Statute of LImitations Running on Bank Officers Who Perpetrated Mortage Crisis

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see http://www.courant.com/opinion/letters/hc-go-after-mortgage-fraud-perps-20150427-story.html

It appears that the statute of limitations might be running out this year on any claim against the officers of the banks that created the fraudulent securitization process. Eric Holder, outgoing Attorney general, made an unusual comment a few months back where he said that private suits should be brought against such officers. The obvious question is why didn’t he bring further action against these individuals and the only possible answer I can think of is that it was because of an agreement not to prosecute while these officers and their banks “cooperated” in resolving the mortgage crisis and the downturn of the US economy.

People keep asking me what the essential elements of the fraud were and how homeowners can use it. That question involves a degree of complexity that is not easily addressed here but I will try to do so in a few articles.

The first point of reference is that the investment banks sold mortgage backed securities to investors under numerous false premises. The broker dealers sold shares or interests in REMIC Trusts that existed only on paper and were registered nowhere. This opened up the possibility for the unthinkable: an IPO (initial public offering) of securities of an “entity” that would not complain if they never received the proceeds of the sale. And in fact, as I have been advised by accountants and other people who were privy to the inner workings of the Securitization fail (See Adam Levitin) the money from the offering was never turned over to the Trustee of the “Trust” which only existed on paper by virtue of words written by the broker dealers themselves. They created a non existent entity that had no business and sold securities issued by that entity without turning over the proceeds of sale to the entity whose securities had been sold. It was the perfect plan.

Normally if a broker dealer sold securities in an IPO the management and shareholders would have been screaming “fraud” as soon as they learned their “company” was not receiving the proceeds of sale. Here in the case of REMIC Trusts, there was no management because the Trustee had no duties and was prohibited from pretending that it did have any duties. And here in the case of REMIC Trusts, there were no shareholders to complain because they were contractually bound (they thought) to not interfere with or even ask questions about the workings of the Trust. And of course when Clinton signed the law back in 1998 these securities were deregulated and redefined as private contracts and NOT securities, so the SEC couldn’t get involved either.

It was the perfect hoax. brokers and dealers got to sell these “non-securities” and keep the proceeds themselves and even register ownership of interests in the Trust in the name of the same broker dealer who sold it to pension funds and other investors. Back in 2007-2008 the banks were claiming that there were no trusts involved because they knew that was true. But then they got more brazen, especially when they realized that this was an admission of fraud and theft from investors.

Now we have hundreds of thousands of foreclosures in which a REMIC Trust is named as the foreclosing party when it never operated even for a second. It never had any money, it never received any income and it never had any expenses. So it stands to reason that none of the loans claimed to be owned by the Trusts could ever have been purchased by entities that had no assets, no money, no management, and no operations. We have made a big deal about the cutoff date for entry of a particular loan into the loan pool owned by the trust. But the real facts are that there was no loan pool except on paper in self-serving fabricated documents created by the broker dealers.

Investors thought they were giving money to fund a Trust. The Trust was never funded. So the money from investors was used in any way the broker dealer wanted. The investors thought they were getting an ownership interest in a valid note and mortgage. They never got that because their “Trust” did not acquire the loans. But their money was used, in part, to fund loans that were put on a fast track automated underwriting platform so nobody in the position of underwriter could be disciplined or jailed for writing loans that were too rigged to succeed. Then the broker dealers, knowing that the mortgage bonds were worthless bet that the value of the bonds would decrease, which of course was a foregone conclusion. And the bonds and the underlying loans were insured in the name of the broker dealer so the investors are left standing out in the wind with nothing to show for their investment — an interest in a worthless unfunded trust, and no direct claim for the repayment of loans that were funded with their money.

The reason why the foreclosing parties need a foreclosure sale is to create the appearance that the original loan was a valid loan contract (it wasn’t because no consideration actually flowed from the “lender” to the “borrower” and because the loan was table funded, which as a pattern is described in Reg Z as “predatory per se”). By getting foreclosures in the name of the Trust they have a Judge’s stamp of approval that the Trust was either the lender or the successor to the lender and that makes it difficult for anyone to say otherwise. And THAT is why TILA was passed with the rescission option.

So through a series of conduits and sham entities, the Wall Street investment banks lied to the investors and lied to the borrowers about who was in the deal and who was making money off the deal and how much. They lied to the investors, lied to the public, lied to regulatory agencies and lied to borrowers about the quality of the loan products they were selling which could not succeed and in which the broker dealers had a direct interest in making sure that the loans did not succeed. That was the whole reason why the Truth In Lending Act and Reg Z came into existence back in the 1960’s. Holder’s comments are a clue to what private lawyers should do and how much money there is in these cases against the leaders of the those investment banks. Both borrowers and lawyers should be taking a close look at how they get even for the fraud perpetrated upon the American consumer and the American taxpayer.

It is obvious that someone had to be making a lot of money in order to spend hundreds of millions of dollars advertising and promoting 2% loans. There is no profit there unless someone is stealing the money and tricking borrowers into signing loan papers that instantly clouded their title and created two potential liabilities — one to the payee on the note who never had any economic interest in the deal and one to the investors whose money was used to fund the loan. Most investors still don’t realize what happened to their money and many are still getting payments as though the Trust was real — but they are not getting payments or reports from the REMIC Trust.

And most borrowers don’t realize that their identity was stolen, that their loan was cloned, and that each version of their loan that was sold netted another 100% profit to the investment banks, who also sold the bonds to the Federal Reserve after they had already sold the same bonds to investors. Thus the investment banks screwed the investors, screwed the borrowers and screwed the taxpayers while their plan resulted in a cataclysmic failure of the economies around the world. Investors mostly don’t realize that they are never going to see the money they were promised and that the banks are keeping the investors’ money as if it belonged to the bank. Most investors also don’t realize that the investment banks were their servant and that all that money the bank made really belongs to the investor, thus zeroing out the liability of the borrower but creating an enormous profit to the investors. Most borrowers don’t realize that they certainly don’t owe money to any of the foreclosing parties, but that they might have some remote liability to the clueless investors whose money was used to fund this circus.

Rescission Letter is Equivalent to Court Order Under TILA

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We are starting a new pilot offering for those who are close readers of the blog. Call one of the numbers above and ask about our package of services relating to rescission either with respect to rescission letters previously sent or rescission letters that are being considered by borrowers. This is not an offer of legal services or legal representation. Nothing we provide — templates, analyses or memorandums — should be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from an attorney licensed in the jurisdiction in which your property is located.

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I am hearing reports that Judges are entering rulings based upon the “note holder” and other spurious premises in connection with the application of the rescission rules under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). It is obvious that the Judges still don’t get it or don’t want to, both of which are perfectly understandable because the rules under TILA are VERY different from the the rules governing common law rescission.
Any ruling predicated on the note or mortgage after rescission is wrong unless it recognizes that there is no note or mortgage anymore. They became void by operation of law (i.e., the same as if a court order was entered) the moment the notice of rescission was dropped in the mail. The issue of when or whether the rescission is effective is OVER by operation of law. It’s done. Stick a fork in it.
There is no burden of proof for the borrower to make the rescission effective. And if the Borrower does sue to enforce compliance with TILA that is an enforcement action, the same as one would seek to enforce a judgment or order that has already been entered. At that point, unless the servicer or bank had filed a lawsuit challenging the rescission as a creditor (because the note and mortgage no longer exist) WITHIN THE 20 DAY WINDOW measured from the date of notice, the creditor has no right or standing to challenge the rescission itself or whether it should be considered effective.
ATTORNEY PRACTICE HINT: I think it is very important to say something to the effect “Judge, I understand your thinking on this and hundreds, perhaps thousands of judges agreed with you — until the US Supreme Court said otherwise a few weeks ago. This is not common law rescission. The note and mortgage cease to exist when the notice of rescission is dropped in the mail.”
The only way for an alleged lender or creditor to prevent an enforcement order being entered against them is to file a lawsuit contesting the notice of rescission within 20 days of the notice and to ask for an injunction. But in order to do that they would have to say that they are in fact the creditor — i.e., prove the actual debt due without the note and without the mortgage — because the note and mortgage ceased to exist by operation of law.
When that borrower drops the notice into a mailbox it is the same thing as a Judge entering an order. There is nothing left for the borrower to do and nothing left that the borrower can do to make the rescission effective. Most courts held that the borrower had to file a lawsuit or tender payment or both before the notice of rescission could be effective.
The unanimous decision of the Supreme Court in Jesinowski was that all those judges were wrong. And of course this court lacks jurisdiction or authority under the US Constitution to countermand a Supreme Court decision. There is no requirement of a lawsuit —the rescission is effective upon notice and notice is effective when it is dropped into a mailbox. There is no requirement of tender either.
The borrower may be obligated on the debt (after deductions for unpaid amounts from the creditor) but ONLY AFTER the creditor has complied with the three elements of mandatory compliance — return of the canceled note, satisfaction of the mortgage in the county records, and return of all money paid by borrower starting with the origination of the loan and continuing up to the date of rescission. Assuming a creditor has complied with TILA and now wishes to collect on the debt, THEN the creditor steps forward alleges the debt by showing proof of payment, not self-serving documents like assignments and endorsements. And if the creditor proves the debt, the debt is unsecured.
The purpose of TILA rescission was intentionally to provide consumers with a quick easy remedy that didn’t require a lawyer to cancel the loan. The Supreme Court ruling is that the statute means what it says. And the statute  says that the note and mortgage are immediately nullified by operation of law (same as a court order) when dropped in the mailbox.
And the reason for that is the whole reason behind the Truth in Lending Act — to level the playing field between tricky sophisticated banks and unsophisticated borrowers who didn’t and don’t receive the information they needed to choose lenders or make a decision about which loan they would choose to take from which lender.
It was recognized by the framers of this law that in order for the old lender to get paid (assuming they could prove the debt without the note or the mortgage which no longer exist) the existing note (even if still held by anyone) and the existing mortgage of record (even if recorded in the county records) MUST be void in order for the borrower to get a new loan to pay off the old debt. Otherwise it would be impossible fro the borrower to go out and get a substitute loan. 
And since it was obvious that the banks would ordinarily stonewall the rescission if they had the chance, Congress gave them no chance to stonewall. And that is why they made it such that the rescission becomes legally effective, voiding the note and mortgage the moment it is dropped into a mailbox.
The only way out for the banks is (1) after full compliance with the requirements of TILA (return of note, satisfaction of mortgage and disgorgement of all money received and paid in connection with the loan) to either ask for payment of the debt (once they prove it) or (2) to file an action in Court within 20 days of the notice alleging that they are the creditor (but they can’t rely on the now nonexistent note and mortgage) and alleging that the rescission should be set aside.
The lawsuit by the bank is akin to a motion to set aside judgment. That is where Judges are making errors and continuing to issue rulings that are wrong. The rescission is already effective if it was sent. There is NOTHING left for the borrower to do to make that rescission effective. Hence even if the lender wants to challenge whether the rescission was sent, they would have to do so in their own lawsuit brought within the 20 day window.
Comments invited.

TILA (NON-JUDICIAL AND JUDICIAL) Rescission Gets Clearer in Most Respects

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It is becoming crystal clear that with help from a competent attorney the options under the TILA rescission process are (a) different from common law rescission and (b) very effective against “lenders” who can no longer hide behind “presumptions”. LIKE THE PRESUMPTIONS THAT HAVE BEEN STRICTLY APPLIED AGAINST HOMEOWNERS, BUT WHICH ARE REBUTTABLE, TILA RESCISSION IS STRICTLY APPLIED AGAINST “LENDERS.” Just as presumptions force the borrower to take the burden of proof on basic facts in the pretender lender’s case, TILA rescission forces the “lender” to take the burden of proof in the borrower’s loan, establishing that there was no basis for rescission. This article covers the law regarding those legal presumptions AND the effects and mechanics of a TILA rescission.

Amongst the things that are clear now is the plain fact that rescission is a private statutory remedy requiring only a letter to give notice of exercising the TILA right of rescission. If a homeowner wants to file suit to enforce the rescission, there is a one year statute of limitations to collect damages or get any requiring the “lender” to comply. But the effective date of rescission remains the same even if the one year statute has passed. In plain language that means that by operation of law you don’t have a mortgage encumbrance on your property if more than 20 days has passed since the rescission was effective (the day you dropped it in a mailbox).

But if you are looking to recover the financial damages provided by TILA (disgorgement of payments etc.) then you need to file suit within one year of the rescission. If you want to clear title with a quiet title action my opinion is that the one year statute of limitations does not apply — because the act provides that the mortgage and note are void by operation of law. Thus the title issue is cleared as of the date of rescission. As argued by the ACLU and as stated by a unanimous Supreme Court the rescission is effective upon notice. There is no requirement of notice AND a lawsuit. So the suit to clear or quiet title is merely based on removing the mortgage from your chain of title because it is (and has been) void since the day of rescission.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance or reading the ACLU brief below. Too many judges and lawyers have become confused over the various provisions of TILA. A lawsuit based upon rescission to to enforce the rights due to the borrower because the rescission is already effective. The lawsuit is NOT the exercise of the right of TILA rescission. The letter declaring the rescission is the exercise of the right of TILA rescission. This is far different from common law rescission.

FOR REBUTTING PRESUMPTIONS See Franklin Decision

FOR ADMISSIONS REGARDING FABRICATION OF DOCUMENTS THUS REBUTTING PRESUMPTIONS See Wells Fargo Foreclosure_attorney_procedure_manual-1

FOR THOROUGH ANALYSIS AND HISTORY OF TILA RESCISSION SEE jesinoski_v._countrywide_home_loans_aclu_amicus_brief

And see this explanation which is almost entirely accurate —

Read this excerpt from the CFPB Amicus Brief (Rosenfeld v. HSBC):
” If the court finds the consumer was entitled to rescind, it will order the procedures specified by 1635 and Reg. Z, or modify them as the case requires…Accordingly, if the court finds the consumer rescinded the transaction because she properly exercised a valid right to rescind under 1635, the lender must be ordered [by the court] to honor the rescission, even if the underlying right to rescind has expired.”
 
I needn’t go further…this is the CFPB talking…and they are the sole authority to promulgate the rules of rescission by Congress. They (the lender) must act within 20 days, regardless of the consumer’s perception of whether or not the rescission is timely. It would be up to a court to determine the exercise of the right…but the lender must be ordered by the court to follow the rules of rescission under TILA and the attendant time frames contemplated therein.
The rescission process is private, leaving the consumer and lender to working out the logistics of a given rescission.” McKenna, 475 F.3d at 421; accord Belini, 412 F.3d at 25. Otherwise, to leave the creditors in charge of determining timing, the creditors would no doubt stonewall until the time ran after receipt of the notice of rescission. Thus, even valid rescissions would result in creditors claiming that the time to file suit had run out and the statute is then moot. Congress recognized that TILA rescission is necessarily effected by notice and any subsequent litigation must be accomplished within restrictions set against the creditors…not the consumers. This is non-judicial action at its finest. Just like the non-judicial act of foreclosure (in such forums). 
Consummation is a question of fact that would be determined after the creditor performed its required obligations under 1635 (b)…unless suit is brought within 20 days of the notice of rescission…as is required.
“Everyone is a genius, but if one passes judgment on a fish trying to climb a tree, and then continues to tell him that he is stupid, the fish, and everyone else, will believe that, even though his genius has never been discovered.” Albert Einstein.

Banks Struggling with Notices of Rescission

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We are starting to get a peek at the strategy the banks will employ in dealing with notices of rescission. In one case the homeowner sent the notice of BOA, who answered that they received it (one problem solved) and that the new servicer is Ocwen (whose business practices have been the subject of a cease and desist order for failing to comply with prior “settlements” and “consent judgments.”)
The obvious strategy of the banks is to try to raise issues that the foreclosure judge can rule upon, in which the notice of rescission is declared void WITHOUT the required lender lawsuit seeking declaratory relief from the rescission — an absolute 20 day requirement under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). And no matter how much philosophical discussion might ensue, this is precisely why TILA was drafted and passed by Congress and signed into law by the president — all in the wake of the savings and loan scandal that shook the industry in the 1980’s and put over 800 bankers in jail. As the US Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision written by Justice Scalia a couple of weeks ago TILA is specific consumer remedy that must be strictly construed.
When they tell you there is another servicer they are trying to re-start the 20 days to file a lawsuit they don’t want to file containing allegations they don’t want to allege, and requiring proof they cannot satisfy. It won’t work. So far, so good. They will probably try to say you sent it to the wrong “servicer” and that therefore your notice of rescission was invalid.

The foreclosure judge will be inclined to accept any argument against the effect of rescission. But TILA is very specific, it is Federal law, and the CFPB regulations under Dodd-Frank make it pretty clear that the shell game won’t work with respect to the notice of rescission. AND their response corroborates your position that they have been continually withholding the information that should have been disclosed at the fake loan closing.

According to CFPB regulations they are all servicers and they are all “good” for service of the rescission letter. You COULD send a COPY of the letter you sent to BOA to Ocwen Certified, return receipt requested. My suggestion is do not send a brand new letter. The clock is ticking. After 20 days has passed we will move to dismiss on the basis of the rescission. The so-called “old servicer” has an obligation to forward the letter to the lender and any other servicers. The 20 days, in my opinion, keeps running from the date of the mailing of the notice.

The long and short of it is that once the notice of rescission is sent (certified mail, return receipt requested) you are now in process on this strategy. The best is that (a) they won’t respond at all which your lawyer can argue they waived the defenses because of the statute of limitations contained in the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) for failing to file the required lawsuit within 20 days or (b) they will write back threatening something, which is not the response called for by TILA or (c) they will bring a lawsuit to declare your rescission void. No matter how this turns out I see it as being potentially beneficial to the homeowner.

If they sue then they need to establish standing and allege facts that they are not being required to allege and prove in foreclosure actions. They have been fighting against being required to plead or prove those facts for 10 years. So we can safely assume they can’t allege those thing and they certainly can’t prove those things.

By “those things” I mean ownership and balance. They have to allege they are the lender or they are representing a lender and SHOW that authorization. Contrary to foreclosure actions where courts have been incorrectly ruling that they only need to prove they are holding the paper, the Declaratory action that must be filed to counter your notice of rescission must allege and prove the identity of the “lender” (i.e., the party who loaned you the money or a true successor — i.e., a successor who actually purchased the debt and wasn’t simply a naked recipient of the the bogus paperwork).

Either way you are

(a) going to get rid of the mortgage and note and you will receive a ton of money just for what you paid the pretender lender at closing or the transferees of the bogus paper — which means that you cancel the note, void the mortgage so it is no longer in your chain of title — AND a receive a ton of money for the payments you made for interest and principal on a monthly basis going back to the inception of the fake loan closing, AND/OR

(b) going to get a ton of information that the foreclosure court might not otherwise allow you to reach in discovery (request for admissions, interrogatories, request to produce, depositions) .

My guess is that they are not ready to file any such lawsuit and will try arguing to the foreclosure judge that they didn’t need to because the rescission letter was defective on its face — usually the statute of limitations or the failure “to identify the violations in the letter.”

On that last point, there is no doubt in virtually all cases across the board that the notice letter need only state your rescission. Any reason for the rescission becomes a question of fact later only if the “lender” challenges the rescission letter within the 20 day period.

As to the statute of limitations, it doesn’t apply if the “lender” withheld the information that should have been disclosed. THAT is a question of fact, and THAT too must be brought up in their lawsuit (which is the ONLY way to comply with TILA on a TILA rescission).

But they will try to lure the state court judges into ruling on the sufficiency of the notice of rescission. The state court judge will be tempted to do it because he or she will see that the house is about to become free of the of the mortgage and that the lender will owe money to the borrower — two results the judges still dislike.

That strategy might work a few times but it won’t work long, in my opinion. TILA is a specific, explicit statutory remedy that cannot be interpreted in the context of common law rescission or any other rescission for that matter. The Court is required to treat these “lender” arguments (and even the question of whether the presenting party is in fact a “lender’) as a question of fact that MUST be raised in a separate lender collateral action seeking declaratory relief in a separate lawsuit.

Rescission: Equitable Tolling Extends Statute of Limitations

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Important Message: This blog should NEVER be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from an attorney licensed in the jurisdiction in which your property is located.

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see http://openjurist.org/784/f2d/910/king-v-state-of-california-d-m

The most popular question I get here on the blog and on my radio show is what happens when the three year statute has run? The answers are many. First is the question of whether it ever started running. If the transaction was not actually consummated with anyone in the chain of parties claiming rights to collect or enforce the loan it would be my opinion that the three day right of rescission has not begun to run. That would be a remedy to an event in which the note and mortgage (or deed of trust) has been signed and delivered but the loan was never funded by the originator any creditor in the chain of “ownership.” The benefit of the three day rescission is that you don’t need a reason to do it. But in order to do that you need to be careful that you are not stating that there was a closing because that would be consummation and therefore the right to rescind unconditionally ran three days after that “Closing.”

Second is the three year statute of limitations. The same reasoning applies.  But it also raises the question of non-disclosure and withholding information. The rather obvious delays in prosecuting foreclosures on alleged “defaults” are clearly a Bank strategy for letting the 3 year statute run out and then claim the homeowner cannot rescind because the closing was more than 3 years ago. That is where the doctrine of equitable tolling comes into play. A party who violates TILA and fails to disclose material facts and continues to hide them from the borrower should not be permitted to benefit from continuing the violation beyond the apparent statute of limitations. People keep asking why the banks wait so long to prosecute foreclosures. The answer is that it is because they have no right to do so and they are running out the apparent statute of limitations on rescission and TILA disclosure actions.

Third is a procedural issue. According to TILA the “lender” who receives such a notice of rescission is (1) obligated to send it to the “real” lender and (2) must file a declaratory action against the borrower within 20 days in order to avoid the rescission. If they don’t file the 20 day action, they waive the objections they could have raised. So far I have not heard of one case in which such an action has been filed. I think the reason for that is that nobody can file an action in which they establish standing. Such a party would be obliged to allege that they are the “lender” or “creditor” as defined by TILA. That means they either loaned the money or bought the loan for “valuable consideration” just like it says in Article 9 of the UCC. Then they would have to prove that allegation before any burden shifted to the borrower to answer or file affirmative defenses against the action filed by this putative “lender.”

CAVEAT: The doctrine of equitable tolling is remedial as is the statute, but it is fairly strictly construed. I’m am quite confident that the best we will get from the courts is that the 3 day and 3 year rules and other limitations in TILA starts running the moment you knew or should have known the facts that had been withheld from you at “closing.” The fact that you are not a lawyer and did not realize the significance of this will not allow you to delay the start of the statute running after the date of discovery of the facts, whether you understood them or not.  But this is a two-edged sword. The current practice of objecting to any QWR, DVL or discovery question without answering the truth about the claimed chain of ownership or servicers on the loan corroborates the borrowers allegation that the parties are continuing to withhold this information. So a well-framed TILA defense might serve as the basis for enforcing your rights of discovery and rights to answers on your Qualified Written Request or Debt Validation Letter.

Additional Caveat: The doctrine of equitable tolling has been applied with respect to the one year statute of limitations on TILA disclosures but it remains open as to whether it would be otherwise applied. From the 9th Circuit —

“Section 1640(e) provides that “[a]ny action under this section may be brought within one year from the date of the occurrance of the violation.” We have not yet determined when a violation occurs so as to commence the one-year statutory period. See Katz v. Bank of California, 640 F.2d 1024, 1025 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 860, 102 S.Ct. 314, 70 L.Ed.2d 157 (1981). Three theories have been used by other circuits to determine when the statutory period commences: (1) when the credit contract is executed; (2) when the disclosures are actually made (a “continuing violation” theory); (3) when the contract is executed, subject to the doctrines of equitable tolling and fraudulent concealment (limitations period runs from the date on which the borrower discovers or should reasonably have discovered the violation). See Postow v. OBA Federal S & L Ass’n, 627 F.2d 1370, 1379 (D.C.Cir.1980) (adopting “continuing violation” theory in some situations); Wachtel v. West, 476 F.2d 1062, 1066-67 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 414 U.S. 874, 94 S.Ct. 161, 38 L.Ed.2d 114 (1973) (rejecting “continuing violation” theory, statutory period commences upon execution of loan contract); Stevens v. Rock Springs National Bank, 497 F.2d 307, 310 (10th Cir.1974) (rejecting “continuing violation” theory); Jones v. TransOhio Savings Ass’n., 747 F.2d 1037, 1043 (6th Cir.1984) (applying equitable tolling and fraudulent concealment).”

Hats off to James Macklin who sent me this email:

Hang on to your hats fella’s…in Sargis’ ruling … back in 2012…he confirms the equitable tolling principles of TILA as I had argued…just saw this again while reviewing…to wit:
“The Ninth Circuit applies equitable tolling to TILA’s … statute of limitations (King v. California, 784 F.2d 910, 914 (9th Cir. 1986).
“Equitable Tolling is applied to effectuate the congressional intent of TILA.”, Id.
Courts have construed TILA as a remedial statute, interpreting it liberally for the consumer.” (Id. Citing Riggs v. Gov’t Emps. Fin. Corp., 623 F.2d 68, 70-71 (9th Cir. 1980).
 Specifically the 9th Circuit held: “[T]he limitations period in section 1640(e) runs from the date of consummation of the transaction but that the doctrine of equitable tolling may, in appropriate circumstances, suspend the limitations period until the borrower discovers or had the reasonable to discover the fraud or non-disclosures that form the basis of the TILA action.” 
Gentlemen…I give you proof positive that the statute tolls and the fact that the term “consummation” is also subject to broad interpretation as we know…the loan could not have consummated if what we allege is found to be true… However, the non-disclosures language used by the 9th Circuit gives rise to possible myriad rescissions upon discovery of those non-disclosures…
James L. Macklin, Managing Director
Secure Document Research(Paralegal Services/Legal Project Management)

Two Different Worlds — Note and Mortgage

Further information please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688

No radio show tonight because of birthday celebration — I’m 68 and still doing this

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The enforcement of promissory notes lies within the context of the marketplace for currency and currency equivalents. The enforcement of mortgages on real property lies within the the context of the marketplace for real estate transactions. While certainty is the aim of public policy in those two markets, the rules are different and should not be ignored.

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see http://www.uniformlaws.org/Shared/Committees_Materials/PEBUCC/PEB_Report_111411.pdf

This article is not a substitute for getting advice from an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction in which your property is or was located.

Back in 2008 I had some correspondence and telephone conversations with an attorney in Chicago, Robert Wutscher when I was writing about the reality of the way in which banks were doing  what they called “securitization of mortgages.” Of course then they were denying that there were any trusts, denying that any transfers occurred and were suing in the name of the originator or MERS or anyone but the party who actually had their money used in loan transactions.  It wasn’t done the right way because the obvious intent was to play a shell game in which the banks would emerge as the apparent principal party in interest under the illusion created by certain presumptions attendant to being the “holder” of a note. For each question I asked him he replied that Aurora in that case was the “holder.” No matter what the question was, he replied “we’re the holder.” I still have the letter he sent which also ignored the rescission from the homeowner whose case I was inquiring about for this blog.

He was right that the banks would be able to bend the law on rescission at the level of the trial courts because Judges just didn’t like TILA rescission. I knew that in the end he would lose on that proposition eventually and he did when Justice Scalia, in a terse opinion, simply told us that Judges and Justices were wrong in all those trial court decisions and even appellate court decisions that applied common law theories to modify the language of the Federal Law (TILA) on rescission. And now bank lawyers are facing the potential consequences of receiving notices of TILA rescission where the bank simply ignored them instead of preserving the rights of the “lender” by filing a declaratory action within 20 days of the rescission. By operation of law, the note and mortgage were nullified, ab initio. Which means that any further activity based upon the note and mortgage was void. And THAT means that the foreclosures were void.

Is discussing the issue of the “holder” with lawyers and even doing a tour of seminars I found that the confusion that was apparent for lay people was also apparent in lawyers. They looked at the transaction and the rights to enforce as one single instrument that everyone called “the mortgage.” They looked at me like I had three heads when I said, no, there are three parts to every one of these illusory transactions and the banks fail outright on two of them.

The three parts are the debt, the note and the mortgage. The debt arises when the borrower receives money. The presumption is that it is a loan and that the borrower owes the money back. it isn’t a gift. There should be no “free house” discussion here because we are talking about money, not what was done with the money. Only a purchase money mortgage loan involves the house and TILA recognizes that. Some of the rules are different for those loans. But most of the loans were not purchase money mortgages in that they were either refinancing, or combined loans of 1st mortgage plus HELOC. In fact it appears that ultimately nearly all the outstanding loans fall into the category of refinancing or the combined loan and HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit that exactly matches the total loan requirements of the transaction (including the purchase of the home).

The debt arises by operation of law in favor of the party who loaned the money. The banks diverged from the obvious and well-established practice of the lender being the same party as the party named on the note as payee and on the mortgage as mortgagee (or beneficiary under a Deed of Trust). The banks did this through a process known as “Table Funded Loans” in which the real lender is concealed from the borrower. And they did this through agreements frequently called “Assignment and Assumption” Agreements, which by contract called for both parties (the originator and the aggregator to violate the laws governing disclosure (TILA and frequently state law) which means by definition that the contract called for an illegal act that is by definition a contract in contravention of public policy.

A loan contract is created by operation of law in which the borrower is obligated to pay back the loan to the source of the funds with or without a written instrument. If the loan contract (comprised of offer, acceptance and consideration) does not exist, then there is nothing to enforce at law although it is possible to still force the borrower to repay the money to the actual source of funds through a suit in equity — mainly unjust enrichment. The banks, through their lawyers, argue that the Federal disclosure requirements should be ignored. I think it is pretty clear that Justice Scalia and a unanimous United States Supreme Court think that argument stinks. It is the bank’s argument that should be ignored, not the law.

Congress passed TILA specifically to protect consumers of financial products (loans) from the overly burdensome and overly complex nature of loan documents. This argument about what is important and what isn’t has already been addressed in Congress and signed into law against the banks’ position that it doesn’t matter whether they really follow the law and disclose all the parties involved in the transaction, the true identity of the lender, the compensation of all the parties that made money as a result of the origination of the loan transaction. Regulation Z states that a pattern of behavior (more than 5) in which loans are table funded (disclosure of real lender withheld from borrower) is PREDATORY PER SE.

If it is predatory per se then there are remedies available to the borrower which potentially include treble damages, attorneys fees etc. Equally important if not more so is that a transaction, whether illusory or real, that is predatory per se, is therefore against public policy and the party seeking to enforce an otherwise enforceable document cannot do so because of the doctrine of unclean hands. In fact, if the transaction is predatory per se, it is dirty hands per se. And this is where Judges get stuck and so do many lawyers. The outcome of that unavoidable analysis is, they say, a free house. And their remedy is to give the party with unclean hands a free house (because they paid nothing for the origination or acquisition of the loan). I think the Supreme Court will not look kindly upon this “legislating from the bench.” And I think the Court has already signaled its intent to hold everyone to the strict construction of TILA and Regulation Z.

So there are two reason the debt can’t be enforced the way the banks want. (1) There is no loan contract because the source of the money and the borrower never agreed to anything and neither one knew about the other. (2) the mortgage cannot be enforced because it is an action in equity and the shell game of parties tossing the paperwork around all have unclean hands. And there is a third reason as well — while the note might be enforceable based merely on an endorsement, the mortgage is not enforceable unless the enforcer paid for it (Article 9, UCC).

And THAT is where the confusion really starts — which bank lawyers depend on every time they go to court. Bank lawyers add to the confusion by using the tired phrase of “the note follows the mortgage and the mortgage follows the note.” At one time this was a completely true presumption backed up by real facts. But now the banks are asking the courts to apply the presumption even when the courts actually know that the facts presumed by the legal presumption are untrue.

Notes and mortgages exist in two different marketplaces or different worlds, if you like. Public policy insists that notes that are intended to be negotiable remain negotiable and raise certain presumptions. The holder of a note might very well be able to sue and win a judgment ON THE NOTE. And the judgment holder might be able to record a judgment lien and foreclose on it subject to homestead exemptions.

But it isn’t as simple as the banks make it out to be.

If someone pays for the note in good faith and without knowledge of the borrower’s defenses when the note is not in default, THAT holder can enforce the note against the signor or maker of the note regardless of lack of consideration or anything else unless there is a provable defense of fraud and perhaps conspiracy. But any other holder steps into the shoes of the original lender. And if there was no consummated loan contract between the payee on the note and the borrower because the payee never loaned any money to the borrower, then the holder might have standing to sue but they don’t have the evidence to win the suit. The borrower still owes the money to whoever was the source, but the “holder” of the note doesn’t get a judgment. There is a difference between standing to sue and a prima facie case needed to win. Otherwise everyone would get one of those mechanical forging machines and sign the name of someone with money and sue them on a note they never signed. Or they would promise to loan money, get the signed note and then not complete the loan contract by making the loan.

So public policy demands that there be reasonable certainty in the negotiation of unqualified promises to pay. BUT public policy expressed in the UCC Article 9 says that if you want to enforce a mortgage you must not only have some indication that it was transferred to you, you must also have paid valuable consideration for the mortgage.

Without proof of payment, there is no prima facie case for enforcement of the mortgage, but it does curiously remain on the chain of title of the property (public records) unless nullified by the fact that the mortgage was executed as collateral for the note which was NOT a true representation of the loan contract based upon the real debt that arose by operation of law. The public policy is preserve the integrity of public records in the real estate marketplace. That is the only way to have reasonable certainty of title and encumbrances.

Forfeiture, an equitable remedy, must be done with clean hands based upon a real interest in the alleged default — not just a pile of paper that grows each year as banks try to convert an assignment of mortgage into a substitute for consideration.

Hence being the “holder” might mean you have the right to sue on the note but without being a holder in due course or otherwise paying fro the mortgage, there is no automatic basis for enforcing the mortgage in favor of a party with no economic interest in the mortgage.

see also http://knowltonlaw.com/james-knowlton-blog/ucc-article-3-and-mortgage-backed-securities.html

Judges Resist Proactive Homeowners Challenging Servicers and Pretender Lenders

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

This is for general information only. It should never be used as a substitute for the advice of an attorney licensed in the jurisdiction in which your property is located.

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see also 201306_cfpb_laws-and-regulations_tila-combined-june-2013

I’ve been busy dealing with Judges who are resisting meritorious defenses and proactive lawsuits challenging the validity of the mortgage, note, debt or assignments. I had one Judge order me to remove America’s Wholesale Lender — an entity that doesn’t exist — as a party Defendant.

But an increasing number of homeowners are seeking to challenge, rescind, or otherwise put the pretender lenders on defense, along with the “servicers” who have no authority and question the enforceability of a modification agreement in which the countersigning party is a “servicer” with dubious or nonexistent rights to enforce a modification agreement.

This is reminiscent of when I wrote in 2008 that the Courts are getting it wrong about rescission. I said then that rescission is a specific statutory remedy which is clear on its face and not subject to interpretation that the “borrower” is getting a free house. I said that applying common law rules on rescission was wrong. There was no requirement for the homeowner to file suit and no requirement for the homeowner to tender money to the “lender” (who can’t be known because of the lack of disclosure). Hundreds of state and Federal Courts all the way up to the appellate level disagreed with me. But I stuck to my guns and continued to advance the legal theory that the statute was explicit and that Courts did not have the right to legislate from the bench.

The US Supreme Court eventually agreed with me recently overturning hundreds of final judgments, orders on dismissal and discovery. The effective on past cases is not yet known. If they have already been concluded right through sale it might be that local law might make the wrong decision final anyway. But my opinion is that if we go by what the statute says, once the notice of rescission was sent, the mortgage and note were nullified “by operation of law.” And the effect is simple: there can be no foreclosure on a mortgage and note that don’t legally exist, even if the mortgage is still recorded in the chain of title. Closings — even short sales — are cast into doubt as to whether the title or the money was handled properly.

As a result, the general consensus about the borrower was turned on its head. The “enforcement” of the rescission was not required by the borrower, it was required to be challenged within 20 days of the notice of rescission. The tender of money by the borrower is similarly turned on its head — it is the lender who owes money (a lot of it) to the borrower. And the threat of foreclosure is totally removed. The statute of limitations doesn’t just apply to borrowers. it also applies to “lenders.”  Once the borrower gives notice of rescission, the “lender” must file a declaratory action contesting the rescission within 20 days. If they don’t file that action, they waive any potential defense to the rescission.

Many individuals are sending notices of rescission even on old loans based upon the premise that they only recently discovered the defects in the loan and defects in the loan closing procedures. If the lender fails to file a lawsuit saying that they are a “lender” and where they prove their status as a lender, they lose. If they can’t prove that the disclosures at closing were true and correct within the tolerances specified in the statute (TILA), they lose. If they fail to file within 20 days, they lose.

The requirement that the “lender” record a satisfaction of mortgage and return the canceled note is just to make it easier for the homeowner to get alternative financing. And the requirement that the “lender” disgorge or pay all money paid in the origination of the loan including brokers’ fees, together with all payments of interest and principal was also teeth in the law to level the playing field, reducing the amount that the homeowner might need to pay to the lender LATER.

The idea behind the law was to address predatory or wrongful lending or enforcement tactics by banks whose dubious business plans were far too sophisticated for any normal borrower to understand what was really happening. TILA and Regulation Z were written to level the playing field. Once the borrower discovered material defects in the loan or loan procedure, they are allowed to get rid of that loan and go get another loan. The primary impact, from a legal point of view, is that the mortgage is gone “by operation of law” and the note is nullified, leaving a bare debt for the “lender” to allege and prove. But whatever the debt might be, it is UNSECURED, and thus subject to discharge in bankruptcy.

Rescission is a drastic remedy that puts the “bank” at a  spectacular disadvantage. But it is the law. and the same holds true when you have fatal defects in the origination of the loan. If the named lender doesn’t exist or didn’t make the loan, the note and mortgage should not have been released to anyone, much less recorded. That means that the mortgage was essentially a wild deed. The mortgage is not voidable, it is void. And THAT means, just like in the case of rescission that the mortgage must be removed from the chain of title on the property. Like rescission, the note and mortgage are void or nullified by operation of law, if the Judges would only apply it.

My group has several of these cases on appeal and we are confident that the appellate courts will turn the corner on proactive cases where the homeowner is current on the so-called payments due (and which are extracted under threat of enforcement and foreclosure). The current thinking of the courts in many cases is neither based in fact nor logic. If the borrower is declared in default they are regarded as deadbeats. If they are current, they are regarded as greedy deadbeats. We think that like several cases have already shown, the “servicer” or “lender” will be forced to defend cases that were dismissed by trial judges.

In the end, we think that homeowners will not only get rid of the note and mortgage, but potentially also the debt because only someone who actually did the funding could come forward with a legal or equitable claim for unjust enrichment. Such creditors will have a difficult time making the claim because (a) they don’t know anything about the case and (b) in order to do so they would be required to track and prove the money trail to show that they are in fact the creditors. Modifications by volunteer intermeddlers — like servicers who lack actual authority to service the loan because they are relying on the Trust that is falsely claiming ownership of the loan — will in our opinion also be deemed a nullity.

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