News and Announcements


Posted by Ari, Friday, April 19th, 2013 @ 10:43am



    Ingham County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel Jr. praised two recent court decisions against mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in Ingham County that will overturn the eviction of local residents from theirhomes, while offering similar hope for citizens across Michigan.

    “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been shamelessly manipulating our state’s property laws for years at the expense of innocent citizens,” Hertel Jr. said. “They continue to try and exempt themselves from important local and state taxes by claiming a government exemption, but have continued to foreclose on individuals and families using procedures that are only available to private corporations. I’m thrilled that we now the opportunity to protect our residents from future deceitful foreclosure practices.”

    Hertel Jr. has been pleading for the courts to clarify Fannie Mae’s status, as it has positioned itself as a government agency to avoid taxes, but also as a private organization in order to avoid foreclosure regulation. The cases were won against mortgage giant Fannie Mae – one in Ingham County Circuit Court, the other in its District Court.

    One of the cases is now being sent to the Michigan Court of Appeals and has the potential to change the way that thousands of foreclosures are handled throughout Michigan. The court case specifically addresses foreclosures that are executed by Fannie Mae, the federally-controlled mortgage corporation that has foreclosed on thousands of Michigan residents since the housing crisis began in 2007.

    Both of the overturned evictions were residents who called in to Hertel’s Foreclosure Fraud Hotline, a service he arranged with help from the Ingham County Commissioners. The purpose of the hotline is to obtain legal assistance for citizens who are facing illegal foreclosures, but cannot afford representation. The hotline is active – Ingham County residents may call 517-676-7210 to leave their information.

    SOURCE: Curtis Hertel – Ingham County Register of Deeds

Foreclosure papers must be in order, Minnesota Supreme Court rules

Posted by Ari, Friday, April 19th, 2013 @ 10:35am

  • Foreclosure papers must be in order,

    Minnesota Supreme Court rules

    The state Supreme Court decision could boost homeowners fighting defective sheriff’s sales.

    Minnesota’s Supreme Court has tightened the screws a bit on home foreclosures.

    In a ruling out Wednesday, the state’s highest court decided unanimously that a foreclosing party must strictly comply with a state law requiring all the different banks and parties that have held a mortgage be clearly documented and filed before a foreclosure-by-advertisement can be initiated.

    The case involved Doris Ruiz, a woman whose south Minneapolis duplex was foreclosed on by 1st Fidelity Loan Servicing. The court voided her foreclosure because 1st Fidelity filed its paperwork on the same day that it began advertising for a sheriff’s foreclosure auction on her home.

    Her lawyer, Jonathan Drewes, said the decision sets a strict standard that could impact “hundreds” of potentially defective or illegal foreclosure sales in the state.

    “I anticipate that many more lawsuits will arise in Minnesota over the coming year,” Drewes said.

    Foreclosures in Minnesota are down from peaks during the worst of the housing crisis but they remain elevated. There were 17,895 sheriff’s foreclosure sales statewide last year, according to Twin Cities-based HousingLink, which tracks them. That’s the lowest annual total since 2006 but it is still nearly triple the number of foreclosures in 2005.

    Prentiss Cox, a consumer law expert at the University of Minnesota law school, said the new Supreme Court decision gives homeowners who find problems in their foreclosure paperwork a new avenue to argue in court.

    “This is the first decision from [the] Minnesota Supreme Court that suggests strict compliance really means strict compliance,” Cox said. “This is an industry that has had extraordinary problems putting one foot in front of the other to comply with legal requirements when they foreclose.”

    Eric Cook, a local lawyer for Florida-based 1st Fidelity, said he couldn’t comment on the case.

    Minneapolis lawyer Kevin Dunlevy, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the Minnesota Bankers Association, the Minnesota Land Title Association and the Minnesota Association of Realtors, downplayed the decision.

    It’s narrow, he said, and only applies to potential errors in documenting mortgage holders. It simply means that foreclosure lawyers in Minnesota will have to be more vigilant about crossing t’s and dotting i’s, he said. He said he doesn’t think it will slow down the pace of foreclosures.

    Ruiz could not immediately be reached for comment.

    The onetime owner of a Minneapolis temporary-work agency called Olen Staff Co., Ruiz, 40, was sentenced in federal court last summer to one year and one day in prison for tax evasion.

    She pleaded guilty to taking more than $425,000 from employees’ paychecks. Court documents alleged that most of the workers she placed in jobs were undocumented workers.

    Drewes, her lawyer in the foreclosure fight, said he didn’t know much about that. “I’m just helping to keep her family rightfully in their home,” he said.

    Jennifer Bjorhus • 612-673-4683 | StarTribune

Winning Cases Against the Mega Banks

Posted by Ari, Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 @ 11:30pm


    by Neil Garfield

    If you are seeking legal representation or other services call our Florida customer service number at 954-495-9867 and for the West coast the number remains 520-405-1688. Customer service for the livinglies store with workbooks, services and analysis remains the same at 520-405-1688. The people who answer the phone are NOT attorneys and NOT permitted to provide any legal advice, but they can guide you toward some of our products and services.

    The selection of an attorney is an important decision  and should only be made after you have interviewed licensed attorneys familiar with investment banking, securities, property law, consumer law, mortgages, foreclosures, and collection procedures. This site is dedicated to providing those services directly or indirectly through attorneys seeking guidance or assistance in representing consumers and homeowners. We are available to any lawyer seeking assistance anywhere in the country, U.S. possessions and territories. Neil Garfield is a licensed member of the Florida Bar and is qualified to appear as an expert witness or litigator in in several states including the district of Columbia. The information on this blog is general information and should NEVER be considered to be advice on one specific case. Consultation with a licensed attorney is required in this highly complex field.

    Editor's  Comment: It is hard to interpret what people mean when they say they are winning cases. In the example below the case is oversimplified. Wells Fargo, as usual, wanted to foreclose on the home of an 80-year-old woman regardless of whether she was in default or not. Her main defense was simply that she was never in default. Wells Fargo took the position that the payments they accepted could be allocated towards expenses of the foreclosure, which never should've happened in the first place.

    It was quite clear that the homeowner had made all of her payments. It was quite clear that Wells Fargo had not applied the payments properly. And after three years of litigation, during which most people would have folded, judgment was entered in favor of the borrower and against Wells Fargo.

    No big surprise except for the persistence of the homeowner in fighting off a big bad bank despite dwindling resources and a gaggle of people who were treating her as a leper because she was a deadbeat who didn't pay her bills and was trying to get out of a legitimate debt.

    Of course as it turns out, she was neither a deadbeat nor was she trying to get out of the debt even though it probably is not a legitimate debt and Wells Fargo is most probably not a legitimate creditor in relation to this homeowner.

    I am happy that this woman got what she wanted. But some questions that linger on include why Wells Fargo failed to do the proper accounting to bring her loan account up-to-date? Why did Wells Fargo want that foreclosure regardless of whether she was in default or not? And what other payments received from third parties in the form of insurance or credit default swaps were not applied to the appropriate receivable account on the books of the real creditor?

    My opinion is that in all probability there is still plenty of meat left on the bone. This homeowner  probably has several causes of action for slander of title, breach of contract, probably fraud, and abuse of process,  just to name a few.

    And another thought comes to mind: would the result  or the timing have been different if the roles were  reversed? This particular case is so obvious as to whether or not money was actually paid and received that it is difficult to comprehend how it could possibly have stretched out to three years.

    The only way I can think of is that the judge had a preconception of the relationship of the parties and assumed that the debt was real and was in default instead of forcing Wells Fargo to immediately prove lack of payment and their status as the real creditor. For those who complain that the courts are jammed up with foreclosure lawsuits, this case is instructive as to why that is happening.

    If judges would simply take each case on its own merits and require each party to actually prove their position rather than rely on dubious and rebuttable presumptions, most of the foreclosures wouldn't be filed and those that ended up in litigation would be over in just a few months.

     The bottleneck in the court systems across the country is not caused by volume. It is caused by bias. Judges assume that a big-name bank with 150 year old reputation on the line would never make a claim they couldn't back up. If judges would stop making that assumption and require the backup at the beginning of the litigation the bottleneck would vanish.

Warren grills bank regulators over bungled foreclosure review

Posted by Ari, Friday, April 12th, 2013 @ 6:14pm

  •  By James O'Toole @CNNMoney April 11, 2013: 11:17 PM ET

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren is a new member of the Senate Banking Committee.

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

    Federal banking regulators faced a grilling on Capitol Hill Thursday as lawmakers examined their widely criticized attempt to investigate wrongdoing by banks during the foreclosure crisis.

    Democratic senators, including prominent Wall Street critic Elizabeth Warren, took the regulators to task over what they described as a cozy relationship between banks, regulators and the consultants hired to evaluate foreclosure cases. Warren also criticized regulators for withholding documents and information from Congress.

    "People want to know that their regulators are watching out for the American public -- not for the banks," Warren said.

    Officials from the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency took most of the heat.

    The main point of contention was the Independent Foreclosure Review, an initiative announced back in April 2011 to assess potential wrongdoing by banks in foreclosure cases from 2009 and 2010.

    More than a dozen banks including Bank of America (; position: relative; background-position: -200px -160px; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">BACFortune 500)JPMorgan(JPMFortune 500) and Citibank (CFortune 500) were ordered at the time to hire independent consultants to evaluate foreclosure cases for possible violations and help determine compensation for borrowers.

    The reviews were intended to be finished within a few months, but the process, involving over 4 million borrowers, proved far more time-consuming than anticipated. With banks having paid more than $2 billion to the consultants and the end nowhere in sight,regulators announced in January of this year that they were shutting down the reviews for most banks in favor of a bulk settlement.

    As a result of this settlement, the 4.2 million borrowers who were eligible for the review will split $3.6 billion from the banks, with no final accounting of how many borrowers were harmed by unlawful foreclosure practices.

    Warren, a former consumer advocate and Harvard law professor, questioned the wisdom of this decision at Thursday's hearing.

    "If you can't correctly tell how many people were the victims of illegal bank actions, how can you possibly decide how much money is an appropriate amount for settlement?" Warren asked.

    Related: Foreclosures returning to pre-housing-bust levels

    Daniel Stipano, deputy chief counsel at the OCC, said regulators had "greatly underestimated the complexity" of the review process, and that completing it would have delayed the compensation of eligible borrowers.

    "If we had to do it over again, we would take a different approach," he said.

    Richard Ashton, a lawyer with the Federal Reserve, acknowledged that regulators "gave up looking for individual injury" when they abandoned the reviews.

    A little over 1,000 households -- primarily members of the military who faced foreclosure despite laws protecting them, and borrowers who lost their homes while current on their loans -- are in line for payments of $125,000. In most cases, however, borrowers will get just a few hundred dollars, and will receive the money even if there were no violations at all in their cases.

    "The question is getting the right amount of cash to the right people," Warren said. She questioned whether the regulators would release individual loan data to borrowers for use in private lawsuits, though Ashton and Stipano were noncommittal on this point.

    Sen. Sherrod Brown echoed Warren's call for transparency, lamenting the perception that Washington is "more interested in protecting the banks than they are the public." To top of page

Foreclosure Review Report Shows That the OCC Continues to Bury Wall Street’s Bodies

Posted by Ari, Friday, April 12th, 2013 @ 6:07pm

  • Wall Street in Manhattan. (Reuters Photo)

    About the Author

    Alexis Goldstein

    Alexis Goldstein is a former wall street professional and current Occupy Wall Street activist.

    Also by the Author

    A Failed Whale, and How to Fix It (US PoliticsRegulationsEconomy)

    JPMorgan Chase gamed the system to hide risky trades. Will Congress let them go free?

    Alexis Goldstein

    House Republicans' Three Big Lies About the Volcker Rule (Economic Policy,Conservatives and the American Right)

    It’s past time for the rule to stop banks from making making risky bets with consumers’ money. But a House committee hearing devoted itself to stalling and lying about the Volcker Rule.

    Alexis Goldstein

    From the homeowner who died fighting a foreclosure based on a typo to the family evicted at gunpoint at 3am, there is no shortage of heartbreaking stories of improper evictions. But while victims of wrongful foreclosures are frequently too small to find justice, the banks perpetuating the crimes against them remain far too big to be held accountable. The most recent entry in the “banks got bailed out, we got sold out” saga is the latest report by the Government Accountability Office on the Independent Foreclosure Review.

    In the wake of the foreclosure crisis and the myriad abuses perpetuated by mortgage servicers, the Office of the Comptroller for the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Reserve created the Independent Foreclosure Review. Fourteen servicers owned by banks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase were ordered to investigate foreclosures between 2009 and 2010 and figure out if these foreclosures were fraudulent. In order to give the semblance of independence, the banks were told to hire third-party consultants to conduct the reviews.

    By announcing this supposedly far-ranging “investigation” with much fanfare, the regulators wanted to create the impression that they were getting to the bottom of the practices perpetrated during the foreclosure crisis. However, when reading the fine print, the “Independent” Foreclosure Review merely replicated the worst patterns and practices that caused the financial crisis—with regulators again deferring to banks and allowing them to hire their own investigators.

    In January 2012, undoubtedly fearing that the Review would be yet another whitewash of the foreclosure crisis, Representative Maxine Waters and Senator Robert Menendez, together with Representatives Brad Miller and Luis Gutierrez, requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) monitor the review. Last week, the GAO issued its second report on the topic, unveiling a slew of deep failings. The report revealed what was long suspected by many observers: that the OCC and the Fed had no interest in actually discovering what went wrong. Here are just four of the many deceptions outlined by the GAO.

    Deception #1: Regulators obfuscated abuses by failing to provide a consistent approach.

    The GAO report shows that regulators failed to design a single methodology for all consultants to use, instead leaving it up to each consulting firm. Without a clear methodology set by the regulators, consultants had vastly different approaches, reviewed different categories of problems and created data that could not be aggregated. Because of this inconsistency, we have no easy way of knowing if Citigroup’s servicing violations were more or less egregious than Wells Fargo’s. And really, how better for the regulators to obscure the consistent harm banks commit against homeowners than to inject as much chaos as possible into the process of reviewing said harm?

    Deception #2: Lack of transparency.

    In addition to failing to report problems across all the bank servicers, the OCC and the Fed also refused to disclose specifics about the individual servicers. Earlier this year, Representative Waters sent a letter to the OCC requesting the preliminary results of the foreclosure reviews at the individual servicers and a second letter requesting, among many items, all calls from the consultants to the regulators. To date, the OCC has not provided the requested documents. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Elijah Cummings also requested all updates the individual servicers made to the regulators, but as documented in their recent letter, have also received no response to date. So regulators refused to create a way to show abuses across banks and also refused to give us information about abuses at individual banks.

    Deception #3: The OCC misled the public about how many homeowners were harmed.

    Earlier this year, the OCC claimed that of all the foreclosure cases reviewed, there were only errors made by the servicers 4.2 percent of the time (a mistake in servicing was considered an “error” if it caused the homeowner financial harm). This number was immediately questioned by the press, with The Wall Street Journal reporting that the real error rates were far higher, with Wells Fargo’s error rate at 11 percent. The Journal’s report showed that the OCC could only have arrived at their error rate by gaming the numbers.

    The GAO report released last week gives further credibility to the Journal's claims by essentially reporting that the OCC and the Fed couldn't have arrived at accurate estimates of the harm caused to borrowers even if they wanted to. The OCC and the Fed allowed the banks' captured consultants to define what constituted “harm” to the borrower—meaning that not only could findings of harm be minimized, but also that harm rates across the banks could never be aggregated to give a full picture of wrongdoing. Thus, the 4.2 percent error rate the OCC reported was compiled by mashing together incompatible data points, creating a statistic with no basis in reality.

    Deception #4: Missing Documents were not considered “errors.”

    Also revealed by the report was that the OCC did not define missing documents as an error, though they were “planning” to do so. If you are a homeowner who’s been illegally foreclosed on because your mortgage servicer lost documentation of your payments, you should know the OCC couldn’t be bothered to insist that constituted an error.

    Deception #5: Regulators tried to find as few harmed borrowers as possible.

    The regulators conveyed that they had two major goals for the Foreclosure Review; first, to “identify as many harmed borrowers as possible.” But a prior report from GAO shows how truly unimportant this goal was, with that report saying that the materials the regulators sent to homeowners were “too complex to be widely understood,” and that the regulators didn’t consult with experienced, on-the-ground advocates to figure out how to ensure the most people possible could have their foreclosures reviewed. In other words, they juiced the process from the get-go, and wanted to find as few harmed borrowers as possible.

    Which gets to the second stated goal of the Review: to “restore public confidence in mortgage markets.” This is regulator-speak for reinvigorating the banks’ bottom lines, even if you have to sweep some wrongdoing under the rug in the process. This was the only goal that truly mattered, and the way the OCC and the Fed pursued this goal was to mislead, deny and bury the bodies for the banks.

    * * *

    Just as the Foreclosure Review was chaotic by design to give cover to the banks, the banks inability to properly service loans was a feature, not a bug: A 2011 study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau showed thatbanks profited to the tune of $25 billion by deliberately under-investing in their servicing. This disgusting combination of incompetence and profiteering by the megabanks’ servicers is yet another piece of evidence that the supermarket approach to banking is a complete failure; we don’t see the same levels of abuses and mistakes in servicing at smaller community banks. The megabanks remain not just too big to jail, but entirely too big to manage.

    It’s no surprise that the OCC continues to enshrine Too Big To Fail: Former OCC head John Dugan was one of TBTF’s major architects, as reported on by Zach Carter for The Nation in 2009. And John Walsh, the agency’s most recent chief, proclaimed before the Foreclosure Review even began that there were only a small number of wrongful foreclosures. There was much optimism that the appointment of Thomas Curry to run the OCC would help clean up the agency. But in his response to the deceptions of the Foreclosure Review, Curry has been as spectacular a failure as his predecessors.

    Please support our journalism. Get a digital subscription for just $9.50!

    This is hardly the first time the OCC has been in the spotlight for egregious malfeasance. Prior to the GAO report, we saw the OCC’s failure to properly regulate JPMorgan Chase in the London Whale trading fiasco. But unlike the London Whale case (where the OCC appears guilty of sins of commission and omission) or the HSBC money-laundering nightmare (where they allowed problems to "fester"), in the Independent Foreclosure Review, they have proven themselves to be outright treacherous.

    The OCC’s mission is to preserve the “safety and soundness” of the banking system. Much progress could be made toward that goal if the OCC advocated breaking up the banks into manageable chunks, which should help reduce abuses and increase returns for shareholders. Instead, they continue to believe that the ostrich approach to regulation is best: suppress errors, lie about systemic abuses and just pray the music keeps playing. Senators Sherrod Brown and David Vitter have a new bill designed to break up the banks and increase the safety of the banking system. If Curry and the OCC were truly concerned with their mission, instead of burying the banks bodies, perhaps they would support this important step forward.

Foreclosure activity rises in NJ, while dropping nationwide

Posted by Ari, Friday, April 12th, 2013 @ 6:03pm

  • Foreclosure activity rises in NJ, while dropping nationwide

    Thursday, April 11, 2013



    The Record

    * Distressed properties had piled up over the years as mortgage servers were taken to task.

    While foreclosure activity is dropping nationwide, it rose 42 percent in the first quarter of 2013, compared with a year earlier, in New Jersey, RealtyTrac reported Wednesday.

    The worst of the foreclosure crisis has passed nationwide, but distressed properties piled up in the Garden State over the past several years as mortgage servicers were forced to deal with allegations of abuses such as "robo-signing," in which mortgage industry representatives signed documents without checking them in their rush to evict homeowners. Several legal settlements have cleared the way for mortgage servicers to begin moving forward on foreclosures again in New Jersey.

    Nationally, foreclosure activity was down 23 percent from the first quarter of last year to the first quarter of this year. RealtyTrac, which is based in California and tracks the foreclosure market nationwide, counts all types of foreclosure filings, from the initial notice that a homeowner is in default on the mortgage all the way through to sale of the property at sheriff's auction.

    The N.J. Judiciary, which tracks foreclosure activity using different methods, also reported a big jump in the first quarter of this year, compared with last year. It reported 8,571 initial residential foreclosure filings, up 120 percent from last year.

    In a report Wednesday, two economists for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said that the region's backlog of foreclosed properties might become "a drag on the region's home prices."

    "When a home enters foreclosure, the incentive for homeowners to maintain or improve the home is significantly reduced. As a result, homes in foreclosure tend to deteriorate more rapidly than otherwise similar homes, diminishing their values," economists Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz wrote in the New York Fed's Liberty Street Economics blog. In addition, these properties are "often sold as distressed properties at reduced prices, in part because the foreclosing bank would prefer not to hold them for long."


News from the Front: Wall Street Takes Your Homes, Your Deposits, and Your Social Security (Updated)

Posted by Ari, Friday, April 12th, 2013 @ 11:16am

  • Author: L. Randall Wray  ·  April 8th, 2013

    Here are a few recent tidbits from the press, just in case you were feeling a bit overly optimistic.

    1. MERS Helps Wall Street Steal Your Home

    Over the past couple of years, I’ve tried to explain how the financial sector created MERS to destroy property records so that it would be easier to steal homes. In the old days, property records were maintained at county recorder offices. But that was so old-school. It made it too easy to find out who owes whom and who owns what. Wall Street wanted to make this as complicated as possible so that no indebted homeowner would ever know who she/he owes. Wall Street took the mortgages and sliced and diced them, separating origination of mortgages from the ownership of the right to receive payment, and as well separated that ownership from the servicing of the mortgages. And then the bankers burned all the records.

    In the old days, you had to keep all the documents together, in physical form. And when a mortgage was sold, you had to go back to the recorder’s office to change the record. With the creation of MERS, most of those documents were destroyed and the banksters never bothered to tell the recorders who owned what. The indebted households have no idea who owns their note and who services the mortgages. Even if they write that monthly check, the banks claim they never received it—the dog ate it, you know.

    In truth, since they screwed up all the property records, even the banksters have no idea who owes who what. So they just start foreclosing on everything. Don’t owe a mortgage? Who cares, they foreclose anyway. You cannot prove you’ve got a right to the house you live in, since they shredded all the documents and “forgot” to tell MERS you paid off the note. No more “note burning parties” since they burned the notes as soon as they got them. See here:

    I just came across an excellent video—albeit wonky—that explains all this:

    It will take decades to sort out the mess that MERS has made of property records. Meanwhile, don’t believe ‘em. They have no proof they’ve got a right to take your home from you.

    Update: Since some flaming comments are flowing in from the “bank lobby”, let me add a couple of pieces I came across today.

    Yes, I know how hard it is to believe just how much MERS has screwed things up. And some find it hard to believe that bankers are willfully stealing homes. Here’s a column from HuffPost that summarizes a new study of bank foreclosure thefts:

    A few key sentences: “BOSTON — Nearly a third of all foreclosed borrowers who faced proceedings brought by the biggest U.S. mortgage companies during the height of the housing crisis came to the brink of losing their homes due to potential bank errors or under now-banned practices, regulators have revealed. Close to 1.2 million borrowers, or about 30 percent of the more than 3.9 million households whose properties were foreclosed on by 11 leading financial institutions in 2009 and 2010, had to battle potentially wrongful efforts to seize their homes despite not having defaulted on their loans, being protected under a host of federal laws, or having been in good standing under bank-approved plans to either restructure their mortgages or temporarily delay required payments. More than 244,000 of those borrowers eventually lost their homes, government data show….”

    And here’s a more academic piece on the industry’s Frankenstein monster, MERS, which discusses the ways county clerks and qui tam litigants are fighting back against MERS. It can be found at:

    From the paper’s abstract: Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) has faced unceasing controversy from litigators and scholars for its role in foreclosures, its effect on public records transparency, and its role in the housing bubble. While scholarly accounts have described the challenges MERS has faced in foreclosure and bankruptcy courts, this essay seeks to examine the most recent burgeoning challenge to MERS’ manner of business: county clerk and qui tam lawsuits. All around the nation, county clerks and qui tam litigants have begun to file lawsuits against MERS, alleging a number of claims, including that (1) MERS violated state laws requiring assignments to be recorded; (2) MERS used deceptive language to avoid recording laws; and (3) MERS has been unjustfully enriched by depriving county clerks of recording fee revenue. Ultimately, the essay finds that most courts have rejected these claims against MERS, but that such lawsuits remain an expensive risk to MERS….”

    And from its conclusion: “So of what import is this most recent spate of MERS related litigation, given that the vast majority of suits have been dismissed? First, although this Article has taken a relatively skeptical and pessimistic view of these anti-MERS lawsuits, banks and their advocates must remain wary of these seemingly unending matters. Just as the tobacco lawsuits were initially met with skepticism and ridicule, one large win was all it took to turn regular routs into an industry-changing victory. Here, one verdict in favor of a clerk in a class-action suit could result in a ruling that MERS must go back and, for example, record innumerable assignments or pay millions of dollars in avoided recording fees. This, in turn, could result in a new appraisal of the viability of MERS’ manner of business.”

    And, finally, here’s a link to a petition drive against MERS:

    Richard Zombeck has been following the MERS scandal since the beginning and he offers a quick overview of the issues. Richard writes: “In short, MERS enabled the industry to throw mortgages around in their chimp-like poop-flinging frenzy without keeping any kind of paperwork or paying any fees. This has left the sanctity of the land records in every registry of deeds a veritable shambles. ‘This isn’t just affecting homeowners in foreclosure,’ says Jeff Greenberg the founder of Landtegrity, ‘MERS has polluted the majority of the land records in this country. Everyone should be concerned, especially people who are paying their mortgage and expect to own their home some day.’”

    (Note if the links don’t work, copy and paste them into your browser.)


    2. What You Should Learn From Cyprus: Deposit Insurance is Not Deposit Insurance

    Here’s a scary piece: Think Your Bank Deposits Will Always Be 100 Percent Guaranteed by the FDIC? Think Again.

    Back in the early 1990s the Neolibs started to drumbeat about how deposit insurance removes market discipline from banking. If Uncle Sam promises insurance on your deposits, you have no incentive to “supervise” your bank. And since Uncle Sam (Fed, FDIC, OCC) decided in 1999 that the regulators would no longer supervise big banks, either, banksters partied like it was 1999—as we all know. Which then required a $29 trillion bail-out of Wall Street.

    So the Neolibs are back. Cyprus was the opening gambit. You see, it is just so damned expensive to bail-out bankster banks, we need to “tax” (allow banks to default on) deposits. If you are lucky you might get half of your deposits. Next time, you’ll do a better job of supervising the banks that your government does not want to supervise!

    3. Obama Joins Social Security’s Enemies on Pretense that Uncle Sam Ran Out of Money.

    As I’ve been arguing for a long time, the whole deficit hysteria has been created to provide cover to the President and Democrats more generally so that they can slash the social safety net. I warned that Obama would push to cut Social Security. Pete Peterson has bought off Washington–they’re all on board now to gut the program.

    Obama has helped to orchestrate a “grand bargain” that raised payroll taxes on average Americans. Now he’s joining Republicans who insist on spending cuts—even as the economy heads back into recession, in large part because of those tax hikes. See here for more on the President’s sell-out to Neolibs:

    So there you go: they’ve got your home, your deposits, and your retirement. Nothing left but feudal serfdom to serve Wall Street.

    L. Randall Wray is a Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Senior Scholar at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, NY. A student of Hyman P. Minsky, Wray has focused on monetary theory and policy, macroeconomics, financial instability, and employment policy. He has published widely in journals and is the author of Understanding Modern Money: The Key to Full Employment and Price Stability (Elgar, 1998) and Money and Credit in Capitalist Economies (Elgar 1990). Wray received a B.A. from the University of the Pacific and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. He has served as a visiting professor at the Universities of Rome and Bologna in Italy, the University of Paris, and UAM and UNAM in Mexico City.

Susan Chana Lask: How Foreclosure Fraud Escaped the Facebook RipOff Criminal Charges

Posted by Ari, Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013 @ 3:21pm

  • Susan Chana Lask: How Foreclosure Fraud Escaped the Facebook RipOff Criminal Charges

    Posted on01 April 2013.

    Susan Chana Lask: How Foreclosure Fraud Escaped the Facebook RipOff Criminal Charges

    By Susan Chana Lask, Esq.

    In November, 2012, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara obtained an indictment against Paul Ceglia on charges of forging a contract with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.  The charges include mail and wire fraud and that Ceglia doctored, fabricated and destroyed evidence to support his 2010 lawsuit he filed against Zuckerberg using a phony contract.  Doesn’t that sound like the same allegations against the Foreclosure Mills-doctoring and fabricating documents, including assignments of mortgages and robo-signing with false notaries to support phony foreclosure complaints against Million of citizens nationwide? U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is the same prosecutor who went after the infamous Steven Baum Foreclosure Mill in 2011. That same year New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman went after and found that Baum “routinely brought foreclosure proceedings without taking appropriate steps to verify the accuracy of the allegations or the plaintiff’s right to foreclose.”[1] That same year Congress’ Ranking Member Elijah Cummings commenced an investigation against Baum.[2]  Senator Cummings enlisted me to help, as did New York’s Department of Justice and Attorney General.[3]

    With both a Federal and State investigation, flanked by Congress, against Baum for charges similar to Ceglia of forging documents to steal Facebook, people hoped Baum would have been indicted too for the foreclosure nightmare he created.  Instead of an indictment, settlements of $2 Million and $4 Million were obtained by the Department of Justice and Attorney General. So how are allegations of foreclosure fraud, forgery by robo-signing that took hundreds of thousands of homes by fraud from citizens not worth an indictment by the same prosecutor who can obtain one against Ceglia for trying to take Facebook?

    The answer is that it is easier to go after an individual like Ceglia with one alleged forged contract with Facebook then it is to go after Foreclosure Mills with truckloads of hundreds and thousands of pages of documents, contracts, title reports over a period of probably 10 years involving what could be hundreds of thousands of people. Remember when Florida’s Foreclosure Mill king David Stern unloaded his office with semi trailer trucks to unload his warehouse?  State and Federal agencies do not have the resources to sort through that for an indictment. And case law does not help when State and Federal cases compete with each other on what is valid in the MERS world.

    The homeowners usual defense is alleging that the bank lacks standing to sue for foreclosure because the mortgage was assigned to MERS as nominee, which then assigned that using robo-signing by forged signatures of corporate officers that do not exist.  Federal courts hold that a homeowner cannot claim that a bank does not have standing to sue if an assignment of mortgage was robo-signed because the homeowner is not a party to an assignment between MERS and the succeeding bank. Brodie v. Northwest Trustee Servs., Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176193(ED of Wash.,2012). State courts, on the other hand, will dismiss a foreclosure on the basis that the bank does not have standing if MERS is involved as a nominee because a nominee does not have authority to assign the Note.[4]  The state courts give us the better result by a dismissal with prejudice (IndyMac Fed. Bank, FSB v Meisels, 37 Misc. 3d 1206(A), 2012 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 4722,2012 NY Slip Op 51902(U)); however, that does not preclude ” the correct owner of the subject … mortgage, whomever it might be, from commencing a new action, with a new index number, to foreclose on the… mortgage.” IndyMac Fed. Bank, FSB, at 9.

    With the disparity in Federal and State case law and truckloads of documents Foreclosure Mills amassed, settling with a Foreclosure Mill in New York was the most direct start for Federal and State agencies to end a bad dream.



    This article is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice. You should seek counsel from a licensed attorney if you have legal questions.




    [4] In re MERS Litigation, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37134, 2012 WL 932625 at *3; Bateman v. Countrywide Home Loans, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162703, 2012 WL 5593228 at *4 (D. Hawaii, Nov. 14, 2012).

    Susan Chana Lask

    Susan Chana Lask is an author, lecturer and accomplished attorney litigating in State and Federal Courts, including the United States Supreme Court for the past 25 years. She is named by the media as “New York’s High Profile Attorney” who consistently makes headlines worldwide and changes history with her controversial dogged lawsuits. Her 2010 lawsuit shut down the country’s most notorious Foreclosure Mill in New York State for the benefit of the public suffering from fraudulent foreclosure filings. In 2011 she appeared before the Supreme Court of the United States with the support of five Attorneys General where she obtained a historical decision that strip searching non-criminal offenders is unacceptable unless they are in the general population. Her 2006 lawsuit against the makers of Ambien resulted in the FDA complying with her demands to change prescription drug warnings to protect some 26 Million consumers. Her cases are monumental and have changed history.

    Follow Ms. Lask on twitter @SusanChanaLask

Ideology Blocks the Truth

Posted by Ari, Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013 @ 1:43pm


    Ideology Blocks the Truth

    by Neil Garfield

    I was sent the following email from someone who clearly has not investigated and researched bank fraud since the mortgage mess started to brew. Here is what she said:

    "Did the bank honor the terms of the original loan agreement? Did you? You call it a predatory loan which is an excuse for not reading the agreement. Unless the bank committed fraud, the situation is entirely your fault. Millions of people buy houses that are modest, maybe a bit smaller than they wish, because they know they cannot afford anything more. Perhaps you should have done the same. I have no sympathy for people that did not read the terms of their original loan agreement."

    Ignorance and ideology are what is stopping the correction needed for housing and thence the economy which depends upon consumer spending, housing being a major component of that spending. So let's look at her self-righteous email, line by line and then see what she would say.

    1. "Did the bank honor the terms of the original loan agreement?" Actually the answer is that in most cases there was no bank disclosed to the borrower. "Originators" referred to in the business plans of the banks as filed with the SEC clearly show that they relied heavily on "bankruptcy remote" non-bank thinly capitalized vehicles, which is to say straw-men in sham transactions leaving the borrower with no information on the identity of his creditor or how to contact them or pay them.

    The whole idea here was to create the illusion of a transaction and then use paperwork that assumed the validity and reality of the transaction when there was no transaction. The originator was not permitted to take control of the money even for a minute, nor were they allowed to retain ownership of the loan on or off record. These companies were started for the sole purpose of originating loans, not brokering them and not lending the money to the borrower.

    So the simple answer to the question is that no, there was no bank, and no bank honored the original loan agreement. Even where the "lender" was a bank or mortgage broker, the same story holds true --- they were used as straw-man conduits for the investors money who funded the venture believing they were buying mortgage backed bonds that were good loans approved in accordance with proper underwriting standards and then placed into a REMIC pool which was proportionately owned by the investor. In fact, the investment bank never funded the REMIC pool and never allowed the REMIC pool to enter into any transaction in which the REMIC pool acquired the loans through either origination or acquisition.

    The bank therefore not only did not honor the agreement, it perpetrated a fraud upon the buyer and the lender (investors) by creating agreements that recited intentionally false facts as to both the identity of the creditor and terms of repayment. In fact, ask the bank if they were part of the agreement you are asking whether they honored. Their answer is no, we were not part of that agreement. So what was there to honor?

    2. Did you honor the agreement? How do you honor a non-existent agreement with a non-existent creditor who never did their part of the bargain (loan money to the borrower)? The ideological writer of the above quote assumes she knows what happened with these loans when she does not have any clue as to the actual practice. The simple answer is yes, homeowners attempted to honor their agreements but hen were told when the appraisal fraud became evident, that they must stop making payments in order to apply for relief which of course never came. But at that point the homeowner, at the instruction of the bank that had nothing to do with the loan but was pretending to be the "lender" they had paid money up front to the bank, which was illegal for the bank to request or accept, and then piled up 6-12 months or more of payments that were offered but rejected by the bank once the loan was declared in default.

    3. I would insert: which agreement are you talking about --- the one where the borrower agreed to pay money in exchange for a loan that never came from the payee on the note, or the one where the real creditor lender was offered not only payments from the homeowner but insurance (AIG) and proceeds from hedge products like credit default swaps? And then I would further add, how many times should "the bank" get paid on the same debt? If the bank already made $1 million on a $200,000 loan, why should they get paid again through a foreclosure and even a deficiency judgment, which leads to the question of who owes whom money? If the promissory note between the homeowner and whoever was pretending to be the lender at the loan closing says that payments received by the creditor should first be applied to the debt and then any overage, after deduction for expenses, is owed to the borrower, then it seems to me that the "Agreement" which has not been read by any of the ideologues who have an opinion on exotic financing instruments that they cannot begin to define requires the over payment to be paid to the borrower. Thus there can be no default if there (a) no debt and (b) money due back to the homeowner under the terms of the promissory note (the agreement you keep talking about, but have never read).

    4. "You call it a predatory loan which is an excuse for not reading the agreement. Unless the bank committed fraud, the situation is entirely your fault." Ignorance is bliss. Popping your bubble, not reading the agreement is never a defense to the breach of any agreement, unless there is a provision to the contrary contained in the agreement itself or in the statutes governing the agreement. A predatory loan is defined by statute and case law as one in which the parties are unequal both in terms of bargaining power and sophisticated knowledge of transactions as complex as real estate deals where the number of documents and the thickness of some of them is staggering and despite the fact that the law requires delivery of the documents at least 3 days before closing so the borrower can get some advice, and that is exactly what the originators and now the banks claiming rights under the note, did NOT do. Some regulations describe a pattern of lending called table funded loans as predatory per se --- whether the borrower read the documents or not. These loans, laden with fraudulent  representations made to both the real lenders (investors) and the borrowers (homeowners) were fraudulent according to common law going back centuries, statutory law going back decades and common sense. Where the loan comes from an undisclosed party and the loan documents (the agreement) "borrow" the transaction between the homeowner and a bank or other lender that is unconnected with the documents presented at the loan closing, there is no breach by the borrower because there never was a completed transaction with those who are foreclosing on properties by the millions.

    5. So  there being obvious evidence of fraud, using your logic, it isn't the fault of the borrower. It is the fault of the originator and all the bit players pretending to be dealing in real transactions when they were in fact dealing only in worthless paper.

    6. Sympathy: Your lack of any sense of sorrow for people whose lives were turned upside down is disturbing and indicative how this mess happened. The banks were counting on people like you who without reading any of the documents themselves would nevertheless have an opinion on the documents and the behavior, with the assumptions that the bank was faultless.

Must The “Original” Note be Tendered Back To Borrower’s After Foreclosure?

Posted by Ari, Thursday, March 28th, 2013 @ 5:04pm

  • Must The “Original” Note be Tendered Back To Borrower’s After Foreclosure?

    Posted by BPIA on Mar 19, 2013

    This came across my desk and I feel it’s worth posting. I don’t have the name of the author, but I believe it comes from a foreclosure defense attorney. If the “original” note must be tendered after a foreclosure sale, then by all means make the demand! If the so-called beneficiary or servicer sends you a bogus note marked “paid in full,” or something of that nature, and the note is deemed inauthentic, it’s probably safe to say they foreclosed without holding / owning the “original” note. Grounds to overturn or void the sale? Hmmmmm…

    “I have been going through some complaints/motions/decisions and the like lately to evaluate my original theories on how the foreclosure scam/hoax is perpetuated through the courts and find that my theories are correct; but perhaps I have not emphasized these points sufficiently because so few people – even attorneys specializing in foreclosures – seem to use the concept in any way.

    First: Always obtain the judge’s financial disclosure statement to see if he and/or his spouse is invested in any way with the bank you are fighting. This is inclusive of his ‘mutual funds’ ‘pension account’  ‘retirement account’ ‘mortgage’ etc. In almost every case you will discover that the judge deciding your case has a financial relationship in some way with your adversary.

    Second: Notice how the bank repeatedly claims “the Borrower is in default.” Although this claim may be true it is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is whether or not the ‘purported loan’ is in default.  In almost all cases the ‘loan’ is not in default and has been paid in full by some entity (bailout money, TARP, insurance, etc.). The bank guides the case towards a discussion concerning Borrower’s  failure to pay when in fact the real question is whether or not the Note has been paid – in law it does not matter who paid the note, just whether or not its been paid. Even in the judge’s decisions and orders the judge often notes the Borrower’s failure to pay yet NEVER discusses whether or not the Note  has been paid. This is a trick initiated by the banks and perpetrated by the judges.Do not fall for this trick. If you must, add comments in your motion stating such; make sure you stay focused on whether or not the Note has been paid, not whether or not you paid.

    Take some time and go through decisions the favor the bank and you will find exactly what I have found – judge’s rule for the bank based on the false premise that the Loan is in default because the Borrower is in  default, when in fact every judge knows that one has nothing to do with the other.

    It simply does not matter how the Note was paid, nor does it matter if the Borrower is delinquent – the ONLY thing that matters is whether or not the NOTE was paid for, and the Note is ALWAYS paid for by some entity. I have tried for years to make both of these points perfectly clear to everyone yet almost no one ever seems to let these points sink in well enough to make them priorities in their cases; which I think is a  primary contributing factor to why so many people lose before court and wind up with ‘summary judgments’ and/or dismissals.

    You must understand it is the judge’s best interest to take you to an  arena where you can’t win; and arguing about whether or not you are in default is not winnable in any situation.

    But; an argument about whether or not the Note is in default is not an argument the banks can win. For the Note to be in default would require a complete absence of: i) any payment from the numerous bailouts; and ii) any payment from insurances; and iii) the standard language in the PSA; and iv) violations of S.E.C. requirements. Plus, the banks and insurance companies IRS filings would then be fraudulent. You must then get the banks to go on the record claiming the Note was not paid in full and/or in part by ANY entity and force them to supply the corresponding IRS and S.E.C. records establishing such.

    Third: What proves I am right, other than the fact so far I always have been? Simple, the law is very clear concerning what must happen with a  Note in the case of a foreclosure – the Note must be returned to the  Borrower and/or canceled by the court. But this NEVER happens, why? 2 reasons: 1 because the Note was destroyed shortly after it was signed, and 2 because those that paid off the ‘digital version’ of the Note are  not going to release it since they paid for it. The really disgusting part about all of this is the judges know  everything above is 100% correct, true and factual. That should scare everyone.

    Yes, the judges are in on it, the AGs are in on it, the politicians are in on it.


    In law and in commerce: no foreclosure is “PERFECTED” until the Note is returned to the Borrower and/or cancelled by the court. Which proves incontrovertibly: no foreclosure in this country was legally sufficient and/or even actually occurred in law. The whole damn thing is a hoax.”

Prommis Holdings LLC Files for Bankruptcy Protection

Posted by Ari, Thursday, March 21st, 2013 @ 11:17am

Collectors hound consumers for a million disputed debts per year, FTC study finds

Posted by Ari, Thursday, January 31st, 2013 @ 9:22am

  • Collectors hound consumers for a million disputed debts per year, FTC study finds

    By Jenna Greene

    The National Law Journal

    January 30, 2013 

    The Federal Trade Commission gets more complaints about debt collectors than any other industry, with consumers claiming that they're being hounded for debts they don't owe or for the wrong amount of money. 

    In the first study of its kind, released on January 30, the FTC examined data on debt buyers, looking at more than 5,000 portfolios containing nearly 90 million consumer accounts with a face value of $143 billion. Creditors often sell debt that they have not collected to such buyers. 
    The agency found that each year, buyers seek to collect about a million debts that consumers assert they don't owe, writing that the "proper handling of this large number of disputed debts is a significant consumer protection concern." 

    For the study, the FTC got information (via what the agency termed a "compulsory process") from nine of the largest debt buyers. Most of the debts stemmed from unpaid credit card charges, though the study also included debts from mortgage, medical, utility, telecommunications, and other creditors. The buyers paid an average of 4 cents per dollar of the debts' face value. 

    The FTC found that many ensuing problems with debt collection were the result of incomplete information and poor communication. For example, debt buyers often did not get any information from sellers, whether a consumer had disputed the debt or whether the disputed debt had been verified. Nor did they get information that would allow them to break down the outstanding balance into principal, interest, and fees. 

    "The Commission has found that such information would assist consumers in determining if the amount of their debts is correct," the FTC stated. 

    The FTC also found that sellers typically refused to guarantee whether the information about the debts for sale was accurate, selling them "as is and with all faults." Nor could debt buyers in most cases get a refund from the seller if the information about the debts was inaccurate. The study did not attempt to determine how often the information contained errors. 

    The FTC has brought cases against debt buyers for failing to verify disputed debts, such as the agency's 2012 action against Asset Acceptance, when it alleged that the company lacked a reasonable basis for representing to borrowers that they owed a debt, in violation of the FTC Act. Asset settled the case for $2.5 million. 

    The FTC has recommended to Congress that it amend the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to require that debt buyers provide consumers with the name of the original creditor; an itemization of the principal, total interest, and total fees that make up the debt; plus two additional statements notifying consumers of their rights. 

    If a consumer protests that he or she doesn't owe the money or that the amount is wrong, the FTC said collectors should back off, because they are "likely to need more information before once again claiming that the consumer owes the debt." 

    Another "major concern" for the FTC is the conduct of some debt buyers in collecting, threatening to sue, or suing on debt that is time-barred. 

    The FTC explains that protection offered by the statute of limitation is not automatic, and that in "most states, the expiration of the statute of limitations on a debt does not extinguish the debt. Instead, the running of the statute of limitations is an affirmative defense that consumers themselves must raise and prove before courts will dismiss actions to collect on their debts." 

    But because 90 percent of consumers sued for debt collection don't appear in court to defend themselves, the FTC found, "filing these actions creates a risk that consumers will be subject to a default judgment on a time-barred debt." The agency recommended that states change their laws to require collectors to prove that debts are not time-barred. 

    Contact Jenna Greene at

Big Banks challenge Judge McConnell’s settlement program in First Circuit Court

Posted by Ari, Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 @ 1:16pm

  • Big Banks challenge Judge McConnell’s settlement program in First Circuit Court

    On Feb 5, 2013, Attorney Corey Allard will be presenting oral arguments in front of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which will ask the court to uphold the settlement program created by Judge John McConnell.  This program gives homeowners the ability to have leverage when negotiating with the Banks. 

    The appeal in case Re: Mortgage Foreclosure, No. 12-1526 will be heard by Chief Judge, Hon. Sandra L. Lynch and a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeal’s Frist Circuit.  “Our office has and will continue to stand firmly behind Judge McConnell and the settlement program” said Attorney Allard

    The settlement program dates back to Jan 5, 2012 when Judge McConnell appointed Merrill Sherman as special master over a docket of cases consolidated as In re Mortgage Foreclosure Cases, Misc. No. 11-mc-00088-M-LDA.  The task of the Special Master was to “explore all possibilities for the potential settlement of these claims.”  Throughout the last year the settlement program has proven to be both successful and beneficial to Rhode Island homeowners. This past Fall, a report on the settlement program concluded that  “Of the 131 settlement conferences Sherman held between Aug. 7 and Sept. 13, the report said, 81 led to requests for loan modifications and 33 led to ‘‘cash for keys’’ negotiations, a program in which homeowners are effectively offered money to leave.  Nine cases have been resolved, and one dismissed.”  

    The Law Offices of George E. Babcock works daily on over 550 cases that are part of the settlement program.  “If the Banks ask the First Circuit Court to scrap Judge McConnell’s settlement program thousands of Rhode Islanders will be left without bargaining power against the banks. As it currently stands, Judge McConnell’s program forces the Banks to deal with the homeowners and adds leverage to the playing field. “ said Allard. Below is an overview of the oral arguments that will be presented to the court on February 5th 2013.

    The central issue being argued in, In Re: Mortgage Foreclosure is whether the District Court Amended Order issued by Judge McConnell should be upheld. This order consolidated the Mortgage Foreclosure docket, and appointed a Special Master to oversee mandatory mediation of the cases that make up the Federal District Foreclosure docket.  During the mediation period the order makes clear that all foreclosure and eviction proceedings shall be stayed, pending a final order and decision from the court.

    The stay allows for the Special Master to effectively conduct mediation meetings with both parties; the Bank enacting the foreclosure, and the people being foreclosed on. The purpose of these mediations is two-fold. The first prong of the mediation is, allowing people to have an option of staying in their homes with a mortgage that they can afford, or to move on with a cash settlement that will compensate them for their loss. The second prong of the mediation is that it will cause these current non-performing loans to return to performing assets for the mortgagee loan holders.

    The order does this by staying foreclosure proceeding and forcing mediation so that a discussion can take place and for an agreement of a loan modification or settlement can develop. Ultimately, establishing a settlement and or keeping people in their homes, is the goal of the Law Office of George E. Babcock.

    A second but equally important aspect of the argument in this case is that each case is not merely a case about legal issues but about an individual’s right to defend title to their home.  It is important to put the face of a real life person before the court facing the very real life issue of losing a home.

    The case on appeal is really an appeal of the Federal District Court order issued by Judge McConnell. As mentioned this order created a docket and mediation program, governed by a Special Master. Babcock Law Offices represents the vast majority of the plaintiffs in these cases. The appeal came to the first circuit by way of the Defendants bringing suit against Judge McConnell for the issuance of his order that created the docket and mediation program. As Babcock Law Offices represents over 550 plaintiffs on the Federal Docket, they are handling the appeal of the order as well.

    The Massachusetts First Circuit Court of Appeals is located at the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse, 1 Courthouse Way, Boston, MA 02210.  Allard will present his argument starting at 9 am. Check back for a decision in the case.  Click here to readRe: Mortgage Foreclosure No. 12-1526 appeal.

Zombie Title Exposes The Real Deal in Foreclosures

Posted by Ari, Friday, January 11th, 2013 @ 9:55am

  • Zombie Title Exposes The Real Deal in Foreclosures

    by Neil Garfield


    What’s the Next Step? Consult with Neil Garfield

    For assistance with presenting a case for enforcement of association liens or wrongful foreclosure, please call 520-405-1688, customer service, who will put you in touch with an attorney in the states of Florida, California, Ohio, and Nevada. (NOTE: Chapter 11 may be easier than you think).

    Editor's Analysis: This is not a new problem. For along time in Florida, the banks would delay the foreclosure sale until they thought they could sell the property fairly quickly. When I was representing several hundred associations we had different tactics we used to get the monthly maintenance and special assessments from the bank but that was when the mortgages were real and the foreclosures were honest.

    The homeowner associations were stuck between a rock and hard place. Now they are foreclosing anyway and including the pretender lender as at best a junior lien holder. Practically every development in which an HOA or condo association is involved has the problem if they were built anytime after 1996. Even the ones built before that are having the problem.

    The bank chases the homeowner out with threats of foreclosure, perhaps even initiates the foreclosure and then dismisses it leaving the ownership and liabilities of the home in limbo,. Florida addressed the problem by giving time limits to the bank before they were liable for the assessments.

    In the worst cases, so many people are chased out of their homes that the remaining homeowners, sometimes as few as 5%-10% of the total homes must shoulder the burden of maintaining the entire complex.

    In current circumstances the homeowner who left is dogged by a house he thought was gone, with cities suing them for liens and eyesores on stripped homes that are literally falling apart. In many cities tens of thousands of homes were actually bull dozed by the city for the zombie title homes that were abandoned by the pretender lender who chased people out of homes they would have stayed in, paid the taxes, paid the insurance and maintained the property.  The more homes that are hit with this phenomenon the more likely it is that more families are going to walk away from their homes as the neighborhood turns into crack houses and squatters.

    This puts pressure on home values not only in those neighborhoods but in surrounding communities. So Wall Street as the articles are now trumpeting, is in the process of buying up as much property as it can and can't do it fast enough  because they are getting the property for pennies on the dollar.

    The only good part about Wall Street's involvement in the purchase of these properties is that the same set of companies and investment banks who foreclosed knowing they were not creditors and were at least partially acting for their own selfish benefit are the people who end up holding the properties. That should make it easier to get the properties back into homeowner hands, because there is no bona fide purchaser for value without notice of claims. They fail on both value and notice.

    When the day of reckoning comes and the titles are found to be void or voidable, the REITs will discover the same thing that the REMICs did --- they got a holographic image of an empty paper bag. In that sense, the investors in both the REMICs and the REITs will find themselves holding the bag, so to speak. as the unofficial seller of the properties to the REITs Wall Street will report record profits, just like when they said they "sold" mortgages to the REMICs, when in fact they had not.

    If Wall Street follows the plan they used with the REMICs, they will issue undivided proportional interests in REITs and then later decide what properties to assign to the REIT. The ones likely to lose money they will bet against and receive the money on the interests they sold leaving the investors, once again, out in the cold.

    This will undoubtedly take the fatal chunk out of our private pension systems and even several public pensions that end up investing in high rated "insured" REIT investments. If the rating agencies don't look under the hood to see what is happening and they take the information supplied by Wall Street as true, the securities will be high rated. The already underfunded pension funds will lose still more money while Wall Street continues to record record profits.

    If you step back from the situation to get a broader view. you will see the pattern and the reality. The pretender lenders forced most of the foreclosures away from settlement, modifications and short-sales because they would expose themselves to huge liabilities for repayment of insurance proceeds and credit default swaps on derivative instruments that were called out as devalued.

    The foreclosure had nothing to do with the need to foreclose or the realities of the situation. It is simply a device for the banks to cover their tracks leaving the title to properties, already corrupted beyond recognition, in doubt as to just about every property and every loan transaction between 2001 and the present.

    Ever alert to profit opportunities the banks knew that they controlled the market prices by forcing foreclosures down the throat of all stakeholders, including city and county and state coffers depending upon property and related taxes. This only opened up the market to underwrite more municipal bonds. Wall Street wins again while everyone else loses.

    Now that they don't seem to be able to drive prices down much further they are manipulating more and more regional markets bring prices up so they can sell the REIT the fake interest of the REMIC acquired in a fabricated foreclosure in which a deed was issued based upon a completely fabricated credit bid from a non-creditor. Wall Street wins again while everyone else loses.

    There actually is a remedy to change Wall Street and reinstatement of the Glass-Steagal Act is only one of the things needed. The real problems started when (1) the accounting rules started to change into exotic formulas and allowances that made absolutely no sense and (2) when investment firms were allowed to shield themselves from liability by becoming corporations that offered their own stock to the public, Before that the partners were liable for every trade and everything else that went on in their firm.

    If you think about it an "off-balance sheet" transaction is unicorn --- a mythological construct. In the case of current accounting standards the damage is deadly and pervasive. It allows companies hide what they are really doing and exposes both customers and shareholders in the investment bank to risks they know nothing about. It allows the firm to pay outlandish bonuses for results that are mostly hidden and riddled with liabilities that should bring the firm crashing down.

    And if you think about it, taking the risk of loss away from management people and shifting it to shareholders was the single most disastrous invitation to moral hazard. Partners were suddenly transformed into having nothing to lose and everything to gain. Since they decided the compensation, the "profits" were taken largely by management before any distribution to shareholders and the value of the stock was heavily dependent upon the so-called profits. Most of the profits are now coming from "proprietary trading" which is the vehicle through which the investment firms are repatriating money siphoned out of the economy in the last crash. In reality they are trading with themselves and declaring a profit. It would be a joke if it were not true.

    People in the Obama administration have taken the party line that we unfortunately made these activities legal and in many cases that is true. But the civil theft aspect, the fraud aspect, the market manipulation aspect are not legal.

    The entire mortgage meltdown was a PONZI scheme that fell apart like all PONZI schemes, when investors stopped buying the bogus mortgage bonds issued by unfunded entities that violated the REMIC statute. These are crimes against humanity as we have seen events unfold around the world and they should be punished. But more than that the mega banks need to be broken up into entities that are not too big to regulate, with some of them failing altogether because of the money they owe the investors which would reduce the balance due from "borrowers."

    We are lucky enough to have 7,000 depository institutions, most of which are healthy who can pick up the pieces without loss of any service now provided by the large banks. The electronic funds transfer backbone and the Check 21 rule changes allow the smallest bank to provide the same services as the large bank including inexpensive ATM transactions at the site of the smallest of merchants. Convenience and service would go up while bank fees would go down.

    People say I'm a dreamer .... but I'm not the only one (John Lennon).

Happy New Year Missouri, Missouri homeowners have a right to sue securitization trusts for wrongful foreclosure

Posted by Ari, Tuesday, January 1st, 2013 @ 11:48pm

  • Ball v Bank of New York as Trustee

    The Defendants claim that the Plaintiffs have not stated sufficient facts to support a claim for wrongful foreclosure. The Court disagrees.

    The Plaintiffs clearly allege that no Defendant owned or possessed their individual mortgage notes at the time there was a foreclosure or threatened foreclosure of the Plaintiffs' property. Under Missouri law, a foreclosure is invalid "when a circumstance denies the mortgagee the right to cause the power of sale to be exercised." Graham v. Oliver, 659 S.W.2d 601, 603 (Mo. Ct. App. 1983). One circumstance "that may render a foreclosure sale void" arises when "the foreclosing party does not hold title to the secured note." Williams v. Kimes, 996 S.W.2d 43, 45(Mo. 1999) (en banc); see also, Morris v. Wells Fargo Home Mortg., No. 4:11CV1452 CEl, 2011 WL 3665150, at *2 (E.D. Mo.Aug. 22, 2011) ("A court may set aside a foreclosure sale as invalid when a circumstance denies the mortgagee the right to cause the power of sale to be exercised, such as when the person causing the foreclosure does not actually hold title to the note .... "). 

    Another is when the foreclosing party lacks possession of the note. In re Washington, 468 B.R. 846, 853 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. 2011). Whether possession or title is required depends on

    whether the note is negotiable or non-negotiable. See, Mo. Rev. Stat. §§400.3-301, 400.3-309, 400.1-201(20); Dale Whitman, How Negotiability Has Fouled Up the Secondary Market, and What to Do About It, 37 Pepp. L. Rev. 737, 748 (2010).

    A number of cases have held that defects in the securitization process cannot be raised by a mortgagee to support a wrongful foreclosure claim. These courts seem to reason that, because the mortgagees are not parties to any of the securitization contracts, they have no standing to claim noncompliance with these agreements. See, e.g., In re Cook, 457 F.3d 561,567-68 (6th Cir. 2006) (ruling that the failure to record an assignment of a mortgage as required by contract impacted the relationship of the parties to the contract, but did not impede the ability to enforce the mortgage against thirdparties); In re Correia, 452 B.R. 319, 324 (1 st Cir. B.A.P. 2011) ("[T]he Debtors lacked standing to challenge the mortgage's chain of title under the PSA .... The Debtors cannot show they were a party to the contract .... "); Bittinger v. Wells Fargo Bank NA., 744 F. Supp. 2d 619,625-26 (S.D. Tex 2010) (rejecting mortgagor's claim of wrongful foreclosure because mortgagor was not a party or beneficiary under the Pooling and Servicing Agreement and thus had "no ability under Texas law to sue for breach of contract. "). 

    At least one court applying Missouri law has followed this trend. In re Washington, 2011 WL 6010247, at *5 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. 2011). But the Plaintiffs do not seek to enforce the contracts or affect the relationship between the parties to the contracts. Rather, the Plaintiffs point to defects in the securitization process as evidence that neither title nor possession of the note passed to the trustee who sought to foreclose their mortgages. Thus, the Plaintiffs seek only to use the breaches as evidence that the party seeking to foreclose is not the owner of their note. Missouri law is clear that a court may set aside a foreclosure sale as invalid when a circumstance denies the mortgagee the right to cause the power of sale to be exercised, Morris v. Wells Fargo Home Mortg., No. 4:11CV1452 CEl, 2011 WL 3665150, at *2 (E.D. Mo. Aug. 22, 2011), and ownership of the note is a prerequisite to foreclosure in Missouri, Williams v. Kimes, 996 S.W.2d 43,45 (Mo. 1999) (en banc); In re Washington, 468 B.R. 846,853 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. 2011).

Happy New Year to Ohio, Great way to start the New Year!

Posted by Ari, Tuesday, January 1st, 2013 @ 2:14pm

  • Onewest Bank v. Yevtich, 2012-Ohio-6246

    Ohio Court of Appeals Reverses Foreclosure Based on Schartzwald.

    Pursuant to 6th Dist.Loc.App.R. 12(A), we sua sponte transfer this matter to our accelerated docket and hereby render our decision.

    {¶ 7} Subsequent to oral argument on this matter, the Supreme Court of Ohio  released an opinion dispositive of this matter. In Fed. Home Loan Mtge. Corp. v. Schwartzwald, Slip Opinion No. 2012-Ohio-5017, ¶ 28, the court held that a party that failed to establish an interest in the mortgage or the note at the time it filed suit had no standing to invoke the jurisdiction of the court. Moreover, a litigant cannot cure a lack of standing after the commencement of the suit by later obtaining an interest in the subject of the litigation. Id. at ¶ 39.

    Since appellee did not obtain a justiciable interest in this suit until the mortgage was assigned to it in January 2010, it lacked standing to invoke the subject matter jurisdiction of the court when it filed its complaint in September 2009.

    Appellants’ Civ.R. 12(B)(1) motion should have been granted. Accordingly, appellants’ sole assignment of error is well-taken.

    {¶ 9} On consideration whereof, the judgment of the Fulton County Court of Common Pleas is reversed. Pursuant App.R. 12(B) and Schwartzwald at ¶ 40, the underlying suit is dismissed without prejudice. It is ordered that appellee pay the court costs of this appeal pursuant to App.R. 24.

NJ Fair Foreclosure Act is Meaningless

Posted by Wendy S., Sunday, October 21st, 2012 @ 10:39am

  • Check out this interview with an attorney from Denbeaux & Denbeaux discussing how homeowners in New Jersey are being deprived of due process rights, rendering the Fair Foreclosure Act meaningless.

    View the video here.


Posted by Ari, Monday, October 8th, 2012 @ 9:01am


    Date: October 8, 2012
    Contact: John Stuart

    UPDATE 3/2/2016:
     This Press Release was originally written in 2012. Since that time, John Stuart has been incarcerated for murder. One of his loyal followers has been in contact with John and has graciously agreed to sell the book for John to help raise money for John's appeals. The links below have been updated to take you to Amazon where you can once again purchase John's QT Workbook. Below is the original Press Release, slightly altered to reflect the current situation.

    For Immediate Release                                                         

    ShowMeTheLoan  presents “THE QUIET TITLE WORKBOOK”

    The newly revised fifth edition of THE QUIET TITLE WORKBOOK is now available at: AMAZON

    THE QUIET TITLE WORKBOOK is a compilation of 5 years of research by the author and dozens of researchers, attorneys and laymen alike; an education obtained through fighting hundreds of court cases and dozens of creditors.

    THE QUIET TITLE WORKBOOK is 417 pages, with 30 chapters and over 20 legal pleadings, motions and letters you can cut and paste with your personal information to fight the banks and other “creditors” in or out of court. Many of these templates have been used repeatedly and have been successful numerous times. Most of the information is based on discoveries by the author and is currently being used around the country by attorneys, paralegals, legal groups and laymen. Some of these discoveries are so ground breaking that most attorneys never learned them in law school. An action to Quiet Title is the simplest and by far most effective way to beat the banks and prevent them from unlawfully and/or fraudulently foreclosing on your home.

    THE QUIET TITLE WORKBOOK is the education and the ammunition you need to successfully beat the banks when they violate law and/or procedures to steal the home that is lawfully yours.

    THE QUIET TITLE WORKBOOK will also show you how to fight creditors committing their typical dirty tricks to steal personal property or obtain fraudulent judgments against you.

    Separately, the information and documents in THE QUIET TITLE WORKBOOK would cost you well over $20,000 if you hired a law firm to write the legal documents and teach you the information.

    THE QUIET TITLE WORKBOOK was written by John Stuart to teach all those who are “WILLING to fight for their rights” and can only be purchased at AMAZON

Failure To Allege Lack of Default

Posted by John, Friday, October 5th, 2012 @ 10:49am

  • Failure to Allege Lack of Default

    January 18, 2011 by Dan Edstrom

    Failure to Allege Lack of Default

    by Daniel Edstrom
    DTC Systems, Inc.

    I came across the following on Google Scholar (,5):

    A. Failure to Allege Lack of Default

    First, Nevada law is clear that “[a]n action for the tort of wrongful foreclosure will lie if the trustor or mortgagor can establish at the time the power of sale was exercised or the foreclosure occurred, no breach of condition or failure of performance existed on the mortgagor or trustor’s part which would have authorized the foreclosure or exercise of the power of sale.Ernestburg v. Mortgage Investors Group, No. 2:08-cv-01304-RCJ-RJJ, 2009 WL 160241, at *6 (D. Nev. Jan. 22, 2009) (internal citations and quotations omitted). The plaintiff must establish that they were not “in default when the power of sale was exercised.Id. (citing Collins v. Union Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass’n, 662 P.2d 610, 623 (Nev. 1983)). Furthermore, a claim for wrongful foreclosure does not arise until the power of sale is exercised. Collins, 662 P.2d at 623.

    Green Plaintiffs admit that they have breached their loan obligations: “Borrower/Plaintiffs did not pay the payments agreed in the `Note’ . . .” Doc. 35, ¶ 92. In Lopez, Plaintiff Lopez “was unable to continue making payments” and a Notice of Default was recorded. Doc. 59-1, ¶¶ 58, 63. In fact, the Lopez Amended Complaint admits that every named plaintiff had been defaulted or was otherwise behind in their payments. Doc. 59-1, ¶¶ 71, 79, 88, 99, 109, 118. Similarly, the Dalton complaint alleges that at least one plaintiff could “no longer pay the payments” (see 10-81-PHX-JAT, Doc. 2, ¶ 138 (a)) and does not make any allegation that any plaintiff made the payments agreed upon under the terms of their loans. The Goodwin Second Amended Complaint alleges that at least one plaintiff “ceased making payments” (see Doc. 54-4, ¶ 134 (b)) and does not make any allegation that any plaintiff made the payments agreed upon under the terms of their loans. By failing to plead that their loans are not in default, all of Plaintiffs’ claims for wrongful foreclosure are barred as a matter of law and will be dismissed for failure to state a claim. Further, for many of the claims in these actions, Plaintiffs do not allege that the power of sale has been exercised. For these plaintiffs, these claims for wrongful foreclosure are premature and not actionable.

    I have discussed this issue many times, but let’s review again.  Look at your note, specifically the section titled “Who is Obligated Under this Note” and read what it says.  The obligated parties are: those who executed the note (signed it as borrowers); those who endorsed the note (which is why they put WITHOUT RECOURSE); and those who act as a guaranty or bind themselves as a surety (add themselves as obligors to the note).  This section goes on to say that all obligors are responsible for payment individually and as a group.

    Looking at the Pooling and Servicing Agreement (PSA), the servicers and trustee are required and obligated to make the monthly payments of principal and interest regardless of whether the homeowner makes these payments.  They have been added as obligors along with the borrower under the note.  When you review the governing documents (Prospectus, Prospectus Supplement and the Pooling and Servicing Agreement) along with the monthly certificateholder statements and the monthly loan level files, it becomes apparent that the obligation is being met by those obligated under the note.  The servicers and trustee freely took this obligation on themselves under the terms of the Pooling and Servicing Agreement.  Further, the servicer has to keep track of these advances on a loan-by-loan basis in a separate accounting (a second set of books).  It is their decision to NEVER bring the full accounting into court and explain to judges the true situation, which is that they are obligated along with the homeowner, and have also met the obligation and made the payments.  The trustee and the investors (who they are allegedly foreclosing on behalf of), have received ALL payments as required under the note.  Looking at UCC 3-602(a) we find that payments made by or on behalf of the homeowners discharge the obligation to the extent payment is made.  The servicers and trustees are not disclosing, misrepresenting and failing to disclose the true situation.  In my opinion this is fraud upon the borrowers and fraud upon the court, if only for the reason that the servicers and trustees (and their agents and attorneys) failed to disclose material information.  The homeowners in this case were obviously ignorant of this information which was in the custody and control of the servicers and the trustees.  

    Yes it was the homeowners who were making the claims, but it was based on an accounting that was not true or complete.  The homeowner was acting on information provided to it by the opposing parties.  This information was not accurate or truthful.  The opposing parties are supplying the correct information to the trustee, the certificateholders and the ratings agencies, but completely different information to the homeowners and to the courts.   The homeowners relied on this incomplete information to their detriment.  Further, the attorneys for these homeowners were also unaware of the true circumstances.  The reason this information is relevant is because all of the documents used to foreclose in non-judicial states are based on the fact that there is a default.  The Notice of Default, Substitution of Trustee, Notice of Sale, etc.  If the trustee and the investors have received all of the payments, again, how could these documents be truthful and accurate?

    This is a travesty of justice that needs to be rectified.

Banks Trying to Get Bill Through Congress Protecting MERS

Posted by John, Thursday, September 27th, 2012 @ 10:20pm

  • Banks Trying to Get Bill Through Congress Protecting MERS

    Posted on September 27, 2012 by Neil Garfield

    Editor’s Comment: It is no small wonder that the banks are scared. After all they created MERS and they control MERS and many of them own MERS. The Washington Supreme Court ruling leaves little doubt that MERS is a sham, leaving even less doubt that an industry is sprouting up for wrongful foreclosure in which trillions of dollars are at stake.

    The mortgages that were used for foreclosure are, in my opinion, and in the opinion of a growing number of courts and lawyers and regulatory agencies around the country, State and Federal, were fatally defective and that leads to the conclusion that (1) the foreclosures can be overturned and (2) millions of dollars in damages might be payable to those homeowners who were foreclosed and evicted from homes they legally owned.

    But the problem for the megabanks is even worse than that. If the mortgages were defective (deeds of trust in some states), then the money collected by the banks from insurance, credit default swaps, federal bailouts and buyouts and other hedge instruments pose an enormous liability to the large banks that promulgated this scam known as securitization where the last thing they had in mind was securitization. In many cases, the loans were effectively sold multiple times thus creating a liability not only to the borrower that illegally had his home seized but a geometrically higher liability to other financial institutions and governments and investors for selling them toxic waste.

    There is a reason that that the bailout is measured at $17 trillion and it isn’t because those are losses caused by defaults in mortgages which appear to total less than 10% of that amount. The total of ALL mortgages during that period that are subject to claims of securitization (false claims, in my opinion) was only $13 trillion. So why was the $17 trillion bailout $4 trillion more than all the mortgages put together, most of which are current on their payments?

    The reason is that some bets went well, in which case the banks kept the profits and didn’t tell the investors about it even though it was investor with which money they were betting.

    If the loan went sour, or the Master Servicer, in its own interest, declared that the value of the pool had been diminished by a higher than expected default rate, then the insurance contract and credit default contract REQUIRED payment even though most of the loans were intact. Of course we now know that the loans were probably never in the pools anyway.

    The bets that ended up in losses were tossed over the fence at the Federal Government and the bets that were “good” ended up with the insurers (AIG, AMBAC) having to pay out more money than they were worth. Enter the Federal Government again to make up the difference where the banks collected 100 cents on the dollar, didn’t tell the investors and declared the loans in default anyway and then proceeded to foreclose.

    The banks’ answer to this knotty problem is predictable. Overturn the Washington Supreme Court case and others like it appellate and trial courts around the country by having Congress declare that the MERS transactions were valid. The biggest hurdle they must overcome is not a paperwork problem —- it is a money problem.

    In many if not most cases, neither MERS nor the named payee on the note nor the “lender” identified on the note and mortgage had loaned any money at all. Even the banks are saying that the loans are owned by the “Trusts” but it now appears as though the trusts were never funded by either money or loans and that there were no bank accounts or any other accounts for those pools.

    That leaves nothing but nominees for unidentified parties in all the blank spaces on the note and mortgage, whose terms were different than the payback provisions promised to the investor lenders. And THAT means that much of the assets carried on the books of the banks are simply worthless and non-existent AND that there is a liability associated with those transactions that is geometrically higher than the false assets that the banks are reporting.

    So the question comes down to this: will Congress try to save MERS? (I.e., will they try to save the banks again with a legal bailout?). Will the effort even be constitutional since it deals with property required to be governed under States’ rights under the constitution or are we going to forget the Constitution and save the banks at all costs?

    When you cast your ballot in November, remember to look at the candidates you are considering. If they are aligned with the banks, we can expect slashed pension benefits next year along with a whole new round of housing and economic decline.



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