Archive | April, 2011

20 MILLION DOLLAR JUDGEMENT wrongful foreclosure

29 Apr

Coldwell Banker Mortgage messes with the wrong Soldier and gets SHOT DOWN IN FLAMES WITH 20 MILLION DOLLAR JUDGEMENT.

OUCH – BANKS MESSES WITH SOLDIER AND LOSES AT TRIAL!  CAN’T A SOLDIER GET A LITTLE RESPECT HERE?

THE CASE IS 4:09-CV-00146-CDL, FILED IN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT IN GEORGIA.  ATTORNEY (WINNER) IS CHARLIE GOWER.  CASE FILED 12/1/09.

FINAL VERDICT: 1,000,000 IN EMOTIONAL DISTRESS DAMAGES / $350,000 IN ATTORNEY FEES / $20,000,000 IN PUNITIVE DAMAGES (WOW).

CAUSES OF ACTION ALLEGED (AND SUCCESSFULLY PROVEN): 1. RESPA 2. BREACH OF CONTRACT AND 3. NEGLIGENCE

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Military.com reports a 20 million dollar SHOT TO THE HEART of PHH Mortgage for imporperly messing with Soldier’s Credit Report.

Another amazing tale of lender arrogance and failure to follow the law.  This time, the culprit is PHH Mortgage (DBA Coldwell Banker Mortgage).  The story is old, common, typical and simple to understand.  Soldier buys a house and gets hooked up on automatic payment system.  Payments are kept current.  Later, lender claims payments are late, and soldier is forced to clear up his name and to try to contact the servicer to fix the error.  Of course, there is little help offered and lots of hold time with customer servicer.  Eventually, negative credit is reported against the soldier.  Amazing?  Yeah.

So after several go-rounds to fix the problem, the guy gets tired of it, hires a lawyer, and files a lawsuit.  Lender of course is arrogant, denies all wrongdoing and takes the case to jury trial.  End result – Verdict for Plaintiff, and 20 million dollar punitive damage award against Coldwell Banker.  When will these companies get it right and start treating people like human beings?

Just another tale from the foreclosure pit.

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Foreclosure Trustee duties and obligations

26 Apr

Because of the significant increase in defaults and foreclosures, mortgage servicers need to understand the duties and liabilities the law imposes upon foreclosure trustees.

Litigation based upon trustee error can slow, stop or invalidate foreclosures and impair the servicer’s ability to dispose of properties following foreclosure. When borrowers refinance or pay off during foreclosure, trustees are often responsible for the payoffs and reconveyances. After foreclosure, the trustee is responsible for distribution of surplus funds – the funds in excess of the debt due under the foreclosed deed of trust. All these responsibilities are sources of claims against trustees.

Foreclosure litigation plaintiffs often name and seek to hold lenders and servicers responsible for trustee errors on the theory that the trustee is the agent of the lender and servicer. According to Miller & Starr’s “California Real Estate,” this claim is particularly easy to make when the lender or servicer uses an in-house trustee and especially when the trustee acquires the property by credit bid for the lender or servicer at its own foreclosure sale. This article examines a trustee’s liability for damages under California law for conduct of the foreclosure sale, payoffs, reconveyances and distribution of surplus funds. The scope of a trustee’s duties differs for each of these services, and a breach of one of these duties can subject the trustee, lender and servicer to substantial compensatory damages, punitive damages and even criminal sanctions. Foreclosure sales In the I.E. Associates v. Safeco case, the California Supreme Court limited the scope of the trustee’s duties in conducting foreclosure sales. The issue in that case was whether a trustee breached its duty to a trustor by failing to ascertain the current address of the trustor where the current address was different from the address of record. The trustee did not have actual knowledge of the current address, but through reasonable diligence could have discovered it. The Supreme Court held that the trustee did not have a duty to find the current address. The court found that a foreclosure trustee is not a true trustee, such as a trustee of a person or a trustee under a trust agreement. Instead, a foreclosure trustee is merely “a middleman” between the beneficiary and the trustor who only carries out the specific duties that the deed of trust and foreclosure law specifically impose upon it.

The deed of trust and the statute are the exclusive source of the rights, duties and liabilities governing notice of nonjudicial foreclosure sales. Because neither the deed of trust nor the statute required the trustee to search for an address it did not have, the court held that the trustee had no duty to do so. The Stephens v. Hollis case reiterated the rule that a foreclosure trustee is not a true trustee: “Just as a panda is not an ordinary bear, a trustee of a deed of trust is not an ordinary trustee. ‘A trustee under a deed of trust has neither the powers nor the obligations of a strict trustee. He serves as a kind of common agent for the parties.’”

It is critical to recognize, however, that these rules of limited duty only apply to the trustee’s duty to provide proper notice of the sale. The trustee also has a broad common law duty to conduct a sale that is fair in all respects. In Hatch v. Collins, the court noted that “A trustee has a general duty to conduct the sale ‘fairly, openly, reasonably and with due diligence,’ exercising sound discretion to protect the rights of the mortgagor and others…A breach of the trustee’s duty to conduct an open, fair and honest sale may give rise to a cause of action for professional negligence, breach of an obligation created by statute, or fraud.” Examples of such a breach could be conspiring to “chill the bidding” by overstating the debt, thereby dissuading others from appearing and bidding at the sale. California Civil Code Section 2924h(g) states that it is “unlawful for any person, acting alone or in concert with others, (1) to offer to accept or accept from another any consideration of any type not to bid, or (2) to fix or restrain bidding in any manner at a sale of property conducted pursuant to a power of sale in a deed of trust or mortgage.” The code continues: “In addition to any other remedies, any person committing any act declared unlawful by this subdivision or any act which would operate as a fraud or deceit upon any beneficiary, trustor or junior [lien holder] shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned in the county jail for not more than one year, or be punished by both that fine and imprisonment.” In addition to imposing criminal penalties, this section also imposes civil liability upon the trustee.

The courts will review foreclosure sale proceedings to make sure they have been fair in all respects. A trustee who violates its contractual duties under the deed of trust or its statutory or common law duties is liable to the trustor or to an affected junior lien holder for such person’s lost equity in the property. This is measured by the difference between the fair market value of the property and the liens senior to the affected person’s interest at the time of the sale. In addition, pursuant to Civil Code Section 3333, the trustee has liability for all other damages proximately caused by its wrongful conduct, whether those damages were foreseeable or not. A willful violation of these duties can subject the trustee to punitive damages under Civil Code Section 3294. Payoffs and reconveyances Civil Code Section 2943(c) requires a beneficiary or its representative, which is frequently the trustee, to provide a payoff statement to an “entitled person” within 21 days after a written request for a payoff demand. An “entitled person” means the trustor, a junior lien holder, their successors or assigns, or an escrow. Failure to provide a timely payoff demand makes the beneficiary or its representative liable to the entitled person for all actual damages such a person may sustain due to a failure to provide a timely payoff demand, plus $300 in statutory damages. Failure to provide an accurate payoff demand can have dire consequences. If the entitled person closes a sale or refinance in reliance upon a payoff demand that understates the payoff, the beneficiary must reconvey its lien. The beneficiary is then left with only an unsecured claim against the entitled person. A trustee who is responsible for such an error could have substantial liability to its beneficiary. After the note and deed of trust are paid off, Civil Code Section 2941 requires the beneficiary to deliver the original note, the deed of trust and a request for reconveyance to the trustee. Within 21 days thereafter, the trustee must record the reconveyance and deliver the original note to the trustor. If the reconveyance has not been recorded within 60 days after the payoff, upon the trustee’s written request, the beneficiary must substitute himself as trustee and record the reconveyance. If the reconveyance is not recorded within 75 days after payoff, any title company may prepare and record a release of the obligation. A person who violates any of these provisions is liable for $500 in statutory damages and all actual damages caused by the violation. These can include damages for emotional distress. A willful violation of these requirements is a misdemeanor which can subject the violator to a $400 fine, plus six months’ imprisonment in the county jail. Surplus funds Civil Code Sections 2924j and 2924k impose upon the trustee a duty to distribute surplus funds that the trustee receives at a sale to lien holders and trustors whose interests are junior to the foreclosed deed of trust. Surplus funds are defined as funds in excess of the debt due to the holder of the foreclosed lien and the costs of the foreclosure sale. As previously referenced in the I. E. Associates and Stephens cases, those courts held that with respect to the conduct of the foreclosure sale, a foreclosure trustee is not a true trustee – only a middleman. Further, in Hatch v. Collins, the court held that a breach of the trustee’s duties in the conduct of the sale does not constitute a breach of a fiduciary duty. While no case holds that a trustee is a fiduciary with respect to surplus funds, a trustee’s surplus funds duties closely resemble those of a fiduciary – a fiduciary is one who holds and manages property for the benefit of another. Fiduciaries are held to a higher standard of care than others in discharging their duties. If a trustee has a fiduciary duty in handling surplus funds, a trustee may have a duty to do more than simply follow the statute with respect to giving notice of and distributing the surplus funds. For instance, a trustee may have a duty to take reasonable steps to find an interested party whose address is unknown to the trustee if the trustee has reason to believe such an address can be found. This is particularly so because the trustee can pay for the expense of the investigation from the surplus funds. Also, a trustee as a fiduciary may face greater exposure to punitive damages, which can be awarded for breach of fiduciary duty when coupled with fraud, malice or oppression. Servicers Using In-House Foreclosure Trustees Must Beware in Mortgage Servicing > Foreclosure by John Clark Brown Jr. on Tuesday 19 June 2007 email the content item print the content item comments: 0 Servicing Management, June 2007. Because of the significant increase in defaults and foreclosures, mortgage servicers need to understand the duties and liabilities the law imposes upon foreclosure trustees. Litigation based upon trustee error can slow, stop or invalidate foreclosures and impair the servicer’s ability to dispose of properties following foreclosure. When borrowers refinance or pay off during foreclosure, trustees are often responsible for the payoffs and reconveyances. After foreclosure, the trustee is responsible for distribution of surplus funds – the funds in excess of the debt due under the foreclosed deed of trust. All these responsibilities are sources of claims against trustees. Foreclosure litigation plaintiffs often name and seek to hold lenders and servicers responsible for trustee errors on the theory that the trustee is the agent of the lender and servicer. According to Miller & Starr’s “California Real Estate,” this claim is particularly easy to make when the lender or servicer uses an in-house trustee and especially when the trustee acquires the property by credit bid for the lender or servicer at its own foreclosure sale. This article examines a trustee’s liability for damages under California law for conduct of the foreclosure sale, payoffs, reconveyances and distribution of surplus funds. The scope of a trustee’s duties differs for each of these services, and a breach of one of these duties can subject the trustee, lender and servicer to substantial compensatory damages, punitive damages and even criminal sanctions. Foreclosure sales In the I.E. Associates v. Safeco case, the California Supreme Court limited the scope of the trustee’s duties in conducting foreclosure sales. The issue in that case was whether a trustee breached its duty to a trustor by failing to ascertain the current address of the trustor where the current address was different from the address of record. The trustee did not have actual knowledge of the current address, but through reasonable diligence could have discovered it. The Supreme Court held that the trustee did not have a duty to find the current address. The court found that a foreclosure trustee is not a true trustee, such as a trustee of a person or a trustee under a trust agreement. Instead, a foreclosure trustee is merely “a middleman” between the beneficiary and the trustor who only carries out the specific duties that the deed of trust and foreclosure law specifically impose upon it. The deed of trust and the statute are the exclusive source of the rights, duties and liabilities governing notice of nonjudicial foreclosure sales. Because neither the deed of trust nor the statute required the trustee to search for an address it did not have, the court held that the trustee had no duty to do so. The Stephens v. Hollis case reiterated the rule that a foreclosure trustee is not a true trustee: “Just as a panda is not an ordinary bear, a trustee of a deed of trust is not an ordinary trustee. ‘A trustee under a deed of trust has neither the powers nor the obligations of a strict trustee. He serves as a kind of common agent for the parties.’” It is critical to recognize, however, that these rules of limited duty only apply to the trustee’s duty to provide proper notice of the sale. The trustee also has a broad common law duty to conduct a sale that is fair in all respects. In Hatch v. Collins, the court noted that “A trustee has a general duty to conduct the sale ‘fairly, openly, reasonably and with due diligence,’ exercising sound discretion to protect the rights of the mortgagor and others…A breach of the trustee’s duty to conduct an open, fair and honest sale may give rise to a cause of action for professional negligence, breach of an obligation created by statute, or fraud.” Examples of such a breach could be conspiring to “chill the bidding” by overstating the debt, thereby dissuading others from appearing and bidding at the sale. California Civil Code Section 2924h(g) states that it is “unlawful for any person, acting alone or in concert with others, (1) to offer to accept or accept from another any consideration of any type not to bid, or (2) to fix or restrain bidding in any manner at a sale of property conducted pursuant to a power of sale in a deed of trust or mortgage.” The code continues: “In addition to any other remedies, any person committing any act declared unlawful by this subdivision or any act which would operate as a fraud or deceit upon any beneficiary, trustor or junior [lien holder] shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned in the county jail for not more than one year, or be punished by both that fine and imprisonment.” In addition to imposing criminal penalties, this section also imposes civil liability upon the trustee. The courts will review foreclosure sale proceedings to make sure they have been fair in all respects. A trustee who violates its contractual duties under the deed of trust or its statutory or common law duties is liable to the trustor or to an affected junior lien holder for such person’s lost equity in the property. This is measured by the difference between the fair market value of the property and the liens senior to the affected person’s interest at the time of the sale. In addition, pursuant to Civil Code Section 3333, the trustee has liability for all other damages proximately caused by its wrongful conduct, whether those damages were foreseeable or not. A willful violation of these duties can subject the trustee to punitive damages under Civil Code Section 3294. Payoffs and reconveyances Civil Code Section 2943(c) requires a beneficiary or its representative, which is frequently the trustee, to provide a payoff statement to an “entitled person” within 21 days after a written request for a payoff demand. An “entitled person” means the trustor, a junior lien holder, their successors or assigns, or an escrow. Failure to provide a timely payoff demand makes the beneficiary or its representative liable to the entitled person for all actual damages such a person may sustain due to a failure to provide a timely payoff demand, plus $300 in statutory damages. Failure to provide an accurate payoff demand can have dire consequences. If the entitled person closes a sale or refinance in reliance upon a payoff demand that understates the payoff, the beneficiary must reconvey its lien. The beneficiary is then left with only an unsecured claim against the entitled person. A trustee who is responsible for such an error could have substantial liability to its beneficiary. After the note and deed of trust are paid off, Civil Code Section 2941 requires the beneficiary to deliver the original note, the deed of trust and a request for reconveyance to the trustee. Within 21 days thereafter, the trustee must record the reconveyance and deliver the original note to the trustor. If the reconveyance has not been recorded within 60 days after the payoff, upon the trustee’s written request, the beneficiary must substitute himself as trustee and record the reconveyance. If the reconveyance is not recorded within 75 days after payoff, any title company may prepare and record a release of the obligation. A person who violates any of these provisions is liable for $500 in statutory damages and all actual damages caused by the violation. These can include damages for emotional distress. A willful violation of these requirements is a misdemeanor which can subject the violator to a $400 fine, plus six months’ imprisonment in the county jail. Surplus funds Civil Code Sections 2924j and 2924k impose upon the trustee a duty to distribute surplus funds that the trustee receives at a sale to lien holders and trustors whose interests are junior to the foreclosed deed of trust. Surplus funds are defined as funds in excess of the debt due to the holder of the foreclosed lien and the costs of the foreclosure sale. As previously referenced in the I. E. Associates and Stephens cases, those courts held that with respect to the conduct of the foreclosure sale, a foreclosure trustee is not a true trustee – only a middleman. Further, in Hatch v. Collins, the court held that a breach of the trustee’s duties in the conduct of the sale does not constitute a breach of a fiduciary duty. While no case holds that a trustee is a fiduciary with respect to surplus funds, a trustee’s surplus funds duties closely resemble those of a fiduciary – a fiduciary is one who holds and manages property for the benefit of another. Fiduciaries are held to a higher standard of care than others in discharging their duties. If a trustee has a fiduciary duty in handling surplus funds, a trustee may have a duty to do more than simply follow the statute with respect to giving notice of and distributing the surplus funds. For instance, a trustee may have a duty to take reasonable steps to find an interested party whose address is unknown to the trustee if the trustee has reason to believe such an address can be found. This is particularly so because the trustee can pay for the expense of the investigation from the surplus funds. Also, a trustee as a fiduciary may face greater exposure to punitive damages, which can be awarded for breach of fiduciary duty when coupled with fraud, malice or oppression.

California Eviction Judgment Cures a Wrongful Foreclosure

24 Apr

March 31, 2011 Posted In: Mortgage

By Law Office of James J. Falcone on March 31, 2011 9:50 PM | Permalink

In a recent court decision homeowners in Los Angeles were foreclosed. The foreclosing lender then filed an eviction action (unlawful detainer); the former owners stipulated the eviction judgment. The Homeowners filed suit for wrongful foreclosure.

The claim was that a Notice of Default was recorded on behalf of ‘Option One’ as beneficiary, but there was no substitution showing that Option One was the new beneficiary of record, and the foreclosure was conducted on behalf a trustee for which there was no substitution recorded.

The court dismissed the homeowners lawsuit. The court found that no substitution showing Option One as the new beneficiary of record with the statutory authority to designate a substituted trustee. The beneficiary of record remained Home Loans USA, Inc., the original beneficiary and lender to plaintiff in her refinance transaction. But even so, the eviction judgment which the homeowners stipulated to was res judicata as to plaintiffs’ claims in this action which all arise from the alleged invalidity of the foreclosure sale- they essentially agreed that it was already determined that there were no defects in the foreclosure, and that the lender had good title with which to evict them. “Res Judicata” means that the issue was already determined by a court.

The court stated “By stipulating to judgment against them, plaintiffs conceded the validity of Wells Fargo’s allegations that the sale had been duly conducted and operated to transfer “duly perfected” legal title to the property.”

Unlawful Detainer is a quick proceeding, and the trial seldom gets 30 minutes of court time. This decision will encourage sophisticated foreclosing lenders to move to eviction quickly to cut off claims of wrongful foreclosure, and sophisticated homeowners to hire a real estate attorney to represent them. It is nearly impossible to prove defects in the foreclosure at an eviction trial, and the owner must file their own suit and obtain an injunction from it going forward while they litigate the foreclosure.

Recording false documents ? and getting the house, the insurence, the tarp, the fdic guarentee, and whatever else the American taxpayer will give the pretender lender

23 Apr

Recently, many California Courts have been dismissing lawsuits filed to stop non-judicial foreclosures, ruling that the non-judicial foreclosure statutes occupy the field and are exclusive as long as they are complied with.  Thus, in the case where a notice of default is recorded and a lawsuit then filed in response to stop the foreclosure since the foreclosing party does not possess the underlying note, all too often the Court will simply dismiss the case and claim “2924 has no requirement to produce the note.”

Thus, these Courts view the statutes that regulate non-judicial foreclosures as all inclusive of all the requirements and remedies in foreclosure proceedings.  Indeed, California Civil Code sections 2924 through 2924k provide a comprehensive framework for the regulation of a nonjudicial foreclosure sale pursuant to a power of sale contained in a deed of trust. This comprehensive statutory scheme has three purposes: ‘“(1) to provide the creditor/beneficiary with a quick, inexpensive and efficient remedy against a defaulting debtor/trustor; (2) to protect the debtor/trustor from wrongful loss of the property; and (3) to ensure that a properly conducted sale is final between the parties and conclusive as to a bona fide purchaser.” [Citations.]’ [Citation.]” (Melendrez v. D & I Investment, Inc. (2005) 127 Cal.App.4th 1238, 1249–1250 [26 Cal. Rptr. 3d 413].)

Notwithstanding, the foreclosure statutes are not exclusive.  If someone commits murder during an auction taking place under Civil Code 2924, that does not automatically mean they are immune from criminal and civil liability.  Perhaps this is where some of these courts are “missing the boat.”

For example, in Alliance Mortgage Co. v. Rothwell (1995) 10 Cal. 4th 1226, 1231 [44 Cal. Rptr. 2d 352, 900 P.2d 601], the California Supreme Court concluded that a lender who obtained the property with a full credit bid at a foreclosure sale was not precluded from suing a third party who had fraudulently induced it to make the loan. The court concluded that “ ‘the antideficiency laws were not intended to immunize wrongdoers from the consequences of their fraudulent acts’ ” and that, if the court applies a proper measure of damages, “ ‘fraud suits do not frustrate the antideficiency policies because there should be no double recovery for the beneficiary.’ ” (Id. at p. 1238.)

Likewise, in South Bay Building Enterprises, Inc. v. Riviera Lend-Lease, Inc. [*1071]  (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 1111, 1121 [85 Cal. Rptr. 2d 647], the court held that a junior lienor retains the right to recover damages from the trustee and the beneficiary of the foreclosing lien if there have been material irregularities in the conduct of the foreclosure sale. (See also Melendrez v. D & I Investment, Inc., supra, 127 Cal.App.4th at pp. 1257–1258; Lo v. Jensen (2001) 88 Cal.App.4th 1093, 1095 [106 Cal. Rptr. 2d 443] [a trustee’s sale tainted by fraud may be set aside].)

In looking past the comprehensive statutory framework, these other Courts also considered the policies advanced by the statutory scheme, and whether those policies would be frustrated by other laws.  Recently, in the case of California Golf, L.L.C. v. Cooper, 163 Cal. App. 4th 1053, 78 Cal. Rptr. 3d 153, 2008 Cal. App. LEXIS 850 (Cal. App. 2d Dist. 2008), the Appellate Court held that the remedies of 2924h were not exclusive.  Of greater importance is that the Appellate Court reversed the lower court and specifically held that provisions in UCC Article 3 were allowed in the foreclosure context:

Considering the policy interests advanced by the statutory scheme governing nonjudicial foreclosure sales, and the policy interests advanced by Commercial Code section 3312, it is clear that allowing a remedy under the latter does not undermine the former. Indeed, the two remedies are complementary and advance the same goals. The first two goals of the nonjudicial foreclosure statutes: (1) to provide the creditor/beneficiary with a quick, inexpensive and efficient remedy against a defaulting debtor/trustor and (2) to protect the debtor/trustor from a wrongful loss of the property, are not impacted by the decision that we reach. This case most certainly, however, involves the third policy interest: to ensure that a properly conducted sale is final between the parties and conclusive as to a bona fide purchaser.

This is very significant since it provides further support to lawsuits brought against foreclosing parties lacking the ability toenforce the underlying note, since those laws also arise under Article 3.  Under California Commercial Code 3301, a note may only be enforced if one has actual possession of the note as a holder, or has possession of the note not as a non-holder but with holder rights.

Just like in California Golf, enforcing 3301 operates to protect the debtor/trustor from a wrongful loss of the property.  To the extent that a foreclosing party might argue that such lawsuits disrupt a quick, inexpensive, and efficient remedy against a defaulting debtor/trustor, the response is that “since there is no enforceable obligation,  the foreclosing entity is not a party/creditor/beneficiary entitled to a quick, inexpensive, and efficient remedy,” but simply a declarant that recorded false documents.

This is primarily because being entitled to foreclose non-judicially under 2924 can only take place “after a breach of the obligation for which that mortgage or transfer is a security.”   Thus, 2924 by its own terms, looks outside of the statute to the actual obligation to see if there was a breach, and if the note is unenforceable under Article 3, there can simply be no breach.  End of story.

Accordingly, if there is no possession of the note or possession was not obtained until after the notice of sale was recorded, it is impossible to trigger 2924, and simple compliance with the notice requirements in 2924 does not suddenly bless the felony of grand theft of the unknown foreclosing entity.  To hold otherwise would create absurd results since it would allow any person or company the right to take another persons’ home by simply recording a false notice of default and notice of sale.

Indeed, such absurdity would allow you to foreclose on your own home again to get it back should you simply record the same false documents.  Thus it is obvious that these courts improperly assume the allegations contained in the notice of default and notice of sale are truthful.   Perhaps these courts simply cannot or choose not to believe such frauds are taking place due to the magnitude and volume of foreclosures in this Country at this time.  One can only image the chaos that would ensue in America if the truth is known that millions of foreclosures took place unlawfully and millions more are now on hold as a result of not having the ability to enforce the underlying obligation pursuant to Article 3.

So if you are in litigation to stop a foreclosure, you can probably expect the Court will want to immediately dismiss your case.  These Courts just cannot understand how the law would allow someone to stay in a home without paying.  Notwithstanding, laws cannot be broken, and Courts are not allowed to join with the foreclosing parties in breaking laws simply because “not paying doesn’t seem right.”

Accordingly, at least for appeal purposes, be sure to argue that 2924 was never triggered since there was never any “breach of the obligation” and that Appellate Courts throughout California have routinely held that other laws do in fact apply in the non-judicial foreclosure process since the policies advanced by the statutory non-judicial foreclosure scheme are not frustrated by these other laws. The recent exposure and discovery of Robosigners and notary fraud has added another dimension to the “exclusive 2924 argument as seen in the 22/20 special aired April 3, 2011.

Scott Pelley reports how problems with mortgage documents are prompting lawsuits and could slow down the weak housing market

  • Play CBS Video Video The next housing shockAs more and more Americans face mortgage foreclosure, banks’ crucial ownership documents for the properties are often unclear and are sometimes even bogus, a condition that’s causing lawsuits and hampering an already weak housing market. Scott Pelley reports.
  • Video Extra: Eviction reprieveFlorida residents AJ and Brenda Boyd spent more than a year trying to renegotiate their mortgage and save their home. At the last moment, questions about who owns their mortgage saved them from eviction.
  • Video Extra: “Save the Dream” eventsBruce Marks, founder and CEO of the nonprofit Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America talks to Scott Pelley about his “Save the Dream” events and how foreclosures are causing a crisis in America.
(CBS News)If there was a question about whether we’re headed for a second housing shock, that was settled last week with news that home prices have fallen a sixth consecutive month. Values are nearly back to levels of the Great Recession. One thing weighing on the economy is the huge number of foreclosed houses.Many are stuck on the market for a reason you wouldn’t expect: banks can’t find the ownership documents.Who really owns your mortgage?
Scott Pelley explains a bizarre aftershock of the U.S. financial collapse: An epidemic of forged and missing mortgage documents.It’s bizarre but, it turns out, Wall Street cut corners when it created those mortgage-backed investments that triggered the financial collapse. Now that banks want to evict people, they’re unwinding these exotic investments to find, that often, the legal documents behind the mortgages aren’t there. Caught in a jam of their own making, some companies appear to be resorting to forgery and phony paperwork to throw people – down on their luck – out of their homes.In the 1930s we had breadlines; venture out before dawn in America today and you’ll find mortgage lines. This past January in Los Angeles, 37,000 homeowners facing foreclosure showed up to an event to beg their bank for lower payments on their mortgage. Some people even slept on the sidewalk to get in line.So many in the country are desperate now that they have to meet in convention centers coast to coast.In February in Miami, 12,000 people showed up to a similar event. The line went down the block and doubled back twice.

Video: The next housing shock
Extra: Eviction reprieve
Extra: “Save the Dream” events

Dale DeFreitas lost her job and now fears her home is next. “It’s very emotional because I just think about it. I don’t wanna lose my home. I really don’t,” she told “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley.

“It’s your American dream,” he remarked.

“It was. And still is,” she replied.

These convention center events are put on by the non-profit Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, which helps people figure what they can afford, and then walks them across the hall to bank representatives to ask for lower payments. More than half will get their mortgages adjusted, but the rest discover that they just can’t keep their home.

For many that’s when the real surprise comes in: these same banks have fouled up all of their own paperwork to a historic degree.

“In my mind this is an absolute, intentional fraud,” Lynn Szymoniak, who is fighting foreclosure, told Pelley.

While trying to save her house, she discovered something we did not know: back when Wall Street was using algorithms and computers to engineer those disastrous mortgage-backed securities, it appears they didn’t want old fashioned paperwork slowing down the profits.

“This was back when it was a white hot fevered pitch to move as many of these as possible,” Pelley remarked.

“Exactly. When you could make a whole lotta money through securitization. And every other aspect of it could be done electronically, you know, key strokes. This was the only piece where somebody was supposed to actually go get documents, transfer the documents from one entity to the other. And it looks very much like they just eliminated that stuff all together,” Szymoniak said.

Szymoniak’s mortgage had been bundled with thousands of others into one of those Wall Street securities traded from investor to investor. When the bank took her to court, it first said it had lost her documents, including the critical assignment of mortgage which transfers ownership. But then, there was a courthouse surprise.

“They found all of your paperwork more than a year after they initially said that they had lost it?” Pelley asked.

“Yes,” she replied.

Asked if that seemed suspicious to her, Szymoniak said, “Yes, absolutely. What do you imagine? It fell behind the file cabinet? Where was all of this? ‘We had it, we own it, we lost it.’ And then more recently, everyone is coming in saying, ‘Hey we found it. Isn’t that wonderful?'”

But what the bank may not have known is that Szymoniak is a lawyer and fraud investigator with a specialty in forged documents. She has trained FBI agents.

She told Pelley she asked for copies of those documents.

Asked what she found, Szymoniak told Pelley, “When I looked at the assignment of my mortgage, and this is the assignment: it looked that even the date they put in, which was 10/17/08, was several months after they sued me for foreclosure. So, what they were saying to the court was, ‘We sued her in July of 2008 and we acquired this mortgage in October of 2008.’ It made absolutely no sense.”

Produced by Robert Anderson and Daniel Ruetenik

Now for the pleading

Timothy L. McCandless, Esq. SBN 147715

LAW OFFICES OF TIMOTHY L. MCCANDLESS

1881 Business Center Drive, Ste. 9A

San Bernardino, CA 92392

Tel:  909/890-9192

Fax: 909/382-9956

Attorney for Plaintiffs

 

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

 

COUNTY OF ____________

___________________________________,

And ROES 1 through 5,000,

Plaintiff,

v.

SAND CANYON CORPORATION f/k/a OPTION ONE MORTGAGE CORPORATION; AMERICAN HOME MORTGAGE SERVICES, INC.; WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., as Trustee for SOUNDVIEW HOME LOAN TRUST 2007-OPT2; DOCX, LLC; and PREMIER TRUST DEED SERVICES and all persons unknown claiming any legal or  equitable right, title, estate, lien, or interest  in the property described in the complaint adverse to Plaintiff’s title, or any cloud on Plaintiff’s  title thereto, Does 1 through 10, Inclusive,

Defendants.CASE NO:

FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

FOR QUIET TITLE, DECLARATORY RELIEF, TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER, PRELIMINARY INJUNTION AND PERMANENT INJUNCTION, CANCELATION OF INSTRUMENT AND FOR DAMAGES ARISING FROM:

SLANDER OF TITLE; TORTUOUS

VIOLATION OF STATUTE [Penal

Code § 470(b) – (d); NOTARY FRAUD;

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Plaintiffs ___________________________ allege herein as follows:

GENERAL ALLEGATIONS

            1.         Plaintiffs ___________ (hereinafter individually and collectively referred to as “___________”), were and at all times herein mentioned are,  residents of the County of _________, State of California and the lawful owner of a parcel of real property commonly known as: _________________, California _______ and the legal description is:

Parcel No. 1:

A.P.N. No. _________ (hereinafter “Subject Property”).

2.         At all times herein mentioned, SAND CANYON CORPORATION f/k/a OPTION ONE MORTGAGE CORPORATION (hereinafter SAND CANYON”), is and was, a corporation existing by virtue of the laws of the State of California and claims an interest adverse to the right, title and interests of Plaintiff in the Subject Property.

3.         At all times herein mentioned, Defendant AMERICAN HOME MORTGAGE SERVICES, INC. (hereinafter “AMERICAN”), is and was, a corporation existing by virtue of the laws of the State of Delaware, and at all times herein mentioned was conducting ongoing business in the State of California.

4.         At all times herein mentioned, Defendant WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., as Trustee for SOUNDVIEW HOME LOAN TRUST 2007-OPT2 (hereinafter referred to as “WELLS FARGO”), is and was, a member of the National Banking Association and makes an adverse claim to the Plaintiff MADRIDS’ right, title and interest in the Subject Property.

5.         At all times herein mentioned, Defendant DOCX, L.L.C. (hereinafter “DOCX”), is and was, a limited liability company existing by virtue of the laws of the State of Georgia, and a subsidiary of Lender Processing Services, Inc., a Delaware corporation.

6.         At all times herein mentioned, __________________, was a company existing by virtue of its relationship as a subsidiary of __________________.

7.         Plaintiffs are ignorant of the true names and capacities of Defendants sued herein as DOES I through 10, inclusive, and therefore sues these Defendants by such fictitious names and all persons unknown claiming any legal or equitable right, title, estate, lien, or interest in the property described in the complaint adverse to Plaintiffs’ title, or any cloud on Plaintiffs’ title thereto. Plaintiffs will amend this complaint as required to allege said Doe Defendants’ true names and capacities when such have been fully ascertained. Plaintiffs further allege that Plaintiffs designated as ROES 1 through 5,000, are Plaintiffs who share a commonality with the same Defendants, and as the Plaintiffs listed herein.

8.         Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereon allege that at all times herein mentioned, Defendants, and each of them, were the agent and employee of each of the remaining Defendants.

9.         Plaintiffs allege that each and every defendants, and each of them, allege herein ratified the conduct of each and every other Defendant.

10.       Plaintiffs allege that at all times said Defendants, and each of them, were acting within the purpose and scope of such agency and employment.

11.       Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereupon allege that circa July 2004, DOCX was formed with the specific intent of manufacturing fraudulent documents in order create the false impression that various entities obtained valid, recordable interests in real

properties, when in fact they actually maintained no lawful interest in said properties.

12.       Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereupon allege that as a regular and ongoing part of the business of Defendant DOCX was to have persons sitting around a table signing names as quickly as possible, so that each person executing documents would sign approximately 2,500 documents per day. Although the persons signing the documents claimed to be a vice president of a particular bank of that document, in fact, the party signing the name was not the person named on the document, as such the signature was a forgery, that the name of the person claiming to be a vice president of a particular financial institution was not a “vice president”, did not have any prior training in finance, never worked for the company they allegedly purported to be a vice president of, and were alleged to be a vice president simultaneously with as many as twenty different banks and/or lending institutions.

13.       Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereupon allege that the actual signatories of the instruments set forth in Paragraph 12 herein, were intended to and were fraudulently notarized by a variety of notaries in the offices of DOCX in Alpharetta, GA.

14.       Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereupon allege that for all purposes the intent of Defendant DOCX was to intentionally create fraudulent documents, with forged signatures, so that said documents could be recorded in the Offices of County Recorders through the United States of America, knowing that such documents would forgeries, contained false information, and that the recordation of such documents would affect an interest in real property in violation of law.

15.       Plaintiffs allege that on or about, ____________, that they conveyed a first deed of  trust (hereinafter “DEED”) in favor of Option One Mortgage, Inc. with an interest of

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Pooling and servicing agreements PSA how it works in Judicial foreclosure states like Florida

21 Apr

THE ROOT OF FORECLOSURE DEFENSE The Pooling and Servicing Agreement (PSA) is the document that actually creates a residential mortgage backed securitized trust and establishes the obligations and authority of the Master Servicer and the Primary Servicer. The PSA is the heart and root of all securitized based foreclosure action defenses. The PSA establishes that mandatory rules and procedures for the sales and transfers of the mortgages and mortgage notes from the originators to the Trust. It is this unbroken chain of assignments and negotiations that creates what is called “The Alphabet Problem.” In order to understand the “Alphabet Problem,” you must keep in mind that the primary purpose of securitization is to make sure the assets (e.g., mortgage notes) are both FDIC and Bankruptcy “remote” from the originator. As a result, the common structures seek to create at least two “true sales” between the originator and the Trust. One of the defenses used by the famous Foreclosure Defender, April Charney is the following: PLAINTIFF FAILED TO COMPLY WITH APPLICABLE POOLING AND SERVICING AGREEMENT LOAN SERVICING REQUIREMENTS: Plaintiff failed to provide separate Defendants with legitimate and non predatory access to the debt management and relief that must be made available to borrowers, including this Defendant pursuant to and in accordance with the Pooling and Servicing Agreement filed by the plaintiff with the Securities and Exchange Commission that controls and applies to the subject mortgage loan. Plaintiff’s non-compliance with the conditions precedent to foreclosure imposed on the plaintiff pursuant to the applicable pooling and servicing agreement is an actionable event that makes the filing of this foreclosure premature based on a failure of a contractual and/or equitable condition precedent to foreclosure which denies Plaintiff’s ability to carry out this foreclosure. You therefore have in the most basic securitized structure the originator, the sponsor, the depositor and the Trust. I refer to these parties as the A (originator), B (sponsor), C (depositor) and D (Trust) alphabet players. The other primary but non-designated player in my alphabet game is the Master Document Custodian for the Trust. The MDC is entrusted with the physical custody of all of the “original” notes and mortgages and the assignment, sales and purchase agreements. The MDC must also execute representations and attestations that all of the transfers really and truly occurred “on time” and in the required “order” and that “true sales” occurred at each link in the chain. Section 2.01 of most PSAs includes the mandatory conveyancing rules for the Trust and the representations and warranties. The basic terms of this Section of the standard PSA is set-forth below: 2.01 Conveyance of Mortgage Loans. (a) The Depositor, concurrently with the execution and delivery hereof, hereby sells, transfers, assigns, sets over and otherwise conveys to the Trustee for the benefit of the Certificateholders, without recourse, all the right, title and interest of the Depositor in and to the Trust Fund, and the Trustee, on behalf of the Trust, hereby accepts the Trust Fund. (b) In connection with the transfer and assignment of each Mortgage Loan, the Depositor has delivered or caused to be delivered to the Trustee for the benefit of the Certificateholders the following documents or instruments with respect to each Mortgage Loan so assigned: (i) the original Mortgage Note (except for no more than up to 0.02% of the mortgage Notes for which there is a lost note affidavit and the copy of the Mortgage Note) bearing all intervening endorsements showing a complete chain of endorsement from the originator to the last endorsee, endorsed “Pay to the order of _____________, without recourse” and signed in the name of the last endorsee. To the extent that there is no room on the face of any Mortgage Note for an endorsement, the endorsement may be contained on an allonge, unless state law does not so allow and the Trustee is advised by the Responsible Party that state law does not so allow. If the Mortgage Loan was acquired by the Responsible Party in a merger, the endorsement must be by “[last endorsee], successor by merger to [name of predecessor]“. If the Mortgage Loan was acquired or originated by the last endorsee while doing business under another name, the endorsement must be by “[last endorsee], formerly known as [previous name]“; A review of all of the recent “standing” and “real party in interest” cases decided by the bankruptcy courts and the state courts in judicial foreclosure states all arise out of the inability of the mortgage servicer or the Trust to “prove up” an unbroken chain of “assignments and transfers” of the mortgage notes and the mortgages from the originators to the sponsors to the depositors to the trust and to the master document custodian for the trust. As stated in the referenced PSA, the parties have represented and warranted that there is “a complete chain of endorsements from the originator to the last endorsee” for the note. And, the Master Document Custodian must file verified reports that it in fact holds such documents with all “intervening” documents that confirm true sales at each link in the chain. The complete inability of the mortgage servicers and the Trusts to produce such unbroken chains of proof along with the original documents is the genesis for all of the recent court rulings. One would think that a simple request to the Master Document Custodian would solve these problems. However, a review of the cases reveals a massive volume of transfers and assignments executed long after the “closing date” for the Trust from the “originator” directly to the “trust.” I refer to these documents as “A to D” transfers and assignments. There are some serious problems with the A to D documents. First, at the time these documents are executed the A party has nothing to sell or transfer since the PSA provides such a sale and transfer occurred years ago. Second, the documents completely circumvent the primary objective of securitization by ignoring the “true sales” to the Sponsor (the B party) and the Depositor (the C party). In a true securitization, you would never have any direct transfers (A to D) from the originator to the trust. Third, these A to D transfers are totally inconsistent with the representations and warranties made in the PSA to the Securities and Exchange Commission and to the holders of the bonds (the “Certificateholders”) issued by the Trust. Fourth, in many cases the A to D documents are executed by parties who are not employed by the originator but who claim to have “signing authority” or some type of “agency authority” from the originator. Finally, in many of these A to D document cases the originator is legally defunct at the time the document is in fact signed or the document is signed with a current date but then states that it has an “effective date” that was one or two years earlier. Hence, we have what I call the Alphabet Problem.

AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES AND COUNTRCLAIMS RELATED TO POOLING & SERVICING AGREEMENTS 1. Plaintiff failed to comply with the foreclosure prevention loan servicing requirement imposed on Plaintiff pursuant to the National Housing Act, 12 U.S.C. 1701x(c)(5) which requires all private lenders servicing non-federally insured home loans, including the Plaintiff, to advise borrowers, including this separate Defendant, of any home ownership counseling Plaintiff offers together with information about counseling offered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 2. Plaintiff cannot legally pursue foreclosure unless and until Plaintiff demonstrates compliance with 12 U.S.C. 1701x(c)(5). 3. Plaintiff failed to provide separate Defendants with legitimate and non predatory access to the debt management and relief that must be made available to borrowers, including this Defendant pursuant to and in accordance with the Pooling and Servicing Agreement filed by the plaintiff with the Securities and Exchange Commission that controls and applies to the subject mortgage loan. 4. Plaintiff’s non-compliance with the conditions precedent to foreclosure imposed on the plaintiff pursuant to the applicable pooling and servicing agreement is an actionable event that makes the filing of this foreclosure premature based on a failure of a contractual and/or equitable condition precedent to foreclosure which denies Plaintiff’s ability to carry out this foreclosure. 5. The special default loan servicing requirements contained in the subject pooling and servicing agreement are incorporated into the terms of the mortgage contract between the parties as if written therein word for word and the defendants are entitled to rely upon the servicing terms set out in that agreement. 6. Defendants are third party beneficiaries of the Plaintiff’s pooling and servicing agreement and entitled to enforce the special default servicing obligations of the plaintiff specified therein. 7. Plaintiff cannot legally pursue foreclosure unless and until Plaintiff demonstrates compliance with the foreclosure prevention servicing imposed by the subject pooling and servicing agreement under which the plaintiff owns the subject mortgage loan. 8. The section of the Pooling and Servicing Agreement (PSA) is a public document on file and online at http://www.secinfo.com and the entire pooling and servicing agreement is incorporated herein. 9. The Plaintiff failed, refused or neglected to comply, prior to the commencement of this action, with the servicing obligations specifically imposed on the plaintiff by the PSA in many particulars, including, but not limited to: a. Plaintiff failed to service and administer the subject mortgage loan in compliance with all applicable federal state and local laws. b. Plaintiff failed to service and administer the subject loan in accordance with the customary an usual standards of practice of mortgage lenders and servicers. c. Plaintiff failed to extend to defendants the opportunity and failed to permit a modification, waiver, forbearance or amendment of the terms of the subject loan or to in any way exercise the requisite judgment as is reasonably required pursuant to the PSA. 10. The Plaintiff has no right to pursue this foreclosure because the Plaintiff has failed to provide servicing of this residential mortgage loan in accordance with the controlling servicing requirements prior to filing this foreclosure action. 11. Defendants have a right to receive foreclosure prevention loan servicing from the Plaintiff before the commencement or initiation of this foreclosure action. 12. Defendants are in doubt regarding their rights and status as borrowers under the National Housing Act and also under the Pooling and Servicing Agreement filed by the plaintiff with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Defendants are now subject to this foreclosure action by reason of the above described illegal acts and omissions of the Plaintiff. 13. Defendants are being denied and deprived by Plaintiff of their right to access the required troubled mortgage loan servicing imposed on the plaintiff and applicable to the subject mortgage loan by the National Housing Act and also under the Pooling and Servicing Agreement filed by the plaintiff with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 14. Defendants are being illegally subjected by the Plaintiff to this foreclosure action, being forced to defend the same and they are being charged illegal predatory court costs and related fees, and attorney fees. Defendants are having their credit slandered and negatively affected, all of which constitutes irreparable harm to Defendants for the purpose of injunctive relief. 15. As a proximate result of the Plaintiff’s unlawful actions set forth herein, Defendants continue to suffer the irreparable harm described above for which monetary compensation is inadequate. 18. Defendants have a right to access the foreclosure prevention servicing prescribed by the National Housing Act and under the Pooling and Servicing Agreement filed by the plaintiff with the Securities and Exchange Commission which right is being denied to them by the Plaintiff. 16. These acts were wrongful and predatory acts by the plaintiff, through its predecessor in interest, and were intentional and deceptive. 17. There is a substantial likelihood that Defendants will prevail on the merits of the case.

Interagency Review of Foreclosure Policies and Practices

19 Apr

Press Release

Release Date: April 13, 2011

For immediate release

The Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday announced formal enforcement actions requiring 10 banking organizations to address a pattern of misconduct and negligence related to deficient practices in residential mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing. These deficiencies represent significant and pervasive compliance failures and unsafe and unsound practices at these institutions.

 

The Board is taking these actions to ensure that firms under its jurisdiction promptly initiate steps to establish mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processes that treat customers fairly, are fully compliant with all applicable law, and are safe and sound.

 

The 10 banking organizations are: Bank of America Corporation; Citigroup Inc.; Ally Financial Inc.; HSBC North America Holdings, Inc.; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; MetLife, Inc.; The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.; SunTrust Banks, Inc.; U.S. Bancorp; and Wells Fargo & Company. Collectively, these organizations represent 65 percent of the servicing industry, or nearly $6.8 trillion in mortgage balances. All 10 actions require the parent holding companies to improve holding company oversight of residential mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing conducted by bank and nonbank subsidiaries.

 

In addition, the enforcement actions order the banking organizations that have servicing entities regulated by the Federal Reserve (Ally Financial, SunTrust, and HSBC) to promptly correct the many deficiencies in residential mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing. Those deficiencies were identified by examiners during reviews conducted from November 2010 to January 2011.

 

The Federal Reserve believes monetary sanctions in these cases are appropriate and plans to announce monetary penalties. These monetary penalties will be in addition to the corrective actions that the banking organizations are expected to take pursuant to the enforcement actions.

The enforcement actions complement the actions under consideration by the federal and state regulatory and law enforcement agencies, and do not preclude those agencies from taking additional enforcement action. The Federal Reserve continues to work with other federal and state authorities to resolve these matters.

 

The actions taken Wednesday require each servicer to take a number of actions, including to make significant revisions to certain residential mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing practices. Each servicer must, among other things, submit plans acceptable to the Federal Reserve that:

  • strengthen coordination of communications with borrowers by providing borrowers the name of the person at the servicer who is their primary point of contact;
  • ensure that foreclosures are not pursued once a mortgage has been approved for modification, unless repayments under the modified loan are not made;
  • establish robust controls and oversight over the activities of third-party vendors that provide to the servicers various residential mortgage loan servicing, loss mitigation, or foreclosure-related support, including local counsel in foreclosure or bankruptcy proceedings;
  • provide remediation to borrowers who suffered financial injury as a result of wrongful foreclosures or other deficiencies identified in a review of the foreclosure process; and
  • strengthen programs to ensure compliance with state and federal laws regarding servicing, generally, and foreclosures, in particular.

 

The Federal Reserve will closely monitor progress at the firms in addressing these matters and will take additional enforcement actions as needed.

 

In addition to the actions against the banking organizations, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced formal enforcement actions against Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS), a domestic provider of default-management services and other services related to foreclosures, and against MERSCORP, Inc. (MERS), which provides services related to tracking and registering residential mortgage ownership and servicing, acts as mortgagee of record on behalf of lenders and servicers, and initiates foreclosure actions. These actions address significant compliance failures and unsafe and unsound practices at LPS and its subsidiaries, and at MERS and its subsidiary. The action requires LPS to address deficient practices related primarily to the document execution services that LPS, through its subsidiaries DocX, LLC, and LPS Default Solutions, Inc., provided to servicers in connection with foreclosures. MERS is required to address significant weaknesses in, among other things, oversight, management supervision, and corporate governance. The LPS action is being taken jointly with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of Thrift Supervision, while the MERS action is being taken jointly with those agencies and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

 

The Federal Reserve Board based its enforcement actions on the findings of the interagency reviews of the major mortgage servicers, LPS, and MERS. A summary of the findings from the reviews of the mortgage servicers is available in the Interagency Review of Foreclosure Policies and Practices,which is simultaneously being released by the Federal Reserve Board and the other agencies.

Attachments:

Fraud in the Making lawsuit attached

18 Apr

Mortgage paperwork mess: Next housing shock?

Scott Pelley reports how problems with mortgage documents are prompting lawsuits and could slow down the weak housing market

  • Play CBS Video Video The next housing shockAs more and more Americans face mortgage foreclosure, banks’ crucial ownership documents for the properties are often unclear and are sometimes even bogus, a condition that’s causing lawsuits and hampering an already weak housing market. Scott Pelley reports.
  • Video Extra: Eviction reprieveFlorida residents AJ and Brenda Boyd spent more than a year trying to renegotiate their mortgage and save their home. At the last moment, questions about who owns their mortgage saved them from eviction.
  • Video Extra: “Save the Dream” eventsBruce Marks, founder and CEO of the nonprofit Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America talks to Scott Pelley about his “Save the Dream” events and how foreclosures are causing a crisis in America.
(CBS News)If there was a question about whether we’re headed for a second housing shock, that was settled last week with news that home prices have fallen a sixth consecutive month. Values are nearly back to levels of the Great Recession. One thing weighing on the economy is the huge number of foreclosed houses.Many are stuck on the market for a reason you wouldn’t expect: banks can’t find the ownership documents.

Who really owns your mortgage?
Scott Pelley explains a bizarre aftershock of the U.S. financial collapse: An epidemic of forged and missing mortgage documents.

It’s bizarre but, it turns out, Wall Street cut corners when it created those mortgage-backed investments that triggered the financial collapse. Now that banks want to evict people, they’re unwinding these exotic investments to find, that often, the legal documents behind the mortgages aren’t there. Caught in a jam of their own making, some companies appear to be resorting to forgery and phony paperwork to throw people – down on their luck – out of their homes.

In the 1930s we had breadlines; venture out before dawn in America today and you’ll find mortgage lines. This past January in Los Angeles, 37,000 homeowners facing foreclosure showed up to an event to beg their bank for lower payments on their mortgage. Some people even slept on the sidewalk to get in line.

So many in the country are desperate now that they have to meet in convention centers coast to coast.

In February in Miami, 12,000 people showed up to a similar event. The line went down the block and doubled back twice.

Video: The next housing shock
Extra: Eviction reprieve
Extra: “Save the Dream” events

Dale DeFreitas lost her job and now fears her home is next. “It’s very emotional because I just think about it. I don’t wanna lose my home. I really don’t,” she told “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley.

“It’s your American dream,” he remarked.

“It was. And still is,” she replied.

These convention center events are put on by the non-profit Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, which helps people figure what they can afford, and then walks them across the hall to bank representatives to ask for lower payments. More than half will get their mortgages adjusted, but the rest discover that they just can’t keep their home.

For many that’s when the real surprise comes in: these same banks have fouled up all of their own paperwork to a historic degree.

“In my mind this is an absolute, intentional fraud,” Lynn Szymoniak, who is fighting foreclosure, told Pelley.

While trying to save her house, she discovered something we did not know: back when Wall Street was using algorithms and computers to engineer those disastrous mortgage-backed securities, it appears they didn’t want old fashioned paperwork slowing down the profits.

“This was back when it was a white hot fevered pitch to move as many of these as possible,” Pelley remarked.

“Exactly. When you could make a whole lotta money through securitization. And every other aspect of it could be done electronically, you know, key strokes. This was the only piece where somebody was supposed to actually go get documents, transfer the documents from one entity to the other. And it looks very much like they just eliminated that stuff all together,” Szymoniak said.

Szymoniak’s mortgage had been bundled with thousands of others into one of those Wall Street securities traded from investor to investor. When the bank took her to court, it first said it had lost her documents, including the critical assignment of mortgage which transfers ownership. But then, there was a courthouse surprise.

“They found all of your paperwork more than a year after they initially said that they had lost it?” Pelley asked.

“Yes,” she replied.

Asked if that seemed suspicious to her, Szymoniak said, “Yes, absolutely. What do you imagine? It fell behind the file cabinet? Where was all of this? ‘We had it, we own it, we lost it.’ And then more recently, everyone is coming in saying, ‘Hey we found it. Isn’t that wonderful?'”

But what the bank may not have known is that Szymoniak is a lawyer and fraud investigator with a specialty in forged documents. She has trained FBI agents.

She told Pelley she asked for copies of those documents.

Asked what she found, Szymoniak told Pelley, “When I looked at the assignment of my mortgage, and this is the assignment: it looked that even the date they put in, which was 10/17/08, was several months after they sued me for foreclosure. So, what they were saying to the court was, ‘We sued her in July of 2008 and we acquired this mortgage in October of 2008.’ It made absolutely no sense.”

Produced by Robert Anderson and Daniel Ruetenik

Now for the pleading

Timothy L. McCandless, Esq. SBN 147715

LAW OFFICES OF TIMOTHY L. MCCANDLESS

1881 Business Center Drive, Ste. 9A

San Bernardino, CA 92392

Tel:  909/890-9192

Fax: 909/382-9956

Attorney for Plaintiffs

 

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

 

COUNTY OF ____________

___________________________________,

And ROES 1 through 5,000,

Plaintiff,

v.

SAND CANYON CORPORATION f/k/a OPTION ONE MORTGAGE CORPORATION; AMERICAN HOME MORTGAGE SERVICES, INC.; WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., as Trustee for SOUNDVIEW HOME LOAN TRUST 2007-OPT2; DOCX, LLC; and PREMIER TRUST DEED SERVICES and all persons unknown claiming any legal or  equitable right, title, estate, lien, or interest  in the property described in the complaint adverse to Plaintiff’s title, or any cloud on Plaintiff’s  title thereto, Does 1 through 10, Inclusive,

Defendants.

CASE NO:

FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

FOR QUIET TITLE, DECLARATORY RELIEF, TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER, PRELIMINARY INJUNTION AND PERMANENT INJUNCTION, CANCELATION OF INSTRUMENT AND FOR DAMAGES ARISING FROM:

SLANDER OF TITLE; TORTUOUS

VIOLATION OF STATUTE [Penal

Code § 470(b) – (d); NOTARY FRAUD;

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Plaintiffs ___________________________ allege herein as follows:

GENERAL ALLEGATIONS

            1.         Plaintiffs ___________ (hereinafter individually and collectively referred to as “___________”), were and at all times herein mentioned are,  residents of the County of _________, State of California and the lawful owner of a parcel of real property commonly known as: _________________, California _______ and the legal description is:

Parcel No. 1:

A.P.N. No. _________ (hereinafter “Subject Property”).

2.         At all times herein mentioned, SAND CANYON CORPORATION f/k/a OPTION ONE MORTGAGE CORPORATION (hereinafter SAND CANYON”), is and was, a corporation existing by virtue of the laws of the State of California and claims an interest adverse to the right, title and interests of Plaintiff in the Subject Property.

3.         At all times herein mentioned, Defendant AMERICAN HOME MORTGAGE SERVICES, INC. (hereinafter “AMERICAN”), is and was, a corporation existing by virtue of the laws of the State of Delaware, and at all times herein mentioned was conducting ongoing business in the State of California.

4.         At all times herein mentioned, Defendant WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., as Trustee for SOUNDVIEW HOME LOAN TRUST 2007-OPT2 (hereinafter referred to as “WELLS FARGO”), is and was, a member of the National Banking Association and makes an adverse claim to the Plaintiff MADRIDS’ right, title and interest in the Subject Property.

5.         At all times herein mentioned, Defendant DOCX, L.L.C. (hereinafter “DOCX”), is and was, a limited liability company existing by virtue of the laws of the State of Georgia, and a subsidiary of Lender Processing Services, Inc., a Delaware corporation.

6.         At all times herein mentioned, __________________, was a company existing by virtue of its relationship as a subsidiary of __________________.

7.         Plaintiffs are ignorant of the true names and capacities of Defendants sued herein as DOES I through 10, inclusive, and therefore sues these Defendants by such fictitious names and all persons unknown claiming any legal or equitable right, title, estate, lien, or interest in the property described in the complaint adverse to Plaintiffs’ title, or any cloud on Plaintiffs’ title thereto. Plaintiffs will amend this complaint as required to allege said Doe Defendants’ true names and capacities when such have been fully ascertained. Plaintiffs further allege that Plaintiffs designated as ROES 1 through 5,000, are Plaintiffs who share a commonality with the same Defendants, and as the Plaintiffs listed herein.

8.         Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereon allege that at all times herein mentioned, Defendants, and each of them, were the agent and employee of each of the remaining Defendants.

9.         Plaintiffs allege that each and every defendants, and each of them, allege herein ratified the conduct of each and every other Defendant.

10.       Plaintiffs allege that at all times said Defendants, and each of them, were acting within the purpose and scope of such agency and employment.

11.       Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereupon allege that circa July 2004, DOCX was formed with the specific intent of manufacturing fraudulent documents in order create the false impression that various entities obtained valid, recordable interests in real

properties, when in fact they actually maintained no lawful interest in said properties.

12.       Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereupon allege that as a regular and ongoing part of the business of Defendant DOCX was to have persons sitting around a table signing names as quickly as possible, so that each person executing documents would sign approximately 2,500 documents per day. Although the persons signing the documents claimed to be a vice president of a particular bank of that document, in fact, the party signing the name was not the person named on the document, as such the signature was a forgery, that the name of the person claiming to be a vice president of a particular financial institution was not a “vice president”, did not have any prior training in finance, never worked for the company they allegedly purported to be a vice president of, and were alleged to be a vice president simultaneously with as many as twenty different banks and/or lending institutions.

13.       Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereupon allege that the actual signatories of the instruments set forth in Paragraph 12 herein, were intended to and were fraudulently notarized by a variety of notaries in the offices of DOCX in Alpharetta, GA.

14.       Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereupon allege that for all purposes the intent of Defendant DOCX was to intentionally create fraudulent documents, with forged signatures, so that said documents could be recorded in the Offices of County Recorders through the United States of America, knowing that such documents would forgeries, contained false information, and that the recordation of such documents would affect an interest in real property in violation of law.

15.       Plaintiffs allege that on or about, ____________, that they conveyed a first deed of  trust (hereinafter “DEED”) in favor of Option One Mortgage, Inc. with an interest of

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Southern California

909-890-9192

Northern California

925-957-9797

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