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Tag Archive | "ameriquest"

DEUTSCHE v. PELLETIER | Maine Supreme Judicial Court Affirms JGMT “Ameriquest, Rescission, TILA, RESPA”

DEUTSCHE v. PELLETIER | Maine Supreme Judicial Court Affirms JGMT “Ameriquest, Rescission, TILA, RESPA”


MAINE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT

DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, AS TRUSTEE, IN
TRUST FOR THE REGISTERED HOLDERS OF AMERIQUEST MORTGAGE
SECURITIES INC., ASSET-BACKED PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES,
SERIES 2006-R2

v.

DONALD P. PELLETIER et al.

EXCERPT:

[¶13] Although the Pelletiers have not yet tendered to the bank the proceeds
of the loan that they received from Ameriquest, the statute specifies that tender is
not required until the creditor has performed its obligations under the law.
15 U.S.C.S. § 1635(b). The facts established in this summary judgment record
indicate that the creditor—the bank—has not yet performed its obligation to
“return to the obligor any money or property given as earnest money,
downpayment, or otherwise.” Id. Thus, the Pelletiers were not yet required to
tender the proceeds to the bank, and the court did not err in imposing the remedy of
rescission on summary judgment. Further proceedings are necessary, however, to
define the scope of that remedy. Because the parties have not followed the process
specified by statute with precision and clarity, the court may “otherwise order[]”
appropriate procedures to give effect to the remedy of rescission. Id. Accordingly,
although we affirm the court’s judgment granting the Pelletiers’ request for
rescission, we remand the matter for the court to determine how this rescission
should be effectuated.

The entry is:

Summary judgment for the Pelletiers on the
foreclosure complaint affirmed. Remanded for
further proceedings to effectuate the rescission of
the January 18, 2006, agreements.

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Internal Doc Reveals GMAC Filed False Document in Bid to Foreclose

Internal Doc Reveals GMAC Filed False Document in Bid to Foreclose


by Paul Kiel
ProPublica, July 27, 2011, 1:07 p.m.

GMAC, one of the nation’s largest mortgage servicers, faced a quandary last summer. It wanted to foreclose on a New York City homeowner but lacked the crucial paperwork needed to seize the property.

GMAC has a standard solution to such problems, which arise frequently in the post-bubble economy. Its employees secure permission to create and sign documents in the name of companies that made the original loans. But this case was trickier because the lender, a notorious subprime company named Ameriquest, had gone out of business in 2007.

And so GMAC, which was bailed out by taxpayers [1] in 2008, began looking for a way to craft a document that would pass legal muster, internal records obtained by ProPublica [2]show.

“The problem is we do not have signing authority—are there any other options?” Jeffrey Stephan, the head of GMAC’s “Document Execution” team, wrote to another employee and the law firm pursuing the foreclosure action [2]. No solutions were offered.

Three months later, GMAC had an answer. It filed a document with New York City authorities [3] that said the delinquent Ameriquest loan had been assigned to it “effective of” August 2005. The document [3] was dated July 7, 2010, three years after Ameriquest had ceased to exist and was signed by Stephan, who was identified as a “Limited Signing Officer” for Ameriquest Mortgage Company. Soon after, GMAC filed for foreclosure.

An examination by ProPublica suggests this transaction was not unique. A review of court records in New York identified hundreds of similar assignment documents filed in the name of Ameriquest after 2008 by GMAC and other mortgage servicers.

Get ProPublica’s stories delivered to your inbox [4]

The issue has attracted growing scrutiny in recent months as bloggers [5], consumer attorneys and media outlets [6] have identified what appears to be part of a pattern of questionable assignments filed across the country.

GMAC, which is still majority owned by the government, was at the center of what became known as the robo-signing scandal [7]. The uproar began last fall after revelations that mortgage servicing employees had produced flawed documents to speed foreclosures [8]. GMAC and other banks have acknowledged filing false affidavits in which bank officials claimed “personal knowledge” of the facts underlying thousands of mortgages. But GMAC and other servicers say they’ve since tightened their procedures. They insist that their records were largely accurate and the affidavits amounted to errors of form, not substance.

The issues surrounding the Ameriquest loan and others like it appear to be more serious.

“This assignment of mortgage has all of the markings of GMAC finding that it lacked a needed mortgage assignment in order to foreclose and just making it up,” said Thomas Cox, a Maine foreclosure defense attorney.

In New York, it’s a felony to file a public record with “intent to deceive.”

“It’s fraud,” said Linda Tirelli, a consumer bankruptcy attorney. “I want to know who’s going to do a perp walk for recording this.”

No criminal charges have been filed in the robo-signing cases.

Asked by ProPublica about the document, GMAC acknowledged Stephan did not have authority to sign on behalf of Ameriquest. The bank said it is still planning to push ahead with foreclosure on the homeowner, who remains in the property.

Company spokeswoman Gina Proia said an internal review last fall into “suspected documentation execution issues” had flagged the loan as problematic and that GMAC is “determining what needs to be done in order to receive the necessary authorization.”

“We will determine and complete the necessary steps to remediate and proceed with foreclosure,” Proia said.

GMAC also declined a request from ProPublica to interview Stephan.

Another GMAC document obtained by ProPublica shows that in at least one recent incident, GMAC employees were still discussing the possibility of fabricating evidence needed to facilitate a foreclosure.

The company once again lacked a document that would show it had been assigned the mortgage. Since the lender was defunct and no assignment had ever been made, GMAC again seemed to be stuck. But the employee proposed in June of this year that GMAC file a sworn statement that the assignment had once existed but had been lost. It’s unclear if such an affidavit was ultimately provided to a court.

Records also show that GMAC has continued to rely on documents signed by the very employee at the center of the robo-signing scandal—Jeffrey Stephan, the same employee who also signed the Ameriquest document in 2010. Stephan acknowledged in sworn testimony last year that he had been signing 400 documents each day [9], a revelation that helped kick off the scandal. According to a former employee and a consumer attorney, Stephan still works at GMAC, though he has been transferred to a different unit.

GMAC said it is still pursuing foreclosures based on assignments signed by Stephan. As part of a bid to rebrand itself, GMAC renamed its holding company Ally Financial last year.

“There is no reason or requirement to ‘withdraw’ valid assignments of mortgage that happened to have been signed by Mr. Stephan,” said GMAC spokeswoman Proia, because there’s “no requirement that [the assignment] be signed by a person with knowledge of any particular facts.” All that mattered, she said, was that the signer had received the proper authority.

Banks have little reason to worry about their documents being challenged, since homeowners rarely contest foreclosure actions. In a filing with the New Jersey Supreme Court, GMAC said that of the more than 4,000 foreclosures it has handled in the state only about 4 percent of homeowners had contested the action.

When homeowners do challenge banks’ documentation for foreclosures, they can have success. Late last week, the Vermont Supreme Court threw out a foreclosure case handled by GMAC due, in part, to a flawed assignment document signed by Stephan.

“It is neither irrational nor wasteful to expect the foreclosing party be actually in possession of its claimed interest,” the court said [10], “and have the proper supporting documentation in hand when filing suit.”

Since last fall, GMAC has added staff, increased training and added new procedures, said Proia. But some of those new hires have come from firms themselves accused of filing false foreclosure documents.

One manager at GMAC, Kevin Crecco, moved there from a position at the Law Offices of David Stern in Florida after the firm drew scrutiny from the state’s attorney general for allegedly filing forged documents. Stern’s office, once among Florida’s biggest foreclosure law firms and labeled a “foreclosure mill” by critics, ceased operations earlier this year.

An internal organization chart [11] from this spring for GMAC’s foreclosure department lists Crecco as a manager overseeing roughly two dozen employees. GMAC declined to make Crecco available for an interview. He hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing.

Mortgage servicers like GMAC continue to be set up like assembly lines, with members of its “Document Execution” team responsible for signing documents. The organizational chart shows two “Document Execution” teams of 13 employees each.

The employees are tasked with, among other things, signing affidavits attesting to the accuracy of the basic facts of the loan, such as the mortgage amount, outstanding fees, etc. Affidavits are a necessary step to foreclosure in many states where banks have to go to court to seize a home.

During the robo-signing scandal, GMAC admitted that employees signing affidavits didn’t verify the underlying facts. The bank says it has fixed the problems.

But consumer attorneys said that while GMAC’s processes have improved, they haven’t corrected basic flaws with their process.

Cox, the attorney who questioned Stephan last year as part of a foreclosure case, said employees on the “Document Execution” team still aren’t truly checking the accuracy of the underlying information. Rather than digging for the original documents, employees on the team look at the numbers given by a GMAC database and double-check the math.

If the employee “just looks at a computer screen, that’s not sufficient in my view,” said Cox. He said he would soon be challenging affidavits GMAC recently filed in court.

Consumer attorneys also said the systems that servicers rely on are consistently plagued with inaccuracies, making a more thorough verification of the information necessary. “These days, homeowners are being forced to save every receipt, every letter, every statement, so that one day they can prove that their payment history is accurate and the bank is wrong,” said Jim Kowalski, a consumer attorney in Florida.

GMAC’s Proia said the company’s procedures—which amount to a review of information in the company’s computerized databases—were sufficient to file affidavits.

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Michigan Appeals Court “Pays To Check a Map, IRS Lien Has Priority over MERS Lien” | Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys., Inc. v. Church

Michigan Appeals Court “Pays To Check a Map, IRS Lien Has Priority over MERS Lien” | Mortg. Elec. Registration Sys., Inc. v. Church


ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED
STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN

MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC
REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC
., as
nominee for InterBay Funding, LLC,
Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

TAMMY CHURCH; CHARLES O.
DAVIS
,
Defendants,

EXCERPTS:

SUTTON, Circuit Judge. It sometimes pays to check a map. The mortgage lender in this case did not, and as a result it recorded an interest in Tammy Church’s property in the wrong county. Luckily for the public fisc, the IRS, which also placed a lien on Church’s property, did not make the same mistake. When the lender realized what had happened, it sued, seeking in equity what it could not get in law—a declaration that it had the superior claim to the property. Equity does not save the lender in this instance, and we therefore affirm.

[…]

Everyone makes mistakes, to be sure. But it is difficult to find a basis in Michigan law for overlooking this one. MERS is not just a sophisticated party; its sophistication relates to this precise area of business and law—lending money and securing the loans with an interest in the borrowers’ property. See Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Ams. v. Spot Realty, Inc., 714 N.W.2d 409, 414 (Mich. Ct. App. 2005) (“[T]he doctrine of equitable subrogation was never intended for the protection of  sophisticated financial institutions that can cho[o]se the terms of their credit agreements.”). Nor was
it a state secret that Church’s property was in Antrim County. MERS attached to its own pleadings a settlement statement completed the day the mortgage was executed (reflecting the MERS loan and Church’s payment of her debts) and a sheriff’s deed foreclosing Church’s property, both dated before MERS recorded its interest in the wrong county and both identifying Church’s property as part of Antrim County. “A court’s equitable power is not an unrestricted license for the court” to do what it wishes with the fact patterns that come before it. Devillers v. Auto Club Ins. Ass’n, 702 N.W.2d 539, 556 (Mich. 2005). There must be a legitimate explanation for invoking that power. There is
none here.

Continue below…

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Northern MI Judge Throws Out Foreclosure Says Note Wasn’t Assigned By MERS

Northern MI Judge Throws Out Foreclosure Says Note Wasn’t Assigned By MERS


MFI-Miami-

An interesting ruling came down from the nether regions of Northern Michigan today.  Houghton County Circuit Judge Charles Goodman ruled that a note holder lacked legal standing to execute both a foreclosure and the subsequent eviction because the originating lender Ameriquest only transferred their rights as mortgagee to MERS not their rights under the note.  Therefore, because the mortgage and note have been separated and only the mortgage was assigned, the foreclosing entity, Household Finance who MERS assigned the mortgage to, lacked the legal standing to execute the foreclosure and eviction because they did not hold the promissory note.

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BLACK: There Was “Massive Illegality” In Mortgage Lending

BLACK: There Was “Massive Illegality” In Mortgage Lending


The Immunity Doctrine: Bank Fraudsters Go Free as a Matter of Policy


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Internal emails indicate Deutsche Bank knew they were bankrolling toxic mortgages by Ameriquest and others

Internal emails indicate Deutsche Bank knew they were bankrolling toxic mortgages by Ameriquest and others


iWatch

In 2007, the report says, Deutsche Bank rushed to sell off mortgage-backed investments amid worries that the market for subprime loans was deteriorating.

“Keep your fingers crossed but I think we will price this just before the market falls off a cliff,” a Deutsche Bank manager wrote in February 2007 about a deal stocked with securities created from raw material produced by Ameriquest and other subprime lenders.

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CA CLASS ACTION AGAINST CHASE HOME FINANCE, ARGENT MTG

CA CLASS ACTION AGAINST CHASE HOME FINANCE, ARGENT MTG


via Brian Davies:

Excerpt:

Chase specifically and purposely disregards the Bankruptcy Code and, through false, fraudulent, misleading and undocumented Proofs of Claim, illegally collects or attempts to collect amounts from debtor that Chase cannot document and/or are not actually owed. Defendant’s routine and persistent filing of undocumented and false Proofs of Claim is an abuse of process and is in violation of the Bankruptcy Code and Rules.

[ipaper docId=50608683 access_key=key-1k6f1j7w4nh7lb8ojp2f height=600 width=600 /]

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When Robosigners Attack!

When Robosigners Attack!


The Big Picture

By Barry Ritholtz – December 11th, 2010, 8:08AM

Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense.

That seems to be the approach that notorious robo-signing firm Nationwide Title Clearing has taken in responding to some of its critics.

If you are unfamiliar with their name, you might recall earlier this Fall when depositions of several Nationwide robo-signers employees went viral on YouTube (We mentioned these here and here).

This, amongst other perceived sleights has upset Nationwide Title, who has sued a St. Petersburg foreclosure defense lawyer, Matthew Weidner, for alleged libel and slander.

This is likely to be a terrible, terrible idea.

For those of you who are not attorneys, I need to point out a few things out about Libel and Slander laws in the United States. These are Constitutional issues, as the First Amendment protects speech, opinion, arguments, viewpoints, etc. In these cases, (capital “T”) Truth is an absolute defense. So if any defendant can demonstrate that the damaging statements were indeed, accurate, they win.

This case turns on the bizarre claim that the term robo-signer so libels the plaintiffs that they are entitled to damages. Given that Truth is a defense, the defendant will prevail if they can demonstrate Nationwide’s approach was robotic. Not literally machines doing the work, but any showing of assembly line manufacturing, for profit, of a streamlined document production that failed to review the documents, evaluate them, analyze the contents should qualify.

Here’s where things get very very interesting: In civil litigation, the discovery process provides lots of opportunities for a defendant to gather information related to the accusations to prove they are true. This is a very broad standard, and it means nearly anything relevant is fair game. Depositions of senior executives, the firm’s accounting and records, balance sheets, low level employees are all legitimate aspects of pre-trial discovery.

Why any private firm would subject themselves to this degree of scrutiny is quite baffling to me.


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FL Judge Orders “YouTube Depositions” From Nationwide Title Clearing Taken Down, ACLU Strikes Back!

FL Judge Orders “YouTube Depositions” From Nationwide Title Clearing Taken Down, ACLU Strikes Back!


Links will return pending ACLU’s victory…

NATIONWIDE TITLE CLEARING VIDEO DEPOSITIONS

VIDEO DEPOSITION OF NATIONWIDE TITLE CLEARING BRYAN BLY

SFF EXCLUSIVE: VIDEO DEPOSITION OF NATIONWIDE TITLE CRYSTAL MOORE

VIDEO DEPOSITION OF NATIONWIDE TITLE CLEARING DHURATA DOKO

And FULL DEPOSITION TRANSCRIPT OF NATIONWIDE TITLE CLEARING ERICA LANCE BRYAN BLY

Continue below to ACLU’s reply below…

According to a Certification filed by NTC’s counsel, on November 17, 2010, the trial court contacted via e-mail and requested that a one-hour hearing be set on Friday, November 19th, to hear the pending motions. App. Tab 10. NTC’s counsel learned that Mr. Forrest was traveling outside of the country and would not return until the following Monday, November 22nd. Id. As NTC’s counsel explained: …

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BRYAN BLY: NATIONWIDE TITLE CLEARING By Lynn Szymoniak, Esq.

BRYAN BLY: NATIONWIDE TITLE CLEARING By Lynn Szymoniak, Esq.


Mortgage Fraud

Bryan Bly
Nationwide Title Clearing

Action Date: November 8, 2010
Location: Palm Harbor, FL

The video-taped depositions of employees of Nationwide Title Clearing in Palm Harbor, Florida, were made available on the website Stop Foreclosure Fraud.

The deposition of Bryan Bly is particularly startling and straightforward. Bryan Bly signed documents and witnessed or notarized other documents. Bly testified that he did not witness the signatures he notarized. Bly signed in batches of 200. Bly signed approximately 5,000 mortgage assignments each day. Bly also signed as an officer of many lenders. Bly signed as an officer of over 20 banks and mortgage companies. His supervisors told him there were corporate resolutions authorizing him to sign using these titles. Bly had no knowledge of the information on the documents. Bly did not know what was meant by a mortgage assignment or an attorney-in-fact although he signed mortgage assignments as an officer of Citi Financial as attorney-in-fact for Argent Mortgage. He did not verify any information other than to make sure co-employees had signed their names so there were no blank lines on the documents. He has done this work for approximately 10 years.

One of the titles not discussed in the deposition, but used on tens of thousands of mortgage assignments signed by Bly was Attorney-In-Fact, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, as Receiver for IndyMac Federal Bank FSB, successor to IndyMac Mortgage Holdings, Inc. Bly continued to sign as Attorney-In-Fact for the FDIC as recently as June 25, 2010. A copy of an assignment signed by Bly as Attorney-In-Fact for the FDIC is available in the “Pleadings” section of Fraud Digest.


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FIVE (5) NYSC CASES INVOLVING ROBO-SIGNER TAMARA PRICE

FIVE (5) NYSC CASES INVOLVING ROBO-SIGNER TAMARA PRICE


Excerpts:

#1 TP1_US BANK v. Ronnie Fishbein

The purported affidavit of Tamara Price, “Vice President of CITI RESIDENTIAL LENDING MORTGAGE, a
servicing agent who has power of attorney for the plaintiff,” does not contain a jurat, and there is
no language of oath or affirmation. The absence of a jurat renders the “affidavit” inadmissible as
there is no evidence that an oath or affirmation was taken (Pagano v Kingsbury, 182 AD2d 268
[ 2d Dept 19921; see also, People v Lieberman, 57 Misc 2d 1070 [Sup. Ct 19681). Moreover, the
purported power of attorney pursuant to which 1 he affidavit was assertedly prepared is not
annexed to the motion papers, and the submissions do not otherwise establish the authority of an
officer of plaintiffs servicer to execute the affidavit on behalf of plaintiff.

#2 TP2_ARGENT v. Olivera

The Affidavit of Merit and Amount Due was executed and notarized in San Bernadino, California
by Tamara Price and it is unaccompanied by a certificate of conformity and, therefore, cannot
provide evidence on this application. (see Daimler Chrysler Services North America LLC v,
Tammaro 14 Misc 34128 [A]; 2006 NY Slip OP 52506[U]* [App Term, 2Deptl; Bath Meaka1
Suppw, Inc. v. Allstate Indemnity Co., 13 Misc 3d142[A] 2006 NY Slip OP52273[U] *1-*2 [App
Term 2d Dept]).

#3 TP 3 DBNT v. Halverson

Moreover, the submissions do not reflect the authority of Tamara Price, a
self-described “authorized agent” of AMC Mortgage Services, hc., a
non-party to this mortgage foreclosure action, to represent plaintiff in this action, nor do the
submissions contain evidence that AMC Mortgage Services, Inc. is the attorney in fact for the
plaintiff in this action, as alleged in the affidavit of Ms. Price. Similarly, the assignment whereby
the mortgage was purportedly assigned to plaintiff was executed by Tamara Smith on behalf of
AMC Mortgage Services, Inc. as “authorized agent” for the assignor, without any evidence of
such agency. Accordingly, the motion is denied, with leave to renew upon proper submissions
that address the deficiencies identified herein.

#4 FROM JUDGE SCHACK

TP 4 JUDGE SCHACK_ DEUTSCHE v. Ezagui

According to plaintiffs application, defendant Ezaguis’ default began with the
nonpayment of principal and interest due on September 1,2006. Yet, more than five
months later, plaintiff DEUTSCHE BANK was idling to take an assignment of a
nonperforming loan from AMERIQUEST. Further, both assignor AMC, as Attorney in
Fact for AMERIQUEST, and assignee, DEUTSCHE BANK, have the same address, 505
City Parkway West, Orange, CA 92868. Plaintiffs “affidavit of amount due,” submitted
in support of the instant application for a default order of reference was executed by
Tamara Price, on February 16, 2007. Ms. Price states that “I am the Vice President for
DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, AS TRUSTEE OF
AMERIQUEST MORTGAGE SECURITIES, INC., ASSET-BACKED PASS
THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2004-R1( 1, UNDER THE POLING AND
SERVICING AGREEMENT DATED AS OF OCTOBER 1,2004, WITHOUT
RECOURSE (DEUTSCHE BANK.” However, i he February 7,2007 assignment from
AMERIQUEST, by AMC, its Attorney in Fact, is executed by Tamara Price, Vice
President of AMC. The Tamara Price signatures on both the February 7,2007 affidavit
and the February 16,2007 assignment are identical. Did Ms. Price change employers
from February 7,2007 to February 16,2007? The Court is concerned that there may be
fraud on the part of AMERIQUEST, or at least malfeasance. Before granting an
application for an order of reference, the Court requires an affidavit from Ms. Price,
describing her employment history for the past three years. Further, irrespective of her
employment history, Ms. Price must explain why DEUTSCHE BANK would purchase a
nonperforming loan from AMERIQUEST, and why DEUTSCHE BANK shares office

THE BIGGIE

#5 JUDGE SCHACK_DBNT v. CLOUDEN

In the instant action, Argent’s defective assignment to Deutsche Bank affects the
standing of Deutsche Bank to bring this action. The recorded assignment from Argent to
Deutsche Bank, made by “Tamara Price, as Authorized Agent” on behalf of “AMC
Mortgage Services Inc. as authorized agent,” lacks any power of attorney granted by
Argent to AMC Mortgage Services, Inc. and/or Tamara Price to act on its behalf. The
first mortgage assignment, from Grand Pacific Mortgage to Argent, was proper. It was
executed by the President of Grand Pacific Mortgage.

Continue Below…

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FULL DEPOSITION TRANSCRIPT OF AMC, CITI RESIDENTIAL TAMARA PRICE

FULL DEPOSITION TRANSCRIPT OF AMC, CITI RESIDENTIAL TAMARA PRICE


Excerpts:

Q Do you know if Deutsche Bank is owed any
money?

A Yes.

Q How do you know that?

A By what the document says.

Q I know that, but you signed the document
saying that you had done some things. Are you saying
you know it to be true simply because it was presented
to you?

A No.

Q Well, how do you know that Deutsche Bank
National Bank, as trustee is owed a thing?

A Because of the process in the place with the
department that generate the foreclosure figures for
us, and I rely on their integrity and their accuracy.

Q Do you know if Deutsche Bank owned the notes as
of the day this was notarized February, 27, 2007?

A Yes.

Q How do you know that?

A By the transaction of the sale of the loan to
them.

Q By who?

A By investor operations.

Q Who is investor operations?

A They are the department that processed the
reporting to the investors.

[ipaper docId=41550504 access_key=key-2crvm8l5p6is55j5cyo8 height=600 width=600 /]

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The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Bankers Fleeced America, and Launched a Global Crisis

The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Bankers Fleeced America, and Launched a Global Crisis


By Michael Hudson

October 22, 2010 | The following is an excerpt from Michael Hudson’s THE MONSTER:  How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America – And Spawned a Global Crisis (2010, Times Books)

A few weeks after he started working at Ameriquest Mortgage, Mark Glover looked up from his cubicle and saw a coworker do something odd. The guy stood at his desk on the twenty-third floor of downtown Los Angeles’s Union Bank Building. He placed two sheets of paper against the window. Then he used the light streaming through the window to trace something from one piece of paper to another. Somebody’s signature.

Glover was new to the mortgage business. He was twenty-nine and hadn’t held a steady job in years. But he wasn’t stupid. He knew about financial sleight of hand — at that time, he had a check-fraud charge hanging over his head in the L.A. courthouse a few blocks away. Watching his coworker, Glover’s first thought was: How can I get away with that? As a loan officer at Ameriquest, Glover worked on commission. He knew the only way to earn the six-figure income Ameriquest had promised him was to come up with tricks for pushing deals through the mortgage-financing pipeline that began with Ameriquest and extended through Wall Street’s most respected investment houses.

Glover and the other twentysomethings who filled the sales force at the downtown L.A. branch worked the phones hour after hour, calling strangers and trying to talk them into refinancing their homes with high-priced “subprime” mortgages. It was 2003, subprime was on the rise, and Ameriquest was leading the way. The company’s owner, Roland Arnall, had in many ways been the founding father of subprime, the business of lending money to home owners with modest incomes or blemished credit histories. He had pioneered this risky segment of the mortgage market amid the wreckage of the savings and loan disaster and helped transform his company’s headquarters, Orange County, California, into the capital of the subprime industry. Now, with the housing market booming and Wall Street clamoring to invest in subprime, Ameriquest was growing with startling velocity.


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Judge Bufford, Judge Ayers, MERS & The UCC Committee

Judge Bufford, Judge Ayers, MERS & The UCC Committee


UNIFORM COMMERCIAL CODE COMMITTEE

WHERE’S THE NOTE, WHO’S THE HOLDER: ENFORCEMENT OF PROMISSORY NOTE SECURED BY REAL ESTATE

HON. SAMUEL L. BUFFORD
UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY JUDGE
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

(FORMERLY HON.) R. GLEN AYERS
LANGLEY & BANACK
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

AMERICAN BANKRUPTCY INSTUTUTE
APRIL 3, 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C.

WHERE’S THE NOTE, WHO’S THE HOLDER

INTRODUCTION

In an era where a very large portion of mortgage obligations have been securitized, by assignment to a trust indenture trustee, with the resulting pool of assets being then sold as mortgage backed securities, foreclosure becomes an interesting exercise, particularly where judicial process is involved.  We are all familiar with the securitization process.  The steps, if not the process, is simple.  A borrower goes to a mortgage lender.  The lender finances the purchase of real estate.  The borrower signs a note and mortgage or deed of trust.  The original lender sells the note and assigns the mortgage to an entity that securitizes the note by combining the note with hundreds or thousands of similar obligation to create a package of mortgage backed securities, which are then sold to investors.

Unfortunately, unless you represent borrowers, the vast flow of notes into the maw of the securitization industry meant that a lot of mistakes were made.  When the borrower defaults, the party seeking to enforce the obligation and foreclose on the underlying collateral sometimes cannot find the note.  A lawyer sophisticated in this area has speculated to one of the authors that perhaps a third of the notes “securitized” have been lost or destroyed.  The cases we are going to look at reflect the stark fact that the unnamed source’s speculation may be well-founded.

UCC SECTION 3-309

If the issue were as simple as a missing note, UCC §3-309 would provide a simple solution.  A person entitled to enforce an instrument which has been lost, destroyed or stolen may enforce the instrument. If the court is concerned that some third party may show up and attempt to enforce the instrument against the payee, it may order adequate protection.  But, and however, a person seeking to enforce a missing instrument must be a person entitled to enforce the instrument, and that person must prove the instrument’s terms and that person’s right to enforce the instrument.  §3-309 (a)(1) & (b).

WHO’S THE HOLDER

Enforcement of a note always requires that the person seeking to collect show that it is the holder.  A holder is an entity that has acquired the note either as the original payor or transfer by endorsement of order paper or physical possession of bearer paper.  These requirements are set out in Article 3 of the Uniform Commercial Code, which has been adopted in every state, including Louisiana, and in the District of Columbia.  Even in bankruptcy proceedings, State substantive law controls the rights of note and lien holders, as the Supreme Court pointed out almost forty (40) years ago in United States v. Butner, 440 U.S. 48, 54-55 (1979).

However, as Judge Bufford has recently illustrated, in one of the cases discussed below, in the bankruptcy and other federal courts, procedure is governed by the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy and Civil Procedure.  And, procedure may just have an impact on the issue of “who,” because, if the holder is unknown, pleading and standing issues arise.

BRIEF REVIEW OF UCC PROVISIONS

Article 3 governs negotiable instruments – it defines what a negotiable instrument is and defines how ownership of those pieces of paper is transferred.  For the precise definition, see § 3-104(a) (“an unconditional promise or order to pay a fixed amount of money, with or without interest . . . .”)  The instrument may be either payable to order or bearer and payable on demand or at a definite time, with or without interest.

Ordinary negotiable instruments include notes and drafts (a check is a draft drawn on a bank).  See § 3-104(e).

Negotiable paper is transferred from the original payor by negotiation.  §3-301.  “Order paper” must be endorsed; bearer paper need only be delivered.  §3-305.  However, in either case, for the note to be enforced, the person who asserts the status of the holder must be in possession of the instrument.  See UCC § 1-201 (20) and comments.

The original and subsequent transferees are referred to as holders.  Holders who take with no notice of defect or default are called “holders in due course,” and take free of many defenses.  See §§ 3-305(b).

The UCC says that a payment to a party “entitled to enforce the instrument” is sufficient to extinguish the obligation of the person obligated on the instrument.  Clearly, then, only a holder – a person in possession of a note endorsed to it or a holder of bearer paper – may seek satisfaction or enforce rights in collateral such as real estate.

NOTE:  Those of us who went through the bank and savings and loan collapse of the 1980’s are familiar with these problems.  The FDIC/FSLIC/RTC sold millions of notes secured and unsecured, in bulk transactions.  Some notes could not be found and enforcement sometimes became a problem.  Of course, sometimes we are forced to repeat history.  For a recent FDIC case, see Liberty Savings Bank v. Redus, 2009 WL 41857 (Ohio App. 8 Dist.), January 8, 2009.

THE RULES

Judge Bufford addressed the rules issue this past year.  See In re Hwang, 396 B.R. 757  (Bankr. C. D. Cal. 2008).  First, there are the pleading problems that arise when the holder of the note is unknown.  Typically, the issue will arise in a motion for relief from stay in a bankruptcy proceeding.

According F.R.Civ. Pro. 17, “[a]n action must be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest.”  This rule is incorporated into the rules governing bankruptcy procedure in several ways.  As Judge Bufford has pointed out, for example, in a motion for relief from stay, filed under F.R.Bankr.Pro. 4001 is a contested matter, governed by F. R. Bankr. P. 9014, which makes F.R. Bankr. Pro. 7017 applicable to such motions.  F.R. Bankr. P. 7017 is, of course, a restatement of F.R. Civ. P. 17.  In re Hwang, 396 B.R. at 766.  The real party in interest in a federal action to enforce a note, whether in bankruptcy court or federal district court, is the owner of a note.  (In securitization transactions, this would be the trustee for the “certificate holders.”) When the actual holder of the note is unknown, it is impossible – not difficult but impossible – to plead a cause of action in a federal court (unless the movant simply lies about the ownership of the note).  Unless the name of the actual note holder can be stated, the very pleadings are defective.

STANDING

Often, the servicing agent for the loan will appear to enforce the note.   Assume that the servicing agent states that it is the authorized agent of the note holder, which is “Trust Number 99.”   The servicing agent is certainly a party in interest, since a party in interest in a bankruptcy court is a very broad term or concept.  See, e.g., Greer v. O’Dell, 305 F.3d 1297, 1302-03 (11th Cir. 2002).  However, the servicing agent may not have standing: “Federal Courts have only the power authorized by Article III of the Constitutions and the statutes enacted by Congress pursuant thereto. … [A] plaintiff must have Constitutional standing in order for a federal court to have jurisdiction.”  In re Foreclosure Cases, 521 F.Supp. 3d 650, 653 (S.D. Ohio, 2007) (citations omitted).

But, the servicing agent does not have standing, for only a person who is the holder of the note has standing to enforce the note.  See, e.g., In re Hwang, 2008 WL 4899273 at 8.

The servicing agent may have standing if acting as an agent for the holder, assuming that the agent can both show agency status and that the principle is the holder.  See, e.g., In re Vargas, 396 B.R. 511 (Bankr. C.D. Cal. 2008) at 520.

A BRIEF ASIDE: WHO IS MERS?

For those of you who are not familiar with the entity known as MERS, a frequent participant in these foreclosure proceedings:

MERS is the “Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc.  “MERS is a mortgage banking ‘utility’ that registers mortgage loans in a book entry system so that … real estate loans can be bought, sold and securitized, just like Wall Street’s book entry utility for stocks and bonds is the Depository Trust and Clearinghouse.” Bastian, “Foreclosure Forms”, State. Bar of Texas 17th Annual Advanced Real Estate Drafting Course, March 9-10, 2007, Dallas, Texas. MERS is enormous.  It originates thousands of loans daily and is the mortgagee of record for at least 40 million mortgages and other security documents. Id.

MERS acts as agent for the owner of the note.  Its authority to act should be shown by an agency agreement.  Of course, if the owner is unknown, MERS cannot show that it is an authorized agent of  the owner.

RULES OF EVIDENCE – A PRACTICAL PROBLEM

This structure also possesses practical evidentiary problems where the party asserting a right to foreclose must be able to show a default.  Once again, Judge Bufford has addressed this issue.   At In re Vargas, 396 B.R. at 517-19.  Judge Bufford made a finding that the witness called to testify as to debt and default was incompetent.  All the witness could testify was that he had looked at the MERS computerized records.  The witness was unable to satisfy the requirements of the Federal Rules of Evidence, particularly Rule 803, as applied to computerized records in the Ninth Circuit.  See id. at 517-20.  The low level employee could really only testify that the MERS screen shot he reviewed reflected a default.  That really is not much in the way of evidence, and not nearly enough to get around the hearsay rule.

FORECLOSURE OR RELIEF FROM STAY

In a foreclosure proceeding in a judicial foreclosure state, or a request for injunctive relief in a non-judicial foreclosure state, or in a motion for relief proceeding in a bankruptcy court, the courts are dealing with and writing about the problems very frequently.

In many if not almost all cases, the party seeking to exercise the rights of the creditor will be a servicing company.  Servicing companies will be asserting the rights of their alleged principal, the note holder, which is, again, often going to be a trustee for a securitization package.  The mortgage holder or beneficiary under the deed of trust will, again, very often be MERS.

Even before reaching the practical problem of debt and default, mentioned above, the moving party must show that it holds the note or (1) that it is an agent of the holder and that (2) the holder remains the holder.  In addition, the owner of the note, if different from the holder, must join in the motion.

Some states, like Texas, have passed statutes that allow servicing companies to act in foreclosure proceedings as a statutorily recognized agent of the noteholder.  See, e.g., Tex. Prop. Code §51.0001.  However, that statute refers to the servicer as the last entity to whom the debtor has been instructed to make payments.  This status is certainly open to challenge.  The statute certainly provides nothing more than prima facie evidence of the ability of the servicer to act.   If challenged, the servicing agent must show that the last entity to communicate instructions to the debtor is still the holder of the note.  See, e.g., HSBC Bank, N.A. v. Valentin, 2l N.Y.  Misc. 3d 1123(A), 2008 WL 4764816 (Table) (N.Y. Sup.), Nov. 3, 2008.  In addition, such a statute does not control in federal court where Fed. R. Civ. P. 17 and 19 (and Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7017 and 7019) apply.

SOME RECENT CASE LAW

These cases are arranged by state, for no particular reason.

Massachusetts

In re Schwartz, 366 B.R.265 (Bankr. D. Mass. 2007)

Schwartz concerns a Motion for Relief to pursue an eviction. Movant asserted that the property had been foreclosed upon prior to the date of the bankruptcy petition.  The pro se debtor asserted that the Movant was required to show that it had authority to conduct the sale.  Movant, and “the party which appears to be the current mortgagee…” provided documents for the court to review, but did not ask for an evidentiary hearing.  Judge Rosenthal sifted through the documents and found that the Movant and the current mortgagee had failed to prove that the foreclosure was properly conducted.

Specifically, Judge Rosenthal found that there was no evidence of a proper assignment of the mortgage prior to foreclosure.  However, at footnote 5, Id. at 268, the Court also finds that there is no evidence that the note itself was assigned and no evidence as to who the current holder might be.

Nosek v. Ameriquest Mortgage Company (In re Nosek), 286 Br. 374 (Bankr D Mass. 2008).

Almost a year to the day after Schwartz was signed, Judge Rosenthal issued a second opinion.  This is an opinion on an order to show cause.  Judge Rosenthal specifically found that, although the note and mortgage involved in the case had been transferred from the originator to another party within five days of closing, during the five years in which the chapter 13 proceeding was pending, the note and mortgage and associated claims had been prosecuted by Ameriquest which has represented itself to be the holder of the note and the mortgage.  Not until September of 2007 did Ameriquest notify the Court that it was merely the servicer.  In fact, only after the chapter 13 bankruptcy had been pending for about three years was there even an assignment of the servicing rights.  Id. at 378.

Because these misrepresentations were not simple mistakes:  as the Court has noted on more than one occasion, those parties who do not hold the note of mortgage do not service the mortgage do not have standing to pursue motions for leave or other actions arising form the mortgage obligation.  Id at 380.

As a result, the Court sanctioned the local law firm that had been prosecuting the claim $25,000.  It sanctioned a partner at that firm an additional $25,000.  Then the Court sanctioned the national law firm involved $100,000 and ultimately sanctioned Wells Fargo $250,000.  Id. at 382-386.

In re Hayes, 393 B.R. 259 (Bankr. D. Mass. 2008).

Like Judge Rosenthal, Judge Feeney has attacked the problem of standing and authority head on.  She has also held that standing must be established before either a claim can be allowed or a motion for relief be granted.

Ohio

In re Foreclosure Cases, 521 F.Supp. 2d (S.D. Ohio 2007).

Perhaps the District Court’s orders in the foreclosure cases in Ohio have received the most press of any of these opinions.  Relying almost exclusively on standing, the Judge Rose has determined that a foreclosing party must show standing.  “[I]n a foreclosure action, the plaintiff must show that it is the holder of the note and the mortgage at the time that the complaint was filed.”  Id. at 653.

Judge Rose instructed the parties involved that the willful failure of the movants to comply with the general orders of the Court would in the future result in immediate dismissal of foreclosure actions.

Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co. v. Steele, 2008 WL 111227 (S.D. Ohio) January 8, 2008.

In Steele, Judge Abel followed the lead of Judge Rose and found that Deutsche Bank had filed evidence in support of its motion for default judgment indicating that MERS was the mortgage holder.  There was not sufficient evidence to support the claim that Deutsche Bank was the owner and holder of the note as of that date.  Following In re Foreclosure Cases, 2007 WL 456586, the Court held that summary judgment would be denied “until such time as Deutsche Bank was able to offer evidence showing, by a preponderance of evidence, that it owned the note and mortgage when the complaint was filed.”  2008 WL 111227 at 2.  Deutsche Bank was given twenty-one days to comply.  Id.

Illinois

U.S. Bank, N.A. v. Cook, 2009 WL 35286 (N.D. Ill. January 6, 2009).

Not all federal district judges are as concerned with the issues surrounding the transfer of notes and mortgages.  CookId. at 3.  In fact, a review of the evidence submitted by U.S. Bank showed only that it was the alleged trustee of the securitization pool.  U.S. Bank relied exclusively on the “pooling and serving agreement” to show that it was the holder of the note.  Id. is a very pro lender case and, in an order granting a motion for summary judgment, the Court found that Cook had shown no “countervailing evidence to create a genuine issue of facts.”

Under UCC Article 3, the evidence presented in Cook was clearly insufficient.

New York

HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v. Valentin, 21 Misc. 3D 1124(A), 2008 WL 4764816 (Table) (N.Y. Sup.) November 3, 2008.  In Valentin, the New York court found that, even though given an opportunity to, HSBC did not show the ownership of debt and mortgage.  The complaint was dismissed with prejudice and the “notice of pendency” against the property was cancelled.

Note that the Valentin case does not involve some sort of ambush. The Court gave every HSBC every opportunity to cure the defects the Court perceived in the pleadings.

California

In re Vargas, 396 B.R. 511 (Bankr. C.D. Cal. 2008)

and

In re Hwang, 396 B.R. 757 (Bankr. C.D. Cal. 2008)

These two opinions by Judge Bufford have been discussed above.  Judge Bufford carefully explores the related issues of standing and ownership under both federal and California law.

Texas

In re Parsley, 384 B.R. 138 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. 2008)

and

In re Gilbreath, 395 B.R. 356 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. 2008)

These two recent opinions by Judge Jeff Bohm are not really on point, but illustrate another thread of cases running through the issues of motions for relief from stay in bankruptcy court and the sloppiness of loan servicing agencies.  Both of these cases involve motions for relief that were not based upon fact but upon mistakes by servicing agencies.  Both opinions deal with the issue of sanctions and, put simply, both cases illustrate that Judge Bohm (and perhaps other members of the bankruptcy bench in the Southern District of Texas) are going to be very strict about motions for relief in consumer cases.

SUMMARY

The cases cited illustrate enormous problems in the loan servicing industry.  These problems arise in the context of securitization and illustrate the difficulty of determining the name of the holder, the assignee of the mortgage, and the parties with both the legal right under Article 3 and the standing under the Constitution to enforce notes, whether in state court or federal court.

Interestingly, with the exception of Judge Bufford and a few other judges, there has been less than adequate focus upon the UCC title issues.  The next round of cases may and should focus upon the title to debt instrument.  The person seeking to enforce the note must show that:

(1)               It is the holder of this note original by transfer, with all necessary rounds;

(2)               It had possession of the note before it was lost;

(3)               If it can show that title to the note runs to it, but the original is lost or destroyed, the holder must be          prepared to post a bond;

(4)               If the person seeking to enforce is an agent, it must show its agency status and that its principal is the holder of the note (and meets the above requirements).

Then, and only then, do the issues of evidence of debt and default and assignment of mortgage rights become relevant.


MORE INFO LINK

UNIFORM COMMERCIAL CODE AND NOTE TRANSFERS AND DEED OF TRUST-1


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Posted in conflict of interest, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, deed of trust, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, Judge R. Glen Ayers, judge samuel bufford, mbs, MERS, MERSCORP, mortgage, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., note, rmbs, securitization, servicers, trustee, Trusts, ucc, uniform commercial code committeeComments (1)

DEUTSCHE GETS AN ARIZONA BEAT DOWN! In RE: Tarantola

DEUTSCHE GETS AN ARIZONA BEAT DOWN! In RE: Tarantola


U.S. Bankruptcy Judge EILEEN W. HOLLOWELL knew exactly where this was going and put an immediate stop to it.

Deutsche not only created the Allonge after it filed its MRS and falsely represented that it was affixed to the Original, but it also relied on the LPA authorizing the transfer of the Note when substantially identical powers of attorney have been held to be ineffective in reported decisions involving Deutsche.

Deutsche, AHMSI and counsel should, however, treat this decision as a warning. If, in the future, the court is confronted with filings as deficient and incorrect as filed in this case, the court will issue an order to show cause and consider imposing sanctions including, but not limited to, an award of fees to debtors’ counsel for having to oppose motions filed without proper evidence or worse with improper evidence.


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Posted in chain in title, citi, conflict of interest, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, deutsche bank, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, note, originator, securitization, servicers, trusteeComments (1)

TILA Violations ‘Originator’| HUBBARD v Ameriquest, Deutsche, AMC Mtg. Svcs. 2008

TILA Violations ‘Originator’| HUBBARD v Ameriquest, Deutsche, AMC Mtg. Svcs. 2008


Conclusion

Based on the foregoing analysis, the Court denies Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment [103] as to AMC and grants Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment [103] as to Ameriquest and Deutsche Bank, finding both Ameriquest and Deutsche Bank liable for rescission, statutory damages, and costs and attorneys’ fees. Plaintiff is given until October 14, 2008, in which to submit supplemental briefing, consistent with this decision, on the appropriate damage calculations and how to properly unwind the transaction for rescission purposes.

Ameriquest and Deutsche Bank will have until October 25, 2008, in which to respond to 12 In Payton, the court concluded that statutory damages could not be imposed on the assignee because the violation was not apparent on its face, but that an award of attorney’s fees against the assignee was appropriate because the plaintiff had brought a successful action for rescission. 2003 WL 22349118, at *7-*8.

Case 1:05-cv-00389 Document 143 Filed 09/30/2008

Plaintiff’s calculation of damages and briefing on rescission. Finally, the Court denies
Defendants’ motion to strike portions of Plaintiff’s renewed motion for summary judgment [113]
as moot in light of the discussion above.

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Posted in deutsche bank, foreclosure, foreclosures, originator, tila, truth in lending act, ViolationsComments (0)

Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. foreclosed, hired a company to "trash out"

Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. foreclosed, hired a company to "trash out"


Family files lawsuit against bank, say Newaygo home was unfairly foreclosed

By John Agar | The Grand Rapids Press

April 27, 2010, 6:39AM

home press conference.jpgGrand Rapids Press File PhotoRick and Sherry Rought of Gowen. GRAND RAPIDS — Rick and Sherry Rought of Gowen paid cash for the old house, a $14,000 fixer-upper, for their daughter, Hannah, while she attended Ferris State University.

Seven months later, after the couple started repairs and moved in furniture, Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. foreclosed, hired a company to “trash out” the Roughts’ belongings, and changed locks and turned off utilities, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court.

They believe that Deutsche, as trustee of Ameriquest Mortgage Securities Inc., didn’t realize the house, repossessed in 2006, was not subject to foreclosure.

It is a nightmare that has happened across the nation as the economy tanked, the couple’s attorney, Carlin Phillips, said at a press conference.

“It’s like the Wild West right now in the foreclosure industry,” he said.

Deutsche, however, said it played no role in the dispute, and that the alleged actions came under the purview of American Home Mortgage Serving, which took over service of the loan from Ameriquest.

Deutsche acts as a trustee and has an administrative role in such cases, but has “no beneficial ownership stake or interest in the underlying mortgage loans,” spokesman John Gallagher said.

The trust company holds legal title for the benefit of investors.

Continue reading….HERE

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Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, Mortgage Foreclosure FraudComments (10)


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