Tag Archives: foreclosure defense attorney

WHY UNDATED INDORSEMENTS FAIL

Under the subject matter of Debt Collection, Foreclosures and Chain of Title Education …  and Op-Ed as well:

UPDATED ON MARCH 19, 2017

The following diatribe is not to be construed as legal advice, but rather for educational purposes only.

A number of issues have surfaced in recent years, in light of the foreclosure crisis, two of which involvement indorsements on the promissory notes (or their respective allonges) and one regarding who the real parties in interest are when the MERS® System is involved.  By no means is any of this finite, as research is continually ongoing as to the “flaws” in the MERS business model, which to me, is impliedly criminal in nature. I don’t care whether this “business model” has been trademarked either.  It has left the door open for criminal RICO behavior and MERSCORP and its shareholders provided the platform for the thievery.

To me, the MERS® System was not only created as a platform by which to (as MERS’s own officers tell it) electronically transfer mortgages and notes within a database (owned by then-MERSCORP, Inc.), but also to act “as the getaway car” in the theft of tens of millions of residential properties across America ever since MERS became involved in mortgage foreclosures.  Like it or not, this smacks of criminal RICO.  MERS and its parent, of course, will deny any wrongdoing, like they did when I released the Williamson County Real Property Records Audit in January of 2013.

In fact, MERS was so vehemently upset with the release of the Williamson County Report that they caused to be published almost a full-page ad in the Austin American-Statesman newspaper on February 7, 2013, denying any wrongdoing and attempting to rebut the contents of the Report, which was reviewed by more than a half dozen foreclosure defense attorneys prior to its release and was accompanied by a legal opinion. One would have to ask, “How could little ole’ Dave Krieger write a report that would piss off the MERS hierarchy all the way to Reston, Virginia?”

I was inundated by phone calls from reporters at the time, attempting to elicit a comment as to MERS’s statement that “it didn’t do anything wrong”.  My simple response to them was: “If MERS didn’t do anything wrong, then why is everybody suing them?”  The reporters just laughed, affirmatively responding in kind and didn’t ask me any more follow-up questions.

In previous posts, I have attempted to identify who the real “agent” (MERSCORP calls it a “nominee”) is in the mortgage loan security instruments.  The term used in MERS-related paperwork is “Electronic Agent”.  There is only ONE “Electronic Agent” named in the back-office documents that virtually all foreclosure defense attorneys never get to see … and it’s NOT MERS.  I personally asked for those documents when writing discovery to MERS and MERSCORP in the Robinson case, which by the way is protected by work product privilege.   The Robinsons never got those documents because MERS and MERSCORP wouldn’t produce them.  Does this sound familiar to you?  Not if you didn’t know you had to ask for them, because they do in fact, exist. MERS just flat out want to verify its agency relationship with its members; frankly, because it doesn’t have any agency relationship with its members.  If you read the DiLibero case in Rhode Island, the Supreme Court noted that the executory contract was with MERSCORP, Inc. … or didn’t you pay attention to that part?  MERS obviously doesn’t want you to … and for good reason.

The “Electronic Agent” in the document I’m referring to is MERSCORP, Inc. (now MERSCORP Holdings, Inc.).  The Agreement I’m talking about is attached here: eta_warehouse_template_v6-mers-and-borrower4

In the foregoing document, in order to be successful in discovery, research shows you have to have a completed document between MERSCORP and the “member-user” of the MERS® System. The differences in your understanding of how these documents work appears to determine whether or not you’ll win your foreclosure case.  But that is only one element of liability here.

When I spoke of “the getaway car”, it generally means, an accomplice helped the robbers get away with the goods.  The getaway car driver generally is considered equally culpable in the crime (in this case, the theft of property by fraud) and is generally sentenced to prison, along with the perpetrators and actual actors in the scheme (the MERSCORP member-subscribers who use the MERS® System).  In criminal RICO, two or more actors are necessary, in a specific pattern of behavior, to orchestrate an act which results in an actual loss of money or property, which in this case, involved borrowers’ payments to a lender for a specific period of time, accompanied by a down payment (sometimes as much as 20% or more), in obtaining one of these so-called, MERS-originated Mortgages or Deeds of Trust.

I also have to mention identity theft here, because nowhere in any of these security instruments does it say that MERS, as an agent for the lender, should be allowed access to your social security number and other personal identifying information.  This becomes evident when anyone gets on the MERS Servicer ID Search system and wants to know who their “investor” is, which in of itself also promulgates fraud because MERSCORP, who owns the site, disclaims the site for accuracy because it’s just the driver of the getaway car.  The actual “actors” who perpetrated the fraud are the servicers who use the “System” to put whatever they want the borrower to see.  Borrowers actually believe the shit these servicers post on that site and use it in court. This is exactly what MERSCORP wants you to do.  And you fall for it?  Apparently, even the foreclosure defense attorneys don’t know what a Warehouse Lender template form is, because if they did, they’d be using it to unravel the MERS® System in front of the judge, demanding a filled-out, signed copy of the bloody form!  This is where the agency relationship was created folks … but not with MERS!  It was created with MERSCORP … as the “Electronic Agent”!  Nowhere in your security instrument does it say “MERSCORP” anywhere.  Look at all the millions of homes that were stolen using MERS and MERSCORP as the getaway car (in all those purported MERS assignments) when in fact, the corporate resolution giving then-Secretary William Hultman has never surfaced, despite being demanded to produce in discovery in the Ukpe case in New Jersey.

I spoke with former federal prosecutor Mark J. Malone by phone about this “corporate resolution”, supposedly generated in April of 1998, which he doubt even exists … which is why MERS won’t produce it.

I put those results in the OSCEOLA COUNTY FORENSIC EXAMINATION and caused them to be released to the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Osceola County, Florida on December 30, 2014.  After that Report was released to the public in 2015, there wasn’t a peep to be heard out of Reston, Virginia (where MERS and MERSCORP are headquartered), contrary to the stink they made when the Williamson County report was released.  That’s because the Osecola County Report intimated criminal RICO, “getaway car” implications for MERS and its parent.  Every one of the Board of Directors OF MERS and MERSCORP needs to be put in prison, and for well more time than what DOCX’s Lorraine Brown got.  Lorraine Brown was only an ass-puppet for Lender Processing Services, Inc., who quickly dumped DOCX to decrease its potential liability.  That’s pretty much like the CIA disavowing one of its agent’s actions when the agent is caught, to cut its ties to any potential liability down the road.  Instead, the U.S. Department of Justice, along with the Tampa FBI and the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department, whitewashed the Report by attacking the Clerk and myself.  It was more important to the Sheriff’s Department how much it cost to certify the 17 cases of evidence still in its possession, and who paid for it, rather than who was responsible for all of the criminal allegations that the Sheriff’s Department itself was involved in, because it got paid $90 per eviction, creating potential liability by extension of the fraud.  No wonder they all wanted to bury this by smearing me and the Clerk in the media.  This “issue” isn’t going to go away, because people (including attorneys and university researchers, are downloading this report and reading it in droves) are waking up to the real truths of the matter.  Giving the Sheriff’s Department in Osceola County the investigative powers regarding this Report is like the “fox guarding the henhouse”.

Also bear in mind that then-9th Circuit States Attorney, Jeff Ashton, declined to investigate the report (obviously, because it would be political suicide for him to “grow a pair”) and turned it over to the Sheriff’s Department, claiming “you have to follow the chain of command.  Meanwhile, Ashton decided that he’d rather “grow a pair”, among other things, viewing the AshleyMadison.com website on company time, which is one of the reasons he did not get re-elected in the Democratic Primary in 2016.  This means that the new 9th Circuit States Attorney, Aramis Ayala, is going to have to come out strong in favor of the people of her Circuit and do the right thing by investigating this report and convening a grand jury to investigate its contents.  If it means the Sheriff’s Department in Osceola County has to face civil litigation for its participation in eviction of all of those homeowners, so be it.

Look at your mortgage or deed of trust and tell me if you see MERSCORP listed as the “nominee”! 

Now … what is non-disclosure to you?

Were you ever told that MERSCORP was the “Electronic Agent” behind the scenes?  Of course not.  Is the MERS® System patent a matter of public record in the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office?  It sure is.  Is that constructive notice in the land records where the property is located?  Nope.  That’s because the “driver of the getaway car” had to remain the real secret here.

This is why I also believe that once the documents (notes an mortgages) were uploaded into the MERS® System, they were no longer needed; and thus, were shredded. I know that there are other contradictory opinions out there, but I relied on the 2009 Florida Mortgage Bankers Association letter to Judge Jennifer Bailey that implied that they didn’t need the original documents anymore.  Thus, I believe that there are no longer any original documents out there, just electronic copies that are reproduced for trial.  And because of UETA and eSign acts, electronic copies conveniently fit the bill … but they’re not the originals, are they?

Now the indorsements …

In the most recent decision, the Supreme Court of Hawaii, in Bank of America, N.A. v. Reyes-Toledo (see the 28-page opinion here: 2017-feb-28-hsct-pulished-opinion) opined (in part) the following:

“Bank of America has maintained that it was the holder of the Note based on the Egan Declaration and the blank indorsement on the Note. Accordingly, we consider whether the Bank produced sufficient evidence to demonstrate that it was entitled to enforce the Note as a holder of the instrument at the time that the foreclosure proceedings were commenced. The negotiation asserted by Bank of America involved negotiation by blank indorsement and transfer of possession of the Note. In contrast, a special indorsement occurs if the indorsement is made by the holder of an instrument and theindorsement identifies a person to whom it makes the instrument payable. When an instrument is specially indorsed, it becomes payable to the identified person and may be negotiated only by the indorsement of that person. Id. A blank indorsement occurs when an indorsement is made by the holder of an instrument and is not a special indorsement; in other words, a blank indorsement is not payable to an identified person.   When indorsed in blank, an instrument becomes payable to bearer and may be negotiated by transfer or possession alone until specially indorsed.

Here, the Note, which was attached to Bank of America’s motion for summary judgment as Exhibit A, contains two indorsements. One indorsement is a special indorsement by Countrywide Bank, FSB, to Countrywide Home Loans, Inc.  The other is a blank indorsement by Countrywide Home Loans, Inc.  Thus, because the Note was last negotiated by a blank indorsement, it may be negotiated by transfer of possession. Although Bank of America produced evidence that it possessed the blank-indorsed Note at the time it sought summary judgment, a material question of fact exists as to whether Bank of America possessed the Note, or was otherwise a holder, at the time it brought the foreclosure action. Indeed, the copy of the Note attached to the summary judgment motion does not reflect the date of the blank indorsement, and the Egan Declaration, which was made after the filing of the complaint in this case, does not indicate when the indorsement occurred. Further, there is no additional evidence in the record regarding the date of the indorsements or whether Bank of America possessed the Note at the time of the filing of the complaint. Thus, there is a material question of fact as to whether Bank of America was the holder of the Note at the time the foreclosure proceedings were commenced, which in turn raises the issue of whether Bank of America had standing to foreclose on the Property at the time it brought the foreclosure action.

Here, there is no evidence in the record, either through the Note itself, the Egan Declaration, or the other documents attached to the motion for summary judgment, showing that the blank indorsement on the Note occurred prior to the initiation of the suit. Consequently, there is a genuine issue as to whether Bank of America was entitled to foreclose when it commenced the proceeding. Thus, viewing the facts and inferences in the light most favorable to Homeowner, there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Bank of America held the Note at the time it filed the complaint. Accordingly, Bank of America failed to meet its burden of demonstrating that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law, and the circuit court erred in granting Bank of America’s motion for summary judgment. For the reasons discussed, the ICA’s April 13, 2016 judgment on appeal is vacated. The circuit court’s December 9, 2014 Judgment is also vacated to the extent it grants summary judgment to Bank of America. The case is remanded to the ICA for a determination of whether the circuit court erred in dismissing Homeowner’s counterclaims.”

What the homeowners’ attorneys miss … 
The bigger picture here is the agency relationship claimed to have been possessed by MERS at the time of assignment.  Because the note indorsements are never dated, there’s no proof of when the effective date of transfer occurred.  Thus, in the foregoing instance, WHEN did Bank of America possess the Note?
Before, or after, it filed the complaint.  If the Warehouse Lender agreement says the Borrower, isn’t YOU, but the originating broker, and the interim funding lender is not the party you got the loan from,
As Bob Janes, J.D. has noted, agency must be proven by the Grantor, not the Grantee.  That means that MERS cannot self-authenticate its own agency relationships by and through its officers or through its counsel (“just take my word for it, your Honor”).  As much as you don’t trust lenders, their agents don’t fare much better if the lender lies and the agent repeats the lie in court.
I hardly ever see anyone specifically arguing UCC in court, let alone an undated indorsement and its relevant meaning when it comes to being able to enforce the note.  There is plenty of existing case law … and Hawaii just set another prime example of such.  This may mean a fight for another day, but when it comes to the recorded assignments involving MERS, one has to understand that the people in Reston, Virginia did not dot all their “i’s” and cross all their “t’s” when it came to allowing servicers to run rampant, using the MERS® System to defraud homeowners by publishing information on the MERS website to mislead homeowners, and then use contrived “Certifying Officers” (when the agency relationship of these employees, of the Servicer) is in question. We may not be able to challenge the assignment in every State, but then again, did the attorney even try to depose the robosigner and the notary to get more details.
UPDATE: 
I have had many folks present me with scenarios wherein the Allonge or “extra page” containing a blank indorsement was used at trial.  If you examine most of the case rulings, certain courts have presented us with commentary (discussion) on the subject of what constitutes a proper allonge under the Uniform Commercial Code.
EXTRA PAGES
These could involve document manufacturing, which might be sufficient to create issues of material fact necessary to avoid summary judgment and/or a motion to dismiss:  (1) what was scanned by the servicer (because that’s where we are assuming the copy of the note came from) that shows up as an extra page was either (a.) an extra page attached to the note that was separate to the note pages themselves, “created out of thin air”; (b.) an extra page attached to the note that was not a separate page from the last page of the Note, but was actually the “back side” of the note, which could be challenged as improper, as anyone could have rubber-stamped an indorsement onto the back page; or (c.) the document manufacturing by the servicer (of which we know Ocwen for example, does, because of reports indicating the same borrower’s note in 4 different stages of manufacture) in an attempt to create standing for its client lender.  The multiple creation of different notes has found its way into certain proceedings, which is enough to ask: Which one is the real note?
UNNAMED ALLONGES

Most courts I’ve read up on have issued rulings specific to HOW allonges are supposed to be attached to promissory notes and WHEN they are supposed to be used.  I would suspect that if a note has an extra page with no title on it (e.g., “ALLONGE TO NOTE”) that someone inside the servicer arbitrarily chose to attach an indorsement-in-blank stamp on an extra page to imply (or give the bank’s attorneys reason to imply) that it’s an allonge, when all it is, is a sheet of white paper with an indorsement stamp on it and does not constitute and allonge because it’s not properly labeled.

The other problem with allonges is that commonly, the space under the Borrower’s signature is supposed to be “filled up” with stamps BEFORE extra pages are being used.  When there is a whole page of room for indorsement stamps, followed by an extra page (properly labeled or not) reeks of document manufacturing.  In any case, there should be a specific objection made on the record … or someone needs to go back and research what constitutes a proper allonge.
DOCUMENT EXAMINATION

I know of at least 3 document examiners across the U. S. that can show up in court and testify as to whether a note is “original” or not.  I have to ask myself WHY lenders wait until the last minute to show up with the “original note” for the judge.  In one case in New Jersey, the bank’s law firm showed up (via a cover lawyer and not the lawyer who filed the foreclosure complaint) with a “faxed copy” of the note, claiming that it was the original.  That was objected to, of course, but the judge bought it anyway.  That case is on appeal.  With a document examiner at the ready when and if a hearing can be scheduled (or a deposition for production of the note for examination) to vet the document properly through an examiner, might scare the bank from bringing it in at all … which brings me to the last point.

THE REAL KEY REASON INDORSEMENTS FAIL

Let’s assume the 424(b)(5) Prospectus has been obtained in certified form from the SEC.  I suggest using the entire prospectus because the Pooling and Servicing Agreement (“PSA”) just isn’t enough.  The information within the Prospectus ties the Borrower’s loan to an “offering” through the sales pitch, which is the Prospectus to the investors, signed under penalty of perjury under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  The PSA may contain the section, “Assignment of the Mortgage Loans” under § 2.01; however, the PSA does not make up the WHOLE of the document it is contained within, the Prospectus.

If there are 3 true sales, including transfer from the Depositor to the Trust, as prescribed by the governing regulations of the Trust under § 2.01, shown within the entire Prospectus, in the portion known as the PSA, then where in the chain of indorsements is the endorsement to the Depositor and from the Depositor to the Trust?  The PSA is only a portion of the entire “picture”.  Without the framework of the Prospectus to back it up, your evidence can be challenged by the bank’s attorneys.  Oh, believe me, they had this whole thing figured out before the issues with REMICs ever surfaced in Court.  No judge wants to read a 300+ page document.  Someone has to.

SECOND UPDATE: 

In continuing the pattern of misbehavior, a most recent case out of Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals shows us multiple indorsements (albeit undated) present an entirely different issue as to standing.  When a bank proffers more than one note and the indorsements are different, this provides us with more ammunition to rebuff its advances that it has standing to proceed against you in a foreclosure case, as demonstrated below, in a single-page ruling:

Carty v. Bank of America, NA, Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 4th Dist. 2017 – Google Scholar

It’s not that we haven’t explored this avenue in previous posts.  It’s just that the courts are now just starting to recognize that our arguments really do have merit!

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Filed under Chain of Title Education, Debt Collection and Foreclosures, Op-Ed Piece

FLORIDA HOMEOWNERS SHOULD STAY OUT OF BK 7 COURTS IF THEY WANT TO FIGHT FORECLOSURES!

The author of this post is not giving legal advice, just reporting what’s out there.  You should consult a competent foreclosure defense attorney regarding such matters, as the contents in this post appear to reflect the court’s intolerance for homeowners who file bankruptcy to stop a foreclosure. 

OP-ED — 

Folks who are in trouble with their mortgages in Florida really need to strategize before taking the plunge into the abyss known as the Florida legal system, where state judges clearly have “agendas”, the Florida Legislature has “agendas” and the federal courts have “agendas” … all aimed at taking of property when you can’t make the payments on it.  It’s not often that the author of this post steers away from chain of title issues, but there appears to be widespread ignorance (or in the alternative, intolerance) on the part of the Sunshine State’s legal system, which makes things “not so shiny” anymore, given the recent spate of legislation and court actions.

STATE JUDGES

All one needs to do is examine court dockets to see how fast, over time, that Florida circuit judges have blindly assumed that the financial institutions coming before them actually own the promissory note they’re trying to enforce.  It would seem that judges simply rely on the blatant attack on the property owner as just because otherwise, why would this particular bank show up in court?   Because they can!  And they do!  And judges give them so much leeway that Florida homeowners are stymied for options.  This is why the State of Florida has so many zombie homes (despite what the politicians, economists and the media would have you believe) and shadow inventory that sits empty because of title issues.  In very few cases I’ve examined have I seen evidence within a transcript that allowed for a forensic examination of the note, to make sure it’s “original”, like the bank’s attorney says it is.  To show you that the inequity between state court systems is similar in nature, I’m consulting a case in New Jersey where the bank’s law firm sent a “cover lawyer” into court with what appeared to be a “faxed copy” of the note, claiming it to be the “original”.  I think most judges, even in light of the foreclosure defense attorney’s objections, could tell the difference, but nope … this judge said that the word of the law firm and the faxed copy of what it self-authenticated is good enough!  Can you believe that shit?

Another part of the equation is the existence of foreclosure defense lawyers who have seen fit to turn the foreclosure debacle into a cash cow by using delay tactics to keep property owners in their homes, despite the probable outcome that only about 1 in 25 cases brought into court makes it past the 810-day mark in a Florida foreclosure cycle.  Knowing that the odds are never “in their favor” (attributing the quotation to The Hunger Games), frustrated mortgagors then contemplate using bankruptcy court to dodge the “sale bullet”. However, things in Florida are about to change.

THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE

Effective July 1, 2017, Florida homeowners who run to the bankruptcy court and get their promissory note discharged are going to find themselves without other options to fight the foreclosure.  See House Bill 471 here if you don’t believe me: fl-hb-471  It’s only two pages long and I’m sure you can read (if you’re reading this)!

Simply put, any documentation that is filed in Bankruptcy Court which would indicate surrender of the property (commonly seen in Chapter 7 cases) makes it legally okay for the bank’s attorney to submit that document that was filed in the Bankruptcy Court under penalty of perjury to a Florida circuit judge to get a Final Judgment of Foreclosure.  I see this as a definite negative if you’re trying to fight a foreclosure.  But then again, most homeowners are like electricity.  They want to take the path of least resistance; and declaring bankruptcy is certainly a hell of a lot cheaper than fighting a foreclosure through Florida’s appellate system.

It appears that folks don’t understand the difference between an in rem and an in personam action.  Enforcement of a security instrument, which in Florida’s case is a mortgage, can only happen when the party claiming to have an interest in the property can prove ownership.  An attack on the property through the recorded security instrument is an in rem action (like quiet title actions).  This is why I wrote the book The Quiet Title War Manual (with the professional help of California attorney Al West).  The book explains the difference between the note and the mortgage.  Folks who don’t get it should get this book and read it, because when Al West and I taught quiet title workshops, we hammered these basic principles into the heads of the attendees.  In personam actions are actions involving debt, which in this case is the promissory note, NOT the mortgage!   How convenient it is that the Florida legislature has come up with this House Bill in the wake of the recent court conflicts within the federal system!

THE FLORIDA FEDERAL COURTS

Let’s look at the case of In re Hookerin-re-hooker   Once you get past the first three paragraphs, you’ll understand why the Florida legislature did what it did to help the banks fight continuous counterattacks in state court.  Again, how convenient, to avoid further confusion in the courts.  Let’s just legislate this away, shall we?

Now we come to the slam dunk that affects the way the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Florida), has ruled that Chapter 7 debtors who file a bankruptcy action and put forth a statement of intention to surrender the real property cannot later contest a foreclosure in the state court. in-re-failla   If you read the first paragraph of this PUBLISHED OPINION, and then read the background on the case, it appears that the homeowners wanted to “have their cake and eat it too”.  The Failla case simply states: “Debtors who surrender property must get out of the creditor’s way.”   The Florida Legislature (I believe) made sure that a bill was passed that shut off the trough at the source of the feed (so to speak).

No more hogs at the trough.  There have been so many different points of view, it’s understandable that the Florida legislature would pass a bill that state courts could point a finger at and say, “SEE?”   So for those of you thinking that running into bankruptcy court (in any state for that matter) and declaring your intent to surrender the property (God forbid, why would you do that?) under penalty of perjury is so confusing to some when their state court cases get shut down.

ANOTHER WHAMMY! 

It has also become relatively apparent that any homeowner that has placed themselves in the foregoing position and continue to litigate their foreclosure in the state courts of Florida are likely to get sanctioned!   Vexatious litigants are likely to wind up in jail on contempt charges!  I say this because of what happened to foreclosure defense attorney Stuart Golant, 70,  in the Palm Beach County courtroom of Senior Judge Howard Harrison for simply making a motion!

Florida homeowners have had the deck stacked against them by the courts and the legislature in favor of the banks when it comes to promissory note enforcement.  Once a mortgage has been recorded in the land records where the subject property is situated, all it takes is a missed payment and the door to “foreclosure hell” opens to swallow the homeowners whole.   I can’t help but wonder what kind of counseling homeowners have received, given the phone calls and emails I get regarding strategizing an in personam case against them.

ONE MORE TIME …

In a judicial foreclosure state like Florida, a lender comes to court and waves the promissory note around and claims it has the right to enforce the terms of the note!  It should be required to prove that the note is genuine, forensically.  Have the actual paper tested.  Have the ink tested.  Check for pixelation by blowing the note up on a computer screen to examine evidence the note was photoshopped.  Object to the note being entered as the original.  I believe a majority of securitized notes are copies of what was downloaded into the MERS® System and later shredded, as I’ve covered in previous posts.

Once the lender gets the note in front of the court and gets it admitted into evidence and gets the court to agree that U.C.C. Article 3 (Negotiable Instruments) exists and that the alleged lender has the right to enforce the note, THEN the Lender gets to enforce the Security Instrument, the in rem part of the equation.  The security instrument (Mortgage) is then “ripe for the picking”.  Believe it or not, most homeowners think that the lender is foreclosing on the mortgage.  That couldn’t be further from the truth!  The Lender is foreclosing on the Note.  Proving it has the right to enforce the Note means the Lender gets the right to enforce the Security Instrument, not until!

Bankruptcy Courts are designed to handle in personam scenarios.  In personam relates to debt.  Promissory notes are evidence of debt!   Recorded mortgages are evidence of security interests, not debt!   If you’re going to use the bankruptcy court to alleviate your personal obligation to the note, and liquidate it in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding, be prepared to move out of your home!

Thinking twice about running into Chapter 7 bankruptcy court to stop the sale?   The “system” is ready for you!   (Hint: This is why we have Chapters 11 and 13!)  No matter, if you live in any state where you think the “deck is stacked” against you, plan your “end game” BEFORE you go into default, not after!

And this is why I don’t talk about in personam issues much.  Homeowners really should get a financial education before they sit down at the closing table.

Tune into kdwradio.com every Friday night at 6:00 p.m. EST for my radio show, City Spotlight: Special Edition!   Order any of the author’s books by visiting Clouded Titles!

For those of you waiting for the new FDCPA book, it’s almost ready!   Pre-order your copy today!  (FDCPA actions are for dealing with debt collectors!)

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Filed under Financial Education, Op-Ed Piece

IF YOU ARE FACING FORECLOSURE, YOU SHOULD READ THIS!

NOTE: This post is only for the 95% of the homeowners who plan on vacating their homes as the result of pending foreclosure actions.  Don’t bother reading this post if you’re not one of those homeowners. 

So, you got a foreclosure notice in the mail?

You may be exploring this blog site for the first time.  Why?  Because you are behind in your mortgage payments and you’ve just received a Notice of Default and Sale (or a dunning letter from a law firm threatening foreclosure, claiming default and/or acceleration).

That sinking feeling …

You are not alone in your thinking.  In fact, millions of Americans have received this type of correspondence in the mail or tacked up on their door.  95% of those receiving such notices (of which you may qualify) know that their days of residence in their home is now limited because they are fully aware of their mortgage deficiencies.  Many have lost their jobs, have suffered a serious medical emergency or even have become underemployed.  Whatever the case, having no money means giving up and running away from your problem.

The bank is counting on it! 

Let’s face it … it’s a numbers game.  The mortgage servicing companies handling your loan payments and paperwork know this.  They know that 95% will capitulate and move out willingly.  This violates the terms of the security instrument.  Thou shalt not abandon thy residence, for insodoing ye shall do so at thy peril.  The fact that the mortgage payments can no longer be paid means the end of the line for many Americans. They have lost hope in surviving the legal system and start packing.  They can’t afford to hire an attorney, let alone make the payments and leaving is the ONLY option.  Many see serious legal trouble on the horizon and plan for what I call a strategic default.  I describe this in the book Clouded Titles.   If this is you, I want to hear from you!

Your lack of faith (or finances) in saving your home creates future legal problems!

What happens to your house when you leave?  There are a number of things that could go wrong without you even being there.

  1. When you move out, you still owe the payments, along with any deficiencies and service charges tacked on by the servicer.
  2. The yard becomes neglected.  That is the first sign of trouble to vagrants, druggies and homeless people.  They would love to simply move in and squat on your premises.
  3. You are still personally liable if anyone gets injured on your property.  The banks do not take title to the property until they’ve about got the home sold.  Many banks transfer title because a foreclosure has occurred and this leaves the new owner with the issues rather than the banks.
  4. The area you live in becomes blighted, creating tax deficiencies for the county, who depends on your property taxes to exist.
  5. The home itself, which many Americans have invested time and money fixing up and “making it their own”, starts to deteriorate and becomes economically stressed, losing value rather than gaining value.

The banks are counting on you simply walking away, because the party coming to claim your home may not be legally entitled to it! 

As mad as that may make you (some of you may have done some research on the Internet and have come to realize this), most of the foreclosures that occur in the United States are illegal because the paperwork is missing.  Sure you can stay in the house until the Sheriff kicks you to the curb, but the title is still screwed up.  Rather than succumb to this embarrassment, you decide to pack up your things and get while the getting is still good.

In the alternative, if you elect to do a short sale, the bank (actually, it’s the servicer) directing the activity may not be entitled to even authorize a short sale of your property!  Still, there is nothing you can do about it.

If you are one of these 95% that intend on moving out of your property, please contact me to discuss options at cloudedtitles@gmail.com.

 

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FLORIDA SUPREME COURT SAYS “STICK BARTRAM WHERE THE SUNSHINE NEVER SHINES”!

OP-ED!

(Tallahassee, Florida) — Florida homeowners have been politely told to “stick it” by their state’s Supreme Court when it comes to statutes of limitations issues involving mortgage loans.  Frankly, given the joke that was the Beauvais decision in the Third DCA, I can’t much say that the arguments in Bartram were posited any better because any time you bring up a jurisdictional argument, the courts are going to jump all over it in favor of the banks.  When you have a Republican administration running things, it should be common knowledge to everyone that it’s “status quo” in favor of the banks.  So then, why do business with them?  The way things are all screwed up in the land records all over Florida, how do you even know WHO owns your loan with the right to enforce it?   By claiming a party is barred due to statute of limitations (according to Bob Janes, J.D.’s past teachings) issues, you are signaling to the Court hearing your case that the other party has a right to dispute those allegations.  So why plead them?  Because someone thought they should have a free house, they let the banks have another “bite at the apple”.  This is bad case law for Florida homeowners who think they should rely on this strategy ad infinitum, ad nauseum.  So what if I’m not an attorney, I can read the pleadings below, just like you can.  You read them.  Then you be the judge.

See the Florida Supreme Court ruling here: bartram-v-us-bank-na-et-al-fl-sup-ct-no-sc-14-1265-nov-3-2016

This case does NOTHING for standing however!  By showing the other side doesn’t have standing to be in the courtroom, you don’t need to rely on statute of limitations issues in the first place!   That works in every state of the union the last time I checked!

All one has to do is look at the case in chief on Page 3 (of the 35-page ruling) to see that Bertram didn’t dispute that he stopped making his mortgage payments and why, or if he even stopped making them.  Also notice that the Court “rephrased” the question brought before it … just because it was a “matter of good public policy”.   The bottom line is … YOU DON’T GET A FREE HOUSE, no matter how badly you think the bank screwed you over, or for whatever reasoning you may believe it was okay to stop making mortgage payments.  Given this “policy decision”, wouldn’t it be a novel idea if every homeowner in Florida just stopped paying their mortgage just to see what would happen and then challenge everything BUT statute of limitations?  I believe over half of them would win … and a move like that would effectively SHUT DOWN the entire court system in Florida!  With “policy” like this, the banks can just keep coming in over and over and getting more than just one bite at the apple.

Let this also signal to those of you contemplating a purchase of real estate in Florida, especially you foreign investors who have been told that the Sunshine State is “ripe for the picking”:  You’ll get screwed by Florida Courts as much as people who live here full time are!  If you don’t have the money to fight a protracted court battle, the first sign of financial trouble you have while living here or renting your property here, don’t be surprised if some bank doesn’t just pop it’s head out of nowhere and announce it’s foreclosing on your property!  That’s the way things are here in Florida I guess, because most homeowners I’ve talked to about their real estate dilemmas in Florida that have been to the Circuit Courts of this State felt abused by the courts.  After all, Florida judges have to pay for their homes too, with those retirement pensions vested in the very RMBS securities that caused the financial collapse in 2008 … so why shouldn’t you lose your home too?   All semblance of logic in the judge’s brain generally goes out the window when the banks’ attorneys say, “They just want a free house, your honor!”  This is why you have to be prepared to appeal.

Read the first paragraph on Page 4 of this ruling … where it says “dismissal of the foreclosure action against the mortgagor (that would be YOU, the Borrower) has the effect of returning the parties to their pre-foreclosure complaint status.  That means that the lender, without further adieu, can come in and keep repeatedly foreclosing, unless you can get a dismissal based on fraud on the Court, dismissed with prejudice, with sanctions in the form of the house (see U.S. Bank v Harpster for example).  In this case, the David J. Stern law firm secretary, Cheryl Samons, a law firm robosigner, affixed her signature to a document as Assistant Secretary of MERS and caused it to be backdated to before the notary’s commission was valid, thus, negating the assignment based on fraud.  Then-Pasco County Judge Lynn Tepper was not amused by the revelation of facts in that instance.

When securitization is involved, STANDING … and NOT statute of limitations … wins cases!  None of the indorsements on the banks’ notes are dated so there’s no effective proof of WHEN the transfer actually occurred.  Even if you do get your attorney’s fees back from the bank, this case just gives the banks (whether you argue statute of limitations issues or not) the opportunity to come right back in and attempt the same foreclosure all over again.

Let’s take another look at your security instrument, shall we?

The entire security instrument (in Florida, that would be your mortgage paperwork) should be recorded in the public record in the county where the subject Property is situated in.  The security instrument has all the terms and conditions contained in it.  It’s a contract between you and the bank that leaves you with little to NO ROOM at all if you can’t make your payments, from losing your property.

Most homeowners didn’t even read the mortgage before they signed it.  They just wanted the fricking keys to the house and then worry about making the payments later.  There is no deception here folks.  No one held a gun to your head.  Now we have “rephrased” case law that says the lenders can come in and outspend and outsource you until you cry “uncle”, so what’s the point of owning real estate in Florida?  If you can’t pay cash and own the property outright, you risk being foreclosed on AT ANY POINT IN THE OWNERSHIP GAME!

We have had cases where all-cash-paying homeowners in Florida ended up facing attempted foreclosures by the banks who claimed to hold a mortgage on their properties!  That shouldn’t surprise you, should it?

It’s a proverbial “cloud” over the Sunshine State!  But wait … this happens in every State in the Union because the banks aren’t really punished for their screw-ups.  The U. S. Government has legislated a deal to protect the banks (Title 12, U.S.C.A.) and set up a whole bunch of regulatory agencies to interfere with any homeowner trying to get a “leg up” to save their home.  Despite Bertram’s filing a quiet title action, he argued the note. That’s fatal mistake #1!  Title is title and note is note.  At best, the note would have been unsecured if Bartram would have been successful in expunging the mortgage.  But that’s not what happened here when the smoke cleared.

We’re not even talking about standing in this case, right?  It’s all about statute of limitations on debt collection, which Florida’s highest court has succinctly “rephrased” to fit public policy.  So far, there have been a lot of “take-aways” from this case.  Here are some links to thoughts from others (NOTE: Links may not work indefinitely.):

FROM THE BANKING SIDE:

http://www.bakerdonelson.com/Bartram-Affirmed-Florida-Supreme-Court-Provides-Guidance-For-Filing-a-Successive-Foreclosure-Action-Post-Dismissal-11-03-2016/

http://www.dailybusinessreview.com/home/id=1202771518004/Fla-Supreme-Court-Rules-for-Lenders-in-Landmark-Foreclosure-Decision?mcode=1394650389919&curindex=1&slreturn=20161005084547

http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=8f31a6c4-1a12-48b6-9acb-832d62806948&utm_source=Lexology+Daily+Newsfeed&utm_medium=HTML+email+-+Body+-+General+section&utm_campaign=Lexology+subscriber+daily+feed&utm_content=Lexology+Daily+Newsfeed+2016-11-07&utm_term=

FROM THE HOMEOWNER SIDE:

http://bobhurt.blogspot.com

http://southfloridalawblog.com/breaking-news-florida-supreme-court-rules-on-statute-of-limitations-in-foreclosures/

While the legal implications are narrow, statute of limitations on debt collection in Florida might as well be chucked out the window as a winnable court argument if your home is in question because we all know who runs this government … the banks, right?  Seriously?

Most attorneys I’ve talked to say that the lack of standing is the key to getting your win in Florida (and elsewhere) because the courts have no jurisdiction to rule on anything when the bank doesn’t have a right to  bring a foreclosure action.

The problem is however, that:

  1. The banks have more money than you do and can outspend and outsource you (and your attorney) if the home is worth enough to them to steal (foreclose on using fraudulent documents);
  2. The banks still rely on messed up paperwork, so between the foreclosing law firm and the servicer, stuff is still getting “created out of thin air” to give the bank standing to foreclose; and
  3. The banks coming into court are generally, in reality, represented by their servicers, not knowing that they (the banks) are actually the named Plaintiff in the action, which is servicer fraud.  This has been ongoing for over a decade!

So the answer here is to:

  1. Stick to your guns regarding standing and show up in court and allege the lack thereof;
  2. If you’re going to retain counsel, get an attorney that really knows about foreclosure defense and is up on current case law; and
  3. Have an “end game” (Plan B) in case you run out of money.  This doesn’t apply to the 95% of you that run away at the first sign of trouble.

So be it.  I doubt this will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, so it looks as if Florida is stuck with this decision.

 

 

 

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TITLE IS TITLE, NOTE IS NOTE … BANKS CAN’T EVEN GET IT RIGHT!

Op-Ed!

I do not know what the law schools are teaching regarding real property law, but here is an atypical case where one alleged lender used a quiet title action to prove a mortgage loan existed on a piece of property and a Maine Superior Court Judge chimed in … loud and clear … “what the hell were you people thinking?”

In the case of U.S. Bank, N.A., as Trustee for LSF8 Master Participation Trust v. Decision One Mortgage Company, LLC, (Superior Court, CV-15-65)(July 26, 2016), the Plaintiff (U.S. Bank) claimed it owned a note and mortgage, claiming the Defendant (Decision One), the originating lender on the note, was defunct and could not collect on the note.

The problem I have is, U.S. Bank didn’t get it right in Ibanez and they sure didn’t get it right here.  I mean, seriously, folks, using a quiet title action to prove up a note?  Seriously?  Someone either fell asleep in property law class or someone just is plain stupid in their legal analysis of this subject matter.

I have been trying to drum it into people’s heads that a quiet title action (when coupled with a request for declaratory relief) is used to determine who has superior title to any given piece of property … NOT to determine who owns the note with the right to enforce the terms of a mortgage.

Simply put … the court agreed with my teachings … not U. S. Bank’s attorneys!  It is sad that my consulting is now limited to attorneys litigating quiet title and will not be available (unless you read The Quiet Title War Manual) to the general public.

A quiet title action, as Al West and I so succinctly put it in the foregoing 512-page educational manual, is an action whereby you put forth a claim that you have superior title and request that the court determine the rights and interests of the parties as to “title”.  A note is an obligation created at the closing table and is not recorded in the public records, whereas “title” is recorded, by virtue of a deed.  The deed is your proof of ownership.

MERS, Securitization and Quiet Title

I don’t see MERS anywhere on anyone’s “deeds”, yet MERS thinks they have “legal title” to everything contained within a MERS-originated mortgage.  This is one of the reasons I keep telling people to “say NO! to MERS mortgages”.  Once you let this parasite in, you’ve just exacted hell upon yourself in unwanted legal fees, because the intent of the founders of MERS (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the banks) was to securitize your mortgage note (turn it into a security on Wall Street) and pander it to every ignorant investor who thinks that investing in securities is a “smart thing” to do.  I see nothing wrong with getting up and walking out of a closing where you are presented with MERS-related paperwork.  After all, by the time you get to the closing table, your note has probably already been sold at least nine times, WITHOUT YOUR SIGNATURE ON IT!  This is the big lie folks!

Say NO! to MERS!

If you think that your signature on a mortgage note is the start of the sale of the terms and conditions put forth under Paragraph 19 or 20 (depending on which long-form mortgage document you are signing), think again.  It doesn’t say WHEN the Lender may sell your note (or a partial interest thereof), as long as the Lender has your Form 1003 Loan Application.  When your loan application is submitted, it gets pandered all over Wall Street, along with your personal identifying information, in addition to being inputted into the MERS® System electronic database.  You make it all literally “legal” when you sign the mortgage and note.  But what if you didn’t?

What if you “woke up” and realized the MERS-originated Mortgage was a scam to steal your personal identifying information (your payment history, your credit scores and your personal information, e.g. social security number, date of birth … all the things these would-be thieves use to steal your identity) and you said NO! and got up and walked out of a closing?  What could the Lender do?

The REMIC trust rules allow for “qualified loans” to be substituted up to 90 days AFTER the trust closes, so that would be construed to mean that some other dumb sucker’s loan (who didn’t wake up like you did) would be put into the place occupied by your loan.  The REMIC itself contains a list of loan numbers (yet to be assigned, until you sign the paperwork) and these loan numbers mean nothing without “legal backing” behind them.

If MERS is shown on your paperwork (solely as a nominee), this failure of a beta business model will attempt to outsource and outspend you and cause you serious health problems (because of what it does to your chain of title) … and by the time all this happens, your title is too late to fix because no one knows who owns what … except that the title to the property is in YOUR NAME!   That is the for sure thing.

In the foregoing case, neither U.S. Bank nor Decision One was “on title”.  The homeowner’s name was on title. I didn’t see him filing the quiet title action, probably because of ignorance.  This is the fallacy being played upon the American public by the banks and it appears the banks themselves are drinking their own kool-aid.

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Filed under Op-Ed Piece, Quiet Title Education