Archive | bankruptcy

YOU MUST READ! Federal Bankruptcy Trustee Joins Litigation Against Lender Processing Services (LPS)

YOU MUST READ! Federal Bankruptcy Trustee Joins Litigation Against Lender Processing Services (LPS)

WOW! Lender Processing Services is up against some BIG TIME players!

According to Naked Capitalism:

The standing Chapter 13 Trustee for the Northern District of Mississippi, Locke Barkley, has joined the case on behalf of herself and of all Chapter 13 Trustees in the US.

and also

The filings were amended to add counsel with class action expertise. On the Federal case, in Mississippi, CaseyGerry has joined the case. The head of the firm, David Casey, is a former president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Cases his firm has handled include Exxon Valdez and the California tobacco case. In other words, this is a heavyweight player. On the Kentucky case, McGowan & Hood, a firm which has won major class actions lawsuits, including medical device cases, has signed up.

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© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.

Posted in bankruptcy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, Lender Processing Services Inc., LPS, lps default solutions Inc., trade secrets0 Comments

AZ Bankruptcy Judge Eileen W. Hollowell Sanctions Tiffany & Bosco, Saxon Mortgage

AZ Bankruptcy Judge Eileen W. Hollowell Sanctions Tiffany & Bosco, Saxon Mortgage

Hat Tip to a subscriber on this!

Minute Entry

Hearing Information:

Date / Time / Room:
Case Number: 4:08-BK-15510-EWH Chapter: 13
Hearing Information:

Bankruptcy Judge: EILEEN W. HOLLOWELL






Mr. McDonald filed a pre-hearing statement yesterday and provides a copy to Ms. Parker.

The court expresses its concerns and explains why the order was issued.

Mr. McDonald walks the court through what he has learned about the matter. Admittedly the proof of claim nor stay relief motion were plead to say that they were done in the name of Saxon Mortgage Servicer as servicer for the beneficial interest of Deutsche.

Court asks Mr. McDonald if his office knew who held the deed of trust.

Mr. McDonald responds that the electronic referral was asked to be done in the name of Saxon. They were not prosecuting a non-judicial trustee sale. They noticed up the trustee sale in the name of Deutsche. If you look at the note and deed of trust they are in the name of Saxon Mortgage.

Court points out that the proof of claim was never withdrawn. No one had the courtesy to inform the debtor that Deutsche Bank should have been served.

Mr. McDonald responds that he did not represent Saxon in the adversary. When they received push back they did not go forward with a trustee sale or prosecute the motion for relief from stay.

Mr. David Goss is sworn and examined by the court. Ms. Parker cross-examines the witness and Mr. McDonald objects.

The witness is excused.


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© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.

Posted in bankruptcy, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, sanctioned, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD2 Comments



Please read this case and the words this Judge uses ….It appears that Steven J. Baum P.C. has been up to this for quite some time.



– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – x

In re: :

Chapter 13

Case No. 04 B 23460 (ASH)
Debtor. :
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – x
A P P E A R A N C E S :
Attorneys for Debtor
By: Shmuel Klein, Esq.
268 Route 59
Spring Valley, NY 10977

Attorneys for Secured Creditor
By: Dennis Jose, Esq.
220 Northpointe Parkway, Suite G
Amherst, NY 14228



In In re Gorshstein, 285 B.R. 118 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2002) I granted sanctions against secured creditors in three separate cases where the secured creditors moved to vacate the automatic stay on the basis of false certifications of post-petition defaults. The Gorshstein decision was “provoked by an apparently increasing number of motions in this Court to vacate the automatic stay filed by secured creditors often based on attorney affidavits certifying material post-petition defaults where, in fact, there were no material defaults by the debtors.” 285 B.R. at 120.

The Secured Creditor’s motion to lift the stay in this case is, in the vernacular, a “poster child” for the type of abuse condemned in the Gorshstein decision. It is one of several such motions to come before me in recent months. This decision granting substantial sanctions in favor of the debtor and her attorney is published to reiterate and reinforce my strongly-held view that debtors must not be subjected to the risk of foreclosure and loss of their homes on the basis of false certifications of post-petition defaults.


This Court has jurisdiction over this contested matter under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1334(a) and 157(a) and the standing order of reference in this District dated July 10, 1984 (Acting Chief Judge Ward).

This is a core proceeding under 28 U.S.C. § 157(b).

The Facts

By Notice of Motion and Application both dated June 1, 2007 Deutsche Bank Trust Company of America’s f/k/a Bankers Trust Company, as Trustee c/o Homecomings Financial, LLC (the “Secured Creditor”) moved to terminate the automatic stay with respect to the debtor’s residential real property in Stony Point, New York (the “Property”). The Secured Creditor holds by assignment a note dated October 9, 2001 in the amount of $284,750.00 secured by a mortgage on the Property. The Application recited that as of May 30, 2007 there was an unpaid principal balance on the loan of $278,043.61 with interest thereon in the amount of $20,553.51 plus late charges in the amount of $946.28, aggregating $299,543.40.

The debtor filed her petition under Chapter 13 on September 21, 2004. Thus, the debtor’s first post-petition mortgage payment was due for October 2004. Paragraph 3 of the Application states as follows:

As of the 30th day of May, 2007, the Debtor has failed to make 4 post-petition payments in the amount of $4,020.03 which represents the payments due the 1st day of February, 2007 through May, 2007 and has not cured said default.

As amplified below, this statement was false.

Annexed to the Application was an affidavit sworn to by John Cody, an Assistant Vice President of Homecomings Financial Network, sworn to April 3, 2006 in which Mr. Cody swore in paragraph 5:

As of the 31st day of March, 2006, the Debtor has failed to make 2 post-petition payments in the amount of $3,709.17 which represents the payments due the 1st day of February, 2006 through March, 2006 and has not cured said default.

The Cody affidavit was submitted in support of a motion filed by the Secured Creditor in 2006 and was erroneously annexed to the instant motion. The quoted statement from the Cody affidavit was false when made in 2006. Belatedly recognizing that the Cody affidavit applied to the Secured Creditor’s baseless 2006 motion to lift the stay, on June 8, 2007 counsel for the Secured Creditor filed an affidavit sworn to by Dory Goebel, a Bankruptcy Representative of Homecomings Financial, LLC, sworn to June 1, 2007.

In paragraph 5 of his affidavit, Mr. Goebel swore as follows:

As of the 30th day of May, 2007, the Debtor has failed to make 4 post-petition payments in the amount of $4,020.03 which represents the payments due the 1st day of February, 2007 through May, 2007 and has not cured said default.

Mr. Goebel’s sworn statement quoted above was false.

The instant motion was noticed for presentment on June 14 with a hearing date of June 20, 2007 if objections were timely served and filed. On June 6 counsel for the debtor filed the debtor’s affirmation in opposition noting that since the filing of her case she had made all post-petition payments required under the mortgage, and all such payments were cashed by the Secured Creditor.

Copies of the debtor’s payment checks were attached to the opposing affirmation. The debtor sought punitive sanctions for the “frivolous motion,” the Secured Creditor’s second such motion. The Secured
Creditor’s attorney responded with a “Reply Affirtmation [sic] in Support of Secured Creditor’s Motion
to Terminate the Automatic Stay” dated June 13, 2007 (the “Reply Affirmation”). The Reply Affirmation
noted that the initial Application incorrectly annexed the 2006 Cody affidavit and substituted the June 1, 2007 Goebel affidavit quoted above as Exhibit B. The Reply Affirmation also annexed as Exhibit C a document entitled “Post Petition Payment History for: Eileen Fagan BK Case No. 04-23460” with a notation at the bottom “ledger prepared on 06/13/07.” This “Post Petition Payment History” is one of several such documents submitted by the Secured Creditor, all of which are of central importance on this contested matter because, as explained below, they all demonstrate that the debtor was substantially current at all times post-petition. Despite Exhibit C, the Reply Affirmation concludes “that as of the Date of the Motion, the Debtor was due for the Months of February 2007 through May 2007 and the Month of June 2007 had become due.” As amplified below, Exhibit C demonstrates that this statement was false.

The debtor responded by submitting a July 10, 2007 “Sur-Reply Affirmation in Opposition and Request for Attorney Fees” signed by Linda Fagan, the debtor’s mother. The Sur-Reply Affirmation stated in relevant part as follows:

3. My daughter had a nervous breakdown aggravated by this bank about two years ago. Since then, I made each of the monthly mortgage payments to Homecomings which is the servicer for Deutsche Bank Trust Company and they have CASHED thy [sic] payments.

4. The latest submission is an outright lie, deceptive and deliberately out of order. . . .

5. Homecomings said they did not get the March 2007 payment and I immediately went to Western Union and sent them payment — which they accepted –- the day I found out about it.

6. Homecomings deliberately holds the mortgage payment checks for several weeks and then cashes them to create late fees and penalties. They also hold the checks for months, and then put two or three checks all in at once to create a bounce check situation.

7. I sent the May 2007 mortgage on or about May 14, 2007. When the check did not clear, I immediately called Homecomings when our May bank statement was received and inquired if they received the check. After being on hold for 45 minutes, they acknowledged that they received the check, but the account servicing agent did not know why it was not cashed. I called again two weeks later and they now said they never got the check. I called my attorney and he advised me to stop the check and then overnight another check on June 13, 2007. Even though they received it by OVERNIGHT courier on June 14, 2007, it was not cashed until June 27, 2007. See Exhibit “A”.

8. Incredulously [sic], they then tried to cash the May 2007 “lost check” which I stopped (they first said they received and then said they never received) and then sent me notice to me [sic] in July that the check was “returned unpaid”. See Exhibit “B”.

7. [sic] I AM CURRENT. I have not missed a payment and am paying more than I have to. . . .

It is significant that no affidavit contesting Linda Fagan’s statements was submitted by the Secured Creditor.

A hearing on the motion was held on July 17, 2007 attended by the attorneys for both sides. At the hearing the Secured Creditor submitted a revised but undated “Post Petition Payment 1 Paragraph 6 of the Supplemental Reply Affirmation states:

6. This Law Firm regrettably concedes that during the preparation of the Motion for Relief from Stay and the Bank Affidavit, it erroneously represented that the Debtor was due for the months of February through May of 2007 when in fact the Debtor was due for the months of April through May of 2007. (Emphasis in original)

History for: Eileen Fagan,” which I received in evidence as Court Exhibit 1. After hearing oral argument of counsel, I adjourned the hearing to August 22 in order to give the Secured Creditor an opportunity to make a further submission demonstrating, if it could, that the debtor was in arrears post-petition, which did not appear likely in view of the original “Post Petition Payment History” prepared on 06/13/07 and the amended “Post Petition Payment History” marked Court Exhibit 1. After oral argument at the August 22 hearing, I scheduled a final hearing for September 18.

The Secured Creditor’s attorney then submitted a “Supplimental [sic] Reply Affirtmation [sic] in Support of Secured Creditor’s Motion to Terminate the Automatic Stay” dated August 31, 2007 (“Supplemental Reply Affirmation”). The Supplemental Reply Affirmation annexes as Exhibit C a copy of the “Post Petition Payment History” which was marked as Court Exhibit 1 at the July 17 hearing. It also annexes as Exhibit B yet another “Post Petition Payment History” (undated) with numbers slightly different from the numbers contained on Exhibit C (Court Exhibit 1). The Supplemental Reply Affirmation acknowledged error in the original motion,1 but concluded that “when the Motion for Relief was filed on June 1, 2007, the Debtor was delinquent with her post-petition mortgage obligations and due for the months of April 2007 through May 2007.” Once again, as amplified below, all three versions of the Secured Creditor’s Post Petition Payment History demonstrate that the debtor has never been materially delinquent in her post-petition mortgage obligations.

Paragraph 15 of the Supplemental Reply Affirmation states that “As per the most recent information received from the Secured Creditor, the Debtor has paid monies subsequent to the filing of the Motion that would bring her post-petition current.” The Affirmation notes further that the debtor has commenced a 16-count adversary proceeding complaint against the Secured Creditor which raises, inter alia, certain of the allegations of bad faith asserted by the debtor against the Secured Creditor in opposing the motion to lift the stay. Consequently, in the “Wherefore” clause “Secured Creditor respectfully requests a finding that its Motion for Relief dated June 1, 2007 was filed in good faith and said Motion be marked withdrawn with the parties to litigate the issued [sic] raised by the Debtor in her opposition in detail within the confines of the now pending Adversary Proceeding.”

At the September 18 third and final hearing on this motion to lift stay, I asked the Secured Creditor’s attorney to explain and confirm the significance of the several Post Petition Payment History computer printouts submitted by Secured Creditor in purported support of the motion. To that we now turn.

The Debtor’s Post-Petition Payment History For purposes of this analysis, I shall focus on the Post Petition Payment History which was submitted by the Secured Creditor at the July 17 hearing and marked as Court Exhibit 1, a copy of which was submitted as Exhibit C to the Secured Creditor’s Supplemental Reply Affirmation.

Since the debtor’s Chapter 13 case was filed on September 21, 2004, the first postpetition mortgage payment was due October 1, 2004, with a two-week grace period.

The following reproduces the Court Exhibit 1 version of the debtor’s Post Petition Payment History in material part:

2 The “Date” column apparently lists the dates when the Secured Creditor cashed and/or credited the debtor’s payments, not the dates when the payments were delivered to or received by the Secured Creditor. See paragraph 6 of the Linda Fagan affirmation, quoted above.



Motions to lift the stay may be routine and inconsequential to secured creditors and their counsel. But to a debtor and his or her family, such a motion and the consequent loss of the family home may be devastating. Most creditors and counsel are conscientious. But some are callous by design or inadvertence, as exemplified by this motion and two others presented to the Court the same week. The danger here is that a debtor who does not have an attorney or the resources of intellect or spirit to defend against a baseless motion may lose his/her home despite being current on post-petition mortgage and plan payments.

I know of no way to protect against such an eventuality if no material consequence attaches to the filing of motions based upon false certifications of fact. Secured creditors and their counsel who know that filing a false motion to lift the stay will result in material sanctions if caught will undoubtedly be motivated to a higher standard of care.

Dated: White Plains, NY

September 24, 2007

/s/Adlai S. Hardin, Jr.


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© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.

Posted in assignment of mortgage, bankruptcy, bogus, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, Law Office Of Steven J. Baum, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD0 Comments

Misbehavior and Mistake in Bankruptcy Mortgage Claims

Misbehavior and Mistake in Bankruptcy Mortgage Claims

Katherine M. Porter
College of Law, University of Iowa


The greatest fear of many families in serious financial trouble is that they will lose their homes. Bankruptcy offers a last chance for families save their houses by halting a foreclosure and by repaying any default on their mortgage loans over a period of years. Mortgage companies participate in bankruptcy by filing proofs of claims with the court for the amount of the mortgage debt. In turn, bankruptcy debtors pay these claims to retain their homes. This process is well established and, until now, uncontroversial. The assumption is that the protective elements of the federal bankruptcy shield vulnerable homeowners from harm.

This Article examines the actual behavior of mortgage companies in consumer bankruptcy cases. Using original data from 1700 recent Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, I conclude that mortgage servicers frequently do not comply with bankruptcy law. A majority of mortgage claims are missing one or more of the required pieces of documentation for a bankruptcy claims. Fees and charges on claims often are poorly identified and do not appear to be reasonable. The bankruptcy data reinforce concerns about the overall reliability of the mortgage service industry to charge homeowners only the correct and legal amount of the debt and to comply with applicable consumer protection laws. Mistakes or misbehavior by mortgage servicers can have grave consequences. Bloated claims can jeopardize a family’s ability to save their home in bankruptcy. On a system level, mistakes or misbehavior by mortgage servicers undermine America’s homeownership policies for all families trying to buy a home.

The data also reinforce concerns about whether consumers can trust financial institutions to adhere to applicable laws. The findings are a chilling reminder of the limits of formal law to protect consumers. Imposing unambiguous legal rules does not ensure that a system will actually function to safeguard the rights of parties. Observing the reality that laws can under perform or even misfire has crucial implications for designing legal systems that produce acceptable and just behavior. *

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© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.

Posted in bankruptcy, deed of trust, Economy, foreclosure, foreclosures, investigation, mortgage, note, Real Estate, university1 Comment



The Time To Act Is NOW!

I am working on a special project & need your help to gather as many MERS Assignments as we can possibly get.

What is especially needed are the Certifying Officers signing these assignments for MERS. I don’t care if it’s old, new, signed, undated, unmarked, lender has gone bankrupt ages ago…I just want them ALL!

Click the Envelope to load up your MERS Assignment(s).

Or Info at

© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.

Posted in Bank Owned, bankruptcy, chain in title, concealment, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, forgery, investigation, mbs, MERS, MERSCORP, mortgage, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, Notary, notary fraud, note, quiet title, racketeering, Real Estate, REO, RICO, rmbs, robo signers, securitization, servicers, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD,, Supreme Court, trade secrets, trustee, Trusts, Wall Street1 Comment




Via: Brian Davies


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© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.

Posted in bankruptcy, brian w. davies, chain in title, deed of trust, discovery, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, mortgage, note, securitization, servicers, trustee, Trusts1 Comment

Open Letter to all attorneys who aren’t PSA literate by April Charney

Open Letter to all attorneys who aren’t PSA literate by April Charney

Via: Max Gardner

Are You PSA Literate?

Written on August 16, 2010 by admin

We are pleased to present this guest post by April Charney.

If you are an attorney trying to help people save their homes, you had better be PSA literate or you won’t even begin to scratch the surface of all you can do to save their homes. This is an open letter to all attorneys who aren’t PSA literate but show up in court to protect their client’s homes.

First off, what is a PSA? After the original loans are pooled and sold, a trust hires a servicer to service the loans and make distributions to investors. The agreement between depositor and the trust and the truste and the servicer is called the Pooling and Servicing Agreement (PSA).

According to UCC § 3-301 a “person entitled to enforce” the promissory note, if negotiable, is limited to:

(1) The holder of the instrument;

(2) A nonholder in possession of the instrument who has the rights of a holder; or

(3) A person not in possession of the instrument who is entitled to enforce the instrument pursuant to section 3-309 or section 3-418(d).

A person may be a person entitled to enforce the instrument even though the person is not the owner of the instrument or is in wrongful possession of the instrument.

Although “holder” is not defined in UCC § 3-301, it is defined in § 1-201 for our purposes to mean a person in possession of a negotiable note payable to bearer or to the person in possession of the note.

So we now know who can enforce the obligation to pay a debt evidenced by a negotiable note. We can debate whether a note is negotiable or not, but I won’t make that debate here.

Under § 1-302 persons can agree “otherwise” that where an instrument is transferred for value and the transferee does not become a holder because of lack of indorsement by the transferor, that the transferee is granted a special right to enforce an “unqualified” indorsement by the transferor, but the code does not “create” negotiation until the indorsement is actually made.

So, that section allows a transferee to enforce a note without a qualifying endorsement only when the note is transferred for value.? Then, under § 1-302 (a) the effect of provisions of the UCC may be varied by agreement. This provision includes the right and ability of persons to vary everything described above by agreement.

This is where you MUST get into the PSA. You cannot avoid it. You can get the judges to this point. I did it in an email. Show your judge this post.

If you can’t find the PSA for your case, use the PSA next door that you can find on at The provisions of the PSA that concern transfer of loans (and servicing, good faith and almost everything else) are fairly boilerplate and so PSAs are fairly interchangeable for many purposes. You have to get the PSA and the mortgage loan purchase agreement and the hearsay bogus electronic list of loans before the court. You have to educate your judge about the lack of credibility or effect of the lifeless list of loans as the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act specifically exempts Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities from its application. Also, you have to get your judge to understand that the plaintiff has given up the power to accept the transfer of a note in default and under the conditions presented to the court (out of time, no delivery receipts, etc). Without the PSA you cannot do this.

Additionally the PSA becomes rich when you look at § 1-302 (b) which says that the obligations of good faith, diligence, reasonableness and care prescribed by the code may not be disclaimed by agreement, but may be enhanced or modified by an agreement which determine the standards by which the performance of the obligations of good faith, diligence reasonableness and care are to be measured. These agreed to standards of good faith, etc. are enforceable under the UCC if the standards are “not manifestly unreasonable.”

The PSA also has impact on when or what acts have to occur under the UCC because § 1-302 (c) allows parties to vary the “effect of other provisions” of the UCC by agreement.

Through the PSA, it is clear that the plaintiff cannot take an interest of any kind in the loan by way of an A to D” assignment of a mortgage and certainly cannot take an interest in the note in this fashion.

Without the PSA and the limitations set up in it “by agreement of the parties”, there is no avoiding the mortgage following the note and where the UCC gives over the power to enforce the note, so goes the power to foreclose on the mortgage.

So, arguing that the Trustee could only sue on the note and not foreclose is not correct analysis without the PSA.? Likewise, you will not defeat the equitable interest “effective as of” assignment arguments without the PSA and the layering of the laws that control these securities (true sales required) and REMIC (no defaulted or nonconforming loans and must be timely bankruptcy remote transfers) and NY trust law and UCC law (as to no ultra vires acts allowed by trustee and no unaffixed allonges, etc.).

The PSA is part of the admissible evidence that the court MUST have under the exacting provisions of the summary judgment rule if the court is to accept any plaintiff affidavit or assignment.

If you have been successful in your cases thus far without the PSA, then you have far to go with your litigation model. It is not just you that has “the more considerable task of proving that New York law applies to this trust and that the PSA does not allow the plaintiff to be a “nonholder in possession with the rights of a holder.”

And I am not impressed by the argument “This is clearly something that most foreclosure defense lawyers are not prepared to do.”?Get over that quick or get out of this work! Ask yourself, are you PSA adverse? If your answer is yes, please get out of this line of work. Please.

I am not worried about the minds of the Circuit Court Judges unless and until we provide them with the education they deserve and which is necessary to result in good decisions in these cases.

It is correct that the PSA does not allow the Trustee to foreclose on the Note. But you only get there after looking at the PSA in the context of who has the power to foreclose under applicable law.

It is not correct that the Trustee has the power or right to sue on the note and PSA literacy makes this abundantly clear.

Are you PSA literate? If not, don’t expect your judge to be. But if you want to become literate, a good place to start is by attending Max Gardner’s Mortgage Servicing and Securitization Seminar.

April Carrie Charney

© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.

Posted in bankruptcy, chain in title, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, Max Gardner, mbs, mortgage, note, psa, rmbs, securitization, trustee, Trusts, Wall Street1 Comment



Via: b.daviesmd6605

July 9, 2010
The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California has issued a ruling dated May 20, 2010 in the matter of In Re: Walker, Case No. 10-21656-E-11 which found that MERS could not, as a matter of law, have transferred the note to Citibank from the original lender, Bayrock Mortgage Corp. The Court’s opinion is headlined stating that MERS and Citibank are not the real parties in interest.

The court found that MERS acted “only as a nominee” for Bayrock under the Deed of Trust and there was no evidence that the note was transferred. The opinion also provides that “several courts have acknowledged that MERS is not the owner of the underlying note and therefore could not transfer the note, the beneficial interest in the deed of trust, or foreclose on the property secured by the deed”, citing the well-known cases of In Re Vargas (California Bankruptcy Court), Landmark v. Kesler (Kansas decision as to lack of authority of MERS), LaSalle Bank v. Lamy (New York), and In Re Foreclosure Cases (the “Boyko” decision from Ohio Federal Court).

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© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.

Posted in bankruptcy, chain in title, deed of trust, MERS, mortgage, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., note3 Comments

Mortgage Investors Suing For MBS FRAUD… Is your Trust named?

Mortgage Investors Suing For MBS FRAUD… Is your Trust named?

Now these investors should know better…See the picture you’ll see what I mean? You can probably make out a few possibilities.

We can’t even get justice and we are quite a few million!

Mortgage Investors Turn to State Courts for Relief

By GRETCHEN MORGENSON Published: July 9, 2010

INVESTORS who lost billions on boatloads of faulty mortgage securities have had a hard time holding Wall Street accountable for selling the things in the first place.

For the most part, banks have said they can’t be called out in court on any of this because they had no idea that so many of these loans went to people who lacked the resources to make even their first mortgage payment.

Wall Street firms were intimately involved in the financing, bundling and sales of these loans, so their Sergeant Schultz defense rings hollow. They provided hundreds of millions of dollars in credit to dubious underwriters, and some even had their own people on site at the loan factories. Many Wall Street firms owned mortgage lenders outright.

Because many of the worst lenders are now out of business, investors in search of recoveries have turned to the banks that packaged the loans into securities. But successfully arguing that Wall Street aided lenders in a fraud is tough under federal securities laws. This is largely a result of Supreme Court decisions barring investors from bringing federal securities fraud cases that accuse underwriters and other third parties as enablers.

Where there’s a will, however, there’s a way. And state courts are proving to be a more fruitful place for mortgage investors seeking redress, legal experts say.

In late June, for example, Martha Coakley, the attorney general of Massachusetts, extracted $102 million from Morgan Stanley in a case involving Morgan’s extensive financing of loans made by New Century, a notorious and now defunct lender that was based in California.

Morgan packaged the loans into securities and sold them to clients, even after its due diligence uncovered problems with the underlying mortgages that New Century fed to the firm, Ms. Coakley said. In settling the matter, Morgan neither admitted nor denied the allegations. Her investigation is continuing.

One of the most interesting aspects of this case “is the active role of state regulators relying upon state law to protect investors,” said Lewis D. Lowenfels, an authority on securities law at Tolins & Lowenfels in New York. “This state focus may well fill a void left by the U.S. Supreme Court’s increasingly narrow interpretation of the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws as well as the relatively few S.E.C. enforcement actions initiated in this area.”

Last Friday, an investment management firm that lost $1.2 billion in mortgage securities it bought for clients filed suit in Massachusetts state court against 15 banks, accusing them of abetting a fraud. The firm, Cambridge Place Investment Management of Concord, Mass., purchased $2 billion in mortgage securities from the banks, and it says the banks misrepresented the risks in the underlying loans — both in prospectuses and sales pitches.

The complaint says the banks misled Cambridge Place by maintaining that the mortgages in the securities it bought had met strict underwriting requirements related to the borrowers’ ability to repay the loans. Cambridge also contends it relied on the banks’ claims of having conducted due diligence to verify the quality of the loans bundled into the securities.

The complaint also details the anything-goes lending practices during the subprime mortgage boom.

Interviews in the complaint with 63 confidential witnesses turned up such gems as Fremont Investment & Loan, which had been based in California, approving loans for pizza delivery men with reported monthly incomes of $6,000, and management at Long Beach Mortgage, also in California, directing underwriters to “approve, approve, approve.”

One Long Beach program made loans to self-employed borrowers based on three letters of reference from past employers. A former worker said some letters amounted to “So-and-so cuts my lawn and does a good job,” adding that the company made no attempt to verify the information, the complaint stated.

Such tales are hardly shockers. But they provide important context when Cambridge moves up the ladder to the banks that bundled and sold the loans.

For example, the complaint contended that Credit Suisse, from whom it bought $88 million of mortgage securities in 2005 and 2006, told Cambridge of its “superior” due diligence, including a performance review of every loan. Three-quarters of these loans are delinquent, in default, foreclosure, bankruptcy or repossession, the complaint said.

Bear Stearns, now a unit of JPMorgan Chase, sold Cambridge $65 million of securities. It owned three mortgage lenders and told Cambridge it sampled the loans it sold to check underwriting procedures, borrower documentation and compliance, the complaint said.

Among others named in the suit are Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup, Countrywide, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and UBS. All of those, as well as Credit Suisse and JPMorgan, declined to comment.

CAMBRIDGE’S lawyers brought its case in Massachusetts under laws barring those who sell securities from making false statements about them or omitting material facts. Jerry Silk, a senior partner at Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann who represents Cambridge, said, “This case represents yet another example of Wall Street banks’ failure to live up to their basic responsibility to investors — to tell the truth about the securities they are selling.”

Mr. Silk’s firm has jousted with Wall Street underwriters before. In 2004, it recovered $6 billion in a suit against banks that underwrote debt issued by WorldCom, the defunct telecom. Denise L. Cote, the federal judge overseeing that matter, concluded that because investors rely so heavily on underwriters, courts must be “particularly scrupulous in examining the conduct,” she said.

It is too soon to tell if investors will recover losses in mortgage securities. But the efforts are reminiscent of those in the mid-90s against brokerage firms that cleared trades and provided capital to dubious penny-stock outfits such as A. R. Baron and Sterling Foster.

For decades, companies that cleared such trades — Bear Stearns was a big one — escaped liability for fraud at these so-called “bucket shops.” But regulators went after clearing firms by accusing them of facilitating such acts; in a 1999 lawsuit, the Securities & Exchange Commission accused Bear Stearns of enabling a fraud at A. R. Baron. Bear Stearns paid $35 million in fines and restitution to settle the case.

If trust in capital markets is to return, investors must be able to believe what they read in prospectuses. Without that minimum standard, how can Wall Street expect the markets to function again?

A version of this article appeared in print on July 11, 2010, on page BU1 of the New York edition.


[ipaper docId=34161218 access_key=key-hnn1p8grrpy85crm4rc height=600 width=600 /]

© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.

Posted in bankruptcy, CONTROL FRAUD, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, mbs, rmbs, securitization2 Comments

POWERFUL BK CASE! Mortgage Was Not Properly Executed | IN RE CLEARY

POWERFUL BK CASE! Mortgage Was Not Properly Executed | IN RE CLEARY

In re: DAVID CLEARY JR., Chapter 7, Debtor.
DAVID CLEARY JR., et al., Defendants.

Case No. 09-14900, Adversary Proceeding No. 09-1285.

United States Bankruptcy Court, N.D. Ohio.

July 1, 2010.


ARTHUR I. HARRIS, Bankruptcy Judge.

This matter is currently before the Court on the motion for partial summary judgment filed by the plaintiff-trustee, Lauren Helbling, and the joint brief in opposition of Carrington Mortgage and Deutsche Bank National Trust Company (“Deutsche Bank”). The main issue is whether the trustee is entitled to avoid a mortgage because the notary’s certificate of acknowledgment failed to recite the names of the parties whose signatures were acknowledged. The Court must also decide whether the filing of one or both foreclosure actions imparted the trustee with constructive notice resulting in inability to act as a bona fide purchaser for value. If the trustee is charged with constructive notice, then the Court must consider whether the second foreclosure action was an avoidable preference. For the reasons that follow, the Court holds that the Mortgage was not executed in accordance with Ohio’s statutory requirements but that the trustee is charged with constructive notice of the interest of Deutsche Bank as a result of the filing of the second foreclosure action. However, the filing of the second foreclosure acted to perfect the defective mortgage as against third persons, and it is a preferential transfer. As such, the Mortgage can be avoided by the trustee as a preference. Accordingly, the trustee’s motion for partial summary judgment is granted.


On December 30, 2009, the plaintiff-trustee and defendants Deutsche Bank and Carrington submitted the following stipulations:

1. Jurisdiction of this Court is proper and as set forth in Paragraph 1 of the complaint.

2. This is a core proceeding as set forth in Paragraph 2 of the Complaint.

3. Plaintiff is the duly appointed, qualified and acting Trustee of the estate of the debtor.

4. A legal description for property known as 4155 West 114th Street, Cleveland, OH is shown as Exhibit A to the Complaint (“Property”).

5. The petition in this case was filed on May 31, 2009.

6. The Debtor’s interest in the Property is property of the bankruptcy estate pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 541.

7. The Debtor is the owner, in fee simple of the Property, by virtue of a General Warranty Deed filed in Instrument No. 200302030753 of the records of Cuyahoga County, Ohio on February 3, 2003.

8. Deutsche Bank National Trust Company (“Deutsche”) is the holder of a mortgage on the Property (the “Mortgage”), which Mortgage is at issue in this proceeding.

9. The Mortgage was filed on May 5, 2004, as Instrument No. 200405050625 in the records of Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

10. A true and exact copy of the Mortgage is attached to the Complaint as Exhibit B.

11. The original mortgagee under the Mortgage is New Century Mortgage Corporation. The Mortgage was assigned to Deutsche of record by assignment filed December 16, 2008 as Instrument No. 200812160236, Cuyahoga County Records.

12. The acknowledgment provision of the Mortgage on page 15 reads as follows:

  This instrument was acknowledged before me this 30th day of April 2004, by

        Notary Public
        In and for the State of Ohio
        My Commission Expires
        May 19, 2008
                                  /s/ Jerry Russo
                                   Notary Public

13. Debtor’s initials appear at the bottom of Mortgage pages 1 through 13, and page 15 and page 17.

14. A foreclosure action was filed as to thea subject property in Case No. 663230 of the Cuyahoga County, Ohio Common Pleas Court on June 25, 2008 by Deutsche. The property was described in the foreclosure Complaint. The debtor answered in that case on September 25, 2008. The case was dismissed without prejudice on October 30, 2008.

15. A foreclosure action was filed as to the subject property in Case No. 694194 of the Cuyahoga County, Ohio Common Pleas Court on May 28, 2009 by Aeon Financial. The property was described in the foreclosure Complaint. The debtor filed a Notice of Suggestion of Stay on June 15, 2009. The Court entered an Order staying the case on June 19, 2009. The case was dismissed without prejudice on August 5, 2009.

On August 28, 2009, the trustee of the Chapter 7 estate initiated this adversary proceeding seeking to avoid the Mortgage and to determine the respective interests of various parties in the real property. The complaint named as defendants the debtor; Carrington Mortgage; CitiFinancial Inc.; Aeon Financial, LLC; Beneficial Ohio, Inc.; TFC National Bank; Deutsche Bank National Trust Company; and the Cuyahoga County Treasurer. The treasurer, Citifinancial, David Cleary, Aeon Financial, TFC National Bank, and Carrington/Deutsche Bank filed answers to the complaint. Aeon Financial and TFC National Bank disclaimed any interest, and all parties stipulated that the Cuyahoga County Treasurer has a first lien for taxes and assessments. Default was entered against Beneficial Ohio on March 24, 2010. On January 13, 2010, the trustee filed a motion for partial summary judgment seeking to avoid the Mortgage held by Deutsche Bank. On February 3, 2010, Deutsche Bank filed a brief in response. Briefing on the trustee’s partial motion for summary judgment is complete, and the Court is ready to rule.


Determinations of the validity, extent, or priority of liens are core proceedings under 28 U.S.C. section 157(b)(2)(K). The Court has jurisdiction over core proceedings under 28 U.S.C. sections 1334 and 157(a) and Local General Order No. 84, entered on July 16, 1984, by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.


Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c), as made applicable to bankruptcy proceedings by Bankruptcy Rule 7056, provides that a court shall render summary judgment, if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

The moving party bears the burden of showing that “there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that [the moving party] is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Jones v. Union County, 296 F.3d 417, 423 (6th Cir. 2002). See generally Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Once the moving party meets that burden, the nonmoving party “must identify specific facts supported by affidavits, or by depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file that show there is a genuine issue for trial.” Hall v. Tollett, 128 F.3d 418, 422 (6th Cir. 1997). See, e.g., Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986) (“The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff’s position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff.”). The Court shall view all evidence in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party when determining the existence or nonexistence of a material fact. See Tenn. Dep’t of Mental Health & Mental Retardation v. Paul B., 88 F.3d 1466, 1472 (6th Cir. 1996).


Under the “strong arm” clause of the Bankruptcy Code, the bankruptcy trustee has the power to avoid transfers that would be avoidable by certain hypothetical parties. See 11 U.S.C. § 544(a). Section 544 provides in pertinent part:

(a) The trustee shall have, as of the commencement of the case, and without regard to any knowledge of the trustee or of any creditor, the rights and powers of, or may avoid any transfer of property of the debtor or any obligation incurred by the debtor that is voidable by —

. . . .

(3) a bona fide purchaser of real property, other than fixtures, from the debtor, against whom applicable law permits such transfer to be perfected, that obtains the status of a bona fide purchaser and has perfected such transfer at the time of the commencement of the case, whether or not such a purchaser exists.

11 U.S.C. § 544. Any transfer under section 544 is preserved for the benefit of the estate. See 11 U.S.C. § 551.

Page 10 of the Mortgage provides that “[t]his Security Instrument shall be governed by federal law and the law of the jurisdiction in which the Property is located.” Accordingly, because the real property in question is located in Ohio, the Court will apply Ohio law to determine whether the trustee may avoid the Mortgage using the “strong arm” clause. See Simon v. Chase Manhattan Bank (In re Zaptocky), 250 F.3d 1020, 1024 (6th Cir. 2001) (applicable state law governs determination whether hypothetical bona fide purchaser can avoid mortgage).

Under Ohio law, a bona fide purchaser is a purchaser who ” `takes in good faith, for value, and without actual or constructive knowledge of any defect.’ ” Stubbins v. Am. Gen. Fin. Servs. (In re Easter), 367 B.R. 608, 612 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2007) (quoting Terlecky v. Beneficial Ohio, Inc. (In re Key), 292 B.R. 879, 883 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2003)); see also Shaker Corlett Land Co. v. Cleveland, 139 Ohio St. 536 (1942). The Bankruptcy Code expressly provides that a bankruptcy trustee is a bona fide purchaser regardless of actual knowledge. See In re Zaptocky, 250 F.3d at 1027 (“actual knowledge does not undermine [trustee’s] right to avoid a prior defectively executed mortgage”). Because actual knowledge does not affect the trustee’s strong-arm power, contrary to the assertions made by the defendants, the Court need only determine whether the trustee had constructive knowledge of the prior interest held by Deutsche Bank.

Ohio law provides that “an improperly executed mortgage does not put a subsequent bona fide purchaser on constructive notice.” In re Zaptocky, 250 F.3d at 1028. Ohio courts have refused to allow a recorded mortgage to give constructive notice when the mortgage has been executed in violation of a statute. See In re Nowak, 104 Ohio St. 3d 466, 469 (2004) (listing cases). The first question, then, is whether the Mortgage was executed in compliance with, or substantially conforms to applicable statutory law.

The Mortgage Was Not Properly Executed in Accordance with Ohio Revised Code § 5301.01

Ohio Revised Code § 5301.01, requires four separate acts to properly execute a mortgage: (1) the mortgage shall be signed by the mortgagor; (2) the mortgagor shall acknowledge his signing in front of a notary public, or other qualified official; (3) the official shall certify the acknowledgment; and (4) the official shall subscribe his name to the certificate of acknowledgment. Ohio Rev. Code § 5301.01(A) (2004); see Drown v. GreenPoint Mortgage Funding, Inc. (In re Leahy), 376 B.R. 826, 832 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2007) (listing four requirements provided by Ohio Rev. Code. § 5301.01).[ 2 ] The first issue in this case is whether the certificate of acknowledgment, which omitted the name of the borrower, satisfies the third requirement to proper execution of a mortgage.

Certification of an acknowledgment is governed by Ohio Revised Code sections 147.53-147.58. Ohio Revised Code section 147.53 provides:

The person taking an acknowledgment shall certify that:

(A) The person acknowledging appeared before him and acknowledged he executed the instrument;

(B) The person acknowledging was known to the person taking the acknowledgment, or that the person taking the acknowledgment had satisfactory evidence that the person acknowledging was the person described in and who executed the instrument.

The Ohio Revised Code further provides that a certificate of acknowledgment is acceptable in Ohio if it is in a form prescribed by the laws or regulations of Ohio or contains the words “acknowledged before me,” or their substantial equivalent. Ohio Rev. Code § 147.54. Ohio’s statutory short form acknowledgment for an individual is as follows:

  State of ________

  County of ________

  The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this (date) by
  (name of person acknowledged.)

  (Signature of person taking acknowledgment)
  (Title or rank) (Serial number, if any)

Ohio Rev. Code § 147.55(A).

The trustee argues that the Mortgage is invalid because the certification of acknowledgment fails to indicate or recite who appeared before the notary public as required by Ohio law. The Court agrees. Recent case law, including a 2008 decision from the Sixth Circuit BAP, supports the trustee’s position that an acknowledgment is defective if it fails to identify the person whose signature is being acknowledged. See In re Nolan, 383 B.R. 391, 396 (6th Cir. B.A.P. 2008); In re Sauer, 417 B.R. 523, (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2009); Daneman v. Nat’l City Mortg. Co. (In re Cornelius), 408 B.R. 704, 708 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2009) (“The absence of the name of the mortgagee acknowledging election is the functional equivalent of no certificate of acknowledgment and renders an acknowledgment insufficient.”); Drown v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (In re Peed), 403 B.R. 525, 531 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2009) affirmed at No. 2:09cv347 (S.D. Ohio May 1, 2009); Terlecky v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (In re Baruch), No. 07-57212, Adv. No. 08-2069, 2009 Bankr. Lexis 608 at *22 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio Feb. 23, 2009) (“An acknowledgment clause containing nothing relative to the mortgagor’s identity is insufficient; rather, an acknowledgment clause must either identify the mortgagor by name or contain information that permits the mortgagor to be identified by reference to the mortgage.”); In re Leahy, 376 B.R. at 832. See also Smith’s Lessee v. Hunt, 13 Ohio 260, 269 (1844) (holding that court was unable to infer name of grantor when acknowledgment was blank as to the grantor and, thus, the mortgage was defective and did not convey title).

The holdings in Nolan, Smith’s Lessee, and similar cases are also supported by case law interpreting almost identical statutory provisions for acknowledgment clauses in Kentucky and Tennessee. See, e.g., Gregory v. Ocwen Fed. Bank (In re Biggs), 377 F.3d 515 (6th Cir. 2004) (affirming bankruptcy court’s decision avoiding deed of trust under section 544 and Tennessee law when deed of trust omitted names of acknowledging parties); Select Portfolio Servs. v. Burden (In re Trujillo), 378 B.R. 526 (6th Cir. B.A.P. 2007) (affirming bankruptcy court’s decision avoiding mortgage under section 544 and Kentucky law when debtor was not named or identified in certificate of acknowledgment).

Although no argument was made, the execution of the Mortgage does not “substantially comply” with the statutory requirements. When the validity of a mortgage is challenged for failure to comply with the statutory mandates of Ohio Revised Code section 5301.01, a court can “review the nature of the error and the balance of the document to determine whether or not the `instrument supplies within itself the means of making the correction.’ ” Menninger v. First Franklin Fin. Corp. (In re Fryman), 314 B.R. 137, 138 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2004) (quoting Dodd v. Bartholomew, 44 Ohio St. 171, 176 (1886)). This principle enunciated by the Dodd court essentially allows a court to determine whether the execution of a mortgage is in “substantial compliance” with section 5301.01. See In re Fryman, 314 B.R. at 138. Under Ohio law, a mortgage that substantially complies with section 5301.01 will be considered valid. See Drown v. EverHome Mortg. Co. (In re Andrews), 404 B.R. 275, 279 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2008) (citing Mid-American Nat’l Bank & Trust, 451 N.E.2d 1243, 1245-46) (Ohio Ct. App. 1982)).

Nothing in the present case provides evidence of substantial compliance with section 5301.01. See In re Peed, 403 B.R. at 536 (presence of initials on each page of mortgage, including acknowledgment clause page, did not substantially comply with requirement that acknowledgment clause identify person whose signature is being acknowledged); accord Bank of America N.A. v. Corzin, (In re Bergman), 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8755 Case No. 5:09cv2520 (N.D. Ohio Feb. 2, 2010) (same), In re Cornelius, 408 B.R. at 708 (same); In re Andrews, 404 B.R. at 279 (same). Therefore, the Mortgage was improperly executed because the certification of acknowledgment fails to indicate or recite who appeared before the notary public as required under Ohio Revised Code section 5301.01.

The Second Foreclosure Action Precludes the Trustee from Avoiding the Mortgage under 11 U.S.C. § 544

Having found that the Mortgage is defective, the Court must determine whether the trustee is charged with constructive notice of Deutsche Bank’s interest as a result of either of the foreclosure actions. This Court finds that the second foreclosure action imparted constructive notice to the trustee, under the rule of lis pendens.

The most recent version of Ohio’s lis pendens statute provides that “[w]hen a complaint is filed, the action is pending so as to charge a third person with notice of its pendency. While pending, no interest can be acquired by third persons in the subject of the action, as against the plaintiff’s title.” Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2703.28. Thus, the filing of a foreclosure complaint prior to the date of filing of the bankruptcy petition imparts constructive notice to a bankruptcy trustee of the plaintiff’s interest, whatever that might be, in the property. See Treinish v. Norwest Bank Minn. (In re Periandri), 266 B.R. 651, 659 (6th Cir. BAP 2001).

As to the June 25, 2008, foreclosure, filed by Deutsche Bank, the trustee cannot be charged with constructive notice because the case was not pending at the commencement of the bankruptcy petition on May 31, 2009. The section requires that the case be “pending” in order to charge third parties with notice. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2703.28.

Deutsche Bank asserts that because the second foreclosure action was pending when the case was filed, the trustee was on notice of Deutsche Bank’s interest due to the fact it was a defendant and the complaint listed it as holding an interest in the property. This Court agrees. “The Ohio lis pendens statute operates to provide constructive notice of the pendency of a suit concerning specifically described property and with it the knowledge, albeit deemed or imputed, of all claims against the property that might reasonably be discerned from an investigation into the circumstances of the litigation.” In re Periandri, 266 B.R. at 656. The Ohio Supreme Court has quoted this passage from Periandri, holding that lis pendens puts a prospective purchaser on notice of any possible claims to the subject property. See Beneficial Ohio, Inc. v. Ellis, 121 Ohio St. 3d 89, 92 (Ohio 2009) (“the statute places the burden upon [third persons] to examine the county records to determine whether a lawsuit involving the property is pending . .. . a person who seeks to acquire an interest in property should bear the responsibility for checking county records.”) See also Stern v. Stern, No. 97 JE 77, 1999 WL 1243316 at *3 fn. 2 (Ohio App. 1999) (“Pursuant to R.C. 2703.26, which is the codification of the doctrine of lis pendens, a purchaser is charged with notice of any issues presented in a pending lawsuit which directly concern the property to be purchased.”)

The complaint, taken as a whole, provides constructive notice of the interest of Deutsche Bank. The complaint provides in part

the following named defendants, to wit: David Cleary, Jr., Spouse, if any, of David Cleary Jr., Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Indenture Trustee for New Century Home Equity Loan Trust 2004-2, Beneficial Ohio, Inc., and James Rokakis, Treasurer of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, have or may claim to have some interest in or lien upon said premises, but Plaintiff, not being fully advised as to the extent, if any, of such liens or claims, says that the same, if any, are inferior and subsequent to the lien of Plaintiff. (See Preliminary Judicial Report, Exhibit C.)

Exhibit C to the Complaint lists Deutsche Bank as an interest holder by way of a second mortgage, in the amount of $104,500. As a result of lis pendens, third parties had constructive notice of the interest of Deutsche Bank at the commencement of the bankruptcy case, and therefore the trustee cannot avoid the mortgage pursuant to her strong arm powers. “When any purchaser would have constructive knowledge of the mortgage, the trustee, cannot assume the position of a hypothetical BFP because no such good-faith purchaser can exist.” Argent Mortgage Company, LLC v. Drown (In re Bunn), 578 F.3d 487, 489 (6th Cir. 2009).

The Perfection of Deutsche Bank’s Interest by way of Lis Pendens is an Avoidable Preferential Transfer

A trustee may avoid as a preference any transfer of an interest of the debtor’s property that is for the benefit of a creditor, on account of an antecedent debt, made while the debtor was insolvent within 90 days before the filing of a bankruptcy case that allows the creditor to receive more than what it would have received in a typical liquidation. 11 U.S.C. § 547(b). Additionally, “a transfer of real property other than fixtures, but including the interest of a seller or purchaser under a contract for the sale of real property, is perfected when a bona fide purchaser of such property from the debtor against whom applicable law permits such transfer to be perfected cannot acquire an interest that is superior to the interest of the transferee.” 11 U.S.C. § 547(e)(1). Thus, this Court must determine whether a “transfer” occurred. The Sixth Circuit BAP has held that lis pendens provides constructive notice of a defectively acknowledged mortgage but that because the filing of a notice of lis pendens “took place within the preference period, it is considered a transfer, subject to avoidance as a preference, assuming the other required elements of a preference exist.” Kendrick v. CIT Small Business Lending Corp. (In re Gruseck), No. 06-8091, 2008 WL 1756243 at *8 (6th Cir. BAP 2008). See also Hurst Concrete Products Inc. v. Lane (In re Lane), 980 F.2d 601, 604 (9th Cir 1992) (because the recording of the lis pendens operated to perfect the filer’s interest against bona fide purchasers, the recording was a transfer under § 547(e)(1)(A)). Here, a transfer occurred because the trustee could no longer acquire an interest superior to the interest of Deutsche Bank upon the filing of the foreclosure complaint. The filing of the complaint acted to perfect Deutsche Bank’s interest as against third parties (while the suit was pending) such that no bona fide purchaser could exist.

It is undisputed that the bankruptcy was filed on May 31, 2009, and the foreclosure was filed only three days prior on May 28, 2009. Because a transfer of property of the debtor on account of a debt incurred in 2008, took place within the 90 day preference window that allowed Deutsche Bank to receive more than it would have as an unsecured creditor, the transfer is avoidable under 11 U.S.C. § 547.


For the reasons stated above, the Court holds that the certificate of acknowledgment in the Mortgage at issue is defective, that the filing of the second foreclosure complaint provided the trustee with constructive notice, and the that trustee may avoid the Mortgage as a preferential transfer. Accordingly, the trustee’s motion for partial summary judgment is granted. While it appears that this decision is largely dispositive, the precise interests and relative priorities of all parties have yet to be determined. Therefore, this is not a final judgment for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 158. See Bankr. Rule 7054 and Fed R. Civ. P. 54(b). The Court will conduct a status conference at 1:30 p.m. on July 20, 2010. Counsel shall be prepared to advise the Court as to what additional steps are needed to resolve all remaining claims in this adversary proceeding.


1. This Memorandum of Opinion is not intended for official publication.
2. In Zaptocky, the Sixth Circuit identified “three major prerequisites for the proper execution of a mortgage: (1) the mortgagor must sign the mortgage deed; (2) the mortgagor’s signature must be attested by two witnesses; and (3) the mortgagor’s signature must be acknowledged or certified by a notary public.” Zaptocky, 250 F.3d at 1024. The differences between Zaptocky’s three requirements and Leahy’s four requirements are (A) the deletion in Leahy of Zaptocky’s second requirement — attestation by two witnesses — due to a change in the statute, and (B) the Leahy court’s breaking down of Zaptocky’s third requirement — certification of acknowledgment — into three separate parts.

This copy provided by Leagle, Inc.

© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.

Posted in bankruptcy, deutsche bank, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud0 Comments

Moral bankruptcy?

Moral bankruptcy?

Again, make certain you research your documents and include everyone and anyone you may think should be named creditor!

Financially struggling homeowners say they’re just being shrewd when they file for Chapter 7 to escape a mortgage

By Mary Ellen Podmolik, Tribune reporter
June 27, 2010

Cash-strapped, jobless and denied a loan modification, Del Phillips faced the same straits as millions of homeowners who risk losing their homes to mortgage lenders.

Some have struggled unsuccessfully to keep their homes, and others have just walked away. Phillips decided he wanted revenge and was willing to ruin his credit record for it.

When a short sale didn’t work out as planned, the 32-year-old Chicagoan opted for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation, a move that will leave Phillips with little except for the scant possessions in his one-bedroom condo. It also will leave his lender, Chase, with little except for, eventually, a condo that has lost value. Meanwhile, Phillips continues to live there, mortgage-free.

“I don’t feel shameful for what I’ve done,” Phillips said. “I’ve gotten past being shameful.”

Phillips’ move may seem an extreme riff on the difficult decisions homeowners make to unburden themselves of debt owed on properties that have lost substantial value. Lawyers and housing counselors say, however, that personal bankruptcy filings are becoming more commonplace as debt-holders seek sums due them, particularly on second “piggyback” mortgages used to buy homes.

“It’s a big trend,” said Dan Lindsey, a supervisory attorney at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. “Banks are having a hard enough time dealing with the first mortgages. The second (mortgages), there’s no equity there to collect so they’re being charged off and sold to debt buyers and rearing their ugly heads later. It’s a drastic last resort to file Chapter 7, but in some cases it’s appropriate.”

Phillips bought the one-bedroom condo, tucked into a Lakeview courtyard building, in May 2007 for $212,500, securing a first mortgage of $159,375 and a $53,125 second note, both from Chase Bank, according to county records. In January 2009, he lost his public affairs job, began drawing on his savings and, in April 2009, after the government began its Home Affordable Modification Program, applied for a mortgage loan modification from Chase.

Customer service representatives with Chase, he said, told him to keep paying the monthly mortgage of about $1,400 while he awaited a decision on his application. In September, the still-unemployed Phillips was turned down for a modification because, as the letter stated, his hardship “is not of a permanent nature.”

Phillips decided to stop paying the mortgage and try to sell his condo in a short sale, in which a homeowner sells the property, with the lender’s approval, for less than the amount owed on the mortgage. A short sale typically does not tarnish an individual’s credit history as much as a foreclosure.

Short sales have been portrayed as a salve in the housing crisis, although lenders have been slow to approve them. In Phillips’ case, though, an approval for the offer on his condo came with a catch. Chase notified Phillips that it would still have the legal right to pursue him at a later date for the approximately $54,000 owed on the second mortgage.

“A short sale may satisfy the first lien, but the customer could still be responsible for the second lien,” said a spokesman for Chase, while declining to discuss Phillips specifically.

Phillips sought help from Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago Inc., a federal government-approved counseling agency, which broached the idea of filing personal bankruptcy.

“(Phillips) did everything right. He had good credit, and then he lost his job,” said Michael van Zalingen, director of homeownership services for Neighborhood Housing Services. “If your lender isn’t interested in helping you, or the only thing you qualify for hurts your household, I don’t think you have any moral obligation to stay bound in that mortgage or paying to that company when it no longer makes economic sense for you.”

Phillips bristled at the bankruptcy suggestion, but after consulting with an attorney, in late February he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, not the Chapter 13 that would have negotiated his debts, including those with Chase.

“My other option was to say I’ll roll the dice with the bank,” Phillips said. “Will they really come after me? I wouldn’t put it past the bank industry to do that. It’s going to kill me to pay a bank for a house I no longer owned. I was, like, there’s no way I’m going to pay the bank another dime.”

Lawyers say they are hearing about more instances of mortgage lenders selling the delinquent second loans used to buy homes during the industry’s heyday to third parties that are then pursuing debtors.

“He’s not outside the norm,” said Stephen Cleary, a Chicago attorney and board member of the Northwest Side Housing Center. “He can now sleep at night. The mental anguish has been relieved.”

For the year ended March 31, personal bankruptcy filings nationwide rose 28 percent, to almost 1.5 million cases, according to the administrative office of the U.S. Courts.

Still unemployed, Phillips says he wishes he had back the more than $12,000 he paid toward his mortgage while he sought a loan modification that never materialized. For now, he’s using part of his jobless benefits to pay his condo association fees while he looks for a job and considers moving out of state. Late last month he was served with a loan default notice by Chase, and Phillips estimates he’ll be able to stay in his condo seven more months while the foreclosure action works its way through the courts.

“I’m not a deadbeat,” Phillips said. “I’ve had to be very shrewd, like most business people. … I’m looking out for my best interests, and this is my best interests.”

© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.

Posted in bankruptcy, credit score, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures0 Comments

It’s All About the Principal: Preserving Consumers’ Right of Rescission Under the Truth in Lending Act

It’s All About the Principal: Preserving Consumers’ Right of Rescission Under the Truth in Lending Act

Lea Krivinskas Shepard
Loyola University Chicago School of Law

North Carolina Law Review, Vol. 89, 2010

This Article explores a significant market-based threat to the Truth in Lending Act’s right of rescission, a remedy that attempts to deter lender overreaching and fraud during one of the most complex financial transactions of a borrower’s lifetime. The depressed housing market has substantially impaired many borrowers’ ability to fulfill their responsibilities in rescission’s unwinding process: restoring the lender to the status quo ante by repaying the net loan proceeds of the mortgage transaction.

When a consumer is unable to finance her tender obligation, non-bankruptcy judges’ overwhelming response has been to protect the lender and deny rescission to the borrower. This Article argues that these courts, to fulfill TILA’s consumer-protective function, must take a different approach. Non-bankruptcy courts, which handle the vast majority of TILA rescission actions, should use their equitable authority under TILA to modify borrowers’ repayment obligations by allowing borrowers to tender in installments, over a period of years, and at reasonable interest rates. This approach both averts foreclosures that harm borrowers, lenders, and neighborhoods and ensures that TILA’s consumer-protective mandate will remain viable even in a depressed housing market.

This Article also considers an important aspect of TILA’s rescission remedy that, while tacitly acknowledged by courts and commentators, has been insufficiently explored in the academic literature. There exists an uneasy tension between the goal of the Truth in Lending Act – informing consumers of the financial consequences of their mortgage loan transactions – and borrowers’ frequent use of TILA rescission: defending their homes from foreclosure actions that the lender’s disclosure violation may or may not have precipitated. The Article concludes that TILA rescission actions, albeit a blunt instrument in the consumer protection setting, must be preserved, particularly during periods of economic calamity, since it remains a singular source of borrower leverage in a legal and economic climate that remains generally inhospitable to homeowners.

Accepted Paper Series

[ipaper docId=33526818 access_key=key-29yw7fc4p6kdwaelulz0 height=600 width=600 /]

© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.

Posted in bankruptcy, mortgage modification, tila0 Comments

“Real Housewife” lists $4M NJ home

“Real Housewife” lists $4M NJ home

Coming from one of my favorite blogs!

Thursday, June 10, 2010 The Real Estalker

Another Housewife Bites the Real Estate Dust

SELLERS: Joe and Teresa Giudice
PRICE: $3,999,000
SIZE: 10,000 square feet (approx.), 6 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms.
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: It seems the financial fat ladee has done sung for yet another of Bravo’s allegedly wealthy housewives. This time its one of the blinged out guidettes from New Jersey. All week long there’s been a big brouhaha a brewin’ in the tabs and everywhere else about how The Real Housewives of New Jersey’s too tan baby factory Teresa Giudice and her grunting huzband Joe filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy back in late October of 2009. The large livin’ couple claimed an astonishing $11,000,000 in outstanding debt–$10,853,648.04 to be exact–and only $79,000 a year in taxable income, plus another ten grand a month in “assistance” from family members. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon–and Your Mama ain’t no brain surgeon–to figure out that it was only a matter of time before the over spenders heaved their trés tacky mansion in Towaco, NJ on the market.That’s right buckaroos, fasten them seat belts because Mister and Missus Giudice–that’s pronounced gee-oo-dice or jew-dee-chay or something like that–have hoisted their mammoth, marble, granite, and onyx encrusted crib of questionable architectural provenance or integrity on the market with an asking price of $3,999,999, otherwise known as four million clams.

Oh lo-wurhd have mercy, that whackadoodle Danielle Staub is going to have a field day with this one, isn’t she? She’s going to take to the airwaves and clatter up to the rooftops to shout and scream some kind of crazy nonsense about how this is divine justice, the unforgiving retaliatory hand of fate coming down to chop the evil Giudices down to size. Can’t y’all just see her head spinning round like Linda damn Blair in The Exorcist?

Anyhoo, according to previous reports and their fascinating bankruptcy filing–which Your Mama is embarrassed to admit we actually read–the Gee-oo-dice’s (or Jew-dee-chays) have managed to rack up a staggering $104,000 in credit card debt, owe $12,000 for fertility treatments, and another $2,300 in phone bills. And that, puppies, is just the tip of their ice berg of debt. Crimeny sakes, who has $2,300 in phone bills? What kind of person has $104,000 in credit card debt? Have mercy. It drives Your Mama to drink in the morning just to think about that sort of financial hole. And furthermore, if these two have $11,000,000 in debt, where did Tee-tee get that toilet paper roll sized wad of cash last season that she used to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of ass-uglee furniture for their newly built monument to excess? Certainly they didn’t wrack up eleven million bucks in debt in a single year.

Most mystifying, mortifying, and psychically destabilizing to Your Mama are the 8 mortgages that total $2,600,000 that the Jew-dee-chays (or Gee-oo-dices or whatever) carry on three homes. Whaaaaat? Somebody please grab Your Mama a damn nerve pill and slowly explain to our booze addled brain how these people managed to secure 8 mortgages on 3 properties totaling $2,600,000 with an income of $79,000 per year? It’s no wonder the gubbamint had to step in to save the damn banks last year or whenever that was.

Previous reports indicate the deeply indebted duo have already handed two of the three properties back to the bank and one imagines that iffin they don’t get their vulgar manse in Towaco sold quick–or big, bad, and rich Caroline Manzo doesn’t step in to save their impoverished butts–then Tee-tee and Joe-Joe are in jeopardy of losing the family’s faux chateau to foreclosure.

As best as Your Mama can tell, Mister and Missus Gee-oo-dice (or whatever) paid $530,000 for the 3.77 acre property in December of 2001 and subsequently took out a second mortgage of $1,720,000. Listing information shows the Giudice’s residential beast measures around 10,000 square feet and includes 6 bedrooms and 5.5 poopers including a master suite with fireplace, separate sitting room, dressing room, walk-in closet, and steam shower. Please, do not, we beg of the children, think about or discuss anything related to Joe-Joe and Tee-tee taking a steam together.

Other amenities of the 16-room residence, according to listing information, include a train station sized entrance hall with double height ceiling and twin curving staircases with intricate wrought iron balustrades, a gigantic great room, formal living and dining rooms, game room, wine room, media room, den, office, gourmet eat-in kitchen with center island, and a separate staff or guest suite with private pooper.

Thank heavens listing information does not include photographs of the interiors because Your Mama would rather slowly saw off our left leg than look at the decorative train wreck that is the Jew-dee-chay (or Gee-oo-dice or whatever) mansion. We know of what we speak, poodles, because like millions of others, we’ve had the misfortune of repeating peering inside the wing-ed doors of that pile o’ architectural doo-doo on The Real Housewives of New Jersey program.

The barely landscaped grounds include a long, red driveway composed of crushed granite or brick or something, a prairie sized motor court, large expanse of lawn–or weeds cut down to look like lawn–and two ponds including one with an man-made waterfall of stacked stone. Listing information states that “privacy and tranquility reigns” at the Gee-oo-dice (or Jew-dee-chay) digs but Your Mama has to wonder how much tranquility there really can be at a property that backs up to I-287, an extremely bizzy, 4-lane highway.

Listen celery sticks, we kind of like this Teresa gal and her amazingly explosive temper that causes her to occasionally upend tables in public places and holler brilliant barbs like “PROSTITUTION WHORE!” She makes for good (reality) tee-vee. We just think–and it is only Your Mama’s meaningless opinion–that poor Tee-tee and Joe-Joe don’t have a cotton pickin’ clue about making good architectural choices or creating tasteful interiors…or, apparently, managing money. All the children know that Your Mama really doesn’t care to dance on any one’s real estate grave. However, we have a very difficult time feeling bad for someone–that would be Tee-tee–who’s drowning in $11,000,000 of debt and then hauls her big balls onto national tee-vee and brags about how much cheddar she spent on her 9-year old daughter’s birthday party. It’s unseemly, not to mention bordering on immoral.

Where or where will Tee-tee, Joe-Joe and their band of bedazzled gurls go next? Maybe that touchy-feely Dina ladee will take them in. Or possibly the kind and well meaning but mealy mouthed Jacqueline can put them up in her basement next to that scary gun cabinet of hers. Somehow, even though they are tick as teeves, we sort of doubt Momma Manzo, a sensible if somewhat frightening woman, would take in a charity case with four children and $11,000,000 in debt. For what it’s worth–and it’s worth nothing–Your Mama thinks Joe-Joe and Tee-tee ought to get rid of the $1,280 a month Escalade they clearly can’t afford, buy a used Kia car, and rent a crappy three-bedroom apartment in Secaucus, NJ with an affordable rent that’s in line with their income. Just a thought.

Posted by Your Mama at 7:33 AM

© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.

Posted in bankruptcy0 Comments

HEY, CHASE! YEAH, YOU… JPMORGAN CHASE! One of Your Customers Asked Me to Give You a Message…

HEY, CHASE! YEAH, YOU… JPMORGAN CHASE! One of Your Customers Asked Me to Give You a Message…

via: Mandelman

Hi JPMorgan Chase People!

Thanks for taking a moment to read this… I promise to be brief, which is so unlike me… ask anyone.

My friend, Max Gardner, the famous bankruptcy attorney from North Carolina, sent me the excerpt from the deposition of one Beth Ann Cottrell, shown below.  Don’t you just love the way he keeps up on stuff… always thinking of people like me who live to expose people like you?  Apparently, she’s your team’s Operations Manager at Chase Home Finance, and she’s, obviously, quite a gal.

Just to make it interesting… and fun… I’m going to do my best to really paint a picture of the situation, so the reader can feel like he or she is there… in the picture at the time of the actual deposition of Ms. Cottrell… like it’s a John Grisham novel…


SFX: Sound of creaking door opening, not to slowly… There’s a ceiling fan turning slowly…

It’s Monday morning, May 17th in this year of our Lord, two thousand and ten, and as we enter the courtroom, the plaintiff’s attorney, representing a Florida homeowner, is asking Beth Ann a few questions…  We’re in the Circuit Court of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, Palm Beach County, Florida.

Deposition of Beth Ann Cottrell – Operations Manager of Chase Home Finance LLC

Q.  So if you did not review any books or records or electronic records before signing this affidavit of payments default, how is it that you had personal knowledge of all of the matters stated in this sworn document?

A.  Well, it is pretty simple, I have personal knowledge that my staff has personal knowledge of what is in the affidavit on personal knowledge.  That is how our process works.

Q.  So, when signing an affidavit, you stated you have personal knowledge of the matters contained therein of Chase’s business records yet you never looked at the data bases or anything else that would contain those records; is that correct?

A.  That is correct.  I rely on my staff to do that part.

Q.  And can you tell me in a given week how many of these affidavits you might sing?

A.  Amongst all the management on my team we sign about 18,000 a month.

Q.  And how many folks are on what you call the management?

A.  Let’s see, eight.


Isn’t that just irresistibly cute?  The way she sees absolutely nothing wrong with the way she’s answering the questions?  It’s really quite marvelous.  Truth be told, although I hadn’t realized it prior to reading Beth Ann’s deposition transcript, I had never actually seen obtuse before.

In fact, if Beth’s response that follows with in a movie… well, this is the kind of stuff that wins Oscars for screenwriting.  I may never forget it.  She actually said:

“Well, it is pretty simple, I have personal knowledge that my staff has personal knowledge of what is in the affidavit on personal knowledge.  That is how our process works.”

No you didn’t.

Isn’t she just fabulous?  Does she live in a situation comedy on ABC or something?


Well, I know a homeowner who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona… lovely couple… wouldn’t want to embarrass them by using their real names, so I’ll just refer to them as the Campbell’s.

So, just the other evening Mr. Campbell calls me to say hello, and to tell me that he and his wife decided to strategically default on their mortgage.  Have you heard about this… this strategic default thing that’s become so hip this past year?

It’s when a homeowner who could probably pay the mortgage payment, decides that watching any further incompetence on the part of the government and the banks, along with more home equity, is just more than he or she can bear.  They called you guys at Chase about a hundred times to talk to you about modifying their loan, but you know how you guys are, so nothing went anywhere.

Then one day someone sent Mr. Campbell a link to an article on my blog, and I happened to be going on about the topic of strategic default.  So… funny story… they had been thinking about strategically defaulting anyway and wouldn’t you know it… after reading my column, they decided to go ahead and commence defaulting strategically.

So, after about 30 years as a homeowner, and making plenty of money to handle the mortgage payment, he and his wife stop making their mortgage payment… they toast the decision with champagne.

You see, they owe $865,000 on their home, which was just appraised at $310,000, and interestingly enough, also from reading my column, they came to understand the fact that they hadn’t done anything to cause this situation, nothing at all.  It was the banks that caused this mess, and now they were expecting homeowners like he and his wife, to pick up the tab.  So, they finally said… no, no thank you.

Luckily, she’s not on the loan, so she already went out and bought their new place, right across the street from the old one, as it turns out, and they figure they’ve got at least a year to move, since they plan to do everything possible to delay you guys from foreclosing.  They’re my heroes…

Okay, so here’s the message I promised I’d pass on to as many JPMorgan Chase people as possible… so, Mr. Campbell calls me one evening, and tells me he’s sorry to bother… knows I’m busy… I tell him it’s no problem and ask how he’s been holding up…

He says just fine, and he sounds truly happy… strategic defaulters are always happy, in fact they’re the only happy people that ever call me… everyone else is about to pop cyanide pills, or pop a cap in Jamie Dimon’s ass… one or the other… okay, sorry… I’m getting to my message…

He tells me, “Martin, we just wanted to tell you that we stopped making our payments, and couldn’t be happier.  Like a giant burden has been lifted.”

I said, “Glad to hear it, you sound great!”

And he said, “I just wanted to call you because Chase called me this evening, and I wanted to know if you could pass a message along to them on your blog.”

I said, “Sure thing, what would you like me to tell them?”

He said, “Well, like I was saying, we stopped making our payments as of April…”

“Right…” I said.

“So, Chase called me this evening after dinner.”

“Yes…” I replied.

He went on… “The woman said: Mr. Campbell, we haven’t received your last payment.  So, I said… OH YES YOU HAVE!”

Hey, JPMorgan Chase People… LMAO.  Keep up the great work over there.

© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.

Posted in bankruptcy, CONTROL FRAUD, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, jpmorgan chase0 Comments

MERS DOUBLE ASSIGNMENT AMNESIA? Oh MS. BAILEY!! IN RE MORENO, Bankruptcy Court, D. Massachusetts, Eastern Div. 2010

MERS DOUBLE ASSIGNMENT AMNESIA? Oh MS. BAILEY!! IN RE MORENO, Bankruptcy Court, D. Massachusetts, Eastern Div. 2010

In re: SIMEON MORENO, Chapter 13, Debtor

Case No. 08-17715-FJB.

United States Bankruptcy Court, D. Massachusetts, Eastern Division.

May 24, 2010.


FRANK J. BAILEY, Bankruptcy Judge

In the Chapter 13 case of debtor Simeon Moreno, Property Asset Management, Inc. (“PAM”), claiming to be the assignee of a mortgage originally given by the debtor to Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) as nominee for lender GE Money Bank, moved for relief from the automatic stay to foreclose the mortgage. Moreno initially opposed the motion but then withdrew his objection, whereupon the Court granted the relief requested. Months later, at Moreno’s request, the Court vacated the order granting relief from stay and scheduled an evidentiary hearing on the Motion for Relief from Stay for the limited purpose of reconsidering whether PAM had an interest in the mortgage it sought to foreclose and, to that extent, standing to seek relief from stay.[1] Having held the evidentiary hearing and received proposed findings and conclusions, the Court now enters the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Findings of Fact and Procedural History

On January 23, 2007, Moreno executed a promissory note in the principal amount of $492,000, payable to lender GE Money Bank. GE subsequently endorsed the note in blank, whereupon possession of the note was transferred through a series of holders and ultimately to Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. (“LBHI”), who held the note when PAM filed its Motion for Relief from Stay and continues to hold it now.[2] LBHI, through one of its employees and through LBHI’s attorney, who not coincidentally also is PAM’s attorney in the present matter, produced the original note at the evidentiary hearing. PAM is not now a holder of the note or an entity for whose benefit another has held the note.

To secure the promissory note, Moreno gave a mortgage on the real property at 5 Maple Street, West Roxbury, Massachusetts (the “Property”) to MERS as nominee for GE (the “Mortgage”). The Mortgage specifies that MERS “is a separate corporation that is acting solely as a nominee for [GE] and [GE’s] successors and assigns. MERS is the mortgagee under this security instrument.” The Mortgage further provides that Moreno does hereby mortgage, grant and convey to MERS (solely as nominee for [GE] and [GE’s] successors and assigns) and to the successors and assigns of MERS, with power of sale, the [Property]. . . . Borrower understands and agrees that MERS holds only legal title to the interests granted by Borrower in this Security Instrument, but, if necessary to comply with law or custom, MERS (as nominee for [GE] and [GE’s] successors and assigns) has the right: to exercise any or all of those interests, including, but not limited to, the right to foreclose and sell the Property; and to take any action required of [GE] including, but not limited to, releasing and canceling this Security Instrument.

The Mortgage was duly recorded.

MERS administers an electronic registry to track the transfer of ownership interest and servicing rights in mortgage loans. With respect to certain loans of which its members are the beneficial owners, MERS also serves as mortgagee of record and holds legal title to the mortgages in a nominee capacity. MERS remains the mortgagee of record when beneficial ownership interests or servicing rights are sold from one member of the MERS system to another. When the beneficial interest in a mortgage loan is transferred from one member of the MERS system to another, MERS tracks the transfer through its internal records. When rights are transferred from a member of the MERS system to a non-member, MERS executes and records an assignment from MERS to the non-member.

To facilitate the execution of the assignments from MERS, MERS designates “certifying officers,” who are typically employees of MERS member firms. MERS authorizes these employees, through formal corporate resolutions, to execute assignments on behalf of MERS. On or about January 6, 2005, MERS, through a document entitled Corporate Resolution and issued by its board of directors, authorized Denise Bailey, an employee of Litton Loan Servicing L.P. (“Litton”), a member of MERS, to execute such assignments on behalf of MERS. In the language of the authorizing document (the “MERS Authorization”),[3] Ms. Bailey was authorized to, among other things, “assign the lien of any mortgage loan naming MERS as the mortgagee when the Member [Litton] is also the current promissory note-holder, or if the mortgage loan is registered on the MERS System, is shown [sic] to be registered to the Member”[4]; and Ms. Bailey was further authorized to “take any such actions and execute such documents as may be necessary to fulfill the Member’s servicing obligations to the beneficial owner of such mortgage loan (including mortgage loans that are removed from the MERS System as a result of the transfer thereof to a non-member of MERS).” In each instance, Bailey’s authority to act is dependent on the existence of a specified relationship of Litton, the MERS member for whom she is employed, to the loan in question.

The Moreno loan was entered into the MERS tracking database in the ordinary course of business. Thereafter, MERS tracked the beneficial interest in the loan. The beneficial interest was transferred from G.E. Money Bank to WMC Mortgage Corporation; then, on September 19, 2007, from WMC Mortgage Corporation to Aurora Bank FSB (formerly known as Lehman Brothers Bank FSB), and then, on July 30, 2008, from Aurora Bank FSB to LBHI. Aurora Bank was at all relevant times a wholly-owned subsidiary of LBHI.

With respect to the Moreno Mortgage, MERS remained the mortgagee of record until, on or about April 30, 2008, MERS, acting through Denise Bailey, assigned the Mortgage to PAM. At the time, Aurora Bank FSB was the beneficial owner of the loan. In executing the MERS assignment to PAM, Ms. Bailey purported to be acting under her MERS Authorization.

The MERS Authorization limited Ms. Bailey’s authority to act for MERS to matters with respect to which Litton was involved in at least one of the ways specified in the above-quoted language from the MERS Authorization. There is evidence, and I find, that Aurora Bank FSB had requested that Litton transfer the loan from MERS to PAM in anticipation of foreclosure. However, PAM has adduced no evidence that Litton had any specified connection to this loan at the time it executed this assignment. There is no evidence that Litton was then (or at any time) the servicer of the loan for Aurora Bank or that Litton was registered as servicer of the loan in the MERS system.[5] (PAM does not contend that Litton was the holder of the promissory note or the owner of the beneficial interest in the loan.)

Scott Drosdick, a vice-president of LBHI and witness for PAM at the evidentiary hearing, testified that Aurora Bank’s instruction to Litton to transfer the mortgage to PAM was later “ratified by LBHI.” Drosdick did not explain what he meant by this, precisely how and when this ratification occurred. Absent such evidence and clarification, this testimony is too vague to have any definite meaning; accordingly I give it no weight.

By a master servicing agreement dated February 1, 1999, LBHI engaged Aurora Loan Services, Inc., now known as Aurora Loan Services LLC (“ALS”), as master servicer of certain loans, including eventually the present Moreno loan. In turn, ALS engaged Litton to service certain loans, including eventually this same loan.

After Bailey executed the MERS assignment to PAM, Bailey executed another assignment of the same mortgage from MERS to LBHI. This second assignment was never recorded; nor is there evidence that it was ever delivered by MERS to LBHI.

Moreno filed a petition for relief under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code on October 13, 2008, commencing the present bankruptcy case. On November 13, 2008, LBHI, acting through its servicer Litton Loan Servicing, LP, filed a proof of claim in this case; the proof of claim asserts a claim, secured by real estate, in the total amount of $530,168.04, the same secured claim as PAM now seeks relief from stay to enforce by foreclosure. On the proof of claim form itself, Litton actually identifies the creditor claimant as simply “Litton,” but on an explanatory document attached to the proof of claim form, Litton states that the claim is filed by “Litton Loan Servicing, LP, as Servicing Agent for Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.” The proof of claim does not mention PAM or indicate in any way that the mortgage securing the claim is held by anyone other than LBHI.

On March 31, 2009, and at LBHI’s direction, PAM filed the present motion for relief from the automatic stay, seeking relief from the automatic stay to foreclose and to preserve its rights as to a potential deficiency. PAM intends and is obligated to remit the proceeds of the intended foreclosure sale to Aurora Loan Services LLC, as servicer for LBHI. Regarding ownership of the note and Mortgage, PAM stated in the motion only that it was the holder of a mortgage originally given by Moreno to MERS, that the mortgage secured a note given by Moreno to GE, and that MERS had assigned the mortgage to PAM. PAM did not indicate that LBHI was the current holder of the note or that it held the mortgage as nominee for the benefit of LBHI or of any other entity. The motion did not mention LBHI.

Moreno filed a response to the motion, in essence an objection, in which he expressly admitted PAM’s allegation that his prepetition arrearage was $39,442.49 and, by lack of denial, tacitly admitted that Moreno was some four months in arrears on his postpetition payments under the mortgage. By these allegations and admissions, PAM has established that Moreno is in default on his mortgage loan obligations; the Court rejects Moreno’s request for a finding that PAM has not established a default. The response made no issue of PAM’s standing to foreclose or to seek relief from stay and did not dispute PAM’s allegations regarding ownership of the note and Mortgage. In any event, before a hearing was held on the motion, Moreno, through counsel, withdrew his objection. Consequently, on April 28, 2009, and without a hearing or any review of apparent inconsistencies in the bankruptcy record concerning ownership of the mortgage and note, the court granted PAM relief from the automatic stay to foreclose and to preserve its rights as to a potential deficiency.

PAM had not yet foreclosed when, on December 2, 2009 and by new counsel, Moreno filed an adversary complaint against PAM and, with it, a motion for preliminary injunction. The complaint sought among other things (i) an order invalidating the mortgage on account of irregularities in its origination and (ii) a declaration that PAM was not the holder of the mortgage and note. In the motion for preliminary injunction, Moreno asked that the foreclosure be stayed, or that the automatic stay be reimposed, pending disposition of the adversary proceeding. On December 7, 2009, after a hearing on the motion for preliminary injunction, the Court found that the motion was, in part, essentially one to vacate the order granting relief from the automatic stay, vacated that order, and scheduled an evidentiary hearing on the motion for relief. The order specified that the sole issue at the evidentiary hearing would be PAM’s standing to seek relief from the automatic stay, all other issues under 11 U.S.C. § 362(d) being deemed established. After discovery, the evidentiary hearing was held on April 8, 2010, and, with the submission of proposed findings and conclusions, the matter was then taken under advisement.


As the party seeking relief from stay to foreclose a mortgage on the debtor’s property, PAM bears the burden of proving that it has authority under applicable state law to foreclose the mortgage in question and, by virtue of that authority, standing to move for relief from the automatic stay to foreclose. PAM contends that it has such authority and standing because, although it does not hold the promissory note that the mortgage secures, it does have title to the mortgage itself; and it holds that title as nominee of and for the benefit of the note holder, LBHI, and is foreclosing for LBHI. In these circumstances, PAM contends, a mortgagee has a right under Massachusetts law to foreclose for the benefit of the note holder and therefore standing to move for relief from stay to foreclose. The Debtor objects, arguing (among other things) that Massachusetts law prohibits foreclosure by one who holds only the mortgage and not the note it secures. I need not address the merits of this and other objections because, even if the theory is a valid one, it requires proof that PAM is the present title holder of the mortgage, and PAM has not carried its burden in this regard.

To show that it presently holds the mortgage, PAM must show a valid assignment of the mortgage from MERS to itself. PAM contends that it holds the mortgage by assignment from MERS. Accordingly, PAM must show that the assignment, which was executed for MERS by Denise Bailey, was within the scope of Bailey’s limited authority to act for MERS.

Ms. Bailey’s authority to act for MERS is defined in the MERS Authorization in seven enumerated paragraphs. In each, Ms. Bailey’s authority to act is dependent on the existence of a specified relationship of Litton, the MERS member by whom she is employed, to the loan in question. PAM has submitted no evidence of the existence of any such relationship. The beneficial owner of the loan at the time of the assignment was Aurora Bank FSB, but there is no evidence that Litton was at the time the servicer of the loan for Aurora Bank FSB or was registered with MERS as such. The Court does not find that Aurora Bank FSB had not retained Litton as its servicer; there is simply no evidence on the issue. But the burden is on PAM to prove that it had, and PAM has not adduced evidence to that effect.

Accordingly, by a separate order, the Court will deny PAM’s motion for relief from the automatic stay without prejudice to renewal upon proper proof.

[1] All other issues were resolved upon entry of the original order granting relief from stay. No cause has been adduced to revisit any but the narrow issue of standing.

[2] Moreno contends that LBHI, which is in bankruptcy proceedings of its own, may have sold its interest in the note through a court-approved sale in its bankruptcy case. However, Moreno does not contend that possession of the note has passed from LBHI to the alleged purchaser (or any nominee of the purchaser), and therefore the alleged possible sale is irrelevant, as possession undisputedly remains in LBHI. In any event, Moreno attempted to establish the fact of the alleged sale by designating certain documents on the docket of the LBHI case and asking the Court to take judicial notice of these and then to find them on its own and to determine from them whether the promissory note in question was among the assets transferred. Having found the alleged sale to be irrelevant, the Court declined to take judicial notice of the bankruptcy documents. However, the proffer also failed for two additional reasons: first, that Moreno did not take a position as to whether a sale did occur, only that the Moreno note may have been among those transferred in the sale; and second, even if the court had taken judicial notice as requested, it remained Moreno’s obligation, which he has not fulfilled, to produce the documents in question and to explain in the first instance how one would conclude from them that the asset in question was among those transferred.

[3] MERS Corporate Resolution, attached to Bailey Affidavit as Exhibit 1.

[4] The grammatical difficulty in this second clause is native to the authorizing document.

[5] The original affidavit of Scott Drosdick includes the following two sentences:

By Master Servicing Agreement dated February 1, 1999, LBHI engaged Aurora Bank FSB (f/k/a Lehman Brothers Bank FSB), to master service, among other things, the Loan [the Moreno loan]. In turn, Aurora Bank FSB engaged Litton pursuant to a Flow Subservicing Agreement dated October 1, 2007, to service the loan.”

By an amendment to the affidavit and in testimony, Drosdick later amended his affidavit to correct this passage by striking Aurora Bank FSB from the first sentence and in its place inserting Aurora Loan Services LLC. Drosdick did not expressly change the second sentence, but that sentence, which begins with the critical words “in turn,” would be nonsensical unless the same substitution—Aurora Loan Services LLC for Aurora Bank FSB—were also made in the second sentence. Therefore, though the second sentence might perhaps be read in isolation as evidence that Litton was servicing the loan for Aurora Bank FSB at the time when Bailey executed the assignment, that sentence cannot credibly be so construed.

Posted in bankruptcy, case, concealment, conspiracy, corruption, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, forensic loan audit, lehman brothers, MERS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, note, reversed court decision, robo signer, robo signers0 Comments



TILA Rescission, BK Court questions validity of “Creditor’s” claims, BAP Affirms denial of relief from stay.


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Posted in bankruptcy, case, tila0 Comments

§ 152. Concealment of assets; false oaths and claims; bribery

§ 152. Concealment of assets; false oaths and claims; bribery


 TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 9 > § 152
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§ 152. Concealment of assets; false oaths and claims; bribery

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A person who­
(1) knowingly and fraudulently conceals from a custodian, trustee, marshal, or other officer of the court charged with the control or custody of property, or, in connection with a case under title 11, from creditors or the United States Trustee, any property belonging to the estate of a debtor;
(2) knowingly and fraudulently makes a false oath or account in or in relation to any case under title 11;
(3) knowingly and fraudulently makes a false declaration, certificate, verification, or statement under penalty of perjury as permitted under section 1746 of title 28, in or in relation to any case under title 11;
(4) knowingly and fraudulently presents any false claim for proof against the estate of a debtor, or uses any such claim in any case under title 11, in a personal capacity or as or through an agent, proxy, or attorney;
(5) knowingly and fraudulently receives any material amount of property from a debtor after the filing of a case under title 11, with intent to defeat the provisions of title 11;
(6) knowingly and fraudulently gives, offers, receives, or attempts to obtain any money or property, remuneration, compensation, reward, advantage, or promise thereof for acting or forbearing to act in any case under title 11;
(7) in a personal capacity or as an agent or officer of any person or corporation, in contemplation of a case under title 11 by or against the person or any other person or corporation, or with intent to defeat the provisions of title 11, knowingly and fraudulently transfers or conceals any of his property or the property of such other person or corporation;
(8) after the filing of a case under title 11 or in contemplation thereof, knowingly and fraudulently conceals, destroys, mutilates, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any recorded information (including books, documents, records, and papers) relating to the property or financial affairs of a debtor; or
(9) after the filing of a case under title 11, knowingly and fraudulently withholds from a custodian, trustee, marshal, or other officer of the court or a United States Trustee entitled to its possession, any recorded information (including books, documents, records, and papers) relating to the property or financial affairs of a debtor,

shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

Posted in bankruptcy, case, concealment, conspiracy, corruption, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, forensic mortgage investigation audit, Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, securitization, university0 Comments

Bankruptcy Stalls ‘Extreme Makeover’ Foreclosure: WSJ

Bankruptcy Stalls ‘Extreme Makeover’ Foreclosure: WSJ

April 27, 2010, 1:30 PM ET

By Dawn Wotapka

Milton and Patricia Harper narrowly avoided foreclosure. Again.

Their 5,300-square-foot McMansion, built for the “Extreme Makeover” television show was set to be auctioned off in Atlanta earlier this month. But the Harpers averted that fate with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing–for the second time.

The couple had filed for their first Chapter 13 in early 2009, as foreclosure loomed on their supersized home. The bankruptcy halted the process. It’s possible that the family was unable to fulfill the payment plan set up under the bankruptcy and thus had to file again this year–a common occurrence says Jessica Gabel, a law professor with Georgia State University.

The Harpers didn’t return a call for comment. Lender JP Morgan Chase, which now needs court permission to proceed with a foreclosure sale, declined to comment.

As we’ve written, the Harper episode aired in the 2004-2005 season. The family’s modest home with septic-tank issues was replaced by a showpiece resembling an English castle. In addition to a new house, which they were given outright, the Harpers received a scholarship fund for their three sons.

Mortgage troubles came after the family used the house as collateral for a $450,000 loan, which was modified by Chase in 2008.

Meanwhile, the family still seems to be trying to raffle off the house. They’ve recently updating their raffle Web site, however, no auction date is listed.

“That is unusual,” said Ms. Gabel, the professor. “That doesn’t pass the smell test. They’re going to have to demonstrate to the court why they should proceed” with the raffle. Plus, she added, any post-bankruptcy petition income might have to go to creditors.

Posted in bankruptcy, jpmorgan chase0 Comments

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