruments to secure home loans is intended to modify and abrogate the protections afforded a homeowner by the judicial foreclosure process and the [New Mexico] Home Loan Protection Act.”

Donald Duck Loans: Void Note, Void Mortgage and Recovery of all payments made by borrower in REVERSE FORECLOSURE

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see 18th Judicial Circuit BOA v Nash VOID mortgage Void Note Reverse Judgement for Payments made to non-existent entity

When I said that lawyers should be counterclaiming for unlawful collection of payments by the servicer and related parties back in 2008, most people simply thought I was nuts and others were more generously skeptical. Everyone said “show me a case” which of course I could not because this scheme had never been played before and it has taken 7 years for courts to piece it together.

In the case we will discuss tonight briefly as I take more time to answer questions from the audience, we will see how the senior Judge in Seminole County carefully detailed the events and documents and concluded that the foreclosure was a farce — but more than that, the mortgage and note were a farce and declared them void. In addition, the Judge not only entered judgment for the homeowner on the issue of foreclosure but also granted a money judgment FOR THE BORROWER AGAINST BANK OF AMERICA for all payments made to Bank of America as successor or formerly known as Countrywide formerly known, but not registered or incorporated as America’s Wholesale Lender — which did not exist.

The conclusion of the Judge is that if the entity named on the note or mortgage does not exist, then neither does the note or mortgage. And any payments squeezed out of unwary borrowers are due back to the borrower because he might need them some day if someone actually makes a claim that is true. Thus at common law we have the very same remedy that was intended by the Truth in Lending Act under the right of rescission.

Hence the upcoming US Supreme Court decision probably doesn’t matter all that much although they should affirm the express wording of the statute even if they think the homeowner is getting a windfall. That is an erroneous assumption against the borrower — just as erroneous as assuming the loan documents were ever valid.

Sorry to be so immature, but I TOLD YOU SO!!!

Now when bankruptcy lawyers and foreclosure defense lawyers are preparing their pleadings and schedules they best look at whether there is an actual loan from an actual entity at the base of the chain relied upon by the foreclosing party.

Powers of Attorney — New Documents Magically Appear

For more information on foreclosure offense, expert witness consultations and foreclosure defense please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688. We offer litigation support in all 50 states to attorneys. We refer new clients without a referral fee or co-counsel fee unless we are retained for litigation support. Bankruptcy lawyers take note: Don’t be too quick admit the loan exists nor that a default occurred and especially don’t admit the loan is secured. FREE INFORMATION, ARTICLES AND FORMS CAN BE FOUND ON LEFT SIDE OF THE BLOG. Consultations available by appointment in person, by Skype and by phone.


BONY/Mellon is among those who are attempting to use a Power of Attorney (POA) that they say proves their ownership of the note and mortgage. In No way does it prove ownership. But it almost forces the reader to assume ownership. But it is not entitled to a presumption of any kind. This is a document prepared for use in litigation and in no way is part of normal business records. They should be required to prove every word and every exhibit. The ONLY thing that would prove ownership is proof of payment. If they owned it they would be claiming HDC status. Not only doesn’t it PROVE ownership, it doesn’t even recite or warrant ownership, indemnification etc. It is a crazy document in substance but facially appealing even though it doesn’t really say anything.

The entire POA is hearsay, lacks foundation, and is irrelevant without the proper foundation be laid by the proponent of the document. I do not think it can be introduced as a business records exception since such documents are not normally created in the ordinary course of business especially with such wide sweeping powers that make no sense — unless you recognize that they are dealing with worthless paper that they are trying desperately to make valuable.

They should have given you a copy of the settlement agreement referred to in the POA and they should have identified the original PSA that is referred to in the settlement agreement. Those are the foundation documents because the POA says that the terms used are defined in the PSA, Settlement agreement or both. I want all documents that are incorporated by reference in the POA.

If you have asked whether the Trust ever paid for your loan, I would like to see their answer.

If CWALT, Inc. or CWABS, Inc., or CWMBS, Inc is anywhere in your chain of title or anywhere else mentioned in any alleged origination or transfer of your loan, I assume you asked for those and I would like to see them too.

The PSA requires that the Trust pay for and receive the loan documents by way of the depositor and custodian. The Trustee never takes possession of the loan documents. But more than that it is important to distinguish between the loan documents and the debt. If there is no debt between you and the originator (which means that the originator named on the note and mortgage never advanced you any money for the loan) then note, which is only evidence of the debt and allegedly containing the terms of repayment is only evidence of the debt — which we know does not exist if they never answered your requests for proof of payment, wire transfer or canceled check.

If you have been reading my posts the last couple of weeks you will see what I am talking about.

The POA does not warrant or even recite that YOUR loan or anything resembling control or ownership of YOUR LOAN is or was ever owned by BONY/Mellon or the alleged trust. It is a classic case of misdirection. By executing a long and very important-looking document they want the judge to presume that the recitations are true and that the unrecited assumptions are also true. None of that is correct. The reference to the PSA only shows intent to acquire loans but has no reference or exhibit identifying your loan. And even if there was such a reference or exhibit it would be fabricated and false — there being obvious evidence that they did not pay for it or any other loan.

The evidence that they did not pay consists of a lot of things but once piece of logic is irrefutable — if they were a holder in due course you would be left with no defenses. If they are not a holder in due course then they had no right to collect money from you and you might sue to get your payments back with interest, attorney fees and possibly punitive damages unless they turned over all your money to the real creditors — but that would require them to identify your real creditors (the investors who thought they were buying mortgage bonds but whose money was never given to the Trust but was instead used privately by the securities broker that did the underwriting on the bond offering).

And the main logical point for an assumption is that if they were a holder in due course they would have said so and you would be fighting with an empty gun except for predatory and improper lending practices at the loan closing which cannot be brought against the Trust and must be directed at the mortgage broker and “originator.” They have not alleged they are a holder in course.

The elements of holder in dude course are purchase for value, delivery of the loan documents, in good faith without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses. If they had paid for the loan documents they would have been more than happy to show that they did and then claim holder in due course status. The fact that the documents were not delivered in the manner set forth in the PSA — tot he depositor and custodian — is important but not likely to swing the Judge your way. If they paid they are a holder in due course.

The trust could not possibly be attacked successfully as lacking good faith or knowing the borrower’s defenses, so two out of four elements of HDC they already have. Their claim of delivery might be dubious but is not likely to convince a judge to nullify the mortgage or prevent its enforcement. Delivery will be presumed if they show up with what appears to be the original note and mortgage. So that means 3 out of the four elements of HDC status are satisfied by the Trust. The only remaining question is whether they ever entered into a transaction in which they originated or acquired any loans and whether yours was one of them.

Since they have not alleged HDC status, they are admitting they never paid for it. That means the Trust is admitting there was no payment, which means they were not entitled to delivery or ownership of the note, mortgage, or debt.


So if they did not allege they are an HDC then they are admitting they don’t own the loan papers and admitting they don’t own the loan. Since the business of the trust was to pay for origination of loans and acquisition of loans there is only one reason they wouldn’t have paid for the loan — to wit: the trust didn’t have the money. There is only one reason the trust would not have the money — they didn’t get the proceeds of the sale of the bonds. If the trust did not get the proceeds of sale of the bonds, then the trust was completely ignored in actual conduct regardless of what the documents say. Which means that the documents are not relevant to the power or authority of the servicer, master servicer, trust, or even the investors as TRUST BENEFICIARIES.

It means that the investors’ money was used directly for fees of multiple people who were not disclosed in your loan closing, and some portion of which was used to fund your loan. THAT MEANS the investors have no claim as trust beneficiaries. Their only claim is as owner of the debt, not the loan documents which were made out in favor of people other than the investors. And that means that there is no basis to claim any power, authority or rights claimed through “Securitization” (dubbed “securitization fail” by Adam Levitin).

This in turn means that the investors are owners of the debt but lack any documentation with which to enforce the debt. That doesn’t mean they can’t enforce the debt, but it does mean they can’t use the loan documents. Once they prove or you admit that you did get the loan and that the money came from them, they are entitled to a money judgment on the debt — but there is no right to foreclose because the deed of trust, like a mortgage, is made out to another party and the investors were never included in the chain of title because the intermediaries were  making money keeping it from the investors. More importantly the “other party” had no risk, made no money advance and was otherwise simply providing an illegal service to disguise a table funded loan that is “predatory per se” as per REG Z.

And THAT is why the originator received no money from successors in most cases — they didn’t ask for any money because the loan had cost them nothing and they received a fee for their services.

National Honesty Day? America’s Book of Lies

Today is National Honesty Day. While it should be a celebration of how honest we have been the other 364 days of the year, it is rather a day of reflection on how dishonest we have been. Perhaps today could be a day in which we say we will at least be honest today about everything we say or do. But that isn’t likely. Today I focus on the economy and the housing crisis. Yes despite the corruption of financial journalism in which we are told of improvements, our economy — led by the housing markets — is still sputtering. It will continue to do so until we confront the truth about housing, and in particular foreclosures. Tennessee, Virginia and other states continue to lead the way in a downward spiral leading to the lowest rate of home ownership since the 1990’s with no bottom in sight.

Here are a few of the many articles pointing out the reality of our situation contrasted with the absence of articles in financial journalism directed at outright corruption on Wall Street where the players continue to pursue illicit, fraudulent and harmful schemes against our society performing acts that can and do get jail time for anyone else who plays that game.

It isn’t just that they escaping jail time. The jailing of bankers would take a couple of thousand people off the street that would otherwise be doing harm to us.

The main point is that we know they are doing the wrong thing in foreclosing on property they don’t own using “balances” the borrower doesn’t owe; we know they effectively stole the money from the investors who thought they were buying mortgage bonds, we know they effectively stole the title protection and documents that should have been executed in favor of the real source of funds, we know they received multiple payments from third parties and we know they are getting twin benefits from foreclosures that (a) should not be legally allowed and (b) only compound the damages to investors and homeowners.

The bottom line: Until we address wrongful foreclosures, the housing market, which has always led the economy, will continue to sputter, flatline or crash again. Transferring wealth from the middle class to the banks is a recipe for disaster whether it is legal or illegal. In this case it plainly illegal in most cases.

And despite the planted articles paid for by the banks, we still have over 700,000 foreclosures to go in the next year and over 9,000,000 homeowners who are so deep underwater that their situation is a clear and present danger of “strategic default” on claims that are both untrue and unfair.

Here is a sampling of corroborative evidence for my conclusions:

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Candid Take on the Foreclosure Crisis

There it was: The Treasury foreclosure program was intended to foam the runway to protect against a crash landing by the banks. Millions of people were getting tossed out on the street, but the secretary of the Treasury believed the government’s most important job was to provide a soft landing for the tender fannies of the banks.”

Lynn Symoniak is Thwarted by Government as She Pursues Other Banks for the Same Thing She Proved Before

Government prosecutors who relied on a Florida whistleblower’s evidence to win foreclosure fraud settlements with major banks two years ago are declining to help her pursue identical claims against a second set of large financial institutions.

Lynn Szymoniak first found proof that millions of American foreclosures were based on faulty and falsified documents while fighting her own foreclosure. Her three-year legal fight helped uncover the fact that banks were “robosigning” documents — hiring people to forge signatures and backdate legal paperwork the firms needed in order to foreclose on people’s homes — as a routine practice. Court papers that were unsealed last summer show that the fraudulent practices Szymoniak discovered affect trillions of dollars worth of mortgages.

More than 700,000 Foreclosures Expected Over Next Year

How Bank Watchdogs Killed Our Last Chance At Justice For Foreclosure Victims

The results are in. The award for the sorriest chapter of the great American foreclosure crisis goes to the Independent Foreclosure Review, a billion-dollar sinkhole that produced nothing but heartache for aggrieved homeowners, and a big black eye for regulators.

The foreclosure review was supposed to uncover abuses in how the mortgage industry coped with the epic wave of foreclosures that swept the U.S. in the aftermath of the housing crash. In a deal with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve, more than a dozen companies, including major banks, agreed to hire independent auditors to comb through loan files, identify errors and award just compensation to people who’d been abused in the foreclosure process.

But in January 2013, amid mounting evidence that the entire process was compromised by bank interference and government mismanagement, regulators abruptly shut the program down. They replaced it with a nearly $10 billion legal settlement that satisfied almost no one. Borrowers received paltry payouts, with sums determined by the very banks they accused of making their lives hell.

Investigation Stalled and Diverted as to Bank Fraud Against Investors and Homeowners

The Government Accountability Office released the results of its study of the Independent Foreclosure Review, conducted by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve in 2011 and 2012, and the results show that the foreclosure process is lacking in oversight and transparency.

According to the GAO review, which can be read in full here, the OCC and Fed signed consent orders with 16 mortgage servicers in 2011 and 2012 that required the servicers to hire consultants to review foreclosure files for efforts and remediate harm to borrowers.

In 2013, regulators amended the consent orders for all but one servicer, ending the file reviews and requiring servicers to provide $3.9 billion in cash payments to about 4.4 million borrowers and $6 billion in foreclosure prevention actions, such as loan modifications. The list of impacted mortgage servicers can be found here, as well as any updates. It should be noted that the entire process faced controversy before, as critics called the IFR cumbersome and costly.

Banks Profit from Suicides of Their Officers and Employees

After a recent rash of mysterious apparent suicides shook the financial world, researchers are scrambling to find answers about what really is the reason behind these multiple deaths. Some observers have now come to a rather shocking conclusion.

Wall Street on Parade bloggers Pam and Russ Martens wrote this week that something seems awry regarding the bank-owned life insurance (BOLI) policies held by JPMorgan Chase.

Four of the biggest banks on Wall Street combined hold over $680 billion in BOLI policies, the bloggers reported, but JPMorgan held around $17.9 billion in BOLI assets at the end of last year to Citigroup’s comparably meager $8.8 billion.

Government Cover-Up to Protect the Banks and Screw Homeowners and Investors

A new government report suggests that errors made by banks and their agents during foreclosures might have been significantly higher than was previously believed when regulators halted a national review of the banks’ mortgage servicing operations.

When banking regulators decided to end the independent foreclosure review last year, most banks had not completed the examinations of their mortgage modification and foreclosure practices.

At the time, the regulators — the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve — found that lengthy reviews by bank-hired consultants were delaying compensation getting to borrowers who had suffered through improper modifications and other problems.

But the decision to cut short the review left regulators with limited information about actual harm to borrowers when they negotiated a $10 billion settlement as part of agreements with 15 banks, according to a draft of a report by the Government Accountability Office reviewed by The New York Times.

The report shows, for example, that an unidentified bank had an error rate of about 24 percent. This bank had completed far more reviews of borrowers’ files than a group of 11 banks involved the deal, suggesting that if other banks had looked over more of their records, additional errors might have been discovered.

Wrongful Foreclosure Rate at least 24%: Wrongful or Fraudulent?

The report shows, for example, that an unidentified bank had an error rate of about 24 percent. This bank had completed far more reviews of borrowers’ files than a group of 11 banks involved the deal, suggesting that if other banks had looked over more of their records, additional errors might have been discovered.–no–Great-to-by-William-K-Black–Bank-Failure_Bank-Failures_Bankers_Banking-140430-322.html

[DISHONEST EUPHEMISMS: The context of this WSJ story is the broader series of betrayals of homeowners by the regulators and prosecutors led initially by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and his infamous “foam the runways” comment in which he admitted and urged that programs “sold” as benefitting distressed homeowners be used instead to aid the banks (more precisely, the bank CEOs) whose frauds caused the crisis.  The WSJ article deals with one of the several settlements with the banks that “service” home mortgages and foreclose on them.  Private attorneys first obtained the evidence that the servicers were engaged in massive foreclosure fraud involving knowingly filing hundreds of thousands of false affidavits under (non) penalty of perjury.  As a senior former AUSA said publicly at the INET conference a few weeks ago about these cases — they were slam dunk prosecutions.  But you know what happened; no senior banker or bank was prosecuted.  No banker was sued civilly by the government.  No banker had to pay back his bonus that he “earned” through fraud.



BONY Objections to Discovery Rejected

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It has been my contention all along that these cases ought to end in the discovery process with some sort of settlement — money damages, modification, short-sale, hardest hit fund programs etc. But the only way the homeowner can get honest terms is if they present a credible threat to the party seeking foreclosure. That threat is obvious when the Judge issues an order compelling discovery to proceed and rejecting arguments for protective orders, (over-burdensome, relevance etc.). It is a rare bird that a relevance objection to discovery will be sustained.

Once the order is entered and the homeowner is free to inquire about all the mechanics of transfer of her loan, the opposition is faced with revelations like those which have recently been discovered with the Wells Fargo manual that apparently is an instruction manual on how to commit document fraud — or the Urban Lending Solutions and Bank of America revelations about how banks have scripted and coerced their employees to guide homeowners into foreclosure so that questions of the real owner of the debt and the real balance of the debt never get to be scrutinized. Or, as we have seen repeatedly, what is revealed is that the party seeking a foreclosure sale as “creditor” or pretender lender is actually a complete stranger to the transaction — meaning they have no ties i to any transaction record, and no privity through any chain of documentation.

Attorneys and homeowners should take note that there are thousands upon thousands of cases being settled under seal of confidentiality. You don’t hear about those because of the confidentiality agreement. Thus what you DO hear about is the tangle of litigation as things heat up and probably the number of times the homeowner is mowed down on the rocket docket. This causes most people to conclude that what we hear about is the rule and that the settlements are the exception. I obviously do not have precise figures. But I do have comparisons from surveys I have taken periodically. I can say with certainty that the number of settlements, short-sales and modifications that are meaningful to the homeowner is rising fast.

In my opinion, the more aggressive the homeowner is in pursuing discovery, the higher the likelihood of winning the case or settling on terms that are truly satisfactory to the homeowner. Sitting back and waiting to see if the other side does something has been somewhat successful in the past but it results in a waiver of defenses that if vigorously pursued would or could result in showing the absence of a default, the presence of third party payments lowering the current payments due, the principal balance and the dollar amount of interest owed. If you don’t do that then your entire case rests upon the skill of the attorney in cross examining a witness and then disqualifying or challenging the testimony or documents submitted. Waiting to the last minute substantially diminishes the likelihood of a favorable outcome.

What is interesting in the case below is that the bank is opposing the notices of deposition based upon lack of personal knowledge. I would have pressed them to define what they mean by personal knowledge to use it against them later. But in any event, the Judge correctly stated that none of the objections raised by BONY were valid and that their claims regarding the proper procedure to set the depositions were also bogus.

tentative ruling 3-17-14

Hearsay on Hearsay: Bank Professional Witnesses Using Business Records Exception as Shield from Truth

Wells Fargo Manual “Blueprint for Fraud”

Hat tip to my law partner, Danielle Kelley, Esq., for sending me the manual and the reports on it. Anyone desirous of a consultation on the application of what is on this blog, must either be a lawyer or have a lawyer who is licensed in the jurisdiction in which the property is located. For scheduling call 954-495-9867 (South Florida Office), 850-765-1236 (North Florida Office), and 520-405-1688 (Western United States). International callers: The same rules apply.

Well that didn’t take long. Like the revelations concerning Urban Lending Solutions and Bank of America, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the the intermediary banks were hell bent for foreclosure regardless of what was best for the investors or the borrowers. This included, fraud, fabrication, unauthorized documents and signatures, perjury and outright theft of money and identities. I understand the agreement between the Bush administration and the large banks. And I understand the reason why the Obama administration continued to honor the agreements reached between the Bush administration and the large banks. They didn’t have a clue. And they were relying on Wall Street to report on its own behavior. But I’m sure the agreement did not even contemplate the actual crimes committed. I think it is time for US attorneys and the Atty. Gen. of each state to revisit the issue of prosecution of the major Wall Street banks.

With the passage of time we have all had an opportunity to examine the theory of “too big to fail.” As applied, this theory has prevented prosecutions for criminal acts. But more importantly it is allowing and promoting those crimes to be covered up and new crimes to be committed in and out of the court system. A quick review of the current strategy utilized in foreclosure reveals that nearly all foreclosures are based on false assumptions, no facts,  and a blind desire for expediency that  sacrifices access to the courts and due process. The losers are the pension funds that mistakenly invested into this scheme and the borrowers who were used as pawns in a gargantuan Ponzi scheme that literally exceeded all the money in the world.

Let’s look at one of the fundamental strategies of the banks. Remember that the investment banks were merely intermediaries who were supposedly functioning as broker-dealers. As in any securities transaction, the investor places in order and is responsible for payment to the broker-dealer. The broker-dealer tenders payment to the seller. The seller either issues the securities (if it is an issuer) or delivers the securities. The bank takes the money from the investors and doesn’t deliver it to an issuer or seller, but instead uses the money for its own purposes, this is not merely breach of contract —  it is fraud.

And that is exactly what the investors, insurers, government guarantors and other parties have alleged in dozens of lawsuits and hundreds of claims. Large banks have avoided judgment based on these allegations by settling the cases and claims for hundreds of billions of dollars because that is only a fraction of the money they diverted from investors and continue to divert. This continued  diversion is accomplished, among other ways, through the process of foreclosure. I would argue that the lawsuits filed by government-sponsored entities are evidence of an administrative finding of fact that causes the burden of proof to be shifted to the cloud of participants who assert that they are part of a scheme of securitization when in fact they were part of a Ponzi scheme.

This cloud of participants is managed in part by LPS in Jacksonville. If you are really looking for the source of documentation and the choice of plaintiff or forecloser, this would be a good place to start. You will notice that in both judicial and non-judicial settings, there is a single party designated as the apparent creditor. But where the homeowner is proactive and brings suit against multiple entities each of whom have made a claim relating to the alleged loan, the banks stick with presenting a single witness who is “familiar with the business records.” That phrase has been specifically rejected in most jurisdictions as proving the personal knowledge necessary for a finding that the witness is competent to testify or to authenticate documents that will be introduced in evidence. Those records are hearsay and they lack the legal foundation for introduction and acceptance into evidence in the record.

So even where the lawsuit is initiated by “the cloud” and even where they allege that the plaintiff is the servicer and even where they allege that the plaintiff is a trust, the witness presented at trial is a professional witness hired by the servicer. Except for very recent cases, lawyers for the homeowner have ignored the issue of whether the professional witness is truly competent,  and especially why the court should even be listening to a professional witness from the servicer when it is hearing nothing from the creditor. The business records which are proffered to the court as being complete are nothing of the sort. They are documents prepared for trial which is specifically excluded from evidence under the hearsay rule and an exception to the business records exception. And the easy proof is that they are missing payments to the investor. That is why discovery should be aggressive.

Lately Chase has been dancing around these issues by first asserting that it is the owner of a loan by virtue of the merger with Washington Mutual. As the case progresses Chase admits that it is a servicer. Later they often state that the investor is Fannie Mae. This is an interesting assertion which depends upon complete ignorance by opposing counsel for the homeowner and the same ignorance on the part of the judge. Fannie Mae is not and never has been a lender. It is a guarantor, whose liability arises after the loss has been completely established following the foreclosure sale and liquidation to a third-party. It is also a master trustee for securitized trusts. To say that Fannie Mae is the owner of the alleged loan is most likely an admission that the originator never loaned any money and that therefore the note and mortgage are invalid. It is also intentional obfuscation of the rights of the investors and trusts.

The multiple positions of Chase is representative of most other cases regardless of the name used for the identification of the alleged plaintiff, who probably doesn’t even know the action exists. That is why I suggested some years ago that a challenge to the right to represent the alleged plaintiff would be both appropriate and desirable. The usual answer is that the attorney represents all interested parties. This cannot be true because there is an obvious conflict of interest between the servicer, the trust, the guarantor, the trustee, and the broker-dealer that so far has never been named. Lawsuits filed by trust beneficiaries, guarantors, FDIC and insurers demonstrate this conflict of interest with great clarity.

I wonder if you should point out that if Chase was the Servicer, how could they not know who they were paying? As Servicer their role was to collect payments and send them to the creditor. If the witness or nonexistent verifier was truly familiar with the records, the account would show a debit to the account for payment to Fannie Mae or the securitized trust that was the actual source of funds for either the origination or acquisition of loans. And why would they not have shown that?  The reason is that no such payment was made. If any payment was made it was to the investors in the trust that lies behind the Fannie Mae curtain.

And if the “investor” had in fact received loss sharing payment from the FDIC, insurance or other sources how would the witness have known about that? Of course they don’t know because they have nothing to do with observing the accounts of the actual creditor. And while I agree that only actual payments as opposed to hypothetical payments should be taken into account when computing the principal balance and applicable interest on the loan, the existence of terms and conditions that might allow or require those hypothetical payments are sufficient to guarantee the right to discovery as to whether or not they were paid or if the right to payment has already accrued.

I think the argument about personal knowledge of the witness can be strengthened. The witness is an employee of Chase — not WAMU and not Fannie Mae. The PAA is completely silent about  the loans. Most of the loans were subjected to securitization anyway so WAMU couldn’t have “owned” them at any point in the false trail of securitization. If Chase is alleging that Fannie Mae in the “investor” then you have a second reason to say that both the servicing rights and the right to payment of principal, interest or monthly payments in doubt as to the intermediary banks in the cloud. So her testimony was hearsay on hearsay without any recognizable exception. She didn’t say she was custodian of records for anyone. She didn’t say how she had personal knowledge of Chase records, and she made no effort to even suggest she had any personal knowledge of the records of Fannie and WAMU — which is exactly the point of your lawsuit or defense.

If the Defendant/Appellee’s argument were to be accepted, any one of several defendants could deny allegations made against all the defendants individually just by producing a professional witness who would submit self-serving sworn affidavits from only one of the defendants. The result would thus benefit some of the “represented parties” at the expense of others.

Their position is absurd and the court should not be used and abused in furtherance of what is at best a shady history of the loan. The homeowner challenges them to give her the accurate information concerning ownership and balance, failing which there was no basis for a claim of encumbrance against her property. The court, using improper reasoning and assumptions, essentially concludes that since someone was the “lender” the Plaintiff had no cause of action and could not prove her case even if she had a cause of action. If the trial court is affirmed, Pandora’s box will be opened using this pattern of court conduct and Judge rulings as precedent not only in foreclosure actions, disputes over all types of loans, but virtually all tort actions and most contract actions.

Specifically it will open up a new area of moral hazard that is already filled with debris, to wit: debt collectors will attempt to insert themselves in the collection of money that is actually due to an existing creditor who has not sold the debt to the collector. As long as the debt collector moves quickly, and the debtor is unsophisticated, the case with the debt collector will be settled at the expense of the actual creditor. This will lead to protracted litigation as to the authority of the debt collector and the liability of the debtor as well as the validity of any settlement.

Quite a Stew: Wells Fargo Pressure Cooker for Sales and Fabricated Documents

Wells Fargo Investigated by 4 Agencies for Manual on Fabricating Foreclosure Documents

Wells Fargo is under investigation for a lot of things these days, just as we find in Bank of America and other major “institutions.” The bottom line is that they haven’t been acting very institutional and their culture is one that has led to fraud, identity theft and outright fabrication of accounts and documents.

There can be little doubt about it. Documents that a real bank acting like a bank would have in its possession appear to be completely absent in most if not all loans that are “performing” (i.e., the homeowner is paying, even if the party they are paying isn’t the right and even if the loan has already been paid off). But as soon as the file becomes subject to foreclosure proceedings, documents miraculously appear showing endorsements, allonges, powers of attorney and assignments. According to a report from The Real Deal (New York Real Estate News), these are frequently referred to as “ta-da endorsements” a reference from magic acts where rabbits are pulled from the hat.

Such endorsements and other fabricated documents have been taken at face value by many judges across the country, despite vigorous protests from homeowners who were complaining about everything from “they didn’t have the documents before, so where did they get them?” to luring homeowners into false modifications that were designed to trap homeowners into foreclosure.

After 7 years of my reporting on the fact that the documents do not exist, including a report from Katherine Anne Porter at what was then the University of Iowa that the documents were intentionally destroyed and “lost” it has finally dawned on regulators and law enforcement that something is wrong. They could have done the same thing that I did. I had inquiries from hundreds (back then, now thousands) of homeowners looking for help.

So the first thing I did was I  sent qualified written requests to the parties who were claiming to be the “lenders.” After sending out hundreds of these the conclusion was inescapable. Any loan where the homeowner was continuing to make their payments have no documentation. Any loan where the homeowner was in the process of foreclosure had documentation of appear piece by piece as it seemed to be needed in court. This pattern of fabrication of documents was pandemic by 2007 and 2008. They were making this stuff up as they went along.

It has taken seven years for mainstream media and regulators to ask the next obvious question, to wit: why would the participants in an industry based on trust and highly complex legal instruments created by them fall into patterns of conduct in which nobody trusted them and where the legal instruments were lost, destroyed and then fabricated? In my seminars I phrased the question differently. The question I posed is that if you had a $10 bill in your hand, why would you stick it in a shredder? The promissory note and the other documents from the alleged loan closings were the equivalent of cash, according to all legal and common sense standards. Why would you destroy it?

As I said in 2008 and continue saying in 2014, the only reason you would destroy the $10 bill is that you had told somebody you were holding something other than a $10 bill. Perhaps you told them it was a $100 bill. Now they want to see it. Better to “lose” the original bill then admit that you were lying in the first place. One is simple negligence (losing it) and the other is criminal fraud (lying about it). The banking industry practically invented all of the procedures and legal papers associated with virtually every type of loan. The processing of loans has been the backbone of the banking industry for hundreds of years. Did they forget how to do it?

The answers to these questions are both inconvenient and grotesque. I know from my past experience on Wall Street that bankers did not deserve the trust that everyone seemed to repose in them. But this conduct went far beyond anything I ever saw on Wall Street. The answer is simply that the bankers traded trust for money. They defrauded the investors, most of whom were stable managed funds guarding the pensions of millions of people. Then they defrauded homeowners creating a pressure cooker of sales culture in which banking evolved simply into marketing and sales. Risk analysis and risk control were lost in the chaos.

The very purpose for which banks came into existence was to have a place of safety in which you could deposit your money with the knowledge that it would still be there when you came back. Investors were lured into a scheme in which they thought their money was being used to fund trusts; those trusts issued mortgage bonds that in most cases were never certificated. In most cases the trust received no money, no assets and no income. The fund managers who were the investors  never had a chance.

The money from the investors was instead kept by the broker-dealers who then traded with it like drunken sailors. They pumped up real estate PRICES  far above real estate VALUES, based on any reasonable appraisal standards. The crash would come, and they knew it. So after lying to the investor lenders and lying to the homeowner borrowers they lied to the insurers, guarantors, co-obligors and counterparties to credit default swaps that had evolved from intelligent hedge products to high flying overly complicated contracts that spelled out “heads I win, tails you lose.”

In order to do all of that they needed to claim the loans and the bonds as though they were owned by the broker-dealers when in fact the broker-dealers were merely the investment banks that had taken the money from investors and instead of using it in the way that the investors were told, they created the illusion (by lying) of the scheme that was called securitization when in fact it was basically common fraud, identity theft of both the lenders and borrowers, in a Ponzi scheme. When Marc Dreier was convicted of similar behavior the amount was only $400 million but it was the larger scheme of its kind ever recorded.

When Bernard Madoff was convicted of similar behavior the amount was only $60 billion, but the general consensus was that this was the largest fraud in history and would maintain that status for generations. But when the Madoff scandal was revealed it was obvious that members of the banking industry had to be involved; what was not so obvious is that the banking industry itself had already committed a combination of identity theft, fraud and corruption that was probably 300 times the size of the Madoff scandal.

The assumption that these are just loans that were to be enforced just like any other loans is naïve. The lending process described in the paperwork at the closings of these loans was a complete lie. The actual lender did not know the closing had occurred, never received the note and mortgage, nor any other instrument that protected the investor lenders. The borrower did not know the actual lender existed. Closing agent was at best negligent and at worst part of the scheme. Closing agent applied money from the investors to the closing of the “loan” and gave the paperwork that should’ve gone to the investors to third parties who didn’t have a dime invested in the deal. Later the investment banks would claim that they were suffering losses, but it was a lie, this time to the taxpayers and the government.

The reason the investment banks need to fabricate documentation is simply because their scheme required multiple sales of the same loan to multiple parties. They had to wait until they couldn’t wait any longer in order to pick a plaintiff to file a foreclosure lawsuit or pick a beneficiary who would appear out of nowhere to start the nonjudicial sale of property in which they were a complete stranger to the transaction.

The reason that homeowners should win in any reasonable challenge to a foreclosure action is that neither the forecloser nor the balance has been correctly stated. In many cases the balance “owed” by the borrower is negative! Yes that means that money is owed back to the borrower even know they stopped making payments. This is so counter intuitive that it is virtually impossible for most people to wrap their brains around this concept and that is exactly what Wall Street banks have been counting on and using against us for years.

LA Times Report on Wells Fargo Sales Culture


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