9th Circuit Circular Logic: Medrano v Flagstar

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Editor’s Note: If a Court wants to come to a certain conclusion, it will, regardless of how it must twist the law or facts. In this case, the Court found that a letter that challenges the terms of the loan or the current loan receivable is not a qualified written request under RESPA.

The reasoning of the court is that a challenge or question about the real balance and real creditor and real terms of the deal is not related to servicing of the loan and therefore the requirement of an answer to a QWR is not required.

The Court should reconsider its ruling. Servicing of a loan account assumes that there is a loan account that the presumed subservicer has received authorization to service. The borrower gets notice often from companies they never heard of but they assume that the servicing function is properly authorized.

The “servicer” is used too generally as a term, which is part of the problem. The fact that there is a Master Servicer with information on ALL the transactions affecting the alleged loan receivable from inception to the present is completely overlooked by most litigants, trial judges an appellate courts.

The “servicer” they refer to is actually the subservicer whose authority could only come from appointment by the Master Servicer. But the Master Servicer could only have such power to appoint the subservicer if the loan was properly “securitized” meaning the original loan was properly documented with the right payee and the lien rights alleged in the recorded mortgage existed.

If the party asserts itself as the “Servicer” it is asserting its appointment by the Master Servicer who also has other information on the money trial. It should be required to answer a QWR and based upon current law, should be required to answer on behalf of all parties including the Master Servicer and the “trustee” of the loan pool claiming rights to the loan. If there are problems with the transfer of the loan compounding problems with origination of the loan, the borrower has a right to know that and the QWR is the appropriate vehicle for that.

The servicer cannot perform its duties unless it has the or can produce the necessary information about the identity of the real creditor, the transactions by which that party became a creditor and proof of payment or funding of the original loan and proof of payment for the assignments of the loan, along with an explanation of why the “Trustee” for the pool was not named in the original transaction or in a recorded assignment immediately after the “closing” of the loan transaction.

The 9th Circuit, ignoring the realities of the industry has chosen to accept the conclusion that the “servicer” is only the subservicer and that information requested in a QWR can only be required from the subservicer without any duty to provide the data that corroborates the monthly statement of principal and interest due. The new rule from the Federal Consumer Financial Board stating that all parties are subject to the Federal lending laws underscores and codifies industry practice and common sense.

The Court is ignoring the reality that the lender is the investor (pension funds etc.) and the borrower is the homeowner, and that all others are intermediaries subject to TILA, RESPA, Reg Z etc. The servicer appointed by the Master Servicer is a subservicer who can only provide a snapshot of a small slice of the financial transactions related to the subject loan and the pool claiming to own the loan.

They are avoiding the clear premise of the single transaction doctrine. If the investors did not advance money there would have been no loan. If the borrower had not accepted a loan, there would have been no loan. That is the essence of the single transaction doctrine.

Now they are opening the door to breaking down single transactions into component parts that can change the contractual terms by which the lenders loaned money and the borrower borrowed money.

It is the same as if you wrote a check to a store for payment of a TV or groceries and the intermediary banks and the financial data processors suddenly claimed that they each were part of the transaction and there had ownership rights to the TV or groceries. It is absurd. But if the question is one of payment they are ALL required to show their records of the transaction. This includes in our case the investment banker who is the one directing all movements of money and documents.

If the Court leaves this decision in its current form it is challenging the law of unintended consequences where no transaction is safe from claims by third party intermediaries. Even if Flagstar had no authority to service the account, which is likely, they were acting with apparent authority and must be considered an intermediary servicer for purposes of RESPA and a QWR.

PRACTICE TIP: When writing a QWR be more explicit about the connections between your questions, your suspicion of error as to amount due, payments due etc. Show that the amount being used as a balance due is incorrect or might be incorrect based upon your findings of fact. Challenge the right of the “servicer” to be the servicer and ask them who appointed them to that position.

9th Circuit Medrano v Flagstar on Qualified Written Request

CA Trial Court Upholds Claims for Improper Assignment, Accounting, Unfair Practices

Editor’s Note: In an extremely well-written and well reasoned decision Federal District Court Judge M. James Lorenz denied the Motion to dismiss of US Bank on an alleged WAMU securitization that for the first time recognizes that the securitization scheme could be a sham, with no basis in fact.

Although the Plaintiff chose not to make allegations regarding false origination of loan documents, which I think is important, the rest of the decision breaks the illusion created by the banks and servicers through the use of documents that look good but do not meet the standards of proof required in a foreclosure.

  1. I would suggest that lawyers look at the claim and allegations that the origination documents were false and were procured by fraud.
  2. Since no such allegation was made, the court naturally assumed the loan was validly portrayed in the loan documents and that the note was evidence of the loan transaction, presuming that SBMC actually loaned the money to the Plaintiff, which does not appear to be the case.
  3. This Judge actually read everything and obvious questions in his mind led him to conclude that there were irregularities in the assignment process that could lead to a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff for quiet title, accounting, unfair practices and other claims.
  4. The court recites the fact that the loan was sold to “currently unknown entity or entities.” This implicitly raises the question of whether the loan was in fact actually sold more than once, and if so, to whom, for how much, and raises the issues of whom Plaintiff was to direct her payments and whether the actual creditor was receiving the money that Plaintiff paid.  — a point hammered on, among others, at the Garfield Seminars coming up in Emeryville (San Francisco), 8/25 and Anaheim, 8/29-30. If you really want to understand what went on in the mortgage meltdown and the tactics and strategies that are getting traction in the courts, you are invited to attend. Anaheim has a 1/2 day seminar for homeowners. Call customer service 520-405-1688 to attend.
  5. For the first time, this Court uses the words (attempt to securitize” a loan as opposed to assuming it was done just based upon the paperwork and the presence of the the parties claiming rights through the assignments and securitization.
  6. AFTER the Notice of Sale was recorded, the Plaintiff sent a RESPA 6 Qualified Written request. The defendants used the time-honored defense that this was not a real QWR, but eh court disagreed, stating that the Plaintiff not only requested information but gave her reasons in some details for thinking that something might be wrong.
  7. Plaintiff did not specifically mention that the information requested should come from BOTH the subservicer claiming rights to service the loan and the Master Servicer claiming rights to administer the payments from all parties and the disbursements to those investor lenders that had contributed the money that was used to fund the loan. I would suggest that attorneys be aware of this distinction inasmuch as the subservicer only has a small snapshot of transactions solely between the borrower and the subservicer whereas the the information from the Master Servicer would require a complete set of records on all financial transactions and all documents relating to their claims regarding the loan.
  8. The court carefully applied the law on Motions to Dismiss instead of inserting the opinion of the Judge as to whether the Plaintiff would win stating that “material allegations, even if doubtful in fact, are assumed to be true,” which is another point we have been pounding on since 2007. The court went on to say that it was obligated to accept any claim that was “plausible on its face.”
  9. The primary claim of Plaintiffs was that the Defendants were “not her true creditors and as such have no legal, equitable, or pecuniary right in this debt obligation in the loan,’ which we presume to mean that the court was recognizing the distinction, for the first time, between the legal obligation to pay and the loan documents.
  10. Plaintiff contended that there was not a proper assignment to anyone because the assignment took place after the cutoff date in 2006 (assignment in 2010) and that the person executing the documents, was not a duly constituted authorized signor. The Judge’s decision weighed more heavily that allegation that the assignment was not properly made according to the “trust Document,” thus taking Defendants word for it that a trust was created and existing at the time of the assignment, but also saying in effect that they can’t pick up one end of the stick without picking up the other. The assignment, after the Notice of Default, violated the terms of the trust document thus removing the authority of the trustee or the trust to accept it, which as any reasonable person would know, they wouldn’t want to accept — having been sold on the idea that they were buying performing loans. More on this can be read in “whose Lien Is It Anyway?, which I just published and is available on www.livinglies-store.com
  11. The Court states without any caveats that the failure to assign the loan in the manner and timing set forth in the “trust document” (presumably the Pooling and Servicing Agreement) that the note and Deed of trust are not part of the trust and that therefore the trustee had no basis for asserting ownership, much less the right to enforce.
  12. THEN this Judge uses simple logic and applies existing law: if the assignment was void, then the notices of default, sale, substitution of trustee and any foreclosure would have been totally void.
  13. I would add that lawyers should consider the allegation that none of the transfers were supported by any financial transaction or other consideration because consideration passed at origination from the investors directly tot he borrower, due to the defendants ignoring the provisions of the prospectus and PSA shown to the investor-lender. In discovery what you want is the identity of each entity that ever showed this loan is a loan receivable on any regular business or record or set of accounting forms. It might surprise you that NOBODY has the loan posted as loan receivable and as such, the argument can be made that NOBODY can submit a CREDIT BID at auction even if the auction was otherwise a valid auction.
  14. Next, the Court disagrees with the Defendants that they are not debt collectors and upholds the Plaintiff’s claim for violation of FDCPA. Since she explicitly alleges that US bank is a debt collector, and started collection efforts on 2010, the allegation that the one-year statute of limitation should be applied was rejected by the court. Thus Plaintiff’s claims for violations under FDCPA were upheld.
  15. Plaintiff also added a count under California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL) which prohibits any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice. Section 17200 of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code. The Court rejected defendants’ arguments that FDCPA did not apply since “Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated the UCL by collecting payments that they lacked the right to collect, and engaging in unlawful business practices by violating the FDCPA and RESPA.” And under the rules regarding motions to dismiss, her allegations must be taken as absolutely true unless the allegations are clearly frivolous or speculative on their face.
  16. Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants had created a cloud upon her title affecting her in numerous ways including her credit score, ability to refinance etc. Defendants countered that the allegation regarding a cloud on title was speculative. The Judge said this is not speculation, it is fact if other allegations are true regarding the false recording of unauthorized documents based upon an illegal or void assignment.
  17. And lastly, but very importantly, the Court recognizes for the first time, the right of a homeowner to demand an accounting if they can establish facts in their allegations that raise questions regarding the status of the loan, whether she was paying the right people and whether the true creditors were being paid. “Plaintiff alleges facts that allows the Court to draw a reasonable inference that Defendants may be liable for various misconduct alleged. See Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949.

Here are some significant quotes from the case. Naranjo v SBMC TILA- Accounting -Unfair practices- QWR- m/dismiss –

Judge Lorenzo Decision in Naranjo vs. SBMC Mortgage et al 7-24-12

No allegations regarding false origination of loan documents:

SBMC sold her loan to a currently unknown entity or entities. (FAC ¶ 15.) Plaintiff alleges that these unknown entities and Defendants were involved in an attempt to securitize the loan into the WAMU Mortgage Pass-through Certificates WMALT Series 2006-AR4 Trust (“WAMU Trust”). (Id. ¶ 17.) However, these entities involved in the attempted securitization of the loan “failed to adhere to the requirements of the Trust Agreement

In August 2009, Plaintiff was hospitalized, resulting in unforeseen financial hardship. (FAC ¶ 25.) As a result, she defaulted on her loan. (See id. ¶ 26.)
On May 26, 2010, Defendants recorded an Assignment of Deed of Trust, which states that MERS assigned and transferred to U.S. Bank as trustee for the WAMU Trust under the DOT. (RJN Ex. B.) Colleen Irby executed the Assignment as Officer for MERS. (Id.) On the same day, Defendants also recorded a Substitution of Trustee, which states that the U.S. Bank as trustee, by JP Morgan, as attorney-in-fact substituted its rights under the DOT to the California Reconveyance Company (“CRC”). (RJN Ex. C.) Colleen Irby also executed the Substitution as Officer of “U.S. Bank, National Association as trustee for the WAMU Trust.” (Id.) And again, on the same day, CRC, as trustee, recorded a Notice of Default and Election to Sell. (RJN Ex. D.)
A Notice of Trustee’s sale was recorded, stating that the estimated unpaid balance on the note was $989,468.00 on July 1, 2011. (RJN Ex. E.)
On August 8, 2011, Plaintiff sent JPMorgan a Qualified Written Request (“QWR”) letter in an effort to verify and validate her debt. (FAC ¶ 35 & Ex. C.) In the letter, she requested that JPMorgan provide, among other things, a true and correct copy of the original note and a complete life of the loan transactional history. (Id.) Although JPMorgan acknowledged the QWR within five days of receipt, Plaintiff alleges that it “failed to provide a substantive response.” (Id. ¶ 35.) Specifically, even though the QWR contained the borrow’s name, loan number, and property address, Plaintiff alleges that “JPMorgan’s substantive response concerned the same borrower, but instead supplied information regarding an entirely different loan and property.” (Id.)

The court must dismiss a cause of action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint. Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). The court must accept all allegations of material fact as true and construe them in light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Cedars-Sanai Med. Ctr. v. Nat’l League of Postmasters of U.S., 497 F.3d 972, 975 (9th Cir. 2007). Material allegations, even if doubtful in fact, are assumed to be true. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). However, the court need not “necessarily assume the truth of legal conclusions merely because they are cast in the form of factual allegations.” Warren v. Fox Family Worldwide, Inc., 328 F.3d 1136, 1139 (9th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks omitted). In fact, the court does not need to accept any legal conclusions as true. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, ___, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)

the allegations in the complaint “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. Thus, “[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to `state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. “The plausibility standard is not akin to a `probability requirement,’ but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. A complaint may be dismissed as a matter of law either for lack of a cognizable legal theory or for insufficient facts under a cognizable theory. Robertson v. Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., 749 F.2d 530, 534 (9th Cir. 1984).

Plaintiff’s primary contention here is that Defendants “are not her true creditors and as such have no legal, equitable, or pecuniary right in this debt obligation” in the loan. (Pl.’s Opp’n 1:5-11.) She contends that her promissory note and DOT were never properly assigned to the WAMU Trust because the entities involved in the attempted transfer failed to adhere to the requirements set forth in the Trust Agreement and thus the note and DOT are not a part of the trust res. (FAC ¶¶ 17, 20.) Defendants moves to dismiss the FAC in its entirety with prejudice.

The vital allegation in this case is the assignment of the loan into the WAMU Trust was not completed by May 30, 2006 as required by the Trust Agreement. This allegation gives rise to a plausible inference that the subsequent assignment, substitution, and notice of default and election to sell may also be improper. Defendants wholly fail to address that issue. (See Defs.’ Mot. 3:16-6:2; Defs.’ Reply 2:13-4:4.) This reason alone is sufficient to deny Defendants’ motion with respect to this issue. [plus the fact that no financial transaction occurred]

Moving on, Defendants’ reliance on Gomes is misguided. In Gomes, the California Court of Appeal held that a plaintiff does not have a right to bring an action to determine a nominee’s authorization to proceed with a nonjudicial foreclosure on behalf of a noteholder. 192 Cal. App. 4th at 1155. The nominee in Gomes was MERS. Id. at 1151. Here, Plaintiff is not seeking such a determination. The role of the nominee is not central to this action as it was in Gomes. Rather, Plaintiff alleges that the transfer of rights to the WAMU Trust is improper, thus Defendants consequently lack the legal right to either collect on the debt or enforce the underlying security interest.

Plaintiff requests that the Court “make a finding and issue appropriate orders stating that none of the named Defendants . . . have any right or interest in Plaintiff’s Note, Deed of Trust, or the Property which authorizes them . . . to collect Plaintiff’s mortgage payments or enforce the terms of the Note or Deed of Trust in any manner whatsoever.” (FAC ¶ 50.) Defendant simplifies this as a request for “a determination of the ownership of [the] Note and Deed of Trust,” which they argue is “addressed in her other causes of action.” (Defs.’ Mot. 6:16-20.) The Court disagrees with Defendants. As discussed above and below, there is an actual controversy that is not superfluous. Therefore, the Court DENIES Defendants’ motion as to Plaintiff’s claim for declaratory relief.

Defendants argue that they are not “debt collectors” within the meaning of the FDCPA. (Defs.’ Mot. 9:13-15.) That argument is predicated on the presumption that all of the legal rights attached to the loan were properly assigned. Plaintiff responds that Defendants are debt collectors because U.S. Bank’s principal purpose is to collect debt and it also attempted to collect payments. (Pl.’s Opp’n 19:23-27.) She explicitly alleges in the FAC that U.S. Bank has attempted to collect her debt obligation and that U.S. Bank is a debt collector. Consequently, Plaintiff sufficiently alleges a claim under the FDCPA.
Defendants also argue that the FDCPA claim is time barred. (Defs.’ Mot. 7:18-27.) A FDCPA claim must be brought “within one year from the date on which the violation occurs.” 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(d). Defendants contend that the violation occurred when the allegedly false assignment occurred on May 26, 2010. (Defs.’ Mot. 7:22-27.) However, Plaintiff alleges that U.S. Bank violated the FDCPA when it attempted to enforce Plaintiff’s debt obligation and collect mortgage payments when it allegedly had no legal authority to do so. (FAC ¶ 72.) Defendants wholly overlook those allegations in the FAC. Thus, Defendants fail to show that Plaintiff’s FDCPA claim is time barred.
Accordingly, the Court DENIES Defendants’ motion as to Plaintiff’s FDCPA claim.
Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s letter does not constitute a QWR because it requests a list of unsupported demands rather than specific particular errors or omissions in the account along with an explanation from the borrower why she believes an error exists. (Defs.’ Mot. 10:4-13.) However, the letter explains that it “concerns sales and transfers of mortgage servicing rights; deceptive and fraudulent servicing practices to enhance balance sheets; deceptive, abusive, and fraudulent accounting tricks and practices that may have also negatively affected any credit rating, mortgage account and/or the debt or payments that [Plaintiff] may be obligated to.” (FAC Ex. C.) The letter goes on to put JPMorgan on notice of
potential abuses of J.P. Morgan Chase or previous servicing companies or previous servicing companies [that] could have deceptively, wrongfully, unlawfully, and/or illegally: Increased the amounts of monthly payments; Increased the principal balance Ms. Naranjo owes; Increased the escrow payments; Increased the amounts applied and attributed toward interest on this account; Decreased the proper amounts applied and attributed toward the principal on this account; and/or[] Assessed, charged and/or collected fees, expenses and miscellaneous charges Ms. Naranjo is not legally obligated to pay under this mortgage, note and/or deed of trust.
(Id.) Based on the substance of letter, the Court cannot find as a matter of law that the letter is not a QWR.
California’s Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”) prohibits “any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice. . . .” Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200. This cause of action is generally derivative of some other illegal conduct or fraud committed by a defendant. Khoury v. Maly’s of Cal., Inc., 14 Cal. App. 4th 612, 619 (1993). Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated the UCL by collecting payments that they lacked the right to collect, and engaging in unlawful business practices by violating the FDCPA and RESPA.

Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s allegation regarding a cloud on her title does not constitute an allegation of loss of money or property, and even if Plaintiff were to lose her property, she cannot show it was a result of Defendants’ actions. (Defs.’ Mot. 12:22-13:4.) The Court disagrees. As discussed above, Plaintiff alleges damages resulting from Defendants’ collection of payments that they purportedly did not have the legal right to collect. These injuries are monetary, but also may result in the loss of Plaintiff’s property. Furthermore, these injuries are causally connected to Defendants’ conduct. Thus, Plaintiff has standing to pursue a UCL claim against Defendants.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants owe a fiduciary duty in their capacities as creditor and mortgage servicer. (FAC ¶ 125.) She pursues this claim on the grounds that Defendants collected payments from her that they had no right to do. Defendants argue that various documents recorded in the Official Records of San Diego County from May 2010 show that Plaintiff fails to allege facts sufficient to state a claim for accounting. (Defs.’ Mot. 16:1-3.) Defendants are mistaken. As discussed above, a fundamental issue in this action is whether Defendants’ rights were properly assigned in accordance with the Trust Agreement in 2006. Plaintiff alleges facts that allows the Court to draw a reasonable inference that Defendants may be liable for various misconduct alleged. See Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949.

Foreclosure Strategists: Meeting in Phx: Learn about QWRs

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COMBO Title and Securitization Search, Report, Documents, Analysis & Commentary CLICK HERE TO GET COMBO TITLE AND SECURITIZATION REPORT

CUSTOMER SERVICE 520-405-1688

Editor’s Comment: 

Contact: Darrell Blomberg  Darrell@ForeclosureStrategists.com  602-686-7355

Meeting: Tuesday, May 1st, 2012, 7pm to 9pm

Qualified Written Requests (QWRs)

10-day Owner / Assignee Requests

Payoff Demand Requests

The goal of this meeting is to assemble an effective set of requests that operate within the law and get us real answers from our loan servicers.  We will look at what the appropriate contents of the QWR should be.

Many people are blindly sending bloated letters demanding every possible bit of discovery.  A QWR loaded with arbitrary demands diminishes the effectiveness of your effort.  We will focus on key points to drafting a succinct, laser-focused QWR that gets you the results you want.

Well also be studying the key points for effective 10-day Owner / Assignee and Payoff Request Letters.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Special guest speaker:  Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne

We will be discussing among other things:

Arizona v Countrywide / Bank of America lawsuit

National Attorneys General Mortgage Settlement
                                                                              ($50M to the state budget?)

Attorney General Legislative Efforts (Vasquez?)

OCC Complaints notarizations and all that is associated with that.

Please send me your thoughts and questions you’d like to ask Tom Horne.  More details for this meeting will follow.

Arizona v Countrywide / Bank of America lawsuit
National Attorneys General Mortgage Settlement
Attorney General Legislative Efforts (Vasquez?)
OCC Complaints notarizations and all that is associated with that.

Please send me your thoughts and questions you’d like to ask Tom Horne.  More details for this meeting will follow.

We meet every week!

Every Tuesday: 7:00pm to 9:00pm. Come early for dinner and socialization. (Food service is also available during meeting.)
Macayo’s Restaurant, 602-264-6141, 4001 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85012. (east side of Central Ave just south of Indian School Rd.)
COST: $10… and whatever you want to spend on yourself for dinner, helpings are generous so bring an appetite.
Please Bring a Guest!
(NOTE: There is a $2.49 charge for the Happy Hour Buffet unless you at least order a soft drink.)

FACEBOOK PAGE FOR “FORECLOSURE STRATEGIST”

I have set up a Facebook page. (I can’t believe it but it is necessary.) The page can be viewed at www.Facebook.com, look for and “friend” “Foreclosure Strategist.”

I’ll do my best to keep it updated with all of our events.

Please get the word out and send your friends and other homeowners the link.

MEETUP PAGE FOR FORECLOSURE STRATEGISTS:

I have set up a MeetUp page. The page can be viewed at www.MeetUp.com/ForeclosureStrategists. Please get the word out and send your friends and other homeowners the link.

May your opportunities be bountiful and your possibilities unlimited.

“Emissary of Observation”

Darrell Blomberg

602-686-7355

Darrell@ForeclosureStrategists.com


Foreclosure Strategists: Meeting in Phx: Learn about QWRs

MOST POPULAR ARTICLES

COMBO Title and Securitization Search, Report, Documents, Analysis & Commentary CLICK HERE TO GET COMBO TITLE AND SECURITIZATION REPORT

CUSTOMER SERVICE 520-405-1688

Editor’s Comment: 

Contact: Darrell Blomberg  Darrell@ForeclosureStrategists.com  602-686-7355

Meeting: Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 7pm to 9pm

Qualified Written Requests (QWRs)

10-day Owner / Assignee Requests

Payoff Demand Requests

The goal of this meeting is to build an effective set of requests that operate within the law get us real answers from our loan servicers.

We will be discussing recent updates to Qualified Written Requests laws.  We will look at what the appropriate contents of the QWR should be.

Many people are blindly sending bloated letters demanding every possible bit of discovery.  A QWR loaded with arbitrary demands diminishes the effectiveness of your effort.  We will focus on drafting a succinct, laser-focused QWR that gets you the results you want.

Well also be studying the key points for effective 10-day Owner / Assignee and Payoff Request Letters.

**** PLEASE SEND ME ANY QUALIFIED WRITTEN REQUESTS (or 10-day assignee or payoff demand requests) THAT YOU HAVE ACCESS TO.  I WILL USE THESE AS A BASIS FOR THIS MEETING. ****

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Special guest speaker:  Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne

We will be discussing among other things:

Arizona v Countrywide / Bank of America lawsuit
National Attorneys General Mortgage Settlement
Attorney General Legislative Efforts (Vasquez?)
OCC Complaints notarizations and all that is associated with that.

Please send me your thoughts and questions you’d like to ask Tom Horne.  More details for this meeting will follow.

We meet every week!

Every Tuesday: 7:00pm to 9:00pm. Come early for dinner and socialization. (Food service is also available during meeting.)
Macayo’s Restaurant, 602-264-6141, 4001 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85012. (east side of Central Ave just south of Indian School Rd.)
COST: $10… and whatever you want to spend on yourself for dinner, helpings are generous so bring an appetite.
Please Bring a Guest!
(NOTE: There is a $2.49 charge for the Happy Hour Buffet unless you at least order a soft drink.)

FACEBOOK PAGE FOR “FORECLOSURE STRATEGIST”

I have set up a Facebook page. (I can’t believe it but it is necessary.) The page can be viewed at www.Facebook.com, look for and “friend” “Foreclosure Strategist.”

I’ll do my best to keep it updated with all of our events.

Please get the word out and send your friends and other homeowners the link.

MEETUP PAGE FOR FORECLOSURE STRATEGISTS:

I have set up a MeetUp page. The page can be viewed at www.MeetUp.com/ForeclosureStrategists. Please get the word out and send your friends and other homeowners the link.

May your opportunities be bountiful and your possibilities unlimited.

“Emissary of Observation”

Darrell Blomberg

602-686-7355

Darrell@ForeclosureStrategists.com


Using UDCPA Fair Debt Collection Acts to get Money, Information and Fees

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RIPE AREA FOR STEADY INCOME FOR LAWYERS REPRESENTING HOMEOWNERS

Editor’s Comment: One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind. You have both a private right of action against the debt collector and the right to apply to the FTC to set up administrative hearings, where these cases should probably be heard by experienced hearing officers who know what they are looking at.

The practice of playing the numbers on debt collection has been around for a long time. Whether the debt is real or not, there is a statute of limitations, bankruptcies and other obstacles to collection. A lot of times the debt is now owed at all, but byb pestering customers, the collection agency gets some money out of them, which they keep because they have already bought the portfolio at pennies or less on the dollar.

This is where servicers and other intermediaries in the fake securitization chain are going to get into hot water. The debt was created when the investor loaned the borrower the money. The intermediaries are by definition debt collectors under the UDCPA and they are, and have been banged for fines many times on individual cases.

This is an instance where the Obama administration is attacking the practice head-on and taking away their toys. So when the pretender lender comes knocking, it isn’t just a RESPA 6 (Qualified Written Request) that you send out, it is a UDCPA letter you send demanding to know both the identity and contact information for the creditor. As you can see from this article, failure to provide you with that information  plus the balance due and how it was computed, is a violation of that Federal Statute.

It might also be a shortcut way of identifying the pretender not as holder of the note but as agent for an undisclosed principal seeking to collect on a note that was defective in the first place because they did not identify the correct creditor (in violation of TILA) and it did not provide you with a proper accounting showing exactly what this “creditor” received that would reduce your loan balance.

The MAIN point here is that the servicer might well be the one sending you the notice of delinquency swhen they have performed zero due diligence as to the creditor’s accounting. Where the servicer itself or some other party is keeping the account current, as is often the case, the loan is neither delinquent nor susceptible to being declared in default — but they do it anyway.

Now that the FTC has declared war on debt collectors who perform illegally, and banged them with this fine, we can invoke the same administrative procedures and grievances with the FTC as to the collection efforts on mortgages where the “collector” is not the creditor and where the money demanded is not actually shown as due.

There is a presumption that if you didn’t make the payment as set forth in the note, then you must be delinquent and you must be declared (at some point) in default. But that is not true in most cases. There can only be a delinquency or default under the mortgage loan if the borrower has failed to make a payment or cure a payment that is actually due. If the payment has been made already, then no such payment is due, regardless of whether it came from the borrower or not.

This is why you need to know the four legs of the stool in order to object, sue, defend, and present genuine issues of fact before a trial court that will have no choice but to allow you to proceed to discovery. Discovery is where these cases settle because the pretenders know they didn’t fund the loan, they didn’t pay for the loan and the creditor has been paid in whole or in part, with a lower or zero balance remaining.

Just for reminders, the four legs of the stool are:

  1. The loan closing papers with the investors under which he agrees to advance funds into a pool in exchange for a note or bond from a REMIC (which is never properly constituted). Here the investors expects that the money advanced will be used for funding mortgages conforming with the standards set forth in the prospectus and pooling and servicing agreement. Note that there is no nexus or connection between the investor and the borrower because the borrower usually does not even exist at that point in time. If a nexus ever arises, it is when the loan is transferred into the pool, something which we all now know was never done until the loan went into litigation or foreclosure — obviously in violation of the cut-off date required by the IRS REMIC statute, and the concurrent cut-off date in the PSA. But more importantly is the money angle — the investors didn’t advance money for loans that were delinquent or in default. They invested their money for good quality performing loans. Thus there is no way that the loans could be transferred into the pools if they were already declared problematic, delinquent, or non-performing. The failure to provide a nexus between borrower and lender (investor) is fatal to the enforcement of the mortgage lien. The creditor has no interest in the loan and doesn’t want one. Any claim from third parties who also have no nexus with the borrower would be on causes of action that are separate or apart from the mortgage lien. (SEE COMBO TITLE AND SECURITIZATION REPORT ABOVE)
  2. The loan closing papers with the borrower(s), which are subject to roughly the same analysis with identical result. There is no nexus between the borrower and the investor because neither one knows the other, despite requirements in the TILA and RESPA laws that require disclosure of parties and their compensation. (SEE FORENSIC ANALYSIS TILA+ REPORT on Livinglies-store.com) The note does not describe the actual monetary transaction between the investor lender and the borrower. Instead it inserts a straw-man as “lender” and a straw-man as “beneficiary”. This usually takes the form of a new animal in mortgage lending called an “originator” who is a paid fee service provider whose sole duty is to pretend to be the lender, even though they never funded the loan, never bought the loan and never had any interest in the debt, the note or the mortgage. This is deemed by many in the title industry as a corrupted document that breaks the chain of title if any action was taken on such a loan in foreclosure. 
  3. The actual money trail which varies from both the requirements set forth in the paperwork with the investor lender and the paperwork with the homeowner borrower. A full accounting would show that the parties in the middle without any interest in the loan, bought, sold, transferred and used those fabricated, forged documents to initiate foreclosure and eviction proceedings. Under the investor documentation, the pretenders are allowed to use a legal PONZI scheme in which the investors money is used to pay him his interest income, although it is not reported as such. The servicer also has the option of taking money from other revenue and pools and paying certain investors in complete  violation of the explicit requirements of any standard promissory note from a borrower requiring that payments be credited to the account of the borrower. Instead, they make the payment and do not credit the borrower or they receive the money and they pay neither the investors nor the give credit to the borrowers. (see Loan Level Accounting REPORT on Livinglies-store.com). The servicers and intermediaries and attempting, with some success to take over the position of the investor without an assignment from the investor, and enforce a mortgage to which they are not a party.
  4. The Fourth legal of the stool arises from the false representations made in court or foreclosure proceedings. These representations made by people who purport to be authorized to substitute trustees, or file notice of defaults, notice of sales, notice of evictions, or lawsuits for all of those in judicial states, turn out to be at variance with all three of the other legs of the stool — the investor paperwork, the borrower’s paperwork and the actual money trail. 

Using a service like Elite Litigation Management services or others to present the matrix, which we also offer at livinglies-store.com, dial 480-405-1688, and you can present a poster-size board that shows a number of the discrepancy between all four legs of the stool, thus giving rise to the question of fact necessary to get to the next step in litigation. remember, if you go in thinking you have a magic bullet that will end your case, you are dreaming of a better worked than the one we have.

F.T.C. Fines a Collector of Debt $2.5 Million

See Full Article on New York Times and Firedoglake.com
By

The Federal Trade Commission signaled on Monday that it would continue to crack down on debt collectors who harass consumers for money they may not even be legally obligated to pay.

In the second-largest penalty ever levied on a debt collector, the F.T.C. said that Asset Acceptance, one of the nation’s largest debt collection companies, had agreed to pay a $2.5 million civil penalty to settle charges that the company deceived consumers when trying to collect old debts.

The settlement is part of a broader effort to patrol the industry, agency officials said.

“Our attention to debt collection has increased over the past couple of years because the complaints have been on the rise,” said J. Reilly Dolan, assistant director for the F.T.C.’s division of financial practices.

Consumer complaints about debt collection companies consistently rank as the second-highest category among all complaints at the agency, behind identity theft. But in 2010, complaints jumped 17 percent to 140,036, which represented 11 percent of all complaints in the commission’s database, up from 119,540, or about 9 percent of complaints, in 2009.

Asset Acceptance, based in Warren, Mich., was charged with a variety of complaints, including failing to tell consumers that they could no longer be sued for failing to pay some debts because the debts were too old. The company’s collectors also failed to inform consumers that paying even a small portion of the amount owed would revive the debt — in other words, making a payment would extend the amount of time the collector could legally sue.

Debt collectors have only a certain number of years to sue consumers. The statute of limitations varies by state, but typically ranges from two to 15 years, Mr. Dolan said, beginning when a consumer fails to make a payment. But borrowers often do not realize that making a payment on the old debt may restart the clock.

Among other things, the complaint also contended that the company — which buys unpaid debts for pennies on the dollar from credit card companies, health clubs and telecommunications and utility providers and tries to collect them — reported inaccurate information about the consumers to the credit reporting agencies. It also said that Asset Acceptance failed to conduct a reasonable investigation when it was notified by one of the credit agencies that a debt was being disputed. Moreover, the complaint says that the company used illegal collection practices and that it continued to try to collect debts that consumers disputed even though the company failed to verify that the debt was valid.

The proposed settlement with Asset Acceptance requires the company to tell consumers whose debt may be too old to be collected that it will not sue. It also requires the company to investigate disputed debts and to ensure it has a reasonable basis for its claims before going after the consumer. It is also barred from placing debt on credit reports without notifying the consumer.

The penalty “is certainly a slap on the wrist and probably a little bit more, but it really depends on what the F.T.C. does to enforce this in the coming months and years,” said Robert Hobbs, deputy director at the National Consumer Law Center and author of “Fair Debt Collection” (National Consumer Law Center, 1987). But “it is a great step forward. It is not self-enforcing, and it has a mechanism for the F.T.C. to follow up.”

Still, while the settlement requires the company to take more responsibility for checking the statute of limitations before it contacts consumers, he said most states did not require debt collectors to do that. That means it is up to consumers to know the rules on the statute of limitations, which, he said, can be “an enormously complex legal question.”

In a statement, Asset Acceptance said that the settlement ended an F.T.C. investigation that began nearly six years ago, and that the company did not admit to any of the allegations. “We are pleased to have this matter behind us, and to have clarity on the F.T.C.’s policies and expectations of the debt collection industry,” said Rion Needs, president and chief executive of Asset Acceptance.

In March, another leading debt collection company, West Asset Management, agreed to pay $2.8 million, the largest civil penalty ever levied by the F.T.C., to settle charges that its collection techniques violated the law. The commission charged that West Asset’s collectors often called consumers multiple times a day, sometimes using rude and abusive language, about accounts that were not theirs. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the F.T.C. now share enforcement authority for debt collection companies, though the new bureau has a power that the F.T.C. did not: it can write new rules for debt collectors. But F.T.C. officials said that debt collection enforcement would remain a top priority.

 

LivingLies UPDATED Plan of Engagement: What to Do

UPDATE: This is THE OUTLINE of a plan that is current in its evolution but by no means complete or the last word. It replaces the entry I made in February of this year. The assumption here is that even without taking mortgage foreclosure cases into consideration, the percentage of cases that actually go to trial is between 5%-15% depending upon how you categorize “cases.” On the other hand, if you are not prepared for trial and counting on settlement, your opposition will generally know it and have the upper hand in negotiating a settlement. They are going to play for keeps. You should too. Don’t assume that the note in front of you is the actual original. Close inspection often reveals it is a color copy.

And for heaven sake don’t stand there with your mouth hanging open when someone says you are looking for a free house. You are looking for justice. You had your purse snatched in this transaction, you know there is an obligation, but you also know that they didn’t perfect the security interest (not your fault) and they received multiple payments from multiple parties on these securitized loans. You want a FULL accounting of all such transactions to determine what balance is due after insurance payments, who is subrogated or substituted on claims, and an opportunity to negotiate a settlement or modification with someone who actually has advanced money on THIS transaction and can show it to be so.

WORD OF CAUTION: IF YOU ARE ALREADY IN PROCESS, YOU ARE REQUIRED TO ACT WITHIN THE TIMES SET FORTH BY STATE LAW, FEDERAL LAW, OR THE LAWS OF CIVIL PROCEDURE. FAILURE TO DO SO LEAVES YOU IN AN UPHILL BATTLE TO REVERSE ACTIONS ALREADY TAKEN. ON THE OTHER HAND ACTIONS ALREADY TAKEN “FIX” THE POSITION OF YOUR OPPOSITION, SINCE THEY CAN NO LONGER ASSERT CHANGES IN CREDITOR, LENDER OR TRUSTEE. THUS IT MIGHT BE EASIER, ACCORDING TO SOME SUCCESSFUL LITIGATORS OUT THERE, TO WAIT UNTIL THE SALE HAS OCCURRED AND THEN ATTACK IT AS A FRAUDULENT SALE, THAN TO TRY TO STOP IT WITH A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER ETC.

CONSIDER BANKRUPTCY, ESPECIALLY CHAPTER 13, WHERE THERE ARE MORE REMEDIES THAN YOU MIGHT THINK IF YOU FILL OUT YOUR SCHEDULES PROPERLY. WE ARE SEEING BETTER RESULTS IN SOME BANKRUPTCY COURTS THAN FEDERAL OR STATE CIVIL COURT PROCEEDINGS.

  1. Get your act together, stop fighting amongst the members of your household and make a decision as to what you want to do — fight or flight?
  2. GET SOME HELP NO MATTER WHAT YOU DECIDE. GET THE LOAN SPECIFIC TITLE SEARCH, GET A SECURITIZATION SEARCH, AND GET A LAWYER LICENSED IN THE COUNTY WHERE YOUR PROPERTY IS LOCATED AND MAKE SURE HE/SHE IS NOT STUCK ON THE PROPOSITION THAT YOU SHOULD LOSE.
  3. If you choose flight, then by all means try the short-sale or jingle mail strategies that have been discussed on this blog. Do not try to make money on the short-sale, since nobody is going to give it to you. You can make a few dollars by riding out the time in foreclosure without making payments (and hopefully saving the money you would have paid) and by negotiating as high a price (a few thousand dollars)  as you can in a deal known as “cash for keys.” Even for this, you should employ the services of a local licensed attorney — at least for consultation. There are several short-sale options that have evolved. Google Edge Simonson or Prime financial. I’ve been working on a short-sale-leaseback option that seems to be picking up steam.
  4. STRATEGIC DEFAULTS RISING: More and more people of all walks of life including those that have some considerable wealth, are walking away from these properties that were the subject of transactions in which the presumed value of the property was preposterous. This is an option that scare the hair off the pretender lenders because it pouts the power in your hands. They in turn are trying to scare the public with threats of deficiency judgments etc and collections. It is doubtful that many or indeed any deficiency judgments would be awarded, even if they were allowed. But in many cases, particularly in non-judicial states, deficiency judgments are NOT allowed. A version of the strategic default that many people like is to stay as long as possible without paying and then walk. If you are smart about it, you raise your own capital by socking away the payments you would have made.
  5. If the decision is fight — then the second decision to make is to answer the question “fight for what?” If you want to buy time, there are many strategies that can be employed, which basically are the same strategies as those used if you are fighting for real. And you might be surprised by the result. Some people get a year or two or even more without payments. You are going to take a FICO hit anyway so why not put some cash in your pocket while you hold back payments.
  6. AVOID crazy deals where you give your property or share your property with a stranger. If you persist in engaging such people at least call references and make sure the references are real. Ask questions about their situation and how they feel it worked out to them. Get as much detail as possible.
  7. AVOID mortgage modification firms. If you persist in engaging such people at least call references and make sure the references are real. Ask questions about their situation and how they feel it worked out to them. Get as much detail as possible. My opinion is that if they don’t pursue an aggressive litigation strategy the statistical probability of you accomplishing anything by going to them is near zero.
  8. In all cases, if at all possible:
  9. (a) Get all your information together along with a short executive summary of your “journal” (even if you create the journal now). That means all closing documents, any information you have on title, recording in the county recorder’s office, the names of all parties who were “at” closing (that means not just the actual people who were there, but he names of companies that were represented or mentioned at closing). Also, include in the file any notices of default(NOD) or notice of Trustee sale (NOTS) or summons from a court.

    (b) Get a MORTGAGE ANALYSIS of the loan transaction itself. THIS INVOLVES THREE PARTS — (1) LOAN SPECIFIC TITLE SEARCH AND CHAIN OF TITLE, EXAMINATION OF THE DOCUMENTS, SIGNATURES, AND DATES OF DOCUMENTS PURPORTING TO BE REAL, (2) SECURITIZATION SEARCH THAT CHASES THE MONEY TRAIL AND WILL PROBABLY LEAD YOU TO SOME IMPORTANT ISSUES LIKE THE VERY EXISTENCE OF THE “TRUST” ASSERTING IT HAS THE RIGHT TO FORECLOSE AS WELL AS MONETARY ISSUES SUCH AS APPLICATION OR ALLOCATION OF PAYMENTS RECEIVED BY THE INVESTOR WHO ADVANCED THE FUNDS FOR THE LOAN AND (3) COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS THAT IS USABLE BY AN ATTORNEY IN COURT SUCH THAT HE/SHE CAN ARGUE THAT THERE ARE QUESTIONS OF FACT ENTITLING YOU TO PURSUE DISCOVERY. IF YOU WIN THAT POINT YOU ARE ON YOUR WAY TO A SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION. BUT NOBODY IS GOING TO MAKE IT EASY FOR YOU.

    (c) Who is your creditor? The TILA Audit alone does nothing without taking further steps. The Trustee’s “Take-down” report should be demanded in non-judicial states and if the house is in foreclosure, your written objection should be sent to the Trustee.

    (d) If someone tells you they are “pretty sure” or can “definitely”  stop your foreclosure or promises a favorable outcome, and asks for money up front, then run like hell. This is a scam. IF THEY TELL YOU THEY WILL DO WHAT THEY CAN, AND THEY GIVE YOU SOME EXAMPLES OF WHAT THEY WILL BE DOING FOR YOU THEN LISTEN AND GET REFERENCES.

    (e) Only a Court order stops foreclosure or a Trustee Sale. No letter of any form or substance will stop it unless the other side is intimidated into stopping the action, which sometimes happens when they know their paperwork is “out of order.”

    (f) Get a Forensic Mortgage Analysis Report OR AN EXPERT DECLARATION that summarizes in a few pages the potential issues that you should be investigating AND WHICH LENDS SUPPORT TOY OUR DENIAL OF THE DEFAULT, DENIAL OF THE RIGHT OF THE OPPOSING PARTY TO CLAIM A DEFAULT, DENIAL OF THE RIGHT OF THE OPPOSING PARTY TO FORECLOSE.

    (g) Get an Expert Declaration that uses the forensic report and the expert opinions of specific experts (like appraisers, title analysts) and which identifies the probable chain of securitization and the money trail. You’ll be surprised when you find out there were two yield spread premiums not disclosed to you and that they can total as much or more than the “loan” itself. GET EXPERT OPINION ON PROBABLE DAMAGES INCLUDING RETURN OF UNDISCLOSED FEES, INTEREST, ETC. (SEE LAWYER’S WORKBOOK FROM GARFIELD CONTINUUM).

    (h) Send the Forensic Report and expert declaration to the known parties, with an instruction to forward it to all other parties known to them in the securitization chain. Include a Qualified Written Request(QWR) AND a Debt Validation Letter(DVL) (which is really a debt verification letter). Don’t be surprised if your pretender lenders will come back and tell you your QWR is defective or improper in some way, but that’s OK, you have followed statutory procedure and they didn’t. With the help of an attorney and with consultation with your experts decide on what resolution you will demand — damages, rescission, etc.

    (i) Don’t believe a word about modification. Practically none of them go through. They are leading you into default so they can collect more service fees, and get money out of you that you think is stopping the foreclosure.

    (j) Don’t believe a word that any pretender lender or representative says or represents, even if they are a lawyer, particularly verbal communications that they refuse to confirm in writing. Challenge everything.

    (k) Don’t accept any document as authentic. Many documents are being fabricated or forged, including affidavits. This is why you need a lawyer and an expert and a Forensic mortgage analysis — to determine what documents and parties are suspect and what you should be asking for in discovery and in the QWR and DVL.

    (l) YOUR FIRST STRATEGY IS TO RAISE NOT PROVE ISSUES OF FACT. BY PRODUCING A FORENSIC REPORT AND EXPERT DECLARATION, NEITHER YOU NOR YOUR LAWYER NEEDS TO ACQUIRE EXPERTISE IN SECURITIZED LOANS. YOU ONLY NEED TO RAISE THE ISSUE OF FACT BY SHOWING THE COURT THAT YOU HAVE EXPERTS WHO SAY THE PRETENDER LENDERS/TRUSTEES ETC. ARE NOT CREDITORS AND NOT AUTHORIZED AGENTS WORKING FOR THE CREDITORS. THEY SAY THEY ARE IN FACT THE CREDITORS OR HAVE SOME AUTHORITY GRANTED BY AN ALLEGED CREDITOR. IT IS NOT FOR THE COURT TO ACCEPT ONE VIEW OR THE OTHER, BUT RATHER TO ALLOW DISCOVERY AND AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING ON THE ISSUE OF STANDING (SEE MANY RECENT CASES REPORTED SINCE FEBRUARY ON THIS BLOG).

    (m) Be very aggressive on discovery. They will argue that even if they are not the creditor and even if they refuse to disclose the identity of the creditor, they are still entitled to disclose because they are the holder of the note and/or mortgage. Your argument will probably be that they still have a duty to disclose the identity of the creditor and the source of the their authority to represent the creditor, along with proof that the creditor has received notice of these proceedings.

Padget v OneWest – IndyMac Provides some insight into RESPA remedies

The Ocwen Court provided an example for clarity: “Suppose an S & L signs a mortgage agreement with a homeowner that specifies annual interest rate of 6 percent and a year later bills the homeowner at a rate of 10 percent and when the homeowner refuses to pay institutes foreclosure proceedings. It would be surprising for a federal regulation to forbid the homeowner’s state to give the homeowner a defense based on the mortgagee’s breach of contract.” Ocwen, 491 F.3d at 643-44.

Padget-One west bank dba Indymac

Editor’s Note: The assumption was made that One West owned the loan when it was clearly securitized. One West used the fact that Plaintiff admitted that One West was the owner of the loan and therefore undermined Plaintiff’s case against One West as a debt collector which requires the actor to be collecting for the benefit of a third party.

This is where the rubber meets the road. either you are going to master the nuance introduced by securitization or you are going to let the other side have a field day with misrepresentations that you have admitted are true.

PADGETT, Plaintiff,
v.
ONEWEST BANK, FSB, d/b/a INDYMAC

Civil Action No. 3:10-CV-08
United States District Court, Northern District of West Virginia, Martinsburg

parties filed an Agreed Order in the bankruptcy court resolving IndyMac’s motion to lift the automatic stay. (Id. at ¶ 14). Pursuant to this Agreed Order, the plaintiff’s mortgage was deemed current as of May 1, 2008, and the one payment for which the plaintiff was in arrears was added onto the end of the mortgage. (Id. at ¶¶ 15-
16). The first payment due under the Agreed Order was due in May 2008. (Id. at ¶ 17). The plaintiff made the May 2008 payment in a timely fashion and has made his monthly mortgage payment each month after May 2008, up to and including the date of the filing of the plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint. (Id. at ¶¶ 18-19).

In March 2009, Defendant OneWest Bank, F.S.B. (“OneWest”) purchased IndyMac, whereupon IndyMac Mortgage Services (“IndyMac MS”) became a division of OneWest. (Id. at ¶¶ 20-21). On July 16, 2009, OneWest, doing business as IndyMac MS, sent the plaintiff a letter claiming he was one month behind on his payments. (Id. at ¶ 22). In response, on July 28, 2009, the plaintiff wrote to OneWest, enclosing a copy of the Agreed Order from his bankruptcy proceeding and requesting that OneWest supply him with documentation that he nevertheless remained one month behind. (Id. at
¶¶ 24-26). Again, on August 3, 2009, and September 16, 2009, IndyMac MS sent letters to the plaintiff alleging he was behind on his mortgage payments. (Id. at ¶¶ 28-29).

OneWest continues to assess monthly late fees against his account and has informed credit reporting agencies that the plaintiff’s mortgage is delinquent, though plaintiff alleges he is current on his monthly mortgage payments.

OneWest argued that all of the plaintiff’s claims for relief were preempted by the Home Owners’ Loan Act of 1933, 12 U.S.C. § 1461, et seq. (“HOLA”). (Id. at 4).

Motion to Dismiss denied in part and granted in part. Motion to Strike denied. Plaintiff was allowed to proceed.

Livinglies Posts $100 Reward for HERS Fabrication Index

Announcing the establishment of the Homeowners Electronic Registration System (HERS) to assist in mortgage negotiations, litigation, foreclosures and modifications. HERS v MERS, Get It?

We are looking for someone to go through the comments and blog posts that give the name of an officer or other person signing any paper involved in the mortgage or foreclosure of property and to create a index using EXCEL or ACCESS cross referencing the state, financial institution, actual employer etc. that was revealed. If you are successful we will set up a subscription site for people to pay for the inquiries and you will receive income from that site.

You must submit your resume and all relevant contact information to ngarfield@msn.com by March 31, 2010. And you must commit to having the project in final form, subject to continuing revisions no later than April 30, 2010. Upon your selection you will receive a check for $100 in advance.

Good Comment from Rand:

It’s a good idea but you should put a few more requirements for the database. It’s not enough to simply look at the affidavits of indebtedness. Any affidavit filed is worthy of note because if you can establish than any of them were signed by a questionable, including an affidavit by another law firm or attorney verifying the validity of the attorneys fees being sought as reasonable (requirement here in FL to get attorneys fees) then you can through the entire case in doubt.

Example, bad attorney who gets cited personally by a judge or the local bar, any case he’s signed an affidavit in is questionable. I don’t know say “Coucgh”ivd “hack”ern. or the elk.

Finally, there is no such thing as narrowing the focus to filings withing a state. With due respect Ian the person who signs for PA probably also signs for FL, CA and anywhere else that’s not within 100 miles of where they live in MO. However, it’s important to not only note who signs, but when and where. How else could the sign in two different states on the same day? Better be ready to show plane tickets.

If the Bank of England wants this information, how can this court deem it irrelevant?

SEE ALSO BOE PAPER ON ABS DISCLOSURE condocmar10

If the Bank of England wants this information, how can this court deem it irrelevant? NOTE: BOE defines investors as note-holders.
information on the remaining life, balance and prepayments on a loan; data on the current valuation and loan-to-value ratios on underlying property and collateral; and interest rate details, like the current rate and reset levels. In addition, the central bank said it wants to see loan performance information like the number and value of payments in arrears and details on bankruptcy, default or foreclosure actions.
Editor’s Note: As Gretchen Morgenstern points out in her NY Times article below, the Bank of England is paving the way to transparent disclosures in mortgage backed securities. This in turn is a guide to discovery in American litigation. It is also a guide for questions in a Qualified Written Request and the content of a forensic analysis.
What we are all dealing with here is asymmetry of information, which is another way of saying that one side has information and the other side doesn’t. The use of the phrase is generally confined to situations where the unequal access to information is intentional in order to force the party with less information to rely upon the party with greater information. The party with greater information is always the seller. The party with less information is the buyer. The phrase is most often used much like “moral hazard” is used as a substitute for lying and cheating.
Quoting from the Bank of England’s “consultative paper”: ” [NOTE THAT THE BANK OF ENGLAND ASSUMES ASYMMETRY OF INFORMATION AND, SEE BELOW, THAT THE INVESTORS ARE CONSIDERED "NOTE-HOLDERS" WITHOUT ANY CAVEATS.] THE BANK IS SEEKING TO ENFORCE RULES THAT WOULD REQUIRE DISCLOSURE OF
borrower details (unique loan identifiers); nominal loan amounts; accrued interest; loan maturity dates; loan interest rates; and other reporting line items that are relevant to the underlying loan portfolio (ie borrower location, loan to value ratios, payment rates, industry code). The initial loan portfolio information reporting requirements would be consistent with the ABS loan-level reporting requirements detailed in paragraph 42 in this consultative document. Data would need to be regularly updated, it is suggested on a weekly basis, given the possibility of unexpected loan repayments.
42 The Bank has considered the loan-level data fields which
it considers would be most relevant for residential mortgage- backed securities (RMBS) and covered bonds and sets out a high-level indication of some of those fields in the list below:
• Portfolio, subportfolio, loan and borrower unique identifiers.
• Loan information (remaining life, balance, prepayments).
• Property and collateral (current valuation, loan to value ratio
and type of valuation). Interest rate information (current reference rate, current rate/margin, reset interval).
• Performance information (performing/delinquent, number and value of payments in arrears, arrangement, litigation or
bankruptcy in process, default or foreclosure, date of default,
sale price, profit/loss on sale, total recoveries).
• Credit bureau score information (bankruptcy or IVA flags,
bureau scores and dates, other relevant indicators (eg in respect of fraudulent activity)).

The Bank is also considering making it an eligibility requirement that each issuer provides a summary of the key features of the transaction structure in a standardised format.
This summary would include:
• Clear diagrams of the deal structure.
Description of which classes of notes hold the voting rights and what proportion of noteholders are required to pass a resolution.
• Description of all the triggers in the transaction and the consequences of them being breached.
• What defines an event of default.
• Diagramatic cash-flow waterfalls, making clear the priority
of payments of principal and interest, including how these
can change in consequence to any trigger breaches.
52 The Bank is also considering making it an eligibility
requirement that cash-flow models be made available that
accurately reflect the legal structure of an asset-backed security.
The Bank believes that for each transaction a cash-flow model
verified by the issuer/arranger should be available publicly.
Currently, it can be unclear as to how a transaction would
behave in different scenarios, including events of default or
other trigger events. The availability of cash-flow models, that
accurately reflect the underlying legal structure of the
transaction, would enable accurate modelling and stress
testing of securities under various assumptions.

March 19, 2010, NY Times

Pools That Need Some Sun

By GRETCHEN MORGENSON

LAST week, the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco sued a throng of Wall Street companies that sold the agency $5.4 billion in residential mortgage-backed securities during the height of the mortgage melee. The suit, filed March 15 in state court in California, seeks the return of the $5.4 billion as well as broader financial damages.

The case also provides interesting details on what the Federal Home Loan Bank said were misrepresentations made by those companies about the loans underlying the securities it bought.

It is not surprising, given the complexity of the instruments at the heart of this credit crisis, that it will require court battles for us to learn how so many of these loans could have gone so bad. The recent examiner’s report on the Lehman Brothers failure is a fine example of the in-depth investigation required to get to the bottom of this debacle.

The defendants in the Federal Home Loan Bank case were among the biggest sellers of mortgage-backed securities back in the day; among those named are Deutsche Bank; Bear Stearns; Countrywide Securities, a division of Countrywide Financial; Credit Suisse Securities; and Merrill Lynch. The securities at the heart of the lawsuit were sold from mid-2004 into 2008 — a period that certainly encompasses those giddy, anything-goes years in the home loan business.

None of the banks would comment on the litigation.

In the complaint, the Federal Home Loan Bank recites a list of what it calls untrue or misleading statements about the mortgages in 33 securitization trusts it bought. The alleged inaccuracies involve disclosures of the mortgages’ loan-to-value ratios (a measure of a loan’s size compared with the underlying property’s value), as well as the occupancy status of the properties securing the loans. Mortgages are considered less risky if they are written against primary residences; loans on second homes or investment properties are deemed to be more of a gamble.

Finally, the complaint said, the sellers of the securities made inaccurate claims about how closely the loan originators adhered to their underwriting guidelines. For example, the Federal Home Loan Bank asserts that the companies selling these securities failed to disclose that the originators made frequent exceptions to their own lending standards.

DAVID J. GRAIS, a partner at Grais & Ellsworth, represents the plaintiff. He said the Federal Home Loan Bank is not alleging that the firms intended to mislead investors. Rather, the case is trying to determine if the firms conformed to state laws requiring accurate disclosure to investors.

“Did they or did they not correspond with the real world at the time of the sale of these securities? That is the question,” Mr. Grais said.

Time will tell which side will prevail in this suit. But in the meantime, the accusations illustrate a significant unsolved problem with securitization: a lack of transparency regarding the loans that are bundled into mortgage securities. Until sunlight shines on these loan pools, the securitization market, a hugely important financing mechanism that augments bank lending, will remain frozen and unworkable.

It goes without saying that after swallowing billions in losses in such securities, investors no longer trust what sellers say is inside them. Investors need detailed information about these loans, and that data needs to be publicly available and updated regularly.

“The goose that lays the golden eggs for Wall Street is in the information gaps created by financial innovation,” said Richard Field, managing director at TYI, which develops transparency, trading and risk management information systems. “Naturally, Wall Street opposes closing these gaps.”

But the elimination of such information gaps is necessary, Mr. Field said, if investors are to return to the securitization market and if global regulators can be expected to prevent future crises.

While United States policy makers have done little to resolve this problem, the Bank of England, Britain’s central bank, is forging ahead on it. In a “consultative paper” this month, the central bank argued for significantly increased disclosure in asset-backed securities, including mortgage pools.

The central bank is interested in this debate because it accepts such securities in exchange for providing liquidity to the banking system.

“It is the bank’s view that more comprehensive and consistent information, in a format which is easier to use, is required to allow the effective risk management of securities,” the report stated. One recommendation is to include far more data than available now.

Among the data on its wish list: information on the remaining life, balance and prepayments on a loan; data on the current valuation and loan-to-value ratios on underlying property and collateral; and interest rate details, like the current rate and reset levels. In addition, the central bank said it wants to see loan performance information like the number and value of payments in arrears and details on bankruptcy, default or foreclosure actions.

The Bank of England recommended that investor reports be provided on “at least a monthly basis” and said it was considering making such reports an eligibility requirement for securities it accepts in its transactions.

The American Securitization Forum, the advocacy group for the securitization industry, has been working for two years on disclosure recommendations it sees as necessary to restart this market. But its ideas do not go as far as the Bank of England’s.

A group of United States mortgage investors is also agitating for increased disclosures. In a soon-to-be-published working paper, the Association of Mortgage Investors outlined ways to increase transparency in these instruments.

Among its suggestions: reduce the reliance on credit rating agencies by providing detailed data on loans well before a deal is brought to market, perhaps two weeks in advance. That would allow investors to analyze the loans thoroughly, then decide whether they want to buy in.

THE investors are also urging that loan-level data offered by issuers, underwriters or loan servicers be “accompanied by an auditor attestation” verifying it has been properly aggregated and calculated. In other words, trust but verify.

Confidence in the securitization market has been crushed by the credit mess. Only greater transparency will lure investors back into these securities pools. The sooner that happens, the better.

Notice of Intent to Preserve Interest in California and Other states

Submitted was a form reciting the legal description of the property and citing California Civil Code Title 5, Sections 880.340 and 800.350.

As in other documents that can be prepared for homeowners it is only as good as the willingness of the county recorder’s office to accept and record it. And it doesn’t do much good if the property has already been sold.

As I have previously stated, ANY document that purports to grant, transfer or preserve title in the name of someone other than the mortgagee or Trustee on a deed of trust may be helpful procedurally. What I means by that is that it could force the pretender lender into a judicial foreclosure and it might lay the groundwork for a lawsuit seeking to force the parties to answer the Qualified Written Request or Debt Validation Letter.

You still need to prove your case.

You Are Not the Bad Guy

NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON KINDLE!
THE PHONE RINGS. YOUR NERVES ARE JANGLED. YOU KNOW YOU ARE “LATE” IN YOUR PAYMENTS. PROBABLY ANOTHER COLLECTION CALL. FEAR COURSES THROUGH YOUR VEINS LIKE ACID TOGETHER WITH A RISING TIDE OF EMBARRASSMENT.

SO HERE IS WHAT I HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT.

First of all if you look up the collections firm, mortgage servicer, or other party you will find dozens of entries on most firms about behavior that easily crosses the line from legal to illegal. Second of all they might have the wrong person (see article below). Third of all they probably have the wrong information even if they have the right information. So don’t be so scared of them.
Fourth — and this probably ought to be first — in a culture created by endless ads and product placement, where our consciousness has been switched from savings and prudence to credit and spending, where 30% interest is not usury, where $35 fees apply to $2 overdrafts, I challenge the core notion that the debt is or ever was valid. In plain language I know what the law says, but I also know what is right and wrong.
It is YOU who are the victim and it is THEM who are the predators and tricksters. I know the media, politicians and pundits say otherwise. They are wrong. So the point of this blog is to get you to give up the myth that this was somehow mostly your fault and see yourself as one of tens of millions of victims who seek justice. The laws say you have rights  — like usury where most states have a legal limit of interest which if violated invalidates the debt and entitles the debtor to treble damages. Yes there are exceptions but not these creditors and collectors do not qualify under the exceptions. They only win in collection or foreclosure if you don’t fight it out with them.

In most cases (actually nearly all cases) the creditor does not have the resources to do anything other than maintain a phone bank with people who have a script in front of them containing key words and phrases designed to scare the crap out of you. The credit card companies, the mortgage pretender lenders and servicers lack resources to sue everyone at once.

As you have seen on these pages there are a number of offensive and defensive strategies that can put the “collector” in hot water with fines and payment of damages to you for using improper tactics, withholding information (like the fact that your mortgage was paid several times over but they still want YOU to pay it again). Use the Debt validation Letter, the Qualified  Written request, complaints to FTC, FED, OTC etc. Send letters to consumer protection divisions of your state attorney general. report them to the economic crimes division of local police, sheriff and U.S. Attorney’s office. GO ON THE OFFENSIVE.

THE WALK AWAY STRATEGY: There are many reports of lawyers and other advisers suggesting that you simply walk away from the mountain of debt, move to another residence (the rent is bound to be far less expensive than the old carrying charges on the inflated value of the old house), and start over. They recommend that you maintain your phone number by switching services and that you pull the plug. So the collector only gets voice mail and confirmation that this is still your phone number. They recommend that you get a new unlisted number even under another person’s name if that is possible. And then start the march toward saving money, getting prepaid credit and debit cards and re-establishing a high credit score. It’s a lot less expensive than bankruptcy. After the statute of limitations has run they have no right to go after you even if it was a valid debt. This is the advice given by others. Livinglies has no comment.
November 29, 2009
About New York

Hello, Collections? The Worm Has Turned

The phone rang. A woman from a law firm representing a collection agency wanted to know if Mark Hoyte was Mark Hoyte, and he said he was. They were calling to collect $919 on a Sears-Citi card.

Mr. Hoyte said he never had that credit card.

Then the woman wanted to know if his Social Security number ended in 92, and Mr. Hoyte said no, it ended in 33.

“She says to me, ‘Your date of birth is in 1972,’ ” Mr. Hoyte, 46, recalled in an interview.

Clearly, they had the wrong Mark Hoyte. But that did not stop the lawyers at Pressler & Pressler from suing him. They swore out a complaint and sent a summons to Mr. Hoyte, ordering him to be in court last Monday.

Then things took a rare turn.

Every day of the year, 1,000 cases on average are added to the civil court dockets in New York City over credit card debt — a high-volume, low-accuracy moment of reckoning. The suits are usually brought by collection companies that purchase the debt for pennies on the dollar from card issuers and then work with a cadre of law firms that specialize in collection work.

Conducting a digital dragnet, they troll through commercial databases searching for debtors. Because of the vast sloppiness and fraud involved, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo has shut down two of the collection firms and is suing 35 law firms tied to the business.

A person who blows off a civil court summons — even if wrongly identified — faces a default judgment and frozen bank accounts. But to date, there have been few penalties against collectors for dragging the wrong people into court.

Until Mr. Hoyte turned up last week in Brooklyn.

After trying to settle the case in the hallway — the 11th floor of 141 Livingston Street is an open bazaar of haggling — the collections lawyer realized he had the wrong man. He got Mr. Hoyte to sign an agreement that would end the case against him, but not against the Mark Hoyte who actually owed the $919.

In front of the judge, the lawyer, T. Andy Wang, announced that the parties had reached a stipulation dismissing this Mr. Hoyte from the suit.

Not so fast, said the judge, Noach Dear.

“Why didn’t you check these things out before you take out a summons and a complaint?” Judge Dear asked. “Why don’t you check out who you’re going after?”

Mr. Wang said that Pressler & Pressler used an online database called AnyWho to hunt for debtors.

“So you just shoot in the dark against names; if there’s 16 Mark Hoytes, you go after without exactly knowing who, what, when and where?” Judge Dear asked.

Mr. Wang replied, “That’s why the plaintiff is making an application to discontinue.”

The judge turned to Mr. Hoyte, who works as a building superintendent, and asked him how much a day of lost pay would cost. Mr. Hoyte said $115.

“Do you think that’s fair?” Judge Dear asked Mr. Wang. “That he should lose a day’s pay?”

“My personal opinion,” Mr. Wang said, “would not be relevant to the application being sought.”

The judge said he was prepared to dismiss the case and wanted Mr. Hoyte compensated for lost wages.

“Your honor,” Mr. Wang said, “I’m personally not willing to compensate him.”

No, the judge said; he meant that the law firm, Pressler & Pressler — one of the biggest in the collection industry — should pay the $115. He would hold a sanctions hearing, a formal process of penalizing the law firm for suing the wrong man.

Under questioning by the judge, Mr. Hoyte recounted being called about the debt, providing his Social Security number and date of birth, and being summoned to court anyhow.

The collections lawyer then began to interrogate Mr. Hoyte.

“You claim you told Pressler & Pressler it wasn’t you,” Mr. Wang said to Mr. Hoyte. “Did you send them proof, as in a copy of your Social Security number with only the last four digits visible?”

“No,” Mr. Hoyte said. “They didn’t ask for it.”

“But you didn’t send any written proof of the claim that it was not you?” Mr. Wang said.

“I told them on the phone it’s not me,” Mr. Hoyte said.

Mr. Wang appeared outraged.

“So without any written proof that it’s not you, you would expect someone just, you know, to go on say-so?” he demanded. “Is that correct?”

Alice had reached Wonderland: The lawyer who had sued the wrong man was blaming the wrong man for getting sued.

Judge Dear cut off the questioning. He told Mr. Wang and Mr. Hoyte to come back to court in January.

“If, somehow, counsel, you decide that you’re going to compensate him for his time off,” Judge Dear said, “I will reconsider sanctions.”

E-mail: dwyer@nytimes.com

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