Mortgage Electronic registration Systems | FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA

Tag Archive | "Mortgage Electronic registration Systems"

Computer Forensic Advances Raise Complex Issues

Computer Forensic Advances Raise Complex Issues


via: Alina

e-discovery is a must. Everything was transmitted electronically. An electronic database where its members “shake hands” to make transfers. Preservation letters must be sent out to the foreclosing entities. Most states have stringent spoliation laws. If evidence is destroyed, it goes against the entity doing the destroying.

Law.Com-

Advanced forensic ability leads to advanced law enforcement capability. That’s not a particularly insightful theorem but, nevertheless, an accurate one.

Probably no forensic realm has seen a more expansive increase in capabilities than the analysis of digital devices, and this reality was brought home in what were certainly the two most prominent trials of 2011 — State of Florida v. Casey Anthony and People of the State of California v. Conrad Murray. In both cases, the timelines generated by digital forensic evidence played significant roles in the prosecutions’ respective attempts to prove guilt.

FORENSIC TIMELINE ANALYSIS …

In the Conrad Murray case, a recording of a cell phone conversation between Michael Jackson and the defendant stored on the latter’s phone was introduced into evidence, which forensic testimony demonstrated occurred six weeks prior to Jackson’s death. Jackson’s obviously slurred and …

[LAW.COM]

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Re-POST: E-Discovery …Electronic Registration Systems WORST NIGHTMARE!

Re-POST: E-Discovery …Electronic Registration Systems WORST NIGHTMARE!


Via: Discovery Tactics aka Anthony Martinez & Assoc.

Latest Electronically Stored Information (ESI) Cases

I’ve been harping on the importance of demanding and acessing ESI from foreclosing parties for quite some time now.  A properly made ESI discovery request will provide numerous “smoking gun” documents that are sure to place the opposing party in a uncomfortable position.  Below I’ve identifed some of the most recent and more important cases that involve ESI.

—————————————————-

Court Grants Defendant’s Motion for Entry of Clawback Provision

Rajala v. McGuire Woods LLP, 2010 WL 2649582 (D. Kan. July 22, 2010) Plaintiff, as Bankruptcy Trustee, brought suit against defendant, alleging several claims. The parties could not agree on the entry of a clawback provision. Accordingly, defendant moved the…

Jury Instruction Allowing Inference that Destroyed Evidence Was Unfavorable and Payment of Attorneys’ Fees and Costs Ordered as Sanction for Failure to Preserve

Medcorp, Inc. v. Pinpoint Tech., Inc., 2010 WL 2500301 (D. Colo. June 15, 2010) Finding “willful” spoliation of 43 hard drives “in the sense that Plaintiff was aware of its responsibilities to preserve relevant evidence and failed to take necessary…

Judge Scheindlin Amends Recent Pension Opinion

On May 28th, Judge Shira Scheindlin entered an order amending her recent opinion in Pension Comm. of Univ. of Montreal Pension Plan v. Bank of Am. Secs., LLC. The order provides important clarification regarding the scope of a party’s obligation…

Court Rules Failure to Copy Files on Flash Drive Prior to Failure of the Drive Violated Duty to Preserve

Wilson v. Thorn Energy, LLC, 2010 WL 1712236 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 15, 2010) In this case, the court ordered sanctions for defendants’ failure to preserve relevant data where defendants failed to back up a flash drive containing all relevant financial records…

Court Orders Monetary Sanctions for Production Delay Resulting from Counsel’s Failure to Become Familiar with Plaintiff’s Retention Policies and Systems

GFI Acquisition, LLC v. Am. Federated Title Corp. (In re A & M Fla. Props. II, LLC), 2010 WL 1418861 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Apr. 7, 2010) Where plaintiff’s counsel “failed in his obligation to locate and produce all relevant documents in…

Court Rules Communications with Attorney Using Work Computer are Protected as Privileged

Stengart v. Loving Care Agency, Inc., 2010 WL 1189458 (N.J. Mar. 30, 2010) In this employment litigation, the Supreme Court of New Jersey addressed whether employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy as to attorney-client privileged emails sent and received…

Despite Malaysian Blocking Statute, Court Compels Third Party’s Production of Foreign Banking Information Pursuant to Subpoena

Gucci Amer., Inc. v. Curveal Fashion, 2010 WL 808639 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 8, 2010) Plaintiff sought to compel the production of documents and information regarding defendants’ Malaysian bank accounts pursuant to a subpoena served on United Overseas Bank’s New York Agency…

Court Provides Detailed Analysis of Law of Spoliation, Orders Adverse Inference Instruction, Monetary Sanctions for Intentional Spoliation of ESI

Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc. v. Cammarata, 2010 WL 645253 (S.D. Tex. Feb. 19, 2010) For intentional spoliation, the court declined to order terminating sanctions but ordered an adverse inference instruction and for defendants to pay plaintiff’s attorneys fees and costs….

Court Finds Data “Not Reasonably Accessible,” Denies Motion to Compel

Rodriguez-Torres v. Gov. Dev. Bank of Puerto Rico, 265 F.R.D. 40 (D.P.R. 2010) In this employment discrimination case, the court found the electronically stored information (“ESI”) requested by the plaintiffs “not reasonably accessible because of the undue burden and cost”…

“Zubulake Revisited: Six Years Later”: Judge Shira Scheindlin Issues her Latest e-Discovery Opinion

Pension Comm. of Univ. of Montreal Pension Plan v. Bank of Am. Secs., LLC, 2010 WL 184312 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 15, 2010) (Amended Order) Issued earlier this month, Judge Shira Scheindlin’s opinion in Pension Comm. of Univer. of Montreal Pension Plan…

Court Compels Discovery from Foreign Corporation Pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

In re Global Power Equip. Group, Inc., 418 B.R. 833 (Bankr. D. Del. 2009) Upon a motion to compel production of documents from claimant, a foreign corporation, the court found the documents at issue to be within the control of…

Swiss Government Says It Would Seize UBS Data Sought by U.S.

Bloomberg.com, July 8, 2009 By David Voreacos and Mort Lucoff July 8 (Bloomberg) — Switzerland said it would seize UBS AG data to prevent the U.S. Justice Department from pursuing a U.S. court order seeking the identities of 52,000 American…

Finding Defendants’ Behavior “a Textbook Case of Discovery Abuse,” Court Orders $1,022,700 in Monetary Sanctions

Kipperman v. Onex Corp., 2009 WL 1473708 (N.D. Ga. May 27, 2009) In this constructive transfer and fraud case arising out of the 2003 bankruptcy of Magnatrax Corporation, plaintiff alleged numerous discovery abuses on the part of defendants and sought…

Court Declines to Compel Production of Documents from Foreign Jurisdiction upon Finding a Lack of Personal Jurisdiction and where Certain Documents are Protected from Production by Israeli Law

Linde v. Arab Bank, PLC, 2009 WL 1456573 (E.D.N.Y. May 22, 2009) In this case, defendant Arab Bank moved to compel production of documents, pursuant to subpoena, by non-parties Israel Discount Bank, Ltd. (“IDB”), its indirect, wholly –owned subsidiary, Israel…

Granting Motion to Compel, Court Orders Appointment of Independent Expert “to Retrieve any Deleted Responsive Files from Defendants’ Computers”

Bank of Mongolia v. M & P Global Fin. Servs., Inc., 2009 WL 1117312 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 24, 2009) In this case arising from allegations that defendants conspired to defraud plaintiff of $23 million, defendants failed to properly and timely…

Court Orders Production of Relevant Source Code Citing Defendant’s Suggestion for Mitigating Costs

Metavante Corp. v. Emigrant Savings Bank, 2008 WL 4722336 (E.D. Wis. Oct. 24, 2008) In this breach of contract case, Emigrant filed several motions to compel Metavante’s response to multiple discovery requests. One motion sought the production of source code…

Updated List: Local Rules, Forms and Guidelines of United States District Courts Addressing E-Discovery Issues

At least 41 United States District Courts now require compliance with special local rules, forms or guidelines addressing the discovery of electronically stored information. In some districts where there are no local rules or court-mandated forms, individual judges have created…

Finding “No Reason to Treat Websites Differently than Other Electronic Files,” Court Grants Adverse Inference for Failure to Preserve Website

Arteria Prop. Pty Ltd. v. Universal Funding V.T.O., Inc., 2008 WL 4513696 (D.N.J. Oct. 1, 2008) (Not for Publication) In this case arising from failed negotiations for a long term development loan, the plaintiff filed a motion for spoliation sanctions…

Court Denies Protective Order, Orders Allegedly Proprietary Data Produced Directly to Competitor

In re NVMS, LLC, 2008 WL 4488963 (Bankr. M.D. Tenn. Mar. 21, 2008) In this case, the debtor, a medical services company, moved for expedited discovery of information contained in the database of a former billing partner. In July of…

No Spoliation Found Where Expert Drafted His Report on Computer, Without Saving or Preserving Progressive Iterations

In re Teleglobe Communications Corp., 2008 WL 3198875 (Bankr. D. Del. Aug. 7, 2008) In this lengthy opinion addressing a variety of issues, the bankruptcy judge denied defendants’ motion to exclude testimony of the plaintiff’s expert as a sanction for…

Magistrate Judge “Clearly Erred” by Analyzing Cost-Shifting Dispute for Paper Production under Seven-Factor Zubulake Test

Tierno v. Rite Aid Corp., 2008 WL 3287035 (N.D. Cal. July 31, 2008) In this wage and hour employment case, plaintiff sought documents about class members’ employment and salary history, terminations, performance evaluations, discipline, certain communications, and personnel files. Rite…

Inadequate Preservation Efforts Necessitate Restoration and Production of Email from Backup Tapes, and Forensic Search of CEO’s Laptop

Treppel v. Biovail Corp., 2008 WL 866594 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 2, 2008) In this case, plaintiff alleged that Biovail Corp., its CEO, general counsel and others engaged in a “smear campaign” that destroyed plaintiff’s career as a securities analyst. He asserted…

Magistrate Judge Sets Protocol for Plaintiff’s Forensic Examination of Former Employee’s Computer and Requests Affidavit from Expert Explaining Certain Issues

Equity Analytics, LLC v. Lundin, 248 F.R.D. 331 (D.D.C. 2008) In this case, plaintiff Equity Analytics claimed that defendant, its former employee, gained illegal access to electronically stored information after he was fired. Defendant explained that another Equity employee had…

Recent Amendments to Federal Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil and Criminal Procedure Require Redaction of Personal Identification Information from Documents Filed with the Court

On December 1, 2007, the amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil, and Criminal Procedure that implement the E-Government Act of 2002 became effective. The amendment to Appellate Rule 25, and new Bankruptcy Rule 9037, Civil Rule 5.2,…

The Biggest Data Disaster Ever

From The Red Tape Chronicles, Posted: Friday, November 30 at 05:15 am CT by Bob Sullivan: “It’s being called the worst data leak of the information age. Earlier this month, U.K. officials had to admit they’d lost hard drives containing…

Email Communications Between Physician and His Attorney Exchanged Over Hospital’s Email System Not Protected by Attorney-Client Privilege or Work Product Doctrine

Scott v. Beth Israel Med. Center Inc., 2007 WL 3053351 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Oct. 17, 2007) Plaintiff is a physician who sued for breach of contract based upon his termination from defendant hospital (“BI”). Under the contract at issue, BI…

Inadequate Legal Hold Measures, and Resulting Spoliation, Warrant Sanctions

In re NTL, Inc. Sec. Litig., 2007 WL 241344 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 30, 2007) In this opinion, Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck granted plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions in the form of an adverse inference instruction and awarded plaintiffs their costs and…

Court Allows Plaintiffs to Conduct Expedited Discovery Regarding Possible Spoliation

Roberts v. Canadian Pac. R.R. Ltd., 2007 WL 118901 (D. Minn. Jan. 11, 2007) In this decision, Chief District Judge James M. Rosenbaum granted plaintiff’s motion for leave to conduct limited discovery concerning spoliation of evidence on an expedited basis….

Condemning Defendant’s Gamesmanship, Court Orders Production of Database

JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Neovi, Inc., 2006 WL 3803152 (S.D. Ohio Nov. 14, 2006) In this case involving UCC claims stemming from defendant’s internet-based check service, defendant disputed that it did sufficient business with Ohio residents to subject it…

Court Grants Plaintiff Access to Defendant’s Database

Bianchi v. The Bureaus, Inc., 2006 WL 3802758 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 1, 2006) In this brief order, the court granted plaintiff’s motion to allow her computer expert access a database maintained by defendant, for the purpose of determining whether the…

Citing Conference of Chief Justices’ Guidelines to State Courts, North Carolina Court Refuses to Compel Nonparty to Produce Deleted Emails from Backup Tapes

Bank of America Corp. v. SR Int’l Bus. Ins. Co., Ltd., 2006 WL 3093174, 2006 NCBC 15 (N.C. Super. Nov. 1, 2006) In its introductory remarks, the court advised: This opinion should be read in conjunction with the opinion in…

North Carolina Court Orders Production of Email from Backup Tapes; Parties to Share Restoration Costs Equally

Analog Devices, Inc. v. Michalski, 2006 WL 3287382 (N.C. Super. Nov. 1, 2006) (Unpublished) In this misappropriation of trade secrets case, defendants moved to compel the production of emails of the originators of the trade secrets at issue relating to…

North Carolina Court Relies on Conference of Chief Justices’ Guidelines in Two Decisions Involving the Production of Email from Backup Tapes

These two opinions, both filed on November 1, 2006, discuss for the first time the extent to which inaccessible electronic data is discoverable and who should pay for its production under the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure. Bank of…

$1.888 Million Judgment Entered in Favor of Bankruptcy Trustee Based on Adverse Party’s Spoliation of Financial Records

In re Quintus Corp., 353 B.R. 77 (Bankr. D. Del. 2006) Avaya, Inc. purchased the assets of the debtors in bankruptcy, and agreed to assume certain of the debtors’ liabilities. Thereafter, the trustee filed an adversary complaint against Avaya asserting…

Failure to Conduct Reasonable Investigation for Responsive Documents and Other Discovery Abuses Warrant Adverse Inference Instruction

3M Innovative Props. Co. v. Tomar Elecs., 2006 WL 2670038 (D. Minn. Sept. 18, 2006) In this patent infringement litigation, the district court judge affirmed the magistrate’s report and recommendation that plaintiff’s motion for sanctions against the defendant be granted…

Party Not Entitled to Shift Costs of Restoring Emails that were Converted to Inaccessible Format After Duty to Preserve was Triggered

Quinby v. WestLB AG, 2006 WL 2597900 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 5, 2006) Like the plaintiff in the Zubulake v. UBS Warburg LLC, the plaintiff in this case was a highly-paid investment banker who accused her employer of gender discrimination and illegal…

Crime-Fraud Exception to Attorney-Client Privilege Invoked to Allow Testimony and Production of Notes by Attorney, Where Executive’s Deletion of Email Sought by Grand Jury Could Constitute Obstruction of Justice

In re Grand Jury Investigation, 445 F.3d 266 (3rd Cir. 2006) This opinion relates to an ongoing grand jury investigation of suspected federal criminal activity; because of the secrecy of the proceeding, the court’s opinion lacks specific details. The grand…

Second Circuit Reverses Frank Quattrone Conviction for Obstruction of Justice and Witness Tampering

In 2000, Credit Suisse First Boston Corporation (“CSFB”) employed Frank Quattrone as head of its Global Technology Group (the “Tech Group”). In that capacity, Quattrone managed approximately 400 technology investment bankers from the firm’s Palo Alto, California office. The Tech…

Florida Court Affirms $75,000 Coercive Civil Contempt Sanction Against Defendants For Prolonged Discovery Abuse

Channel Components, Inc. v. Am. II Electronics, Inc., 915 So. 2d 1278 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2005) In this case alleging tortious interference and related claims against two former employees, the plaintiff sought intervention by the court several times in…

Defendant Sanctioned for Negligent Failure to Institute and Communicate Legal Hold

In re Old Banc One Shareholders Sec. Litig., 2005 WL 3372783 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 8, 2005) In this opinion, the District Court adopted in full the Magistrate’s Report and Recommendation regarding plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions based upon the defendant’s failure…

Bank of America Corporation Ordered to Provide Discovery on Behalf of Non-Party Wholly-Owned Subsidiaries

In re ATM Fee Antitrust Litig., 2005 WL 3299763 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 5, 2005) In this class action, plaintiffs propounded requests for production of documents and a request for admissions to all named defendants, including Bank of America Corporation (“BAC”)….

Despite Evidence of Intentional and Negligent Concealment, Bankruptcy Court Dismisses Trustee’s Spoliation of Evidence Counterclaims Because No Injury Was Shown

In re Tri-State Armored Services, Inc., 332 B.R. 690 (Bankr. D.N.J. 2005) Insurance company brought adversary proceeding against Chapter 7 trustee, seeking either equitable rescission of employee dishonesty, crime, and disappearance insurance policies issued to debtor armored car company, or…

Court Orders Production of Home Office Backup Tape Created in Connection with CFTC Receivership

Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Equity Financial Group, LLC, et al., 2005 WL 2205789 (D.N.J. Sept. 9, 2005) In April 2004, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) filed an enforcement action against Equity Financial Group, LLC (“Equity”) and others…

UBS Securities to Pay $2.1 Million in Penalties and Fines for Failure to Preserve Email

On July 13, 2005 the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) issued an Order in connection with the alleged failure of UBS Securities LLC (“UBS”) to preserve email. The Commission accepted an Offer of Settlement and UBS consented to entry of…

Spoliation Instruction Appropriate where Defendants Failed to Preserve Email

Arndt v. First Union Nat’l Bank, 613 S.E.2d 274 (N.C. Ct.App. 2005) Donald Arndt (“Arndt”) was hired by First Union National Bank (“First Union”) in June 1996 with an initial salary of $90,000 per year and a guaranteed minimum incentive…

Seventh Circuit Reverses Sanction Requiring Production of Documents Listed on Privilege Log

American National Bank and Trust Co. of Chicago v. Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, 406 F.3d 867 (7th Cir. 2005) American National Bank and Trust Co. of Chicago, as Trustee f/b/o Emerald Investments LP, and Emerald Investments…

Privilege Not Necessarily Waived Where Email Between Employee and Personal Attorney Maintained on Corporate Email System

In re Asia Global Crossing, Ltd., 322 B.R. 247 (S.D.N.Y. 2005) Asia Global Crossing, Ltd. and Asia Global Crossing Development Co. (collectively “Asia Global”) were pan-Asian telecommunication carriers which filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 on November 17, 2002. Asia…

Magistrate Recommends Adverse Inference Instruction and Monetary Sanctions for Failure to Preserve Hard Drives, Audio Recordings and Email

E*Trade Securities LLC v. Deutsche Bank AG, et al., Civil No. 02-3711 RHK/AJB and Civil No. 02-3682 RHK/AJB (D. Minn. Feb. 17, 2005) United States Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan filed a Report and Recommendation regarding several electronic discovery disputes…

Court Denies Motion to Compel Review of CD-ROMs for Responsive Documents

Zakre v. Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale, 2004 WL 764895 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 9, 2004) Plaintiff requested an order compelling defendant to review for responsive documents two compact discs containing some 204,000 emails. Defendant had conducted a review of the emails for privileged…

Court Precludes Offering of Evidence as Sanction for Discovery Evasion

In re LTV Steel Co., Inc., 307 B.R. 37 (N.D. Ohio 2004) In bankruptcy proceeding, a creditor (“C&K”) submitted a claim for $1.9 million against the estate, a portion of which the debtor agreed was due. When the debtor sought…

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MBA takes MISMO back from MERS

MBA takes MISMO back from MERS


I would urge the AG’s investigating MERS to turn to MISMO next because it’s beginning to appear they are taking crucial parts away from MERS. Something is definitely up?

 

 

But why? On July 30, 2010 MBA went before the SEC begging them to adopt MERS:

The major participants in the residential mortgage industry utilize the MIN. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae all utilize the MIN. MISMO encourages the SEC to adopt the MERS Mortgage Identification Number (MIN) as the primary loan identifier for real estate finance ABS.

Scott Cooley an independent mortgage technology consultant, analyst and author once said “Calling on MERS”:

“Today, most of the aforementioned parties are shipping the documents at great cost through carriers such as Federal Express. With VLF, all such shipping and the manual handling of the traditional loan folder is eliminated. In fact, all the paper in the process is gone. Yes, this is a form of imaging that some mortgage companies are using today. However, it goes much further, in that it would be used by all parties involved with each loan. In addition, it would also store the electronic data file of the loan and do so in a Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization Inc . (MISMO) format.”

VIA HW-

The Mortgage Bankers Association is going to take back management of its MISMO platform from MERS, according to a HousingWire source familiar with the plans.

The crossover will be complete Dec. 1 and a press release providing more details is said to be in the works.

[HOUSING WIRE]

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REWIND: “MERS DOUBLE ASSIGNMENT” IN RE MORENO, Bankruptcy Court, D. Massachusetts, Eastern Div. 2010

REWIND: “MERS DOUBLE ASSIGNMENT” IN RE MORENO, Bankruptcy Court, D. Massachusetts, Eastern Div. 2010


In re: SIMEON MORENO, Chapter 13, Debtor

Case No. 08-17715-FJB.

United States Bankruptcy Court, D. Massachusetts, Eastern Division.

May 24, 2010.

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON MOTION OF PROPERTY ASSET MANAGEMENT, INC. FOR RELIEF FROM THE AUTOMATIC STAY

FRANK J. BAILEY, Bankruptcy Judge

In the Chapter 13 case of debtor Simeon Moreno, Property Asset Management, Inc. (“PAM”), claiming to be the assignee of a mortgage originally given by the debtor to Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (“MERS”) as nominee for lender GE Money Bank, moved for relief from the automatic stay to foreclose the mortgage. Moreno initially opposed the motion but then withdrew his objection, whereupon the Court granted the relief requested. Months later, at Moreno’s request, the Court vacated the order granting relief from stay and scheduled an evidentiary hearing on the Motion for Relief from Stay for the limited purpose of reconsidering whether PAM had an interest in the mortgage it sought to foreclose and, to that extent, standing to seek relief from stay.[1] Having held the evidentiary hearing and received proposed findings and conclusions, the Court now enters the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Findings of Fact and Procedural History

On January 23, 2007, Moreno executed a promissory note in the principal amount of $492,000, payable to lender GE Money Bank. GE subsequently endorsed the note in blank, whereupon possession of the note was transferred through a series of holders and ultimately to Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. (“LBHI”), who held the note when PAM filed its Motion for Relief from Stay and continues to hold it now.[2] LBHI, through one of its employees and through LBHI’s attorney, who not coincidentally also is PAM’s attorney in the present matter, produced the original note at the evidentiary hearing. PAM is not now a holder of the note or an entity for whose benefit another has held the note.

To secure the promissory note, Moreno gave a mortgage on the real property at 5 Maple Street, West Roxbury, Massachusetts (the “Property”) to MERS as nominee for GE (the “Mortgage”). The Mortgage specifies that MERS “is a separate corporation that is acting solely as a nominee for [GE] and [GE’s] successors and assigns. MERS is the mortgagee under this security instrument.” The Mortgage further provides that Moreno does hereby mortgage, grant and convey to MERS (solely as nominee for [GE] and [GE’s] successors and assigns) and to the successors and assigns of MERS, with power of sale, the [Property]. . . . Borrower understands and agrees that MERS holds only legal title to the interests granted by Borrower in this Security Instrument, but, if necessary to comply with law or custom, MERS (as nominee for [GE] and [GE’s] successors and assigns) has the right: to exercise any or all of those interests, including, but not limited to, the right to foreclose and sell the Property; and to take any action required of [GE] including, but not limited to, releasing and canceling this Security Instrument.

The Mortgage was duly recorded.

MERS administers an electronic registry to track the transfer of ownership interest and servicing rights in mortgage loans. With respect to certain loans of which its members are the beneficial owners, MERS also serves as mortgagee of record and holds legal title to the mortgages in a nominee capacity. MERS remains the mortgagee of record when beneficial ownership interests or servicing rights are sold from one member of the MERS system to another. When the beneficial interest in a mortgage loan is transferred from one member of the MERS system to another, MERS tracks the transfer through its internal records. When rights are transferred from a member of the MERS system to a non-member, MERS executes and records an assignment from MERS to the non-member.

To facilitate the execution of the assignments from MERS, MERS designates “certifying officers,” who are typically employees of MERS member firms. MERS authorizes these employees, through formal corporate resolutions, to execute assignments on behalf of MERS. On or about January 6, 2005, MERS, through a document entitled Corporate Resolution and issued by its board of directors, authorized Denise Bailey, an employee of Litton Loan Servicing L.P. (“Litton”), a member of MERS, to execute such assignments on behalf of MERS. In the language of the authorizing document (the “MERS Authorization”),[3] Ms. Bailey was authorized to, among other things, “assign the lien of any mortgage loan naming MERS as the mortgagee when the Member [Litton] is also the current promissory note-holder, or if the mortgage loan is registered on the MERS System, is shown [sic] to be registered to the Member”[4]; and Ms. Bailey was further authorized to “take any such actions and execute such documents as may be necessary to fulfill the Member’s servicing obligations to the beneficial owner of such mortgage loan (including mortgage loans that are removed from the MERS System as a result of the transfer thereof to a non-member of MERS).” In each instance, Bailey’s authority to act is dependent on the existence of a specified relationship of Litton, the MERS member for whom she is employed, to the loan in question.

The Moreno loan was entered into the MERS tracking database in the ordinary course of business. Thereafter, MERS tracked the beneficial interest in the loan. The beneficial interest was transferred from G.E. Money Bank to WMC Mortgage Corporation; then, on September 19, 2007, from WMC Mortgage Corporation to Aurora Bank FSB (formerly known as Lehman Brothers Bank FSB), and then, on July 30, 2008, from Aurora Bank FSB to LBHI. Aurora Bank was at all relevant times a wholly-owned subsidiary of LBHI.

With respect to the Moreno Mortgage, MERS remained the mortgagee of record until, on or about April 30, 2008, MERS, acting through Denise Bailey, assigned the Mortgage to PAM. At the time, Aurora Bank FSB was the beneficial owner of the loan. In executing the MERS assignment to PAM, Ms. Bailey purported to be acting under her MERS Authorization.

The MERS Authorization limited Ms. Bailey’s authority to act for MERS to matters with respect to which Litton was involved in at least one of the ways specified in the above-quoted language from the MERS Authorization. There is evidence, and I find, that Aurora Bank FSB had requested that Litton transfer the loan from MERS to PAM in anticipation of foreclosure. However, PAM has adduced no evidence that Litton had any specified connection to this loan at the time it executed this assignment. There is no evidence that Litton was then (or at any time) the servicer of the loan for Aurora Bank or that Litton was registered as servicer of the loan in the MERS system.[5] (PAM does not contend that Litton was the holder of the promissory note or the owner of the beneficial interest in the loan.)

Scott Drosdick, a vice-president of LBHI and witness for PAM at the evidentiary hearing, testified that Aurora Bank’s instruction to Litton to transfer the mortgage to PAM was later “ratified by LBHI.” Drosdick did not explain what he meant by this, precisely how and when this ratification occurred. Absent such evidence and clarification, this testimony is too vague to have any definite meaning; accordingly I give it no weight.

By a master servicing agreement dated February 1, 1999, LBHI engaged Aurora Loan Services, Inc., now known as Aurora Loan Services LLC (“ALS”), as master servicer of certain loans, including eventually the present Moreno loan. In turn, ALS engaged Litton to service certain loans, including eventually this same loan.

After Bailey executed the MERS assignment to PAM, Bailey executed another assignment of the same mortgage from MERS to LBHI. This second assignment was never recorded; nor is there evidence that it was ever delivered by MERS to LBHI.

Moreno filed a petition for relief under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code on October 13, 2008, commencing the present bankruptcy case. On November 13, 2008, LBHI, acting through its servicer Litton Loan Servicing, LP, filed a proof of claim in this case; the proof of claim asserts a claim, secured by real estate, in the total amount of $530,168.04, the same secured claim as PAM now seeks relief from stay to enforce by foreclosure. On the proof of claim form itself, Litton actually identifies the creditor claimant as simply “Litton,” but on an explanatory document attached to the proof of claim form, Litton states that the claim is filed by “Litton Loan Servicing, LP, as Servicing Agent for Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.” The proof of claim does not mention PAM or indicate in any way that the mortgage securing the claim is held by anyone other than LBHI.

On March 31, 2009, and at LBHI’s direction, PAM filed the present motion for relief from the automatic stay, seeking relief from the automatic stay to foreclose and to preserve its rights as to a potential deficiency. PAM intends and is obligated to remit the proceeds of the intended foreclosure sale to Aurora Loan Services LLC, as servicer for LBHI. Regarding ownership of the note and Mortgage, PAM stated in the motion only that it was the holder of a mortgage originally given by Moreno to MERS, that the mortgage secured a note given by Moreno to GE, and that MERS had assigned the mortgage to PAM. PAM did not indicate that LBHI was the current holder of the note or that it held the mortgage as nominee for the benefit of LBHI or of any other entity. The motion did not mention LBHI.

Moreno filed a response to the motion, in essence an objection, in which he expressly admitted PAM’s allegation that his prepetition arrearage was $39,442.49 and, by lack of denial, tacitly admitted that Moreno was some four months in arrears on his postpetition payments under the mortgage. By these allegations and admissions, PAM has established that Moreno is in default on his mortgage loan obligations; the Court rejects Moreno’s request for a finding that PAM has not established a default. The response made no issue of PAM’s standing to foreclose or to seek relief from stay and did not dispute PAM’s allegations regarding ownership of the note and Mortgage. In any event, before a hearing was held on the motion, Moreno, through counsel, withdrew his objection. Consequently, on April 28, 2009, and without a hearing or any review of apparent inconsistencies in the bankruptcy record concerning ownership of the mortgage and note, the court granted PAM relief from the automatic stay to foreclose and to preserve its rights as to a potential deficiency.

PAM had not yet foreclosed when, on December 2, 2009 and by new counsel, Moreno filed an adversary complaint against PAM and, with it, a motion for preliminary injunction. The complaint sought among other things (i) an order invalidating the mortgage on account of irregularities in its origination and (ii) a declaration that PAM was not the holder of the mortgage and note. In the motion for preliminary injunction, Moreno asked that the foreclosure be stayed, or that the automatic stay be reimposed, pending disposition of the adversary proceeding. On December 7, 2009, after a hearing on the motion for preliminary injunction, the Court found that the motion was, in part, essentially one to vacate the order granting relief from the automatic stay, vacated that order, and scheduled an evidentiary hearing on the motion for relief. The order specified that the sole issue at the evidentiary hearing would be PAM’s standing to seek relief from the automatic stay, all other issues under 11 U.S.C. § 362(d) being deemed established. After discovery, the evidentiary hearing was held on April 8, 2010, and, with the submission of proposed findings and conclusions, the matter was then taken under advisement.

Discussion

As the party seeking relief from stay to foreclose a mortgage on the debtor’s property, PAM bears the burden of proving that it has authority under applicable state law to foreclose the mortgage in question and, by virtue of that authority, standing to move for relief from the automatic stay to foreclose. PAM contends that it has such authority and standing because, although it does not hold the promissory note that the mortgage secures, it does have title to the mortgage itself; and it holds that title as nominee of and for the benefit of the note holder, LBHI, and is foreclosing for LBHI. In these circumstances, PAM contends, a mortgagee has a right under Massachusetts law to foreclose for the benefit of the note holder and therefore standing to move for relief from stay to foreclose. The Debtor objects, arguing (among other things) that Massachusetts law prohibits foreclosure by one who holds only the mortgage and not the note it secures. I need not address the merits of this and other objections because, even if the theory is a valid one, it requires proof that PAM is the present title holder of the mortgage, and PAM has not carried its burden in this regard.

To show that it presently holds the mortgage, PAM must show a valid assignment of the mortgage from MERS to itself. PAM contends that it holds the mortgage by assignment from MERS. Accordingly, PAM must show that the assignment, which was executed for MERS by Denise Bailey, was within the scope of Bailey’s limited authority to act for MERS.

Ms. Bailey’s authority to act for MERS is defined in the MERS Authorization in seven enumerated paragraphs. In each, Ms. Bailey’s authority to act is dependent on the existence of a specified relationship of Litton, the MERS member by whom she is employed, to the loan in question. PAM has submitted no evidence of the existence of any such relationship. The beneficial owner of the loan at the time of the assignment was Aurora Bank FSB, but there is no evidence that Litton was at the time the servicer of the loan for Aurora Bank FSB or was registered with MERS as such. The Court does not find that Aurora Bank FSB had not retained Litton as its servicer; there is simply no evidence on the issue. But the burden is on PAM to prove that it had, and PAM has not adduced evidence to that effect.

Accordingly, by a separate order, the Court will deny PAM’s motion for relief from the automatic stay without prejudice to renewal upon proper proof.

[1] All other issues were resolved upon entry of the original order granting relief from stay. No cause has been adduced to revisit any but the narrow issue of standing.

[2] Moreno contends that LBHI, which is in bankruptcy proceedings of its own, may have sold its interest in the note through a court-approved sale in its bankruptcy case. However, Moreno does not contend that possession of the note has passed from LBHI to the alleged purchaser (or any nominee of the purchaser), and therefore the alleged possible sale is irrelevant, as possession undisputedly remains in LBHI. In any event, Moreno attempted to establish the fact of the alleged sale by designating certain documents on the docket of the LBHI case and asking the Court to take judicial notice of these and then to find them on its own and to determine from them whether the promissory note in question was among the assets transferred. Having found the alleged sale to be irrelevant, the Court declined to take judicial notice of the bankruptcy documents. However, the proffer also failed for two additional reasons: first, that Moreno did not take a position as to whether a sale did occur, only that the Moreno note may have been among those transferred in the sale; and second, even if the court had taken judicial notice as requested, it remained Moreno’s obligation, which he has not fulfilled, to produce the documents in question and to explain in the first instance how one would conclude from them that the asset in question was among those transferred.

[3] MERS Corporate Resolution, attached to Bailey Affidavit as Exhibit 1.

[4] The grammatical difficulty in this second clause is native to the authorizing document.

[5] The original affidavit of Scott Drosdick includes the following two sentences:

By Master Servicing Agreement dated February 1, 1999, LBHI engaged Aurora Bank FSB (f/k/a Lehman Brothers Bank FSB), to master service, among other things, the Loan [the Moreno loan]. In turn, Aurora Bank FSB engaged Litton pursuant to a Flow Subservicing Agreement dated October 1, 2007, to service the loan.”

By an amendment to the affidavit and in testimony, Drosdick later amended his affidavit to correct this passage by striking Aurora Bank FSB from the first sentence and in its place inserting Aurora Loan Services LLC. Drosdick did not expressly change the second sentence, but that sentence, which begins with the critical words “in turn,” would be nonsensical unless the same substitution—Aurora Loan Services LLC for Aurora Bank FSB—were also made in the second sentence. Therefore, though the second sentence might perhaps be read in isolation as evidence that Litton was servicing the loan for Aurora Bank FSB at the time when Bailey executed the assignment, that sentence cannot credibly be so construed.

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



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MUST READ |E-Discovery…Electronic Registration Systems WORST NIGHTMARE!

MUST READ |E-Discovery…Electronic Registration Systems WORST NIGHTMARE!


Via: Discovery Tactics aka Anthony Martinez & Assoc.

Latest Electronically Stored Information (ESI) Cases

I’ve been harping on the importance of demanding and acessing ESI from foreclosing parties for quite some time now.  A properly made ESI discovery request will provide numerous “smoking gun” documents that are sure to place the opposing party in a uncomfortable position.  Below I’ve identifed some of the most recent and more important cases that involve ESI.

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Court Grants Defendant’s Motion for Entry of Clawback Provision

Rajala v. McGuire Woods LLP, 2010 WL 2649582 (D. Kan. July 22, 2010) Plaintiff, as Bankruptcy Trustee, brought suit against defendant, alleging several claims. The parties could not agree on the entry of a clawback provision. Accordingly, defendant moved the…

Jury Instruction Allowing Inference that Destroyed Evidence Was Unfavorable and Payment of Attorneys’ Fees and Costs Ordered as Sanction for Failure to Preserve

Medcorp, Inc. v. Pinpoint Tech., Inc., 2010 WL 2500301 (D. Colo. June 15, 2010) Finding “willful” spoliation of 43 hard drives “in the sense that Plaintiff was aware of its responsibilities to preserve relevant evidence and failed to take necessary…

Judge Scheindlin Amends Recent Pension Opinion

On May 28th, Judge Shira Scheindlin entered an order amending her recent opinion in Pension Comm. of Univ. of Montreal Pension Plan v. Bank of Am. Secs., LLC. The order provides important clarification regarding the scope of a party’s obligation…

Court Rules Failure to Copy Files on Flash Drive Prior to Failure of the Drive Violated Duty to Preserve

Wilson v. Thorn Energy, LLC, 2010 WL 1712236 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 15, 2010) In this case, the court ordered sanctions for defendants’ failure to preserve relevant data where defendants failed to back up a flash drive containing all relevant financial records…

Court Orders Monetary Sanctions for Production Delay Resulting from Counsel’s Failure to Become Familiar with Plaintiff’s Retention Policies and Systems

GFI Acquisition, LLC v. Am. Federated Title Corp. (In re A & M Fla. Props. II, LLC), 2010 WL 1418861 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Apr. 7, 2010) Where plaintiff’s counsel “failed in his obligation to locate and produce all relevant documents in…

Court Rules Communications with Attorney Using Work Computer are Protected as Privileged

Stengart v. Loving Care Agency, Inc., 2010 WL 1189458 (N.J. Mar. 30, 2010) In this employment litigation, the Supreme Court of New Jersey addressed whether employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy as to attorney-client privileged emails sent and received…

Despite Malaysian Blocking Statute, Court Compels Third Party’s Production of Foreign Banking Information Pursuant to Subpoena

Gucci Amer., Inc. v. Curveal Fashion, 2010 WL 808639 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 8, 2010) Plaintiff sought to compel the production of documents and information regarding defendants’ Malaysian bank accounts pursuant to a subpoena served on United Overseas Bank’s New York Agency…

Court Provides Detailed Analysis of Law of Spoliation, Orders Adverse Inference Instruction, Monetary Sanctions for Intentional Spoliation of ESI

Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc. v. Cammarata, 2010 WL 645253 (S.D. Tex. Feb. 19, 2010) For intentional spoliation, the court declined to order terminating sanctions but ordered an adverse inference instruction and for defendants to pay plaintiff’s attorneys fees and costs….

Court Finds Data “Not Reasonably Accessible,” Denies Motion to Compel

Rodriguez-Torres v. Gov. Dev. Bank of Puerto Rico, 265 F.R.D. 40 (D.P.R. 2010) In this employment discrimination case, the court found the electronically stored information (“ESI”) requested by the plaintiffs “not reasonably accessible because of the undue burden and cost”…

“Zubulake Revisited: Six Years Later”: Judge Shira Scheindlin Issues her Latest e-Discovery Opinion

Pension Comm. of Univ. of Montreal Pension Plan v. Bank of Am. Secs., LLC, 2010 WL 184312 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 15, 2010) (Amended Order) Issued earlier this month, Judge Shira Scheindlin’s opinion in Pension Comm. of Univer. of Montreal Pension Plan…

Court Compels Discovery from Foreign Corporation Pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

In re Global Power Equip. Group, Inc., 418 B.R. 833 (Bankr. D. Del. 2009) Upon a motion to compel production of documents from claimant, a foreign corporation, the court found the documents at issue to be within the control of…

Swiss Government Says It Would Seize UBS Data Sought by U.S.

Bloomberg.com, July 8, 2009 By David Voreacos and Mort Lucoff July 8 (Bloomberg) — Switzerland said it would seize UBS AG data to prevent the U.S. Justice Department from pursuing a U.S. court order seeking the identities of 52,000 American…

Finding Defendants’ Behavior “a Textbook Case of Discovery Abuse,” Court Orders $1,022,700 in Monetary Sanctions

Kipperman v. Onex Corp., 2009 WL 1473708 (N.D. Ga. May 27, 2009) In this constructive transfer and fraud case arising out of the 2003 bankruptcy of Magnatrax Corporation, plaintiff alleged numerous discovery abuses on the part of defendants and sought…

Court Declines to Compel Production of Documents from Foreign Jurisdiction upon Finding a Lack of Personal Jurisdiction and where Certain Documents are Protected from Production by Israeli Law

Linde v. Arab Bank, PLC, 2009 WL 1456573 (E.D.N.Y. May 22, 2009) In this case, defendant Arab Bank moved to compel production of documents, pursuant to subpoena, by non-parties Israel Discount Bank, Ltd. (“IDB”), its indirect, wholly –owned subsidiary, Israel…

Granting Motion to Compel, Court Orders Appointment of Independent Expert “to Retrieve any Deleted Responsive Files from Defendants’ Computers”

Bank of Mongolia v. M & P Global Fin. Servs., Inc., 2009 WL 1117312 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 24, 2009) In this case arising from allegations that defendants conspired to defraud plaintiff of $23 million, defendants failed to properly and timely…

Court Orders Production of Relevant Source Code Citing Defendant’s Suggestion for Mitigating Costs

Metavante Corp. v. Emigrant Savings Bank, 2008 WL 4722336 (E.D. Wis. Oct. 24, 2008) In this breach of contract case, Emigrant filed several motions to compel Metavante’s response to multiple discovery requests. One motion sought the production of source code…

Updated List: Local Rules, Forms and Guidelines of United States District Courts Addressing E-Discovery Issues

At least 41 United States District Courts now require compliance with special local rules, forms or guidelines addressing the discovery of electronically stored information. In some districts where there are no local rules or court-mandated forms, individual judges have created…

Finding “No Reason to Treat Websites Differently than Other Electronic Files,” Court Grants Adverse Inference for Failure to Preserve Website

Arteria Prop. Pty Ltd. v. Universal Funding V.T.O., Inc., 2008 WL 4513696 (D.N.J. Oct. 1, 2008) (Not for Publication) In this case arising from failed negotiations for a long term development loan, the plaintiff filed a motion for spoliation sanctions…

Court Denies Protective Order, Orders Allegedly Proprietary Data Produced Directly to Competitor

In re NVMS, LLC, 2008 WL 4488963 (Bankr. M.D. Tenn. Mar. 21, 2008) In this case, the debtor, a medical services company, moved for expedited discovery of information contained in the database of a former billing partner. In July of…

No Spoliation Found Where Expert Drafted His Report on Computer, Without Saving or Preserving Progressive Iterations

In re Teleglobe Communications Corp., 2008 WL 3198875 (Bankr. D. Del. Aug. 7, 2008) In this lengthy opinion addressing a variety of issues, the bankruptcy judge denied defendants’ motion to exclude testimony of the plaintiff’s expert as a sanction for…

Magistrate Judge “Clearly Erred” by Analyzing Cost-Shifting Dispute for Paper Production under Seven-Factor Zubulake Test

Tierno v. Rite Aid Corp., 2008 WL 3287035 (N.D. Cal. July 31, 2008) In this wage and hour employment case, plaintiff sought documents about class members’ employment and salary history, terminations, performance evaluations, discipline, certain communications, and personnel files. Rite…

Inadequate Preservation Efforts Necessitate Restoration and Production of Email from Backup Tapes, and Forensic Search of CEO’s Laptop

Treppel v. Biovail Corp., 2008 WL 866594 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 2, 2008) In this case, plaintiff alleged that Biovail Corp., its CEO, general counsel and others engaged in a “smear campaign” that destroyed plaintiff’s career as a securities analyst. He asserted…

Magistrate Judge Sets Protocol for Plaintiff’s Forensic Examination of Former Employee’s Computer and Requests Affidavit from Expert Explaining Certain Issues

Equity Analytics, LLC v. Lundin, 248 F.R.D. 331 (D.D.C. 2008) In this case, plaintiff Equity Analytics claimed that defendant, its former employee, gained illegal access to electronically stored information after he was fired. Defendant explained that another Equity employee had…

Recent Amendments to Federal Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil and Criminal Procedure Require Redaction of Personal Identification Information from Documents Filed with the Court

On December 1, 2007, the amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil, and Criminal Procedure that implement the E-Government Act of 2002 became effective. The amendment to Appellate Rule 25, and new Bankruptcy Rule 9037, Civil Rule 5.2,…

The Biggest Data Disaster Ever

From The Red Tape Chronicles, Posted: Friday, November 30 at 05:15 am CT by Bob Sullivan: “It’s being called the worst data leak of the information age. Earlier this month, U.K. officials had to admit they’d lost hard drives containing…

Email Communications Between Physician and His Attorney Exchanged Over Hospital’s Email System Not Protected by Attorney-Client Privilege or Work Product Doctrine

Scott v. Beth Israel Med. Center Inc., 2007 WL 3053351 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Oct. 17, 2007) Plaintiff is a physician who sued for breach of contract based upon his termination from defendant hospital (“BI”). Under the contract at issue, BI…

Inadequate Legal Hold Measures, and Resulting Spoliation, Warrant Sanctions

In re NTL, Inc. Sec. Litig., 2007 WL 241344 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 30, 2007) In this opinion, Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck granted plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions in the form of an adverse inference instruction and awarded plaintiffs their costs and…

Court Allows Plaintiffs to Conduct Expedited Discovery Regarding Possible Spoliation

Roberts v. Canadian Pac. R.R. Ltd., 2007 WL 118901 (D. Minn. Jan. 11, 2007) In this decision, Chief District Judge James M. Rosenbaum granted plaintiff’s motion for leave to conduct limited discovery concerning spoliation of evidence on an expedited basis….

Condemning Defendant’s Gamesmanship, Court Orders Production of Database

JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Neovi, Inc., 2006 WL 3803152 (S.D. Ohio Nov. 14, 2006) In this case involving UCC claims stemming from defendant’s internet-based check service, defendant disputed that it did sufficient business with Ohio residents to subject it…

Court Grants Plaintiff Access to Defendant’s Database

Bianchi v. The Bureaus, Inc., 2006 WL 3802758 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 1, 2006) In this brief order, the court granted plaintiff’s motion to allow her computer expert access a database maintained by defendant, for the purpose of determining whether the…

Citing Conference of Chief Justices’ Guidelines to State Courts, North Carolina Court Refuses to Compel Nonparty to Produce Deleted Emails from Backup Tapes

Bank of America Corp. v. SR Int’l Bus. Ins. Co., Ltd., 2006 WL 3093174, 2006 NCBC 15 (N.C. Super. Nov. 1, 2006) In its introductory remarks, the court advised: This opinion should be read in conjunction with the opinion in…

North Carolina Court Orders Production of Email from Backup Tapes; Parties to Share Restoration Costs Equally

Analog Devices, Inc. v. Michalski, 2006 WL 3287382 (N.C. Super. Nov. 1, 2006) (Unpublished) In this misappropriation of trade secrets case, defendants moved to compel the production of emails of the originators of the trade secrets at issue relating to…

North Carolina Court Relies on Conference of Chief Justices’ Guidelines in Two Decisions Involving the Production of Email from Backup Tapes

These two opinions, both filed on November 1, 2006, discuss for the first time the extent to which inaccessible electronic data is discoverable and who should pay for its production under the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure. Bank of…

$1.888 Million Judgment Entered in Favor of Bankruptcy Trustee Based on Adverse Party’s Spoliation of Financial Records

In re Quintus Corp., 353 B.R. 77 (Bankr. D. Del. 2006) Avaya, Inc. purchased the assets of the debtors in bankruptcy, and agreed to assume certain of the debtors’ liabilities. Thereafter, the trustee filed an adversary complaint against Avaya asserting…

Failure to Conduct Reasonable Investigation for Responsive Documents and Other Discovery Abuses Warrant Adverse Inference Instruction

3M Innovative Props. Co. v. Tomar Elecs., 2006 WL 2670038 (D. Minn. Sept. 18, 2006) In this patent infringement litigation, the district court judge affirmed the magistrate’s report and recommendation that plaintiff’s motion for sanctions against the defendant be granted…

Party Not Entitled to Shift Costs of Restoring Emails that were Converted to Inaccessible Format After Duty to Preserve was Triggered

Quinby v. WestLB AG, 2006 WL 2597900 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 5, 2006) Like the plaintiff in the Zubulake v. UBS Warburg LLC, the plaintiff in this case was a highly-paid investment banker who accused her employer of gender discrimination and illegal…

Crime-Fraud Exception to Attorney-Client Privilege Invoked to Allow Testimony and Production of Notes by Attorney, Where Executive’s Deletion of Email Sought by Grand Jury Could Constitute Obstruction of Justice

In re Grand Jury Investigation, 445 F.3d 266 (3rd Cir. 2006) This opinion relates to an ongoing grand jury investigation of suspected federal criminal activity; because of the secrecy of the proceeding, the court’s opinion lacks specific details. The grand…

Second Circuit Reverses Frank Quattrone Conviction for Obstruction of Justice and Witness Tampering

In 2000, Credit Suisse First Boston Corporation (“CSFB”) employed Frank Quattrone as head of its Global Technology Group (the “Tech Group”). In that capacity, Quattrone managed approximately 400 technology investment bankers from the firm’s Palo Alto, California office. The Tech…

Florida Court Affirms $75,000 Coercive Civil Contempt Sanction Against Defendants For Prolonged Discovery Abuse

Channel Components, Inc. v. Am. II Electronics, Inc., 915 So. 2d 1278 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2005) In this case alleging tortious interference and related claims against two former employees, the plaintiff sought intervention by the court several times in…

Defendant Sanctioned for Negligent Failure to Institute and Communicate Legal Hold

In re Old Banc One Shareholders Sec. Litig., 2005 WL 3372783 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 8, 2005) In this opinion, the District Court adopted in full the Magistrate’s Report and Recommendation regarding plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions based upon the defendant’s failure…

Bank of America Corporation Ordered to Provide Discovery on Behalf of Non-Party Wholly-Owned Subsidiaries

In re ATM Fee Antitrust Litig., 2005 WL 3299763 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 5, 2005) In this class action, plaintiffs propounded requests for production of documents and a request for admissions to all named defendants, including Bank of America Corporation (“BAC”)….

Despite Evidence of Intentional and Negligent Concealment, Bankruptcy Court Dismisses Trustee’s Spoliation of Evidence Counterclaims Because No Injury Was Shown

In re Tri-State Armored Services, Inc., 332 B.R. 690 (Bankr. D.N.J. 2005) Insurance company brought adversary proceeding against Chapter 7 trustee, seeking either equitable rescission of employee dishonesty, crime, and disappearance insurance policies issued to debtor armored car company, or…

Court Orders Production of Home Office Backup Tape Created in Connection with CFTC Receivership

Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Equity Financial Group, LLC, et al., 2005 WL 2205789 (D.N.J. Sept. 9, 2005) In April 2004, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) filed an enforcement action against Equity Financial Group, LLC (“Equity”) and others…

UBS Securities to Pay $2.1 Million in Penalties and Fines for Failure to Preserve Email

On July 13, 2005 the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) issued an Order in connection with the alleged failure of UBS Securities LLC (“UBS”) to preserve email. The Commission accepted an Offer of Settlement and UBS consented to entry of…

Spoliation Instruction Appropriate where Defendants Failed to Preserve Email

Arndt v. First Union Nat’l Bank, 613 S.E.2d 274 (N.C. Ct.App. 2005) Donald Arndt (“Arndt”) was hired by First Union National Bank (“First Union”) in June 1996 with an initial salary of $90,000 per year and a guaranteed minimum incentive…

Seventh Circuit Reverses Sanction Requiring Production of Documents Listed on Privilege Log

American National Bank and Trust Co. of Chicago v. Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, 406 F.3d 867 (7th Cir. 2005) American National Bank and Trust Co. of Chicago, as Trustee f/b/o Emerald Investments LP, and Emerald Investments…

Privilege Not Necessarily Waived Where Email Between Employee and Personal Attorney Maintained on Corporate Email System

In re Asia Global Crossing, Ltd., 322 B.R. 247 (S.D.N.Y. 2005) Asia Global Crossing, Ltd. and Asia Global Crossing Development Co. (collectively “Asia Global”) were pan-Asian telecommunication carriers which filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 on November 17, 2002. Asia…

Magistrate Recommends Adverse Inference Instruction and Monetary Sanctions for Failure to Preserve Hard Drives, Audio Recordings and Email

E*Trade Securities LLC v. Deutsche Bank AG, et al., Civil No. 02-3711 RHK/AJB and Civil No. 02-3682 RHK/AJB (D. Minn. Feb. 17, 2005) United States Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan filed a Report and Recommendation regarding several electronic discovery disputes…

Court Denies Motion to Compel Review of CD-ROMs for Responsive Documents

Zakre v. Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale, 2004 WL 764895 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 9, 2004) Plaintiff requested an order compelling defendant to review for responsive documents two compact discs containing some 204,000 emails. Defendant had conducted a review of the emails for privileged…

Court Precludes Offering of Evidence as Sanction for Discovery Evasion

In re LTV Steel Co., Inc., 307 B.R. 37 (N.D. Ohio 2004) In bankruptcy proceeding, a creditor (“C&K”) submitted a claim for $1.9 million against the estate, a portion of which the debtor agreed was due. When the debtor sought…

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



Posted in breach of contract, chain in title, concealment, conflict of interest, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, discovery, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, forgery, investigation, lawsuit, mail fraud, MERS, MERSCORP, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., non disclosure, notary fraud, note, originator, RICO, robo signers, securitization, servicers, trade secrets, Trusts, ViolationsComments (0)

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

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


WHERE’S THE NOTE, WHO’S THE HOLDER

INTRODUCTION

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

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

UCC SECTION 3-309

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

continue below…

[ipaper docId=34639366 access_key=key-16iibafykexw94r9ex7k height=600 width=600 /]

More on….MERS

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



Posted in conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, investigation, MERS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, note, stopforeclosurefraud.comComments (1)

Law Offices of David J. Stern, MERS | Assignment of Mortgage NOT EXECUTED but RECORDED

Law Offices of David J. Stern, MERS | Assignment of Mortgage NOT EXECUTED but RECORDED


I cannot comment, I am beyond words!

via: Chungas_Revenge

Cheryl Samons is an employee of David Stern Firm in Plantation Florida. The mere fact that she is signing documents representing the grantor when the grantee is the client of her employer’s law firm leads to questions and concerns, but:

How can an unsigned legal document get notarized and witnessed? (St. Lucie County, FL)

Bank of America took over Countrywide on June 3, 2009. How can Countrywide assign a mortgage on April 28, 2010? (Palm Beach County, FL)

RELATED STORIES:

Full Deposition of David J. Stern’s Notary | Para Legal Shannon Smith

STERN’S CHERYL SAMONS| SHANNON SMITH Assignment Of Mortgage| NOTARY FRAUD!

Take Two: *New* Full Deposition of Law Office of David J. Stern’s Cheryl Samons

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



Posted in djsp enterprises, foreclosure, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A., MERS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., robo signersComments (0)

Could New Filing Persuade Judge Waddoups to Set Aside Restraining Order on Bank of America Utah Foreclosures and Remand Case to State Court?

Could New Filing Persuade Judge Waddoups to Set Aside Restraining Order on Bank of America Utah Foreclosures and Remand Case to State Court?


My friends with the latest articles I posted…take note momentum is starting to build!



(Salt Lake City, UT) – The Bank of America’s motion for dismissal filed July 2, 2010 in US District Court of Utah may have opened the way for Judge Clark Waddoups to set aside his order halting foreclosures in Utah by ReconTrust Company and remand the case to state court. Attorneys John Christian Barlow and E. Craig Smay, in their plaintiff’s response filed Friday, July 8, 2010 say “the defendant’s motion to dismiss re-opens the issue of preemption of State law which previously arose in the analysis of the courts jurisdiction. There, the court analyzed and relied upon the wrong statute, producing an erroneous conclusion of preemption. That conclusion should now be corrected,” the attorneys said.

“The defendant’s motion to dismiss is based upon claims the plaintiff lacked a cause of action under Utah Code §16-10a-1501 and 57-1-21 addresses an issue not in dispute,” Barlow said. “ReconTrust Company is permitted to serve as trustee in Utah, but the company is still required to register and have offices in the state along with its competitor state banks, and may not foreclose non-judicially,” according to Barlow and Smay. “Bank of America’s motion to dismiss serves to more clearly show the federal court lacks jurisdiction to set aside the restraining order previously issued by the state court,” Barlow said. The Plaintiff filing cites the federal court’s own decision denying federal jurisdiction. (Jensen-ReconTrust)

The attorneys conclude “the motion by the defendant to dismiss must be denied and the prior order setting aside the state court injunction should be withdrawn and the matter remanded to the state court.”

While, the judge ponders his response to the filing, the plaintiff has moved the case to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver (Appeal) The Bank of America has become the symbol of what’s wrong in America where homeowners (taxpayers) want less federal control and more accountability. The plaintiff Peni Cox has become a symbol of homeowners everywhere caught in the financial meltdown fighting faceless – paperless financial giants of Wall Street and their legal brain trusts.

Shareholders and mortgage investment portfolio managers are beginning to quietly caution banks about their foreclosure policies. Most of the financial institutions with foreclosures have received TARP TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) was designed to get so-called toxic assets off the books of major banks. These assets included mortgage-backed securities deemed impossible to value. Because banks could not buy and sell these securities, they were becoming increasingly illiquid, and a credit crunch began to emerge as lending between banks ground to a halt. TARP funds were utilized to purchase these assets, injecting banks with liquidity.

Barlow continues to champion his client’s rights contending remedies were taken away from her by faceless lenders who continue to overwhelm homeowners and the judicial system with motions and petitions as remedies instead of actually making a good-faith effort in face-to-face negotiations to help homeowners. “Mortgage lenders are required by law to be registered and have offices in the State of Utah to do business, that is unless you’re the Bank of America or one of their subsidiary companies which apparently are above the law in Utah,” Barlow said. “The Bank of America and other financial institutions, under the guise of mortgage lenders are trampling the rights of citizens,” he said.

Bank of America acquired the bankrupt Countrywide Home Loan portfolio in a stock deal June 3, 2009. And, according to the ReconTrust, the bank has over 1162 Utah homeowners in foreclosure as of July 10, 2010.

Next week KCSG News will report on Utah court cases in which the plaintiffs (homeowners) claim neither the lender, MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System), nor the Bank of America, nor any other defendant in the case, has any remaining interest in the mortgage promissory note bundled with other notes and sold as mortgage-backed securities or otherwise assigned and split from the Trust Deed. Last month the Florida Supreme Court issued a ruling protecting homeowners from losing their homes to foreclosure mills hired by the lenders to foreclose using bogus documents created for lenders in which the lender had no secured interest. Similar cases are now making there way through Utah courts.

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Posted in bank of america, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, MERS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Real Estate, Recontrust, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD, tarp funds, TROComments (0)

“indorsement” on a separate page ‘I DON’T THINK SO’! IndyMAC BANK FSB v. Garcia, 2010 NY Slip Op 51127 – NY: Supreme Court, Suffolk 2010

“indorsement” on a separate page ‘I DON’T THINK SO’! IndyMAC BANK FSB v. Garcia, 2010 NY Slip Op 51127 – NY: Supreme Court, Suffolk 2010


Don’t we love New York!

This is another case for you all to learn from…Now again, shouldn’t their be a conflict of any documents where MERS is the nominee for any of these banks?

I think we are going to see lenders, servicers et al slowly begin to turn on MERS!


2010 NY Slip Op 51127(U)

IndyMAC BANK F.S.B., Plaintiff(s),
v.
LUDDY BRITO GARCIA, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS, INC., ACTING SOLELY AS A NOMINEE FOR STERLING NATIONAL MORTGAGE COMPANY, INC., SUBSIDIARY OF FEDERALLY CHARTERED BANK, ITS SUCCESSORS AND ASSIGNS, AND “JOHN DOE # 1” THROUGH “JOHN DOE # 10”, THE LAST TEN NAMES BEING FICTITIOUS AND UNKNOWN TO plaintiff, THE PERSONS OR PARTIES INTENDED BEING THE PERSONS OR PARTIES, IF ANY, HAVING OR CLAIMING AN INTEREST IN OR LIEN UPON THE MORTGAGED PREMISES DESCRIBED IN THE COMPLAINT, Defendant(s).

7282-2008

Supreme Court, Suffolk County.

Decided June 22, 2010.

Eschen, Frenkel & Weisman, LLP, 20 West Main Street, Bay Shore, New York 11706, Attorneys for Plaintiff.

Luddy Brito Garcia, 124 East 13th Street, Huntington Station, New York 11746, Defendant Pro Se.

PETER H. MAYER, J.

Upon the reading and filing of the following papers in this matter: (1) Notice of Motion by the plaintiff, dated June 2, 2009, and supporting papers; and now

UPON DUE DELIBERATION AND CONSIDERATION BY THE COURT of the foregoing papers, the motion is decided as follows: it is

ORDERED that plaintiff’s application (seq. # 002) for an order of reference in this foreclosure action is considered under 2009 NY Laws, Ch. 507, enacted December 15, 2009, and 2008 NY Laws, Ch. 472, enacted August 5, 2008, as well as the related statutes and case law, and is hereby denied without prejudice and with leave to resubmit upon proper papers, for failure to submit proper evidentiary proof, including an affidavit from one with personal knowledge, of a valid indorsement of the note or assignment of the mortgage, sufficient to establish the plaintiff’s ownership of the note and mortgage at the time the action was commenced; and it is further

ORDERED that the plaintiff shall promptly serve a copy of this Order upon the defendant-homeowner(s) at all known addresses and upon all other answering defendants, via first class mail, and shall promptly file the affidavit(s) of such service with the County Clerk and annex a copy of this Order and the affidavit(s) of service as exhibits to any motion resubmitted pursuant to this Order; and it is further

ORDERED that with regard to any scheduled court conferences or future applications by the plaintiff, if the Court determines that such conferences have been attended, or such applications have been submitted, without proper regard for the applicable statutory and case law, or without regard for the required proofs delineated herein, the Court may, in its discretion, dismiss this case or deny such applications with prejudice and/or impose sanctions pursuant to 22 NYCRR §130-1, and may deny those costs and attorneys fees attendant with the filing of such future applications.

By Order dated November 24, 2009, this Court scheduled a foreclosure settlement conference for December 23, 2009, which was adjourned to February 24, 2010. The defendant-homeowner, Luddy Brito Garcia, failed to appear at both. The plaintiff now seeks a default order of reference and requests amendment of the caption to substitute a tenant in the place and stead of the “Doe” defendants. For the reasons set forth herein, the plaintiff’s application is denied.

In this foreclosure action, the plaintiff filed a summons and complaint on January 3, 2008, which essentially alleges that Ms. Garcia defaulted in her payments of a mortgage, dated August 15, 2006, in the principal amount of $411,500.00, for the premises located at 124 East 13th Street, Huntington, New York. The original lender, Sterling National Mortgage Company, Inc., purportedly indorsed the promissory note to the plaintiff prior to the commencement of this action. According to the plaintiff, this indorsement made the plaintiff the lawful holder of the note and mortgage with standing to commence the action. Although the plaintiff’s affidavit in support indicates that the “original note with a proper indorsement is [now] in the plaintiff’s possession,” the plaintiff does not prove — or even assert — that the plaintiff actually possessed the note and mortgage at the time the action was filed.

Instead, citing Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. v Coakley, 41 AD3d 674, 838 NYS2d 622 (2d Dept 2007), the plaintiff summarily argues that because the promissory note was indorsed to the plaintiff, the mortgage passed as an incident to the note. Under the circumstances presented herein, however, the plaintiff’s reliance on Coakley is misguided. In Coakley, the record showed that the promissory note had been indorsed by the original lender to another bank, who then indorsed it in blank and ultimately transferred and tendered it to the foreclosing plaintiff. On that particular record, the court found that at the time the action was commenced, the plaintiff was the lawful holder of the promissory note and of the mortgage, which had passed as an incident to the promissory note. In this case, however, the alleged “indorsement” appears to be on a separate page from the promissory note and, in any event, is clearly undated.

New York UCC §3-202 (1) states, in pertinent part, that “[i]f the instrument is payable to order it is negotiated by delivery with any necessary indorsement” (emphasis added). In addition, UCC §3-202(2) requires that “[a]n indorsement must be written by or on behalf of the holder and on the instrument or on a paper so firmly affixed thereto as to become a part thereof (emphasis added). Here, the purported indorsement is payable to order, but there is no evidence of delivery of the note prior to the action’s commencement. Furthermore, the alleged indorsement appears to be on a separate page, makes no specific reference to the subject note, and is, in any event, undated. As such, the so-called “indorsement” is, at best, unreliable and fails to support plaintiff’s claim that the “note and mortgage were assigned by a properly indorsed note prior to the commencement of this action” (see, Slutsky v Blooming Grove Inn, Inc., 147 AD2d 208, 542 NYS2d 721 [2d Dept 1989]). This is particularly true where, as here, the plaintiff’s affidavit in support of the motion fails to affirmatively state that the plaintiff did, in fact, possess the note and mortgage at the time the action was commenced. Without either proof of a proper written assignment of the underlying note or proper proof of the physical delivery of the note prior to the commencement of the foreclosure action, the plaintiff has failed to sufficiently show either the proper transfer of the obligation, or that the mortgage passed as an inseparable incident to the debt (see, U.S. Bank, N.A. v Collymore, 68 AD3d 752, 890 NYS2d 578 [2d Dept 2009]).

A plaintiff has no foundation in law or fact to foreclose upon a mortgage, unless the plaintiff has shown it has legal or equitable interest in such mortgage (Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Marchione, 69 AD3d 204, 887 NYS2d 615 [2d Dept 2009]; Katz v East-Ville Realty Co., 249 AD2d 243, 672 NYS2d 308 [1st Dept 1998]). A written assignment of the underlying note or the physical delivery of the note prior to the commencement of the foreclosure action would be sufficient to transfer the obligation, and have the mortgage pass as an inseparable incident to the debt (U.S. Bank, N.A. v Collymore, 68 AD3d 752, 890 NYS2d 578 [2d Dept 2009]). With regard to a written assignment, the execution date is generally controlling and a written assignment claiming an earlier effective date is deficient, unless it is accompanied by proof that the physical delivery of the note and mortgage was, in fact, previously effectuated (see, Bankers Trust Co. v Hoovis, 263 AD2d 937, 938, 694 NYS2d 245 [1999]). A retroactive assignment cannot be used to confer standing upon the assignee in a foreclosure action commenced prior to the execution of the assignment (Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. v Gress, 68 AD3d 709, 888 NYS2d 914 [2d Dept 2009]; Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Marchione, 69 AD3d 204, 887 NYS2d 615 [2d Dept 2009]).

Applying this analysis to the case before this Court, a statement by the plaintiff merely indicating that the original note is in plaintiff’s possession as of the making of a motion for an order of reference is insufficient to show that the plaintiff had standing to bring the action in the first instance (Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. v Gress, 68 AD3d 709, 888 NYS2d 914 [2d Dept 2009]; Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Marchione, 69 AD3d 204, 887 NYS2d 615 [2d Dept 2009]). Plaintiff’s failure to submit proper proof of a valid indorsement or assignment, and failure to otherwise prove that the plaintiff was the holder of the note and mortgage at the time the action was commenced, requires denial of the plaintiff’s motion for an order of reference.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of the Court.

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Posted in chain in title, conflict of interest, dismissed, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, indymac, lawsuit, MERS, mortgage, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., reversed court decisionComments (1)

CLASS ACTION FORMING relating to LAW OFFICES of DAVID J. STERN in FLORIDA

CLASS ACTION FORMING relating to LAW OFFICES of DAVID J. STERN in FLORIDA


Gath Around!

Kenneth Eric Trent, Esq.

I am a Fort Lauderdale attorney. I get it! I am organizing a class action suit on behalf of Floridians who have lost their homes to foreclosure. I am looking for class members. To potentially qualify, one must have lost one’s home to foreclosure within the last three years; the plaintiff must have been represented by the Law Office of David J. Stern; and your mortgage must have included the standard MERS language.

Email me if you want to know more! foreclosuredestroyer@yahoo.com.

MR. Trent is currently working on his site www.foreclosuredestroyer.com

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



Posted in class action, djsp enterprises, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A., MERS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC.Comments (1)

US TRUSTEE keeping CLOSE WATCH on NY FORECLOSURE MILL

US TRUSTEE keeping CLOSE WATCH on NY FORECLOSURE MILL


Liening on NY homeowners

Chase and law firm draw scrutiny over tactics in foreclosure cases

By RICHARD WILNER

Last Updated: 12:01 PM, February 28, 2010
Posted: 12:54 AM, February 28, 2010

As the mortgage melt down paralyzed the economy across the US and throughout New York State, one company in the center of the storm had all the business it could handle.The little-known law firm of Steven J. Baum PC, which is based in suburban Buffalo, NY, and represents dozens of banks in matters of failed mortgages, last year filed a staggering 12,551 foreclosure lawsuits in New York City and the suburbs, which works out to about 48 a day.

The foreclosure mill is one of a handful of super-regional law firms used by the country’s banks — and its lawyers appear to have practiced in every county courthouse and bankruptcy court from Staten Island to Plattsburgh and from Montauk to Niagara Falls.

But as the volume of its workload increased, so did complaints from opposing lawyers and judges that some of the thousands of lawsuits contained questionable legal work.

One bank caught in the crosshairs is JPMorgan Chase Bank, one of the largest mortgage lenders in the city.

Last month, Diana Adams, the US Trustee in Manhattan, filed papers in court supporting punitive financial sanctions against the bank for a string of bad behavior, including seeking to foreclose on homes after they rejected the attempts to make on-time payments and for failing to prove they own the mortgage on a home even as they move to seize it.

Chase filed documents that appear to be patently false or misleading, Adams said in the filing.

Although Chase has recently taken steps to address concerns expressed by courts in connection with other cases, based on Chase’s past and current conduct it needs to be sanctioned, Adams wrote.

A spokesperson for Chase had no comment on the US Trustee’s action.

The complaints against Baum — on the record during hearings, in legal pleadings and, eventually, borne out in judges’ decisions — include:

* Not divulging mortgage payments: In the White Plains bankruptcy of Blanca Garcia, Baum’s firm filed papers claiming Garcia was in arrears — when she actually made payments and showed the court her receipts, but they were not credited to her account. When Garcia’s lawyer complained, Baum’s firm answered the claim but, the lawyer said in court papers, ignored the receipts and continued to claim the mortgage was in arrears.

* Creating questionable assignments: A Suffolk County judge took it upon himself to investigate a filing by Baum’s firm when it attempted to foreclose on the home of Gloria E. Marsh. “A careful review,” the judge wrote in a four-page order, “reveals a number of glaring discrepancies and unexplained issues of substance.”

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Posted in foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, Law Office Of Steven J. Baum, reversed court decision, Steven J BaumComments (1)

CHASE left UNSATISFIED! HSBC Mtge. Corp. (USA) v Sapir

CHASE left UNSATISFIED! HSBC Mtge. Corp. (USA) v Sapir


Shhh…Anyone who has any of these named should pay close attention.

Assignment blew up in their face!

[ipaper docId=33928039 access_key=key-6vw9imafe3pfsc2g4bl height=600 width=600 /]

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Posted in chase, foreclosure, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, HSBC, jpmorgan chase, lawsuit, reversed court decision, Steven J BaumComments (0)

JUDGE SCHACK DOES IT AGAIN! TOSSES OUT US BANK FORECLOSURE!

JUDGE SCHACK DOES IT AGAIN! TOSSES OUT US BANK FORECLOSURE!


Hasn’t this law firm learned their lesson…time and time again??

Homeowners’ hero judge slaps US Bank

Post staff for NYPOST
Last Updated: 4:42 AM, July 5, 2010
Posted: 12:44 AM, July 5, 2010

Brooklyn’s battling Judge Arthur M. Schack has struck again, giving a Brooklyn homeowner an Independence Day gift — freedom from foreclosure.

The judge, who has steadfastly pressed banks in foreclosure cases to prove they own the troubled mortgage and has tossed cases when banks have failed to do so, has again dismissed a foreclosure case — this time because the lawyer on the case, Steven J. Baum, represented the mortgage broker, the bank that bought the loan and the industry registration service serving as the nominee of the loan.

But Baum’s conflict of interest wasn’t the case’s only problem.

Judge Schack, in his decision, also found that the bank, US Bank, never should have filed the foreclosure action because of an “ineffective assignment of the subject mortgage and note to it.” In other words, it sold the mortgage, and the mortgage was securitized, leaving the company simply as the servicer — but it decided to try and take back the Crown Heights home anyway.

The Post has reported that the actions of the Baum firm in foreclosure cases has caught the eye of the US Trustee, the arm of the Justice Department responsible for monitoring the Bankruptcy Court.

Baum, a Buffalo-based foreclosure mill that filed 12,551 foreclosure actions in New York last year, has been scolded by judges for bringing foreclosure cases without proper documentation.

In this case, a Baum lawyer, Elpiniki Bechakas, signed papers claiming to be an executive of Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS, which was given certain rights to the mortgages by the broker, Fremont Investment and Loan, while simultaneously representing Fremont and US Bank, which filed the foreclosure in July 2009.

“The Court is concerned that the concurrent representation by [the Baum firm] of both assignor MERS, as nominee for Fremont, and assignee plaintiff US Bank is a conflict of interest,” Schack wrote.

Photo Credit: CBS

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Posted in case, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, judge arthur schack, MERS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, robo signer, Steven J Baum, us bankComments (2)

MUST READ… MISSING LINK (s) | BANK OF NEW YORK v. MICHAEL J. RAFTOGIANIS

MUST READ… MISSING LINK (s) | BANK OF NEW YORK v. MICHAEL J. RAFTOGIANIS


Absolutely, positively a MUST READ!

edit: From a reader who makes an excellent point…this case is very important because it turns not on the assignment of mortgage which the court disregards but rather on the failure of the originator to file the mortgage loan lists with SEC-the defendant did not even raise the point that there was also a failure to file with delaware so that the trust was never given assets———most importantly AHMSI seems to have focused on acquisition of other ex lenders servicer portolios that systematically failed to file these lists-this could enable ahmsi to have more potential latitude to allocate/reallocate or even pocket collected monies -it ties in with the comments later last week re junior senior tranche——if there is no clear certainty as to who gets money from foreclosures due to the record breakdown —-then if the money were to go to tranches that have been written off by their owners —–then the servicer can pocket the proceeds———–the servicers are unregulated–who is looking at their allocations?

the real questions now-are the loans actually in the hands of trusts as a matter of law as a result of failed filings and what happens to proceeds of collection of foreclosure proceeds??

These are highlights…

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY

BANK OF NEW YORK, as Trustee for Home Mortgage Investment Trust CHANCERY DIVISION
2004-4 Mortgage-Backed Notes, ATLANTIC COUNTY Series 2004-4 DOCKET NO: F-7356-09

vs.

MICHAEL J. RAFTOGIANIS,

Decided June 29, 2010

This opinion deals with the plaintiff’s right to proceed with an action to foreclose a mortgage which secures a debt evidenced by a negotiable note. The original lender elected to use the Mortgage Electronic Registration System in recording the mortgage by designating that entity, as its nominee, as the mortgagee. The note and mortgage were subsequently securitized, without notice to the borrower. This action to foreclose the mortgage was filed years later, in the name of an entity created as a part of the securitization process. The defendant/borrower challenged plaintiff’s right to proceed with the foreclosure. That challenge, framed as a dispute over “standing,” has given rise to a variety of factual and legal issues typically raised in this type of litigation.

Ultimately, the questions presented were whether plaintiff could establish its right to enforce the obligation evidenced by the note and whether it must establish that it held that right at the time the complaint was filed. The answers to those questions require an understanding of the provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code, the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, the securitization of mortgages and how foreclosure litigation is handled. This opinion addresses those disputes. Ultimately, the court concluded that it was appropriate to require plaintiff to establish that it had physical possession of the note as of the date the complaint was filed. Plaintiff was unable to establish that, either by motion or at trial. Accordingly, the complaint has now been dismissed on terms permitting plaintiff to institute a new action to foreclose, on the condition that any new complaint must be accompanied by an appropriate  certification, confirming that plaintiff is then in possession of the note.

In this case, the defendant borrowed $1,380,000 from American Home Mortgage Acceptance Inc. (hereafter American Home Acceptance) in September 2004. This action to foreclose the mortgage was brought in the name of The Bank of New York, as Trustee for American Mortgage Investment Trust 2004-4 Mortgage Backed Notes, Series 2004-4 in February 2009. In the interim, a variety of transactions took place, involving a number of entities. Those transactions will be discussed in some detail below. Preliminarily, this opinion will discuss the UCC, MERS and the securitization process in more general terms.

How does one become a holder of a negotiable note? In addressing that question it is necessary to distinguish between “transfer” and “negotiation.” It is also necessary to distinguish between the handling of notes payable “to order” and notes payable “to bearer.” In this particular case, it is also necessary to recognize that a note initially made payable “to order” can become a bearer instrument, if it is endorsed in blank. See N.J.S.A. 12A:3-109(c), providing that an instrument payable to an identified person may become payable to bearer if it is endorsed in blank. See also N.J.S.A.12A:3-205(b), describing what qualifies as a blank endorsement, and The Law of Modern Payment 6 Systems and Notes 2.02 at 77-78, Miller and Harrell (2002), noting that an instrument bearing the indorsement “Pay to the order of __________” is a bearer instrument. Such a bearer note can be both transferred and negotiated by delivery alone. See Corporacion Venezolana de Fomento v. Vintero Sales, 452 F. Supp. 1108, 1117 (Dist. Ct. 1978).
Under the UCC, the transfer of an instrument requires that it be delivered for the purpose of giving the person receiving the instrument the right to enforce it. A negotiable note can be transferred without being negotiated. That transfer would be effected by the physical delivery of the note. See N.J.S.A. 12A:3-203(a). In that circumstance, the transferee would not be a holder, as that term is used in the UCC. Such a transferee, however, would still have the right to enforce the note. The UCC deals with that circumstance in the following language: Transfer of an instrument, whether or not the transfer is a negotiation, vests in the transferee any right of the transferor to enforce the  instrument, including any right as a holder in due course, but the transferee cannot acquire rights of a holder in due course by a transfer, directly or indirectly, from a holder in due course if the transferee engaged in fraud or illegality affecting the instrument. N.J.S.A. 12A:3-203(b).

The negotiation of the instrument, on the other hand, requires both a transfer of possession and an endorsement by the holder. An instrument which is payable to bearer may be negotiated by transfer alone. Put otherwise, an instrument payable “to order” can be negotiated by delivery with an endorsement, while an instrument payable “to bearer” can be negotiated by delivery alone. N.J.S.A. 12A:3-201. To enforce the note at issue here as a holder pursuant to N.J.S.A. 12A:3-301, plaintiff would have to establish that it received the note, through negotiation, at the appropriate time. That would require that the note be endorsed prior to or at the time of delivery, either in favor of plaintiff or in blank. N.J.S.A. 12A:3-301 also provides that an instrument may be enforced by “a non holder in possession of the instrument who has the rights of a holder.” How does one obtain that status? That may occur, by example, where a creditor of a holder acquires an instrument through execution. See The Law of Modern Payment Systems and Notes 3.01 Miller and Harrell (2002). More frequently, that status will be created by the “transfer” of the instrument, without negotiation. As already noted, transfer occurs when the instrument is delivered for the purpose of giving the person receiving the instrument the right to enforce it. See N.J.S.A. 12A:3-203(a). The statute also provides that the transfer of the instrument, without negotiation, vests in the transferee the transferor’s right to enforce the instrument. See N.J.S.A. 12A:3-203(b). That circumstance can be illustrated by reference to the dispute presented here. The note at issue, as originally drafted, was payable “to the order of” the original lender. The negotiation of the note, in that form, would require endorsement, either to a designated recipient of the note or in blank. The note, however, could be transferred without an endorsement. Assuming the transfer was for the purpose of giving the recipient the ability to enforce the note, the recipient would become a “nonholder in possession with the rights of a holder.” That would require, however, the physical delivery of the note. A number of cases recognize that there can be constructive delivery or possession, through the delivery of the instrument to an agent of the owner. See Midfirst Bank, SSB v. C.W. Haynes & Company, 893 F. Supp. 1304, 1314-1315 (S.C. 1994); Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. v. Linn, 671 F. Supp. 547, 553 8 (N.D. Ill. 1987); and Corporacion Venezolana de Fomento v. Vintero Sales Corp, 452 F. Supp. 1108, 1117 (S.D.N.Y. 1978). Under either of the provisions of N.J.S.A.12A:3-301 which are at issue here, the person seeking to enforce the note must have possession. That is required to be a holder, and to be a nonholder in possession with the rights of a holder. The application of the provisions of the UCC to the dispute presented here will be discussed below.

MERS The Mortgage Electronic Registration System (hereafter, MERS), is a unique entity. Its involvement in the foreclosure process has been the subject of a substantial amount of litigation throughout the country, resulting in the issuance of a number of reported opinions. Recently, MERS was the focus of a decision of the Supreme Court ofKansas, reported as Landmark National Bank v. Kesler, 289 Kan. 528, 216 P.3d. 158 (Kan. 2009) which is now cited frequently in this court. That opinion reviews the manner in which MERS functions, the potential problems it can create, and some of the competing policy issues presented. The opinion also cites a variety of published opinionsfrom around the country, addressing those same issues.

In essence, MERS is a private corporation which administers a national electronic registry which tracks the transfer of ownership interests and servicing rights in mortgage loans. Lenders participate as members of the MERS system. When mortgage loans are initially placed, the lenders will retain the underlying notes but can arrange for MERS to be designated as the mortgagees on the mortgages which become a part of the public record. In that context, the lenders are able to transfer their interests to others, without having to record those subsequent transactions in the public record. See Mortgage Elec. Reg. Sys. Inc. v. Nebraska Depart. Of Banking, 270 Neb. 529, 530, 704 N.W.2d 784 (2005), cited in Landmark. The process is apparently cost efficient, from the perspective of the lenders. Among other things, the use of MERS permits lenders to avoid the payment of filing fees that might otherwise be required with the filing of multiple assignments. By the same token, it can make it difficult for mortgagors and others to identify the individual or entity which actually controls the debt at any specific time. See Landmark, 216 P.3d. at 168. On occasion, foreclosure actions are also brought in the name of MERS. When MERS is involved, defendant/borrowers often argue there has been a “separation” of the note and mortgage impacting on the plaintiff’s ability to proceed with the foreclosure. That argument has been raised here and will also be addressed below.

SECURITIZATION

This case also involves the securitization of mortgage loans, a practice which is facilitated by the MERS system. Trial courts in this state regularly deal with the foreclosure of mortgages which have previously been securitized. Generally, one or more lenders will sell substantial numbers of mortgage loans they have issued to a pool or trust.

Interests in that pool or trust are then sold to individual investors, who receive certificates entitling them to share in the funds received as the underlying loans are repaid. That can occur without any notice to the debtors/mortgagors who remain obligated on the original notes. Other entities, generally called “servicers,” are retained to administer the underlying loans. Those servicers or additional “subservicers” will be responsible for collecting and distributing the funds which are due from the debtors/mortgagors. Many are given the authority to institute and prosecute foreclosure proceedings.

The note executed by defendant Raftogianis is clearly a negotiable instrument as that term is defined by the UCC. In the terms of the statute, the note is payable to bearer or to order, and it is payable on demand or at a definite time. While the note contains detailed provisions as to just how payment is to be made, it does not state any other undertaking or instruction by the person promising or ordering payment to do any act in addition to the payment of money. See N.J.S.A. 12A:3-104. The note recites that defendant Raftogianis “promises to pay U.S. $1,380,000.00 … plus interest, to the order of the Lender,” then referring to “the Lender” as American Home Acceptance, beginning with payments due in November 2004. See N.J.S.A. 12A:3-104(a)(1), (2) and (3). This note, as originally drafted, was payable “to order.” At some point, however, the note was indorsed in blank. The original note was produced at oral argument on the motion for summary judgment. It contained the following indorsement:

WITHOUT RECOURSE
BY AMERICAN HOME MORTAGE ACCEPTANCE, INC.
_________________________
RENEE BURY
ASST. SECRETARY

Ms. Bury’s original signature was just above her printed name in that indorsement. Defendant had signed the note on September 30, 2004, payable to the order of American Home Acceptance. In that form the note could be transferred by delivery, but could only be negotiated by indorsement. The indorsement in blank, however, would effectively make the note payable “to bearer,” permitting it to be transferred and negotiated by delivery alone, without any additional indorsement. While it was clear the note had been indorsed prior to the time it was presented to the court, presumably as a part of the securitization process, it was not clear just when that occurred, or when the note had been physically transferred from American Home Acceptance to some other individual or entity.

The assignment from MERS was executed and recorded a short time after the complaint was filed. That document is dated February 18, 2009. It is captioned “Assignment of Mortgage.” It recites that MERS, as nominee for American Home Acceptance, transfers and assigns the mortgage at issue to Bank of New York, as Trustee.

The assignment refers to the mortgage as securing the note at issue. It recites the transfer of the mortgage “together with all rights therein and thereto, all liens created or secured thereby, all obligations therein described, the money due and to become due with interest, and all rights accrued or to accrue under such mortgage.” The assignment was executed by one Linda Green, as Vice President of MERS, as nominee for American Home Acceptance. Ms. Green’s signature was notarized. The assignment was recorded with the Atlantic County Clerk on February 24, 2009. It does appear the assignment was intended to indicate that the debt in question had been transferred to the Bank of New York as Indenture Trustee in February 2009. It is now apparent that is not what occurred.

In any event, the matter proceeded in the vicinage based upon the filing of defendant’s contesting answer. While discovery was permitted, the parties apparently elected to forego any formal discovery. Plaintiff filed its motion for summary judgment in January 2010. The motion was based upon a certification from plaintiff’s counsel providing copies of the note, the mortgage and the February 2009 assignment. While the copy of the note provided with the motion did contain the blank indorsement noted above, there was no information provided as to when the note was indorsed, when the note was physically transferred, or where the note was being held. Defendant filed written opposition, challenging the validity of the MERS assignment. Plaintiff responded with a certification executed by a supervisor for American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc., the servicer for the loans.

THE MERS ASSIGNMENT–THE SEPARATION OF THE NOTE AND MORTGAGE

The issue is framed, at least in part, by the description of MERS as “nominee.” The use of that term, as it is used by MERS, was analyzed in some detail in the decision of the Supreme Court of Kansas in Landmark, a case relied upon by defendant and cited above. Landmark involved a property which was encumbered by two mortgages. The loan provided by Landmark National Bank was secured by a first mortgage payable to it. There was a second mortgage on the property securing a loan that had been provided by Millennia Mortgage Corp. Millennia was a participant in MERS. The second mortgage securing the debt due Millennia was in the name of MERS “solely as nominee” for Millennia. The Millennia mortgage was subsequently transferred or assigned to Sovereign Bank. That transfer was not reflected in the public record. Landmark filed an action to foreclose its first mortgage naming Millennia, but neither MERS nor Sovereign as defendants. No one responded on behalf of Millennia and the matter proceeded through judgment and sale. Sovereign subsequently filed a motion to set aside the judgment, arguing that MERS was a “contingently necessary party” under Kansas law. The trial court concluded that MERS was not a real party in interest and denied the
motion to set aside the judgment. Both the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Kansas affirmed, essentially concluding that MERS did not have any real interest in the underlying debt. Notably, the opinion of the Supreme Court of Kansas recognizes the potential for the separation of interests in a note and related mortgage. In that context, the opinion addressed the use of the term “nominee” in some detail, as follows: 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. (Citation omitted)
. . .
The relationship that MERS has to Sovereign is more akin to that of a straw man than to a party possessing all the rights given a buyer. A mortgage and a lender have intertwined rights that defy a clear separation of interests, especially when such a purported separation relies on ambiguous contractual language. The law generally understands that a mortgagee is not distinct from a lender: a mortgagee is “[o]ne to whom property is mortgaged: the mortgage creditor, or lender.” Black’s Law Dictionary 1034 (8th ed. 2004). By statute, assignment of the mortgage carries with it the assignment of the debt. K.S.A. 38-2323. Although MERS asserts that, under some situations the mortgage document purports to give it the same rights as the lender, the document consistently refers only to rights of the lender, including rights to receive notice of litigation to collect payments, and to enforce the debt obligation.
The document consistently limits MERS to acting “solely” as the nominee of lender. 289 Kan. 538-540.

While the Landmark court recognized that issues might be raised as to an alleged separation of a note and mortgage, it was not required to address those issues directly. Its analysis of the role MERS plays as nominee, however, supports the conclusion reached by this court with respect to that issue. MERS, as nominee, does not have any real interest in the underlying debt, or the mortgage which secured that debt. It acts simply as an agent or “straw man” for the lender. It is clear to this court that the provisions of the mortgage describing the mortgagee as MERS “as nominee” were not intended to deprive American Home Acceptance of its right to security under the mortgage or to separate the note and mortgage.

It is a fundamental maxim of equity that “[e]quity looks to substance rather than form.” See Applestein v. United Board & Carton Corp., 60 N.J. Super. 333, 348 (Ch.Div. 1960) aff’d o.b., 33 N.J. 72 (1960). The courts have applied that principle in dealing with mortgages in a variety of contexts. So it is that an assignment of a bond or note evidencing a secured obligation will operate as an assignment of the mortgage “in equity.” See 29 New Jersey Practice, Law of Mortgages 11.2, at 748 (Myron C. Weinstein) (2d ed. 2001) (citing Stevenson v. Black, 1 N.J. Eq. 338, 343 (Ch. 1831) and other cases). Conversely, commentators have noted the propriety of treating the assignment of a mortgage, without a specific reference to the underlying obligation, as effectively transferring both interests. But it does not follow that an assignment in terms of the “mortgage” without express reference to the secured obligation is insufficient to transfer the obligation and is therefore a nullity, as some courts have held. As Mr.Tiffany long ago pointed out, The question is properly one of the construction of the language used, and in arriving at the proper construction, evidence of the sense in which that language is ordinarily used is of primary importance. The expression “assignment of  mortgage” is almost universally used, not only by the general public, but also by the Legislature, the courts, and the legal profession, to describe the transfer of the totality of the mortgagee’s rights, that is, his right to the debt as well as to the lien securing it, and to hold, as these cases apparently do, that when one in terms assigns a mortgage, he intends, not an effective transfer of his lien alone, which is an absolute nullity, not only ignores this ordinary use of the term “mortgage”, but is also in direct contravention of the well recognized rule that an instrument shall if possible be construed so as to give it a legal operation. See 29 New Jersey Practice, Law of Mortgages 11.2 at 754(Myron C. Weinstein)(2d ed.2001) (citing 5 Tiffany on Real Property 428-29). It is apparent there was no real intention to separate the note and mortgage at the time those documents were created. American Home Acceptance remained the owner of both the note and mortgage through the date the loan was securitized. It did have the right to transfer its interests when the loan was securitized.

It was entirely appropriate to argue that the February 2009 assignment from MERS, as nominee for American Home Acceptance, to the Bank of New York, as Trustee, was ineffective. From the court’s perspective, that assignment was, at best, a distraction. The actual transfers of interests in the note and mortgage occurred in different ways. There was no reason, however, that plaintiff could not acquire the right to enforce the note and mortgage through those other  transactions. In that context, defendant’s attack on plaintiff’s right to proceed based on the alleged separation of the note and mortgage is rejected.

CONCLUSION

Defendant’s attack on plaintiff’s ability to proceed with the foreclosure based on the alleged “separation” of the note an mortgage was rejected. Plaintiff, however, failed to establish that it was entitled to enforce the note as of the time the complaint was filed.

In this case, there are no compelling reasons to permit plaintiff to proceed in this action. Accordingly, the complaint has been dismissed. That dismissal is without prejudice to plaintiff’s right to institute a new action to foreclose at any time, provided that any new complaint must be accompanied by an appropriate certification, executed by one with personal knowledge of the circumstances, confirming that plaintiff is in possession of the original note as of the date any new action is filed. That certification must indicate the physical location of the note and the name of the individual or entity in possession.

An appropriate order has been entered

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Posted in bank of new york, bogus, breach of contract, case, conspiracy, deutsche bank, fannie mae, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, MERS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, note, robo signer, securitization, TrustsComments (2)

Conflict of Interest, Fraud on the Court, Motion to DQ Counsel

Conflict of Interest, Fraud on the Court, Motion to DQ Counsel


This is quite a fight! Listen this is exactly what is happening across the country. When and Who is going to pick up this mess when it all finally comes to reality?

In my Florida Bar Complaint I raised this same issue against my MILL and they saw nothing wrong??…Again, we are on our own to bring them down!

Via: StopaLawFirm

STUNNING ADMISSIONS:

(1)  Citimortgage admits its own employees signed an assignment of mortgage, conveying a mortgage to itself.

(2)  Foreclosure Mill Shapiro & Fishman, LLP admits its standard practice is to prepare these assignments for their own clients (not the original mortgagee) to execute and record in the public record.

(3)  Shapiro never runs conflict checks prior to filing new lawsuits, leaving it up to their other clients (who may or may not be named as Defendants) to assert a conflict after the case has been filed.

These admissions were made in the course of a 3.5 hour, evidentiary hearing on a Motion to Disqualify Counsel brought by Mark Stopa on June 18, 2010 before Judge Foster in Tampa.

I’ve attached the Transcript, DQ Motion, and the Exhibits introduced into evidence, but they’re not going to make sense without some background. (Bear with me, this is fascinating stuff.  To illustrate, even as he denied the motion (incorrectly, in my opinion), Judge Foster openly acknowledged the need for a written opinion from the Florida Supreme Court, comparing the issue to Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963) and Miranda  v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966)).

Facts (as set forth in DQ Motion,Transcript, and Exhibits):  Shapiro & Fishman represents Citimortgage, Inc. in a foreclosure lawsuit against JPMorgan, MERS, and the homeowners.  The Complaint does not specify how Citimortgage acquired standing to foreclose.  The public records reflect an Assignment of Mortgage, prepared by Shapiro, purporting to assign the mortgage from MERS, as Nominee for First Security Mortgage Services, to Citimortgage.  The assignment was executed the same day Citimortgage filed suit.  Citimortgage’s own employee testified that Nate Blackstun and Jamie Hardcastle, the individuals who signed this assignment (purporting to transfer the mortgage from MERS to Citimortgage) are actually employees of Citimortgage.  Quoting the testimony of a Citimortgage employee:

Q:  Who is Jamie Hardcastle?
A:  She works at Citimortgage in the — well, I’m not quite sure which department she works in.
Q:  Do you know her?
A:  Yes.
Q:  Do you work with her?
A:  No, she works in my building.
Q:  She’s an employee of Citimortgage, Inc.?
A:  Yes.
Q:  How about Nate Blackstun?  Do you know him?
A:  Yes.
Q:  Who is he?
A:  He’s vice president of Citimortgage.
Q:  Does he work in your building as well?
A:  Yes.  …
Q:  Do you know whether Mr. Blackstun obtained the consent of MERS prior to signing an assignment of mortgage in this case?
A:  He’s an authorized signer for MERS.
Q:  Even though he’s also the Vice President of Citimortgage?
A:  Yes.
Q:  You see any sort of problem with that?
A:  No.
Q:  How do you allege that Citimortgage became the owner and holder of this note in this case?
A:  It was assigned to Citimortgage –
Q:  From whom?
A:  from MERS.
Q:  From whom?
A:  MERS.
Q:  On behalf of whom?
A:  I’m not sure.

In fact, Shapiro and Fishman’s office manager admitted that Shapiro’s standard practice is to prepare an Assignment of Mortgage, provide it to its own client to sign (on behalf of the original mortgage holder, typically MERS), have its client execute the assignment, and cause the assignment to be recorded.

Q:  Do you dispute that Jamie Hardcastle is an employee of Citimortgage, Inc.?
A:  Do I dispute that?  No.
Q:  Do you dispute that Nate Blackstun is an employee of Citimortgage, Inc.?
A:  No.
Q:  Yet they are the individuals who signed an assignment of mortgage on October 13, 2009, purporting to convey a mortgage from Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. as nominee for First Security Mortgage Services to Citimortgage?
A:  With authority from MERS to execute the document, yes they did. …
Q:  So all you basically do when you get a new client for a foreclosure case, you cause an assignment of mortgage to be prepared, send it to your client for signature, and knowing that your clients have it own employees signing it and then sending it back to you, true?
A:  Yes.  However, that assignment is not part of the foreclosure action itself.  It’s a chain of title document which is not part of the foreclosure.
Q:  You’ve never seen these assignments of mortgage be attached to a complaint?
A:  Sure.

Shapiro represents JPMorgan and MERS in other, pending cases, including at least one case where MERS is adverse to Citimortgage.  Yet Shapiro continues to represent Citimortgage in this case, adverse to JPMorgan and MERS.  (If you don’t think there is anything wrong with that, call The Florida Bar and tell them you represent ABC Corp. against XYZ Corp. and ask The Bar if it’s ok for you to represent XYZ Corp. against ABC Corp. – see what they say.  See if the Bar gives its blessing, even if both entities waive the conflict.)  Shapiro did not perform a “conflict check” prior to representing Citimortgage in this case and, in fact, does not perform conflict checks when taking on new files.  Instead, Shapiro’s standard practice is to file the suit for whichever bank it is representing in that case and presume there is no conflict unless a different bank asserts such a conflict.

The issues:  (a) Whether Shapiro & Fishman have a conflict of interest under 4-1.7, R.Reg.Fla.Bar, precluding it from acting as counsel for Citimortgage, when it is simultaneously representing JPMorgan and MERS (in other, pending cases and, arguably, the instant case); and (b) whether Citimortgage has used Shapiro’s services to perpetrate a crime or fraud, without agreeing to disclose and rectify the crime or fraud, in violation of 4-1.16, R.Reg.Fla.Bar.

The law:  Rule 4-1.7(a) precludes a law firm from representing a client if the representation is (1) directly adverse to another client; or (2) there is a substantial risk that the lawyer’s representation will be “materially limited” by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client, a former client, a third person, or a personal interest of the lawyer.  The only way around this prohibition is compliance with 4-1.7(b), which requires, among other things, that each client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing or clearly stated on the record at a hearing.  See Lincoln Associates & Constr., Inc. v. Wentworth Constr. Co., Inc., 26 So. 3d 638 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010).  Additionally, Rule 4-1.16 precludes a lawyer from representing a client who has used the lawyer’s services to commit a crime or fraud unless the client agrees to disclose and rectify the crime or fraud.

Analysis:  In the face of the Motion to Disqualify Counsel, Shapiro presented a waiver of conflict, signed by an employee of Citimortgage, dated just one day before the hearing (the first time Shapiro discussed the issue of conflict with Citimortgage).  However, Shapiro presented no such waiver from MERS or JPMorgan, and no witness from MERS or JPMorgan testified or otherwise consented to waive the conflict.  In my opinion, the absence of consent from MERS and JPMorgan required Shapiro’s disqualification.  See Rule 4-1.7 and Wentworth.

Throughout the hearing, Judge Foster repeatedly ruled that he “did not see the conflict” and that Citimortgage was “not adverse” to MERS and JPMorgan.  Respectfully, when these entities are on opposite sides of a lawsuit, the adversity is presumed.  They are adverse by definition, one being the Plaintiff and the other the Defendant.   Although Shapiro contends, when these entities are named as Defendants, that it’s merely to ”clear title,” that does not change the adversarial nature of the relationship.  For instance, suppose MERS or JPMorgan or First Security later realized it was the owner and holder of the note and mortgage (or, at minimum, that it had a bona fide claim in that regard) – the judgment in this case would bar such a claim under principles of res judicata and collateral estoppel.  Similarly, suppose a ”junior” lien holder had a bona fide argument that its lien was superior.  Isn’t Shapiro throwing one client under the bus (the defendant) for the sake of another (the plaintiff) without checking if its own client, the defendant, takes the position that it owns and holds the note and mortgage?  Shapiro says the defendant was defaulted, so it isn’t contesting the plaintiff’s position and there is hence no conflict, but isn’t it the lawyer’s job to inquire about the conflict, before filing suit, and not merely to leave it up to the client to figure it out? Isn’t it Shapiro’s responsibility, under The Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, before filing suit against its own client, to make sure that the client it is suing consents to the relief being requested?  How do we know the client isn’t relying on the law firm (as clients reasonably do)?  I can see the logic now – “Shapiro is filing suit against us for a different bank.  Shapiro represents us.  Shapiro must be right – we must not have an ownership interest in this Note and Mortgage.”  We’ve already established that Shapiro isn’t checking – Shapiro admitted as much at this hearing – so if the bank isn’t checking, either, then who is?

Suppose this were any other setting, not a foreclosure case, and you represent ABC Corp. against XYZ Corp.  Would you ever file suit for XYZ Corp. against ABC Corp., in a different suit, without asking ABC Corp. if it consented?  Without asking ABC Corp. if it agreed with XYZ Corp’s position in that case?  I highly doubt it.  So why it is okay for Shapiro to do that in these cases, over and over again?  Merely because they are foreclosure cases?

And what about all of the cases where Shapiro’s “other” client may claim ownership of the Note and Mortgage (e.g. because it is the record owner or prior record owner) but is not named as a defendant in the suit?  Why does Shapiro name these entities as Defendants in some cases but not in others?  If they need to “clear title” in some cases, why not in others?  Is Shapiro intentionally not naming its own client as a defendant to make it easier for its other client, the plaintiff, to win the foreclosure case, while leaving the door open for its other client (not named as a defendant) to file suit on the same Note and Mortgage? After all, if the bank isn’t named as a defendant, the foreclosure judgment is not binding on it, and nothing stops that bank from filing a different lawsuit for foreclosure.

Meanwhile, in the face of an assignment of mortgage that appears fraudulent (unless you think self-dealing or dual agency is okay), Shapiro asserts Citimortgage’s standing is based on transfer of the note, not the assignment of mortgage.  Of course, Shapiro did not take this position until after the Motion to Disqualify Counsel was filed, which raises the question – why is Shapiro so willing to concede one ground for standing in this case when it asserts that basis for standing in other, similar cases?  We all know there are many cases in which Shapiro has used an assignment of mortgage as a basis for standing; in fact,often the assignment is attached to the Complaint.  Why, then, would it be giving up this argument in this case?  In my opinion, the answer is clear – Shapiro wants to take the spotlight off of itself and its own conduct, even if it means giving up an argument for a client.  “Let’s argue the assignment is irrelevant for purposes of standing, that way our conduct vis a vis the assignment becomes irrelevant, too.”  Maybe standing is, in any given case, based on transfer of the Note.  Respectfully, though, wouldn’t a conflict-free attorney want to argue every possible basis for standing, including the assignment, and not forego an argument for standing because it highlighted that attorney’s own conduct?  In other words, isn’t Shapiro’s representation of Citimortgage “materially limited” by its own self-interest?  See Rule 4-1.7(a)(2).  Notably, upon inquiry from Mr. Stopa, the Citimortgage employee made it clear Shapiro never advised her that it was giving up one basis for standing in the case.  Respectfully, how can a waiver be “informed’ when Citimortgage does not understand the ramifications of its waiver in the pending case?

Unfortunately, Judge Foster did not seem to get (for lack of a better term) this latter argument, as he sustained an objection that Shapiro’s reliance on an assignment in other cases was irrelevant.  (That’s one purpose of a blog like this – to make judges think about these issues and understand them.  To wit, by no means am I trying to criticize Judge Foster here – I respect and appreciate that he gave me the opportunity to flesh out this evidence.  I just think the issues merit consideration from all of us.)  But Shapiro’s reliance on the assignments in other cases – and refusal to do so in this case – is precisely the point.  If Shapiro is relying on assignments in other cases, but not in this case, merely to take the spotlight off of itself so as to defeat a motion to disqualify, it’s representation is materially limited by its own self-interest, in violation of 4-1.7.  Remember, the rule requires “informed” consent, and if Citimortgage is consenting to the representation without understanding that Shapiro is waiving an argument that a conflict-free attorney would assert, the consent is not “informed.”   Also, how many hundreds or thousands of times has Shapiro relied on these assignments in other foreclosure cases (in which I, or another defense attorney, am not involved)?

Meanwhile, Judge Foster seemed to accept that a fraud was not being committed upon the Court (given how Shapiro distanced itself from the assignment of mortgage), but Rule 4-1.16 doesn’t require that the fraud be committed in that case.  The Rule requires that a lawyer withdraw from representation if “the client has used the lawyer’s services to perpetrate a crime or fraud, unless the client agrees to disclose and rectify the crime or fraud.”  Here, isn’t an assignment of mortgage, filed in the public records, purporting to convey an assignment from MERS to Citimortgage, but which is actually signed by employees of Citimortgage, a fraud?  As I’ve presented this argument, judges seem to be taking the position that it’s OK for an employee of Citimortgage to execute an assignment from MERS to itself as long as MERS consents, but how is that not self-dealing?  And why is it ok?  I know I’m not the only person who thinks it’s wrong.  See HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v. Vazquez, 2009 N.Y. Slip Op. 51814 (N.Y. 2009); Bank of New York v. Mulligan, 2008 N.Y. Slip. Op 31501 (N.Y. 2008) (“The Court is concerned that Mr. Harless might be engaged in a subterfuge, wearing various corporate hats.  Before granting an application for an order of reference, the Court requires an affidavit from Mr. Harless describing his employment history for the past three years.”); Bank of New York v. Orosco, 2007 N.Y. Slip Op 33818 (N.Y. 2007); Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co. v. Castellanos, 2008 N.Y. Slip. Op. 50033 (N.Y. 2008) (“Did Mr. Rivas somehow change employers on July 21, 2006 or is he concurrently a Vice President of both assignor Argent Mortgage Company, LLC and assignee Deutsche Bank?  If he is a Vice President of both the assignor and the assignee, this would create a conflict of interest and render the July 21, 2006 assignment void. … The court is concerned that there may be fraud on the part of Deutsche Bank, Argent Mortgage Company, LLC, and/or MTGLQ Investors, L.P., or at least malfeasance.”).

In comments made as the hearing began (which are unfortunately not in the transcript), Judge Foster made it clear that he didn’t want to require disqualification and upset the entire banking industry.  In a way, that’s exactly what this motion is doing – arguing that the manner in which these assignments have been completed (and, in essence, the entire MERS system) is a fraud.  Respectfully, though, why should the fact that the fraud is pervasive – and would upset the way banks litigate foreclosure cases – make this problem less worthy of attention?  Shouldn’t the fact that these assignments are being prepared fraudulently in virtually every case make judges more likely to fix the problem, not less?

Shapiro argued extensively that my clients lack standing to argue this issue.  However, the Comment to 4-1.7 provides: “Where the conflict is such as clearly to call into question the fair or efficient administration of justice, opposing counsel may properly raise the question.”  This is where we need to educate judges about the widespread ramifications of “pushing through” foreclosure cases.  For instance, in these cases where the wrong Plaintiff is suing, what will happen when the actual owner of the Note and Mortgage emerges, after the foreclosure is granted?  What will happen to the homeowner, who has already been foreclosed upon by the wrong bank (but faces another lawsuit by the correct one)?  What will happen to the then-owner of the property, who purchased the property either at the courthouse auction or from such a purchaser?  What about the title company that issued title insurance based on that sale?  Particularly in lawsuits where the Note is lost, or where the original mortgage holder went into bankruptcy (and subsequent transfers or assignments were unauthorized as a matter of law) we must safeguard against these problems.  That’s why addressing these conflict issues is so important – it forces banks and their lawyers to take a hard look at the interests of all parties involved before a foreclosure case gets “pushed through.”

Many Florida cases on the issue of disqualification talk about the appearance of impropriety and the public’s perception of our conduct as lawyers.  See Wentworth, Campbell v. American Pioneer Savings Bank, 565 So. 2d 417 (Fla. 4th DCA 1990); Andrews v. Allstate Ins. Co., 366 So. 2d 462 (Fla. 4th DCA 1978).   For the life of me, I can’t see how anyone can dispute the unseemliness of these events.  Perhaps that’s why at least one judge has questioned the conflict of interest in these situations.  See HSBC Bank USA, N.C. v. Vazquez, 2009 N.Y. Slip. Op 51814 (N.Y. 2009) (“Even if Plaintiff HSBC is able to cure the assignment defect, plaintiff’s counsel then has to adderess the conflict of interest that exists with his representation of both the assignor of the instant mortgage, MERS as Nominee for HSCB Mortgage, and the assignee of the instant mortgage, HSBC.”).  I urge more attorneys and judges in our great state to give careful consideration to these issues.

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



Posted in citimortgage, conflict of interest, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, shapiro & fishman paComments (3)

Introducing…KnowX

Introducing…KnowX


Via: Chink in the Amor

We’ve talked in the past about Dueling Databases and the havoc it can play in daily economic considerations.  We’ve seen the havoc which occurs when unrecorded assignments are allowed to have parity with assignments recorded at the courthouse.  We’ve also seen how important it is for interested third parties to be able to ascertain specific ownership.  We’ve seen how MERS is keeping a very private database and only allowing peeks into it when they deem it appropriate.  We’ve seen how you can’t rely on them for accurate information.

There is a persistent rumour circulating amongst the people who are in the trenches of this fight for the sanctity of law over corporotism.  It just won’t go away and it keeps popping its head up to the point now where I feel compelled to mention it.  So far,  there is no solid proof of it but we are looking.  It’s important information.  The rumour is that when the title company filed your paperwork from the purchase of your home,  they filed a duplicate set of paperwork for the MERS system which re-created you inside the MERS network.  In other words,  there are now two of you.  At least. Read the full story

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



Posted in foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, knowx, MERS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC.Comments (0)

DEPOSITION of A “REAL” VICE PRESIDENT of MERS WILLIAM “BILL” HULTMAN

DEPOSITION of A “REAL” VICE PRESIDENT of MERS WILLIAM “BILL” HULTMAN


Bill joined MERS in February, 1998. He brings more than 14 years of broad experience in finance and treasury. Before joining MERS, he served as Director of Asset Liability Management for Barnett Banks, Inc., Asset Liability Manager at Marine Midland Bank and Treasurer of Empire of America FSB. As a conservator for the FDIC, he managed insolvent institutions for the Resolution Trust Corporation.

Prior to his experience in the financial services industry, Bill was a partner in the law firm of Moot and Sprague, as well as an attorney at Forest Oil Corporation, specializing in the areas of securities and corporate law.

Does MERS have any salaried employees?
A No.

Q Does MERS have any employees?
A Did they ever have any? I couldn’t hear you.

Q Does MERS have any employees currently?
A No.

Q In the last five years has MERS had any
employees?

A No.

Q To whom do the officers of MERS report?
A The Board of Directors.

Q To your knowledge has Mr. Hallinan ever
reported to the Board?
A He would have reported through me if there was
something to report.

Q So if I understand your answer, at least the
MERS officers reflected on Hultman Exhibit 4, if they
had something to report would report to you even though
you’re not an employee of MERS, is that correct?
MR. BROCHIN: Object to the form of the
question.
A That’s correct.

Q And in what capacity would they report to you?
A As a corporate officer. I’m the secretary.

Q As a corporate officer of what?
Of MERS.

Q So you are the secretary of MERS, but are not
an employee of MERS?
A That’s correct.

[etc…]

Q How many assistant secretaries have you
appointed pursuant to the April 9, 1998 resolution; how
many assistant secretaries of MERS have you appointed?

A I don’t know that number.

Q Approximately?
A I wouldn’t even begin to be able to tell you
right now.

Q Is it in the thousands?
A Yes.

Q Have you been doing this all around the
country in every state in the country?
A Yes.

Q And all these officers I understand are unpaid
officers of MERS?

A Yes.

Q And there’s no live person who is an employee
of MERS that they report to, is that correct, who is an
employee?

MR. BROCHIN: Object to the form of the
question.

A There are no employees of MERS.

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__________________________________________

FULL DEPOSITION of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) PRESIDENT & CEO R.K. ARNOLD “MERSCORP”

_______________________________________________

EXCLUSIVE | ‘MERS’ DEPOSITION of SECRETARY and TREASURER of MERSCORP 4/2010

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EXCLUSIVE | ‘MERS’ DEPOSITION of SECRETARY and TREASURER of MERSCORP 4/2010

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



Posted in MERS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, Nick Wooten, securitization, William C. HultmanComments (5)

Tracking Loans Through a Firm That Holds Millions: MERS

Tracking Loans Through a Firm That Holds Millions: MERS


Kevin P. Casey for The New York Times: Darlene and Robert Blendheim of Seattle are struggling to keep their home after their subprime lender went out of business.

By MIKE McINTIRE NYTimes
Published: April 23, 2009

Judge Walt Logan had seen enough. As a county judge in Florida, he had 28 cases pending in which an entity called MERS wanted to foreclose on homeowners even though it had never lent them any money.

Into the Mortgage NetherworldGraphicInto the Mortgage Netherworld

MERS, a tiny data-management company, claimed the right to foreclose, but would not explain how it came to possess the mortgage notes originally issued by banks. Judge Logan summoned a MERS lawyer to the Pinellas County courthouse and insisted that that fundamental question be answered before he permitted the drastic step of seizing someone’s home.

Daniel Rosenbaum for The New York Times R. K. Arnold, MERS president, said the company helped reduce mortgage fraud and imposed order on the industry.

“You don’t think that’s reasonable?” the judge asked.

“I don’t,” the lawyer replied. “And in fact, not only do I think it’s not reasonable, often that’s going to be impossible.”

Judge Logan had entered the murky realm of MERS. Although the average person has never heard of it, MERS — short for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems — holds 60 million mortgages on American homes, through a legal maneuver that has saved banks more than $1 billion over the last decade but made life maddeningly difficult for some troubled homeowners.

Created by lenders seeking to save millions of dollars on paperwork and public recording fees every time a loan changes hands, MERS is a confidential computer registry for trading mortgage loans. From an office in the Washington suburbs, it played an integral, if unsung, role in the proliferation of mortgage-backed securities that fueled the housing boom. But with the collapse of the housing market, the name of MERS has been popping up on foreclosure notices and on court dockets across the country, raising many questions about the way this controversial but legal process obscures the tortuous paths of mortgage ownership.

If MERS began as a convenience, it has, in effect, become a corporate cloak: no matter how many times a mortgage is bundled, sliced up or resold, the public record often begins and ends with MERS. In the last few years, banks have initiated tens of thousands of foreclosures in the name of MERS — about 13,000 in the New York region alone since 2005 — confounding homeowners seeking relief directly from lenders and judges trying to help borrowers untangle loan ownership. What is more, the way MERS obscures loan ownership makes it difficult for communities to identify predatory lenders whose practices led to the high foreclosure rates that have blighted some neighborhoods.

In Brooklyn, an elderly homeowner pursuing fraud claims had to go to court to learn the identity of the bank holding his mortgage note, which was concealed in the MERS system. In distressed neighborhoods of Atlanta, where MERS appeared as the most frequent filer of foreclosures, advocates wanting to engage lenders “face a challenge even finding someone with whom to begin the conversation,” according to a report by NeighborWorks America, a community development group.

To a number of critics, MERS has served to cushion banks from the fallout of their reckless lending practices.

“I’m convinced that part of the scheme here is to exhaust the resources of consumers and their advocates,” said Marie McDonnell, a mortgage analyst in Orleans, Mass., who is a consultant for lawyers suing lenders. “This system removes transparency over what’s happening to these mortgage obligations and sows confusion, which can only benefit the banks.”

A recent visitor to the MERS offices in Reston, Va., found the receptionist answering a telephone call from a befuddled borrower: “I’m sorry, ma’am, we can’t help you with your loan.” MERS officials say they frequently get such calls, and they offer a phone line and Web page where homeowners can look up the actual servicer of their mortgage.

In an interview, the president of MERS, R. K. Arnold, said that his company had benefited not only banks, but also millions of borrowers who could not have obtained loans without the money-saving efficiencies it brought to the mortgage trade. He said that far from posing a hurdle for homeowners, MERS had helped reduce mortgage fraud and imposed order on a sprawling industry where, in the past, lenders might have gone out of business and left no contact information for borrowers seeking assistance.

“We’re not this big bad animal,” Mr. Arnold said. “This crisis that we’ve had in the mortgage business would have been a lot worse without MERS.”

About 3,000 financial services firms pay annual fees for access to MERS, which has 44 employees and is owned by two dozen of the nation’s largest lenders, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. It was the brainchild of the Mortgage Bankers Association, along with Fannie MaeFreddie Mac and Ginnie Mae, the mortgage finance giants, who produced a white paper in 1993 on the need to modernize the trading of mortgages.

At the time, the secondary market was gaining momentum, and Wall Street banks and institutional investors were making millions of dollars from the creative bundling and reselling of loans. But unlike common stocks, whose ownership has traditionally been hidden, mortgage-backed securities are based on loans whose details were long available in public land records kept by county clerks, who collect fees for each filing. The “tyranny of these forms,” the white paper said, was costing the industry $164 million a year.

“Before MERS,” said John A. Courson, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association, “the problem was that every time those documents or a file changed hands, you had to file a paper assignment, and that becomes terribly debilitating.”

Although several courts have raised questions over the years about the secrecy afforded mortgage owners by MERS, the legality has ultimately been upheld. The issue has surfaced again because so many homeowners facing foreclosure are dealing with MERS.

Advocates for borrowers complain that the system’s secrecy makes it impossible to seek help from the unidentified investors who own their loans. Avi Shenkar, whose company, the GMA Modification Corporation in North Miami Beach, Fla., helps homeowners renegotiate mortgages, said loan servicers frequently argued that “investor guidelines” prevented them from modifying loan terms.

“But when you ask what those guidelines are, or who the investor is so you can talk to them directly, you can’t find out,” he said.

MERS has considered making information about secondary ownership of mortgages available to borrowers, Mr. Arnold said, but he expressed doubts that it would be useful. Banks appoint a servicer to manage individual mortgages so “investors are not in the business of dealing with borrowers,” he said. “It seems like anything that bypasses the servicer is counterproductive,” he added.

When foreclosures do occur, MERS becomes responsible for initiating them as the mortgage holder of record. But because MERS occupies that role in name only, the bank actually servicing the loan deputizes its employees to act for MERS and has its lawyers file foreclosures in the name of MERS.

The potential for confusion is multiplied when the high-tech MERS system collides with the paper-driven foreclosure process. Banks using MERS to consummate mortgage trades with “electronic handshakes” must later prove their legal standing to foreclose. But without the chain of title that MERS removed from the public record, banks sometimes recreate paper assignments long after the fact or try to replace mortgage notes lost in the securitization process.

This maneuvering has been attacked by judges, who say it reflects a cavalier attitude toward legal safeguards for property owners, and exploited by borrowers hoping to delay foreclosure. Judge Logan in Florida, among the first to raise questions about the role of MERS, stopped accepting MERS foreclosures in 2005 after his colloquy with the company lawyer. MERS appealed and won two years later, although it has asked banks not to foreclose in its name in Florida because of lingering concerns.

Last February, a State Supreme Court justice in Brooklyn, Arthur M. Schack, rejected a foreclosure based on a document in which a Bank of New York executive identified herself as a vice president of MERS. Calling her “a milliner’s delight by virtue of the number of hats she wears,” Judge Schack wondered if the banker was “engaged in a subterfuge.”

In Seattle, Ms. McDonnell has raised similar questions about bankers with dual identities and sloppily prepared documents, helping to delay foreclosure on the home of Darlene and Robert Blendheim, whose subprime lender went out of business and left a confusing paper trail.

“I had never heard of MERS until this happened,” Mrs. Blendheim said. “It became an issue with us, because the bank didn’t have the paperwork to prove they owned the mortgage and basically recreated what they needed.”

The avalanche of foreclosures — three million last year, up 81 percent from 2007 — has also caused unforeseen problems for the people who run MERS, who take obvious pride in their unheralded role as a fulcrum of the American mortgage industry.

In Delaware, MERS is facing a class-action lawsuit by homeowners who contend it should be held accountable for fraudulent fees charged by banks that foreclose in MERS’s name.

Sometimes, banks have held title to foreclosed homes in the name of MERS, rather than their own. When local officials call and complain about vacant properties falling into disrepair, MERS tries to track down the lender for them, and has also created a registry to locate property managers responsible for foreclosed homes.

“But at the end of the day,” said Mr. Arnold, president of MERS, “if that lawn is not getting mowed and we cannot find the party who’s responsible for that, I have to get out there and mow that lawn.”

Posted in CitiGroup, concealment, conspiracy, fannie mae, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, forensic loan audit, forensic mortgage investigation audit, Freddie Mac, investigation, jpmorgan chase, judge arthur schack, MERS, mortgage bankers association, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, mortgage modification, note, R.K. Arnold, securitization, wells fargoComments (0)

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST!! IN RE BRIGID In re: MARY BRIGID, Chapter 7, Debtor. MARY ANN RABIN, Plaintiff, v. MARY BRIGID, et al., Defendants. Case No. 08-18750, Adversary Proceeding No. 09-1062. United States Bankruptcy Court, N.D. Ohio.

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST!! IN RE BRIGID In re: MARY BRIGID, Chapter 7, Debtor. MARY ANN RABIN, Plaintiff, v. MARY BRIGID, et al., Defendants. Case No. 08-18750, Adversary Proceeding No. 09-1062. United States Bankruptcy Court, N.D. Ohio.


SAFE!

Via: Livinglies

More and more Judges are finding ways to destroy the entire mortgage — a message to those “lenders” who refuse to reduce principal as settlement of the dispute.

Submitted by Max Gardner

In re: MARY BRIGID, Chapter 7, Debtor.
MARY ANN RABIN, Plaintiff,
v.
MARY BRIGID, et al., Defendants
.

Case No. 08-18750.

Adversary Proceeding No. 09-1062.

United States Bankruptcy Court, N.D. Ohio.

May 21, 2010.

MEMORANDUM OF OPINION

ARTHUR I. HARRIS, Bankruptcy Judge

This matter is currently before the Court on the cross-motions for summary judgment of the plaintiff-trustee, Mary Ann Rabin, and defendant RBC Mortgage Company. At issue is whether the trustee is entitled to avoid a mortgage because the notary’s certificate of acknowledgment failed to recite the name of the party whose signature was acknowledged, notwithstanding a postpetition attempt to correct this omission. For the reasons that follow, the Court holds that the mortgage was not executed in accordance with Ohio’s statutory requirements and can be avoided by the trustee as it relates to the undivided half interest of the debtor Mary Brigid. Accordingly, the trustee’s motion for summary judgment is granted, and RBC Mortgage’s motion for summary judgment is denied.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Unless otherwise indicated, the following facts are not in dispute. The debtor Mary Brigid and non-debtor Susan Radbourne are joint owners of the real property located at 3000 Yorkshire Road, Cleveland Heights Ohio, 44118. The deed was recorded on September 10, 1999, and provides “Mary Brigid, unmarried and Susan M. Radbourne, unmarried remainder to the survivor of them.” On July 9, 2003, RBC Mortgage extended a loan to Radbourne. The loan was secured by a mortgage of the real property, which was recorded in the Cuyahoga County Recorder’s office, Instrument No. 20030110552 on July 11, 2003.

Page 26 of the mortgage (Docket # 38 Ex. D ) provides in pertinent part:

BY SIGNING BELOW, Borrower accepts and agrees to the terms and 
covenants contained in this Security Instrument and in any riders 
executed by Borrower and recorded with it.

WITNESSES:

X/s/ Brent A. White             /s/ Susan M. Radbourne     
 Brent A. White                Susan M. Radbourne  — Borrower

                                 /s/ Mary Brigid            
                                    — Borrower

STATE OF OHIO

COUNTY OF Cuyahoga   

 On this 9  day of July 2003 , before me, a Notary Public in and for 
said County and State, personally appeared
 Susan M. Radbourne                                             
 Unmarried                                
 ___________________________________________________________________
the individual(s) who executed the foregoing instrument and 
acknowledged that he/she/they did examine and read the same and
did sign the foregoing instrument, and that the same is 
his/her/their free act and deed.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and official seal.

                                    /s/ Brent A. White         
                                    Notary Public

                                                          (Seal)

                                 *   *   *

On November 7, 2008, the debtor filed a petition under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code (case # 08-18750). On February 5, 2009, the trustee of the Chapter 7 estate initiated this adversary proceeding seeking to avoid the mortgage of RBC Mortgage as it relates to the debtor’s half interest pursuant to section 544 of the Bankruptcy Code and to determine the interests of all parties in the property.

The complaint named as defendants Mary Brigid, Susan Radbourne, Mortgage Electronic Registration System,  RBC Mortgage Company, Chase Home Finance, Huntington National Bank, the Cuyahoga County Treasurer, and the City of Cleveland Heights. The treasurer, City of Cleveland Heights, Mary Brigid, Susan Radbourne, and RBC Mortgage filed answers to the complaint. In its answer, the City of Cleveland Heights asserted a judgment lien in the amount of $1,316.80 at the rate of 5% interest from February 26, 2009, No. JL06258471. Radbourne asserted an undivided half interest in the property in question. She also brought a cross-claim for negligence against RBC Mortgage and requested a reservation of her right to purchase the real estate pursuant to Section 363(i). In its answer, RBC Mortgage asserted that the debtor held only bare legal title and that the trustee had constructive notice.

On June 4, 2009, all parties stipulated that the Cuyahoga County Treasurer has the first and best lien on the subject property for taxes and assessments. On December 27, 2009, the debtor’s deposition was taken, at which the debtor acknowledged signing the mortgage outlined above. On January 13, 2010, attorney David A. Freeburg filed an affidavit of facts regarding the acknowledgment of the mortgage by Mary Brigid. On January 14, 2010, the trustee filed a motion for summary judgment seeking to avoid the mortgage held by RBC Mortgage. On January 21, 2010, RBC Mortgage filed a cross-motion for summary judgment and a response. Briefing on the cross-motions for summary judgment is complete, and the Court is ready to rule.

JURISDICTION

Determinations of the validity, extent, or priority of liens are core proceedings under 28 U.S.C. section 157(b)(2)(K). The Court has jurisdiction over core proceedings under 28 U.S.C. sections 1334 and 157(a) and Local General Order No. 84, entered on July 16, 1984, by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c), as made applicable to bankruptcy proceedings by Bankruptcy Rule 7056, provides that a court shall render summary judgment, if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

The moving party bears the burden of showing that “there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that [the moving party] is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Jones v. Union County, 296 F.3d 417, 423 (6th Cir. 2002). See generally Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Once the moving party meets that burden, the nonmoving party “must identify specific facts supported by affidavits, or by depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file that show there is a genuine issue for trial.” Hall v. Tollett, 128 F.3d 418, 422 (6th Cir. 1997). See, e.g., Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986) (“The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff’s position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff.”). The Court shall view all evidence in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party when determining the existence or nonexistence of a material fact. See Tenn. Dep’t of Mental Health & Mental Retardation v. Paul B., 88 F.3d 1466, 1472 (6th Cir. 1996).

DISCUSSION

Under the “strong arm” clause of the Bankruptcy Code, the bankruptcy trustee has the power to avoid transfers that would be avoidable by certain hypothetical parties. See 11 U.S.C. § 544(a). Section 544 provides in pertinent part:

(a) The trustee shall have, as of the commencement of the case, and without regard to any knowledge of the trustee or of any creditor, the rights and powers of, or may avoid any transfer of property of the debtor or any obligation incurred by the debtor that is voidable by —

Page 7

. . . .

(3) a bona fide purchaser of real property, other than fixtures, from the debtor, against whom applicable law permits such transfer to be perfected, that obtains the status of a bona fide purchaser and has perfected such transfer at the time of the commencement of the case, whether or not such a purchaser exists.

11 U.S.C. §544. Any transfer under section 544 is preserved for the benefit of the estate. See 11 U.S.C. § 551.

The mortgage provides that federal law and the law of the jurisdiction in which the property is located will control. Because the real property in question is located in Ohio, the Court will apply Ohio law to determine whether the trustee can avoid the mortgages using the “strong arm” clause. See Simon v. Chase Manhattan Bank (In re Zaptocky), 250 F.3d 1020, 1024 (6th Cir. 2001) (applicable state law governs determination whether hypothetical bona fide purchaser can avoid mortgage).

Under Ohio law, a bona fide purchaser is a purchaser who “`takes in good faith, for value, and without actual or constructive knowledge of any defect.'” Stubbins v. Am. Gen. Fin. Serv., Inc. (In re Easter), 367 B.R. 608, 612 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2007), quoting Terlecky v. Beneficial Ohio, Inc. (In re Key), 292 B.R. 879, 883 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2003); see also Shaker Corlett Land Co. v. Cleveland, 139 Ohio St. 536 (1942). The Bankruptcy

Code expressly provides that a bankruptcy trustee is a bona fide purchaser regardless of actual knowledge. See In re Zaptocky, 25,0 F.3d at 1027 (“actual knowledge does not undermine [trustee’s] right to avoid a prior defectively executed mortgage.”). Because actual knowledge does not affect the trustee’s strong-arm power, the Court need only determine whether the trustee had constructive knowledge of the prior interests held by the defendant RBC Mortgage.

Ohio law provides that “an improperly executed mortgage does not put a subsequent bona fide purchaser on constructive notice.” Zaptocky, 250 F.3d at 1028. Ohio courts have refused to allow a recorded mortgage to give constructive notice when the mortgage has been executed in violation of a statute. See In re Nowak, 10,4 Ohio St. 3d 466 (2004) (listing cases). The first question, then, is whether the mortgage was executed in compliance with, or substantially conforms to applicable statutory law. A second question, if the mortgage was not executed in compliance, is whether the December 27, 2009, acknowledgment by Mary Brigid and the January 13, 2010, affidavit filed by attorney Freeburg corrected the defect. A third question, if the lien remains defective, is what interest the trustee is entitled to avoid.

The Mortgage Was Not Properly Executed in Accordance with Ohio Revised Code § 5301.01

Ohio Revised Code § 5301.01 requires four separate acts to properly execute a mortgage: (1) the mortgage shall be signed by the mortgagor; (2) the mortgagor shall acknowledge his signing in front of a notary public, or other qualified official; (3) the official shall certify the acknowledgment; and (4) the official shall subscribe his name to the certificate of acknowledgment. OHIO REV. CODE ANN. § 5301.01(A) (2004); see Drown v. GreenPoint Mortgage Funding, Inc. (In re Leahy), 376 B.R. 826, 832 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2007) (listing four requirements provided by Ohio Rev. Code. § 5301.01).2 At issue in this case is whether the certificate of acknowledgment, which omitted the name of Mary Brigid, satisfies the third requirement to proper execution of a mortgage.

Certification of an acknowledgment is governed by Ohio Revised Code sections 147.53-147.58. Ohio Revised Code section 147.53 provides:

The person taking an acknowledgment shall certify that:

(A) The person acknowledging appeared before him and acknowledged he executed the instrument;

(B) The person acknowledging was known to the person taking the acknowledgment, or that the person taking the acknowledgment had satisfactory evidence that the person acknowledging was the person described in and who executed the instrument.

The Ohio Revised Code further provides that a certificate of acknowledgment is acceptable in Ohio if it is in a form prescribed by the laws or regulations of Ohio or contains the words “acknowledged before me,” or their substantial equivalent. OHIO REV. CODE § 147.54. Ohio’s statutory short form acknowledgment for an individual is as follows:

      State of ________

      County of ________

      The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this (date) by
      (name of person acknowledged.)

      (Signature of person taking acknowledgment)
      (Title or rank) (Serial number, if any)

OHIO REV. CODE § 147.55(A).

The trustee argues that the mortgage was improperly recorded because the certification of acknowledgment does not conform to section 5301.01 of the Ohio Revised Code with respect to the debtor. Specifically, the trustee asserts that the clause fails to identify the name of the debtor. The Court agrees. Recent case law, including a 2008 decision from the Sixth Circuit BAP, supports the trustee’s position that an acknowledgment is defective if it fails to identify the person whose signature is being acknowledged. See In re Nolan, 38,3 B.R. 391 (6th Cir. B.A.P. 2008)In re Sauer, 41,7 B.R. 523 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2009); Daneman v. Nat’l City Mortg. Co. (In re Cornelius), 408 B.R. 704, 708 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2009) (“The absence of the name of the mortgagee acknowledging election is the functional equivalent of no certificate of acknowledgment and renders an acknowledgment insufficient.”); Drown v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (In re Peed), 403 B.R. 525, 531 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2009) affirmed at No. 2:09cv347 (S.D. Ohio Feb. 18, 2010); Terlecky v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (In re Baruch), No. 07-57212, Adv. No. 08-2069, 2009 Bankr. Lexis 608 at *22 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio Feb. 23, 2009) (“An acknowledgment clause containing nothing relative to the mortgagor’s identity is insufficient; rather, an acknowledgment clause must either identify the mortgagor by name or contain information that permits the mortgagor to be identified by reference to the mortgage.”); In re Leahy, 37,6 B.R. at 832. See also Smith’s Lessee v. Hunt, 13 Ohio 260, 269 (1844) (holding that court was unable to infer name of grantor when acknowledgment was blank as to the grantor and, thus, the mortgage was defective and did not convey title).

The holdings in Nolan, Smith’s Lessee, and similar cases are also supported by case law interpreting almost identical statutory provisions for acknowledgment clauses in Kentucky and Tennessee. See, e.g., Gregory v. Ocwen Fed. Bank (In re Biggs), 377 F.3d 515 (6th Cir. 2004) (affirming bankruptcy court’s decision avoiding deed of trust under section 544 and Tennessee law when deed of trust omitted names of acknowledging parties); Select Portfolio Servs. v. Burden (In re Trujillo), 378 B.R. 526 (6th Cir. B.A.P. 2007) (affirming bankruptcy court’s decision avoiding mortgage under section 544 and Kentucky law when debtor was not named or identified in certificate of acknowledgment).

Because RBC Mortgage conceded that at the time of execution the mortgage was defective, and because no argument was made regarding substantial compliance, this Court holds that the mortgage failed to substantially comply with the filing requirements. Therefore, the mortgage was improperly executed with respect to the debtor because the certification of acknowledgment failed to indicate who appeared before the notary public as required under Ohio Revised Code section 5301.01.

RBC Mortgage’s Attempt to Validate the Defective Mortgage via Section 5301.45 is Ineffective

The Court rejects the argument of RBC Mortgage that Ohio Revised Code section 5301.45 and Bankruptcy Code section 546(a)(1) allow it to correct a defective acknowledgment and defeat the trustee’s strong arm powers by using the debtor’s testimony taken at a deposition postpetition. First, section 5301.45 simply does not apply to any situation other than the correction of pagination of acknowledgment clauses. Second, even if section 5301.45 did apply, the postpetition acknowledgment by the debtor was not voluntary. These issues are discussed more fully below.

1. Section 5301.45 is meant as a mechanism to correct pagination only

While older versions of the statutes at issue in this case date back as early as the 1800’s, the Court begins its analysis with the 1910 version of the Ohio General Code. See THE GENERAL CODE OF THE STATE OF OHIO (The Commissioners of Public Printing of Ohio 1910) (“Being an Act entitled `An Act to revise and consolidate the general statutes of Ohio”). Section 8510 of the 1910 Ohio General Code provided:

A deed, mortgage, or lease of any estate or interest in real property, must be signed by the grantor, mortgagor, or lessor, and such signing be acknowledged by the grantor, mortgagor, or lessor in the presence of two witnesses, who shall attest the signing and subscribe their names to the attestation. Such signing also must be acknowledged by the grantor,

mortgagor, or lessor before a judge of a court of record in this state, or a clerk thereof, a county auditor, county surveyor, notary public, mayor, or justice of the peace, who shall certify the acknowledgment on the same sheet on which the instrument is written or printed, and subscribe his name thereto.   (Emphasis added). This 1910 statute outlined the requirements to validate a deed, mortgage, or lease, including the necessity for two witnesses and that the acknowledgment page be on the same page as the instrument, and is the precursor to Ohio Revised Code section 5301.01.

The original version of what is now Ohio Revised Code section 5301.45 is provided in Local Laws and Joint Resolutions, 57 v 10, and was titled as section 8559 of the Ohio General Code. The current version of the statute is substantially identical to its 1910 version and provides in full:

When a deed, mortgage, lease, or other instrument of writing intended to convey or encumber an interest in real estate is not printed or written on a single sheet, or when the certificate of acknowledgment thereof is not printed or written on the same sheet with the instrument, and such defective conveyance is corrected by the judgment of a court, or by the voluntary act of the parties thereto, such judgment or act shall relate back so as to be operative from the time of filing the original conveyance in the county recorder’s office.

OHIO REV. CODE § 5301.45.

Thus, the state of the law regarding the formal requirements of a valid mortgage in 1910 was that although section 8510 required the instrument and acknowledgment clause to be on the same page, section 8559 allowed for correction of this deficiency through voluntary act of the parties or judgment by the court. However, the Ohio Supreme Court held in 1939 that certificates bound to an instrument substantially complied with the statute. The Court explained that:

When the provision now found in Section 8510, General Code, was enacted, more than a hundred years ago, deeds, mortgages and leases were usually and could easily be written in their entirety on a single sheet of paper. In recent years many of such instruments are so long that to write or print them on one sheet would require a roll of paper. Often, too, the acknowledgments are so numerous as to present the same difficulty. What the Legislature sought by the enactment of the provisions now found in Section 8510 was no doubt the prevention of fraud that might be readily perpetrated if the certificate of acknowledgment were on a sheet separate from the instrument itself. With respect to the lease in litigation this danger is eliminated because the certificates are bound to the other parts by rivets so as to make a unified whole.

S.S. Kresge Co., v. Butte, 136 Ohio St. 85, 89-90 (1939).

Noticeably missing from later versions of section 8510 (now 5301.01 of the Ohio Revised Code), is the requirement that the notary certify the acknowledgment on the same sheet as the instrument. See OHIO REV. CODE § 1.01 (“All statutes of a permanent and general nature of the state as revised and consolidated into general provisions, titles, chapters, and sections shall be known and designated as the `Revised Code'”); OHIO GENERAL CODE § 8510, OHIO REV.CODE § 5301.01. In fact, the current version of section 5301.07 specifically provides that no instrument conveying real estate is defective or invalid because “the certificate of acknowledgment is not on the same sheet of paper as the instrument.”

It appears that section 5301.45 was enacted to afford an opportunity for parties to physically affix separate pages of an instrument and an acknowledgment clause to enable substantial compliance with section 5301.01. The Ohio Jurisprudence 3d contains an analysis of the interplay between these statutes.

[Section 5301.45] assumes that the certificate of acknowledgment must be printed or written on the same sheet with the mortgage, or else the mortgage is defective; but there is now no statute specifically requiring the acknowledgment to be on the same sheet. The reason for the above provision, so far as acknowledgments are concerned, undoubtedly lies in the fact that under an earlier from of RC section 5301.01, it was required that the acknowledgment be on the same sheet of paper as that on which the conveyance was written. It seems likely that the omission from the statute in this respect was due to judicial construction of the former statute, in regard to which the courts, recognizing the ever-increasing length of instruments such as mortgages, held that the instrument was valid where the sheets were securely fastened together and a certificate of acknowledgment was on the last page. In some cases, emphasis was placed upon the sheets being so fastened together that the one bearing the certificate of acknowledgment could not be removed without showing evidence of mutilation.

69 O. Jur. 3d Mortgages § 102 (1986).

The Ohio Transaction Guide, a multi-volume set that has provided

practitioners with research tools and practice tips for over thirty years is instructive and consistent with this Court’s understanding of the intention of the statute. Section 188.30 of the Ohio Transaction Guide provides that “if a deed is not printed or written on the same sheet with the instrument, the conveyance may be corrected by the judgment of a court or by the voluntary act of the parties.” It continues by providing that “[a]lthough it is not necessary to the validity of the deed that the acknowledgment appear on the same sheet of paper as the deed, the usual practice is to convey the property with the necessary acknowledgments on the same sheet.” Thus, the original and later versions of section 5301.45 were designed as a mechanism for correcting failure to adhere to a repealed requirement of section 5301.01. This Court holds that section 5301.45 was enacted to amend mortgages and deeds where the execution and acknowledgment clauses were on separate pieces of paper, at a time in history when such documents were required to appear on the same page, and the parties wished to physically bind them together. Therefore, section 5301.45 cannot be used to correct the type of acknowledgment clause defect at issue in this case.

2. The debtor’s postpetition acknowledgment was not voluntary

Even if this Court were to find that section 5301.45 can be utilized to cure a defective mortgage certification clause under section 546(b)(1), the debtor’s postpetition acknowledgment was not voluntary. Specifically, the debtor testified at a deposition after being served with process and was required to answer questions under oath. This is not the type of voluntary behavior provided for by the statute, especially because both the deposition and “re-recording” of the mortgage took place after the trustee had initiated this adversary proceeding, and served the debtor with a summons and complaint.

In summary, this Court holds that section 5301.45 can only retroactively perfect a mortgage where the instrument and acknowledgment clause are on separate pages, the parties voluntarily act to attach those pages, and the mortgage is otherwise a validly executed document. Therefore, the Court rejects RBC Mortgage’s attempt to use section 5301.45 and the debtor’s postpetition deposition testimony to correct the type of acknowledgment clause defect at issue in this case.

The Trustee May Avoid the Debtor’s Undivided Half Interest in the Subject Property

Although it is well established that a trustee may avoid a debtor’s half interest when a mortgage is found to be valid as to one co-owner and defective as to the other co-owner, RBC Mortgage asserts that the title of the tenancy held by the debtor and Radbourne somehow mandates a different result. This Court finds that Radbourne and the debtor held the property as joint tenants, as evidenced by the deed’s use of the language to “Mary Brigid, unmarried and Susan Radbourne, unmarried, remainder to the survivor of them,” (emphasis added). Section 5302.20 provides that a deed showing a clear intent to create a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship “shall be liberally construed to do so.” OHIO REV. CODE § 5302.20. This Court finds that based on the clear reading of the deed in question, the intention of the parties was to create a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship.

Further, joint tenants hold “an equal share of the title during their joint lives unless otherwise provided in the instrument creating the survivorship tenancy.” OHIO REV. CODE § 5302.20. Although this statute provides that joint tenants are subject to a proportionate share of the costs related to ownership, it also provides that when a creditor of a survivorship tenant enforces a lien against the debtor’s interest, the interest “shall be equal unless otherwise provided in the instrument creating the survivorship tenancy.” OHIO REV. CODE § 5302.20. This proposition is supported by recent case law. In Simon v. CitiMortgage, Inc., (In re Doubov), 423 B.R. 505 (N.D. Ohio 2010), the bankruptcy trustee sought to avoid the debtor wife’s half interest in property that both spouses mortgaged as joint tenants. The trustee argued that a defective acknowledgment rendered the mortgage avoidable as to the debtor wife. Judge Morgernstern-Clarren held:

When the debtors granted the mortgage, they held the property under a survivorship tenancy. See Ohio Rev. Code §§ 5302.17, 5302.20. Under this form of ownership each survivorship tenant holds an equal share of the title to the property during their joint lives (unless the instrument creating the tenancy provides otherwise, which this one does not.) Ohio Rev. Code 5302.20(B). . . .

. . . .

Under Ohio law, a person is precluded from granting a mortgage on property in which he has no interest. See Ins. Co. Of N. Am. v. First Nat’l Bank of Cincinnati, 444 N.E. 2d 456, 459 (Ohio Ct. App. 1981). Additionally “a mortgagor can only bind the estate or property he has, and a `mortgagee can take no greater title than that held by the mortgagor.'” Stein v. Creter (In re Creter), Adv. No 06-2042, 2007 WL 2615214, at *4 (Bankr. N.D. Ohio Sept. 5, 2007) (quoting 69 Ohio Jur. 3d Mortgages and Deeds of Trusts § 17); see also Stubbins v. HSBC Mortgage Servs., Inc. (In re Slack), 394 B.R. 164, 170 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2008). When Mr. Doubov gave the mortgage to Citifinancial, he only held title to the property under a survivorship tenancy; that one-half interest is what he mortgaged.

In re Doubov, 42,3 B.R. at 513-14.

Similarly, when the debtor and Radbourne mortgaged the property, they did so as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. The instrument creating the tenancy did not provide for other treatment of ownership, and thus the debtor, as a matter of law, held an undivided half interest in the property at the time it was mortgaged. When Radbourne gave the mortgage to RBC Mortgage, she only held a half interest, and that is what RBC Mortgage received. This conclusion is supported by the fact that both the debtor and Radbourne answered the trustee’s complaint by claiming an undivided half interest in the property, and this Court declines to consider any argument by RBC Mortgage that the debtor owes Radbourne some equitable relief as a result of her filing for a petition for bankruptcy. This Court holds that the certificate of acknowledgment is defective and the trustee can avoid themortgage as it relates to the undivided half interest of Mary Brigid.

Unresolved Matters Including Radbourne’s Cross-Claim

While it appears that this decision resolves most of the claims at issue in this adversary proceeding, one matter not yet addressed in this decision is Radbourne’s cross-claim against RBC Mortgage. In her cross-claim, Radbourne alleges that she was damaged as a result of negligence by RBC Mortgage in the preparation of the loan documentation and closing of the loan transaction that are the subject of this adversary proceeding. In its cross-motion for summary judgment, RBC Mortgage also seeks summary judgment on Radbourne’s cross-claim. Radbourne has not filed a response.

The Court is reluctant to decide the merits of Radbourne’s cross-claim absent further argument from the parties on the question of jurisdiction to hear this claim. For example, even if the parties were to consent to the undersigned judge entering a final judgment on the cross-claim, the Court has serious doubts as to whether it has “related to” subject matter jurisdiction over a non-debtor’s tort claim against another non-debtor. See 28 U.S.C. § 1334; In re Dow Corning Corp., 8,6 F.3d 482 (6th Cir. 1996).

An action is “related to bankruptcy if the outcome could alter the debtor’s rights, liabilities, options, or freedom of action (either positively or negatively) and which in any way impacts upon the handling and administration of the bankruptcy estate.”  86 F.3d at 489 (quoting Pacor, Inc. v. Higgins, 743 F.2d 984, 994 (3d Cir. 1984)). For example, any recovery to the non-debtor Radbourne is unlikely to affect the debtor’s estate, either positively or negatively. Accordingly, any party wishing to have this Court decide the cross-claim should be prepared to address the issue of subject matter jurisdiction at a status conference at 1:30 P.M. on June 8, 2010.

In addition, while not included as a separate count, the trustee does seek, in her prayer for relief, authority to sell the real property, including the interest of the non-debtor co-owner. Therefore, counsel shall be prepared to advise the Court at the status conference as to what additional steps are needed to resolve all remaining claims in this adversary proceeding. Until there is a final decision on Radbourne’s cross-claim and any other unresolved claims, this is not a final judgment for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 158. See Bankr. Rule 7054 and Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b).

CONCLUSION

For the reasons stated above, the Court holds that the certificate of acknowledgment is defective and the trustee can avoid the mortgage as it relates to the half interest of the debtor. Accordingly, the trustee’s motion for summary judgment is granted. While it appears that this decision is largely dispositive, until there is a final decision on Radbourne’s cross-claim, this is not a final judgment for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 158. See Bankr. Rule 7054 and Fed R. Civ. P. 54(b). The Court will conduct a status conference at 1:30 p.m. on June 8, 2010. Counsel shall be prepared to advise the Court as to what additional steps are needed to resolve all remaining claims in this adversary proceeding.

Page 24

JUDGMENT

For the reasons stated in the separate Memorandum of Opinion, the Court holds that the certificate of acknowledgment is defective and the trustee can avoid themortgage as it relates to the half interest of the debtor. Accordingly, the trustee’s motion for summary judgment is granted. While it appears that this decision is largely dispositive, until there is a final decision on Radbourne’s cross-claim, this is not a final judgment for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 158. See Bankr. Rule 7054 and Fed R. Civ. P. 54(b). The Court will conduct a status conference at 1:30 p.m. on June 8, 2010. Counsel shall be prepared to advise the Court as to what additional steps are needed to resolve all remaining claims in this adversary proceeding.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

—————

Notes:

1. This Memorandum of Opinion is not intended for official publication.

2. In Zaptocky, the Sixth Circuit identified “three major prerequisites for the proper execution of a mortgage: (1) the mortgagor must sign the mortgage deed; (2) the mortgagor’s signature must be attested by two witnesses; and (3) the mortgagor’s signature must be acknowledged or certified by a notary public.” Zaptocky, 250 F.3d at 1024. The differences between Zaptocky’s three requirements and Leahy’s four requirements are (A) the deletion in Leahy of Zaptocky’s second requirement — attestation by two witnesses — due to a change in the statute, and (B) the Leahy court’s breaking down of Zaptocky’s third requirement — certification of acknowledgment — into three separate parts.

—————

Posted in foreclosure, reversed court decisionComments (0)

Bank Fails to Rebut Satisfaction’s Validity Created By Notary’s Acknowledgment; FORECLOSURE DENIED! -Wells Fargo Bank NA v. Moise

Bank Fails to Rebut Satisfaction’s Validity Created By Notary’s Acknowledgment; FORECLOSURE DENIED! -Wells Fargo Bank NA v. Moise


Via: FRAUD DIGEST

ROBO-SIGNER

The trial court opinion was published in the New York Law Journal.

KINGS COUNTY
Real Property
Bank Fails to Rebut Satisfaction’s Validity Created By Notary’s Acknowledgment; Foreclosure Denied

Wells Fargo Bank NA v. Moise

Defendants seek summary judgment based on the fact that Plaintiff has not shown a valid assignment of the mortgage and note.

Plaintiff originally submitted an assignment of the mortgage dated April 30, 2009. The assignment was signed by Yolanda Williams, Assistant Secretary of Mortgage Electronic Systems, Inc..  However, the notary public’s acknowledgement states that she witnessed and acknowledged the signature of Herman John Kennerty, whose name does not appear anywhere on the document.

Plaintiff acknowledges that there was a mistake on the assignment and argues the mistake was de minimis not curat lex.  It also argues that the Court should simply replace the defective assignment with the correction assignment, and proceed with its action.  In fact, the error was not de minimis as the signature of the purported assignor was not acknowledged, rendering the assignment a nullity.

A simple typographical error can be amended, but a failure to properly acknowledge the signature of a person who signed the instrument cannot be. No affidavit is submitted either Yolanda Williams or the notary Lisa Rhyne explaining what the alleged error was or how it occurred. In fact, the so called “correction” assignment in fact is acknowledged by a different notary on a different date.

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



Posted in conspiracy, dismissed, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, forensic loan audit, forensic mortgage investigation audit, Lynn Szymoniak ESQ, MERS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, reversed court decision, robo signer, robo signers, wells fargoComments (1)

AN ASSIGNMENT OR A FORMALIZATION OR A MEMORIALIZATION? By LYNN E. SZYMONIAK, ESQ.

AN ASSIGNMENT OR A FORMALIZATION OR A MEMORIALIZATION? By LYNN E. SZYMONIAK, ESQ.


AN ASSIGNMENT OR A FORMALIZATION OR A MEMORIALIZATION?

The standard language in most of the mortgage assignments being signed by employees of Lender Processing Services (most recently, Kathy Smith, Joseph Kaminsky) has changed in one significant respect.

The effective date of the transfer from grantor to grantee is now not stated as a specific date. Instead, we have the following:

“This document has been executed and is being recorded in order to formalize and memorialize an assignment of the subject mortgage which took place prior to December 17, 2009.”

A copy of this particular “assignment” is attached.  It is signed by Kathy Smith “Assistant Secretary, MERS as nominee for American Home Mortgage.”

This language is easy enough to locate on the document because a different type font is used.

How this prior assignment took place without a document is left unexplained.

IN THE PAST MONTHS, THIS CHANGE HAS BEEN MADE BY MANY OF THE FORECLOSURE MILL LAW FIRMS DIRECTED BY LENDER PROCESSING SERVICES, SO,

THERE MUST BE A MEMO DIRECTING THIS.


This is really an acknowledgment that the document is NOT the original assignment – but a replacement.  Who will recognize this shoddy attempt to “create” standing to foreclose?  No doubt, the state court judges in Brooklyn, the federal court judges in Ohio, a few bankruptcy judges, a few Massachusetts land court judges (Keith Long) and many bankruptcy trustees.

In Florida, the scheme will perhaps be first be exposed by state court judges Bailey, Traynor or Rondolino.

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



Posted in foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, fraud digest, kahane, Lender Processing Services Inc., LPS, Lynn Szymoniak ESQ, MERS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC.Comments (1)

Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. YOU HAVE NO STANDING: YOUR DISMISSED! Deutsche v. Stevens NY SLIP OP 50909(U) 5/18/2010

Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. YOU HAVE NO STANDING: YOUR DISMISSED! Deutsche v. Stevens NY SLIP OP 50909(U) 5/18/2010


2010 NY Slip Op 50909(U)

DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY AS TRUSTEE UNDER THE POOLING AND SERVICING AGREEMENT DATED AS OF FEBRUARY 1, 2007, GSAMP TRUST 2007-FM2, Plaintiff,
v.
WILHELMENA STEVENS, Defendant.

15862/08.

Supreme Court, Kings County.

Decided May 18, 2010.

Jeffrey A Kosterich & Assoc, Plaintiff Attorney.

Wilhelmena Stevens Pro se, Defendant Attorney.

YVONNE LEWIS, J.

The plaintiff, Deutsche Bank National Trust Company moves for an order granting it summary judgment, appointing a referee to compute, deleting from the caption the remaining defendants sued herein as “JOHN DOE ONE” through “JOHN DOE TEN” and awarding plaintiff costs and sanctions for frivolous conduct pursuant to 22 NYCRR § 130.

Plaintiff commenced this action on June 2, 2008 to foreclose a mortgage executed by defendant Wilhelmena Stevens on October 26, 2006 and encumbering the property at 517 Christopher Street in Brooklyn. The mortgage was given to secure a loan from Fremont Investment & Loan (Fremont) in the amount of $225,000.00. The plaintiff became the holder of the mortgage by assignment from MERS (as nominee of Fremont) dated June 11, 2008.

In response to the summons and complaint, Ms. Stevens sent the plaintiff’s counsel a handwritten letter, dated June 16, 2008, wherein she stated, in sum and substance, that her loan originated with Fremont, that The plaintiff’s name was not mentioned anywhere in the loan documents and that she desired proof as to The plaintiff’s status as the mortgagor.

When a court is deciding a motion for summary judgment, it can search the record and, even in the absence of a cross motion, may grant summary judgment to a non-moving party (CPLR 3212[b]; Dunham v Hilco Constr. Co., Inc., 89 NY2d 425 [1996]).

“Where the plaintiff is the assignee of the mortgage and the underlying note at the time the foreclosure action was commenced, the plaintiff has standing to maintain the action” (Federal Natl. Mtge. Assn. v Youkelsone, 303 AD2d 546, 546-547 [2003]; see Natl. Mtge. Consultants v Elizaitis, 23 AD3d 630, 631 [2005]). On the other hand, “foreclosure of a mortgage may not be brought by one who has no title to it” (Kluge v Fugazy, 145 AD2d 537, 538 [1988]) and an assignee of such a mortgage does not have standing to foreclose unless the assignment is complete at the time the action is commenced (see Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Marchione, 69 AD3d 204 [2009]Lasalle Bank Nat. Assn. v Ahearn, 59 AD3d 911 [2009]).

Since it is clear from the face of the summons that this action was commenced on June 2, 2008, which is prior to the date of the mortgage assignment, and the record contains no proof demonstrating that there was a physical delivery of the mortgage prior to June 2, 2008, this court finds that The plaintiff has no standing to maintain this action.

Accordingly, The plaintiff’s motion is denied in all respects, and this action is dismissed without prejudice (see Citigroup Global Markets Realty Corp. v Randolph Bowling, 25 Misc 3d 1244[A], 2009 NY Slip Op 52567[U] [2009]).

The foregoing constitutes the decision and order of the court.

Posted in case, concealment, conspiracy, dismissed, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, MERS, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, reversed court decisionComments (0)

GARY DUBIN LAW OFFICES FORECLOSURE DEFENSE HAWAII and CALIFORNIA
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