STANDING: THE CRUX TO DEFENDING FALSE CLAIMS OF SECURITIZATION OF MORTGAGE LOANS

Mortgage foreclosure is the civil equivalent of the death penalty. in criminal cases. Many court decisions have enthusiastically supported that notion and attached much more stringent rules to the enforcement of a mortgage or deed of trust than they use in enforcement of a note. That is, until the last 20 years.

If you begin with the assumption that securitization is false, you start looking at the cover-up. Banks continue to win foreclosures because the truth is counterintuitive. Tactically the homeowner does not need to prove securitization fail in order to block a foreclosure. If that was the goal you would need to know and prove things that are in the exclusive possession, care, custody, and control of documents of third parties who are not even parties to the litigation nor mentioned in correspondence, notices or forms.

Successful defenders know that the securitization is faked and use that knowledge to ferret out relevant grounds to undermine and impeach testimony and documents proffered by lawyers for “stand-ins” called “naked nominees”, “lenders,” successors by merger, attorneys in fact, etc. wherein each such designation represents another layer of obfuscation.

Legal standing requires that the party who brings a foreclosure action must have legal injury resulting solely from nonpayment of the debt. The Federal Practice Manual published by and for Legal Aid describes and analyses gives good guidance that should be followed up with competent legal research of statutes and  cases in your state.

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

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

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

Get a Consult and TERA (Title & Encumbrances Analysis and & Report) 202-838-6345 or 954-451-1230. The TERA replaces and greatly enhances the former COTA (Chain of Title Analysis, including a one page summary of Title History and Gaps).

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

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see Legal Aid Federal Practice Manual on STANDING

Published by the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Rights

Here are some of the more salient quotes from the guide.

The law of standing has its roots in Article III’s case and controversy requirement.1 The U.S. Supreme Court has established a three-part test for standing. The “irreducible constitutional minimum of standing” requires the plaintiff to establish:

First … an “injury in fact”—an invasion of a legally protected interest which is (a) concrete and particularized, and (b) “actual or imminent,” not “conjectural” or “hypothetical.” Second, there must be a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of—the injury has to be “fairly … trace[able] to the challenged action of the defendant, and not … th[e] result [of] the independent action of some third party not before the court.” Third, it must be “likely,” as opposed to merely “speculative,” that the injury will be “redressed by a favorable decision.”2

So the ONLY party with standing to bring an action to foreclose on a mortgage is (a) the party who would suffer economic loss if the debt is paid (and the party entitled to payments on the debt) and (b) the party who would actually receive the proceeds of sale in a foreclosure action because they are holding a loan receivable reflecting ownership of the debt relating to the subject mortgage.

Both defense attorneys and judges have made the mistake of confusing standing to collect on a note, which does not necessarily require ownership of a debt, and standing to foreclose or otherwise enforce a mortgage which does require ownership of the debt. This is the law in every state under their adoption of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC — Article 3 (NOTE) and Article 9 (MORTGAGE).

The cover for this erroneous conclusion is amply provided by the failure of homeowners to object resulting in default foreclosure sales. And further cover is provided by the fact that the delivery of the original note is presumed to be delivery of ownership of the debt. However, this is ONLY true if the execution of the note merged with the debt.

Merger ONLY occurs if the note and the debt are, in fact, the same, i.e., the Payee on the note is the same as the creditor who loaned the money. Banks have engaged in various illusions to cause courts to assume that merger occurred. But in fact, the substance of the loan transaction remains the same as what I wrote 10 years ago, to wit: (1) the sale of certificates naming an issuer without existence on behalf of the “underwriter”/”master servicer” of the nonexistent entity, (2) the underwriter taking the money and using it, in part, to fund loans through pre-purchase agreements (before anyone has even applied for loan) and through form warehouse loans that are in substance pre-purchase of loans.

Hence in all cases the money at the closing table came from the underwriter forwarding the funds to the closing agent. Since the money came from parties intending to be investors, the owner of the debt is (a) a group of investors (b) the underwriter or (c) both the group of investors and the underwriter, with the underwriter acting as agent. But the agency of the underwriter is at the very least problematic.

The underwriter may claim that the agency arises because of the Pooling and Servicing Agreement for the nonexistent “REMIC TRUST” to which the investors agreed. But the investors would be quick to point out (and have done so in hundreds of lawsuits) that the PSA and the “Trust” were sham conduits and fabricated documents to create the illusion that investor money would be entrusted to the named Trustee for administration within a trust, not a blanket power of attorney for the underwriter to use the money anyway they wished. It is the opposite of a power of attorney or agency because it arises by breach of the terms and conditions of the sale of the certificates.

While the standing test is easily stated, it can be difficult to apply. The Supreme Court has observed that “[g]eneralizations about standing to sue are largely worthless as such.”3

The Supreme Court also imposes “prudential” limitations on standing to ensure sufficient “concrete adverseness.”4 These include limitations on the right of a litigant to raise another person’s legal rights, a rule barring adjudication of generalized grievances more appropriately addressed legislatively, and the requirement that a plaintiff’s complaint must fall within the zone of interests protected by the statute at issue.5

The Supreme Court has made it clear that the burden of establishing standing rests on the plaintiff.6 At each stage of the litigation—from the initial pleading stage, through summary judgment, and trial—the plaintiff must carry that burden.7Standing must exist on the date the complaint is filed and throughout the litigation.8 Moreover, standing cannot be conferred by agreement and can be challenged at any time (e.s.) in the litigation, including on appeal, by the defendants or, in some circumstances, by the court sua sponte.9 Finally, plaintiffs must demonstrate standing for each claim and each request for relief.10  There is no “supplemental” standing: standing to assert one claim does not create standing to assert claims arising from the same nucleus of operative facts.11

The Supreme Court has held that, to satisfy the injury in fact requirement, a party seeking to invoke the jurisdiction of a federal court must show three things: (1) “an invasion of a legally protected interest,” (2) that is “concrete and particularized,” and (3) “actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical.”12

In foreclosure cases, trial courts have nearly universally found that a party had standing because of legal presumptions without any proof of ownership of the debt. The good practitioner will drill down on this showing that the “presumption” is conjecture or hypothetical and that there is no harm in making the foreclosing party prove its status instead of relying on presumptions.

One last comment on both judicial and nonjudicial foreclosure. In typical civil cases if the defending party makes it clear that he/she is challenging standing, the party bringing the action must then prove it. In foreclosure cases judges typically adopt the position that the homeowner brought it up and must prove the non-existence of standing. This is the opposite of what is required under Article 3 of the US Constitution.

The party who “brought it up” is the foreclosing party. It manifestly wrong to shift the burden to the homeowner just because the foreclosing party asserts, or as in many cases, implies standing, In fact, in my opinion, nonjudicial foreclosure is constitutional but NOT in the way it is applied — by putting an impossible burden on the homeowner that makes it impossible for the homeowner to confront his/her accusers.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE DEBT IF THE COURTS APPLY THE LAW? The debt still exists in the form of a liability at law and/or in a  court of equity. The creditor is a group of investors who have constructive or direct rights to the debt, and potentially the note and mortgage. The difference is that decisions on settlement and modification would be undertaken by the creditors — or designated people they currently trust. And that  means the creditors would be maximizing their financial return instead of minimizing it through intermediaries. But there is also the possibility that the investors have in fact been paid or have accepted payment in the form of settlements with the underwriters. Those settlements preserve the illusion of the status quo. In that case it might be that the underwriter is the actual creditor, if they can prove the payment.

HOW CAN THE NOTE BE TRANSFERRED WITHOUT THE DEBT?

Here is an analogy that might help this counterintuitive process.

Assume I own a car. I enter into an agreement with my friend Jane to sell the car to her. I sign the title and give it to her. Afterwards we both decide we didn’t want to do that. Jane pays nothing for the car. Jane does not get the car. Jane never uses the car. I still have and use the car and both Jane and I disregard the fact that I gave her a signed title. She does nothing with the title. Later in a loan application she lists the car as an asset. Then the car is stolen from me.

Who gets the insurance proceeds? The question is whether the title represents an actual agreement to buy the car. And all courts that would boil down to whether or not Jane paid me. She didn’t. I get the insurance proceeds because I lawfully applied for a duplicate title and received it.

But Jane still has one copy of the title signed by me in original form. She has also made copies of it that can be printed out with the appearance of an original. So far, she has sold the car 42 times and taken out 7 loans on the car.

One of the people that received the title records it with the DMV. There is a problem with that. I still have title and possession of the car. The gullible person who “bought” the car has a title signed by Jane, who has produced evidence that she received title from me. One Jane’s lenders on car stops receiving payments from Jane’s Ponzi scheme.

They “repo” the car and we go to court. The lender to Jane has no legal title even though they have what looks like an original title that is facially valid. Do I get my car back or does the lender” get to keep it.

One step further: if jane’s lender was actually a co-conspirator who accepted the false title and never gave a loan, does that change anything? I ask because this is exactly what is happening in nearly all foreclosures. The named “successor” in title engaged in no transaction to acquire the debt.

Transfer of the note was without regard to transferring the debt because neither the grantor nor grantee owned the debt. If the truth comes out, the transfer of the note will be seen as a sham paper transfer and the debt will be owned by whoever has money in the loan deal. Hence transfer of the note is not transfer of the debt. By denying the transfer of the note, the burden of proof should be on the would-be foreclosing party to show it was part of a real transaction.

Confusion in The Courts: Pleading vs Proof

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A lot of the questions that come in to me relate to the issue of whether the ability to enforce a set of loan documents is a question of law or a question of fact. The answer, I think, is both.

The confusion seems to be on the issue of pleading vs proof. As a matter of law, the courts are largely correct as to their ruling on whether the Plaintiff in a judicial state is fine with alleging bare statements of ultimate facts upon which relief could be granted. But where the judges go astray, based upon improper legal reasoning advanced by the banks, is that they apply the same pleading requirements at trial or even summary judgment.

At trial they must prove the transactions upon which they rely. If the allegation from the owner or the denial and affirmative defenses of the homeowner raise an issue of fact as to the authenticity, validity or enforceability of the paperwork relied upon by the bank, then the bank must prove the underlying transaction. If the homeowner does not raise that issue of fact, then the court is correct in allowing virtually anything in as evidence and awarding the foreclosure to the bank.

But that said, to return to yesteryear, Judges are supposed to actually review the paperwork even in an uncontested situation to see if there are inconsistencies or even something that jumps out at them this is plainly wrong. for example, if the default letter says that for reinstatement, you must pay $6700 in monthly payments to bring the account current and your monthly payments are $3100, the letter is defective. How many months are they saying you are in default? It’s a simple matter of division. This also throws off the date of the alleged default, so there is no compliance with paragraph 22 provisions.

Similarly, if the foreclosing party is saying they have rights to enforce, that is enough to plead their case. But at trial they must tell the story of how they came into the right to enforce the paper. It is this latter part where the courts have erred and where the reversals from appellate courts are coming from. The presumptions at the pleading stage do not apply to the burden of proving facts.

I think the courts are coming around on this issue but it must be presented properly. A thief can sue on the note he stole even if he forged a blank or special endorsement. He will survive a motion to dismiss although law enforcement might be waiting in the back of the room to arrest him.

The presumption at the pleading stage is that possession implies being a holder. And being a holder implies being a holder with rights to enforce, and potentially one might even infer that the holder is a holder in due course. But at trial where the facts are contested, the thief must tell the story of his possession and rights to enforce. The fact that the actual payee or holder does not know the note was stolen does not or should not shift the burden of proof onto the homeowner to prove facts that are exclusively within the knowledge and care, custody and control of the thief.

The homeowner must merely deny that the thief is a holder with rights to enforce.

Banks Brace for Pain: Statute of Limitations on TILA Rescission and TILA Claims

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TILA remedies and requirements actually address the “free house” complaint head on: If banks misbehave in material and important ways (as defined by statute and not in the minds of a judge or lawyer) then yes, the homeowner should get a free house. That is what all three branches of the Federal government have said and no re-interpretation of TILA rescission or TILA remedies will be allowed since last week when the Supreme Court unanimously decided that TILA meant what it says. Any Judge or lawyer who thinks otherwise is in fairyland. The fact that a Judge doesn’t “like” the result of a “free house” (as the Judge perceives it) means nothing. The Judge is required to apply the law as decided by the United States Supreme Court.

Practically everyone is asking questions about whether the statute of limitations starts running from the date the documents were signed on the alleged loan or if it could start at a later time. The answer is a grey area, but as pointed out by James Macklin last night on the Neil Garfield show, there is a legal doctrine called equitable tolling that could suspend the start of the running of the statute of limitations for TILA rescission and TILA claims.

“The equitable tolling principles are to be read into every Federal Statute of Limitations unless Congress expressly provides to the contrary in clear and unambiguous language, see: Rotella v. Wood 528, 549, 560-61,120 S. Ct. 1075, 145 L. Ed. 2d 1047(2000). Since TILA does not evidence a contrary Congressional intent, it’s statute of limitations must be read to be subject to equitable tolling, particularly since the Act is to be construed liberally in favor of consumers.”

Basically the doctrine says that the statute starts to run, unless otherwise provided in the statute, when the claimant knew or should have known or most have known of the grounds for, in this case, TILA Rescission or TILA claims. The basis of that is obvious to anyone involved with these fake mortgages and fraudulent foreclosures for 8 years like I have. The very facts that give rise to TILA rescission and other TILA claims, are intentionally withheld by the parties at the fake closing where the borrower signs settlements documents, the note and the mortgage.

The strategy of the banks has been to wait out three years and then pursue foreclosure and when the borrower raises TILA defenses, the answer is that the statute of limitations has run. With the recent unanimous Supreme Court decision that effectively smacked thousands of lawyers and judges in the face for re-interpreting basic law and the specific and express provisions of TILA, this bank strategy should no longer work.

So now if you gave notice of rescission within three years of the date of the fake closing, your mortgage is null and void “by operation of law” and the “lender(s)” are required to give you (a) a satisfaction of mortgage for county records (b) a canceled original note (c) refund all the money you paid at closing for points, fees, costs etc. and (d) refund all the money you ever paid for interest and principal on the loan. Your debt becomes unsecured and there is no requirement for you to offer them any money at all in order to have the TILA rescission (“I hereby rescind my loan”) be effective. If you EVER sent such a notice within the three year period then your mortgage was void by operation of law at that time — unless the “lender(s)” filed a lawsuit (within 20 days of receipt of your notice of rescission) seeking declaratory relief saying your rescission was not based on any mistakes, errors, omissions or misbehavior on their part.

So all those hundreds of thousands of letters sent back to borrowers saying their letter of rescission was not effective were wrong. Dead wrong. And all those foreclosures that happened anyway were wrongful and void. And THAT means that what I said in 2008 is now true — that hundreds of thousands of homeowners who sent notices of rescission still own their homes even though on paper their homes were sold to third parties. The only thing that could interfere with that conclusion would be a state statute that existed at the time of the fraudulent sale  that said that you have 1 year or some other length of time to challenge the title.

So now that we know that nearly all the loans were table funded and therefore “predatory per se” (REG Z) the question becomes when did the three year statute of limitations begin to run.

There are two schools of thought on this. The first one is simple, as one caller on the Neil Garfield Show pointed out last night. If the disclosures were intentionally withheld, then even the three day rescission might still be available because the deal never actually closed and because the disclosures were fraudulent.

But in any event the statute would start to run as soon as the “borrower” found out that there were multiple people involved in his fake closing that were never disclosed — all of which undisclosed parties were involved in serving as conduits or aggregators and all of whom were paid an undisclosed amount of money arising out of the “closing.” So it is possible that even though your loan was the subject of a faked closing in 2005, you might still have a right to rescind and should send the notice of rescission since it forced the burden of proof onto the pretender lenders. This is especially important in nonjudicial states where the borrower must sue to prevent foreclosure and there is confusion over the alignment of parties.

Incidentally to drill in the point that this statute has teeth, the “lender” must pay the borrower all money paid including what was paid to third party vendors. The loss falls on the “lender” for misbehaving. If it didn’t bother the US Government (Congress, President and Supreme Court) when it passed TILA that the borrower would get a “free house” why should it bother anyone else?

Rescission: Shifting the Burden of Proof

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see http://www.foreclosuredefenseresourcecenter.com/top-f-foreclosure-defense-strategies-in-california/truth-in-lending-rescission/

I ran across an excellent article on rescission in mortgage cases that I think is a MUST READ for those who might be affected or entitled to use it. Check the link above. Make sure you check with a knowledgeable attorney licensed in the jurisdiction in which your property is located before you act, but I think there are very good reasons to send out the notice of rescission in virtually all cases.

From my reading of the Supreme Court’s decision and other cases the notice need only be a statement that the “borrower” hereby rescinds the transaction with appropriate reference to the loan number. It would be wise to attach the note and mortgage, in my opinion. It does not appear that you need to state your reasons and I would suggest you not do so. Basically the statute says you can rescind within three days of “consummation” of the transaction without a reason or within three years if the disclosures were wrong, inadequate or withheld. But the statute does not appear to require you set forth what disclosures were wrong or how they were wrong so I would suggest that no such statement be included.

In cases where the disclosures were intentionally withheld (table funded or third party sourced loans) the statute of limitations might not start to run until the date that you knew or should have known of the defective disclosure package. It also might not start to run unless you received two copies of your right to rescind with all the information filled in by the LENDER. Of course right there is a problem since the likely “lender” (the one who actually loaned you the money) was probably unknown to everyone at closing including the borrower. But that doesn’t stop the rescission. In fact, in my opinion, it supports the rescission.

So it is possible for virtually all the loans to be subject to the right of rescission which is meant to give the borrower a very strong remedy with teeth, since all the money, the mortgage and the note must be returned and the mortgage is void by operation of law as soon as a homeowner declares his rescission of the “transaction’ (which is probably nonexistent — something that TILA was intended to prevent).

The most interesting thing to me is the tactical advantage of sending a notice of rescission even if it turns out to be unsupported (disclosures were all there and adequate). It changes the burden of proof. Once the rescission is declared by the borrower, it is then up to the creditor to file a lawsuit (within 20 days of the notice of rescission) against the borrower seeking a declaratory judgment that the notice of rescission is not supported by the facts or should otherwise be declared invalid because of statute of limitations or other grounds.

Thus the statute of limitations also applies to the pretender lender. Since none of them ever filed a declaratory action that I know of (within the 20 days required by statute), every notice of rescission has, by operation of law, and as confirmed by the Supreme Court, rendered the mortgage void. This means that at best the obligation is unsecured and can be discharged in bankruptcy. Any subsequent foreclosure after such a notice of rescission is equally void in my opinion and it appears from the statute and the case law now that the notice can be sent anytime up until the mortgage no loner exists because of satisfaction or forced sale.

In order to file such a lawsuit the pretender lender would have to allege and prove the validity of the origination, including the fact that it was not a table funded loan. This is going to be mostly impossible for any of them to achieve. Strategically it is an opportunity to shift the burden of proof on matters that should already be within their burden of proof (but ignored by many trial judges) to the party seeking foreclosure or the party whom they purport to represent as the creditor. I am even wondering if the rescission should be stated in responsive pleading or notice of filing in pending foreclosure cases.

This might be the powerful tool I thought it was back in 2007 where the parties involved in “securitization fail” (see Adam Levitin) must stop everything and (if they do it within the time period prescribed by statute) actually prove (a) that there really is a transaction under that pile of documents they show the court and (b) that there was adequate disclosure of the real parties in their closing and real terms. Remember that the statute has a “tolerance” of only $35 for the the disclosed terms.

Comments are invited.

Bank of America Ordered to Pay $1.2 BILLION for Fraudulent Mortgages

“Given the current environment where robo-signing became institutionalized as a practice even though it is the equivalent of forgery and where fabrication of documents by law offices and “document processors” were prepared according to a published menu of prices, why would anyone, least of all a court of law, apply general principles surrounding presumptions when established fact makes it more likely than not that the presumptions lead to the wrong conclusions? Where is the prejudice to anyone in abandoning these presumptions in light of all the information in the public domain?” — Neil Garfield, livinglies.me

THEY ACTUALLY CALLED IT “HUSTLE”

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan ruled nine months after jurors found Bank of America and former Countrywide executive Rebecca Mairone liable for defrauding government-controlled mortgage companies Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB) and Freddie Mac (FMCC.OB) through the sale of shoddy loans by the former Countrywide Financial Inc in 2007 and 2008.

The case centered on a mortgage lending process known as “High Speed Swim Lane,” “HSSL” or “Hustle,” and which ended before Bank of America bought Countrywide in July 2008.

Investigators said the program emphasized quantity over quality, rewarding employees for producing more loans and eliminating checkpoints designed to ensure the loans’ quality. (see link below)

Now that an actual employee of the Bank has also been ordered to pay $1 Million, maybe others will start coming out of the woodwork seeking immunity for their testimony. There certainly has been a large exodus of employees and officers of Bank of America to other Banks and even other industries. They are all trying to distance themselves from the inevitable down fall of the Bank. Meanwhile the corrupt system is heavily engaged with financial news reporting. For every article pointing out that Bank of America might have hundreds of Billions of dollars in legal liabilities for their fraudulent practices in originating, acquiring, servicing and foreclosing mortgages, there are five articles spread over the internet telling investors that BOA is a good investment and it is advisable to buy the stock. I know how that system works. For favors or money some people will write anything.

THE BURDEN OF PLEADINGS AND PROOF MUST BE CHANGED

The question I continue to raise is that if there was an administrative finding of fraud by an agency of the government, which there was, and if there was a jury finding of fraud involved in the Countrywide mortgages (and other mortgages) why are we presuming in court that that the mortgage is valid?

I understand the statutory and common law presumptions arising out of certain instruments that appear to be facially valid. But I propose that lawyers challenge those presumptions based upon the widespread knowledge and information across the public domain that many if not most of the mortgages were procured by fraud, processed fraudulently, serviced fraudulently, and foreclosed fraudulently. In my opinion it is time for lawyers to challenge that presumption in light of the numerous studies, agency investigations and findings that the mortgages, from beginning to end, were fraudulently originated, acquired and processed.

Why should the filings of a pretender lender receive the benefit of the presumptions of validity just because it exists when we already know it is more likely than not that there are no underlying facts to support the presumptions — and knowing that there was probably fraud involved? Why should the burden remain on the borrowers who have the least access to the information about that fraud and who get nothing from the banks during discovery?

Forfeiture of the private residence of a person is the worst outcome of any civil litigation. It is like the death penalty in criminal litigation. Shouldn’t it require intense scrutiny instead of a rocket docket that presumes the validity of the mortgage and note, and presumes that a possessor of a note (that more likely than not was fabricated and forged by a machine) has the right to enforce?

In a REAL transaction in the REAL world, the originator of a loan would demand that all underwriting restrictions be applied, and confirmation of the submissions by the borrower. If anyone was buying the loan in the secondary market, they would demand the same thing and proof that the assignor, endorser or transferor of the loan had title to it in every conceivable way.

The buyer would demand copies of the actual documentation so that they could enforce the loan. These documents would exist and be kept in a vault because the fate of the investment normally depends upon the ability of the “lender” or “purchaser” of the loan to prove that the loan was properly originated and transferred for value in good faith without knowledge of any defenses of the borrower.

In short, they would demand that they receive proof of all aspects in the chain of title such that they would be considered a Holder in Due Course.

Today, nobody seems to allege they are a holder in due course and nobody seems to want to identify any party as a Holder in Due Course or even a creditor. They use the term “holder” with its presumptions as a sword against the hapless borrower who doesn’t have the information to know that his or her loan is likely NOT owned by anyone in the chain claimed by the foreclosing party.

If it were otherwise, all foreclosure cases would end with a thud — the loan would be produced in all its glory with everything in its place and fully disclosed. The only defense left would be payment. Instead the banks are waiting years to run the statute on TILA rescission and TILA violations before they start actively prosecuting a foreclosure.

What bank with a legitimate claim for foreclosure would want to wait before it got its hands on the collateral for a loan in default? Incredibly, these delays which often amount to five years or more, are ascribed to borrowers who are “buying time” without looking at the docket to see that the delay is caused by the Plaintiff foreclosing party, not the borrower who has been actively seeking discovery.

What harm would there be to anyone who is a legitimate stakeholder in this process if we required the banks to plead and prove in all cases — judicial and nonjudicial — the following:

  1. All closing documents with the borrower conformed with Federal and State law as to disclosures, Good Faith Estimate and appraisals.
  2. Underwriting and due diligence for approval of the loan application was performed by [insert name of party].
  3. The payee on the note loaned money to the borrower.
  4. The mortgagee on the mortgage (or beneficiary on the deed of trust) was the source of funds for the loan.
  5. The “originator” of the loan was the lender.
  6. No investor or third party was the creditor, investor or lender at the closing of the loan.
  7. Attached to the pleading are wire transfer receipts or canceled checks showing that the borrower received the funds from the party named on the settlement documents as the lender.
  8. Each assignment in the chain of title to the loan was the result of a transaction in which the loan was sold by the owner of the loan for value in good faith without knowledge of borrower’s defenses.
  9. Each assignment in the chain of title to the loan was the result of a transaction in which the loan was purchased by a bona fide purchaser for value in good faith without knowledge of borrower’s defenses.
  10. Attached to the pleading are wire transfer receipts or canceled checks showing that the seller of the loan received the funds from the party named on the assignment or endorsement as the purchaser.
  11. The creditor for this debt is [name the creditor]. The creditor has notice of this proceeding and has authorized the filing of this foreclosure [see attached authorization document].
  12. The date of the purchase by the creditor Trust is [put in the date]. Attached to the pleading are wire transfer receipts or canceled checks showing that the seller of the subject loan received the funds from the REMIC Trust named in the pleadings as the purchaser.
  13. The purchase by the Trust conformed to the terms and conditions of the Trust instrument which is the Pooling and Servicing Agreement [attached, or URL given where it can be accessed]
  14. The Creditor’s accounts show a deficiency in payments caused by the failure of the borrower to pay under the terms of the note.
  15. All payments received by the creditor (owner of the loan) have been posted whether received directly or received indirectly by agents of the creditor.
  16. The creditor has suffered financial injury and has declared a default on its own account. [See attached Notice of Default].
  17. The last payment received by the creditor from anyone paying on this subject loan account was [insert date].

When I represented Banks and Homeowner Associations in foreclosures against homeowners and commercial property owners, I had all of this information at my fingertips and could produce them instantly.

Given the current environment where robo-signing became institutionalized as a practice even though it is the equivalent of forgery and where fabrication of documents by law offices and “document processors” were prepared according to a published menu of prices, why would anyone, least of all a court of law, apply general principles surrounding presumptions when established fact makes it more likely than not that the presumptions lead to the wrong conclusions? Where is the prejudice to anyone in abandoning these presumptions in light of all the information in the public domain?

see http://thebostonjournal.com/2014/07/30/bank-of-america-ordered-to-pay-1-27-billion-for-countrywide-fraud/

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RESCISSION REVIVED BY 9TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

Hat tip to Ken McLeod and to Ron Ryan who argued endlessly that the former ruling was wrong in Arizona. Ron Ryan is a good lawyer and Ken McLeod is a good investigator. Both have years of experience investigating, analyzing and fighting illegal foreclosures.

Courts are catching on and as I have predicted, the ultimate determination of the merits of foreclosure cases are largely going to turn on the application of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). Previously this same court held that tender of the money was required to rescind a transaction — the exact opposite of what the Federal statutes and regulations required. Now, correcting its prior error, the court says that a cause of action and defense exists by pleading rescission. Any document indicating the intent to rescind is sufficient.

The purpose of the TILA provision was to put the burden on the lender to prove that they had complied with all aspects of TILA in providing adequate disclosure and otherwise performing those acts required for a valid closing. If the defense is that the loan contract was not completed because of lack of consideration or other violations of TILA or RESPA, then the appropriate action is to send a rescission letter. It then falls on the “lender” to file an action within 20 days to object to the rescission or return all money paid by the borrower and to file a satisfaction of mortgage along with returning the canceled note. And since the allegation of no consideration leaves nothing to be tendered “back”, there is no impediment to going forward with discovery.

This forces “lenders” to essentially file a judicial foreclosure suit and prove they made the loan, they have the right paperwork and made the right disclosures. Table funded loans are going to give them a problem since Reg Z says that any pattern of conduct with table-funded loans is “predatory per se,” it is hard to imagine that this decision won’t stop the “lenders” dead in their tracks.

The requirement of tender assumed that the “lender” had actually made the loan and was the source of funds. Now the Courts are starting to realize that there was a switch at closing with the borrower and very likely a switch at closing with the real lenders — the investors who thought they were buying valuable mortgage bonds. With the borrowers the closing agent took money from an undisclosed party and then had the borrower sign documents in favor of another party. With the investors, the investment bank took money from the investors and instead of funding the trust, used the money and the documents from closing as though it were their own.

Hence the need to fabricate endorsements, assignments etc. If the “securitization” of the loan had taken place there would be a chain of monetary transactions leading up to the ultimate transfer to the trust who would have issued payment for the loan. There would have been no need to fabricate, forge, or robosign documents and certainly no loss of loans due to destruction or misplacement, because the documents would have been forwarded to the named Depository.

The result was that the burden was placed on borrowers with the least access to the real information on the loan and an easy path of defense to the party with the most access to the real facts of the loans and alleged transfers of the loan. TILA was meant to level the playing field. If the borrower invoked rescission without right, then there were consequences. This law was passed to prevent predatory lenders escaping the consequences of illegal actions simply because they had greater resources, sophistication and factual knowledge.

Be careful here. There are several types of rescission — 3 Day, 3 Year and common law. Consult with an attorney who is licensed to practice in the jurisdiction in which your property is located.

For more information call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688

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Merritt v. Countrywide Financial Corp.

9th circuit opinion Issued July 16, 2014

Summary: Plaintiffs filed suit against Countrywide and others involved in their residential mortgage, alleging violations of numerous federal statutes. The district court dismissed the claims with prejudice and plaintiffs appealed. The court held that plaintiffs can state a claim for rescission under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), 15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq., without pleading that they have tendered, or that they have the ability to tender, the value of their loan; only at the summary judgment stage may a court order the statutory sequence altered and require tender before rescission – and then only on a case-by-case basis; and, therefore, the court reversed the district court’s dismissal of plaintiffs’ rescission claim and remanded for further proceedings. The court held that, although the limitations period in the Real Estate Settlement Practices Act (RESPA), 12 U.S.C. 2614, ordinarily runs from the date of the alleged RESPA violation, the doctrine of equitable tolling may, in the appropriate circumstances, suspend the limitations period until the borrower discovers or had reasonable opportunity to discover the violation; just as for TILA claims, district courts may evaluate RESPA claims case-by-case; and, therefore, in this case, the court vacated the dismissal of plaintiffs’ Section 8 of RESPA claims on limitations grounds and remanded for reconsideration.

Merritt v Countryside 9th circuit 09-17678-2014-07-16

 

Here it is: Nonjudicial Foreclosure Violates Due Process in Complex Structured Finance Transactions

No, there isn’t a case yet. But here is my argument.

The main point is that we are forced to accept the burden of disproving a case that had not been filed — the very essence of nonjudicial foreclosure. In order to comply with due process, a simple denial of the facts and legal authority to foreclosure should be sufficient to force the case into a courtroom where the parties are realigned with the so-called new beneficiary is the Plaintiff and the homeowner is the Defendant — since it is the “beneficiary” who is seeking affirmative relief.

But the way it is done and required to be done, the Plaintiff must file an attack on a case that has never been alleged anywhere in or out of court. The new beneficiary anoints itself, files a fraudulent substitution of trustee because the old one would never go along with it, and then files a notice of default and notice of sale all on the premise that they have the necessary proof and documents to support what could have been an action in foreclosure brought by them in a judicial manner, for which there is adequate provision in California law.

Instead nonjudicial foreclosure is being used to sell property under circumstances where the alleged beneficiary under the deed of trust could never prevail in a court proceeding. Nonjudicial foreclosure was meant to be an expedient method of dealing with the vast majority of foreclosures when the statute was passed. In that vast majority, the usual procedure was complaint, default, judgment and then sale with at least one hearing in between. Nearly all foreclosures were resolved that way and it become more of a ministerial act for Judges than an actual trier of fact or judge of procedural rights and wrongs.

But the situation is changed. The corruption on Wall Street has been systemic resulting in whole sale fraudulent fabricated forged documents together with perjury by affidavit and even live testimony. Contrary to the consensus supported by the banks, these cases are complex because the party seeking affirmative relief — i.e., the new “beneficiary” is following a complex script established long before the homeowner ever applied for a loan or was solicited to finance her property.

The San Francisco study concluded, like dozens of other studies across the country that most of the foreclosures were resolved in favor of “strangers to the transaction.” By definition, the use of several layers of companies and multiple sets of documents defining two separate deals (one with the investor lenders and one with the borrower, with the only party in common being the broker dealer selling mortgage bonds and their controlled entities) has turned the mundane into highly complex litigation that has no venue. In non-judicial foreclosures the Trustee is the party who acts to sell the property under instructions from the beneficiary and does so without inquiry and without paying any attention to the obvious conflict between the title record, the securitization record, the homeowner’s position and the prior record owner of the loan.

The Trustee has no power to conduct a hearing, administrative or judicial, and so the dispute remains unresolved while the Trustee proceeds to sell the property knowing that the homeowner has raised objections. Under normal circumstances under existing common law and statutory authority, the Trustee would simply bring the matter to court in an action for interpleader saying there is a dispute that he doesn’t have the power to resolve. You might think this would clog the court system. That is not the case, although some effort by the banks would be made to do just that. Under existing common law and statutory law, the beneficiary would then need to file a complaint, verified, sworn with real exhibits and that are subject to real scrutiny before any burden of proof would shift to the homeowner. And as complex as these transactions are they all are subject to simple rules concerning financial transactions. If there was no money in the alleged transaction then the allegation of a transaction is false.

It was and remains a mistake to allow such loans to be foreclosed through any means other than strictly judicial where the “beneficiary” must allege and prove ownership and the balance due on the loan owed to THAT beneficiary. Requiring homeowners with zero sophistication in finance and litigation to bear the initial burden of proof in such highly complex structured finance schemes defies logic and common sense as well as being violative of due process in the application of the nonjudicial statutes to these allegedly securitized loans.

By forcing the parties and judges who sit on the bench to treat these complex issues as though they were simple cases, the enabling statutes for nonjudicial foreclosure are being applied unconstitutionally.

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