BOA, Urban Lending Sued for Rackateering on Fraudulent “Modification” Program

In a case that may have far-reaching consequences, a lawsuit was filed in federal court in Colorado accusing Bank of America of racketeering, which is what borrowers have been screaming about for years. It was a game to the bank. They intentionally lured people into what they thought was a good faith modification program, encouraged people to get deeper and deeper into “debt”, and then foreclosed when they were sure that the person could not reinstate nor exercise a right of redemption. A key player in this scheme was Urban Lending Solutions.

In a case that I am currently litigating, Bank of America at first denied any knowledge of Urban Lending Solutions. When confronted with correspondence issued from urban lending solutions under the letterhead of Bank of America, they finally conceded that they knew who who the company was.  In a Massachusetts case depositions were taken and it is quite clear that this affiliate of Bank of America had their employees working off of Scripts and that anyone who went off the reservation would be disciplined or fired. Going off the reservation merely meant that they actually tried to help a borrower achieve a modification.

There are at least six whistleblowers who have executed sworn affidavits stating that the modification program was a sham. I think we might be getting closer to the point where whistleblowers tell us that the origination of the loan was a sham and that the so-called sales of loans were also sham transactions. Those employees of Bank of America or their affiliates who were successful in throwing homeowners into foreclosure were rewarded with $500 gift certificates to Target and other stores.

The claims against Bank of America are using laws that were designed to target organized crime. For seven years experts and laymen have been claiming that the banks were engaged in organized crime in the  the sale of mortgage mines, origination of loans, the assignment of loans, the recording of unperfected mortgage liens, wrongful foreclosures, illegal foreclosure sales in which the property was sold without any cash being paid, interference  in the right of the borrower to reinstate, modify, or redeem.

We are just around the corner from the key question, to wit: why would the banks engage in organized crime to create foreclosures when it is painfully obvious to homeowners and local government officials across the country that the banks have no interest in acquiring the property but only causing the sale of the property at a foreclosure auction?  Why would the banks delay the prosecution of their cases for years? Why would the banks argue against expediting discovery against them and against the borrower? Why would the banks argue for less money in foreclosure rather than more money in modification?

The answer to all of those questions is simply that there is more money in this scheme than has been divulged.  In the coming weeks and months the revelations about the true nature of these transactions will shock the conscience of the country and cause voters and politicians to rethink their position regarding the ability of regulators and courts to clawback illegally obtained proceeds that started with the transactions originated with the money of investors and somehow ended up with the banks growing by 30% despite a failing economy and a diving housing market.

We are now at the point where filing RICO charges against the banks is likely to gain traction whereas in prior years it was considered overkill for what appeared to be negligence in paperwork caused by the volume of mortgages and foreclosures. Volume had nothing to do with it. The banks made a ton of money selling those mortgage bonds.  Out the money they made selling the mortgage bonds was dwarfed by the amount they made when they received insurance, credit default swap proceeds, and taxpayer money on investments owned by the investors and not by the banks. So far more than 5 million foreclosures have proceeded illegally which means that 5 million families have been disrupted in some cases beyond repair. Recent estimates suggest that another 5 million foreclosures will be added to the list unless the banks are required to conform with their regulations and the laws of the federal and state government.

BOA and Urban Lending Sued on Racketeering Charges

Thank you for the inspiration

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Editor’s Comment:  

We get many letters thanking us for our efforts to set things straight. And as I embark on escalating those efforts I found this letter especially timely and uplifting. While many of our readers write in with their successes, the distinguishing feature of this thank you letter was despite losses, so far in the courts. I think the next major push should be with administrative agencies regulating the banks where there are procedures for review and the possibility of administrative hearings to consider the quest for truth.

I have followed your blog semi-religiously for several years now.  I started long before I filed a RICO suit against IndyMac/MERS in Federal District Court in Seattle (May 2011).  So for certain my complaint was laced as best I could with the very arguments which you have been espousing and refining over the years.  Of course my Complaint was dismissed (not unexpected since, after all, I am a pro se know-nothing in the eyes of the “justice system”).  I appealed to the Ninth Circuit case No. 11-358626, got evicted in the interim and now await a decision from the Appeals Court.  I am telling you this not as a plea for assistance or pity but as a thank you for your tenacity in trying to set things straight.

Until the bubble burst in 2008, I was a self-employed homebuilder for the previous 35 years. Prior to that, I had obtained a 2 year associates degree in Tampa (1975). Dealing with an unconscionable truth has different impacts on different people. For me (and I am only 3 years or so younger than yourself), the impact prompted me to return to college at the University of Washington at the branch campus in Bothell.  This town is nearby to my former home which I still own but from which I was exiled.  Soon after my exile I became intrigued by a new degree program offered by UWB called “Law, Economics and Public Policy”.  I wondered if it was what it appeared to be and if my college credits from 37 years ago would transfer, well, yes and yes.  I am midway through my second quarter now.  Doing great.  The class sizes are quite small, usually 25 or less, so in-class discussions are encouraged and frequent.   This quarter, the book “The Big Short” was a required reading for one class.  Having already read that book 2 years ago, I’m sure you can imagine what sort of flavor that a fellow of my background and attitude might bring to the table in a room full of clueless kids who could easily pass as my grandchildren.

I know you’ve had some recent health issue which I hope are behind you.  I don’t have the time (or patience, quite frankly) to engage in the blogging which follows your every post, including your most recent one regarding the familiar theme of corrupted titles and Canadian neophytes.  On this Friday evening, I just wanted to wish you well and thank you for your inspiration.  The next generation must not be denied the truth.  I’ll keep talking to the kids (and the professors, some half my age) at UWB.  In a classroom environment, none of them can hide from me.  So yes, thanks once again.  We hear you and by proxy, they hear you too.

Best regards,

Name redacted for privacy


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CORRUPTION OF TITLE CHAINS IS PANDEMIC

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Editor’s Notes:  

As we predicted more and more County recorder offices are suing to collect transfer fees on loans that have gone to foreclosure under the allegation that a valid loan and lien was transferred.  Expect other revenue collectors in the states to start doing the same for registration fees, taxes, interest, penalties and fines. This battle is just beginning. We are now about to enter the phase of finger pointing in which each type of defendant — bank, servicer, MERS, Fannie, Freddie etc. defends with varying exotic defenses that more or less point the finger at some other part of the securitization chain. 
The real story is that title chains have been irretrievably corrupted — which means that title cannot be established by using the documents alone. Parole evidence from witnesses and production of back-up documents must show the path of the loan and the proof that the transaction was real. Defenders of these lawsuits may be forced to admit that there was no actual financial transaction and that the assignments were assignments of “convenience” negating the reality of the transfer or of any transaction at all. 
Either way they are going to have a problem that can’t be fixed. They can’t prove up the documents because the documents are contrary to the path of monetary transactions and recite facts that are untrue —- in addition to the fact that the documents themselves were fabricated, forged, robo-signed and fraudulently presented. This is why I say that regardless of how hard anyone tries to do the wrong thing, the only right way to correct these problems is to negate the foreclosures that have already been concluded, stop the ones that are being conducted in the same way as the old way, and make them prove up their right to foreclose. They either must admit that there were not valid transactions — including the original note and mortgage — or they won’t be able to prove a valid transaction because the money came from sources other than those shown on the closing documents. 
The actual sources of the money loaned the money to borrowers without documentation believing they had the documentation. But the mere fact that borrowers signed documents is not an invitation for any stranger to imply that it was for their benefit. For these reasons the mortgage in most cases was never perfected into a valid lien and cannot be perfected without corrective instruments signed by the borrower or upon some order by a court. But the courts are going to be far more careful about the proof here. Most Judges are going to take the position that they could be fooled once when the foreclosure originally went through on the premise of valid documents and an actual financial transaction attached to THOSE documents, but that they won’t be fooled a a second time. They will demand proof. And proof according to the normal rules of evidence is completely lacking because the entire securitization chain was a lie from one end to the other.
The borrower will end up owing the money less offsets for payments received by the real creditor, once the identity of the real creditor is revealed, but the absence of a mortgage or deed of trust naming that actual creditor will void the mortgage and negate the credit bid at the auction.

Ohio lawsuit accuses Freddie Mac of fraud

by Tara Steele

The battle between Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and various government entities continues, each taking a different approach on the battlefield.

Freddie Mac sued by county in Ohio

Last year, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. (MERS) became the subject of lawsuits from counties across the nation as District Attorneys allege the company never owned the loans they were facilitating foreclosures for, and in most cases, judges agree, and their authority to facilitate has been denied in several counties. Dallas County alleges the mortgage-tracking system violates Texas laws and shorted the county anywhere from $58 million to over $100 million in uncollected filing fees due to the MERS system, dating back to 1997.

Others sued MERS as well; in February, in the U.S. Court for the Western District of Kentucky, Chief Judge Joseph McKinley Jr. dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Christian County Clerk, denying relief to the County for the same relief sought by Dallas County and others.

Rampant mortgage fraud, continued robosigning

Studies have shown that MERS destroyed the chain of title in America, and other studies reveal that illegal robosigning is still in play, and that foreclosure fraud has occurred in themajority of loans.

As the courts have not yet rewarded cities, counties, or states pursuing action against MERS, other tactics are being taken by these entities, for example, Louisiana is using RICO laws to sue MERS.

Summit County, Ohio taking a different approach

Summit County, Ohio filed a lawsuit1 Tuesday against Freddie Mac, alleging a failure to pay fees on transfer taxes on over 3,500 real estate transactions over six years. Court documents show that the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation is accused of committing fraud by claiming it was a government entity, thereby exempt from transfer taxes. The County has not released a final assessment of the amount they believe is due, but they will also be seeking interest and penalties.

This approach is far different than going after MERS (which coincidentally was established by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over 15 years ago), rather going directly after the still-functioning Freddie Mac.

“The reality is Freddie Mac is a federally chartered, private corporation and they should have been paying these fees and taxes,” Assistant Prosecutor Joe Fantozzi told the Akron Beacon Journal.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae began paying transfer taxes in 2009, so the lawsuit is only seeking transfer taxes due from 2002 through 2008, which in Summit County are $4 per $1,000 on all real estate transactions. Additionally, the county also charges a 50-cent lot fee and recording fees, which are $28 for the first two pages and $8 for each additional page.

Fannie Mae not named, FHFA already fighting back

Although Geauga County in Ohio sued MERS, Chase Bank, and CoreLogic, the Akron Beacon Journal reports that Summit County is believed to be the first county in the state to file legal action against Freddie Mac. Fannie Mae was not named in the suit due to the low volume of mortgages in the county it handled during the time period.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the conservator of Fannie and Freddie, is fighting back on these same battle lines, suing in Illinois to validate the two mortgage giants’ tax-exempt status, the Chicago Tribune reported. This move is likely an effort to circumvent more lawsuits like the one currently being filed in Summit County.

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Discussion Started Between Livinglies and AZ Attorney General Tom Horne

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Editor’s Comment:

Dear Kathleen,

Thank you very much for taking my call this morning.

The question that Neil F. Garfield, Esq. had asked AZ Attorney General Tom Horne at Darrell Blomberg’s meeting was:

Why is the Arizona Attorney General not prosecuting the banks and servicers for corruption and racketeering by submitting false credit bids from non-creditors at foreclosure auctions?

Please feel free to browse Mr. Garfield’s web blog, www.LivingLies.wordpress.com as you may find much of the research and many of the articles to be relevant and of interest.

Mr. Garfield wishes the following comments and observations to be added, in order to clarify the question being asked.

It should probably be noted that in my own research and from the research from at least two dozen other lawyers whose practice concentrates in real property and foreclosures have all reached the same conclusion.  The submission of a credit bid by a stranger to the transaction is a fraudulent act.  A credit bid is only permissible in the event that the party seeking to offer the bid meets the following criteria:

1.  The homeowner borrower owes money to the alleged creditor

2.  The money that is owed to the alleged creditor arises out of a transaction in which the homeowner borrower agreed to the power of sale regarding that debt

3.  Any other creditor would be as much a stranger to the transaction as a non-creditor

Our group is also in agreement that:

4.  Acceptance of the credit bid is an ultra vires act.

5.  The deed issued in foreclosure under such circumstances is a wild deed requiring the title registrar to attach a statement from the office of the title registrar (for example Helen Purcell) stating that the deed does not meet the requirements of statute and therefore does not meet the requirements for recording.

6.  In the event that nobody else is permitted to bid, the auction violates Arizona statutes.

And we arrived at the following conclusions:

7.  In the event that there is no cash bid and the only “bid” was accepted as a cash bid from either a non-creditor or a creditor whose debt is not secured by the power of sale, no sale has legally occurred.

8.  The applicable statutes preventing the corruption of the title chain by such illegal means include the filing of false documents, grand theft, and evasion of the payment of required fees.

9.  This phenomenon is extremely wide spread and based upon surveys conducted by our office and dozens of other offices (including an independent audit of the title registry of San Francisco county) strongly suggest that the vast majority of foreclosures in Arizona resulted in illegal auctions, illegal acceptance of a bid, and illegal issuance of a deed on foreclosure-which resulted in many cases in illegal evictions.

10.  Federal and State-equivalent RICO may also apply, as well as Federal mail fraud which should be referred to the US Attorney.

CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE TO THE NON-JUDICIAL SALE STATUTE AS APPLIED.

It should also be noted that all the same attorneys agreed that the use of an instrument called “Substitution of Trustee” was improper in most cases in that it removed a trustee owing a duty to both the debtor and the creditor and replaced the old trustee with an entity owned or controlled by the creditor.

This is the equivalent of allowing the creditor to appoint itself as Trustee.

In virtually all cases in which a securitization claim was involved in the attempted foreclosure the Substitution of Trustee was used exactly in the manner described in this paragraph.  This method of applying the powers set forth in the Deed of Trust is obviously unconstitutional as applied.

Constitutional scholars agree that the legislature has wide discretion in substituting one form of due process for another.  In this case, non-judicial sale was permitted on the premise that an independent trustee would exercise the ministerial duties of what had previously been a burden on the judiciary.

However, the ability of any creditor or non-creditor to claim the status of being the successor payee on a promissory note, being the secured party on the Deed of Trust, and having the right to substitute trustees does not confer on such a party the right to appoint itself as the trustee, auctioneer, and signatory on the Deed upon foreclosure nor to have submitted a credit bid.

We are very interested in your reply.  If your office has any cogent reasons for disagreement with the above analysis, we would like to “hear back from you” as you promised at Mr. Blomberg’s meeting 22 days ago.  We would encourage you to stay in touch with Mr. Blomberg or myself with regard to your progress in this matter in as much as we are considering a constitutional challenge not to the statute, but to the application of the statute on the above stated grounds.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Sincerely

Neil F Garfield esq

licensed in Florida #229318

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Michigan Court Relies on New York Trust Theory, Rules Loan Never Made it to Trust

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EDITOR’S NOTE: In plain language the “securitization” of loans at least with respect to residential mortgage loans is a myth, an illusion, A LIE. It is one of many lies about these mortgages and we are living it as though it was real, which is why this blog is entitled LIVINGLIES. If the loans never made it to the trust, there was no transfer and thus there was no securitization, which means that the investors bought empty mortgage bonds with no value and no prospects for value.

This fact does NOT invalidate the obligation, however. But the fact that securitization was faked doesn’t validate the obligation either. Nor does it create a valid perfected lien against a home. That is a lie too, but for different reasons. In most instances there is no money due to anyone (except to the investors from the investment bankers) because the obligation that would been created was contemporaneously transferred to third parties who paid it. The fact that it was paid to the agents of the investors rather than the trusts or the investors themselves does not remove the fact that the obligation is paid in full and therefore not due, much less capable of being in default.

Where the article misses a key point is in its knee-jerk reaction to the accusation of free house to the borrower. If that is the collateral benefit arising out of Wall Street misconduct, so be it.

The real issue here is not whether there is going to be a free house awarded, but to whom it will be awarded. There is no reason that interlopers (pretenders) should be allowed to get the collateral benefit of a free house, having defrauded all the real parties in interest. It stands to reason that the victims of the fraud should get the collateral benefit. If that means they get a little more than they are entitled to spending upon how you look at it, this seems far more preferable than proceeding in the business as usual manner of only letting collateral benefits flow toward big business and big banks. Every once in a while, if the banks screw up enough and step on enough rakes, the little guy should get the benefits if that is the way the cards fall.

The article below from Naked Capitalism attributes the original idea that securitization was always a myth to others. It happened here first and for a long time was ignored. Now everyone is adopting it as their own idea. That is good news for homeowners. Yet it is only fair that after nearly 4 years of work to get the message out, that credit be given here that the new decisions in the last week are the result of, and in some instances quotes from the expert declarations written and signed by me. 

Michigan Court Relies on New York Trust Theory, Rules Loan Never Made it to Trust

A June 6 trial court decision in Michigan, Hendricks v. US Bank, has not gotten the attention it warrants because to the extent it has been noticed, it has been depicted as invalidating an effort to effect a note (the borrower IOU) transfer via MERS. While that was one of the grounds for a ruling favorable to the borrower, the court also considered and gave a thumbs’ up to what we call the New York trust theory. That has far more significance, as readers will see shortly (hat tip to Foreclosure Fraud for this sighting).

This legal argument, which so far has been tested in a very few cases (primarily in Alabama, since it was perfected by Alabama attorney Nick Wooten) was the basis of a favorable ruling in Alabama trial court. The reason it bears watching is that if the New York trust theory continues to be validated in court, it has devastating consequences for most post 2004 vintage residential mortgage backed securities. it has been the subject of a long-running argument among legal experts, with the Congressional Oversight Panel, Adam Levitin, as well as consumer lawyers like respected bankruptcy attorney Max Gardner on one side, and securitization industry incumbents like the American Securitization Forum and SNR Denton.

The bare bones outline of the argument is that the trusts, the legal vehicle that holds the mortgage loan, in virtually all securitizations, elected New York law as the governing law for the trust. New York law is well established and very rigid. A trust can act ONLY as stipulated; any deviation is a “void act” and has no legal force.

But the problem is that the notes appeared not to have gotten to the trust. As we wrote earlier:

…. there is substantial evidence that in many cases, the notes were not conveyed to the trust as stipulated. As we have discussed, the pooling and servicing agreement, which governs who does what when in a mortgage securitization, requires the note (the borrower IOU) to be endorsed (just like a check, signed by one party over to the next), showing the full chain of title. The minimum conveyance chain in recent vintage transactions is A (originator) => B (sponsor) => C (depositor) => D (trust).

The proper conveyance of the note is crucial, since the mortgage, which is the lien, is a mere accessory to the note and can be enforced only by the proper note holder (the legalese is “real party of interest”). The investors in the mortgage securitization relied upon certifications by the trustee for the trust at and post closing that the trust did indeed have the assets that the investors were told it possessed.

The pooling and servicing agreement also provided that the transfers had to take place by a particular cutoff date, which was typically no later than 90 days after the closing of the deal. That means notes cannot be transferred in at a later date.

The ruling is very clear that the note never made it to the trust:

Note that the judge rules that someone can foreclose, but it’s not the trust, it’s the original lender. But that is unacceptable to the mortgage industrial complex. They cannot afford to admit they defrauded investors, which is what a foreclosure in the name of the original lender amounts to.

So when people complain about borrowers getting free houses, they act as if it’s the borrower’s fault. That’s the wrong place to assign blame. No one is saying the borrower does not owe somebody money. And the borrowers aren’t seeking a free house; they usually came to this juncture because they thought their records had overcharges in them or they thought they were a good candidate for a mod but could not get the servicer to consider their case. It’s the originators and packagers who put themselves in the situation of not being able to enforce the debt, not the borrower.

The apparent widespread abandonment of the practice of crossing the ts and dotting the is potentially devastating. If the failure to convey notes properly is as widespread as we have been told by various observers (and Abigail Field’s sample confirms), the mortgage industry has a monstrous problem on its hands. As the Michigan ruling suggests, at a minimum, notes not transferred properly are actually owned by someone earlier in the securitization chain. But no one wants to admit that; it means the investors were lied to and hold paper that does not have clear legal rights to foreclose and that originatorrs, servicers and trustees have committed massive securities fraud. And in a worse case scenario, if no notes were transferred to the trust by closing, there is a contract formation failure.

This is the sword of Damocles hanging over the bond markets. The incumbents, bizarrely, seem intent on pretending it does not exist rather than trying to do something to alleviate the damage.

I’m including the full ruling below since it’s short and readable and I know some readers enjoy court filings.

Hendricks v. US Bank, June 6, 2011

CA BKR DENIES STAY, ORDERS SANCTIONS AGAINST ONEWEST, INDYMAC

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“the Court will not participate in a process where OneWest increases its profits by disobeying the rules of this Court and by providing the Court with erroneous information

NEW NOTE GAMBIT ANGERS JUDGE

EDITOR’S COMMENT: We’ve been watching this for years. If one document doesn’t work, the pretender comes up with another “original” document. They are all fake, fabricated and forged. People have been asking us since 2007, “If what you are saying why are the Judges going along with it? Why are they not levying sanctions, referring the lawyers to the Bar for discipline and referring the banks to the justice system for criminal prosecution?” The simple answer is that the Judges didn’t believe it. They were stuck in the mental trap of believing that the banks would never intentionally do something in court that amounted to perjury, subornation of perjury and fraud. The Judges could not get their heads wrapped around the idea that the banks were in the process of a fraudulent land grab. It just didn’t make sense to them. It seemed far more likely to them, from their prior experience with foreclosures, that the process was largely clerical, that no bank would foreclose if there wasn’t a good reason and it couldn’t be worked out.

In California this attitude was particularly evident but in other states, Neil Garfield and Living lies was cited as the problem because we were filling the media with false statements of law and fact. Fast forward to the present and you see an increasing number of judges getting increasingly bold in switching their position on the banks and allowing for the possibility, even the probability that the homeowners win and the pretenders lose because they are pretenders, interlopers in a process meant to satisfy the requirements of judicial economy but which was being used (nonjudicial) to get around the basic requirements of black letter law and due process requirements contained in every state constitution and the United States Constitution.

Lawyers saw the references to me and my blog and the derisive wording about me, and they got scared that if they argued the same points they too would be the subject of derision, lose credibility with the court, and lose cases. And in fact, they were losing more cases than they were winning because even if they used the material on this blog, even if they got the COMBO title and securitization search, report and analysis that lays out everything chapter and verse, they were still losing — as a direct consequence of (a) Judges prejudging the cases and (b) the lawyers and litigants failing to object immediately as the first words were coming out of the mouths of the lawyers for the pretenders and failing to object to the first documents proffered. Most of all they were losing because they failed to deny the default, deny the right right of the forecloser to be initiating any collection or foreclosure proceeding, and deny that the originating papers were representative of the actual cash transaction that took place.

If you don’t object to an allegation, you are admitting it. If you don’t object to a document, it comes in as “evidence.” And the reason the lawyers were not objecting was that they had the same mindset as the Judges. How could they deny a default when they knew that the homeowner had not made payments on the note and mortgage that was attached as copies to the pleadings of the pretenders? If you don’t make the payments, you’re in default, right? WRONG! A default occurs only if the creditor fails to receive payment, not when the borrower decides to not make the payment. A default exists only if there is a gap in payments that are due, not payments that are shown on a piece of paper. If the payments were made anyway by a third party, there is no default and none can be declared.

And the declarer of the default must be someone who has an interest in the obligation. And the default must reference the obligation which normally is on the loan documents signed at closing but in the case of table funded loans that are enmeshed in a false securitization scheme, those documents do NOT set forth the terms or the parties involved in the transaction — so they can’t be used. If the loan documents at the so-called “closing” can’t be used we are left with an undocumented transaction between the homeowner, who is not known to the investor-lender, and the investors lender who is not known to the homeowner-borrower. They each got a separate set of documents including terms, conditions guarantees, cross collateralization, insurance and other third party payments (from servicers who keep paying in order to collect higher fees for “non-performing” loans. So in terms of documents there was no deal, and if the truth was told to both real parties in interest there wouldn’t have been a deal.

Nonetheless an obligation arose between the homeowner-borrower and the investor lender because the homeowner-borrower received the benefit of funding from the investor-lender, albeit under false pretenses including appraisal fraud at the loan level and ratings fraud at the investment level. The transaction is both undocumented and unsecured. And the obligation is subject to offset from a menu of affirmative defenses, rescission remedies, and counterclaims from the homeowners borrower. The property is now worth a small fraction of what was represented at the loan level closing and the investment level closing. So the investors are ignoring any remedies against homeowners because they don’t want to get tied up in litigation in which their net recovery is negative — i.e., they owe more to the homeowner than the homeowner owes on the obligation.

Enter the pretenders who figure that if the investors don’t want to go after the homes, then the banks will and who will challenge the banks since they appear to be the lenders in these transactions, even if they are not. Their defects in documentation and the facts (they were not included in the money trail of the loan transaction) were glossed over by lawyers and judges and even the media. Now, the Judges are taking a closer look and finding that not only do these pretenders lack standing, not only are they not the real parties in interest, but that that they and their lawyers are probably guilty of intentional fraud on the court and in this case, as well as others across the country, the Judge is ordering sanctions and fines.

FROM STOPFORECLOSURENOW.COM

IN RE ARIZMENDI | CA Bank. Court Denies Stay, Order to Show Cause “Contempt, Sanctions, (2) ONEWEST Notes; 1 Endorsed, 1 Unendorsed” “MERS Assignment”

In re: Jessie M. Arizmendi, Debtor.
OneWest Bank FSB, its assignees and/or successors, Moving Party,
v.
Jessie M. Arizmendi, Debtor; Thomas H. Billingslea, Chapter 13 Trustee; and Indymac Mortgage Services, Junior Lien, Respondents.

Bk. No. 09-19263-PB13, RS No. CNR-2.

United States Bankruptcy Court, S.D. California.

May 26, 2011.

Not for Publication

MEMORANDUM DECISION

LAURA S. TAYLOR, Bankruptcy Judge

EXCERPTS:

Additional Briefing.

At the trial, the Court carefully considered the demeanor of the various witnesses and the testimony provided. In connection with the trial, the Court also reviewed all other evidence and argument appropriately before the Court. Notwithstanding, however, significant questions continued, and the Court required additional briefing in connection with several issues as outlined in the Order Setting Briefing Schedule, Outlining Preliminary Determinations, and Establishing Procedures for Final Resolution of Issues (Dkt. No. 56) (the “Briefing Order”).

OneWest’s post-trial documents provided the analysis and argument required by the Briefing Order. But, these documents also contained factual assertions inconsistent with the OneWest Declaration and the Claim. OneWest now provided a standing argument based on a new version of the Note (the “Endorsed Note”).[3] The Endorsed Note attached an allonge dated July 24, 2007 evidencing a transfer from Original Lender to “IndyMac Bank, FSB” and bore an endorsement in blank from IndyMac Bank F.S.B. OneWest argued in connection therewith that it had enforcement rights under the Endorsed Note as a holder notwithstanding the admittedly accurate testimony at trial indicating that OneWest is a servicer for Freddie Mac and not the secured creditor. The OneWest post-trial memorandum also references a separate agreement with Freddie Mac, but fails to further evidence or discuss this agreement. The OneWest post-trial memorandum, finally, bases a standing argument on physical possession of the Endorsed Note and OneWest’s alleged status as a trust deed beneficiary based on the Assignment.

[…]

But, there are key assumptions that the Court must make in order for this set of facts to withstand scrutiny. And they are that OneWest, in fact, holds the Endorsed Note and held the Endorsed Note at all appropriate points in time. Frankly, the Court is not willing to make such assumptions at this time. OneWest attached the Unendorsed Note to both its Proof of Claim and the Declaration. The Declaration stated under penalty of perjury, that the Unendorsed Note was a true and accurate copy of the Note held by OneWest. The Proof of Claim implicitly stated the same and OneWest, of course, is obligated to provide only accurate information in connection with its Proof of Claim. The problem is that the Unendorsed Note does not bear the endorsement or attach the allonge found on the Endorsed Note, a document produced only after trial and the close of evidence. One West, thus, leaves the Court with the quandary of guessing which promissory note OneWest holds, whether and when One West held the Endorsed Note, and what the explanation is for the failure to provide the Endorsed Note prior to the close of evidence.[10]

A further evidentiary anomaly arises on account of the Assignment; MERS executed this document as a nominee for the Original Lender. But the allonge to the Endorsed Note makes clear that the Original Lender assigned its interests in the Note more than three years prior to execution of the Assignment. And rights under the Trust Deed follow the Note. Polhemas v. Trainer, 30 Cal. 686, 688 (1866). Thus, MERS’ purported assignment of the Trust Deed and the related note as nominee for the Original Lender and without a reference to either IndyMac Bank, FSB or Freddie Mac appears designed to disguise rather than to illuminate the facts.

And finally, even if OneWest’s second post-trial discussion of standing and submission of evidence were accurate, one thing remains clear: OneWest failed to tell the true and complete story in the OneWest Declaration and in the Claim.

The Court is concerned, as a result, that OneWest does not hold the Endorsed Note. But, perhaps more significantly, the Court is concerned that OneWest has determined that business expediency and cost containment are more important than complete candor with the courts. On these points, Ms. Arizmendi has a right to be heard, and the Court has a right to explanation.

Further, this is not the first time that OneWest has provided less than complete information in the Southern District of California. See “Memorandum Decision Re Motion to Vacate Clerk’s Entry of Default and Motion to Dismiss Complaint; Order to Show Cause for Contempt of Court”, docket no. 39, Adv. Pro. 10-90308-MM (In re Doble; Bk. Case No. 10-11296) (Defendants, including OneWest, were neither candid nor credible in explaining failure to respond timely to complaint and submitted multiple and different notes as “true and correct”); “Order to Show Cause Why OneWest Bank, FSB and Its Attorneys Law Offices of Randall Miller and Christopher Hoo Should Not Appear Before the Court to Explain Why They Should Not Be Held in Contempt or Sanctioned”, docket no. 47, In re Carter, Bk. Case No. 10-10257-MM13 (among other things OneWest provides inconsistent evidence as to its servicer status); and “Order After Hearing to Show Cause Why Indymac Mortgage Services; OneWest Bank, FSB; Randall S. Miller & Associates, P.C.; Christopher J. Hoo; Barrett Daffin Frappier Treder & Weiss, LLP; and Darlene C. Vigil Should Not Appear Before the Court to Explain Why They Should Not Be Held in Contempt or Sanctioned”, docket no. 47, In re Telebrico, Bk. No. 10-07643-LA13 (Court concerned that OneWest provided evidence that was either intentionally or recklessly false).

The curious thing about these cases is that OneWest likely would prevail in each of them if it completely and candidly explained the basis for its motion and its standing in connection therewith. Undoubtedly, however, doing so is more costly than using a form declaration that is not customized as to the facts on a case by case basis and that is signed by an uninformed declarant. OneWest perhaps assumes that it really does not matter if the Court provides relief based on erroneous information. But, OneWest should remember an earlier theme in this decision and that is that the law is the law, rules are rules, and both must be obeyed. And, when it becomes clear that OneWest did not obey the rules, the Court can and, indeed, must act.

In short, the Court will not participate in a process where OneWest increases its profits by disobeying the rules of this Court and by providing the Court with erroneous information. The Court, thus, will take two steps. First, the Court will deny the Stay Motion without prejudice based first on the evidentiary problems that make it impossible for the Court to determine that OneWest is properly before the Court and that render evidence critical to OneWest’s prima facie case unreliable and second based on the Court’s inherent authority to regulate and control proceedings. Next, the Court hereafter will issue an order to show cause why One West should not be held in contempt and/or otherwise sanctioned. In connection therewith, the Court will consider a compensatory sanction to include a recovery of any costs Ms. Arizmendi would not have incurred but for OneWest’s improper actions. The compensatory sanction, frankly, could be quite limited. But, the Court also believes that a coercive sanction may well be appropriate. Given the orders to show cause that pre-date the one this Court will issue, it appears that the Court must create an economic disincentive for OneWest that will counter balance the economic benefit of a lack of complete candor. Further detail on the Court’s sanctions considerations will be set forth in the order to show cause and will not be further discussed here.

The Court finally notes that the order to show cause will issue only as to OneWest and possibly as to MERS. OneWest uses a variety of law firms. The Court was in a position to observe the demeanor of the lawyers handling this matter when the witness stated that OneWest was a mere servicer. The Court concludes based on this observation that they were unaware of this fact and unaware that OneWest supplied questionable documentary evidence. And frankly, there is nothing to be gained in pursuing the individual attorneys who must regularly appear in front of this Court. OneWest can simply change counsel and then be less than candid with a new set of attorneys.[11] The Court is interested in modifying OneWest’s behavior at an entity level, and any coercive sanction will be designed to achieve the same.

CONCLUSION

Based on the foregoing, the Stay Motion is denied without prejudice to the right of OneWest to refile a stay relief motion. In so doing, OneWest must provide declaratory evidence that explains when and how it obtained physical possession of the Endorsed Note and/or Unendorsed Note and that otherwise provides case specific evidence of standing given its servicer status.

WAKE UP CALL: COMPTROLLER OF THE CURRENCY STOPS MERS DEAD

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“We’re a nation of laws. Everyone knew that MERS didn’t have the right to appear as a beneficiary, but it would have been inconvenient to act on this because MERS was in widespread use throughout the banking industry. It was wrong, wrong, wrong, but everyone was doing it. Just like they were doing ‘no-doc’ loans and other sleights of hand. Just like the banks were doing so many bad things to homeowners. All they wanted to do was increase their profits – no matter who it hurt or how wrong their practices might be.” — Philip Kramer

BANKS THOUGHT THEY HAD IT FIXED, BUT AGENCY GOES FORWARD ANYWAY

Editorial Note: The agencies are starting to realize that MERS is like a cancer that spread throughout the mortgage markets and spilled over onto the balance sheets of banks who were “members.” The banks that are regulated by OCC now must deal with the fact that their balance sheet assets, many of which are considered to be tier 1 assets are not just downgraded to Tier 3, but in actuality are wiped off completely.

The effect of this action, is to cast doubt, at a minimum, on a substantial amount of the assets on the balance sheets of such banks. This in turn reduces the reserve that banks must keep against lending and other activities. The net effect is going to be a reduction in the size of many banks as they crank down to reflect the reality that has been true all along: the mortgage, notes and obligations claimed on the balance sheet neither existed, nor were they ever assets of the bank.

In turn, the effect on the marketplace and the cases that have gone through the court system and the cases that are going through the court system, is that any MERS mortgage or Deed of Trust is obviously flawed, defective, unenforceable just as we have been saying all along. The effect of naming MERS was the same as naming Donald Duck as Mortgagee or Beneficiary. There was, in effect, no Mortgagee or beneficiary, which means that (a) the loan specified in the promissory note executed by the borrower was never secured by a perfected lien and the Mortgage Deed or Deed of Trust, can now be attacked in a quiet title action, and (b) any foreclosure based upon a MERS deed should be dismissed. This would reduce the “asset” to an unsecured claim against a homeowner who is probably broke, and without any collateral on which to they can rely to mitigate “damages.”

But there are no damages. The effect also includes a probable consequence with respect to the obligation itself. As the agencies unravel this scheme of the illusion of securitization, they are coming to realize that the note itself does not describe the actual transaction that occurred. At a minimum this would allow in parole evidence, but beyond that it creates the presumption that the note was invalid to begin with and was merely a sham instrument used as an excuse for the feeding frenzy that followed the sale of mortgage bonds to investors. Thus not only is the “asset” unsecured, it obviously does not even exist. The real asset is the obligation that arose as a result of the Borrower accepting the benefits of funding of the loan, and that was and remains undocumented, because the real creditors are the investors — no matter how you split hairs.

Since the real creditors are the investors, the asset, if it belongs to anyone, is held strictly for the benefit of the investors who can use said asset as a derivative asset on THEIR balance sheet. In fact, this is what they do. But the investors have marked down the value of their “asset” to whatever claim they have for being tricked into buying empty defective bogus mortgage bonds. The investors, who now know of all the fraud perpetrated against themselves find no difficulty in accepting the fact that the homeowners were deceived as well by the same fraud. Thus the investors, who are the creditors, have chosen NOT to pursue the collection of the obligation against homeowners who have all sorts of affirmative defenses and counterclaims for fraud, violations of statute and a long list of other torts and breaches of contract.

Instead the investors, who are the real creditors in the actual cash transaction, since the money came from them, have elected to sue the investment bankers for 100 cents on the dollar rather than bring a claim against the homeowner for pennies on the dollar, which could morph into a net loss if the damages owed to the homeowner exceed the putative damages owed to the investor for advancing the funds.

Philip Kramer Weighs in on latest settlement agreement between the U.S. government and MERS Corp.Kramer Kaslow: Office of Comptroller of the Currency signs Cease and Desist Order with MERS Corp.

Calabasas, CA (PRWEB) June 03, 2011

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has just signed a Cease and Desist settlement agreement with MERS Corp (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems). Among other things, the Cease and Desist order finds, “We have identified certain deficiencies and unsafe or unsound practices by MERS and MERSCORP that present financial, operational, compliance, legal and reputational risks to MERSCORP and MERS, and to the participating Members.” (OCC No. AA-EC-11-20; Board of Governors; Docket Nos. 11-051-B-SC-1,11-051-B-SC-2; FDIC-11-194bOTS No. 11-040; FHFA No. EAP-11-01)

Noted attorney Philip Kramer, a senior partner at the law firm of Kramer & Kaslow provides insight, “MERS Corp is the owner of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS), one of the cornerstones of the current banking crisis. In order to cut up loans and move the pieces around the world at the speed of electronics again and again and again, until no one is sure who owns what, financial institutions have been using MERS as the “beneficiary”, a legal term which in practical terms means they are entitled to foreclose on behalf of the lender – except MERS is nothing more than an electronic database. They are often named as beneficiary. However in order to legally be named as beneficiary they would have had to put up funds on the loan. Not to mention the fact that the recordation itself is not even official. BUT most importantly, MERS is never a Holder in Due Course.”

Philip Kramer goes on to observe that, “We’re a nation of laws. Everyone knew that MERS didn’t have the right to appear as a beneficiary, but it would have been inconvenient to act on this because MERS was in widespread use throughout the banking industry. It was wrong, wrong, wrong, but everyone was doing it. Just like they were doing ‘no-doc’ loans and other sleights of hand. Just like the banks were doing so many bad things to homeowners. All they wanted to do was increase their profits – no matter who it hurt or how wrong their practices might be.”

The full text of the consent decree can be found at the following URL:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/52972728/MERS-AND-MERSCORP-AGREE-TO-A-CEASE-AND-DESIST-ORDER-OCC-INVOLVED-4-13-2011

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