Modification Minefields as Foreclosures Resume Upward Volume

For further information please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688

Listen to Neil Garfield Show on Thursday February 26, 2015 at 6pm EDT., and each Thursday

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see http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/15/02/02/new-foreclosure-procedures-put-to-test-as-number-of-cases-climbs-in-nj/

New Jersey now has an upsurge of Foreclosure activity. It is on track to become first in the nation in the number of foreclosures. What is clear is that the level of foreclosure activity is being carefully managed to avoid attention in the media. Right now, foreclosure articles and the infamous acts of the banks in pursuing foreclosures is staying off Page 1 and usually not  anywhere in newspapers and other media outlets online and and in distributed media. The pattern is obvious. After one area becomes saturated with foreclosures, the banks switch off the flow and then move to another geographical area. This effectively manages the news. And it keeps foreclosures from becoming a hot political issue despite the fact that millions of Americans are being displaced by illegal foreclosures based upon invalid mortgage documents and the complete absence of any real creditor in the mix.

As foreclosures rise, the number of attempts at modification also rise. This is a game used by “servicers” to assure what appears to be an inescapable default because their marching orders are to get the foreclosure sales, not to resolve the issue. The investment banks need foreclosures; they don’t need the money and they don’t need the house —- as the hundreds of thousands of zombie foreclosures attest where the bank forecloses and abandons property where the borrower could and would have continued paying.

The problem with modifications is the same as the problem with foreclosures. It constitutes another layer of mortgage fraud perpetrated by the Wall Street banks, who are now facing increasingly successful challenges to their attempts to complete the cycle of fraud with a foreclosure.

The “servicer” whom nearly everyone takes for granted as having some authority to move forward is in actuality just as much a stranger to the transaction as the alleged Trust or “Holder”. The so-called servicer alleged authority depends upon powers conferred on it by the Pooling and Servicing Agreement of an unfunded Trust that never completed its mission to originate or acquire loans. If the REMIC trust doesn’t own the loans, the servicer claiming authority from the PSA is claiming vapor. If the Trust doesn’t own the loan then the PSA is irrelevant and the powers conferred in the PSA are pure vapor.

This brings us full circle to where we were in 2007-2008 when it was the banks themselves that claimed that there were no trusts and that there was no securitization. They were, as it turns out, telling the truth. The Trusts were drafted but never funded, never used as conduits and never engaged in ANY transaction in which the Trust had funded the origination or acquisition of loans. So anyone claiming authority from the trust was claiming authority from a fictional character — like Donald Duck.

Complicating matters further is the issue of who owns the loan when there is a claim by Freddie or Fannie. Both of them say they “have” the mortgage online when they neither “have it” nor “own it.” Fannie and Freddie were one of two things in this mess: (1) guarantors, which means they have no interest until after a creditor liquidates the property and claims an actual money loss and Fannie and Freddie actually pays off the loss or (2) Master trustee (and probably guarantor as well) for a REMIC Trust that probably has no greater value than the unfunded REMIC Trusts that are unused conduits.

Further complicating the issue with the former Government Sponsored Entities (Fannie and Freddie) is the fact that many banks have been forced to buy back or pay damages for violating underwriting standards and other types of fraud.

So how do you get or sign a modification with a servicer that has no authority and represents a Trust that has no interest in the loan? The answer is that there is no legal way to do it — BUT there is a way that would allow a legal fiction to be created if a Court issued an order approving the modification and declaring the rights of the parties. The order would say that XYZ is the servicer and ABC is the creditor or owner of the loan and that the homeowner is the borrower and that the modification agreement is approved. If proper notice (including publication) is given it would have the same effect as a foreclosure and would eliminate all questions of title. Without that, you will have continuing title problems. You should also request that the “Servicer” or “Trustee” arrange for a “Guarantee of Title” from a title company.

For the tricks and craziness of what is happening in modifications and the issues presented in New Jersey and other states click the link above.

Pleading Wrongful Foreclosure

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

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see https://fightforeclosuredotnet.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/what-homeowners-must-know-about-pleading-their-wrongful-foreclosure-cases-in-the-courts/
The above link provides some very good guidance about pleading wrongful foreclosure although it appears to relate more to non-judicial states than judicial states. Remember that pleading fraud not only requires specificity but must be proved. The fact that the foreclosure filing was wrong is one thing but proving it was fraudulent rather than negligent or breach of contract is quite another.

If you are in active litigation then seeking sanctions might be either an alternative or something in addition to a separate lawsuit that arises when the case is decided in favor of the homeowner. As we have seen over the last few years, the grounds upon which these cases are decided in favor of the homeowner vary widely. Some decisions show that the acts of Deutsch or Chase or Wells Fargo or CitiMortgage et al were committed with full knowledge of what they were doing and that they were playing a shell game on the court and on the borrower. Those cases seem more conducive for fraud or spurious litigation or wrongful foreclosure. A decision based upon non-compliance with paragraph 22 — defects in the notice of default or right to reinstate or notice of acceleration might be the subject of abuse of process and might not. But without more in the proof or opinion from the Court the issue of fraud or intentional tort of some other kind seems more difficult.

Lack of standing means the homeowner wins but it does not mean necessarily that a case for fraud or wrongful foreclosure will be successful. The opposition will respond (affirmative defense) that the mistake in standing does not establish any entitlement to damages or any other action by the court because the right to foreclose still exists on behalf of some entity. But this defense is basically a crystal ball defense unless there is an established creditor who is legally pursuing collection on the loan.

Cases in which the bank blocked the sale or refinance of the property, or unilaterally tried to avoid a modification, or where the borrower was in fact current when actions by the bank forced the borrower into the illusion of default are the best cases, in my opinion, for a wrongful foreclosure.

In short, the law is murky on these issues because the whole truth about securitization “fail” has not been fully absorbed and processed by the judicial system. Right now most judges are making rulings based upon the assumption that securitization is irrelevant — a view that is inconsistent with the the alleged right of the beneficiary or mortgagee to initiate foreclosure and pursue collection. The rights to do so exist in the PSA which is often admitted into evidence. Thus the same court that accepts the PSA into evidence will often rule that the provisions that require servicer advances (hence, no default as per books of the Trust or Holders of Certificates) or PSA provisions that block any right to pursue foreclosure or collection by the Trustee or the Trust are not relevant. But the general rule is that once a document is admitted into evidence the parties can use it any way they want.

JDSupra: It isn’t the crime — it is the cover up

For further information please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688

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Bryan G. Scott has written an excellent article that should be read in its entirety at http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/its-not-the-crime-its-the-cover-up-e-39616/

This article runs to the heart of the mortgage mess, the cover-up and the potential impact on past, present and future foreclosures in the application of statutes of limitation relating to causes of action for violation of the truth in lending act, statutory remedies, and common-law actions in negligence and fraud. Using law from construction defects suits, the author has identified key factors in challenging the defense of the statute of limitations.

Because of the obvious danger posed by dishonest defendants concealing defects to take advantage of the statute of repose, many state legislatures have enacted fraud exceptions to their statutes of repose. The North Carolina statute of repose explicitly excludes “any person who shall have been guilty of fraud, or willful or wanton negligence” in the course of improving real property, and further excludes any person who has “wrongfully concealed” the fraud or willful or wanton negligence. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-50(a)(5)(e). Establishing the fraud or willfulness or wantonness necessary to invoke this exception is a high standard and typically requires proving the contractor or developer deliberately covered or concealed defects that it knew or should have known of in conscious disregard of the eventual owner’s rights. Where the defendant’s actions do not rise to this level, the North Carolina statutory exception does not apply.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We already know that the servicers, investment banks and originators committed various acts of forgery, perjury, fabrication, robo-signing and other things that NO BANK WOULD ACCEPT IF THEY WERE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS ISSUE. They continue to hide the true facts, cover-up and otherwise obscure or wear down beleaguered homeowners. These are facts that lay solely within the care, custody and control of the banks who control the servicers and the trustees. The investors, trustees and borrowers are considered barred from even inquiring into the nonexistent transactions that lay at the base of the chain of fabricated documentation and the only way to get it is through illegal means that cannot be used in court or discovery which the courts won’t allow. In my opinion there are very few TILA violations where the statute of limitations should bar a claim because the basic facts of the loan contract have been withheld and intentionally misrepresented.]

The North Carolina Court of Appeals reaffirmed the application of equitable estoppel to construction defect disputes in its September 2014 decision in Trillium Ridge Condominium Association, Inc. v. Trillium Links & Village, LLC, No. COA14-183, ___ N.C. App. ___ (Sept. 16, 2014) (slip op.).

As explained in Trillium Ridge, equitable estoppel is available in proper cases under North Carolina law to bar a defendant from relying on either a statute of limitations or statute of repose. Equitable estoppel requires “(1) conduct on the part of the party sought to be estopped which amounts to a false representation or concealment of material facts; (2) the intention that such conduct will be acted on by the other party; (3) knowledge, actual or constructive, of the real facts.” White v. Consol. Planning, Inc. 166 N.C. App. 283, 305 (2004), disc. review denied, 359 N.C. 286 (2005). The party asserting the defense must have “(1) a lack of knowledge and the means of knowledge as to the real facts in question; and (2) relied upon the conduct of the party sought to be estopped to his prejudice.” Id. at 807. Furthermore, the plaintiff must have been induced to delay filing its legal action by the defendant’s misrepresentations. Jordan v. Crew, 125 N.C. App. 712, 720, disc. review denied, 346 N.C. 279 (1997).

UNFUNDED TRUSTS: WHY IT MATTERS

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

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For further information please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688

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On tonight’s show we will talk about the alleged trusts that allegedly own the loans. In most cases, they do not own the loan nor do they represent the interests of the owners. The owners of the DEBT are the investors who advanced money to the investment bank that sold mortgage bonds to the investor (pension fund). There are two main reasons why this is important:

  1. An unfunded trust has no money to buy or originate loans. Therefore it is an improper party to bring any action to collect or enforce the debt. This is especially true when the unfunded trust has no legal claim to enforce the loan on behalf of the owners. The REMIC Trust should not be allowed to cause a foreclosure, or interfere with the rights of borrowers and investors. Its “servicers” have no right to collect money and when they do collect money from the borrower, they owe the money back to the borrower who paid it to the servicer. This has been discussed in cases highlighted on this blog over the last week.
  2. The unfunded trust is evidence of a fraudulent scheme in which the investors (pension funds) were tricked into advancing money to an investment bank who then misused the money, didn’t deliver it to the trust that issued the mortgage bonds that were sold, and then acted as a conduit between the investors and the borrowers — without either one knowing what was really happening. In a foreclosure, this means that the alleged enforcement of the loan is really furtherance of the fraudulent scheme against investors. Raising this issue does NOT mean there is no debt. It means, in most cases, that foreclosure is not an option because the perpetrators of the fraud and the initiators of the collection and enforcement of the alleged “loan” are one and the same. Hence the Court SHOULD be interested in not being part of a fraudulent scheme. It is a classic case of unclean hands.

The issue is proof and mores specifically the willingness of the court to let you prove your case. This comes down to pleading, discovery, motions to compel that spell out your narrative for the case and investigation through forensic auditors and private investigators. Unfunded REMIC Trusts represent a potential attack against the party initiating foreclosure that can be fatal to their claim if properly presented.

As a general observation these attacks are met with claims of presumptions when dealing with negotiable paper, and the claim that the borrower has no standing to raise the issue. But the borrower clearly does have standing to raise the issue if the borrower is claiming return of all money paid and claiming that the foreclosure action is part of a fraudulent scheme to the detriment of the real creditor and the detriment of the borrower, both of whom under Federal Law are required to pursue options for modification or settlement.

And the legal presumptions only apply to paper that is truly negotiable and where there is no evidence of trustworthiness or lack of credibility. The recent transfers from Chase and other entities to SPS are not really transfers of servicing rights. The “loan” is clearly already declared to be in default — making the claim of negotiable paper (and the presumptions) moot. So the entrance of SPS or another “servicer” under these circumstances is just another layer to fool the court and the borrower.

They are merely hiring SPS to

(a) enforce, because SPS is not processing payments from the borrower nor making payments to the investors (that is done by Chase or whoever is the the named servicer in the PSA) and

(b) create the illusion of business records by having an SPS representative testify that the business records of SPS should be admitted because SPS examined the prior records of the prior servicers and found them to be correct in what they call a “boarding” process. This is a blatant attempt to circumvent the rules of evidence. Both the attempt at creating legal presumptions regarding the note and mortgage and the attempt to use the business records of an “enforcer” posing as a “servicer” should be rejected.

THIS ARTICLE IS MY OPINION AND SHOULD NOT BE USED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE ADVICE FROM AN ATTORNEY LICENSED TO PRACTICE IN THE JURISDICTION IN WHICH YOUR PROPERTY IS LOCATED.

Az Federal Judge Strikes at Heart of Nonjudicial Foreclosure, Denies OneWest Motion to Dismiss

For further information or assistance, please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688

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See OWB CASE Buffington v USBank_MTD Denied incl FDCPA 28USDC AZ

CAUTION: NOT ALL JURISDICTIONS ALLOW THE SAME CAUSES OF ACTION. CHECK WITH ATTORNEY WHO IS LICENSED IN THE JURISDICTION IN WHICH THE PROPERTY IS LOCATED.

A Federal Judge upheld a Complaint against OneWest on all counts except fraud. Actually the Judge was doing the homeowner a favor because the burden of proof on fraud is clear and convincing evidence whereas the burden of proof for the rest of the causes of action is only a preponderance (50% + 1) of the evidence. If it is more likely than not that the homeowner is right on the multi-count complaint that has now survived dismissal, the homeowner wins and the damages goes to the jury to jury to decide how much that should be. TRESPASS might also require a higher burden of proof. During the litigation, the homeowner will be able to inquire and potentially receive the necessary facts to support a fraud claim as well.

This is a dramatic reversal — lawsuits just like this one were previously dismissed in Az Federal Court. One of them was dismissed after 14 months of non-action by the court.

COUNT 1 UPHELD FOR NEGLIGENCE PER SE

COUNT 2 UPHELD FOR NEGLIGENT PERFORMANCE OF AN UNDERTAKING

COUNT 3 UPHELD FOR FALSE DOCUMENTS — Plaintiffs suffered false foreclosure recordings on their real property title record, additional damage to their credit reputation, and false late fees and penalties, as well as attorney fees and costs.

COUNT 4 UPHELD FOR PAYMENT/DISCHARGE/ SATISFACTION — based upon receipt of FDIC loss share payments that were intentionally withheld and therefore causing a misrepresentation to borrower as to the the existence of a default or the actual amount of the balance due to the actual creditor.

COUNT 5 UPHELD FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT

COUNT 6 UPHELD FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT

COUNT 7 DISMISSED — FRAUD

COUNT 8 UPHELD FOR TRESPASS TO REAL PROPERTY

COUNT 9 UPHELD FOR FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT

Levitin and Yves Smith – TRUST=EMPTY PAPER BAG

Living Lies Narrative Corroborated by Increasing Number of Respected Economists

It has taken over 7 years, but finally my description of the securitization process has taken hold. Levitin calls it “securitization fail.” Yves Smith agrees.

Bottom line: there was no securitization, the trusts were merely empty sham nominees for the investment banks and the “assignments,” transfers, and endorsements of the fabricated paper from illegal closings were worthless, fraudulent and caused incomprehensible damage to everyone except the perpetrators of the crime. They call it “infinite rehypothecation” on Wall Street. That makes it seem infinitely complex. Call it what you want, it was civil and perhaps criminal theft. Courts enforcing this fraudulent worthless paper will be left with egg on their faces as the truth unravels now.

There cannot be a valid foreclosure because there is no valid mortgage. I know. This makes no sense when you approach it from a conventional point of view. But if you watch closely you can see that the “loan closing” was a shell game. Money from a non disclosed third party (the investors) was sent through conduits to hide the origination of the funds for the loan. The closing agent used that money not for the originator of the funds (the investors) but for a sham nominee entity with no rights to the loan — all as specified in the assignment and assumption agreement. The note and and mortgage were a sham. And the reason the foreclosing parties do not allege they are holders in due course, is that they must prove purchase and delivery for value, as set forth in the PSA within the 90 day period during which the Trust could operate. None of the loans made it.

But on Main street it was at its root a combination pyramid scheme and PONZI scheme. All branches of government are complicit in continuing the fraud and allowing these merchants of “death” to continue selling what they call bonds deriving their value from homeowner or student loans. Having made a “deal with the devil” both the Bush and Obama administrations conscripted themselves into the servitude of the banks and actively assisted in the coverup. — Neil F Garfield, livinglies.me

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

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John Lindeman in Miami asked me years ago when he first starting out in foreclosure defense, how I would describe the REMIC Trust. My reply was “a holographic image of an empty paper bag.” Using that as the basis of his defense of homeowners, he went on to do very well in foreclosure defense. He did well because he kept asking questions in discovery about the actual transactions, he demanded the PSA, he cornered the opposition into admitting that their authority had to come from the PSA when they didn’t want to admit that. They didn’t want to admit it because they knew the Trust had no ownership interest in the loan and would never have it.

While the narrative regarding “securitization fail” (see Adam Levitin) seems esoteric and even pointless from the homeowner’s point of view, I assure you that it is the direct answer to the alleged complaint that the borrower breached a duty to the foreclosing party. That is because the foreclosing party has no interest in the loan and has no legal authority to even represent the owner of the debt.

And THAT is because the owner of the debt is a group of investors and NOT the REMIC Trust that funded the loan. Thus the Trust, unfunded had no resources to buy or fund the origination of loans. So they didn’t buy it and it wasn’t delivered. Hence they can’t claim Holder in Due Course status because “purchase for value” is one of the elements of the prima facie case for a Holder in Due Course. There was no purchase and there was no transaction. Hence the suing parties could not possibly be authorized to represent the owner of the debt unless they got it from the investors who do own it, not from the Trust that doesn’t own it.

This of course raises many questions about the sudden arrival of “assignments” when the wave of foreclosures began. If you asked for the assignment on any loan that was NOT in foreclosure you couldn’t get it because their fabrication system was not geared to produce it. Why would anyone assign a valuable loan with security to a trust or anyone else without getting paid for it? Only one answer is possible — the party making the assignment was acting out a part and made money in fees pretending to convey an interest the assignor did not have. And so it goes all the way down the chain. The emptiness of the REMIC Trust is merely a mirror reflection of the empty closing with homeowners. The investors and the homeowners were screwed the same way.

BOTTOM LINE: The investors are stuck with ownership of a debt or claim against the borrowers for what was loaned to the borrower (which is only a fraction of the money given to the broker for lending to homeowners). They also have claims against the brokers who took their money and instead of delivering the proceeds of the sale of bonds to the Trust, they used it for their own benefit. Those claims are unsecured and virtually undocumented (except for wire transfer receipts and wire transfer instructions). The closing agent was probably duped the same way as the borrower at the loan closing which was the same as the way the investors were duped in settlement of the IPO of RMBS from the Trust.

In short, neither the note nor the mortgage are valid documents even though they appear facially valid. They are not valid because they are subject to borrower’s defenses. And the main borrower defense is that (a) the originator did not loan them money and (b) all the parties that took payments from the homeowner owe that money back to the homeowner plus interest, attorney fees and perhaps punitive damages. Suing on a fictitious transaction can only be successful if the homeowner defaults (fails to defend) or the suing party is a holder in due course.

Trusts Are Empty Paper Bags — Naked Capitalism

student-loan-debt-home-buying

Just as with homeowner loans, student loans have a series of defenses created by the same chicanery as the false “securitization” of homeowner loans. LivingLies is opening a new division to assist people with student loan problems if they are prepared to fight the enforcement on the merits. Student loan debt, now over $1 Trillion is dragging down housing, and the economy. Call 520-405-1688 and 954-495-9867)

The Banks Are Leveraged: Too Big Not to Fail

When I was working with Brad Keiser (formerly a top executive at Fifth Third Bank), he formulated, based upon my narrative, a way to measure the risk of bank collapse. Using a “leverage” ration he and I were able to accurately define the exact order of the collapse of the investment banks before it happened. In September, 2008 based upon the leverage ratios we published our findings and used them at a seminar in California. The power Point presentation is still available for purchase. (Call 520-405-1688 or 954-495-9867). You can see it yourself. The only thing Brad got wrong was the timing. He said 6 months. It turned out to be 6 weeks.

First on his list was Bear Stearns with leverage at 42:1. With the “shadow banking market” sitting at close to $1 quadrillion (about 17 times the total amount of all money authorized by all governments of the world) it is easy to see how there are 5 major banks that are leveraged in excess of the ratio at Bear Stearns, Lehman, Merrill Lynch et al.

The point of the article that I don’t agree with at all is the presumption that if these banks fail the economy will collapse. There is no reason for it to collapse and the dependence the author cites is an illusion. The fall of these banks will be a psychological shock world wide, and I agree it will obviously happen soon. We have 7,000 community banks and credit unions that use the exact same electronic funds transfer backbone as the major banks. There are multiple regional associations of these institutions who can easily enter into the same agreements with government, giving access at the Fed window and other benefits given to the big 5, and who will purchase the bonds of government to keep federal and state governments running. Credit markets will momentarily freeze but then relax.

Broward County Court Delays Are Actually A PR Program to Assure Investors Buying RMBS

The truth is that the banks don’t want to manage the properties, they don’t need the house and in tens of thousands of cases (probably in the hundreds of thousands since the last report), they simply walk away from the house and let it be foreclosed for non payment of taxes, HOA assessments etc. In some of the largest cities in the nation, tens of thousands of abandoned homes (where the homeowner applied for modification and was denied because the servicer had no intention or authority to give it them) were BULL-DOZED  and the neighborhoods converted into parks.

The banks don’t want the money and they don’t want the house. If you offer them the money they back peddle and use every trick in the book to get to foreclosure. This is clearly not your usual loan situation. Why would anyone not accept payment in full?

What they DO want is a judgment that transfers ownership of the debt from the true owners (the investors) to the banks. This creates the illusion of ratification of prior transactions where the same loan was effectively sold for 100 cents on the dollar not by the investors who made the loan, but by the banks who sold the investors on the illusion that they were buying secured loans, Triple AAA rated, and insured. None of it was true because the intended beneficiary of the paper, the insurance money, the multiple sales, and proceeds of hedge products and guarantees were all pocketed by the banks who had sold worthless bogus mortgage bonds without expending a dime or assuming one cent of risk.

Delaying the prosecution of foreclosures is simply an opportunity to spread out the pain over time and thus keep investors buying these bonds. And they ARE buying the new bonds even though the people they are buying from already defrauded them by NOT delivering the proceeds fro the sale of the bonds to the Trust that issued them.

Why make “bad” loans? Because they make money for the bank especially when they fail

The brokers are back at it, as though they haven’t caused enough damage. The bigger the “risk” on the loan the higher the interest rate to compensate for that risk of loss. The higher interest rates result in less money being loaned out to achieve the dollar return promised to investors who think they are buying RMBS issued by a REMIC Trust. So the investor pays out $100 Million, expects $5 million per year return, and the broker sells them a complex multi-tranche web of worthless paper. In that basket of “loans” (that were never made by the originator) are 10% and higher loans being sold as though they were conventional 5% loans. So the actual loan is $50 Million, with the broker pocketing the difference. It is called a yield spread premium. It is achieved through identity theft of the borrower’s reputation and credit.

Banks don’t want the house or the money. They want the Foreclosure Judgment for “protection”

 

Securitization for Lawyers

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

The CONCEPT of securitization does not contemplate an increase in violations of lending laws passed by States or the Federal government. Far from it. The CONCEPT anticipated a decrease in risk, loss and liability for violations of TILA, RESPA or state deceptive lending laws. The assumption was that the strictly regulated stable managed funds (like pensions), insurers, and guarantors would ADD to the protections to investors as lenders and homeowners as borrowers. That it didn’t work that way is the elephant in the living room. It shows that the concept was not followed, the written instruments reveal a sneaky intent to undermine the concept. The practices of the industry violated everything — the lending laws, investment restrictions, and the securitization documents themselves. — Neil F Garfield, Livinglies.me

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“Securitization” is a word that provokes many emotional reactions ranging from hatred to frustration. Beliefs run the range from the idea that securitization is evil to the idea that it is irrelevant. Taking the “irrelevant” reaction first, I would say that comes from ignorance and frustration. To look at a stack of Documents, each executed with varying formalities, and each being facially valid and then call them all irrelevant is simply burying your head in the sand. On the other hand, calling securitization evil is equivalent to rejecting capitalism. So let’s look at securitization dispassionately.

First of all “securitization” merely refers to a concept that has been in operation for hundreds of years, perhaps thousands of years if you look into the details of commerce and investment. In our recent history it started with “joint stock companies” that financed sailing expeditions for goods and services. Instead of one person or one company taking all the risk that one ship might not come back, or come back with nothing, investors could spread their investment dollars by buying shares in a “joint stock company” that invested their money in multiple sailing ventures. So if some ship came in loaded with goods it would more than offset the ships that sunk, were pirated, or that lost their cargo. Diversifying risk produced more reliable profits and virtually eliminated the possibility of financial ruin because of the tragedies the befell a single cargo ship.

Every stock certificate or corporate or even government bond is the product of securitization. In our capitalist society, securitization is essential to attract investment capital and therefore growth. For investors it is a way of participating in the risk and rewards of companies run by officers and directors who present a believable vision of success. Investors can invest in one company alone, but most, thanks to capitalism and securitization, are able to invest in many companies and many government issued bonds. In all cases, each stock certificate or bond certificate is a “derivative” — i.e., it DERIVES ITS VALUE from the economic value of the company or government that issued that stock certificate or bond certificate.

In other words, securitization is a vehicle for diversification of investment. Instead of one “all or nothing” investment, the investors gets to spread the risk over multiple companies and governments. The investor can do this in one of two ways — either manage his own investments buying and selling stocks and bonds, or investing in one or more managed funds run by professional managers buying and selling stocks and bonds. Securitization of debt has all the elements of diversification and is essential to the free flow of commerce in a capitalistic economy.

Preview Questions:

  • What happens if the money from investors is NOT put in the company or given to the government?
  • What happens if the certificates are NOT delivered back to investors?
  • What happens if the company that issued the stock never existed or were not used as an investment vehicle as promised to investors?
  • What happens to “profits” that are reported by brokers who used investor money in ways never contemplated, expected or accepted by investors?
  • Who is accountable under laws governing the business of the IPO entity (i.e., the REMIC Trust in our context).
  • Who are the victims of misbehavior of intermediaries?
  • Who bears the risk of loss caused by misbehavior of intermediaries?
  • What are the legal questions and issues that arise when the joint stock company is essentially an instrument of fraud? (See Madoff, Drier etc. where the “business” was actually collecting money from lenders and investors which was used to pay prior investors the expected return).

In order to purchase a security deriving its value from mortgage loans, you could diversify by buying fractional shares of specific loans you like (a new and interesting business that is internet driven) or you could go the traditional route — buying fractional shares in multiple companies who are buying loans in bulk. The share certificates you get derive their value from the value of the IPO issuer of the shares (a REMIC Trust, usually). Like any company, the REMIC Trust derives its value from the value of its business. And the REMIC business derives its value from the quality of the loan originations and loan acquisitions. Fulfillment of the perceived value is derived from effective servicing and enforcement of the loans.

All investments in all companies and all government issued bonds or other securities are derivatives simply because they derive their value from something described on the certificate. With a stock certificate, the value is derived from a company whose name appears on the certificate. That tells you which company you invested your money. The number of shares tells you how many shares you get. The indenture to the stock certificate or bond certificate describes the voting rights, rights to  distributions of income, and rights to distribution of the company is sold or liquidated. But this assumes that the company or government entity actually exists and is actually doing business as described in the IPO prospectus and subscription agreement.

The basic element of value and legal rights in such instruments is that there must be a company doing business in the name of the company who is shown on the share certificates — i.e., there must be actual financial transactions by the named parties that produce value for shareholders in the IPO entity, and the holders of certificates must have a right to receive those benefits. The securitization of a company through an IPO that offers securities to investors offer one additional legal fiction that is universally enforced — limited liability. Limited liability refers to the fact that the investment is at risk (if the company or REMIC fails) but the investor can’t lose more than he or she invested.

Translated to securitization of debt, there must be a transaction that is an actual loan of money that is not merely presumed, but which is real. That loan, like a stock certificate, must describe the actual debtor and the actual creditor. An investor does not intentionally buy a share of loans that were purchased from people who did not make any loans or conduct any lending business in which they were the source of lending.

While there are provisions in the law that can make a promissory note payable to anyone who is holding it, there is no allowance for enforcing a non-existent loan except in the event that the purchaser is a “Holder in Due Course.” The HDC can enforce both the note and mortgage because he has satisfied both Article 3 and Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code. The Pooling and Servicing Agreements of REMIC Trusts require compliance with the UCC, and other state and federal laws regarding originating or acquiring residential mortgage loans.

In short, the PSA requires that the Trust become a Holder in Due Course in order for the Trustee of the Trust to accept the loan as part of the pool owned by the Trust on behalf of the Trust Beneficiaries who have received a “certificate” of fractional ownership in the Trust. Anything less than HDC status is unacceptable. And if you were the investor you would want nothing less. You would want loans that cannot be defended on the basis of violation of lending laws and practices.

The loan, as described in the origination documents, must actually exist. A stock certificate names the company that is doing business. The loan describes the debtor and creditor. Any failure to describe the the debtor or creditor with precision, results in a failure of the loan contract, and the documents emerging from such a “closing” are worthless. If you want to buy a share of IBM you don’t buy a share of Itty Bitty Machines, Inc., which was just recently incorporated with its assets consisting of a desk and a chair. The name on the certificate or other legal document is extremely important.

In loan documents, the only exception to the “value” proposition in the event of the absence of an actual loan is another legal fiction designed to promote the free flow of commerce. It is called “Holder in Due Course.” The loan IS enforceable in the absence of an actual loan between the parties on the loan documents, if a third party innocent purchases the loan documents for value in good faith and without knowledge of the borrower’s defense of failure of consideration (he didn’t get the loan from the creditor named on the note and mortgage).  This is a legislative decision made by virtually all states — if you sign papers, you are taking the risk that your promises will be enforced against you even if your counterpart breached the loan contract from the start. The risk falls on the maker of the note who can sue the loan originator for misusing his signature but cannot bring all potential defenses to enforcement by the Holder in Due Course.

Florida Example:

673.3021 Holder in due course.

(1) Subject to subsection (3) and s. 673.1061(4), the term “holder in due course” means the holder of an instrument if:

(a) The instrument when issued or negotiated to the holder does not bear such apparent evidence of forgery or alteration or is not otherwise so irregular or incomplete as to call into question its authenticity; and
(b) The holder took the instrument:

1. For value;
2. In good faith;
3. Without notice that the instrument is overdue or has been dishonored or that there is an uncured default with respect to payment of another instrument issued as part of the same series;
4. Without notice that the instrument contains an unauthorized signature or has been altered;
5. Without notice of any claim to the instrument described in s. 673.3061; and
6. Without notice that any party has a defense or claim in recoupment described in s. 673.3051(1).
673.3061 Claims to an instrument.A person taking an instrument, other than a person having rights of a holder in due course, is subject to a claim of a property or possessory right in the instrument or its proceeds, including a claim to rescind a negotiation and to recover the instrument or its proceeds. A person having rights of a holder in due course takes free of the claim to the instrument.
This means that Except for HDC status, the maker of the note has a right to reclaim possession of the note or to rescind the transaction against any party who has no rights to claim it is a creditor or has rights to represent a creditor. The absence of a claim of HDC status tells a long story of fraud and intrigue.
673.3051 Defenses and claims in recoupment.

(1) Except as stated in subsection (2), the right to enforce the obligation of a party to pay an instrument is subject to:

(a) A defense of the obligor based on:

1. Infancy of the obligor to the extent it is a defense to a simple contract;
2. Duress, lack of legal capacity, or illegality of the transaction which, under other law, nullifies the obligation of the obligor;
3. Fraud that induced the obligor to sign the instrument with neither knowledge nor reasonable opportunity to learn of its character or its essential terms;
This means that if the “originator” did not loan the money and/or failed to perform underwriting tests for the viability of the loan, and gave the borrower false impressions about the viability of the loan, there is a Florida statutory right of rescission as well as a claim to reclaim the closing documents before they get into the hands of an innocent purchaser for value in good faith with no knowledge of the borrower’s defenses.

 

In the securitization of loans, the object has been to create entities with preferred tax status that are remote from the origination or purchase of the loan transactions. In other words, the REMIC Trusts are intended to be Holders in Due Course. The business of the REMIC Trust is to originate or acquire loans by payment of value, in good faith and without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses. Done correctly, appropriate market forces will apply, risks are reduced for both borrower and lenders, and benefits emerge for both sides of the single transaction between the investors who put up the money and the homeowners who received the benefit of the loan.

It is referred to as a single transaction using doctrines developed in tax law and other commercial cases. Every transaction, when you think about it, is composed of numerous actions, reactions and documents. If we treated each part as a separate transaction with no relationship to the other transactions there would be no connection between even the original lender and the borrower, much less where multiple assignments were involved. In simple terms, the single transaction doctrine basically asks one essential question — if it wasn’t for the investors putting up the money (directly or through an entity that issued an IPO) would the transaction have occurred? And the corollary is but for the borrower, would the investors have been putting up that money?  The answer is obvious in connection with mortgage loans. No business would have been conducted but for the investors advancing money and the homeowners taking it.

So neither “derivative” nor “securitization” is a dirty word. Nor is it some nefarious scheme from people from the dark side — in theory. Every REMIC Trust is the issuer in an initial public offering known as an “IPO” in investment circles. A company can do an IPO on its own where it takes the money and issues the shares or it can go through a broker who solicits investors, takes the money, delivers the money to the REMIC Trust and then delivers the Trust certificates to the investors.

Done properly, there are great benefits to everyone involved — lenders, borrowers, brokers, mortgage brokers, etc. And if “securitization” of mortgage debt had been done as described above, there would not have been a flood of money that increased prices of real property to more than twice the value of the land and buildings. Securitization of debt is meant to provide greater liquidity and lower risk to lenders based upon appropriate underwriting of each loan. Much of the investment came from stable managed funds which are strictly regulated on the risks they are allowed in managing the funds of pensioners, retirement accounts, etc.

By reducing the risk, the cost of the loans could be reduced to borrowers and the profits in creating loans would be higher. If that was what had been written in the securitization plan written by the major brokers on Wall Street, the mortgage crisis could not have happened. And if the actual practices on Wall Street had conformed at least to what they had written, the impact would have been vastly reduced. Instead, in most cases, securitization was used as the sizzle on a steak that did not exist. Investors advanced money, rating companies offered Triple AAA ratings, insurers offered insurance, guarantors guarantees loans and shares in REMIC trusts that had no possibility of achieving any value.

Today’s article was about the way the IPO securitization of residential loans was conceived and should have worked. Tomorrow we will look at the way the REMIC IPO was actually written and how the concept of securitization necessarily included layers of different companies.

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