February, 2011 | FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA

Archive | February, 2011

NYSC Orders All Witnesses To Be Present, All Documents Demonstrating Exactly When Bank Acquired Possession of the Note and Mortgage

NYSC Orders All Witnesses To Be Present, All Documents Demonstrating Exactly When Bank Acquired Possession of the Note and Mortgage

Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC

v

Bozymowski

00296-2010

Rosicki, Rosicki & Associates
Attorneys for Plaintiff
26 Harvester Avenue
Batavia, New York 14020

Lydia Bozymowski
Defendant Pro Se
8 Hofstra Drive
Greenlawn, New York 11740-1908

Peter H. Mayer, J.

Upon the reading and filing of the following papers in this matter: (1) Notice of Motion by the plaintiff, dated May 21, 2010, and supporting papers; and (2) prior Order of this Court, dated November 1, 2010; and now

UPON DUE DELIBERATION AND CONSIDERATION BY THE COURT of the foregoing papers, the motion is decided as follows: it is

ORDERED that the plaintiff’s application (seq. #001) in this foreclosure action is hereby denied for the reasons set forth herein; and it is further

ORDERED that plaintiff shall appear for a hearing on May 13, 2011, 10:00 a.m., at which time the Court will conduct an inquiry of the plaintiff’s witnesses concerning the information and documents submitted by the plaintiff in connection with this foreclosure action, and will determine what, if any, sanction to impose upon the plaintiff and/or the plaintiff’s attorney; and it is further

ORDERED that at the time of the hearing, the plaintiff shall produce the following witnesses to provide testimony under oath in response to all inquiries by the Court: (1) Margaret Burke Tarab, Esq., the attorney from plaintiff’s counsel’s firm who executed the December 13, 2010 attorney affirmation, which is purportedly compliant with the October 20, 2010 Order of the Chief Administrative Judge of the State of New York; (2) Karen Griffith, Vice President of plaintiff Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC, the individual who executed the February 2, 2010 affidavit in support of plaintiff’s application for an order of reference; and (3) Robert D. Repass, plaintiff’s Senior Vice President, identified in Ms. Tarab’s December 13, 2010 affirmation as the plaintiff’s representative with whom she communicated for purposes of executing her said affirmation; and it is further

ORDERED that at the time of the hearing, the plaintiff shall produce for Court inspection all of the documents and records reviewed by plaintiff’s counsel and plaintiff’s other representatives for purposes of submitting its application for an order of reference, including but not limited to the original note and mortgage, and all documents demonstrating exactly when the plaintiff acquired possession of the note and ownership of the mortgage in this case; and it is further

ORDERED that the plaintiff shall promptly serve, via first class mail, a copy of this Order upon the homeowner-defendant(s) at all known addresses, as well as upon all appearing parties (or upon their attorney[s] if represented by counsel), and shall promptly thereafter file the affidavit(s) of such service with the County Clerk; and it is further

ORDERED that failure to comply with any of the directives set forth herein shall result in [*2]the Court issuing any sanction the Court deems appropriate under the CPLR and/or Court Rules, including but not limited to waiver of any interest, attorneys fees and costs to which the plaintiff claims entitlement, as well as dismissal of the plaintiff’s complaint with prejudice.

In this foreclosure action, the plaintiff filed a summons and complaint on January 12, 2010. The complaint essentially alleges that the defendant-homeowner, Lydia Bozymowski, defaulted in payments with regard to the subject mortgage, dated April 22, 2004, in the principal amount of $225,000.00, for the premises located at 8 Hofstra Drive, Greenlawn, New York 11740. The original lender, Florida Bank, N.A. d/b/a Florida Bank Mortgage (“Florida Bank”), is alleged to have had the mortgage assigned to the plaintiff, Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC (“Bayview Loan”), by assignment dated November 25, 2009. The assignment was purportedly executed by Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) as nominee for Florida Bank. In its application (001), the plaintiff requested a default order of reference and amendment of the caption to remove the “Doe” defendants as parties.

By Order dated November 1, 2010, this Court referred the plaintiff’s application to a conference with the Court on December 15, 2010. As part of that Order, the plaintiff’s counsel was instructed to review the pending application prior to the conference “to determine whether or not such application is fully compliant with all foreclosure-related statutes, case law and Court Rules.” If so, counsel was to then “execute and submit to the Court at the conference the requisite attorney affirmation mandated by the October 20, 2010 Administrative Order of the Chief Administrative Judge for the State of New York.” With regard to such attorney affirmation, this Court’s November 1, 2010 Order stated that, “[i]f plaintiff’s counsel is unable for personal or professional reasons to execute the necessary affirmation, the pending application may be withdrawn without prejudice and with leave to resubmit upon proper papers, including the mandatory attorney affirmation.” The November 1, 2010 Order also warned counsel that “with regard to any scheduled court conferences or future applications, if the Court determines that such conferences have been attended, or such applications have been submitted, without proper regard for the applicable statutes, case law and Court Rules, or without regard for the required proofs delineated herein, the Court may, in its discretion, strike the non-compliant party’s pleadings or deny such applications with prejudice and/or impose sanctions pursuant to 22 NYCRR §130-1, and may deny those costs and attorneys fees attendant with the filing of such future applications.”

On December 15, 2010, a conference was held and plaintiff’s counsel submitted an attorney affirmation. Initially, the Court notes the plaintiff’s failure to submit proof of compliance with RPAPL §1304. For those actions commenced on or after September 1, 2008 and prior to January 14, 2010, RPAPL §1304 requires that, with regard to a “high-cost home loan” (as defined in Banking Law §6-l), or a “subprime home loan” or a “non-traditional home loan” (as defined in RPAPL §1304), at least 90 days before a lender or mortgage loan servicer commences a foreclosure action against the borrower, the lender or mortgage loan servicer must give the borrower a specific, statutorily prescribed notice. In essence, the notice warns the borrower that he or she may lose his or her home because of the loan default, and provides [*3]information regarding available assistance for homeowners who are facing financial difficulty. The specific language and type-size requirements of the notice are set forth in RPAPL §1304(1).

Pursuant to RPAPL §1304(2), the requisite 90-day notice must be “sent by the lender or mortgage loan servicer to the borrower, by registered or certified mail and also by first-class mail to the last known address of the borrower, and if different, to the residence which is the subject of the mortgage. Notice is considered given as of the date it is mailed.” The notice must also contain a list of at least five housing counseling agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or those designated by the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, that serve the region where the borrower resides, as well as the counseling agencies’ last known addresses and telephone numbers.

This action was commenced on January 12, 2010. Therefore, barring any statutorily stated exceptions, if the subject loan being foreclosed upon qualifies as a “high-cost home loan,” a “subprime home loan,” or “non-traditional home loan,” the pre-commencement notice requirements of RPAPL §1304 will apply. Plaintiff, however, has failed to submit evidentiary proof, including an affidavit from one with personal knowledge, as to whether or not this action involves such a loan and, if so, proof of compliance with the applicable pre-commencement requirements of RPAPL §1304 or, in the alternative, an affidavit sufficient to show why such requirements do not apply. Such failure requires denial of plaintiff’s application for an order of reference. The boilerplate language in paragraph 4(c) of the complaint regarding compliance with RPAPL §1304 “if the underlying mortgage qualifies,” is ambiguous and is, therefore, insufficient to affirmatively show such compliance, particularly where, as here, the complaint is not verified by the plaintiff.

Plaintiff has also failed to submit a properly sworn affidavit in support of the requested relief. In this regard, CPLR §2309(b) requires that an “oath or affirmation shall be administered in a form calculated to awaken the conscience and impress the mind of the person taking it in accordance with his religious or ethical beliefs.” Accordingly, for affidavits to have sufficient validity, a notary public witnessing signatures must take the oaths of the signatories or obtain statements from them as to the truth of the statements to which they subscribe their names (see, Matter of Helfand v Meisser, 22 NY2d 762, 292 NYS2d 467 [1968]; Matter of Imre v Johnson, 54 AD3d 427, 863 NYS2d 473 [2d Dept 2008]; Matter of Leahy v O’Rourke, 307 AD2d 1008, 763 NYS2d 508 [2d Dept 2003]).

In support of its application for an order of reference, the plaintiff submits an affidavit from Karen Griffith, Vice President of plaintiff Bayview Loan; however, there is no showing that the notary who witnessed Ms. Griffith’s signature took an oath from Ms. Griffith, and no statement by Ms. Griffith attesting to the truth of the statements contained in her affidavit. Instead, there is a statement disguised to appear as a proper oath. Rather than swearing to the truth of the statements contained in her affidavit, Ms. Griffith merely attests in paragraph 12 to the truth of the contents of “the [plaintiff’s] complaint” (emphasis added). Such statement is insufficient to satisfy the form of oath required by CPLR §2309(b) with regard to Ms. Griffith’s [*4]affidavit. This is particularly pertinent here because additional submissions by the plaintiff raise questions as to the reliability of Ms. Griffith’s affidavit, as well as the plaintiff’s standing to bring this action.

A plaintiff has standing to maintain the action only where the plaintiff is the proper assignee of the mortgage and the underlying note at the time the foreclosure action was commenced (U.S. Bank, N.A. v Collymore, 68 AD3d 752, 890 NYS2d 578 [2d Dept 2009]; Federal Natl. Mtge. Assn. v Youkelsone, 303 AD2d 546, 755 NYS2d 730 [2d Dept 2003]; Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Marchione, 69 AD3d 204, 887 NYS2d 615 [2d Dept 2009]; First Trust Natl. Assn. v Meisels, 234 AD2d 414, 651 N.Y.S.2d 121 [2d Dept 1996]). It remains settled that foreclosure of a mortgage may not be brought by one who has no title to it and absent transfer of the debt, the assignment of the mortgage is a nullity (U.S. Bank, N.A. v Collymore, supra; Kluge v Fugazy, 145 AD2d 537, 536 NYS2d 92 [2d Dept 1988]). Furthermore, a plaintiff has no foundation in law or fact to foreclose upon a mortgage in which the plaintiff has no legal or equitable interest (Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Marchione, supra; Katz v East-Ville Realty Co., 249 AD2d 243, 672 NYS2d 308 [1st Dept 1998]). Either a written assignment of the underlying note or the physical delivery of the note prior to the commencement of the foreclosure action is sufficient to transfer the obligation, and the mortgage passes with the debt as an inseparable incident (U.S. Bank, N.A. v Collymore, supra).

To support its contention that Bayview had proper standing to commence this action, Ms. Griffith’s alleges in paragraph 6 of her affidavit that “[t]he loan was acquired by and in the possession of the Plaintiff on April 22, 2004″ (emphasis added). Notably, this is the same date the mortgage documents were executed by the defendant-borrower to the original lender, Florida Bank. Even if this nebulous statement by Ms. Griffith were construed to mean that Bayview was in possession of the “note and mortgage” on April 22, 2004, such statement fails to show that the plaintiff was the holder of the note and mortgage when the action was commenced, nearly six years later (see U.S. Bank, N.A. v Collymore, supra; Federal Natl. Mtge. Assn. v Youkelsone, supra; Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Marchione, supra; First Trust Natl. Assn. v Meisels, supra). On the one hand, Ms. Griffith alleges in paragraph 6 of her affidavit that the loan was in the possession of the plaintiff on April 22, 2004. On the other hand, in the same paragraph of her affidavit she states that the mortgage “instruments were assigned to [the Plaintiff] by [assignment] dated November 25, 2009.” Compounding this confusion is the handwritten statement on the assignment, asserting that it was “effective as of: 7/1/09.”

Despite these inconsistent statements of fact in support of ownership, there is an additional submission that suggests the true owner is or may be CitiMortgage, Inc. (“CitiMortgage”), a non-party to this action. In this regard, affixed to the last page of the note is an undated indorsement from Florida Bank to CitiMortgage. This indorsement, which was executed by Jacqueline Ring as Florida Bank’s Vice President, specifically states, “WITHOUT RECOURSE PAY TO THE ORDER OF CITIMORTGAGE, INC.” Thus, the plaintiff’s assertion that it possessed “the loan” on the same date it was executed by the borrower, and the inconsistent assertion that plaintiff obtained the mortgage instruments by assignment dated [*5]November 25, 2009, is rebutted by the fact that when the note was indorsed to CitiMortgage, the mortgage passed to CitiMortgage as an inseparable incident (U.S. Bank, N.A. v Collymore, 68 AD3d 752, 890 NYS2d 578 [2d Dept 2009]. Therefore, without the valid transfer of the note to the plaintiff, the assignment of the mortgage to the plaintiff was a nullity (id.; Kluge v Fugazy, 145 AD2d 537, 536 NYS2d 92 [2d Dept 1988]). Curiously, evidence of the indorsement to CitiMortgage by Florida Bank was not in the plaintiff’s affidavit or attorney affirmation.

The plaintiff has also failed to comply with this Court’s November 1, 2010 Order regarding submission of an attorney affirmation in the form and with the language required by the October 20, 2010 Administrative Order of Hon. Ann Pfau, New York’s Chief Administrative Judge. As explained in this Court’s November 1, 2010 Order, “[p]ursuant to the Administrative Order of the Chief Administrative Judge for the State of New York, dated and effective October 20, 2010, plaintiff’s counsel in foreclosure actions must file with the court in all such actions an affirmation in a form prescribed by the Order.” It remains clear from the language of Judge Pfau’s October 20, 2010 Order, as well from the language of the official mandatory affirmation and its preamble, that the intent of the new Rule is to assure accountability for and accuracy of all court filings in foreclosure actions.

With the intent of the new Rule in mind, this Court requires that after October 20, 2010, the mandatory affirmation must accompany all applications made at any and all stages of foreclosure proceedings. Obviously, a mere single filing at only one phase of the case would not comport with the intent of Judge Pfau’s Order. Indeed, if compliance were sufficient by filing the requisite affirmation at only one phase, improper or untruthful papers could be filed at other phases with virtual impunity. Therefore, plaintiff’s failure to submit the official mandatory affirmation in the form and with the language prescribed by Judge Pfau’s October 20, 2010 Order must result in denial of the requested relief.

In relevant part, the Court’s November 1, 2010 Order also included, with italicized emphasis, the warning set forth in the last sentence of the preamble paragraph of the official mandatory affirmation, which states: “The wrongful filing and prosecution of foreclosure proceedings which are discovered to suffer from these defects may be cause for disciplinary and other sanctions upon participating counsel” (emphasis added). Despite this language required by the official mandatory affirmation, and despite this Court’s emphasis of that language in its November 1, 2010 Order, the December 13, 2010 affirmation signed by plaintiff’s attorney, Margaret Burke Tarab, Esq., does not include such language. Also, as required by paragraph 3 of the official mandatory affirmation, the plaintiff’s attorney must affirm that “[b]ased upon my communication with [plaintiff’s representative], as well as upon my own inspection of the papers filed with the Court and other diligent inquiry, I certify that, to the best of my knowledge, information, and belief, the Summons and Complaint and all other documents filed in support of this action for foreclosure are complete and accurate in all relevant respects . . .” (emphasis added). In counsel’s December 13, 2010 affirmation, the word “diligent” was omitted and replaced with the word “reasonable.” In addition, as required by paragraph 4 of the official mandatory affirmation, the plaintiff’s attorney must acknowledge that he or she understands “that [*6]the Court will rely on this Affirmation in considering the [plaintiff’s] application.” In paragraph 4 of counsel’s affirmation, however, she omitted the specific mandatory language and replaced it with a generic acknowledgment, that “I am aware of my obligations under New York Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR Part 1200) and 22 NYCRR Part 130.”

Although the Court has heard several attorneys for plaintiff banks informally question Judge Pfau’s authority to have issued the October 20, 2010 Order in the first instance, this Court gives full deference to her Honor’s Order (see NY Const, art VI, § 28). Counsel for plaintiff banks have also claimed that the attorney affirmation required by Judge Pfau’s Order was unofficially amended on November 18, 2010 and posted on the internet in amended form. Counsel, however, has failed to submit an order by Judge Pfau executed after her October 20, 2010 Order, or any other legitimate legal authority, in which the language of the official mandatory affirmation was modified. Therefore, this Court requires counsel to submit an attorney affirmation in the specific form and with the specific language originally mandated by her Honor’s Order of October 20, 2010.

In this Court’s November 1, 2010 Order, the Court warned of potential sanctions, pursuant to 22 NYCRR §130-1, if a party submits an application “without proper regard for the applicable statutes, case law and Court Rules.” Indeed, although the plaintiff’s December 13, 2010 attorney affirmation does not include certain language mandated by Judge Pfau’s October 2010 Order, the affirmation does, nevertheless, state at paragraph 4 that counsel is “aware of [her] obligations under New York Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR Part 1200) and 22 NYCRR Part 130.” With regard to sanctions, 22 NYCRR §130-1.1 states, in pertinent part that:

(a) . . . [T]he court, in its discretion may impose financial sanctions upon any party or attorney in a civil action or proceeding who engages in frivolous conduct as defined in this Part, which shall be payable as provided in section 130-1.3 of this Part. . . .

(b) The court, as appropriate, may . . . impose such financial sanctions against either an attorney or a party to the litigation or against both. Where the . . . sanction is against an attorney, it may be against the attorney personally or upon a partnership, [or] firm . . . that has appeared as attorney of record. The . . . sanctions may be imposed upon any attorney appearing in the action or upon a partnership, firm or corporation with which the attorney is associated.

(c) For purposes of this Part, conduct is frivolous if:

(1) it is completely without merit in law and cannot be supported by a reasonable argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law;

(2) it is undertaken primarily to delay or prolong the resolution of the litigation, or to harass or maliciously injure another; or

(3) it asserts material factual statements that are false. [*7]

. . . In determining whether the conduct undertaken was frivolous, the court shall consider, among other issues the circumstances under which the conduct took place, including the time available for investigating the legal or factual basis of the conduct, and whether or not the conduct was continued when its lack of legal or factual basis was apparent, or should have been apparent, or was brought to the attention of counsel or the party.

(d) An . . . imposition of sanctions may be made . . . upon the court’s own initiative, after a reasonable opportunity to be heard. The form of the hearing shall depend upon the nature of the conduct and the circumstances of the case.

At the December 15, 2010 conference, plaintiff’s counsel represented to the Court that the plaintiff’s submitted application was, in fact, fully compliant with all applicable statutes, case law and Court Rules. Counsel then tendered to the Court Ms. Burke Tarab’s December 13, 2010 affirmation, which is purported to be compliant with the requirements of Judge Pfau’s Order of October 20, 2010. In counsel’s affirmation, she identifies Robert D. Repass, plaintiff’s Senior Vice President, as the representative with whom she communicated on December 10, 2010 for purposes of executing her affirmation.

According to paragraph 2 of the affirmation, Mr. Repass reportedly informed Ms. Tarab that he “personally reviewed plaintiff’s documents and records relating to this case for factual accuracy.” He also allegedly “confirmed the factual allegations set forth in the Complaint and any supporting affirmations filed with the court, as well as the accuracy of the notarizations contained in the supporting documents (Plaintiff’s Affidavit[s]) filed therewith.” Neither the proofs submitted in support of the order of reference, nor the mandatory attorney affirmation are sufficient to grant an order of reference.

Based on the foregoing, the plaintiff’s application for an order of reference is denied. The nature of the proofs provided by the plaintiff, from all sources, compels the Court to order hearing in accordance with 22 NYCRR §130-1 to determine if the conduct undertaken by the plaintiff and/or plaintiff’s counsel was “frivolous” as defined in 22 NYCRR §130-1.1(c) and what, if any, sanction should be imposed.

This constitutes the Order of the Court.

Dated:February 17, 2011

PETER H. MAYER, J.S.C.

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HuffPO | One Of World’s Largest Banks Warns Of Punishment For Improper Foreclosure Practices In U.S.

HuffPO | One Of World’s Largest Banks Warns Of Punishment For Improper Foreclosure Practices In U.S.

.

HSBC North America Holdings, the nation’s ninth-largest bank by assets, warned investors Monday of impending fines after receiving notice from federal bank regulators admonishing the lender for improper foreclosure practices.

The bank is the latest in a string of large financial companies that have used recent securities filings to prep investors for fines and a significant increase in costs associated with processing mortgages and repossessing homes, after being cited by regulators for deficient and sometimes illegal operations. On Friday, Ally Financial, Wells Fargo & Co., and SunTrust Banks — three of the nation’s 10 largest handlers of home mortgages — said in regulatory documents that they expect to be sanctioned by the U.S. government for their foreclosure practices.

The penalties follow months-long criminal and civil probes by federal and state regulators into lenders’ mortgage practices. Officials said they found significant shortcomings and violations of various state laws. A “small number” of foreclosures should not have occurred, John Walsh, the interim head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the federal regulator of national banks, told a Senate committee earlier this month after his agency surveyed less than 3,000 out of millions of loan files.

Continue reading… HuffingtonPost

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WSJ | J.P. Morgan Fund in Talks to Take Twitter Stake

WSJ | J.P. Morgan Fund in Talks to Take Twitter Stake

By ANUPREETA DAS And AMIR EFRATI

A fund run by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is in talks with Twitter Inc. to take a minority stake in the rapidly growing microblogging company, people familiar with the matter said.

The investment, which is expected to value Twitter at more than $4 billion, will be made from the bank’s new $1.2 billion digital growth fund, these people said. Exact terms of the potential deal couldn’t be learned.

Discussions between J.P. Morgan and Twitter are continuing, and there is no guarantee a deal will be struck, the people added.

J.P. Morgan also has purchased a significant amount of Twitter’s shares on exchanges for private-company stock, separate from its talks for a direct stake in the company, said a person familiar with the matter.

Continue reading … WSJ

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DEPOSITION TRANSCRIPT OF DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST CO. VP RONALDO REYES

DEPOSITION TRANSCRIPT OF DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST CO. VP RONALDO REYES

Be prepared to blown away with April Charney and Linda Tirelli!

THEY DO NOT BACK DOWN!

Be sure to go down to the “related depos” down below…

Down Load PDF of This Case

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“Not a single executive has gone to jail” – Charles Ferguson @ The Oscars 2011 – Best Documentary ‘INSIDE JOB’

“Not a single executive has gone to jail” – Charles Ferguson @ The Oscars 2011 – Best Documentary ‘INSIDE JOB’

Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that three years after a horrific financial crisis caused by massive fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail and that’s wrong.” – Charles Ferguson 2011

From Academy Award® nominated filmmaker, Charles Ferguson (“No End In Sight”), comes INSIDE JOB, the first film to expose the shocking truth behind the economic crisis of 2008. The global financial meltdown, at a cost of over $20 trillion, resulted in millions of people losing their homes and jobs. Through extensive research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists, INSIDE JOB traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships which have corrupted politics, regulation and academia.

Narrated by Academy Award® winner Matt Damon, INSIDE JOB was made on location in the United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore, and China.

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CA DEBTORS’ OPPOSITION TO THE REDO MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM THE AUTOMATIC STAY In re NGUYEN

CA DEBTORS’ OPPOSITION TO THE REDO MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM THE AUTOMATIC STAY In re NGUYEN

UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
SANTA ANA DIVISION

In Re:
THUAN X. NGUYEN AND TAMMY H. NGUYEN

excerpt:

The deception and fraud committed by Deutsche Bank National Trust Company and its known foreclosure mill counsels, Barrett Daffin Frappier Treder & Weiss, LLP, upon the Court and harassment upon Debtors with unwarranted motion to cause delay and to increase litigation costs by Debtors must be stopped.

continue below…

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FORBES | Contemptible Performance by JP Morgan Chase Re Madoff

FORBES | Contemptible Performance by JP Morgan Chase Re Madoff

Robert Lenzner
Feb. 26 2011 – 8:06 pm

I am astounded, stunned, shocked and ferociously outraged by the amoral performance of the establishment bank in America– JP Morgan Chase.(JPM,NYSE)

For 7 years, from 1998 until 2005 , JPMorgan Chase sat by passively and negligently while $76 billion– yes $76 biillion– was laundered in exchanges between two of the bank’s wealthy customers– Bernard Madoff’s Investment Account 703 and the Private Bank Customer Number 1, who has been identified as Norman Levy, a New York real estate developer, who died in 2005.

That’s $76 billion, which clearly did not belong to either Madoff or Levy. That’s $76 billion– more money than either Warren Buffett or Bill Gates are worth today. The amount involved beats the amounts involved in any scandal involving Swiss banks that have been hiding money for wealthy Americans wishing to avoid taxes.

continue reading … FORBES

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More on Strategic Defaults and a Happy Ending… Hopefully.

More on Strategic Defaults and a Happy Ending… Hopefully.

We’re all in this together.

Interesting article came out yesterday from PB Post’s Christine Stapleton where some homeowners, who can afford the mortgage, still default as a strategy.

from PB Post:

They crunched the numbers: $525,000 outstanding on their first mortgage and a $245,000 second mortgage on a home now worth about $319,000. His business was way down, her company was laying off workers and other investments had tanked. It made no sense to hang on to their underwater home. So they stopped paying their mortgage and waited for the foreclosure notice. It came in October.

Reading this article made me think about Fannie Mae announcing that she was going to start to penalize people who walk away from underwater mortgages.

Fannie said:

Fannie also will lengthen to seven years, from five, the amount of time borrowers who go through a foreclosure must wait before getting a new loan.

Did you read that? Now here’s the best strategic default yet but may leave us with their debt.

There is a very good chance that both Fannie and Freddie won’t be around in the next 5-7 years because the White House is planning to end Fannie, Freddie by winding it down and eventually eliminating them.

No matter how it’s sliced and diced…You, We, Us are all in this T O G E T H E R.

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NY TIMES | In A Mortgage Case, a 7-Year Wait for 2 Answers

NY TIMES | In A Mortgage Case, a 7-Year Wait for 2 Answers

2 things pop right out. 1. As you read this article, think of the NJ case Kemp v. Countrywide involving Linda DiMartini “Notes were never delivered”, 2. Were they waiting on something to possibly happen dragging this out long enough? Just makes you wonder…thats all.

Waiting Seven Years for Two Answers

By GRETCHEN MORGENSON
Published: February 26, 2011

WHEN Zella Mae Green of Georgia filed for bankruptcy to save her home from foreclosure in 2004, she and her lawyer wanted to know two things: Did she actually owe any back payments on her mortgage? And, if so, to whom?

It didn’t seem like a lot to ask. But until last week, those questions had been unanswered for seven years.

Mortgages are complicated to begin with, of course. But when homeowners fall behind on their payments, the situation becomes far more complicated. Recurring fees and charges muddle the accounting. That banks routinely transfer the notes underlying a property can make things cloudier still.

Continue reading… NYTIMES

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Full Complaint | AMBAC v. EMC, JPMORGAN CHASE for “SACK OF SHIT” MBS

Full Complaint | AMBAC v. EMC, JPMORGAN CHASE for “SACK OF SHIT” MBS

NATURE OF THE ACTION

1. In mid-2006, Bear Stearns induced investors to purchase, and Ambac as a financial guarantor to insure, securities that were backed by a pool of mortgage loans that – in the words of the Bear Stearns deal manager – was a “SACK OF SHIT.”1 Within the walls of its sparkling new office tower, Bear Stearns executives knew this derogatory and distasteful characterization aptly described the transaction. Indeed, Bear Stearns had deliberately and secretly altered its policies and neglected its controls to increase the volume of mortgage loans available for its “securitizations” made in patent disregard for the borrowers’ ability to repay those loans. After the market collapse exposed its scheme to sell defective loans to investors through these transactions, JP Morgan executives assumed control over Bear Stearns and implemented an across-the-board strategy to improperly bar EMC from honoring its contractual promises to disclose and repurchase defective loans through a series of deceptive practices. In what amounts to accounting fraud, JP Morgan’s bad-faith strategy was designed to avoid and has avoided recognition of the vast off-balance sheet exposure relating to its contractual repurchase obligations – thereby enabling JPMorgan Chase & Co. to manipulate its accounting reserves and allowing its senior executives to continue to reap tens of millions of dollars in compensation
following the taxpayer-financed acquisition of Bear Stearns.

continue to the complaint below…

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MERS Responds to Essex Co., Mass. Announcement Company in compliance with purpose and intent of state recording acts

MERS Responds to Essex Co., Mass. Announcement Company in compliance with purpose and intent of state recording acts

MERS Responds to Essex Co., Mass. Announcement
Company in compliance with purpose and intent of
state recording acts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karmela Lejarde
703-761-1274

Reston, Virginia Feb. 25, 2011—MERS has not received any direct legal communication regarding Mr. O’Brien’s February 22, 2011 announcement. The use of MERS is in compliance with the purpose and intent of the state recording acts. MERS intends to fully defend itself against these unfounded allegations.

It is not the case that recording fees are somehow owed or outstanding. All MERS mortgages are recorded in the public land records, and MERS members pay recording fees when the mortgage is recorded. Fees are paid for a service performed, and if a document is eliminated because it is no longer necessary, no fee is due because there is nothing to record. We believe it is wrong and unethical to seek money for services that were never rendered, and in fact, MERS greatly reduces the workload of county recorders, resulting in lower operating expenses for the county recorder’s office. Moreover, it would be the borrower who ultimately pays the costs of recording assignments, either directly or indirectly.

When MERS is the mortgagee, the mortgage is recorded at the county land records, thereby putting the public on notice that there is a lien on the property. The MERS® System also complements the county land records by providing additional information that was never intended to be recorded at the county level, namely the information about the mortgage loan servicer, and now, with the addition of MERS® InvestorID, the name of the investor.

– 30 –

source: MERS

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD1 Comment

REUTERS | BofA, Wells, Citi see foreclosure probe fines

REUTERS | BofA, Wells, Citi see foreclosure probe fines

Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:20pm EST

CHARLOTTE, N.C./NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo — three of the biggest banks in the United States — said they could face fines from a regulatory probe into the industry’s foreclosure practices.

The statements, made in regulatory filings on Friday, are the most direct admission yet from major banks that they could have to pay significant amounts of money to settle probes and lawsuits alleging that they improperly foreclosed on homes.

Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), the largest U.S. bank by assets, said the probe could lead to “material fines” and “significant” legal expenses in 2011.

Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N), the largest U.S. mortgage lender, said it is likely to face fines or sanctions, such as a foreclosure moratorium or suspension, imposed by federal or state regulators. It said some government agency enforcement action was likely and could include civil money penalties.

Citigroup Inc (C.N) said it could pay fines or set up principal reduction programs.

The biggest U.S. mortgage lenders are being investigated by 50 state attorneys general and U.S. regulators for foreclosing on homes without having proper paperwork in place or without having properly reviewed paperwork before signing it.

The bad documentation threatens to slow down the foreclosure process and invalidate some repossessions.

Continue reading … REUTERS

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD1 Comment

UNSEALED #2 COMPLAINT | CITIBANK SAW MADOFF FRAUD WARNINGS, RED FLAGS

UNSEALED #2 COMPLAINT | CITIBANK SAW MADOFF FRAUD WARNINGS, RED FLAGS

excerpt:

1. Citi’s “Due Diligence” And Early Discovery Of The Risks Of Possible Fraud

61. During the course of Citi’s 2005 initial “due diligence,” and as part of negotiating the final terms of the Prime Fund loan transaction, Citi learned, among other things, that Tremont received only paper copy trade confirmations approximately five (5) days conducted the alleged trading – a practice rife with the possibility for fraud due to the ability of the brokerage firm to backdate or manufacture trading activity with no ability on the customer’s part to check that the trades actually took place.

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD0 Comments

COMPLAINT | ALLSTATE SUES JPMORGAN CHASE OVER FRAUD & MISREPRESENTATION OF RMBS CERTIFICATES

COMPLAINT | ALLSTATE SUES JPMORGAN CHASE OVER FRAUD & MISREPRESENTATION OF RMBS CERTIFICATES

ALLSTATE BANK, ALLSTATE
INSURANCE COMPANY, ALLSTATE
LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY,
ALLSTATE NEW JERSEY INSURANCE
COMPANY, ALLSTATE LIFE
INSURANCE COMPANY OF NEW YORK,
AGENTS PENSION PLAN, and ALLSTATE
RETIREMENT PLAN,
Plaintiffs,

-against-

JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A.; J.P.
MORGAN ACQUISITION CORPORATION;
J.P. MORGAN SECURITIES INC.; J.P.
MORGAN ACCEPTANCE CORPORATION
I; WM ASSET HOLDINGS
CORPORATION; WAMU ASSET
ACCEPTANCE CORPORATION; WAMU
CAPITAL CORPORATION;
WASHINGTON MUTUAL MORTGAGE
SECURITIES CORPORATION; LONG
BEACH SECURITIES CORPORATION;
DAVID BECK; DIANE NOVAK; THOMAS
LEHMANN; EMC MORTGAGE
CORPORATION; STRUCTURED ASSET
MORTGAGE INVESTMENTS II INC.;
BEAR STEARNS ASSET BACKED
SECURITIES I LLC; and SACO I INC.
Defendants.

excerpt:

NATURE OF ACTION

1. This action arises out of Defendants’ fraudulent sale of residential mortgage-backed
securities in the form of pass-through certificates (the “Certificates”) to Allstate.
Whereas Allstate was made to believe it was buying highly-rated, safe securities backed by pools
of loans with specifically-represented risk profiles, in fact, Defendants knew the pool was a toxic
mix of loans given to borrowers that could not afford the properties, and thus were highly likely
to default.

2. Defendants made numerous material misrepresentations and omissions regarding
the riskiness and credit quality of the Certificates in registration statements, prospectuses,
prospectus supplements, and other written materials (the “Offering Materials”).

continue below…

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD0 Comments

BREAKING NEWS | NY Appeals Court Allows Damages For Legal Malpractice Against Steven J. Baum, P.C.

BREAKING NEWS | NY Appeals Court Allows Damages For Legal Malpractice Against Steven J. Baum, P.C.

Decided on February 22, 2011

SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK

APPELLATE DIVISION : SECOND JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT

A. GAIL PRUDENTI, P.J.
REINALDO E. RIVERA
PLUMMER E. LOTT
ROBERT J. MILLER, JJ.
2010-02591
(Index No. 16919/08)

[*1]U.S. Bank National Association, etc., plaintiff,

v

Alan C. Stein, etc., et al., defendants third-party plaintiffs- respondents, et al., defendants; Steven J. Baum, P.C., third-party defendant-appellant, et al., third-party defendant.

Miller, Rosado & Algios, LLP, Mineola, N.Y. (Neil A. Miller and
Christopher Rosado of counsel), for third-party defendant-appellant.
Babchik & Young LLP, White Plains, N.Y. (Marisa C.
Woolridge of counsel), for defendants third-
party plaintiffs-respondents.

DECISION & ORDER

In an action, inter alia, to recover damages for legal malpractice, the third-party defendant Steven J. Baum, P.C., appeals, as limited by its brief, from so much of an order of the Supreme Court, Nassau County (LaMarca, J.), entered December 10, 2009, as denied that branch of its motion, made jointly with the third-party defendant Steven J. Baum, which was pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7) to dismiss the third-party complaint insofar as asserted against it.

ORDERED that the order is affirmed insofar as appealed from, with costs.

The plaintiff, represented by Steven J. Baum, P.C., and Steven J. Baum, commenced an action against, among others, Alan C. Stein, Gastwirth, Mirsky & Stein, LLP, and Law Office of Alan C. Stein, P.C. (hereinafter collectively the Stein defendants), to recover damages for, inter alia, legal malpractice in connection with the recording of a certain mortgage. The Stein defendants, who had previously represented the plaintiff’s predecessor in interest, commenced a third-party action against Steven J. Baum, P.C., and Steven J. Baum for contribution and/or indemnification. Subsequently, the third-party defendants moved pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(7) to dismiss the third-party complaint. The Supreme Court, among other things, denied that branch of the motion which was to dismiss the third-party complaint insofar as asserted against Steven J. Baum, P.C. We affirm the order insofar as appealed from.

“Upon a motion to dismiss [for failure to state a cause of action], the sole criterion is whether the subject pleading states a cause of action, and if, from the four corners of the complaint, factual allegations are discerned which, taken together, manifest any cause of action cognizable at law, then the motion will fail” (Maurillo v Park Slope U-Haul, 194 AD2d 142, 145; see Guggenheimer v Ginzburg, 43 NY2d 268, 275). “[T]he court must afford the pleading a liberal construction, accept all facts as alleged in the pleading to be true, accord the plaintiff the benefit of every possible inference, and determine only [*2]whether the facts as alleged fit within any cognizable legal theory” (Breytman v Olinville Realty, LLC, 54 AD3d 703, 703-704; see Morales v AMS Mtge. Servs., Inc., 69 AD3d 691, 692).

The Supreme Court properly determined that the Stein defendants stated a cause of action against the third-party defendant Steven J. Baum, P.C., by asserting, among other things, that Steven J. Baum, P.C., failed to timely correct the legal errors allegedly committed by the Stein defendants in their representation of the plaintiff’s predecessor in interest, despite having sufficient time and an opportunity to do. The third-party complaint alleged sufficient facts which, if true, would establish that Steven J. Baum, P.C., may be liable to the Stein defendants for causing or contributing to the plaintiff’s alleged damages (see Schauer v Joyce, 54 NY2d 1, 6; see also Frederick v Meighan, 75 AD3d 528, 532).
PRUDENTI, P.J., RIVERA, LOTT and MILLER, JJ., concur.

ENTER:

Matthew G. Kiernan

Clerk of the Court

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD0 Comments

SunTrust finds problems in foreclosures

SunTrust finds problems in foreclosures

Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:14pm EST

* SunTrust to refile documents in 4,000 cases

* SunTrust expects costs to increase ‘modestly’

* Bank may revise processes, leading to higher costs

* Shares up 3.1 percent (Adds byline, details on foreclosure case refilings; rewrites paragraphs 1-4; updates share price)

By Joe Rauch

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb 25 (Reuters) – SunTrust Banks Inc (STI.N) is refiling documents in 4,000 foreclosure cases after an internal review found problems with the bank’s home repossessions.

The Atlanta-based bank said in its 2010 annual report filed with U.S. securities regulators on Friday that some foreclosure affidavits were signed by employees who did not directly review documents to ensure accuracy and instead relied on the work of others.

SunTrust said it is refiling the documents and expects to have the process substantially completed by the end of first quarter 2011.

The process, dubbed “robo-signing” by critics, forced some of the largest U.S. mortgage lenders to halt foreclosures last Fall amid a firestorm of public criticism.

Continue reading…REUTERS

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD2 Comments

Maxine Waters Congresswoman Troubled by Reported Foreclosure Fraud Deal

Maxine Waters Congresswoman Troubled by Reported Foreclosure Fraud Deal

Press Releases

Contact: Sean Bartlett (202) 225-2201

Congresswoman Waters Troubled by Reported Foreclosure Fraud Deal

Reiterates Need for Servicing Standards, Raises Concerns about Settlement Figure & OCC Protecting Banks Over Borrowers

Washington, Feb 25

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), a senior member of the Financial Services Committee, issued the following statement today after reports of a deal between the Obama Administration and mortgage servicers to settle systemic fraud issues in the servicing and foreclosure industry:

Reporting from yesterday and today indicates that federal regulators are close to reaching a settlement over what they describe as “shortcomings in foreclosure governance and document preparation processes,” or what I have plainly referred to as “foreclosure fraud.”  The settlement, as described by the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, and other media outlets, leaves me deeply concerned about whether homeowners will receive the due process and fair treatment they deserve.

Particularly, I am concerned about the $20 billion settlement figure, spread across 14 servicers, that has been noted in various reports.  Though this figure sounds like a large settlement to those unfamiliar with the scale of the foreclosure crisis, we must remember that over 3 million homes have been lost to foreclosure since 2006, and some analysts expect an additional 11 million foreclosure filings in the near future.  Moreover, the Center for Responsible Lending estimates that foreclosures between 2009 and 2012 will result in $1.86 trillion in lost wealth for families.

We must also contrast this $20 billion settlement figure, shared by 14 servicers, with the $8.6 billion settlement paid by Countrywide Finance Corp. in 2008 as a result of origination fraud.  I have every reason to believe that today’s improper servicing is likely just as pervasive as origination fraud a few years ago.

This settlement is too small, and will likely have one of two results:  either borrowers will receive insignificant principal reductions, or reductions will only be available to a small subset of troubled borrowers.

I am also concerned about the fact that this settlement, as reported, contains no discussion of mortgage servicing standards going forward.  Though I was pleased that the Administration briefly mentioned the need for servicing changes in their Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reform proposal, we have yet to see the details of their plan for servicing reform.  As I have reiterated for years, meaningful servicing standards are absolutely necessary to protect the millions of borrowers vulnerable to foreclosure.  My bill from the last Congress, The Foreclosure Prevention and Sound Mortgage Servicing Act of 2009 (H.R. 3451), which I plan to reintroduce, contained borrower protections that I believe could have prevented many of the servicing failures we see today.  I urge regulators to insist on meaningful borrower protections that satisfy all of the servicing reforms described below:

• Provide that servicers have a duty to engage in reasonable loss mitigation activities, as outlined in H.R. 3451;
• Adopt servicer compensation structures that result in servicers having an interest as to whether the loan remains current, and separates simple transaction processing from actual loss mitigation activities;
• Require that a formula govern how second lien holders are required to modify second liens in the event of a first lien modification;
• Mandate that servicers establish a single-point-of-contact for each borrower seeking a loan modification, and provide that single-point-of-contact with actual decision making authority;
• Require that an independent master servicer provide oversight and resolve disputes regarding servicers’ actions;
• End the foreclosure “dual track,” which often results in borrowers being foreclosed upon by one division of a servicer while they are simultaneously attempting to negotiate a loan modification with another division of the servicer;
• Require servicers to foreclose in their own names;
• Change payment structures for law firms and other servicer contractors so that compensation is not tied to the speed at which these contractors foreclose; and
• Require servicers to disclose the complete chain of title as well as a full accounting of all fees (both upon request and in the Notice of Default), and the use of lost note affidavits in their foreclosures.

In addition to these borrower protections and servicing industry reforms, I continue to believe that it is essential for Congress to provide bankruptcy judges with the authority to alter mortgage debt on primary residences, an ability that judges already have on vacation homes.  I also believe that the Treasury Department should pursue monetary penalties for servicers’ failure to comply with Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) guidelines.  These monetary penalties could be redirected for any number of purposes, including increasing legal services funding so that homeowners can be adequately represented by counsel in foreclosure.  Finally, if the interagency report on foreclosure fraud does not already address this issue, I would urge regulators to conduct a robust investigation into whether parties involved in mortgage securitization may have failed to follow rules regarding the creation of Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits (REMICs), and are therefore in violation of tax rules.

More generally, I remain concerned that our regulators didn’t learn the lessons outlined in the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission report, which starkly laid out how a failure to protect borrowers led to an explosion in exploitive subprime mortgage products.  All the evidence we have points to the fact that history is likely repeating itself.  In fact, in a November hearing of my Subcommittee, regulators made it clear that they learned of foreclosure fraud via newspaper reports, despite having teams of examiners located within the operations of major servicers.

For this reason, I was very skeptical from the outset that this investigation would yield substantive results, given that it was led by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).  As the subprime crisis has taught us, a regulator charged with protecting banks’ safety and soundness cannot also be charged with protecting the due process rights of borrowers.

Through yesterday and today’s reporting, we learned that the OCC’s position is that only a “small number” of borrowers were improperly foreclosed upon.  I am doubtful of this claim, given what I’ve learned about servicer-driven defaults in the years since this crisis began.  For instance, National Consumer Law Center attorney Diane Thompson has noted in testimony that around 50 percent of the borrowers she represents in foreclosure cases were subject to a servicer-driven default.  Academic work from experts like Kurt Eggert at Chapman University School of Law provides additional support for claims of servicer misbehavior.  And just recently, JPMorgan Chase admitted to wrongfully foreclosing on 14 active duty military personnel and overcharging another 4,000 military borrowers on their mortgages, in contravention of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

To date, all we have are these anecdotal reports.  But through both Congressional hearings, and first-hand experience with servicers, I believe that there is substantial evidence indicating that improper fees, wrongful application of borrower payments, the use of unscrupulous foreclosure mills and other practices evidence the fact that improper foreclosures are widespread.

I eagerly await the full results of the interagency foreclosure fraud investigation.  In the meantime, I will continue to advocate for servicing reforms.  I believe that these fundamental changes to mortgage servicing are needed not only for borrowers, but to ensure a fully-functioning mortgage market that protects investors and encourages the return of private capital moving forward.

###

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD3 Comments

Judge SCHACK Dismisses Case W/ PREJUDICE, Cancels Notice of Pendency Due To Counsel Failure to Comply NYCTL 2008-A Trust, BONY v. HOLAS

Judge SCHACK Dismisses Case W/ PREJUDICE, Cancels Notice of Pendency Due To Counsel Failure to Comply NYCTL 2008-A Trust, BONY v. HOLAS

Supreme Court, Kings County

NYCTL 2008-A Trust AND THE BANK OF NEW YORK AS COLLATERAL AGENT AND CUSTODIAN, Plaintiffs,

against

Estate of Locksley Holas a/k/a Lockaley Holas, et. al., Defendants

10815/09

Plaintiff

Josef Abt

Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP

NY, NY

Arthur M. Schack, J.

In this tax lien certificate foreclosure action, plaintiffs, NYCTL 1998-1 TRUST AND THE BANK OF NEW YORK AS COLLATERAL AGENT AND CUSTODIAN (THE TRUST), moved on September 9, 2009 for an order of reference and related relief for the premises located at 856 Hancock Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 1490, Lot 33, County of Kings). In my May 3, 2010 decision and order, with respect to the motion for an order of reference and related relief, I held:

The affidavit submitted in support of this application . . . was not

executed by an officer of . . . THE TRUST, or someone with a power

of attorney from plaintiffs. Leave is granted to plaintiffs to renew their

application, within sixty (60) days of this decision and order, for an

order to appoint a referee to compute and amend the caption upon

plaintiffs’ presentation to the Court of its compliance with the statutory requirements of CPLR § 3215 (f), with “an affidavit of facts” executed

by someone who is an officer of THE TRUST or someone who has a

valid power of attorney from THE TRUST. [*2]

Further, I noted that the affidavit of merit was submitted by one Hillary Leonard, who stated that “I am the Authorized Signatory of PLYMOUTH PARK TAX SERVICES, LLC, servicing agent for plaintiffs in the within action.” Plaintiffs failed to provide the Court with any “power of attorney authorizing PLYMOUTH PARK TAX SERVICES, LLC to go forward with the instant foreclosure action. Therefore, the proposed order for the appointment of a referee to compute and amend the caption must be denied without prejudice.”

Moreover, I observed that:

The plaintiffs have failed to meet the clear requirements of

CPLR § 3215 (f) for a default judgment.

On any application for judgment by default, the applicant

shall file proof of service of the summons and the complaint, or

a summons and notice served pursuant to subdivision (b) of rule

305 or subdivision (a) of rule 316 of this chapter, and proof of

the facts constituting the claim, the default and the amount due

by affidavit made by the party . . . Where a verified complaint has

been served, it may be used as the affidavit of the facts constituting

the claim and the amount due; in such case, an affidavit as to the

default shall be made by the party or the party’s attorney. [Emphasis

added].

Plaintiffs’ counsel, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP, never submitted a

renewed motion for an order of reference to the Court. Then, on February 14, 2011, the Court received a letter, dated February 9, 2011, from Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP, in which plaintiffs’ counsel stated that the September 9, 2009 motion “for the appointment of a Referee to compute was submitted to the Court and is currently pending before your Honor for determination [Emphasis added]. I respectfully request that Plaintiffs’ ex-parte application be withdrawn at this time without prejudice to renew at a later date.”

Today is two hundred and ninety (290) days, more than three-quarters of a year, since I issued my May 3, 2010 order giving Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP sixty (60) days to renew their motion for an order of reference and related relief. I have not yet received a renewed motion for an order of reference with the requested affidavit of merit “by someone who is an officer of THE TRUST or someone who has a valid power of attorney from THE TRUST.”

Further, it is my policy to mail copies of my orders to litigants’ counsel. Even if Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP, for whatever reason, did not receive by U.S. Mail a copy of the May 3, 2010 order, it must to be suffering from corporate amnesia. The May 3, 2010 order was properly filed with Kings County Clerk. Plaintiffs’ counsel should have ascertained that I issued my May 3, 2010 order giving them sixty (60) days to renew their motion for an order of reference and related relief with proper documentation. Therefore, I grant the request of Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP that their “application be withdrawn at this time.” However, for violation of my May 3, 2010 order, the instant tax lien foreclosure action is dismissed with prejudice and the notice of pendency is cancelled and discharged. The Court cannot countenance utter disregard of a court-ordered deadline.

Discussion

The failure of plaintiffs’ counsel, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP, to comply [*3]with my May 3, 2010 order demonstrates delinquent conduct by Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP. This mandates the dismissal with prejudice of the instant action. Failure to comply with court-ordered time frames must be taken seriously. It cannot be ignored. There are consequences for ignoring court orders. Recently, on December 16, 2010, the Court of Appeals, in Gibbs v St. Barnabas Hosp. (16 NY3d 74; 2010 NY Slip Op 09198), instructed, at *5:

As this Court has repeatedly emphasized, our court system is

dependent on all parties engaged in litigation abiding by the rules of

proper practice (see e.g. Brill v City of New York, 2 NY3d 748 [2004];

Kihl v Pfeffer, 94 NY2d 118 [1999]). The failure to comply with

deadlines not only impairs the efficient functioning of the courts and

the adjudication of claims, but it places jurists unnecessarily in the

position of having to order enforcement remedies to respond to the

delinquent conduct of members of the bar, often to the detriment of

the litigants they represent. Chronic noncompliance with deadlines

breeds disrespect for the dictates of the Civil Practice Law and Rules

and a culture in which cases can linger for years without resolution.

Furthermore, those lawyers who engage their best efforts to comply

with practice rules are also effectively penalized because they must

somehow explain to their clients why they cannot secure timely

responses from recalcitrant adversaries, which leads to the erosion

of their attorney-client relationships as well. For these reasons, it

is important to adhere to the position we declared a decade ago that

[i]f the credibility of court orders and the integrity of our judicial

system are to be maintained, a litigant cannot ignore court orders

with impunity [Emphasis added].” (Kihl, 94 NY2d at 123).

Litigation cannot be conducted efficiently if deadlines are not taken seriously, and we make clear again, as we have several times before, that disregard of deadlines should not and will not be tolerated (see Miceli v State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 3 NY3d 725 [2004]; Brill v City of New York, 2 NY3d 748 [2004]; Kihl v Pfeffer, 94 NY2d 118 [1999]) [Emphasis added].” (Andrea v Arnone, Hedin, Casker, Kennedy and Drake, Architects and Landscape Architects, P.C., 5 NY3d 514, 521 [2005]).As we made clear in Brill, and underscore here, statutory time frames —like court-order time frames (see Kihl v Pfeffer, 94 NY2d 118 [1999]) — are not options, they are requirements, to be taken seriously by the parties. Too many pages of the Reports, and hours of the courts,

are taken up with deadlines that are simply ignored [Emphasis added].” (Miceli, 3 NY3d at 726-726). [*4]

Further, the dismissal of the instant foreclosure action requires the cancellation of the notice of pendency. CPLR § 6501 provides that the filing of a notice of pendency against a property is to give constructive notice to any purchaser of real property or encumbrancer against real property of an action that “would affect the title to, or the possession, use or enjoyment of real property, except in a summary proceeding brought to recover the possession of real property.” The Court of Appeals, in 5308 Realty Corp. v O & Y Equity Corp. (64 NY2d 313, 319 [1984]), commented that “[t]he purpose of the doctrine was to assure that a court retained its ability to effect justice by preserving its power over the property, regardless of whether a purchaser had any notice of the pending suit,” and, at 320, that “the statutory scheme permits a party to effectively retard the alienability of real property without any prior judicial review.”

CPLR § 6514 (a) provides for the mandatory cancellation of a notice of pendency by:

The Court,upon motion of any person aggrieved and upon such

notice as it may require, shall direct any county clerk to cancel

a notice of pendency, if service of a summons has not been completed

within the time limited by section 6512; or if the action has been

settled, discontinued or abated; or if the time to appeal from a final

judgment against the plaintiff has expired; or if enforcement of a

final judgment against the plaintiff has not been stayed pursuant

to section 551. [emphasis added]

The plain meaning of the word “abated,” as used in CPLR § 6514 (a) is the ending of an action. “Abatement” is defined as “the act of eliminating or nullifying.” (Black’s Law Dictionary 3 [7th ed 1999]). “An action which has been abated is dead, and any further enforcement of the cause of action requires the bringing of a new action, provided that a cause of action remains (2A Carmody-Wait 2d § 11.1).” (Nastasi v Nastasi, 26 AD3d 32, 40 [2d Dept 2005]). Further, Nastasi at 36, held that the “[c]ancellation of a notice of pendency can be granted in the exercise of the inherent power of the court where its filing fails to comply with CPLR § 6501 (see 5303 Realty Corp. v O & Y Equity Corp., supra at 320-321; Rose v Montt Assets, 250 AD2d 451, 451-452 [1d Dept 1998]; Siegel, NY Prac § 336 [4th ed]).” Thus, the dismissal of the instant complaint must result in the mandatory cancellation of plaintiffs’ notice of pendency against the subject property “in the exercise of the inherent power of the court.”

Conclusion

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that the instant action, Index Number 10815/09, is dismissed with

prejudice; and it is further

ORDERED that the Notice of Pendency in this action, filed with the Kings

County Clerk on May 1, 2009, by plaintiffs, NYCTL 1998-1 TRUST AND THE BANK OF NEW YORK AS COLLATERAL AGENT AND CUSTODIAN, to foreclose on a tax lien certificate for real property located at 856 Hancock Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 1490, Lot 33, County of Kings), is cancelled and discharged.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court. [*5]

ENTER

________________________________

HON. ARTHUR M. SCHACK

J. S. C.

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD1 Comment

NY Appeals Court “Nail and Mail, Referee’s Deed, Insufficent” HOME LOAN SERVS., INC. v. Moskowitz

NY Appeals Court “Nail and Mail, Referee’s Deed, Insufficent” HOME LOAN SERVS., INC. v. Moskowitz

2011 NY Slip Op 21051

HOME LOAN SERVICES, INC. SUCCESSOR BY MERGER TO NATIONAL CITY HOME LOAN SERVICES, Respondent,
v.
FRANCES MOSKOWITZ, “JOHN DOE” AND “JANE DOE,” Occupants, AND
JACOB MARKOWITZ AND SARAH MARKOWITZ, Appellants.

2009-1851 KC.Supreme Court, Appellate Term, Second Department.

Decided February 14, 2011.PRESENT: PESCE, P.J., WESTON and RIOS, JJ.

Prior to commencing this summary proceeding, petitioner served a 10-day notice to quit upon occupants, together with a certified copy of the referee’s deed, by “nail and mail” service, after four attempts at personal service had been made at different times on different days. Occupants Jacob Markowitz and Sarah Markowitz (appellants) moved to dismiss the petition as against them on the ground that attaching a copy of the referee’s deed to a 10-day notice to quit served by “nail and mail” is not sufficient to satisfy the requirement of RPAPL 713 (5) that a deed be “exhibited” to the respondent. The Civil Court denied appellants’ motion. We reverse.

RPAPL 713 provides in pertinent part:

“A special proceeding may be maintained under this article after a ten-day notice to quit has been served upon the respondent in the manner prescribed in section 735, upon the following grounds:

. . .

5. The property has been sold in foreclosure and either the deed delivered pursuant to such sale, or a copy of such deed, certified as provided in the civil practice law and rules, has been exhibited to him.”

While this statute provides that a notice to quit may be served in the same manner as a notice of petition and petition, it does not make the same provision for the referee’s deed. Instead, the statute specifically requires that the deed be “exhibited” to the respondent. In our view, and in light of the strong policy prohibiting unlawful evictions (see generally Bill Jacket, L. 1981, ch. 467), attaching a copy of the referee’s deed to a 10-day notice to quit served by “nail and mail” was insufficient to satisfy the requirement of exhibition of the deed pursuant to RPAPL 713 (5) (see Colony Mtge. Bankers, 192 Misc 2d 704 [Sup Ct, Westchester County 2002]; but see Novastar Mtge., Inc. v LaForge, 12 Misc 3d 1179[A], 2006 NY Slip Op 51306[U] [Sup Ct, Greene County 2006] [discussing a writ of assistance]; Deutsche Bank Natl. Trust Co. v Resnik, 24 Misc 3d 1238[A], 2009 NY Slip Op 51793[U] [Nassau Dist Ct 2009]; GRP/AG REO 2004-1, LLC v Friedman, 8 Misc 3d 317, 318-319 [Just Ct, Town of Ramapo, Rockland County 2005]). Accordingly, the order is reversed and appellants’ motion to dismiss the petition as against them is granted.

Pesce, P.J., Weston and Rios, JJ., concur.

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REUTERS | Freddie Mac exec facing possible SEC charges

REUTERS | Freddie Mac exec facing possible SEC charges

By Corbett B. Daly and Rachelle Younglai

WASHINGTON |Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:09pm EST

(Reuters) – A top Freddie Mac (FMCC.OB) executive received notice the government may file charges against him for allegedly violating securities laws in the years leading up to the housing bust, according to a regulatory filing released on Thursday.

Executive Vice President Don Bisenius received a “wells notice” from the Securities and Exchange Commission that the agency is considering filing an enforcement action against him for possibly violating federal securities laws and related rules in 2007 and 2008.

The revelation comes just days after a former Freddie Mac chief financial officer Anthony Piszel also received a similar warning from the SEC. Piszel, who was the mortgage giant’s CFO between 2006 and 2008, was forced to resign earlier this month from CoreLogic Inc (CLGX.N), where he was working as the company’s chief financial officer.

Freddie Mac and sister entity Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB) have both been under investigation since September 2008 for their role in the mortgage crisis.

continue reading …REUTERS

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FL 2nd DCA Appeals Court Reverses Attorney Fees “NO STANDING, WRONG ASSOCIATION, IMPROPER FILINGS” Against WELLS FARGO and David J. Stern, P.A.

FL 2nd DCA Appeals Court Reverses Attorney Fees “NO STANDING, WRONG ASSOCIATION, IMPROPER FILINGS” Against WELLS FARGO and David J. Stern, P.A.

SOUTH BAY LAKES HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC., Appellant,
v.
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., Appellee.

Case No. 2D10-148.

District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District.

Opinion filed February 18, 2011. Leslie M. Conklin, Clearwater, for Appellant.

Forrest G. McSurdy of Law Office of David J. Stern, P.A., Plantation, for Appellee.

ALTENBERND, Judge.

South Bay Lakes Homeowners Association, Inc., appeals an order denying its motion for attorney’s fees pursuant to section 57.105(1), Florida Statutes (2008). We conclude that the trial court abused its discretion in denying fees under the unusual circumstances of this case. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for an award of fees to be paid in equal amounts by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., and its attorneys.

Kosta and Ljubica Jankovski obtained a loan, secured by a mortgage, to purchase a home in Hillsborough County in 2005. The documents in our record show the lender as Beazer Mortgage Corporation. Allegedly, the Jankovskis defaulted on the loan.

In March 2009, the Law Offices of David J. Stern, P.A., filed a mortgage foreclosure action on behalf of Wells Fargo, naming the Jankovskis and South Bay Lakes Homeowners Association as parties. The complaint alleged that Wells Fargo filed the action “by virtue of an assignment to be recorded.” As is common in recent foreclosure actions, the complaint contained a second count to enforce a lost, destroyed, or stolen promissory note.

The complaint itself does not contain a legal description of the property on which Wells Fargo sought to foreclose. It alleges a recorded mortgage on January 18, 2006, and a modification on July 13, 2006. The mortgage identified the relevant property as Lot 6, Block 7, Valhalla Phase 3-4. The modification changed the description to Lot 60, Block 2, South Bay Lakes, Unit #2. The notice of lis pendens that Wells Fargo recorded when it commenced this action identified the property it sought to foreclose as the original description and not the modified description. The property described in the modification is within South Bay Lakes Homeowners Association. However, the property described in the lis pendens and the original mortgage is not within the association.

The Jankovskis did not file a formal answer. Instead, they submitted a letter claiming that they disputed the amount owed and were trying to resolve the matter with America’s Servicing Company.

South Bay Lakes Homeowners Association filed an answer disputing that Wells Fargo had standing to bring the action, raising other defenses, and pointing out the confusion associated with the legal description. It also served the attorneys for Wells Fargo with requests for admission, asking the bank to admit that it did not have an assignment of the mortgage in its possession or recorded in Hillsborough County. One of the requests for an admission asked Wells Fargo to admit that it had no documentary evidence to show that it was an equitable owner of the note and mortgage. Wells Fargo did not respond to the requests for admission.

In May 2009, South Bay Lakes Homeowners Association filed a motion for summary judgment based on the admissions. At the same time, the attorney for the association filed an affidavit explaining that he had searched the public records and had not found an assignment of the mortgage. He also explained that the description on the lis pendens was not the encumbered property. Finally, the association served, but did not file, a motion for attorney’s fees pursuant to section 57.105 in order to give the bank an opportunity to resolve the matter within the statutory twenty-one-day period. The bank took no action.

On July 29, 2009, the attorney for the association attended the hearing on its motion for summary judgment. Wells Fargo made no appearance. Based on the admissions and the affidavit, the trial court entered a final judgment dismissing the entire action without leave to amend.

Thereafter, the association filed its motion for attorney’s fees and scheduled a hearing for November 2009. Wells Fargo sent a local attorney, who had not reviewed the file, to the hearing. He had “no idea” whether the legal description in the complaint had been inaccurate. The trial court denied the motion for fees, reasoning that some lender was entitled to file an action to foreclose on the parcel described in the modification and owned by the Jankovskis and that the action was, therefore, not one entitling the association to attorney’s fees. The association has appealed that order.

The issue in this case is not whether the owners would have been entitled to attorney’s fees. Instead, the issue is the association’s entitlement to fees. It is noteworthy, however, that the owners were the prevailing party in this action by virtue of the efforts of the association’s attorney. By contract, the owners would have been entitled to recover fees in this case if the prevailing attorney had been their attorney.

In this case, it is undisputed that Wells Fargo filed a foreclosure action without an assignment or other legal basis to file the action. Nothing in the record suggests that it or its attorneys took any steps to confirm that Wells Fargo had the legal right to file this action. It has relied on the association’s attorney to perform the legal research and public records examination that its own attorney should have performed before it filed the action.

We emphasize that a failure to respond to a request for admissions is not automatically grounds for attorney’s fees. In this case, however, the bank never attempted to explain why it admitted that it lacked standing, and there is no reason to believe that it had standing to bring the lawsuit. The bank also never sought to be relieved from its admissions and did not seek rehearing of the judgment that the trial court entered at a hearing it declined to attend.

At oral argument, the bank’s attorney tried to justify this improper filing due to the vast volume of foreclosure cases in the judicial system. While this court is well aware of the volume of these cases, that circumstance is not a matter that relieves the bank and its attorneys of their obligation to file pleadings that are adequately supported by a reasonable investigation prior to suit. If anything, the volume of these cases and the obvious detrimental effect that such volume has upon the legal system should be a factor requiring attorneys who file the actions to engage in a higher degree of professionalism.[1]

Section 57.105 entitles a party to attorney’s fees if the losing party, or the losing party’s attorney, knew or should have known that a claim was not supported by the material facts necessary to establish the claim when the party initially presented the claim to the court or at any time before trial. At a minimum, the association established a prima facie case that the bank or its attorneys knew or should have known that the bank had no standing to bring this lawsuit before the association served its motion for attorney’s fees. See, e.g., Lizio v. McCullom, 36 So. 3d 927, 929 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010) (“The party seeking foreclosure must present evidence that it owns and holds the note and mortgage in question in order to proceed with a foreclosure action.”); Bank of New York v. Williams, 979 So. 2d 347, 348 (Fla. 1st DCA 2008) (awarding the defendant attorney’s fees after dismissing a residential foreclosure complaint because the mortgagor failed to prove it owned the note and mortgage). If the bank or its attorneys had any evidence to refute this claim, they did not present that evidence at the hearing on the motion for attorney’s fees. The undisputed facts at the hearing established that Wells Fargo was required to take a voluntary dismissal of this action or some other appropriate action during the allotted twenty-one days and that it had no right to compel the association to proceed to judgment on the motion for summary judgment.

Although the trial court has discretion in awarding fees under section 57.105, we conclude that the trial court abused its discretion when it declined to award fees in these circumstances.

Reversed and remanded.

DAVIS and VILLANTI, JJ., Concur.

NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF FILED, DETERMINED.

[1] At oral argument, the bank’s attorney claimed for the first time that the association’s attorney had not served the requests for admissions on the bank’s law firm and that the trial court had not properly served the judgment on the law firm. These unsworn allegations more than a year after the entry of the final judgment are outside the record and otherwise entirely improper.

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FDIC to sue 3 former WAMU executives for $1 Billion

FDIC to sue 3 former WAMU executives for $1 Billion

FDIC to seek $1B from former WaMu execs

Puget Sound Business Journal – by Kirsten Grind
Date: Friday, February 18, 2011, 2:41pm PST – Last Modified: Friday, February 18, 2011, 5:15pm PST

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. plans to file a civil suit against at least three former Washington Mutual executives, including former chief executive Kerry Killinger, seeking to collect more than $1 billion in damages, according to people familiar with the pending suit.

Killinger, former president and chief operating officer Steve Rotella and David Schneider, former president of the failed bank’s home loan division, all recently received legal notices informing them of the pending litigation, these people say.

The three executives were the highest-level officials in charge of WaMu’s mortgage operations. It’s unclear when or where the FDIC will file its suit.

Continue reading…Puget Sound Business Journal

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