This is what we have been saying from day 1. By using MERS they have split the Note and Mortgage= “Bifurcate”.
By not assigning from the Originator to the Sponsor this is where lies the problem. Instead they transferred the notes to the Trusts in ___________________________ name? Which leaves this a Bearer instrument.
So by maintaining the notes in a bearer name, each step must have been documented and assigned according to the PSA. If these were securitized, question is did the true sale ever happen? Bottom Line.
Delivery & Acceptance Must Happen
Nearly all Pooling and Servicing Agreements require that On the Closing Date, the Purchaser will assign to the Trustee pursuant to the Pooling and Servicing Agreement all of its right, title and interest in and to the Mortgage Loans and its rights under this Agreement (to the extent set forth in Section 15), and the Trustee shall succeed to such right, title and interest in and to the Mortgage Loans and the Purchaser’s rights under this Agreement (to the extent set forth in Section 15). Also, an Assignment of Mortgage must accompany each note and this almost never happens.
We believe nearly every single loan transferred was transferred to the Trust in blank name. That is to say the actual loans were apparently not, as of either the cut-off or closing dates, assigned to the Trust as required by the PSA.
Quite the can of worms. Anyone who says that the banks will fix all this in a few months is seriously delusional.
I am not a pro, finance guru and that is why there is a comment section below. But I do have common sense and I smell scam.
Vanilla, chocolate, strawberry …each state is different. Eliminate Electronic Recordings PERIOD!
One of the best videos I have seen on this crisis.
Democracy NOW! News – Calls are growing for a nationwide moratorium on home foreclosures following the recent revelations that major lenders may have committed fraud while forcing thousands of people out of their homes. On Thursday the White House announced President Obama will not sign a bill approved by Congress that could have made it easier for banks to foreclose. We discuss the latest in the foreclosure crisis with Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. This week Ohio filed a lawsuit accusing the lender Ally Financial and its GMAC Mortgage division of fraud in approving scores of foreclosures. Published with written permission from democracynow.org.
http://www.democracynow.org Provided to you under Democracy NOW! creative commons license. Copyright democracynow.org, an independent non-profit user funded news media, recognized and broadcast world wide.
Be sure to catch the Full Depo of Renee Hertzler below after AP Alan Zibel’s article
Bank of America delays foreclosures in 23 states
By ALAN ZIBEL, AP Real Estate Writer Alan Zibel, – Fri Oct 1, 7:46 pm ET
WASHINGTON – Bank of America is delaying foreclosures in 23 states as it examines whether it rushed the foreclosure process for thousands of homeowners without reading the documents.
The move adds the nation’s largest bank to a growing list of mortgage companies whose employees signed documents in foreclosure cases without verifying the information in them.
Bank of America isn’t able to estimate how many homeowners’ cases will be affected, Dan Frahm, a spokesman for the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank, said Friday. He said the bank plans to resubmit corrected documents within several weeks.
Two other companies, Ally Financial Inc.’s GMAC Mortgage unit and JPMorgan Chase, have halted tens of thousands of foreclosure cases after similar problems became public.
The document problems could cause thousands of homeowners to contest foreclosures that are in the works or have been completed. If the problems turn up at other lenders, a foreclosure crisis that’s already likely to drag on for several more years could persist even longer. Analysts caution that most homeowners facing foreclosure are still likely to lose their homes.
State attorneys general, who enforce foreclosure laws, are stepping up pressure on the industry.
On Friday, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal asked a state court to freeze all home foreclosures for 60 days. Doing so “should stop a foreclosure steamroller based on defective documents,” he said.
And California Attorney General Jerry Brown called on JPMorgan to suspend foreclosures unless it could show it complied with a state consumer protection law. The law requires lenders to contact borrowers at risk of foreclosure to determine whether they qualify for mortgage assistance.
In Florida, the state attorney general is investigating four law firms, two with ties to GMAC, for allegedly providing fraudulent documents in foreclosure cases .The Ohio attorney general this week asked judges to review GMAC foreclosure cases.
Mark Paustenbach, a Treasury Department spokesman, said the Treasury has asked federal regulators “to look into these troubling developments.”
A document obtained Friday by the Associated Press showed a Bank of America official acknowledging in a legal proceeding that she signed up to 8,000 foreclosure documents a month and typically didn’t read them.
The official, Renee Hertzler, said in a February deposition that she signed 7,000 to 8,000 foreclosure documents a month.
“I typically don’t read them because of the volume that we sign,” Hertzler said.
She also acknowledged identifying herself as a representative of a different bank, Bank of New York Mellon, that she didn’t work for. Bank of New York Mellon served as a trustee for the investors holding the homeowner’s loan.
State your full name and current position.
Provide us with your definition of a document custodian.
What is your exact job title?
What are your responsibilities?
Where are you employed?
Where does your company store original documents?
How are they stored?
If you outsource this storage, who is the outsource provider?
How do you confirm delivery to the outsource provider?
How do you retrieve original documents?
How long do you save original documents?
Do you have a written original document destruction policy?
Please explain it and produce a copy of the policy.
Do you retain images of original of all documents?
How are they retained?
Where are they retained?
How long are they retained?
What type of computer system is used for the image retention?
Do you have a Records Compliance or Management Department?
Explain how it works, who is employed there, and where it is located.
Describe all information that you store electronically.
Do you have an ESI manager?
Who, where does he or she work, what does he or she do?
What is your policy on the retention of electronically stored documents?
Do you have a written policy for ESI documents?
Do you have any automated archiving systems?
If yes, then explain how they work and how documents are achieved.
Where are the archived documents stored?
How do you save data to a file that has already been achieved?
State the name of the director or manager of your document archiving operation.
How do you store data acquired through mergers or acquisitions?
How do you retrieve historical data from the archives?
Explain the process in detail.
Do you have an organizational-wide data map or inventory of all electronically stored data?
Can you produce a copy of that map?
Do you have any litigation ready data files?
Where are they stored?
How are they created?
Who is in charge of creating these files?
Why are they created?
Is there such a file in this case?
Where is the data stored?
Do you have any electronic data stored on tapes?
Describe the data and the type of tapes?
Where are these tapes stored?
Do you maintain a disaster recovery location?
Where is it?
Do you store electronic data at this location?
How is it stored?
How long is it stored?
What types of servers are used to store the data at this location?
How long is the data stored?
Do you have a data destruction policy at the disaster location?
Please explain and produce all written protocols.
Explain how you retrieve data from the disaster location?
Explain the time and expenses involved in securing date from the disaster recovery location?
State if any data related to this case has been destroyed?
Describe the data in detail and when and under what circumstances it was destroyed.
Have you seen any notice in this case to preserve all of the ESI?
When, where and how did you see it?
Has any data related to this case been destroyed since you saw it?
Who is your Media Destruction Manager?
Where is this person located?
What are the responsibilities of this person?
Explain all of the steps your company has taken in this case to preserve ESI evidence?
Have you created a data file of ESI for this case?
When was it created?
Name all parties involved in the creation?
Where is that data filed now?
Explain all of the steps that were taken to create the ESI file for this case.
Are there any ESI that you could not find or include in the file?
If so, please explain.
If any of the data still exists, have you or anyone in your company investigated the restoration of any deleted or damaged data?
When, who did this and what did they do?
If not, then why not?
With respect to the ESI file that has been created for this case, have the documents been scrubbed for metadata?
If yes, then when, who ordered, and why?
Who was involved in the scrubbing?
Was a scrubbed metadata file created?
Who created the file and who has custody of the file?
Do you backup your data every day?
How and where is the backup data?
Who is in charge of your backup operations?
What data is backed up?
Do you back up programs and systems or just the data?
What is the difference between your backup data system and your archived data storage system?
How long is backup data retained?
What is the format for the media in the ESI file created for this case?
Did you ever stop backing up or archiving data in this case in anticipation of litigation?
If so, when, why, and who ordered such actions?
When was a litigation hold placed on the destruction of any of the ESI data related to this case?
Who issued the hold and how was it implemented?
Do you have any type of dormant document liability policy?
If so, then please explain in detail how it works?
Has any of the ESI data in this case been destroyed or deleted pursuant to a dormant document liability policy?
If so, can you identify who took such action, when it was taken, who ordered it taken, and why it was taken?
Name all parties who have access to any of the data related to this case.
Explain all security features employed by your company to prohibit the unauthorized access to any of your ESI data?
Do you keep any type of catalogue of information on tapes or other media related to historical ESI?
If so, please explain how this system works?
Where are the catalogues filed and how are they maintained?
State the names of all of the servers and the location of all such servers that contained any ESI data related to this case.
State your current policy on saving company email.
State your current archiving and backup programs with respect to email.
State all of your email format types, date ranges for retention of email, and the names of all custodians.
Please identify all types of files used by your company, the capacity of such files, the creation dates and how those dates are preserved, the modification dates and how they are recorded, and the maximum size of each file.
Does your company employ a de-duplication policy as to ESI data?
If so, please explain how it works?
Has any data in this case been subject to destruction pursuant to any such policy?
If so, identify all such ESI data.
Do any lawyers representing you in this case have access to any of your data files?
IF so, please explain the extent of such access, how it is tracked, and purpose of the same?
Have you migrated any ESI data in this case from older, disparate media sources into modern managed tools?
If so, explain in detail the older data systems, how the migration occurred, and explain the new storage media used?
Name all of the parties on the data migration team or group.
Do you have a Legal Records Management Team?
Name all of the Team members and the location?
Was the Team involved in this case?
If yes, then explain in detail the extent of their involvement.
Do you use a third-party IT vendor for ESI data capture, storage and archiving?
If so, who and how long have they been used?
Who is the on-site representative for your ESI vendor?
Does your backup vendor use DLT4, LT01 or 4MM tapes?
What type of backup software does the vendor use?
Do they use Backup Exec, NetBackup, Legato Net Worker, Trivoli Storage Manager, ArcServe, CommVault Galaxy or HP Omniback?
Describe all messaging systems used by your company.
Do you use Lotus Notes?
Do you use Novell GroupWise or any others?
How is the messaging data saved, backed up and archived?
Do you convert the messages media to any other type of media for storage?
If so, describe the media and how this is accomplished and by whom?
Explain all due diligence programs and procedures used to verify the integrity of your data?
Explain all due diligence programs and procedures used to secure and safeguard your data.
Do you maintain custody logs on the transfer of any ESI data?
What type of logs?
Who maintains and where are they located?
Do you have a “Best Practices” guide for of the operations described herein?
Can you produce it?
Below is a document that Lender Processing Services, Inc. or it’s many subsidiaries submits by wire transmission to the foreclosure mill with instructions NOT to name the actual owner of the note on the foreclosure but in the name of the servicer!
“FORECLOSURE SHOULD BE IN THE NAME OF ”
It clearly states the names of the real parties:
A foreclosure is rarely commenced under the “Real Entity.” So why do they keep this from us when they knew all along the real parties of interest? This was only discovered during an actual case or we would have never found this.
Documents submitted to a court are supposed to be true as submitted. As an attorney, If I file a document with a court in which I swore I personally verified that the information contained within the document is true, and I didn’t actually do that, I’d get in real trouble. It’s simple: That’s fraud in the eyes of the court.
GMAC, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America recently admitted that their employees routinely sign thousands of documents without verifying what they’re signing. Those documents are then submitted to courts as if the documents were true, to enable the banks to foreclose on delinquent properties. Wells Fargo and CitiMortgage told the New York Times their employees do not engage in similar practices. Yet new evidence shows they do.
Confusion at Wells Fargo
Herman John Kennerty of Wells Fargo has given a deposition describing the department he oversees for Wells Fargo. It’s a department dedicated to simply signing documents. Kennerty testified that he signs 50 to 150 documents a day, verifying only the date on each. What else might he want to verify? Well, in one document he signed, he supposedly transferred the mortgage from Washington Mutual Bank FA to Wells Fargo on July 12, 2010. But that’s impossible, since Washington Mutual Bank FA changed its name in 2004, and by any name WaMu ceased to exist in 2008, when the FDIC took it over. Making the document even less comprehensible, the debtor had declared bankruptcy a month earlier, according to Linda Tirelli, who represented the debtor. Why would Wells Fargo want a mortgage from someone in bankruptcy? Finally, Tirelli pointed out that the papers Wells Fargo filed included a different transfer of the mortgage dated three days before the debtor took out the loan. The documents are a mess, yet Kennerty signed them regardless. Legal Nonsense at CitiMortgage
Similarly, one M. Matthews signed a number of documents that CitiMortgage has used to try to foreclose on properties. While Matthews may or may not sign hundreds of documents a day — I have not yet found a deposition in which he swears that he does — he certainly does not verify the contents of the documents he’s signing. For example, he signed a document supposedly transferring a mortgage from Lehman Brothers to Citi in 2009. It’s hard to see how that’s possible, since Lehman had already ceased to exist. When confronted with its nonsensical filing, Citigroup decided not to foreclose. Instead, it gave the homeowner a meaningful mortgage modification–$15,000 principal reduction, plus a 30 year fixed mortgage at 3%. Tirelli, who represented the debtor in that case too, notes that she sees bad documents in the vast majority of cases, and she keeps files of “robosigned” documents.
It’s true that in both the WaMu and Lehman Brothers documents, the signers were officially representing an entity called MERS and acting as the “nominee” of WaMu and the “nominee” of Lehman Brothers. But that doesn’t change the fraudulent nature of the documents as filed. MERS can’t continue to be the nominee of an entity that doesn’t exist. Moreover, MERS can’t assign something it doesn’t have, and MERS itself will admit it doesn’t own the underlying note or mortgage.
Possible Sanctions for JPMorgan Chase
Wells Fargo and CitiMortgage aren’t the only big banks to misrepresent their practices in the media; JPMorgan Chase told the New York Times that it had not withdrawn any documents in a pending case. However, Chase has in fact withdrawn robosigned documents in a case Tirelli is currently defending. Chase now faces possible sanctions in the case.
Why are the big, sophisticated banks submitting such problematic documents to the courts? The key reason is that sometimes when a bank wants to foreclose, it has to prove it actually has the right to foreclose — that it owns the note and accompanying mortgage. Unfortunately for the banks, the securitization of mortgages and the changes in property ownership documentation that accompanied it make it hard for the banks to establish clean chains of title and produce original documents. Hard, that is, in an environment where a massive number of foreclosures must be started and completed in a timely manner.
JOHN KENNERTY a/k/a Herman John Kennerty has been employed for many years in the Ft. Mill, SC offices of America’s Servicing Company, a division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. He signed many different job titles on mortgage-related documents, often using different titles on the same day. He often signs as an officer of MERS (“Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.”) On many Mortgage Assignments signed by Kennerty, Wells Fargo, or the trust serviced by ASC, is shown as acquiring the mortgage weeks or even months AFTER the foreclosure action is filed.
Titles attributed to John Kennerty include the following:
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for 1st Continental Mortgage Corp.;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for American Brokers Conduit;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for American Enterprise Bank of Florida;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for American Home Mortgage;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for Amnet Mortgage, Inc. d/b/a American Mortgage Network of Florida;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for Bayside Mortgage Services, Inc.;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for CT Mortgage, Inc.;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for First Magnus Financial Corporation, an Arizona Corp.;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for First National Bank of AZ;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for Fremont Investment & Loan;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for Group One Mortgage, Inc.;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for Guaranty Bank;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for Homebuyers Financial, LLC;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for IndyMac Bank, FSB, a Federally Chartered Savings Bank (in June 2010);
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for Irwin Mortgage Corporation;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for Ivanhoe Financial, Inc., a Delaware Corp.;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for Mortgage Network, Inc.;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for Ohio Savings Bank;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for Paramount Financial, Inc.;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for Pinnacle Direct Funding Corp.;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for RBC Mortgage Company;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for Seacoast National Bank;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for Shelter Mortgage Company, LLC;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for Stuart Mortgage Corp.;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for Suntrust Mortgage;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for Transaland Financial Corp.;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for Universal American Mortgage Co., LLC;
Asst. Secretary, MERS, as Nominee for Wachovia Mortgage Corp.;
Vice President of Loan Documentation, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.;
Vice President of Loan Documentation, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., successor by merger to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Inc. f/k/a Norwest Mortgage, Inc.
This is what this site is about…”ClOUDED TITLES”! This quote below should have added that it was in 65 Million mortgages not in some. I hope you all read my NO. THERE’S NO LIFE AT MERS…I highly recommend it because it came the heart.
In some cases, mortgages were conveyed using the Reston, Virginia-based Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS, designed to cover transfers among system members. Promissory notes also often were endorsed as payable to the bearer to avoid the need for multiple transfers. Both practices have been challenged in court.
Foreclosure Errors Cloud Homeownership With `Blighted Titles’
By Kathleen M. Howley – Oct 1, 2010 12:00 AM ET
U.S. courts are clogged with a record number of foreclosures. Next, they may be jammed with suits contesting property rights as procedural mistakes in those cases cloud titles establishing ownership.
“Defective documentation has created millions of blighted titles that will plague the nation for the next decade,” said Richard Kessler, an attorney in Sarasota, Florida, who conducted a study that found errors in about three-fourths of court filings related to home repossessions.
Attorneys general in at least six states are investigating borrowers’ claims that some of the nation’s largest home lenders and loan servicers are making misstatements in foreclosures. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is asking judges to postpone foreclosure rulings, while Ally Financial Inc. said Sept. 21 its GMAC Mortgage unit would halt evictions. The companies said employees may have completed affidavits without confirming their accuracy.
Such mistakes may allow former owners to challenge the repossession of homes long after the properties are resold, according to Kessler. Ownership questions may not arise until a home is under contract and the potential purchaser applies for title insurance or even decades later as one deed researcher catches errors overlooked by another. A so-called defective title means the person who paid for and moved into a house may not be the legal owner.
“It’s a nightmare scenario,” said John Vogel, a professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. “There are lots of land mines related to title issues that may come to light long after we think we’ve solved the housing problem.”
Almost one-fourth of U.S. home sales in the second quarter involved properties in some stage of mortgage distress, RealtyTrac Inc. said yesterday. In August, lenders took possession of record 95,364 homes and issued foreclosure filings to 338,836 homeowners, or one out of every 381 U.S. households, according to the Irvine, California-based data seller.
The biggest deficiency in foreclosure suits is missing or improperly handled documents, Kessler found in his study of court filings in Florida’s Sarasota County. When home loans are granted, borrowers sign a promissory note outlining payment obligations and a separate mortgage that puts an encumbrance on the property in the lender’s name. If mortgages are resold, both documents must be properly conveyed to prevent competing claims.
Most of the document errors involved mortgages that had been bundled into securities sold to investors, Kessler said. At the end of the U.S. real estate boom in 2005 and 2006, about 70 percent of the $6.1 trillion in mortgage lending was packaged into bonds, according to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association in New York.
OneWest Bank employee: ‘Not more than 30 seconds’ to sign each foreclosure document
The recent announcements by J.P. Morgan Chase and Ally Financial that they were freezing some foreclosures because of paperwork irregularities raises a key question: How many more mortgage companies employed “robo-signers?”
In a sworn deposition in July, Erica Johnson-Seck, an Austin, Tex.,-based vice president for bankruptcy and foreclosure for OneWest Bank, said she and her team of seven others sign 6,000 documents a week or about 24,000 a month without reading all of them.
Johnson-Seck estimated that she spent no more than 30 seconds to sign each document.
She explained that while she does not check everything, she does check some information, “which is why I said 30 seconds instead of two seconds.”
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – An outcry over questionable foreclosures by GMAC Mortgage and other lenders is likely to hit some states more than others because of major differences in real estate law across the nation.
But ramifications for federal taxpayers and investors will depend on the costs of clearing up the problem, the latest fallout from the bursting of the U.S. real estate bubble.
GMAC Mortgage announced last week that it had suspended evictions and post-foreclosure closings in 23 states due to concerns over paperwork. In order for a lender to foreclose on a property, it must prove that it actually checked the borrower’s loan agreements, and that the homeowner defaulted.
But the unit of Ally Financial, which is 56.3 percent owned by the U.S. government after a $17 billion bailout, said employees preparing foreclosures had submitted affidavits to judges containing information they did not personally verify.
“It’s a real mess,” said Justice Arthur Schack, a jurist on foreclosure issues who sits on the New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn.
GMAC’s announcement has raised doubts about whether some people lost their homes without good reason. Attorneys general in several states, including California, Colorado, Illinois and Ohio, are investigating.
“The law demands that lenders prove their case in foreclosure actions,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said last week.
But Ally characterizes the problem as merely technical, arguing that the underlying facts in each foreclosure are accurate.
“We are confident that the processing errors did not result in any inappropriate foreclosures,” it said in a statement last week.
GMAC landed in its predicament after one of its employees testified in a December 2009 deposition that he signed off on tens of thousands of affidavits containing information he did not verify.
The company said it has “substantially increased” the number of employees to verify documents, provided additional training, and suspended evictions out of an “abundance of caution.”
Ally isn’t the only firm under the microscope.
JPMorgan Chase & Co is delaying its current foreclosure proceedings and has begun to systematically re-examine related documents after discovering that some employees may have signed affidavits in some cases without personally reviewing the files.
Lawyers in Florida are questioning JPMorgan’s practices after discovering one of its executives did not check the details of its claims against a homeowner.
The executive said she had been part of an eight-person team that signs 18,000 documents a
SECRETARY BRUNNER OUTLINES TWO LINES OF ATTACK IN FIGHTING HIGH OHIO FORECLOSURE RATES
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, Ohio’s chief elections officer and the state officer responsible for licensing notary publics, today issued a directive to boards of elections that foreclosures cannot be used without further investigation to disqualify voters and revealed that she has referred specific instances of notary abuse occurring at Chase Home Mortgage in Columbus and by the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) to a federal prosecutor for investigation.
DIRECTIVE ON VOTERS FACING FORECLOSURES: Secretary Brunner, in Directive 2010-66, instructed Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections that they may not cancel an Ohioan’s voter registration based solely on the fact that the person is involved in the foreclosure process. The filing of a foreclosure action does not affect a voter’s right to vote until there is a final judgment entry, including the passage of at least 30 days from the date of the entry because of the right of appeal, and verification that the person no longer resides at the property. Ohio continues to experience high residential foreclosure rates.
Those who lose their homes because of foreclosure may wait until Election Day to update their address. Boards are instructed in the directive how to help voters displaced because of foreclosure, based on whether they move (1) within the same precinct, (2) within the same county but to a different precinct, or (3) to a different county in Ohio. Voters facing foreclosure may use their current location of residence as their residence for the purposes of voting.
REFERRAL OF CHASE HOME MORTGAGE AND MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC. TO FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Secretary Brunner, in two letters dated Aug. 11, 2010 and Sept. 1, 2010, referred matters of alleged notary abuse in thousands of home mortgage foreclosures by Chase Home Mortgage and the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. to U.S. District Attorney Steven Dettelbach in Cleveland. Citing two depositions, (one & two) of Chase employee Beth Cottrell, taken in Columbus in May of 2010, and a deposition of MERS Secretary and Treasurer, William Hultman taken in New Jersey in April of 2010. These depositions contain sworn testimony that at Chase Home Mortgage, 18,000 documents per month are executed and notarized per month by eight people, with admissions that:
it is the notary and not the document signer who gives an oath who fills in numbers in the affidavits used in court ordered foreclosures,
no oath is administered for the signing of each document,
notarized documents are not verified by the person signing and giving oath that they have personal knowledge of the contents of the documents, but rather, signers are relying on verification by others,
documents are signed in bulk and notarized in bulk separately,
notaries know this at the time they notarize documents in this process.
The MERS deposition of William Hultman demonstrates that after corporate status changes occurred for MERS, new designations of authority were not executed, leaving one or more individuals for the former MERS corporation continuing to delegate authority on behalf of the new corporation without authorization by the new corporation.
According to its website: “MERS was created by the mortgage banking industry to streamline the mortgage process by using electronic commerce to eliminate paper…MERS acts as nominee in the county land records for the lender and servicer. Any loan registered on the MERS® System is inoculated against future assignments because MERS remains the nominal mortgagee no matter how many times servicing is traded. MERS as original mortgagee (MOM) is approved by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, FHA and VA, California and Utah Housing Finance Agencies, as well as all of the major Wall Street rating agencies.”
MERS was created by the mortgage lending industry to:
eliminate frequent re-recording of liens,
avoid paying county recorder fees and other local taxes as mortgage loans are assigned as backing or securitization for derivatives trading by banks and other financial institutions,
monitor and facilitate the transfer of original mortgage notes in the trading of mortgage-backed securities,
foreclose on mortgage notes for unnamed note holders, even though it is not the real financial party in interest and does not hold the original note for the mortgage.
Currently, over half of all new residential mortgage loans in the U.S. are registered with MERS and recorded in county recording offices in MERS’ name, reducing transparency, leaving consumers unable to determine who actually holds the note on their homes.
Secretary Brunner made the following statement on the situation:
“Mortgage foreclosure documents must be notarized according to the law. Requiring this is not an afterthought or an exercise of form over substance—the law must be followed when taking away someone’s home, regardless of the circumstances.
For too long thousands of homes have been taken from consumers without proof that the foreclosing party actually has that right. Our courts must be cautious and require absolute adherence to the law. As the officer in Ohio who licenses notaries, I cannot stand idly by and watch financial institutions concoct a chain of title they never had by abusing the notary process.
It’s not fair to consumers or to the employees who by virtue of their jobs, are signing these documents. I urge the U.S. Department of Justice to take up this investigation with vigor and purpose to protect consumers and hold financial institutions to the standards of scrutiny and exactitude required by law, even if it means prosecuting some of our largest corporations. These apparent violations of state law point to schemes that merit federal investigation of large institution lending practices and use of the U.S. Postal Service.”
Last week, GMAC Mortgage announced it had suspended evictions and post-foreclosure closings in 23 states over concerns about employees preparing foreclosures with affidavits submitted to judges containing information they did not personally verify. Yesterday it was announced that JPMorgan Chase and Co hired external counsel to review its affidavit process based on the depositions of Beth Cottrell and is delaying approximately 56,000 current foreclosure proceedings.
Dear Judge XXXXX, I write you, and the other presiding and administrative judges of the Ohio Courts of Common Pleas, to draw your attention to an issue that may be of interest to you.
As you are aware, when a plaintiff in a foreclosure case moves for default or summary judgment, it will attach an affidavit from the lender or mortgage servicer attesting to the ownership and default status of loan. During the last week, questions have arisen about the validity of the foreclosure affidavits filed by a large servicer, GMAC Mortgage. GMAC (also operating as “Ally Financial”) issued a press release on September 20, 2010 announcing that it had directed certain of its vendors to suspend evictions and REO closings because of “a potential issue that was raised in a number of existing foreclosures challenging the internal procedure we used for executing one or more judicially required forms.”
A number of media outlets, including The Washington Post and The New York Times, reported on this statement. The news articles suggest that GMAC’s actions are related to a Florida deposition and a Maine deposition given by one of its employees, Jeffrey Stephan. Mr. Stephan signed thousands of foreclosure affidavits for GMAC, but in his depositions stated that he does not have knowledge of how the information in the affidavit is determined (Deposition of Jeffrey Stephan, June 7, 2010, p 30), does not know how the accuracy of the information is verified (Id.), does not review the exhibits attached to the affidavit (Id., p 54), does not read every paragraph of the affidavit (Id. p 61), and does not have the affidavit notarized in his presence (Id., p 56).
The depositions were not taken by my office, so I do not opine on their accuracy, but I wanted to draw your attention to this issue. At least one court has found that filing affidavits that falsely claim personal knowledge is a violation of the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act when filed in connection with consumer transactions. Midland Funding, LLC v. Brent, 644 F. Supp. 2d 961, 977 (N.D. Ohio, 2009).
More broadly, I urge you as administrators to share this letter with your colleagues and urge them to exercise caution when approving any foreclosure orders involving GMAC. Further, I encourage you to consider whether additional administrative procedures need to be established to protect homeowners who are facing the threat of foreclosure. Issues similar to those surrounding GMAC have arisen in Ohio. For example, my office filed an amicus brief in an appellate case where a foreclosure affidavit averred that it was executed in Florida but the jurat and notarization stated that it was executed in New Jersey. The 2nd District Court of Appeals ruled that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by striking the faulty affidavit. HSBC Bank USA v. Thompson, 2010-Ohio-4158.
Please feel free to contact me or my Consumer Protection Section Chief, Susan Choe, at 614.466.1305, if we can be of any assistance regarding this letter.
Ohio Attorney General
Sarah Lynn, Deputy Chief Counsel, Ohio Attorney General
Susan Choe, Consumer Protection Section Chief, Ohio Attorney General
Chase Home Finance, LLC
Lender Processing Services
Long Beach Mortgage
Washington Mutual Bank
Action Date: September 30, 2010
Location: New York, NY
On September 29, 2010, financial giant JP Morgan Chase announced it was suspending 56,000 foreclosures because its documents may have been “submitted without proper review.” To assist JPMorgan Chase, Fraud Digest suggests that it dismiss those actions where the Affidavits or Mortgage Assignments were signed by the following robo-signers: Beth Cottrell, Whitney Cook, Christina Trowbridge and Stacy Spohn from the Chase Home Finance office in Franklin County, OH; Margaret Dalton and Barbara Hindman from the Jacksonville, FL office of JPMorgan Chase; and any of the Lender Processing Services robo-signers from the Dakota County, MN office including Christina Allen, Liquenda Allotey, Christine Anderson, Alfonzo Greene, Laura Hescott, Bethany Hood, Cecelia Knox, Topako Love, Jodi Sobotta, Eric Tate, Amy Weis and Rick Wilken. In particular, JP Morgan Chase should look at those cases where the bank has supposedly assigned mortgages to WaMu, WMALT, Long Beach Mortgage Company and NovaStar trusts years after the closing dates of these trusts. The number of questionable or fraudulent documents is likely to be much closer to 560,000 than to 56,000, and that will only be a good beginning.
I have to apologize to Mr. Martinez as I normally do not post full content unless it is one of those post that you must read without being navigated to another place or distracted. Please visit the link below as it is a great source from an insider stand point.
Ok I get it… ….Attorney’s are to hold themselves to a higher standard…professionalism…professional courtesy…courtroom edicate…yada yada yada! I get it I really do! But my fellow legal advocates…it really is time to take off the gloves.
In hearing after hearing I’m seeing these defense attorneys walk in with the same timid attitude of sorts trying to be nice, trying to maintain their professionalism while across the table I’m seeing these foreclosure mill runners (I call them runners because they’re not even the attorney on the case just the runner appearing before the judge on behalf of the foreclosure mill) being extremely flagrant, arrogant and flat-out bully like to a large degree. And what I’ve noticed is that the moment they get tripped up by the more aggressive defense lawyer, they tend to quickly tell the judge how they’re not the attorney assigned to the case and how they’re just present for the hearing and will have to check back or ask for a continuance or make the defense feel like they’ve won something by postponing the sale. Amazing how on the fly these runners are making decisions for their clients about postponements without making a call.
Quite frankly for those who know me personally I give you what you dish out. If you act like a bully I’m going to treat you like a bully. I personally don’t like these foreclosure mills and what they stand for on a moral and ethical front. I believe that any attorney that can stomach putting families in masses in the street for money is morally challenged and any lawyer that’s willing to commit fraud upon the court doesn’t deserve my professional courtesy. Defense attorneys need to stop treating these foreclosure mill attorneys as their equal brothers and sisters of the profession and start treating them like enemies of the state. That may seem a bit harsh but for every homeowner that seeks our assistance does so with a passion unseen or felt by our profession. We need to harvest that same passion, translate it into legal argument and bring it right into the courtroom. We cannot allow for families to lose their home as a matter of course through runners! RUNNERS!!! Are you kidding me! We should be kicking their ass’s right out the courtroom down out to the street and we aren’t. We are giving them professional courtesy.
I think it’s time to get aggressive and outright scary in these courtrooms. Why should a judge take us seriously when we’re not bringing the passion and seriousness of the issues to the forefront? I walk into courtrooms and see judges laughing, I see lawyers talking while waiting their turn and a hearing is going on. I see judges making jokes and then saying your motion to dismiss is denied. I am nothing short of AMAZED at how unimportant kicking a family out of their home is. Let me tell you that it’s one thing to see an adult client in front of you but it is something completely different to visit their home and see a child 4 or 5 holding a toy or a 12-year-old ask you if you’re going to save his family. I recently traveled to New York on another case and let me tell you that in these judges courtroom, intimidation is not the word. NO ONE is talking in the courtroom. These judges in New York are not playing and neither are the defense attorneys. I see great passion and argument and I see judges looking squarely at the merits of the case. So why is this not happening in Florida courts?
When I see my legal associates like Matt Weidner put up a post of frustration and fear that we are losing the battle I get angry and begin calling members of my legal team to have a strategy session and figure out new ways to take back the momentum. Defense attorneys need to silence the courtroom with their passion and sound legal arguments. They need to create the platform in which judges and other defense attorneys stay quiet to learn. We need to own the room when we’re in it and speaking and we need to spank these little foreclosure mill runners and make them run back to daddy Stern or daddy Watson. Walk into court every time knowing they’ve committed fraud. Stop being so scared to say it and use every other word you know to describe it. Say it loud…FRAUD FRAUD FRAUD!!! Move for sanctions! They’re crooks…treat them like it! Stop treating them like your equal, stop giving them professional courtesy and start treating them like they deserve to be treated!
The Florida Constitution and court rules did not give the Chief Justice authority to intercede in pending cases involving attorney misconduct, or to investigate allegations of fraud or misconduct in foreclosure cases. The fraud cases must first beadjudicated in trial courts.
Congressman Grayson has asked the Florida Bar to take action.
Florida Default Law Group has been added as the fourth law firm under investigation along the Law offices of David J. Stern, Shapiro & Fishman and Law Office of Marshall Watson.
See where Judge Schack takes this and even if not mentioned he makes reference to MERS. Every judge must follow his example and read and research each case because it the end “each case is unique”.If we can only make a rubber stamp weigh 2 tons?? Hmm
By GREGORY BRESIGER Last Updated: 1:29 AM, September 26, 2010 Posted: 1:07 AM, September 26, 2010
With foreclosure filings growing by the month, some judges are holding banks and loan servicers’ feet to the fire to prove they “own” the mortgage and that they know what information is in the filing.
Recently, JPMorgan Chase, a mortgage servicer, was charged by a Florida judge with submitting fraudulent foreclosure paperwork on a home it did not own.
Ally Bank, formerly GMAC, the credit arm of the troubled automaker General Motors, suspended foreclosure proceedings in 23 states including New York last week, while it reviews its foreclosure procedures.
Ally, which has a $349.1 billion mortgage portfolio, according to industry records, and was also the beneficiary of more than $17 billion in US bailout funds, said this week it has amended its foreclosure procedure to make sure the documents contain truthful information and that there is a notary present when documents are signed.
Closer to home, in New York State Supreme Court no foreclosure hearing is routine in Judge Arthur Schack’s courtroom in Brooklyn. That’s where dozens of bank attorneys are learning that every detail must be right or else.
Judge Schack — the scourge of numerous banks and poorly prepared attorneys — has thrown out dozens of foreclosure applications for just the same reasons cited in Florida.
Judge Schack examines every filing in detail. That’s because “every case is unique,” said the 64-year-old judge, a former high-school social-studies teacher.
Why the large number of foreclosure dismissals for a procedure that is often routinely granted?
Ally’s GMAC unit withdraws foreclosure affidavits signed by second employee
By Ariana Eunjung Cha | September 25, 2010; 11:34 AM ET
Was Kristine Wilson another “robo-signer”?
Attorneys for homeowners in Florida say Ally Financial’s GMAC mortgage unit has begun to withdraw affidavits submitted in support of foreclosures that were signed by a second employee. Like Jeffrey Stephan–the document processor who admitted in sworn testimony that he signed 10,000 documents a month without reviewing them–Kristine Wilson signed as a “limited signing officer” for GMAC.
In a request to withdraw an affidavit listing debts owed by a homeowner that was signed by Wilson in a Palm Beach County Circuit Court case, lawyers for GMAC say that “information in the affidavit may not have been properly verified.”
Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) — Attorneys general in three U.S. states are investigating foreclosures at Ally Financial Inc.’s GMAC Mortgage unit after the lender said it would halt some evictions following a discovery of faulty documentation.
Texas, Iowa and Illinois have started investigations into mortgage practices at Ally, while California, which isn’t affected by GMAC’s action, ordered the company to stop foreclosures unless it can prove compliance with state law, according to statements. Ally said it has issued a “more robust policy” on processing foreclosures, increased staff to handle documents and instituted more training for employees.
“Preserving the integrity of the foreclosure process is of the utmost importance,” Ally said yesterday in a statement. “While we are exercising an abundance of caution in the review process, we are confident that the processing errors did not result in any inappropriate foreclosures.”
Continue reading…BUSINESS WEEK
September 24, 2010
ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN DEMANDS MEETING WITH
MORTGAGE LENDER AT CENTER OF FORECLOSURE CONTROVERSY
GMAC Suspected of Submitting False Documents in Foreclosure Cases
Chicago Attorney General Lisa Madigan today issued a letter to the mortgage lender Ally (formerly GMAC) demanding a meeting to address concerns that the company has violated the state’s Consumer Fraud Act in its pursuit of Illinois homeowners in foreclosure. Madigan’s letter responds to reports raising serious questions about the accuracy of documents the lender files in foreclosure lawsuits.
An Ally employee testified in a Florida court case that he routinely signed affidavits for foreclosure lawsuits and submitted them to Ally’s attorneys without reviewing the homeowners’ loan documents. These affidavits were then filed with the court as evidence of Ally’s right to foreclose on the homes. The employee testified that he signed at least 10,000 affidavits a month without reviewing the underlying paperwork, and thus had no way of knowing whether the information in the affidavits was actually true.
“Families’ homes are at stake here,” Madigan said. “If I determine that Ally is rubber-stamping affidavits and filing them with our courts as evidence, I will take appropriate action. The law demands that lenders prove their case in foreclosure actions, and Illinois homeowners demand the same.”
Following these revelations, Ally announced this week that it is suspending foreclosure lawsuits in 23 states, including Illinois.
Madigan also requested that Ally immediately provide her office with details on the impact of Ally’s conduct on Illinois homeowners, including the number of Illinois homeowners affected by the suspension of foreclosures; the names of the Illinois law firms that Ally retains to pursue foreclosure actions; information about how these firms will implement and monitor the suspension of foreclosure lawsuits in Illinois; and the length of the suspension.
GMAC ranked fourth among U.S. home mortgage lenders in the first six months of this year, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, an industry newsletter.
THIS IS HUGE! Coming in… Florida might halt all Foreclosures…While pending investigation of MILLS!
Do what is right and protect these families. This involves children that do not understand what is going on. I lost my home to this fraud and they do not have to go through my stressful experience. You set new rules and these foreclosure mills continued to ignore you. What is it going to take?
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