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

AN ASSIGNMENT OR A FORMALIZATION OR A MEMORIALIZATION?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THERE MUST BE A MEMO DIRECTING THIS.


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

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

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Sanctions Motion filed 5/21/2010 Against LENDER PROCESSING SERVICES (LPS)

Dear Editor:

Once again, a U.S. Trustee is leading the way in exposing fraud in foreclosures. On Friday, May 21, 2010, United States Trustee R. Michael Bolen, Region 5, Judicial Districts of Louisiana and Mississippi, by Mary Langston, Assistant U.S. Trustee, New Orleans, Louisiana, filed a Motion for Sanctions against Lender Processing Services, Inc. and The Boles Law Firm. The Motion was filed in a bankruptcy action, In re Ron Wilson, Case No. 07-11862, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Louisiana.

The U.S. Trustee is seeking to sanction LPS and The Boles Law Firm for making misrepresentations in statements and/or in testimony in open court, during the course of Show Cause proceedings initiated by the Court. Show Cause Orders were entered on May 9, 2008, July 11, 2008 and July 18, 2008. The misrepresentations relate to a Motion to Lift Stay (“2d MFR”) filed on March 10, 2008 and execution of a false affidavit supporting the 2d MFR, filed on behalf of Option One Mortgage Corporation, n/k/a Sand Canyon Corporation.

The misrepresentations concern payments received but not posted by Option One, dated January 2, 2008; January 31, 2008; and March 3, 2008 (the “Unposted Payments”).

According to the Trustee, Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. (now, Lender Processing Services, Inc.) misrepresented to the Court its knowledge of, and whether it communicated with Boles about the Unposted Payments. Further, the Trustee alleges that LPS/Fidelity misrepresented that it did not function as a “go between” in this case, between Boles and Option One, with respect to the Unposted Payments.

“Boles lacked candor before this Court, based on statements that one if its attorneys made to the Court on June 26, 2008 during the OSC [Order to Show Cause] proceeding. In that hearing, the Boles attorney indicated that, although Boles possessed one or more of the Unposted Payments, Boles did not know why it had received them. Upon information and belief, the proof will show that Boles received the Unposted Payments because Boles had issued instructions directing that each of the Unposted Payments be sent to it.”

Again, according to the Trustee, “The respondents’ [LPS and Boles] representations were not well grounded in fact, were made in bad faith to avoid potential liability, and have resulted in unnecessarily protracted discovery and litigation concerning their roles involved with the 2d MFR and false affidavit.”

In a 19 page Memorandum of Law supporting the motion for sanctions, Trustee Mary Langston set forth that Dory Goebel, an officer and employee of Fidelity, was questioned regarding an Affidavit she had submitted regarding unposted mortgage payments. Goebel essentially denied communications between Fidelity and the Boles firm:

“Goebel testified that Fidelity would not have communicated with the Boles law firm regarding post-referral payments; rather, Option was responsible for notifying its counsel directly about such payments. Goebel further testified that she reviewed the Wilson file, and that were no communications between Fidelity and Boles regarding the Unposted Payments because “[n]o, that is not the responsibility of Fidelity. We would not know of additional payments, Option One would.” August 21, 2008 Tr. 110:18 – 111:5. Goebel’s testimony thus portrayed that Fidelity would not even know that a borrower’s post-referral payment had been received unless Option posted the payment on Option’s accounting system; and that Fidelity would not communicate with Option’s counsel about payments received.” (Memorandum, p.8)

According to Trustee Langston, “However, Goebel’s testimony simply does not comport with the evidence the United States Trustee has obtained from Option, Fidelity, and Boles through discovery.” (Memorandum, p.8) The Trustee goes through the many communications that contradict Goebel’s testimony. She concludes, “… the evidence establishes that both Boles and Fidelity had knowledge about the Unposted Payments which they misrepresented to the Court. Upon information and belief, Fidelity and Boles played an integral role in communicating about those very payments, participating in queries about how to handle the Unposted Payments.” (Memorandum, p.9)

This is not the first time that a U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee has sought to impose sanctions against Fidelity and/or LPS. Most recently, the in the case of Niles and Angela Taylor, 2009 WL 1885888 (Bankr. E.D. Pa. 2009), Judge Diane Weiss Sigmund also determined that sanctions were warranted in a foreclosure case involving Lender Processing Services. Judge Sigmund described in great detail how the default mortgage servicing and foreclosure systems really work.

Lender Processing Services (“LPS”) was described as the largest out-source provider in the United States for mortgage default services. The LPS systems frequently resulted in incorrect information regarding mortgages reported to litigants and judges in foreclosure actions. The LPS network of national and local law firms were required to communicate directly with LPS, and not the mortgage servicers, about any issues that arose in any given case. Likewise, the servicers were required to execute a 51-page Default Service Agreement with LPS that delegated to LPS all functions with respect to the default servicing work. LPS used a software communication system called “NewTrak” to deliver instructions and documents to the LPS network attorneys and to deliver any information to the servicers. LPS also had access to the servicers data-base platforms. The law firms were staffed primarily by paralegals with little supervision by attorneys. See
In re Taylor, supra, at 1885889 to 1885891.

Judge Sigmund found that he LPS system was designed to minimize human involvement. She concluded, “When an attorney appears in a matter, it is assumed he or she brings not only substantive knowledge of the law but judgment. The competition for business cannot be an impediment to the use of these capabilities. The attorney, as opposed to the processor, knows when a contest does not fit the cookie cutter forms employed by the paralegals. At that juncture, the use of technology and automated queries must yield to hand- carried justice. The client must be advised, questioned and consulted. The thoughtless mechanical employment of computer-driven models and communications to inexpensively traverse the path to foreclosure offends the integrity of our American bankruptcy system. It is for those involved in the process to step back and assess how they can fulfill their professional obligations and responsibly reap the benefits of technology. Noting less should be tolerated.”

In a case pending in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, In re Silvia Nuer, Case No. 08-17106 (REG), in a Memorandum of Law of the United States Trustee in Support of Sanctions Against J.P.Morgan Chase Bank National Association, filed January 4, 2010, the Trustee reviewed the testimony of Mr. Herndon, a witness for Chase, who testified that the chain of title for the property in question passed through three entities. Previously, however, Chase had submitted contrary documents. In particular, Chase had submitted an assignment “that appeared to show that Chase assigned its right as mortgagee to Deutsche, as trustee for Long Beach Mortgage Trust 2006-2. The Assignment was signed by Scott Walter as “Attorney in Fact for Chase (the “Walter November 1 Assignment”)…It was signed on November 1, 2008, after the Filing Date. This 2008 Assignment to a trust that closed in 2006 signed by an individual who did not in fact work for Chase has become the focus of the sanctions debate. Regarding the Walter Assignment, the Trustee states: “Here, the misconduct of Chase includes the attachment of the Walter November 1 Assignment…Chase’s own witness could not explain the Walter November 1 Assignment…”

Walter was actually an employee in the Minnesota office of Lender Processing Services.

What is an appropriate sanction for a company that repeatedly makes false statements in bankruptcy proceedings – and files false mortgage assignments and Affidavits – so that the bankruptcy judge will lift the stay and allow a foreclosure to proceed more quickly?

If the debtor engaged in these acts, the case would be referred to the U.S. Attorney so that criminal charges of bankruptcy fraud could be filed against the debtor. Why should a repeat offender deserve less?

Lynn E. Szymoniak, Ed., Fraud Digest

Florida AG investigating LPS subsidiary: Jacksonville Business Journal

Monday, May 17, 2010, 1:50pm EDT  |  Modified: Monday, May 17, 2010, 1:51pm

Jacksonville Business Journal – by Christian Conte Staff Writer

The Florida Attorney General’s Office has launched a civil investigation similar to one launched by a Florida U.S. Attorney’s Office against Fidelity National Financial Inc. and Lender Processing Services Inc., along with an LPS subsidiary, relating to possible forged documents in foreclosure cases.

According to the Attorney General’s website, DOCX LLC, based in Alpharetta, Ga., “seems to be creating and manufacturing ‘bogus assignments’ of mortgage in order that foreclosures may go through more quickly and efficiently. These documents appear to be forged, incorrectly and illegally executed, false and misleading. These documents are used in court cases as ‘real’ documents of assignment and presented to the court as so, when it actually appears that they are fabricated in order to meet the documentation to foreclosure according to law.”

The Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division in Fort Lauderdale is handling the case.

Fidelity National Financial (NYSE: FNF), based in Jacksonville, provides title insurance, specialty insurance, claims management services and information services. Lender Processing Services (NYSE: LPS), also based in Jacksonville, provides mortgage processing services, settlement services, mortgage performance analytics and default solutions.

Fidelity National acquired DOCX, which processes and files lien releases and mortgage assignments for lenders, in 2005.

The U.S. Attorney’s office launched its investigation of DOCX in February.

LPS stated in its 2009 annual report that there was a “business process that caused an error in the notarization” of mortgage documents, some in the foreclosure proceedings in “various jurisdictions around the country,” according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

While the company said it fixed the problem, the annual report stated it spurred an inquiry by the Clerk of Superior Court in Fulton County, Ga., and most recently, LPS was notified by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, based in Tampa, that it is also investigating the “business processes” of DOCX.

cconte@bizjournals.com | 265-2227
Read more: Florida AG investigating LPS subsidiary – Jacksonville Business Journal:

RELATED STORY: MISSION: VOID LENDER PROCESSING SERVICES “ASSIGNMENTS”

THE REAL EMPLOYERS OF THE SIGNERS OF MORTGAGE ASSIGNMENTS TO TRUSTS: BY Lynn E. Szymoniak, Esq.

THE REAL EMPLOYERS OF THE SIGNERS OF

MORTGAGE ASSIGNMENTS TO TRUSTS

BY Lynn E. Szymoniak, Esq., Editor, Fraud Digest (szymoniak@mac.com),

April 15, 2010

On May 11, 2010, Judge Arthur J. Schack, Supreme Court, Kings County, New York, entered an order denying a foreclosure action with prejudice. The case involved a mortgage-backed securitized trust, SG Mortgage Securities Asset Backed Certificates, Series 2006-FRE2. U.S. Bank, N.A. served as Trustee for the SG Trust. See U.S. Bank, N.A. v. Emmanuel, 2010 NY Slip Op 50819 (u), Supreme Court, Kings County, decided May 11, 2010. In this case, as in hundreds of thousands of other cases involving securitized trusts, the trust inexplicably did not produce mortgage assignments from the original lender to the depositor to the securities company to the trust.

This particular residential mortgage-backed securities trust in the Emmanuel case had a cut-off date of July 1, 2006. The entities involved in the creation and early agreements of this trust included Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., as servicer, U.S. Bank, N.A. as trustee, Bear Stearns Financial Products as the “swap provider” and SG Mortgage Securities, LLC. The Class A Certificates in the trust were given a rating of “AAA” by Dominion Bond Rating Services on July 13, 2006.

The designation “FRE” in the title of this particular trust indicates that the loans in the trust were made by Fremont Investment & Loan, a bank and subprime lender and subsidiary of Fremont General Corporation. The “SG” in the title of the trust indicates that the loans were “securitized” by Signature Securities Group Corporation, or an affiliate.

Fremont, a California-based corporation, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on June 19, 2008, but continued in business as a debtor-in-possession. On March 31, 2008, Fremont General sold its mortgage servicing rights to Carrington Capital Management, a hedge fund focused on the subprime residential mortgage securities market. Carrington Capital operated Carrington Mortgage Services, a company that had already acquired the mortgage servicing business of New Century after that large sub-prime lender also filed for bankruptcy. Carrington Mortgage Services provides services a portfolio of nearly 90,000 loans with an outstanding principal balance of over $16 billion. Nearly 63% of the portfolio is comprised of adjustable rate mortgages. Mortgage servicing companies charge  substantially higher fees for servicing adjustable rate mortgages than fixed-rate mortgages. Those fees, often considered the most lucrative part of the subprime mortgage business, are paid by the securitized trusts that bought the loans from the original lenders (Fremont & New Century), after the loans had been combined into trusts by securities companies, like Financial Assets Securities Corporation, SG and Carrington Capital.

Carrington Capital in Greenwich, Connecticut, is headed by Bruce Rose, who left Salomon Brothers in 2003 to start Carrington. At Carrington, Rose packaged $23 billion in subprime mortgages. Many of those securities included loans originated by now-bankrupt New Century Financial. Carrington forged unique contracts that let it direct any foreclosure and liquidations of the underlying loans. Foreclosure management is also a very lucrative part of the subprime mortgage business. As with servicing adjustable rate mortgages, the fees for the foreclosure management are paid ultimately by the trust. There is little or no oversight of the fees charged for the foreclosure actions. The vast majority of foreclosure cases are uncontested, but the foreclosure management firms may nevertheless charge the trust several thousand dollars for each foreclosure of a property in the trust.

The securities companies and their affiliates also benefit from the bankruptcies of the original lenders. On May 12, 2010, Signature Group Holdings LLP, (“SG”) announced that it had been chosen to revive fallen subprime mortgage lender Freemont General, once the fifth-largest U.S. subprime mortgage lender. A decision to approve Signature’s reorganization plan for Fremont was made through a bench ruling issued by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana, CA. The bid for Fremont lasted nearly two years, with several firms competing for the acquisition.

The purchase became much more lucrative for prospective purchasers in late March, 2010, when Fremont General announced that it would settle more than $89 million in tax obligations to the Internal Revenue Service without actually paying a majority of the back taxes. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, Santa Ana Division, approved a motion that allowed Fremont General to claim a net operating loss deduction for 2004 that is attributable for its 2006 tax obligations, according to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In addition, Fremont General will deduct additional 2004 taxes, because of a temporary extension to the period when companies can claim the credit. The extension from two years to five went into effect when President Obama signed the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009. While approved by the bankruptcy court judge, the agreement must also meet the approval of the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, but according to the SEC filing, both Fremont General and the IRS anticipate that it will be approved. In all, Fremont’s nearly $89.4 million tax assessment was reduced to about $2.8 million, including interest. In addition, as a result of the IRS agreement, a California Franchise Tax Board tax claim of $13.3 million was reduced to $550,000.

Another development that made the purchase especially favorable for SG was the announcement on May 10, 2010, that Federal Insurance Co. has agreed to pay Fremont General Corp. the full $10 million loss limits of an errors and omissions policy to cover subprime lending claims, dropping an 18-month battle over whether the claims were outside the scope of its bankers professional liability policies.

All of these favorable developments are part of a long history of success for Craig Noell, the head of Signature Group Holdings, the winning bidder for Fremont. Previously, as a member of the distressed investing area at Goldman Sachs, Noell founded and ran Goldman Sachs Specialty Lending, investing Goldman’s proprietary capital in “special situations opportunities.”

Bruce Rose’s Carrington Mortgage Services and Craig Noell’s Signature Group Holdings are part of the story of the attempted foreclosure on Arianna Emmanuel in Brooklyn, New York. U.S. Bank, N.A., as Trustee for SG Mortgage Securities Asset-Backed Certificates, Series 2006 FRE-2 attempted to foreclose on Arianna Emmanuel. The original mortgage had been made by Fremont Investment & Loan (the beneficiary of the $100 milion tax break and the $10 million insurance payout discussed above).

To successfully foreclose, the Trustee needed to produce proof that the Trust had acquired the loan from Fremont. At this point, the document custodian for the trust needed only to produce the mortgage assignment. The securities company that made the SG Trust, the mortgage servicing company that serviced the trust and U.S. Bank as Trustee had all made frequent sworn statements to the SEC and shareholders that these documents were safely stored in a fire-proof  vault.

Despite these frequent representations to the SEC, the assignment relied upon by U.S. Bank, the trustee, was one executed by Elpiniki Bechakas as assistant secretary and vice president of MERS, as nominee for Freemont. In foreclosure cases all over the U.S., assignments signed by Elpiniki Bechakas are never questioned. But on May 11, 2010, the judge examining the mortgage assignment was the Honorable Arthur J. Schack in Brooklyn, New York.

Bechakas signed as an officer of MERS, as nominee for Fremont, representing that the property had been acquired by the SG Trust in June, 2009. None of this was true. Judge Schack determined sua sponte that Bechakas was an associate in the law offices of Steven J. Baum, the firm representing the trustee and trust in the foreclosure. Judge Schack recognized that the Baum firm was thus working for both the GRANTOR and GRANTEE. Judge Schack wrote, “The Court is concerned that the concurrent representation by Steven J. Baum, P.C. of both assignor MERS, as nominee for FREMONT, and assignee plaintiff U.S. BANK is a conflict of interest, in violation of 22 NYCRR § 1200.0 (Rules of Professional Conduct, effective April 1, 2009) Rule 1.7, “Conflict of Interest: Current Clients.”

Judge Schack focused squarely on an issue that pro se homeowner litigants and foreclosure defense lawyers often attempt to raise – the authority of the individuals signing mortgage assignments that are used by trusts to foreclose. In tens of thousands of cases, law firm employees sign as MERS officers, without disclosing to the Court or to homeowners that they are actually employed by the law firm, not MERS, and that the firm is being paid and working on behalf of the Trust/Grantee while the firm employee is signing on behalf of the original lender/Grantor.

Did the SG Trust acquire the Emmanuel loan in 2006, the closing date of the trust, or in 2009, the date chosen by Belchakas and her employers? There are tremendous tax advantages being claimed by banks and mortgage companies based on their portfolio of nonperforming loans. There are also millions of dollars in insurance payouts being made ultimately because of non-performing loans. There are substantial fees being charged by mortgage servicing companies and mortgage default management companies – being paid by trusts and assessed on homeowners in default. The question of the date of the transfer is much more than an academic exercise.

As important as the question of WHEN, there is also the question of WHAT – what exactly did the trust acquire? What is the reason for the millions of assignments to trusts that flooded recorders’ offices nationwide starting in 2007 that were prepared by law firm employees like Bechakas or by employees of mortgage default companies or document preparation companies specializing is providing “replacement” mortgage documents. Why, in judicial foreclosure states, are there thousands of Complaints for Foreclosure filed with the allegations: “We Own the Note; we had the note; we lost the note.” Why do bankruptcy courts repeatedly see these same three allegations in Motions For Relief of Stay filed by securitized trusts attempting to foreclose? If the assignments and notes are missing, has the trust acquired anything (other than investors’ money, tax advantages and insurance payouts)? In many cases, the mortgage servicing company does eventually acquire the property – often by purchasing the property after foreclosure for ten dollars and selling it to the trust that had claimed ownership from the start.

Where are the missing mortgage assignments?

Securities and Investments: Fraud Digest

Securities and Investments 

Morgan Stanley

Action Date: May 12, 2010 
Location: New York, NY 

EDITORIAL: On May 12, 2010, Morgan Stanley’s Chief Executive announced in response to a Wall Street Journal article that he was unaware of any criminal investigation by the Justice Department that his firm, like Goldman Sachs, misled investors about mortgage-backed derivative deals. The WSJ had reported that Morgan Stanley was the subject of such an investigation. In addition to determining whether the firm was betting against the very products it was promoting to investors, the Justice Department COULD investigate whether Morgan Stanley and other securities firms exercised secret control over the rating agencies, causing risky investments to get the highest ratings by these firms. The Justice Department COULD also investigate whether the mortgage-backed trusts put together by Morgan Stanley were comprised of much riskier mortgages than represented to investors. Another investigation COULD be conducted regarding the pay-outs from the insurance policies behind the CDOs and whether the servicing companies working for the trusts are collecting twice – from the insurance and from the foreclosures – and then turning around, acquiring the foreclosed properties for $10 – and profiting yet a third time. Investigators COULD even determine whether foreclosure mills working for trusts created by Morgan Stanley are now using forged proof of ownership to foreclose because Morgan Stanley never acquired the mortgages, notes and assignments they claimed to have in their vaults, backing the mortgage-backed securities. In the battle between the Justice Department and Wall Street, Goliath is in New York, not D.C. 

What can be done about the backlog of foreclosure cases in Palm Beach County (and other Florida counties)? By Lynn Szymoniack ESQ.

BACKLOG

1. Dismiss all cases filed after February 11, 2010, that do not include a verification in accordance with the Florida Supreme Court revised  rules of Civil Procedure.   The big foreclosure firms, particularly the Law Offices of David Stern, are choosing to ignore the rule requiring verifications.  All parties should be required to follow the rules.

2. Dismiss all of the cases where the plaintiff is a bank “as Trustee” but the name of the trust is not disclosed.  Failure to identify the actual trust is one of the newest strategies of the foreclosure mills.  The trust, not the trustee, is the real party in interest.

3. Dismiss all of the cases where the complaint is not signed by the attorney whose name appears on the pleading.  The big foreclosure firms in thousands of cases have someone other than the attorney on the pleading sign “for” the attorney who drafted the pleading.  This is done so that both attorneys can deny responsibility.

4. Dismiss all of the cases that include these boilerplate allegations by the bank or trust: “We own the note. We had possession of the note. We lost the note.”  These allegations appear in over 20,000 cases.  By now it is apparent this is a ruse – no one actually lost 20,000 mortgages and notes. Frauds upon the courts should not be tolerated.

5. Dismiss all of the cases that include a Mortgage Assignment that was signed by an employee of the foreclosure mill law firm signing as a MERS officer.  This would include thousands of cases where Cheryl Samons and Beth Cerni, administrative employees for David Stern, signed as a representative of the GRANTOR when the firm was actually working for the GRANTEE.  This would also include cases where Patricia Arango and Caryn Graham, two associates working for The Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson, signed as MERS officers.  This would also include all cases where Christopher Bossman, an administrative employee in the Daniel Consuegra fiirm, signed as a MERS officer.  This would also include all cases where officers of Florida Default Law Group signed as MERS officers. In all of these cases, no disclosure was made to the Court or to the homeowner/defendants that the Assignments were prepared by law firm employees with no knowledge of the truth of the matters asserted therein.

6. Dismiss all of the cases where a Mortgage Assignment was signed by Jeffrey Stephan of GMAC (notarized in Montgomery County, PA).  Stephan has already admitted in sworn testimony that a notary was NOT present when he signed mortgage assignments, even though the Assignments contained a contrary statement.

7. Dismiss all of the cases where the documents were prepared by employees of Lender Processing Services since this company has already admitted in its Annual Statement with the SEC that investigations, internal and otherwise, revealed problems with the documents that were so significant that the company implemented a “remediation” program (and in January, 2010, laid off most of its employees in Alpharetta, GA. Until this company discloses which documents were determined to be defective, and what corrective actions were taken, no documents from LPS submitted to establish ownership and standing (notarized in Fulton County, GA; Duval County, FL and Dakota County, MN) should be relied upon by the Courts.

8. Dismiss all cases where a Mortgage Assignment has been made by American Brokers Conduit, American Home Mortgage Acceptance or American Home Mortgage Company, or nominees or mortgage servicing companies working for these American Home companies, after August 6, 2007, the day these companies filed for bankruptcy.  The bankruptcy court did not authorizing these actions.

If Palm Beach County judges looked critically at the documents submitted by the foreclosure mills,  they would reach the same conclusion as judges in other Florida Circuits – that the documents submitted by the foreclosure mills are worthless and the attorneys submitting these documents deserve strict sanctions.

LYNN E. SZYMONIAK ESQ.

MORTGAGE SERVICING COMPANIES PREPARING “REPLACEMENT” MORTGAGE ASSIGNMENTS: By Lynn E. Szymoniak, Esq., Ed.

MORTGAGE SERVICING COMPANIES

PREPARING “ REPLACEMENT” MORTGAGE ASSIGNMENTS

By Lynn E. Szymoniak, Esq., Ed. Fraud Digest, May 6, 2010

CALIFORNIA – ORANGE COUNTY

Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC

Tom Croft and others

CALIFORNIA – SAN DIEGO COUNTY

Chase Home Finance

FLORIDA – BROWARD COUNTY

Patricia Arango, Caryn Graham and others

Law Offices of Marshal Watson

FLORIDA – BROWARD COUNTY

Cheryl Samons, Beth Cerni and others

Law Offices of David Stern

FLORIDA – DUVAL COUNTY

Lender Processing Services

Valerie Broom, Margaret Dalton, Michele Halyard, Michael Hunt, Joseph

Kaminsky, Kathy Smith, Coleman Stokes and others

FLORIDA- HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Florida Default Law Group or Law Offices of Daniel Consuegra

FLORIDA – PALM BEACH COUNTY

Ocwen Loan Servicing

Scott Anderson, Oscar Taveras, Doris Chapman, Jonathan Burgess, Laura

Buxton and others

FLORIDA – PINELLAS COUNTY

Nationwide Title Clearing

Bryan Bly, Vilma Castro, Dhurato Doko, Jessica Fretwell and others

GEORGIA – FULTON COUNTY

Lender Processing Services

Linda Green, Korell Harp, Jessice Ohde, Linda Thoresen, Tywanna Thomas,

Cheryl Thomas, Christie Baldwin and others

MINNESOTA -DAKOTA COUNTY

Lender Processing Services

Liquenda Allotey, Topeka Love, Christine Anderson, Christine Allen, Eric Tate

OHIO – FRANKLIN COUNTY

Chase Home Finance

Christina Trowbridge, Whitney Cook and others

PENNSYLVANIA – ALLEGHANY COUNTY

Home Loan Services, Inc.

PENNSYLVANIA – MONTGOMERY COUNTY

GMAC (and Homecomings Financial)

Jeffrey Stephan, John Kerr and others

SOUTH CAROLINA – YORK COUNTY

America’s Servicing Company

John Kennerty, China Brown and others

TEXAS – COLLIN COUNTY

BAC Home Loan Servicing, f/k/a Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, LP

TEXAS – DALLAS COUNTY (COPPELL, TX)

American Home Mortgage Servicing

TEXAS – HARRIS COUNTY

Litton Loan Servicing, LP

Marti Noriega, Denise Bailey, Diane Dixon and others

TEXAS – TARRANT COUNTY

Saxon Mortgage Services

TEXAS – TRAVIS COUNTY

IndyMac Bank Home Loan Servicing

Brian Burnett, Kristen Kemp, Suchan Murray, Chamagne Williams and others

TEXAS – WILLIAMSON COUNTY

IndyMac Bank (years after IndyMac Bank, F.S.B. ceased to exist, many of the signers will sign as officers of IndyMac Bank, F.S.B. (the entity that should have made the assignment to the trust years ealier)

Erica A. Johnson-Seck, Dennis Kirkpatick, Eric Friedman and others

UTAH

SALT LAKE COUNTY

Select Portfolio Servicing

Luisa Alfonso, Bill Koch and others

Many mortgage-backed securitized trusts are missing critical documents needed to foreclose – i.e., the mortgage assignment. An excellent discussion of this is found in the decision of Massachusetts Land Court Judge Keith Long reaffirming a 2009 ruling (Ibanez) that invalidated foreclosures on two properties because the lenders did not hold clear title to the properties at the time of the foreclosure sale. Mortgage assignments were a key issue in Ibanez, a case that involved ineffective assignments to the Trust. Judge Long noted:

…the plaintiffs’ own securitization documents required mortgage assignments to be made to the plaintiffs in recordable form for each and every loan at the time the plaintiffs acquired them. Surely, compliance with this requirement would (and certainly should) have been a priority for an entity issuing securities dependent on recoveries from loans, such as these, known from the start to have a higher than normal risk of delinquency and default. U.S. BANK, N.A. v. Antonio Ibanez, et al., Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Land Court Dept., 08 MISC 384283 (KCL).

This Ibanez decision and many others deal with the issue of mortgage assignments prepared years after the closing date of the trust, usually when the Trustee or mortgage servicer has realized that the Trust does not have the assignment needed to foreclose or has a defective assignment – such as one issued in blank, unsigned and undated.

Many trusts and servicers try to replace the missing assignments, often with assignments executed within a few months of the foreclosure – and in many cases even after the foreclosure is filed or the home is sold (in non-judicial foreclosure states). The date and place of the Assignment often reveals whether the Assignment is actually a “replacement” – issued years after the Trust closed, and even years after the original lender supposedly making the Assignment disappeared into bankruptcy.

The servicer rarely identifies itself and discloses that this is an attempt to replace a missing assignment. It is, therefore, very useful to know that Mortgage Assignments notarized in the counties above are more often than not replacement Assignments prepared by or on behalf of the Trusts – by the servicers for the Trust or document preparation companies working for the servicers, or even law firm employees working for the Trust.

Please send corrections/additions to szymoniak@mac.com.