Wells Fargo Skewered by Federal Judge For Forgery as a Pattern of Conduct

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What I like about the Federal Judge decisions is that they express the reasons for their orders and judgments with much greater specificity than State Court judges tend to do — probably because they have a lighter case load and when they get promoted it can go pretty high (like the US Supreme Court). So it should come as no surprise that a New York Federal Bankruptcy Judge issued a 30 page opinion that essentially said what people have been saying since 2007 — the entire foreclosure process is an exercise in illegal patterns of conduct to the detriment of the homeowners. Since he also made clear that the debt remains, we have yet to get a definitive opinion from a Judge that questions whether the original closing was valid and enforceable. for that we still need to wait.

But by ruling on the specifics of how to rebut presumptions that are used in cases involving negotiable instruments, this Court has definitely opened the door to requiring the banks to do something that he suspects and I know the banks cannot do — prove the loan transaction, and the loan transfers with actual transactions in which a purchase and sale occurred and money exchanged hands after which there was delivery of the paper. Once THAT cat is out of the bag, the banks are doomed. People are going to start asking the question they have been asking for years — except this time it won’t be a rhetorical question: “If the originator didn’t loan the money then who did? And if there was no consideration for the transfer of the loan documents then whose money was used to originate or acquire the loan?” The answers will surprise even veterans of this war.

see franklin-opinion


The debtor herein (the “Debtor”) has objected to a claim filed in this case by Wells Fargo Bank,

NA (“Wells Fargo”), Claim No. 1‐2, dated September 29, 2010 (amending Claim No. 1‐1), on the basis that Wells Fargo is not the holder or owner of the note and beneficiary of the deed of trust upon which the claim is based and therefore lacks standing to assert the claim.1 This Memorandum of Decision states the Court’s reasons, based on the record of the trial held on December 3, 2013 and the parties’ pre‐ and post‐trial submissions, for granting the Claim Objection….

(i) how could Wells Fargo or Freddie Mac assert a claim under the Note when the Note was neither specifically indorsed to either of them nor indorsed in blank (and was specifically indorsed to ABN Amro, although ABN Amro had subsequently assigned its interest therein to MERS as nominee for Washington Mutual Bank, FA), and (ii) how could Wells Fargo properly assert any rights under the July 12, 2010 Assignment of Mortgage when the person who signed the Assignment of Mortgage from MERS in its capacity “as nominee for Washington Mutual Bank, FA” to Wells Fargo was an employee of Wells Fargo (as well as of MERS),3 and there was no evidence that Washington Mutual Bank, FA authorized MERS to assign…….

if Freddie Mac was the owner of the loan, as both Wells Fargo and Freddie Mac contended, why was Claim No. 1‐1 filed by Wells Fargo not as Freddie Mac’s agent or servicer, but, rather, in its own name? (The ownership/agency issue had practical as well as possible legal consequences because counsel for Wells Fargo contended that Freddie Mac guidelines precluded Wells Fargo from considering loan modification proposals for the Debtor.)….

the parties engaged in discovery disputes that resulted in an order compelling the deposition of John Kennerty, who by then no longer worked for Wells Fargo, see Kennerty v. Carrsow‐Franklin (In re Carrsow‐Franklin), 456 B.R. 753 (Bankr. D. S.C. 2011), and Wells Fargo’s production of a woefully unqualified initial Rule 30(b)(6) witness…..

Wells Fargo responded that it did not need to be the owner of the loan in order to enforce the Note and a secured claim for amounts owing under it. Instead, Wells Fargo relied, under Texas’ version of Article 3 of the Uniform Commercial Code (the “U.C.C.”), solely on being the “holder” of the Note indorsed in blank by ABN Amro that appeared for the first time as an attachment to Claim No. 1‐2.7…

In a bench ruling on March 1, 2012, memorialized by an order dated May 21, 2012, the Court agreed with Wells Fargo, concluding that, under Texas law, if Wells Fargo were indeed the holder of the Note properly indorsed in blank by ABN Amro, Wells Fargo could enforce the Note and the Deed of Trust even if it was not the owner or investor on the Note or properly assigned of Deed of Trust,8 citing SMS Fin., Ltd. Liab. Co. v. ABCO Homes, Inc., 167 F.3d 235, 238 (5th Cir. 1999) (under Texas law, “[t]o recover on a promissory note, the plaintiff must prove: (1) the existence of the note in question; (2) that the party sued signed the note; (3) that the plaintiff is the owner or holder of the note; and (4) that a certain balance is due and owing on the note”) (emphasis added), and In re Pastran, 2010 Bankr. LEXIS 2237, ….

Perhaps wary of relying on an assignment by the assignee to itself without authorization by the purported assignor, Wells Fargo has waived reliance on the July 12, 2010 Assignment of Mortgage to establish its right to assert Claim No. 1‐2, looking only to its status as a holder of the Note. It indeed appears that Mr. Kennerty’s signature on the Assignment of Mortgage was improper in either of his capacities, as an officer of Wells Fargo or as an officer of MERS, without further authorization from Washington Mutual Bank, FA, because ABN Amro assigned MERS the Deed of Trust solely in MERS’ capacity as nominee for Washington Mutual Bank, FA, without the power of foreclosure and sale in its own right and not for its own successors and assigns as well as Washington Mutual Bank, FA’s; and MERS (through Mr. Kennerty) executed the Assignment of Mortgage solely as nominee for Washington Mutual Bank, FA. Compare Kramer v. Fannie Mae, 540 Fed. Appx. 319, 320 (5th Cir. 2013), cert. denied, 134 S. Ct. 1310, 188 L. Ed. 2d 305 (2014) (MERS could assign deed of trust made out to it that specifically granted MERS the power to foreclose and assign its rights); Silver Gryphon, L.L.C. v. Bank of Am. NA, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168950, at *11‐12 (S.D. Tex. Nov. 7, 2013) (same); Richardson v. CitiMortgage, Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123445, at *3, *13‐14 (E.D. Tex. Nov. 22, 2010) (same), and Nueces County v. MERSCORP Holdings, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93424, at *20 (S.D. Tex. July 3, 2013); In re Fontes, 2011 Bankr. LEXIS 1792, at *11‐13 (B.A.P. 9th Cir. Apr. 22, 2011); and In re Weisband, 427 B.R. 13, 20 (Bankr. D. Az. 2010) (MERS as mere “nominee” of mortgage holder lacks power to transfer enforceable mortgage)…..

Because it is undisputed that (a) the Debtor signed the Note (and received the loan proceeds)11 and (b) a properly recorded lien on the Property secures the Debtor’s obligation under the Note (albeit that Wells Fargo does not rely independently on the Deed of Trust assigned to ABN AMRO and then

10 See Supplement to Emergency Motion to Reopen and for Leave to Propound Additional Discovery to Defendant for Additional Evidence Withheld Prior to Trial, dated March 11, 2014.

11 See Trial Tr. at 95‐6 (testimony of the Debtor).


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assigned to MERS as nominee for Washington Mutual Bank, FA (none of which has filed a proof of claim) or the Assignment of Mortgage to sustain its claim), the only issue addressed by the parties is whether Wells Fargo has standing to enforce the Note, and, thus, assert Claim No. 1‐2.12 This is because, as stated above, Texas follows the majority rule that “[w]hen a mortgage note is transferred, the mortgage or deed of trust is also automatically transferred to the note holder by virtue of the common‐law rule that ‘the mortgage follows the note.’” Campbell v. Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys., Inc., 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 4030, at *11‐12 (Tex. App. Austin May 18, 2012), quoting J.W.D., Inc. v. Fed. Ins. Co., 806 S.W.2d 327, 329‐30 (Tex. App. Austin 1991). See also Kiggundu v. Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys., Inc., 469 Fed. Appx. 330, 332; Richardson v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177471, at *13 n.4 (N.D. Tex. Nov. 21, 2014); Nguyen v. Fannie Mae., 958 F. Supp. 2d 781, 790 n.11 (S.D. Tex. 2013); Trimm v. U.S. Bank., N.A., 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 7880, at *14 (Tex. App. Fort Worth July 17, 2014)…..

Wells Fargo’s right to enforce the Note, and thus its standing to assert Claim No. 1‐2, derives from the Note’s status as a negotiable instrument under Texas’ version of the U.C.C. See Tex. Bus. & Com. Code § 3.104(a). The Debtor has not disputed that the Note is negotiable, and the Note in any event satisfies the requirements of a negotiable instrument under Texas law, as it is “an unconditional promise . . . to pay a fixed amount of money . . . payable to . . . order at the time it [was] issued; . . . payable . . . at a definite time; and does not state any other undertaking or instruction by the person promising or ordering payment to do any act in addition to the payment of money” except as permitted by the statute. Id. See also Farkas v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190194, at *6‐7 (W.D. Tex. June 22, 2012), aff’d, 544 Fed. Appx. 324 (5th Cir. 2013), cert. denied, 134 S. Ct. 628, 187 L. Ed. 411

12 One might argue, although Wells Fargo has not, that the parties’ pre‐bankruptcy course of dealing, including the Loan Modification Agreement signed by the Debtor on February 12, 2008 and attached to Claim No 1‐2 (See also Trial Tr. at 96‐104), would independently support Wells Fargo’s right to assert Claim No. 1‐2; however, if the blank ABN Amro indorsement were forged, the Loan Modification Agreement and course of dealing would ultimately improperly derive from Wells Fargo’s fraudulent assertion of the right to enforce the Note and Deed of Trust.


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(2013); Steinberg v. Bank. of Am., N.A., 2013 Bankr. LEXIS 2230, at *12‐14 (B.A.P. 10th Cir. May 30, 2013)…..

“The presumption rests upon the fact that in ordinary experience forged or unauthorized signatures are very uncommon, and normally any evidence is within the control of, or more accessible to, the defendant.”15 Official Comment to Tex. Bus. & Com. Code § 3.308 (“Off. Cmt.”). The presumption is effectively incorporated into Fed. R. Evid. 902(9), which provides that no extrinsic evidence of authenticity is required to admit “[c]ommercial paper, a signature on it, and related documents, to the extent allowed by general commercial law,” and it is loosely analogous to the rebuttable presumption of the prima facie validity of a properly filed proof of claim under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 3001(f).

While Tex. Bus. & Com. Code §§ 3.308(a) and 1.206(a) provide that the presumption of an authentic signature applies “unless and until evidence is introduced that supports a finding of nonexistence,” they do not state the quantum of evidence to overcome the presumption. The Official Comment to § 3.308, however, refers to “some evidence” and to “some sufficient showing of the grounds for the denial before the plaintiff is required to introduce evidence,” and then states, “[t]he defendant’s evidence need not be sufficient to require a directed verdict, but it must be enough to support the denial by permitting a finding in the defendant’s favor.” Off. Cmt. 1 to § 3.308.16 This suggests that the required evidentiary showing to overcome the presumption is similar to that needed to defeat a summary judgment motion: the introduction of sufficient evidence so that a reasonable trier of fact in the context of the dispute could find in the defendant’s favor. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587‐88 (1986); 11 Moore’s Fed. Prac. 3d § 56.22[2] (2014). Because of the general factual context described in the Official Comment, which recognizes that “in ordinary experience forged or unauthorized signatures are very uncommon,” Off. Cmt. 1 to § 3.308, courts have nevertheless required a significant amount of evidence to overcome the presumption. See In re Phillips, 491 B.R. 255, 273 n. 37 (Bankr. D. Nev. 2013) (“This evidence was inconclusive at best. Against this background, the court is prepared to believe that it is more likely that [the claimant] negligently failed to copy the Note and First Allonge when it filed its [first] Proof of Claim rather than it forged the First Allonge later on. In short, when both are equally likely, the court picks sloth over venality.”); see also Congress v. U.S. Bank. N.A., 98 So. 3d 1165, 1169 (Civ. App. Ala. 2012) (referring to requirement of substantial, though not clear and convincing, evidence to rebut the presumption under U.C.C. §§ 3‐308(a) and 1‐206(a), although directing trial court on remand to apply preponderance‐of‐ the‐evidence standard to whether the presumption was overcome)….

See People v. Richetti, 302 N.Y. 290, 298 (1951) (“A presumption of regularity exists only until contrary substantial evidence appears. . . . It forces the opposing party (defendant here) to go forward with proof but, once he does go forward, the presumption is out of the case.”). Thus, in In re Phillips, 491 B.R. at 273 n. 37, quoted above, if the presumption had been overcome by a preponderance of the evidence and the burden shifted and forgery and negligence were found to be equally likely, the holder of the note should lose.

Because Wells Fargo does not rely on the Assignment of Mortgage to prove its claim, the foregoing evidence is helpful to the Debtor only indirectly, insofar as it goes to show that the blank indorsement, upon which Wells Fargo is relying, was forged. Nevertheless it does show a general willingness and practice on Wells Fargo’s part to create documentary evidence, after‐the‐fact, when enforcing its claims, WHICH IS EXTRAORDINARY…..

Wells Fargo has not carried that burden. To do so, it offered only Mr. Campbell’s testimony and, through him, certain exhibits copied from Wells Fargo’s loan file. That testimony was not helpful to it. Mr. Campbell was not involved in the administration of the Debtor’s loan until he became a potential witness in 2013. Trial Tr. at 37. He was not involved in the preparation of Claim No 1‐2. Id. at 37. He had nothing to say about the circumstances under which the blank ABN Amro indorsement appeared on the Note attached to Claim No. 1‐2, with the exception that he located the earliest entry in the electronic loan file where that version of the Note was recorded, pulled up its image and compared it to the original shown him by Wells Fargo’s counsel. Id. at 33, 36, 49‐50. He was offered, therefore, only to qualify Wells Fargo’s proposed exhibits, copied from Wells Fargo’s loan file, as falling within Fed. R. Evid. 803(6)’s business records exception to a hearsay objection under Fed. R. Evid. 802 and to testify that a copy of the Note with the blank ABN Amro indorsement appears in Wells Fargo’s electronic records before the preparation of Wells Fargo’s initial proof of claim in this case….

In large measure, Mr. Campbell was not up to that task (and Wells Fargo offered no other evidence to meet that standard, were the Court to impose it). Mr. Campbell did not know whether there was any person overseeing the accuracy of how the records in the system were stored and maintained. Id. at 32, 40, 42‐3. He did not know who controlled access to the system or the procedure for limiting access, except to say “[A]ccess is granted as needed.” Id. at 40‐1. He did not know of any procedures for backing up or auditing the system. Id. at 42. He stated, “I am not a technology person” and was not able to answer what technology ensures the accuracy of the date and time stamping of the entry of documents into the imaging system. Trial Tr. at 22. In his deposition, he testified that he did not know whether the dates and times of the entry of documents in the system could be changed, but at trial he stated that, after his deposition, “I attempted to look into this, and, to my knowledge, I am not aware of any way to change or remove attachments into the imaging system,” id. at 43, which, given his general lack of knowledge about how the system works and failure to explain the basis for his assertion, did not inspire confidence….

Moreover, in addition to the fact that the specially indorsed version of the Note appears on its own in the file on March 27, 2007, and not as part of an “origination file,” Wells Fargo has offered no explanation, let alone evidence, of who else, if not Wells Fargo, held the original of the Note with the blank ABN Amro indorsement before December 28, 2009, if, in fact, such a version then existed. The file provided by the transferor should have included it, if it did exist during that period, because Washington Mutual Bank, FA would not have been able to enforce the Note, either, without the blank indorsement, and the Assignment of Deed of Trust attached to the proofs of claim states that both the Note and Deed of Trust were transferred to MERS as nominee for Washington Mutual Bank, FA on June 20, 2002, effective November 16, 2001. In other words, why would only an outdated and unenforceable version of the Note have been logged in by Wells Fargo when it took over the file in February 2007 if the only enforceable version of the Note had in fact existed at that time (and should have existed since 2002)? The far more likely inference, instead, is that when the loan was transferred to Wells Fargo, the Note with the blank ABN Amro indorsement did not exist.

Why would the Note with the blank ABN Amro indorsement have appeared in Wells Fargo’s file only on December 28, 2009, twenty‐two months later? Wells Fargo has not provided an explanation, supported by evidence, replying only that the question is irrelevant. All that matters, Wells Fargo contends, is that the enforceable document was imaged into its records before the Debtor’s counsel started raising questions about Claim No 1‐1.


BAP Panel Raises the Stakes Against Deutsch et al — Secured Status May be Challenged

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I have long held and advocated three points:

  1. The filing of false claims in the nonjudicial process of a majority of states should not result in success where the same false claims could never be proven in judicial process. Nonjudicial process was meant as an administrative remedy to foreclosures that were NOT in dispute. Any application of nonjudicial schemes that allows false claims to succeed where they would fail in a judicial action is unconstitutional.
  2. The filing of a bankruptcy petition that shows property to be encumbered by virtue of a deed of trust is admitting a false representation made by a stranger to the transaction. The petition for bankruptcy relief should be filed showing that the property is not encumbered and the adversary or collateral proceeding to nullify the mortgage and the note should accompany each filing where the note and mortgage are subject to claims of securitization or a “new” beneficiary.
  3. The vast majority of decisions against borrowers result from voluntary or involuntary waiver, ignorance and failure to plead or object on the basis of false claims based on false documentation. The issue is not the signature (although that probably is false too); rather it is (a) the actual transaction which is missing and the (b) false documentation of a (i) fictitious transaction and (ii) fictitious transfers of fictitious (and non-fictitious) transactions. The result is often that the homeowner has admitted to the false assertion of being a borrower in relation to the party making the claim, admitting the secured status of the “creditor”, admitting that they are a creditor, admitting that they received a loan from within the chain claimed by the “creditor”, admitting the default, admitting the validity of the note and admitting the validity of the mortgage or deed of trust — thus leaving both the trial and appellate courts with no choice but to rule against the homeowner. Thus procedurally a false claim becomes “true” for purposes of that case.

see 11/24/14 Decision: MEMORANDUM-_-ANTON-ANDREW-RIVERA-DENISE-ANN-RIVERA-Appellants-v.-DEUTSCHE-BANK-NATIONAL-TRUST-COMPANY-Trustee-of-Certificate-Holders-of-the-WAMU-Mortgage-Pass-Through-Certificate-Series-2005-AR6

This decision is breath-taking. What the Panel has done here is fire a warning shot over the bow of the California Supreme Court with respect to the APPLICATION of the non-judicial process. AND it takes dead aim at those who make false claims on false debts in both nonjudicial and judicial process. Amongst the insiders it is well known that your chances on appeal to the BAP are less than 15% whereas an appeal to the District Judge, often ignored as an option, has at least a 50% prospect for success.

So the fact that this decision comes from the BAP Panel which normally rubber stamps decisions of bankruptcy judges is all the more compelling. One word of caution that is not discussed here is the the matter of jurisdiction. I am not so sure the bankruptcy judge had jurisdiction to consider the matters raised in the adversary proceeding. I think there is a possibility that jurisdiction would be present before the District Court Judge, but not the Bankruptcy Judge.

From one of my anonymous sources within a significant government agency I received the following:

This case is going to be a cornucopia of decision material for BK courts nationwide (and others), it directly tackles all the issues regarding standing and assignment (But based on Non-J foreclosure, and this is California of course……) it tackles Glaski and Glaski loses, BUT notes dichotomy on secured creditor status….this case could have been even more , but leave to amend was forfeited by borrower inaction—– it is part huge win, part huge loss as it relates to Glaski, BUT IT IS DIRECTLY APPLICABLE TO CHASE/WAMU CASES……….Note in full case how court refers to transfer of “some of WAMU’s assets”, tacitly inferring that the court WILL NOT second guess what was and was not transferred………… i.e, foreclosing party needs to prove this!!


Even though Siliga, Jenkins and Debrunner may preclude the

Riveras from attacking DBNTC’s foreclosure proceedings by arguing

that Chase’s assignment of the deed of trust was a nullity in

light of the absence of a valid transfer of the underlying debt,

we know of no law precluding the Riveras from challenging DBNTC’s assertion of secured status for purposes of the Riveras’ bankruptcy case. Nor did the bankruptcy court cite to any such law.

We acknowledge that our analysis promotes the existence of two different sets of legal standards – one applicable in nonjudicial foreclosure proceedings and a markedly different one for use in ascertaining creditors’ rights in bankruptcy cases.

But we did not create these divergent standards. The California legislature and the California courts did. We are not the first to point out the divergence of these standards. See CAL. REAL EST., at § 10:41 (noting that the requirements under California law for an effective assignment of a real-estate-secured obligation may differ depending on whether or not the dispute over the assignment arises in a challenge to nonjudicial foreclosure proceedings).
We must accept the truth of the Riveras’ well-pled
allegations indicating that the Hutchinson endorsement on the
note was a sham and, more generally, that neither DBNTC nor Chase
ever obtained any valid interest in the Riveras’ note or the loan
repayment rights evidenced by that note. We also must
acknowledge that at least part of the Riveras’ adversary
proceeding was devoted to challenging DBNTC’s standing to file
its proof of claim and to challenging DBNTC’s assertion of
secured status for purposes of the Riveras’ bankruptcy case. As
a result of these allegations and acknowledgments, we cannot
reconcile our legal analysis, set forth above, with the
bankruptcy court’s rulings on the Riveras’ second amended
complaint. The bankruptcy court did not distinguish between the
Riveras’ claims for relief that at least in part implicated the
parties’ respective rights in the Riveras’ bankruptcy case from
those claims for relief that only implicated the parties’
respective rights in DBNTC’s nonjudicial foreclosure proceedings.


Here, we note that the California Supreme Court recently

granted review from an intermediate appellate court decision
following Jenkins and rejecting Glaski. Yvanova v. New Century
Mortg. Corp., 226 Cal.App.4th 495 (2014), review granted &
opinion de-published, 331 P.3d 1275 (Cal. Aug 27, 2014). Thus,
we eventually will learn how the California Supreme Court views
this issue. Even so, we are tasked with deciding the case before
us, and Ninth Circuit precedent suggests that we should decide
the case now, based on our prediction, rather than wait for the
California Supreme Court to rule. See Hemmings, 285 F.3d at
1203; Lewis v. Telephone Employees Credit Union, 87 F.3d 1537,
1545 (9th Cir. 1996). Because we have no convincing reason to
doubt that the California Supreme Court will follow the weight of
authority among California’s intermediate appellate courts, we
will follow them as well and hold that the Riveras lack standing
to challenge the assignment of their deed of trust based on an
alleged violation of a pooling and servicing agreement to which
they were not a party.


Even though the Riveras’ first claim for relief principally

relies on their allegations regarding the assignment’s violation
of the pooling and servicing agreement, their first claim for
relief also explicitly incorporates their allegations challenging
DBNTC’s proof of claim and disputing the validity of the
Hutchinson endorsement. Those allegations, when combined with
what is set forth in the first claim for relief, are sufficient
on their face to state a claim that DBNTC does not hold a valid
lien against the Riveras’ property because the underlying debt
never was validly transferred to DBNTC. See In re Leisure Time
Sports, Inc., 194 B.R. at 861 (citing Kelly v. Upshaw, 39 Cal.2d
179 (1952) and stating that “a purported assignment of a mortgage
without an assignment of the debt which it secured was a legal
While the Riveras cannot pursue their first claim for relief
for purposes of directly challenging DBNTC’s pending nonjudicial
foreclosure proceedings, Debrunner, 204 Cal.App.4th at 440-42,
the first claim for relief states a cognizable legal theory to
the extent it is aimed at determining DBNTC’s rights, if any, as
a creditor who has filed a proof of secured claim in the Riveras’
bankruptcy case.


Fifth Claim for Relief – for violation of the Federal Truth In Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1641(g)

The Riveras’ TILA Claim alleged, quite simply, that they did
not receive from DBNTC, at the time of Chase’s assignment of the
deed of trust to DBNTC, the notice of change of ownership
required by 15 U.S.C. § 1641(g)(1). That section provides:
In addition to other disclosures required by this
subchapter, not later than 30 days after the date on
which a mortgage loan is sold or otherwise transferred
or assigned to a third party, the creditor that is the
new owner or assignee of the debt shall notify the
borrower in writing of such transfer, including–

(A) the identity, address, telephone number of the new


(B) the date of transfer;


(C) how to reach an agent or party having authority to

act on behalf of the new creditor;

(D) the location of the place where transfer of

ownership of the debt is recorded; and

(E) any other relevant information regarding the new


The bankruptcy court did not explain why it considered this claim as lacking in merit. It refers to the fact that the
Riveras had actual knowledge of the change in ownership within
months of the recordation of the trust deed assignment. But the
bankruptcy court did not explain how or why this actual knowledge
would excuse noncompliance with the requirements of the statute.
Generally, the consumer protections contained in the statute
are liberally interpreted, and creditors must strictly comply
with TILA’s requirements. See McDonald v. Checks–N–Advance, Inc.
(In re Ferrell), 539 F.3d 1186, 1189 (9th Cir. 2008). On its
face, 15 U.S.C. § 1640(a)(2)(A)(iv) imposes upon the assignee of
a deed of trust who violates 15 U.S.C. § 1641(g)(1) statutory
damages of “not less than $400 or greater than $4,000.”
While the Riveras’ TILA claim did not state a plausible
claim for actual damages, it did state a plausible claim for
statutory damages. Consequently, the bankruptcy court erred when
it dismissed the Riveras’ TILA claim.


Here, however, the Riveras did not argue in either the bankruptcy court or in their opening appeal brief that the court should have granted them leave to amend. Having not raised the issue in either place, we may consider it forfeited. See Golden v. Chicago Title Ins. Co. (In re Choo), 273 B.R. 608, 613 (9th Cir. BAP 2002).

Even if we were to consider the issue, we note that the

bankruptcy court gave the Riveras two chances to amend their
complaint to state viable claims for relief, examined the claims
they presented on three occasions and found them legally
deficient each time. Moreover, the Riveras have not provided us
with all of the record materials that would have permitted us a
full view of the analyses and explanations the bankruptcy court
offered them when it reviewed the Riveras’ original complaint and
their first amended complaint. Under these circumstances, we
will not second-guess the bankruptcy court’s decision to deny
leave to amend. See generally In re Nordeen, 495 B.R. at 489-90
(examining multiple opportunities given to the plaintiffs to
amend their complaint and the bankruptcy court’s efforts to
explain to them the deficiencies in their claims, and ultimately
determining that the court did not abuse its discretion in
denying the plaintiffs leave to amend their second amended

Now that you have won your “free “house, what happens next?

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On an upbeat note, we are getting more and more communication from homeowners who have won their cases outright and not subject to confidentiality agreements. Fortunately these happy homeowners have realized that the fight is not yet over but that they are obviously in control of the narrative. A word of caution about the case cited in yesterday’s article where the Judge granted a “free house” to a homeowner. The New Jersey bankruptcy case is potentially persuasive but legal authority that the Judge in your case must obey.

Banks have gone to great lengths in framing the narrative on these mortgages and these foreclosures. Almost everywhere you hear the phrase “free house.” Of course nobody really knows what anyone means by that phrase. “free houses” are a myth, just like the trusts, the assignments and the “holders” of the note and mortgage. Preventing the mortgagee from enforcement does NOT give a free house to anyone, regardless of the circumstances. It is a rare circumstance that the buyer of the new house does not expend thousands of dollars or tens of thousands of dollars or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on the house that they think they now own.

I know thousands perhaps millions put a down payment into a house thinking that their payment was equity they would retrieve when the house was sold or refinanced. A typical case I have witnessed is a home purchased for $500,000 with $100,000 down payment —- 20% of the purchase price based upon appraisals that wildly speculative and untrue.

Then the house gets sold in a short sale for $300,000. If that homeowner had fought the bank and the bank was found not to be the owner of the mortgage or note or debt and the mortgage was found to be unenforceable or even void, did that homeowner get the house for free. $100k down, plus $50k in improvements, furnishings etc. The homeowner is out $150,000 no matter what happens and that is not free. There is no such thing as a free house and there never was. But mortgages and notes are sometimes ab initio (from the start), unenforceable or void and in today’s market most of them fall somewhere in that category.

And there is an area of confusion between property law, bankruptcy law and contract law. Which brings us to the case decided in New Jersey by a bankruptcy court judge. It is the case of Washington versus specialized loan servicing and the Bank of New York Mellon as trustee for the certificate holders of an allegedly asset-backed trust.

This case is far from a cure all that will fix all other foreclosures. I doubt the Judge had jurisdiction to declare the mortgage void. And therein lies a potential problem for the homeowner that won here. The homeowner might lose on appeal or still have a problem even if the bank’s appeal is turned down.

I will point out again that Bank of New York Mellon represents itself as trustee for the certificate holders and old minutes any representation for the trust itself. One might conclude that the trust does not exist and that the certificate holders who obviously are the investors are the real parties in interest as I have repeatedly stated for more than seven years.
And by the way, NJ does not have a homestead exemption, so the debt, which is real and if it can be computed after giving credit for all payments to the creditors from all sources, is still owed and the homestead can still be foreclosed based upon a money judgment. So a free house is just not the right term to describe any of this.

I don’t think the judge realized that the investors were being directly represented by Bank of New York Mellon and that the reference to the bank as a trustee was merely a self-serving statement by the bank in order to block any inquiry into the identity of the certificate holders who were the obvious real parties in interest. In the months and years to come the distinction which I am drawing here will become increasingly important in court rooms across the country.

The bankruptcy judge carefully analyzed the statute of limitations and concluded that there was no way that the loan could be enforced and that therefore the claim in bankruptcy was void. The judge that he didn’t like to give anyone a free house but that was what he had to do in this case in New Jersey.

The foreclosure case in the state court was dismissed for lack of prosecution without prejudice. The effect of that dismissal was one of the things that was in dispute that the bankruptcy judge decided. The bad news is that I am not so sure this decision will be upheld if it is appealed. But even if it is upheld I’m not so sure that the homeowner actually received the free house that the judge expressly said was being given to him by the judges decision. Bankruptcy Judges are known to have an inflated view of their jurisdictional authority. The District Court Judge above him in the same courthouse might have been able to declare the mortgage void, but I doubt if a bankruptcy judge has that authority. But the decision to prevent enforcement of the mortgage in the bankruptcy proceeding and the decision to cause the alleged creditor to be unsecured instead of secured (which is what I have been advocating for 7 years) is probably valid.

The judge decided that both the note and mortgage were unenforceable. He also decided that because they were unenforceable that Bank of New York Mellon did not have a secured claim for purposes of the bankruptcy proceeding. The judge went further than that by stating that the underlying lien is deemed void pursuant to 11 USC 506(a)(1) and (d). So for purposes of that bankruptcy proceeding court made a determination that Bank of New York Mellon did not have secured status. The Court also seemed to accept the agreement of both size that Bank of New York Mellon or a specialized loan servicing had the original note and mortgage.

The Question I have is the same question that Is being asked in many circles today. When all is said and done the mortgage still is present in the county records — it was recorded so it still exists in the county records of the County recorder in the jurisdiction in which the property is located. My question is whether in the absence of a court order stating that the mortgage is void or nullified, and in the absence of the recording of such an order at the county recorders office, will this homeowner be legally correct in assuming that the mortgage will not affect his title and that no payment will be required at the time the homeowner seeks to sell or refinance the property.

It may seem like splitting hairs and maybe It is. But I think there’s a difference between a lien that is in the county records and therefore encumbers the title answer the question of the enforceability of the lean. When you pull up the title chain by hand or by computer, the mortgage will be there. Would you buy that property without getting rid of that mortgage? Would you lend money on that property? In this case the Bankruptcy judge has decided for purposes of the bankruptcy proceeding that the secured status of Bank of New York Mellon did not exist.

I question whether that decision automatically means that the mortgage was in fact nullified or void unless the County recorder accepts the court order for recording and the recorded order is interpreted as nullification unemployed mortgage document. And THAT basically means you need to file a quiet title action, which bring you back to attacking the initial loan transaction ab initio (from the beginning). Unless you can say that the note and mortgage should never have been released from the closing table, much less recorded, I think there is a potential problem lurking in the shadows. The homeowner might be prevented from selling or refinancing the home without the AMGAR program or something like it.

Otherwise what it comes time to sell or refinance the property, the homeowner may find that he still must deal with either paying off somebody claiming to own the mortgage or the homeowner is required to file a quiet title action to resolve the question. Of course the longer the homeowner waits before taking any action to sell or refinance the property, more likely it is that the homeowner will in fact end up with the property unencumbered by the mortgage. My point is that I don’t think that question has been answered and I don’t think that the answer will be consistent across the country.

It is my opinion that nullification of the mortgage as a void instrument that never should’ve been released much less recorded is first required for the Court can consider of cause of action to quiet title in favor of the homeowner and specifically against the encumbrance filed in the county records as a mortgage. I would also Council caution on applying this bankruptcy case to other cases in the State judicial system even in New Jersey.

But I would also say that the distaste of people sitting on the bench for hey results that benefits the homeowner signals bias for which there is no proper foundation. There is no question that these loans, debts, notes, mortgages, assignments and transfers. collection modification and foreclosures are all clouded in obscure schemes created by the banks and not the borrowers. 50 million borrowers did not wake up one morning and meet in some stadium with the idea of defrauding the banks and the federal government and insurers, guarantors and investors. But a handful of Wall Street titans who had become accustomed to their power, did in fact arrogantly pursue a scheme that did defraud borrowers, investors, insurance companies and the U.S. government.

To say that nobody can file a foreclosure is not to say that the debt cannot be enforced. There are causes of action based solely on common law or the note. If a real creditor could step forward showing a real advance of funds, they would probably prevail in at least establishing that the debt is owed from the homeowner and possibly get a money judgment. In states that have little or no homestead exemption the lien can be recorded, attaches the chain of title for the house and can be foreclosed as a judgment lien. But of course that would require the party seeking to enforce the debt to show that they actually advanced the money as a creditor. And THAT is the problem for the banks. If they had that evidence there would be no argument over the enforceability of the alleged loan documents that I call worthless.

They would have produced it long ago if the notes and mortgages were valid documents. They didn’t, they can’t, and that is why Elizabeth Warren is absolutely right in demanding that the principal balance of the debt be corrected downward. And it is stink and no crime for a Judge to apply the law evenly and allow the chips to fall where they may. If that means nobody gets to enforce the mortgage it doesn’t mean the homeowner received a free house.

The debt is due, after all adjustments, and it could be enforced by other means — unless the truth is that the borrowers ARE off the hook because the original debt, upon which all other debts deals rely as their foundation, has already been paid off. Then the homeowner doesn’t owe the money on the original debt and if somebody wants to make a case against the homeowner for recovery of what they actually lost then let them bring that action. Otherwise too bad. If the original debt is paid off through any third party payment (i.e., if the certificate holders have received payment in full directly or indirectly on their investment), then there should be no possibility of a mortgage foreclosure because that is the only debt that is allegedly secured by a mortgage. Other parties who have been lurking in the shadows would have to come into the limelight and allege and prove their case including the allegation that they are losing money as a result of these complex and obscure transactions.

The banks started this and they should suffer the consequences. There is plenty of blame to go around. To have homeowners pay the full price for the bank’s misbehavior, for the servicer’s fraud, and the Wall Street bank’s greedy method of siphoning the life out of our economy is just plain wrong. Even if we want to treat the loan documents as real, the consequences should be spread around and not on banks who are reporting higher and higher profits from aggressive release of reserves that comes from money they stole from investors —- a fact that is now dawning upon securities analysts as they downgraded Wells Fargo and other banks.

“FREE HOUSE” in NJ Bankruptcy Court

For further information and assistance please call 954-495-9867 and 520-405-1688. We will be covering this decision on the Neil Garfield show tonight.


Click in to tune in at The Neil Garfield Show

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

see http://stopforeclosurefraud.com/2014/11/18/in-re-washington-bankr-court-d-new-jersey-morris-county-homeowner-gets-a-free-house/

also see Senator Elizabeth Warren Ramping Up Attack: When Will “Principal reduction” become a reality?

This case is notable for several reasons:

  1. The Judge expresses outright that it is general judicial bias that homeowner should not prevail in foreclosure litigation.
  2. Nevertheless this Judge trashes the the claim of SPS (Specialized Loan Services) and BONY (Bank of New York) Mellon leaving the homeowner with what the Judge calls a free house.
  3. The Judge concludes that the mortgage was unenforceable and that the note was unenforceable after a careful examination of the statute of limitations under New Jersey law.
  4. The Judge concludes that the mortgage is void, not just unenforceable, thus clearing title.

While we can be pleased with the result, some of the reasoning might not withstand an appeal, if the foreclosers take the risk of filing one.

Here are some interesting excerpts:

“No one gets a free house.” This Court and others have uttered that admonition since the early days of the mortgage crisis, where homeowners have sought relief under a myriad of state and federal consumer protection statutes and the Bankruptcy Code. Yet, with a proper measure of disquiet and chagrin, the Court now must retreat from this position, as Gordon A. Washington (“the Debtor”) has presented a convincing argument for entitlement to such relief. So, with figurative hand holding the nose, the Court, for the reasons set forth below, will grant Debtor’s motion for summary judgment.
The Defendants accelerated the maturity date of the loan to the June 1, 2007 default date, as acknowledged in the Assignment (dkt. 7, Exhibit L).[10] Moreover, neither the Debtor nor the Defendants have taken any measures under the note or mortgage, or under the Fair Foreclosure Act, to de-accelerate the debt, and the Defendants have further failed to file a foreclosure complaint within 6 years of the accelerated maturity date as required by N.J.S.A. § 2A:50-56.1(a). Accordingly, the Defendants are now time-barred from filing a foreclosure complaint and from obtaining a final judgment of foreclosure.

11 U.S.C. § 502(b)(1) (emphasis added). 11 U.S.C. § 506 controls the allowance of secured claims and provides that, if the claim underlying the lien is disallowed, then the lien is void:

(a)(1) An allowed claim of a creditor secured by a lien on property in which the estate has an interest, or that is subject to setoff under section 553 of this title, is a secured claim to the extent of the value of such creditor’s interest in the estate’s interest in such property, or to the extent of the amount subject to setoff, as the case may be, and is an unsecured claim to the extent that the value of such creditor’s interest or the amount so subject to setoff is less than the amount of such allowed claim. Such value shall be determined in light of the purpose of the valuation and of the proposed disposition or use of such property, and in conjunction with any hearing on such disposition or use or on a plan affecting such creditor’s interest.

(d) To the extent that a lien secures a claim against the debtor that is not an allowed secured claim, such lien is void, unless [conditions not relevant here exist].
As explained above, by application of N.J.S.A. § 2A:50-56.1(a) and (c), the Defendants are time-barred under New Jersey state law from enforcing either the note or the accelerated mortgage. As a result, Defendants’ proof of claim 7 must be disallowed under 11 U.S.C. § 502(b)(1) as unenforceable against the Debtor or against Debtor’s property under applicable state law. Having determined that Defendants do not have an allowed secured claim, the underlying lien is deemed void pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §§ 506(a)(1) and (d).[11]
In light of Defendants’ acceleration of the maturity date of the underlying debt as of June 1, 2007, and because neither Debtor nor Defendants took any action under either the mortgage instruments, or the Fair Foreclosure Act, to de-accelerate the maturity date, Defendants’ right to file a foreclosure complaint expired 6 years after the June 1, 2007 acceleration date under N.J.S.A. § 2A:50-56.1(a). Given that Defendants’ putative secured claim is unenforceable under 11 U.S.C. § 502(b)(1), by applicable New Jersey statute, their mortgage lien is void under 11 U.S.C. § 506(d), and the Debtor retains the property, free of any claim of the Defendants. Debtor is to submit a form of judgment. The Court will proceed to gargle in an effort to remove the lingering bad taste.
11] In as much as the Court finds that the Defendants are time-barred from enforcing the note or the mortgage, it is not necessary to address Debtor’s arguments that Defendants lack standing to enforce the note and mortgage based on alleged defects in the Assignment or the alleged impact of a Settlement Agreement.

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.




[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.



Don’t Admit the Default

Kudos again to Jim Macklin for sitting in for me last night. Excellent job — but don’t get too comfortable in my chair :). Lots of stuff in another mini-seminar packed into 28 minutes of talk.

A big point made by the attorney guest Charles Marshall, with which I obviously agree, is don’t admit the default in a foreclosure unless that is really what you mean to do. I have been saying for 8 years that lawyers and pro se litigants and Petitioners in bankruptcy proceedings have been cutting their own throats by stating outright or implying that the default exists. It probably doesn’t exist, even though it SEEMS like it MUST exist since the borrower stopped paying.

There is not a default just because a borrower stops paying. The default occurs when the CREDITOR DOESN’T GET PAID. Until the false game of “securitization started” there was no difference between the two — i.e., when the borrower stopped paying the creditor didn’t get paid. But that is not the case in 96% of all residential loan transactions between 2001 and the present. Today there are multiple ways for the creditor to get paid besides the servicer receiving the borrower’s payment. the Courts are applying yesterday’s law without realizing that today’s facts are different.

Whether the creditor got paid and is still being paid is a question of fact that must be determined in a hearing where evidence is presented. All indications from the Pooling and Servicing Agreements, Distribution Reports, existing lawsuits from investors, insurers, counterparties in other hedge contracts like credit default swaps — they all indicate that there were multiple channels for payment that had little if anything to do with an individual borrower making payments to the servicer. Most Trust beneficiaries get paid regardless of whether the borrower makes payment, under provisions of the PSA for servicer advances, Trustee advances or some combination of those two plus the other co-obligors mentioned above.

Why would you admit a default on the part of the creditor’s account when you don’t have access to the money trail to identify the creditor? Why would you implicitly admit that the creditor has even been identified? Why would you admit a payment was due under a note and mortgage (or deed of trust) that were void front the start?

The banks have done a good job of getting courts to infer that the payment was due, to infer that the creditor is identified, to infer that the payment to the creditor wasn’t received by the creditor, and to infer that the balance shown by the servicer and the history of the creditor’s account can be shown by reference only to the servicer’s account. But that isn’t true. So why would you admit to something that isn’t true and why would you admit to something you know nothing about.

You don’t know because only the closing agent, originator and all the other “securitization” parties have any idea about the trail of money — the real transactions — and how the money was handled. And they are all suing the broker dealers and each other stating that fraud was committed and mismanagement of the multiple channels of payments received for, or on behalf of the trust or trust beneficiaries.

In the end it is exactly that point that will reach critical mass in the courts, when judges realize that the creditor has no default in its business records because it got paid — and the foreclosure by intermediaries in the false securitization scheme is a sham.

In California the issue they discussed last night about choice of remedies is also what I have been discussing for the last 8 years, but I must admit they said it better than I ever did. Either go for the money or go for the property — you can’t do both. And if you  elected a remedy or assumed a risk, you can’t back out of it later — which is why the point was made last night that the borrower was a third party beneficiary of the transaction with investors which is why it is a single transaction — if there is no borrower, there wold be no investment. If there was no investment, there would have been no borrower. The transaction could not exist without both the investor and the borrower.

Bravo to Jim Macklin, Dan Edstrom and Charles Marshall, Esq. And remember don’t act on these insights without consulting with a licensed attorney who knows about this area of the law.

Bankruptcy Lawyers: it starts in the schedules — admission of secured debt is deadly

I was traveling and re listening to an older lecture given by 2 Bankruptcy judges generally held in high esteem. The largest point was that naming a party as the creditor and checking the right boxes showing they are secured basically ends the discussion on the motion to lift stay and restricts your options to either filing an adversary lawsuit attached to the administrative bankruptcy petition or filing an action in state court which is where you will be if you don’t follow this same simple direction. If you file schedules attached to your petition for bankruptcy relief, as you are required to do, these are basically the same as sworn affidavits. They will be used against you in any contested hearing.

So the judge lifts the stay and then often mistakenly enters additional language in the order ending the issue of whom is the real lender. After all, that is who you were making the payments to, right, so they must be a creditor. And this is all about a mortgage foreclosure so they must, in addition to being a creditor, they must be a secured creditor. And if the collateral is worth less than the claim, there is not much else to talk about it is simple to these Judges because nobody has shown them differently and one of the Judges is retired now. By definition when the Bankruptcy Judge says in the order who is the creditor, he or she has gone beyond their jurisdiction and due process because there was no evidentiary hearing.

This all results from a combination of technology (garbage in, garbage out), inexperience with securitized mortgages, laziness and failure to do the research to determine what is the truth and what is not. If you are a bankruptcy practitioner who uses one of the desktop bankruptcy programs, then the questions, boxes, and fill-ins are intuitively placed in the schedule that your client swears to. No problem unless the schedules are wrong. And they are wrong where the debt runs from the Petitioner to the REMIC trust beneficiaries and is unsecured by any mortgage that the homeowner borrower petitioner ever signed or meant to sign.

The first point is that the amount if the debt is unknown and we now this for a fact because there are multiple offsets for Third party payment (like Servicer advances) that must be examined one by one. It could be zero, it could be there is money due to the borrower, it could be more or less what is being demanded by the Servicer or trustee. Another thing we know is that neither the Servicer or trustee is likely to know the amount of their claim. So send out a QWR to all addresses for the Servicer and the REMIC trustee.

If you get several different payment histories it is a fair bet they came off of different records, different systems and require the records custodian to authenticate each Servicer’ rendition, of beginning balance, ending balance and every transaction in between. The creditor who filed a proof of claim has the burden of showing a color able right to enforce the mortgage. That can only come from the pooling and servicing agreement. The parties to the PSA are the REMIC Trust, the REMIC Trust beneficiaries and the broker dealer who sold the bonds issued by the REMIC trust.

But if there is no trust or the REMIC trust never actually acquired the subject loan, then the appointed Servicer in the PSA draws no power from a PSA for a nonexistent or empty trust (at least empty of the subject loan.) it is not the Servicer by right, it has become the Servicer by its intervention into the contractual right between the borrower homeowner and the lender (the REMIC trust beneficiaries). The “apparent authority” of the Servicer will only take it so far.

And every transactions means that as a Servicer they were paying or passing on the borrower’s payments . Where are those records — missing. Does the corporate representative know about those payments? Who was the creditor paid. When did the payments from Servicer start and when did they stop — or are they still on-going right up to and including trial, foreclosure sale auction and final disposition of proceeds from an REO sale.

So from the perspective of the Petitioner he might have made payments to an entity that claimed to be the Servicer and those payments are due back not the bankruptcy estate. OOPS but that is what happens when a company arrogated unto itself the powers of a Servicer for loans that are claimed to be in a trust — where the trust doesn’t own the loan, note or mortgage (deed of trust). Thus the Servicer would be owed zero but you would show them in the unsecured column, unliquidated and disputed. This could have a substantial income on the amount of the claim, whether part or all of it is secured.

But no matter, if you fail to take a history from the client, get the closing documents, title and securitization report together with loan level analysis, you are going to do a disservice to your client. We provide litigation support and analysis to give you the data to make an informed decision, fight the POC, MLS, turnover of rents, etc. Then you might avoid the dreaded call of calling your insurance carrier who will probably tell you neither paid for nor received a tail on your claims made policy.

LAWYERS: Go to http://www.livingliesstore.com and start journey toward the light.


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