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CAVEAT EMPTOR |MERS Transfers May Have Cloud Homeownership With `Blighted Titles’

CAVEAT EMPTOR |MERS Transfers May Have Cloud Homeownership With `Blighted Titles’

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.

‘Nightmare Scenario’

“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.

Mortgage Bonds

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.

Continue reading…BLOOMBERG

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© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in assignment of mortgage, auction, Bank Owned, bloomberg, bogus, chain in title, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, deed of trust, DOCX, Economy, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, forgery, jpmorgan chase, Lender Processing Services Inc., LPS, MERS, MERSCORP, mortgage, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., note, rmbs, robo signers, securitization, servicers, stopforeclosurefraud.com, sub-prime2 Comments

‘SHITTY BANK BANKS’ Might Go Belly UP After Foreclosure Mess Hit The Fan- Secrets Of Traders

‘SHITTY BANK BANKS’ Might Go Belly UP After Foreclosure Mess Hit The Fan- Secrets Of Traders

I can tell you there is MAJOR, MAJOR panic happening “behind the scenes” since I have started this site I have not seen this kind of activity! All I can say is don’t stop what ever you are doing GMAC or not…

Foreclosure Mess

By: Secrets Of Traders Wednesday, September 22, 2010 11:56 AM

I haven’t seen the following story get much national press (Ok, none. After all, isn’t Lindsey Lohan still in the news?) but if it continues to escalate, we will. The short & sweet of the matter is that it appears most banks do not have clear title to the homes they are foreclosing. In their mad rush to capitalize on the housing bubble, bankers skipped many of the legal steps necessary to have a clear title if things went badly, which is now, and the mortgages that were bundled then securitized as MBSs (mortgage backed securities) may actually belong to the homeowners.If this plays out as described below some banks will go belly-up, which should have happened a long time ago. Since the Treasury & the Federal Reserve will not let their buddies down, however, I am certain that it is already being sorted out in back room deals. “To hell with the LAW” they will say, Shitibank is on the brink of failure.

A member of Congress has already sent a letter to the Florida Supreme Court requesting it make an order to abate all foreclosure procedures until Florida can complete investigations into the matter. A portion of Representative Grayson’s letter is below.

I respectfully request that you abate all foreclosures involving these firms until the Attorney General of the state of Florida has finished his investigations of those firms for document fraud.

I have included a court order, in which Chase, WAMU, and Shapiro and Fishman are excoriated by a judge for document fraud on the court. In this case, Chase attempted to foreclose on a home, when the mortgage note was actually owned by Fannie Mae.

Taking someone’s home should not be done lightly. And it should certainly be done in accordance with the law.

This original post can be found here

Ok, we now appear to have a pattern of conduct here where organizations trying to foreclose on homeowners are in fact submitting forged (that is, willfully known to be false) affidavits to courts around the nation.

First we had GMAC, now it appears we have JPM/Chase. Everyone’s scrambling on this, of course.

But as I pointed out, the real panic is likely still to come, because I have reason to believe (but cannot yet prove) that many if not most of the non-agency securitizations were defective at the outset.

Worse, they’re now trying to cover it up. I am amassing more and more information on the mess, and what I’m seeing is increasingly looking like a pattern of conduct that may well go far beyond “innocent mistakes” or “accidents.”

So let’s take a close look at this problem, and how we can fix it.

There’s a real visceral outrage at letting people have a “free house.” But is it really a perversity of justice if that’s what happens in point of fact – or effect? Maybe not.

Look, if I want to write you a signature loan for $200,000, I have every right to do it. If you don’t pay I’m screwed in such a case, because I have no security interest.

Continue reading …iSTOCKANALYST

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© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in assignment of mortgage, bifurcate, chain in title, conflict of interest, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, deed of trust, Economy, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, forgery, jeffrey stephan, jpmorgan chase, MERS, MERSCORP, Moratorium, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., note, rmbs, robo signers, securitization, stopforeclosurefraud.com, sub-prime, trade secrets, trustee, Trusts3 Comments

MUST WATCH: ‘MERS’ ON FOX NEWS!!!

MUST WATCH: ‘MERS’ ON FOX NEWS!!!

I was wondering why this site blew up with hits today!

THIS INVOLVES 65 MILLION LOANS…it was ’62’ !!! I have a source that confirmed this.


“The Curse Of The MERS”

READ ALL ABOUT MERS HERE…MERS 101

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© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in chain in title, class action, concealment, conflict of interest, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, deed of trust, Economy, fannie mae, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, investigation, mbs, MERS, MERSCORP, mortgage, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, Notary, notary fraud, note, quiet title, R.K. Arnold, racketeering, Real Estate, repossession, RICO, rmbs, robo signers, stopforeclosurefraud.com, sub-prime, trade secrets, trustee, Trusts, Wall Street4 Comments

Handcuffs for Wall Street, Not Happy-Talk

Handcuffs for Wall Street, Not Happy-Talk

“If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists
– to protect them and to promote their common welfare – all else is lost.”
– BARACK OBAMA, speech, Aug. 28, 2006

Zach Carter

Zach Carter

Economics Editor, AlterNet; Fellow, Campaign for America’s Future

Posted: September 12, 2010 02:52 PM

The Washington Post has published a very silly op-ed by Chrystia Freeland accusing President Barack Obama of unfairly “demonizing” Wall Street. Freeland wants to see Obama tone down his rhetoric and play nice with executives in pursuit of a harmonious economic recovery. The trouble is, Obama hasn’t actually deployed harsh words against Wall Street. What’s more, in order to avoid being characterized as “anti-business,” the Obama administration has refused to mete out serious punishment for outright financial fraud. Complaining about nouns and adjectives is a little ridiculous when handcuffs and prison sentences are in order.

Freeland is a long-time business editor at Reuters and the Financial Times, and the story she spins about the financial crisis comes across as very reasonable. It’s also completely inaccurate. Here’s the key line:

“Stricter regulation of financial services is necessary not because American bankers were bad, but because the rules governing them were.”

Bank regulations were lousy, of course. But Wall Street spent decades lobbying hard for those rules, and screamed bloody murder when Obama had the audacity to tweak them. More importantly, the financial crisis was not only the result of bad rules. It was the result of bad rules and rampant, straightforward fraud, something a seasoned business editor like Freeland ought to know. Seeking economic harmony with criminals seems like a pretty poor foundation for an economic recovery.

The FBI was warning about an “epidemic” of mortgage fraud as early as 2004. Mortgage fraud is typically perpetrated by lenders, not borrowers — 80 percent of the time, according to the FBI. Banks made a lot of quick bucks over the past decade by illegally conning borrowers. Then bankers who knew these loans were fraudulent still packaged them into securities and sold them to investors without disclosing that fraud. They lied to their own shareholders about how many bad loans were on their books, and lied to them about the bonuses that were derived from the entire scheme. When you do these things, you are stealing lots of money from innocent people, and you are, in fact, behaving badly (to put it mildly).

The fraud allegations that have emerged over the past year are not restricted to a few bad apples at shady companies– they involve some of the largest players in global finance. Washington Mutual executives knew their company was issuing fraudulent loans, and securitized them anyway without stopping the influx of fraud in the lending pipeline. Wachovia is settling charges that it illegally laundered $380 billion in drug money in order to maintain access to liquidity. Barclays is accused of illegally laundering money from Iran, Sudan and other nations, jumping through elaborate technical hoops to conceal the source of their funds. Goldman Sachs set up its own clients to fail and bragged about their “shitty deals.” Citibank executives deceived their shareholders about the extent of their subprime mortgage holdings. Bank of America executives concealed heavy losses from the Merrill Lynch merger, and then lied to their shareholders about the massive bonuses they were paying out. IndyMac Bank and at least five other banks cooked their books by backdating capital injections.

Continue reading…..The  Huffington Post


© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in Bank Owned, citi, conspiracy, Economy, FED FRAUD, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, goldman sachs, hamp, indymac, investigation, jobless, lehman brothers, MERS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., OCC, racketeering, RICO, rmbs, Wall Street, wamu, washington mutual, wells fargo0 Comments

Misbehavior and Mistake in Bankruptcy Mortgage Claims

Misbehavior and Mistake in Bankruptcy Mortgage Claims

Katherine M. Porter
College of Law, University of Iowa

Abstract

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. *

[ipaper docId=37127499 access_key=key-1py1ywgn8bbgdaroowup height=600 width=600 /]

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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

10 bailed-out banks spent $16.3M lobbying in 1H

10 bailed-out banks spent $16.3M lobbying in 1H

mostly “MERS SHAREHOLDERS”

Top 10 bailed-out banks spent over $16 million in 2010 first half lobbying on financial reform

Eileen Aj Connelly, AP Business Writer, On Tuesday August 31, 2010, 7:00 pm EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — The 10 banks that received the most bailout aid during the financial crisis spent over $16 million on lobbying efforts in the first half of 2010, as the debate over financial regulatory reform reached its height.

Disclosure reports show that the banks that got the most government help in late 2008 and early 2009 also invested the most to influence members of Congress, the White House, the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and a long list of federal agencies as new rules were enacted governing Wall Street and the nation’s financial system.

“I’m not shocked that they spent that much money because I saw them every day,” said Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director at U.S. Public Interest Research Group, who said more than 2,000 lobbyists worked on the financial reform bill.

The sweeping law signed by President Barack Obama in July topped 2,300 pages, and outlined broad rules for issues ranging from derivatives trading to the fees merchants are charged for processing credit and debit card transactions. It also covered the creation of a consumer financial protection bureau. Banks are continuing efforts to try to shape many of the new rules that are still being finalized.

The $16.32 million spent in the first half of 2010 was 26 percent higher than the combined $12.94 million they spent in the first half of 2009.

In prior years, the spending crept up at a much slower pace: 2009’s total was about 2 percent higher than the nearly $12.7 million spent in the first half of 2008. And that was only 3.7 percent above the $12.25 million spent in the first half of 2007.

Leading the pack this year was JPMorgan Chase & Co., which spent $1.52 million on lobbying in the second quarter, on top of $1.51 million in the first quarter of 2010, for a total of $3.03 million, according to disclosure reports filed with the House of Representatives clerk’s office.

Citigroup Inc., the largest bank recipient of government funds during the crisis in late 2008 and early 2009, was second. The New York-based bank spend $1.47 million on lobbyists in the second quarter, after spending $1.31 million in the first quarter for a total of $2.78 million.

And Wall Street titan Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was third, with $1.58 million spent in the second quarter, on top of $1.19 million in the first quarter of 2010.

All three banks declined to comment on their lobbying spending, which went toward hiring advocates to discuss the legislation with lawmakers and regulators. Lobbying figures do not include any campaign contributions that banks or their employees might also have made.

Mierzwinski said the big win for consumers was the financial protection bureau, which banks tried to remove from the law. The financial industry was in a weakened position during the debate, however, because of public anger over the economy’s collapse and publicity over issues like Wall Street bonuses. Nevertheless, banks were rewarded for their efforts, he said. “They did manage to make changes.”

Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. both also spent more than $2 million in the first half of the year. Spending far less were PNC Bank, US Bancorp, Capital One Financial Corp. and Regions Financial Corp. The American Bankers Association, the main trade group for the industry, also lobbied heavily, spending $4.2 million in the first half of 2010.

Consumer advocacy groups had their own lobbyists working the Capitol’s halls during the finance reform debate as well, but their spending was dwarfed by the banks — a total of $792,000 in the first half of the year for four of the top organizations. The Center for Responsible Lending topped the list, with $335,000 spent in the first six months of the year. U.S. PIRG tallied $227,000. The Consumers Union listed $150,000 and The Consumer Federation of America spent $80,000.

Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said the heavy spending in part reflects the number of people needed to discuss issues with 535 members of Congress. One sentence in a law regulating the financial markets can have a big impact on a company’s profit, she noted, and the industry made sure they had experts on hand to discuss every aspect with lawmakers.

“We’re talking billions,” Sloan said. “So the lobbying money is the most effective money you’ll spend.”

“It’s not that I don’t think that many would have preferred a different outcome,” she added. “But I doubt that any of those banks didn’t think it was worth it to have those lobbyists.”

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in bank of america, capital one, CitiGroup, concealment, conflict of interest, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, Economy, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, geithner, goldman sachs, MERS, MERSCORP, mortgage, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, scam, servicers, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD, sub-prime0 Comments

JUDGE SCHACK BLOWS ‘MERS’ & Bank Of New York (BNY) OUT THE DOOR!

JUDGE SCHACK BLOWS ‘MERS’ & Bank Of New York (BNY) OUT THE DOOR!

MERS is an artifice and they are going to blow up!

Read this carefully…Judge Schack knows exactly where this is going and where he is taking it!

Decided on August 25, 2010

Supreme Court, Kings County

The Bank of New York, AS TRUSTEE FOR THE CERTIFICATEHOLDERS CWALT, INC. ALTERNATIVE LOAN TRUST 2006-OC1 MORTGAGE PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2006-OC1, Plaintiff,

against

Denise Mulligan, BEVERLY BRANCHE, et. al., Defendants.

Plaintiff:
McCabe Weisberg Conway PC
Jason E. Brooks, Esq.
New Rochelle NY

Defendant:
No Appearances.

Arthur M. Schack, J.

Plaintiff’s renewed application, upon the default of all defendants, for an order of reference for the premises located at 1591 East 48th Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 7846, Lot 14, County of Kings) is denied with prejudice. The complaint is dismissed. The notice of pendency filed against the above-named real property is cancelled.

In my June 3, 2008 decision and order in this matter, I granted leave to plaintiff, THE BANK OF NEW YORK, AS TRUSTEE FOR THE CERTIFICATEHOLDERS CWALT, INC. ALTERNATIVE LOAN TRUST 2006-OC1 MORTGAGE PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES, [*2]SERIES 2006-OC1 (BNY), to renew its application for an order of reference within forty-five (45) days, until July 18, 2008, if it complied with three conditions. However, plaintiff did not make the instant motion until May 4, 2009, 335 days after June 3, 2008, and failed to offer any excuse for its lateness. Therefore, the instant motion is 290 days, almost ten months, late. Further, the instant renewed motion failed to present the three affidavits that this Court ordered plaintiff BNY to present with its renewed motion for an order of reference: (1) an affidavit of facts either by an officer of plaintiff BNY or someone with a valid power of attorney from plaintiff BNY and personal knowledge of the facts; (2) an affidavit from Ely Harless describing his employment history for the past three years, because Mr. Harless assigned the instant mortgage as Vice President of MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC. (MERS) and then executed an affidavit of merit for assignee BNY as Vice President of BNY’s alleged attorney-in-fact without any power of attorney; and, (3) an affidavit from an officer of plaintiff BNY explaining why it purchased the instant nonperforming loan from MERS, as nominee for DECISION ONE MORTGAGE COMPANY, LLC (DECISION ONE).

Moreover, after I reviewed the papers filed with this renewed motion for an order of reference and searched the Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS) website of the Office of the City Register, New York City Department of Finance, I discovered that plaintiff BNY lacked standing to pursue the instant action for numerous reasons. Therefore, the instant action is dismissed with prejudice.

Background

Defendant DENISE MULLIGAN (MULLIGAN) borrowed $392,000.00 from

DECISION ONE on October 28, 2005. The mortgage to secure the note was recorded by MERS, “acting solely as a nominee for Lender [DECISION ONE]” and “FOR PURPOSES OF RECORDING THIS MORTGAGE, MERS IS THE MORTGAGEE OF RECORD,” in the Office of the City Register of the City of New York, New York City Department of Finance, on February 6, 2006, at City Register File Number (CRFN) 2006000069253.

Defendant MULLIGAN allegedly defaulted in her mortgage loan payments with her May 1, 2007 payment. Subsequently, plaintiff BNY commenced the instant action, on August 9, 2007, alleging in ¶ 8 of the complaint, and again in ¶ 8 of the August 16, 2007 amended complaint, that “Plaintiff [BNY] is the holder of said note and mortgage. said mortgage was assigned to Plaintiff, by Assignment of Mortgage to be recorded in the Office of the County Clerk of Kings County [sic].” As an aside, plaintiff’s counsel needs to learn that mortgages in New York City are not recorded in the Office of the County Clerk, but in the Office of the City Register of the City of New York. However, the instant mortgage and note were not assigned to plaintiff BNY until October 9, 2007, 61 days subsequent to the commencement of the instant action, by MERS, “as nominee for Decision One,” and executed by Ely Harless, Vice President of MERS. This assignment was recorded on October 24, 2007, in the Office of the City Register of the City of New York, at CRFN 2007000537531.

I denied the original application for an order of reference, on June 3, 2008, with leave to renew, because assignor Ely Harless also executed the March 20, 2008-affidavit of merit as Vice President and “an employee of Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., attorney-in-fact for Countrywide Home Loans, Inc.” The original application for an order of reference did not present any power of attorney from plaintiff BNY to Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. Also, the Court pondered how [*3]Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. could be its own an attorney-fact?

In my June 3, 2008 decision and order I noted that Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (RPAPL) § 1321 allows the Court in a foreclosure action, upon the default of defendant or defendant’s admission of mortgage payment arrears, to appoint a referee “to compute the amount due to the plaintiff” and plaintiff BNY’s application for an order of reference was a preliminary step to obtaining a default judgment of foreclosure and sale. (Home Sav. Of Am., F.A. v Gkanios, 230 AD2d 770 [2d Dept 1996]). However, plaintiff BNY failed to meet the clear requirements of CPLR § 3215 (f) for a default judgment, which states:

On any application for judgment by default, the applicant shall file proof of service of the summons and the complaint, or a summons and notice served pursuant to subdivision (b) of rule 305 or subdivision (a) of rule 316 of this chapter, and proof of the facts constituting the claim, the default and the amount due by affidavit made by the party . . . Where a verified complaint has been served, it may be used as the affidavit of the facts constituting the claim and the amount due; in such case, an affidavit as to the default shall be made by the party or the party’s attorney. [Emphasisadded].

Plaintiff BNY failed to submit “proof of the facts” in “an affidavit made by the party.” (Blam v Netcher, 17 AD3d 495, 496 [2d Dept 2005]; Goodman v New York City Health & Hosps. Corp. 2 AD3d 581[2d Dept 2003]; Drake v Drake, 296 AD2d 566 [2d Dept 2002]; Parratta v McAllister, 283 AD2d 625 [2d Dept 2001]; Finnegan v Sheahan, 269 AD2d 491 [2d Dept 2000]; Hazim v Winter, 234 AD2d 422 [2d Dept 1996]). Instead, plaintiff BNY submitted an affidavit of merit and amount due by Ely Harless, “an employee of Countrywide Home Loans, Inc.” and failed to submit a valid power of attorney for that express purpose. Also, I required that if plaintiff renewed its application for an order of reference and provided to the Court a valid power of attorney, that if the power of attorney refers to a servicing agreement, the Court needs a properly offered copy of the servicing agreement to determine if the servicing agent may proceed on behalf of plaintiff. (EMC Mortg. Corp. v Batista, 15 Misc 3d 1143 (A), [Sup Ct, Kings County 2007]; Deutsche Bank Nat. Trust Co. v Lewis, 14 Misc 3d 1201 (A) [Sup Ct, Suffolk County 2006]).

I granted plaintiff BNY leave to renew its application for an order of reference within forty-five (45) days of June 3, 2008, which would be July 18, 2008. For reasons unknown to the Court, plaintiff BNY made the instant motion to renew its application for an order of reference on May 4, 2009, 290 days late. Plaintiff’s counsel, in his affirmation in support of the renewed motion, offers no explanation for his lateness and totally ignores this issue.

Further, despite the assignment by MERS, as nominee for DECISION ONE, to plaintiff BNY occurring 61 days subsequent to the commencement of the instant action, plaintiff’s counsel claims, in ¶ 17 of his affirmation in support, that “[s]aid assignment of mortgage [by MERS, as nominee for DECISION ONE to BNT] was drafted for the convenience of the court in establishing the chain of ownership, but the actual assignment and transfer had previously occurred by delivery.” The alleged proof presented of physical delivery of the subject MULLIGAN mortgage is a computer printout [exhibit G of motion], dated April 30, 2009, from [*4]Countrywide Financial, which plaintiff’s counsel calls a “Closing Loan Schedule,” and claims, in ¶ 21 of his affirmation in support, that this “closing loan schedule is the mortgage loan schedule displaying every loan held by such trust at the close date for said trust at the end of January 2006. The closing loan schedule is of public record and demonstrates that the Plaintiff was in possession of the note and mortgage about nineteen (19) months prior to the commencement of this action.” There is an entry on line 2591 of the second to last page of the printout showing account number 1232268089, which plaintiff’s counsel, in ¶ 22 of his affirmation in support, alleges is the subject mortgage. Plaintiff’s counsel asserts, in ¶ 23 of his affirmation in support, that “[t]he annexed closing loan schedule suffices to proceed in granting Plaintiff’s Order of Reference in this matter proving possession prior to any default.” This claim is ludicrous. The computer printout, printed on April 30, 2009, just prior to the making of the instant motion, has no probative value with respect to whether physical delivery of the subject mortgage was made to plaintiff BNY prior to the August 9, 2007 commencement of the instant action.

Further, even if the mortgage was delivered to BNY prior to the August 9, 2007 commencement of the instant action, this claim is in direct contradiction to plaintiff’s claim previously mentioned in ¶ 8 of both the complaint and the amended complaint, that “Plaintiff [BNY] is the holder of said note and mortgage. said mortgage was assigned to Plaintiff, by Assignment of Mortgage to be recorded in the Office of the County Clerk of Kings County [sic].” Both ¶’s 8 allege that the assignment of the subject mortgage took place prior to August 9, 2007 and the recording would subsequently take place. The only reality for the Court is that the assignment of the subject mortgage took place 61 days subsequent to the commencement of the action on October 9, 2007 and the assignment was recorded on October 24, 2007.

Moreover, plaintiff’s counsel alleges, in ¶ 18 of his affirmation in support, that “[p]ursuant to a charter between Mortgage Electronic Registrations Systems, Inc. ( MERS’) and Decision One Mortgage Company, LLC, all officers of Decision One Mortgage Company, LLC, a member of MERS, are appointed as assistant secretaries and vice presidents of MERS, and as such are authorized” to assign mortgage loans registered on the MERS System and execute documents related to foreclosures. ¶ 18 concludes with “See Exhibit F.” None of this appears in exhibit F. Exhibit F is a one page power of attorney from “THE BANK OF NEW YORK, as Trustee” pursuant to unknown pooling and servicing agreements appointing “Countrywide Home Loans Servicing LP and its authorized officers (collectively CHL Servicing’)” as its “attorneys-in-fact and authorized agents” for foreclosures “in connection with the transactions contemplated in those certain Pooling and Servicing Agreements.” The so-called “charter” between MERS and DECISION ONE was not presented to the Court in any exhibits attached to the instant motion.

Further, attached to the instant renewed motion [exhibit D] is an affidavit of merit

by Keri Selman, dated August 23, 2007 [47 days before the assignment to BNY], in which Ms. Selman claims to be “a foreclosure specialist of Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. Servicing agent for BANK OF NEW YORK, AS TRUSTEE FOR THE CERTIFICATEHOLDERS CWALT, INC. ALTERNATIVE LOAN TRUST 2006-OC1 MORTGAGE PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2006-OC1 . . . I make this afidavit upon personal knowledge based on books and records of Bank of New York in my possession or subject to my control [sic]” Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. is not Countrywide Home Loans Servicing LP, referred to in the power of attorney attached to the renewed motion [exhibit F]. Moreover, plaintiff failed to [*5]present to the Court any power of attorney authorizing Ms. Selman to execute for Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. her affidavit on behalf of plaintiff BNY. Also, Ms. Selman has a history of executing documents presented to this Court while wearing different corporate hats. In Bank of New York as Trustee for Certificateholders CWABS, Inc. Asset-Backed Certificates, Series 2006-22 v Myers (22 Misc 3d 1117 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings County 2009], in which I issued a decision and order on February 3, 2009, Ms. Selman assigned the subject mortgage on June 28, 2008 as Assistant Vice President of MERS, nominee for Homebridge Mortgage Bankers Corp., and then five days later executed an affidavit of merit as Assistant Vice President of plaintiff BNY. I observed, in this decision and order, at 1-2, that:

Ms. Selman is a milliner’s delight by virtue of the number of hats she wears. In my November 19, 2007 decision and order (BANK OF NEW YORK A TRUSTEE FOR THE NOTEHOLDERS OF CWABS, INC. ASSET-BACKED NOTES, SERIES 2006-SD2 v SANDRA OROSCONUNEZ, et. al. [Index No., 32052/07]),

I observed that:

Plaintiff’s application is the third application for an order of reference received by me in the past several days that contain an affidavit from Keri Selman. In the instant action, she alleges to be an Assistant Vice President of the Bank of New York. On November 16, 2007, I denied an application for an order of reference (BANK OF NEW YORK A TRUSTEE FOR THE CERTIFICATEHOLDERS OF CWABS, INC. ASSET-BACKED CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2006-8 v JOSE NUNEZ, et. al., Index No. 10457/07), in which Keri Selman, in her affidavit of merit claims to be “Vice President of  COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS, Attorney in fact for BANK OF NEW YORK.” The Court is concerned that Ms. Selman might be engaged in a subterfuge, wearing various corporate hats. Before granting an application for an order of reference, the Court requires an affidavit from Ms. Selman describing her employment history for the past three years. This Court has not yet received any affidavit from Ms. Selman describing her employment history, whether it is with MERS, BNY, COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS, or any other entity. [*6]

Further, the Court needs to address the conflict of interest in the June 20, 2008 assignment by Ms. Selman to her alleged employer, BNY.

I am still waiting for Ms. Selman’s affidavit to explain her tangled employment relationships. Interestingly, Ms. Selman, as “Assistant Vice President of MERS,” nominee for “America’s Wholesale Lender,” is the assignor of another mortgage to plaintiff BNY in Bank of New York v Alderazi (28 Misc 3d 376 [Sup Ct, Kings County 2010]), which I further cite below.

It is clear that plaintiff BNY failed to provide the Court with: an affidavit of merit by an officer of plaintiff BNY or someone with a valid power of attorney from BNY; an affidavit from Ely Harless, explaining his employment history; and, an explanation from BNY of why it purchased a nonperforming loan from MERS, as nominee of DECISION ONE. Moreover, plaintiff BNY did not own the subject mortgage and note when the instant case commenced. Even if plaintiff BNY owned the subject mortgage and note when the case commenced, MERS lacked the authority to assign the subject MULLIGAN mortgage to BNY, as will be explained further. Plaintiff’s counsel offers a lame and feeble excuse for not complying with my June 3, 2008 decision and order, in ¶ 23 of his affirmation in support, claiming that “[t]he affidavits requested in Honorable Arthur M. Schack’s Decision and Order should not be required, given the annexed closing loan schedule.”

Plaintiff BNY lacked standing

The instant action must be dismissed because plaintiff BNY lacked standing to bring this action on August 9, 2007, the day the action commenced. “Standing to sue is critical to the proper functioning of the judicial system. It is a threshold issue. If standing is denied, the pathway to the courthouse is blocked. The plaintiff who has standing, however, may cross the threshold and seek judicial redress.” (Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, Inc. v Pataki, 100 NY2d 801 812 [2003], cert denied 540 US 1017 [2003]). Professor Siegel (NY Prac, § 136, at 232 [4d ed]), instructs that:

[i]t is the law’s policy to allow only an aggrieved person to bring a lawsuit . . . A want of “standing to sue,” in other words, is just another way of saying that this particular plaintiff is not involved in a genuine controversy, and a simple syllogism takes us from there to a “jurisdictional”

dismissal: (1) the courts have jurisdiction only over controversies; (2) a plaintiff found to lack “standing”is not involved in a controversy; and (3) the courts therefore have no jurisdiction of the case when such a plaintiff purports to bring it.

“Standing to sue requires an interest in the claim at issue in the lawsuit that the law will recognize as a sufficient predicate for determining the issue at the litigant’s request.” (Caprer v Nussbaum (36 AD3d 176, 181 [2d Dept 2006]). If a plaintiff lacks standing to sue, the plaintiff may not proceed in the action. (Stark v Goldberg, 297 AD2d 203 [1st Dept 2002]). [*7]

Plaintiff BNY lacked standing to foreclose on the instant mortgage and note when this action commenced on August 7, 2007, the day that BNY filed the summons, complaint and notice of pendency with the Kings County Clerk, because it did not own the mortgage and note that day. The instant mortgage and note were assigned to BNY, 61 days later, on October 7, 2007. The Court, in Campaign v Barba (23 AD3d 327 [2d Dept 2005]), instructed that “[t]o establish a prima facie case in an action to foreclose a mortgage, the plaintiff must establish the existence of the mortgage and the mortgage note, ownership of the mortgage, and the defendant’s default in payment [Emphasis added].” (See Witelson v Jamaica Estates Holding Corp. I, 40 AD3d 284 [1st Dept 2007]; Household Finance Realty Corp. of New York v Wynn, 19 AD3d 545 [2d Dept 2005]; Sears Mortgage Corp. v Yahhobi, 19 AD3d 402 [2d Dept 2005]; Ocwen Federal Bank FSB v Miller, 18 AD3d 527 [2d Dept 2005]; U.S. Bank Trust Nat. Ass’n Trustee v Butti, 16 AD3d 408 [2d Dept 2005]; First Union Mortgage Corp. v Fern, 298 AD2d 490 [2d Dept 2002]; Village Bank v Wild Oaks, Holding, Inc., 196 AD2d 812 [2d Dept 1993]).

Assignments of mortgages and notes are made by either written instrument or the assignor physically delivering the mortgage and note to the assignee.

“Our courts have repeatedly held that a bond and mortgage may be transferred by delivery without a written instrument of assignment.” (Flyer v Sullivan, 284 AD 697, 699 [1d Dept 1954]). The written October 7, 2007 assignment by MERS, as nominee for DECISION ONE, to BNY is clearly 61 days after the commencement of the action. Plaintiff’s BNY’s claim that the gobblygook computer printout it offered in exhibit G is evidence of physical delivery of the mortgage and note prior to commencement of the action is not only nonsensical, but flies in the face of the complaint and amended complaint, which both clearly state in ¶ 8 that “Plaintiff [BNY] is the holder of said note and mortgage. said mortgage was assigned to Plaintiff, by Assignment of Mortgage to be recorded in the Office of the County Clerk of Kings County [sic].” Plaintiff BNY did not own the mortgage and note when the instant action commenced on August 7, 2007.

[A] retroactive assignment cannot be used to confer standing upon the assignee in a foreclosure action commenced prior to the execution of an assignment.

(Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Marchione, 69 AD3d 204, 210 [2d Dept 2009]). The Marchione Court relied upon LaSalle Bank Natl. Assoc. v Ahearn (59 AD3d 911 [3d Dept 2009], which instructed, at 912, “[n]otably, foreclosure of a mortgage may not be brought by one who has no title to it’ (Kluge v Fugazy, 145 AD2d 537 [2d Dept 1988]) and an assignee of such a mortgage does not have standing unless the assignment is complete at the time the action is commenced).” (See U.S. Bank, N.A. v Collymore, 68 AD3d 752 [2d Dept 2009]; Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. v Gress, 68 AD3d 709 [2d Dept 2009]; Citgroup Global Mkts. Realty Corp. v Randolph Bowling, 25 Misc 3d 1244 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings County 2009]; Deutsche Bank Nat. Trust Company v Abbate, 25 Misc 3d 1216 [A] [Sup Ct, Richmond County 2009]; Indymac Bank FSB v Boyd, 22 Misc 3d 1119 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings County 2009]; Credit-Based Asset Management and Securitization, LLC v Akitoye,22 Misc 3d 1110 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings County Jan. 20, 2009]; Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Americas v Peabody, 20 Misc 3d 1108 [A][Sup Ct, Saratoga County 2008]).

The Appellate Division, First Department, citing Kluge v Fugazy, in Katz v East-Ville Realty Co., (249 AD2d 243 [1d Dept 1998]), instructed that “[p]laintiff’s attempt to foreclose upon a mortgage in which he had no legal or equitable interest was without foundation in law or [*8]fact.” Therefore, with plaintiff BNY not having standing, the Court lacks jurisdiction in this foreclosure action and the instant action is dismissed with prejudice.

MERS had no authority to assign the subject mortgage and note

Moreover, MERS lacked authority to assign the subject mortgage. The subject DECISION ONE mortgage, executed on October 28, 2005 by defendant MULLIGAN, clearly states on page 1 that “MERS is a separate corporation that is acting solely as a nominee for Lender [DECISION ONE] and LENDER’s successors and assigns . . . FOR PURPOSES OF RECORDING THIS MORTGAGE, MERS IS THE MORTGAGEE OF RECORD.”

The word “nominee” is defined as “[a] person designated to act in place of another, usu. in a very limited way” or “[a] party who holds bare legal title for the benefit of others.” (Black’s Law Dictionary 1076 [8th ed 2004]). “This definition suggests that a nominee possesses few or no legally enforceable rights beyond those of a principal whom the nominee serves.” (Landmark National Bank v Kesler, 289 Kan 528, 538 [2009]). The Supreme Court of Kansas, in Landmark National Bank, 289 Kan at 539, observed that:

The legal status of a nominee, then, depends on the context of the relationship of the nominee to its principal. Various courts have interpreted the relationship of MERS and the lender as an agency relationship. See In re Sheridan, 2009 WL631355, at *4 (Bankr. D.

Idaho, March 12, 2009) (MERS “acts not on its own account. Its capacity is representative.”); Mortgage Elec. Registrations Systems, Inc. v Southwest, 2009 Ark. 152 ___, ___SW3d___, 2009 WL 723182 (March 19, 2009) (“MERS, by the terms of the deed of trust, and its own stated purposes, was the lender’s agent”); La Salle Nat. Bank v Lamy, 12 Misc 3d 1191 [A], at *2 [Sup Ct, Suffolk County 2006]) . . .

(“A nominee of the owner of a note and mortgage may not effectively assign the note and mortgage to another for want of an ownership interest in said note and mortgage by the nominee.”)

The New York Court of Appeals in MERSCORP, Inc. v Romaine (8 NY3d 90 [2006]), explained how MERS acts as the agent of mortgagees, holding at 96:

In 1993, the MERS system was created by several large participants in the real estate mortgage industry to track ownership interests in residential mortgages. Mortgage lenders and other entities, known as MERS members, subscribe to the MERS system and pay annual fees for the electronic processing and tracking of ownership and transfers of mortgages. Members contractually agree to appoint [*9] MERS to act as their common agent on all mortgages they register in the MERS system. [Emphasis added]

Thus, it is clear that MERS’s relationship with its member lenders is that of agent with the lender-principal. This is a fiduciary relationship, resulting from the manifestation of consent by one person to another, allowing the other to act on his behalf, subject to his control and consent. The principal is the one for whom action is to be taken, and the agent is the one who acts.It has been held that the agent, who has a fiduciary relationship with the principal, “is a party who acts on behalf of the principal with the latter’s express, implied, or apparent authority.” (Maurillo v Park Slope U-Haul, 194 AD2d 142, 146 [2d Dept 1992]). “Agents are bound at all times to exercise the utmost good faith toward their principals. They must act in accordance with the highest and truest principles of morality.” (Elco Shoe Mfrs. v Sisk, 260 NY 100, 103 [1932]). (See Sokoloff v Harriman Estates Development Corp., 96 NY 409 [2001]); Wechsler v Bowman, 285 NY 284 [1941]; Lamdin v Broadway Surface Advertising Corp., 272 NY 133 [1936]). An agent “is prohibited from acting in any manner inconsistent with his agency or trust and is at all times bound to exercise the utmost good faith and loyalty in the performance of his duties.” (Lamdin, at 136).

Thus, in the instant action, MERS, as nominee for DECISION ONE, is an agent of DECISION ONE for limited purposes. It only has those powers given to it and authorized by its principal, DECISION ONE. Plaintiff BNY failed to submit documents authorizing MERS, as nominee for DECISION ONE, to assign the subject mortgage to plaintiff BNY. Therefore, even if the assignment by MERS, as nominee for DECISION ONE, to BNY was timely, and it was not, MERS lacked authority to assign the MULLIGAN mortgage, making the assignment defective. Recently, in Bank of New York v Alderazi, 28 Misc 3d at 379-380, my learned Kings County Supreme Court colleague, Justice Wayne Saitta explained that:

A party who claims to be the agent of another bears the burden of proving the agency relationship by a preponderance of the evidence (Lippincott v East River Mill & Lumber Co., 79 Misc 559 [1913]) and “[t]he declarations of an alleged agent may not be shown for the purpose of proving the fact of agency.” (Lexow & Jenkins, P.C. v Hertz Commercial Leasing Corp., 122 AD2d 25 [2d Dept 1986]; see also Siegel v Kentucky Fried Chicken of Long Is. 108 AD2d 218 [2d Dept 1985]; Moore v Leaseway Transp/ Corp., 65 AD2d 697 [1st Dept 1978].) “[T]he acts of a person assuming to be the representative of another are not competent to prove the agency in the absence of evidence tending to show the principal’s knowledge of such acts or assent to them.” (Lexow & Jenkins, P.C. v Hertz Commercial Leasing Corp., 122 AD2d at 26, quoting 2 NY Jur 2d, Agency and Independent Contractors § 26). [*10]

Plaintiff has submitted no evidence to demonstrate that the original lender, the mortgagee America’s Wholesale Lender, authorized MERS to assign the secured debt to plaintiff [the assignment, as noted above, executed by the multi-hatted Keri Selman].

In the instant action, MERS, as nominee for DECISION ONE, not only had no authority to assign the MULLIGAN mortgage, but no evidence was presented to the Court to demonstrate DECISION ONE’s knowledge or assent to the assignment by MERS to plaintiff BNY.

Cancellation of subject notice of pendency

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

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

The Court, upon motion of any person aggrieved and upon such notice as it may require, shall direct any county clerk to cancel a notice of pendency, if service of a summons has not been completed within the time limited by section 6512; or if the action has been settled, discontinued or abated; or if the time to appeal from a final judgment against the plaintiff has expired; or if enforcement of a final judgment against the plaintiff has not been stayed pursuant to section 551. [emphasis added]

The plain meaning of the word “abated,” as used in CPLR § 6514 (a) is the ending of an action. “Abatement” is defined as “the act of eliminating or nullifying.” (Black’s Law Dictionary 3 [7th ed 1999]). “An action which has been abated is dead, and any further enforcement of the cause of action requires the bringing of a new action, provided that a cause of action remains (2A Carmody-Wait 2d § 11.1).” (Nastasi v Natassi, 26 AD3d 32, 40 [2d Dept 2005]). Further, Nastasi at 36, held that the “[c]ancellation of a notice of pendency can be granted in the exercise of the inherent power of the court where its filing fails to comply with CPLR § 6501 (see 5303 Realty Corp. v O & Y Equity Corp., supra at 320-321; Rose v Montt Assets, 250 AD2d 451, 451-452 [1d Dept 1998]; Siegel, NY Prac § 336 [4th ed]).” Thus, the [*11]dismissal of the instant complaint must result in the mandatory cancellation of plaintiff BNY’s notice of pendency against the property “in the exercise of the inherent power of the court.”

Conclusion

Accordingly, it is ORDERED, that the renewed motion of plaintiff, THE BANK OF NEW YORK, AS TRUSTEE FOR THE CERTIFICATEHOLDERS CWALT, INC. ALTERNATIVE LOAN TRUST 2006-OC1 MORTGAGE PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2006-OC1, for an order of reference, for the premises located at 1591 East 48th Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 7846, Lot 14, County of Kings), is denied with prejudice; and it is further ORDERED, that the instant action, Index Number 29399/07, is dismissed with prejudice; and it is further ORDERED that the Notice of Pendency in this action, filed with the Kings County Clerk on August 9, 2007, by plaintiff, THE BANK OF NEW YORK, AS TRUSTEE FOR THE CERTIFICATE HOLDERS CWALT, INC. ALTERNATIVE LOAN TRUST 2006-OC1 MORTGAGE PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2006-OC1, to foreclose a mortgage for real property located at 1591 East 48th Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 7846, Lot 14, County of Kings), is cancelled.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

ENTER

________________________________HON. ARTHUR M. SCHACK

J. S. C.

~

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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Banks’ Self-Dealing Super-Charged Financial Crisis

Banks’ Self-Dealing Super-Charged Financial Crisis

ProPublica

Over the last two years of the housing bubble, Wall Street bankers perpetrated one of the greatest episodes of self-dealing in financial history.

Faced with increasing difficulty in selling the mortgage-backed securities that had been among their most lucrative products, the banks hit on a solution that preserved their quarterly earnings and huge bonuses:

They created fake demand.

A ProPublica analysis shows for the first time the extent to which banks — primarily Merrill Lynch, but also Citigroup, UBS and others — bought their own products and cranked up an assembly line that otherwise should have flagged.

The products they were buying and selling were at the heart of the 2008 meltdown — collections of mortgage bonds known as collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs.

As the housing boom began to slow in mid-2006, investors became skittish about the riskier parts of those investments. So the banks created — and ultimately provided most of the money for — new CDOs. Those new CDOs bought the hard-to-sell pieces of the original CDOs. The result was a daisy chain [1] that solved one problem but created another: Each new CDO had its own risky pieces. Banks created yet other CDOs to buy those.

Individual instances of these questionable trades have been reported before, but ProPublica’s investigation shows that by late 2006 they became a common industry practice.

Source: Thetica SystemsSource: Thetica Systems

An analysis by research firm Thetica Systems, commissioned by ProPublica, shows that in the last years of the boom, CDOs had become the dominant purchaser of key, risky parts of other CDOs, largely replacing real investors like pension funds. By 2007, 67 percent of those slices were bought by other CDOs, up from 36 percent just three years earlier. The banks often orchestrated these purchases. In the last two years of the boom, nearly half of all CDOs sponsored by market leader Merrill Lynch bought significant portions of other Merrill CDOs [2].ProPublica also found 85 instances during 2006 and 2007 in which two CDOs bought pieces of each other’s unsold inventory. These trades, which involved $107 billion worth of CDOs, underscore the extent to which the market lacked real buyers. Often the CDOs that swapped purchases closed within days of each other, the analysis shows.

There were supposed to be protections against this sort of abuse. While banks provided the blueprint for the CDOs and marketed them, they typically selected independent managers who chose the specific bonds to go inside them. The managers had a legal obligation to do what was best for the CDO. They were paid by the CDO, not the bank, and were supposed to serve as a bulwark against self-dealing by the banks, which had the fullest understanding of the complex and lightly regulated mortgage bonds.

It rarely worked out that way. The managers were beholden to the banks that sent them the business. On a billion-dollar deal, managers could earn a million dollars in fees, with little risk. Some small firms did several billion dollars of CDOs in a matter of months.

“All these banks for years were spawning trading partners,” says a former executive from Financial Guaranty Insurance Company, a major insurer of the CDO market. “You don’t have a trading partner? Create one.”

The executive, like most of the dozens of people ProPublica spoke with about the inner workings of the market at the time, asked not to be named out of fear of being sucked into ongoing investigations or because they are involved in civil litigation.

Keeping the assembly line going had a wealth of short-term advantages for the banks. Fees rolled in. A typical CDO could net the bank that created it between $5 million and $10 million — about half of which usually ended up as employee bonuses. Indeed, Wall Street awarded record bonuses in 2006, a hefty chunk of which came from the CDO business.

The self-dealing super-charged the market for CDOs, enticing some less-savvy investors to try their luck. Crucially, such deals maintained the value of mortgage bonds at a time when the lack of buyers should have driven their prices down.

But the strategy of speeding up the assembly line had devastating consequences for homeowners, the banks themselves and, ultimately, the global economy. Because of Wall Street’s machinations, more mortgages had been granted to ever-shakier borrowers. The results can now be seen in foreclosed houses across America.

The incestuous trading also made the CDOs more intertwined and thus fragile, accelerating their decline in value that began in the fall of 2007 and deepened over the next year. Most are now worth pennies on the dollar. Nearly half of the nearly trillion dollars in losses to the global banking system came from CDOs, losses ultimately absorbed by taxpayers and investors around the world. The banks’ troubles sent the world’s economies into a tailspin from which they have yet to recover.

It remains unclear whether any of this violated laws. The SEC has said [4] that it is actively looking at as many as 50 CDO managers as part of its broad examination of the CDO business’ role in the financial crisis. In particular, the agency is focusing on the relationship between the banks and the managers. The SEC is exploring how deals were structured, if any quid pro quo arrangements existed, and whether banks pressured managers to take bad assets.

The banks declined to directly address ProPublica’s questions. Asked about its relationship with managers and the cross-ownership among its CDOs, Citibank responded with a one-sentence statement:

“It has been widely reported that there are ongoing industry-wide investigations into CDO-related matters and we do not comment on pending investigations.”

None of ProPublica’s questions had mentioned the SEC or pending investigations.

Posed a similar list of questions, Bank of America, which now owns Merrill Lynch, said:

“These are very specific questions regarding individuals who left Merrill Lynch several years ago and a CDO origination business that, due to market conditions, was discontinued by Merrill before Bank of America acquired the company.”

This is the second installment of a ProPublica series about the largely hidden history of the CDO boom and bust. Our first story [5] looked at how one hedge fund helped create at least $40 billion in CDOs as part of a strategy to bet against the market. This story turns the focus on the banks.

Merrill Lynch Pioneers Pervert the Market
By 2004, the housing market was in full swing, and Wall Street bankers flocked to the CDO frenzy. It seemed to be the perfect money machine, and for a time everyone was happy.

Homeowners got easy mortgages. Banks and mortgage companies felt secure lending the money because they could sell the mortgages almost immediately to Wall Street and get back all their cash plus a little extra for their trouble. The investment banks charged massive fees for repackaging the mortgages into fancy financial products. Investors all around the world got to play in the then-phenomenal American housing market.

The mortgages were bundled into bonds, which were in turn combined into CDOs offering varying interest rates and levels of risk.

Investors holding the top tier of a CDO were first in line to get money coming from mortgages. By 2006, some banks often kept this layer, which credit agencies blessed with their highest rating of Triple A.

Buyers of the lower tiers took on more risk and got higher returns. They would be the first to take the hit if homeowners funding the CDO stopped paying their mortgages. (Here’s a video explaining how CDOs worked [6].)

Over time, these risky slices became increasingly hard to sell, posing a problem for the banks. If they remained unsold, the sketchy assets stayed on their books, like rotting inventory. That would require the banks to set aside money to cover any losses. Banks hate doing that because it means the money can’t be loaned out or put to other uses.

Being stuck with the risky portions of CDOs would ultimately lower profits and endanger the whole assembly line.

The banks, notably Merrill and Citibank, solved this problem by greatly expanding what had been a common and accepted practice: CDOs buying small pieces of other CDOs.

Architects of CDOs typically included what they called a “bucket” — which held bits of other CDOs paying higher rates of interest. The idea was to boost overall returns of deals primarily composed of safer assets. In the early days, the bucket was a small portion of an overall CDO.

One pioneer of pushing CDOs to buy CDOs was Merrill Lynch’s Chris Ricciardi, who had been brought to the firm in 2003 to take Merrill to the top of the CDO business. According to former colleagues, Ricciardi’s team cultivated managers, especially smaller firms.

Merrill exercised its leverage over the managers. A strong relationship with Merrill could be the difference between a business that thrived and one that didn’t. The more deals the banks gave a manager, the more money the manager got paid.

As the head of Merrill’s CDO business, Ricciardi also wooed managers with golf outings and dinners. One Merrill executive summed up the overall arrangement: “I’m going to make you rich. You just have to be my bitch.”

But not all managers went for it.

An executive from Trainer Wortham, a CDO manager, recalls a 2005 conversation with Ricciardi. “I wasn’t going to buy other CDOs. Chris said: ‘You don’t get it. You have got to buy other guys’ CDOs to get your deal done. That’s how it works.'” When the manager refused, Ricciardi told him, “‘That’s it. You are not going to get another deal done.'” Trainer Wortham largely withdrew from the market, concerned about the practice and the overheated prices for CDOs.

Ricciardi declined multiple requests to comment.

Merrill CDOs often bought slices of other Merrill deals. This seems to have happened more in the second half of any given year, according to ProPublica’s analysis, though the purchases were still a small portion compared to what would come later. Annual bonuses are based on the deals bankers completed by yearend.

Ricciardi left Merrill Lynch in February 2006. But the machine he put into place not only survived his departure, it became a model for competitors.

As Housing Market Wanes, Self-Dealing Takes Off
By mid-2006, the housing market was on the wane. This was particularly true for subprime mortgages, which were given to borrowers with spotty credit at higher interest rates. Subprime lenders began to fold, in what would become a mass extinction. In the first half of the year, the percentage of subprime borrowers who didn’t even make the first month’s mortgage payment tripled from the previous year.

That made CDO investors like pension funds and insurance companies increasingly nervous. If homeowners couldn’t make their mortgage payments, then the stream of cash to CDOs would dry up. Real “buyers began to shrivel and shrivel,” says Fiachra O’Driscoll, who co-ran Credit Suisse’s CDO business from 2003 to 2008.

Faced with disappearing investor demand, bankers could have wound down the lucrative business and moved on. That’s the way a market is supposed to work. Demand disappears; supply follows. But bankers were making lots of money. And they had amassed warehouses full of CDOs and other mortgage-based assets whose value was going down.

Rather than stop, bankers at Merrill, Citi, UBS and elsewhere kept making CDOs.

The question was: Who would buy them?

The top 80 percent, the less risky layers or so-called “super senior,” were held by the banks themselves. The beauty of owning that supposedly safe top portion was that it required hardly any money be held in reserve.

That left 20 percent, which the banks did not want to keep because it was riskier and required them to set aside reserves to cover any losses. Banks often sold the bottom, riskiest part to hedge funds [5]. That left the middle layer, known on Wall Street as the “mezzanine,” which was sold to new CDOs whose top 80 percent was ultimately owned by … the banks.

“As we got further into 2006, the mezzanine was going into other CDOs,” says Credit Suisse’s O’Driscoll.

This was the daisy chain [1]. On paper, the risky stuff was gone, held by new independent CDOs. In reality, however, the banks were buying their own otherwise unsellable assets.

How could something so seemingly short-sighted have happened?

It’s one of the great mysteries of the crash. Banks have fleets of risk managers to defend against just such reckless behavior. Top executives have maintained that while they suspected that the housing market was cooling, they never imagined the crash. For those doing the deals, the payoff was immediate. The dangers seemed abstract and remote.

The CDO managers played a crucial role. CDOs were so complex that even buyers had a hard time seeing exactly what was in them — making a neutral third party that much more essential.

“When you’re investing in a CDO you are very much putting your faith in the manager,” says Peter Nowell, a former London-based investor for the Royal Bank of Scotland. “The manager is choosing all the bonds that go into the CDO.” (RBS suffered mightily in the global financial meltdown, posting the largest loss in United Kingdom history, and was de facto nationalized by the British government.)

Source: Asset-Backed AlertSource: Asset-Backed Alert

By persuading managers to pick the unsold slices of CDOs, the banks helped keep the market going. “It guaranteed distribution when, quite frankly, there was not a huge market for them,” says Nowell.The counterintuitive result was that even as investors began to vanish, the mortgage CDO market more than doubled from 2005 to 2006, reaching $226 billion, according to the trade publication Asset-Backed Alert.

Citi and Merrill Hand Out Sweetheart Deals
As the CDO market grew, so did the number of CDO management firms, including many small shops that relied on a single bank for most of their business. According to Fitch, the number of CDO managers it rated rose from 89 in July 2006 to 140 in September 2007.

One CDO manager epitomized the devolution of the business, according to numerous industry insiders: a Wall Street veteran named Wing Chau.

Earlier in the decade, Chau had run the CDO department for Maxim Group, a boutique investment firm in New York. Chau had built a profitable business for Maxim based largely on his relationship with Merrill Lynch. In just a few years, Maxim had corralled more than $4 billion worth of assets under management just from Merrill CDOs.

In August 2006, Chau bolted from Maxim to start his own CDO management business, taking several colleagues with him. Chau’s departure gave Merrill, the biggest CDO producer, one more avenue for unsold inventory.

Chau named the firm Harding, after the town in New Jersey where he lived. The CDO market was starting its most profitable stretch ever, and Harding would play a big part. In an eleven-month period, ending in August 2007, Harding managed $13 billion of CDOs, including more than $5 billion from Merrill, and another nearly $5 billion from Citigroup. (Chau would later earn a measure of notoriety for a cameo appearance in Michael Lewis’ bestseller “The Big Short [7],” where he is depicted as a cheerfully feckless “go-to buyer” for Merrill Lynch’s CDO machine.)

Chau had a long-standing friendship with Ken Margolis, who was Merrill’s top CDO salesman under Ricciardi. When Ricciardi left Merrill in 2006, Margolis became a co-head of Merrill’s CDO group. He carried a genial, let’s-just-get-the-deal-done demeanor into his new position. An avid poker player, Margolis told a friend that in a previous job he had stood down a casino owner during a foreclosure negotiation after the owner had threatened to put a fork through his eye.

Chau’s close relationship with Merrill continued. In late 2006, Merrill sublet office space to Chau’s startup in the Merrill tower in Lower Manhattan’s financial district. A Merrill banker, David Moffitt, scheduled visits to Harding for prospective investors in the bank’s CDOs. “It was a nice office,” overlooking New York Harbor, recalls a CDO buyer. “But it did feel a little weird that it was Merrill’s building,” he said.

Moffitt did not respond to requests for comment.

Under Margolis, other small managers with meager track records were also suddenly handling CDOs valued at as much as $2 billion. Margolis declined to answer any questions about his own involvement in these matters.

A Wall Street Journal article [8] ($) from late 2007, one of the first of its kind, described how Margolis worked with one inexperienced CDO manager called NIR on a CDO named Norma, in the spring of that year. The Long Island-based NIR made about $1.5 million a year for managing Norma, a CDO that imploded.

“NIR’s collateral management business had arisen from efforts by Merrill Lynch to assemble a stable of captive small firms to manage its CDOs that would be beholden to Merrill Lynch on account of the business it funneled to them,” alleged a lawsuit filed in New York state court against Merrill over Norma that was settled quietly after the plaintiffs received internal Merrill documents.

NIR declined to comment.

Banks had a variety of ways to influence managers’ behavior.

Some of the few outside investors remaining in the market believed that the manager would do a better job if he owned a small slice of the CDO he was managing. That way, the manager would have more incentive to manage the investment well, since he, too, was an investor. But small management firms rarely had money to invest. Some banks solved this problem by advancing money to managers such as Harding.

Chau’s group managed two Citigroup CDOs — 888 Tactical Fund and Jupiter High-Grade VII — in which the bank loaned Harding money to buy risky pieces of the deal. The loans would be paid back out of the fees the managers took from the CDO and its investors. The loans were disclosed to investors in a few sentences among the hundreds of pages of legalese accompanying the deals.

In response to ProPublica’s questions, Chau’s lawyer said, “Harding Advisory’s dealings with investment banks were proper and fully disclosed.”

Citigroup made similar deals with other managers. The bank lent money to a manager called Vanderbilt Capital Advisors for its Armitage CDO, completed in March 2007.

Vanderbilt declined to comment. It couldn’t be learned how much money Citigroup loaned or whether it was ever repaid.

Yet again banks had masked their true stakes in CDO. Banks were lending money to CDO managers so they could buy the banks’ dodgy assets. If the managers couldn’t pay the loans back — and most were thinly capitalized — the banks were on the hook for even more losses when the CDO business collapsed.

Goldman, Merrill and Others Get Tough
When the housing market deteriorated, banks took advantage of a little-used power they had over managers.

The way CDOs are put together, there is a brief period when the bonds picked by managers sit on the banks’ balance sheets. Because the value of such assets can fall, banks reserved the right to overrule managers’ selections.

According to numerous bankers, managers and investors, banks rarely wielded that veto until late 2006, after which it became common. Merrill was in the lead.

“I would go to Merrill and tell them that I wanted to buy, say, a Citi bond,” recalls a CDO manager. “They would say ‘no.’ I would suggest a UBS bond, they would say ‘no.’ Eventually, you got the joke.” Managers could choose assets to put into their CDOs but they had to come from Merrill CDOs. One rival investment banker says Merrill treated CDO managers the way Henry Ford treated his Model T customers: You can have any color you want, as long as it’s black.

Once, Merrill’s Ken Margolis pushed a manager to buy a CDO slice for a Merrill-produced CDO called Port Jackson that was completed in the beginning of 2007: “‘You don’t have to buy the deal but you are crazy if you don’t because of your business,'” an executive at the management firm recalls Margolis telling him. “‘We have a big pipeline and only so many more mandates to give you.’ You got the message.” In other words: Take our stuff and we’ll send you more business. If not, forget it.

Margolis declined to comment on the incident.

“All the managers complained about it,” recalls O’Driscoll, the former Credit Suisse banker who competed with other investment banks to put deals together and market them. But “they were indentured slaves.” O’Driscoll recalls managers grumbling that Merrill in particular told them “what to buy and when to buy it.”

Other big CDO-producing banks quickly adopted the practice.

A little-noticed document released this year during a congressional investigation into Goldman Sachs’ CDO business reveals that bank’s thinking. The firm wrote a November 2006 internal memorandum [9] about a CDO called Timberwolf, managed by Greywolf, a small manager headed by ex-Goldman bankers. In a section headed “Reasons To Pursue,” the authors touted that “Goldman is approving every asset” that will end up in the CDO. What the bank intended to do with that approval power is clear from the memo: “We expect that a significant portion of the portfolio by closing will come from Goldman’s offerings.”

When asked to comment whether Goldman’s memo demonstrates that it had effective control over the asset selection process and that Greywolf was not in fact an independent manager, the bank responded: “Greywolf was an experienced, independent manager and made its own decisions about what reference assets to include. The securities included in Timberwolf were fully disclosed to the professional investors who invested in the transaction.”

Greywolf declined to comment. One of the investors, Basis Capital of Australia, filed a civil lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan against Goldman over the deal. The bank maintains the lawsuit is without merit.

By March 2007, the housing market’s signals were flashing red. Existing home sales plunged at the fastest rate in almost 20 years. Foreclosures were on the rise. And yet, to CDO buyer Peter Nowell’s surprise, banks continued to churn out CDOs.

“We were pulling back. We couldn’t find anything safe enough,” says Nowell. “We were amazed that April through June they were still printing deals. We thought things were over.”

Instead, the CDO machine was in overdrive. Wall Street produced $70 billion in mortgage CDOs in the first quarter of the year.

Many shareholder lawsuits battling their way through the court system today focus on this period of the CDO market. They allege that the banks were using the sales of CDOs to other CDOs to prop up prices and hide their losses.

“Citi’s CDO operations during late 2006 and 2007 functioned largely to sell CDOs to yet newer CDOs created by Citi to house them,” charges a pending shareholder lawsuit against the bank that was filed in federal court in Manhattan in February 2009. “Citigroup concocted a scheme whereby it repackaged many of these investments into other freshly-baked vehicles to avoid incurring a loss.”

Citigroup described the allegations as “irrational,” saying the bank’s executives would never knowingly take actions that would lead to “catastrophic losses.”

In the Hall of Mirrors, Myopic Rating Agencies
The portion of CDOs owned by other CDOs grew right alongside the market. What had been 5 percent of CDOs (remember the “bucket”) now came to constitute as much as 30 or 40 percent of new CDOs. (Wall Street also rolled out CDOs that were almost entirely made up of CDOs, called CDO squareds [10].)

The ever-expanding bucket provided new opportunities for incestuous trades.

It worked like this: A CDO would buy a piece of another CDO, which then returned the favor. The transactions moved both CDOs closer to completion, when bankers and managers would receive their fees.

Source: Thetica SystemsSource: Thetica Systems

ProPublica’s analysis shows that in the final two years of the business, CDOs with cross-ownership amounted to about one-fifth of the market, about $107 billion.Here’s an example from early May 2007:

  • A CDO called Jupiter VI bought a piece of a CDO called Tazlina II.
  • Tazlina II bought a piece of Jupiter VI.

Both Jupiter VI and Tazlina II were created by Merrill and were completed within a week of each other. Both were managed by small firms that did significant business with Merrill: Jupiter by Wing Chau’s Harding, and Tazlina by Terwin Advisors. Chau did not respond to questions about this deal. Terwin Advisors could not reached.

Just a few weeks earlier, CDO managers completed a comparable swap between Jupiter VI and another Merrill CDO called Forge 1.

Forge has its own intriguing history. It was the only deal done by a tiny manager of the same name based in Tampa, Fla. The firm was started less than a year earlier by several former Wall Street executives with mortgage experience. It received seed money from Bryan Zwan, who in 2001 settled an SEC civil lawsuit over his company’s accounting problems in a federal court in Florida. Zwan and Forge executives didn’t respond to requests for comment.

After seemingly coming out of nowhere, Forge won the right to manage a $1.5 billion Merrill CDO. That earned Forge a visit from the rating agency Moody’s.

“We just wanted to make sure that they actually existed,” says a former Moody’s executive. The rating agency saw that the group had an office near the airport and expertise to do the job.

Rating agencies regularly did such research on managers, but failed to ask more fundamental questions. The credit ratings agencies “did heavy, heavy due diligence on managers but they were looking for the wrong things: how you processed a ticket or how your surveillance systems worked,” says an executive at a CDO manager. “They didn’t check whether you were buying good bonds.”

One Forge employee recalled in a recent interview that he was amazed Merrill had been able to find buyers so quickly. “They were able to sell all the tranches” — slices of the CDO — “in a fairly rapid period of time,” said Rod Jensen, a former research analyst for Forge.

Forge achieved this feat because Merrill sold the slices to other CDOs, many linked to Merrill.

The ProPublica analysis shows that two Merrill CDOs, Maxim II and West Trade III, each bought pieces of Forge. Small managers oversaw both deals.

Forge, in turn, was filled with detritus from Merrill. Eighty-two percent of the CDO bonds owned by Forge came from other Merrill deals.

Citigroup did its own version of the shuffle, as these three CDOs demonstrate:

  • A CDO called Octonion bought some of Adams Square Funding II.
  • • Adams Square II bought a piece of Octonion.
  • • A third CDO, Class V Funding III, also bought some of Octonion.
  • • Octonion, in turn, bought a piece of Class V Funding III.

All of these Citi deals were completed within days of each other. Wing Chau was once again a central player. His firm managed Octonion. The other two were managed by a unit of Credit Suisse. Credit Suisse declined to comment.

Not all cross-ownership deals were consummated.

In spring 2007, Deutsche Bank was creating a CDO and found a manager that wanted to take a piece of it. The manager was overseeing a CDO that Merrill was assembling. Merrill blocked the manager from putting the Deutsche bonds into the Merrill CDO. A former Deutsche Bank banker says that when Deutsche Bank complained to Andy Phelps, a Merrill CDO executive, Phelps offered a quid pro quo: If Deutsche was willing to have the manager of its CDO buy some Merrill bonds, Merrill would stop blocking the purchase. Phelps declined to comment.

The Deutsche banker, who says its managers were independent, recalls being shocked: “We said we don’t control what people buy in their deals.” The swap didn’t happen.

The Missing Regulators and the Aftermath
In September 2007, as the market finally started to catch up with Merrill Lynch, Ken Margolis left the firm to join Wing Chau at Harding.

Chau and Margolis circulated a marketing plan for a new hedge fund to prospective investors touting their expertise in how CDOs were made and what was in them. The fund proposed to buy failed CDOs — at bargain basement prices. In the end, Margolis and Chau couldn’t make the business work and dropped the idea.

Why didn’t regulators intervene during the boom to stop the self-dealing that had permeated the CDO market?

No one agency had authority over the whole business. Since the business came and went in just a few years, it may have been too much to expect even assertive regulators to comprehend what was happening in time to stop it.

While the financial regulatory bill passed by Congress in July creates more oversight powers, it’s unclear whether regulators have sufficient tools to prevent a replay of the debacle.

In just two years, the CDO market had cut a swath of destruction. Partly because CDOs had bought so many pieces of each other, they collapsed in unison. Merrill Lynch and Citigroup, the biggest perpetrators of the self-dealing, were among the biggest losers. Merrill lost about $26 billion on mortgage CDOs and Citigroup about $34 billion.

Additional reporting by Kitty Bennett, Krista Kjellman Schmidt, Lisa Schwartz and Karen Weise.


© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in bank of america, cdo, citi, CitiGroup, concealment, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, Credit Suisse, deutsche bank, Economy, goldman sachs, investigation, Merrill Lynch, racketeering, RICO, rmbs, stock, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD, trade secrets, Wall Street0 Comments

Home Equity Loans are hard to recover

Home Equity Loans are hard to recover

Debts Rise, and Go Unpaid, as Bust Erodes Home Equity

By DAVID STREITFELD NEW YORK TIMES
Published: August 11, 2010

PHOENIX — During the great housing boom, homeowners nationwide borrowed a trillion dollars from banks, using the soaring value of their houses as security. Now the money has been spent and struggling borrowers are unable or unwilling to pay it back.

The delinquency rate on home equity loans is higher than all other types of consumer loans, including auto loans, boat loans, personal loans and even bank cards like Visa and MasterCard, according to the American Bankers Association.

Lenders say they are trying to recover some of that money but their success has been limited, in part because so many borrowers threaten bankruptcy and because the value of the homes, the collateral backing the loans, has often disappeared.

The result is one of the paradoxes of the recession: the more money you borrowed, the less likely you will have to pay up.

“When houses were doubling in value, mom and pop making $80,000 a year were taking out $300,000 home equity loans for new cars and boats,” said Christopher A. Combs, a real estate lawyer here, where the problem is especially pronounced. “Their chances are pretty good of walking away and not having the bank collect.”

Lenders wrote off as uncollectible $11.1 billion in home equity loans and $19.9 billion in home equity lines of credit in 2009, more than they wrote off on primary mortgages, government data shows. So far this year, the trend is the same, with combined write-offs of $7.88 billion in the first quarter.

Even when a lender forces a borrower to settle through legal action, it can rarely extract more than 10 cents on the dollar. “People got 90 cents for free,” Mr. Combs said. “It rewards immorality, to some extent.”

Utah Loan Servicing is a debt collector that buys home equity loans from lenders. Clark Terry, the chief executive, says he does not pay more than $500 for a loan, regardless of how big it is.

“Anything over $15,000 to $20,000 is not collectible,” Mr. Terry said. “Americans seem to believe that anything they can get away with is O.K.”

But the borrowers argue that they are simply rebuilding their ravaged lives. Many also say that the banks were predatory, or at least indiscriminate, in making loans, and nevertheless were bailed out by the federal government. Finally, they point to their trump card: they say will declare bankruptcy if a settlement is not on favorable terms.

“I am not going to be a slave to the bank,” said Shawn Schlegel, a real estate agent who is in default on a $94,873 home equity loan. His lender obtained a court order garnishing his wages, but that was 18 months ago. Mr. Schlegel, 38, has not heard from the lender since. “The case is sitting stagnant,” he said. “Maybe it will just go away.”

Mr. Schlegel’s tale is similar to many others who got caught up in the boom: He came to Arizona in 2003 and quickly accumulated three houses and some land. Each deal financed the next. “I was taught in real estate that you use your leverage to grow. I never dreamed the properties would go from $265,000 to $65,000.”

Apparently neither did one of his lenders, the Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, which gave him a home equity loan secured by, the contract states, the “security interest in your dwelling or other real property.”

Desert Schools, the largest credit union in Arizona, increased its allowance for loan losses of all types by 926 percent in the last two years. It declined to comment.

The amount of bad home equity loan business during the boom is incalculable and in retrospect inexplicable, housing experts say. Most of the debt is still on the books of the lenders, which include Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase.

“No one had ever seen a national real estate bubble,” said Keith Leggett, a senior economist with the American Bankers Association. “We would love to change history so more conservative underwriting practices were put in place.”

The delinquency rate on home equity loans was 4.12 percent in the first quarter, down slightly from the fourth quarter of 2009, when it was the highest in 26 years of such record keeping. Borrowers who default can expect damage to their creditworthiness and in some cases tax consequences.

Nevertheless, Mr. Leggett said, “more than a sliver” of the debt will never be repaid.

Eric Hairston plans to be among this group. During the boom, he bought as an investment a three-apartment property in Hoboken, N.J. At the peak, when the building was worth as much as $1.5 million, he took out a $190,000 home equity loan.

Mr. Hairston, who worked in the technology department of the investment bank Lehman Brothers, invested in a Northern California pizza catering company. When real estate cratered, Mr. Hairston went into default.

The building was sold this spring for $750,000. Only a small slice went to the home equity lender, which reserved the right to come after Mr. Hairston for the rest of what it was owed.

Mr. Hairston, who now works for the pizza company, has not heard again from his lender.

Since the lender made a bad loan, Mr. Hairston argues, a 10 percent settlement would be reasonable. “It’s not the homeowner’s fault that the value of the collateral drops,” he said.

Marc McCain, a Phoenix lawyer, has been retained by about 300 new clients in the last year, many of whom were planning to walk away from properties they could afford but wanted to be rid of — strategic defaulters. On top of their unpaid mortgage obligations, they had home equity loans of $50,000 to $150,000.

Fewer than 5 percent of these clients said they would continue paying their home equity loan no matter what. Ten percent intend to negotiate a short sale on their house, where the holders of the primary mortgage and the home equity loan agree to accept less than what they are owed. In such deals primary mortgage holders get paid first.

The other 85 percent said they would default and worry about the debt only if and when they were forced to, Mr. McCain said.

“People want to have some green pastures in front of them,” said Mr. McCain, who recently negotiated a couple’s $75,000 home equity debt into a $3,500 settlement. “It’s come to the point where morality is no longer an issue.”

Darin Bolton, a software engineer, defaulted on the loans for his house in a Chicago suburb last year because “we felt we were just tossing our money into a hole.” This spring, he moved into a rental a few blocks away.

“I’m kind of banking on there being too many of us for the lenders to pursue,” he said. “There is strength in numbers.”

John Collins Rudolf contributed reporting.

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in Economy, heloc1 Comment

Your Social Security Number May Not Be Unique to You

Your Social Security Number May Not Be Unique to You

Via: Comcast

Editor’s Note: This post by Tom Barlow originally appeared on August 12 on WalletPop.com.

How many times do companies use your Social Security number as the unique identifier for you? You doctor, bank, employer, all depend on the number for billing and recording transactions. A troubling new study by ID Analytics, Inc. found that, according to the wide-ranging company and government records it has access to, millions of Americans have more than one Social Security number, and millions of Social Security numbers are shared by more than one person.

Just how many? Out of the 280 million Social Security numbers the firm studied across its network of databases,

– More than 20 million people have more than one number associated with their name.
– More than 40 million numbers are associated with more than one person.
– More than 100,000 Americans have 5 or more numbers associated with their name.
– More than 27,000 Social Security numbers are associated with 10 or more people.

How does this happen? Many are doubtless due to bad memories, careless record-keeping or data input errors. Others are due to identity theft.

The company offers to check your identity for identity fraud free at MyIDScore.com; however, it wasn’t able to verify me (and I’m very verifiable) and the personal information you share is collected in an opt-out manner. That is, you’ll have to send the company an e-mail to stop it from using your data to “make our fraud prevention tools better.”

There is a method to the assignment of Social Security numbers which can help a little bit in spotting frauds. The first three digits are determined by where you lived when you received your number; 596 to 599, for example, are issued to residents of Puerto Rico (yes, it’s part of the United States). The higher the number, the further west you lived at the time you received your number. There are no Social Security numbers starting with 900-999.

The middle two digits identify when the card was issued; 184-50 was issued in Pennsylvania in 1973, for example. There are no numbers with the middle two digits of 00.

The final four digits are assigned in numerical order.

Check yours with this handy decoder.

Do you share a Social Security number with someone else? What are your biggest concerns? Sound off here.

WalletPop.com is one of the leading consumer finance sites on the Web. Find the latest deals, bargains, consumer protection and personal finance information quickly. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.


© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in Economy1 Comment

Elizabeth Warren Uncovered What the Govt. Did to ‘Rescue’ AIG, and It Ain’t Pretty

Elizabeth Warren Uncovered What the Govt. Did to ‘Rescue’ AIG, and It Ain’t Pretty

August 6, 2010

The government’s $182 billion bailout of insurance giant AIG should be seen as the Rosetta Stone for understanding the financial crisis and its costly aftermath. The story of American International Group explains the larger catastrophe not because this was the biggest corporate bailout in history but because AIG’s collapse and subsequent rescue involved nearly all the critical elements, including delusion and deception. These financial dealings are monstrously complicated, but this account focuses on something mere mortals can understand—moral confusion in high places, and the failure of governing institutions to fulfill their obligations to the public.

Three governmental investigative bodies have now pored through the AIG wreckage and turned up disturbing facts—the House Committee on Oversight and Reform; the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which will make its report at year’s end; and the Congressional Oversight Panel (COP), which issued its report on AIG in June.

The five-member COP, chaired by Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren, has produced the most devastating and comprehensive account so far. Unanimously adopted by its bipartisan members, it provides alarming insights that should be fodder for the larger debate many citizens long to hear—why Washington rushed to forgive the very interests that produced this mess, while innocent others were made to suffer the consequences. The Congressional panel’s critique helps explain why bankers and their Washington allies do not want Elizabeth Warren to chair the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The most troubling revelation in this story is the astonishing weakness of the Federal Reserve and its incompetence as a faithful defender of the public interest.

The report concludes that the Federal Reserve Board’s intimate relations with the leading powers of Wall Street—the same banks that benefited most from the government’s massive bailout—influenced its strategic decisions on AIG. The panel accuses the Fed and the Treasury Department of brushing aside alternative approaches that would have saved tens of billions in public funds by making these same banks “share the pain.”

Bailing out AIG effectively meant rescuing Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch (as well as a dozens of European banks) from huge losses. Those financial institutions played the derivatives game with AIG, the esoteric practice of placing financial bets on future events. AIG lost its bets, which led to its collapse. But other gamblers—the counterparties in AIG’s derivative deals—were made whole on their bets, paid off 100 cents on the dollar. Taxpayers got stuck with the bill.

“The AIG rescue demonstrated that Treasury and the Federal Reserve would commit taxpayers to pay any price and bear any burden to prevent the collapse of America’s largest financial institutions,” the COP report said. This could have been avoided, the report argues, if the Fed had listened to disinterested advisers with a less parochial understanding of the public interest.

Continue Reading…The Nation

or Alternet

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in conspiracy, corruption, Economy, FED FRAUD, federal reserve board, geithner, TAXES1 Comment

Million dollar California foreclosures – 35 examples of massive upper-tier foreclosures including one home that is underwater by $2.2 million. Santa Monica housing still in a bubble.

Million dollar California foreclosures – 35 examples of massive upper-tier foreclosures including one home that is underwater by $2.2 million. Santa Monica housing still in a bubble.

I know some people have this notion that somehow California real estate prices are going to miraculously recover simply by sheer determination and the belief in late night infomercial catch phrases. Instead of focusing on larger macro economic trends they will use limited data that doesn’t capture the larger emerging trend. We’ve all seen those TV ads yet data is going in a very different direction. Inventory is increasing in California. Prices are dropping. Problem loans are still filling the pipeline. These are facts and as stubborn as they are, they tell us a more provocative story about real estate in the state. That story revolves around the fact that a large shadow inventory is lingering and the artificial dams of government intervention are having a tougher time holding back the flood. Today, I wanted to focus on the higher end markets of Los Angeles County to show that contrary to a handful of anecdotal cases, overall there is a bigger trend emerging. The mid-tier market is now entering its correction.

Before we look at Santa Monica our targeted city today, I wanted to provide you with 35 specific examples of million dollar prime location foreclosures in Southern California. These are all in Los Angeles County:

Continue reading …Dr. Housing Bubble

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in Bank Owned, CONTROL FRAUD, Economy, foreclosure, foreclosures, mortgage, Real Estate, shadow foreclosures, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD, walk away0 Comments

Greatest Depression in California: People Begin Living Without Electricity and Water

Greatest Depression in California: People Begin Living Without Electricity and Water

Infowars.com
July 27, 2010

george4title

I couldn’t find statistics for local utility shut offs in my area, but I knew we would start to see more and more of this.

Houses everywhere are going vacant. People don’t say goodbye, they don’t leave a number, they just disappear. With their disappearance we add another vacant house to the street. But families living in housing without utilities is a new sight for me to behold. I spoke recently with a rep from So Cal Edison who, full time contacts residence who have had their electricity turned off due to non payment. She has a negotiator sent in and they work on a reduced payment. It’s amazing to me, that now, it is becoming acceptable in California to camp out in your home.

People are losing their homes, losing their cars and losing their dignity. How are we going to afford kids clothes and school supplies for the coming year? How can we expect families to pay for all these additional costs when the economy is in the shape it in. I ask myself this everyday.

Continue reading…INFOWARS.com

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in Economy, jobless, unemployed1 Comment

Emergency S.O.S.| America Falling to Foreign Bank Takeover

Emergency S.O.S.| America Falling to Foreign Bank Takeover

These people DO NOT care about you or your family! STAND UP!

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in Economy0 Comments

Peter Schiff – Watch Out For Run Away Inflation

Peter Schiff – Watch Out For Run Away Inflation

Expect more stimulus and a rise in interest rates.

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in Economy0 Comments

MUST WATCH VIDEOS: ECONOMIC LECTURE

MUST WATCH VIDEOS: ECONOMIC LECTURE

RSA Animate – Crises of Capitalism

In this RSA Animate, radical sociologist David Harvey asks if it is time to look beyond capitalism towards a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that really could be responsible, just, and humane?

RSA Animate – Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

This lively RSA Animate, adapted from Dan Pink’s talk at the RSA, illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace. www.theRSA.org

RSA Animate – Superfreakonomics

Are we really as altruistic as we might like to think? In the RSA’s new animation series, we put into pictures Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner’s case for re-evaluating the evidence.

RSA Animate – The Economic Consequences of Mr Brown

On 14 September 2009, Stein Ringen, Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Oxford, gave his assessment of the New Labour government and the state of the British constitution. In the first of the RSA’s new animation series, visual scribe Andrew Park presents his interpretation of the event.

see more….HERE

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in Economy0 Comments


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