LivingLies’ Neil Garfield Post on Fannie and Freddie

New post on Livinglies’s Weblog

 

Fannie and Freddie Demand $6 Billion for Sale of “Faulty Mortgage Bonds”

by Neil Garfield

You read the news on one settlement after another, it sounds like the pound of flesh is being exacted from the culprits again and again. This time the FHFA, as owner of Fannie and Freddie, is going for a settlement with Bank of America for sale of “faulty mortgage bonds.” And most people sit back and think that justice is being done. It isn’t. $6 Billion is window dressing on a liability that is at least 100 times that amount. And stock analysts take comfort that the legal problems for the banks has basically been discounted already. It hasn’t.

For practitioners who defend mortgage foreclosures, you must dig a little deeper. The term “faulty mortgage bonds” is a euphemism. Look at the complaints there filed. When they are filed by agencies it means that after investigation they have arrived at the conclusion that something was. very wrong with the sale of mortgage bonds. That is an administrative finding that concluded there was at least probable cause for finding that the mortgage bonds were defective and potentially were criminal.

So what does “defective” or “faulty” mean? Neither the media nor the press releases from the agencies or the banks tell us what was wrong with the bonds. But if you look at the complaints of the agencies, they tell you what they mean. If you look at the investor lawsuits you see that they are alleging that the notes and mortgages were “unenforceable.” Both the agencies and the investors filed complaints alleging that the mortgage bonds were a farce, sham or in other words, a PONZI Scheme.

Why is that important to foreclosure defense? Digging deeper you will find what I have been reporting on this blog. The investors money was not used to fund the REMIC trusts. The unfunded trusts never had the money to buy or fund the origination of bonds. The notes and mortgages were never sold to the Trusts even though “assignments” were executed and shown in court. The assignments themselves were either backdated or violated the 90 day cutoff that under applicable law (the laws of the State of New York) are VOID and not voidable.

What to do? File Freedom of Information Act requests for the findings, allegations and names of investigators for the agency that were involved in the agency action. Take their deposition. Get documents. Find put what mortgages were looked at and which bond series were involved. Get a list of the mortgages and the bonds that were examined. Get the findings on each mortgage and each mortgage bond. Use the the investor allegations as lender admissions admissions in court — that the notes and mortgages are unenforceable.

There is a disconnect between what is going on at the top of the sham securitization chain and what went on in sham mortgage originations and sham sales of loans. They never happened in the real world, no matter how much paper you throw at it.

And that just doesn’t apply to mortgages in default — it applies to all mortgages, which is why all the mortgages that currently exist, and most of the deeds that show ownership of the property have clouded and probably “defective” and “faulty” titles. It’s clear logic that the government and the banks are seeking to avoid, to wit: that if the way in which the money was raised to fund the loans or purchase the loans were defective, then it follows that there are defects in the chain of title and the money trail that were obviously not disclosed, as per the requirements of TILA and Reg Z.

And when you keep digging in discovery you will find out that your client has some clear remedies to collect the profits and compensation paid to undisclosed recipients arising out of the closing of the “loan.” These are offsets to the amount claimed as due. If the loan was not funded by the Trust, then the false paper trail used by the banks in foreclosure is subject to successful attack. If the loans were in fact funded directly by the trust complying with the REMIC provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, then the payee on the note and the mortgagee on the mortgage would be the trust — or if the loan was actually purchased, the Trust would have issued money to the seller (something that never happened).

And lastly, for now, let us look at the capital structure of these banks. A substantial portion of their capital derives from assets in the form of mortgage bonds. This is the most blatant lie of all of them. No underwriter buys the securities issued by the company seeking financing through an offering to investors. It is an oxymoron. The whole purpose of the underwriter was to create securities that would be appealing to investors. The securities are only issued when you have a buyer for them, and then the investor is the owner of the security — in this case mortgage bonds.

The bonds are not issued to the investment bank as an asset of the investment bank. But they ARE issued to the investment bank in “street name.” That is merely to facilitate trading and delivery of certificates which in most cases in the mortgage bond market don’t exist. The issuance in street name does not mean the banks own the mortgage bonds any more than when you a stock and the title is issued in street name mean that you have loaned or gifted the investment to the investment bank.

If you follow the logic of the investment bank then the deposits of money by depository customers could be claimed as assets — without the required entry in the liabilities section of the balance sheet because every dollar on deposit is a liability to pay those monies on demand, which is why checking accounts are referred to as demand deposits.

Hence the “asset” has been entered on the investment bank balance sheet without the corresponding liability on the other side of their balance sheet. And THAT remains that under cover of Federal Reserve purchase of these bonds from the banks, who don’t own the bonds, the value of the bonds is 100 cents on the dollar and the owner is the bank — a living lies fundamental. When the illusion collapses, the banks are coming down with it. You can only go so far lying to the public and the investment community. Eventually the reality is these banks are underfunded, under capitalized and still being propped up by quantitative easing disguised as the purchase of mortgage bonds at the rate of $85 Billion per month.

We need to be preparing for the collapse of the illusion and get the other financial institutions — 7,000 community and regional banks and credit unions — ready to take on the changes caused by the absence of the so-called major banks who are really fictitious entities without a foundation related to economic reality. The backbone is already available — electronic funds transfer is as available to the smallest bank as it is to the largest. It is an outright lie that we need the TBTF banks. They have failed and cannot recover because of the enormity of the lies they told the world. It’s over.

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DOC X IN HOT WATER AGAIN!!!

STATE OF MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL
BILL SCHUETTE FILES CRIMINAL CHARGES
AGAINST FORMER MORTGAGE PROCESSOR
PRESIDENT FOR ROLE IN FRAUDULENT
ROBOSIGNING
http://www.michigan.gov/ag/0,4534,7-164-46849_47203-290350–,00.html

http://www.linkedin.com/osview/canvas?_ch_page_id=1&_ch_panel_id=1&_ch_app_id=49029150&_applicationId=103900&appParams=%7B%22document%22%3A%22cf986799-3863-43e3-91bd-69e1d8db8438%22%2C%22method%22%3A%22document.view%22%2C%22layout%22%3A%22layout_blank%22%2C%22target%22%3A%22blank_content%22%2C%22surface%22%3A%22canvas%22%7D&_ownerId=57736655&completeUrlHash=_Vxg
November 26, 2012

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced he charged Lorraine Brown, former president of mortgage document processor DocX, with racketeering for her alleged role in authorizing the fraudulent signing of mortgage documents filed in Michigan. The felony charge comes as the result
of an ongoing Attorney General investigation into questionable mortgage documentation filed with Michigan’s Register of Deeds offices during the foreclosure crisis.
“Shortcuts like robo-signing are just one piece of the mortgage foreclosure crisis,” said Schuette. “Our investigation remains ongoing, and we will bring to justice every lawbreaker we find.”
In April 2011, Schuette launched an investigation after county officials across the state reported that they suspected Assignment of Mortgage documents filed in their offices may have been forged. A “60 Minutes” news broadcast had shown that the name “Linda Green” was signed to thousands of mortgage-related documents nationwide, but with many different variations in handwriting. County officials in Michigan reviewed their files and found similar documents, thus raising questions about the authenticity of the documents filed.
As part of his investigation, Schuette reviewed documents filed in Michigan and prepared by DocX, a document processing company located in Georgia. DocX processed mortgage assignments and lien releases for residential lenders and servicers nationwide. Schuette’s investigation revealed that former DocX president Lorraine Brown, 51, of Alpharetta, Georgia, allegedly established and orchestrated a widespread scheme of “robo-signing,” a practice in which employees were directed to fraudulently sign another authorized person’s name on mortgage documents in order to execute these documents as quickly as possible.
Internally, DocX identified this practice as “facsimile signing” or “surrogate signing.” Schuette alleges that from 2006 through 2009, these improperly executed documents were created and recorded at Brown’s direction. Schuette’s investigation revealed that more than 1,000 unauthorized and improperly executed documents were filed with county registers of deeds throughout Michigan.
Lorraine Brown has been charged with one count of Conducting Criminal Enterprises (Racketeering), a 20-year felony, in Kent County’s 61st District Court. Arrangements are being made for Brown to surrender to Michigan authorities, and arraignment will be scheduled at a later date.
In 2010, DocX suspended operations, halting its work as a mortgage document processor. Schuette noted that while the criminal charges against Brown address her role in the scheme, his office’s overall investigation into robosigning remains ongoing and is not yet complete.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendants are
presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

The Securitization Curtain is Lifting in Hawaii! | Deadly Clear

Deadly Clear

Derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction… potentially lethal. -Warren Buffet

The Securitization Curtain is Lifting in Hawaii!

Posted on March 29, 2012 by Deadly Clear

“One of the most important decisions for Borrowers Rights in the history of Hawaii has been made with this decision,” remarked Honolulu attorney Gary Dubin. Honorable Judge J. Michael Seabright of the Hawaii United States District Court, today GRANTED the homeowners’ Motion to Dismiss the case filed against them in federal district court by Plaintiff Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee Morgan Stanley ABS Capital I Inc. Trust 2007-NC1 Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2007-NC1.

The Williamses (Leigafoalii Tafue Williams and Papu Christopher Williams), who were represented by Honolulu attorney, James J. Bickerton (Jim), of Bickerton Lee Dang & Sullivan, filed a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), in which they argue, among other things, that Plaintiff has no standing to foreclose because it has not established that it was validly assigned the Mortgage and Note.

The Court noted that: “Because the court finds that Plaintiff has failed to establish its standing to bring this action, the court need not reach the Williamses’ other arguments for dismissal.”

Honorable Judge J. Michael Seabright gets it! And his ORDER was detailed. In the Discussion, Judge Seabright notes an argument that homeowners have being trying to persuade the courts (especially at the lower state levels) to grasp: STANDING and JURISDICTION.

Standing is a requirement grounded in Article III of the United States Constitution, and a defect in standing cannot be waived by the parties. Chapman v. Pier 1 Imports (US.) Inc., 631 F.3d 939,954 (9th Cir. 2011). A litigant must have both constitutional standing and prudential standing for a federal court to exercise jurisdiction over the case. Elk Grove Unified Sch. Dist. v. Newdow, 542 U.S. 1, 11 (2004). Constitutional standing requires the plaintiff to “show that the conduct of which he complains has caused him to suffer an ‘injury in fact’ that a favorable judgment will redress.” Id. at 12. In comparison, “prudential standing encompasses the general prohibition on a litigant’s raising another person’s legal rights.” Id. (citation and quotation signals omitted); see also Oregon v. Legal Servs. Corp., 552 F.3d 965, 971 (9th Cir. 2009).”

Let’s continue – but we’ll get back to that injury issue later in the post.

The WILLIAMSES’ ORDER continues: “The Williamses factually attack Plaintiff’s prudential standing to foreclose, arguing that there is no evidence establishing that Plaintiff was validly assigned the Mortgage and Note on the subject property. The issue of whether Plaintiff was validly assigned the Mortgage and Note is inextricably intertwined with the merits of the Plaintiffs claims seeking to foreclose…”

Of course, this was a New Century Mortgage (Home123) and the Plaintiffs were taking part in a fabricated assignment in 2009 to a 2007 Trust… (that boat had sailed 2 years before because theTrust had long since closed) – but even more compelling in the Motion to Dismiss-Memorandum was the Williamses assertion that New Century aka Home123 was in a liquidating bankruptcy as of August 1, 2008 and they had nothing to assign in January 2009.

Deutsche argued that the Williamses were not parties or beneficiaries to the assignment such that they cannot challenge it… [we’ve heard that before, yeah?]. However, the Judge Seabright clarifies a valid point:

“Plaintiffs argument confuses a borrower’s, as opposed to a lender’s, standing to raise affirmative claims. In Williams v. Rickard, 2011 WL 2116995, at *5 (D. Haw. May 25, 2011), — which involved the same parties in this action and in which Lei Williams asserted affirmative claims against Deutsche Bank – Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway explained the difference between the two:

“…Standing” is a plaintiff’s requirement, and … Defendants must establish “standing” to defend themselves.”

Judge Seabright continues: ”Deutsche Bank asserts affirmative claims against the Williamses seeking to enforce the Mortgage and Note, and therefore must establish its legal right (i.e., standing) to do so. See, e.g., IndyMac Bank v. Miguel, 117 Haw. 506, 513, 184 P.3d 821, 828 (Haw. App. 2008) (explaining that for standing, a mortgagee must have “a sufficient interest in the Mortgage to have suffered an injury from [the mortgagor’s] default”).”

Attorney Bickerton faced off in court and explained to the Judge in oral argument that the banks didn’t just miss the date to file their assignments or needed to tidy up paperwork, this was a ‘Business model using the loans for overnight lending.’ Bickerton told the Court that if this wasn’t dismissed, his first line of discovery would be geared to uncover the outside financial advantages being derived from the use of the Williamses’ loan.

Understanding the premeditated intentions of these banks, how they pledge, collaterize, swap, sell, lease,and trade these loans that are SUPPOSED to have been in a static trust will open the eyes of lawmakers to the real moral hazard – the fraud upon the homeowners, the courts and the state.

Jim Bickerton profoundly says that, “every foreclosure in the state is a victim of this shadow banking scam.”

James J. Bickerton
Bickerton Lee Dang & Sullivan
Fort St Tower
745 Fort St Ste 801
Honolulu, HI 96813
808-599-3811
Email: bickerton@bsds.com

“Security trusts will no longer be able to hide behind the hocus pocus of the pooling and servicing agreements. The ramifications of this decision are extraordinary,” praises Gary Dubin.

INJURY – Remember that issue from above?

Let’s discuss the trusts. We can see by the assignments that they were not made timely and NY trust laws call them VOID. The REMIC has failed. But maybe the investors ARE getting paid with the behind the scenes shadow banking scheme.

And let’s suppose we can see the trading in the trust is active, numerous investors have already been paid off – where is the “injury”….hmmm?

We’re connecting the dots, people with above average intelligence are realizing, just like Judge Seabright, that there are huge schemes behind the scenes of an everyday mortgage that the borrower never intended to participate in… and eventually we’ll know whether the application for a mortgage started the securitization process before the borrower signed the note making them securities with no disclosure, how many insurance policies were attached to the loans and when (we never agreed to be over insured which would give someone the incentive to “off” us)… it’s coming soon – to a court room near you…

…and the Securitization curtain will be lifting for the big show.

___________________________________________________________________

Details by DeadlyClear

Honorable Judge J. Michael Seabright – Thank you. Mahalo!
This is why he gets the “Gets It” award:

http://archives.starbulletin.com/2005/04/28/news/story5.html

An assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted several high-profile white-collar criminal cases here is on his way to becoming Hawaii’s fourth full-time federal judge. Michael Seabright: As an assistant U.S. attorney, he put three isle politicians behind bars.

The U.S. Senate voted 98-0 yesterday to confirm J. Michael Seabright as a U.S. district judge for the District of Hawaii. ”I’m very honored to have received that vote,” said Seabright, 46, an assistant U.S. attorney since 1990 and head of the white-collar crime section since 2002.

Image of the Honorable John Michael Seabright from http://www.grainnet.com/articles/usda_cited_by_federal_judge_for_permitting_violations_in_hawaii-36404.html

Federal Judge Magner: Wells Fargo’s Behavior “Highly Reprehensible” – Mandelman Matters

 

Federal Judge Magner: Wells Fargo’s Behavior “Highly Reprehensible”

Does anyone know what’s happened at Wells Fargo Bank?  If so, please let the rest of us know, because in a line up of TBTF bank CEOs, to stand out as being particularly awful is no easy task… and yet Wells Fargo’s CEO, John Stumpf has risen to the challenge and then some.

At the beginning of April of this year, Judge Elizabeth Magner, a federal bankruptcy judge in the Eastern District of Louisiana, characterized Wells Fargo’s behavior as being “highly reprehensible.”  Think about that for a moment.  That means that the judge decided that to describe Wells Fargo as merely “reprehensible,” wasn’t enough.

Wow, that is something.  Can you imagine someone saying that about you… a federal judge, no less?  I’m thinking that if a federal judge ever has the occasion to describe my behavior as being worse than “reprehensible,” I’m going to jail for a long time.

Of course, no danger of anything like that happening here… bankers don’t go to jail in this country, every one knows that.  But, in this instance, after more than five years in litigation with a single homeowner, Judge Magner ordered Wells Fargo to pay the New Orleans man $3.1 million in punitive damages.

Now, if that sounds like a paltry sum for the likes of Wells Fargo, that’s only because it is.  And that it represents one of the largest fines ever levied related to mortgage servicing misconduct hardly makes it feel any better.

It’s kind of like being forced to eat dog turd ice cream, but finding out that it’s okay if you pour motor oil on top.  Does that improve your circumstances?  I guess so, but…

Judge Magner, in her opinion, wrote…

“Wells Fargo has taken advantage of borrowers who rely on it to accurately apply payments and calculate the amounts owed, but perhaps more disturbing is Wells Fargo’s refusal to voluntarily correct its errors. It prefers to rely on the ignorance of borrowers or their inability to fund a challenge to its demands, rather than voluntarily relinquish gains obtained through improper accounting methods.”

So, what was Wells Fargo doing exactly?  Well, they were systematically over-charging the people least able to do anything about it… those filing bankruptcy.  In this case, Wells Fargo improperly charged the borrower $24,000 in fees, but it wasn’t done by hand, it was the bank’s automated systems doing precisely what they were programmed to do.  Like, anything but an isolated incident.

After the borrower fell into default on his mortgage, Wells Fargo’s automated system began applying his mortgage payments to interest and fees that had accrued instead of to principal, as required by his servicing contract, which in turn led to him being charged with a virtual waterfall of additional fees and interest.  And even after the borrower filed bankruptcy, Wells Fargo continued to misapply his payments, according to Judge Magner’s written opinion.

And why wouldn’t they?  I know, it sounds weird to say it, but I think I would have been disappointed had Wells stopped there.

There’s even a terme de l’art for this scenario used by consumer lawyers… they call it a “rolling default.”  I suppose the name refers to the idea that once the scheme gets rolling, it’s all downhill from there.  I think it should be called a “boiling default,” because once it’s boiling, you’re goose is most assuredly cooked.

Or, wait a minute… hang on… how about we call it: “Getting Stumpfed.”

(Come on, admit it… I’m good.)

Judge Magner went on to describe Wells Fargo’s litigation tactics as involving the filing of dozens of briefs, motions and other filings clearly designed to slow down legal proceedings to such a point that anyone thinking of mounting a legal challenge against a bank quickly finds it essentially impossible.

And since it’s only through costly litigation that the insidious crimes of Wells Fargo become apparent, all the bank has to do is prevent those with limited resources from doing what they can’t do with limited resources.  Now there’s a winning business model for you.  Like making billions by stopping blind people from seeing.

What sort of a company engineers this sort of strategic core competency anyway?  Remember Ford’s infamous Pinto strategy… rather than fix the problem, just settle them as they exploded?  Well, this Wells Fargo stuff makes that look as benevolent as Girl Scouts selling cookies after church.

Wells Fargo actually engineered a strategy and built a system to rampantly abuse the individuals in our society least able to defend their interests.  This is a bank that deserves to have a statue erected in its likeliness and even its own Lazarus-styled sonnet.  I’m just thinking out loud here, but how about…

“The Statue of Larceny”

And inside the base, engraved on a bronze plaque, could be these words…

Give us your jobless, injured, bankrupt filers, whose lawyers won’t work free. 

The wretched refuse against whom in court we’ll always score. 

Send them one by one, homes all sold by substitute trustee,

We’ll rape them, rob them, force them out Wells Fargo’s golden door.

Not bad, right?  No?  Sheesh… tough crowd.

Judge Magner, in an interview with Ben Hallman of Huffington Post, said that she personally analyzed the loan files of twenty borrowers in her court and found supposed “errors” in every single instance.  So, at least we know the systems are working properly, and somehow I find that oddly reassuring.

I don’t know why but there’s something even more terrifying about the idea that we might be getting ripped off by banks in an entirely random way.  Like one day you get hit for a hundred… and the next day not only is your entire IRA gone, but two weeks later you learn that the bank bounced one of your checks to the IRS for the penalty on the early withdrawal.

I know, right?  Now, that would be rude.

I guess I only have a couple of questions I’d like to ask, and the most obvious is: Why would anyone whose read about this decision continue to bank at Wells Fargo?

I mean, if they do this sort of thing systematically… AND THEY UNQUESTIONABLY DO, how do you know where the other spots are that are picking your pocket for twenty here and twenty there.  Because you’re not going to tell me you think this case has uncovered the only place at Wells Fargo where this sort of thing goes on, are you?  Come on… what are you, six?

And, my second question is: What do our elected representatives do these days… I mean specifically?  State or federal, I don’t care which… you pick.  Because it kind of seems like we’ve quietly been transformed into a lawless society in many ways, don’t you think?

Like in this bankruptcy case… the judge has uncovered the systematic stealing from the defenseless, but it’s not like it’s a major news story, or anything.  To the contrary, it’s nowhere.  Doesn’t anyone but me find that amazing?  How do they do that?  Where have all the journalists gone?

I can tell you that I receive more complaints about Wells Fargo refusing to approve loan modifications than any three other mortgage servicers combined.  But then, Wells did modify one of the homeowners I wrote about a few months back.  I don’t know why, maybe it was an accident.

Here’s one more thing Judge Marner said about Wells Fargo in her written opinion…

“These are loans of working-class people who bought homes they could afford and whose loans were not administered correctly from an accounting perspective,” Judge Magner said. “I think that these types of problems occur in almost every [defaulted] loan in the country.”

Good Lord.

So, Mr. John Stumpf… Wells Fargo’s CEO… you just go ahead committing those criminal acts with impunity.  Don’t change now… go down with your ship.  Besides, I’m sure there are deceptions your people haven’t thought of yet.

Do you have a program that targets autistic children yet? Or what about something abusive for unmarried pregnant chicks that never finished high school? Or, what about the elderly, are you doing enough to take advantage of the elderly?

I’m sure you’ll think of something, which is why I’ve told my wife and daughter to stay out of banks for the foreseeable future.  We only make deposits at the ATM at night, which may sound crazy, but I’m betting will one day soon prove considerably safer than being inside during the day.

Lo siento.  Que se mejore pronto.

Mandelman out.

Federal Judge Magner: Wells Fargo’s Behavior “Highly Reprehensible” – Mandelman Matters