Can you really call it a loan when the money came from a thief?

The banks were not taking risks. They were making risks and profiting from them. Or another way of looking at it is that with their superior knowledge they were neither taking nor making risks; instead they were creating the illusion of risk when the outcome was virtually certain.

Securitization as practiced by Wall Street and residential “mortgage” loans is not just a void assignment. It is a void loan and an enterprise based completely on steering all “loans” into failure and foreclosure.

Get a consult! 202-838-6345

https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments.
 
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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Perhaps this summary might help some people understand why bad loans were the object of lending instead of good loans. The end result in the process was always to steer everyone into foreclosure.

Don’t use logic and don’t trust anything the banks put on paper. Start with a blank slate — it’s the only way to even start understanding what is happening and what is continuing to happen. The following is what you must keep in mind and returning to for -rereading as you plow through the bank representations. I use names for example only — it’s all the same, with some variations, throughout the 13 banks that were at the center of all this.

  1. The strategic object of the bank plan was to make everyone remote from liability while at the same time being part of multiple transactions — some real and some fictitious. Remote from liability means that the entity won’t be held accountable for its own actions or the actions of other entities that were all part of the scheme.
  2. The goal was simple: take other people’s money and re-characterize it as the banks’ money.
  3. Merrill Lynch approaches institutional investors like pension funds, which are called “stable managed funds.” They have special requirements to undertake the lowest possible risk in every investment. Getting such institutional investors to buy is a signal to the rest of the market that the securities purchased by the stable managed funds must be safe or they wouldn’t have done it.
  4. Merrill Lynch creates a proprietary entity that is neither a subsidiary nor an affiliate because it doesn’t really exist. It is called a REMIC Trust and is portrayed in the prospectus as though it was an independent entity that is under management by a reputable bank acting as Trustee. In order to give the appearance of independence Merrill Lynch hires US Bank to act as Trustee. The Trust is not registered anywhere because it is a common law trust which is only recognized by the laws of the State of New York. US Bank receives a monthly fee for NOT saying that it has no trust duties, and allowing the use of its name in foreclosures.
  5. Merrill Lynch issues a prospectus from the so-called REMIC entity offering the sale of “certificates” to investors who will receive a hybrid “security” that is partly a bond in which interest is due from the Trust to the investor and partly equity (like common stock) in which the owners of the certificates are said to have undivided interests in the assets of the Trust, of which there are none.
  6. The prospectus is a summary of how the securitization will work but it is not subject to SEC regulations because in 1998 an amendment to the securities laws exempted “pass-through” entities from securities regulations is they were backed by mortgage bonds.
  7. Attached to the prospectus is a mortgage loan schedule (MLS). But the body of the prospectus (which few people read) discloses that the MLS is not real and is offered by way of example.
  8. Attached for due diligence review is a copy of the Trust instrument that created the REMIC Trust. It is also called a Pooling and Servicing Agreement to give the illusion that a pool of loans is owned by the Trust and administered by the Trustee, the Master Servicer and other entities who are described as performing different roles.
  9. The PSA does not grant or describe any duties, responsibilities to be performed by US Bank as trustee. Actual control over the Trust assets, if they ever existed, is exercised by the Master Servicer, Merrill Lynch acting through subservicers like Ocwen.
  10. Merrill Lynch procures a triple AAA rating from Moody’s Rating Service, as quasi public entity that grades various securities according to risk assessment. This provides “assurance” to investors that the the REMIC Trust underwritten by Merrill Lynch and sold by a Merrill Lynch affiliate must be safe because Moody’s has always been a reliable rating agency and it is controlled by Federal regulation.
  11. Those institutional investors who actually performed due diligence did not buy the securities.
  12. Most institutional investors were like cattle simply going along with the crowd. And they advanced money for the purported “purchase” of the certificates “issued” by the “REMIC Trust.”
  13. Part of the ratings and part of the investment decision was based upon the fact that the REMIC Trusts would be purchasing loans that had already been seasoned and established as high grade. This was a lie.
  14. For all practical purposes, no REMIC Trust ever bought any loan; and even where the appearance of a purchase was fabricated through documents reflecting a transaction that never occurred, the “purchased” loans were the result of “loan closings” which only happened days before or were fulfilling Agreements in which all such loans were pre-sold — i.e., as early as before even an application for loan had been submitted.
  15. The normal practice required under the securities regulation is that when a company or entity offers securities for sale, the net proceeds of sale go to the issuing entity. This is thought to be axiomatically true on Wall Street. No entity would offer securities that made the entity indebted or owned by others unless they were getting the proceeds of sale of the “securities.”
  16. Merrill Lynch gets the money, sometimes through conduits, that represent proceeds of the sale of the REMIC Trust certificates.
  17. Merrill Lynch does not turn over the proceeds of sale to US Bank as trustee for the Trust. Vague language contained in the PSA reveals that there was an intention to divert or convert the money received from investors to a “dark pool” controlled by Merrill Lynch and not controlled by US Bank or anyone else on behalf of the REMIC Trust.
  18. Merrill Lynch embarks on a nationwide and even world wide sales push to sell complex loan products to homeowners seeking financing. Most of the sales, nearly all, were directed at the loans most likely to fail. This was because Merrill Lynch could create the appearance of compliance with the prospectus and the PSA with respect to the quality of the loan.
  19. More importantly by providing investors with 5% return on their money, Merrill Lynch could lend out 50% of the invested money at 10% and still give the investors the 5% they were expecting (unless the loan did NOT go to foreclosure, in which case the entire balance would be due). The balance due, if any, was taken from the dark pool controlled by Merrill Lynch and consisting entirely of money invested by the institutional investors.
  20. Hence the banks were not taking risks. They were making risks and profiting from them. Or another way of looking at it is that with their superior knowledge they were neither taking nor making risks; instead they were creating the illusion of risk when the outcome was virtually certain.
  21. The use of the name “US Bank, as Trustee” keeps does NOT directly subject US Bank to any liability, knowledge, intention, or anything else, as it was and remains a passive rent-a-name operation in which no loans are ever administered in trust because none were purchased by the Trust, which never got the proceeds of sale of securities and was therefore devoid of any assets or business activity at any time.
  22. The only way for the banks to put a seal of legitimacy on what they were doing — stealing money — was by getting official documents from the court systems approving a foreclosure. Hence every effort was made to push all loans to foreclosure under cover of an illusory modification program in which they occasionally granted real modifications that would qualify as a “workout,” which before the false claims fo securitization of loans, was the industry standard norm.
  23. Thus the foreclosure became extraordinarily important to complete the bank plan. By getting a real facially valid court order or forced sale of the property, the loan could be “legitimately” written off as a failed loan.
  24. The Judgment or Order signed by the Judge and the Clerk deed upon sale at foreclosure auction became a document that (1) was presumptively valid and (b) therefore ratified all the preceding illegal acts.
  25. Thus the worse the loan, the less Merrill Lynch had to lend. The difference between the investment and the amount loaned was sometimes as much as three times the principal due in high risk loans that were covered up and mixed in with what appeared to be conforming loans.
  26. Then Merrill Lynch entered into “private agreements” for sale of the same loans to multiple parties under the guise of a risk management vehicles etc. This accounts for why the notional value of the shadow banking market sky-rocketed to 1 quadrillion dollars when all the fiat money in the world was around $70 trillion — or 7% of the monstrous bubble created in shadow banking. And that is why central banks had no choice but to print money — because all the real money had been siphoned out the economy and into the pockets of the banks and their bankers.
  27. TARP was passed to cover the banks  for their losses due to loan defaults. It quickly became apparent that the banks had no losses from loan defaults because they were never using their own money to originate loans, although they had the ability to make it look like that.
  28. Then TARP was changed to cover the banks for their losses in mortgage bonds and the derivative markets. It quickly became apparent that the banks were not buying mortgage bonds, they were selling them, so they had no such losses there either.
  29. Then TARP was changed again to cover losses from toxic investment vehicles, which would be a reference to what I have described above.
  30. And then to top it off, the Banks convinced our central bankers at the Federal Reserve that they would freeze up credit all over the world unless they received even more money which would allow them to make more loans and ease credit. So the FED purchased mortgage bonds from the non-owning banks to the tune of around $3 Trillion thus far — on top of all the other ill-gotten gains amounting roughly to around 50% of all loans ever originated over the last 20 years.
  31. The claim of losses by the banks was false in all the forms that was represented. There was no easing of credit. And banks have been allowed to conduct foreclosures on loans that violated nearly all lending standards especially including lying about who the creditor is in order to keep everyone “remote” from liability for selling loan products whose central attribute was failure.
  32. Since the certificates issued in the name of the so-called REMIC Trusts were not in fact backed by mortgage loans (EVER) the certificates, the issuers, the underwriters, the master servicers, the trustees et al are NOT qualified for exemption under the 1998 law. The SEC is either asleep on this or has been instructed by three successive presidents to leave the banks alone, which accounts for the failure to jail any of the bankers that essentially committed treason by attacking the economic foundation of our society.

Servicers Using US Bank as Shield From Liability in Fraudulent Foreclosures

The conclusion is that US Bank “as trustee” is a sham entity. it does not exist.

The marketplace is flooded with false representations about the role of US Bank. This becomes abundantly clear when you are made privy to decisions made wherein sanctions were levied against US Bank. It underscores the basic premise that there is no formal loan, and hence that there is no creditor and there is no borrower — a very accurate but  counter-intuitive conclusion.

Get a consult! 202-838-6345

https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments.
 
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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On U.S. Bank I have always had a problem with describing them as a national bank in this context.

While it IS a national bank, it specifically disclaims that it is acting on its own behalf and states that it appears strictly as Trustee for a putative trust. As such it is neither acting as an investment bank nor a commercial bank processing deposits or withdrawals. It COULD perform those services if US Bank received borrower payments on putative loans. But it doesn’t perform those tasks since the records produced in court are ALWAYS those of a third party who claims rights to “service” particular loans including the subject loan.

Further, upon information and belief, US Bank has no knowledge or involvement in the invocation of the name “US Bank.” It uniformly refuses to sign off on any settlement or modification of loans and uniformly avoids sending any employee or officer to any court proceeding involving foreclosure of residential putative loans where it is described as “trustee” of a “trust”.

In addition US Bank has no duties that it is required to perform and no duties that are required by any document or instrument, save the consent to use its name in foreclosure cases. The absence of any duties to perform as Trustee is equivalent to the absence of a Trustee — a basic requirement in the creation of a valid trust.

And the absence of any duties as Trustee is evidence of the absence of any res, another basic requirement for the creation of a trust.

The use of the name “US Bank” is an attempt at “layering” or “laddering” as it is defined in the financial industry, to create a shield from liability on the part of self-proclaimed “servicers” whose authority is entirely dependent upon (1) the existence of a valid trust and (2) the presence of a real trustee.

Thus US Bank is not performing nor required to perform any trustee duties; and the putative trust never entered into any transaction in which the Trust paid for assets. Nor have any third parties contributed assets (owned by such third parties) to the res of the Trust.

Hence the sub rosa third party using the name of US Bank as a shield while the sub rosa third party pursued claims for its own benefit and not the benefit of any trust nor any beneficiaries of the putative trust nor any third party investors. Thus neither the named Trustee (or the named trust) nor the “servicer” had any right, justification or excuse to claim any rights arising out of the receipt of funds or the obligation to repay those funds by the putative borrower.

 

MERS/GMAC Note and Mortgage Discharged

If only all courts would entertain the possibility that everything presented to them should be the subject of intense scrutiny, 90%+ of all foreclosures would have been eliminated. Imagine what the country would look like today if the mortgages and fraudulent foreclosures failed.

The Banks say that if the mortgages failed they all would go bust and that there is nothing to backstop the financial system. The rest of us say that illegal mortgage lending and foreclosures was too high a price to pay for a dubious theory of national security.

Get a consult! 202-838-6345

https://www.vcita.com/v/lendinglies to schedule CONSULT, leave message or make payments.
 
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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I received the email quoted below from David Belanger who, like many others has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that persistence pays off. (BOLD IS EMPHASIS SUPPLIED BY EDITOR)

Besides the obvious the big takeaway for me was what I have been advocating since 2007 — if any company in in the alleged chain of “creditors” has gone out of business, there probably is a bankruptcy involved or an FDIC receivership. Those records are available for inspection. And what those records will show is that the the bankrupt or insolvent entity did not own the debt that arose when you signed documents for the benefit of parties other than the source of funding. It will also show that the bankrupt or insolvent entity did not own the note or mortgage either.

This is instructional for virtually all parties “involved” in a foreclosure but particularly clear in the cases of OneWest, whose entire business plan depended upon fraudulent foreclosures, and Chase Bank who bet heavily on getting away with it and they have, so far. BUT looking at the bankruptcy and receivership filings of IndyMac and WAMU respectively the nature of the fraud was obvious and born out of pure arrogance and apparently a correct perception of invincibility.

All such bankruptcy proceedings and receivership require schedules of assets right down to the last nickle in bankruptcy. Belanger simply looked at the schedule, knowing he never took the loan, and found without surprise that the bankrupt entity never claimed ownership of the debt, note or mortgage.

The big message here though is not just for those who are being pursued in collection for loans they never asked for nor received. The message here is to look at those schedules to see if your debt, note or mortgage is listed. Lying on those forms is a federal felony punishable by jail. Those forms are the closest you are ever going to get to the truth. Odds are your loan is nowhere to be found — even if you did get a loan.

And the second takeaway is the nonexistence of the “trust.” In most cases it never existed. Your “REMIC Trust” was almost certainly formed under the laws of the State of New York or Delaware that permit common law trusts (i.e., trusts that don’t need to be registered with the state in order to exist). BUT uniform trust laws adopted in virtually all states require for the trust to be considered a “person” it needs to have these elements — (1) trustor (2) trustee (3) trust instrument (PSA) and (4) a “thing” (res in Latin) that is committed to the trust by someone who owns the thing. It is the last element that is wholly absent from nearly all REMIC “Trusts.”

And now, David Belanger’s email:

JUST WANTED TO TELL YOU ALL SOMETHING,  THAT I JUST GOT DONE , FROM MERSCORP!  ON OUR PROPERTY THERE WAS A 2d MORTGAGE ON IT, IT WAS A LINE OF CREDIT THAT WE DID NOT DO, AND WE DID REPORT IT TO THE RIGHT AUTHORITY’S, BACK IN 2006/2007. NOW THE COMPANY WAS GMAC MORTGAGE CORP.

OVER THE YRS, FROM 2006 TILL NOW, IT REMAINED ON PROPERTY, UNTIL JUST LAST WEEK, WHEN I DEMANDED THAT MERS DISCHARGE IT.  AND AFTER THEY FOUND OUT IT WAS NEVER ASSIGNED OUT OF MERS, THEY HAD TO DISCHARGE IT. BECAUSE GMAC MORTGAGE IS DEAD.  NOW THIS GO TO WHAT WE ALL HAVE SAID HERE.

ANY ASSIGNMENT THAT HAS NOT BEEN DONE, OR RECORDED AT REGISTRY OF DEEDS, OUT OF MERS, AND THE MORTGAGE COMPANY IS A DEAD MORTGAGE COMPANY. THEN MERS WILL DISCHARGE IT . I HAVE A COPY OF THE DISCHARGE IN HAND.

AM STILL FIGHTING, BECAUSE OF THIS NEWS,  I HAVE ASK MY ATTORNEY TO NO AVAIL TO DO A QWR ON THE COMPANY THAT RECORDED AN ASSIGNMENT IN 2012, EVEN THOUGH GMAC MORTGAGE CORP WAS IN BK AND AFTER GOING THROUGH ALL BK RECORDS OF EACH ENTITY, THAT HAD TO FILE ALL ASSET OF THERE COMPANY, AND FOUND THAT NO ONE IN GMAC HAD THE MORTGAGE AND NOTE, 3 MONTHS PRIOR TO THE ASSIGNMENT BEING PUT ON MY RECORD.
https://www.kccllc.net/rescap/document/1212020120703000000000033

UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW …
http://www.kccllc.net
Southern District of New York, New York In re: GMAC Mortgage, LLC UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT Case No. 12-12032 (MG) B6 Summary (Official Form 6 – Summary) (12/07)

THIS IS AGAIN THE REASON, THIS FRAUD TRUST  DOES NOT EXIST, AND I DO HAVE ALL SECRETARY OF STATES, INCLUDING ALL STATING THAT  THIS FRAUD TRUST IN FACT HAS NEVER
BEEN REGISTERED IN ANY STATE. LET ALONG THE STATE OF DELAWARE, THE STATE THEY SAY IT IS REGISTERED IN.  THE SECRETARY OF STATE SAID NO. AND HAS NEVER BEEN A LEGAL OPERATING TRUST, EVER. SIGNED AND NOTARIZED BY THE SECRETARY. THE FRAUD TRUST NAME IS AS FOLLOWS.
GMACM MORTGAGE LOAN TRUST 2006-J1,

Wells Fargo CEO Forced Out Over Scam Customer Accounts

What is important to recognize is that the presumptions from the bench that the banks would not intentionally commit crimes or violations is wrong. It is important because all legal presumptions are predicated upon the supposition of trustworthiness of the party proffering evidence. This presumption is wrong. The banks have been fabricating accounts, “business records” and claims for years throwing the mortgage market and the economy into a deep recession from which we have still not recovered. We can;t recover until the fraud stops.

see http://www.nationalmortgagenews.com/news/compliance-regulation/wells-fargo-ceo-john-stumpf-steps-down-1088708-1.html

It was the CFPB who uncovered this fraud committed by Wells Fargo. AND by the way the CFPB was NOT ruled unconstitutional. The judge merely declared its structure to be unconstitutional because it was not subject to proper oversight. The same judge in the same opinion said that the agency would continue under oversight of the President.

The well-publicized case of Wells Fargo misconduct doesn’t prove anything as to any particular pending case. But it does point to the fact that Wells Fargo (like other TBTF banks) was and is perfectly willing to engage in false representations and creation of fabricated, forged and false documentation in order to increase the value of its stock. Apparently Wells Fargo decided that its stock price is more important than its brand. Other TBTF banks have done the same.

The creation of false accounts for retail bank customers is identical to the creation of false accounts from institutional investors who were led to believe that their money was being used to fund a new entity (an IPO) into which their their money would be placed for management. The entity was mostly a REMIC Trust that existed only on paper and never received the proceeds of sale of MBS instruments. The REMIC was supposed to acquire loans that had been properly originated and subject to the same underwriting standards as the banks would do if they were lending the money themselves. None of that happened.

The money from the MBS purchasers was instead diverted from the REMIC and used to secretly fund loans and to create the illusion of trading profits that were in actuality theft from those investors. The exorbitant fees arising out the “closing” of each mortgage loan was never disclosed. Had the MBS purchasers and homeowners known the truth, they would have known that the investment bank that created this illusion was diverting trillions of dollars away from the economy and which would be lost forever to both the MBS investors and the homeowners who were pawns in this scheme.

MBS purchasers believed they had accounts with their share of MBS issued by Trusts that were funded with investor money and which then acquired loans. In fact, all that happened, was that false end of month statements were delivered to the MBS purchasers lulling them into a sense of false security. The “closing” documents on the “loans” gave the MBS purchasers no interest in the debt, note or mortgage or deed of trust. The investors were left naked in the wind. The payments they were receiving were coming from part of their own money plus the part of the payments of borrowers. The investment bank and its chain of conduits reaped huge fees for these fictional accounts.

Ditching the CEO is just more PR. He still walks away with a king’s ransom.

NM and Fla Judges Express Doubt Over Whether Loans Ever Made it Into trust

Judges are thinking the unthinkable — that none of the trusts ever acquired anything and that the foreclosures were and are a sham.

THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.

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It isn’t “theory. It is facts, or rather the absence of facts.

As shown in the two articles by Jeff Barnes below, we are obviously reaching the tipping point. First, the presentation of a Trust instrument means nothing if there is no proof the trust was active — and in particular actually purchased the subject loan. And Second, Judges will deny all objections to discovery and will rule for the borrower if the Trust did not acquire the loan.

In ruling this way the two Judges — thousands of miles apart — are obviously recognizing that the long standing bank objection to borrowers’ defenses based upon lack of legal standing absolutely do not apply. It is not a matter of whether the borrower has “standing” to bring up the PSA, it is a matter of whether the trust was party to any real transaction with relation to the subject mortgage. The answer is no. And no amount of extra paper, powers of attorney, assignments, or endorsements can change that.

Judges are thinking the unthinkable — that none of the trusts ever acquired anything and that the foreclosures were and are a sham.

It is probably worth re-publishing this portion from a long article by Adam Levitin written shortly after the Ibanez decision was reached in Massachusetts. Note how he points out that the vast majority of PSAs that are offered as evidence are neither executed nor do they have a mortgage loan schedule that is “reviewable.” The real problem — and the reason why the SEC-filed PSA documents do not have any signatures and why there is no mortgage loan schedule is that there was no transaction in which the Trust acquired the loans. Virtually all assignments are backdated and virtually none of the assignments relate back to any ACTUAL transaction in which the Trust was involved. The banks have been winning on fumes generated by legal inapplicable presumptions. —

It seems to me that any trust with Massachusetts loans that doesn’t have a publicly filed, executed PSA with a reviewable loan schedule should be on a downgrade watch. Very few publicly filed PSAs are executed and even fewer have publicly filed loan schedules. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but somewhere off-line, but if I ran a rating agency, I’d want trustees to show me that they’ve got those papers on at least a sample of deals. Of course should and would are quite different–the ratings agencies, like the regulators, are refusing to take the securitization fail issue as seriously as they should (and I understand that it is a complex legal issue), but I think they ignore it at their (and our) peril

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Excerpts from Barnes’ articles:

A Florida Circuit Judge has gone on the record requiring Wells Fargo, as the claimed “trustee” of a securitized mortgage loan trust, to show that the mortgage loan which WF is attempting to enforce actually went into the PSA, and if not, the standing requirement has not been met and the case will fall on summary judgment. The homeowner is represented by Jeff Barnes, Esq.

The Judge specifically stated as follows:

“…but what I want plaintiff’s counsel to understand, that what you submitted to me with regards to the pooling and servicing agreement still does not have the actual mortgages that went into that pooling and servicing agreement…So at some point you’re going to have to show that this mortgage and note certainly went into that pooling and servicing agreement, which is what I have requested before. …  So I’m just asking you that before we get too far out, please make sure that’s there, or its going to be taken out on summary judgment. … In other words, if you’re a trustee for that pooling and servicing agreement, and the mortgage and note are not in that pooling and servicing agreement, you don’t have standing.”

This ruling not only directly confirms the proof requirements for standing in a securitization case, but supports the production of discovery on the issue as well.


DISCOVERY IS KEY.

The borrower thus requested 53 categories of documents from BAC, including securitization documents. BAC filed a Motion for Protective Order which claimed that public information on the SEC website was “confidential”; that the securitization-related discovery was “irrelevant”; and that it was essentially entitled to withhold discovery because it “has the original note” and has moved for summary judgment on the “relevant” issues.

The Court disagreed, denying BAC’s Motion in its entirety and commanding full responses to the borrower’s discovery request (including production of all responsive documents) within 30 days. The Court found BAC’s Motion to be “sparse”; not in compliance with New Mexico court rules as to discovery; and against New Mexico’s case law which provides for liberal discovery in foreclosure actions so that all of the issues are fully developed and a fair trial is had.

 

A New Mexico District Judge yesterday denied BAC Home Loan Servicing’s Motion for Protective Order which it filed in an attempt to avoid producing documentary discovery to a homeowner who BAC has sued for foreclosure. The loan was originated by New Mexico Bank and Trust, was sold to Countrywide, and thereafter allegedly “assigned” first to MERS and then by MERS to BAC.

Jeff Barnes, Esq., www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com

The Adam Levitin Article on Ibanez and Securitization fail:

Ibanez and Securitization Fail

posted by Adam Levitin

The Ibanez foreclosure decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has gotten a lot of attention since it came down on Friday. The case is, not surprisingly being taken to heart by both bulls and bears. While I don’t think Ibanez is a death blow to the securitization industry, at the very least it should make investors question the party line that’s been coming out of the American Securitization Forum. At the very least it shows that the ASF’s claims in its White Paper and Congressional testimony are wrong on some points, as I’ve argued elsewhere, including on this blog. I would argue that at the very least, Ibanez shows that there is previously undisclosed material risk in all private-label MBS.

The Ibanez case itself is actually very simple. The issue before the court was whether the two securitization trusts could prove a chain of title for the mortgages they were attempting to foreclose on.

There’s broad agreement that absent such a chain of title, they don’t have the right to foreclose–they’d have as much standing as I do relative to the homeowners. The trusts claimed three alternative bases for chain of title:

(1) that the mortgages were transferred via the pooling and servicing agreement (PSA)–basically a contract of sale of the mortgages

(2) that the mortgages were transferred via assignments in blank.

(3) that the mortgages follow the note and transferred via the transfers of the notes.

The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) held that arguments #2 and #3 simply don’t work in Massachusetts. The reasoning here was heavily derived from Massachusetts being a title theory state, but I think a court in a lien theory state could easily reach the same result. It’s hard to predict if other states will adopt the SJC’s reasoning, but it is a unanimous verdict (with an even sharper concurrence) by one of the most highly regarded state courts in the country. The opinion is quite lucid and persuasive, particularly the point that if the wrong plaintiff is named is the foreclosure notice, the homeowner hasn’t received proper notice of the foreclosure.

Regarding #1, the SJC held that a PSA might suffice as a valid assignment of the mortgages, if the PSA is executed and contains a schedule that sufficiently identifies the mortgage in question, and if there is proof that the assignor in the PSA itself held the mortgage. (This last point is nothing more than the old rule of nemo dat–you can’t give what you don’t have. It shows that there has to be a complete chain of title going back to origination.)

On the facts, both mortgages in Ibanez failed these requirements. In one case, the PSA couldn’t even be located(!) and in the other, there was a non-executed copy and the purported loan schedule (not the actual schedule–see Marie McDonnell’s amicus brief to the SJC) didn’t sufficiently identify the loan. Moreover, there was no proof that the mortgage chain of title even got to the depositor (the assignor), without which the PSA is meaningless:

Even if there were an executed trust agreement with the required schedule, US Bank failed to furnish any evidence that the entity assigning the mortgage – Structured Asset Securities Corporation [the depositor] — ever held the mortgage to be assigned. The last assignment of the mortgage on record was from Rose Mortgage to Option One; nothing was submitted to the judge indicating that Option One ever assigned the mortgage to anyone before the foreclosure sale.

So Ibanez means that to foreclosure in Massachusetts, a securitization trust needs to prove:

(1) a complete and unbroken chain of title from origination to securitization trust
(2) an executed PSA
(3) a PSA loan schedule that unambiguously indicates that association of the defaulted mortgage loan with the PSA. Just having the ZIP code or city for the loan won’t suffice. (Lawyers: remember Raffles v. Wichelhaus, the Two Ships Peerless? This is also a Statute of Frauds issue–the banks lost on 1L contract issues!)

I don’t think this is a big victory for the securitization industry–I don’t know of anyone who argues that an executed PSA with sufficiently detailed schedules could not suffice to transfer a mortgage. That’s never been controversial. The real problem is that the schedules often can’t be found or aren’t sufficiently specific. In other words, deal design was fine, deal execution was terrible. Important point to note, however: the SJC did not say that an executed PSA plus valid schedules was sufficient for a transfer; the parties did not raise and the SJC did not address the question of whether there might be additional requirements, like those imposed by the PSA itself.

Now, the SJC did note that a “confirmatory assignment” could be valid, but (and this is s a HUGE but), it:

cannot confirm an assignment that was not validly made earlier or backdate an assignment being made for the first time. Where there is no prior valid assignment, a subsequent assignment by the mortgage holder to the note holder is not a confirmatory assignment because there is no earlier written assignment to confirm.”

In other words, a confirmatory assignment doesn’t get you anything unless you can show an original assignment. I’m afraid that the industry’s focus on the confirmatory assignment language just raises the possibility of fraudulent “confirmatory” assignments, much like the backdated assignments that emerged in the robosigning depositions.

So what does this mean? There’s still a valid mortgage and valid note. So in theory someone can enforce the mortgage and note. But no one can figure out who owns them. There were problems farther upstream in the chain of title in Ibanez (3 non-identical “true original copies” of the mortgage!) that the SJC declined to address because it wasn’t necessary for the outcome of the case. But even without those problems, I’m doubtful that these mortgages will ever be enforced. Actually going back and correcting the paperwork would be hard, neither the trustee nor the servicer has any incentive to do so, and it’s not clear that they can do so legally. Ibanez did not address any of the trust law issues revolving around securitization, but there might be problems assigning defaulted mortgages into REMIC trusts that specifically prohibit the acceptance of defaulted mortgages. Probably not worthwhile risking the REMIC status to try and fix bad paperwork (or at least that’s what I’d advise a trustee). I’m very curious to see how the trusts involved in this case account for the mortgages now.

The Street seemed heartened by a Maine Supreme Judicial Court decision that came out on FridayHarp v. JPM Chase. If they read the damn case, they wouldn’t put any stock in it.

In Harp, a pro se defendant took JPM all the way to the state supreme court. That alone should make investors nervous–there’s going to be a lot of delay from litigation. Harp also didn’t involve a securitized loan. But the critical difference between Harp and Ibanez is that Harp did not involve issues about the validity of chain of title. It was about the timing of the chain of title. Ibanez was about chain of title validity. In Harp JPM commenced a foreclosure and was subsequently assigned a loan. It then brought a summary judgment motion and prevailed. The Maine SJC stated that the foreclosure was improperly commenced, but it ruled for JPM on straightforward grounds: JPM had standing at the time it moved (and was granted) summary judgment. Given the procedural posture of the case, standing at the time of summary judgment, rather than at the commencement of the foreclosure was what mattered, and there was no prejudice to the defendant by the assignment occurring after the foreclosure action was brought, because the defendant had an opportunity to litigate against the real party in interest before judgment was rendered. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court also indicated that it might not be so charitable with improperly foreclosing lenders that were not in the future; JPM benefitted from the lack of clear law on the subject. In short, Harp says that if the title defects are cured before the foreclosure is completed, it’s ok. There’s a very limited cure possibility under Harp, which means that the law is basically what it was before: if you can’t show title, you can’t complete the foreclosure.

What about MERS?

The Ibanez mortgages didn’t involve MERS. MERS was created in part to fix the problem of unrecorded assignments gumming up foreclosures in the early 1990s (and also to avoid payment of local real estate recording fees). In theory, MERS should help, as it should provide a chain of title for the mortgages. Leaving aside the unresolved concerns about whether MERS recordings are valid and for what purposes, MERS only helps to the extent it’s accurate. And that’s a problem because MERS has lots of inaccuracies in the system. MERS does not always report the proper name of loan owners (e.g., “Bank of America,” instead of “Bank of America 2006-1 RMBS Trust”), and I’ve seen lots of cases where the info in the MERS system doesn’t remotely match with the name of either the servicer or the trust bringing the foreclosure. That might be because the mortgage was transferred out of the MERS system, but there’s still an outstanding record in the MERS system, which actually clouds the title. I’m guessing that on balance MERS should help on mortgage title issues, but it’s not a cure-all. And it is critical to note that MERS does nothing for chain of title issues involving notes.

Which brings me to a critical point: Ibanez and Harp involve mortgage chain of title issues, not note chain of title issues. There are plenty of problems with mortgage chain of title. But the note chain of title issues, which relate to trust law questions, are just as, if not more serious. We don’t have any legal rulings on the note chain of title issues. But even the rosiest reading of Ibanez cannot provide any comfort on note chain of title concerns.

So who loses here? In theory, these loans should be put-back to the seller. Will that happen? I’m skeptical. If not, that means that investors will be eating the loss. This case also means that foreclosures in MA (and probably elsewhere) will be harder, which means more delay, which again hurts investors because there will be more servicing advances to be repaid off the top. The servicer and the trustee aren’t necessarily getting off scot free, though. They might get hit with Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act suits from the homeowners (plus anything else a creative lawyer can scrape together). And mortgage insurers might start using this case as an excuse for denying coverage. REO purchasers and title insurers should be feeling a little nervous now, although I doubt that anyone who bought REO before Ibanez will get tossed out of their house if they are living in it. Going forward, though, I don’t think there’s a such thing as a good faith purchaser of REO in MA.

You can’t believe everything you read. Some of the materials coming out of the financial services sector are simply wrong. Three examples:

(1) JPMorgan Chase put out an analyst report this morning claiming the Massachusetts has not adopted the UCC. This is sourced to calls with two law firms. I sure hope JPM didn’t pay for that advice and that it didn’t come from anyone I know. It’s flat out wrong. Massachusetts has adopted the uniform version of Revised Article 9 of the UCC and a non-uniform version of Revised Article 1 of the UCC, but it has adopted the relevant language in Revised Article 1. There’s not a material divergence in the UCC here.
(2) One of my favorite MBS analysts (whom I will not name), put out a report this morning that stated that Ibanez said assignments in blank are fine. Wrong. It said that they are not and never have been valid in Massachusetts:

[In the banks’] reply briefs they conceded that the assignments in blank did not constitute a lawful assignment of the mortgages. Their concession is appropriate. We have long held that a conveyance of real property, such as a mortgage, that does not name the assignee conveys nothing and is void; we do not regard an assignment of land in blank as giving legal title in land to the bearer of the assignment.”

A similar line is coming out of ASF. Courtesy of the American Banker:

Perplexingly, the American Securitization Forum issued a press release hailing the court’s ruling as upholding the validity of assignments in blank. A spokesman for the organization could not be reached to explain its interpretation.

ASF’s credibility seems to really be crumbling here. It’s one thing to disagree with the Massachusetts SJC. It’s another thing to persist in blatant misstatements of black letter law.

(3) Wells and US Bank, the trustees in the Ibanez case, immediately put out statements that they had no liability. Really? I’m not so sure. Trustees certainly have very broad exculpation and very narrow duties. But an inability to produce deal documents strikes me as such a critical error that it might not be covered. Do they really want to litigate a case where the facts make them look like such buffoons? Do they really want daylight shed on the details of their operations? Indeed, absent an executed PSA, I don’t think the trustees have any proof of exculpation. They might be acting, unwittingly, as common law trustees and thus general fiduciaries. I think they’ll settle quickly and quietly with any investors who sue.
Finally, what are the ratings agencies going to do?

It seems to me that any trust with Massachusetts loans that doesn’t have a publicly filed, executed PSA with a reviewable loan schedule should be on a downgrade watch. Very few publicly filed PSAs are executed and even fewer have publicly filed loan schedules. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but somewhere off-line, but if I ran a rating agency, I’d want trustees to show me that they’ve got those papers on at least a sample of deals. Of course should and would are quite different–the ratings agencies, like the regulators, are refusing to take the securitization fail issue as seriously as they should (and I understand that it is a complex legal issue), but I think they ignore it at their (and our) peril

 

One Step Closer:It’s Impossible to Tie Any Investors to Any Loan

The current talking points used by the Banks is that somehow the Trust can enforce the alleged loan even though it is the “investors” who own the loan. But that can only be true if the Trust owns the loan which it doesn’t. And naming the “investors” as the creditor does nothing to clarify the situation — especially when the “investors” cannot be identified.

THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.

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see http://4closurefraud.org/2016/06/07/unsealed-doj-confirms-holders-of-securitized-loans-cannot-be-traced/

I know of a case pending now where US Bank allegedly sued as Trustee of what appears to be named Trust. In Court the corporate representative of the servicer admitted that the creditor was a group of investors that he declined to name. I knew that meant two things: (1) neither he nor anyone else knew which investor was tied to the subject loan and (2) the “Plaintiff” Trust had never acquired the loan and therefore had no business being in court.

The article in the above link demonstrates that not even the FBI could figure out the identity of the investors. And as we have seen across the country whenever the homeowner asks for discovery of the identity of the creditor it is met with multiple objections and claims that the information about the identity of the debtor’s credit is proprietary. This is an absurd claim and it seeks to have the court rubber stamp a blatant violation of Federal and State lending laws which require the disclosure of the identity of the “lender.”

The only thing the article gets wrong is the statement that the loans were sold into a trust. That is obviously false. If the investors are the creditors, then their money was used to fund the origination or acquisition of the loan — without the Trust. Otherwise the Trust would be the creditor. And if the Trust is not the owner of the loan as specified by the Prospectus and Pooling and Servicing Agreement, then it follows that it has no status at all, which means that neither the Trustee nor the servicer have any authority to manage, service or otherwise enforce the alleged loan. The entire strategy of asserting the Trust is a holder of the note is thus unhinged when it is confronted with reality. The whole “standing” argument revolves around this point — that no loan actually made it into any Trust. Many cases have been won by borrowers on that point without the extra step of saying that the creditor is completely unknown.

So the upshot is that there is no known, presumed or identified creditor. Although that seems implausible and counter-intuitive, it is nonetheless true. That doesn’t mean that theoretically there couldn’t be an unsecured claim from the investors to collect from the homeowner under a theory of unjust enrichment, but it does mean that the investors are neither named on the note and mortgage nor are they the current owners of any paper instruments that purport to be evidence of the “debt” — i.e., the note and mortgage. If they are not the current owners of the “debt” originated at closing nor the owners of the paper instruments signed at the alleged closing, then there is no evidence of any contract or privity between the investors and the Trustee or servicer at all. The PSA was ignored which means the entity of the Trust was ignored.  And THAT means lack of standing and lack of any ability to cure it.

Which brings me to one of my earliest articles for this Blog that announced “You Don’t Owe the Money.” Using the step transaction doctrine and single transaction doctrines arising mostly out of tax courts, it was plain as day to me back in 2007 and 2008 that there was no “debt.” And until someone stepped up with an equitable unsecured claim against the homeowner, there wasn’t even a liability. But nobody ever steps up. The banks tell us that is because the whole securitization scheme is to prevent and even prohibit the investors from even making an inquiry into any specific “loans.”

But the real reason is simple and basic — the Trusts were ignored, which means that investor money was deposited with investment banks under false pretenses — the falsehood being that the investors were buying into a specific Trust (which never received any proceeds of sale of the Trust securities) with a specific Mortgage Loan Schedule. The Mortgage Loan Schedule was therefore a complete illusion as an attachment to the Trust because the Trust never had the money to pay for the “pool” of loans. That is why the Mortgage Loan Schedule shows up mainly in litigation in order to confuse the Judge into thinking that somehow it is “facially valid” instead of being the self-serving fabrication of a stranger to the transaction who is engaged in stealing the loans after they already stole the money from investors.

In fact, the “pool” was an ever widening dark dynamic pool of money in which all the money of all investors was commingled with all the other investors of all the alleged Trusts. As I have previously stated the result can be compared to taking an apple, an orange and a banana and setting a food processor on Puree. At the end of that simple process it is impossible for the chef to produce the original apple, orange or banana.

If securitization was real, the banks could have easily done two things that would have completely knocked out any borrower defenses except payment. The first was to show the money chain and the second would be produce the proof that the Trust owned the debt, not the investors. The current talking points used by the Banks is that somehow the Trust can enforce the alleged loan even though it is the “investors” who own the loan. But that can only be true if the Trust owns the loan which it doesn’t. And naming the “investors” as the creditor does nothing to clarify the situation — especially when the “investors” cannot be identified.

As it stands now, the investors continue to allow the banks to act like they are really intermediaries, stealing both the money and the loans that should have been executed in favor of the investors and even allowing claims for collecting “servicer advances” that were not advances (they were return of investor capital) and never came from the servicer. It was and remains a classic PONZI scheme that government is too scared to do anything about and investors are too ignorant of the false securitization (or unwilling to admit human error in failing to do due diligence on the securitization package).

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Who Are the Creditors?

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Since the distributions are made to the alleged trust beneficiaries by the alleged servicers, it is clear that both the conduct and the documents establish the investors as the creditors. The payments are not made into a trust account and the Trustee is neither the payor of the distributions nor is the Trustee in any way authorized or accountable for the distributions. The trust is merely a temporary conduit with no business purpose other than the purchase or origination of loans. In order to prevent the distributions of principal from being treated as ordinary income to the Trust, the REMIC statute allows the Trust to do its business for a period of 90 days after which business operations are effectively closed.

The business is supposed to be financed through the “IPO” sale of mortgage bonds that also convey an undivided interest in the “business” which is the trust. The business consists of purchasing or originating loans within the 90 day window. 90 days is not a lot of time to acquire $2 billion in loans. So it needs to be set up before the start date which is the filing of the required papers with the IRS and SEC and regulatory authorities. This business is not a licensed bank or lender. It has no source of funds other than the IPO issuance of the bonds. Thus the business consists simply of using the proceeds of the IPO for buying or originating loans. Since the Trust and the investors are protected from poor or illegal lending practices, the Trust never directly originates loans. Otherwise the Trust would appear on the original note and mortgage and disclosure documents.

Yet as I have discussed in recent weeks, the money from the “trust beneficiaries” (actually just investors) WAS used to originate loans despite documents and agreements to the contrary. In those documents the investor money was contractually intended to be used to buy mortgage bonds issued by the REMIC Trust. Since the Trusts are NOT claiming to be holders in due course or the owners of the debt, it may be presumed that the Trusts did NOT purchase the loans. And the only reason for them doing that would be that the Trusts did not have the money to buy loans which in turn means that the broker dealers who “sold” mortgage bonds misdirected the money from investors from the Trust to origination and acquisition of loans that ultimately ended up under the control of the broker dealer (investment bank) instead of the Trust.

The problem is that the banks that were originating or buying loans for the Trust didn’t want the risk of the loans and frankly didn’t have the money to fund the purchase or origination of what turned out to be more than 80 million loans. So they used the investor money directly instead of waiting for it to be processed through the trust.

The distribution payments came from the Servicer directly to the investors and not through the Trust, which is not allowed to conduct business after the 90 day cutoff. It was only a small leap to ignore the trust at the beginning — I.e. During the business period (90 days). On paper they pretended that the Trust was involved in the origination and acquisition of loans. But in fact the Trust entities were completely ignored. This is what Adam Levitin called “securitization fail.” Others call it fraud, pure and simple, and that any further action enforcing the documents that refer to fictitious transactions is an attempt at making the courts an instrument for furthering the fraud and protecting the perpetrator from liability, civil and criminal.

And that brings us to the subject of servicer advances. Several people  have commented that the “servicer” who advanced the funds has a right to recover the amounts advanced. If that is true, they ask, then isn’t the “recovery” of those advances a debit to the creditors (investors)? And doesn’t that mean that the claimed default exists? Why should the borrower get the benefit of those advances when the borrower stops paying?

These are great questions. Here is my explanation for why I keep insisting that the default does not exist.

First let’s look at the actual facts and logistics. The servicer is making distribution payments to the investors despite the fact that the borrower has stopped paying on the alleged loan. So on its face, the investors are not experiencing a default and they are not agreeing to pay back the servicer.

The servicer is empowered by vague wording in the Pooling and Servicing Agreement to stop paying the advances when in its sole discretion it determines that the amounts are not recoverable. But it doesn’t say recoverable from whom. It is clear they have no right of action against the creditor/investors. And they have no right to foreclosure proceeds unless there is a foreclosure sale and liquidation of the property to a third party purchaser for value. This means that in the absence of a foreclosure the creditors are happy because they have been paid and the borrower is happy because he isn’t making payments, but the servicer is “loaning” the payments to the borrower without any contracts, agreements or any documents bearing the signature of the borrower. The upshot is that the foreclosure is then in substance an action by the servicer against the borrower claiming to be secured by a mortgage but which in fact is SUPPOSEDLY owned by the Trust or Trust beneficiaries (depending upon which appellate decision or trial court decision you look at).

But these questions are academic because the investors are not the owners of the loan documents. They are the owners of the debt because their money was used directly, not through the Trust, to acquire the debt, without benefit of acquiring the note and mortgage. This can be seen in the stone wall we all hit when we ask for the documents in discovery that would show that the transaction occurred as stated on the note and mortgage or assignment or endorsement.

Thus the amount received by the investors from the “servicers” was in fact not received under contract, because the parties all ignored the existence of the trust entity. It was a voluntary payment received from an inter-meddler who lacked any power or authorization to service or process the loan, the loan payments, or the distributions to investors except by conduct. Ignoring the Trust entity has its consequences. You cannot pick up one end of the stick without picking up the other.

So the claim of the “servicer” is in actuality an action in equity or at law for recovery AGAINST THE BORROWER WITHOUT DOCUMENTATION OF ANY KIND BEARING THE BORROWER’S SIGNATURE. That is because the loans were originated as table funded loans which are “predatory per se” according to Reg Z. Speaking with any mortgage originator they will eventually either refuse to answer or tell you outright that the purpose of the table funded loan was to conceal from the borrower the parties with whom the borrower was actually doing business.

The only reason the “servicer” is claiming and getting the proceeds from foreclosure sales is that the real creditors and the Trust that issued Bonds (but didn’t get paid for them) is that the investors and the Trust are not informed. And according to the contract (PSA, Prospectus etc.) that they don’t know has been ignored, neither the investors nor the Trust or Trustee is allowed to make inquiry. They basically must take what they get and shut up. But they didn’t shut up when they got an inkling of what happened. They sued for FRAUD, not just breach of contract. And they received huge payoffs in settlements (at least some of them did) which were NOT allocated against the amount due to those investors and therefore did not reduce the amount due from the borrower.

Thus the argument about recovery is wrong because there really is no such claim against the investors. There is the possibility of a claim against the borrower for unjust enrichment or similar action, but that is a separate action that arose when the payment was made and was not subject to any agreement that was signed by the borrower. It is a different claim that is not secured by the mortgage or note, even if the  loan documents were valid.

Lastly I should state why I have put the “servicer”in quotes. They are not the servicer if they derive their “authority” from the PSA. They could only be the “servicer” if the Trust acquired the loans. In that case they PSA would affect the servicing of the actual loan. But if the money did not come from the Trust in any manner, shape or form, then the Trust entity has been ignored. Accordingly they are neither the servicer nor do they have any powers, rights, claims or obligations under the PSA.

But the other reason comes from my sources on Wall Street. The service did not and could not have made the “servicer advances.” Another bit of smoke and mirrors from this whole false securitization scheme. The “servicer advances” were advances made by the broker dealer who “sold” (in a false sale) mortgage bonds. The brokers advanced money to an account in which the servicer had access to make distributions along with a distribution report. The distribution reports clearly disclaim any authenticity of the figures used, the status of the loans, the trust or the portfolio of loans (non-existent) as a whole. More smoke and mirrors. So contrary to popular belief the servicer advances were not made by the servicers except as a conduit.

Think about it. Why would you offer to keep the books on a thousand loans and agree to make payments even if the borrowers didn’t pay? There is no reasonable fee for loan processing or payment processing that would compensate the servicer for making those advances. There is no rational business reason for the advance. The reason they agreed to issue the distribution report along with money that was actually under the control of the broker dealer is that they were being given an opportunity, like sharks in a feeding frenzy, to participate in the liquidation proceeds after foreclosure — but only if the loan actually went into foreclosure, which is why most loan modifications are ignored or fail.

Who had a reason to advance money to the creditors even if there was no payment by the borrower? The broker dealer, who wanted to pacify the investors who thought they owned bonds issued by a REMIC Trust that they thought had paid for and owned the loans as holder in due course on their behalf. But it wasn’t just pacification. It was marketing and sales. As long as investors thought the investments were paying off as expected, they would buy more bonds. In the end that is what all this was about — selling more and more bonds, skimming a chunk out of the money advanced by investors — and then setting up loans that had to fail, and if by some reason they didn’t they made sure that the tranche that reportedly owned the loan also was liable for defaults in toxic waste mortgages “approved” for consumers who had no idea what they were signing.

So how do you prove this happened in one particular loan and one particular trust and one particular servicer etc.? You don’t. You announce your theory of the case and demand discovery in which you have wide latitude in what questions you can ask and what documents you can demand — much wider than what will be allowed as areas of inquiry in trial. It is obvious and compelling that asked for proof of the underlying authority, underlying transaction or anything else that is real, your opposition can’t come up with it. Their case falls apart because they don’t own or control the debt, the loan or any of the loan documents.

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