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The Commercial Real Estate Bubble By: Adam Levitin & Susan M. Wachter

The Commercial Real Estate Bubble By: Adam Levitin & Susan M. Wachter


The Commercial Real Estate Bubble

Adam J. Levitin

Georgetown University Law Center

Susan M. Wachter

University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School – Real Estate Department

February 7, 2012

Georgetown Law and Economics Research Paper No. 1978264

Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 1978264

Abstract:     
Two parallel real estate bubbles emerged in the United States between 2004 and 2008, one in residential real estate, the other in commercial real estate. The residential real estate bubble has received a great deal of popular, scholarly, and policy attention. The commercial real estate bubble, in contrast, has largely been ignored.

This Article explores the causes of the commercial real estate bubble. It shows that the commercial real estate price bubble was accompanied by a change in the source of commercial real estate financing. Starting in 1998, securitization became an increasingly significant part of commercial real estate financing. The commercial mortgage securitization market underwent a major shift in 2004, however, as the traditional buyers of subordinated commercial real estate debt were outbid by collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). Savvy, sophisticated, experienced commercial mortgage securitization investors were thus replaced by investors who merely wanted “product” to securitize. The result was a noticeable decline in underwriting standards in commercial mortgage backed securities that contributed to the commercial real estate price bubble.

The commercial real estate bubble holds important lessons for understanding the residential real estate bubble. Unlike the residential market, there is almost no government involvement in commercial real estate. The existence of the parallel commercial real estate bubble presents a strong challenge to explanations of the residential bubble that focus on government affordable housing policy, the Community Reinvestment Act, and the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Instead, the changes in commercial real estate financing closely mirror changes in the residential real estate financing, which shifted from regulated government-sponsored securitization to unregulated private securitization. This indicates that changes in the securitization market contributed to the problems in both the commercial and residential real estate markets.

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SEC charges Citigroup $285M with misleading investors about mortgage-backed CDO; Credit Suisse sanctioned.

SEC charges Citigroup $285M with misleading investors about mortgage-backed CDO; Credit Suisse sanctioned.


Something new every s-i-n-g-l-e day…

 

Businessweek-

Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) — Citigroup Inc. has agreed to pay close to $300 million to resolve U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission claims that it misled investors about a financial product linked to risky mortgages, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

The settlement is subject to approval by the SEC commissioners, who were scheduled to vote on it today, the person said, declining to be identified because the matter isn’t public. One Citigroup executive and an employee from another firm involved in the deal are also named in the SEC’s claims, according to the person.

[BUSINESSWEEK]

© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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ACA Financial Guaranty Sues Goldman Sachs for Fraud

ACA Financial Guaranty Sues Goldman Sachs for Fraud


Suit Seeks $30 Million in Compensatory and $90 Million in Punitive Damages from Goldman
Sachs Over Its Role in Developing and Marketing the Synthetic CDO “ABACUS”

New York, NY — January 6, 2011 — ACA Financial Guaranty Corporation (ACA), a monoline
bond insurance company now operating in run off, filed suit today against Goldman Sachs & Co.
(Goldman Sachs) for fraud and unjust enrichment in connection with a synthetic collateralized
debt obligation (CDO) called ABACUS 2007-AC1 (ABACUS), which Goldman Sachs
developed and sold on behalf of its hedge fund client Paulson & Co. Inc. (Paulson) in 2007.
ACA was misled by Goldman’s fraudulent activities and is seeking $30 million in compensatory
and $90 million in punitive damages.

According to the complaint, filed in the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court of the State
of New York, New York County, this fraud action arises from the egregious conduct of Goldman
Sachs in developing and marketing ABACUS based on a portfolio of investment securities
selected largely by its hedge fund client, Paulson. Goldman Sachs’s scheme was to design
ABACUS to fail, so that Paulson could reap huge profits by shorting the portfolio and Goldman
Sachs could reap huge investment banking fees. Goldman Sachs fraudulently induced ACA to
take a long position in and provide guaranty insurance for ABACUS. Goldman Sachs did so by
deceiving ACA into believing that Paulson also was to be a long investor in ABACUS. In fact,
as Goldman Sachs knew, Paulson intended instead to take an enormous short position in
ABACUS, reaping nearly $1 billion when the portfolio failed.

As the complaint alleges: “ABACUS was worthless at the time Goldman Sachs marketed it to
ACA. Had Paulson’s true role as a short investor selecting the portfolio been known, neither
ACA nor anyone else would have taken a long position in it. Because of Goldman Sachs’s
deceit — which led ACA to reasonably believe that ABACUS was a valuable product selected by
the equity investor with identical objectives — ACA invested in what was in fact a worthless
product. Goldman Sachs engaged in this egregious misconduct notwithstanding that it expressly
acknowledged that its participation presented ‘reputational risk’ and after at least one other major
investment bank declined to participate for that very reason.” Goldman Sachs has since settled
SEC civil charges arising out of this fraudulent conduct, agreeing to pay a $550 million fine.

ACA is represented by Marc E. Kasowitz of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP.

About ACA Financial Guaranty Corporation
Founded in 1997, ACA Financial Guaranty Corporation is a monoline bond insurance company
licensed in 50 states and 5 territories and regulated by the Maryland Insurance Administration.
On August 8, 2008, the Company and counterparties to its structured finance products reached an
agreement on a restructuring plan for ACA. The plan, approved by the Maryland Insurance
Administration, provided for settlement of the structured finance obligations and protection for
ACA’s municipal policyholders. ACA will operate as a runoff insurance company and focus on
actively monitoring its remaining insured municipal obligations. ACA’s portfolio consists of
approximately 700 policies guarantying timely payment of principal and interest on more than $7
billion of generally high yield municipal bonds.

Contact:
Elliot Sloane
212-446-1860
esloane@sloanepr.com

Whit Clay
212-446-1864
wclay@sloanepr.com

Read Complaint Below…

[ipaper docId=47293635 access_key=key-2fjm9bz5nhmn9zoqo219 height=600 width=600 /]

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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.

~

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Posted in bank of new york, chain in title, concealment, conflict of interest, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, dismissed, Economy, Ely Harless, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, forgery, judge arthur schack, lawsuit, MERS, MERSCORP, mortgage, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., note, Real Estate, robo signers, securitization, servicers, stopforeclosurefraud.com, Wall StreetComments (3)

FRAUD on the COURT…”WAMU, CHASE AND FISHMAN & SHAPIRO” DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE!

FRAUD on the COURT…”WAMU, CHASE AND FISHMAN & SHAPIRO” DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE!


VIA: ForeclosureHamlet & 4closureFraud

Dismissed With PREJUDICE!

Court finds convincing evidence that Wamu, Chase and Fishman & Shapiro committed fraud on this court!

JP MORGAN V. POCOPANNI DUVAL, COUNTY FLORIDA CASE NO.: 16-2008-CA-3989


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Posted in concealment, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, ctx mortgage, ex parte, fannie mae, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, jpmorgan chase, reversed court decision, shapiro & fishman paComments (4)

Goldman to pay record $550 million to settle CDO-related charges

Goldman to pay record $550 million to settle CDO-related charges


Firm Acknowledges CDO Marketing Materials Were Incomplete and Should Have Revealed Paulson’s Role

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2010-123

View  high-resolution photo of Robert Khuzami, Director, SEC Enforcement

“This settlement is a stark lesson to Wall Street firms that no product is too complex, and no investor too sophisticated, to avoid a heavy price if a firm violates the fundamental principles of honest treatment and fair dealing.”

Robert Khuzami
Director
SEC Enforcement

Washington, D.C., July 15, 2010 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Goldman, Sachs & Co. will pay $550 million and reform its business practices to settle SEC charges that Goldman misled investors in a subprime mortgage product just as the U.S. housing market was starting to collapse.

In agreeing to the SEC’s largest-ever penalty paid by a Wall Street firm, Goldman also acknowledged that its marketing materials for the subprime product contained incomplete information.

In its April 16 complaint, the SEC alleged that Goldman misstated and omitted key facts regarding a synthetic collateralized debt obligation (CDO) it marketed that hinged on the performance of subprime residential mortgage-backed securities. Goldman failed to disclose to investors vital information about the CDO, known as ABACUS 2007-AC1, particularly the role that hedge fund Paulson & Co. Inc. played in the portfolio selection process and the fact that Paulson had taken a short position against the CDO.

In settlement papers submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Goldman made the following acknowledgement:

Goldman acknowledges that the marketing materials for the ABACUS 2007-AC1 transaction contained incomplete information. In particular, it was a mistake for the Goldman marketing materials to state that the reference portfolio was “selected by” ACA Management LLC without disclosing the role of Paulson & Co. Inc. in the portfolio selection process and that Paulson’s economic interests were adverse to CDO investors. Goldman regrets that the marketing materials did not contain that disclosure.

“Half a billion dollars is the largest penalty ever assessed against a financial services firm in the history of the SEC,” said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “This settlement is a stark lesson to Wall Street firms that no product is too complex, and no investor too sophisticated, to avoid a heavy price if a firm violates the fundamental principles of honest treatment and fair dealing.”

Lorin L. Reisner, Deputy Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, added, “The unmistakable message of this lawsuit and today’s settlement is that half-truths and deception cannot be tolerated and that the integrity of the securities markets depends on all market participants acting with uncompromising adherence to the requirements of truthfulness and honesty.”

Goldman agreed to settle the SEC’s charges without admitting or denying the allegations by consenting to the entry of a final judgment that provides for a permanent injunction from violations of the antifraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933. Of the $550 million to be paid by Goldman in the settlement, $250 million would be returned to harmed investors through a Fair Fund distribution and $300 million would be paid to the U.S. Treasury.

The landmark settlement also requires remedial action by Goldman in its review and approval of offerings of certain mortgage securities. This includes the role and responsibilities of internal legal counsel, compliance personnel, and outside counsel in the review of written marketing materials for such offerings. The settlement also requires additional education and training of Goldman employees in this area of the firm’s business. In the settlement, Goldman acknowledged that it is presently conducting a comprehensive, firm-wide review of its business standards, which the SEC has taken into account in connection with the settlement of this matter.

The settlement is subject to approval by the Honorable Barbara S. Jones, United Sates District Judge for the Southern District of New York.

Today’s settlement, if approved by Judge Jones, resolves the SEC’s enforcement action against Goldman related to the ABACUS 2007-AC1 CDO. It does not settle any other past, current or future SEC investigations against the firm. Meanwhile, the SEC’s litigation continues against Fabrice Tourre, a vice president at Goldman.

The SEC investigation that led to the filing and settlement of this enforcement action was conducted by the Enforcement Division’s Structured and New Products Unit, led by Kenneth Lench and Reid Muoio, and including Jason Anthony, N. Creola Kelly, Melissa Lamb, and Jeffrey Leasure. Additionally, together with Deputy Director Reisner, Richard Simpson, David Gottesman, and Jeffrey Tao have been handling the litigation.

# # #

For more information about this enforcement action, contact:

Robert S. Khuzami
Director, SEC Enforcement Division
(202) 551-4500

Lorin L. Reisner
Deputy Director, SEC Enforcement Division
(202) 551-4787

Kenneth R. Lench
Chief of Structured and New Products Unit, SEC Enforcement Division
(202) 551-4938

http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2010/2010-123.htm

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Posted in goldman sachs, S.E.C., settlementComments (1)

Hedge Fund Launches Massive Lawsuit against Goldman

Hedge Fund Launches Massive Lawsuit against Goldman


By Steve Eder and Matthew Goldstein

NEW YORK (Reuters) – An Australian hedge fund is suing Goldman Sachs Group Inc over an investment in a subprime mortgage-linked security that contributed to the fund’s demise in 2007.

The lawsuit filed on Wednesday accuses Goldman of misrepresenting the value of the notorious Timberwolf collateralized debt obligation, which garnered a lot of attention during a recent congressional hearing.

Basis Yield Alpha Fund sued Goldman to recoup the $56 million it lost on the CDO, said Eric Lewis, a Washington-based lawyer for the fund. The suit also seeks $1 billion in punitive damages.

continue reading… HERE

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Posted in cdo, goldman sachs, lawsuitComments (0)

Judge ARTHUR SCHACK’s COLASSAL Steven J. BAUM “MiLL” SMACK DOWN!! MERS TWILIGHT ZONE!

Judge ARTHUR SCHACK’s COLASSAL Steven J. BAUM “MiLL” SMACK DOWN!! MERS TWILIGHT ZONE!


2010 NY Slip Op 50927(U)

HSBC BANK USA, N.A. AS TRUSTEE FOR NOMURA ASSET-BACKED CERTIFICATE SERIES

2006-AF1,, Plaintiff,
v.
LOVELY YEASMIN, ET. AL., Defendants.

34142/07

Supreme Court, Kings County.

Decided May 24, 2010.

Steven J Baum, PC, Amherst NY, Plaintiff — US Bank.

ARTHUR M. SCHACK, J.

Plaintiff’s renewed motion for an order of reference, for the premises located at 22 Jefferson Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 3170, Lot 20, County of Kings), is denied with prejudice. The instant action is dismissed and the notice of pendency for the subject property is cancelled. Plaintiff HSBC BANK USA, N.A. AS TRUSTEE FOR NOMURA ASSET-BACKED CERTIFICATE SERIES 2006-AF1 (HSBC) failed to comply with my May 2, 2008 decision and order in the instant matter (19 Misc 3d 1127 [A]), which granted plaintiff HSBC leave:

to renew its application for an order of reference for the premises located at 22 Jefferson Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 3170, Lot 20, County of Kings), upon presentation to the Court, within forty-five (45) days of this decision and order of:

(1) a valid assignment of the instant mortgage and note to plaintiff, HSBC . . .;

(2) an affirmation from Steven J. Baum, Esq., the principal of Steven J. Baum, P.C., explaining if both MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC. [MERS], the assignor of the instant mortgage and note, and HSBC . . . the assignee of the instant mortgage and note, pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 1200.24, consented to simultaneous representation in the instant action, with “full disclosure of the implications of the simultaneous representation and the advantages and risks involved” explained to them;

(3) compliance with the statutory requirements of CPLR § 3215 (f), by an affidavit of facts executed by someone with authority to execute such an affidavit, and if the affidavit of facts is executed by a loan servicer, a copy of a valid power of attorney to the loan servicer, and the servicing agreement authorizing the affiant to act in the instant foreclosure action; and

(4) an affidavit from an officer of plaintiff HSBC . . . explaining why plaintiff HSBC . . . purchased a nonperforming loan from MERS, as nominee for CAMBRIDGE HOME CAPITAL, LLC [CAMBRIDGE].

[Emphasis added]

Plaintiff made the instant motion on January 6, 2009, 249 days subsequent to the May 2, 2008 decision and order. Thus, the instant motion is 204 days late. Plaintiff’s unavailing lateness explanation, in ¶ 16 of plaintiff’s counsel’s January 6, 2009 affirmation of regularity, states:

A previous application has been made for this or like relief but was subsequently denied without prejudice with leave to renew upon proper papers. By Decision and Order of this court dated the 2nd day of May 2008, plaintiff had 45 days to renew its application.

However on June 29, 2008 the Plaintiff permitted the mortgagor to enter into a foreclosure forbearance agreement. Said agreement was entered into with the hope that the Defendant would be able to keep her home. The agreement was not kept by the mortgagor and Plaintiff has since resumed the foreclosure action. The defects of the original application are addressed in the Affirmation attached hereto at Tab F [sic].

June 29, 2008 was 58 days subsequent to May 2, 2008. This was 13 days subsequent to the Court ordered deadline for plaintiff to make a renewed motion for an order of reference. While it’s laudatory for plaintiff HSBC to have granted defendant a forbearance agreement, plaintiff HSBC never notified the Court about this or sought Court approval of extending the 45-day deadline to make the instant motion. However, even if the instant motion was timely, the documents plaintiff’s counsel refers to at Tab F [exhibit F of motion] do not cure the defects the Court found with the original motion and articulated in the May 2, 2008 decision and order.

Background

Defendant LOVELY YEASMIN borrowed $624,800.00 from CAMBRIDGE on May 10, 2006. The note and mortgage were recorded by MERS, as nominee for CAMBRIDGE, for purposes of recording the mortgage, in the Office of the City Register, New York City Department of Finance, on May 23, 2006, at City Register File Number (CRFN) XXXXXXXXXXXXX. Then, MERS, as nominee for CAMBRIDGE, assigned the mortgage to plaintiff HSBC on September 10, 2007, with the assignment recorded in the Office of the City Register, on September 20, 2007, at CRFN XXXXXXXXXXXXX. The assignment was executed by “Nicole Gazzo, Esq., on behalf of MERS, by Corporate Resolution dated 7/19/07.” Neither a corporate resolution nor a power of attorney to Ms. Gazzo were recorded with the September 10, 2007 assignment. Therefore, the Court found the assignment invalid and plaintiff HSBC lacked standing to bring the instant foreclosure action. Ms. Gazzo, the assignor, according to the Office of Court Administration’s Attorney Registration, has as her business address, “Steven J. Baum, P.C., 220 Northpointe Pkwy Ste G, Buffalo, NY 14228-1894.” On September 10, 2008, the same day that Ms. Gazzo executed the invalid assignment for MERS, as nominee for CAMBRIDGE, plaintiff’s counsel, Steven J. Baum, P.C., commenced the instant action on behalf of purported assignee HSBC by filing the notice of pendency, summons and complaint in the instant action with the Kings County Clerk’s Office. The Court, in the May 2, 2008 decision and order, was concerned that the simultaneous representation by Steven J. Baum, P.C. of both MERS and HSBC was a conflict of interest in violation of 22 NYCRR § 1200.24, the Disciplinary Rule of the Code of Professional Responsibility entitled “Conflict of Interest; Simultaneous Representation,” then in effect. Further, plaintiff’s moving papers for an order of reference and related relief failed to present an “affidavit made by the party,” pursuant to CPLR § 3215 (f). The instant application contained an “affidavit of merit and amount due,” dated November 16, 2007, by Cathy Menchise, “Senior Vice President of WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A. D/B/A AMERICA’S SERVICING COMPANY, Attorney in Fact for HSBC BANK USA, N.A. AS TRUSTEE FOR NOMURA ASSET-BACKED CERTIFICATE SERIES 2006-AF1.” Ms. Menchise stated “[t]hat a true copy of the Power of Attorney is attached hereto.” Actually attached was a photocopy of a “Limited Power of Attorney,” dated July 19, 2004, from HSBC, appointing WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A. as its attorney-in-fact to perform various enumerated services, by executing documents “if such documents are required or permitted under the terms of the related servicing agreements . . . in connection with Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.[‘s] . . . responsibilities to service certain mortgage loans . . . held by HSBC . . . as Trustee of various trusts.” The “Limited Power of Attorney” failed to list any of these “certain mortgage loans.” The Court was unable to determine if plaintiff HSBC’s subject mortgage loan was covered by this “Limited Power of Attorney.” The original motion stated that defendant YEASMIN defaulted on her mortgage payments by failing to make her May 1, 2007 and subsequent monthly loan payments. Yet, on September 10, 2007, 133 days subsequent to defendant YEASMIN’S alleged May 1, 2007 payment default, plaintiff HSBC took the ssignment of the instant nonperforming loan from MERS, as nominee for CAMBRIDGE. Thus, the Court required, upon renewal of the motion for an order of reference, a satisfactory explanation of why HSBC purchased a nonperforming loan from MERS, as nominee for CAMBRIDGE.

Plaintiff HSBC needed “standing” to proceed in the instant action. The Court of Appeals (Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, Inc. v Pataki, 100 NY2d 801, 912 [2003]), cert denied 540 US 1017 [2003]), held that “[s]tanding 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.” In Carper v Nussbaum, 36 AD3d 176, 181 (2d Dept 2006), the Court held that “[s]tanding 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.” If a plaintiff lacks standing to sue, the plaintiff may not proceed in the action. (Stark v Goldberg,297 AD2d 203 [1d Dept 2002]). “Since standing is jurisdictional and goes to a court’s authority to resolve litigation [the court] can raise this matter sua sponte.” (Axelrod v New York State Teachers’ Retirement System, 154 AD2d 827, 828 [3d Dept 1989]).

In the instant action, the September 10, 2007 assignment from MERS, as nominee for CAMBRIDGE, to HSBC was defective. Therefore, HSBC had no standing to bring this action. The recorded assignment by “Nicole Gazzo, Esq. on behalf of MERS, by Corporate Resolution dated 7/19/07,” had neither the corporate resolution nor a power of attorney attached. Real Property Law (RPL) § 254 (9) states: Power of attorney to assignee. The word “assign” or other words of assignment, when contained in an assignment of a mortgage and bond or mortgage and note, must be construed as having included in their meaning that the assignor does thereby make, constitute and appoint the assignee the true and lawful attorney, irrevocable, of the assignor, in the name of the assignor, or otherwise, but at the proper costs and charges of the assignee, to have, use and take all lawful ways and means for the recovery of the money and interest secured by the said mortgage and bond or mortgage and note, and in case of payment to discharge the same as fully as the assignor might or could do if the assignment were not made. [Emphasis added]

To have a proper assignment of a mortgage by an authorized agent, a power of attorney is necessary to demonstrate how the agent is vested with the authority to assign the mortgage. “No special form or language is necessary to effect an assignment as long as the language shows the intention of the owner of a right to transfer it [Emphasis added].” (Tawil v Finkelstein Bruckman Wohl Most & Rothman, 223 AD2d 52, 55 [1d Dept 1996]). (See Suraleb, Inc. v International Trade Club, Inc., 13 AD3d 612 [2d Dept 2004]). To foreclose on a mortgage, a party must have title to the mortgage. The instant assignment was a nullity. The Appellate Division, Second Department (Kluge v Fugazy, 145 AD2d 537, 538 [2d Dept 1988]), held that a “foreclosure of a mortgage may not be brought by one who has no title to it and absent transfer of the debt, the assignment of the mortgage is a nullity.” Citing Kluge v Fugazy, the Court inKatz v East-Ville Realty Co. (249 AD2d 243 [1d Dept 1998]), held 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 fact.” Plaintiff HSBC, with the invalid assignment of the instant mortgage and note from MERS, lacked standing to foreclose on the instant mortgage. The Court, in Campaign v Barba (23 AD3d 327 [2d Dept 2005]), held 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 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 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]). Even if plaintiff HSBC can cure the assignment defect, plaintiff’s counsel has to address his conflict of interest in the representation of both assignor MERS, as nominee for CAMBRIDGE, and assignee HSBC. 22 NYCRR § 1200.24, of the Disciplinary Rules of the Code of Professional Responsibility, entitled “Conflict of Interest; Simultaneous Representation,” states in relevant part: (a) A lawyer shall decline proffered employment if the exercise of independent professional judgment in behalf of a client will be or is likely to be adversely affected by the acceptance of the proffered employment, or if it would be likely to involve the lawyer in representing differing interests, except to the extent permitted under subdivision (c) of this section. (b) A lawyer shall not continue multiple employment if the exercise of independent professional judgment in behalf of a client will be or is likely to be adversely affected by the lawyer’s representation of another client, or if it would be likely to involve the lawyer in representing differing interests, except to the extent permitted under subdivision (c) of this section. (c) in the situations covered by subdivisions (a) and (b) of this section, a lawyer may represent multiple clients if a disinterested lawyer would believe that the lawyer can competently represent the interest of each and if each consents to the representation after full disclosure of the implications of the simultaneous representation and the advantages and risks involved. [Emphasis added]

The Court, upon renewal of the instant motion for an order of reference wanted to know if both MERS and HSBC were aware of the simultaneous representation by plaintiff’s counsel, Steven J. Baum, P.C., and whether both MERS and HSBC consented. Upon plaintiff’s renewed motion for an order of reference, the Court required an affirmation by Steven J. Baum, Esq., the principal of Steven J. Baum, P.C., explaining if both MERS and HSBC consented to simultaneous representation in the instant action with “full disclosure of the implications of the simultaneous representation and the advantages and risks involved.” The Appellate Division, Fourth Department, the Department, in which both Ms. Gazzo and Mr. Baum are registered (In re Rogoff, 31 AD3d 111 [2006]), censured an attorney for, inter alia, violating 22 NYCRR § 1200.24, by representing both a buyer and sellers in the sale of a motel. The Court, at 112, found that the attorney “failed to make appropriate disclosures to either the sellers or the buyer concerning dual representation.” Further, the Rogoff Court, at 113, censured the attorney, after it considered the matters submitted by respondent in mitigation, including: that respondent undertook the dual representation at the insistence of the buyer, had no financial interest in the transaction and charged the sellers and the buyer one half of his usual fee. Additionally, we note that respondent cooperated with the Grievance Committee and has expressed remorse for his misconduct. Then, if counsel for plaintiff HSBC cures the assignment defect and explains his simultaneous representation, plaintiff HSBC needs to address the “affidavit of merit” issue. The May 2, 2008 decision and order required that plaintiff comply with CPLR § 3215 (f) by providing an “affidavit made by the party,” whether by an officer of HSBC, or someone with a valid power of attorney from HSBC, to execute foreclosure documents for plaintiff HSBC. If plaintiff HSBC presents a power of attorney and it refers to a servicing agreement, the Court needs to inspect the servicing agreement. (Finnegan v Sheahan, 269 AD2d 491 [2d Dept 2000];Hazim v Winter, 234 AD2d 422 [2d Dept 1996]; EMC Mortg. Corp. v Batista, 15 Misc 3d 1143 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings County 2007]; Deutsche Bank Nat. Trust Co. v Lewis, 4 Misc 3d 1201 [A] [Sup Ct, Suffolk County 2006]).

Last, the Court required an affidavit from an officer of HSBC, explaining why, in the middle of our national mortgage financial crisis, plaintiff HSBC purchased from MERS, as nominee for CAMBRIDGE, the subject nonperforming loan. It appears that HSBC violated its corporate fiduciary duty to its stockholders by purchasing the instant mortgage loan, which became nonperforming on May 1, 2007, 133 days prior to its assignment from MERS, as nominee for CAMBRIDGE, to HSBC, rather than keep the subject mortgage loan on CAMBRIDGE’s books.

Discussion

The instant renewed motion is dismissed for untimeliness. Plaintiff made its renewed motion for an order of reference 204 days late, in violation of the Court’s May 2, 2008 decision and order. Moreover, even if the instant motion was timely, the explanations offered by plaintiff’s counsel, in his affirmation in support of the instant motion and various documents attached to exhibit F of the instant motion, attempting to cure the four defects explained by the Court in the prior May 2, 2008 decision and order, are so incredible, outrageous, ludicrous and disingenuous that they should have been authored by the late Rod Serling, creator of the famous science-fiction televison series, The Twilight Zone. Plaintiff’s counsel, Steven J. Baum, P.C., appears to be operating in a parallel mortgage universe, unrelated to the real universe. Rod Serling’s opening narration, to episodes in the 1961-1962 season of The Twilight Zone (found at www.imdb.com/title/tt005250/quotes), could have been an introduction to the arguments presented in support of the instant motion by plaintiff’s counsel, Steven J. Baum, P.C. — “You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone.” With respect to the first issue for the renewed motion for an order of reference, the validity of the September 10, 2007 assignment of the subject mortgage and note by MERS, as nominee for CAMBRIDGE, to plaintiff HSBC by “Nicole Gazzo, Esq., on behalf of MERS, by Corporate Resolution dated 7/19/07,” plaintiff’s counsel claims that the assignment is valid because Ms. Gazzo is an officer of MERS, not an agent of MERS. Putting aside Ms. Gazzo’s conflicted status as both assignor attorney and employee of assignee’s counsel, Steven J. Baum, P.C., how would the Court have known from the plain language of the September 10, 2007 assignment that the assignor, Ms. Gazzo, is an officer of MERS? She does not state in the assignment that she is an officer of MERS and the corporate resolution is not attached. Thus, counsel’s claim of a valid assignment takes the Court into “another dimension” with a “journey into a wondrous land of imagination,” the mortgage twilight zone. Next, plaintiff’s counsel attached to exhibit F the July 17, 2007 “Agreement for Signing Authority” between MERS, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, a Division of Wells Fargo Bank NA (WELLS FARGO), a MERS “Member” and Steven J. Baum, P.C., as WELLS FARGO’s “Vendor.” The parties agreed, in ¶ 3, that “in order for Vendor [Baum] to perform its contractual duties to Member [WELLS FARGO], MERS, by corporate resolution, will grant employees of Vendor [Baum] the limited authority to act on behalf of MERS to perform certain duties. Such authority is set forth in the Resolution, which is made a part of this Agreement.” Also attached to exhibit F is the MERS corporate resolution, certified by William C. Hultman, Corporate Secretary of MERS, that MERS’ Board of Directors adopted this resolution, effective July 19, 2007, resolving:

that the attached list of candidates are employee(s) of Steven J. Baum, P.C. and are hereby appointed as assistant secretaries and vice presidents of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., and as such are authorized to: Execute any and all documents necessary to foreclose upon the property securing any mortgage loan registered on the MERS System that is shown to be registered to the Member . . . Take any and all actions and execute all documents necessary to protect the interest of the Member, the beneficial owner of such mortgage loan, or MERS in any bankruptcy proceedings . . . Assign the lien of any mortgage loan registered on the MERS System that is shown to be registered to Wells Fargo.

Then, the resolution certifies five Steven J. Baum, P.C. employees [all currently admitted to practice in New York and listing Steven J. Baum, P.C. as their employer in the Office of Court Administration Attorney Registry] as MERS officers. The five are Brian Kumiega, Nicole Gazzo, Ron Zackem, Elpiniki Bechakas, and Darleen Karaszewski. The language of the MERS corporate resolution flies in the face of documents recorded with the City Register of the City of New York. The filed recordings with the City Register show that the subject mortgage was owned first by MERS, as nominee for CAMBRIDGE, and then by HSBC as Trustee for a Nomura collateralized debt obligation. However, if the Court follows the MERS’corporate resolution and enters into a new dimension of the mind, the mortgage twilight zone, the real owner of the subject mortgage is WELLS FARGO, the MERS Member and loan servicer of the subject mortgage, because the corporate resolution states that the Member is “the beneficial owner of such mortgage loan.” The MERS mortgage twilight zone was created in 1993 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 MERS to act as their common agent on all mortgages they register in the MERS system.” (MERSCORP, Inc. v Romaine, 8 NY3d 90, 96 [2006]). Next, with respect to Ms. Gazzo’s employer, Steven J. Baum, P.C, and its representation of MERS, through Ms. Gazzo, the Court continues to journey through the mortgage twilight zone. Also, attached to exhibit F of the instant motion is the August 11, 2008 affirmation of Steven J. Baum, Esq., affirmed “under the penalties of perjury.” Mr. Baum states, in ¶ 3, that “My firm does not represent HSBC . . . and MERS simultaneously in the instant action.” Then, apparently overlooking that the subject notice of pendency, summons, complaint and instant motion, which all clearly state that Steven J. Baum, P.C. is the attorney for plaintiff HSBC, Mr. Baum states, in ¶ 4 of his affirmation, that “My firm is the attorney of record for Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., d/b/a America’s Servicing Company, attorney in fact for HSBC Bank USA, N.A., as Trustee for Nomura Asset-Backed Certificate Series 2006-AF1. My firm does not represent . . . [MERS] as an attorney in this action.” In the mortgage world according to Steven J. Baum, Esq., there is a fine line between acting as an attorney for MERS and as a vendor for a MERS member. If Mr. Baum is not HSBC’s attorney, but the attorney for WELLS FARGO, why did he mislead the Court and defendants by stating on all the documents filed and served in the instant action that he is plaintiff’s attorney for HSBC? Further, in ¶ 6 of his affirmation, he states “Nowhere does the Resolution indicate that Ms. Gazzo, or my firm, or any attorney or employee of my firm, shall act as an attorney for MERS. As such I am unaware of any conflict of interest of Steven J. Baum, P.C. or any of its employees, in this action.” While Mr. Baum claims to be unaware of the inherent conflict of interest, the Court is aware of the conflict. ¶ 3 of the MERS “Agreement for Signing Authority,” cited above, states that “in order for Vendor [Baum] to perform its contractual duties to Member [WELLS FARGO], MERS, by corporate resolution, will grant employees of Vendor [Baum] the limited authority to act on behalf of MERS to perform certain duties. Such authority is set forth in the Resolution, which is made a part of this Agreement.” As the Court continues through the MERS mortgage twilight zone, attached to exhibit F is the June 30, 2009-affidavit of MERS’ Secretary, William C. Hultman. Mr. Hultman claims, in ¶ 3, that Steven J. Baum, P.C. is not acting in the instant action as attorney for MERS and, in ¶ 4, Ms. Gazzo in her capacity as an officer of MERS executed the September 10, 2007 subject assignment “to foreclose on a mortgage loan registered on the MERS System that is being serviced by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.” Thus, Mr. Hultman perceives that mortgages registered on the MERS system exist in a parallel universe to those recorded with the City Register of the City of New York. While Mr. Hultman waives, in ¶ 9, any conflict that might exist by Steven J. Baum, P.C. in the instant action, neither he nor Mr. Baum address whether MERS, pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 1200.24, consented to simultaneous representation in the instant action, with “full disclosure of the implications of the simultaneous representation and the advantages and risks involved” explained to MERS. Then, attached to exhibit F, there is the June 11, 2008-affidavit of China Brown, Vice President Loan Documentation of WELLS FARGO. This document continues the Court’s trip into “a wondrous land of imagination.” Despite the affidavit’s caption stating that HSBC is the plaintiff, Mr. or Ms. Brown (the notary public’s jurat refers several times to China Brown as “he/she”), states, in ¶ 4, that “Steven J. Baum, P.C. represents us as an attorney of record in this action.” The Court infers that “us” is WELLS FARGO. Moving to the third issue that plaintiff was required to address in the instant motion, compliance with the statutory requirements of CPLR § 3215 (f) with an affidavit of facts executed by someone with authority to execute such an affidavit, plaintiff’s instant motion contains an affidavit of merit, attached as exhibit C, by Kim Miller, “Vice President of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. as Attorney in Fact for HSBC,” executed on December 8, 2008, 220 days after my May 2, 2008 decision and order. The affidavit of merit is almost six months late. Again, plaintiff attached a photocopy of the July 19, 2004 “Limited Power of Attorney” from HSBC [exhibit D], which appointed WELLS FARGO as its attorney-in-fact to perform various enumerated services, by executing documents “if such documents are required or permitted under the terms of the related servicing agreements . . . in connection with Wells Fargo[‘s] . . . responsibilities to service certain mortgage loans . . . held by HSBC . . . as Trustee of various trusts.” Further, the “Limited Power of Attorney” fails to list any of these “certain mortgage loans.” Therefore, the Court is unable to determine if the subject mortgage loan is one of the mortgage loans that WELLS FARGO services for HSBC. The “Limited Power of attorney” gives WELLS FARGO the right to execute foreclosure documents “if such documents are required or permitted under the terms of the related servicing agreements.” Instead of presenting the Court with the “related servicing agreement” for review, plaintiff’s counsel submits copies of the cover page and redacted pages 102, 104 and 105 of the October 1, 2006 Pooling and Servicing Agreement between WELLS FARGO, as Master Servicer, HSBC, as Trustee, and other entities. This is in direct contravention of the Court’s May 2, 2008-directive to plaintiff HSBC that it provides the Court with the entire pooling and servicing agreement upon renewal of the instant motion. Thomas Westmoreland, Vice President Loan Documentation of HSBC, in ¶ 10 of his attached June 13, 2008-affidavit, also in exhibit F, claims that the snippets of the pooling and servicing agreement provided to the Court are “a copy of the non-proprietary portions of the Pooling and Servicing Agreement that was entered into when the pool of loans that contained the subject mortgage was purchased.” The Court cannot believe that there is any proprietary or trade secret information in a boilerplate pooling and servicing agreement. If plaintiff HSBC utilizes an affidavit of facts by a loan servicer, not an HSBC officer, to secure a judgment on default, pursuant to CPLR § 3215 (f), then the Court needs to examine the entire pooling and servicing agreement, whether proprietary or non-p

roprietary, to determine if the pooling and servicing agreement grants authority, pursuant to a power of attorney, to the affiant to execute the affidavit of facts.

Further, there is hope that Mr. Westmoreland, unlike Steven J. Baum, Esq., is not in another dimension. Mr. Westmoreland, in ¶ 1 of his affidavit, admits that HSBC is the plaintiff in this action. However, with respect to why plaintiff HSBC purchased the subject nonperforming loan, Mr. Westmoreland admits to a lack of due diligence by plaintiff HSBC. His admissions are straight from the mortgage twilight zone. He states in his affidavit, in ¶’s 4-7 and part of ¶ 10: 4. The secondary mortgage market is, essentially, the buying and selling of “pools” of mortgages. 5. A mortgage pools is the packaging of numerous mortgage loans together so that an investor may purchase a significant number of loans in one transaction. 6. An investigation of each and every loan included in a particular mortgage pool, however, is not conducted, nor is it feasible. 7. Rather, the fact that a particular mortgage pool may include loans that are already in default is an ordinary risk of participating in the secondary market . . . 10. . . . Indeed, the performance of the mortgage pool is the measure of success, not any one individual loan contained therein. [Emphasis added] The Court can only wonder if this journey through the mortgage twilight zone and the dissemination of this decision will result in Mr. Westmoreland’s affidavit used as evidence in future stockholder derivative actions against plaintiff HSBC. It can’t be comforting to investors to know that an officer of a financial behemoth such as plaintiff HSBC admits that “[a]n investigation of each and every loan included in a particular mortgage pool, however, is not conducted, nor is it feasible” and that “the fact that a particular mortgage pool may include loans that are already in default is an ordinary risk of participating in the secondary market.”

Cancelling of 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 beensettled, 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 (Black’s Law Dictionary 3 [7th ed 1999]) as “the act of eliminating or nullifying.” “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 dismissal of the instant complaint must result in the mandatory cancellation of plaintiff HSBC’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, HSBC BANK USA, N.A. AS TRUSTEE FOR NOMURA ASSET-BACKED CERTIFICATE SERIES 2006-AF1, for an order of reference, for the premises located at 22 Jefferson Street, Brooklyn, New York (Block 3170, Lot 20, County of Kings), is denied with prejudice; and it is further

ORDERED, that the instant action, Index Number 34142/07, is dismissed with prejudice; and it is further

ORDERED that the Notice of Pendency in this action, filed with the Kings County Clerk on September 10, 2007, by plaintiff, HSBC BANK USA, N.A. AS TRUSTEE FOR NOMURA ASSET-BACKED CERTIFICATE SERIES 2006-AF1, to foreclose a mortgage for real property located at 22 Jefferson Street, Brooklyn New York (Block 3170, Lot 20, County of Kings), is cancelled.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in case, cdo, concealment, conspiracy, corruption, dismissed, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, forensic mortgage investigation audit, HSBC, investigation, judge arthur schack, MERS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, note, reversed court decision, robo signer, robo signers, securitization, Supreme CourtComments (1)

Mr. Geeai Discovers the Truth About MERS: CHINK IN THE ARMOR

Mr. Geeai Discovers the Truth About MERS: CHINK IN THE ARMOR


You should see these bird houses Mr. Geeai is building.   They really are fun.  He took me into his shop to show off his work.  Lined up on his workbench were a series of seven birdhouses in various stages of construction.  My favourite  looks rather like the sorting hat from Hogwarts only it is covered in beehive paper.   Only from Mr. Geeai.

After the appropriate ooh’s and ah’s  on my part (genuine,  I assure you, for I do enjoy his work) he looked up at me and grinned.  “Guess what?”

“What?” I ask.

“I checked all eight of my houses on MERS’s own website and I don’t have MERS on any of my mortgages.”  He seemed rather pleased with himself.

Something didn’t sit right with this news.  You see,  there are 60MM+ mortgages on the MERS system.  Countrywide was one of the worst offenders of the MERS system and Countrywide did bang up business in this area during the hay days.    I could see not having one house with MERS on the mortgage,  but all eight?  Something just didn’t add up.   I’m no statistician,  but I took enough of it in college to know that there was just something wrong with this information.

“Mr. Geeai”,  I said.  “Something is just not right here.”

“Hey,  I did what you said,  I checked with the website and it showed no records on my name and addresses.”

I explained to him the idea of statistical abnormalities and why it didn’t make sense that all of his houses should not be in the system.  Then I asked him if I could take his tax information,  go to the courthouse and do a little title search of my own on his behalf.  I knew he wouldn’t,  and I knew something was wrong.  He heartily agreed with this idea and  was well pleased he was going to get the information without having to deal with the courthouse.  So he gave me the information on his eight houses and I left.

As work was awaiting me,  piling up,  actually,  I wasn’t able to get to the courthouse until later that afternoon.  I finally got to the recorder’s office about 4:30.  I had to get help finding what I was looking for and I ran out of time before I was  able to look up all eight properties.    MERS was on four out of the four I was able to find before I was kicked out.

I stopped by Mr. Geeai’s house on the way home and found him happily ensconced in his workshop playing with his birdhouses.  I waved the printouts at him and said “Guess what?  You have MERS on every mortgage I was able to find.  Four out of four.    I would have gotten the others but before I was able to get to them,  the nice lady came into the room to tell me that while I didn’t have to go home,  I couldn’t stay there.”

Mr. Geeai put down his paper mache goo,  wiped his hands,  looked over his glasses at me and said,  “what do you mean?  Let me see those”

So I showed him the printouts and where the Mortgage Identification Numbers (MIN) was.

“Those numbers right there means you have MERS on your mortgage.”

Mr. Geeai was not pleased with the information.  “Now what do I do?”  he asked?

“Now”,  I said,  “you have a choice.  You can choose to do nothing with the full knowledge that you are buying into a fraud,  or,  you can take action to make sure that you aren’t.”

“What do I do?”

“Well,  the first thing you should do is file a request to your service provider in accordance with 15 USC whatever it is asking them to provide you with the name and contact information of the person or entity who holds the beneficial interest in your mortgage.  When they blow you off,  which they probably will,  you file it a second time.  When they blow you off the second time,  you hire an attorney and tell them you want to file a chain of title action to make sure your title is clear.”

He looked at me for a few moments.  I could tell his mind was ticking as he weighed information and possible consequences of various courses of action.  “What’s up?  I asked.

He shook his head.  “I don’t like it,”  he said.

“What don’t you like?”

He sighed,  pulled his glasses from his nose and looked at me for about 10 seconds.   “There are several things I don’t like,”  he finally began.  “I don’t like having to hire a lawyer,  I don’t like having to take action,  and I feel ….  weird about going down this road because from what you are telling me,  if I am successful,  I end up with my house and no mortgage.  I feel weird about that because I did borrow the money and if you borrow the money,  you are obligated to pay it back.  And I worry that if I take action,  they will foreclose on me while I go through it and I have too much to lose to risk that.”

“Well,”  I began,  “let’s look at this.  Do you see the danger of having MERS on your mortgage?”

He nodded.

“Do you understand that if they are not able to show a clear chain of title and you take no action,  you will never see clear title to your houses or worse,  that you may believe your house is paid off only to have someone show up years later claiming to have a valid assignment trying to force you to pay a second time?”

“Yes”

“And do you see that if that last part happens you will have to hire an attorney to figure a way out of it 20 years down the road?”

“Yes”

“I understand your fear,”  I said.  “But there is a way you can do away with the issue of foreclosure while you are in this lawsuit,  assuming it goes there.  There is a thing called an interpleader action which is where you pay the money to the court while the action is pending.  The court then demands your mortgage service provider not do anything until the suit is resolved.  The service provider is secure because all of your mortgage payments are going to the court.  You won’t have to pay any penalties,  that whole issue goes away.  Do you understand that?”

“Yes”

“As far as hiring a lawyer,  let me ask you something.  Supposing you spend $10K on attorney fees only to end up owning  several hundred thousand dollars worth of property free and clear.  Is that a good business decision?”

Long pause,  “yes.  But I feel weird.”

“Why do you feel weird,  Mr Geeai?”

“I borrowed the money,  I made an agreement.”

“But they are stealing from you.”

“Yes”.

“Mr. Geeai,  I understand your reluctance to pursue this because you feel you are getting something for nothing.  But I ask you,  what is the greater moral hazard,  you supporting the fraud or you calling a stop to it even though  in the process you come out ahead?  And let me ask you another question;  we talked last week about how dangerous it is to have a second,  very private database where the chain of title is hidden from view,  where there is no public,  transparent record of just who owns what.  What is the greater moral hazard?  Letting them get away with stealing all of this property AND controlling critical information with absolutely no oversight,  or you coming out ahead because you stopped them from stealing your property from you and putting you at risk from their bogus data?”

Mr. Geeai did not respond.  He just looked at me.  And then he looked at the papers I had handed him.

“And let me point out to you Mr.  Geeai,  they lied to you.  You went to the MERS website and they told you that you didn’t have anything to worry about.  They told you that their private database which they control absolutely was correct,  that you did not have MERS on your mortgage,  that you had nothing to worry about.  They told you everything was fine.  I went to the courthouse,  which is the only database that matters,  and looked.  They lied to you.  You do have MERS on your mortgage.”

Mr. Geeai just looked at me.

I looked at my watch.  “My goodness,  will you look at the time.  I have to go home and prepare dinner for the little ones.”

I started to leave.  “I hate you”  he called out in a friendly voice as I let myself through his back gate.

“I know,”  I called back.

“I don’t want to deal with this.  I just want to play with my birdhouses.”

“I know Mr. Geeai.  But while you are playing with your birdhouses,  they are playing with your real houses.”

I’ll let you know what happens.

Source: Chink In The Armor

I was told “I haven’t seen anything yet” stay tuned folks this is going to get interesting!

Posted in foreclosure fraud, MERS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure FraudComments (0)

Was There a Plan to Blow Up the Economy?  The Subprime Conspiracy: COUNTERPUNCH

Was There a Plan to Blow Up the Economy? The Subprime Conspiracy: COUNTERPUNCH


May 3, 2010

Was There a Plan to Blow Up the Economy?

The Subprime Conspiracy

By MIKE WHITNEY

Many people now believe that the financial crisis was not an accident. They think that the Bush administration and the Fed knew what Wall Street was up to and provided their support. This isn’t as far fetched as it sounds. As we will show, it’s clear that Bush, Greenspan and many other high-ranking officials understood the problem with subprime mortgages and knew that a huge asset bubble was emerging that threatened the economy. But while the housing bubble was more than just an innocent mistake, it doesn’t rise to the level of “conspiracy” which Webster defines as  “a secret agreement between two or more people to perform an unlawful act.”  It’s actually worse than that, because bubblemaking is the dominant policy, and it’s used to overcome structural problems in capitalism itself, mainly stagnation.

The whole idea of a conspiracy diverts attention from what really happened. It conjures up a comical vision of  top-hat business tycoons gathered in a smoke-filled room stealthily mapping out the country’s future. It ignores the fact, that the main stakeholders don’t need to convene a meeting to know what they want. They already know what they want; they want a process that helps them to maintain profitability even while the “real” economy remains stuck in the mud.  Historian Robert Brenner has written extensively on this topic and dispels the mistaken view that the economy is “fundamentally strong”. (in the words of former Treasury secretary Henry Paulson)  Here’s Brenner :

“The current crisis is more serious than the worst previous recession of the postwar period, between 1979 and 1982, and could conceivably come to rival the Great Depression, though there is no way of really knowing. Economic forecasters have underestimated how bad it is because they have over-estimated the strength of the real economy and failed to take into account the extent of its dependence upon a buildup of debt that relied on asset price bubbles.

“In the U.S., during the recent business cycle of the years 2001-2007, GDP growth was by far the slowest of the postwar epoch. There was no increase in private sector employment. The increase in plants and equipment was about a third of the previous, a postwar low. Real wages were basically flat. There was no increase in median family income for the first time since World War II. Economic growth was driven entirely by personal consumption and residential investment, made possible by easy credit and rising house prices. Economic performance was weak, even despite the enormous stimulus from the housing bubble and the Bush administration’s huge federal deficits. Housing by itself accounted for almost one-third of the growth of GDP and close to half of the increase in employment in the years 2001-2005. It was, therefore, to be expected that when the housing bubble burst, consumption and residential investment would fall, and the economy would plunge. ” (“Overproduction not Financial Collapse is the Heart of the Crisis”, Robert P. Brenner speaks with Jeong Seong-jin, Asia Pacific Journal)

What Brenner describes is an economy \that–despite unfunded tax cuts, massive military spending and gigantic asset bubbles–can barely produce positive growth.  The pervasive lethargy of mature capitalist economies poses huge challenges for industry bosses who are judged solely on their ability to boost quarterly profits. Goldman’s Lloyd Blankfein and JPM’s Jamie Dimon could care less about economic theory, what they’re interested in is making money; how to deploy their capital in a way that maximizes return on investment. “Profits”, that’s it.  And that’s much more difficult in a world that’s beset by overcapacity and flagging demand.  The world doesn’t need more widgets or widget-makers. The only way to ensure profitability is to invent an alternate system altogether, a new universe of financial exotica (CDOs, MBSs, CDSs) that operates independent of the sluggish real economy. Financialization provides that opportunity. It allows the main players to pump-up the leverage, minimize capital-outlay, inflate asset prices, and skim off record profits even while the real  economy endures severe stagnation.

Financialization provides a  path to wealth creation, which is why the sector’s portion of total corporate profits is now nearly 40 per cent. It’s a way to bypass the pervasive inertia of the production-oriented economy. The Fed’s role in this new paradigm is to create a hospitable environment (low interest rates) for bubble-making so the upward transfer of wealth can continue without interruption. Bubblemaking is policy.

As we’ve pointed out in earlier articles, scores of people knew what was going on during the subprime fiasco. But it’s worth a quick review, because Robert Rubin, Alan Greenspan, Timothy Geithner, and others have been defending themselves saying, “Who could have known?”.

The FBI knew (“In September 2004, the FBI began publicly warning that there was an “epidemic” of mortgage fraud, and it predicted that it would produce an economic crisis, if it were not dealt with.”) The FDIC knew. ( In testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, FDIC chairman Sheila Bair confirmed that she not only warned the Fed of what was going on in 2001, but cited particular regulations (HOEPA) under which the Fed could stop the “unfair, abusive and deceptive practices” by the banks.) Also Fitch ratings knew, and even Alan Greenspan’s good friend and former Fed governor Ed Gramlich knew. (Gramlich personally warned Greenspan of the surge in predatory lending that was apparent as early as 2000. Here’s a bit of what Gramlich said in the Wall Street Journal:

“I would have liked the Fed to be a leader” in cracking down on predatory lending, Mr. Gramlich, now a scholar at the Urban Institute, said in an interview this past week. Knowing it would be controversial with Mr. Greenspan, whose deregulatory philosophy is well known, Mr. Gramlich broached it to him personally rather than take it to the full board. “He was opposed to it, so I didn’t really pursue it,” says Mr. Gramlich. (Wall Street Journal)

So, Greenspan knew, too. And, according to Elizabeth MacDonald  in an article titled “Housing Red flags Ignored”:

“One of the nation’s biggest mortgage industry players repeatedly warned the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and other bank regulators during the housing bubble that the U.S. faced an imminent housing crash….But bank regulators not only ignored the group’s warnings, top Fed officials also went on the airwaves to say the economy was “building on a sturdy foundation” and a housing crash was “unlikely.”

So, the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America [MICA] also knew. And, here’s a clip from the Washington Post by former New York governor Eliot Spitzer who accused Bush of being a ‘partner in crime’ in the subprime fiasco. Spitzer says that the OCC launched “an unprecedented assault on state legislatures, as well as on state attorneys general just to make sure the looting would continue without interruption. Here’s an except from Spitzer’s article:

“In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis….the OCC promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government’s actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules. (Washington Post)

So, the Fed knew, the Treasury knew, the FBI knew, the OCC knew, the FDIC knew, Bush knew, the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America knew, Fitch ratings knew, all the states Attorneys General knew, and thousands, of traders, lenders, ratings agency executives, bankers, hedge fund managers, private equity bosses, regulators knew. Everyone knew, except the unlucky people who were victimized in the biggest looting operation of all time.

Once again, looking for conspiracy, just diverts attention from the nature of the crime itself. Here’s a statement from former regulator and white collar criminologist William K. Black which helps to clarify the point:

“Fraudulent lenders produce exceptional short-term ‘profits’ through a four-part strategy: extreme growth (Ponzi), lending to uncreditworthy borrowers, extreme leverage, and minimal loss reserves. These exceptional ‘profits’ defeat regulatory restrictions and turn private market discipline perverse. The profits also allow the CEO to convert firm assets for personal benefit through seemingly normal compensation mechanisms. The short-term profits cause stock options to appreciate. Fraudulent CEOs following this strategy are guaranteed extraordinary income while minimizing risks of detection and prosecution.” (William K. Black,“Epidemics of’Control Fraud’ Lead to Recurrent, Intensifying Bubbles andCrises”, University of Missouri at Kansas City – School of Law)

Black’s definition of “control fraud” comes very close to describing what really took place during the subprime mortgage frenzy. The investment banks and other financial institutions bulked up on garbage loans and complex securities backed by dodgy mortgages so they could increase leverage and rake off large bonuses for themselves. Clearly, they knew the underlying collateral was junk, just as they knew that eventually the market would crash and millions of people would suffer.

But, while it’s true that Greenspan and Wall Street knew how the bubble-game was played; they had no intention of blowing up the whole system. They simply wanted to inflate the bubble, make their profits, and get out before the inevitable crash.  But, then something went wrong. When Lehman collapsed, the entire financial system suffered a major heart attack. All of the so-called “experts” models turned out to be wrong.

Here’s what happened: Before to the meltdown, the depository “regulated” banks got their funding through the repo market by exchanging collateral (mainly mortgage-backed securities) for short-term loans with the so-called “shadow banks” (investment banks, hedge funds, insurers) But after Lehman defaulted, the funding stream was severely impaired because the prices on mortgage-backed securities kept falling. When the bank-funding system went on the fritz,  stocks went into a nosedive sending panicky investors fleeing for the exits. As unbelievable as it sounds, no one saw this coming.

The reason that no one anticipated a run on the shadow banking system is because the basic architecture of the financial markets has changed dramatically in the last decade due to deregulation. The fundamental structure is different and the traditional stopgaps have been removed. That’s why no one knew what to do during the panic. The general assumption was that there would be a one-to-one relationship between defaulting subprime mortgages and defaulting mortgage-backed securities (MBS). That turned out to be a grave miscalculation. The subprimes were only failing at roughly 8 percent rate when the whole secondary market collapsed. Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill explained it best using a clever analogy. He said, “It’s like you have 8 bottles of water and just one of them has arsenic in it. It becomes impossible to sell any of the other bottles because no one knows which one contains the poison.”

And that’s exactly what happened. The market for structured debt crashed, stocks began to plummet, and the Fed had to step in to save the system. Unfortunately, that same deeply-flawed system is being rebuilt brick by brick without any substantive changes.. The Fed and Treasury support this effort, because–as agents of the banks–they are willing to sacrifice their own credibility to defend the primary profit-generating instruments of the industry leaders. (Goldman, JPM, etc) That means that Bernanke and Geithner will go to the mat to oppose any additional regulation on derivatives, securitization and off-balance sheet operations, the same lethal devices that triggered the financial crisis.

So, there was no conspiracy to blow up the financial system, but there is an implicit understanding that the Fed will serve the interests of Wall Street by facilitating asset bubbles through “accommodative” monetary policy and by opposing regulation. It’s just “business as usual”, but it’s far more damaging than any conspiracy, because it ensures that the economy will continue to stagnate, that inequality will continue to grow, and that the gigantic upward transfer of wealth will continue without pause.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached atfergiewhitney@msn.com

Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, fdic, FED FRAUD, federal reserve board, foreclosure fraud, geithner, hank paulson, S.E.C., securitizationComments (0)

Foreclosure FRAUD?: Tell it to the Attorney General Bill McCollum 5/8 MIAMI

Foreclosure FRAUD?: Tell it to the Attorney General Bill McCollum 5/8 MIAMI


PICKET…anyone??

Posted by Harriet Brackey on April 30, 2010 10:46 AM SunSentinel

If you want to speak to Florida’s Attorney General about foreclosure or loan modifications or mortgage fraud, here’s your chance.4823741.thl.jpg

Saturday, May 8, in Miami, Attorney General Bill McCollum will be on hand for a Mortgage Fraud Community Forum. He’s hosting the event with Florida’s Interagency Mortgage Task Force.

The session is on “The Housing Crisis, Who to Trust and Where to Turn.”

It’s open to the public and free, but reservations are required. Call 877-385-1621.
It will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus, Chapman Conference Center, 300 N.E. Second Ave.

The AG’s office says you can get help on how to face foreclosure, housing scams, mortgage fraud, loan modifications and finding legal assistance.

Certified housing counselors, volunteer lawyers, as well as representatives of Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo/Wachovia and SunTrust will be on hand.

Also attending will be representatives of:
Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Office of Financial Regulation, Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Florida Bar, Dade County Bar Legal Aid Society, Cuban American Bar and the Collins Center Foreclosure Mediation Program.

For more information, go to www.myfloridalegal.com/mortgagefraud.

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Attorney general investigating Tampa foreclosure firm: TBO.com

Attorney general investigating Tampa foreclosure firm: TBO.com


Florida Default Law Group, a huge foreclosure law firm has angered judges with its practices.
Florida Default Law Group, a huge foreclosure law firm has angered judges with its practices.

By MICHAEL SASSO | The Tampa Tribune

Published: April 30, 2010

TAMPA – The Florida Attorney General’s Office is investigating a Tampa-based foreclosure law firm that has become one of the state’s largest foreclosure mills.

On the agency’s Web site, the attorney general showed it has an “active public consumer-related investigation” into Florida Default Law Group. The agency notes that it is a civil investigation, rather than a criminal one, and the fact that is has an investigation isn’t proof of any violation of law.

Without going into much detail, the attorney general’s Web site says Florida Default Law Group, “Appears to be fabricating and/or presenting false and misleading documents in foreclosure cases.

“These documents have been presented in court before judges as actual assignments of mortgages and have later been shown to be legally inadequate and/or insufficient. Presenting faulty bank paperwork due to the mortgage crisis and thousands of foreclosures per month.”

Attempts to reach the Attorney General’s Office and Michael Echevarria, the head of Florida Default Law Group, were unsuccessful Thursday.

Based in a business park just off the Veteran’s Expressway, Florida Default Law Group files hundreds of foreclosure lawsuits alone in Hillsborough County on behalf of banks and mortgage servicing companies. The Tribune profiled Florida Default Law Group in January.

According to the Tribune’s review of 1,994 circuit court records, the firm filed initial legal documents for 323 foreclosure lawsuits in October. That was second only to the Law Offices of David J. Stern, a Broward County-based foreclosure firm that filed 352 foreclosure cases in October.

Florida Default Law Group operates in numerous counties in Florida, but it’s not clear how many lawsuits it files outside of Hillsborough County.

Reporter Michael Sasso can be reached at (813) 259-7865.

Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, DOCX, FDLG, florida default law group, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, forensic mortgage investigation audit, Lender Processing Services Inc., LPS, MERS, Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, scamComments (0)

!BAM! Foreclosure Lawyers Face New Heat In Florida: Wall Street Journal AMIR EFRATI

!BAM! Foreclosure Lawyers Face New Heat In Florida: Wall Street Journal AMIR EFRATI


Again…AMIR…SETS IT OFF!!

April 29, 2010, 12:46 PM ET

By Amir Efrati The Wall Street Journal

Foreclosure DrThese are precarious times for lawyers in the business of filing foreclosure cases for banks. This is particularly true in one of the epicenters of the foreclosure crisis, Florida.

As we’ve noted before, the feds in Jacksonville recently started a criminal investigation of a company that is a top provider of the documentation used by banks in the foreclosure process. And a state-court judge ruled that a bank submitted a “fraudulent” document in support of its foreclosure case. That document was prepared by a local law firm.

For more Law Blog background on the foreclosure mess in our nation’s courts, this post will help.

The news today: the Florida Attorney General’s office said it has launched a civil investigation of Florida Default Law Group, based in Tampa, which is one of the largest so-called foreclosure-mill law firms in the state.

According to the AG’s website, it’s looking at whether the firm is “fabricating and/or presenting false and misleading documents in foreclosure cases.” It added: “These documents have been presented in court before judges as actual assignments of mortgages and have later been shown to be legally inadequate and/or insufficient.”

The issue: judges are increasingly running into situations in which banks are claiming ownership of properties they actually don’t own. Some of them end up chewing out the lawyers representing the banks.

The AG’s office said Florida Default Law Group appears to work closely with Lender Processing Services — the company we referenced earlier that is being investigated by the Justice Department.

LPS processes and sometimes produces documents needed by banks to prove they own the mortgages. LPS often works with local lawyers who litigate the foreclosure cases in court. Sometimes those same law firms produce documents that are required to prove ownership.

We’ve reached out to Florida Default Law Group and LPS and will let you know if we hear back.

Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, DOCX, FDLG, florida default law group, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, Lender Processing Services Inc., LPSComments (0)

*BREAKING NEWS* Economic Crimes Division in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida *INVESTIGATING* FLORIDA DEFAULT LAW GROUP “FORECLOSURE MILL” & LENDER PROCESSING SERVICES “DOCx, LLC”

*BREAKING NEWS* Economic Crimes Division in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida *INVESTIGATING* FLORIDA DEFAULT LAW GROUP “FORECLOSURE MILL” & LENDER PROCESSING SERVICES “DOCx, LLC”


UPDATE: Cannot confirm YET but others might be as well! Stay Tuned!

FDLG, LPS’ DocX is being investigated…lets see who’s next!

If you have evidence of Fraud make sure you contact them.

Active Public Consumer-Related Investigation

The case file cited below relates to a civil — not a criminal — investigation. The existence of an investigation does not constitute proof of any violation of law.
Case Number: L10-3-1095
Subject of investigation: Florida Default Law Group, PL
Subject’s address: 9119 Corporate Lake Drive, Suite 300, Tampa, Florida 33634
Subject’s business: Law Firm, Foreclosures
Allegation or issue being investigated:
Appears to be fabricating and/or presenting false and misleading documents in foreclosure cases. These documents have been presented in court before judges as actual assignments of mortgages and have later been shown to be legally inadequate and/or insufficient. Presenting faulty bank paperwork due to the mortgage crisis and thousands of foreclosures per month. This firm is one of the largest foreclosure firms in the State. This firm appears to be one of Docx, LLC a/k/a Lender Processing Services’ clients, who this office is also investigating.
AG unit handling case: Economic Crimes Division in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
View contact information for Ft. Lauderdale.
Related Stories:

MISSION: VOID Lender Processing Services “Assignments” (LPS)

© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in DOCX, florida default law group, foreclosure fraud, Lender Processing Services Inc., LPSComments (4)

Goldman's "Fabulous" Fab's conflicted love letters: Reuters

Goldman's "Fabulous" Fab's conflicted love letters: Reuters


NEW YORK/WASHINGTON
Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:57pm EDT
.
(Reuters) – Fabrice Tourre and his girlfriend talked like a couple very much in love.They emailed back and forth about how they wanted to curl up in each other’s arms and how they looked forward to tender moments together. Tourre, a Goldman Sachs bond trader, also wrote in the emails of the impending collapse of the subprime mortgage market and how he was masterminding ways at Goldman to make money from it.

Little did they know that three years later these very personal emails written through Tourre’s Goldman Sachs e-mail account would become part of one of the biggest investigations into the subsequent financial crisis.

In the email exchanges between Tourre and his girlfriend, Marine Serres, Tourre comes off as a young, hotshot trader who foresaw the subprime meltdown while still selling shoddy subprime-backed products so prolifically he could peddle them to “widows and orphans.”

But Tourre — the only individual the Securities and Exchange Commission charged in its fraud case against the firm — also seems ethically conflicted.

“Anyway, not feeling too guilty about this, the real purpose of my job is to make capital markets more efficient and ultimately provide the U.S. consumer with more efficient ways to leverage and finance himself, so there is a humble, noble and ethical reason for my job ;) amazing how good I am in convincing myself !!!” Tourre said in an e-mail to Serres in January 2007.

That portion of the e-mail reflecting Tourre’s conflicted views on his role in the subprime meltdown immediately followed another part of the e-mail that the SEC released in its complaint earlier this month.

The SEC’s complaint only included Tourre referring to himself as “fabulous Fab” and talking about “standing in the middle of all these complex, highly leveraged, exotic trades he created without necessarily understanding all of the implications of those monstrosities!!!”

The SEC left out Tourre’s ethical musings in its complaint.

Goldman Sachs released the Tourre emails over the weekend as it readies for its appearance before a Senate panel on Tuesday. Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein and Tourre are scheduled to testify, along with other former and current executives.

The collection of e-mails also show that Tourre was not the only person at Goldman with confidence the subprime market was doomed.

Daniel Sparks, a former head of the mortgages department at Goldman, is also expected to testify on Tuesday before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

“According to Sparks, that business is totally dead, and the poor little subprime borrowers will not last so long!!!” Tourre wrote in a March 7, 2007, email to his girlfriend.

Tourre — who refers to Serres at one point as a “super-smart French girl in London” — also tells her about selling to unwitting investors the type of synthetic collateralized debt obligation, or CDO, at the center of the SEC case.

The SEC charges that Tourre and Goldman fraudulently marketed an “Abacus” CDO by hiding vital information from investors, including the role that hedge fund Paulson & Co played in picking mortgage products tied to the CDO. Paulson & Co betted against the CDO.

“Just made it to the country of your favorite clients!!! I’m managed (sic) to sell a few abacus bonds to widow and orphans that I ran into at the airport, apparently these Belgians adore synthetic abs cdo2,” Tourre wrote in June 2007.

Earlier in 2007, in an e-mail to a friend, Tourre shares his fears that the product he helped create is crumbling — and he has a sense of humor about it.

“It’s bizarre I have the sensation of coming each day to work and re-living the same agony – a little like a bad dream that repeats itself,” Tourre writes. “In sum, I’m trading a product which a month ago was worth $100 and which today is only worth $93 and which on average is losing 25 cents a day …That doesn’t seem like a lot but when you take into account that we buy and sell these things that have nominal amounts that are worth billions, well it adds up to a lot of money.”

He added, “When I think that I had some input into the creation of this product (which by the way is a product of pure intellectual masturbation, the type of thing which you invent telling yourself: “Well, what if we created a “thing”, which has no purpose, which is absolutely conceptual and highly theoretical and which nobody knows how to price?”) it sickens the heart to see it shot down in mid-flight… It’s a little like Frankenstein turning against his own investor ;)”

Tourre, 28 when he wrote the emails, reflects on the strangeness of being so young, yet being in such a critical role with pressures from those above him at the firm to make money.

“… I am now considered a “dinosaur” in this business (at my firm the average longevity of an employee is about 2-3 years!!!) people ask me about career advice. I feel like I’m losing my mind and I’m only 28!!! OK, I’ve decided two more years of work and I’m retiring.”

(Reporting by Steve Eder in New York and Karey Wutkowski in Washington; Editing by Bernard Orr)

© 2010-15 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, goldman sachs, scamComments (0)

Small Foreclosure Firm’s Big Bucks: Back Office Grossed $260M in 2009: ABAJOURNAL

Small Foreclosure Firm’s Big Bucks: Back Office Grossed $260M in 2009: ABAJOURNAL


Posted Apr 20, 2010 11:59 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

The Law Offices of David J. Stern has only about 15 attorneys, according to legal directories.

However, it’s the biggest filer of mortgage foreclosure suits in Florida, reports the Tampa Tribune. Aided by a back office that dwarfs the law firm, with a staff of nearly 1,000, the Miami area firm files some 5,800 foreclosure actions monthly.

The back-office operation, DJSP Enterprises, is publicly traded and hence must file financial reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It netted almost $45 million in 2009 on a little over $260 million in gross revenue that year. The mortgage meltdown of recent years apparently has been good to the company: In 2006, it earned a profit of $8.6 million on $40.4 million in revenue.

Stern, who is the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, could not be reached for comment, the newspaper says.

His law firm has been in the news lately, after one Florida judge dismissed a foreclosure case due to what he described as a “fraudulently backdated” mortgage document, and another said, in a hearing earlier this month concerning another of the Stern firm’s foreclosure cases, “I don’t have any confidence that any of the documents the court’s receiving on these mass foreclosures are valid.”

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Judge Dismisses Mortgage Foreclosure Over ‘Fraudulently Backdated’ Doc”

Posted in Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A.Comments (1)

Close watch on the US…UK regulator begins Goldman Sachs probe

Close watch on the US…UK regulator begins Goldman Sachs probe


I think it is donzo for GS. They might try to get away with it here but UK…is another story. There is no White House.

Source: Associated Press

People enter Goldman Sachs headquarters, Monday, April 19, 2010, in New York. Stocks are falling on concerns about the fallout over Goldman Sachs being charged with civil fraud tied to its dealings in bonds backed by sub-prime mortgages. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Jane Wardell, AP Business Writer, On Tuesday April 20, 2010, 6:40 am EDT

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s financial regulator launched a full-blown investigation into Goldman Sachs International on Tuesday after U.S. authorities filed civil fraud charges against its parent bank.

The announcement from the Financial Services Authority follows pressure for the probe from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who expressed shock over the weekend at Goldman’s “moral bankruptcy.”

The British regulator said it would liaise closely with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which alleges that the bank sold risky mortgage-based investments without telling buyers that the securities were crafted in part by a billionaire hedge fund manager who was betting on them to fail.

The London-headquartered Goldman Sachs International, a principal subsidiary of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., said that “the SEC’s charges are completely unfounded in law and fact.” It said it looks “forward to cooperating with the FSA.”

British interest in the case is likely to focus on the Royal Bank of Scotland, which paid $841 million to Goldman Sachs in 2007 to unwind its position in a fund acquired in the takeover of Dutch Bank ABN Amro, according to the complaint filed in the United States.

The possibility that RBS might be able to recoup some money from Goldman Sachs helped boost the government-controlled bank’s shares, which were up 2.8 percent at midday.

The government holds an 84 percent stake in the bank, which nearly collapsed in large part because of its leadership of the consortium which took over the Dutch bank.

Fabrice Tourre, the Goldman Sachs executive named in the SEC lawsuit filed on Friday was moved to the bank’s London office at the end of 2008.

Analysts warn that damage from the case could hit other big banks as well, as the Goldman lawsuit puts the spotlight on the sector’s activities in the wake of the financial crisis.

Brown’s anger was fueled by reports over the weekend that Goldman Sachs still intended to pay out 3.5 billion pounds ($5.4 billion) in bonuses.

The British leader, who is facing a tough general election on May 6, said that the activities of banks “are still an issue.”

“They are a risk to the economy,” he said. “We have got to make sure they behave in a proper way.”

The opposition Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, meanwhile, called on Brown to suspend Goldman from government work until the investigations are completed.

AP reporter Robert Barr in London contributed to this statement.

Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, goldman sachsComments (0)

Goldman Sachs taps ex-W.H. counsel: SCAM THICKENS!

Goldman Sachs taps ex-W.H. counsel: SCAM THICKENS!


By EAMON JAVERS & MIKE ALLEN | 4/19/10 8:14 PM EDT
Updated: 4/19/10 10:03 PM by POLITICO

Goldman Sachs is launching an aggressive response to its political and legal challenges with an unlikely ally at its side — President Barack Obama’s former White House counsel, Gregory Craig.

The beleaguered Wall Street bank hired Craig — now in private practice at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom — in recent weeks to help in navigate the halls of power in Washington, a source familiar with the firm told POLITICO.

“He is clearly an attorney of eminence and has a deep understanding of the legal process and the world of Washington,” the source said. “And those are important worlds for everybody in finance right now.”

They’re particularly important for Goldman.

On Friday, the SEC charged the firm with securities fraud in a convoluted subprime mortgage deal that took place before the collapse of the housing market. Next week, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein will face questions from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which is looking into the causes of the housing meltdown, the source said.

In Craig, Goldman Sachs will have help from a lawyer with deep connections in Democratic circles.

Craig served as White House counsel during the first year of Obama’s presidency, but is seen as having been pushed out for his role in advocating a strict timeline for the closing of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. His departure frustrated many liberal Obama supporters who saw Craig as a strong advocate for undoing some of what they saw as the worst excesses of the Bush era.

But the source familiar with Goldman’s operations said Craig wasn’t hired just because he’s well-connected.

“It’s about advice and process,” the source said. “People will always leap to the conclusion that it’s about somebody’s Rolodex.”

Skadden declined to comment on Craig’s role with Goldman.

“A former White House employee cannot appear before any unit of the Executive Office of the President on behalf of any client for 2 years—one year under federal law and another year under the pledge pursuant to the January 2009 ethics E0,” said a White House official.

The official also said that the White House had no contact with the SEC on the Goldman Sachs case. “The SEC by law is an independent agency that does not coordinate with the White House any part of their enforcement actions.”

Whatever the reason for his hiring, Craig will presumably be a key player in the intricate counterattack Goldman Sachs officials in Washington and Manhattan improvised during the weekend — a plan that took clearer shape Monday as Britain and Germany announced that they might conduct their own investigations of the firm.

For three weeks, Goldman had planned to hold a conference call Tuesday to unveil its first-quarter earnings for shareholders. Shifting into campaign mode after the SEC’s surprise fraud filing, Goldman has moved the call up from 11 a.m. to 8 a.m. to try to get ahead of the day’s buzz. In an unusual addition, the firm’s chief counsel will be on the line to answer questions about the case, and Goldman is inviting policymakers and clients to listen to the earnings call themselves rather than rely on news reports.

Industry officials said the conference call — which will include, as originally planned, Chief Financial Officer David Viniar — will amount to a public unveiling of Goldman’s crisis strategy.

But the linchpin of that plan is already clear: An attempt to discredit the Securities and Exchange Commission by painting the case as tainted by politics because it was announced just as President Barack Obama was ramping up his push for financial regulatory reform, including a planned trip to New York on Thursday.

“The charges were brought in a manner calculated to achieve maximum impact at point of penetration,” a Goldman executive said.

Among the points Greg Palm, co-general counsel, plans to emphasize on the call is “how out of the ordinary the process was with the SEC,” the executive said. The SEC usually gives firms a chance to settle such charges before they are made public. Goldman executives say they had no such chance,and learned about the filing while watching CNBC.

With a monstrous problem and mammoth resources, the iconic firm is paying for advice from a huge array of outside consultants, including such top Washington advisers as Ken Duberstein and Jack Martin, founder of Public Strategies.

The basic plan: Make a tough, factual case without coming off as arrogant or combative and without souring the firm’s image even further.

Partly because of the firm’s belief that it has become an easy target, no Goldman officials have appeared on television since the SEC announced its case.

The firm thinks it can be more effective if others make its case. On CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday, Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times, who gets special attention from Goldman spinners, raised questions about the substance of the SEC’s case. Shortly thereafter, Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said he is “a little interested in the timing” of the case.

Reflecting a high-stakes balance for the unpopular investment bank, Goldman plans to stop short of a frontal attack. Instead, it is raising questions and feeding ammunition to allies.

“We don’t want to come across as being arrogant and above it all,” said a Goldman executive who insisted on anonymity. “The SEC is the major regulator of several of our businesses. Being at war with them is not the goal.”

Therefore, an official said, a key Goldman message in the days ahead will be, “We’re not against regulation. We’re for regulation. We partner with regulators.”

Goldman said its most important audience is its client base, from CEOs all over the world to pension-fund managers to entrepreneurs who use the firm’s private wealth-management services. The firm sent its staff two pages of talking points giving basic facts — and the official line — about the SEC case: “Goldman Sachs Lost Money on the Transaction … Objective Disclosure Was Provided.”

The less official message, according to one executive: “Don’t believe everything you read in the complaint. Don’t believe everything you read in the press.”

The official said clients have been sympathetic.

Other audiences include the news media and governments around the world, with Goldman reaching out Tuesday to politicians in Europe, Japan, the U.S. and everywhere in between.

Goldman pays extraordinary attention to its alumni network because so many of its former officials are in visible, powerful positions. An official said the firm tries “to empower them with information,” so that when they’re put on the spot about the Goldman case, they can say, “I’m not there, but let me tell you a few things I’ve been told.”

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Is the SEC Case Against Goldman Sachs Being Staged for Political Advantage?

Is the SEC Case Against Goldman Sachs Being Staged for Political Advantage?


by Bill Sardi

Recently by Bill Sardi: Preparations Being Made To Move Fort Knox Gold Into Your Bank Account

 

What just happened to Wall Street, with the announcement that the Securities Exchange Commission has filed fraud charges against Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., is so damning that its impact had to be blunted by its late Friday afternoon release. It’s what government does when it doesn’t want the stock market to plunge. But government DOES want to play up to the public’s infuriation over continuing revelations of greed and fraud on Wall Street.

A Monday morning release of this story might have sent the entire stock market into a crash (Goldman Sachs Group Inc, stock is down 23.57 points, erasing ~$12 billion of market capitalization), and that’s because there are likely more fraudulent billion-dollar investments to be revealed.

The American public needs to first grasp a broader view of this event. The Administration in Washington DC, heading for an election in November that will surely be fueled with voter outrage, has decided to strike a seeming blow to Wall Street to strengthen its hand in pushing for financial reform. Yet it is so odd that politicians were the ones who allowed all this to happen (more on this below). Does anyone have an explanation why the SEC has only now decided to file charges involving a 2007 billion-dollar investment? Or why the investor who most benefited financially and who assembled this mortgage-backed investment, John Paulson, has yet to be charged with any wrongdoing?

The smoking gun: an e-mail

 
John Paulson, the billionaire  
   

Another piece of the intrigue here is that the primary provider of evidence in the case is a star Goldman Sachs trader, a Frenchman by birth, who has suddenly left the U.S. for Europe as this story hits the news outlets. Fabrice Tourre, a GS vice president, wrote an email in 2007 that is the smoking gun in this case. Did he leave the U.S. in fear for his life?

Mr. Tourre’s 2007 email, which said “the whole building is about to collapse now,” shortly before the bonds were sold, and which said he would be the only potential survivor, provides foreknowledge of the billion-dollar investment that was sure to fail. Tourre was “principally responsible” for piecing together this novel and new type of investment at GS. He was the point man for Paulson.

When Tourre produced a 65-page “flip book” that contained details of the billion-dollar investment, to be provided to potential investors, this provided the evidence that SEC needed for its case.

 
  Fabrice Tourre, 31-year-old Goldman Sachs vice president, who is reported to have fled the country with the announcement that a 2007 email he wrote is the “smoking gun” in the SECs case against GS.
   

Don’t get the false impression that Mr. Tourre is a whistleblower here. The SEC alleges Mr. Tourre misled investors about Paulson’s role, saying Paulson had invested millions of dollars in hopes the packaged mortgage bonds would rise in value. Of course, Mr. Tourre is not the target of the SEC complaint, Goldman Sachs is. Its senior management had full knowledge of this deal. From 2004 to 2007, Goldman Sachs had arranged about two dozen similar deals.

Nor should anyone get the false notion that Paulson let others do all his bidding. He was actively raising funds and selling investment groups on this kind of instrument for some time, going back to 2006. Paulson wanted to invent the invincible wager.

An article in The Wall Street Journal documents that a senior banker at Bear Stearns Companies turned down this trade, questioning the propriety of selling deals to investors that a bearish client had assembled. (Bear market traders bet that an investment will fall in value, while bull-market traders bet than an investment will rise in value.) 

 

Throw the book at them

Believe it or not, an entire book was written of this now infamous investment before the SEC took action.

Of interest is Greg Zuckerman, The Wall Street Journal’s senior reporter in this case, who wrote The Greatest Trade Ever, about this trade and others like it, long before the SEC took action. The jacket on this book says: “The behind-the-scenes story of how John Paulson defied Wall Street and made financial history.” The book, published in November of 2009, hardly made ripples on Wall Street or in the financial news press. The SEC was sitting on all this information for over two years and did nothing. It was waiting for the right political moment to strike.

Zuckerman’s book outlines how John Paulson assembled risky mortgage investments with another party, Goldman Sachs, investments that were sure to fail, and then bet against them. Goldman Sachs used its reputation to promote the packaged mortgage investment to an overseas investor without revealing it was in cahoots with Paulson. In fact, the overseas bank involved specifically said it would not proceed if the packaged mortgages had been assembled by Paulson.

Paulson made a killing – a billion dollars, and Goldman Sachs made millions assembling the deal from both sides. Paulson’s defense is that he made no misrepresentations, only Goldman Sachs did, but what of the ethics of this deal?

 

Yves Smith, author of Naked Capitalism, and head of Aurora Advisors, a management consulting group, and the author of the new book, Econned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism, calls the investment that John Paulson sponsored a “Trojan horse for Mr. Paulson to take a short position, betting against the very same investment he was creating, but his intent was not disclosed…. at the expense of investors who had been kept in the dark and would almost certainly have turned down the deal if they had had the full picture.”

Goldman Sachs living up to its now infamous reputation

It’s obvious now that Goldman Sachs will be the pin cushion for the Administration’s attempt to regain public credibility before the November election. Goldman Sachs is the villain, and it is doing a good job of playing this role.

Just prior to the revelations about the alleged Paulson/Goldman Sachs scandal, the SEC launched other charges against a Goldman Sachs director. Various news sources reported that Rajat Gupta of GS is being investigated on suspicion that he provided inside information to the Galleon Group, a hedge fund founded by Raj Rajaratnam that has now become the biggest insider-trading probe in many years. So the SEC could mire Goldman Sachs with even more allegations in an effort to bring the billion-dollar company to its knees.

This publicly-staged legal action resembles that of President Bill Clinton’s 1995 assault against the tobacco companies, which was launched under the guise of a threat to public health, but really had a political agenda – that of taking away millions of dollars of campaign funds that the tobacco industry was donating to the Republican Party at the time.

If you are as confused as everyone else what the SEC is fussing about, you might click here to take a peek at a graphic created by The Wall Street Journal which visually displays how the deal between John Paulson and Goldman Sachs was prearranged and marketed.

Of course, GS sees nothing wrong with this trade, which should ignite even further public outrage. GS needs a good public relations man at the moment as it digs an even deeper hole every time it attempts to defend its own actions. (Recall GS’ CEO Lloyd Blankfein who recently said he’s “doing God’s work.”)

Congress opened the door

To return to the government’s culpability in this case, the Commodities Futures Modernization Act which Congress passed a decade ago, opened the door for trades like John Paulson’s. This legislation eliminated the long-standing rule that derivatives bets made outside regulated exchanges are legally enforceable only if one the parties involved in the bet were hedging against a pre-existing risk. Prior regulations said the only people who can bet against an investment actually have to own shares in it. Here is Paulson betting against an investment he had no ownership in.

 

The Commodities Futures Modernization Act is akin to allowing unscrupulous investors to buy fire insurance on other people’s houses, says Lynn A. Stout, Paul Hastings Professor of corporate and securities law at UCLA. A rise in arson would surely occur to collect on the investment.

Or like Rick Edelson, an online blogger speaking out in the New York Times, says: “Like the arsonist who buys insurance on another man’s house, Goldman and Paulson did everything they could to burn down the American economy, because it was only by destroying others’ wealth that they could maximize their own profit.”

Good God, do these men see in their greed they have scuttled the American economy, as well as faith in Wall Street investments that fund most pension plans?

When Paulson made billions, Wall Street was not quick to condemn. He got away with it, and that was to be applauded. Some investment bloggers said “well done.” Another said Paulson is “an investing stud. He is to be hailed for his moxie and superior forecasting.”

 

Other defenders of Wall Street claim Paulson didn’t create a real estate market with collapsing home values. But to package non-performing mortgages and then bet against them is like a rigged horse race.

Scripting for a thrilling end

For sure, the Administration in Washington DC will be portrayed in coming months as the hero, rescuing the public from the blood-suckers on Wall Street. Be it government to save us all from problems it created and then pin a badge of honor on itself. The current and former administrations in Washington DC are, and have been, so tightly controlled and managed by Wall Street, even with its ex-CEOs strategically implanted within the Executive Branch, as to call all alleged reforms and sanctions into question. These are just for show.

Goldman Sachs and its billions will face off against the might of US prosecutors with the President’s credibility on the line. Will a publicized trial be showcased on TV? It could become the high drama that the government wants to keep before the public’s eyes, all the way up to the November election.

Will Paulson squirm out of any legal consequences in the same manner as O.J. Simpson when he was asked to put an ill-fitting glove on his hand in a televised hearing? Will the President be able to control himself and not chime in like he did when he said Cambridge, Massachusetts police officers “acted stupidly” when they arrested a renowned black scholar at his home?

Goldman Sachs knows it has to make the President look good or there will be unending SEC prosecution. The public wants to know whose side is the President is on, the financial titans on Wall Street or the unemployed on Main Street? It will be scripted from the beginning.

And now a final question – will Goldman Sachs be the fall guy in exchange for future favors from the government? If fines are handed out and nobody goes to jail, you will know this was likely preplanned. Will Fabrice Tourre serve as the scapegoat? He’s sure to stay outside the country for his own good. Don’t be so naïve as to not believe much of what you see happening is being staged. That’s how politics works. It’s all about political advantage, not law and order, not right and wrong.

  1.  

April 19, 2010

Bill Sardi [send him mail] is a frequent writer on health and political topics. His health writings can be found at www.naturalhealthlibrarian.com. He is the author of You Don’t Have To Be Afraid Of Cancer Anymore. His latest book is Downsizing Your Body.

Copyright © 2010 Bill Sardi Word of Knowledge Agency, San Dimas, California. This article has been written exclusively for www.LewRockwell.com and other parties who wish to refer to it should link rather than post at other URLs. 

The Best of Bill Sardi

Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, goldman sachs, S.E.C.Comments (0)

For those of you who like "irony": LPS meets Goldman

For those of you who like "irony": LPS meets Goldman


Anytime you have the word “FRAUD” involved in an on-going investigation, It makes you wonder when corps go at it together even more…click the links below to see what I mean.

Lender Processing Services, Inc. (NYSE: LPS) climbed 1.16% to $37.42 after Goldman Sachs upgraded the company’s share from Neutral to Buy with an one year price target of $48.

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Merrill Lynch Accused of Same Fraud as Goldman Sachs; House of Cards are beginning to fall: Bloomberg

Merrill Lynch Accused of Same Fraud as Goldman Sachs; House of Cards are beginning to fall: Bloomberg


This is going to unleash a domino effect! Come one, Come all! Anyone buying these CDO’s from these fraudsters need to get examined!

Interested to see their stock this week??

 

 

Merrill Used Same Alleged Fraud as Goldman, Bank Says (Update1)

By William McQuillen

April 17 (Bloomberg) — Merrill Lynch & Co. engaged in the same investor fraud that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused Goldman Sachs Group Inc. of committing, according to a bank that sued the firm in New York last year.

Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank BA, known as Rabobank, claims Merrill, now a unit of Bank of America Corp., failed to tell it a key fact in advising on a synthetic collateralized debt obligation. Omitted was Merrill’s relationship with another client betting against the investment, which resulted in a loss of $45 million, Rabobank claims.

Merrill’s handling of the CDO, a security tied to the performance of subprime residential mortgage-backed securities, mirrors Goldman Sachs conduct that the SEC details in the civil complaint the agency filed yesterday. It claimed Goldman omitted the same key fact about a financial product tied to subprime mortgages as the U.S. housing market was starting to falter.

“This is the tip of the iceberg in regard to Goldman Sachs and certain other banks who were stacking the deck against CDO investors,” said Jon Pickhardt, an attorney with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, who is representing Netherlands-based Rabobank.

“The two matters are unrelated and the claims today are not only unfounded but weren’t included in the Rabobank lawsuit filed nearly a year ago,” Bill Halldin, a Merrill spokesman, said yesterday of the Dutch bank’s claims.

Kenneth Lench, head of the SEC’s Structured and New Products unit, said yesterday that the agency “continues to investigate the practices of investment banks and others involved in the securitization of complex financial products tied to the U.S. housing market as it was beginning to show signs of distress.”

Failed to Disclose

In its complaint, the SEC said New York-based Goldman Sachs, which had a record $13.4 billion profit last year, failed to disclose to investors that hedge fund Paulson & Co. was betting against the CDO, known as Abacus, and influenced the selection of securities for the portfolio. Paulson, which oversees $32 billion and didn’t market the CDO, wasn’t accused of wrongdoing by the SEC.

Goldman Sachs, the most profitable securities firm in Wall Street history, created and sold CDOs tied to subprime mortgages in early 2007, as the U.S. housing market faltered, without disclosing that Paulson helped pick the underlying securities and bet against them, the SEC said in a statement yesterday.

The SEC allegations are “unfounded in law and fact, and we will vigorously contest them,” Goldman said in a statement.

Merrill Lynch’s arrangement involved Magnetar, a hedge fund that bet against a CDO known as Norma, Rabobank claimed.

Effort to Replicate

“When one major firm becomes aware of the creative instrument of others, there is historically an effort to replicate them,” said Jacob Frenkel, a former SEC lawyer now in private practice in Potomac, Maryland.

SEC spokesman John Heine declined to comment on whether it is investigating Merrill’s actions.

Norma’s largest investor was investment bank Cohen & Co, with more than $100 million in notes, according to Rabobank’s complaint.

Merrill loaded the Norma CDO with bad assets, Rabobank claims. Rabobank seeks $45 million in damages, according to a complaint filed in state court in June 2009. Rabobank initially provided a secured loan of almost $60 million to Merrill, according to its complaint.

Risks Disclosed

Merrill countered in court papers that Rabobank was aware of the risks, which were disclosed in the transaction documents. The bank should have been responsible for conducting its own due diligence, and shouldn’t have relied on Merrill, it said in a court filing last year seeking to dismiss the case.

Steve Lipin, an outside spokesman for Magnetar, didn’t immediately comment.

The case is Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen- Boerenleenbank, B.A. v. Merrill Lynch & Co, 09-601832, New York State Supreme Court (New York County).

To contact the reporter on this story: William McQuillen in Washington at bmcquillen@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: April 16, 2010 23:03 EDT

Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, goldman sachs, hank paulson, john paulson, Merrill Lynch, S.E.C.Comments (0)

MATT TAIBBI: Goldman Sachs "VAMPIRE SQUID"

MATT TAIBBI: Goldman Sachs "VAMPIRE SQUID"


The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beb2jBijo-s]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsRtjYWNZQ8]

TYX91101 Taibbi’s excellent articles alone are worth the price of the magazine. There have been several. He’s doing a commendable? job of putting Wall Street monkey business into the public consciousness. You never get that kind of reporting on CNBC. Great work Matt! 6 hours ago
overseachininadoll Those who greatly benefited from the? crash must hand back the money. (Paulson company) 14 hours ago
Relugus Alot more than the sycophantic financial journalists who kiss Wall Street’s ass.? Wall Street has been screwing people, stealing taxpayers money, stealing wealth from the people, for decades. People are slowly waking up to what Wall Street is, a bunch of criminals and gangsters. 18 hours ago
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Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, goldman sachs, hank paulson, john paulson, matt taibbiComments (0)

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