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SoFla Woman’s 2-Year Battle Gets Mortgage Wiped Out

SoFla Woman’s 2-Year Battle Gets Mortgage Wiped Out


Wonder whose signature was/is still on her documents? His name is Scott Anderson!

Read all about Scott Anderson here.


NBC 6-

A South Florida woman succeeded with the unheard of when she was able to get her mortgage wiped out by a lender.

In an effort to save her mother’s home, Idania Castro waged a two-year battle with the bank.

“The mortgage got wiped out, so I have no mortgage payment, everything was completely satisfied,” Castro said.

The woman, who took it upon herself to go through every document related to the mortgage, finally discovered robo-signing. She said the signatures on her foreclosure documents appeared to have been signed by different people.

[NBC 6]

Image Source: ABC

Here are the many different signatures of Scott Anderson below:

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ELSTON / LEETSDALE vs CWCAPITAL | FL 4DCA “did not file any evidence, affidavits or other documents, supporting…it was authorized …on behalf of the trust”

ELSTON / LEETSDALE vs CWCAPITAL | FL 4DCA “did not file any evidence, affidavits or other documents, supporting…it was authorized …on behalf of the trust”


DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA
FOURTH DISTRICT

January Term 2012

ELSTON/LEETSDALE, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company,
Appellant,

v.

CWCAPITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT LLC, solely in its capacity as
Special Servicer on behalf of U.S. BANK, N.A., Successor to STATE
STREET BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, as Trustee for the registered
holders of J.P. MORGAN CHASE COMMERCIAL MORTGAGE
SECURITIES CORP., MORTGAGE PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES,
SERIES 2001-C1BC1,
Appellee.

No. 4D11-3151

[April 4, 2012]

POLEN, J.

Elston/Leetsdale, LLC (Elston) appeals the trial court’s non-final
order, requiring it to make payments to CWCapital Asset Management
LLC, solely in its capacity as special servicer on behalf of U.S. Bank,
N.A., successor to State Street Bank and Trust Company, as trustee for
the Registered Holders of J.P. Morgan Chase Commercial Mortgage
Securities Corp., Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2001-
C1BC1 (CW) during the pendency of the action. Because CW did not
properly plead standing, we reverse.

The facts are as follows. Elston executed a promissory note as
evidence of a loan made by First Union National Bank; to secure
payment, Elston executed a mortgage and security agreement, along with
an assignment of leases and rents. First Union assigned its rights in the
loan documents to Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New York, which
then assigned its right, title and interest in the loan to State Street Bank
and Trust Company, as Trustee for J.P. Morgan Chase Commercial
Mortgage Securities Corp., Series 2001-C1BC1 (the trust). Presently, the
trust is the current owner and holder of all the loan documents subject
to this appeal.

CW, the special servicer for the trust, filed a verified complaint, in its
own name, for foreclosure. The complaint alleged that Elston defaulted
on the loan, and the trust elected to accelerate and declare immediately
due and owing the entire unpaid principal balance together with accrued
interest. In response to CW’s motions, the trial court ordered Elston to
show cause as to why payments should not b e ma d e during the
pendency of the foreclosure action. Elston then moved to dismiss the
complaint, arguing that CW failed to properly allege standing to pursue
enforcement of the security instruments. CW argued that it had
standing to bring the foreclosure action because it is duly authorized by
the trust to do so and, as special servicer for the loan, it is entitled to
take all required action to protect the interests of the trust. After a
hearing,1 the trial court entered a payment order, requiring Elston to pay
CW $42,404.91 per month during the pendency of the action. This
appeal followed.

Elston argues that the trial court erred b y ordering it to make
payments to CW because CW failed to properly allege standing. CW
argues that Elston has not furnished a sufficient record for this court to
review the trial court’s ruling.2 On the merits, CW argues that, as agent
and special servicer to the trust, which owns the loan documents at
issue, it has standing to foreclose.

“Whether a party is the proper party with standing to bring an action
is a question of law to be reviewed de novo.” FCD Dev., LLC v. S. Fla.
Sports Comm., Inc., 37 So. 3d 905, 909 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010) (quoting
Westport Recovery Corp. v. Midas, 954 So. 2d 750, 752 (Fla. 4th DCA
2007)).

Every action may be prosecuted in the name of the real party
in interest, but a personal representative, administrator,
guardian, trustee of an express trust, a party with whom or
in whose name a contract has been made for the benefit of
another, or a party expressly authorized by statute may sue
in that person’s own name without joining the party for
whose benefit the action is brought.

Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.210(a). “In its broadest sense, standing is no more than
having, or representing one who has, ‘a sufficient stake in an otherwise
justiciable controversy to obtain judicial resolution of that controversy.’”
Kumar Corp. v. Nopal Lines, Ltd., 462 So. 2d 1178, 1182 (Fla. 3d DCA
1985) (quoting Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727, 731 (1972)).

In the mortgage foreclosure context, “standing is broader than just
actual ownership of the beneficial interest in the note.” Mortgage Elec.
Registration Sys., Inc. v. Azize, 965 So. 2d 151, 153 (Fla. 2d DCA 2007).
“The Florida real party in interest rule, Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.210(a), permits
an action to be prosecuted in the name of someone other than, but
acting for, the real party in interest.” Id. (quoting Kumar, 462 So. 2d at
1183). “Thus, where a plaintiff is either the real party in interest or is
maintaining the action on behalf of the real party in interest, its action
cannot be terminated on the ground that it lacks standing.” Kumar, 462
So. 2d at 1183. See also BAC Funding Consortium Inc. ISAOA/ATIMA v.
Jean-Jacques, 28 So. 3d 936, 938 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010) (“The proper party
with standing to foreclose a note and/or mortgage is the holder of the
note and mortgage or the holder’s representative.”).

In securitization cases, a servicer may b e considered a party in
interest to commence legal action as long as the trustee joins or
ratifies its action. In re Rosenberg, 414 B.R. 826, 842 (Bankr. S.D. Fla.
2009) (emphasis added). In CWCapital Asset Management, LLC v.
Chicago Properties, LLC, 610 F.3d 497 (7th Cir. 2010), the Seventh
Circuit found that CW, as a special servicer to a loan, had standing to
bring an action in its own name against a mortgagor and landlord for
money paid by a tenant in settlement of a suit for unpaid rent. Id. at
499-500. Significantly, however, in opposition to the defendant’s motion
for judgment on the pleadings (based on CW’s lack of standing), CW filed
an affidavit of the trustee, which was not contradicted, ratifying the
servicer’s (CW’S) commencement of the lawsuit. Id. at 502 (emphasis
added). Additionally, the pooling and servicing agreement was placed in
evidence as additional evidence that CW’s principal granted CW authority
to enforce the debt instruments that CW neither owned nor held. Id. at
501.

In Juega v. Davidson, 8 So. 3d 488 (Fla. 3d DCA 2009), relied on by
the trial court, the Third District reversed an order of dismissal for lack
of standing, finding that because the plaintiff was an agent who had been
granted full authority to act for the real party in interest, there was no
violation of rule 1.210(a). Id. at 489. However, in Juega, there was
evidence in the trial court that the agent/plaintiff had been granted full
authority to act on the real party in interest’s behalf: The real party in
interest filed an affidavit in opposition to the motion to dismiss for lack of
standing, averring that Juega was pursuing the litigation for the real
party in interest’s benefit and ratifying all actions taken by Juega since
the inception of the lawsuit. Id. at 489. Finding the affidavit filed by the
real party in interest to be indistinguishable from the affidavit filed by the
principal in Kumar, the Third District held that “the facts stated in [the
affidavit] establish that the agent, Juega, has standing.” Id. at 490
(emphasis added).

Here, the caption of the verified complaint states that the underlying
action is brought by CW “solely in its capacity as special servicer on
behalf of U.S. Bank, N.A.” In the complaint, CW alleges, and verifies as
true, that it “has been and is duly authorized by the Trust to prosecute
this action as agent and special servicer for the Trust.” However, CW did
not file any evidence, affidavits or other documents, supporting its
allegation that it was authorized to prosecute the action on behalf of the
trust, as was done in Kumar, Juega and Chicago Properties. Although
CW’s complaint is verified, it is verified by the “SVP” for CW – not by the
real party in interest, the trust. CW relies on nothing more than its own
allegations and affidavit to support its argument that it has standing to
sue on behalf of the trust. This is insufficient evidence to prove that it is
authorized to sue on the trust’s behalf.

We affirm on the other issue raised by Elston, as we find that the trial
court properly determined that CW was not required to register as a
commercial collection agency or as a licensed mortgage broker under
Chapters 559 and 494, Florida Statutes.

Reversed and Remanded.

TAYLOR and HAZOURI, JJ., concur.
* *

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SHOUP vs. McCurdy & CANDLER, LLC | 11th Cir. Court of Appeals “MERS is NOT a CREDITOR, The complaint states a plausible claim for relief under the FDCPA”

SHOUP vs. McCurdy & CANDLER, LLC | 11th Cir. Court of Appeals “MERS is NOT a CREDITOR, The complaint states a plausible claim for relief under the FDCPA”


IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT
_________________________
No. 10-14619
__________________________
D.C. Docket No. 1:09-cv-02598-JEC

JONI LEE SHOUP,
on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated,
Plaintiff – Appellant,

versus

MCCURDY & CANDLER, LLC,
Respondent – Appellee.
__________________________
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Northern District of Georgia

___________________________
(March 30, 2012)

Before DUBINA, Chief Judge, CARNES, Circuit Judge, and FORRESTER,*
District Judge.

*Honorable J. Owen Forrester, United States District Judge for the Northern District of
Georgia, sitting by designation.

PER CURIAM:

Joni Shoup filed a lawsuit against McCurdy & Candler, LLC alleging a
violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692e. The
district court dismissed her complaint for failure to state a claim under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), and Shoup appeals, contending that her
complaint stated a valid claim for statutory damages under the FDCPA because
McCurdy & Candler’s initial communication letter falsely said that its client,
Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS), was Shoup’s “creditor.”

I.

Shoup bought a home in Georgia in 2003. To finance her new home, she
entered into a mortgage contract with America Wholesale Lender. The contract
stated that America Wholesale Lender was the “Lender,” but it also described
MERS as “the grantee under” the mortgage contract and as “a separate corporation
that is acting solely as a nominee for Lender and Lender’s successors and assigns.”
Shoup defaulted on her mortgage, and MERS’ law firm, McCurdy &
Candler, sent Shoup an initial communication letter. That letter was entitled,
“NOTICE PURSUANT TO FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT 15
USC 1692,” and stated that its purpose was “an attempt to collect a debt.” The
letter identified MERS as “the creditor on the above referenced loan.” (Emphasis
added.)

Soon after receiving that letter, Shoup filed a complaint against McCurdy &
Candler under the FDCPA. She alleged that MERS is not a “creditor” as defined
in the FDCPA because it did not offer or extend credit to Shoup and she does not
owe MERS a debt. Instead, according to the complaint, MERS is “a company that
tracks, for its clients, the sale of promissory notes and servicing rights.” Shoup,
therefore, alleged that McCurdy & Candler violated the FDCPA by falsely stating
in the initial communication letter that MERS was Shoup’s “creditor.”1
McCurdy & Candler filed a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), which
the district court granted. Finding that MERS was a “creditor” under the FDCPA,
the court concluded that Shoup’s complaint did not state a claim for statutory
damages under the FDCPA. The court also concluded that, even if MERS was not
a “creditor,” calling MERS one was harmless. This is Shoup’s appeal.

II.

We review de novo the grant of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) for
failure to state a claim, “accepting the allegations in the complaint as true and
construing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Belanger v. Salvation
Army, 556 F.3d 1153, 1155 (11th Cir. 2009). “A complaint must state a plausible
claim for relief, and ‘a claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.’” Sinaltraninal v. Coca-Cola Co.,
578 F.3d 1252, 1261 (11th Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)) (alteration omitted). We also review de novo
matters of statutory interpretation. Belanger, 556 F.3d at 1155.

Under the FDCPA, “[a] debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or
misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt,”
15 U.S.C. § 1692e, which includes “[t]he use of any false representation or
deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt or to obtain information
concerning a consumer,” id. § 1692e(10). The statute defines “creditor” as “any
person who offers or extends credit creating a debt or to whom a debt is owed, but
such term does not include any person to the extent that he receives an assignment
or transfer of a debt in default solely for the purpose of facilitating collection of
such debt for another.” Id. § 1692a(4). And “[t]he FDCPA provides that ‘any
debt collector who fails to comply with any provision of this subchapter with
respect to any person is liable to such person’ for [actual and statutory] damages
and costs.” Bourff v. Lublin, __ F.3d __, slip op. at 6, No. 10-14618 (11th Cir.
Mar. 15, 2012) (quoting 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)).

Our decision in this case is controlled by our recent decision in Bourff. In
that case a law firm sent a letter to the plaintiff in “AN ATTEMPT TO COLLECT
A DEBT.” Id. at __, slip op. at 3 (quotation marks omitted). That letter identified
a loan servicer as “the creditor on the above-referenced loan.” Id. at __, slip op. at
3 (quotation marks omitted). The plaintiff’s complaint alleged that the loan
servicer was not a “creditor” under the FDCPA, id., and that the law firm violated
the FDCPA’s “prohibition on false, deceptive or misleading representations by
falsely stating in its collection notice that [the servicer] was the ‘creditor’ on [the
plaintiff’s] loan,” id. at __, slip op. at 5 (some quotation marks omitted). The
allegation that the loan servicer was not a “creditor” was enough to state a
plausible claim for relief under the FDCPA. Id. at __, slip op. at 6–7.

Here, viewing the allegations in the complaint in the light most favorable to
Shoup, she has alleged that MERS did not offer or extend credit to her and that she
does not owe a debt to MERS. Because the FDCPA defines a “creditor” as “any
person who offers or extends credit creating a debt or to whom a debt is owed,” 15
U.S.C. § 1692a(4), Shoup has alleged that MERS is not a “creditor” under the
FDCPA. Finally, because the complaint alleges that McCurdy & Candler’s initial
communication letter falsely identified MERS as her “creditor,” the complaint
states a plausible claim for relief under the FDCPA. See Bourff, __ F.3d at __,
slip op. at 6–7. And because the FDCPA provides a claim for statutory damages
based on any violation of the statute, see 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(2), McCurdy &
Candler’s alleged violation of the FDCPA is not harmless. See Muha v. Encore
Receivable Mgmt., Inc., 558 F.3d 623, 629 (7th Cir. 2009) (“Were the plaintiffs
seeking actual damages rather than just statutory damages, they would have to
present some evidence that they were misled to their detriment.”); Baker v. G.C.
Servs. Corp., 677 F.2d 775, 780 (9th Cir. 1982) (“The statute clearly specifies the
total damage award as the sum of the separate amounts of actual damages,
statutory damages and attorney fees. There is no indication in the statute that
award of statutory damages must be based on proof of actual damages.”). The
district court erred in dismissing Shoup’s complaint under Rule 12(b)(6).

REVERSED AND REMANDED.

footnote:

1 Shoup also brought her claim on behalf of a putative class and sought class certification.
The district court did not rule on that issue, so it is not before us on appeal.

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BOURFF vs. RUBIN LUBLIN, LLC | GA 11th Cir. Appeals Court “The identity of the “creditor” in these notices is a serious matter, FDCPA”

BOURFF vs. RUBIN LUBLIN, LLC | GA 11th Cir. Appeals Court “The identity of the “creditor” in these notices is a serious matter, FDCPA”


IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT

________________________
No. 10-14618
________________________
D.C. Docket No. 1:09-cv-02437-JEC

MICHAEL BOURFF,
Plaintiff – Appellant,

versus

RUBIN LUBLIN, LLC,
Defendant – Appellee.
________________________
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Northern District of Georgia
________________________
(March 15, 2012)

Before EDMONDSON and PRYOR, Circuit Judges, and BOWDRE,* District
Judge.
*

PER CURIAM:
This appeal involves a Fair Dept Collection Practices Act claim in which a
“false representation” has been alleged. Michael Bourff appeals the district
court’s dismissal of his civil action under 15 U.S.C. §1692, the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), for failure to state a claim. The district court
concluded that Bourff’s claim was covered by the FDCPA but that Bourff did not
allege acts that violated the FDCPA. We vacate the dismissal and remand the case
for further proceedings.

Background

This case involves a $195,000 loan by America’s Wholesale Lender
(“AWL”) to Michael Bourff. The loan was evidenced by a note, was used to
purchase property in Fulton County, Georgia, and was secured by a deed to the
property purchased.1

The basics of this case are not in dispute. In April 2009 Bourff failed to
make a payment on the loan and caused default under the terms of the note. AWL
later assigned the loan and the security deed to BAC Home Loan Servicing, LP
f/k/a Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, LP (“BAC”) for the purpose of
collecting on the note. BAC in turn hired defendant law firm, Rubin Lublin, LLC
(“Rubin Lublin”), to assist in collection efforts. In late May 2009 Rubin Lublin
sent a notice to Bourff stating that they had been retained to help collect on the
loan. The notice clearly stated that it was being sent as “NOTICE PURSUANT
TO FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT 15 U.S.C. § 1692[,]” and that
it was “AN ATTEMPT TO COLLECT A DEBT.” The notice also identified BAC
as “the creditor on the above-referenced loan.” (Compl. Ex. A.)

Shortly after receiving the notice, Bourff filed this civil action against Rubin
Lublin pursuant to the FDCPA. Bourff claimed that the notice sent by Rubin
Lublin violated §1692e of the FDCPA by falsely representing that BAC was the
“creditor” on the loan, despite entities in BAC’s position being specifically
excluded from the definition of “creditor” by the language of the FDCPA. Rubin
Lublin filed a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), and the district court
dismissed the action for failure to state a claim under the FDCPA. The district
court concluded that BAC was a “creditor” according to the ordinary meaning of
the term and that, even if BAC was no creditor, the error in listing it as such was a
harmless mistake in the use of the term because BAC had the power to foreclose
on the property or otherwise to act as the creditor on the loan. (Order 11.)

Standard of Review

We review the grant of a motion to dismiss de novo; and in so doing, we
accept the allegations in the complaint as true while construing them in the light
most favorable to the Plaintiff. Powell v. Thomas, 643 F.3d 1300, 1302 (11th Cir.
2011). The interpretation of a statute is likewise reviewed de novo as a purely
legal matter. Belanger v. Salvation Army, 556 F.3d 1153, 1155 (11th Cir. 2009).
A “complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct.
1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974
(2007)). Stating a plausible claim for relief requires pleading “factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for
the misconduct alleged”: which means “more than a sheer possibility that a
defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id.

DISCUSSION

The FDCPA limits what is acceptable in attempting debt collection. The
FDCPA applies to the notice here in question because the notice was an attempt at
debt collection. The notice stated that Rubin Lublin had been retained to “collect
the loan,” stated in bold capital letters that it was “an attempt to collect a debt,”
and advised Bourff to contact Rubin Lublin to “find out the total current amount
needed to either bring your loan current or to pay off your loan in full.” (Compl.
Ex. A.)

The FDCPA, among other things, mandates that, as part of noticing a debt, a
“debt collector” must “send the consumer a written notice containing” — along
with other information — “the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed[.]”
15 U.S.C. §1692g(a)(2). In addition, the Act prohibits a “debt collector” from
using “any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection
with the collection of any debt.” 15 U.S.C. §1692e. The use of “or” in §1692e
means that, to violate the FDCPA, a representation by a “debt collector” must
merely be false, or deceptive, or misleading. A false representation in connection
with the collection of a debt is sufficient to violate the FDCPA facially, even
where no misleading or deception is claimed.

Plaintiff claims that Rubin Lublin violated the prohibition on “false,
deceptive, or misleading representation[s]” by falsely stating in its collection
notice that BAC was the “creditor” on Bourff’s loan. The identity of the
“creditor” in these notices is a serious matter. For the FDCPA, “creditor” is
defined this way:

“The term ‘creditor’ means any person who offers or extends credit
creating a debt or to whom a debt is owed, but such term does not include
any person to the extent that he receives an assignment or transfer of a debt
in default solely for the purpose of facilitating collection of such debt for
another.” 15 U.S.C. §1692a(4).

Plaintiff’s complaint alleges that Bourff defaulted on the loan in April 2009
by failing to tender the required monthly payment. The complaint further alleges
that BAC “received an assignment of the security deed and debt on June 19, 2009 .
. ., while the Plaintiff’s loan was in default, for the purpose of facilitating
collection of such debt for another, presently unknown, entity.” (Compl. ¶13)
Accepting Plaintiff’s allegations as true and construing them in the light most
favorable to the Plaintiff, the statement on the May 2009 notice that BAC was
Plaintiff’s “creditor” was a false representation and was made by a “debt collector”
as defined in §1692a of the FDCPA.

The FDCPA provides that “any debt collector who fails to comply with any
provision of this subchapter with respect to any person is liable to such person…”
for potential damages and costs. 15 U.S.C. §1692k(a). The complaint on its face,
taken as true and viewed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, states a claim
upon which relief may be granted under the FDCPA. As such, we vacate the
dismissal and remand this case to the district court for further proceedings.

VACATED and REMANDED.

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Banks face crisis in bungled commercial mortgages

Banks face crisis in bungled commercial mortgages


Oh yes, MERS is in this rabbit hole as well: From a 10/10 post EXCLUSIVE | NYSC COMMERCIAL (CMBS), MERS and a $65 MILLION NOTE

If this doesn’t do them in then look for the Next Robo-Signing Scandal: RePOST: CHASE BANK v. GERGIS | NY Civ. Court “ROBO-TESTIMONY, WAMU, CREDIT-CARD DEBT” Dismissed w/ PREJUDICE

Either way the banks are screwed on these as well.

CBS-

The nation’s banks are looking at a robo-signing problem with commercial real estate which may dwarf the one for home mortgages, according to a new study.

Research by Harbinger Analytics Group shows the widespread use of inaccurate, fraudulent documents for land title underwriting of commercial real estate financing. According to the report:

This fraud is accomplished through inaccurate and incomplete filings of statutorily required records (commercial land title surveys detailing physical boundaries, encumbrances, encroachments, etc.) on commercial properties in California, many other western states and possibly throughout most of the United States.

[CBS NEWS]

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HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Taher | NY Judge Schack Grand Slam Again… Sanctions HSBC $10k & Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC $5k

HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Taher | NY Judge Schack Grand Slam Again… Sanctions HSBC $10k & Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC $5k


For Part 1 go here: HSBC v TAHER | Judge SCHACK Grand SLAM!! MERS, Plaintiff’s Counsel, Ocwen Robo-Signers Christina Carter, Scott Anderson, Margery Rotundo Dismissed w/ PREJUDICE

Decided on December 22, 2011

Sup Court, Kings County

HSBC Bank USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, Plaintiff,

against

Ellen N. Taher, et. al., Defendants.

9320/09

Appearances:

Plaintiff

William G. Kelly, Esq.

Frank Cassara, Esq.

Shapiro DiCaro and Barak, LLC

Rochester NY

Michael O. Ware, Esq.

Mayer Brown, LLP

NY NY

Marco Cercone, Esq.

Ruup Baase Pfalzgraf Cunningham and Coppola

Buffalo NY

Defendant No Appearance

Arthur M. Schack, J.

The following papers numbered 1 – 7 read on this decision:Papers Numbered:

Affidavits with or without Exhibits1, 2, 3, 4

Memoranda of Law_________________________________5, 6

Transcript of July 15, 2011 Court Proceedings____________7

________________________________________________________________________

The Court, in this dismissed foreclosure action, pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (a), imposes the following sanctions for “frivolous conduct,” in violation of 22 NYCRR

§ 130-1.1 (c): the maximum sanction of $10,000.00 upon plaintiff, HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2 (HSBC), because HSBC’s use of robosigners in the instant action “is completely without merit in law,” HSBC “asserts material factual statements that are false” and HSBC’s continuation of the action with all its defects is a waste of judicial resources; and, a sanction of $5,000.00 upon HSBC’s counsel, Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, because Frank M. Cassara, Esq., of Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC “asserts material factual statements that are false” and Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC’s continuation of the action with all its defects is a waste of judicial resources. The Court is not imposing a sanction upon Frank M. Cassara, Esq. because, pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (b), the sanction is imposed upon Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, the “firm . . . with which the attorney is associated.”

The frivolous conduct of HSBC and Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC is detailed in my prior decision and order in this action (32 Misc 3d 1208 (A) [July 1, 2011]). Further, I conducted a hearing on July 15, 2011, to give HSBC, Frank M. Cassara, Esq. and Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC a “a reasonable opportunity to be heard” before any imposition of sanctions, pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (d).

This decision and order is based upon my review of the minutes of the July 15, 2011 Part 130 hearing, my prior orders and decisions in the instant matter and my review of affidavits and memoranda of law submitted by counsel for HSBC and Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC. Therefore, pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 130-1.2, this is the “written decision setting forth the conduct on which the award or imposition [of sanctions] is based, the reasons why the court found the conduct to be frivolous, and the reasons why the court found the amount awarded or imposed to be appropriate.”

Background

Plaintiff HSBC moved in this foreclosure action, upon the default of all defendants, for an order of reference and related relief for the premises located at 931 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (Block 1632, Lot 57, County of Kings). On November 8, 2010, I issued a decision and order instructing plaintiff’s counsel, Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, to comply with the affirmation requirements of Administrative Order 548/10, issued, on October 20, 2010, by then Chief Administrative Judge Ann T. Pfau. Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC was ordered to submit the required affirmation “within sixty (60) days of this decision and order, or the instant foreclosure action will be dismissed with prejudice.” Moreover, my decision and order mandated, with respect to the attorney’s affirmation, that: [*2]

plaintiff’s counsel to state that he communicated on a specific date

with a named representative of plaintiff HSBC who informed counsel

that he or she:

(a) has personally reviewed plaintiff’s documents and records

relating to this case; (b) has reviewed the Summons and

Complaint, and all other papers filed in this matter in support

of foreclosure; and, (c) has confirmed both the factual accuracy

of these court filings and the accuracy of the notarizations

contained therein.

Further, plaintiff’s counsel, based upon his or her communication

with plaintiff’s representative named above must upon his or her

“inspection of the papers filed with the Court and other diligent

inquiry, . . . certify that, to the best of [his or her] knowledge, information

and belief, the Summons and Complaint filed in support of this action

for foreclosure are complete and accurate in all relevant respect.”

Counsel is reminded that the new standard Court affirmation form

states in a note at the top of the first page:

During and after August 2010, numerous and widespread

insufficiencies in foreclosure filings in various courts around the

nation were reported by major mortgage lenders and other authorities.

These insufficiencies include: failure of plaintiffs and their counsel

to review documents and files to establish standing and other foreclosure requisites; filing of notarized affidavits which falsely attest to such

review and to other critical facts in the foreclosure process; and

“robosigning” of documents by parties and counsel. The wrongful

filing and prosecution of foreclosure proceedings which are discovered

to suffer from these defects may be cause for disciplinary and other

sanctions upon participating counsel. [Emphasis added]

The Office of Court Administration, in its October 20, 2010 press release about the

new affirmation requirement, stated that the new attorney affirmation filing requirement was instituted:

to protect the integrity of the foreclosure process and prevent wrongful foreclosures . . . The new filing requirement was introduced by the Chief [*3]

Judge in response to recent disclosures by major mortgage lenders of

significant insufficiencies — including widespread deficiencies in

notarization and “robosigning” of supporting documents — in residential

foreclosure filings in courts nationwide . . .

Chief Judge Lippman said, “We cannot allow the courts

in New York State to stand by idly and be party to what we now

know is a deeply flawed process, especially when that process

involves basic human needs — such as a family home — during

this period of economic crisis. This new filing requirement will

play a vital role in ensuring that the documents judges rely on will

be thoroughly examined, accurate, and error-free before any judge

is asked to take the drastic step of foreclosure.” [Emphasis added]

On January 7, 2011, HSBC’s deadline day to submit the required affirmation, Mr.

Cassara, of Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, submitted to my chambers the required affirmation. Mr. Cassara, affirmed “under the penalties of perjury”:

2. On January 4, 2011 and January 5, 2011, I communicated with

the following representative or representatives of Plaintiff, who informed

me that he/she/they (a) personally reviewed plaintiff’s documents and

records relating to this case for factual accuracy; and (b) confirmed

the factual accuracy and allegations set forth in the Complaint and

any supporting affirmations filed with the Court, as well as the accuracy

of the notarizations contained in the supporting documents filed there with.

Name Title

Christina Carter Manager of Account Management

3. Based upon my communication with Christina Carter, as well

as upon my inspection and reasonable inquiry under the circumstances,

I affirm that, to the best of my knowledge, information, and belief, the

Summons and Complaint, and other papers filed or submitted to the

Court in this matter contain no false statements of fact or law . . .

4. I am aware of my obligations under New York Rules of Professional

Conduct (22 NYCRR Part 1200) and 22 NYCRR Part 130. [Emphasis [*4]

added]

However, the Court discovered problems with Mr. Cassara’s affirmation and the subject foreclosure action. Plaintiff HSBC lacked standing to commence the instant foreclosure action because the assignment to HSBC of the subject mortgage and note by MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC. (MERS) was without legal authority. MERS never possessed the TAHER note it allegedly assigned to plaintiff HSBC. Therefore, the Court dismissed the instant action with prejudice because HSBC did not have standing to commence the action.

Then, I held at * 2-3, of my July 1, 2011 decision and order:

Mr. Cassara’s affirmation, affirmed “under the penalties of

perjury,” that to the best of Mr. Cassara’s “knowledge, information,

and belief, the Summons and Complaint, and other papers filed or

submitted to the Court in this matter contain no false statements of

fact or law,” is patently false. Moreover, the Court is troubled that:

the alleged representative of plaintiff HSBC, Christina Carter, who

according to Mr. Cassara, “confirmed the factual accuracy and

allegations set forth in the Complaint and any supporting affirmations

filed with the Court, as well as the accuracy of the notarizations

contained in the supporting documents filed therewith,“is not an

employee of HSBC, but a robosigner employed by OCWEN LOAN

SERVICING, LLC [OCWEN], whose signature on legal documents

has at least three variations; the MERS to plaintiff HSBC assignment

of the subject mortgage and note was executed by Scott W. Anderson,

a known robosigner and OCWEN employee, whose signature is

reported to have appeared in at least four different variations on

mortgage assignments; and, the instant affidavit of merit was executed

by Margery Rotundo, another robosigner, OCWEN employee and self-

alleged employee of various other banking entities . . .

Last month, on May 19, 2011, in a case involving a defective

MERS to HSBC assignment by a robosigner, Maine’s highest court,

the Supreme Judicial Court, found that HSBC’s affidavits and the

assignment of the note and mortgage by MERS to HSBC contained

serious defects. The Maine Court held “that the affidavits submitted [*5]

by HSBC contain serious irregularities that make them inherently

untrustworthy.” (HSBC Mortg. Services, Inc. v Murphy, 19 A3d 815,

820). HSBC has a history of foreclosure actions before me with

affidavits of merit executed by Margery Rotundo and MERS to

HSBC assignments executed by Scott Anderson that “contain serious

irregularities that make them inherently untrustworthy.” Moreover,

Mr. Cassara was put on notice, in my November 8, 2010 decision and

order, that “[t]he wrongful filing and prosecution of foreclosure

proceedings which are discovered to suffer from these defects may

be cause for disciplinary and other sanctions upon participating counsel.”

Moreover, in my July 1, 2011 decision and order, at * 3, I emphasized to plaintiff HSBC’s counsel that:

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, in the Office of Court

Administration’s October 20, 2010 press release about the issuance of

Administrative Order 548/10 and the need for plaintiff’s counsel in

foreclosure actions to verify the accuracy of supporting documents,

stated that “[w]e cannot allow the courts in New York State to stand by

idly and be party to what we now know is a deeply flawed process,

especially when that process involves basic human needs — such as

a family home — during this period of economic crisis.” Frivolous

conduct, as defined by 22 NYCRR § 130.1.1 (c), includes conduct that

“is completely without merit in law” and “asserts material factual

statements that are false.” Further, the Part 130 rules are intended to

stop the waste of judicial resources, which appears to have occurred in

the TAHER foreclosure action. In the instant action: the assignment of

the subject mortgage and note by MERS to HSBC is without legal

authority; HSBC’s continued use of robo-signers “is completely without

merit in law”; plaintiff HSBC “asserts material factual statements that

are false”; and, the continuation of this case with all its defects is a

waste of judicial resources. Therefore, plaintiff HSBC’s President and

Chief Executive Officer, Irene M. Dorner, its counsel, Frank M. Cassara, [*6]

Esq., and his firm, Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, will be given an

opportunity to be heard why this Court should not sanction them for

making a “frivolous motion,” pursuant to 22 NYCRR §130-1.1.

In my July 1, 2011 decision and order, I found that defendant TAHER’s lender, DELTA FUNDING CORPORATION (DELTA), pursuant to the terms of a consolidation, extension and modification agreement, not MERS, was the “Note Holder.” Despite this, MERS assigned DELTA’s consolidation, extension and modification agreement and note to HSBC, in an assignment executed by Scott W. Anderson, as “Senior Vice President of Residential Loan Servicing” for “MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATIONS SYSTEMS, INC., as nominee for DELTA FUNDING CORPORATION by its attorney-in-fact OCWEN LOAN SERVING, LLC.” I noted that both assignor MERS and assignee HSBC have the same address, 1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, FL 33409, which is OCWEN’s address. Also, Mr.

Anderson’s assignment referred to a recorded power of attorney from DELTA to OCWEN, which upon my inspection proved to be a limited power of attorney from DELTA to OCWEN for a different address.

With respect to robosigner Scott Anderson, I observed in my July 1, 2011 decision and order, at * 5, that:

the Ohio Court of Appeals, Second District, Montgomery County

(2010 WL 3451130, 2010-Ohio-4158, lv denied 17 Ohio St.3d 1532

[2011]), affirmed the denial of a foreclosure, sought by plaintiff

HSBC, because of numerous irregularities. The Ohio Court, in

citing four decisions by this Court [three of the four involved Scott

Anderson as assignor] summarized some of this Court’s prior concerns

with HSBC and Mr. Anderson, in observing, at * 11:

recent decisions in the State of New York have noted numerous

irregularities in HSBC’s mortgage documentation and corporate

relationships with Ocwen, MERS, and Delta. See, e.g., HSBC

Bank USA, N.A. v Cherry (2007), 18 Misc 3d 1102 (A) [Scott

Anderson assignor] and HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Yeasmin

(2010), 27 Misc 3d 1227 (A) (dismissing HSBC’s requests for

orders of reference in mortgage foreclosure actions, due to

HSBC’s failure to provide proper affidavits). See, also, e.g.,

HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Charlevagne (2008), 20 Misc 3d

1128 (A) [Scott Anderson assignor] and HSBC Bank USA,

N.A. v Antrobus (2008), 20 Misc 3d 1127 (A) [Scott Anderson

assignor] (describing “possible incestuous relationship” between

HSBC Bank, Ocwen Loan Servicing, Delta Funding Corporation, [*7]

and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., due to the fact

that the entities all share the same office space at 1661 Worthington

Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, Florida. HSBC also supplied

affidavits in support of foreclosure from individuals who

claimed simultaneously to be officers of more than one of these corporations.).

I reviewed Scott Anderson’s signature in the instant MERS to HSBC assignment and then went to the Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS) of the New York City Register to compare Mr. Anderson’s signature with that used in five prior Scott Anderson foreclosure cases decided by this Court. I found that Mr. Anderson used five variations of his initials, “SA,” but never signed his name in full.

Also, I found that Margery Rotundo, who executed the April 27, 2009 affidavit of merit and amount due in the instant action, at * 7 of my July 1, 2011 decision and order, had “in prior foreclosure cases before me, a history of alleging to be the Senior Vice President of various entities, including plaintiff HSBC, Nomura Credit & Capital, Inc. and an unnamed servicing agent for HSBC. In the instant action she claims to be the Senior Vice President of Residential Loss Mitigation of OCWEN, HSBC’s servicing agent.”

Then, with respect to Christina Carter, at * 8 of my July 1, 2011 decision and order, I observed:

Mr. Cassara, plaintiff’s counsel affirmed that “On January 4,

2011 and January 5, 2011, I communicated with the following

representative . . . of Plaintiff . . . Christina Carter . . . Manager of

Account Management.” This is disingenuous. Ms. Carter is not

employed by plaintiff, but by OCWEN. She executed documents as

an officer of MERS and as an employee of OCWEN. Ms. Carter’s

signature on documents is suspect because of the variations of her

signature used.

This Court examined eight recent documents that exhibit

three different variations of Christina Carter’s signature.

In my July 1, 2011 decision and order, I explained in detail why HSBC failed to have standing to assign the subject mortgage and note, holding at * 10, that “[i]n the instant action, even if MERS had authority to transfer the mortgage to HSBC, DELTA, not MERS, is the note holder. Therefore, MERS cannot transfer something it never proved it possessed.” I cited Aurora Loan Services, LLC v Weisblum (85 AD3d 95, 108 [2d Dept May 14, 2011]), which holds:

In order to commence a foreclosure action, the plaintiff must

have a legal or equitable interest in the mortgage (see Wells Fargo

Bank, N.A. v Marchione, 69 AD3d, 204, 207 [2d Dept 2009]). A

plaintiff has standing where it is both (1) the holder or assignee of

the subject mortgage and (2) the holder or assignee of the underlying

note, either by physical delivery or execution of a written assignment

prior to the commencement of the action with the filing of the complaint

(see Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Marchione, 69 AD3d at 207-209; U.S. [*8]

Bank v Collymore, 68 AD3d 752, 754 [2d Dept 2009].)

Moreover, in my July 1, 2011 decision and order, with respect to the authority of MERS as nominee to assign a mortgage and note, I held, at * 10:

Scott Anderson for MERS as assignor, did not have specific

authority to sign the TAHER mortgage. Under the terms of the

consolidation, extension and modification agreement, MERS is

“acting solely as nominee for Lender [DELTA].” The alleged power

of attorney cited in the Scott Anderson MERS to HSBC assignment,

as described above, is a limited power of attorney from DELTA to

OCWEN for the premises located at 14 Harden Street, Brooklyn,

New York, not the subject premises. MERS is not mentioned or

involved with this limited power of attorney. In both underlying

TAHER mortgages MERS was “acting solely as a nominee for

Lender,” which is DELTA. The term “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]).

Then, I held, at * 12-13 of my July 1, 2011 decision and order, that MERS, as DELTA’s nominee, its agent for limited purposes, lacked authority to assign the TAHER consolidation, extension and modification agreement, because:

several weeks ago, the Appellate Division, Second Department in

Bank of New York v Silverberg, (86 AD3d 274 [June 7, 2011]),

confronted the issue of “whether a party has standing to commence

a foreclosure action when that party’s assignor—in this case, Mortgage

Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (hereinafter MERS)—was listed

in the underlying mortgage instruments as a nominee and mortgagee

for the purpose of recording, but was never the actual holder or

assignee of the underlying notes.” The Court held, “[w]e answer

this question in the negative.” Silverberg, similar to the instant [*9]

TAHER matter, deals with the foreclosure of a mortgage with a

consolidation, modification and extension agreement. MERS, in

the Silverberg case and the instant TAHER action, never had title

or possession of the Note and the definition of “Note Holder” is

substantially the same in both consolidation, extension and modification agreements. The Silverberg Court instructed, at 281-282:

the assignment of the notes was thus beyond MERS’s authority

as nominee or agent of the lender (see Aurora Loan Servs.,

LLC v Weisblum, 2011 NY Slip Op 04184, *6-7 [2d Dept

2011]; HSBC Bank USA v Squitteri, 29 Misc 3d 1225 [A]

[Sup Ct, Kings County, F. Rivera, J.]; ; LNV Corp. v Madison

Real Estate, LLC, 2010 NY Slip Op 33376 [U] [Sup Ct, New

York County 2010, York, J.]; LPP Mtge. Ltd. v Sabine Props.,

LLC, 2010 NY Slip Op 32367 [U] [Sup Ct, New York County

2010, Madden, J.]; Bank of NY v Mulligan, 28 Misc 3d 1226 [A]

[Sup Ct, Kings County 2010, Schack, J.]; One West Bank,

F.S.B., v Drayton, 29 Misc 3d 1021[Sup Ct, Kings County

2010, Schack, J.]; Bank of NY v Alderazi, 28 Misc 3d 376,

379-380 [Sup Ct, Kings County 2010, Saitta, J.] [the “party

who claims to be the agent of another bears the burden of

proving the agency relationship by a preponderance of the

evidence”]; HSBC Bank USA v Yeasmin, 24 Misc 3d 1239 [A]

[Sup Ct, Kings County 2010, Schack, J.]; HSBC Bank USA,

N.A. v Vasquez, 24 Misc 3d 1239 [A], [Sup Ct, Kings County

2009, Schack, J.]; Bank of NY v Trezza, 14 Misc 3d 1201 [A]

[Sup Ct, Suffolk County 2006, Mayer, J.]; La Salle Bank Natl.

Assn. v Lamy, 12 Misc 3d 1191 [A] [Sup Ct, Suffolk County,

2006, Burke, J.]; Matter of Agard, 444 BR 231 [Bankruptcy

Court, ED NY 2011, Grossman, J.]; but see U.S. Bank N.A. v

Flynn, 27 Misc 3d 802 [Sup Ct, Suffolk County 2011, Whelan,

J.]).

Moreover, the Silverberg Court concluded, at 283, that “because [*10]

MERS was never the lawful holder or assignee of the notes described

and identified in the consolidation agreement, the . . . assignment of

mortgage is a nullity, and MERS was without authority to assign the

power to foreclose to the plaintiff. Consequently, the plaintiff failed

to show that it had standing to foreclose.” Further, the Silverberg

Court observed, at 283, “the law must not yield to expediency and

the convenience of lending institutions. Proper procedures must

be followed to ensure the reliability of the chain of ownership, to secure

the dependable transfer of property, and to assure the enforcement of

the rules that govern real property.” [Emphasis added]

Therefore, the instant action is dismissed with prejudice.

Thus, because of: the defects found in Mr. Cassara’s January 6, 2011 affirmation,

affirmed, “under the penalties of perjury”; the warning to plaintiff’s counsel that “[t]he wrongful filing and prosecution of foreclosure proceedings which are discovered to suffer from these defects may be cause for disciplinary and other sanctions upon participating counsel”; plaintiff HSBC’s lack of standing to bring the instant action; plaintiff HSBC’s complaint being replete with false statements, such as alleging its offices were located at 1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, FL 33409, which is actually OCWEN’s office, and that it owned the TAHER note, which it did not; the use in the instant foreclosure of three robosigners – Scott Anderson, Margery Rotundo and Christina Carter; and, the waste of judicial resources, in this matter, with defective paperwork and robosigners; I ordered, at * 17, of my July 1, 2011 decision and order, that:

the Court will examine the conduct of plaintiff HSBC and plaintiff’s

counsel, in a hearing, pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1, to determine

if plaintiff HSBC, by its President and CEO, Irene M. Dorner, and

plaintiff’s counsel Frank M. Cassara, Esq. and his firm Shapiro, DiCaro

& Barak, LLC, engaged in frivolous conduct, and to allow plaintiff

HSBC, by its President and CEO, Irene M. Dorner, and plaintiff’s

counsel Frank M. Cassara, Esq. and his firm Shapiro, DiCaro &

Barak, LLC a reasonable opportunity to be heard.

With respect to HSBC’s President and CEO, Irene M. Dorner, I noted, at * 17 of my July 1, 2011 decision and order:

plaintiff HSBC’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

bears a measure of responsibility for plaintiff’s actions, as well as

plaintiff’s counsel . . . Dorner . . . is HSBC’s “captain of the ship.”

She should not only take credit for the fruits of HSBC’s victories but

must bear some responsibility for its defeats and mistakes. According

to HSBC’s 2010 Form 10-K, dated December 31, 2010, and filed with

the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on February 28, 2011, [*11]

at p. 255, “Ms. Dorner’s insight and particular knowledge of HSBC

USA’s operations are critical to an effective Board of Directors” and

Ms. Dorner “has many years of experience in leadership positions

with HSBC and extensive global experience with HSBC, which is

highly relevant as we seek to operate our core businesses in support

of HSBC’s global strategy.” HSBC needs to have a “global strategy”

of filing truthful documents and not wasting the very limited resources

of the Courts. For her responsibility she earns a handsome compensation

package. According to the 2010 Form 10-K, at pp. 276-277, she earned

in 2010 total compensation of $2,306,723. This included, among other

things: a base salary of $566,346; a discretionary bonus of $760,417;

and, other compensation such as $560 for financial planning and

executive tax services; $40,637 for executive travel allowance,

$24,195 for housing and furniture allowance, $39,399 for relocation

expenses and $3,754 for executive physical and medical expenses.

Opposition papers to sanctions

OCWEN, as attorney-in-fact for HSBC, on July 12, 2011, substituted Ruppe, Baase, Pfalzgraf, Cunningham, Coppola, LLC for Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, as counsel for HSBC. Ruppe, Baase, Pfalzgraf, Cunningham, Coppola, LLC submitted to the Court papers opposing sanctions against HSBC.

However, it appears to the Court that HSBC was never notified by OCWEN or Ruppe, Baase, Pfalzgraf, Cunningham, Coppola, LLC that they were being represented at the July 15, 2011 hearing. On July 15, 2011, at about 12:40 P.M., less than two hours before the sanctions hearing was scheduled to commence, a messenger from the “white-shoe” law firm Mayer Brown, LLP delivered to my chambers, an affidavit, with exhibits, executed that day by Thomas Musarra, alleging to be “a senior vice president of HSBC Bank USA” and “the head of HSBC’s Corporate Trust and Loan Agency Transaction Management Department, the unit responsible for HSBC’s work as trustee or indenture trustee in residential mortgage-backed securities transactions.” Mr. Mussara “being duly sworn” states, in ¶ 4, of his affidavit that “[m]y department has no record of the loan to defendant Eileen Taher being brought to our attention by the Servicer [OCWEN] or otherwise until last week.” Michael Ware, Esq., of Mayer Brown, LLP, in his Memorandum of Law, attached to the Musarra affidavit, claims that his Memorandum of Law was submitted for HSBC and Irene M. Dorner “in its corporate capacity and not as Indenture Trustee for the Registered Noteholders of Renaissance Home Equity Loan Trust 2007-2.”

However, Mayer Brown, LLP, pursuant to CPLR § 1013, never moved by motion to intervene in the instant action for HSBC “in its corporate capacity and not as Indenture Trustee for the Registered Noteholders of Renaissance Home Equity Loan Trust 2007-2,” if that is even possible. The poet Gertrude Stein wrote in Sacred Emily that a “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose” and William Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet that “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” HSBC, whether in its corporate capacity or as an Indenture Trustee, is HSBC, whether it smells sweet or otherwise. Therefore, HSBC is HSBC is HSBC is HSBC.

Goldberg Segalla, LLP represented Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC and Frank M. Cassara, [*12]Esq. at the July 15, 2011 hearing. John A. DiCaro, Esq., a member of Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, submitted an affidavit and memorandum of law opposing sanctions.

Plaintiff HSBC’s various counsel and Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, in their opposition affidavits and memoranda of law, devote most of their opposition to my rationale for the July 1, 2011 decision and order, dismissing the instant action with prejudice and ordering a Part 130 sanctions hearing. I will not engage in debate with counsel for HSBC or Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC about my reasoning in the July 1, 2011 decision and order. As of today, neither HSBC’s counsel, whether it is Ruppe, Baase, Pfalzgraf, Cunningham, Coppola, LLC or Mayer Brown, LLP, nor Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC have moved for leave to renew or reargue my July 1, 2011 decision and order or file a notice of appeal. If HSBC’s various counsel and/or Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC dispute any part of my July 1, 2011 decision and order, why are they sitting on their hands?

Further, as indicated by the Musarra affidavit and the Michael Ware Memorandum of Law, HSBC sounds like a combination of Pontius Pilate and Sergeant Schultz in the classic 1960’s television comedy, Hogan’s Heroes. HSBC washes its hands of any responsibility and places any blame upon OCWEN, its servicer for the TAHER mortgage. To paraphrase Matthew 27:24, in the New Testament, “when HSBC saw that it could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, it took water, and washed its hands before the multitude, saying, ‘I am innocent of responsibility and should not be sanctioned.'” John Banner, the actor who played the inept Sergeant Hans Schultz, a guard in World War II’s Stalag 13, would feign ignorance about the escapades of his Allied prisoners by telling his commandant, Colonel Klink, “I know nothing! Nothing!”Moreover, Mr. Ware, in his Memorandum of Law, at page 3, states that “[t]he

administration of mortgage loans owned by the Trust is Ocwen’s responsibility under the Servicing Agreement reproduced as Musarra Ex. B” and “[g]iven the respective responsibilities of the Indenture Trustee and the Servicer, it is no suprise that the Taher loan never came to the attention of the relevant department of HSBC until after the July 1 Order became public.” Mr. Ware, concludes, at page 5, “[I]f sanctionable misconduct took place here, the Court should bear in mind that neither HSBC nor Dorner was in any practical position to control the prosecution of this action.”

July 15, 2011 Part 130 hearing for costs and sanctions

The first issue I had to address at the July 15, 2011 Part 130 hearing was determining who represented HSBC. Marco Cercone, Esq. of Ruppe, Baase, Pfalzgraf, Cunningham, Coppola, LLC answered for HSBC and satisfactorily explained to my satisfaction that OCWEN’s Assistant General Counsel substituted Ruppe, Baase, Pfalzgraf, Cunningham, Coppola, LLC for Shapiro DiCaro & Barak, LLC, pursuant to a power of attorney from HSBC to OCWEN. I then addressed Mr. Ware, and asked him how he could represent HSBC, if Mr. Cercone represented HSBC. Mr. Ware attempted to make a distinction between HSBC as an indenture trustee and in its corporate capacity. The following colloquy took place at the hearing, p. 7, line 19 – p. 10, line [*13]22:

THE COURT: Wouldn’t you have to file for intervener

status by motion?

MR. WARE: Certainly. We read the order of July 1st as making

Irene Dorner a respondent at today’s hearing.

THE COURT: . . . I ordered Ms. Dorner to appear because she’s

the President and CEO of HSBC USA, N.A. as indenture trustee.

Whatever you call it, she’s the head of HSBC. We could agree on that?

MR. WARE: Yes.

THE COURT: She’s the President and CEO of HSBC USA.

They’re the indenture trustee. That’s what the caption said. As I

said in my decision, in effect, to look at HSBC as a firm. She’s the

captain of the ship. She has to take responsibility for the good and

bad, like the manager of a baseball team. If HSBC is a baseball

team, if the team wins, you get a lot more money, a lot of aggravation.

Your team come in last, you get fired, you’re gone, you’re history,

adios. That’s what she has to bear here.

Because I have problems here with this case, and I want to get

to the bottom of what happened, I haven’t made any rulings. I didn’t

say there should be sanctions. I want to give everybody a chance to

be heard it there’s sanctionable conduct here. That’s how my order

appears. So based on that, I know Mr. Cercone represents her. Since

now her attorney-in-fact is now substituting his firm for Shapiro and

DiCaro, and you’re suddenly telling me that they don’t represent Irene

Dorner, HSBC, fascinating.

So, who represents HSBC, your or him? I don’t know. Basically,

right now he does. He just proved to me he has a power of attorney.

So the only thing I could think of, if I can split that hair and allow you

to intervene on behalf of – – what I’ll call corporate HSBC, as opposed

to indenture trustee HSBC, is that you have to file a motion on papers,

which you have not. [*14]

MR. WARE: Well, I certainly appear, your Honor, for Ms. Dorner.

THE COURT: Well, I’ll cut through the chase because I read your

papers. For argument’s sake, let’s play this out to the end. Suppose I find

that HSBC did something that requires sanctions? Dismiss as a party?

I know Ms. Dorner is the President and CEO, not an individual. I know

I can’t sanction Ms. Dorner. If that’s what the company is, it’s HSBC

that I might be able to sanction, not Ms. Dorner as an individual. I’ll

grant you that much.

Now that we’ve got Ms. Dorner protected as an individual, but

not HSBC, how are you here in the case? You didn’t file to intervene.

Unless you pull a rabbit out of your hat, in about a moment, I am going

to ask you to leave.

You’re going to stay in the room, obviously. This is a public

courtroom, but I don’t see how you can sit at the table. You’re not in

the case. HSBC, is it your firm or Mr. Cercone’s firm? If you

want to confer with him, I’ll allow you a moment to confer with him.

It’s up to you.

MR. WARE: The foreclosure is entrusted to the servicer. Ocwen

as the servicer is entitled to control the action that is now dismissed.

THE COURT: Okay.

MR. WARE: So we’re here in the aftermath of the dismissal of

the action to address the issues in the order of July 1st.

THE COURT: To use your term aftermath, in the aftermath,

doesn’t Mr. Cercone speak for HSBC since they’re the parties in the

aftermath as indenture trustee, or are you telling me he doesn’t represent

HSBC, you do? Who represents HSBC or is this going to be – – let’s

throw Ocwen under the bus because we didn’t do anything. That seems

to be the defense.

The defense is we didn’t do anything. Ocwen did it. That’s

what you’re telling me.

MR. WARE: Well, it’s certainly true, as a matter of fact, your

Honor, that – – [*15]

THE COURT: That’s what you say.

Ultimately, I allowed Mr. Ware to sit in the well next to Mr. Cercone and act as his co-counsel, but not to intervene in the case, since “corporate” HSBC did not make a motion on notice to intervene. This was done after the following exchange, at p. 11, line 9 – p. 12, line 20.

THE COURT: But here’s the problem. HSBC’s name is in the

caption. They’re the Plaintiff as indenture trustee, et cetera. So now I

find there’s a question about what occurred in this particular case in

terms of whether or not there’s something that is sanctionable.

The question is somebody has to represent HSBC. Mr. Cercone

has been substituted for Shapiro and DiCaro. He showed me the power

of attorney as I asked him to do. You magically appear.

Somebody gives these papers to me at 12:40 this afternoon, and

you say Mayer Brown, LLP is the attorney for HSBC in its corporate

capacity and not as an indenture trustee, but nowhere in the caption did

I see HSBC in its corporate capacity as a party. Therefore, you’re

attempting to intervene without making a motion.

MR. WARE: I understand you’re point, your Honor. Let me

make one point on it and then a suggestion, which is that we thought

the reading of the order of July 1st is that the bank’s assets were

imperiled by this order.

THE COURT: Imperiled. You know HSBC is a corporation.

They can afford to pay Ms. Dorner $2.3 million a year without blinking

an eyelash. What’s the worst that Judge Schack can do? Sanction them?

What’s the worst I can sanction the bank? $10,000. I don’t think it’s

going to affect the bottom line too much.

Right now . . . HSBC will not file for chapter 11 because of

whatever I do one way or the other.

MR. WARE: HSBC didn’t even get touched, your Honor.

THE COURT: I’m glad to hear that.

MR. WARE: I would be happy to be of counsel to him [Mr.

Cercone] with him as trial counsel and counsel of record for HSBC Bank.

With HSBC’s representation finally resolved, the Court inquired about HSBC’s missing President and CEO, Irene M. Dorner, who was ordered, in my July 1, 2011 decision and order, to [*16]appear for the Part 130 hearing. The following colloquy took place, at p. 15, line 1 – p. 16, line 2:

THE COURT: Now we come to why I brought everybody here.

Let me ask Mr. Cercone a question. I have obviously counsel here, Mr.

Cassara, and we have Shapiro DiCaro and Barak. You’re producing

Ms. Dorner on behalf of HSBC?

MR. CERCONE: I am not, Judge. She’s out of the country;

she’s unavailable.

THE COURT: Where out of the country?

MR. CERCONE: I do not know.

THE COURT: You don’t communicate with your client?

MR. CERCONE: I have not communicated with Ms. Dorner.

THE COURT: Maybe you can whisper in his [Mr. Ware, seated

next to Mr. Cercone] ear, and he can whisper something to you. Maybe

he knows where she is.

MR. CERCONE: She’s aware, and she appeared by counsel.

THE COURT: She’s aware. Is she away or on the lam? Where

is she? She’s not here.

MR. CERCONE: She’s not here, Judge.

THE COURT: Why is she violating the court order?

MR. CERCONE: I don’t believe she’s violating the court order,

Judge, because she’s here by counsel.

THE COURT: That’s your opinion for the moment.

Then, the Court reviewed the factual history of the case, including: the use of robosigners Christina Carter and Scott Anderson; HSBC’s lack of standing with the ineffective MERS to HSBC assignment; and, HSBC’s admission, in a prior case before me, HSBC Bank USA v Yeasmin, 24 Misc 3d 1239 (A), that HSBC doesn’t properly determine risk when buying mortgage loans in default. I then made the following statement, at p. 20, line 19 – p. 21, line 16:

Why do I have to waste my time on this? You know we have very

limited resources in our court system. You saw it today. We had to

wait to get a court officer. We probably have 25 less court officers in

this building now, approximately. I don’t know the number we had last

year at this time.

Between buy-outs, people retired, layoffs, the government and [*17]

legislative cuts, the Court’s budget, we have to cut off trials at 4:30, but

the workload increases. So we’re busy. I would like to have serious

cases that have serious issues to deal with rather than deal with these

things which are ridiculous. But I have to deal with this foreclosure.

I have to deal with what is in front of me.

That’s why I have a question of whether or not the conduct that

occurred here . . . is sanctionable, whether it be by HSBC or its attorneys.

That’s why I called for this hearing. So my first question would be with

respect to Shapiro and DiCaro, and Mr. Cassara. My question is, how

could I get an affirmation on whether everything is accurate when it’s not?

Mr. Cassara was sworn in a witness and questioned by his counsel. After his attorney asked questions, I then inquired about HSBC’s use of robosigners, Scott Anderson, Margery Rotundo and Christina Carter. The following exchange took place at p. 25, line 11 – p. 28, line 2:

THE COURT: You gave me an affirmation, as I mentioned, dated

January 6, 2011, and you say you spoke to a representative of Plaintiff.

How come you didn’t say she worked for Ocwen?

THE WITNESS: To be honest with you, Your Honor, when

the word representative of the Plaintiff – – Ocwen is their authorized

agent to handle their loan servicing , and I believed, and I still believe

that representative meant someone who represents – -

THE COURT: Don’t you think it would be helpful for the Court

when you put her name in here [the Affirmation] if it said Manager of

Account Management for Ocwen Loan Servicing as servicer or something

to that effect?

THE WITNESS: Now, yes, your Honor. Now I believe if the

Court would have inquired, I would have indicated such, to be honest

with you. At the time, and I still do believe, the word representative

meant the servicing agent or any party – -

THE COURT: Put the Court to the side for a moment. Somebody

is the reader of this affirmation. And they see the name Christina Carter

is the person you spoke to and communicated with. It says, “Manager of

Account Management.”

Wouldn’t somebody assume she’s employed by HSBC, not [*18]

another entity?

THE WITNESS: To be honest with you, your Honor, I believe

that a representative of the Plaintiff was the servicer. There was no

intent to deceive, certainly – -

THE COURT: Doesn’t it sort of fog the issue or create some

confusion that she does not work for HSBC?

THE WITNESS: Your Honor, I believe she was a representative

of the Plaintiff, that’s sincere.

THE COURT: Then you say everything is accurate. . . the assignor

has the same address as the assignee.

That’s a little bizarre, or try it another way. Scott Anderson, how

does he become both the assignor and the assignee?

THE WITNESS: I’m sorry, your Honor – -

THE COURT: Scott Anderson is the alleged Vice President of

MERS. Are you aware that he is employed by Ocwen?

THE WITNESS: Yes.

THE COURT: And he’s the assignor. Who is the assignee of

Ocwen? Isn’t he conflicted?

THE WITNESS: I’m not following.

THE COURT: Scott Anderson is not conflicted?

THE WITNESS: Your Honor, I believe – -

THE COURT: You believe he is?

THE WITNESS: I don’t know the answer.

THE COURT: Better speak up. That’s one question. Margery

Rotundo signed the affidavit of merit. You’re aware of the fact that

she wears three or four different corporate hats in cases before me?

THE WITNESS: I was not aware or do not recall it was.

THE COURT: And then you’ve got Christina Carter who wears

many hats. This woman you spoke to, are you aware of that also?

THE WITNESS: I was not aware of that as well.

THE COURT: So you’re not aware of that?

THE WITNESS: Okay. [*19]

After further attempts by counsel for HSBC and Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC to argue about the rationale for my July 1, 2011 decision and order, I concluded the hearing and reserved decision.

Frivolous conduct and 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1

22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (a) allows the Court, in its discretion, to “impose financial

sanctions upon any party or attorney in a civil action or proceeding who engages in frivolous conduct as defined in this Part, which shall be payable as provided in section 130-1.3 of this Part.” 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (c) states that:

conduct is frivolous if: (1) it is completely without merit in law and cannot be supported by a reasonable argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law;

(2) it is undertaken primarily to delay or prolong the resolution of the litigation, or to harass or maliciously injure another; or

(3) it asserts material factual statements that are false.

Conduct is frivolous and can be sanctioned under the above court rule if “it is completely without merit . . . and cannot be supported by a reasonable argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law.” (Gordon v Marrone, 202 AD2d 104, 110 [2d Dept 1994] lv denied 84 NY2d 813 [1995]). (See RKO Properties v Boymelgreen, 77 AD3d 721 [2d Dept 2010]; Finkelman v SBRE, LLC, 71 AD3d 1081 [2d Dept 2010]; Glenn v Annunziata, 53 AD3d 565 [2d Dept July 15, 2008]; Miller v Dugan, 27 AD3d 429 [2d Dept 2006]; Greene v Doral Conference Center Associates, 18 AD3d 429 [2d Dept 2005]; Ofman v Campos, 12 AD3d 581 [2d Dept 2006]).

In determining if sanctions are appropriate, the Court must look at the broad pattern of conduct by the offending attorneys or parties. (Levy v Carol Management Corporation, 260 AD2d 27 [1d Dept 1999]). The Levy Court, at 33, held that, “22

NYCRR 130-1.1 allows us to exercise our discretion to impose costs and sanctions on an errant party under circumstances particularly applicable here. The relief may include, inter alia, sanctions against the offending party or its attorney (22 NYCRR 130-1.1 [1]) in an amount to be determined by us, which we would make payable to the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection (22 NYCRR 130-1.3)” Further, the Levy Court instructed, at 34, that “[s]anctions are retributive, in that they punish past conduct. They also are goal oriented, in that they are useful in deterring future frivolous conduct not only by the particular parties, but also by the Bar at large.” The Court, in Kernisan, M.D. v Taylor (171 AD2d 869 [2d Dept 1991]), noted that the intent of the Part 130 Rules “is to prevent the waste of judicial resources and to deter vexatious litigation and dilatory or malicious litigation tactics (cf. Minister, Elders & Deacons of Refm. Prot. Church of City of New York v 198 Broadway, 76 NY2d 411; see Steiner v Bonhamer, 146 Misc 2d 10) [Emphasis added].”

Clearly, the pattern of conduct in the instant action by plaintiff HSBC is subject to sanctions. [*20]HSBC’s use of robsigners is “completely without merit in law or fact.” In my July 1, 2011 decision and order I documented the conflicted conduct of robosigners Scott Anderson, Margery Rotundo and Christina Carter and signature variations used by Scott Anderson and Christina Carter. Further, the attempt of “corporate” HSBC to intervene on July 15, 2011 without making a motion on notice is “without merit in law” and “a waste of judicial resources.”

While the Court cannot sanction HSBC’s President and CEO Irene Dorner, since she appeared by counsel, her conduct by failing to appear at the July 15, 2011 hearing without any reasonable explanation is without merit. As the leader of HSBC she could have shed some light on what happened in this action. She was missing in action, demonstrating her personal contempt for the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Mr. Cercone, her counsel, stated she was out of the country, but aware of the Court hearing. However, he stated “I have not communicated with Ms. Dorner.” Therefore, how did he know she was aware of the hearing or even out of country?

Moreover, HSBC’s Pontius Pilate/Sergeant Schultz defense is absurd. The case caption states that HSBC is the plaintiff, not OCWEN. If HSBC has its name on the caption, it can’t claim ignorance. HSBC as plaintiff is responsible for the actions of its agents, such as OCWEN. Mr. Ware’s claim that “neither HSBC not Dorner was in any practical position to control the prosecution of this action” is ludicrous. This does not absolve HSBC of its corporate sins. If HSBC is a ship, Ms. Dorner is the Captain and responsible for both the good and the bad. However, in the instant action, HSBC appears to be the RMS Titanic. Ms. Dorner, unlike Captain Edward Smith of the RMS Titanic, did not go down with the ship after it struck an iceberg.

Further, plaintiff HSBC and its counsel, Shapiro DiCaro & Barak, LLC, engaged in frivolous conduct by asserting false material representations, including claims that HSBC: owned the TAHER note; had standing to prosecute the instant action; and, had offices at 1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, FL 33409 [OCWEN’s offices]. Further, in Mr. Cassara’s January 6, 2011 affirmation “under the penalties of perjury” he asserted that an OCWEN employee, robosigner Christiana Carter, was a representative of HSBC and that the best of Mr. Cassara’s knowledge, information, and

belief, the Summons and Complaint, and other papers filed or submitted to the Court in this matter contain no false statements of fact or law.” “Nothing could more aptly be described as conduct completely without merit in fact’ than the giving of sworn testimony or providing an affidavit, knowing the same to be false, on a material issue.” (Sanders v Copley, 194 AD2d 85, 88 [1d Dept 1993]). Conduct of counsel is “frivolous because it was without merit in law and involved the assertion of misleading factual statements.” (Curcio v J.P. Hogan Coring & Sawing Corp., 303 AD2d 357, 358 [2d Dept 2003]).

In Navin v Mosquera (30 AD3d 883 [3d Dept 2006]), the Court instructed that when considering if specific conduct is sanctionable as frivolous, “courts are required to

examine whether or not the conduct was continued when its lack of legal or factual basis was apparent [or] should have been apparent’ (22 NYCRR 130-1.1 [c]).” In Sakow ex rel. Columbia Bagel, Inc. v Columbia Bagel, Inc. (6 Misc 3d 939, 943 [Sup Ct, New York County 2004]), the Court held that “[i]n assessing whether to award sanctions, the Court must consider whether the attorney adhered to the standards of a reasonable attorney (Principe v Assay Partners, 154 Misc [*21]2d 702 [Sup Ct, NY County 1992]).” In the instant action, a reasonable attorney would not have affirmed under penalties of perjury that Christina Cater was a representative of HSBC, but would explain that she was an employee of its servicer, OCWEN. Therefore, the course of conduct of Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, and Frank Cassara, Esq., in the instant action, was not reasonable.

In this time of budgetary constraints, when our Courts have an increased caseload but less funding, the Court cannot countenance the continuation of actions which waste scarce judicial resources. Therefore, based upon the totality of frivolous conduct in this matter by plaintiff HSBC and its counsel, Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, the Court finds it is appropriate to impose sanctions of $10,000.00 upon plaintiff HSBC and $5,000.00 upon Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC.

Conclusion

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED that, after conducting a hearing on July 15, 2011, to determine if plaintiff HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, plaintiff’s counsel Frank M. Cassara, Esq. and his firm Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC engaged in “frivolous conduct,” as defined in the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 22 NYCRR § 130-1 (c) and that plaintiff HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, plaintiff’s counsel Frank M. Cassara, Esq. and his firm Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC were granted “a reasonable opportunity to be heard,” pursuant to the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (d), the Court finds that plaintiff HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2 and the law firm of Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC engaged in “frivolous conduct,” as defined in 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1, in the instant matter; and it is further

ORDERED that plaintiff HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, pursuant to the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 22 NYCRR

§ 130-1.3, shall pay a sanction of $10,000.00, to the Lawyer’s Fund for Client Protection, 119 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12210, within thirty (30) days after service of this decision and order; and it is further

ORDERED that the law firm of Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, pursuant to the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 22 NYCRR § 130-1.3, shall pay a sanction of $5,000.00, to the Lawyer’s Fund for Client Protection, 119 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12210, within thirty (30) days after service of this decision and order; and it is further

ORDERED, that Ronald David Bratt, Esq., my Principal Law Clerk, is directed to serve this order by first-class mail, upon: Irene M. Dorner, President and Chief Executive Officer of plaintiff, HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, 452 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10018; and, Shapiro DiCaro & Barak, LLC, 250 Mile Crossing Boulevard, Suite One, Rochester, New York 14624. [*22]

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

ENTER

___________________________

Hon. Arthur M. SchackJ. S. C

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Duke v. HSBC – Fla. 4th DCA “Genuine issues of material fact remain in dispute regarding the owner and holder of the note and mortgage”

Duke v. HSBC – Fla. 4th DCA “Genuine issues of material fact remain in dispute regarding the owner and holder of the note and mortgage”


DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA
FOURTH DISTRICT
July Term 2011

RODGER and LINA DUKE,
Appellants,

v.

HSBC MORTGAGE SERVICES, LLC,
Appellee.

No. 4D09-5183

[November 23, 2011]

POLEN, J.

Appellants, Rodger and Lina Duke (“the Dukes”), appeal the trial
court’s order granting final summary judgment of foreclosure in favor of
appellee, HSBC Mortgage Services, Inc. (“HSBC”). We reverse the trial
court’s order and hold that the record reflected genuine issues of
material fact, making summary judgment improper.

In May 2009, appellee, HSBC, brought an action against appellants,
the Dukes, to foreclose on a mortgage on real property in Palm Beach
County, Florida. The mortgage, as attached to the complaint, showed
that the “borrower” was the Dukes and the “lender” was First NLC
Financial Services, LLC (“First NLC”). The mortgage further showed that
Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) “is a separate
corporation that is acting solely as a nominee for Lender and Lender’s
successors and assigns.” HSBC’s complaint indicated that the mortgage
was assigned to it, and that it was the rightful owner and holder of the
note and mortgage. The Dukes alleged that HSBC did not attach an
assignment of mortgage to their complaint; however, a notice of
assignment was filed with the court on August 26, 2009, with a copy of
the assignment dated June 1, 2009, attached. HSBC alleged that the
original note and mortgage had been lost and were not in HSBC’s
custody or control.

On July 10, 2009, and July 17, 2009, the Dukes were served by
publication in the Palm Beach Daily Business Review. When the Dukes
failed to respond to the service by publication, HSBC moved for default.
On the same date as the motion for default, HSBC also moved for
summary judgment as to “the existence of a valid mortgage and
promissory note and [HSBC’s] right to a Judgment of Foreclosure.” On
September 11, 2009, the Dukes filed a motion for additional time to file a
response to the foreclosure complaint. Shortly thereafter, on September
30, 2009, default was entered against the Dukes. In November of 2009,
a n agreed order on motion for additional time to file response was
entered, allowing the Dukes to file their response to the foreclosure
complaint on or before November 12, 2009.

On November 18, 2009, a hearing was held on HSBC’s motion for
summary judgment. At the hearing, the original note was unable to be
located. The Dukes argued that the original note did not contain any
endorsements proving that the note and mortgage were assigned to
HSBC, thus summary judgment should not be granted because of an
issue of material fact precluding such a determination. However, the
trial court entered final summary judgment of foreclosure on November
18, 2009, and set a sale date of December 21, 2009. This appeal
followed.

The standard of review on an order “granting summary judgment is de
novo.” McLeod v. Bankier, 63 So. 3d 858, 860 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011).
Summary judgment is granted only when no genuine issues of material
fact exist and the party moving for summary judgment is, as a matter of
law, entitled to judgment. Id. Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.510(c)
governs summary judgment motions and proceedings. The rule states,
in relevant part:

The motion shall state with particularity the grounds upon
which it is based and the substantial matters of law to be
argued and shall specifically identify any affidavits, answers
to interrogatories, admissions, depositions, a n d other
materials as would be admissible in evidence (“summary
judgment evidence”) on which the movant relies. The movant
shall serve the motion at least 20 days before the time fixed
for the hearing, and shall also serve at that time a copy of
any summary judgment evidence on which the movant relies
that has not already been filed with the court. . . . The
judgment sought shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings
and summary judgment evidence on file show that there is
no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving
party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.

Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.510(c).

The Dukes argued that at the time the foreclosure complaint was
filed, the mortgage was held by First NLC, not appellee, HSBC. In its
complaint, HSBC alleged it owned and held the note and mortgage at the
time the complaint was filed. “When exhibits are attached to a
complaint, the contents of the exhibits control over the allegations of the
complaint.” BAC Funding Consortium Inc. v. Jean-Jacques, 28 So. 3d
936, 938 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010). Here, HSBC alleged in its complaint that it
“now owns and holds the Note and Mortgage,” but an assignment was
not attached to the complaint, supporting HSBC’s position. Instead, the
mortgage attached to the complaint showed First NLC as the lender,
creating discrepancies between the complaint and the attached exhibit.
Thus, at the time of the argument on the summary judgment motion,
genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether HSBC was the
proper owner and holder of the note and mortgage where First NLC was
named on the mortgage and evidence of an assignment was not included.

We therefore reverse the trial court’s order granting summary
judgment because genuine issues of material fact remain in dispute
regarding the owner and holder of the note and mortgage at the time the
complaint was filed.

Reversed.

GROSS and CONNER, JJ., concur.

* * *

Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, Palm
Beach County; Meenu T. Sasser, Judge; L.T. Case No. 502009CA018957
XXXXMB.

Elsa M. Figueras of E. Figueras & Associates, P.A., Davie, and Peter J.
Snyder of Peter J. Snyder, P.A., Boca Raton, for appellants.
Enrico G. Gonzalez, Temple Terrace, for appellee.

Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

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VENTURE HOLDINGS & ACQUISITIONS GROUP, LLC vs. A.I.M. FUNDING GROUP | FL 4DCA, (3) Consolidated Reversals “A.I.M. did not file the original promissory note”

VENTURE HOLDINGS & ACQUISITIONS GROUP, LLC vs. A.I.M. FUNDING GROUP | FL 4DCA, (3) Consolidated Reversals “A.I.M. did not file the original promissory note”


Great job! FL Atty Carol C. Asbury

DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA
FOURTH DISTRICT
July Term 2011

VENTURE HOLDINGS & ACQUISITIONS GROUP, LLC and VINCENZO GURRERA,
Appellants,

v.

A.I.M. FUNDING GROUP, LLC,
Appellee.
No. 4D10-832

REAL INVESTMENTS, LLC and ALEXANDER GONZALEZ,
Appellants,

v.

A.I.M. FUNDING GROUP, LLC,
Appellee.
No. 4D10-1159

REAL INVESTMENTS, LLC and ALEXANDER GONZALEZ,
Appellants,

v.

A.I.M. FUNDING GROUP, LLC,
Appellee.
No. 4D10-1848

[ November 23, 2011 ]

PER CURIAM.

In these consolidated appeals, appellants challenge three separate
final summary judgments of foreclosure entered in favor of appellee,
A.I.M. Funding Group, LLC. Appellants raise several arguments on
appeal, two of which merit discussion: (1) A.I.M., having assigned the
promissory note as collateral for a loan, was not the proper party in
interest to file suit, and (2) the trial court erred in granting summary
judgment for A.I.M. without receiving the original promissory note or
accounting for its absence. We find that because A.I.M. did not file the
original promissory note or account for its absence before the court
entered summary judgment, we must reverse the summary judgment
orders in each of the cases. We further find that A.I.M. lacked standing
to foreclose at the time it filed its complaints, but that some parties
waived the defense of lack of standing. Any remaining issues are
rendered moot by our decision and we decline to address them.

Factual Background

In April 2007, Venture Holdings & Acquisitions Group, Inc. and
Vincenzo Gurrera, individually, entered into a loan agreement with A.I.M.
and gave A.I.M. a mortgage on certain real property. Gurrera, Venture’s
president, signed the promissory note as a guarantor.

Likewise, Real Investments LLC entered into two loans with A.I.M, one
in January 2008 and another in May 2008. In connection with these
loans, Real gave A.I.M. a mortgage on two properties. Alexander
Gonzalez, Real’s president, signed the promissory notes as a guarantor.
There is no dispute that the borrowers failed to remain current on
their payments and defaulted on all three loans. Accordingly, A.I.M. filed
mortgage foreclosure actions on the three properties.

In Case No. 09-19636, A.I.M. sought to foreclose o n Venture’s
property. Gurrera filed a proper answer, but Venture did not. A.I.M.
moved for default against Venture and the court granted the motion.
This default has not been contested in this appeal.

In Case Nos. 09-018086 and 09-18089, A.I.M. sought to foreclose on
the two properties owned by Real. In Case No. 09-018086, Gonzalez filed
a proper answer, but Real did not. A.I.M. moved for a default against
Real and the court granted the motion. This default has not been
contested in this appeal. In Case No. 09-18089, however, both Real and
Gonzalez answered the complaint.

In each of its complaints, A.I.M. alleged that it “now owns and holds
the Mortgage Note and Mortgage.” Prior to initiating suit, A.I.M. assigned
its interest in the properties as collateral for a loan. This was indicated
by an allonge attached to each promissory note. The assignment was
still in effect when A.I.M. filed suit.1 The circuit court, in each case,
determined that no issues of genuine fact were raised by the defendants.
In each case summary judgment was entered against the defendants and
in favor of A.I.M. These consolidated appeals followed.

Analysis

“The standard of review of an order granting summary judgment is de
novo.” Allenby & Assocs., Inc. v. Crown St. Vincent Ltd., 8 So. 3d 1211,
1213 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009). We examine the record in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party. Id. The moving party must
conclusively show the absence of any genuine issue of material fact. Id.
An assignment of a promissory note or mortgage, or the right to
enforce such, must pre-date the filing of a foreclosure action. Jeff-Ray
Corp. v. Jacobson, 566 So. 2d 885, 886 (Fla. 4th DCA 1990). A party
must have standing to file suit at its inception and may not remedy this
defect by subsequently obtaining standing. Progressive Exp. Ins. Co. v.
McGrath Cmty. Chiropractic, 913 So. 2d 1281 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005). “The
assignee of a mortgage and note assigned as collateral security is the real
party in interest, that he holds the legal title to the mortgage and note,
and that he, not the assignor is the proper party to file a suit to foreclose
the mortgage.” Laing v. Gainey Builders, Inc., 184 So. 2d 897 (Fla. 1st
DCA 1966); see also A & B Discount Lumber & Supply, Inc. v. Mitchell,
799 So. 2d 301, 307-08 (Fla. 5th DCA 2001).

Here, before A.I.M. filed any of the foreclosure actions below, A.I.M.
assigned the promissory note and mortgage to a third party as collateral
for a loan. Thus, A.I.M. did not have standing to foreclose on any of the
properties at the time it filed suit. However, “th e entry of default
precludes a party from contesting the existence of the plaintiff’s claim
and liability thereon.” Fla. Bar v. Porter, 684 So. 2d 810, 813 n.4 (Fla.
1996) (citations omitted). Real, in Case No. 09-018086, was found to be
in default. Venture in Case No. 09-19636, was found to be in default.
Neither party may contest A.I.M.’s standing at the inception of the suit.
See Glynn v. First Union Nat’l Bank, 912 So. 2d 357, 358 (Fla. 4th DCA
2005) (holding that a homeowner waived any claim that the bank lacked
standing to foreclose where the homeowner never filed a motion or an
answer in the trial court).

But even a party in default does not admit that the plaintiff in a
foreclosure action possesses the original promissory note. See Lenfesty
v. Coe, 16 So. 277, 278 (Fla. 1894). “The decree pro confesso cannot be
extended to a confession of ownership of the note in complainant up to
the time of the master’s report and the confirmation thereof by the court,
and the authorities above cited sustain the view that a production of the
note or securities at the hearing is essential to show complainant’s right
to judgment then.” Id. A.I.M., in order to be entitled to summary
judgment, must establish that it is the proper holder of the promissory
note. Id.

In this case, A.I.M. failed to produce the original promissory note,
failed to account for its absence, and failed to present evidence to
otherwise establish it was the proper holder of the note. The allonge
established that the note was indorsed to a third party. A.I.M.’s failure to
produce the original promissory note, or account for its absence, created
a genuine issue of material fact. Lenfesty, 16 So. at 278. For this reason
alone, the summary judgments were improper in each of the cases.2

Accordingly, in Case No. 09-18089, we reverse the final summary
judgment and remand with directions that the action be dismissed in its
entirety without prejudice.

In Case No. 09-19636, we reverse the summary judgment and vacate
the final judgment of foreclosure. With regard to appellant Vincenzo
Gurrera only, we direct that the action be dismissed without prejudice.
With regard to Venture, however, we do not direct dismissal of the action.

In Case No. 09-018086, we reverse the summary judgment and vacate
the final judgment of foreclosure. With regard to appellant Alexander
Gonzalez only, we direct that the action be dismissed without prejudice.
With regard to Real, however, we do not direct dismissal of the action.
While A.I.M. is free to file the original promissory note and to move for
summary judgment in the actions that have not been dismissed as to
Venture and Real, we caution that the absence of Gurrera and Gonzalez
from those proceedings would leave those parties’ interests unaffected by
any judgment.

Reversed and Remanded.

TAYLOR, HAZOURI and LEVINE, JJ., concur.

* * *

Consolidated appeals from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth
Judicial Circuit, Broward County; Ana I. Gardiner, Judge(Carol, please
check the judges in the other cases) ; L.T. Case Nos. 09-018086 CACE,
09-18089 08, and 09-19636 CACE.

Carol C. Asbury, Fort Lauderdale, for appellants.

Thomas D. Oates of the Law Offices of Oates & Oates, P.A., Pompano,
for appellee.

Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (0)

Bank of America Loses Foreclosure Class Action Motion to Dismiss in New Jersey – BEALS v. BOA

Bank of America Loses Foreclosure Class Action Motion to Dismiss in New Jersey – BEALS v. BOA


NEWARK, NJ, November 7, 2011 – Today Judge Katherine S. Hayden of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey denied a motion by Bank of America, N.A. to dismiss the proposed class action Beals v. Bank of America, N.A. This action, was filed by Lawrence Friscia of the New Jersey law firm of Friscia & Associates, a boutique firm concentrating on foreclosure defense, and makes numerous allegations against Bank of America in connection with allegedly fraudulent and procedurally defective foreclosure actions brought by Bank of America against homeowners in New Jersey.

For inquiries related to this matter contact Lawrence Friscia. Mr. Friscia can be reached at (973) 500-8024. Please visit www.friscialaw.com for additional information.

OPINION Excerpt:

VI. Conclusion
For the foregoing reasons, this Court will not abstain from this case. Defendants‘ motion to dismiss is granted as to all claims for negligent processing of a loan modification, as to all claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and as to Grullon‘s claims for breach of contract and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing. The motion is denied as to the Beals plaintiffs‘ breach of contract claim, the Beals plaintiffs‘ claim for a breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, all claims for fraud and negligent misrepresentation, and all claims under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (3)

HSBC v TAHER | Judge SCHACK Grand SLAM!! MERS, Plaintiff’s Counsel, Ocwen Robo-Signers Christina Carter, Scott Anderson, Margery Rotundo Dismissed w/ PREJUDICE

HSBC v TAHER | Judge SCHACK Grand SLAM!! MERS, Plaintiff’s Counsel, Ocwen Robo-Signers Christina Carter, Scott Anderson, Margery Rotundo Dismissed w/ PREJUDICE


coup de gras

Decided on July 1, 2011

Supreme Court, Kings County


HSBC Bank USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2

against

Ellen N. Taher, et. al.

EXCERPT:

On plaintiff HSBC’s deadline day, January 7, 2011, the 60th day after issuing my November 8, 2010 decision and order, plaintiff’s counsel, Frank M. Cassara, Esq., of Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, submitted to my chambers the required affirmation, pursuant to Chief Administrative Judge Pfau’s Administrative Order 548/10. Mr. Cassara, affirmed “under the penalties of perjury”:

[…]

The assignment of the subject mortgage and note to HSBC, by MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC. (MERS), in the instant foreclosure action is without legal authority. MERS never possessed the TAHER note it allegedly assigned to plaintiff HSBC. Thus, plaintiff HSBC lacked standing to commence the instant foreclosure action. Therefore, the assignment is defective and the instant action is dismissed with prejudice.

Mr. Cassara’s affirmation, affirmed “under the penalties of perjury,” that to the best of Mr. Cassara’s “knowledge, information, and belief, the Summons and Complaint, and other papers filed or submitted to the [*4]Court in this matter contain no false statements of fact or law,” is patently false. Moreover, the Court is troubled that: the alleged representative of plaintiff HSBC, Christina Carter, who according to Mr. Cassara, “confirmed the factual accuracy and allegations set forth in the Complaint and any supporting affirmations filed with the Court, as well as the accuracy of the notarizations contained in the supporting documents filed therewith,” is not an employee of HSBC, but a robosigner employed by OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC [OCWEN], whose signature on legal documents has at least three variations; the MERS to plaintiff HSBC assignment of the subject mortgage and note was executed by Scott W. Anderson, a known robosigner and OCWEN employee, whose signature is reported to have appeared in at least four different variations on mortgage assignments; and, the instant affidavit of merit was executed by Margery Rotundo, another robosigner, OCWEN employee and self-alleged employee of various other banking entities.

Last month, on May 19, 2011, in a case involving a defective MERS to HSBC assignment by a robosigner, Maine’s highest court, the Supreme Judicial Court, found that HSBC’s affidavits and the assignment of the note and mortgage by MERS to HSBC contained serious defects. The Maine Court held “that the affidavits submitted by HSBC contain serious irregularities that make them inherently untrustworthy.” (HSBC Mortg. Services, Inc. v Murphy, 19 A3d 815, 2011 ME 59, * 3). HSBC has a history of foreclosure actions before me with affidavits of merit executed by Margery Rotundo and MERS to HSBC assignments executed by Scott Anderson that “contain serious irregularities that make them inherently untrustworthy.” Moreover, Mr. Cassara was put on notice, in my November 8, 2010 decision and order, that “[t]he wrongful filing and prosecution of foreclosure proceedings which are discovered to suffer from these defects may be cause for disciplinary and other sanctions upon participating counsel.”

[…]

Robosigner Scott W. Anderson

While I have never personally met Mr. Anderson, his signatures have appeared in many foreclosure documents in this Court. His claims of wearing different corporate hats and the variations in the scrawls of initials used for his signature on mortgage documents has earned Mr. Anderson notoriety as a robosigner. Kimberly Miller, in her January 5, 2011-Palm Beach Post article, “State details foreclosure crisis,” wrote:

Sweeping evidence of the case the state attorney general’s office

has built in its pursuit of foreclosure justice for Florida homeowners is

outlined in a 98-page presentation complete with copies of allegedly

forged signatures, false notarizations, bogus witnesses and improper

mortgage assignments.

The presentation, titled “Unfair, Deceptive and Unconscionable

Acts in Foreclosure Cases,” was given during an early December

conference of the Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers

by the attorney general’s economic crimes division.

It is one of the first examples of what the state has compiled in

its exploration of foreclosure malpractice, condemning banks, mortgage

servicers and law firms for contributing to the crisis by cutting corners . . .

In page after page of copied records, the presentation meticulously

documents cases of questionable signatures, notarizations that could not

have occurred when they are said to have because of when the notary

stamp expires, and foreclosures filed by entities that might not have

had legal ability to foreclose.

It also focuses largely on assignments of mortgage [sic],

documents that transfer ownership of mortgages from one bank to

another. Mortgage assignments became an issue after the real estate

boom, when mortgages were sold and resold, packaged into securities

trusts and otherwise transferred in a labyrinthine fashion that made

tracking difficult.

As foreclosures mounted, the banks appointed people to create

assignments, “thousands and thousands and thousands” of which were signed weekly by people who may not [*6]have known what they were signing . . .

In another example, the signature of Scott Anderson, an employee

of West Palm Beach-based Ocwen Financial Corp., appears in four

styles on mortgage assignments . . .

Paul Koches, executive vice president of Ocwen, acknowledged

Tuesday that the signatures were not all Anderson’s, but that doesn’t mean

they were forged, he said. Certain employees were given authorization

to sign for Anderson on mortgage assignments, which Koches noted

do not need to be notarized.

Still, Ocwen has since stopped allowing other people to sign for

Anderson, Koches said.

Last September, the Ohio Court of Appeals, Second District, Montgomery County

(2010 WL 3451130, 2010-Ohio-4158, lv denied 17 Ohio St.3d 1532 [2011]), affirmed the denial of a foreclosure, sought by plaintiff HSBC, because of numerous irregularities. The Ohio Court, in citing four decisions by this Court [three of the four involved Scott Anderson as assignor] summarized some of this Court’s prior concerns with HSBC and Mr. Anderson, in observing, at * 11:

recent decisions in the State of New York have noted numerous

irregularities in HSBC’s mortgage documentation and corporate

relationships with Ocwen, MERS, and Delta. See, e.g., HSBC Bank

USA, N.A. v Cherry (2007), 18 Misc 3d 1102 (A) [Scott Anderson

assignor] and HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Yeasmin (2010), 27 Misc 3d

1227 (A) (dismissing HSBC’s requests for orders of reference in

mortgage foreclosure actions, due to HSBC’s failure to provide proper

affidavits). See, also, e.g., HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Charlevagne (2008),

20 Misc 3d 1128 (A) [Scott Anderson assignor] and HSBC Bank USA,

N.A. v Antrobus (2008), 20 Misc 3d 1127 (A) [Scott Anderson assignor]

(describing “possible incestuous relationship” between HSBC Bank,

Ocwen Loan Servicing, Delta Funding Corporation, and Mortgage

Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., due to the fact that the entities

all share the same office space at 1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100,

West Palm Beach, Florida. HSBC also supplied affidavits in support

of foreclosure from individuals who claimed simultaneously to be

officers of more than one of these corporations.).This Court reviewed Scott Anderson’s signature on the instant MERS to HSBC assignment of the TAHER mortgage and note and using ACRIS compared his signature with that used in assignments in the five prior Scott Anderson assignment foreclosure cases decided by this Court. Similar to the Florida Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division findings, as reported above in the Kimberly Miller Palm Beach Post article, I also found four variations of Mr. Anderson’s signature in these six assignments. Each signature is actually a variation of Mr. Anderson’s initials, “SA.” The Court concludes that it must be a herculean task for Mr. Anderson to sign “Scott Anderson” or “Scott W. Anderson” in full.

Mr. Anderson’s first signature variation is found in: the January 19, 2007 assignment of the 48 Van Siclen Avenue (Block 3932, Lot 45, County of Kings) mortgage and note from DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY AS TRUSTEE TO MTGLQ INVESTORS LP, by Scott W. Anderson as Senor Vice President of OCWEN, attorney-in-fact for DEUTSCHE BANK (Deutsche Bank Nat Trust Co. v Castellanos, 18 Misc 3d 1115 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings County 2007]), recorded on February 7, 2007 at CRFN 2007000073000; and, the June 13, 2007 assignment of the 3570 Canal Avenue (Block 6978, Lot 20, County of Kings) mortgage and note from MERS to HSBC, by Scott Anderson as Vice President of MERS, acting as nominee for DELTA (HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Cherry, 18 Misc 3d 1102 (A) [Sup Ct, Kings County 2007]), recorded on August 13, 2007 at CRFN 2007000416732. In this signature variation the letter “S” is a cursive bell-shaped curve overlapping with the cursive letter “A.”

The second signature variation used for Mr. Anderson is in the May 1, 2007 assignment of the 572 Riverdale Avenue (Block 3838, Lot 39, County of Kings) mortgage and note from MERS to HSBC, by Scott Anderson as Vice President of MERS, acting as nominee for DELTA (HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Valentin, 18 Misc 3d 1123 [A] [Sup [*7]Ct, Kings County 2008]) and HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Valentin, 21 Misc 3d 1124 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings County 2008], affd as modified 72 AD3d 1027 [2010]), recorded on June 13, 2007 at CRFN 2007000306260. These decisions will be referred to as Valentin I and Valentin II. In this signature variation the letter “S” is a cursive circle around a cursive letter “A” with various loops.

The third signature variation used for Mr. Anderson is in the November 30, 2007 assignment of the 680 Decauter Street (Block 1506, Lot 2, County of Kings) mortgage and note from MERS to HSBC, by Scott Anderson as Vice President of MERS, acting as nominee for DELTA (HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Antrobus, 20 Misc 3d 1127 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings County [2008]), recorded on January 16, 2008 at CRFN 2008000021186. In this signature variation, the initials are illegible. One cursive letter looks almost like the letter “O.” It is a circle sitting in a valley created by something that looks like the cursive letter “M.”

In the fourth signature variation, used for Mr. Anderson in the February 16, 2009 assignment in the instant case, the cursive letter “S,” which is circular with a loop on the lower left side abuts the cursive letter “A” to its right.

Moreover, in HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Cherry, Mr. Anderson acted both as assignor of the mortgage and note to HSBC and then as servicing agent for assignee HSBC by executing the “affidavit of merit”for a default judgment. Because of this, in Valentin I, I required him to provide me with an affidavit about his employment history. In Valentin II the Court was provided with an affidavit by Mr. Anderson, sworn on March 14, 2008. Mr. Anderson, in his affidavit, admitted he was conflicted. I noted, at * 2, in Valentin II that:

The Court is troubled that Mr. Anderson acted as both assignor

of the instant mortgage loan, and then as the Vice President of Ocwen,

assignee HSBC’s servicing agent. He admits to this conflict, in ¶ 13,

stating that “[w]hen the loan went into default and then foreclosure in

2007, Ocwen, in it capacity as servicer, elected to remove the loan

from the MERS system and transfer title to HSBC.”

The stockholders of HSBC and the noteholders of the Trust [the

owner of the mortgage] probably are not aware that Mr. Anderson,

on behalf of the servicer, Ocwen, claims to have the right to assign

“toxic” nonperforming mortgage loans to them. It could well be that

Ocwen’s transfer of the instant nonperforming loan, as well as others, is

part of what former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan

referred to in his October 23, 2008 testimony, before the House

Oversight Committee, as “a once in a century credit tsunami.”

Interestingly, the purported signature of Mr. Anderson in the March 14, 2008-Valentin II affidavit is a fifth signature variation. The Court is perplexed that in response to my order for Mr. Anderson to submit an affidavit with respect to his employment, Mr. Anderson was unable to sign either “Scott Anderson” or “Scott W. Anderson.” Instead, there is a fifth variation of scrawled initials. There is a big loop for the cursive letter “S,” which contains within it something that looks like the cursive letter “M” going into lines that look like the cursive letter “V,” with a wiggly line going to the right of the page.

Robosigner Margery Rotundo

In the instant action, Margery Rotundo executed the April 27, 2009 affidavit of merit and amount due. Ms. Rotundo has, in prior foreclosure cases before me, a history of alleging to be the Senior Vice President of various entities, including plaintiff HSBC, Nomura Credit & Capital, Inc. and an unnamed servicing agent for HSBC. In the instant action she claims to be the Senior Vice President of Residential Loss Mitigation of OCWEN, HSBC’s servicing agent.

In HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Charlevagne (20 Misc 3d 1128 (A) [Sup Ct, Kings County 2008]), one of the cases in which Scott Anderson as Vice President of MERS assigned the mortgage and note to HSBC, I commented about Ms. Rotundo’s self-allegations of multiple employers, at * 1:

The renewed application of plaintiff, HSBC . . . for an order of

reference and related relief in this foreclosure action, in which all

defendants defaulted, for the premises located at 455 Crescent Street,

Brooklyn, New York (Block 4216, Lot 20, County of Kings) is again [*8]

denied without prejudice, with leave to renew upon providing the

Court with a satisfactory explanation to four concerns.

First, the original application for an order of reference and

related relief was denied with leave to renew, in my unpublished

decision and order of November 15, 2007, because the “affidavit of

merit” was not made by a party but by Margery Rotundo, who swore

that [she] was “Senior Vice President Residential Loss Mitigation of

OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC [OCWEN], Attorney in Fact for

HSBC,”and the “Limited Power of Attorney” from HSBC to OCWEN

was defective. In the renewed application, Ms. Rotundo claims in her

January 9, 2008-“affidavit of merit and amount due,” that she “is the

Senior Vice President of Residential Loss Mitigation of HSBC BANK

USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN

TRUST 2005-3, RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN ASSET-

BACKED NOTES, SERIES 2005-3.” In prior decisions, I found that

Ms. Rotundo swore: on October 5, 2007 to be Senior Vice President

of Loss Mitigation for Nomura Credit & Capital, Inc. (Nomura Credit

& Capital, Inc., 19 Misc 3d 1126 (A) [April 30, 2008]); and, on

December 12, 2007 to be Senior Vice President of an unnamed

servicing agent for HSBC (HSBC Bank USA, NA v Antrobus, 20

Misc 3d 1127 (A) [July 31, 2008]).

The late gossip columnist Hedda Hopper and the late United

States Representative Bella Abzug were famous for wearing many

colorful hats. With all the corporate hats Ms. Rotundo has recently

worn, she might become the contemporary millinery rival to both

Ms. Hopper and Ms. Abzug. The Court needs to know the employment

history of the peripatetic Ms. Rotundo. Did she truly switch employers

or did plaintiff have her sign the “affidavit of merit and amount due”

as its Senior Vice President solely to satisfy the Court?

In my Charlevagne decision and order I denied an order of reference without prejudice and granted leave to plaintiff HSBC to renew its application for an order of reference for the premises by providing the Court with several documents, including, at * 4, “an affidavit from Margery Rotundo describing her employment history for the past three years.” Subsequently, plaintiff HSBC’s counsel in Charlevagne, Steven J. Baum, P.C., never provided me with an affidavit from Margery Rotundo, but filed with the Kings County Clerk, on October 27, 2008, a stipulation of discontinuance and cancellation of the notice of pendency.

Robosigner Christina Carter

Mr. Cassara, plaintiff’s counsel affirmed that “On January 4, 2011 and January 5, 2011, I communicated with the following representative . . . of Plaintiff . . . Christina Carter . . . Manager of Account Management.” This is disingenuous. Ms. Carter is not employed by plaintiff, but by OCWEN. She executed documents as an officer of MERS and as an employee of OCWEN. Ms. Carter’s signature on documents is suspect because of the variations of her signature used.

This Court examined eight recent documents that exhibit three different variations of Christina Carter’s signature. The first signature variation is on her May 24, 2010 application with the Florida Department of State for a notary public commission. In this application she lists as her business address that of OCWEN, “1661 Worthington Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33409.” In her full signature the capital letters “C” in her first and last names are signed differently than in other recent documents reviewed by this Court.

In five other documents reviewed by the Court, Ms. Carter signs her initials with the second letter “C” looking like a cursive letter “L,” with a circular loop on the second letter “C.” Three of these documents are deeds of release to acknowledge mortgage satisfactions, filed with the Clerk of Court for Middlesex County, South District, State of Massachusetts. In the first document, signed on July 2, 2010, Ms. Carter signed as “Account Management, Manager” for OCWEN, for the premises at 158 Algonquin Trail, Ashland, Massachusetts, with the deed of release [*9]recorded on September 9, 2010, at document number 2010 00156681. In the second document, signed on July 7, 2010, Ms. Carter signed as “Account Management, Manager” for US BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, AS TRUSTEE BY ITS ATTORNEY-IN-FACT OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC, for the premises at 30 Kenilworth Street, Malden, Massachusetts, with the deed of release recorded on September 3, 2010, at document number 2010 01542078. In the third Middlesex County, Massachusetts document, signed on July 19, 2010, she signed as “Account Management, Manager” for OCWEN, for the premises at 10 Johnson Farm Road, Lexington, Massachusetts, with the deed of release recorded on September 9, 2010, at document number 2010 00156684. In the fourth document, signed on July 12, 2010, for the assignment of a mortgage for 1201 Pine Sage Circle, West Palm Beach, Florida, Ms. Carter signed as “Account Management, Manager” for NEW CENTURY MORTGAGE CORPORATION BY ITS ATTORNEY-IN-FACT OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC (NEW CENTURY). This mortgage was assigned to DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, AS TRUSTEE FOR IXIS REAL ESTATE CAPITAL TRUST 2005-HE3 MORTGAGE PASS THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2005-HE3 (DEUTSCHE BANK) and recorded on August 23, 2010 with the Palm Beach County Clerk at CFN 20100314054. Interestingly, both assignor NEW CENTURY and assignee DEUTSCHE BANK have the same address, c/o OCWEN, “1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, FL 33409.” In the fifth document, Ms. Carter changes corporate hats. She signed, on September 8, 2010, an Oregon assignment of a mortgage deed of trust, for 20673 Honeysuckle Lane, Bend Oregon, as Vice President of MERS “ACTING SOLELY AS NOMINEE FOR CHAPEL MORTGAGE CORPORATION.” The assignment is to DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, AS TRUSTEE FOR IXIS REAL ESTATE CAPITAL TRUST 2006-HE2 MORTGAGE PASS THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2006-HE2, whose address is c/o OCWEN, “1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, FL 33409.” This was recorded on September 20, 2010 with the Clerk of Deschutes County, Oregon.

Ms. Carter, in the third variation of her signature, again only uses her initials, but the second letter “C” looks like the cursive letter “C,” not the cursive letter “L” with a circular loop. The Court examined two of these documents. The first document is a mortgage satisfaction, signed on June 15, 2010, and filed with the Clerk of Court for Middlesex County, South District, State of Massachusetts. Ms. Carter signed as “Account Management, Manager” for OCWEN, for the premises at 4 Mellon Road, Billerica, Massachusetts. The deed of release was recorded on July 19, 2010, at document number 2010 00031211. In the second document, a mortgage satisfaction for the premises at 13352 Bedford Meadows Court, Wellington, Florida, Ms. Carter signed on July 22, 2010, as “Account Management, Manager” for “HSBC BANK USA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION AS TRUSTEE BY ITS ATTORNEY-IN FACT OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC.” The document never states for whom HSBC is the Trustee.

This was recorded on September 10, 2010 with the Palm Beach County Clerk at CFN 20100339935.

Plaintiff’s lack of Standing

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.” Plaintiff HSBC’s application for an order of reference is 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, the instant action must be dismissed because plaintiff HSBC lacks standing to bring this action. MERS lacked the authority to assign the subject TAHER mortgage to HSBC and there is no evidence that MERS physically possessed the TAHER notes. Under the terms of the TAHER consolidation, extension and modification agreement, DELTA, not MERS, is the “Note Holder.” As described above, the consolidation, extension and modification agreement defines the “Note Holder” as the “Lender or anyone who succeeds to Lender’s rights under this Agreement and who is entitled to receive the payments.”

“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 David 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” [*10]

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]).

The Appellate Division, Second Department recently instructed, with respect to standing in a foreclosure action, in Aurora Loan Services, LLC v Weisblum (___ AD3d ___, 2011 NY Slip Op 04184 [May 17, 2011]), at * 6-7, that:

In order to commence a foreclosure action, the plaintiff must

have a legal or equitable interest in the mortgage ( see Wells Fargo

Bank, N.A. v Marchione, 69 AD3d, 204, 207 [2d Dept 2009]). A

plaintiff has standing where it is both (1) the holder or assignee of

the subject mortgage and (2) the holder or assignee of the underlying

note, either by physical delivery or execution of a written assignment

prior to the commencement of the action with the filing of the complaint

(see Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Marchione, 69 AD3d at 207-209; U.S.

Bank v Collymore, 68 AD3d 752, 754 [2d Dept 2009].)

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]).

In the instant action, even if MERS had authority to transfer the mortgage to HSBC, DELTA, not MERS, is the note holder. Therefore, MERS cannot transfer something it never proved it possessed. 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 [Emphasis added].” (Kluge v Fugazy (145 AD2d 537, 538 [2d Dept 1988]). Moreover, “a mortgage is but an incident to the debt which it is intended to secure . . . the logical conclusion is that a transfer of the mortgage without the debt is a nullity, and no interest is assigned by it. The security cannot be separated from the debt, and exist independently of it. This is the necessary legal conclusion.” (Merritt v Bartholick, 36 NY 44, 45 [1867]. 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 fact.” (See U.S. Bank, N.A. v Collymore, 68 AD3d at 754).


MERS had no authority to assign the subject mortgage and note

Scott Anderson for MERS as assignor, did not have specific authority to sign the TAHER mortgage. Under the terms of the consolidation, extension and modification agreement, MERS is “acting solely as nominee for Lender [DELTA].” The alleged power of attorney cited in the Scott Anderson MERS to HSBC assignment, as described [*11]above, is a limited power of attorney from DELTA to OCWEN for the premises located at 14 Harden Street, Brooklyn, New York, not the subject premises. MERS is not mentioned or involved with this limited power of attorney. In both underlying TAHER mortgages MERS was “acting solely as a nominee for Lender,” which is DELTA. The term “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

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 [*12]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 DELTA, is DELTA’s agent for limited purposes. It only has those powers given to it and authorized by DELTA, its principal. Plaintiff HSBC failed to submit documents authorizing MERS, as nominee for DELTA, to assign the subject consolidation extension and modification mortgage to plaintiff HSBC. Therefore, MERS lacked authority to assign the TAHER mortgage, making the assignment defective. In Bank of New York v Alderazi (28 Misc 3d 376, 379-380 [Sup Ct, Kings County 2010]), Justice Wayne Saitta instructed 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).

Further, several weeks ago, the Appellate Division, Second Department in Bank

of New York v Silverberg, (___ AD3d ___, 2011 NY Slip Op 05002 [June 7, 2011]), confronted the issue of “whether a party has standing to commence a foreclosure action when that party’s assignor—in this case, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (hereinafter MERS)—was listed in the underlying mortgage instruments as a nominee and mortgagee for the purpose of recording, but was never the actual holder or assignee of the underlying notes.” The Court held, “[w]e answer this question in the negative.” Silverberg, similar to the instant TAHER matter, deals with the foreclosure of a mortgage with a consolidation, modification and extension agreement. MERS, in the Silverberg case and the instant TAHER action, never had title or possession of the Note and the definition of “Note Holder” is substantially the same in both consolidation, extension and [*13]modification agreements. The Silverberg Court instructed, at * 4-5:

the assignment of the notes was thus beyond MERS’s authority as

nominee or agent of the lender (see Aurora Loan Servs., LLC v

Weisblum, AD3d, 2011 NY Slip Op 04184, *6-7 [2d Dept 2011];

HSBC Bank USA v Squitteri, 29 Misc 3d 1225 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings

County, F. Rivera, J.]; ; LNV Corp. v Madison Real Estate, LLC,

2010 NY Slip Op 33376 [U] [Sup Ct, New York County 2010,

York, J.]; LPP Mtge. Ltd. v Sabine Props., LLC, 2010 NY Slip Op

32367 [U] [Sup Ct, New York County 2010, Madden, J.]; Bank of

NY v Mulligan, 28 Misc 3d 1226 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings County 2010,

Schack, J.]; One West Bank, F.S.B., v Drayton, 29 Misc 3d 1021

[Sup Ct, Kings County 2010, Schack, J.]; Bank of NY v Alderazi,

28 Misc 3d 376, 379-380 [Sup Ct, Kings County 2010, Saitta, J.]

[the “party who claims to be the agent of another bears the burden

of proving the agency relationship by a preponderance of the evidence”];

HSBC Bank USA v Yeasmin, 24 Misc 3d 1239 [A] [Sup Ct, Kings

County 2010, Schack, J.]; HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v Vasquez, 24

Misc 3d 1239 [A], [Sup Ct, Kings County 2009, Schack, J.]; Bank of

NY v Trezza, 14 Misc 3d 1201 [A] [Sup Ct, Suffolk County 2006,

Mayer, J.]; La Salle Bank Natl. Assn. v Lamy, 12 Misc 3d 1191 [A]

[Sup Ct, Suffolk County, 2006, Burke, J.]; Matter of Agard, 444 BR

231 [Bankruptcy Court, ED NY 2011, Grossman, J.]; but see U.S.

Bank N.A. v Flynn, 27 Misc 3d 802 [Sup Ct, Suffolk County 2011,

Whelan, J.]).

Moreover, the Silverberg Court concluded, at * 5, that “because MERS was never the lawful holder or assignee of the notes described and identified in the consolidation agreement, the . . . assignment of mortgage is a nullity, and MERS was without authority to assign the power to foreclose to the plaintiff. Consequently, the plaintiff failed to show that it had standing to foreclose.” Further, Silverberg the Court observed, at * 6, “the law must not yield to expediency and the convenience of lending institutions. Proper procedures must be followed to ensure the reliability of the chain of ownership, to secure the dependable transfer of property, and to assure the enforcement of the rules that govern real property.” [Emphasis added]

Therefore, the instant action is dismissed with prejudice.


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 [*14]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 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.”


Possible frivolous conduct by HSBC and its counsel

In this Court’s November 8, 2010 decision and order, Mr. Cassara and his firm, as counsel for plaintiff HSBC, were put on notice about the new affirmation required to be submitted by plaintiff’s counsel in foreclosure actions, pursuant to Administrative Order 548/10. In foreclosure cases pending on October 20, 2010, such as the TAHER case, the affirmation is required to be filed with the Court when moving for either an order of reference or a judgment of foreclosure and sale or five business days before a scheduled auction. Chief Judge Lippman, according to the Office of Court Administrations’s October 20, 2010 press release, stated that, “[t]his new filing requirement will play a vital role in ensuring that the documents judges rely on will be thoroughly examined, accurate, and error-free before any judge is asked to take the drastic step of foreclosure.”

Plaintiff’s counsel was warned that defects in foreclosure filings “include failure of plaintiffs and their counsel to review documents and files to establish standing and other [*15]foreclosure requisites; filing of notarized affidavits which falsely attest to such review and to other critical facts in the foreclosure process; and robosigning’ of documents by parties and counsel.” Mr. Cassara affirmed “under the penalties of perjury,” on January 6, 2011, to the factual accuracy of the complaint, the supporting documents and notarizations contained therein and that the complaint and papers filed with the Court in the TAHER matter “contain no false statements of fact or law.” Further, plaintiff’s counsel was informed that “[t]he wrongful filing and prosecution of foreclosure proceedings which are discovered to suffer from these defects may be cause

for disciplinary and other sanctions upon participating counsel [Emphasis added].”

However, plaintiff HSBC did not have standing to bring the instant action and its

complaint is replete with false statements. For example, ¶ 1 alleges that HSBC has an office at “1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, P.O. Box 24737, West Palm Beach, FL 33415.” This is actually OCWEN’s office. OCWEN’s zip code is 33409, not 33415. Also, how big is P.O. Box 24737? Is it big enough to contain an HSBC office? Further, ¶ 6 alleges that HSBC is the owner of the note, which it is not. MERS had no authority to assign the note owned by DELTA to HSBC. MERS was DELTA’s nominee for recording the TAHER-consolidated mortgage but it never possessed the underlying note. (See Bank of New York v Silverberg at * 4-5).

Three robosigners – Scott Anderson, Margery Rotundo and Christina Carter – are involved in this matter. Scott Anderson, who wears many corporate hats and has at least five variations of his initials scrawled on documents filed in this Court, is the alleged assignor of the subject mortgage and note to HSBC, despite lacking authority from DELTA. Both alleged assignor MERS and alleged assignee HSBC have the same address – 1661 Worthington Road, Suite 100, West Palm Beach, Florida 33409. The milliner’s delight Margery Rotundo executed the affidavit of merit for OCWEN. Then, Mr. Cassara relied upon Christina Carter as the representative of HSBC to confirm the accuracy of HSBC’s documents and their notarizations. However, she is not employed by HSBC. Is Mr. Cassara aware of the robosigning history of Mr. Anderson, Ms. Rotundo and Ms. Carter?

Putting aside HSBC’s lack of standing, MERS allegedly assigned the TAHER- consolidated mortgage and note to HSBC 169 days after defendant TAHER allegedly defaulted in her payments. If HSBC has a duty to make money for its stockholders, why is it purchasing nonperforming loans, and then wasting the Court’s time with defective paperwork and the use of robosigners? The Courts have limited resources, even more so in light of the recent cuts in the budget for fiscal year 2012 and the layoff of several hundred court employees by the Office of Court Administration. The Courts cannot allow itself, as Chief Judge Lippman said in OCA’s October 20, 2010 press release, “to stand by idly and be party to what we know is a deeply flawed process, especially when that process involves basic human needs – such as a family home – during this period of economic crisis.” [*16]

Last year, in HSBC Bank USA v Yeasmin, 24 Misc 3d 1239 [A], for a variety of reasons, I denied plaintiff’s renewed motion for an order of reference and dismissed the foreclosure action with prejudice. Plaintiff’s counsel in YeasminYeasmin, at * 8, that Mr. Westmoreland stated: submitted an affidavit by Thomas Westmoreland, Vice President of Loan Documentation for HSBC, in which he admitted to a lack of due diligence by HSBC. I observed in

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 . . . 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.

Therefore, the continuation of this action by plaintiff HSBC, with its false

statements of facts, the use of robosigners, and the disingenuous affirmation of Mr. Cassara, appears to be frivolous. 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (a) states that “the Court, in its discretion may impose financial sanctions upon any party or attorney in a civil action or proceeding who engages in frivolous conduct as defined in this Part, which shall be payable as provided in section 130-1.3 of this Subpart.” Further, it states in 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1 (b), that “sanctions may be imposed upon any attorney appearing in the action or upon a partnership, firm or corporation with which the attorney is associated.”

22 NYCRR § 130-1.1(c) states that:

For purposes of this part, conduct is frivolous if: [*17]

(1) it is completely without merit in law and cannot be supported

by a reasonable argument for an extension, modification or

reversal of existing law;

(2) it is undertaken primarily to delay or prolong the resolution of

the litigation, or to harass or maliciously injure another; or

(3) it asserts material factual statements that are false.

It is clear that the instant motion for an order of reference “is completely without merit in law” and “asserts material factual statements that are false.” Further, Mr. Cassara’s January 6, 2011 affirmation, with its false and defective statements may be a cause for sanctions.

Several years before the drafting and implementation of the Part 130 Rules for

costs and sanctions, the Court of Appeals (A.G. Ship Maintenance Corp. v Lezak, 69 NY2d 1, 6 [1986]) observed that “frivolous litigation is so serious a problem affecting the

proper administration of justice, the courts may proscribe such conduct and impose sanctions in this exercise of their rule-making powers, in the absence of legislation to the contrary (see NY Const, art VI, § 30, Judiciary Law § 211 [1] [b] ).”

Part 130 Rules were subsequently created, effective January 1, 1989, to give the

courts an additional remedy to deal with frivolous conduct. These stand beside Appellate Division disciplinary case law against attorneys for abuse of process or malicious prosecution. The Court, in Gordon v Marrone (202 AD2d 104, 110 [2d Dept 1994], lv denied 84 NY2d 813 [1995]), instructed that:

Conduct is frivolous and can be sanctioned under the court rule if

“it is completely without merit . . . and cannot be supported by a

reasonable argument for an extension, modification or reversal of

existing law; or . . . it is undertaken primarily to delay or prolong

the resolution of the litigation, or to harass or maliciously injure

another” (22 NYCRR 130-1.1[c] [1], [2] . . . ).

In Levy v Carol Management Corporation (260 AD2d 27, 33 [1st Dept 1999]) the Court stated that in determining if sanctions are appropriate the Court must look at the broad pattern of conduct by the offending attorneys or parties. Further, “22 NYCRR

130-1.1 allows us to exercise our discretion to impose costs and sanctions on an errant party . . .” Levy at 34, held that “[s]anctions are retributive, in that they punish past conduct. They also are goal oriented, in that they are useful in deterring future frivolous conduct not only by the particular parties, but also by the Bar at large.”

The Court, in Kernisan, M.D. v Taylor (171 AD2d 869 [2d Dept 1991]), noted that the intent of the Part 130 Rules “is to prevent the waste of judicial resources and to deter vexatious litigation and dilatory or malicious litigation tactics (cf. Minister, Elders & Deacons of Refm. Prot. Church of City of New York v 198 Broadway, 76 NY2d 411; see Steiner v Bonhamer, 146 Misc 2d 10) [Emphasis added].” The instant action, with HSBC lacking standing and using robosigners, is “a waste of judicial resources.” This [*18]conduct, as noted in Levy, must be deterred. In Weinstock v Weinstock (253 AD2d 873 [2d Dept 1998]) the Court ordered the maximum sanction of $10,000.00 for an attorney who pursued an appeal “completely without merit,” and holding, at 874, that “[w]e therefore award the maximum authorized amount as a sanction for this conduct (see, 22 NYCRR 130-1.1) calling to mind that frivolous litigation causes a substantial waste of judicial resources to the detriment of those litigants who come to the Court with real grievances [Emphasis added].” Citing Weinstock, the Appellate Division, Second Department, in Bernadette Panzella, P.C. v De Santis (36 AD3d 734 [2d Dept 2007]) affirmed a Supreme Court, Richmond County $2,500.00 sanction, at 736, as “appropriate in view of the plaintiff’s waste of judicial resources [Emphasis added].”

In Navin v Mosquera (30 AD3d 883 [3d Dept 2006]) the Court instructed that when considering if specific conduct is sanctionable as frivolous, “courts are required to

examine whether or not the conduct was continued when its lack of legal or factual basis was apparent [or] should have been apparent’ (22 NYCRR 130-1.1 [c]).” The Court, in Sakow ex rel. Columbia Bagel, Inc. v Columbia Bagel, Inc. (6 Misc 3d 939, 943 [Sup Ct,

New York County 2004]), held that “[i]n assessing whether to award sanctions, the Court must consider whether the attorney adhered to the standards of a reasonable attorney (Principe v Assay Partners, 154 Misc 2d 702 [Sup Ct, NY County 1992]).”

In the instant action, plaintiff HSBC’s President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) bears a measure of responsibility for plaintiff’s actions, as well as plaintiff’s counsel. In Sakow at 943, the Court observed that “[a]n attorney cannot safely delegate all duties to others.” Irene M. Dorner, President and CEO of HSBC, is HSBC’s “captain of the ship.” She should not only take credit for the fruits of HSBC’s victories but must bear some responsibility for its defeats and mistakes. According to HSBC’s 2010 Form 10-K, dated December 31, 2010, and filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on February 28, 2011, at p. 255, “Ms. Dorner’s insight and particular knowledge of HSBC USA’s operations are critical to an effective Board of Directors” and Ms. Dorner “has many years of experience in leadership positions with HSBC and extensive global experience with HSBC, which is highly relevant as we seek to operate our core businesses in support of HSBC’s global strategy.” HSBC needs to have a “global strategy” of filing truthful documents and not wasting the very limited resources of the Courts. For her responsibility she earns a handsome compensation package. According to the 2010 Form 10-k, at pp. 276-277, she earned in 2010 total compensation of $2,306,723. This included, among other things: a base salary of $566,346; a discretionary bonus of $760,417; and, other compensation such as $560 for financial planning and executive tax services; $40,637 for executive travel allowance, $24,195 for housing and furniture allowance, $39,399 for relocation expenses and $3,754 for executive physical and medical expenses.

Therefore, the Court will examine the conduct of plaintiff HSBC and plaintiff’s counsel, in a hearing, pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 130-1.1, to determine if plaintiff HSBC, [*19]by its President and CEO, Irene M. Dorner, and plaintiff’s counsel Frank M. Cassara, Esq. and his firm Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC, engaged in frivolous conduct, and to allow plaintiff HSBC, by its President and CEO, Irene M. Dorner, and plaintiff’s counsel Frank M. Cassara, Esq. and his firm Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC a reasonable opportunity to be heard.


Conclusion

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED, that the motion of plaintiff, HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, for an order of reference for the premises located at 931 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (Block 1632, Lot 57, County of Kings), is denied with prejudice; and it is further

ORDERED, that because plaintiff, HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, lacks standing in this foreclosure action, the instant complaint, Index No. 9320/09 is dismissed with prejudice; and it is further

ORDERED, that the Notice of Pendency filed with the Kings County Clerk on April 16, 2009 by plaintiff, HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, in an action to foreclose a mortgagefor real property located at 931 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn, New York (Block 1632, Lot 57, County of Kings), is cancelled and discharged; and it is further

ORDERED, that it appearing that plaintiff HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, plaintiff’s counsel Frank M. Cassara, Esq. and his firm Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC engaged in “frivolous conduct,” as defined in the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 22 NYCRR § 130-1 (c), and that pursuant to the Rules of the Chief Administrator, 22 NYCRR § 130.1.1 (d), “[a]n award of costs or the imposition of sanctions may be made . . . upon the court’s own initiative, after a reasonable opportunity to be heard,” this Court will conduct a hearing affording: plaintiff HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST 2007-2, by its President and Chief Executive Officer, Irene M. Dorner; plaintiff’s counsel Frank M. Cassara, Esq.; and, his firm Shapiro, DiCaro & Barak, LLC; “a reasonable opportunity to be heard” before me in Part 27, on Friday, July 15, 2011, at 2:30 P.M., in Room 479, 360 Adams Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201; and it is further

ORDERED, that Ronald David Bratt, Esq., my Principal Law Clerk, is directed to serve this order by first-class mail, upon: Irene M. Dorner, President and Chief Executive Officer of plaintiff, HSBC BANK USA, N.A., AS INDENTURE TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED NOTEHOLDERS OF RENAISSANCE HOME EQUITY LOAN TRUST [*20]2007-2, 452 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10018; Frank M. Cassara, Esq., Shapiro DiCaro & Barak, LLC, 250 Mile Crossing Boulevard, Suite One, Rochester, New York 14624; and, Shapiro DiCaro & Barak, LLC, 250 Mile Crossing Boulevard, Suite One, Rochester, New York 14624.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

ENTER

___________________________

HON. ARTHUR M. SCHACKJ. S. C.


[ipaper docId=59410573 access_key=key-cs4bqg6pw7e5l15r2he height=600 width=600 /]

Scott Anderson Signature Variance


Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (4)

Law firm Fisher and Shapiro sued over foreclosure cases

Law firm Fisher and Shapiro sued over foreclosure cases


ChicagoTribune-

A former Chicago resident whose home is in foreclosure has filed a lawsuit against Fisher and Shapiro LLC, the law firm that admitted to Cook County Circuit Court that some of the mortgage foreclosures it handled contained altered documents.

The suit, filed in federal court in Chicago Monday, seeks class-action status and comes three months after the court’s Chancery division temporarily halted more than 1,700 mortgage foreclosure cases as a result of the law firm’s admission. Upon further review by the court, the number of cases that was temporarily stayed grew to 2,127.

Continue reading [Chicago Tribune]

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



Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (4)

REVISIT | Big banks, hedge funds hide roles in foreclosure schemes collect delinquent taxes

REVISIT | Big banks, hedge funds hide roles in foreclosure schemes collect delinquent taxes


Denver Post-

Nearly a dozen major banks and hedge funds, anticipating quick profits from homeowners who fall behind on property taxes, are quietly plowing hundreds of millions of dollars into businesses that collect the debts, tack on escalating fees and threaten to foreclose on the homes of those who fail to pay.

The investors, which include Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, have purchased from local governments the right to collect delinquent taxes on several hundred thousand properties, many in distressed housing markets, the Huffington Post Investigative Fund has found.

In many cases, banks and hedge funds created new companies to do their bidding.

In exchange for paying overdue real-estate taxes, the investors gain legal powers to collect the debts and levy fees. At first, property owners may owe little more than a few hundred dollars, only to find their bills soaring into the thousands. Some jurisdictions tack on bills, such as for water, sewer and sidewalk repair.


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



Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (0)

IN RE: TIFFANY M. KRITHARAKIS | US Bankruptcy Trustee Slams Deutsche Bank and their “Retroactive” Assignments of Mortgage

IN RE: TIFFANY M. KRITHARAKIS | US Bankruptcy Trustee Slams Deutsche Bank and their “Retroactive” Assignments of Mortgage


UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
BRIDGEPORT DIVISION

In re
TIFFANY M. KRITHARAKIS,
Debtor.

UNITED STATES TRUSTEE’S MOTION FOR RULE 2004 EXAMINATION OF
REPRESENTATIVE(S) OF DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, AS
TRUSTEE FOR SOUNDVIEW HOME LOAN TRUST 2005-OPTI,
ASSET BACKED CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2005-OPTI

EXCERPT:

21. Also annexed to the Amended Proof of Claim is a copy of the Sand Canyon AOM whereby Sand Canyon Corporation f/k/a Option One Mortgage Corporation assigned its rights to the Mortgage to Deutsche. See Amended POC at Part 8. The Sand Canyon AOM is dated June 11, 2010 but has an effective date of assignment of May 1, 2005. Id. The Sand Canyon AOM is signed by Rhonda Werdel (“Werdel”) as Assistant Secretary of Sand Canyon Corporation FKA Option One Mortgage Corporation. Id. The May 1, 2005 effective date contained in the Sand Canyon AOM conflicts with the January 19, 2005 dated contained in the Option One Allonge. See Amended POC at Part 5 and Part 8.

22. On information and belief, American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. purchased the mortgage servicing rights of Sand Canyon in April 2008. See Declaration of Dale M. Sugimoto, As President of Sand Canyon Corporation, dated March 18, 2009, doc id # 141 in In re Ron Wilson, Sr. and LaRhonda Wilson, 07-11862 (EWM), United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana attached here to as Exhibit 3 (“March 2009 Sugimoto Declaration”). According to the March 2009 Sugimoto Declaration, Sand Canyon does not own any mortgage servicing rights or any residential real estate mortgages. See Exhibit 3 at ¶ ¶ 5, 6. As such, it appears that the Sand Canyon AOM executed in June 2010 may be deficient because Sand Canyon did not own any mortgages in 2010.

Continue below …

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REUTERS Exclusive: IRS weighs tax penalties on mortgage securities (REMICS)

REUTERS Exclusive: IRS weighs tax penalties on mortgage securities (REMICS)


We saw this coming for a bit now…

(Reuters) – The Internal Revenue Service has launched a review of the tax-exempt status of a widely-held form of mortgage-backed securities called REMICs.

The IRS confirmed to Reuters that the review comes in response to mounting evidence that banks violated tax requirements by mishandling the transfer of mortgages to REMICs, short for Real Estate Mortgage Conduits.

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (2)

[NYSC] DISMISSED “NO EVIDENCE MERS TRANFERRED INTEREST IN NOTE” LNV CORP v. MADISON REAL ESTATE LLC

[NYSC] DISMISSED “NO EVIDENCE MERS TRANFERRED INTEREST IN NOTE” LNV CORP v. MADISON REAL ESTATE LLC


EXCERPT:

In this case, Plaintiff has not provided any evidence which shows that when MERS assigned the mortgage to Plaintiff, it also transferred the interest in the underlying note. According to the mortgage assignment contract, MERS held legal title to the mortgage. There is no language in the agreement which transfers interest in the note to MERS. Because MERS did not hold title to the underlying note, it could not transfer any rights to the underlying note when it assigned the mortgage to Plaintiff. See LPP Mortgage Ltd v. Sabine Properties No. 103648/10,2010 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 4216, at*7 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co. Sept. 1, 2010); Lamy , 824 N.Y.S.2d at 769 (Sup. Ct. Suffolk Co. 2006); HSBC Bank USA v. Miller, 26 Misc. 3d 407,411,889 N.Y.S.2d 430,433 (Sup. Ct. Sullivan Co. 2009). Without a transfer of title to the underlying note, Plaintiff cannot foreclose on the property based on default payment and lacks standing under CPLR 5 321 1 (a)(3)

[…]

Therefore, it is
ORDERED that Defendant’s motion to dismiss is granted; and it is further
ORDERED that this action is dismissed; and it is further
ORDERED that the clerk of the court directed to enter judgment accordingly.

Continue below…

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NY SECURITIES CLASS ACTION: DODONA v. GOLDMAN SACHS

NY SECURITIES CLASS ACTION: DODONA v. GOLDMAN SACHS


Excerpt:

According to the Senate Subcommittee […]

“Investment banks such as Goldman Sachs were not simply market-makers, they were self-interested promoters of risky and complicated financial schemes that helped trigger the crisis…They bundled toxic mortgages into complex financial instruments, got the credit rating agencies to label them as AAA securities, and sold them to investors, magnifying and spreading risk throughout the financial system, and all too often betting against the instruments they sold and profiting at the expense of their clients…The 2009 Goldman Sachs annual report stated that the firm ‘did not generate enormous revenues by betting against residential related products’…These e-mails show that, in fact, Goldman made a lot of money by betting against the mortgage market.”

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WASHINGTON STATE: QUIET TITLE & DAMAGES VICTORY

WASHINGTON STATE: QUIET TITLE & DAMAGES VICTORY


Excerpt:

The Court quiets title in favor of the plaintiff and against Diversified U.S. Holdings of Washington, LLC, Diversified Financial, Inc. and Northwest Commercial Bank […]

<SNIP>

JUDGMENT

Based upon the findings and conclusions , Plaintiff is granted a net JUDGMENT for $110, 923, plus interest thereonof judgment at the rate of the loan documents of 18.9%. from the date

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Unit of DJSP Enters into Forebearance Agreement With Bank of America

Unit of DJSP Enters into Forebearance Agreement With Bank of America


Stern’s DAL Enters Forbearance Agreement With Bank of America Over Credit

A business run by David Stern, the Florida foreclosure lawyer who is under investigation by the state’s attorney general, entered a forbearance agreement with lender Bank of America NA.

The bank agreed not to take action in the period ending Nov. 26 over a default on a revolving line of credit by DAL Group LLC, a unit of Stern’s foreclosure-processing company, DJSP Enterprises Inc., according to a regulatory filing. The credit line, entered into in March, has an outstanding principal balance of about $12 million, DAL said.

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MARYLAND CLASS ACTION: STEWART v. Biermen, Geesing, Ward & Wood Law Firm “BGWW”, Unamed Fidelity National Information Services “FNIS”

MARYLAND CLASS ACTION: STEWART v. Biermen, Geesing, Ward & Wood Law Firm “BGWW”, Unamed Fidelity National Information Services “FNIS”


FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION

Violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) (15 U.SC. 1692, et seq.)

SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION

Wrongful Foreclosure: Failure to Comply with Maryland Real Property Article, 7-105.1 0r 7.105.2

THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION

Negligence

FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION

Violation of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act (MCPA) (MD. CODE ANN., COM. LAW., 13-101, ET SED.)

FIFTH CAUSE OF ACTION

Declaratory Judgment (MD. CODE ANN., CTS. & Jud. Proc., 3-406)

SIXTH CAUSE OF ACTION

Respondeat Superior

EXHIBITS

MARYLAND FABRICATED HERRERA SIGNATURES

Exhibit re Notaries Johnson and Mendoza_ DECOMMISSION


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EXCLUSIVE | NYSC COMMERCIAL (CMBS), MERS and a $65 MILLION NOTE

EXCLUSIVE | NYSC COMMERCIAL (CMBS), MERS and a $65 MILLION NOTE


Recently many blogs have been discussing MERS and CMBS, well here is an example of one case from a NY Supreme Court. You can read it and draw your own conclusions by commenting down below if you wish.

Be sure you catch Judge IRA B. WARSHAWSKY’s valid points!

SUPREME COURT : STATE OF NEW YORK
COUNTY OF NASSAU

MASS OP LLC and MASS ONE LLC

against

PRINCIPAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY
PRINCIPAL GLOBAL INVESTORS, LLC,
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., CENTERLINE
CAPITAL GROUP, INC., BANK OF AMERICA
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, Successor by
Merger to LASALLE BANK NATIONAL
ASSOCIATION, as TRUSTEE for the Registered
Holders of Bear Stearns Commercial Mortgage
Securities, Inc. Commercial Mortgage Pass-
Through Certificates Series 2006-PWR14

Excerpts:

The application stated that the lender intended to ” securitize” the loan and the borrower was to “cooperate in connection with any such securitization.” The application recited that each borrower was a “single purpose bankruptcy-remote entity…formed exclusively for the purpose of owning and operating the property.” The application stated that the loan amount would be not less than $65 million provided, among other conditions, that the loan amount would be equal to 80% of the appraised value of the property “pursuant to an appraisal approved by lender. “

However, the court hastens to add that it is not insensitive to plaintiffs ‘ predicament. Traditionally, mortgage assignments were recorded with the County Clerk. By searching the mortgage records, the mortgagor could determine the present mortgage holder and attempt to negotiate a “work out” or forbearance. In 1993, several large participants in the mortgage industry created the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (“MERS”). Pursuant to MERS, assignments of residential mortgages, instead of being publicly recorded, are tracked electronically in a private system (See MERSCORP, Inc. Romaine 8 NY3d 90 (2006)). By visiting MERS’ website or dialing its 800 number , a homeowner may access information regarding his or her loan servicer, but not the holder of the mortgage.

This lack of disclosure may create substantial difficulty when a homeowner wishes to negotiate the terms of his or her mortgage or enforce a legal right against the mortgagee and is unable to learn the mortgagee s identity (See 8 NY3d at 104, Kaye, J. dissenting). This

“information deficit” may function to “insulate a note holder from liability… and hide predatory lending practices”

(Id). The MERS system applies only to residential mortgages. However, as the present case illustrates , securitized financing creates the potential for the same abuses with commercial mortgages because of a similar “information deficit. ” While a breach of contract action against the lender does not lie, this court echoes Judge Kaye in calling the issue to the attention of the Legislature (ld). The court will now proceed to determine the sufficiency of plaintiffs ‘ fraud claims.

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Just recently:

2010 NY Slip Op 51791(U)

MASS OP LLC AND MASS ONE LLC, Plaintiffs,
v.
PRINCIPAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, PRINCIPAL LIFE GLOBAL INVESTORS, LLC, WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., CENTERLINE SERVICING, INC., BANK OF AMERICA NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, SUCCESSOR BY MERGER TO LA SALLE BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, AS TRUSTEE FOR THE REGISTERED HOLDERS OF BEAR STEARNS COMMERCIAL MORTGAGE SECURITIES, INC. COMMERCIAL MORTGAGE PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES SERIES 2006-PWR14, BEAR STEARNS COMMERCIAL MORTGAGE SECURITIES INC., AND “JOHN DOE” NO. 1 THROUGH “JOHN DOE” #7 INCLUSIVE, THE ACTUAL IDENTITIES OF THE LAST NAMED, defendants BEING UNKNOWN TO Plaintiffs, THE PARTIES INTENDED BEING PERSONS, CORPORATIONS, ASSOCIATIONS AND OTHER ENTITIES HAVING OR CLAIMING AN INTEREST IN THE LOAN DESCRIBED IN THIS COMPLAINT, Defendants.

Supreme Court, Nassau County.

Decided September 30, 2010.

IRA B. WARSHAWSKY, J.

PRELIMINARY STATEMENT

Defendants Bear Stearns and Principal Life Insurance move to dismiss the amended complaint. Bear Stearns, which first appears as a defendant in the amended complaint, assert that by entering into a settlement agreement with certain defendants, and have thereby reaffirmed the valuation of the shopping center and have recovered damages, bars them from further claims under the “one recovery” doctrine. They also claim that the breach of fiduciary duty claim against Bear Stearns is barred by the 3-year statute of limitations, which commenced with the refinancing on November 8, 2006, with service upon Bear Stearns on December 24, 2009. Bear Stearns also contends that the plaintiff has failed to allege a “relationship of higher trust”, essential to a claimed breach of a fiduciary duty; that the claim which plaintiff asserts against Bear Stearns is barred by the Martin Act; and, to the extent a claim of “joint venture” with Bear Stearns is asserted, recovery is also barred under the “one recovery” doctrine.

In similar fashion, Principal Life contends that plaintiffs’ settlement with the servicer defendants renders the amended complaint moot; there was no fiduciary relationship between plaintiffs and Principal Life; the Pooling and Servicing Agreement did not establish a joint venture; and plaintiffs have failed to state a claim for breach of a fiduciary duty.

BACKGROUND

This action arises from the refinancing of the Phillips at Sunrise Mall in Massapequa. Plaintiff, the owner of the mall, sought to borrow $65,000,000 from Principal Life to refinance the existing $40,000,000 mortgage on the mall. Plaintiff contends that prior to the November 8, 2006 refinancing transaction, Principal Life represented that the $65,000,000 represented no more than 80% of the value of the real estate. They claim that this was erroneous, based upon a defective appraisal performed by Cushman & Wakefield, allegedly based upon faulty data. Plaintiff claims to have expressed concern about repaying the loan, but were advised that Principal Life’s servicing entity, Principal Global Investors, LLC would be responsive to the needs of plaintiff.

After the closing, Principal Life assigned the loan to Principal Commercial Funding, LLC, which then sold the loan to Bear Stearns as the “depositor” for a commercial mortgage-backed securities trust (“CMBT”). Plaintiff contended in part that the failure of Principal Life Insurance to divulge its fee arrangement with Bear Stearns, which encouraged them to inflate the amount of the mortgage, breached a duty to plaintiff. The mortgage was deposited along with many other mortgages in the securitization process. Through underwriters, commercial mortgage certificates were sold in the open market.

By December 2008, in the midst of a global economic crisis, plaintiffs had lost two major tenants, and were experiencing difficulty in making payments under the mortgage. Their efforts to modify the mortgage with Principal Global were not successful, and they were advised to contact Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., the “master servicer”. Plaintiffs contend that they were unable to make headway in such discussions with any servicer.

Plaintiffs commenced the original action on March 11, 2009, suing the maker and seller of the loan, the servicers and trustee for their roles in originating and servicing the loan. They did not sue Bear Stearns or any underwriters or other entities involved in bringing the commercial mortgage certificates to market. The complaint was dismissed by Order dated July 1, 2009, but the dismissal was without prejudice to plaintiffs’ seeking to replead to allege a breach of fiduciary duty.

Plaintiffs did so move on September 16, 2009, seeking to add Bear Stearns as a defendant. Defendant Bear Stearns notes that the moving papers included a copy of the proposed amended complaint, but not a summons, and that this is a significant factor in the claimed expiration of the statute of limitations. By Order of December 14, 2009, the Court granted plaintiffs’ motion in part and denied it in part. Plaintiff was permitted to allege a first cause of action in the Amended Complaint claiming a breach of fiduciary duty claim against Principal Life and Bear Stearns, and also permitted the assertion of a similar claim against Wells Fargo and Centerline Servicing, Inc. and Bank of America N.A. under a joint venture theory in the second cause of action. Plaintiff was also permitted to replead a cause of action against Principal Life.

On December 24, 2009 plaintiff made service of the Amended Complaint and Supplemental Summons upon Bear Stearns by service on the New York Secretary of State. By letter dated April 29, 2010 from June Diamant, Esq., Bear Stearns learned that plaintiff reached a settlement with defendants Centerline, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Principal Global. While Bear Stearns has not seen the settlement agreement, a reading of the letter indicates that there has been no reduction in the principal amount of the loan, but interest is being deferred for some period of time.

Principal Life’s motion asserts that the only claim surviving against them after the Decision and Order of the Court and the settlement with Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. as “master servicer”, Centerline Servicing, Inc. as “special servicer”, Bank of America, N.A., and Principal Global Investors, LLC, are an alleged breach of fiduciary duty based upon its failure to reveal its compensation arrangement with Bear Stearns, and a second cause of action on the theory of a joint venture and breach of a fiduciary duty thereunder.

The Amended Complaint

The complaint alleges Five Causes of Action as follows:

First: Principal assigned an appraised value which would be relied upon by plaintiff to determine the amount of debt which they could safely assume. Principal and Bear Stearns, possessing superior knowledge and expertise than plaintiff in originating loans and issuing debt, placed the loan in a securitized pool. The undisclosed compensation agreements between Principal and Bear Stearns incentivized Principal to originate the loan and Bear Stearns to deposit it into the CMBS trust. The failure of Principal and Bear Stearns to advise plaintiff of the fee arrangement constituted a breach of fiduciary duty.

Second: Wells Fargo, Bank America and Centerline, as trustees and servicers of the loan, acted as joint venturers with Principal and Bear Stearns. In this capacity they owed a fiduciary duty to plaintiffs, which they breached.

Third: Principal failed to disclose the methodology by which it valued the property at an inflated price so as to benefit from undisclosed compensation agreements with Bear Stearns. Had plaintiffs been aware of the profit motive which caused Principal to misrepresent the value of the property, they would not have committed to the mortgage. Plaintiff seeks a reformation of the Loan by reducing the principal to 80% of the fair market value and a prohibition against defendants or other owner of the loan from declaring plaintiffs in default.

Fourth: In order to induce plaintiff to agree to the loan Principal made fraudulent misrepresentations of a material fact, that is, that the servicers would be responsive to plaintiff at a time when Principal knew that the loan would be transferred to others who would refuse to communicate with plaintiff, and whose preference was to have the loan go into default rather than resolve issues so as to maintain it as a performing loan.

Fifth: Despite the provision in the mortgage that communications to the lender were to be directed to Principal, neither Principal nor any other defendant notified plaintiff that the contact had been changed, resulting in a lack of communication from Principal in response to contacts from plaintiff. Principal’s servicing arm, Global, advised that communications must be directed to the Master Servicer, yet neither the Master Servicer nor any of the other defendants were willing to respond or carry out the obligations of the lender/mortgagee, although holding the powers of the mortgagee. Defendants thereby breached their obligations under the Mortgage Agreement and Loan Documents by failing to exercise the discretion granted in the Mortgage Agreement in a reasonable manner.

Plaintiffs demand damages of $28,000,000 on the First, Second, Fourth and Fifth Causes of Action, and reformation of the Mortgage in the Third Cause of Action.Plaintiffs oppose the motions of Bear Stearns and Principal, in part asserting that by virtue of the prior Order of the Court, after review of the proposed amended complaint, the Court directed an answer as opposed to a further motion to dismiss. They also contend that the prior settlement with servicer-defendants does not render the matter moot, that the claims against Bear Stearns are not time-barred, that the breach of fiduciary duty claim is sufficiently pleaded, the information that the moving defendants failed to disclose is material, that the action is not barred by the Martin Act, and that the breach of fiduciary claim is adequately pleaded against Bear Stearns on the theory of joint venture liability. Plaintiff asserts the same claims with respect to defendant Principal.

DISCUSSION

Defendants Principal and Bear Stearns move for dismiss pursuant to Civil Practice Law and Rules §§ 3211 (a)(1) and 3211 (a)(7).

CPLR § 3211 (a)(1) provides as follows:

(a) Motion to dismiss cause of action. A party may move for judgment dismissing one or more causes of action asserted against him on the ground that: 1. a defense is founded upon documentary evidence;

In order to succeed in a claim based upon documentary evidence, “. . . the defendant must establish that the documentary evidence which forms the basis of the defense be such that it resolves all factual issues as a matter of law and conclusively disposes of the plaintiff’s claim”. (Symbol Technologies, Inc. v. Deloitte & Touche, LLP, 69 AD3d 191, 194 [2d Dept. 2009]); (DiGiacomo v. Levine, 2010 WL 3583424 (N.Y.AD2d Dept.]).

When determining a motion to dismiss for failure to state cause of action pursuant to Civil Practice Law and Rules § 3211 (a)(7), the pleadings must be afforded a liberal construction, facts as alleged in the complaint are accepted as true, and the plaintiff is accorded the benefit of every favorable inference, and the court must determine only whether the facts as alleged fit within any cognizable legal theory. (Uzzle v. Nunzie Court Homeowners Ass’,. Inc. 55 AD3d 723[2d Dept. 2008]). A pleading will not be dismissed for insufficiency merely because it is inartistically drawn; rather, such pleading is deemed to allege whatever can be implied from its statements by fair and reasonable intendment; the question is whether the requisite allegations of any valid cause of action cognizable by the state courts can be fairly gathered from all the averments. (Brinkley v. Casablancas, 80 AD2d 815 [1st Dept. 1981]).

Defendants contention with respect to § 3211 (a)(1) is, in part, that the settlement agreement with servicing defendants belies the claims that the appraised value was inflated, or the interest rate too high. Aside from the fact that the Court has not seen the settlement agreement, defendants argument presumes that plaintiffs had the opportunity to reduce the principal balance or interest rate in conjunction with their settlement negotiations, and that their failure to do so is an acknowledgment on their part that the loan was not based upon an inflated appraisal and that the interest rate was appropriate. Instead, the settlement merely provided for a deferral of interest payments for some period of time in an effort to allow plaintiff to recover from the loss of two anchor tenants.

The Mortgage Consolidation, Extension and Modification Agreement between Mass Op, LLC and Mass One, LLC, as borrower, and Principal Life Insurance as lender, provides at ¶ 6.1 as follows:

The relationship between Borrower and Lender is solely that of debtor and creditor, and Lender has no fiduciary or other special relationship with Borrower and no term or condition of any of the Note, this Security Instrument and the other Loan Documents shall be construed so as to deem the relationship between Borrower and Lender to be other than that of debtor and creditor. Borrower is not relying on Lender’s expertise, business acumen or advice in connection with the Property”.

This is documentary evidence which clearly refutes any claim that plaintiff relied upon the expertise of Principal and was thereby in a relationship which required a higher level of trust than that between debtor and creditor. New York Courts have been reluctant to find a fiduciary relationship between lenders and borrowers, and the language of the security agreement simply amplifies this position. (Dobroshi v. Bank of America, N.A., 65 AD3d 882, 884 [1st Dept.2009]). There have been relatively rare circumstances in which a fiduciary relationship between a lender and a borrower has been found, but these inevitably involved certain unique circumstances, as when the Court concluded that the underlying motivation for a lender was to drive the borrower out of business. (In re Monahan Ford Corp. of Flushing, 340 B.R. 1 [Bankr. E.D.NY 2006]).

In the absence of such special circumstances, plaintiff did not have a fiduciary relationship with Principal. Principal’s motion to dismiss the First Cause of Action for Breach of Fiduciary Duty is granted.

The motion by Bear Stearns to dismiss is also granted as to the First Cause of Action. Plaintiff has no contractual relationship with Bear Stearns, and certainly no fiduciary responsibility on the part of Bear Stearns to advise plaintiff of its financial arrangement with Principal.

The Second Cause of Action is directed as the servicing defendants, claiming that they were joint venturers with Principal and Bear Stearns in that they divided responsibilities and compensation with respect to the loan, all without the knowledge of plaintiff. As such joint venturers, they all owed a fiduciary responsibility to plaintiff. As noted, however, neither Principal or Bear Stearns were in a fiduciary relationship with plaintiff, and, even if the subsequent servicing defendants were part of a joint venture, they did not assume a fiduciary responsibility from their assignors, who had none.

The Second Cause of Action is dismissed for failure to state a cause of action.

The Third Cause of Action seeks a reformation of the loan agreement based upon Principal’s failure to reveal to plaintiff the methodology by which the value of $82,000,000 was arrived at or its financial arrangement with Bear Stearns. In the absence of a fiduciary relationship, Principal had no obligation to reveal the methodology by which it estimated the value of the property; nor was it obligated to reveal its financial arrangement with Bear Stearns.

In fact, plaintiffs seem to have been fully apprised of the Cushman Wakefield appraisal, which is what formed the basis for Principal’s determination that the loan did not exceed 80% of the value of the property. The proposed terms of loan, described as an “application”, made it clear that the loan amount represented 80% of the appraised value pursuant to an appraisal approved by the Lender. Principal’s motion to dismiss the Third Cause of Action is granted.

The Fourth Cause of Action alleges fraud and fraudulent misrepresentation against Principal. In order to sustain a cause of action for actual fraud, plaintiff must prove:

• defendant made a representation, as to a material fact;

• the representation was false;

• the representation was known to be false by defendant;

• it was made to induce the other party to rely upon it;

• the other party rightfully relied upon the representation;

• the party relying upon the representation was ignorant of its falsity;

• the party suffered injury or damage based on its reliance. (Otto Roth & Co. Inc., v. Gourmet Pasta, Inc. 277 AD2d 293 [2d Dept. 2000]).

The Fourth Cause of Action in the Amended Complaint adds nothing to the claim of fraud which was previously dismissed. This is the law of the case, and the motion by Principal to dismiss the Fourth Cause of Action is granted.

In its earlier decision the Court determined that representations with respect to the servicer being “extraordinarily accessible in servicing the loan”, made to sophisticated investors, was a matter of puffery, not a representation of a material fact upon which plaintiffs were entitled to rely.

The Fifth Cause of Action alleges a breach of contract in that Principal is identified as the party to be contacted by mortgagor with respect to the mortgage; but after the securitization, neither Principal nor any other defendant advised Principal of the identity of the party with whom to make contact with respect to the mortgage. If there is any obligation on the part of Principal to advise the mortgagor of the identity of a special or master servicer, it would have to be contained in the only agreements between them, the Consolidation, Modification and Extension Agreement of November 8, 2006, and the Note and Mortgage executed in conformity with the Agreement.

The Consolidation Agreement is silent on the subject. The note in the amount of $65,000,000 calls for the payment to the order of Principal Life Insurance Company, at 711 High Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50392 (“Lender”) or at such other place as the holder hereof may from time to time designate, in writing, . . .”. This gives the lender the right to direct payment to the order of another, or to a different location, but places no obligation upon it to do so. To the contrary, ¶ 12 of the Promissory Note, Exh. “G” to the Affirmation of Joshua A. Zielinski, provides as follows:

(a) Upon the transfer of this Note, Borrower hereby waiving notice of any such transfer, Lender may deliver all the collateral mortgaged, granted, pledged or assigned pursuant to the Security Instrument and the other Loan Documents, or any part thereof, to the transferee who shall thereupon become vested with all the rights herein or under applicable law given to Lender with respect thereto, and Lender shall thereafter forever be relieved and fully discharged from any liability or responsibility in the matter accruing after said transfer; but Lender shall retain all rights hereby given to it with respect to any liabilities and the collateral not so transferred.

Lender, Principal Life, transferred the Note, notice of which Borrower (plaintiffs) waived, and upon such transfer of the Note and collateral, Lender was absolved from all further liability in the matter. (Exh. “K” to Affirmation of Joshua A. Zielinski).

The Fifth Cause of Action, as set forth in the Amended Complaint, is dismissed.

In light of the foregoing determinations as to each of the causes of action, the Court finds it unnecessary to address the claims of Bear Stearns that the failure of the plaintiff to annex a Supplemental Summons to their motion to amend the complaint caused service to be beyond the three year statute of limitations, that the claim is barred by the Martin Act, and that recovery is barred by the “one recovery” doctrine.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (1)

NJ CLASS ACTION: Beals v. Bank of America, BAC, LaSalles

NJ CLASS ACTION: Beals v. Bank of America, BAC, LaSalles


UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY

Tanya Beals, on behalf of herself and all
other persons similarly situated

VS.

Bank of America, N.A, BAC Home Loans
Servicing, L.P., a wholly owned subsidiary
of Bank of America, N.A., LaSalle Bank,
N.A., John Does 1-10

Excerpts:

Defendants Have Consistently Demonstrated a Willful Disregard
for the Procedural Safeguards Entitled to All Borrowers

Defendants Routinely Act in Bad Faith and in Breach of Contractual
Obligations During the Course of their Settlement Negotiations with Plaintiffs

FIRST COUNT
(Fraud)

SECOND COUNT
(Violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act
codified at N.J.S.A. §§ 56.8-1, et. seq.(NJCFA))

THIRD COUNT
(Breach of Contract)

FOURTH COUNT
(Breach of the Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing)

FIFTH COUNT
(BREACH OF IMPLIED CONTRACT)

SIXTH COUNT
(Quantum Meruit)

SEVENTH COUNT
(Violation of the New Jersey Fair Foreclosure Act)

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False Statements: Scott Anderson, Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., Law Offices of Marshall Watson, New Century Mortgage Corp., Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC

False Statements: Scott Anderson, Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., Law Offices of Marshall Watson, New Century Mortgage Corp., Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC


False Statements

Scott Anderson
Deutsche Bank National Trust Co.
Law Offices of Marshall Watson
New Century Mortgage Corp.
Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC

Action Date: October 21, 2010
Location: St. Petersburg, FL

On October 21, 2010, in St. Petersburg, Florida, Circuit Court Judge Anthony Rondolino dismissed the plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint in a foreclosure action, Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., et al. v. Donnie J. Decker, et al., Case No. 09-20548-CI-13, 6th Judicial Circuit, in and for Pinellas County, Florida.

The complaint was brought by Deutsche Bank as trustee for a mortgage-backed trust, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Capital, Inc., under a Pooling & Servicing Agreement dated May 1, 2001. The original complaint was dismissed due to chain-of-title problems.

The amended complaint included an Assignment from New Century Mortgage Corp. to the plaintiff that was executed on February 17, 2010 by Scott Anderson in his capacity as an Executive Vice President of Residential Loan Servicing for Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC through its authority as Attorney-In-Fact for New Century Mortgage Corporation. Regarding this Assignment, Judge Rondolino commented as follows:

“There is nothing about this assignment which would support a determination at the pleading stage that it is invalid. On the other hand, should evidence be presented at a summary judgment hearing that New Century Mortgage Corporation, LLC became the subject of a bankruptcy proceeding which resulted in a liquidation order, the validity of this assignment would be called into question. Then, absent specific proof that Ocwen had authority from either the bankruptcy court or the liquidation trustee, this disposition of New Century’s (the debtor in bankruptcy) asset there would be a disputed material fact precluding a summary judgment. These concerns however are not ripe at this time…”

In closing, Judge Rondolino warned the plaintiff and its counsel, the Law Offices of Marshall Watson, that any new complaint must be verified, in accordance with the revised Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.

Judge Rondolino then warned very plainly, “If it is thereafter determined that the verification was not based on an appropriate investigation or that the allegations were false, the Plaintiff and the person who signed the verified complaint will be subject to sanctions which may include dismissal of the action with prejudice, assessment of fees and costs, monetary or incarcerative sanctions and referral to the State Attorney for prosecution pursuant to F.S. 837.”

Rondolino’s concerns arose in part because the Assignment came after the foreclosure action was filed. Plaintiff’s law firm is one of four law firms under investigation by the Florida Attorney General for using forged and fraudulent documents in foreclosure actions.

Scott Anderson of Ocwen has been named in foreclosure opinions of Brooklyn Judge Arthur M. Schack as an individual who signs using many different job titles. The trust in this case had a closing date in 2001, but according to the Anderson Assignment, acquired Decker’s non-performing loan in February, 2010. These same or similar facts have been presented in hundreds of foreclosure cases across the country.

Almost every major robo-signer, including Liquenda Allotey, China Brown, Linda Green, Alfonzo Greene, Korell Harp, Bethany Hood and John Kennerty have signed as Attorney-In-Fact for New Century Mortgage Corporation in 2009 and 2010 to transfer mortgages to securitized trusts that closed years earlier.

Judge Rondolino’s opinion lays a blueprint for other judges to follow when presented with mortgage assignments that appear to have been specially created to facilitate foreclosures. It is the first opinion in Florida to warn of possible “incarcerative sanctions.” (Five different versions of the “Scott Anderson” signature are posted in the “Pleadings” section of this web site.)

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Posted in STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUDComments (2)

GARY DUBIN LAW OFFICES FORECLOSURE DEFENSE HAWAII and CALIFORNIA
Chip Parker, www.jaxlawcenter.com
Kenneth Eric Trent, www.ForeclosureDestroyer.com
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