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

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.

WE CAN’T SPELL S_CCESS…WITHOUT U! “ASSIGNMENTS WANTED”

WE NEED EVERYONE TO PARTICIPATE

THE MORE THE BETTER!

SEND ME YOUR ASSIGNMENTS! I AM COMPILING THESE WITH LYNN SZYMONIAK, ESQ (FraudDigest”)…WE ARE WORKING DAY IN, DAY OUT TO STOP THIS! 

<——————–Click the Quick Contact on the left side of this site and send them!

BUT WE NEED YOU!! NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE!!

HELP PUT A STOP TO THIS.

Small Foreclosure Firm’s Big Bucks: Back Office Grossed $260M in 2009: ABAJOURNAL

Posted Apr 20, 2010 11:59 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

The Law Offices of David J. Stern has only about 15 attorneys, according to legal directories.

However, it’s the biggest filer of mortgage foreclosure suits in Florida, reports the Tampa Tribune. Aided by a back office that dwarfs the law firm, with a staff of nearly 1,000, the Miami area firm files some 5,800 foreclosure actions monthly.

The back-office operation, DJSP Enterprises, is publicly traded and hence must file financial reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It netted almost $45 million in 2009 on a little over $260 million in gross revenue that year. The mortgage meltdown of recent years apparently has been good to the company: In 2006, it earned a profit of $8.6 million on $40.4 million in revenue.

Stern, who is the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, could not be reached for comment, the newspaper says.

His law firm has been in the news lately, after one Florida judge dismissed a foreclosure case due to what he described as a “fraudulently backdated” mortgage document, and another said, in a hearing earlier this month concerning another of the Stern firm’s foreclosure cases, “I don’t have any confidence that any of the documents the court’s receiving on these mass foreclosures are valid.”

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Judge Dismisses Mortgage Foreclosure Over ‘Fraudulently Backdated’ Doc”

Close watch on the US…UK regulator begins Goldman Sachs probe

I think it is donzo for GS. They might try to get away with it here but UK…is another story. There is no White House.

Source: Associated Press

People enter Goldman Sachs headquarters, Monday, April 19, 2010, in New York. Stocks are falling on concerns about the fallout over Goldman Sachs being charged with civil fraud tied to its dealings in bonds backed by sub-prime mortgages. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Jane Wardell, AP Business Writer, On Tuesday April 20, 2010, 6:40 am EDT

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s financial regulator launched a full-blown investigation into Goldman Sachs International on Tuesday after U.S. authorities filed civil fraud charges against its parent bank.

The announcement from the Financial Services Authority follows pressure for the probe from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who expressed shock over the weekend at Goldman’s “moral bankruptcy.”

The British regulator said it would liaise closely with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which alleges that the bank sold risky mortgage-based investments without telling buyers that the securities were crafted in part by a billionaire hedge fund manager who was betting on them to fail.

The London-headquartered Goldman Sachs International, a principal subsidiary of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., said that “the SEC’s charges are completely unfounded in law and fact.” It said it looks “forward to cooperating with the FSA.”

British interest in the case is likely to focus on the Royal Bank of Scotland, which paid $841 million to Goldman Sachs in 2007 to unwind its position in a fund acquired in the takeover of Dutch Bank ABN Amro, according to the complaint filed in the United States.

The possibility that RBS might be able to recoup some money from Goldman Sachs helped boost the government-controlled bank’s shares, which were up 2.8 percent at midday.

The government holds an 84 percent stake in the bank, which nearly collapsed in large part because of its leadership of the consortium which took over the Dutch bank.

Fabrice Tourre, the Goldman Sachs executive named in the SEC lawsuit filed on Friday was moved to the bank’s London office at the end of 2008.

Analysts warn that damage from the case could hit other big banks as well, as the Goldman lawsuit puts the spotlight on the sector’s activities in the wake of the financial crisis.

Brown’s anger was fueled by reports over the weekend that Goldman Sachs still intended to pay out 3.5 billion pounds ($5.4 billion) in bonuses.

The British leader, who is facing a tough general election on May 6, said that the activities of banks “are still an issue.”

“They are a risk to the economy,” he said. “We have got to make sure they behave in a proper way.”

The opposition Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, meanwhile, called on Brown to suspend Goldman from government work until the investigations are completed.

AP reporter Robert Barr in London contributed to this statement.

WTF!!! DJSP Enterprises, Inc. Announces Agreement to Acquire Timios, Inc., Expand Presence Into 38 States

DJSP Enterprises, Inc. Announces Agreement to Acquire Timios, Inc., Expand Presence Into 38 States

Adds Established National Title Insurance Agency with Multiple Locations Across the US for Expansion of Cyclical Products and Services to the Real Estate and Mortgage Industries

By DJSP Enterprises, Inc.

PLANTATION, Fla., April 19 — /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — DJSP Enterprises, Inc. (Nasdaq: DJSP, DJSPW, DJSPU), one of the largest providers of processing services for the mortgage and real estate industries in the United States, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Timios, Inc., a national title insurance and settlement services company. Timios is a licensed title insurance and escrow agent operating in 38 States. Headquartered in Westlake Village, CA, with additional offices in Houston and Plano, Texas, Timios will provide DJSP Enterprises the capability to provide its customers a balanced portfolio of services including new loan origination, refinance and national REO closing and title.  Additionally, Timios handles national loss mitigation services and pre-foreclosure title products from its multiple locations strategically placed for time-zone sensitive fulfillment.

Management expects that Timios, which uses advanced technology to produce a paperless environment, will aid DJSP Enterprises in its commitment to provide its customers with enhanced customer service in all lines of its business as it expands nationally. Timios presently services purchase money, refinance, reverse mortgage, REO and Deed-In-Lieu transactions for some of the largest lenders and servicers nationwide.  Last year, Timios closed in excess of $500 million in residential real estate mortgage transactions, and as forecasted, is expected to more than double the volume in 2010.  In addition, Timios has the capability to complete title searches for DJSP Enterprises’ growing REO liquidation business and loss mitigation business outside of Florida.

DJSP Enterprises will maintain Timios’ three offices while consolidating operations and back-office functions to streamline and reduce expenses.

David J. Stern, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DJSP Enterprises commented, “This acquisition significantly expands our capacity to effectively handle national services for our current client base.  In addition it will support our cyclical expansion into other lines of the mortgage services business. In particular, our capacity to process national REO closings, refinance transactions, short-sale transactions, Deed in Lieu transactions, property reports, resale transactions, and multiple valuation products will be meaningfully expanded. Timios provides licenses for full settlement services in 38 states and we expect to obtain licenses in at least two additional states before the end of this year.

This acquisition further demonstrates our commitment to becoming the leading cyclical provider of products and services to the real estate and mortgage industries.”

“This transaction represents a great marriage of strengths and assets,” said Trevor Stoffer, president and CEO of Timios, Inc. “Our management teams could not ignore the obvious benefits to both organizations. DJSP Enterprises’ growth in the foreclosure space and our best in class technology and servicing of originations will create a very balanced portfolio. In addition, the financial support from DJSP Enterprises will allow Timios to grow from a boutique services company to a major player in settlement services with a complete offering for lenders.”

DJSP Enterprises will acquire Timios for $1.5 million in cash, 200,000 ordinary shares of DJSP Enterprises, and up to 100,000 ordinary shares of DJSP Enterprises to be earned upon achievement of defined performance metrics. Timios had revenue of $5.05 million for the last 12 months and DJSP Enterprises expects this acquisition to be accretive to earnings by the 3rd Quarter 2010.

The closing of the acquisition is subject to customary due diligence, closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

About DJSP Enterprises, Inc.

DJSP Enterprises is the largest provider of processing services for the mortgage and real estate industries in Florida and one of the largest in the United States. The Company provides a wide range of processing services in connection with mortgages, mortgage defaults, title searches and abstracts, REO (bank-owned) properties, loan modifications, title insurance, loss mitigation, bankruptcy, related litigation and other services. The Company’s principal customer is the Law Offices of David J. Stern, P.A. whose clients include all of the top 10 and 17 of the top 20 mortgage servicers in the United States, many of which have been customers for more than 10 years. The Company has approximately 1,000 employees and contractors and is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with additional operations in Louisville, Kentucky and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Company’s U.S. operations are supported by a scalable, low-cost back office operation in Manila, the Philippines that provides data entry and document preparation support for the U.S. operation.

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, about DJSP Enterprises, Inc. and Timios, Inc. Forward looking statements are statements that are not historical facts. Such forward-looking statements, based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the Company’s management, are subject to risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from the forward looking statements. The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements: business conditions; changing interpretations of generally accepted accounting principles; outcomes of government or other regulatory reviews, particularly those relating to the regulation of the practice of law; the impact of inquiries, investigations, litigation or other legal proceedings involving the Company or its affiliates, which, because of the nature of the Company’s business, have happened in the past to the Company and the Law Offices of David J. Stern, P.A.; the impact and cost of continued compliance with government or state bar regulations or requirements; legislation or other changes in the regulatory environment, particularly those impacting the mortgage default industry; unexpected changes adversely affecting the businesses in which the Company is engaged; fluctuations in customer demand; the Company’s ability to manage rapid growth; intensity of competition from other providers in the industry; general economic conditions, including improvements in the economic environment that slows or reverses the growth in the number of mortgage defaults, particularly in the State of Florida; the ability to efficiently expand its operations to other states or to provide services not currently provided by the Company; the impact and cost of complying with applicable SEC rules and regulation, many of which the Company will have to comply with for the first time after the closing of the business combination; geopolitical events and changes, as well as other relevant risks detailed in the Company’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, (the “SEC”), including its report on Form 20-F for the period ended December 31, 2009, in particular, those listed under “Item 3. Key Information – Risk Factors.” The information set forth herein should be read in light of such risks. The Company does not assume any obligation to update the information contained in this press release.

   
Company Contact:  
David J. Stern  
Chairman and CEO  
DJSP Enterprises, Inc.  
Phone: 954-233-8000, ext. 1113  
Email: dstern@dstern.com  
   
or  
   
Kumar Gursahaney  
Executive Vice President and CFO  
DJSP Enterprises, Inc.  
Phone: 954-233-8000, ext. 2024  
Email: kgursahaney@dstern.com  
   
Investor Contact:  
Hayden IR  
Cameron Donahue  
Phone: 651-653-1854  
Email: cameron@haydenir.com  
   
 

SOURCE DJSP Enterprises, Inc.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/04/19/v-fullstory/1586456/djsp-enterprises-inc-announces.html#ixzz0lbZw1okr

Goldman Sachs taps ex-W.H. counsel: SCAM THICKENS!

By EAMON JAVERS & MIKE ALLEN | 4/19/10 8:14 PM EDT
Updated: 4/19/10 10:03 PM by POLITICO

Goldman Sachs is launching an aggressive response to its political and legal challenges with an unlikely ally at its side — President Barack Obama’s former White House counsel, Gregory Craig.

The beleaguered Wall Street bank hired Craig — now in private practice at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom — in recent weeks to help in navigate the halls of power in Washington, a source familiar with the firm told POLITICO.

“He is clearly an attorney of eminence and has a deep understanding of the legal process and the world of Washington,” the source said. “And those are important worlds for everybody in finance right now.”

They’re particularly important for Goldman.

On Friday, the SEC charged the firm with securities fraud in a convoluted subprime mortgage deal that took place before the collapse of the housing market. Next week, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein will face questions from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which is looking into the causes of the housing meltdown, the source said.

In Craig, Goldman Sachs will have help from a lawyer with deep connections in Democratic circles.

Craig served as White House counsel during the first year of Obama’s presidency, but is seen as having been pushed out for his role in advocating a strict timeline for the closing of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. His departure frustrated many liberal Obama supporters who saw Craig as a strong advocate for undoing some of what they saw as the worst excesses of the Bush era.

But the source familiar with Goldman’s operations said Craig wasn’t hired just because he’s well-connected.

“It’s about advice and process,” the source said. “People will always leap to the conclusion that it’s about somebody’s Rolodex.”

Skadden declined to comment on Craig’s role with Goldman.

“A former White House employee cannot appear before any unit of the Executive Office of the President on behalf of any client for 2 years—one year under federal law and another year under the pledge pursuant to the January 2009 ethics E0,” said a White House official.

The official also said that the White House had no contact with the SEC on the Goldman Sachs case. “The SEC by law is an independent agency that does not coordinate with the White House any part of their enforcement actions.”

Whatever the reason for his hiring, Craig will presumably be a key player in the intricate counterattack Goldman Sachs officials in Washington and Manhattan improvised during the weekend — a plan that took clearer shape Monday as Britain and Germany announced that they might conduct their own investigations of the firm.

For three weeks, Goldman had planned to hold a conference call Tuesday to unveil its first-quarter earnings for shareholders. Shifting into campaign mode after the SEC’s surprise fraud filing, Goldman has moved the call up from 11 a.m. to 8 a.m. to try to get ahead of the day’s buzz. In an unusual addition, the firm’s chief counsel will be on the line to answer questions about the case, and Goldman is inviting policymakers and clients to listen to the earnings call themselves rather than rely on news reports.

Industry officials said the conference call — which will include, as originally planned, Chief Financial Officer David Viniar — will amount to a public unveiling of Goldman’s crisis strategy.

But the linchpin of that plan is already clear: An attempt to discredit the Securities and Exchange Commission by painting the case as tainted by politics because it was announced just as President Barack Obama was ramping up his push for financial regulatory reform, including a planned trip to New York on Thursday.

“The charges were brought in a manner calculated to achieve maximum impact at point of penetration,” a Goldman executive said.

Among the points Greg Palm, co-general counsel, plans to emphasize on the call is “how out of the ordinary the process was with the SEC,” the executive said. The SEC usually gives firms a chance to settle such charges before they are made public. Goldman executives say they had no such chance,and learned about the filing while watching CNBC.

With a monstrous problem and mammoth resources, the iconic firm is paying for advice from a huge array of outside consultants, including such top Washington advisers as Ken Duberstein and Jack Martin, founder of Public Strategies.

The basic plan: Make a tough, factual case without coming off as arrogant or combative and without souring the firm’s image even further.

Partly because of the firm’s belief that it has become an easy target, no Goldman officials have appeared on television since the SEC announced its case.

The firm thinks it can be more effective if others make its case. On CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday, Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times, who gets special attention from Goldman spinners, raised questions about the substance of the SEC’s case. Shortly thereafter, Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said he is “a little interested in the timing” of the case.

Reflecting a high-stakes balance for the unpopular investment bank, Goldman plans to stop short of a frontal attack. Instead, it is raising questions and feeding ammunition to allies.

“We don’t want to come across as being arrogant and above it all,” said a Goldman executive who insisted on anonymity. “The SEC is the major regulator of several of our businesses. Being at war with them is not the goal.”

Therefore, an official said, a key Goldman message in the days ahead will be, “We’re not against regulation. We’re for regulation. We partner with regulators.”

Goldman said its most important audience is its client base, from CEOs all over the world to pension-fund managers to entrepreneurs who use the firm’s private wealth-management services. The firm sent its staff two pages of talking points giving basic facts — and the official line — about the SEC case: “Goldman Sachs Lost Money on the Transaction … Objective Disclosure Was Provided.”

The less official message, according to one executive: “Don’t believe everything you read in the complaint. Don’t believe everything you read in the press.”

The official said clients have been sympathetic.

Other audiences include the news media and governments around the world, with Goldman reaching out Tuesday to politicians in Europe, Japan, the U.S. and everywhere in between.

Goldman pays extraordinary attention to its alumni network because so many of its former officials are in visible, powerful positions. An official said the firm tries “to empower them with information,” so that when they’re put on the spot about the Goldman case, they can say, “I’m not there, but let me tell you a few things I’ve been told.”