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COMPLAINT | CURTIS HERTEL, NANCY HUTCHINS, REG. OF DEEDS vs. MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION  SYSTEMS, INC., MERSCORP, INC.

COMPLAINT | CURTIS HERTEL, NANCY HUTCHINS, REG. OF DEEDS vs. MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC., MERSCORP, INC.


STATE OF MICHIGAN
30THCIRCUIT COURT FOR THE COUNTY OF INGHAM

CURTIS HERTEL, the Register of Deeds and

Representative of INGHAM COUNTY; and

NANCY HUTCHINS, the Register of Deeds

and Representative of BRANCH COUNTY,

both as Class Representatives of all 83

counties in the State of Michigan.

 Plaintiffs,

V                                                                                     

MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION

SYSTEMS, INC., MERSCORP,INC., JEANNE

KIVI, ELLEN COON, MARSHALL ISAACS,

BANK OF AMERICA N.A., JP MORGAN CHASE & CO,

CHASE HOME MORTGAGE CORPORATION f/k/a

CHASE HOME FINANCE, WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A.,

CITIMORTGAGE INC., eTITLE AGENCY INC,

1ST CHOICE TITLE SERVICES INC, ATTORNEYS

TITLE AGENCY LLC, f/k/a WARRANTY TITLE

AGENCY LLC, and FEDERAL NATIONAL

MORTGAGE ASSOCIATION, and

JOHN DOE as Any Other authorized signers for MERS

or MERSCORP,INC. and Defendants JOHN DOE

Corporations I – MMM,

 Defendants.

 

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Michigan, Ingham & Branch Counties file class action lawsuit against MERS

Michigan, Ingham & Branch Counties file class action lawsuit against MERS


For immediate release:  November 15th, 2011

CONTACT:  Curtis Hertel Jr., Ingham County Register of Deeds, Ph:  517-281-3574

Ingham & Branch Counties file class action lawsuit against MERS

Ingham County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel Jr. & Branch County Register of Deeds Nancy Hutchins have filed a new lawsuit in the 30th Circuit Court, against Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems.  The lawsuit alleges that MERS has avoided paying state and county transfer taxes that would have been due on multiple property deeds filed within the last decade.  The transfers usually took place shortly following sheriff’s sales on foreclosed homes.

                “This is another case we’ve found, where the state’s residents have been shortchanged by questionable bank practices”, said Hertel.  “This is money that is intended for public education funds on the state level, and money that the county could have used for local programs like health and police.  The law requires that transfer tax is paid on the value of a property, whenever that property is transferred on a document such as a deed.  The big banks have found multiple ways of dodging those taxes.”

                The lawsuit was filed as a class-action, which means that other counties around Michigan are free to join the suit.  Ingham County and Branch County are the two current plaintiffs.  Hertel is hoping that other Registers from Michigan’s 83 counties will join the action.

                “It’s time for this nonsense to stop”, said the Branch County Register Nancy Hutchins.  “These organizations need to step up to the plate, pay the transfer tax that is due and stop claiming exemptions that by law they are not entitled to.”

                “MERS has transformed the entire mortgage industry into a giant shell game”, said Hertel.  “The current servicer of a mortgage is no longer a matter of public record, and once a property is foreclosed, the real games begin, as deeds and other paperwork are filed in such a way as to avoid transfer taxes at every step.   Property ownership is clouded, and the simple task of collecting transfer tax has been turned into this legal battle, largely because of the involvement of MERS.”

                The lawsuit also lists many of the country’s largest banks, as well as individual officers of MERS, as defendants in the case.  Because MERS has represented and acted in the stead of dozens of different banks in property transactions, Hertel & Hutchins are hoping that the court action will bring clarity to the issue of these delinquent taxes.

                Ingham County residents can ask questions about the lawsuit at a pair of town-hall meetings being held this week.  As part of a series of meetings that Hertel has been convening in various communities across the county this year, there are meetings this week on Tuesday in Okemos, and Thursday in Lansing.  The meeting on Tuesday will take place at Okemos High School, in the 2nd floor library, at 5:30pm, and the meeting on Thursday will take place at the Lansing Church of God in Christ, at 5304 Wise Road, also at 5:30pm.  Citizens can get questions answered about how the foreclosure crisis has affected Ingham County, and also get legal help if they are facing such a problem with their own home.

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Fitch: Large RMBS Servicers Prone to High Operational Risk

Fitch: Large RMBS Servicers Prone to High Operational Risk


Mortgage Servicing News-

Recent operational risk downgrades of various mega-servicers of securitized residential mortgage loans by Fitch Ratings indicate the agency is staying true to its resolution to start a new era in mortgage banking evaluations. It appears to involve more frequent updates of rating criteria.

Diane Pendley, Fitch’s managing director, told this publication the agency’s ratings program is “emphasizing the higher expected levels of performance for servicers” based on developing best practices and proposed new regulation. It is the second expansive downgrade since November 2010 when Fitch assigned a negative outlook to the U.S. residential mortgage servicer sector.

This month Fitch downgraded the RMBS servicer ratings of Bank of America, CitiMortgage Inc., MetLife Bank, PNC Bank, Suntrust Mortgage Inc., Wells Fargo Bank, BAC Home Loans Servicing and Chase Home Finance.

Continue reading [MORTGAGE SERVICING NEWS]

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

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


Excerpts:

9 Q Okay. So in this particular instance,
10 CitiMortgage was NTC’s client?
11 A Uh-huh.
12 Q And they contacted you to prepare an Assignment
13 of Mortgage; is that correct?
14 A They contacted us to prepare a group of
15 Assignments. It wasn’t just one.

16 Q How many is — let me start all over with that
17 one.

18 In this instance, how many did they ask you — or
19 did they send over at one time?
20 A I don’t have that number.
21 Q Would it be — and I’m not asking you to guess,
22 but if you do have a ballpark, would it have been dozens or
23 hundreds?
24 A Hundreds to thousands but I don’t know in this
25 particular case how many.
1 Q So — I’m sorry.
2 A I was going to say we’ve done over a hundred
3 thousand Assignments so. . .

4 Q So anywhere from a hundred — from hundreds to a
5 hundred thousand, they would send a request?
6 A They send them in groupings.
7 Q And when you say “they send them in groupings,”
8 that’s requests for Assignments of Mortgages —
9 A Yes.
10 Q — in groupings? Okay.
11 Right underneath the portion we just read,
12 there’s a — a CMI L number.

<SNIP>

7 Q And then we have “CitiMortgage as successor in
8 interest by merger to CitiFinancial Mortgage Company, Inc.,”
9 whose address is 1000 Technology Drive in O’Fallon,
10 Missouri —
11 A Uh-huh.
12 Q — assigning a mortgage together with a note to
13 Bayview Loan Services; is that correct?
14 A Yes.
15 Q Is this typically how Assignments of — or
16 transfer of notes occur through Assignment of Mortgage?
17 MS. PARSONS: Objection. You still have to
18 answer.
19 THE WITNESS: I still have to answer?
20 MS. PARSONS: If you know the answer.
21 THE WITNESS: Yeah. I’m sorry. Sorry.
22 MS. PARSONS: I just do it for the record, just
23 so you know.
24 THE WITNESS: Okay. Got it.
25 A To answer your question, on this particular case,
1 I don’t know what occurred on it because I was not part of
2 the — the sale or of the agreement between Bayview and
3 Citi. We were hired specifically to do Assignments.
4 Normally, this is an action recording at the
5 county to indicate a sale has taken place or a transfer of
6 loans has taken place from one entity to another.
7 Q (By Ms. Drysdale) So I’m not sure that — that
8 answered the question that I was asking.
9 This document is apparently assigning a note?
10 A Yes.
11 Q Is that correct?
12 A Yes.
13 Q And is it your understanding that that’s
14 generally how notes are transferred through Assignments?
15 A I’m trying to figure out how to answer this
16 question. It is my understanding that notes are transferred
17 through a sale agreement between mortgage entities. They
18 record Assignments to put on the record who the current
19 beneficiary is for that note and loan, that mortgage.
20 The — the Assignment itself is not the, to my
21 understanding, the actual sale of the loan. Does that make
22 sense?
23 Q Yes, ma’am.
24 A Okay. So that’s why I’m saying this is to
25 indicate that that event occurred and to record it at the
1 county recorder’s office as having occurred.
2 Q And you said that you were not part of these or
3 privy to the details of the sale from CitiMortgage to
4 Bayview; is that correct?
5 A Correct.
6 Q That you were just asked to prepare a document?
7 A Prepare Assignments, yes.
8 Q Okay. Further down, still on the left hand side,
9 we see the signature of Bryan Bly as vice president?

10 A Yes.
11 Q And is Bryan Bly someone who you supervise?
12 A Directly, no.
13 Q But he is an employee of Nationwide Title
14 Clearing?
15 A Correct.
16 Q Who is his supervisor?
17 A Elsa McKinnon.
18 Q Could you spell that, please?
19 A E-L-S-A M-C-K-I-N-N-O-N.
20 Q When you and I spoke earlier, you indicated
21 that — that you might be a better person to provide
22 information about this Assignment than Mr. Bly; do you
23 recall that?
24 A Yes.
25 Q And — and why did you think that you rather than
1 his supervisor could be explain what —
2 A Because the questions that you were asking in
3 your affidavit did not just have to do with him signing the
4 direct document. You — the questions pertained also to our
5 overall procedure and our connection with CitiMortgage,
6 which are questions that he can’t answer.
7 Q So then let’s talk a little about what Mr. Bly —
8 what he actually does in executing an Assignment of
9 Mortgage. Can you go through that process with me?
10 A Yeah. He is what we refer to as a signer. He is
11 somebody at Nationwide who is designated to execute
12 documents.
13 Q So just can you give me a general idea of what
14 his — his day-to-day activities would be?
15 A He signs and notarizes documents.
16 Q So when he comes in in the morning, he sat — he
17 sits at his desk, and that’s pretty much all he does all
18 day?

19 A Yes.
20 Q Is sign and notarize documents?
21 A Yes.
22 Q Assignments of Mortgage?
23 A Assignments of Mortgage, Lien Releases.
24 Q Does he actually research any of the information
25 contained in the Assignment of Mortgage?
1 A No.
2 Q No?
3 A No.
4 Q About how many documents, including Assignments
5 of Mortgage, would he sign in the average day?
6 A A couple thousand.
7 Q And — and this — is he permanently employed?
8 Well, let me ask that question in a different way.
9 Is his — his employer — his present employer
10 and business address is Nationwide Title at 2100 Alt. 19
11 North; is that correct?
12 A Yeah. He’s presently a full-time employee with
13 Nationwide Title Clearing.
14 Q Okay. In the assign — the Corey Assignment of
15 Mortgage, he lists his address as 10000 [sic] Technology
16 Drive, O’Fallon, Missouri.
17 Why is that particular address used?
18 A That has to do with the question on how Bryan Bly
19 can sign as a vice president as well.
20 Q Okay.
21 A So the answer to that question has to do with a
22 corporate resolution.
23 Q Do you have that document with you?
24 A Yes.
25 Q May I take a look at that?

<SNIP>

8 Q Do you have a copy of the indemnity agreement?
9 A No. I did not bring that with me.
10 Q But that’s something that is in possession of
11 Nationwide?
12 A Yes.
13 Q And so when Mr. Bly is executing the couple
14 thousand of Assignments a day, that is the extent of his —
15 that’s the extent of his duties as vice president?
16 A Uh-huh — yes, sorry, or assistant secretary. It
17 just depends on what’s required at the county. He could be
18 listed as either or.
19 Q So does Nationwide have a chart of all the
20 counties in Florida to know whether or not Mr. Bly is
21 supposed to be a vice president or assistant secretary?

22 A We have a list of all the counties in the entire
23 United States that tells us that.

24 Q So Mr. Bly executes Assignments of Mortgage to be
25 recorded all over the United States?

1 A And Lien Releases.
2 Q And Lien Releases.
3 Does he hold that position as vice president for
4 any other companies other than CitiMortgage?
5 A Yes.
6 Q What other companies?
7 A There are many, and I don’t know if I can just
8 release all of the names of them.

9 Q Okay.
10 A But for all of our clients where we sign, he is
11 listed as one of the signers.
12 Q Previously you said that the consent of the
13 executive committee was the reason for the — the address
14 being listed as a 1000 Technology Drive.
15 Could you expound upon that?
16 A Yeah. He’s acting as the capacity as the vice
17 president for that company, and that is the address of that
18 company.
19 Q So he’s not physically located in Missouri? He
20 just –

21 A No. He’s physically located in Florida.
22 Q He just lists that as his address for purposes of
23 this Assignment of Mortgage?
24 A Correct.
25 Q And who is Christopher Jones?
1 A Christopher Jones is an employee of Nationwide
2 Title Clearing.
3 Q And what are his day-to-day duties?
4 A He also works in the processing area. One of the
5 duties he has is he is one of our signers and one of our
6 notaries.
7 Q Does Mr. Bly also work in the processing
8 department?
9 A That’s the department, yeah.
10 Q Is Mr. Bly also a notary?
11 A Yes.
12 Q Down at the bottom of the Corey Assignment it
13 says that the document was prepared by Jessica Fretwell?
14 A Yes.
15 Q Do you know Ms. Fretwell?
16 A Yes.
17 Q And is she also an employee of Nationwide?
18 A Yes, she is.
19 Q And what is her job description?
20 A She works in our quality control division.
21 Q What are her day-to-day responsibilities?
22 A How to do with the establishment of the forms and
23 the county requirements.
24 Q When you say “the establishment of the forms,”
25 what do you mean by that?

<SNIP>

15 Q Okay. So Mr. Bly didn’t actually sign the Corey
16 Assignment; is that correct?

17 A Well, he didn’t physically sign it, but he —
18 that meets with the standards for electronic document
19 recording.

20 Q Okay. Are you referring to a specific state or
21 federal law?
22 A This — no. Specific counties across the nation
23 have started setting it up, so part of like going more green
24 and not having as much paperwork that you can electronically
25 record documents. They have different settings anywhere
1 from just feeding them information to feeding them like a
2 PDF or TIF version of the document that gets recorded, that
3 they record in their imaging bank, stamped electronically,
4 and then send back to us as having been recorded once it’s
5 verified on their side. That document was one of those.
6 Q Yes, ma’am. I understand how it was recorded
7 electronically. I’m just trying to — to determine whether
8 or not Mr. Bly actually signed a physical document or if
9 a — his signature was created by Planat Press.

10 A The signature was included by Planat Press
11 because that document was never printed out.

12 Q So did Mr. Bly review the document before it was
13 sent for electronic recording?

14 A No.
15 Q So — and I’m now — I continue to refer to the
16 Corey Assignment.
17 Mr. Bly never saw the Corey Assignment prior to
18 it being recorded; is that correct?

19 A Correct.

<SNIP>

Q What about Crystal Moore? She — is she also a
7 signer?

8 A She is also a signer and a notary.
9 Q And a notary.
10 And her practices are the same as you’ve
11 described with Mr. Bly as far as how she — what her daily
12 duties are in executing documents?
13 A Yes.
14 Can I ask why you’re asking about Crystal Moore
15 because her name’s not on any of the documentation regarding
16 this.
17 Q I just saw her name on the Consent of the
18 Executive Committee we marked as 3.
19 A Uh-huh.
20 Q So are all of the names on Exhibit 3, the Joint
21 Consent, are they all signers?
22 A You mean is their job duty?
23 Q Yes, ma’am.

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Banks, Servicers Subpoenaed by Texas Attorney General Abbott

Banks, Servicers Subpoenaed by Texas Attorney General Abbott


October 25, 2010, 8:54 PM EDT

By Margaret Cronin Fisk

(Updates with spokesman’s comment in second paragraph.)

Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) — Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sent subpoenas to JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and seven other banks or loan servicers seeking information about foreclosure practices, a spokesman said.

“The state is subpoenaing information and documents,” Jerry Strickland, the spokesman, said in an interview. He didn’t elaborate. The state also subpoenaed Ally Financial Inc., CitiMortgage Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co.

Abbott began investigating foreclosure practices in Texas following the disclosure of a December deposition in which an employee of Ally’s GMAC Mortgage unit testified that his team signed about 10,000 documents a month without verifying their accuracy. On Oct. 13, all 50 state attorneys general announced a joint investigation of foreclosures.

The Texas subpoenas followed letters sent by Abbott’s office to 30 loan servicers on Oct. 4, asking them to halt foreclosures in the state pending a review of their practices.

Abbott asked banks then to identify employees who filed faulty affidavits or other documents in the state and identify foreclosures that used such documents. He also asked lenders and servicers to halt all sales of properties previously foreclosed upon and stop all evictions.

Twenty-six of those companies responded to the letters, according to a spreadsheet of answers sent today by Strickland.

.

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