Why Fabrications? Why Forgeries?

In an increasing number of foreclosure cases, homeowners are going head to head with the lawyers who file claims on behalf of entities on the basis of fabricated and/or forged instruments that in many cases were also recorded in county records. Lawyers like Dan Khwaja in Illinois are getting clearer and clearer about it. They hire experts who understand exactly how the notes are mechanically created and the endorsements are not real signatures.

The key question is why would the notes have been fabricated and forged when there actually was a closing and a note was actually signed? We’re talking about the financial industry whose reputation depends upon safeguarding all signed documents. If they didn’t safeguard the documents and instead destroyed them or “lost” them, why was that allowed to happen?

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So we have a case in Illinois where lawyers filed a judicial foreclosure on behalf of Bank of New York/Mellon (BONY) as trustee (i.e. representative of) “holders” of certificates. The lawyers attach a copy of a note and indorsements. Khwaja hired an expert who found quite definitively that the note and the endorsements were all fabricated (forged). Khwaja has filed a motion for summary judgment.

Here is my analysis:

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The lawyers who filed the claim have a serious problem. If they cannot convince the judge that they have no need to respond they are dead in the water. They must either pay someone to commit perjury or seek to amend with an actual original note. In view of prior studies that show that most (or at least half) of all notes were “lost or destroyed” immediately following the “closing” combined with your expert on hand, coming up with the original note is not an option.
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And that brings us to the question of “why?” If there really was a closing at which the borrower signed documents, why do they need fabricated documents? To me, the answer is simple. In order to sell the same loan multiple times they needed to convert from actual to imaged documents. The actual one had to disappear. And the handful of megabanks who had a virtual monopoly on tens of millions of mortgage transactions made it “custom and practice” to use images rather than actual documents. [This practice has spilled over to property sale contracts where neither party gets an original].
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And we have the additional issue which is presented by the foreclosure complaint. It says that BONY appears on behalf of the holders of certificates. The simple question is “so what?”
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Being holders of certificates means nothing. It leaves out any assertion that the holders of the certificates are owners of the certificates, or anything that might identify those “holders”. So the proceeds of foreclosure could then go to whoever was chosen by the parties actually pulling the strings.
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They are asking the court to fill in the blanks. They want the court to draw an inference without ever stating the fact to be inferred, to wit: the holders of the certificates are owners of the certificates who are therefore owners of the debt, note and mortgage. There simply is no such allegation nor any exhibit indicating that is true. The reason is that it is not true.
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So who is really the Plaintiff? Supposedly not BONY who is appearing in a representative capacity.
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If “sanctions” were applied against the “Plaintiff” BONY would claim it is not the actual party and that the unidentified “holders” of certificates are the proper party or perhaps an implied trust.
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So then is it the certificate holders, represented by BONY? But they don’t have any right, title or interest to the subject debt, note or mortgage. The prospectus and certificate indentures make that abundantly clear in most cases.
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Examining what happens after a foreclosure is “successful” provides clues. Neither BONY nor any certificate holder ever receives the actual money from the proceeds of the purported sale of the property.
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So who does?
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As the one party with actual control over the loan receivable, the investment bank that created the “securitization” scheme is the only party that comes close to being an actual creditor. But here is their problem: that loan receivable has been sold multiple times. This not only leaves them with no claim to the debt, but a surplus of funds over and above the amount due on what was the loan receivable. It’s basic accounting and bookkeeping. And if that were not true the banks would not be doing it.
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So in the real world it is the investment bank that gets the proceeds of a foreclosure sale. But they do it as the “Master Servicer” of an implied (and nonexistent) trust. The money simply disappears.
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In order to get away with selling the debt multiple times they had to make each sale a non recourse sale. And they did that. So the buyers of the debt, note and mortgage had no actual legal title to the debt, note and mortgage and no recourse to the borrower to collect on the unpaid debt.
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THAT leaves NOBODY as owner of a debt that has probably been extinguished and reveals the paper issued to buyers/investors as essentially the issuance of cash equivalent instruments (also known as currency). And THAT is the reason the banks, after  two decades of this nonsense, have yet to come to court and simply say “here is proof of our funding of the origination or purchase of the debt, note and mortgage.”
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If they did, they would be admitting to lying in millions of foreclosure cases over at least a 15 year period of time. Their scheme effectively concentrated the risk of loss on investors and borrowers while literally retaining all the benefits of supposed loan transactions for the sole benefit of the intermediaries, who then leveraged loans multiple times.
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This translates as follows: the money taken from investors is an unsecured liability of the investment bank. To be sure that has a value — but not a value derived from loans to homeowners. THAT value was taken by the investment bank who cashed in on it already.
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Note: For certain second tier investment bankers there were transition periods in which they were at actual risk. Examples include Lehman and Bear Stearns. But the top tier was able to sell forward on the certificates and never commit a single dime of their own money into the securitization scheme even in transition. But by pointing to Lehman and Bear Stearns they were able to convince policy makers that they were in the same position. This produced the “bailout” which was essentially the payment of even more money for losses that did not exist.
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In an odd twist of irony, Wells Fargo was the only party (2009) that admitted to no loss but was forced to take bailout money so that other “less fortunate” parties would not be singled out as weak institutions.
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In truth the AIG bailout and similar bailouts were merely payments of extra profits to Goldman Sachs and some other players, leaving investors and borrowers stranded with nearly worthless investments and collapsed markets for both homes, whose prices had been inflated by over 100% over value, and a nonexistent market for the bogus certificates that the Fed chose to revive by its purchasing program of “mortgage bonds” that were neither bonds nor backed by mortgages.
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Despite the complexity of all this, on a certain level most people understand that the banks caused the misery of the meltdown and profited from it.  They also understand that it is still happening. The failure of government to deal appropriately with the existential threat posed by the megabanks clearly played into and perhaps caused the social unrest around the world in the form of “populist” movements. And until governments deal with this issue head-on, people will be looking for political candidates who show that they are willing to take a wrecking ball to the banks and anyone who is protecting them.
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In the meanwhile, an increasing number of homeowners (again) are walking away from homes in the mistaken belief that they have an unpaid debt to the party named as the claimant against them.

Smoke and Mirrors: Illinois Case

This 2016 Illinois case corroborates exactly what I have been saying for 11 years. Sleight of hand accounted for the 1st Mortgage that was payable to Lehman Brothers who funded every loan with advances from Investors who then owned the debt. The investors were cut out of the chain of paper and the chain of money.

Thus equitable principles were attempted in order to establish a right to foreclose. But nothing can take away the fact that the forecloser, as in virtually all foreclosure cases these days, is a complete stranger to any part of any transaction that is memorialized in fabricated, forged, robo-signed, false representations on worthless documents of transfer.

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Hat tip to Cement Boots

see CitiMortgage, Inc. v. Parille, 2016 IL App (2d) 150286, (For some reason it won’t upload). Try This:

Citi steps into the paper chain based upon nothing and THAT is their legal problem. So they attempt to file multiple amended complaint that only get themselves in worse trouble because in the final analysis, they are making allegations that imply legal standing that they will never be able to prove.

Specifically they seek to have the court declare an equitable mortgage in favor of Citi. For the most part, equitable mortgages don’t exist, but there is a doctrine called equitable subrogation in which title to the existing mortgage shifts to a new owner because the new owner has paid for the debt — something that is impossible because even Citi does not say they paid the investors who owned the debt. Further, as this Court points out such a doctrine won’t do Citi any good if the initial mortgage was defective.

In short the fundamental assumptions (arising from political rather than legal policies) do not apply. Those assumptions are frequently erroneously raised to legal presumptions), that the debt MUST be owed by the homeowners to the putative foreclosing party and that the imperfections in the paper chain are technical in nature and that therefore allowing the homeowner to win would be inequitable.

As the Courts dig deeper they are confronting the fundamental conflict between political doctrine and legal doctrine. Political doctrine mandates that the banks win in order to preserve a financial system that is now largely dependent on a ladder of financial products deriving (hence derivative) their value from each other, but based upon the assumption that the base transaction exists. The base transaction in the paper chain is a loan by the Payee on the note. In this case as in most cases, there is no base transaction in real life that would support the closing documents. Hence all the paper deriving value from the nonexistent transaction is worthless.

The simple truth is that in order for equitable subrogation to apply, one must allege and prove facts that there is injury to the pleading party — something that none of the players could ever claim in this case. Injury could only occur in financial form. And the only thing lost to Citi or even the Lehman estate, which is still in bankruptcy, is the opportunity to make a profit by deceit.

The Lehman Moment: The “Normalization” of Fraud

Sept. 15 is the eighth anniversary of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. Not enough time has passed yet for me to recall those anxious days without getting angry.

 Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, has used the occasion of this anniversary to suggest the next administration should “investigate and jail” those Wall Street bankers who committed crimes. Although I doubt there will be any perp walks, I do have some ideas about how to proceed.

Before we look into the senator’s suggestion, it is time for an honest appraisal of one of the lingering mysteries of the financial crisis: Why were there were no prosecutions of major executives?

It’s a fair question. I believe there were 10 areas where fraud and abuse took place. These were the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems; mortgage pools; securitization; “misplaced” mortgage notes; force-placed insurance; servicing fees; fake documents; false affidavits, perjury and robo-signing; foreclosure mills; and active military members losing homes while on duty.

I am convinced that these cases were easy to prosecute, that a first-year law student would have a 90 percent conviction rate, that the documentary evidence was overwhelming, especially of mortgage and foreclosure fraud. As we know, there were no prosecutions of any significance — not at the state level, not at a federal level.

After much research, I have come to believe that at the highest levels of government, the financial industry managed to convince prosecutors that it was against societal interests to bust bankers. The revolving door between government and the private sector, between regulators and regulated, figures in this. If you’re a prosecutor, but you might like a big payday from business, do you really want to go hard on the companies that might offer you a job one day?

The bigger problem has been the normalization of fraud. We found out in 2008 that Department of Justice prosecutions and Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement actions against Wall Street had fallen 87 percent. Before you blame the George W. Bush administration, that same lack of prosecutorial zeal continued under the administration of Barack Obama.

On the anniversary of Lehman’s collapse, it is worth recalling just how blatant some of the misdeeds were, and the surprising lack of prosecution for the bank’s accounting improprieties. Of course, among the leading example was something called Repo 105, which involved moving billions of dollars in liabilities off the firm’s balance sheet near the end of each reporting quarter, then putting them back on the books a few days later. The maneuver hid enormous financial weakness. As far as I’m concerned, this was fraud plain and simple, a conclusion supported in the report by the court-appointed Lehman bankruptcy examiner.

Beyond Lehman Brothers, Warren will find the ripest area for prosecution in improper foreclosures. Fraud was rampant; every robo-signed document was an act of perjury; every fabricated signature was fraud. I suspect there were thousands of low-level bank employees guilty of these crimes, and they could be pressured into revealing those responsible further up the food chain. I doubt it was the chief executives who ordered these actions, and the ideas certainly didn’t come from the burger flippers recently hired to work in the foreclosure factories. It was senior bankers who came up with a way to institutionalize perjury.

How and why prosecutors fell down on the job is an area the senator might consider exploring. Maybe take a closer look at the revolving door and issues of regulatory capture. At the very least we still need a dogged probe of the financial crisis like that done by the Pecora Commission, which examined the causes of the 1929 Crash.

This would bring closure, and hopefully move us past the alternative of never-ending scandals and fines. And if you think things have changed, just consider the latest scandal: the thousands of Wells Fargo employees who opened millions of fake accounts in the names of real customers, just to meet unrealistic sales goals. It is more evidence that bad incentives are rampant in the financial industry and top executives either look the other way or that they don’t know what’s going on in the companies they run — a sign, if nothing else, that big banks are too big to manage.

Justice has not yet been served. The time left to see it done is almost over, with less than two years remaining on the longest statutes of limitations. I am not holding my breath.

_ Ritholtz, a Bloomberg View columnist, is the founder of Ritholtz Wealth Management. He is a consultant at and former chief executive officer for FusionIQ, a quantitative research firm.

For more columns from Bloomberg View, visit http://www.bloomberg.com/view.

OneWest — One Step Up from Donald Duck

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Well at least OneWest legally exists and it didn’t originate any loans even though it sometimes tries to give that appearance. But it is clear that this company was literally formed over a weekend to takeover IndyMac business. In so doing it made a number of dubious deals in which it was not to be liable for the shoddy, fabricated documents, and unlawful practices of IndyMac which claimed ownership of loans that were already sold into the secondary market and then subjected to conflicting claims of ownership. It looks like the return on investment was infinite.

OneWest Bank Targeted By Insurer Over $335M In MBS Losses

Law360, New York (August 13, 2012, 9:41 PM ET) — Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. fired off a suit against OneWest Bank FSB in California on Thursday, claiming the company’s shoddy loan servicing was to blame for some of the $335 million it has shelled out in insurance claims related to mortgage-backed securities.

The lawsuit in Los Angeles court says that since OneWest took over IndyMac Bank FSB’s role as servicer of mortgage loans underlying residential MBS, the loans have experienced delinquencies and defaults at a severe and unexpected rate. That in turn has forced Assured to…

The question is whose loss was this, and why did the insurance company pay it off? The bigger question is that if the loss was paid off, why wasn’t allocated to the underlying assets whose decline in value was the basis of the loss claim?

OneWest Bank Can’t Shake HAMP Loan Class Action

Law360, New York (October 23, 2012, 3:11 PM ET) — OneWest Bank FSB on Monday failed to escape an Illinois class action accusing it of bungling a mortgage loan modification application by unreasonably delaying its response and imposing late fees for payments that were not actually late.

Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman rejected OneWest’s argument that lead plaintiff Stacey Fletcher lacked standing, finding that her complaint alleged sufficient injury from OneWest’s allegedly unreasonable delay in responding to her request for a modified loan under the Home Affordable Modification Program.

Fletcher further accuses OneWest of reporting her to…

It seems like OneWest was too busy  making claims for loss sharing and insurance and guarantees to actually pursue modifications.

OneWest, Soros Accused Of Mortgage Scam In FCA Suit

Law360, New York (October 16, 2012, 9:47 PM ET) — A Florida resident hit OneWest Bank and billionaire majority shareholder George Soros with a False Claims Act lawsuit Monday, saying that through their connections to President Barack Obama, they had finagled a loss-sharing deal with the government that allowed them to scam homeowners and taxpayers.

James Beekman, who originally took out his mortgage with IndyMac Federal Bank, says when Soros and OneWest took over the fallen bank, they entered into a loss-sharing agreement with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Under the deal, OneWest would shoulder the…

Disclosure. Patrick Giunta and I represent Beekman. No further comment

Loan Info Confidential

By Michael Lipkin

Law360, San Diego (November 10, 2014, 6:13 PM ET) — OneWest Bank NA is trying to stop Lehman Brothers Holding Inc. from accessing confidential information about Lehman-owned loans it used to service, alleging in New York federal court that Lehman is trying to blame OneWest for its own bad investments.
In a complaint filed Friday, OneWest claims Lehman is trying to access regulated information about 27 mortgages OneWest used to service, including confidential data about borrowers that OneWest alleges Lehman doesn’t have a right to access. The loans were eventually liquidated after poor performance, and the service agreements governing them have already expired, according to the complaint.

“This action seeks to end defendants’ misguided campaign to try to force OneWest to provide them with confidential information to which the defendants are no longer entitled,” the bank said. “Doing so could subject OneWest to potential regulatory and civil liability for failing to protect private borrower information.”

Aurora Commercial Corp., formerly Lehman Brothers Bank FSB, is also named as a defendant.

Lehman allegedly bought the loans as part of a pool from IndyMac Bank FSB between 2006 and 2007, with IndyMac retaining the right to service the loans. After IndyMac was shut down by the Office of Thrift Supervision in 2008, OneWest bought the servicing rights from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The deal expressly said OneWest was not liable for previous servicing conduct, according to the complaint.

For the full article see http://www.law360.com

VICTORY for Homeowners: Received Title and 7 Figure Monetary Damages for Wrongful Foreclosure

As a California appellate court decision several years ago noted, “For homeowners struggling to avoid foreclosure, this dual tracking might go by another name: the double-cross.” – See more at: http://calcoastnews.com/2013/09/onewest-bank-pays-7-figures-mortgage-fraud-case/#sthash.xcKP1Tpl.dpuf
As a California appellate court decision several years ago noted, “For homeowners struggling to avoid foreclosure, this dual tracking might go by another name: the double-cross.” – See more at: http://calcoastnews.com/2013/09/onewest-bank-pays-7-figures-mortgage-fraud-case/#sthash.xcKP1Tpl.dpuf

“As a California appellate court decision several years ago noted, ‘For Homeowners struggling to avoid foreclosure, this dual tracking might go by another name: the double-cross.'” Daniel Blackburn, http://www.calcoastnews.com, 9/11/13.

Internet Store Notice: As requested by customer service, this is to explain the use of the COMBO, Consultation and Expert Declaration. The only reason they are separate is that too many people only wanted or could only afford one or the other — all three should be purchased. The Combo is a road map for the attorney to set up his file and start drafting the appropriate pleadings. It reveals defects in the title chain and inferentially in the money chain and provides the facts relative to making specific allegations concerning securitization issues. The consultation looks at your specific case and gives the benefit of litigation support consultation and advice that I can give to lawyers but I cannot give to pro se litigants. The expert declaration is my explanation to the Court of the findings of the forensic analysis. It is rare that I am actually called as a witness apparently because the cases are settled before a hearing at which evidence is taken.
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Neil Garfield, the author of this article, and Danielle Kelley, Esq. are partners in the law firm of Garfield, Gwaltney, Kelley and White (GGKW) based in Tallahassee with offices opening in Broward County and Dade County.
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Neil F Garfield, Esq. http://www.Livinglies.me, 9/13/13

Victory in California, as we have predicted for years. Maria L. Hutkin and Jude J Basile were the attorneys for the homeowners and obviously did a fine job of exposing the truth. Their tenacity and perseverance paid off big time for their clients and themselves. They showed it is not over until the truth comes out. So for all of you who are saying you can’t find a lawyer who “gets it” here are two lawyers that got it and won. And for all those who were screwed by the banks, it isn’t over. Now it is your turn to get the rights and damages you deserve.

Maria L. Hutkin and Jude J. Basile
Maria L. Hutkin and Jude J. Basile

The homeowners won flat out at a trial — something that should have happened in most of the 6.6 million Foreclosures conducted thus far. U.S. Bank showed its ugly head again as the alleged Trustee of a trust that was most probably nonexistent, unfunded and without any assets at all much less the homeowners alleged loan. Still the settlement shows how far Wall Street will go to pay damages rather than admit their liability to investors, insurers, counterparties in credit default swaps, and the Federal Reserve.

When you think of the hundreds of millions of wrongful foreclosures that were the subject of tens of billions of dollars in “settlements” that preserved homeowners rights to pursue further damages and do the math, it is obvious why even the total of all the “settlements” and fines were a tiny fraction of the total liability owed to pension funds and other investors, insurers, CDS parties, the Federal Government and of course the borrowers who never received a single loan from the banks in the first place. If 5 million foreclosures were wrongful, as is widely suspected at a minimum, using this case and some others I know about the damages could well exceed $5 Trillion. Simple math. Maybe that will wake up the good trial lawyers who think there is no case!

Maria L. Hutkin and Jude J. Basile

A fitting announcement on the 5th anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse. the economy is still struggling as more than 15 million American PEOPLE were displaced, lost equity and forced into bankruptcy by imperfect mortgages that were a sham, and thus imperfect foreclosures that were also a sham. Another 15 million PEOPLE will be displaced if these wrongful, illegal and morally corrupt sham foreclosures are allowed to continue.

This case, like the recent case won by Danielle Kelley (partner of GGKW) was based upon dual tracking. In Kelley’s case the homeowners had completed the process of getting an approved modification, which meant that underwriting, review, confirmation of data, and approval from the investor had been obtained. In Kelley’s case the homeowner had made the trial payments in full and paid the taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance of the property.

The Bank argued they were under no obligation to fulfill the final step — permanent modification. Kelley argued that a new contract was formed — offer, acceptance and the consideration of payment that the Bank received, kept and credited to the homeowner’s account. But the bank as Servicer was still accruing the payments due on the unmodified mortgage, which is why I have been harping on the topic of discovery on the money trail at origination, processing, and third party payments. 

 

The accounting records of the subservicer and the Master Servicer should lead you to all actual transactions in which money exchanged hands, although getting to insurance payments and proceeds of credit default swaps might require discovery from the investment banker. So in Kelley’s case, the Judge essentially said that if an agreement was reached and the homeowner met the requirements of a trial period, the deal was done and entered a final order in favor of the homeowner eliminating the the foreclosure with prejudice.

In this One West case the court went a little further. The homeowners were lured into negotiations, expenses and augments under the promise of modification and then summarily without notice to the homeowner sold the property at a Trustee sale under the provisions of the deed of trust. The Judge agreed with counsel for the homeowners that this was dual tracking at its worst, and that the bank did not have the option of proceeding with the sale. 

 

The homeowners were forced to vacate the property and make other housing arrangements and these particular homeowners were enraged and had the resources to do what most homeowners are too fearful to do — go to the mat (go to trial.)
One West made several offers of settlement once the Judge made it clear that the homeowners had stated a cause of action for wrongful foreclosure. Bravely the attorneys and the homeowners rejected settlement and insisted on a complete airing of their grievances so that everyone would know what happened to them. After multiple offers, with trial drawing near, OneWest finally agreed to give clear title back to the homeowners and pay $1 million+ in damages on what was a six figure loan. 

 

We now have cases in both judicial and non-judicial jurisdictions in which the homeowner was awarded the house without encumbrance of a mortgage and even receiving monetary damages in which the attorneys achieved substantial rewards on 7 figure settlements  that probably would be much higher if they ever went to trial — particularly in front of a jury. This is only one of the paths to successful foreclosure defense. I hope attorneys and homeowners take note. Your anger can be channeled into a constructive path if the lawyers know how to understand these loans, and how to litigate them.

“There’s hope. I feel their pain.” — Danielle Kelley, Esq. , partner in Garfield, Gwaltney, Kelley and White.

http://calcoastnews.com/2013/09/onewest-bank-pays-7-figures-mortgage-fraud-case/

Local Governments on Rampage Against Banks’ Manipulation of Credit Markets

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“When both government and the citizens start acting together, things are likely to change in a big way. There appears to be a unity of interests — the investors who thought they were buying bonds from a REMIC pool, the homeowners who thought they were buying a properly verified and underwritten loan from a pretender lender, and the local governments who were tricked into believing that their loans were viable and trustworthy based upon the gold standard of rate indexes. In many cases, the only reason for the municipal loan, was the illusion of growing demographics requiring greater infrastructure, instead of repairing the existing the infrastructure. As a result, the cities ended up with loans on unneeded products just like homeowners ended up with loans on houses that were always worth far less than the appraisal used.” — Neil F Garfield, www.livinglies.me

Editors Note: Hundreds of government agencies and local governments are on the rampage realizing that they were duped by Wall Street into buying into defective loan products. This puts them in the same class as homeowners who bought such loan products, investors who believed they were buying Mortgage Bonds to fund the loans, and dozens of other institutions who relied upon the lies told by the banks who were having a merry old time creating “trading profits” that were the direct result of stealing money and homes, and misleading the financial world on the status of the interest rates in the financial world. All loans tied to Libor (London Interbank Offered Rate), which was the gold standard,  are now in question as to whether the reset on those loans was true, correct or simply faked.

The repercussions of this will grow as the realization hits the victims of this gigantic fraud broadens into a general inquiry about most of the major practices in use — especially those in which claims of securitization were offered. It is now obvious that the deal proposed to pension funds and other investors was simply ignored by the banks who used the money to create faked trading profits, removing from the pool of investments money intended for funding loans that were properly originated and dutifully underwritten.

Cities, Counties, Homeowners and Investors are all victims of being tricked into loans that were simply unsustainable and were being manipulated to the advantage of the banks they trusted to act responsibly and who instead acted reprehensibly.

The ramifications for the mortgage and foreclosure markets could not be larger. If the banks were lying about the basics of the rate and the terms then what else did they do? As the Governor or of the Bank of England said, the business model of the banks appears to have been “lie More” rather than living up to the trust reposed in them by those who dealt with them as “customers.” Specifically, the evidence suggests that while the funding of the loan and the closing documents were coincidentally related in time, they specifically excluded any reference to each other, which means that the financial transaction as it actually occurred is undocumented and the document trail refers to financial transactions that did not involve money exchanging hands.

The natural conclusion created by the coincidence of the funding and the documents was to conclude that the two were related. But the actual instructions and wire transfers tell another story. This debunks the myth of securitization and more particularly the mortgage lien. How can the mortgage apply to a transaction described in the note that never took place and where the terms of the loan were different than what was expected by the creditors (investors, like pension and other managed funds) in the mortgage bond. The parties are different too. The wires funding the transaction are devoid of any reference to the supposed lender in the closing documents presented to borrowers. Thus you have different parties and different terms — one in the money trail, which was undocumented, and the other in the document trail which refers to transactions in which no money exchanged hands.

When the municipalities like Baltimore start digging they are going to find that manipulation of Libor was only one of several issues about which the Banks lied.

Rate Scandal Stirs Scramble for Damages

BY NATHANIEL POPPER

As unemployment climbed and tax revenue fell, the city of Baltimore laid off employees and cut services in the midst of the financial crisis. Its leaders now say the city’s troubles were aggravated by bankers’ manipulation of a key interest rate linked to hundreds of millions of dollars the city had borrowed.

Baltimore has been leading a battle in Manhattan federal court against the banks that determine the interest rate, the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, which serves as a benchmark for global borrowing and stands at the center of the latest banking scandal. Now cities, states and municipal agencies nationwide, including Massachusetts, Nassau County on Long Island, and California’s public pension system, are looking at whether they suffered similar losses and are weighing legal action.

Dozens of lawsuits filed by municipalities, pension funds and hedge funds have been consolidated into a few related cases against more than a dozen banks that are involved in setting Libor each day, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and Barclays. Last month, Barclays admitted to regulators that it tried to manipulate Libor before and during the financial crisis in 2008, and paid $450 million to settle the charges. It said other banks were doing the same, but none of them have been accused of wrongdoing. Libor, a measure of how much banks must pay to borrow money from one another in the short term, is set through a daily poll of the banks.

The rate influences what consumers, businesses and investors pay on a wide range of financial contracts, as varied as mortgages and interest rate swaps. Barclays has said it and other banks understated the rate during the financial crisis to make themselves look healthier to the public, rather than to make more money from clients. As regulators and lawmakers in Washington and Europe assess the depth of the Libor abuse and the failure to address it, economists and analysts are already predicting it could be one of the most expensive scandals to hit Wall Street since the financial crisis.

Governments and other investors may face many hurdles in proving damages. But Darrell Duffie, a professor of finance at Stanford, said he expected that their lawsuits alone could lead to the banks’ paying out tens of billions of dollars, echoing numbers from a recent report by analysts at Nomura Equity Research.

American municipalities have been among the first to claim losses from the supposed rate-rigging, because many of them borrow money through investment vehicles that directly derive their value from Libor. Peter Shapiro, who advises Baltimore and other cities on their use of these investments, said that “about 75 percent of major cities have contracts linked to this.”

If the banks submitted artificially low Libor rates during the financial crisis in 2008, as Barclays has admitted, it would have led cities and states to receive smaller payments from financial contracts they had entered with their banks, Mr. Shapiro said.

“Unambiguously, state and local government agencies lost money because of the manipulation of Libor,” said Mr. Shapiro, who is managing director of the Swap Financial Group and is not involved in any of the lawsuits. “The number is likely to be very, very big.”

The banks have declined to comment on the lawsuits, but their lawyers have asked for the cases to be dismissed in court filings, pointing to the many unusual factors that influenced Libor during the crisis.

The efforts to calculate potential losses are complicated by the fact that Libor is used to determine the cost of thousands of financial products around the globe each day. If Libor was artificially pushed down on a particular day, it would help people involved in some types of contracts and hurt people involved in others.

Securities lawyers say the lawsuits will not be easy to win because the investors will first have to prove that the banks successfully pushed down Libor for an extended period during the crisis, and then will have to demonstrate that it was down on the day when the bank calculated particular payments. In addition, investors may have to prove that the specific bank from which they were receiving their payment was involved in the manipulation. Before it even reaches the point of proving such subtleties, however, the banks could be compelled to settle the cases.

One of the major complaints was filed by several traders and hedge funds that entered into futures contracts that are traded through the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and that pay out based on Libor. These contracts were a popular way to protect against spikes in interest rates, but they would not have paid off as expected if Libor had been artificially lowered.

A 2010 study cited in the suit — conducted by professors at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Minnesota — indicated that Libor was significantly lower than it should have been throughout 2008 and was particularly skewed around the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.

A separate complaint filed in 2010 by the investment firm Charles Schwab asserts that some of its mutual funds, including popular ones like the Schwab Total Bond Market Fund, lost money on similar investments.

The complaints being voiced by municipalities are mostly related to their use of a popular financial contract known as an interest rate swap. States and cities generally enter into these swaps with specific banks so that they can borrow money in the bond market. They pay bondholders based on a floating interest rate — like an adjustable-rate mortgage — but end up paying their bankers a fixed rate through a swap. If Libor is artificially lowered, the municipality is stuck paying the same fixed rate, but it receives a smaller variable payment from its bank.

Even before the current controversy, some municipal activists have said that banks took advantage of the financial inexperience of municipal officials to sell them billions of dollars of interest rate swaps. Experts in municipal finance say that because of the particular way that cities and states borrow money, they are especially liable to lose out on their swaps if Libor drops.

Mr. Shapiro, who helps cities, states and companies negotiate these contracts, said that if a city had interest rate swaps on bonds worth $1 billion and Libor was artificially pushed down by 0.30 percent, which is what the lawsuits contend, that city would have lost $3 million a year. The lawsuit claims the manipulation occurred over three years. Barclays’ settlement with regulators did not specify how much the banks’ actions may have moved Libor.

In Nassau County, the comptroller, George Maragos, said in a statement that according to his own calculations, Libor manipulation may have cost the county $13 million on swaps related to $600 million of outstanding bonds.

A Massachusetts state official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of potential future legal actions, said the state was calculating its potential losses.

“We are deeply concerned and we are carefully analyzing all of our options,” the official said.

Anne Simpson, a portfolio manager at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System — the nation’s largest pension fund — said that the fund’s officials “are sifting through the impact, but there certainly is an impact.”

In Baltimore, the city had Libor-based interest rate swaps on about $550 million of bonds, according to the city’s financial report from 2008, the central year discussed in the lawsuit. The city’s lawyers have declined to specify what they think Baltimore’s losses were.

The city solicitor, George Nilson, said that the rate manipulation claims meant that the city lost out on money when it needed it the most.

“The injury we suffered during the time we suffered it hurt more because we were challenged budgetarily,” Mr. Nilson said. “Every dollar we lost due to illegal conduct was a dollar we couldn’t pay to keep open recreation centers or to pay police officers.”


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WELLS FARGO-NORWEST-CONDOR CONNECTIONS INFO — FOR SECURITIZATION RESEARCH

submitted by MARY COCHRANE

Wells Fargo & Co. ‘a private label tradename’ purchased 11/2/98. Foothill & Norwest & UBS … do business using ‘private label brand’ and all of the existing agreements and former registrations stayed open. Already in business in 1994/1996 with Lehman Brothers, Structured Asset Securities Corp, Bear Stearns, former Wells Fargo, Norwest, GMAC-RFC, Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corp, Deutsche Bank Securities, Foothill Capital Corp a sub of Foothill Group, who all merged with Wells Fargo HSBC Trade Bank 11/2/98. All of the existing agreements as priviate members of the financial exchanges survived.

Restated Letter of Credit & Guaranty Agreement 8/1/94 among Foothill Capital Corp, Union Bank as agent and issuing bank

Subsidiaries Foothill Group Inc

Wells Fargo & Co. (Wells Fargo & Co/MN formerly known as Norwest Corp)

Norwest Corporation:

Condor Investments LP, Minnesota LTD
 (John Nickoll, Dennis Ascher, Jeffrey Nikora ‘Managing Partners filing persons, Foothill Capital is a wholly owned subsidiary.

Condor principal business address
Norwest Center, Sixth St & Marquette Ave
Minneapolis MN 55479

Principal Business engage in the business of investment in various financial assets.

4G-382
Condor Investment Company DC Mendota He MN XR
LP-7122
Condor Investments Limited Partnership LPI Mpls MN
Filing Number: LP-7122 Entity Type: Limited Partnership
Original Date of Filing: 2/22/1996 Entity Status: Inactive
Entity Date to Expire: 12/31/2025 Chapter: 322A

Name: Condor Investments Limited Partnership
Registered Office Address: 6th & Marquette 17th Flr %Norwest Corp
Mpls, MN, 55479-1026
Home State: MN

Registered Agent: Stanley S Stroup


8K 6/30/95

5/15/95 Norwest Corp signed a definitive agreement for the merger of the Foothill Group, Inc. with Norwest.

Foothill Group Inc is a specialized financial services company which operates two tightly linked businesses: commercial lending and money management.

Foothill Capital Corp, its wholly-owned subsidiary, provides asset-based financing to businesses throughout the USA.

Parent Co. money mgmt operation conducts business thru institutional lP’s seeking above avg returns by investing in debt instruments of companies in reorg or in process of restructuring.

Norwest Corp is a bank holding company formed under laws DE
 Foothill Capital Corp CA, &
 Norwest Corp (NORWEST) a bank holding corp laws of DE,
 the Company will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Norwest.

Amendment 2/1/95:
Revolving Credit Agreement
Foothill Capital Corp, CA Corp, subsidiary of The Foothill Group, Inc. Parent.

the banks
-Bank of America National Trust and Savings Association, as a bank and agent

Recitals:
-other than Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan, LTD (LTB)
NationsBank of Georgia, N.A. (Nations)
Bank of America National Trust & Savings Association (BOA) as Agent

Foothills Capital Corp, Inc. and BOA as Agent

LTB, NATIONS & NORWEST have each agreed to become new banks under the Agreement

BOA bank & agent & Foothills Capital Inc & Foothill Capital desire to amend agreement to reflect LTB, NATIONS, NORWEST become New Banks.

7/12/95 8K EX-28
Norwest and Foothill Group, Inc. signed definitive agreement for acquisition of Foothill Group by Norwest 4th Qtr 1995.

Wells Fargo & Co/MN [formerly Norwest] 6/7/95 SC 13D/A

Stanley S. Stroup
EVP & General Counsel
Norwest Corp
Norwest Center
Sixth and Marquette
Minneapolis MN 55479-1026
DE Citizen
CUSIP 345109-20-1
Tax ID 41-0449260
Bank Holding Co

Through Commercial bank subsidiaries general banking & trust business in
AZ, CO, IL, IN, IA, MN, MT, NB, NM, ND, OH, SD, TX, WI, WY.

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