NY Monroe Case: Default entered against homeowner — CASE DISMISSED on Standing — US Bank Never refiled.

multiple choice robo-pleading

NO PLEADING: HOMEOWNER WON ANYWAY

I have held off on discussing this case until some time passed. As far as I now know US Bank, like several cases I won, has not refiled for foreclosure. There is a good reason for that. US Bank is not the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff is named as a REMIC Trust, for which the attorneys claim that US Bank is the Trustee.

As such the Plaintiff does not own nor have any interest in the loan either as owner or servicer. Hence the named trustee (U.S. Bank) is named but it has nothing to do since the trust is nonexistent and in all events no attempt has ever been made to entrust the subject mortgage into the fiduciary hands of U.S Bank.

And THAT is because the only party with an equitable interest in the debt is a group of investors whose money was used to fund the origination or acquisition of the loan. The investors meanwhile think that their money was placed in trust and then used to purchase, not originate, loans.

Every once in a while a wily judge catches on from the face of the documentation. This judge ruled against US Bank as Trustee for a named REMIC Trust because he didn’t believe US Bank or the Trust was actually related to the subject loan. He gave them a chance to correct their pleading, but apparently out of fear of perjury, the lawyers for the nonexistent trust backed off, apparently permanently.

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see Memorandum and Order – USBank Trust NA as Trustee for LSF9 MPT v Monroe

Quoting from the complaint field by lawyers for their supposed client, a nonexistent trust with a completely denuded trustee, the court includes their own allegation in its ruling:

2 (“Plaintiff is the owner and holder of the subject Note and Mortgage or has been delegated authority to institute this Mortgage foreclosure action by the owner and holder of the subject Note and Mortgage.”);

What does that even mean? This is a perfect example of multiple choice robo-pleading. Either the Plaintiff is the owner and holder of the subject note or mortgage or they are not. If they own the debt,  they don’t say as much and certainly didn’t offer any proof at their uncontested hearing on damages. It’s pretty hard to lose an uncontested hearing but US Bank has done it multiple times, as reported in this case.

If they have been delegated authority by the owner and holder of the subject note and mortgage, they fail to say who delegated that authority and how the delegation occurred. Since the express purpose of the trust was to own the debt, note and mortgage and make payments to investors based upon the trust’s ownership of the debt, note and mortgage, Demoting the trust to the status of a conduit or agent would be completely adverse to the express wording and authority granted in the trust.

Actually that kind of wording is exactly what enables the players to claim interest in notes and mortgages adverse to the interests of the parties whose money was directly used to fund the origination and acquisition of loans.

 

Here are some revealing quotes from the District Judge:

The Complaint does not contain any details concerning U.S. Bank’s role as trustee or the powers it has over the trust property (including the mortgage here). (e.s.)

The party asserting subject matter jurisdiction carries the burden of proving its existence by a preponderance of the evidence. E.g., Makarova, 201 F.3d at 113; Augienello v. FDIC, 310 F. Supp. 2d 582, 587–88 (S.D.N.Y. 2004). This is true even on a motion for default judgment, since the principle that a default deems the well-pleaded allegations of the complaint to be admitted is inapplicable when a court doubts the existence of subject matter jurisdiction. Transatlantic Marine, 109 F.3d at 108.

2 While some of these issues were discussed elsewhere by U.S. Bank’s counsel, e.g., Dkt. No. 7, they were not included in the affidavit filed in support of default judgment.

“When a default is entered, the defendant is deemed to have admitted all of the well- pleaded factual allegations in the complaint pertaining to liability.” Bravado Int’l Grp. Merch. Servs., Inc. v. Ninna, Inc., 655 F. Supp. 2d 177, 188 (E.D.N.Y. 2009) (citing Greyhound Exhibitgroup, Inc. v. E.L.U.L. Realty Corp., 973 F.2d 155, 158 (2d Cir. 1992)). “While a default judgment constitutes an admission of liability, the quantum of damages remains to be established by proof unless the amount is liquidated or susceptible of mathematical computation.” Flaks v. Koegel, 504 F.2d 702, 707 (2d Cir. 1974); accord, e.g., Bravado Int’l, 655 F. Supp. 2d at 190. “[E]ven upon default, a court may not rubber-stamp the non-defaulting party’s damages calculation, but rather must ensure that there is a basis for the damages that are sought.” United States v. Hill, No. 12-CV-1413, 2013 WL 474535, at *1 (N.D.N.Y. Feb. 7, 2013)

In the past year, U.S. Bank’s attorneys—Gross Polowy—have repeatedly failed to secure default judgments in similar foreclosure cases before this Court. E.g., U.S. Bank Tr., N.A. v. Dupre, No. 15-CV-558, 2016 WL 5107123 (N.D.N.Y. Sept. 20, 2016) (Kahn, J.); Nationstar Mortg. LLC v. Moody, No. 16-CV-279, 2016 WL 4203514 (N.D.N.Y. Aug. 9, 2016) (Kahn, J.); Nationstar Mortg. LLC v. Pignataro, No. 15-CV-1041, 2016 WL 3647876 (N.D.N.Y. July 1, 2016) (Kahn, J.); cf. Ditech Fin. LLC v. Sterly, No. 15-CV-1455, 2016 WL 7429439, at *4 (N.D.N.Y. Dec. 23, 2016) (denying a motion for default judgment due to a defective notice of pendency); OneWest Bank, N.A. v. Conklin, No. 14-CV-1249, 2015 WL 3646231, at *4 (N.D.N.Y. June 10, 2015) (same). In each case, Gross Polowy’s motion was denied for one of two reasons: either the complaint failed to sufficiently allege subject matter jurisdiction, e.g., Dupre, 2016 WL 5107123, at *2–5, or the motion for default judgment failed to meet the requirements of the Court’s Local Rules, e.g., Moody, 2016 WL 4203514, at *2. Here, both of these failures are present.

The Complaint also includes no allegations concerning U.S. Bank’s ability to proceed under its own citizenship, despite bringing this case on behalf of the “LSF9 Master Participation Trust.” Compl.

While U.S. Bank is the nominal plaintiff in this case, it is longstanding federal law that “court[s] must disregard nominal or formal parties and rest jurisdiction only upon the citizenship of real parties to the controversy.” Navarro Sav. Ass’n v. Lee, 446 U.S. 458, 461 (1980). “Where an agent acts on behalf of a principal, the principal, rather than the agent, has been held to be the real and substantial party to the controversy. As a result, it is the citizenship of the principal—not that of the agent—that controls for diversity purposes.” Hilton Hotels Corp. v. Damornay Antiques, Inc., No. 99-CV-4883, 1999 WL 959371, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 20, 1999) (citing Airlines Reporting Corp. v. S&N Travel, Inc., 58 F.3d 857, 862 (2d Cir. 1995)). At issue here is the application of this rule in lawsuits brought by a trustee on behalf of a trust. —3 Gross Polowy should be aware of this rule because they were “foreclosure counsel” for the plaintiff-appellee in Melina, 827 F.3d at 216–17, though in fairness it seems they were replaced by Hogan Lovells for both the subject matter jurisdiction issue and the subsequent appeal, id. at 216; OneWest Bank, N.A. v. Melina, No. 14-CV-5290, 2015 WL 5098635 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 31, 2015), aff’d, 827 F.3d 214.

In Navarro, the Court held that trustees can be the real parties in controversy—regardless of the type of trust—provided that they “are active trustees whose control over the assets held in their names is real and substantial.” 446 U.S. at 465; see also Carden v. Arkoma Assocs., 494 U.S. 185, 191 (1990) (noting that, if the trustees are “active trustees whose control over the assets held in their names is real and substantial,” they are brought “under the rule, ‘more than 150 years’ old, which permits such trustees ‘to sue in their own right, without regard to the citizenship of the trust beneficiaries’” (quoting Navarro, 446 U.S. at 465–66)). The continued validity of this rule was endorsed by the Court in Americold. 136 S. Ct. at 1016.

If U.S. Bank wishes to proceed in federal court, it must, within thirty (30) days, move to amend its Complaint to address the deficiencies identified in this order. This motion to amend must be prepared in accordance with Local Rule 7.1(a)(4), which establishes the form for such a motion and lists the required papers. With that motion, to resolve the Court’s doubts concerning subject matter jurisdiction, U.S. Bank must also provide its articles of association (along with any other documentation required to establish the location of its main office), the trust instrument for the LSF9 Master Participation Trust,4 and any other documentation required to show that U.S. Bank’s control over the trust assets is real and substantial. Failure to comply with this Memorandum-Decision and Order when moving to amend the Complaint may result in the denial of the motion or sanctions. L.R. 1.1(d).

 

4 In the Dupre case discussed above, U.S. Bank also was instructed to file the trust instrument for the LSF8 Master Participation Trust (presumably another securitization vehicle for mortgage debt) in order to establish subject matter jurisdiction. 2016 WL 5107123, at *2. When it did file the trust instrument, “the text . . . was almost entirely redacted,” and the only visible portion seemed to oppose the notion that U.S. Bank was an active trustee with real and substantial control over the trust assets. Id. at *2, *4. This failure should not be repeated here, and filing documents under seal or with redactions requires advance permission of the Court. L.R. 83.13; see also Lugosh v. Pyramid Co. of Onondaga, 435 F.3d 110, 119–20 (2d Cir. 2006) (describing the standard for restricting public access to judicial documents).

 

RESCISSION: Reviewing Wells Fargo v Frazee, NJ App.

At what point does a final decision of SCOTUS actually mean anything? When confronted with TILA rescission, virtually all lower courts, state and federal, have taken up legislating from the bench, essentially over-ruling the Supreme Court of the United States (literally legally impossible).

Agree or disagree — everyone has that right. But to obey or not obey a SCOTUS decision attacks the foundation of our democratic and judicial institutions and makes the U.S. Constitution into a optional guide to the universe of disputes, delegating the real power to lower courts and removing the power and finality of SCOTUS as delineated in our Constitution.

Opinions like the one reviewed in this article are thus both irrelevant and irreverent — unless we amend or abandon our Constitution as the highest law of the land.

see Wells Fargo v Frazee

This case is just another example of a judicial tantrum defying the ultimate authority of SCOTUS. Unless the Supreme Court itself reverses the Jesinoski decision, it is quite obvious what the next SCOTUS decision is likely to be on the issue of TILA (Truth in Lending Act) rescission 15 USC §1635. Here is what I expect and hope for:

  1. Any court entering a decision or opinion after a notice of notice of TILA Rescission has been delivered must vacate such orders and must dismiss any pending foreclosure.
  2. Failure to dismiss the foreclosure is acting ultra vires — outside their authority.
  3. Dismissal of foreclosure is mandatory inasmuch as notice of TILA rescission removes the operative documents — note and mortgage — from consideration, rendering them void, by operation of law.
  4. As to all prior decisions, judgments and orders that ignored TILA rescission, all such decisions are void, the title consequences of which are left to state legislatures to decide, so long as the Federal Statute is obeyed and the law does not nullify the effect of delivery of a notice of TILA rescission.
  5. Any claims to vacate the effect of the TILA Rescission must be brought within one year from date of delivery.
  6. Neither tender nor a lawsuit is required for TILA rescission to become effective. An Aggrieved party with standing has adequate remedies at law to vacate a notice of TILA rescission, that must be raised as a new claim for relief from TILA rescission  based upon the pleading that the homeowner was wrong in sending the notice.
  7. TILA Rescission is an event, not a claim that a trial or appellate court can grant or deny. The legislature (Congress) has already granted the remedy. As stated in the Jesinoski SCOTUS decision, the statute is clear and unambiguous on its face, thus barring interpretation by a court. That is the difference between the rule of law vs. the rule of man.
  8. The Courts may neither overrule legislative action nor overrule a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. Legislative action may not be overruled by a court unless there are clear violations of constitutional provisions and restrictions.

It’s possible that we will see the above menu in more than one decision from SCOTUS. The essential focus is going to be this: The rule, as stated repeatedly over decades by SCOTUS in admonishments to lower trial and appellate courts is that if it isn’t broken you can’t “fix” it to suit your personal views. 

Now we turn to the unlawful, ultra vires decision of the Superior Court of New Jersey, appellate division in Frazee (See link above).

The Court starts its analysis on page 6.

The opinion of the court is that Wells Fargo had standing because of its possession of the note and mortgage. But the note and mortgage are and were void at the time of this decision. So there is no standing to enforce except by the actual creditor, i.e., the owner of the debt.

This court recognized a potential “issue” (invented by the court, in opposition to the final decision that no court has any authority to interpret the TILA rescission statute). So it creates its own quagmire and falls deeper and deeper into trouble.

The panel obviously recognized that there could be no standing for Wells Fargo unless the TILA rescission could somehow be ignored without a claim to vacate the rescission from a party who owned the debt where the claim was that the rescission was unwarranted because all necessary disclosures had been made.

Diving right in this appellate court immediately misquotes and totally ignores the 2015 Jesinoski decision. It is only by mangling both the statute and the SCOTUS decision that this court can arrive at its predetermined destination. It intentionally misstates the law and effect of Jesinoski. If TILA Rescission was not effective without tender, there would be no TILA rescission.

The whole purpose and methodology of the statutory procedure was to first void the loan contract, second void the encumbrance by operation of law, third void the note, thus allowing the borrower to obtain refinancing from another institution. The key points of the Truth in Lending Act were (1) make certain the borrower knew who he/she was dealing with and (2) make certain the borrower had a fighting chance of understanding the enormously complex loan products being sold, dating back to the 1960’s when TILA was first passed.

In order to be certain these two disclosures were made, Congress had a choice. They could either greatly enlarge an existing agency to enforce these goals, laws and rules, or they could create a new administrative agency. Neither of those choices were remotely acceptable by most legislators. So they agreed on a plan that would force the banks to comply with TILA with consequences so horrendous that no bank in their right mind would transgress.

Enter TILA Rescission. By putting enormous power in the hands of borrowers that shifted the entire burden of pleading and proof to the banks it was thought that banks would comply. The statute provides for an order of things (a statutory scheme not unlike nonjudicial foreclosure) after notice of rescission is delivered. Like nonjudicial foreclosures it is a form of extrajudicial relief for homeowners who believe they were not protected at closing.

Within 20 days they must either comply or seek relief from a court of competent jurisdiction. The statute was designed to completely bar stonewalling. But like any law, if nobody enforces it, the statute does not enforce compliance with the two main goals of disclosure requirements — the identity of the lender and the breakdown of the main characteristics of the proposed loan.

Failing to seek relief puts them in violation of the statute, and enables a borrower to sue to enforce the three statutory duties under TILA rescission: return of the cancelled note, release of encumbrance and return of moneys paid by the borrower. If the borrower does not bring such suit within 1 year he/she loses the right to enforce compliance with those three duties.

THIS DOES NOT CHANGE THE EFFECT OF RESCISSION. THE MORTGAGE AND NOTE ARE STILL VOID BY OPERATION OF LAW.

If the bank does not comply with the three statutory TILA duties the bank has no right to demand tender or any relief. If the banks fails to comply within the same one year, they lose the right to demand the money under any scenario. The court goes off the tracks when it states

“nothing in the Supreme Court’s opinion . . .would override TILA’s tender requirement”. Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 196 F. Supp. 3d 956, 962 (D. Minn. 2016), aff’d, Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., No. 16- 3385, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 4974 (8th Cir. Feb. 28, 2018).

 

That statement on its face is true. But ignores the content of TILA’s tender requirement. It only arises AFTER the “lender” fulfills the three statutory duties.

That is what Congress wrote. That is what they meant. And that was the substitute for an unwieldy bureaucracy.

The court confirms the content of the statute but repeats the tender “error” when it says

With regard to an alleged TILA violation, it is not enough to seek rescission and stop paying the mortgage to gain ownership of the home outright. Defendants argue they own the home outright because Wells Fargo failed to respond to the rescission notice within twenty days. Although failure to respond to a rescission notice within twenty days would constitute another TILA violation, TILA also explicitly states that if a “creditor does not take possession of the property within 20 days after tender by the obligor, ownership of the property vests in the obligor without obligation on his [or her] part to pay for it.” 15 U.S.C. § 1635(b) (emphasis added).

The problem here is the term “own the home outright.” That’s another way of repeating the myth about the “free house.” More importantly it is contradicting the express wording and purpose of the statute — to force banks to comply with TILA disclosure requirements. The ultra vires interpretation of this court, like so many others, gives the banks a way out without ever being penalized for their lack of proper disclosure.

NOTE: THIS DOES NOT CREATE A FREE HOUSE. If the parties seeking foreclosures were not creditors, the actual creditor can still bring an action for legal and equitable relief. But in order to do so, they would need to show that the parties seeking relief were not in any way authorized to do so by the real creditor.

But the court nevertheless faults the homeowner for not tendering even though tender was not due.

 

The erroneous nature of the court’s decision becomes crystal clear when it says

Additionally, Jesinoski did not overturn Third Circuit precedent that “a notice of rescission is not effective if the obligor lacks either the intention or the ability to perform, i.e., repay the loan.” Sherzer v. Homestar Mortg. Servs., 707

F.3d 255, 265 n.7 (3d Cir. 2013). Jesinoski also did not take away a court’s discretion to modify the rescission procedures. See 15 U.S.C. § 1635(b) (stating that the rescission “procedures prescribed by this subsection shall apply except when otherwise ordered by a court”) (emphasis added); see also 12 C.F.R. 226.23(d)(4) (stating that the rescission “procedures outlined in paragraphs (d)(2) and (3) of [§ 226.23] may be modified by court order”) (emphasis added).

It is quoting yet another court who has put blinders on and is disregarding the intentionally punitive aspect of TILA rescission. In most cases the homeowner cannot perform unless the “lender” gives up the note and mortgage and returns money paid under the canceled loan contract. The homeowner can ONLY perform if the deck is cleared for them to get a new loan from a new lender and to apply the proceeds of disgorgement required by the statute.

And to add insult to injury the court is putting yet another constraint on the borrower that TILA does not mention, to wit: the intention of the borrower to perform (tender). Forget the logistics of “intention” which is ridiculous — any such requirement places TILA rescission in the position of a claim instead of the event that the statute says has occurred by operation of law at the moment of delivery of the note of rescission. In direct contradiction to the TILA rescission statute (and SCOTUS in Jesinoski), this requires the borrower to submit to a trial before the rescission is effective.

The bottom line is that it appears that all courts are only interested in treating rescission under common law in which the rescission would only be effective upon a court order after a trial. The fact that the TILA Rescission statute clearly and unquivocably says otherwise won’t stop them, because they have prejudged the case as presenting a choice to the courts that can only be made by the legislature — who pays the price for violation of disclosure requirements under the Truth in Lending Act.

 

Questions to Ask About the Trust and the Trustee

In the final analysis you are looking for evidence of absence of any real events currently presumed as facts in any foreclosure case.

The trustee issue is a jurisdictional issue. If the Plaintiff Trust does not exist, then it has no standing to make or pursue any claims. If the named Trustee is not engaged in the active management of active trust affairs on behalf of the beneficiaries of a trust, then it is not a trustee imbued with the powers to administer assets that have not been conveyed and entrusted to the Trustee.
 *
If the named beneficiaries have received a promise from the named “Trust” and the beneficiaries have expressly disclaimed any interest in the “underlying” loans, notes, mortgages or debts, then they are not beneficiaries and the entity is not a trust. (That fact pattern describes individual contracts with each investor who purchased a promise to pay executed by someone allegedly on behalf of an entity self proclaimed as a trust. If the named entity does not exist then the party who executed the isntruments may have liability for the promise).
 *
Since the Trust has not been identified as having been organized and existing under the laws of any jurisdiction, it is entirely appropriate to ask questions about the existence of the trust and its right to do business in the state or the courts. The second jurisdictional issue is subject matter jurisdiction in which the question is whether the trust owns the indebtedness. I frequently deal with these issues in drafting the substance of documents to be filed with the court, subject to opinion of local counsel.
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If prior demands for discovery are clear the appropriate strategy is to force the issue through a motion to compel. Filing an “amended” request fro discovery probably starts the clock all over again. By the time you get to a demand for sanctions for contempt the case could be over. If it is denied she should consider an interlocutory appeal on the issue of whether the record contains assertions or evidence of the existence of the trust. The only prejudice that could exist would be that the trust doesn’t exist and that “they” (actually the lawyers) would be “prejudiced” because they couldn’t foreclose using the trust name.
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There is no doubt in my mind that one or both narratives are true: (1) the trust doesn’t exist and never did and (2) the loan (i.e., the indebtedness) was never purchased by the trust, acting through tis alleged trustee.
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One of the problems here is that it would be wise, although not essential, to notice the named Trustee for deposition duces tecum. That’s often a problem because most homeowners not appear to have anyone competent to conduct the deposition. In a normal deposition, one MUST ask the witness identifying questions like
  1. What’s your name?
  2. Who do you work for?
  3. What is the relationship between your bank and this trust?
  4. Besides the alleged Prospectus and the alleged PSA, what agreements exist wherein the Trustee bank is obligated to do or receive anything from the trust, directly or indirectly. [This one should be broken up into parts].
  5. Under what jurisdiction was the trust organized?
  6. Under what jurisdiction is the trust now existing?
  7. Who is the trust officer for the trust?
  8. In which department(s) are trust matters generally handled in the Trustee Bank?
  9. In which department(s) are trust matters usually handled in the Trustee Bank for this trust?
  10. Has the Trustee bank published any memos or guidelines concerning the administration of securitization trusts?
  11. Assuming that the word “loan” means the indebtedness of the homeowners here in this case, on what date did US Bank as trustee purchase this loan to hold in trust?
  12. Who was the seller of the debt in that transaction?
  13. Was payment for the loan performed through a financial account held in the name of the Trustee for the alleged trust?
  14. How did US Bank as Trustee for the alleged trust perform due diligence to confirm the existence and ownership of the debt?
  15. Who are the beneficiaries of the alleged trust?
  16. Who is the trustor or settlor of the alleged trust?
  17. What is the date and name of the instrument that purports to create the trust?
  18. Describe the current functions of US Bank as trustee of the alleged trust.
  19. Describe the current assets of the alleged trust.
  20. Describe date and content of the last financial report received by US Bank as trustee for the alleged trust.
Most likely opposing counsel will object to the question’s relevancy at the time deposition is taken. But relevancy is not even a question at deposition which is by nature a fishing expedition. Even if opposing counsel was right that the question does not directly relate to proof of a fact asserted at trial, you are still entitled to inquire because it might lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

Impact of Serial Asset Sales on Investors and Borrowers

The real parties in interest are trying to make money, not recover it.

The Wilmington Trust case illustrates why borrower defenses and investor claims are closely aligned and raises some interesting questions. The big question is what do you do with an empty box at the bottom of an organizational chart or worse an empty box existing off the organizational chart and off balance sheet?

At the base of this is one simple notion. The creation and execution of articles of incorporation does not create the corporation until they are submitted to a regulatory authority that in turn can vouch for the fact that the corporation has in fact been created. But even then that doesn’t mean that the corporation is anything more than a shell. That is why we call them shell corporations.

The same holds true for trusts which must have beneficiaries, a trustor, a trust instrument, and a trustee that is actively engaged in managing the assets of the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Without the elements being satisfied in real life, the trust does not exist and should not be treated as though it did exist.

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About Neil F Garfield, M.B.A., J.D.

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The banks have been pulling the wool over our eyes for two decades, pretending that the name of a REMIC Trust invokes and creates its existence. They have done the same with named Trustees and asserted “Master Servicers” of the asserted trust. Without a Trustor passing title to money or property to the named Trustee, there is nothing in trust.

Therefore whatever duties, obligations, powers or restrictions that exist under the asserted trust instrument do not apply to assets that have not been entrusted to the trustee to administer for the benefit of named beneficiaries.

The named Trustee or Servicer has nothing to claim if their claim derives from the existence of a trust. And of course a nonexistent trust has no claim against borrowers in which the beneficiaries of the trust, if they exist, have disclaimed any interest in the debt, note or mortgage.

The serial nature of asserted transfers in which servicing rights, claims for recovery of servicer advances, and purported ownership of note and mortgage is well known and leaves most people, including judges and regulators scratching their heads.

An assignment of mortgage without a a transfer of the indebtedness that is claimed to be secured by a mortgage or deed of trust means nothing. It is a statement by one party, lacking in any authority to another party. It says I hereby transfer to you the power to enforce the mortgage or deed of trust. It does not say you can keep the proceeds of enforcement and it does not identify the party to whom the debt will be paid as proceeds of liquidation of the home at or after the foreclosure sale.

As it turns out, many times the liquidation results in surplus funds — i.e., proceeds in excess of the asserted debt. That should be turned over to the borrower, but it isn’t; and that has spawned a whole new cottage industry of services offering to reclaim the surplus proceeds.

In most cases the proceeds are less than the amount demanded. But there are proceeds. Those are frequently swallowed whole by the real party in interest in the foreclosure — the asserted Master Servicer who claims the proceeds as recovery of servicer advances without the slightest evidence that the asserted Master Servicer ever paid anything nor that the asserted Master Servicer would be out of pocket in the event the “recovery” of “servicer advances” failed.

The foreclosure of the property proceeds with full knowledge that whatever the result, there are no creditors who will receive any money or benefit. The real parties are trying to make money, not recover it. And whatever proceeds or benefits might arise from the foreclosure action are grabbed by a party in a self-proclaimed assertion that while the foreclosure was brought in the name of a trust, the proceeds go to a different third party in derogation of the interests of the asserted trusts and the alleged investors in those trusts who are somehow not beneficiaries.

So investors purchase certificates in which the fine print usually says that for their own protection they disclaim any interest in the underlying debt, note or mortgages. Accordingly we have a trust without beneficiaries.

The existence of those debts, notes or mortgages becomes irrelevant to the investors because they have a promise from a trustee who is indemnified on behalf of a trust that owns nothing. The certificates are backed by assets of any kind. Even if they were “backed” by assets, the supposed beneficiaries have disclaimed such interests.

Thus not only does the trust own nothing even the prospect of security has been traded off to other investors who paid money on the expectation of revenue from the notes and mortgages claimed by the asserted trust through its named trustee.

In the end you have a name of a trust that is unregistered and never asserted to be organized and existing under the laws of any jurisdiction, trustee who has no duties and even if such duties were present the asserted trust instrument strips away all trustee functions, no beneficiaries, and no res, and no active business requiring administration nor any business record of such activity.

Yet the trust is the entity that  is chosen as the named Plaintiff in foreclosures. But the way it reads one is bound to believe that assumption that is not and never was true or even asserted: that the case involves the trustee bank for anything more than window dressing.

It is the serial nature of the falsely asserted transfers that obscures the real parties in interest in both securities transactions with investors and loans with borrowers. The unavoidable conclusion is that nothing asserted by the banks (players in  falsely claimed securitization schemes) is real.

Fla 2d DCA: HELOC Instrument Not Self-Authenticating Article 3 Note

Just because an instrument is not self-authenticating doesn’t mean it can’t be authenticated. Here the Plaintiff could not authenticate the note without the legal presumption of self-authentication and all the legal presumptions that follow.  And that is the point here. They came to court without evidence and in this case the court turned them away.

Florida courts, along with courts around the country, are gradually inching their way to the application of existing law, thus eroding the dominant premise that if the Plaintiff is a bank, they should win, regardless of law.

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Let us help you plan and draft your answers, affirmative defenses, discovery requests and defense narrative:

954-451-1230 or 202-838-6345. Ask for a Consult.

REGISTRATION FORM: You will make things a lot easier on us and yourself if you fill out the registration form. It’s free without any obligation. No advertisements, no restrictions. The consult is important to determine how we may be of assistance in the drafting and filing of documents in court or complaints directed to law enforcement.

Purchase audio seminar now — Neil Garfield’s Mastering Discovery and Evidence in Foreclosure Defense including 3.5 hours of lecture, questions and answers, plus course materials that include PowerPoint Presentations.

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

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see HELOC Not Negotiable Instrument and Therefore Not Self Authenticating

This decision is neither novel nor complicated. A note can be admitted into evidence as self-authenticating without extrinsic evidence (parol evidence) IF it is a negotiable instrument under the State adoption of the UCC as State Law.

The inquiry as to whether a promissory note is a negotiable instrument is simple:

  • Does the body of the note claim to memorialize an unconditional promise
  • to pay a fixed amount
  • (editor’s addition) to an identified Payee? [This part is assumed since the status of the “lender” depends upon how and why it came into possession of the note.]

A note memorializing a line of credit is. by definition, not a fixed amount. Case closed, the “lender” lost and it was affirmed in this decision. There was no other choice.

The only reason why this became an issue was because counsel for the homeowner timely raised a clearly worded objection to the note as not being a negotiable instrument and therefore not being self-authenticating. And without the note, the mortgage, which is not a negotiable instrument, is meaningless anyway.

This left the foreclosing party with the requirement that they prove their case with real evidence and not be allowed to avoid that burden of proof using legal presumptions arising from the facial validity of  a negotiable instrument.

The typical response from the foreclosing party essentially boils down to this: “Come on Judge we all know the note was signed, we all know the payments stopped, we all know that the loan is in default. Why should we clog up the court system using legal technicalities.”

What is important about this case is the court’s position on that “argument” (to ignore the law and just get on with it). “This distinction is not esoteric legalese. Florida law is clear that a “negotiable instrument” is “an unconditional promise or order to pay a fixed amount of money, with or without interest or other charges described in the promise or order.”§ 673.1041(1), Fla. Stat. (2012) (emphasis added).”

So THAT means that if the trial court is acting properly it will apply the laws of the state and THAT requires the court to rule based upon the UCC and cases involving
negotiable instruments.

But none of that invalidated the note or mortgage, nor should it. THAT is where it gets interesting. By denying the note as a self authenticating instrument the court was merely requiring the foreclosing party to proffer actual evidence regarding the terms of the note, including the manner in which it was acquired and how the foreclosing party is an injured party — a presumption that is no longer present when the note is denied admission into evidence as a self authenticating negotiable instrument.

The foreclosing party was unable to produce any testimony or exhibits demonstrating the prima facie case. Why? Because they are not and never were a creditor nor are they agent or representative of the actual party to whom the subject underlying DEBT was owed.

 

Florida law requires the authentication of a document prior to its admission into evidence. See § 90.901, Fla. Stat. (2012) (“Authentication or identification of evidence is required as a condition precedent to its admissibility.”); Mills v. Baker, 664 So. 2d 1054, 1057 (Fla. 2d DCA 1995); see, e.g., DiSalvo v. SunTrust Mortg., Inc., 115 So. 3d 438, 439-40 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013) (holding that unauthenticated default letters from lender could not be considered in mortgage foreclosure summary judgment). Proffered evidence is authenticated when its proponent introduces sufficient evidence “to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims.” § 90.901; Coday v. State, 946 So. 2d 988, 1000 (Fla. 2006) (“While section 90.901 requires the authentication or identification of a document prior to its admission into evidence, the requirements of this section are satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the document in question is what its proponent claims.”).

There are a number of recognized exceptions to the authentication requirement. One, as relevant here, relates to commercial paper under the Uniform Commercial Code, codified in chapters 678 to 680 of the Florida Statutes. “Commercial papers and signatures thereon and documents relating to them [are self-authenticating], to the extent provided in the Uniform Commercial Code.” § 90.902(8); see, e.g., U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n for BAFC 2007-4 v. Roseman, 214 So. 3d 728, 733 (Fla 4th DCA 2017) (reversing the trial court’s denial of the admission of the original note in part because the note was self-authenticating); Hidden Ridge Condo. Homeowners Ass’n v. Onewest Bank, N.A., 183 So. 3d 1266, 1269 n.3 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016) (stating that because the endorsed note was self-authenticating as a commercial paper, extrinsic evidence of authenticity was not required as a condition precedent…

We cannot bicker with the proposition that “for over a century . . . the Florida Supreme Court has held [promissory notes secured by a mortgage] are negotiable instruments. And every District Court of Appeal in Florida has affirmed this principle.” HSBC Bank USA, Nat’l Ass’n v. Buset, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D305, 306 (Fla. 3d DCA Feb. 7, 2018) (citation omitted). That is as far as we can travel with Third Federal.

The HELOC note is not a self-authenticating negotiable instrument. By its own terms, the note established a “credit limit” of up to $40,000 from which the Koulouvarises could “request an advance . . . at any time.” Further, the note provided that “[a]ll advances and other obligations . . . will reduce your available credit.” The HELOC note was not an unconditional promise to pay a fixed amount of money. Rather, it established “[t]he maximum amount of borrowing power extended to a borrower by a given lender, to be drawn upon by the borrower as needed.” See Line of Credit, Black’s Law Dictionary, 949 (8th ed. 1999).

This distinction is not esoteric legalese. Florida law is clear that a “negotiable instrument” is “an unconditional promise or order to pay a fixed amount of money, with or without interest or other charges described in the promise or order.”§ 673.1041(1), Fla. Stat. (2012) (emphasis added).

Homeowners Sue SPS in Class Action Over Failure to Mitigate

Thousands of cases like this one have pointed out that SPS and other servicers like Ocwen do not consult with any investor, do not evaluate the case for settlement, modification or mitigation. The answer to questions arising from the unwillingness of those companies to comply with law stems from the fact that the  vast majority of their income comes from undisclosed third parties (the TBTF Banks).

TBTF Banks (BofA, Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi, etc.) do not want settlements or modifications or anything that will make the loan start performing. Subservicers like SPS and Ocwen are used as conduits to other conduits that provides window dressing for claims of compliance or efforts to comply.

Contrary to common sense nobody wants a settlement or modification. The players would rather have the value of the alleged loan reduced to zero or less in the case of foreclosures requiring the bank to maintain the property without any hope of selling it. Common sense says that faced with a value of ZERO versus a value of $200,000, for example, any normal business would select the obvious —- $200,000.

The most extreme cases are where the modification is deemed approved and a new servicer comes in to dishonor it and forecloses, even though the homeowner made the trial payments. Yet Petitions to Enforce the modification agreement are rare; but when they are filed they are usually successful. And in many of those cases the modification is modified for a greater principal reduction than was originally offered.

GET A CONSULT

FREE RESEARCH: Go to our home page and enter subject in search bar.

GO TO LENDINGLIES to order forms and services. Our forensic report is called “TERA“— “Title and Encumbrance Report and Analysis.” I personally review each of them for edits and comments before they are released.

Let us help you plan and draft your answers, affirmative defenses, discovery requests and defense narrative:

954-451-1230 or 202-838-6345. Ask for a Consult.

REGISTRATION FORM: You will make things a lot easier on us and yourself if you fill out the registration form. It’s free without any obligation. No advertisements, no restrictions. The consult is important to determine how we may be of assistance in the drafting and filing of documents in court or complaints directed to law enforcement.

Purchase audio seminar now — Neil Garfield’s Mastering Discovery and Evidence in Foreclosure Defense including 3.5 hours of lecture, questions and answers, plus course materials that include PowerPoint Presentations.

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

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Whether or not the class gets certified or settled the suit brings up certain salient points which again give rise to the most common question of all, to wit: “Why is that?”

The answer is hiding in plain sight: None of these parties represent a creditor or owner of the debt . All of them represent undisclosed third parties who are making money hand over fist in the shadow banking market. A completed foreclosure represents the first and only valid legal document in their long train of lies promulgated by piles of fabricated, forged, robo-signed paper. The justice system isn’t always right but it is always final. That is the game the banks are playing.

If SPS or Ocwen actually was set up to help homeowners avoid foreclosure and preserve the value of the loan receivable they would lose virtually all their business. A performing loan would change the makeup of the pools that the players claim to have created. All the re-sales of the same loan would be based upon a loan, even if it existed at one time, that doesn’t exist presently.

So the players NEED that foreclosure not for investors or a trust that doesn’t exist, but for themselves because most of the proceeds of the re-sales of the same loan went the TBTF Banks. They want to preserve their ill-gotten gains rather than do anything that could possibly benefit investors. And the best way they can do that is with an Order or Judgment signed by a duly authorized judge in a court of competent jurisdiction — not with a modification.

Practice Hint: If you see a case that has been ongoing for 8-10 years that is a strong indicator that the investors have received a settlement and no loner have any claim for payment and/or that the “Master Servicer” is continuing to allow payments to investors out of a pool of investor money — i.e., a Ponzi scheme. Those continuing payments have been inappropriately named “servicer advances.” They are not “advances” because it is merely return of investor capital. And since the payments come from an investor pool of cash the payments are not from the servicer since the money came from the same or other investors.

They are called servicer advances because using that name fictitiously allows the “Master Servicer’ (actually the underwriter of the certificates) to claim a “recovery” of “servicer advances.” The recovery is ONLY allowed after sale of the property after a foreclosure where the buyer is a BFP.

So for example if payments to investors attributed to the subject loan are $2,000 per month, 10 years worth of “servicer advances” results in a “recovery claim” of $240,000. Generally that is enough to wipe out any equity. The investors get nothing. The foreclosure was actually for the sole interest and benefit of the banks, not the investors. And the homeowner again finds himself used as a pawn for others to make money over the rotting carcass of what was once his home.

Hence the trial strategy suggested would be drilling down on whether the trust is receiving payment from a “third party,” whether that party has rights of subrogation or is satisfied by some other fee or revenue. If you get anywhere near this issue the bank will fold up like a used tent. They will pay for confidentiality.

“Boarding Loans:” Centralized “Processing” at LPS (Black Knight)

It’s complicated. But as this article proudly states, Black Knight is a leading “fintech” company, meaning that it handles the technology and software for “servicing” loans in default. This is the same company that, through DOCX literally published a menu of prices for fabrication and robosigning documents several years back.

My point has been that based upon my investigations, there is no loan boarding. It is a complete fiction. This is hub and spoke management. The hub is Black Knight. “Boarding” actually consists of changing the user name and password, and perhaps not even that. So discovery should include inquiries as to whether Black Knight (or others like it) are the ones involved in the so-called transfer of data.

Consider this quote from the article: “MSP is a comprehensive, end-to-end system that encompasses all aspects of servicing – from loan boarding to default – for first mortgages and home equity loans.” (e.s.)

GO TO LENDINGLIES to order forms and services. Our forensic report is called “TERA“— “Title and Encumbrance Report and Analysis.” I personally review each of them for edits and comments before they are released.

Let us help you plan your answers, affirmative defenses, discovery requests and defense narrative:

954-451-1230 or 202-838-6345. Ask for a Consult. You will make things a lot easier on us and yourself if you fill out the registration form. It’s free without any obligation. No advertisements, no restrictions.

Purchase audio seminar now — Neil Garfield’s Mastering Discovery and Evidence in Foreclosure Defense including 3.5 hours of lecture, questions and answers, plus course materials that include PowerPoint Presentations.

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

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see Boarding on Home Point Financial and Black Knight

Among the names you should be digging for is “LoanSphere.” Check this out

In addition to MSP, Home Point Financial also implemented:

  • LoanSphere Bankruptcy, which assists servicers’ management of the bankruptcy process by using workflow and servicer-defined rules to automate bankruptcy-related tasks;
  • LoanSphere Foreclosure, which uses workflow and automated, servicer-defined rules to help servicers with the foreclosure process; and
  • LoanSphere Invoicing, a web-based invoice management solution that consolidates invoice process tasks – from bill presentment and processing to post-payment activities.

They are hiding in plain sight comfortable in the knowledge that practically nobody will understand what they are really doing. This is “servicing” for the servicers. Not for the trust, not for the investors, not for the beneficiaries (if there are any), not for the obligee of the debt owed by the homeowner, not for anyone except themselves.

The naming of a trust as beneficiary under a deed of trust or mortgagee under a mortgage is in actuality the underwriter of RMBS doing business as the name of the trust, — which is a name of a presumed entity that in fact does not exist. In fact no transaction in the name of the trust occurred in which the trust paid money for any debt, note or mortgage. Thus no proceeds from the foreclosure go to the trust. Just ask.

The changing of servicers is merely a game to set up more layers and more curtains with the goal of increasing opacity. In actuality the servicers are merely pretenders acting under orders of the underwriter for the sale of fake bonds and promises issued by a “Trust” that neither exists nor receives the proceeds of sale of securities issued in its name.

Practice Hint — the issue is always legal standing: QUESTION FOR CROSS EXAMINATION: Who will receive the proceeds of liquidation of the property after foreclosure sale? HINT: IT CAN’T BE THE TRUST BECAUSE IT DOESN’T EVEN HAVE BANK ACCOUNT. Will the trust receive the proceeds? Will the beneficiaries receive the proceeds? Will the Trustee receive the proceeds? Will the Master Servicer receive the proceeds? How will the trust or the beneficiaries receive any money from the proceeds of liquidation of the property?

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