Looming Title Problems from Fabricated, Fraudulent Forged Documents

The one thing that is perfectly clear is that at some point the state legislatures who govern title to property already have a huge problem brewing under their feet. There is no doubt in my mind, that the solution will follow the example of the Murphy Act in Florida when title became unintelligible some 80 years ago.

The new acts will essentially reset title as of a certain date. All the previous illegal and potentially criminal actions will be ignored. All the people who were swindled out of their life savings will also be ignored, because in the end it is the banks who control legislation, not the people.

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THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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see http://www.vice.com/read/when-you-buy-a-house-but-dont-actually-own-it

You have two problems looming here.

The first and largest problem is that most, nearly all, of the foreclosures were void and fraudulent. The credit bid was accepted from a party who was not the creditor. THAT probably means that any deed on foreclosure was and is void. In some states there is a “statute of limitations” on the void title which is waived if you don’t try to make it right before the one-year statute runs out. In Florida, after one year, you can get damages (i.e., money) but you can’t reclaim your title even from a void, fraudulent foreclosure. Hence the Florida legislature institutionalized fraud in exchange for campaign donations.

The second problem is even worse and might not be correctable by legislation or even a court order. For those who sent a notice of rescission and the “lender” did nothing, there is no doubt that if the rescission was sent within 3 years of the fabricated “closing” that the nonexistent “loan contract” was canceled and the note and mortgage were rendered void as of the date of mailing of the notice of rescission.

Under Federal Law that notice of rescission rendered the mortgage or deed of trust void along with the note. Therefore any action on the loan contract, the note or the mortgage or deed of trust after rescission is void because those “instruments” are void. Void=Nothing. As far as I have been able to determine, there is no statute of limitations on “nothing.”

It gets worse. If the homeowner recorded the rescission, then according to State law, there is notice to the world that title derived from the mortgage is void. And there is no statute of limitations on that either, as far as I can tell.

Anyone who has taken title arising from either of the above scenarios has no title. If and when the day comes that they are forced to defend the illusion of their “title” they will quickly find out that the title insurer will be of no help and will deny coverage. And the same holds true for lenders — but the lenders don’t care because their goal is merely to perpetuate the illusion of securitization.

Nearly all the foreclosures in the past 10 years fall under the first category, the second category or both. Any legislation that deprives the owner of property without due process (i.e., judicial action) violates the 14th Amendment to the constitution.

Judicial action is void if it is based upon nonexistent facts. The facts are nonexistent if they were never proffered in court or found, based upon competent evidence to be true, by the trier of fact. That is missing from virtually all foreclosures.

Accordingly, it is my opinion that this another situation where the constitution be damned. The courts and legislatures are continuing to advance nonsense: the pretense of valid loan contracts, valid notes, valid mortgages and valid foreclosure sales to valid creditors submitting a valid credit bid.

Ask these lawmakers and law interpreters four questions:

  • did you hear or see any evidence that identified the party to whom the payments from the borrower were forwarded?
  • If not, why did you assume that such a party existed and had authorized the parties in court to act on collateral for the benefit of the real creditor?
  • did you hear or see any evidence that connects the real creditors with the parties who appeared in court?
  • If not, why did you assume that such a connection existed with an unidentified entity?

 

Renters and Owners: Beware of Craig’s List

The marketplace is filled with “listings” on Craig’s List for rental of properties at prices that are too good to be true. The scammers are posing as local property owners who actually are out of town. They change the locks, enter the house, and prepare it for sale or rent. The owner comes back and finds a renter who demands that the lease be enforced as to possession, because the scammers were either apparent agents or actual agents of the owners. Suddenly the owner of a parcel becomes embroiled in litigation that takes their home off the market and possibly forces them into foreclosure or bankruptcy.

Prospective renters are taking a risk if they do not confirm the title of the property, the status of the property with respect to foreclosure, and the actual identity of the “broker” and the “owner” demanding proof thereof. If you put down first and last month rent, plus security of whatever, you could be kicked out in a matter of days unless you can show that the owner received some portion of those funds. The funds will never be recovered from thieves who are spending the money as they get it.

More sophisticated scammers are sending deposit checks to the real owner to have them cash it. When that happens, the law enforcement people might have no choice but to call it a civil matter. It is not inconceivable for the renter to challenge the title of the owner in such a situation although the law states otherwise.

The acceptance of the money (consideration) is one thing. But if the complaint says that a stranger stole their identity and then sold or rented the house, they might be opening the door for a challenge to that owner if defective title was acquired in a foreclosure sale that was faked by the banks, or where title was obtained from someone who obtained defective title.There is an open question about the right to challenge title where the sole reason for the eviction alleged is that the title is in the hands of the Plaintiff. Under the rules, a simple denial of that fact is a question of fact that must be heard by the court.

If it stays in a summary eviction proceeding the trial could be in a matter of days. But if the renter files in a higher court using causes of action challenging the right of the present “owner” to challenge the executed transaction because they didn’t suffer any damage (i.e., they didn’t own the house anyway and therefore were not entitled to proceeds of sale or rental)

That being the case, the argument could be made that the “strangers” had as much right to pose as the owners and agents of the named owners with or without their knowledge. Unlikely any renter would win on such an issue but possible that it could get by a motion to dismiss and tie up the property in litigation for months plus appeals.

This is the problem (see Grethen Morgneson’s article in New York Times about MERS) caused by MERS and pretender lenders, none of whom handle any money, accept any payments, or engage in any financial transactions with the homeowner who thinks they are getting a loan from the named payee. They are ALL naked nominees without a stake in the transaction.

The situation gets thick with fog as documents are piled on documents each one reciting that the previous document was valid even though the original document at the base of the pile was invalid, unenforceable and lacked the essential attributes of a valid contract — offer, acceptance of the same terms as the offer, and consideration (funding).

Short Sales Rising Sharply

Whether it is just battle fatigue or simply good business sense, homeowners are looking at short sales, getting cash for keys and trying to get relocation fees to move. The banks are loosening up their standards for short-sales because failure to do so clearly reveals their malevolent intent to steal homes that they could not otherwise get if the judicial system starts operating properly.

That more and more judges are starting to scrutinize the documents and the actual transfer of money from one party to another, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the documents are for a transaction that is non-existent and that the loan is not supported by any documents — because the loan came from a third party with no connection to the loan originator.

Then comes the horrific problem with title which at some point will need to be addressed much as Florida did with the Murphy Act. Title must be reset because at this point there is practically no such thing as clear title as result of the work done by Wall Street.

The title problem can easily be minimized with a signature from the homeowner which is what is required in a short-sale, as opposed to a robo-signature from an unauthroized person signing a deed for the bank in an REO sale.

The last problem is that at the end of this year forgiveness of debt becomes taxable, which is bad for short sales after December 31, 2012. So the rush is on to get them done — but that is probably premature because the law will probably be extended by the lame duck congress after the elections. Everybody seems to want the extension.

See congress working on extension of tax exemption at Rain City Guide Blog by Craig

Wrong Bailout

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Editor’s Comment:

It isn’t in our own mainstream media but the fact is that Europe is verging on  collapse. They are bailing out banks and taking them apart (something which our regulators refuse to do). The very same banks that caused the crisis are the ones that are going to claim they too need another bailout because of international defaults. The article below seems extreme but it might be right on target.

From the start the treatment of the banks had been wrong-headed and controlled by of course the banks themselves. With Jamie Dimon sitting on the Board of Directors of the NY FED, which is the dominatrix in the Federal Reserve system, what else would you expect?

The fact is that, as Iceland and other countries have proven beyond any reasonable doubt, the bailout of the banks is dead wrong and it is equally wrong-headed to give them the continued blank check to pursue business strategies that drain rather than infuse liquidity in economies that are ailing because of intentional acts of the banks to enrich themselves rather than the countries that give them license to exist.

The bailout we proposed every year and every month and practically every day on this blog is the only one that will work: reduce household debt, return things to normalcy (before the fake securitization of mortgages and other consumer and government debt) and without spending a dime of taxpayer money.  The right people will pay for this and the victims will get some measure of relief — enough to jump start economies that are in a death spiral.

Just look at home mortgages. They were based upon layers of lies that are almost endless and that continue through the present. But the principal lie, the one that made all the difference, was that the mortgage bonds were worth something and the real property was worth more than the supposed loans. With only a few exceptions those were blatant lies that are not legal or permissible under any exemption claimed by Wall Street. Our system of laws says that if you steal from someone you pay for it with your liberty and whatever it is you stole is returned to the victim if it still exists. And what exists, is millions of falsely created invalid illegal instruments recorded in title registries all over the country affecting the title of more than 20 million households.

All we need to do is admit it. The loans are unsecured and the only fair way of handling things is to bring all the parties to the table, work out a deal and stop the foreclosures. This isn’t going to happen unless the chief law enforcement officers of each state and the clerks of the title registry offices wake up to the fact that they are part of the problem. It takes guts to audit the title registry like they did in San Francisco and other states, cities and counties. But the reward is that the truth is known and only by knowing the truth will we correct the problem.

The housing market is continuing to suffer because we are living a series of lies. The government, realtors and the banks and servicers all need us to believe these lies because they say that if we admit them, the entire financial system will dissolve. Ask any Joe or Josephine on the street — the financial system has already failed for them. Income inequality has never been worse and history shows that (1) the more the inequality the more power those with wealth possess to keep things going their way and (2) this eventually leads to chaos and violence. As Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence, people will endure almost anything until they just cannot endure it any longer. That time is coming closer than anyone realizes.

Only weeks before France erupted into a bloody revolution with gruesome dispatch of aristocrats, the upper class thought that the masses could be kept in line as long as they were thrown a few crumbs now and then. That behavior of the masses grew from small measures exacted from a resisting government infrastructure to simply taking what they wanted. Out of sheer numbers the aristocracy was unable to fight back against an entire country that was literally up in arms about the unfairness of the system. But even the leaders of the French Revolution and the Merican revolution understood that someone must be in charge and that an infrastructure of laws and enfrocement, confidence in the marketplace and fair dealing must be the status quo. Disturb that and you end up with overthrow of existing authority replaced by nothing of any power or consequence.

Both human nature and history are clear. We can all agree that the those who possess the right stuff should be rich and the rest of us should have a fair shot at getting rich. There is no punishment of the rich or even wealth redistribution. The problem is not wealth inequality. And “class warfare” is not the right word for what is going on — but it might well be the right words if the upper class continue to step on the rest of the people. The problem is that there is no solution to wealth inequality unless the upper class cooperates in bringing order and a fair playing field to the marketplace —- or face the consequences of what people do when they can’t feed, house, educate or protect their children.

LaRouche: The Glass-Steagall Moment Is Upon Us

Spanish collapse can bring down the Trans-Atlantic system this weekend

Abruptly, but lawfully, the Spanish debt crisis has erupted over the past 48 hours into a systemic rupture in the entire trans-Atlantic financial and monetary facade, posing the immediate question: Will the European Monetary Union and the entire trans-Atlantic financial system survive to the end of this holiday weekend?



Late on Friday afternoon, the Spanish government revealed that the cost of bailing out the Bankia bank, which was nationalized on May 9, will now cost Spanish taxpayers nearly 24 billion euro—and rising. Many other Spanish banks are facing imminent collapse or bailout; the autonomous Spanish regions, with gigantic debts of their own, are all now bankrupt and desperate for their own bailout. Over the last week, Spanish and foreign depositors have been pulling their money out of the weakest Spanish banks in a panic, in a repeat of the capital flight out of the Greek banks months ago. 



The situations in Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Ireland are equally on the edge of total disintegration—and the exposure of the big Wall Street banks to this European disintegration is so enormous that there is no portion of the trans-Atlantic system that is exempt from the sudden, crushing reality of this collapse.



Whether or not the system holds together for a few days or weeks more, or whether it literally goes into total meltdown in the coming hours, the moment of truth has arrived, when all options to hold the current system together have run out.

Today, in response to this immediate crisis, American political economist Lyndon LaRouche issued a clarion call to action. Referring to the overall trans-Atlantic financial bubble, in light of the Spanish debt explosion of the past 48 hours, LaRouche pinpointed its significance as follows:

“The rate of collapse now exceeds the rate of the attempts to overtake the collapse. That means that, essentially, the entire European system, in its present form, is in the process of a hopeless degeneration. Now, this is something comparable to what happened in Germany in 1923, and they’ve caught themselves in a trap, where a rate of collapse exceeds the rate of their attempt to overtake yesterday.

“So therefore, we’re in a new situation, and the only solution in Europe, in particular, is Glass-Steagall, or the Glass-Steagall equivalent, with no fooling around. Straight Glass-Steagall — no bailouts! None! In other words, you have to collapse the entire euro system. The entirety of the euro system has to collapse. But it has to collapse in the right way; it has to be a voluntary collapse, which is like a Glass-Steagall process. This means the end of the euro, really. The euro system is about to end, because you can’t sustain it.

“Everything is disintegrating now in Europe. It can be rescued very simply, by a Glass-Steagall type of operation, and then going back to the currencies which existed before. In other words, you need a stable system of currencies, or you can’t have a recovery at all! In other words, if the rate of inflation is higher than the rate of your bailout, then what happens when you try to increase the bailout, you increase the hysteria. You increase the rate of collapse. In other words, the rate of collapse exceeds the rate of bailout.

“And now, you have Spain, and Portugal implicitly, and the situation in Greece. Italy’s going to go in the same direction. So the present system, which Obama’s trying to sustain, in his own peculiar way, is not going to work. There’s no hope for the system. Nor is there any hope for the U.S. system in its present form. The remedies, the problems, are somewhat different between Europe and the United States, but the nature of the disease is the same. They both have the same disease: It’s called the British disease. It’s hyperinflation.

“So, now you’re in a situation where the only way you can avoid a rate of hyperinflation beyond the rate of hyper-collapse is Glass-Steagall, or the equivalent. You have to save something, you have to save the essentials. Well, the essentials are: You take all the things that go into the bailout category, and you cancel them. How do you cancel them? Very simple: Glass-Steagall. Anything that is not fungible in terms of Glass-Steagall categories doesn’t get paid! It doesn’t get unpaid either; it just doesn’t get paid. Because you remove these things from the categories of things that you’re responsible to pay. You’re not responsible to bail out gambling, you’re not responsible to pay out gambling debts.

“Now, the gambling debts are the hyperinflation. So now, we might as well say it: The United States, among other nations, is hopelessly bankrupt.

“But this is the situation! This is what reality is! And what happens, is the entire U.S. government operation is beyond reckoning. It is collapsing! And there’s only one thing you can do: The equivalent of Glass-Steagall: You take those accounts, which are accounts which are worthy, which are essential to society, you freeze the currencies, their prices, and no bailout. And you don’t pay anything that does not correspond to a real credit. It’s the only solution. The point has been reached—it’s here! You’re in a bottomless pit, very much like Germany 1923, Weimar.

“And in any kind of hyperinflation, this is something you come to. And there’s only one way to do it: Get rid of the bad debt! It’s going to have to happen.

“The entire world system is in a crisis. It’s a general breakdown crisis which is centered in the trans-Atlantic community. That’s where the center of the crisis is. So, in the United States, we’re on the verge of a breakdown, a blowout; it can happen at any time. When will it happen, we don’t know, because we’ve seen this kind of thing before, as in 1923 Germany, November-December 1923, this was the situation. And it went on after that, but it’s a breakdown crisis. And that’s it.

“Those who thought there could be a bailout, or they had some recipe that things were going to be fine, that things would be manageable, that’s all gone! You’re now relieved of that great burden. You need have no anxiety about the U.S. dollar. Why worry about it? Either it’s dead or it’s not! And the only way it’s not going to be dead, is by an end of bailout. That’s the situation.

“We don’t know exactly where the breakdown point comes. But it’s coming, because we’re already in a system in which the rate of breakdown is greater than the rate of any bailout possible! And there’s only one way you can do that: Cancel a whole category of obligations! Those that don’t fit the Glass-Steagall standard, or the equivalent of Glass-Steagall standard: Cancel it, immediately! We don’t pay anything on gambling debts. Present us something that’s not a gambling debt, and we may be able to deal with that.”

LaRouche concluded with a stark warning:

“If you think that this system is going to continue, and you can find some way to get out of this problem, you can not get out of this problem, because you are the problem! Your failure to do Glass-Steagall, is the problem. And it’s your failure! Don’t blame somebody else: If you didn’t force through Glass-Steagall, it’s your fault, and it continues to be your fault! It’s your mistake, which is continuing!

“And that’s the situation we have in Europe, and that, really, is also the situation in the United States.

“But that’s where we are! It’s exactly the situation we face now, and there’s no other discussion that really means much, until we can decide to end the bailout, and to absolutely cancel all illegitimate debt—that is, bailout debt!

“There’s only one solution: The solution is, get rid of the illegitimate disease, the hyperinflation! Get rid of the hyperinflationary factor. Cancel the hyperinflation! Don’t pay those debts! Don’t cancel them, just don’t pay them! You declare them outside the economy, outside the responsibility of government: We can no longer afford to sustain you, therefore, you’ll have to find other remedies of your own. That’s where you are. It had to come, it has been coming.”


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Recording and Auctions: AZ Maricopa County Recorder Meets with Homeowners

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Phoenix, May 23, 2012: Last night we had the pleasure of meeting with Helen Purcell, Maricopa County Recorder, after having met with Tom Horne, AZ Attorney General and Ken Bennett, the AZ Secretary of State on issues relating to mortgages, robo-signing, notary fraud, etc.  Many thanks again to Darrell Blomberg whose persistence and gentle demeanor produced these people at a meeting downtown. See upcoming events for Darrell on the Events tab above.

The meeting was video recorded and plenty of people were taking notes. Purcell described the administrative process of challenging documents. By submitting a complaint apparently in any form, if you identify the offending document with particularity and state your grounds, again with particularity, the Recorder’s office is duty bound to review it and make a determination as to whether the document should be “corrected” by an instrument prepared by her office that is attached to the document.

If your complaint refers to deficiencies on the face of the document, the recorder’s office ought to take action. One of the problems here is that the office handles electronic recording via contracts who sign a Memorandum of Understanding with her office and become “trusted submitters.” Title companies, law offices, and banks are among the trusted sources. It appears to me that the mere submission of these documents in electronic form gives rise to the presumption that they are valid even if the notarization is plainly wrong and defective.

If the recording office refuses to review the document, a lawsuit in mandamus would apply to force the recorder to do their job. If they refer matters to the County Attorney’s office, the County Attorney should NOT be permitted to claim attorney client privilege to block the right of the person submitting the document or objection from know the basis of the denial. You have 10 years to challenge a document in terms of notary acknowledgement which means that you can go back to May 24, 2002, as of today.

One thing that readers should keep in mind is that invalidating the notarization does not, in itself, invalidate the documents. Arizona is a race-notice state though which means the first one to the courthouse wins the race. So if you successfully invalidate the notarization then that effectively removes the offending document as a recorded document to be considered in the chain of title. Any OTHER document recorded that was based upon the recording of the offending document would therefore NOT be appropriately received and recorded by the recording office.

So a Substitution of Trustee that was both robo-signed and improperly notarized could theoretically be corrected and then recorded. But between the time that the recorder’s correction is filed (indicating that the document did not meet the standards for recording) and the time of the new amended or corrected document, properly signed and notarized is recorded, there could be OTHER instruments recorded that would make things difficult for a would-be foreclosure by a pretender lender.

The interesting “ringer” here is that the person who signed the original document may no longer be able to sign it because they are unavailable, unemployed, or unwilling to again participate in robosigning. And the notary is going to be very careful about the attestation, making sure they are only attesting to the validity of the signature and not to the power of the person signing it.

It seems that there is an unwritten policy (we are trying to get the Manual through Darrell’s efforts) whereby filings from homeowners who can never file electronically, are reviewed for content. If they in any way interfere with the ability of the pretender lender to foreclose they are sent up to the the County Attorney’s office who invariably states that this is a non-consensual lien even if the word lien doesn’t appear on the document. I asked Ms. Purcell how many documents were rejected if they were filed by trusted submitters. I stated that I doubted if even one in the last month could be cited and that the same answer would apply going back years.

So the county recorder’s office is rejecting submissions by homeowners but not rejecting submissions from banks and certain large law firms and title companies (which she said reduced in number from hundreds to a handful).

What the pretenders are worried about of course, is that anything in the title chain that impairs the quality of title conveyed or to be covered by title insurance would be severely compromised by anything that appears in the title record BEFORE they took any action.

If a document upon which they were relying, through lying, is then discounted by the recording office to be NOT regarded as recorded then any correction after the document filed by the homeowner or anyone else might force them into court to get rid of the impediment. That would essentially convert the non-judicial foreclosure to a judicial foreclosure in which the pretenders would need to plead and prove facts that they neither know or have any evidence to support, most witnesses now being long since fired in downsizing.

The other major thing that Ms Purcell stated was that as to MERS, she was against it from the beginning, she thought there was no need for it, and that it would lead to breaks in the chain of title which in her opinion did happen. When asked she said she had no idea how these breaks could be corrected. She did state that she thought that many “mistakes” occurred in the MERS system, implying that such mistakes would not have occurred if the parties had used the normal public recording system for assignments etc.

And of course you know that this piece of video, while it supports the position taken on this blog for the last 5 years, avoids the subject of why the MERS system was created in the first place. We don’t need to speculate on that anymore.

We know that the MERS system was used as a cloak for multiple sales and assignments of the same loan. The party picked as a “designated hitter” was inserted by persons with access to the system through a virtually non-existence security system in which an individual appointed themselves as the authorized signor for MERS or some member of MERS. We know that these people had no authorized written  instructions from any person in MERS nor in the members organization to execute documents and that if they wanted to, they could just as easily designated any member or any person or any business entity to be the “holder” or “investor.”

The purpose of MERS was to put a grand glaze over the fact that the monetary transactions were actually off the grid of the claimed securitization. The single transaction was between the investor lenders whose money was kept in a trust-like account and then sued to fund mortgages with the homeowner borrower. At not time was that money ever in the chain of securitization.

The monetary transaction is both undocumented and unsecured. At no time was any transaction, including the original note and mortgage (or deed of trust) reciting true facts relating to the loan by the payee of the note or the secured party under the mortgage or deed of trust. And at no time was the payee or secured holder under the mortgage or deed of trust ever expecting to receive any money (other than fees for pretending to be the “bank”) nor did they ever receive any money. At no time did MERS or any of its members handle, disburse or otherwise act even as a conduit for the funding of the loan.

Hence the mortgage or deed of trust secured an obligation to the payee on the note who was not expecting to receive any money nor did they receive any money. The immediate substitution of servicer for the originator to receive money shows that in nearly every securitization case. Any checks or money accidentally sent to the originator under the borrower’s mistaken impression that the originator was the lender (because of fraudulent misrepresentations) were immediately turned over to another party.

The actual party who made the loan was a large group of institutional investors (pension funds etc.) whose money had been illegally pooled into a PONZI scheme and covered over by an entirely fake and fraudulent securitization chain. In my opinion putting the burden of proof on the borrower to defend against a case that has not been alleged, but which should be (or dismissed) is unfair and a denial of due process.

In my opinion you stand a much greater chance of attacking the mortgage rather than the obligation, whether or not it is stated on the note. Admitting the liability is not the same as admitting the note represents the deal that the borrower agreed to. Counsel should object immediately, when the pretender lender through counsel states that the note is or contains a representation of the deal reached by the borrower and the lender. Counsel should state that borrower denies the recitations in the note but admits the existence of an obligation to a lender whose identity was and remains concealed by the pretender in the foreclosure action. The matter is and should be put at issue. If the Judge rules against you, after you deny the validity of the note and the enforceability and validity of the note and mortgage, then he or she is committing reversible error even if the borrower would or probably would lose in the end as the Judge would seem to predict.

Trial is the only way to find out. If the pretenders really can prove the money is owed to them, let them prove it. If that money is theirs, let them prove it. If there is nobody else who would receive that money as the real creditor, let the pretender be subject to discovery. And they MUST prove it because the statute ONLY allows the actual creditor to submit a “credit bid” at auction in lieu of cash. Any auction in which both the identity of the creditor and the amount due was not established was and remains in my opinion subject to attack with a motion to strike the deed on foreclosure (probably on many grounds) based upon failure of consideration, and anyone who bids on the property with actual cash, should be considered the winner of the auction.

DON’T Leave Your Money on the Table

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Editor’s Comment:

The number of people passing up the administrative review process is appallingly low, considering the fact that many if not most homeowners are leaving money on the table — money that should rightfully be paid to them from wrongful foreclosure activity (from robo-signing to outright fraud by having non-creditors take title and possession).

The reason is simple: nobody understands the process including lawyers who have been notoriously deficient in their knowledge of administrative procedures, preferring to stick with the more common judicial context of the courtroom in which many lawyers have demonstrated an appalling lack of skill and preparation, resulting in huge losses to their clients.

The fact is, administrative procedures are easier than court procedures especially where you have mandates like this one. The forms of complaints and evidence are much more informal. It is much harder for the offending party to escape on a procedural technicality without the cause having been heard on the merits. 

The banks were betting on two thngs when they agreed to this review process — that people wouldn’t use it and that even if they used it they would fail to state the obvious: that the money wasn’t due or in default, that it was paid and that only a complete accounting from all parties in the securitization chain could determine whether the original debt was (a) ever secured and (b) still existence. They knew and understood that most people would assume the claim was valid because they knew that the loan was funded and that they had executed papers that called for payments that were not made by the borrower.

But what if the claim isn’t valid? What if the loan was funded entirely outside the papers they signed at closing? What if the payments were not due? What if the payments were not due to this creditor? And what if the payments actually were made on the account and the supposed creditor doesn’t exist any more? Why are you assuming that the paperwork at closing was any more real than the fraudulent paperwork they submitted during foreclosure?

People tend to think that if money exchanged hands that the new creditor would simply slip on the shoes of a secured creditor. Not so. If the secured debt is paid and not purchased then the new debt is unsecured even if the old was secured. But I repeat here that in my opinion the original debt was probably not secured which is to say there was no valid mortgage, note and could be no valid foreclosure without a valid mortgage and default.

Wrongful foreclosure activity includes by definition wrongful auctions and results. Here are some probable pointers about that part of the foreclosure process that were wrongful:

1. Use the fraudulent, forged robosigned documents as corroboration to your case, not the point of the case itself.

2. Deny that the debt was due, that there was any default, that the party iniating the foreclosure was the creditor, that the party iniating the foreclosure had no right to represent the creditor and didn’t represnet the creditor, etc.

3. State that the subsitution of trustee was an unauthorized document if you are in a nonjudicial state.

4. State that the substituted trustee, even if the substitution of trustee was deemed properly executed, named trustees that were not qualified to serve in that they were controlled or owned entities of the new stranger showing up on the scene as a purported “creditor.”

5. State that even if the state deemed that the right to intiate a foreclosure existed with obscure rights to enforce, the pretender lender failed to establish that it was either the lender or the creditor when it submitted the credit bid.

6. State that the credit bid was unsupported by consideration.

7. State that you still own the property legally.

8. State that if the only bid was a credit bid and the credit bid was invalid, accepted perhaps because the auctioneer was a controlled or paid or owned party of the pretender lender, then there was no bid and the house is still yours with full rights of possession.

9. The deed issued from the sale is a nullity known by both the auctioneer and the party submitting the “credit bid.”

10. Demand to see all proof submitted by the other side and all demands for proof by the agency, and whether the agency independently investigated the allegations you made. 

 If you lose, appeal to the lowest possible court with jurisdiction.

Many Eligible Borrowers Passing up Foreclosure Reviews

By Julie Schmit

Months after the first invitations were mailed, only a small percentage of eligible borrowers have accepted a chance to have their foreclosure cases checked for errors and maybe win restitution.

By April 30, fewer than 165,000 people had applied to have their foreclosures checked for mistakes — about 4% of the 4.1 million who received letters about the free reviews late last year, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The reviews were agreed to by 14 major mortgage servicers and federal banking regulators in a settlement last year over alleged foreclosure abuses.

So few people have responded that another mailing to almost 4 million households will go out in early June, reminding them of the July 31 deadline to request a review, OCC spokesman Bryan Hubbard says.

If errors occurred, restitution could run from several hundred dollars to more than $100,000.

The reviews are separate from the $25 billion mortgage-servicing settlement that state and federal officials reached this year.

Anyone who requests a review will get one if they meet certain criteria. Mortgages had to be in the foreclosure process in 2009 or 2010, on a primary residence, and serviced by one of the 14 servicers or their affiliates, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank and Wells Fargo.

More information is at independentforeclosurereview.com.

Even though letters went to more than 4 million households, consumer advocates say follow-up advertising has been ineffective, leading to the low response rate.

Many consumers have also grown wary of foreclosure scams and government foreclosure programs, says Deborah Goldberg of the National Fair Housing Alliance.

“The effort is being made” to reach people, says Paul Leonard, the mortgage servicers’ representative at the Financial Services Roundtable, a trade group. “It’s hard to say why people aren’t responding.”

With this settlement, foreclosure cases will be reviewed one by one by consultants hired by the servicers but monitored by regulators.

With the $25 billion mortgage settlement, borrowers who lost homes to foreclosure will be eligible for payouts from a $1.5 billion fund.

That could mean 750,000 borrowers getting about $2,000 each, federal officials have said.

For more information on that, go to nationalmortgagesettlement.com.

HOAs Retaliate Against Banks Skipping Out on Paying Maintenance Expenses

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Editor’s Comment: 

Having had the experience of representing Condominium Associations, Cooperatives and Homeowners Associations in Florida on a large scale, I am acutely aware of the pain they feel when “neighbors” don’t pay their monthly fees. The rest of the homeowners must pick up the slack and in many cases there were special assessments against the owners to pay for the shortfall.

The Banks, always playing the game, would get their Judgement of Foreclosure and then postpone the actual sale indefinitely because they could and because they didn’t want the liability of association dues, association compliance etc. So Florida actually had to pass a law that required the bank to start paying maintenance after they received a Final Judgment of foreclosure. Apparently, judging from the article below, that law has been rescinded or eviscerated by the intensive bank lobbying going on in all 50 state legislatures and in Congress.

With the foreclosure crisis desiccating entire neighborhoods, it sometimes comes down to a handful of homeowners who are paying the tab for the maintenance of the entire complex. So those homeowners, who were now on the Board of directors of the association jumped in and are now getting the benefits of self-help through renting abandoned homes and condos as though they owned it. In some cases they are turning a profit, attracting new buyers in and getting a pretty good bang for their buck — if they do it right.

You might remember the uproar that occurred when I reported that a number of people were making this situation  into a business model: by renting out at lower rates homes that were abandoned by both the homeowner and the “bank” or other pretender lender that put the home into default and foreclosure, these “entrepreneurs” are making money on assets that don’t belong to them.

That is a bad thing, right? Only if you are not a bank or pretender lender who are doing exactly the same thing. If a non-creditor took title to property by submitting a credit bid, then they don’t have real title. Whether they sell it or rent it out, they are making money off of an asset that was never owned by them and in which they never had any financial interest, risk or loss.

That of course is the problem with the corruption of our title system, and the failure of due process, especially in the non-judicial states where foreclosures are routinely processed on behalf of non-creditors who submit “credit bids” at auction. My answer as previously posted, is that the HOA and the homeowner should collude with each other the same way that the substituted trustees collude with the pretender lender. The  homeowner falls behind in payments causing the association to sue for those payments and to foreclose on the lien. The lawsuit names the homeowner and all other lenders on record reciting in the pleading that the existing mortgage on record has been satisfied or abandoned.

We all know that in many cases the lender of record is a sham corporation that was created to front as straw-man for the real lenders (investors). So the court enters a default against the lender of record, and then awards judgment to the association along with a sale date during which period the homeowner redeems the property with a settlement agreement in which the court quiets title to the homeowner.

At that point, if any party wishes to foreclose, whether they are in a judicial state or otherwise, they must proceed judicially by pleading and proving that they were a real party in interest and that they should have received notice of the foreclosure by the Association. In many cases, where it is institution versus association or another institution the same arguments advanced by homeowners are advanced by the association or institution.

The difference is that the argument coming from a creditor is taken far more seriously by the courts —- all the way up to the Supreme Court of the state (like the Landmark case in Kansas). In all such cases I have reviewed, the court found and was affirmed in its finding that the foreclosure by the first creditor to get to the mat won the case. This is one of several reasons why I have given my permission to start a national law firm rolling out into all 50 states. In a word, “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”

Canceled foreclosure sales saddle neighbors, HOAs with expenses

By Mark Puente

Kathy Lane envisioned a picturesque neighborhood with tree-lined streets when she moved to FishHawk Ranch in 2004.

These days, she stares at an eyesore.

Two doors away, the back yard of an abandoned home overflows with trash; rain pours in open windows; weeds have overgrown the lawn. The pool, filled with black muck, draws swarms of bugs.

“I was expecting well-kept yards,” Lane said. “I live two doors from a dump. If it goes up in flames and catches our house on fire, who is responsible?”

The foreclosure crisis has littered the region with thousands of abandoned homes. The houses sit idle as banks have been slow to seize them in the final stage of the foreclosure process, the public auction.

Although recent headlines proclaim the worst of the housing crisis is over, the decrepit homes are a constant reminder that cleaning up the foreclosure mess remains a work in progress.

The house on Lane’s street in Lithia went into foreclosure in 2008 and has been vacant for more than a year. Aurora Loan Services had set an auction for February but canceled it.

It’s an oft-repeated pattern.

In the last 12 months, lenders have canceled auctions on 4,204 properties in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. Sales have been canceled two, three, even nine times on some homes.

In many cases, banks delay seizures to avoid having to pay maintenance bills or homeowner association fees. Meanwhile, neighbors fend off vandals and thieves and worry about property values falling because of the deteriorating houses.

The repeated cancellations burden the court system.

“These never seem to go away,” said Thomas McGrady, chief judge of the Pinellas-Pasco County Circuit. “It’s a nuisance.”

Taxpayers also pay for the delays.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Herbert Baumann Jr. said the Clerk of Courts’ workers spend hours filing paperwork when banks repeatedly cancel auctions.

“It does create more work,” he said. “Clerks do expend a lot of resources on this.”

• • •

No neighborhood is immune.

Even the tony streets in Tampa’s Avila and St. Petersburg’s Snell Isle have “lost houses.”

While the homes sit in limbo, homeowners associations lose money when lenders delay taking titles. The associations may mow lawns and make minor repairs, but that forces other residents to shoulder higher assessments.

Associations have few options to force lenders to sell the homes.

HOAs can seize properties through foreclosure when owners stop paying monthly assessments. Some go a step further by renting out the seized properties to recoup lost dues. Still, those actions cost the associations thousands in legal fees.

Lane, the FishHawk Ranch resident, is baffled by the banks’ inaction.

“Every day you expect a poltergeist,” she said. “We have to live here.”

She isn’t alone.

Tampa-based Rizzetta & Co. manages more than 100 community associations with 32,000 homes in Florida, including most associations in FishHawk Ranch. The firm has been deluged in recent years with calls about the abandoned homes and delinquent assessments.

Pete Williams, a Rizzetta manager, attributes the canceled auctions to money.

“The banks never want to take ownership,” he said. “They have to pay the fees going forward. The costs are considerable.”

Even McGrady, the Pinellas-Pasco judge, believes money is behind the canceled sales.

“After a while, you begin to question their motives,” the judge said.

• • •

On the flip side, some experts contend that the banks’ slowness helps stabilize the real estate market. Putting thousands of homes for sale at once could depress prices. Letting them trickle to the market brings higher prices.

And some cancellations occur because lenders and homeowners agree to loan modifications or because homeowners and defense attorneys find errors in bank documents.

The cancellations are currently down in Hillsborough and Pinellas. But that’s because lenders halted foreclosures in late 2010 amid allegations they used robo-signers and false documentation to speed up the foreclosure process.

Still, the delays have allowed some owners to live free for years and dodge assessments.

In June 2009, a Pasco judge granted U.S. Bank a final judgment to seize a home in the Valencia Gardens subdivision in Land O’Lakes. U.S. Bank scheduled the auction for September 2009 but has canceled it eight times. The most recent cancellation occurred last month.

The homeowners have lived in the home but have not paid dues to the Valencia Gardens Homeowners Association. The association is objecting to the cancellations and has asked a judge to order the bank to sell the home. Thirty-eight delinquent homeowners owe the association $56,000.

The shortfall has forced the HOA to convert water fountains into flower beds and to scale back on other projects, said Gail Spector, the president.

The group began cracking down on delinquent residents last year by threatening foreclosure lawsuits against them. Spector knows residents have lost jobs but said other homeowners shouldn’t be burdened with the unpaid dues.

“You have to treat everybody the same,” Spector said. “We are fixing and paying for everything. That’s not fair.”

Leonard J. Mankin, a Clearwater-based law firm, represents hundreds of associations across Florida. Attorney Brandon Mullis has asked a judge to sanction U.S. Bank and to force the sale of the home in Valencia Gardens.

It is now common, he said, for banks to cancel auctions seven or eight times in many foreclosure cases.

Mullis questions why lenders file court documents saying they are “negotiating or reviewing for possible loss mitigation options” when the houses have been vacant a year or longer.

He is fighting another case in Palm Harbor. The Bank of New York Mellon has canceled seven auctions — even though the homeowner defaulted on the mortgage in 2008. The bank canceled the seventh auction in February because it wanted to exhaust options to prevent the foreclosure.

Mullis scoffed.

“This action leaves the burden to fall on those neighboring residents who are forced to pay higher assessments while the property next door further deteriorates,” he said.

The Florida Bankers Association disagrees.

Anthony DiMarco, executive vice president, said lenders are overwhelmed with thousands of foreclosures and aren’t cancelling sales to skirt maintenance and assessments.

“They are trying to move cases forward,” he said. “We’d rather keep people in homes.”

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