Missouri Wrongful Foreclosure: Trial Court Awards over $3 Million Including Punitive Damages and Quiet Title

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see Quiet title Wrongful foreclosure Punitive Damages Missouri judgment.1-26-15.pdf ocr

Missouri had been impenetrable. Things change. This case finds that neither the GSE nor anyone else in the chain had the power to enforce the paper because they did not really have ownership of the loan, that their title was false, that quiet title is granted to plaintiffs, that foreclosure was wrongful, that compensatory damages are awarded and that punitive damages would be awarded. Total Judgment $3 million +.

Important takeaways —

  1. The tide has turned. Courts are no longer looking the other way on intentionally sloppy foreclosures that cover up a larger fraud on investors. The courts are not clear on how that occurred, partially because nobody has been allowed to present  it, but they have enough of a feel of the situation to see that there is something fundamentally wrong with the mortgage origination and foreclosure practices.
  2. Quiet title can be awarded supported only by a finding that the mortgage is unenforceable. Whether this will stick on appeal is unknown. My view is that the mortgage stays although there is nobody (yet) claiming a genuine right to enforce it.
  3. At this point, if the foreclosing parties don’t have it right, it is viewed as an intentional or grossly negligent act, giving rise to compensatory damages, attorney fees, costs, and punitive damages.
  4. The value of a wrongful foreclosure case might be $3 million + which falls into line with other decisions.
  5. Judges are getting angry over the fact that they accepted false representations in the past.
  6. Judges are perceiving the difference between the debt and the paper that purports to describe the debt — i.e., the note and mortgage. While it is not expressed in so many words, this decision and others like it, sees the paper as largely fictitious even though there is a genuine debt out there. By implication, the courts are saying the debt has no paper that applies and that therefore nobody should be allowed to enforce the paper. It is close to declaring the mortgage void ab initio.

UNANIMOUS SCOTUS: TILA Rescission Effective on Notice: No Borrower Lawsuit Required

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see TILA Rescission

The decision is merely a statement of the obvious. Scalia, writing for a UNANIMOUS court said that the statute means what it says. All the decisions in all the states requiring the borrower to file suit to enforce rescission are wrong. The court says the rescission is effected upon notice to the “lender.” What that means to me is that the subsequent foreclosure, non-judicial or judicial is void because there is no mortgage. TILA says that unless the “lender” files suit within a specified period of time the rescission is effective as of the date of notice. It goes on to say that the “lender” just send back all payments and a satisfaction of mortgage and canceled note.

The three year statute of limitations applies to notice — not a lawsuit filed by borrower. The burden is on the lender to contest the rescission and failing to do so within the 20 days (the time varies depending upon when you sent your notice of rescission) the deal is over.

What you have left is an unsecured debt that can be discharged in bankruptcy because TILA says the mortgage is gone. What effect this will have on the thousands of cases in which borrowers sent notices of rescission and were foreclosed remains to be seen, but it sure will be interesting to see what the courts do.


“Held: A borrower exercising his right to rescind under the Act need only provide written notice to his lender within the 3-year period, not file suit within that period. Section 1635(a)’s unequivocal terms—a borrower “shall have the right to rescind . . . by notifying the creditor . . . of his intention to do so” (emphasis added)—leave no doubt that rescission is effected when the borrower notifies the creditor of his intention to rescind. This conclusion is not altered by §1635(f), which states when the right to rescind must be exercised, but says nothing about how that right is exercised. Nor does §1635(g)—which states that “in addition to rescission the court may award relief . . . not relating to the right to rescind”—support respondents’ view that rescission is necessarily a consequence of judicial action. And the fact that the Act modified the common-law condition precedent to rescission at law, see §1635(b), hardly implies that the Act thereby codified rescission in equity. Pp. 2–5.”

729 F. 3d 1092, reversed and remanded.

SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

While there are certain parts of this statute that are not completely clear, I have always felt that this law would eventually be the downfall of the entire foreclosure mess.

As for the statute of limitations it is not yet determined when the “transaction” has been “Consummated.” But one thing is clear — the three year period and the more narrow three day period for rescission is not “fixed.” The framers of this law understood that there might be defective disclosures that would and should defeat the claim of the “lender” that the transaction was consummated on the date that the documents were signed. If the disclosures were incomplete or just plain wrong, it appears that the framers did not want the time limit running on borrowers until the disclosures were correct and proper.

If the disclosures had the wrong numbers (more than $35 deviation from true numbers) then delivery of the disclosures has not yet occurred. And the statute is very specific in stating that the “closing” is not complete until those disclosures have been made to the borrower and accepted by the borrower.

There remains many questions that will need to be answered in the Courts. Probably the biggest one is what happens in cases where the borrower properly gave notice of rescission, and where some entity initiated foreclosure after the notice of rescission. Since TILA says that the mortgage no longer exists, the foreclosure would logically be void. Any sales of the property pursuant to the foreclosure of a nonexistent mortgage would also be void.

And any claim for quiet title directed against the parties who claim interests in the recorded mortgage would appear to be a slam dunk in cases where the notice of rescission is effective. The right to receive a satisfaction of mortgage, which TILA calls for, means that the mortgage should not be in the chain of title of the owner of the property.

But that doesn’t clear up the question of what to do about events that have long since passed. There is no statute of limitations (except perhaps adverse possession) on title defects. If the title defect exists, it is there, by law, for all time. People who have purchased property that was involved in foreclosure and where the former owner canceled the mortgage by giving notice of rescission have a built in title defect. None of the sales of such property either through forced sale in foreclosure or third party sales would be anything more than a wild deed.

For more free information about TILA Rescission use the search engine on this blog going back to 2007-2008. The Supreme Court has unanimously confirmed what I wrote back when I was the sole voice in the wilderness. Opinions ranging from scathing orders from trial judges to lofty opinions from appellate courts in the state court and federal system unanimously stated that I was wrong. Now the U.S. Supreme Court — the final stop in any dispute — has also been unanimous, stating that all those orders, opinions and judgments were wrong on this issue. As a result millions of homes were subject to foreclosure actions on mortgages that no longer existed. And millions more, hearing advice from attorneys, failed to send the notice of rescission to take advantage of this important remedy.

Quiet Title and Statute of Limitations

In the search for a magic bullet, many pro se litigants and even attorneys have ended up perplexed by laws and rules regarding an action to Quiet Title (frequently misspelled by pro se litigants as “Quite Title”). The purpose of this article is to add some context to the discussion and some reasons for my conclusion — that as more decisions emerge the action for Quiet Title will fade unless the mortgage of record is first nullified or canceled.

For context, let’s remember that the purpose of recording documents in the Public Records is to give certainty and notice to the world of transactions that can be recorded. If courts were to issue decisions to quiet title on recorded documents that are facially valid, the result would be chaos — nobody would know if they were really getting permanent title and title insurance companies would, for obvious business reasons, refuse to issue a title commitment or policy unless EVERYONE brought a quiet title action after every transaction and received a court order, suitable for recording that stated the rights of the stakeholders. This is precisely what the recording statutes are meant to avoid.

Now to the issue of the statute of limitations. Some states hold that even if there is an act of acceleration, the statute of limitations only applies to the monthly payments that were due during the statutory period that are now time-barred. Florida does not appear to be one of those states, and despite some decisions to the contrary, it doesn’t look to me like Florida will become one of them. In Florida it is generally accepted that the statute of limitations time bars any action after 5 years to collect a debt. You should check your state statutes because each state is different and don’t make any decisions without consulting a qualified attorney licensed in the jurisdiction in which your property is located.

So the thinking has gone in the direction of merely stating that the claim is time-barred if there was an acceleration of the debt, and five years as passed. But the Romero v SunTrust decision (see below) from last year, raises the real issues. While the Bank had no right to bring a claim on the note, and presumably had no right to bring an action on the mortgage, the mortgage remains on record. Alleging that the statute of limitations bars any action on the note or mortgage does not invalidate the mortgage. If it is facially valid and properly recorded, it is there in the County records for all to see.

So the question arises “What happens at a subsequent closing on the sale of the property or refinance, and the Mortgagee (or party claiming to be the successor of the mortgagee) refuses to execute a satisfaction of mortgage without receiving payment?” Is THAT a claim that is time-barred? The answer is I don’t know, but I suspect that the refusal to execute a satisfaction of mortgage is an act that is separate from bringing an action to collect on a time-barred debt.

I suspect that an action for equitable relief demanding a Court order to force the Bank into executing a satisfaction of mortgage would fail. That is essentially the same as asking the Court to issue a quiet title order stating that the mortgage is invalid — a precedent that raises numerous hazards in the marketplace. Essentially you are saying that you did have the debt, the bank is time barred from enforcing it, so you want the mortgage nullified or canceled. Several Courts have issued ruling consistent with this ruling so I don’t want to give the impression that what I am saying is the general rule — what I am saying is that I think my theory of the action will become the general rule.

My theory, supported by case law in other states, is that you must have grounds to attack the validity of the instrument and win your case before you can then ask for a decision on Quiet Title. Fortunately, in the context of loans and title subject to claims of securitization, such an attack is eminently possible and likely to succeed on an increasing basis. But in order to do so, one must be very conversant in the claims of securitization generally and especially knowledgeable as to claims of succession or securitization in your specific case. Alleging that this particular defendant has been repeatedly found in court to lack the indicia of ownership or authority to enforce a note and mortgage may not do you any good. You are still left with the question of what to do with a facially valid mortgage encumbrance recorded against the property. If the person you sued doesn’t own it, who does?

After years of avoiding the right strategies, lawyers are coming around to the idea that in order to be truly successful in an action to remove the mortgage encumbrance, you need to have an allege facts to support the claim that the mortgage deed (or Deed of Trust) was invalid in the first instance or that it could not be enforced even if the statute of limitations was not applicable. THEN alleging the statute of limitations is a good idea as corroboration for your logic that the mortgage is invalid because it is unenforceable and without merit in all instances.

There are two such attacks that are promising:

1. Attack the initial closing as lacking consideration or giving rise to common law or statutory rescission. If statutory rescission applies, the law states that the encumbrance is terminated by operation of law. (TILA). The allegation that the opposing bank is a “holder” (according to them) is insufficient to bar your attack on the initial closing. The problem of course is that the banks regularly confuse judges into applying the rules of a holder in due course when the Bank itself makes no such assertion. Hence, being able to remind or educate the judge on the differences between holders, holders with rights to enforce and holder in due course is essential and must be presented with clarity. If you don’t understand the differences you are not prepared for the hearing.

2. Attack the subsequent acquisition of the “loan”, debt, note and/or mortgage also as being a sham lacking in consideration AND of course in violation of the PSA. The point to remember here is that the “assignment” or “endorsement” (almost always fabricated, forged or unauthorized) is only an OFFER in which case the Trustee of the REMIC trust must accept the offer and then pay for it. In fact most PSA’s require a letter of opinion from counsel for the Trust indicating that no negative tax impact will result on the Trust’s REMIC status. Three things we know to be true in most cases: (a) the Trustee never accepted the transfer and (b) The trust never paid for the loan and (c) a loan already declared in default is not susceptible to acceptance by the trust. Keep in mind that most trusts are governed by New York Law which says that such transactions are void, not voidable.

So let us assume that you have a receptive Judge who agrees that the transfer to the trust never occurred or even that the original loan documents lack consideration from the named Payee on the note (and of course the named Mortgagee/beneficiary under the Mortgage). In my opinion you are still only half way to home base. No home run yet, although I think the law will evolve where that IS sufficient to remove the mortgage encumbrance.

So now what? You have still sued parties whom you have proven have no interest in the mortgage. The question is whether you have eliminated the possibility of ANY party (who has no notice of the action) having an interest in the debt, note or mortgage. And many judges will reply that you have put on a pretty good case but you still have not identified the creditor — an odd twist on the defensive actions in foreclosure cases.

My opinion is that you need to allege a fact pattern, where appropriate, that states that Wall Street investors advanced the money to the borrower without knowing that their money was not going through the trust. Hence a direct relationship arose by operation of law between the borrower, as debtor and the investors as creditors. Those investors are creditors not as Trust beneficiaries but rather personally, because the money never went through the trust. The allegation is that they were cheated by intervening fraudulent behavior or negligent behavior on the part of the broker dealer who sold them the securities of an empty REMIC Trust that never received the proceeds of sale of the REMIC RMBS.

At this point you can properly argue that  the investors were entitled to a note and mortgage by virtue of the securitization documents that were used to fraudulently induce them to part with their money. The allegation should be that they didn’t get it and that putting the name of sham “nominees” did not accrue to the benefit of the investors but rather inured to the benefit of intermediaries who were not lending money in your transaction.

Either way, you say that as to the debt between the mortgagor homeowner and whoever else might be making a claim, the initial mortgage encumbrance is now and/or has always been invalid and unenforceable because they recite facts based upon a non-existent transaction, that the mortgage has been split from the note, that the note has been split from the debt, and through no fault of the homeowner, there is no note or mortgage inuring to the benefit of the actual creditors. The cherry on top is that there is no such thing as an equitable mortgage — for the same reasons that courts are reluctant to grant quiet title actions — it would cause chaos in the market place and raise uncertainty that the recording statutes are intended to avoid.

See Romero v SunTrust Statute of Limitations 9-3-2013

See also “a new and different breach” Singleton v Greymar Fla S Ct 882 So2d 1004 9-15-2004

And on collateral estoppel Kaan v Wells fargo Bank NA Case 13-80828-CIV 11-5-13

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

Are you a candidate for Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund relief for Foreclosure Victims? See Florida Hardest Hit Fund



9th Circuit (Federal) Allows Quiet Title and Damages for Wrongful Filing of False Documents

Hat Tip to Beth Findsen who is a good friend and a great lawyer in Scottsdale, Az and who provided this case to me this morning. I always recommend her in Arizona because her writing is spectacular and her courtroom experience invaluable.

This case needs to be analyzed further. Robert Hager (CONGRATULATIONS TO HAGER IN RENO, NV) et al has succeeded in getting at least a partial and significant victory over the MERS system, and voiding robosigned documents as being forged per se. I disagree that a note and mortgage, once split, can be reunified by mere execution of an instrument. They are avoiding the issue just like the “lost note” issue. The rules of evidence and pleading have always required great factual specificity on the path of transactions leading up to the point where the note was lost or transferred. This Court dodged that bullet for now. Without evidence of the trail of ownership, the money trail and the document trail all the way through the system, such a finding leaves us in the dark. The case does show what I have been saying all along — the importance of pleading and admitting to NOTHING. By not specifically stating that there was no default, the court concluded that Plaintiffs had failed to establish the elements of wrongful foreclosure and left open the entire question about whether such a cause of action even exists.

But the more basic issue us whether the homeowner can sue for quiet title and damages for slander of his title by the use and filing of patently false documentation in Court, in the County records etc. The answer is a resounding YES and will be sustained should the banks try to move this up the ladder to the U.S. Supreme Court. This opinion changes again my earlier comments. First I said you could quiet title, then I said you first needed to nullify title (the mortgage) before you could even file a quiet title action. Now I revert to my prior position based upon the holding and sound reasoning behind this court decision. One caveat: you must plead facts for nullification, cancellation of the instrument on the grounds that it is void before you can get to your cause of action on quiet title and damages for slander of the homeowner’s title. My conclusion is that they may be and perhaps should be in the same lawsuit. This decision makes clear the damage wrought by use of the MERS system. It is strong persuasive authority in other jurisdictions and now the law for all courts within the 9th Circuit’s jurisdiction.

Here are some of the significant quotes.

Writing in 2011, the MDL Court dismissed Count I on four grounds. None of these grounds provides an appropriate basis for dismissal. We recognize that at the time of its decision, the MDL Court had plausible arguments under Arizona law in support of three of these grounds. But decisions by Arizona courts after 2011 have made clear that the MDL Court was incorrect in relying on them.
First, the MDL Court concluded that § 33-420 does not apply to the specific documents that the CAC alleges to be false. However, in Stauffer v. U.S. Bank National Ass’n, 308 P.3d 1173, 1175 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2013), the Arizona Court of Appeals held that a § 33-420(A) damages claim is available in a case in which plaintiffs alleged as false documents “a Notice of Trustee Sale, a Notice of Substitution of Trustee, and an Assignment of a Deed of Trust.” These are precisely the documents that the CAC alleges to be false.
[Statute of Limitations:] at least one case has suggested that a § 33-420(B) claim asserts a continuous wrong that is not subject to any statute of limitations as long as the cloud to title remains. State v. Mabery Ranch, Co., 165 P.3d 211, 227 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2007).
Third, the MDL Court held that appellants lacked standing to sue under § 33-420 on the ground that, even if the documents were false, appellants were still obligated to repay their loans. In the view of the MDL Court, because appellants were in default they suffered no concrete and particularized injury. However, on virtually identical allegations, the Arizona Court of Appeals held to the contrary in Stauffer. The plaintiffs in Stauffer were defaulting residential homeowners who brought suit for damages under § 33-420(A) and to clear title under § 33-420(B). One of the grounds on which the documents were alleged to be false was that “the same person executed the Notice of Trustee Sale and the Notice of Breach, but because the signatures did not look the same, the signature of the Notice of Trustee Sale was possibly forged.” Stauffer, 308 P.3d at 1175 n.2.
“Appellees argue that the Stauffers do not have standing because the Recorded Documents have not caused them any injury, they have not disputed their own default, and the Property has not been sold pursuant to the Recorded Documents. The purpose of A.R.S. § 33-420 is to “protect property owners from actions clouding title to their property.” We find that the recording of false or fraudulent documents that assert an interest in a property may cloud the property’s title; in this case, the Stauffers, as owners of the Property, have alleged that they have suffered a distinct and palpable injury as a result of those clouds on their Property’s title.” [Stauffer at 1179]
The Court of Appeals not only held that the Stauffers had standing based on their “distinct and palpable injury.” It also held that they had stated claims under §§ 33-420(A) and (B). The court held that because the “Recorded Documents assert[ed] an interest in the Property,” the trial court had improperly dismissed the Stauffers’ damages claim under § 33-420(A). Id. at 1178. It then held that because the Stauffers had properly brought an action for damages under § 33-420(A), they could join an action to clear title of the allegedly false documents under § 33-420(B). The court wrote:
“The third sentence in subsection B states that an owner “may bring a separate special action to clear title to the real property or join such action with an action for damages as described in this section.” A.R.S. § 33-420.B. Therefore, we find that an action to clear title of a false or fraudulent document that asserts an interest in real property may be joined with an action for damages under § 33-420.A.”
Fourth, the MDL Court held that appellants had not pleaded their robosigning claims with sufficient particularity to satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). We disagree. Section 33-420 characterizes as false, and therefore actionable, a document that is “forged, groundless, contains a material misstatement or false claim or is otherwise invalid.” Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 33-420(A), (B) (emphasis added). The CAC alleges that the documents at issue are invalid because they are “robosigned (forged).” The CAC specifically identifies numerous allegedly forged documents. For example, the CAC alleges that notice of the trustee’s sale of the property of Thomas and Laurie Bilyea was “notarized in blank prior to being signed on behalf of Michael A. Bosco, and the party that is represented to have signed the document, Michael A. Bosco, did not sign the document, and the party that did sign the document had no personal knowledge of any of the facts set forth in the notice.” Further, the CAC alleges that the document substituting a trustee under the deed of trust for the property of Nicholas DeBaggis “was notarized in blank prior to being signed on behalf of U.S. Bank National Association, and the party that is represented to have signed the document, Mark S. Bosco, did not sign the document.” Still further, the CAC also alleges that Jim Montes, who purportedly signed the substitution of trustee for the property of Milan Stejic had, on the same day, “signed and recorded, with differing signatures, numerous Substitutions of Trustee in the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office . . . . Many of the signatures appear visibly different than one another.” These and similar allegations in the CAC “plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief,” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 681 (2009), and provide the defendants fair notice as to the nature of appellants’ claims against them, Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011).
We therefore reverse the MDL Court’s dismissal of Count I.
[Importance of Pleading NO DEFAULT:] The Nevada Supreme Court stated in Collins v. Union Federal Savings & Loan Ass’n, 662 P.2d 610 (Nev. 1983):
An action for the tort of wrongful foreclosure will lie if the trustor or mortgagor can establish that at the time the power of sale was exercised or the foreclosure occurred, no breach of condition or failure of performance existed on the mortgagor’s or trustor’s part which would have authorized the foreclosure or exercise of the power of sale. Therefore, the material issue of fact in a wrongful foreclosure claim is whether the trustor was in default when the power of sale was exercised…. Because none of the appellants has shown a lack of default, tender, or an excuse from the tender requirement, appellants’ wrongful foreclosure claims cannot succeed. We therefore affirm the MDL Court’s of Count II.
[Questionable conclusion on “reunification of note and mortgage”:] the Nevada Supreme Court decided Edelstein v. Bank of New York Mellon, 286 P.3d 249 (Nev. 2012). Edelstein makes clear that MERS does have the authority, for purposes of § 107.080, to make valid assignments of the deed of trust to a successor beneficiary in order to reunify the deed of trust and the note. The court wrote:
Designating MERS as the beneficiary does . . . effectively “split” the note and the deed of trust at inception because . . . an entity separate from the original note holder . . . is listed as the beneficiary (MERS). . . . However, this split at the inception of the loan is not irreparable or fatal. . . . [W]hile entitlement to enforce both the deed of trust and the promissory note is required to foreclose, nothing requires those documents to be unified from the point of inception of the loan. . . . MERS, as a valid beneficiary, may assign its beneficial interest in the deed of trust to the holder of the note, at which time the documents are reunified.
We therefore affirm the MDL Court’s dismissal of Count III.

Here is the full opinion:

Opinion on MDL

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What About All Those Cases Where Foreclosure Was Dismissed?

As I predicted in 2009, the number of cases where foreclosure had been simply dismissed without further action has increased exponentially. The homeowner is normally afraid to take any proactive stance for fear of awakening the giant who will then respond by filing another foreclosure. Some of these cases are as much as 10 years old which goes beyond the statute of limitations in virtually all jurisdictions. As a caveat, let me add that there are states in which the statute of limitations is “ongoing” which means that the entire action is not barred by the statute of limitations; instead, in states where this doctrine is applicable, each new payment due gives rise to a new Period where the statute of limitations begins to run.

The number of inquiries I am receiving based on this scenario has been steadily increasing for the last year. At this point I would say it is accurate to say that I am receiving inquiries at the rate of 3 to 5 per day involving cases in which foreclosure has gone into a state of “limbo”. In most cases the time between the disappearance of the pretender lender at the present time has been a period of years.

There are several strategies that might be applicable and you should contact a licensed attorney who is practicing in the area in which your property is located before you make any decision about taking action or not taking action.

The first strategy which is being followed by most people at this time is doing absolutely nothing. These are people who’ve been living without paying rent or mortgage payments and who hopefully have been wise enough to pay the taxes and insurance. If they haven’t paid the taxes they could lose the home as a result of the tax lien. There most likely entitled to relief under some cause of action like nullification of instrument or a lawsuit to quiet title and may be entitled to damages under various statutes or common law doctrines. In judicial states where the action has been dismissed, most lawyers agree that the dismissal of the action should be recorded in the county records that keep track of transactions involving property.

Another strategy which is being followed by an increasing number of people is a lawsuit to quiet title and nullify the mortgage. The lawsuits to quiet title are getting more traction than any efforts to nullify the mortgage. This is because the homeowner cannot identify whether there is an actual creditor and who that creditor might be. But that is what constructive service of process is all about. You publish the notice in a legal newspaper to let the world know that there is a pending action in which anyone who is claiming a right property, directly or indirectly, or claiming a right under the mortgage or note, might be negatively affected by the outcome of the litigation. If the judge accepts that there is a good possibility that in the absence of anybody coming into court to defend the action a default will be entered along with a final judgment.

I know several hundred cases in which such final judgments have been entered resulting in the elimination of the mortgage and note completely.  Frankly I think most of the cases should be resolved by elimination of the mortgage and potentially avoid the note as an instrument upon which party could rely enforce the collection of a debt.  That would still theoretically leave a debt owed by the borrower to an unknown creditor.

Some interesting questions arise when servicer’s case against the borrower has been dismissed by the creditor has not been informed. The argument would be that the servicer as an agent of the creditor has notice and therefore his principal has notice. This would only be true if the servicer was operating under the provisions of the pooling and servicing agreement. But the provisions of the pooling and servicing agreement would not apply unless the trust was the  creditor. if the investors realize that their interest in the loan arises not because of their purchase of bogus mortgage bonds but rather because their money was used directly to fund the origination or acquisition of loans, then the servicer has no written agreement upon which you can rely for its power to enforce collection of the debt, the note or the mortgage.

There are several other strategies that are in use right now which I do not wish to elaborate upon. I suspect that they may be successful only because they are not on the radar for the banks or the attorneys for the banks. So I don’t want to do anything that might impair the ability of some borrower out there to get the relief that he deserves.

In all cases the homeowner should obtain a full title and securitization report. This can be obtained from us or any number of other reputable vendors. If you are purchasing or selling a home or attempting to refinance it probably should take extra steps to assure that there are no defects in the chain of title and especially no defects in connection with the satisfaction or release of the existing mortgage. In all probabilities those defects exist. I have been receiving an increasing number of inquiries from people who wish to purchase a home but after reading what is available on the Internet have realized that they might not get clear title. Thus they come to us to review the transaction and give our opinions as to what defects might exist and what to do about them.

For information about our services please call 520-405-1688


Only $4 Billion of JPM $13 Billion Settlement Goes for “Consumer Relief”

For assistance in understanding the content of this article and purchasing services that provide information for attorneys and homeowners see http://www.livingliesstore.com.

Josh Arnold has written an interesting article that reveals both realities and misconceptions arising from gross misconceptions. His misperceptions arise primarily from two factors. First he either ignores the fact that JPM was integrally involved in the underwriting, sale and hedging of the alleged mortgage bonds, never actually acquired the loans or the bonds on which they claimed a loss, and made huge “profits” from fictitious trades disguised as “proprietary” trading which was a cover for tier 2 yield spread premiums that were never disclosed to investors or borrowers. The deregulation of those mortgage securities may have provided cover for the fraud that occurred to investors, but the failure to disclose this “compensation” to borrowers violates the truth in lending act and state deceptive lending laws.

Second, the article is based upon a point of view that is not surprising coming from a Wall Street analyst but which is bad for the country. The ideology behind this is clear — Wall Street is there to make money for itself. That has never been true. Wall Street exists solely because in a growing and complex economy, liquidity must be created by breaking up risks into portions small enough to attract investors to the table. Whether they make money or not depends upon their skill in running a company.

Unfortunately in the early 1970’s the door was flung wide open when broker-dealers were allowed to incorporate and go public. Just ask Alan Greenspan who believed the markets would self correct because the players would act rationally in their own self interest. As he he says in his latest book, the banks did not act rationally nor in their own best interest because they were being run by management that was acting for the self interest of management and not the company. Back in the 1960’s none of this would have occurred when the broker-dealers were partnerships —leading partners to question any transaction by any partner that put the partners at risk. Now the partners are remote and distant shareholders who are among the victims of management fraud or excess risk taking.

The effect on foreclosure defense is that, at the suggestion of the former Fed Chairman, we should stop assuming that the broker dealers that are now called banks were acting with enlightened or rational self-interest. The opening and closing statement should refer to the information like this article Quoted below as demonstrating that the banks were openly violating common law, statutory, and administrative rules because the losses from litigation would not be a liability of the actual people who caused the violations.

Any presumption in favor of the foreclosing bank should be looked at with intense skepticism. And in discovery remember to ask questions about just how bad the underwriting process was and revealing the absolute fact, now proven beyond any reasonable doubt, the goal was for the first time NOT to minimize risk, but rather to force applications to closing because of giant profits that could be booked as soon as the loan was sold, since at the time of closing the loans were already part of a reported chain of securitization. Investigation at real banks as opposed to “originators” will reveal two sets of underwriting rules and practices — one for their own portfolio loans in compliance with industry standards and the other for the vast majority of loans that were claimed to be part of a fictitious cloud of securitization that did not comply with industry standards.

In the end my initial assessment in 2007-2008 on these pages is proving to be true. The unraveling of this mess will depend upon quiet title lawsuits and lawsuits for damages resulting from violations of the Truth in Lending Act — where those gross profit distortions at the broker-dealer level are required to be paid to the homeowner because they were not disclosed at closing.
From Seeking Alpha website, by Josh Arnold —

JPMorgan’s (JPM) legal woes got a lot worse over the weekend with its well-publicized $13 billion settlement. JPM already has much more than that set aside to pay legal claims so it’s really a non-event for the bank; they saw it coming to a degree. I’m not here to debate whether or not JPM’s employees misled investors, including Fannie and Freddie, but what I think the most important, and disconcerting, piece of this settlement is the way it was undertaken by the Administration.

Think back to 2008 when the world as we knew it was ending. Smaller financial institutions were failing left and right and even the larger players, including Lehman, Bear Stearns, Washington Mutual, Wachovia and others eventually found themselves in enormous trouble to the point where distressed sales were the only way to stave off bankruptcy (save Lehman, of course). The federal government, eager to avoid a massive crisis, asked JPM, Wells Fargo (WFC) and others to aid the effort to avoid such a calamity. Both obliged and we know history shows JPM ended up with Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns while Wells purchased Wachovia as it was on the cusp of going out of business. At the time, JPM CEO Jamie Dimon famously asked the government, as a favor for bailing out WaMu and Bear Stearns, not to prosecute JPM down the road for the sins of the acquired institutions. This is only fair and it should have gone without saying as the idea of prosecuting an acquirer for something the acquired company did as an independent institution is preposterous.

However, that is exactly where we find ourselves today with the settlement that has been struck. JPM has said publicly that 80% of the losses accrued from the loans that are the subject of this settlement were from Bear and WaMu. This means that, despite Dimon’s asking and the fact that the federal government “urged” JPM to acquire these two institutions, JPM is indeed being punished for something it had nothing to do with. This is a watershed moment in our nation’s history as the next time a financial crisis rolls around, who is going to want to help the federal government acquire failing institutions? Now that we know that the reward for such behavior is perp walks, public shaming via our lawmakers (who can’t even fund their own spending) and enormous legal fines and settlements, I’m thinking it will be harder for the government to find a buyer next time.

Not only is the subject of this legal settlement and the very nature of the way it has been conducted suspect, but even the fines themselves as part of the settlement amount to nothing more than tax revenue. The $13 billion is split up as follows: $9 billion in penalties and fees and $4 billion in consumer relief. The penalties and fees are ostensibly for the “wrongdoing” that JPM must have performed in order to be subject such a historic settlement. These penalties and fees are for allegedly misleading investors in these securities and misrepresenting the strength of the underlying loans. The buyers of these securities, however, were all very sophisticated themselves, including the government sponsored entities. These companies had analysts working on these securities purchases and could very well have realized that the underlying loans were bad. However, Fannie and Freddie blindly purchased the mortgages and were eventually saddled with large losses as a result. But instead of the GSE’s taking responsibility for bad investment decisions, the government has decided to simply confiscate $13 billion from a private sector company while Fannie and Freddie have claimed zero responsibility whatsoever for their role in the losses.

The other $4 billion is earmarked for “consumer relief” but the worst part of this is that these loans were sold to institutions. This means that this consumer relief is simply a bogus way to confiscate more money from JPM and the alleged reason has no basis in reality. The consumer relief portion would suggest that JPM misled the individual consumers taking the loans that were eventually securitized but that is not what the settlement is about. In fact, this is simply a way to redistribute wealth and the Administration is taking full advantage. In order for the redistribution of wealth to make the alleged victims whole it would need to be distributed among the institutions that purchased the securities. So is this part of the settlement, under the guise of “consumer relief”, really just another tax levy? Or is it going to consumers that had absolutely nothing to do with this case? Either way, it’s confiscatory and doesn’t make any sense. Based on reports about this consumer relief portion of the settlement, this money is going wherever the Administration sees fit. In other words, this is simply tax revenue that is being redistributed and given to consumers that have absolutely zero to do with this case.

Even the $9 billion in penalties and fees is going to be distributed among various government agencies and as such, this money is also tax revenue. Otherwise, the money for these agencies would eventually come from the Treasury but instead, JPM is going to foot the bill.

I’m not against companies that have done something wrong being punished. In fact, that is a necessary part of a fair and open capitalist system that allows the free world the economic prosperity it has enjoyed over history. However, this settlement is a clear case of the federal government confiscating private assets in order to redistribute them among government operations and consumers that had absolutely nothing to do with the lawsuit. I am extremely disappointed in the way the Administration has handled this case and other banks should be on notice; it doesn’t matter what you did or didn’t do, if you’ve got the money, the government will come after you.

In terms of what this means for the stock, JPM has already set aside $23 billion for litigation reserves so when the bill comes due for this settlement, JPM has more than enough firepower available to pay it. In fact, this settlement is likely a positive for the stock. Since this is likely to be the largest of the fines/settlements handed down on the Bank of Dimon, the fact that the uncertainty has been lifted should alleviate some concern on the part of investors. In addition to this, since JPM still has a sizable reserve, $10 billion or so, left for additional litigation, investors may be surprised down the road if JPM can actually recoup some of that litigation expense and boost earnings. Not only would that remove a multi-billion drain on book value but it could also increase the bank’s GAAP earnings if all litigation reserves weren’t used up. In any event, even if that is not the chosen path, JPM could still recognize higher earnings in the coming quarters if it sees it needs less money set aside each quarter for litigation reserves. Again, this is very positive for the stock but for more tangible reasons.

The bottom line is that JPM got the short end of the stick with this settlement. Not only is the bank paying for the sins of others but it is paying very dearly and sustaining reputational damage in the process. I couldn’t be more disappointed with the way the Administration’s witch hunt was conducted and the end result. But that is the world we apparently live in now and if you want to invest in banks you need to be prepared to deal with confiscatory fines and levies against banks simply because they can’t stop the government from taking it.

However, JPM is better positioned than perhaps any of its too-big-too-fail brethren to weather the storm and I think that is why there was virtually no movement in the stock when the settlement became public. JPM has been stockpiling litigation reserves when no one was looking and has done well in doing so. With the looming threat of this settlement now come and gone, investors can concentrate on what a terrific money making machine JPM is again. Trading at a small premium to book value and only nine times next year’s earnings estimates, JPM is the safe choice among the TBTF banks. Couple its very cheap valuation with its robust, nearly 3% yield and the largest settlement against a single company in our country’s history behind it and you’ve got a great potential long term buy.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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Don Dion
Oct 23 07:49 AM

Great article. See also http://seekingalpha.co…


Even if You Win, Homeowners Must Quiet title and Clear the Negative Report on Their Credit

This is a nice question to answer for people who have already won their cases successfully defending against a wrongful foreclosure. It is nice because homeowners are winning more and more cases. But it is equally relevant to those who are not in litigation and who think they have clear title and are out of the woods because they are current on their payments. The plain truth is that virtually everyone who has a mortgage lien filed against their property which is subject to claims of securitization, sales into the secondary market, assignments, or other transfers have a problem with title. The time to clear that up is now — not when you are trying to sell or refinance or mortgage the home. The quiet title suit could take several months to resolve.

As for the issue of whether the home can still be subject to foreclosure even after the homeowner has won and judgment has been entered, the answer, I’m sorry to say, is Yes. A Judgement for the Homeowner does not legally bar the same or another “lender” (i.e., pretender lender) from alleging a fresh breach from the lack of payments from the homeowner — especially if the claim is for payments “due” after the judgment was entered. But it is true that they have a lot of explaining to do before they can win, which is probably why we have not seen very many actions like that.

And that again is why a suit to Quiet Title is necessary. In addition, the homeowner’s credit has been wrecked, so that must be restored; and there is possible action for damages for slander of credit and related causes of action.

I think where people have gone astray on their opinion that it is completely over once they win a judgment in court is that the judgment does act as a complete bar to the issues that were litigated.

But the issues that were litigated were the ownership of the loan, proving the balance due, etc and the alleged breach by the homeowner. THAT breach has been litigated, but the failure to pay right after the Judgement could be considered another breach.

And since the Judgment is only against the party who initiated the foreclosure against you it does not act as a bar to another party coming in claiming that they are the owner, or even the same party coming in and saying NOW they are the owner and they are suing on non-payment after the Judgement was entered. There are several defenses to such an action but I think we might see the banks test these theories out over the coming months.


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