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JEFFREY STEPHAN: MANY CORPORATE HATS

JEFFREY STEPHAN: MANY CORPORATE HATS


From Lynn Szymoniak

Jeffrey Stephan, who actually works for GMAC Mortgage Corp. in Montgomery County, PA, signs thousands of Mortgage Assignments each month as an officer of other banks and mortgage companies in order to transfer mortgages TO GMAC. In Florida, the law firms that regularly present documents signed by Jeffrey Stephans as “proof” that GMAC has standing to foreclose include The Law Offices of Marshall Watson, The Law Offices of David Stern and Florida Default Law Group.

Stephan has admitted in depositions that he has no personal knowledge of the facts of documents he signs, does not verify the facts, and often does not sign in front of a notary (though the documents are eventually notarized).

Titles used by Jeffrey Stephan include the following:

(“MERS” stands for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.)

Vice President, MERS as Nominee for American Interbanc Mortgage , LLC;

Vice President, MERS as Nominee for Cardinal Financial Co., Ltd. Partnership;

Vice President, MERS as Nominee for Centerpoint Financial, Inc.;

Vice President, MERS as Nominee for Central Pacific Mortgage Corp.;

Vice President, MERS as Nominee for Certified Home Loans of Florida, Inc.;

Vice President, MERS as Nominee for Gateway Mortgage Group, LLC;

Vice President, NERS as Nominee for GMAC Bank;

Vice President, MERS as Nominee for GMAC Mortgage Corp. d/b/a Ditech.com;

Vice President, MERS as Nominee for Great Country Mortgage Bankers Corp.;

Vice President, MERS as Nominee for Greenpoint Mortgage Funding, Inc.

Vice President, MERS as Nominee for Group One Mortgage, Inc.;

Vice President, MERS as Nominee for Homecomings Financial Network, Inc,;

Vice President, MERS as Nominee for Lexon Financial Mortgage Corp. d/b/a Weslend Financial Corp.;

Vice President, MERS as Nominee for Mortgage Investors Corp.;

Vice President, MERS as Nominee for Pinnacle Financial Corp. d/b/a Tri Star Lending Group

Vice President, MERS as Nominee for Popular Mortgage Corp.;

Vice President, MERS as Nominee for Premier Mortgage Funding;

Vice President, MERS as Nominee for Quicken Loans;

Vice President, MERS as Nominee for Sky Investments d/b/a North Star Lending;

Vice President, MERS as Nominee for Transland Financial Services, Inc.; and

Vice President, MERS as Nominee for USAA Federal Savings Bank

Read more on…Jeffery Stephan




© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in chain in title, conflict of interest, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, FDLG, florida default law group, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, fraud digest, GMAC, jeffrey stephan, Law Offices Of David J. Stern P.A., law offices of Marshall C. Watson pa, Lynn Szymoniak ESQ, MERS, MERSCORP, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, robo signer, robo signers, STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD, stopforeclosurefraud.comComments (0)

MERS FAILS AS NOMINEE, AUTHORITY TO TRANSFER OWNERSHIP OF NOTE!

MERS FAILS AS NOMINEE, AUTHORITY TO TRANSFER OWNERSHIP OF NOTE!


NEW YORK SUPREME COURT NASSAU

In support of its standing to maintain the action when the action was commenced is an “Assignment of Mortgage” executed by MERS as nominee of Home Funds Direct which includes a provision indicating the assignment is TOGETHER with the bond or note. . . ” . Not only has plaintiff failed to establish MERS’ right as a nominee for purposes of recording to assign the mortgage, more importantly, no effort has been made to establish the authority of MERS, a non-party to the note, to transfer its ownership. Without establishing ownership of the note at the time the action was instituted, the plaintiff lacked a right to maintain the action.

[ipaper docId=37175715 access_key=key-2k2arwpk653s6uaz71jr height=600 width=600 /]

© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in bank of new york, chain in title, concealment, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, dismissed, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, MERS, MERSCORP, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., note, rmbs, securitization, servicers, stopforeclosurefraud.com, Supreme Court, trusteeComments (0)

MERS ‘GETS FORECLOSED’| ASSIGNS NADA TO BAC fka COUNTRYWIDE

MERS ‘GETS FORECLOSED’| ASSIGNS NADA TO BAC fka COUNTRYWIDE


Court of Appeals of Ohio

UNION BANK CO. v. NORTH CAROLINA FURNITURE EXPRESS, LLC.

2010 Ohio 4176

The Union Bank Company, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
North Carolina Furniture Express, LLC, et al., Defendants-Appellants, and
Jeffrey Smith, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Bac Home Loans Servicing Lp, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Jeffrey T. Smith, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

Case No. 2-10-01

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Auglaize County.

Date of Decision: September 7, 2010.

Jason A. Whitacre, Laura C. Infante and Kathryn M. Eyster for Appellant, BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P., fka Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, L.P.

Randy L. Reeves and Sarah N. Newland for Appellees, Jeffrey Smith and Kandi Smith.

John F. Moul for Appellee, Treasurer of Auglaize County

Jerry M. Johnson and Christine M. Bollinger for Appellee, The Union Bank Company

Thomas J. Katterheinrich for Appellee, Minster Bank.

OPINION

PRESTON, J.

{¶1} Appellant-defendant, BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P., f.k.a. Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, L.P., (hereinafter “BAC”), appeals the Auglaize County Court of Common Pleas’ judgments, which vacated BAC’s foreclosure action and denied motions to consolidate and substitute BAC as a party-defendant. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

{¶2} This case involves two separate foreclosure actions filed in the Auglaize County Court of Common Pleas that sought judgments on certain notes and mortgages encumbering the same parcel of real estate, commonly known as 422 South Franklin Street, New Bremen, Ohio (hereinafter “the property”). The facts of this case are largely not in dispute. On November 13, 2002, Jeffrey Smith and Kandi Smith (hereinafter “the Smiths”), who were members of North Carolina Furniture Express, L.L.C., executed a note in favor of SIB Mortgage Corp., a New Jersey corporation (hereinafter “SIB”), and a mortgage in favor of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (hereinafter “MERS”), solely as nominee for SIB Mortgage Corp., for $141,000.00. The mortgage was subsequently recorded in the Auglaize County Recorder’s Office on November 18, 2002.

{¶3} Several years later, on January 19, 2007, the Smiths executed another note and mortgage in favor of appellee Minster Bank (hereinafter “Minster Bank”) for $30,000.00. This mortgage was recorded in the Auglaize County Recorder’s Office on January 26, 2007. Then, on March 5, 2007, the Smiths executed three separate notes and mortgages in favor of appellee The Union Bank Company (hereinafter “Union Bank”) for $100,000.00, $25,000.00, and $24,500.00, which were subsequently recorded in the Auglaize County Recorder’s Office on March 9, 2007.[ 1 ]

{¶4} On July 23, 2008, Union Bank filed a complaint for foreclosure against the property, which was designated Case No. 2008 CV 0267 (hereinafter “the 2008 foreclosure”). In the complaint, Union Bank listed North Carolina Furniture Express, L.L.C., the Smiths, Minster Bank, MERS, SIB, the Auglaize County Treasurer, and Entrust Administration, Inc. as defendants possibly having an interest in the property. All named defendants were served with notice. According to the record, MERS was served on July 30, 2008, and SIB was served on November 14, 2008. Minster Bank and the Smiths filed timely answers to the complaint.

{¶5} Union Bank filed a motion for default judgment against defendants MERS, SIB, and Entrust Administration, Inc., on March 10, 2009. The motion for default judgment was sent to all named defendants in the matter, including MERS and SIB. The trial court granted Union Bank default judgment on March 10, 2009, specifically stating that the defendants had “been legally served with summons and that Defendants are in default for answer or appearance and therefore has no interest in and to said premises and the equity of redemption of said Defendants in the real estate described in Plaintiff’s Complaint shall be forever cut off, barred, and foreclosed.” (2008 CV 0267, Mar. 10, 2009 JE). On March 11, 2009, Union Bank filed a motion for summary judgment against the Smiths, Minster Bank, and the Auglaize County Treasurer. Similarly, a copy of the motion for summary judgment was sent to all named defendants in the matter, including MERS and SIB. On March 30, 2009, the trial court granted the motion for summary judgment and issued a judgment of foreclosure providing that the lien priority on the property was as follows: the Auglaize County Treasurer, Minster Bank, and then Union Bank.

{¶6} Shortly thereafter, the Smiths filed for bankruptcy on May 12, 2009, causing the matter to be stayed. On June 9, 2009, the bankruptcy court issued a relief from stay and abandonment for Union Bank, which allowed the 2008 foreclosure matter to continue effective on July 31, 2009, and the property was scheduled for sheriff’s sale on October 1, 2009. However, due to a notice of sale not being received or served on all party defendants, the sale was cancelled and rescheduled for December 4, 2009.

{¶7} During this time and right after the Smiths had filed for bankruptcy, on June 1, 2009, MERS (acting solely as a nominee for SIB) assigned appellant BAC its interest in the property. (2009 CV 312, Oct. 7, 2009 JE, Ex. A). Consequently, on August 28, 2009, BAC filed a complaint for foreclosure against the property in the Auglaize County Court of Common Pleas, which was designated Case No. 2009 CV 0312 (hereinafter “the 2009 foreclosure”). Along with the complaint, BAC filed a preliminary judicial report showing what it believed to be a representation of any and all interests in the property.[ 2 ] In its complaint, BAC named the Smiths, Minster Bank, Union Bank, and the Auglaize County Treasurer as defendants having a possible interest in the property. Only Minster Bank and Union Bank filed answers to the complaint.[ 3 ] Thereafter, on October 7, 2009, BAC filed a motion for default judgment against the non-answering parties, and that same day, the trial court issued a judgment entry and decree in foreclosure granting BAC’s motion for default judgment and listing the lien priority on the property in the following order: the Auglaize County Treasurer, BAC, Minster Bank, and then Union Bank.

{¶8} As a result, on October 9, 2009, Union Bank filed a motion contra to BAC’s motion for default judgment and a motion to dismiss BAC’s complaint in the 2009 foreclosure action based on the existence of the 2008 foreclosure action. Additionally, on October 16, 2009, Union Bank and Minster Bank filed a joint motion to vacate the judgment entry of default in the 2009 foreclosure action, since they had not been afforded sufficient time to respond to BAC’s motion before the judgment entry of foreclosure had been granted.

{¶9} In response to the existence of the 2008 foreclosure action, on October 21, 2009, BAC filed several motions, which included: (1) a motion to substitute defendant BAC for defendant MERS; (2) a motion to set aside the default judgment action entered against MERS in the 2008 foreclosure action; (3) a motion to stay the 2008 foreclosure default judgment entry pending resolution of the motion to set aside the judgment entry; (4) a motion to consolidate cases 2008 CV 0267 and 2009 CV 0312; or in the alternative (5) a motion for leave to file an answer to the 2008 complaint and cross-claim.[ 4 ] Union Bank filed a response opposing all of BAC’s motions in the 2008 foreclosure case.

{¶10} In both of the foreclosure actions, the trial court set all of the motions for a hearing, which was held on November 3, 2009. Thereafter, on December 3, 2009, the trial court issued a judgment entry addressing the issues in both the 2008 and 2009 foreclosure cases, but specifically stating that it was not consolidating the cases for any other purposes other than the issues presented at the November 3, 2009 hearing. Consequently, in its judgment entry, the trial court vacated part of the 2009 foreclosure action, citing that the foreclosure portion of the action had been a “clerical error” within Civ.R. 60(A). Nevertheless, the trial court found that there had been no error as against the Smiths, and thus it allowed the 2009 foreclosure action to stand, but again only as against the Smiths individually. In addition, the trial court dismissed the 2009 foreclosure complaint on the basis of res judicata, and denied the motion to consolidate and motion to substitute defendant BAC as a party-defendant in the 2008 foreclosure action finding that BAC had not acquired an interest in the property by operation of the doctrine of lis pendens.

{¶11} BAC now appeals and raises four assignments of error. For ease of our discussion we also elect to address all of BAC’s assignments of error together.

ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO. I

THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT FAILED TO EXPRESSLY RULE ON APPELLANT’S MOTION TO SET ASIDE DEFAULT JUDGMENT AND FAILED TO APPLY THE PROPER STANDARD FOR RULING ON SUCH A MOTION.

ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO. II

THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT VACATED THE OCTOBER 7, 2009 JUDGMENT ENTRY IN CASE NUMBER 2009 CV 0312 PURSUANT TO CIV.R. 60(A).

ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO. III

THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT REPRIORITIZED THE LIENS AGAINST THE PROPERTY SUBJECT TO CASE NUMBERS 2008 CV 0267 AND 2009 CV 0312.

ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO. IV

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED AND ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT FOUND THAT BAC DID NOT OBTAIN AN INTEREST IN THE PROPERTY WHEN IT OBTAINED ITS ASSIGNMENT BY OPERATION OF THE LIS PENDENS DOCTRINE.

{¶12} Essentially, BAC argues that the follwing decisions in the trial court’s December 3, 2009 judgment entry were erroneous: (1) its ruling on the motion to substitute; (2) failing to rule on its motion to set aside the default judgment pursuant to Civ.R. 60(B); (3) vacating part of the 2009 foreclosure action; and (4) its reprioritization of the liens against the property in the 2008 foreclosure action.

{¶13} As stated above, the trial court first denied the motion to substitute BAC as a party-defendant on the basis that it did not obtain any interest in the subject real estate when it obtained its assignment from MERS. (Dec. 3, 2009 JE at 3-4). As a result, the trial court vacated part of the 2009 foreclosure action (only as against the banks) and failed to address BAC’s motion to set aside the default judgment pursuant to Civ.R. 60(B). (Id.). After reviewing the record and the applicable law, we believe that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in rendering its December 3, 2009 judgment entry.

{¶14} First, we will address the motion to substitute BAC as a party-defendant for MERS in the 2008 foreclosure action. Civ.R. 25 governs the substitution of parties. Specifically, Civ.R. 25(C) provides that “[i]n cases of any transfer of interest, the action may be continued by or against the original party, unless the court upon motion directs the person to whom the interest is transferred to be substituted in the action or joined with the original action.” The decision of whether to allow a substitution of parties is discretionary with the trial court and may be granted only upon a finding of a transfer of interest. Ahlrichs v. Tri-Tex Corp. (1987), 41 Ohio App.3d 207, 534 N.E.2d 1231. As a result, this Court uses an abuse of discretion standard of review when determining whether a trial court erred with respect to a motion to substitute pursuant to Civ.R. 25. Argent Mtge. Co. v. Ciemins, 8th Dist. No. 90698, 2008-Ohio-5994, ¶9, citing Young v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith (1993), 88 Ohio App.3d 12, 623 N.E.2d 94. An abuse of discretion constitutes more than an error of judgment and implies that the trial court acted unreasonably, arbitrarily, or unconscionably. Blakemore v. Blakemore (1983), 5 Ohio St.3d 217, 219, 450 N.E.2d 1140. When applying the abuse-of-discretion standard, a reviewing court may not simply substitute its judgment for that of the trial court. Id.

{¶15} While an assignment typically transfers the lien of the mortgage on the property described in the mortgage, as BAC acknowledged in its reply brief, an assignee can only take, and the assignor can only give, the interest currently held by the assignor. R.C. 5301.31. With that stated, it is clear under the facts of this case that BAC never obtained an interest in the property; thus, it could not have been substituted as a party-defendant in the 2008 foreclosure action. Here, with respect to the 2008 foreclosure action, the date the last party was served with notice was on January 28, 2009, which was almost six months before the purported assignment from MERS to BAC. Next, on March 11, 2009, the trial court issued a judgment entry of default against MERS foreclosing on its interest in the property. Once again, this default judgment was entered against MERS almost three months before the purported assignment from MERS to BAC occurred. The effect of this default judgment against MERS resulted in MERS having “no interest in and to said premises and the equity of redemption of said Defendants in the real estate described in Plaintiff’s Complaint shall be forever cut off, barred, and foreclosed.” (2008 CV 0267, Mar. 10, 2009 JE). Nevertheless, according to the documents filed by BAC to evidence its assignment from MERS, MERS assigned its interest to BAC on June 1, 2009. (2009 CV 312, Oct. 7, 2009 JE, Ex. A). Consequently, as a result of the already entered default judgment against MERS, when BAC was assigned MERS’ interest in the property on June 1, 2009, BAC did not receive a viable interest in the property. See Quill v. Maddox (May 31, 2002), 2nd Dist. No. 19052, at *2 (mortgagee’s assignee failed to establish that it had an interest in the property, as mortgagee’s interest was foreclosed by the court before mortgagee assigned its interest to assignee, which could acquire no more interest than mortgagee held). Thus, we find that it was reasonable for the trial court to have denied the motion to substitute BAC as a party-defendant for MERS given its lack of interest in the property.

{¶16} Additionally, BAC argues that the trial court erred because it did not apply the GTE Automatic standard to its motion for relief from judgment. See GTE Automatic Elec., Inc. v. ARC Industries, Inc. (1976), 47 Ohio St.2d 146, 150, 351 N.E.2d 113. In particular, BAC claims that the trial court never ruled on its Civ.R. 60(B) motion. BAC claims that not addressing its motion was erroneous. However, in this particular case, in light of our discussion above, there would have been no need to address the motion and apply any standard to the motion for relief from judgment because BAC lacked standing to challenge the default judgment entered against MERS.

{¶17} Civ.R. 60(B) allows “a party or legal representative” to vacate a default judgment upon successfully demonstrating that: “(1) the party has a meritorious defense or claim to present if relief is granted; (2) the party is entitled to relief under one of the grounds stated in Civ.R. 60(B)(1) through (5); and (3) the motion is made within a reasonable time * * *.” GTE Automatic Elec., Inc., 47 Ohio St.2d at 150, (emphasis added). However, BAC was neither a party nor was it a legal representative since it was not included in the original 2008 foreclosure action and was not allowed to be substituted as a party-defendant for MERS. Central Ohio Receivables Co. v. Huston (Sept. 20, 1988), 8th Dist. No. 87AP1-185, at *2-3 (holding that an assignee did not have standing to challenge a default judgment entered against its assignor). Accordingly, BAC lacked standing to challenge the default judgment entered against its assignor MERS in the 2008 foreclosure action, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it failed to rule on its motion.

{¶18} With respect to the trial court’s decision to vacate the 2009 foreclosure action, we note that the trial court did not vacate the 2009 foreclosure action in its entirety; rather, the court only vacated the portion of the action that pertained to an interest in the property. As we will discuss in further detail below, after dismissing the parties who were brought in because they had an interest in the property (i.e., Union Bank and Minster Bank), the only aspect in the 2009 foreclosure action that remained was the default judgment action against the Smiths. (Dec. 3, 2009 JE at 3-4). Nevertheless, we find that the trial court’s decision to vacate part of the 2009 foreclosure action was not an abuse of discretion.

{¶19} First of all, since MERS’ interest in the property had already been foreclosed prior to the filing of the 2009 foreclosure action, BAC did not obtain any interest in the property when it was assigned the mortgage from MERS, thus, BAC could not have brought a foreclosure action at all. Moreover, typically a pending foreclosure action between the same parties is grounds for abatement or dismissal of an assignee’s complaint. Avco Financial Services Loan, Inc. v. Hale (1987), 36 Ohio App.3d 65, 520 N.E.2d 1378; High Point Assn. v. Pochatek (Nov. 30, 1995), 8th Dist. Nos. 68000, 68395, at *3; Bates v. Postulate Invests., L.L.C., 176 Ohio App.3d 523, 2008-Ohio-2815, 892 N.E.2d 937, ¶16. Accordingly, it was reasonable for the trial court to dismiss BAC’s complaint based on the fact that the 2008 foreclosure action was still pending at the time BAC filed its 2009 foreclosure action. Therefore, although we may not agree with the trial court’s grounds for vacating most of the 2009 foreclosure action, we find that the trial court’s decision was reasonable under the circumstances and was not an abuse of discretion.

{¶20} Finally, as mentioned above, despite the trial court’s denial of the motion to substitute and its decision to vacate the 2009 foreclosure action as it related to any interest in the property, the trial court did add BAC as a lienholder in the December 3, 2009 judgment entry and stated that BAC had a fourth priority lien against the property. (Dec. 3, 2009 JE at 4). BAC claims this decision was also an abuse of discretion. Specifically, BAC claims that because the trial court recognized it had a lien against the property when it added BAC to the 2008 foreclosure lienholder list, the trial court clearly abused its discretion when it only recognized BAC as being the fourth priority lienholder, despite the fact that it had been assigned MERS lien, which would have given it the first priority lienholder to the property. Overall, BAC claims that the trial court could not have recognized it had an interest in the property without finding that it was also the first priority lienholder. While we acknowledge that the trial court obviously recognized that BAC had an interest the property, we disagree with BAC’s argument that this interest had to come from MERS’ first priority lienholder status pursuant to the mortgage.

{¶21} Despite the fact that the trial court vacated most of the 2009 foreclosure action, the trial court found that BAC’s default judgment and decree of foreclosure was valid but only as against the Smiths. This was because “as between BAC and Defendants Smith, BAC should obtain recovery of its Promissory Note, as assigned.” (Dec. 3, 2009 JE at 4). “The right to judgment on the note is one cause of action. The right to foreclose a mortgage is another cause of action. One is legal-the other is equitable.” Fifth Third Bank v. Hopkins, 177 Ohio App.3d 114, 2008-Ohio-2959, 894 N.E.2d 65, ¶15, quoting Fed. Deposit Ins. Corp. v. Simon (Aug. 17, 1977), 9th Dist. No. 8443. This is because a “mortgage is merely security for a debt and is not the debt itself.” Id., quoting Gevedon v. Hotopp, 2nd Dist. No. 20673, 2005-Ohio-4597, ¶27. As another appellate court explained:

A mortgage is a form of secured debt where the obligation, evidenced by a note, is secured by the transfer of an interest in property, accomplished by the delivery of a mortgage deed. Upon breach of condition of the mortgage agreement, a mortgagee has concurrent remedies. It may, at its option, sue in equity to foreclose, or sue at law directly on the note; or, bring an action in ejectment, Equity Savings & Loan v. Mercurio (1937), 24 Ohio Law Abs. 1, 2. Thus, suit on the note was not foreclosed by the disposition of the previous action in foreclosure, * * * Broadview Savings and Loan Company v. Crow (Dec. 30, 1982), 8th Dist. Nos. 44690, 44691, & 45002, at *3.

{¶22} As we explained above, BAC did not obtain an interest in the property since the mortgage it had obtained from MERS had already been foreclosed. Nevertheless, the default judgment entered against the Smiths in the 2009 foreclosure action gave BAC a judgment lien on the note, so BAC still had a right to collect its unsecured judgment lien out of the proceeds from the sale of the real estate. However, BAC’s judgment lien was not superior to those of Minster or Union Bank’s liens because BAC’s judgment on the note had not been issued until after the Smiths had executed mortgages to Minster and Union Bank. Therefore, we find that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it recognized BAC’s judgment lien against the property in the 2008 foreclosure action and only recognized it as the fourth lienholder, because BAC’s lien was the result of the promissory note assigned from SIB, and not a result of the mortgage assigned by MERS.

{¶23} Overall, while we may not necessarily agree with all of the doctrines and rules the trial court used in reaching its decision, we nonetheless have held that “[a] judgment by the trial court which is correct, but for a different reason, will be affirmed on appeal as there is no prejudice to the appellant.” Wedemeyer v. U.S.S. F.D.R. (CV-42) Reunion Assoc., 3d Dist. No. 1-09-57, 2010-Ohio-1502, ¶50 quoting Davis v. Widman, 184 Ohio App.3d 705, 2009-Ohio-5430, 922 N.E.2d 272, ¶16 (citations omitted). Based on our discussion above, we find that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied the motion to substitute BAC as a party-defendant for MERS in the 2008 foreclosure case on the basis that BAC did not acquire any interest in the property, when it failed to rule on BAC’s Civ.R. 60(B) motion, when it partially vacated the 2009 foreclosure action, and when it allowed BAC to have a fourth priority judgment lien.

{¶24} BAC’s first, second, third, and fourth assignments of error are, therefore, overruled.

{¶25} Having found no error prejudicial to the appellant herein in the particulars assigned and argued, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Judgments Affirmed

WILLAMOWSKI, P.J., concurs in Judgment Only.

ROGERS, J., Concurring in Part and Dissenting in Part.

{¶26} I respectfully concur in part and dissent in part from the decision of the majority.

{¶27} As to Assignment of Error No. I, I concur fully with the majority’s finding that the trial court did not err in denying BAC’s motion to substitute it as a party-defendant for MERS. I agree with the majority’s finding that, when the trial court issued a judgment entry against MERS foreclosing on its interest on March 11, 2009, MERS no longer had any viable interest in the property which it could assign to BAC on June 1, 2009. As such, I agree that, given BAC’s lack of interest in the property, the trial court was reasonable in denying BAC’s motion to substitute.

{¶28} Additionally, I wish to emphasize that the mortgage designated MERS “solely as nominee for SIB Mortgage Corp.” As expressed in my dissent in Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, L.P. v. Shifflet, et al., 3d Dist. No. 9-093-1, 2010-Ohio-1266, ¶¶18-21, I believe this language served solely to designate MERS as an agent for purposes of servicing the note and mortgage, and did not transfer to MERS any interest in the real estate or the repayment of moneys loaned. Therefore, it was never a real party in interest.

{¶29} Additionally, I believe that the majority’s finding in Assignment of Error No. I, with which I concur, is inconsistent with the remainder of the majority opinion.

{¶30} In its analysis of Assignment of Error No. II, the majority finds that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it vacated the second foreclosure action (filed by BAC) and its default judgment because (1) BAC never obtained any interest in the property when MERS assigned to it the Smiths’ mortgage, and (2) a pending foreclosure action may be grounds for dismissal of an assignee’s complaint where the action is between the same parties. Nevertheless, the trial court did not vacate the portion of the second foreclosure action against the Smiths individually. Further, in its analysis of Assignment of Error No. II, the majority finds that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in listing BAC as the fourth priority lienholder because (1) BAC had a right to collect its unsecured judgment lien from the sale of the real estate foreclosed upon, and (2) BAC’s judgment lien was subordinate to Minster and Union Bank’s interests.

{¶31} While I agree with the majority’s conclusion that the trial court did not err in vacating portions of the second foreclosure action, I believe the trial court erred in failing to vacate the entire second foreclosure action. I find inconsistent the majority’s finding that any interest MERS had in the property was extinguished on March 11, 2009, and, thus, that it passed no viable interest to BAC, and the majority’s subsequent validation of the trial court’s finding that BAC’s default judgment and decree of foreclosure was valid against the Smiths. For the same reason, I find inconsistent the majority’s validation of the trial court’s prioritizing of BAC as the fourth lienholder in its December 2009 entry. I believe that the March 11, 2009 default judgment extinguished both the legal and equitable interests MERS, and consequently, BAC, had in the property. I would, therefore, reverse the trial court’s judgment, finding that it should have vacated the entire second foreclosure action and that it abused its discretion in recognizing BAC as a lienholder in the first foreclosure action, to which it was never a party. See, also, Fifth Third Bank v. Hopkins, 177 Ohio App.3d 114, 2008-Ohio-2959, ¶20 (Carr, P.J., concurring) (noting that, “[I]f such subsequent claims are not barred, consumers will be needlessly forced to defend numerous separate lawsuits. The ramifications could be onerous. First, to pay to defend against multiple lawsuits, debt-laden consumers might be forced to assume even greater financial burdens, taking out second or third mortgages on subsequent real estate purchases. This cycle could lead to consumers’ overextending themselves financially and facing additional subsequent foreclosure actions. Second, I believe that these subsequent lawsuits for money due, which could be resolved in conjunction with an initial foreclosure action, would clog the dockets of our trial courts”).

{¶32} I also disagree with the trial court’s application of the lis pendens doctrine, which it used to support its conclusion that BAC never obtained an interest in the property. I do not believe this is an appropriate use of lis pendens, but rather that any interest MERS had, and consequently that BAC could have obtained, was extinguished as operation of judgment.

{¶33} Finally, even if BAC had a valid assignment from a real party in interest, I would find that BAC’s foreclosure filing was barred by res judicata as argued in Union Bank’s “Motion in Contra to Plaintiff’s Motion for Default Judgment and Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint.” The Supreme Court of Ohio has held that “[t]he doctrine of res judicata encompasses the two related concepts of claim preclusion, also known as * * * estoppel by judgment, and issue preclusion, also known as collateral estoppel.” Grava v. Parkman Twp., 73 Ohio St.3d 379, 381, 1995-Ohio-331. This Court has previously held that “[c]laim preclusion prevents subsequent actions, by the same parties or their privies, based upon any claim arising out of a transaction that was the subject matter of a previous action.” Dawson v. Dawson, 3d Dist. Nos. 14-09-08, 10, 11, 12, 2009O-hio-6029, ¶36. Additionally, “[w]here a claim could have been litigated in the previous suit, claim preclusion also bars subsequent actions on that matter.” Dawson, 2009-Ohio-6029, at ¶36, citing Grava, 73 Ohio St.3d at 382. Here, Union Bank obtained a default judgment against BAC concerning the same subject matter in March 2009. Consequently, I would find BAC’s foreclosure filing in August 2009 to be barred by res judicata.

© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in bac home loans, chain in title, concealment, conflict of interest, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, dismissed, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosures, MERS, mortgage, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., stopforeclosurefraud.comComments (1)

RESTRAINED |’MERS’ and any of its attorneys, agents, successors and assignees by NY SUPREME COURT

RESTRAINED |’MERS’ and any of its attorneys, agents, successors and assignees by NY SUPREME COURT


Supreme Court of the State of New York, held
in and for the County of KINGS, at
the Courthouse located at 360 Adams
Street, Brooklyn, NY on the 2nd day of
June, 2010

“WHY an order should not be made dismissing the within action due to Plaintiffs lack of standing; together with such other and further relief as this Court may deem just and equitable;”

ORDERED, that pending the hearing . . of this motion, the Plaintiff Mortgage Electronic Registration System as Nominee for US Bank, N.A., and any of its attorneys, agents, successors and assignees, be and are hereby restrained from implementing or any way pursuing the closing of title on any third party sale of the premises known as 81 Woodbine Street, Brooklyn, NY 11221; and Plaintiff Mortgage Electronic Registration System as Nominee for US Bank, N.A., and any of its attorneys, agents, successors and assignees be and are hereby restrained from evicting Liborio Munoz and his family and any other occupants from the premises known as 81 Woodbine Street, Brooklyn, NY 11221.

[ipaper docId=36645881 access_key=key-12v2ajab40rvsj0bsv1b height=600 width=600 /]

© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in auction, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, dismissed, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, lawsuit, MERS, MERSCORP, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD, TRO, trustee, trustee sale, TrustsComments (0)

HOMEOWNERS’ REBELLION: COULD 62 MILLION HOMES BE FORECLOSURE-PROOF?

HOMEOWNERS’ REBELLION: COULD 62 MILLION HOMES BE FORECLOSURE-PROOF?


Ellen Brown, August 18th, 2010
WEBofDEBT

Over 62 million mortgages are now held in the name of MERS, an electronic recording system devised by and for the convenience of the mortgage industry. A California bankruptcy court, following landmark cases in other jurisdictions, recently held that this electronic shortcut makes it impossible for banks to establish their ownership of property titles—and therefore to foreclose on mortgaged properties. The logical result could be 62 million homes that are foreclosure-proof.

Mortgages bundled into securities were a favorite investment of speculators at the height of the financial bubble leading up to the crash of 2008. The securities changed hands frequently, and the companies profiting from mortgage payments were often not the same parties that negotiated the loans. At the heart of this disconnect was the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS, a company that serves as the mortgagee of record for lenders, allowing properties to change hands without the necessity of recording each transfer.

MERS was convenient for the mortgage industry, but courts are now questioning the impact of all of this financial juggling when it comes to mortgage ownership. To foreclose on real property, the plaintiff must be able to establish the chain of title entitling it to relief. But MERS has acknowledged, and recent cases have held, that MERS is a mere “nominee”—an entity appointed by the true owner simply for the purpose of holding property in order to facilitate transactions. Recent court opinions stress that this defect is not just a procedural but is a substantive failure, one that is fatal to the plaintiff’s legal ability to foreclose.

That means hordes of victims of predatory lending could end up owning their homes free and clear—while the financial industry could end up skewered on its own sword.

California Precedent

The latest of these court decisions came down in California on May 20, 2010, in a bankruptcy case called In re Walker, Case no. 10-21656-E–11. The court held that MERS could not foreclose because it was a mere nominee; and that as a result, plaintiff Citibank could not collect on its claim. The judge opined:

Since no evidence of MERS’ ownership of the underlying note has been offered, and other courts have concluded that MERS does not own the underlying notes, this court is convinced that MERS had no interest it could transfer to Citibank. Since MERS did not own the underlying note, it could not transfer the beneficial interest of the Deed of Trust to another. Any attempt to transfer the beneficial interest of a trust deed without ownership of the underlying note is void under California law.

In support, the judge cited In Re Vargas (California Bankruptcy Court); Landmark v. Kesler (Kansas Supreme Court); LaSalle Bank v. Lamy (a New York case); and In Re Foreclosure Cases (the “Boyko” decision from Ohio Federal Court). (For more on these earlier cases, see here, here and here.) The court concluded:

Since the claimant, Citibank, has not established that it is the owner of the promissory note secured by the trust deed, Citibank is unable to assert a claim for payment in this case.

The broad impact the case could have on California foreclosures is suggested by attorney Jeff Barnes, who writes:

This opinion . . . serves as a legal basis to challenge any foreclosure in California based on a MERS assignment; to seek to void any MERS assignment of the Deed of Trust or the note to a third party for purposes of foreclosure; and should be sufficient for a borrower to not only obtain a TRO [temporary restraining order] against a Trustee’s Sale, but also a Preliminary Injunction barring any sale pending any litigation filed by the borrower challenging a foreclosure based on a MERS assignment.

While not binding on courts in other jurisdictions, the ruling could serve as persuasive precedent there as well, because the court cited non-bankruptcy cases related to the lack of authority of MERS, and because the opinion is consistent with prior rulings in Idaho and Nevada Bankruptcy courts on the same issue.

What Could This Mean for Homeowners?

Earlier cases focused on the inability of MERS to produce a promissory note or assignment establishing that it was entitled to relief, but most courts have considered this a mere procedural defect and continue to look the other way on MERS’ technical lack of standing to sue. The more recent cases, however, are looking at something more serious. If MERS is not the title holder of properties held in its name, the chain of title has been broken, and no one may have standing to sue. In MERS v. Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance, MERS insisted that it had no actionable interest in title, and the court agreed.

An August 2010 article in Mother Jones titled “Fannie and Freddie’s Foreclosure Barons” exposes a widespread practice of “foreclosure mills” in backdating assignments after foreclosures have been filed. Not only is this perjury, a prosecutable offense, but if MERS was never the title holder, there is nothing to assign. The defaulting homeowners could wind up with free and clear title.

In Jacksonville, Florida, legal aid attorney April Charney has been using the missing-note argument ever since she first identified that weakness in the lenders’ case in 2004. Five years later, she says, some of the homeowners she’s helped are still in their homes. According to a Huffington Post article titled “‘Produce the Note’ Movement Helps Stall Foreclosures”:

Because of the missing ownership documentation, Charney is now starting to file quiet title actions, hoping to get her homeowner clients full title to their homes (a quiet title action ‘quiets’ all other claims). Charney says she’s helped thousands of homeowners delay or prevent foreclosure, and trained thousands of lawyers across the country on how to protect homeowners and battle in court.

Criminal Charges?

Other suits go beyond merely challenging title to alleging criminal activity. On July 26, 2010, a class action was filed in Florida seeking relief against MERS and an associated legal firm for racketeering and mail fraud. It alleges that the defendants used “the artifice of MERS to sabotage the judicial process to the detriment of borrowers;” that “to perpetuate the scheme, MERS was and is used in a way so that the average consumer, or even legal professional, can never determine who or what was or is ultimately receiving the benefits of any mortgage payments;” that the scheme depended on “the MERS artifice and the ability to generate any necessary ‘assignment’ which flowed from it;” and that “by engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity, specifically ‘mail or wire fraud,’ the Defendants . . . participated in a criminal enterprise affecting interstate commerce.”

Ellen Brown wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Ellen developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In Web of Debt, her latest of eleven books, she shows how the Federal Reserve and “the money trust” have usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her websites are webofdebt.com, ellenbrown.com, and public-banking.com.

© 2010-19 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in bogus, chain in title, class action, conflict of interest, conspiracy, CONTROL FRAUD, corruption, foreclosure, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, foreclosures, forgery, lawsuit, mail fraud, MERS, MERSCORP, MORTGAGE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION SYSTEMS INC., Mortgage Foreclosure Fraud, notary fraud, racketeering, RICO, servicers, trade secrets, trustee, Trusts, Wall StreetComments (5)

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