Tag Archives: securitization


1 Sep

I looked into the records for that entity in the SEC EDGAR online database and discovered that the last annual report was filed in 2007, contemporaneously with a FORM 15 filing.That Form 15 filing claimed a standing under 15d-6 of the 1934 SEC regulations which exempts the entity of filing an annual report, whereby the number of claimed investors had fallen below the SEC registration and reporting threshold of 300 persons. ( To my understanding, the same Form 15 filing is also used when a registered, reporting, entity is dissolved.)

I then began looking at many other securitized trusts in the EDGAR database. Literally dozens and dozens of these securitized trusts have done exactly the same thing. The trust is established and appropriate SEC documents are filed for a period of time, usually 1 or 2 years. The trust then files a Form 15 claiming exemption of the obligation to file reports with the SEC under 15d-6
The paper trail for the Trust with the SEC thereby ends. Many of these trusts have not filed anything with the SEC for years. Many as far back as 2005 and 2006. Some of the SEC Form 15d-6 filings disclosed as few as 15 or less investors . Bear in mind, these are for trusts that purportedly hold well over $1 BILLION in mortgages, and there are dozens and dozens of these trusts with a mere hand full of investors! I also noted that the agents of record of many of these trusts have changed many times, and are very infrequently named, but list only an address and phone number, (usually in New York). In several of the cases I ‘ve looked at in the EDGAR database, I actually called some of the phone number listed at 3:00am EST and got the voicemail of someone at a bank in N.Y. Note that the answering party was NEVER a bank listed as the Trustee, (as Deutsche Bank is in my case), or the trust administrator as listed in the PSA or any subsequent SEC filings. I actually got the voicemail of some fellow at HSBC Bank who was the anonymous contact in my case! My point is this — Has anyone actually verified that the securitized trusts claimed to be under the trusteeship of some of these banks still ACTUALLY EXIST? We ‘ve been so focused on the NOTE and the fraudulent paper being slung about for assignment of those notes, and whether or not the plaintiff has standing to bring the foreclosure action, has anyone thought to see if the plaintiff trust is even still active or not? Were many of these trusts actually dissolved after payouts from credit default swaps and TARP funds and the actual investors now long gone? We have no records to show whether they are alive or dead. Most of these trusts haven ‘t filed anything with anyone in years as far as I can tell. Certainly, as in my case, Deutsche Bank, (as Trustee), still exists, but can these plaintiff securitized trusts be made to prove they still exist? What happens to a foreclosure case if the plaintiff entity,(the securitized trust, not the Trustee for it), no longer exists or cannot prove it exists? IT ‘S TIME FOR ME TO GET BACK TO AN ISSUE THAT I HAVEN ‘T TALKED ABOUT FOR A WHILE AND IT IS THIS CAPACITY ISSUE BECAUSE IT STRIKES AT THE HEART OF THESE CASES. SIMPLY PUT, A TRUSTEE CANNOT MAINTAIN AN ACTION ON BEHALF OF A TRUST THAT DOESN ‘T EXIST.


29 Jul

Posted on July 28, 2010 by Neil Garfield

Entered on the Court docket of the Southern District of Florida, a class action for damages has been filed against MERS, the Stern Law Firm and David Stern individually.The lawsuit alleges racketeering under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1962 and 1964) statute, alleging that MERS was created “in order to undermine and eventually eviscerate long-standing principles of real property law…”. It also cites the “lost note” syndrome we are all so familiar with by now.

The lawsuit filed by Kenneth Eric Trent, Esq. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida reads like a mystery novel. He probably has an incorrect chronology of a few details of the actual way securitization played out, but on the whole, the complaint is worth a read and he should get all the help you can give him. He includes actual testimony in the complaint taken from other cases in addition to a very well-written narrative. Here is one quote I liked —

“Unbeknownst to the borrowers and the public, the billions of dollars spent to fund these loans were expended to “prime the pump.” The big institutions and the conspirators were making an investment, but the expected return was NOT the interest they pretended to anticipate receiving as borrowers paid the mortgages. The lenders knew that the new loans were “bad paper;” this was of little concern to them because they intended to realize profits so great as to render such interest, even if it had been received, negligible by comparison. Part of the reason this fraudulent scheme has gone largely unnoticed for such an extended period of time is that its sophistication is beyond the imagination of average persons. Similarly beyond the imagination of most persons is and was the scope of the DISHONESTY of the lenders and those acting in furtherance of the scheme, including the present Defendants.”

Gretchen “Gets It” but misses the mark

27 Jul

Posted on July 25, 2010 by Neil Garfield

It’s no secret that I admire Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times. Her articles have penetrated deeper and deeper into the realities and logistics of the Great Financial Meltdown. But she continues to drag myth alongside of reality. True, it is difficult to get your mind around the idea that Wall Street managers WANTED bad mortgages, but that simple piece of truth is unavoidable. In the article below she draws ever nearer to this truth, saying that the real question is “what did they know and when did they know it?”
She even spots the extremely important fact that the worse the loan the more money was made by Wall Street. My objection is why not ask the next obvious question, to wit: “If Wall Street’s profits went up as the quality of mortgages went down, isn’t the obvious incentive to create increasingly bad paper?” And in what world has Wall Street ever done anything to diminish profits on moral grounds?
But her spotting is defective. She sees a 5 point spread (Yield Spread Premium) between what was paid for the loans and the price charged to investors. She correctly points out that the most Wall Street usually gets on trades like this is around 2 points. But think about it. Could such a small spread actually account for the ensuing mayhem that resulted?
What she fails to point out is the actual logistics. Investors, and for that matter, even the rating agencies, were never given the actual loans to look at and kick the tires. They were given descriptions of the loans which were incorporated into a narrative that portrayed the loans in a much better light than anything a loan underwriter would agree with. The final description of the loans was so loaded with misrepresentations that even a small amount of due diligence would have revealed major discrepancies that would have stopped this money machine from operating, for good.
Gretchen’s error is reflected in most articles by journalists and government officials. They all miss a major part of the transaction. Do the math. How could a five point spread account for the actual 8-10 point spread that was used to massage the description of the pool? There is a whole other SIV transaction that everyone is ignoring. The size of it will astonish you.

If for the purpose of one extreme example we isolate a single loan transaction, you can see how it works.
John Smith, an unemployed, homeless migrant worker with a gross income of $500 per month is pulled off the street by a “loan adviser.” The salesman gets John to sign a bunch of papers and tells him to go move into a $500,000 house. The interest rate on the loan is 18%, which is $90,000 per year. John doesn’t have to pay anything for the first 3 months and then only $100 per month for the first year, when he must pay a higher amount, still not as much as the monthly interest of $7,500 per month, let alone amortization, taxes, and insurance.
Now go to the investor who has been promised, for this example 9% annual return. The investor gives the investment banker $1,000,000 dollars believing that the investment banker is taking a 2% fee ($20,000). In other words, the investor is expecting $980,000 of his money to be invested. But that is NOT what happened — not ever, in ANY example. The investor, expecting a 9% annual return on his $1 million is therefore expecting $90,000 per year in income.
So in our over-simplified example the investment banker goes to the mortgage aggregator, and says give me the crappiest mortgage you have that says the interest is $90,000 per year. The aggregator (Countrywide, for example) sells the John Smith Mortgage to a structured investment vehicle off-shore for $500,000. The SIV sells the John Smith Mortgage to another entity (Seller) created by the investment bank for $980,000. The Seller sells the John Smith Mortgage to an “investment pool” for $1 million.
Watch Carefully! What just happened is that the John Smith mortgage was created that would never be paid. The interest rate on that mortgage was 18% and the principal was $500,000. So the annual interest to be paid by borrower was $90,000. The investor gave $1 million to the investment banker and thus “bought” the $90,000 in “income” from John Smith.
The surface transaction that Gretchen and others are looking at is that last transaction where the investment banker appears to pick up a few points as a fee. The underlying transaction, the substance of the real deal, is that the investment banker took $1 million from the investor and funded a $500,000 mortgage, thus creating a yield spread premium total of $500,000. In other words, the investment banker, in our oversimplified example, made a profit EQUAL TO THE MORTGAGE PRINCIPAL.
Not all the borrowers were John Smith. They ranged from him to people with the ability to pay anything. But the Mary Jones Mortgage where she had a credit score of 815 and assets of over $10 million was a key ingredient to this fraud. May Jones Mortgage was put in the top level of the “pool.” She was the gold plating covering dog poop underneath.
The identity of Mary Jones and her credit score HAD to be there, HAD to be used without her permission in order to sell the John Smith Mortgage. I think that is called identity theft. I think it was interstate commerce and I think it was a pattern of conduct. I think that is racketeering, breach of the the Truth in Lending Act and Securities Fraud, based upon appraisal (ratings) fraud at both ends (borrower and investor) of the transaction.
And let’s not forget that all these sales and transfers were undocumented. The only thing that moved was the money. And of course there are all those third party insurance and bailout payments that were never credited to the investor or the borrower. The investment banker kept those too.
July 24, 2010
Seeing vs. Doing

“WHAT did they know, and when did they know it?” Those are questions investigators invariably ask when trying to determine who’s responsible for an offense or a misdeed.

But for the Wall Street banks whose financing of the subprime mortgage machine placed them at the center of the credit crisis, it’s becoming clear that a third, equally important question must be asked: “What did they do once they knew what they knew?”

As investigators delve deeper into the mortgage mess, they are finding in too many cases that Wall Street firms did nothing when they learned about problem loans or improprieties in lending. Rather than stopping practices of profligate originators like New Century, Fremont and Ameriquest, Wall Street financiers, which held the purse strings for these companies, apparently decided to simply look the other way.

Recent cases have provided glimpses of this conduct. Last week, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority accused Deutsche Bank Securities, a unit of the huge German bank, of misleading investors about how many delinquent loans went into six mortgage securities worth $2.2 billion that the firm underwrote. Deutsche Bank underreported the delinquency rates among loans when it created the securities in 2006, Finra contends, and then sold them to investors.

Deutsche Bank also understated historical delinquency rates in 16 subprime securities it packaged in 2007, Finra said. Even after it discovered the errors, the authority added, Deutsche Bank continued to report the misstated figures on its Web site, where investors checked the performance of past mortgage pools.

Deutsche Bank settled without admitting or denying the allegations; it paid $7.5 million. The firm said Friday that it had cooperated and was pleased to have the matter behind it.

James S. Shorris, acting chief of enforcement at Finra, said that this was just the first of such cases and that he oversees a team of more than a dozen people investigating firms involved in mortgage securities.

While the Finra case showed Deutsche Bank failing to report problem loans in its securities, investigators in other matters are learning that some firms used information about lending misconduct to increase their profits from the securitization game — without telling investors, of course.

Here is what investigators have learned, according to two people briefed on the inquiries who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss them publicly. The large banks that provided money to mortgage originators during the mania hired outside analytics firms to conduct due diligence on the loans that Wall Street bought, bundled into securities and sold to investors.

These analysts looked for loans that failed to meet underwriting standards. Among the flagged loans were those in which appraisals seemed fishy or the mortgages went to borrowers with credit scores far below acceptable levels. Loans on vacation properties erroneously identified as primary residences were also highlighted.

The analysts would take their findings back to the Wall Street firms packaging the securities; the reports were not made available to investors.

In 2006-07, amid the mortgage craze, more loans didn’t meet the criteria. But instead of requiring lenders to replace these funky mortgages with proper loans, Wall Street firms kept funneling the junk into securities and selling them to investors, investigators have found.

Cases brought against Wall Street firms by Martha Coakley, attorney general of Massachusetts, have brought some of these practices to light. “Our focus has been on the borrower,” she said in an interview last week, “but as we’ve peeled back the onion we’ve gotten the picture of the role Wall Street played through the financing of these loans.”

But some on Wall Street went further than simply peddling loans they knew were bad, according to the people briefed on some investigators’ findings. They say the firms used these so-called scratch-and-dent loans to increase their profits in the securitization process.

When due-diligence reports turned up large numbers of defective loans — known as exceptions — the banks used this information to negotiate a lower price on the mortgages they bought from the original lenders.

So, instead of paying 99 cents on the dollar for the problem loans, the firm would force the lender to accept 97 cents or perhaps less. But the firm would still sell the mortgage pool to investors at 102 cents or higher, as was typical on high-quality loan pools.

Wall Street enjoyed the profits these practices generated. And because lenders were financed by the Wall Street firms bundling the mortgages into securities, they were hesitant to reject too many dubious loans because doing so would slow the securitization machine.

FOR their part, Wall Street loan packagers were loath to imperil their relationship with lenders like New Century; as long as Wall Street’s lucrative mortgage factories were humming, it needed loans to stoke them. Forcing New Century to eat its bad loans might prompt it to take its business elsewhere.

The bottom line: the more problematic the loans, the better the bargaining power and the higher the profits for Wall Street.

To be sure, the securities’ offering statements noted, in legalese, that the deals might contain “underwriting exceptions” and those exceptions could be “material.” But as investigators get closer to understanding how Wall Street used these exceptions to jack up its earnings, that disclosure defense may ring hollow.

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Another Bad case for MERS Mortgage Electronic Ripoff System !

19 Sep

Kansas Landmark Decision Annotated 1

Posted 2 days ago by livinglies on Livinglies’s Weblog

1st Annotation of Landmark v. Kesler:
No. 98,489
filed August 28, 2009

“The second mortgage lies at the core of this appeal. That mortgage document stated that the mortgage was made between Kesler–the “Mortgagor” and “Borrower”–and MERS, which was acting “solely as nominee for Lender, as hereinafter defined, and Lender’s successors and assigns.” The document then identified Millennia as the “Lender.” At some subsequent time, the mortgage may have been assigned to Sovereign and Sovereign may have taken physical possession of the note, but that assignment was not registered in Ford County.”
Editor’s Note: At the very start, the Court correctly sets the stage pointing out that the lender was Millenia but MERS was named on the mortgage, thus splitting the note from the mortgage. The Court later points out:

“What meaning is this court to attach to MERS’s designation as nominee for Millennia? The parties appear to have defined the word in much the same way that the blind men of Indian legend described an elephant–their description depended on which part they were touching at any given time…A nominee of the owner of a note and mortgage may not effectively assign the note and mortgage to another for want of an ownership interest in said note and mortgage by the nominee….

“The practical effect of splitting the deed of trust from the promissory note is to make it impossible for the holder of the note to foreclose, unless the holder of the deed of trust is the agent of the holder of the note. [Citation omitted.] Without the agency relationship, the person holding only the note lacks the power to foreclose in the event of default. The person holding only the deed of trust will never experience default because only the holder of the note is entitled to payment of the underlying obligation. [Citation omitted.] The mortgage loan becomes ineffectual when the note holder did not also hold the deed of trust.” Bellistri v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, 284 S.W.3d 619, 623 (Mo. App. 2009).

“it was incumbent on the trial court, when ruling on the motion to set aside default judgment, to consider whether MERS would have had a meritorious defense if it had been named as a defendant and whether there was some reasonable possibility MERS would have enjoyed a different outcome from the trial if its participation had precluded default judgment….A person is contingently necessary if (1) complete relief cannot be accorded in his absence among those already parties, or (2) he claims an interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of the action and he is so situated that the disposition of the action in his absence may (i) as a practical matter substantially impair or impede his ability to protect that interest or (ii) leave any of the persons already parties subject to a substantial risk of incurring double, multiple, or otherwise inconsistent obligations by reason of his claimed interest…..MERS is a private corporation that administers the MERS System, a national electronic registry that tracks the transfer of ownership interests and servicing rights in mortgage loans. Through the MERS System, MERS becomes the mortgagee of record for participating members through assignment of the members’ interests to MERS. MERS is listed as the grantee in the official records maintained at county register of deeds offices. The lenders retain the promissory notes, as well as the servicing rights to the mortgages. The lenders can then sell these interests to investors without having to record the transaction in the public record. MERS is compensated for its services through fees charged to participating MERS members.” Mortgage Elec. Reg. Sys., Inc. v. Nebraska Depart. of Banking, 270 Neb. 529, 530, 704 N.W.2d 784 (2005)….”

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