Mandelman on LPS, DJSP Ent. & Altisource – Nina Easton’s HOT Stocks for Homeowners Losing Homes

Via: Mandelman Matters

(Only in America… Nina Easton.  More on that in a moment.)

The New York Post is reporting that a new gold rush is sweeping the country and it’s all about… are you ready for this… “people looking to get fat off of the $4 billion home foreclosure industry”.

Apparently, in the last two years four companies have either gone public or are about to go public, and each is looking to raise the cash they need to become a “national powerhouse” in the business of providing “streamlined and low-cost methods” for kicking people out of their homes.

According to the Post, “there are currently 6 million homeowners 60 days or more delinquent on their mortgage,” which makes these companies very attractive to investors.

These companies, DJSP Enterprises, whose revenues have increased by 31% over the last year, Altisource Portfolio Solutions, with its 182 percent increase in profits last year, and of course, Lender Processing Services, a company with $2.4 billion in revenue up 29 percent last year — all offer technology linking lenders with law firms in order to reduce the cost and streamline the process of foreclosing on homes and evicting their ex-owners.

Oh, and let’s not forget Prommis Solutions, which turned a $7.9 million profit in 2009 and has filed to go public.

Now, Lender Processing Services is the parent company of DocX, a company that one of the companies under investigation by the Florida Attorney General’s office for being in the business of creating fraudulent documents used in foreclosure proceedings when the servicer doesn’t have any paperwork showing that the trust actually holds the mortgage.

But, LPS doesn’t seem terribly concerned about that investigation, or any of the others that threaten to expose this company for wrongdoing.  They say it’s all just a mix-up… funny story, that sort of thing.  Here’s the company’s CEO on May 20th:

LPS’ CEO Jeffrey Carbiener said “our earnings are quality earnings. They translate into cash flow.  LPS generated $349 million in cash last year.”

LPS provides all levels of mortgage default services services for when a loan goes bad.  “Because we have a strong business model, we’re able to weather economic challenges,” Carbiener said.  LPS’s growth is continuing into 2010, with first-quarter revenue up 11.8 percent and adjusted earnings up 26.5 percent.

“We’ve had good success and we expect that success to continue into the future,” Carbiener said.

These types of companies get fees from the lenders on each property, and from the law firms that file the foreclosure actions. So, their prospectuses warn investors:

“A turnaround in the housing market or additional mortgage-modification plans from Washington may negatively impact our profits.”

Well, there’s not much to worry about in either of those regards, at this point anyway.  But, I suppose there is always the risk that there could be an outbreak of competence in Washington.  Still… I’d probably go long at this point.

As long as our economy continues to sink into an abyss, any of these companies is poised to become the next Microsoft, but God forbid our elected representatives actually figure something out and we start to see stabilization in the housing market, leading to a real recovery, well… better sell these stocks short and fast, ‘cause the better things get the worse they’ll do.

The whole thing got me to thinking… this must be awfully confusing to John Paulsen and the guys at Goldman.  They want to short the housing market in every possible way, but to do that in this case, they have to go long.  I’ll bet some traders have become dizzy and maybe even passed out just thinking about that.

A Goldman Trader: “What do I do again?  I need 3.5 million shares short… no, long… no, short… no, damnit!”

So, if you’re a homeowner at risk of losing your home to foreclosure, or even if you’re not looking at foreclosure, but just can’t stand the thought of watching another hundred grand in equity go up in smoke, I have some important investment advice for 2010 and 2011 that you’ll want to hear.

Why not consider strategically defaulting on your underwater mortgage in order to start dollar cost averaging into this brand new and exciting offering:

Nina Easton’s

Empty Homes Hi-Yield Bond Fund

To learn more about Nina’s role in the foreclosure crisis, click where her name appears in orange above.

The fund’s objective is to acquire significant positions in bonds issued by growth companies that are positioned to capitalize on the emerging and exciting multi-billion dollar foreclosure industry.  The fund’s investment strategy focuses on:

  • Technologies that enable faster, high-quality document forgeries.
  • Property preservation companies that throw people out first time, every time.
  • Title insurance companies that don’t care who owns the property.
  • Lock-Box and REO-FOR-SALE sign manufacturers.
  • Home auction companies.
  • Firms that lobby on behalf of the banking industry.
  • And, of course, the makers of Xanax and Ativan.

People, this is a once in a lifetime investment opportunity to place a bet on our growing foreclosure industry, supported by the total and ongoing incompetence of our government!  And that’s not all…

In order to hedge your position in Nina’s Empty Homes Hi-Yield Bond Fund, or for those of you who think the administration and other branches government may at some point actually start getting something right, I’m also working on getting the Obama Administration to agree to be a counterparty in credit default swaps related to certificate holders in Nina Easton’s Empty Homes Hi-Yield Bond Fund.

Nothing is definite at this point, but I think it’s important that dumb money be able to short our multi-billion dollar foreclosure industry, so for those that think the foreclosure crisis will be ending soon, stand by because my soon to be available Obama Competence Credit Default Swaps should be available soon.  That’s right, you can sell the foreclosure industry short when you invest in Obama Competence Credit Default Swaps.

Plenty of Upside Remaining…

Some have said…

“But Nina… we’ve already lost 7 million homes to foreclosure.  Haven’t I already missed out on my chance to profit from this exciting opportunity?”

No, no… silly human… there’s plenty of upside remaining in the foreclosure market.  Housing prices are still in a free fall, foreclosures are still coming in at over 300,000 a month, and we’re on the fifteenth straight month at those levels.

There are 6 million people more than 60 days delinquent on their mortgages right now, and Goldman Sachs forecasts 14 million more foreclosures in the next five years!  And don’t forget… the good news is that the ALT-A and Option ARM loans that haven’t even started adjusting yet!

Unemployment?  Fuggetaboutit!  I mean, no one is even trying to fix that anymore!  We’ve got more people unemployed for more than 30 weeks than since before I was born, and at this point our only strategy is to report made up numbers generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  I think it’s pretty safe to say that it’s all downhill from here!

So, worry not.  It’s not at all too late for you to get involved and make your fortune in the fast-paced and exciting foreclosure industry, because there’s plenty of upside left in the American foreclosure market.  Let’s see the Chinese beat us at this!  No chance… they won’t even try.

And the people trying to stop this foreclosure thing… please.  Here’s what Nina Easton wrote in her blog about a demonstration near her home:

Now this event would accurately be called a “protest”; if it were taking place at, say, a bank or the U.S. Capitol. But when hundreds of loud and angry strangers are descending on your family, your children, and your home, a more apt description of this assemblage would be ‘mob.’

You tell ‘em Nina!

Others ask…

“Nina, I heard HAMP was doing better at modifying loans lately.  Is this something I should be concerned about?”

I wouldn’t be the least bit concerned, and here’s why…

First of all, you’d have to believe that the government’s program will actually continue to show improvement, and at this point, there’s very little evidence upon which to base that sort of assumption.

As of right now, there have been about the same number of homeowners kicked out of HAMP as have received permanent modifications, and don’t forget there are still more than 600,000 homeowners stuck in the purgatory that the government refers to as a “trial modification,” so look for at least a few hundred thousand more foreclosures there, for sure!

It really is an exciting time to be investing in the foreclosure industry in this country, and there’s no better way than through Nina Easton’s Empty Homes Hi-Yield Bond Fund.

Now, it is true that HAMP, as of June 1st, will start requiring homeowners to verify their incomes prior to being placed into a trial modification, and the early indications are that a much higher percentage of homeowners will ultimately be granted permanent modifications in future months as a result of this new requirement.

Big deal… The numbers of homeowners entering the program declined dramatically as soon as the servicers started asking for proof of income in advance of being granted a trial modification, so even if this does make HAMP incrementally better, it won’t come close to touching the more than 300,000 new foreclosures occurring each month in this country!  How could you ask for better fundamentals than that?

And the best part is… you can still rely on the fact that HAMP is “VOLUNTARY” as far as the banks and servicers are concerned!

So, relax… you don’t think the banks and servicers are going to do anything to stop foreclosures, do you?  Of course not!  And it’s still… ALL UP TO THEM!

If there’s one thing you can depend on, it’s that the banks and servicers will continue to fuel the foreclosure industry’s growth, so with the government allowing the banks total discretion on all foreclosure decisions, investing in Nina Easton’s Empty Homes Hi-Yield Bond Fund is a safe bet and a sure winner.  It’s like we’ve got Colonel Sanders guarding the chickens, if you know what I mean.

Barring some totally unforeseen change in the administration, like Paul Volker being taken seriously, Bernanke allowing us to audit the Fed, Tim Geithner turning on his banking buddies on Wall Street, or Liz Warren being given teeth, there’s no way Obama’s Making Home Affordable program is going to address the millions more homes that will be lost as a result of the foreclosure crisis.

And come on… I understand that past performance is no assurance of future results, but Volker taken seriously?  Geithner turning on Wall Street?  Liz Warren being given teeth?  Bernanke letting anyone inside the Fed?  HAHAHAHAHA… I know… anything can happen, but come on… it’s like thinking that maybe the banksters are going to wake up one morning afraid of Obama.  Come on… you’re killing me… not in this lifetime, baby!

No, folks… the good news for our emerging foreclosure industry, and for Nina Easton’s new Empty Homes Hi-Yield Bond Fund, is that our government has failed at every single turn in trying to stem the tide of foreclosures in this country, and there’s no reason to believe they’re going to be any more competent in the future!

Some say that America has lost its leadership position in the world, but I don’t believe that for a second, and I think we’re already proving it with our clear dominance in the foreclosure industry.  There’s no other country on the globe that has anywhere near as vibrant a foreclosure industry as we do here in the good old U.S.A.

We’re the dominant world leader in foreclosure production, and with nothing in place to stimulate economic growth, nothing even on the drawing board to reverse the trends in unemployment, and all of our money and then some going to prop up failed financial institutions that remain insolvent, how can anyone not think that we will maintain our leadership position as the foreclosure capital of the free world?

And don’t worry about all these pesky demonstrations by homeowners.  Like Nina wrote in her blog last week about the unwashed masses that were demonstrating in front of her house, just because her neighbor works for some bank:

Waving signs denouncing bank ‘greed,’ hordes of invaders poured out of 14 school buses,” childishly putting “greed” in quotes as if referring to unicorns, hobbits, or some other imaginary entity.

Ooooh, snap!  We love you Nina!

So, don’t miss out on the opportunity to go long on the promise of our government’s ongoing incompetence by investing in Nina Easton’s Empty Homes Hi-Yield Bond Fund today!

Disclaimer: Past incompetence is no assurance of continued ineptitude, or future ineffectiveness.

Don’t worry about not having any money left in your IRA or 401(k), many of our investors simply stop making mortgage payments and then invest those amounts in the fund each month.  We even offer direct deposit, so you can just call your bank where your mortgage payments are automatically going now, and have them redirected toNina Easton’s Empty Homes Hi-Yield Bond Fund!

It’s that simple!  Why not start rooting for more foreclosures today?

Isn’t it time to get on the right side of this foreclosure crisis thing, by investing on the winning side!  Sure you may lose a house or two, but so what?  You’re so far underwater that the only difference between you and a renter is that a renter has more rights and can’t be evicted as quickly.

Besides with the money you’ll make investing in my new Empty Homes Hi-Yield Bond Fund, soon you’ll not only be able to buy the home across the street for half the price, you’ll be able to pay  cash!

For more information, call:

1-800-4-EMPTY-HOMES

Or send email to:

invest@throwthemouttoday.com

Operators are standing by to take your call.


~~~~~~~~~~~~

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS:

The Empty Homes Hi-Yield Bond Fund is not registered with FINRA or the SIPC, but so what, neither are trillions in derivatives.

Although current personnel working for the administration can be counted on as entirely lacking in ability or skill, theEmpty Homes Hi-Yield Bond Fund makes no assurances pertaining to the stupidity or utter uselessness of those who may work for the administration in the future.

In the event of an outbreak of competence in Washington D.C. investors should recognize that they could lose their investment in the Empty Homes Hi-Yield Bond Fund, although at this point, the FUND’s management believes that statistically this risk falls somewhere between the risk of shark attack in Indiana, and being killed by falling airplane parts while shopping at an indoor mall.

Nina Easton’s

Empty Homes Hi-Yield Bond Fund

Your Ticket to Winning Our Nation’s Race to the Bottom

Fictional Securities Not Offered by Mandelman Matters.  This, of course, was a joke.  Except for the stuff at the top about the companies like Lender Processing Services… that stuff is real, and should make you want to throw up.  Oh, and the stuff about Nina Easton was real too, and I can’t decide whether to ignore her, or write something about her every single day for the rest of my life.

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IN RE CERTIFICATION OF NEED FOR ADDITIONAL JUDGES, Fla: Supreme Court 2010

No. SC10-320.

Supreme Court of Florida.

February 25, 2010.

QUINCE, C.J.

Pursuant to our constitutional obligation to determine the state’s need for additional judges in Fiscal Year 2010-2011 and to certify “our findings and recommendations about that need” to the Legislature,[1] we hereby certify the need for additional judicial resources as follows.

Certification is “the sole mechanism established by our constitution for a systematic and uniform assessment of this need.” In re Certification of Need for Additional Judges, 889 So. 2d 734, 735 (Fla. 2004).

This Court acknowledges that Florida and our country remain in an economic recession. Like all sectors of our society, the judicial branch is coping with the impact these economic forces are having on the daily operations of our courts, which are faced with increased workloads, reduced resources, and ever-increasing demands on judges and staff. Together, these factors impede the proper administration of justice.For our trial courts, fewer resources and no new judgeships for the last three fiscal years have slowed case processing times and negatively impacted clearance rates. Justice in many instances is delayed.[2] Moreover, the mortgage foreclosure crisis continues unabated with a second wave of foreclosures forecast.[3] These foreclosures have implications for homeowners, lending institutions, neighborhoods, the courts, and Florida’s economy. Further, budget reductions and the resultant loss of supplemental judicial resources, such as case managers, magistrates, and staff attorneys, continue to impact the courts’ ability to respond effectively to the needs of children, families, the business sector, and the public. Although the central purpose of this opinion is to fulfill our constitutional obligation to discuss specifically the certification of judicial need, we must place the consideration of judicial need in a larger justice system context. Therefore, this Court first addresses recent developments in court system funding and the loss of non-judge resources before directly addressing the implications for judicial certification.

STATE COURTS REVENUE TRUST FUND

Because of the economic crisis and as part of its ongoing effort to seek stable funding for Florida’s State Courts System, the Supreme Court has worked with legislative leaders to identify a stable funding source for Florida’s courts. In response, during Special Session A 2009, the Legislature created the State Courts Revenue Trust Fund. The fund supports most court operations with the exception of some judicial salaries which remain general revenue funded. The primary revenue stream supplying the trust fund became effective July 1, 2009. The Supreme Court is grateful to the Legislature for the establishment of this fund, which we believe will help stabilize Florida’s court system. The creation of the State Courts Revenue Trust Fund is also consistent with the Seven Principles of Court Funding advanced through the State Courts System’s Funding Justice initiative.[4] Nevertheless, while the new trust fund appears to promise greater long-term stability, it has not yet impacted the budgetary reductions experienced by the judicial branch over the last two fiscal years. The budget reductions, coupled with no new judgeships for the last three fiscal years, have combined to create an environment of increased judicial workload, caseload backlog, and court delay. 

BUDGET REDUCTIONS

Since July 1, 2007, the State Courts System has experienced a ten percent budget reduction. These reductions have come from our operating budget, including expense dollars, contractual dollars, and the loss of positions throughout the state. Strict hiring and travel policies have also been in effect for the last two years. These restrictions were necessary to comply with overall reductions to our budget. Nonetheless, they come at a price. Court operations have been significantly hampered by the loss of positions that provide direct support to our judges. In order to comply with the legislative request to reduce its budget, Florida’s court system over the last three budget years has lost or eliminated 103.25 case managers, 23.75 magistrates and associated administrative staff, 38.5 law clerks, 18.5 due process positions (i.e., court reporters, court interpreters, and expert witnesses), and 106.5 positions from court administration, appellate clerks’ offices, and appellate marshals’ offices. Of the 290.5 total positions lost in the judicial branch, 249 trial court positions have been eliminated throughout the state. Also substantially reduced were contractual dollars used to hire Civil Traffic Infraction Hearing Officers (CTIHO). As a result, much work previously performed by CTIHOs was absorbed by our county court judges. 

LOST RESOURCES AND CASE PROCESSING TIMES

The budget reductions and loss of positions sustained by the State Courts System over the last two fiscal years continue to be felt in every judicial circuit. We cannot overstate the causal relationship between the loss of supplemental resources and the increases in case processing times. When judges must absorb the workload of case managers, staff attorneys, or hearing officers, case processing times inevitably worsen. The net result is court delay. Moreover, having judges perform the work of subordinate staff is not a prudent use of higher level judicial resources. Judicial time is best spent adjudicating cases, and the loss of supplemental resources has consequences for litigants across all case types. While Floridians continue to access their courts initially through filings, they are being forced to wait inordinate periods of time for final resolution of their cases while judges find it more and more difficult to advance their dockets and clear out backlogged matters.[5] 

CIRCUIT COURT IMPACT

Children and families are especially at risk when resources become scarce. In particular, the loss of case managers in our family divisions directly threatens the level of justice afforded to children and families. Case managers are acutely needed in matters involving custody, visitation, paternity, child support, dependency, delinquency, termination of parental rights, and domestic and repeat violence. Many families involved in such cases have limited means and represent themselves in court. Additionally, many of these families have multiple cases which require coordination to eliminate duplicate hearings and orders. Typically, our family law case managers shepherd cases through the court system by performing intake, screening, evaluation, monitoring, coordinating, scheduling, and referral activities. These activities enable cases to proceed smoothly and timely through the court process. When these positions are eliminated, these tasks fall on the presiding judge. This scenario creates case processing delays, non-referrals, or the minimization of judicial time spent helping children and families. In addition to losing our case management support, our court system has also lost magistrates and attendant administrative staff statewide during this period. Magistrates support the adjudicatory process in the trial courts by performing certain quasi-judicial functions that are routine, computational, or managerial in nature under the authority of the court. Frequently, they are assigned to family law divisions and assist judges by hearing matters related to paternity, dissolution, custody, child support and visitation. They frequently establish attorney fees and costs, submit recommended orders to a judge, and ensure the collection of fines. Their availability enables judges to focus their time on more contentious and complex issues requiring judicial expertise. This division of labor has proven to be both effective and economical. When magistrates are either reduced or eliminated from the case processing equation, judges must then absorb their work. This inevitably contributes to case processing delays. The loss of staff attorneys and law clerks similarly has affected judicial workload and impeded the movement of cases especially in post-conviction criminal cases. Law clerks provide basic legal research assistance to judges, including the preparation of legal memoranda and drafts of court orders. Their work enhances the adjudication of cases because they are able to identify and analyze relevant laws and cases before the court. Without this resource, a judge’s ability to process cases in a manner that ensures both quality and efficiency is diminished because the judge is retrieving materials and unable to delegate basic and routine legal research. Other factors contributing to circuit court workload include the mortgage foreclosure crisis previously mentioned which continues to overwhelm Florida’s court system. Although the dramatic increase in mortgage foreclosure filings is expected to abate at some future date and therefore may not be a part of the long-term sustained net need, there is evidence that a second wave of foreclosures is now entering the court system and that this workload issue will persist. Various media reports note that many of these new foreclosures are fueled by double digit unemployment, declining housing prices, and the lingering recession. Over a 36-month period (Fiscal Year 2005-2006 to Fiscal Year 2007-2008), real property/mortgage foreclosure filings increased by 396 percent in our trial courts. During the same time period, the clearance rate for real property/mortgage foreclosure cases decreased by 52 percent, from 94 percent in Fiscal Year 2005-2006 to 42 percent in Fiscal Year 2007-2008. According to Realty Trac,[6] Florida has the third highest rate of mortgage foreclosures in the country with one in every 158 housing units in foreclosure. Condominium foreclosures are contributing to the crisis. 

COUNTY COURT IMPACT

 As reflected in dropping clearance rates, no other resource has hindered the operations of county courts more than the loss of a substantial portion of the Civil Traffic Infraction Hearing Officer (CTIHO) monies. CTIHOs are members of The Florida Bar who contract with the courts to preside over civil traffic infraction hearings.[7] They are an economical and effective resource dedicated to the disposition of civil traffic infractions. Their availability enables county court judges to adjudicate county criminal and civil matters in a timely manner. In several circuits, the availability of CTIHOs has also enabled county court judges to assist with judicial workload in circuit court. Therefore, the loss of this resource is two-fold: (1) county judges now provide diminished assistance in circuit court, and (2) county judges must now spend a far greater portion of their time presiding over traffic matters. The cascading effect is less time spent assisting circuit court judges, less time focused on more complex county court criminal and civil matters, and more time spent on traffic cases. The net result is case delay and backlog in circuit and county court. Although this opinion is constitutionally required to discuss judicial need, this Court finds it important to advise the Legislature that the elimination of case managers, law clerks, magistrates, court reporters, and court interpreters, coupled with no new trial judges in three years, has long-term structural implications for the court system. If the Legislature is unable to provide new judgeships due to the economic crisis, we encourage it to consider all the more seriously restoring positions lost over the last two years, as has been requested in our annual legislative budget request. 

STATE ATTORNEY, PUBLIC DEFENDER, REGIONAL COUNSEL, AND CAPITAL COLLATERAL REPRESENTATIVE STAFFING

 This Court also remains concerned about the staffing levels of state attorney and public defender offices, the Offices of Regional Counsel, and the offices of the Capital Collateral Representatives. The need persists to reconcile the certification of new judgeships with sufficient staffing for these entities. This is a systemic issue and should be approached as such. We encourage the Legislature to consider the needs of the state attorneys, public defenders, Offices of Regional Counsel, and Capital Collateral Representatives if new judgeships are authorized for our criminal divisions, particularly in light of the staffing reductions they have experienced in recent years. 

TRIAL COURT CERTIFICATION

 For some time, this Court has used a case-weighting system based on accepted standards of measurement in determining the need for additional judges.[8] The case weighting system distinguishes different types of cases and assigns different amounts of time that must be spent on cases of each type, producing a total judicial need for each circuit. Additionally, we adjust for differing jury trial rates in each circuit and county and consider the actual number of judges requested by the chief judge in each circuit. The resulting certification is an objective statement of what the trial courts need to meet their workload. Over the last ten years, we have conducted a continuous evaluation of the certification process. As noted in last year’s opinion, we are now applying the use of sustained judicial need into our methodology. Sustained judicial need is the minimum of the calculated net need over a three-year period. Each year this three year “window” moves forward a year, considering the current year’s net need and the previous two years’ net need in the sustained need calculation. Any new judges received during the previous year’s session are factored into the current year’s net need.[9] From Fiscal Year 2006-2007 to Fiscal Year 2007-2008 total filings have increased by 21 percent in circuit court. Growth in civil filings by 85 percent is the main contributing factor to the statewide increase in circuit court. Real property and mortgage foreclosure case filings have more than doubled from the previous fiscal year, representing an increase of 171,426 filings. Product liability, condominium, and contract and indebtedness case filings have also risen considerably, by 267 percent, 117 percent, and 29 percent respectively. Substantial growth in filings in felony case types also contributed to an overall rise in circuit court filings from Fiscal Year 2006-2007 to Fiscal Year 2007-2008. The largest felony case type in terms of number of filings, property crime (including burglary, theft, worthless checks, and other felonies) increased by five percent. Additionally, capital murder and robbery case filings also rose by a considerable percentage, six and 15 percent respectively. County court filings experienced significant growth from Fiscal Year 2006-2007 to Fiscal Year 2007-2008 as well, with statewide filings increasing by five percent (excluding civil traffic infractions). Growth in civil filings was also the main contributing factor to the statewide increase in county court, with overall civil filings rising by 14 percent. Those cases involving small claims (up to $5,000), civil ($5,001 to $15,000), and evictions increased by 16 percent, 20 percent, and six percent, respectively. Further, the overall statewide circuit court clearance rate[10] from Fiscal Year 2006-2007 to Fiscal Year 2007-2008 has decreased by ten percent. Clearance rates in all divisions dropped in Fiscal Year 2007-2008, with the lone exception of the circuit criminal division. The chief judges of the trial courts are ensuring that all due process (e.g., speedy trials) and other constitutional requirements related to felony proceedings are being met. This often requires the redeployment of judicial resources from other court divisions. The circuit civil division experienced a significant clearance rate decline of nineteen percent, statewide. Similarly, the county court clearance rate decreased by four percent with the county civil division declining by five percent. The sustained impact of the mortgage foreclosure crisis is even further compromising the clearance rates in circuit civil divisions for all circuits in Florida. In many jurisdictions, circuit civil judges cannot keep pace with the volume. As a result, homeowners and lending institutions are subject to increasingly long delays for resolution to their cases.[11] In view of the foregoing considerations, this Court certifies the need for 37 new circuit court judges for Fiscal Year 2010-2011, distributed as follows: 

1. Five additional circuit court judges each for the First and Fifth circuits;

2. Three additional circuit court judges each for the Seventh, Nineteenth, and Twentieth circuits;

3. Two additional circuit court judges each for the Fourth, Sixth, Ninth, Tenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth circuits; and

4. One additional circuit court judge each for the Second, Eighth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Thirteenth, and Eighteenth circuits.

Further, we certify the need for 53 new county court judges for Fiscal Year 2010-2011, as follows: 

1. Eight additional county court judges for Duval County;

2. Six additional county court judges each for Miami-Dade and Broward counties;

3. Five additional county court judges for Palm Beach County;

4. Three additional county court judges for Hillsborough County;

5. Two additional county court judges each for Pinellas, Volusia, Orange, Polk, and Lee counties; and

6. One additional county court judge each for Okaloosa, Columbia, Citrus, Lake, Marion, Alachua, Osceola, Highlands, Manatee, Sarasota, Bay, Brevard, Seminole, St. Lucie, and Collier counties.

In addition to the judges certified above, we also have reviewed the following requests, which we deny for the following reasons. We have specifically reviewed the requests from chief judges to certify three circuit court judges in the Ninth Judicial Circuit and Eleventh Judicial Circuit and note that the sustained judicial need is less than the judgeships requested.[12] Accordingly, we deny those requests. We have also reviewed the chief judge’s requests for an additional county court judge for Pasco County. We have determined that in the absence of special circumstances, we must also deny this request. We emphasize that in addition to mathematical calculations, our staff performs extensive analysis of each circuit’s request in order to analyze the availability of supplemental resources and any special circumstances justifying an exception. 

DISTRICT COURTS OF APPEAL

Like the trial courts, the district courts have also experienced the loss of supplemental support staff due to the economic crisis. During Fiscal Year 2008-2009 a total of 25.5 FTE were lost due to reductions in the district courts’ collective budget. As with the circuit courts, the loss of staff attorneys and law clerks in the district courts has affected judicial workload and impeded the movement of cases. Staff attorneys provide legal research assistance, prepare legal memoranda, and assist in drafting opinions. The absence of staff attorneys and other court support staff that were lost has contributed to more lengthy case processing times and diminished clearance rates in the district courts. Under the weighted caseload per judge threshold set forth in rule 2.240(b)(2)(B), Florida Rules of Judicial Administration, “[t]he court will presume that there is a need for an additional appellate court judgeship in any district for which a request is made and where the relative weight of the cases disposed on the merits per judge would have exceeded 280 after application of the proposed additional judge(s).”[13] Only the Second District requested a judgeship, citing numerous workload factors including increased filings, decreasing clearance rates, post-conviction appeals, reduced staffing complements, and limited judicial availability. Although qualified to receive a judgeship last year, they did not request one, citing the economic climate within the state. While we are sympathetic to the workload in the Second District, using our certification methodology, they do not currently qualify for an additional judgeship after the methodology is applied. Therefore, their request is denied. 

DISTRICT COURTS OF APPEAL CERTIFICATION

In keeping with our policy of not requesting judgeships unless qualified and requested by the chief judge of a district court, we do not certify the need for any additional district court judges.  

CONCLUSION

Florida’s court system remains under duress. The state and national recession of the last two years and the resulting budget reductions for the courts are taking a sustained toll on Florida’s judges, court staff, and most importantly those who are accessing our courts. Case filings are up and clearance rates are down. Judicial dockets are full, scheduling is problematic, and case processing times are delayed. Florida’s court system has now gone three years without the authorization of any new judgeships despite a demonstrated and sustained need. The absence of new judgeships is now being felt by all sectors of our society who seek justice through the court system. We submit this opinion recognizing that it is difficult for the Legislature to fund the many competing critical issues confronting our state given the fiscal crisis the state is enduring. If funds become available, we encourage the Legislature to authorize those judgeships certified in our circuit and county courts. Additionally, while we have identified our judicial need in this opinion, we are equally concerned with the allocation of adequate court support staff and supplemental resources in the statutorily defined court elements that will enable the courts to respond effectively to the needs of children, families, the business sector, and the public. Without these court support staff and supplemental resources, the administration of justice is undermined. It is so ordered. PARIENTE, LEWIS, CANADY, POLSTON, LABARGA, and PERRY, JJ., concur. [1] Article V, section 9 of the Florida Constitution provides in pertinent part: Determination of number of judges.—The supreme court shall establish by rule uniform criteria for the determination of the need for additional judges except supreme court justices, the necessity for decreasing the number of judges and for increasing, decreasing or redefining appellate districts and judicial circuits. If the supreme court finds that a need exists for increasing or decreasing the number of judges or increasing, decreasing or redefining appellate districts and judicial circuits, it shall, prior to the next regular session of the legislature, certify to the legislature its findings and recommendations concerning such need.  [2] See Office of the State Courts Administrator, Clearance Rate Dashboard, Quarter Ending September 30, 2009 (Data as of November 5, 2009), http://www.flcourts.org/gen_public/stats/bin/ClearanceRateDashboard.pdf. [3] See Mortgage Bankers Ass’n, Delinquencies Continue to Climb in Latest MBA National Delinquency Survey, Nov. 19, 2009, http://www.mbaa.org/NewsandMedia/PressCenter/71112.htm; Seeking Alpha.com, Seasonal Bump in Case-Shiller Home Price Index Abates, Nov. 29, 2009, http://seekingalpha.com/article/175233-seasonal-bump-in-case-shiller-home-price-index-abates; Realty Trac, Job Losses Foreshadow More Foreclosures, Risk, http://www.realtytrac.com/contentmanagement/realtytraclibrary.aspx?channelid=8&accnt=0&itemid=7727 (last visited February 23, 2010). [4] See Florida State Courts, Funding Justice, http://www.flcourts.org/gen_public/funding/index.shml (last visited Feb. 23, 2010). [5] A 2008 study by the Washington Economics Group, Inc., has estimated delay in case processing mortgage foreclosure cases costs Florida’s economy $17 billion a year. Washington Economics Group, The Economic Impacts of Inadequate Funding for Florida’s Courts (2008). [6] Realty Trac is an online realtor website that tracks mortgage foreclosures by state and may be found at http://www.realtytrac.com. [7] In Fiscal Year 2007-2008, Civil Traffic Infraction Hearing Officers presided over approximately 489,162 cases in Florida. [8] This system was developed in response to the proviso language of the 1998 General Appropriations Act, in which the Legislature directed that the judicial branch employ a certification methodology that relies on case weights and calculations of available judge time to determine the need for additional trial court judges. See Ch. 98-422, § 7, at 3963, Laws of Fla. Pursuant to this direction, the judicial branch undertook an extensive project to design and implement a weighted caseload system, assisted by the National Center for State Courts and endorsed by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability. [9] In re Certification of Need for Additional Judges, 3 So. 3d 1177, 1181-82 (Fla. 2009)[10] The “clearance rate” is a calculation of the number of cases disposed of divided by the number of cases filed in the same year. The clearance rate has a reasonable ease of calculation, is a useful measure of the responsiveness of a court to the demand for services, and is nationally recognized as a measure of court performance. [11] See Florida Supreme Court Task Force on Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Cases, Final Report and Recommendations on Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Cases (2009), available at http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/pub_info/foreclosure.shtml. [12] Total judicial need is the total number of judges required to complete all expected workload. Net judicial need is the difference between the total judicial need and the number of existing judges. Sustained net need is defined as constant need over time. [13] The number established in the rule, 280, does not represent the filings per judge but is a weighted threshold calculated according to the process described in the DCA Workload Report issued in 2005 by the Commission on District Court of Appeal Performance and Accountability. See Supreme Court of Florida Commission on District Court of Appeal Performance and Accountability, DCA Workload Report to the Supreme Court (2005), available at http://www.flcourts.org/gen_public/court-services/bin/2005DCAWorkloadReport.pdf.

Created Assignments And “Cloned” Officers Yield Fraudulent Foreclosures Across The Country

By: Cynthia Kouril Monday April 19, 2010 12:27 pm

In courtrooms across the country, judges are foreclosing on homes based on improperly prepared documentation, some of which may even be fraudulent. At the heart of the problem are entities like Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS), which itself is owned by many of the largest financial institutions in the U.S. If MERS and other similar firms acting as foreclosing entity were required to show legal proof of mortgage assignment, the documentation offered could reveal a lack of capitalization that would make the bank bailout look like lunch money.

Imagine you are a judge in a state court mortgage foreclosure part, or maybe in a bankruptcy court.

Your experience and training tells you what is supposed to happen. An originator of a mortgage, with the actual wet ink documents in hand and full knowledge of the transaction, makes MERS the nominee for the holder of the mortgage and records the mortgage in MERS’s name and gives physical custody of the wet ink documents to MERS. The originator then assigns the mortgage and note to Bank. Bank, with full knowledge of the assignment transaction, may assign it further, perhaps into a trust to back up Residential Mortgage Backed Security (RMBS). All of this would be done with proper notice to MERS who would always be up to date on who is the most recent assignee of the mortgage. When the time comes to foreclose, MERS would release the wet ink documents to the lawyers for the last assignee, who would use those original documents to foreclose.

Now comes into your court, a party claiming to be the lender—or at least the lender’s successor in interest—saying that it has acquired the homeowner’s mortgage by assignment. The homeowner took out the mortgage 5 or 6 years ago from XYZ originator, but the loan was recorded at the county clerk’s office or local land office as being in the hands of MERS.. I have explained about MERS and other issues relating to sloppy mortgage document handling in prior posts.

Attached to the complaint is a document which, on its face, appears to be an assignment of the mortgage from MERS to plaintiff. It is signed by a person with an official looking title at MERS. So, would you be safe in assuming that the person who signed the assignment:

1) went and fetched this mortgage out of a file room at MERS;

2) checked it over to make sure it was properly assigned from the originator to MERS; and

3) that the party to which the assignment was about to made had paid for the right to own the mortgage, before executing the assignment?

No, you would not.

In the Aughts, during the rush to make loans and generate all those origination fees, front line lenders and mortgage brokers would zoom through paperwork and flip the mortgages immediately over to trusts and servicers. They didn’t always complete the paperwork to assign the mortgage over to either MERS or to the trust. The mortgage may have been filed with the county clerk as belonging to either MERS or to some mortgage back securities trust, but the actual assignment papers might never have been executed. And although money moved around from the servicers, originators and investors, paperwork indicating payment for the transfer of a particular mortgage was not always provided.

Nonetheless, servicers acted as if the loans had actually been paid for and properly assigned and sent out notices to homeowners saying that payments on a particular mortgage were now to be directed to this servicer. The homeowners paid the servicers who presumably forwarded on a net amount, less their servicing fees, to the investors in the Residential Mortgage Backed Securities (RMBS).

Then one day, the homeowner goes into default. The trustee for the trust that is supposed to be holding the mortgage for the benefit of the investors in the RMBS, springs into action and want s to foreclose. Well, actually, the servicer springs into action using the name and consent of the trustee — the servicer makes tons more in fees from foreclosure than it does from mortgage modification.

The servicer hires a law firm. The law firm will need an assignment document as proof that the trustee owns the note and has standing to foreclose. Where does the law firm get this assignment? Does the trustee contact MERS and ask for assignment? Does the trustee have to pay somebody to buy the note? Does MERS prepare the document and send it over?

Nope.

In many instances, an employee of the servicer, or of a document mill executes hired by the servicer, creates and signs the assignment from the originator, indicating that he or she is an officer of the originator. Sometimes an employee of the law firm executes an assignment from MERS indicating that he or she is an officer of MERS.

In neither case, is it likely that the person executing the assignment has ever clapped eyes on the mortgage documents. Rarely, if ever, does the signer have any direct knowledge of whether any money has actually changed hands to effectuate the purchase of this mortgage by the entity which will be receiving it and foreclosing upon it. In order for someone to acquire rights under a note, they must be a “purchaser for value”.

Let me say this again. People who are not actually employees or officers of the originator, sign as if they are. People who don’t actually know if a loan was ever paid for, are executing documents as if they do. They are purporting to transfer mortgages from the originator to either MERS, or to an entity called the “depositor” who deposits the mortgage into a RMBS trust, or directly to a RMBS trust. People who are not employees of MERS are executing documents purporting to transfer mortgages — which may or may not have actually been properly transferred into MERS — from MERS to RMBS trusts.

AND NOBODY IS TELLING THE JUDGES OR THE HOMEOWNERS THAT THESE DOCUMENTS HAVE NO ACTUAL KNOWLEDGE BEHIND THEM.

I am not accusing the people who sign these things of deliberately lying, in the sense that you tell a deliberate falsehood knowing it to be false. I’m sure they “hope” the documents are accurate; they just have no way of knowing.

Click here to read about a law firm that creates, and has its own employees sign, assignments from MERS that it uses as exhibits in the cases it brings. Click here to read about a group of people signing on behalf of many different originators simultaneously.

Having read these articles about created assignments and a “clone army” of officers signing documents, courts should pay attention to the fact that the signatories are pretending to work for the GRANTOR — the original lender or someone in the chain. However, they are really being paid by the GRANTEE — the mortgage servicer working on behalf of the trust. Talk about your conflict of interest.

The signers have no personal knowledge as to the accuracy of anything they are representing.

So, when you, the judge, are presented with this complaint and the documents which purports to effect various assignments, how do you know if any of it is real? You don’t.

New round of foreclosures threatens housing market: The Washington Post

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 12, 2010

The housing market is facing swelling ranks of homeowners who are seriously delinquent but have yet to lose their homes, and this is threatening a new wave of foreclosures that could hit just as the real estate market has begun to stabilize.

The housing market is facing swelling ranks of homeowners who are seriously delinquent but have yet to lose their homes, and this is threatening a new wave of foreclosures that could hit just as the real estate market has begun to stabilize.

About 5 million to 7 million properties are potentially eligible for foreclosure but have not yet been repossessed and put up for sale. Some economists project it could take nearly three years before all these homes have been put on the market and purchased by new owners. And the number of pending foreclosures could grow much bigger over the coming year as more distressed borrowers become delinquent and then, if they can’t obtain mortgage relief, wade through the foreclosure process, which often takes more than a year to complete.

What will they do now since the Commericial Real Estate is just beginning to see it’s side to defaults? AMERICA BRACE ThySELF! This is one roller coaster ride ith NO end in sight.

As these foreclosed properties add to the supply of homes for sale, they could undercut housing prices, which have increased modestly through December, according to the most recent figures in the S&P/Case-Shiller home prices index. That rise partly reflected a slowdown in the flow of foreclosed homes onto the market.

The rate at which J.P. Morgan Chase seized properties, for example, peaked in the middle of 2008 and fell steadily last year, according to a February investor report. But the bank expects repossessions to increase this year, nearly doubling to 45,000 by the fourth quarter.

  Go to The Washington Post article HERE