jmdenison https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/29589295/posts/15035 Very Good MERS article from Mandelman



https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/29589295/posts/15035
jmdenison
MaryGSykes.com

From GG: the good ship MERS may be going down…for you folks facing those robo signing/false accountings foreclosure cases, read on
23h ago
http://mandelman.ml-implode.com/2011/02/new-bankruptcy-court-decision-sounds-the-alarm-%E2%80%93-the-uss-mers-is-going-down/

This is a pretty funny article about MERS and how it is mostly a full of it mortgage/note handling process that bilks county recorder out of millions in recording mortgage docts per year, plus it can often create havoc in foreclosure/assignment/purchase cases.
read on.
New Bankruptcy Court Decision Sounds the Alarm – The USS MERS is Going Down

Preface…

Before I jump into this decision by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge in New York, I just want to acknowledge that I very rarely write about MERS. And it’s not an accident; I’ve chosen not to do so… until now, anyway.

Perhaps I’ve been wrong not to cover the MERS debacle in greater detail, but the reason I haven’t is that I view some of the issues related to MERS as kind of… well, pedestrian… not to put too fine a point on it.

Other than a few good decisions by courts that have barred MERS from foreclosing, it just seemed to me that the problems presented by MERS could be fixed, and therefore I didn’t want homeowners who read my column to put too much stock in their loan being a MERS loan, as doing much for them if they find themselves at risk of foreclosure.

This decision has done a lot to change my view of MERS and the role it plays in foreclosures. The judge in this case presents a damn strong, if non-binding case why MERS may in fact be a much larger problem than I thought it was.

According to consumer bankruptcy attorney and nationally known foreclosure defense guru, Max Gardner…

“This case may well be the final dagger in the deep dark heart of the MERS business model. MERS has fired its President, R.K. Arnold, and may well terminate its Secretary, William Hultman, but MERS cannot fix the systematic and fundamentally flawed legal issues clearly and succinctly identified by the Court in Agard.”
And so… without further delay, I present to you… the “Agard Decision”.

~~~

The State: New York

The Case: In re: Ferrel L. Agard, Debtor, Chapter 7

The Court: United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of New York

The Judge: The Honorable Robert E. Grossman

The Set Up: U.S. Bank, as the trustee for one First Franklin Mortgage Loan Trust 2006-FF12, Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2006-FF12… which all just means that we’re talking about a REMIC trust containing a securitized pool of mortgages… moves to obtain relief from the automatic stay created by a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, in order to complete the foreclosure of Ferrel Agard’s home. New York State courts had already ruled and a foreclosure judgment was issued, so now U.S. Bank as trustee just needed to finish things out by obtaining relief from the automatic stay so they can proceed with selling the home.

Records show that the bankruptcy trustee expected a routine, no assets case… file report, collect fee, end of case. U.S. Bank, represented by its loan servicer, Select Portfolio Servicing (“SPS”), who was in turn represented by Buffalo’s most infamous foreclosure mill, Steven J. Baum PC, must have thought about the same… a straight forward foreclosure case, lets get rid of the deadbeats and be home by dinner.

But, in today’s fast changing world of Fraudclosuregate, things are not always as they appear, and crap that flew yesterday may not fly again tomorrow.

The Opposition: On October 27, 2010, the borrower’s attorney filed a single page document on which the type was double-spaced. It was a “partial opposition to the motion for relief from stay” that U.S. Bank had filed, and it suggested to the judge that perhaps there might be some sort of small problem with the MERS assignment. It also, in so many words, posited: Who the heck was Select Portfolio Services and why did they have any role in the case anyway?

After that, one might say… the fit hit the shan.

The Hearing: At a hearing held on November 15, 2010, the judge must have more than just hinted that he was going to look very carefully at this whole MERS thing, because he suggested that the parties might want to consider filing some real legal briefs on the subject, and he made it clear that he would be holding a real hearing on the issues on December 15, 2010, just one month down the road.

The Response: All of a sudden nothing was at it seemed just days before… SPS asks the court for more time and rushes out for reinforcements, bringing in a “tall building” law firm from New York City to replace the relative pikers at Baum’s Mill. The newly retained big city lawyers file a major brief in support of the U.S. Bank/SPS position on December 8th.

Then, on December 9th, MERS shows up, metaphorically at least with lights flashing and sirens blaring, to file an “emergency motion to intervene,” crying in sheer panic that their entire national business model is being attacked and that the result can be nothing less than the end of the world as we all know it.

They bring in a sworn declaration from MERS Treasurer and Corporate Secretary, William Hultman on December 10th, that explains what an entirely fabulous and utterly wonderful invention MERS actually is, and then… I suppose afraid that the one Hultman declaration just might not carry the day they show up with yet another declaration from MERS Treasurer and Corporate Secretary, William Hultman on December 23rd.

In an effort to keep things straight as related to the declarations, we’ll call that one: “Why Everyone Should Love MERS More Than Life Itself… The Sequel.”

The judge then begins to dig into the matter. Perhaps he was waiting for a case such as this one, or perhaps some other forces were in play, but regardless… for MERS… this was the wrong judge on the wrong day.

The Decision: Judge Grossman devotes the first half of his opinion to discussing whether he even has the legal authority to look into how U.S. Bank obtained this mortgage in the first place, since it already had obtained a foreclosure judgment in state court, and because there is an irritating (to Federal judges) and arcane Rooker-Feldman doctrine that prohibits federal courts from interfering with state court judgments.

Alas, our intrepid judge concludes on page 18 of his decision that Rooker-Feldman does in fact preclude him from looking further into the issues that underlie the U.S. Bank foreclosure judgment. And, as a result, Judge Grossman decides that he must grant U.S. Bank’s motion for relief from the bankruptcy automatic stay so that the trustee can complete the foreclosure.

Now, were we talking about most judges, that would represent the end of this proverbial road… the opinion would be dated and signed and I would not be writing about the case now. But we’re not talking about most judges… we’re talking about the Honorable Judge Robert E. Grossman of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and he’s apparently not a judge with which one should trifle.

He’s got MERS in his crosshairs, apparently exactly where he wants them, and in the 18 pages that follow his decision to grant the relief from the automatic stay he goes after MERS mercilessly. Attorney Thomas Cox of Portland, Maine, who you may remember from the “GMAC uses robo-signers deposition” that brought foreclosures to a standstill last fall, says that in his opinion…

“He (Judge Grossman) does the most thorough and competent analysis of the MERS charade that I have seen, basically concluding that the entire MERS business model does not comply with our laws, and that he will no longer accept MERS mortgage assignments in his court room.”
It’s a decision that was a delight to see.”</em>
Now, clearly this is a decision that’s worth reading for one’s self… Judge Grossman is one heck of a writer and not one to play patty-cake with MERS or those of the banking persuasion, but I thought I’d at least provide the overview of the decision with “training wheels” for those who aren’t of the mind to wade through the entire text of the decision themselves, or who find these things next to impossible to read and understand.

Here’s the overview of the Memorandum Decision in its entirety… with my clarifications added for those who find them valuable. If you’re a lawyer or just an uber-smartee, just scroll on down to the imbedded document for a copy of Judge Grossman’s decision in its entirety.

The movant is Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc. (“Select Portfolio” or “Movant”), as servicer for U.S. Bank National Association, as Trustee for First Franklin Mortgage Loan Trust 2006-FF12, Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2006-FF12 (“U.S. Bank”)

Okay, for now just remember that the servicer is the “Movant.” The rest I already covered above at the very beginning. U.S. Bank N.A. is the trustee for the First Franklin Mortgage Loan Trust… blah, blah, blah… got it? Good, let’s move on…

The Debtor filed limited opposition to the Motion contesting the Movant’s standing to seek relief from stay. The Debtor argues that the only interest U.S. Bank holds in the underlying mortgage was received by way of an assignment from the Mortgage Electronic Registration System a/k/a MERS, as a “nominee” for the original lender.

The Debtor’s argument raises a fundamental question as to whether MERS had the legal authority to assign a valid and enforceable interest in the subject mortgage. Because U.S. Bank’s rights can be no greater than the rights as transferred by its assignor – MERS – the Debtor argues that the Movant, acting on behalf of U.S. Bank, has failed to establish that it holds an enforceable right against the Property.1.

This references the single page, double-spaced document I described that was filed by the borrower’s attorney, called a “partial opposition to the motion top relief from stay”. It raised some questions that the judge would later seek to answer.

The Movant’s initial response to the Debtor’s opposition was that MERS’s authority to assign the mortgage to U.S. Bank is derived from the mortgage itself, which allegedly grants to MERS its status as both “nominee” of the mortgagee and “mortgagee of record.”

Judge Grossman is going to attack this line of reasoning head on in the last 18 pages of his decision. Among many other things, you’ll see him say… “Aside from the inappropriate reliance upon the statutory definition of “mortgagee,” MERS’s position that it can be both the mortgagee and an agent of the mortgagee is absurd, at best.” And there’s a whole lot more where that came from… read on…

The Movant later supplemented its papers taking the position that U.S. Bank is a creditor with standing to seek relief from stay by virtue of a judgment of foreclosure and sale entered in its favor by the state court prior to the filing of the bankruptcy.

The Movant argues that the judgment of foreclosure is a final adjudication as to U.S. Bank’s status as a secured creditor and therefore the Rooker-Feldman doctrine prohibits this Court from looking behind the judgment and questioning whether U.S. Bank has proper standing before this Court by virtue of a valid assignment of the mortgage from MERS.

This is the part that caused Judge Grossman to back down in this particular instance and allow the relief from automatic stay, thus allowing the foreclosure to proceed. Basically, he concludes that he’s not allowed to question the facts that underlie the foreclosure judgment that was previously granted by the state court.

There is also an important footnote (“1”) on the second page that reads as follows:

The Debtor also questions whether Select Portfolio has the authority and the standing to seek relief from the automatic stay. The Movant argues that Select Portfolio has standing to bring the Motion based upon its status as “servicer” of the Mortgage, and attaches an affidavit of a vice president of Select Portfolio attesting to that servicing relationship.

Case law has established that a mortgage servicer has standing to seek relief from the automatic stay as a party in interest. See, e.g., Greer v. O’Dell, 305 F.3d 1297 (11th Cir. 2002); In re Woodberry, 383 B.R. 373 (Bankr. D.S.C. 2008).

This presumes, however, that the lender for whom the servicer acts validly holds the subject note and mortgage. Thus, this Decision will focus on whether U.S. Bank validly holds the subject note and mortgage.

I think the judge is saying that servicers do have standing to seek relief from an automatic stay that results from a borrower filing bankruptcy, but that such standing presumes that the lender being represented by the servicer validly holds the note and mortgage, and that the decision will address that issue.

Okay, you’ve got that part pretty much down, right? Then the decision goes on to say…

The Court received extensive briefing and oral argument from MERS, as an intervenor in these proceedings, which go beyond the arguments presented by the Movant.
This just says that MERS showed up with all guns blazing, arguing that MERS represents all that is right, good and just in the world. The judge isn’t buying though…

In addition to the rights created by the mortgage documents themselves MERS argues that the terms of its membership agreement with the original lender and its successors in interest, as well as New York state agency laws, give MERS the authority to assign the mortgage.

MERS argues that it holds legal title to mortgages for its member/lenders as both “nominee” and “mortgagee of record.” As such, it argues that any member/lender, which holds a note secured by real property, that assigns that note to another member by way of entry into the MERS database, need not also assign the mortgage because legal title to the mortgage remains in the name of MERS, as agent for any member/lender, which holds the corresponding note.

MERS’s position is that if a MERS member directs it to provide a written assignment of the mortgage, MERS has the legal authority, as an agent for each of its members, to assign mortgages to the member/lender currently holding the note as reflected in the MERS database.

Judge Grossman is going to examine all of these arguments and then some in his decision. But before he does that, he’s going to agree that he’s precluded from digging into the facts pertaining to the foreclosure judgment previously obtained in state court, and so he’s going to grant relief from the automatic stay and allow this foreclosure to proceed. And in that regard the judge writes…
For the reasons that follow, the Debtor’s objection to the Motion is overruled and the Motion is granted. The Debtor’s objection is overruled by application of either the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, or res judicata. Under those doctrines, this Court must accept the state court judgment of foreclosure as evidence of U.S. Bank’s status as a creditor secured by the Property. Such status is sufficient to establish the Movant’s standing to seek relief from the automatic stay. The Motion is granted on the merits because the Movant has shown, and the Debtor has not disputed, sufficient basis to lift the stay under Section 362(d).

Next the judge explains that, even though this court is constrained by Rooker-Feldman and the previously obtained state court decision, because there are numerous other cases before this court that present identical issues, and for which there have been no prior dispositive state court decisions, he’s going to look beyond this case’s limitations and publish a decision that addresses the issue of whether the “Movant” has established standing in this case because of the precedential effect it will have on other cases pending before the court. And so he writes…

Although the Court is constrained in this case to give full force and effect to the state court judgment of foreclosure, there are numerous other cases before this Court, which present identical issues with respect to MERS and in which there have been no prior dispositive state court decisions.

This Court has deferred rulings on dozens of other motions for relief from stay pending the resolution of the issue of whether an entity which acquires its interests in a mortgage by way of assignment from MERS, as nominee, is a valid secured creditor with standing to seek relief from the automatic stay.

It is for this reason that the Court’s decision in this matter will address the issue of whether the Movant has established standing in this case notwithstanding the existence of the foreclosure judgment. The Court believes this analysis is necessary for the precedential effect it will have on other cases pending before this Court.

The next paragraph of the judge’s decision is particularly telling. It is Judge Grossman completely disregarding perhaps MERS’ favorite argument, which is that MERS has to be okay because half the mortgages in this country are registered with MERS and if it’s not okay, the whole world will come to an end.

Judge Grossman states his view of this argument in no uncertain terms…

The Court recognizes that an adverse ruling regarding MERS’s authority to assign mortgages or act on behalf of its member/lenders could have a significant impact on MERS and upon the lenders, which do business with MERS throughout the United States.

However, the Court must resolve the instant matter by applying the laws as they exist today. It is up to the legislative branch, if it chooses, to amend the current statutes to confer upon MERS the requisite authority to assign mortgages under its current business practices.

MERS and its partners made the decision to create and operate under a business model that was designed in large part to avoid the requirements of the traditional mortgage recording process. This Court does not accept the argument that because MERS may be involved with 50% of all residential mortgages in the country, that is reason enough for this Court to turn a blind eye to the fact that this process does not comply with the law.
Wow, so you see what he’s saying there, right? It’s worth repeating…

MERS and its partners made the decision to create and operate under a business model that was designed in large part to avoid the requirements of the traditional mortgage recording process. This Court does not accept the argument that because MERS may be involved with 50% of all residential mortgages in the country, that is reason enough for this Court to turn a blind eye to the fact that this process does not comply with the law.
Did you hear that sound? That was the sound of the MERS ship hitting an iceberg and starting to sink. To the lifeboats, banker-people, your ship is sinking, and the water’s damn cold.

And on that note, it’s once again time to Sing-Along with Mandelman! You remember the song from our youth about “How they built the ship Titanic to sail the ocean blue? And they thought they had a ship that the water would never leak through. But the Lord’s almighty hand, knew that ship would never stand… it was sad when the great ship went down. It was sad, so sad… it was sad, so sad…” You remember that one right?

Alrighty then… so, sing it like you mean it… with feeling… and if you don’t want to sing, maybe you should be reading about this stuff on Naked Capitalism, or Firedog Lake… Yves Smith is smarter than all get out, but when was the last time she led you in song?

V1:

Oh they built the good ship MERS, so foreclosures could sail through,

And they thought they had a plan that the courts would never see through,

But some lawyers’ learned hands, showed that MERS just didn’t stand,

We were glad when the MERS ship went down.

~~~

CHORUS:

Oh we were glad, so glad,

We were glad, so glad,

We were glad when the MERS ship went down, to the bottom of the sea…

Many lost homes, but to those who lacked their loans,

We were glad when the MERS ship went down.

~~~

V2:

Oh, they went into the courts, hoping judges were inclined,

To not care exactly how, someone’s loan had been assigned.

Yes, the banks would rue the day, when they wrote that PSA,

We were glad when the MERS ship went down.

~~~

CHORUS:

Oh we were glad, so glad,

We were glad, so glad,

We were glad when the MERS ship went down, to the bottom of the sea…

Many lost homes, but to those who lacked their loans,

We were glad when the MERS ship went down.

~~~

V3:

MERS said it had the right, to do things as it pleased,

But the courts did not agree, and soon homes could not be seized.

Seems laws had important words, and MERS assertions were absurd,

We were glad when the MERS ship went down.

~~~

CHORUS:

Oh we were glad, so glad

We were glad, so glad

We were glad when the MERS ship went down, to the bottom of the sea…

Many lost homes, but to those who lacked their loans,

We were glad when the MERS ship went down.

V4:

Soon the bankers will all see, that fraud is not what prevails,

And they’ll realize their hot air will not fill this nation’s sails,

But the price will have been paid, for their mortgage-backed charade,

We were glad when the MERS ship went down.

~~~

CHORUS:

Oh we were glad, so glad

We were glad, so glad

We were glad when the MERS ship went down, to the bottom of the sea…

Many lost homes, but to those who lacked their loans,

We were glad when the MERS ship went down.

~~~

Okay, so I know there are at least a few people out there singing along with that little ditty from days spent at summer camp or on the school bus while on the way home from a field trip. Maybe next time I’ll work from Bingo Was His Name-O, or 100 bottles of Beer on the Wall.

Meanwhile, you’ve got plenty to do reading Judge Grossman’s decision as provided below. But, before you do, here are a few highlights, once again for those who want the Reader’s Digest Version.

First, from the MERS side of the argument…

In addition to adopting the arguments asserted by the Movant, MERS strenuously defends its authority to act as mortgagee pursuant to the procedures for processing this and other mortgages under the MERS “system.”

First, MERS points out that the Mortgage itself designates MERS as the “nominee” for the original lender, First Franklin, and its successors and assigns.

In addition, the lender designates, and the Debtor agrees to recognize, MERS “as the mortgagee of record and as nominee for ‘Lender and Lender’s successors and assigns’” and as such the Debtor “expressly agreed without qualification that MERS had the right to foreclose upon the premises as well as exercise any and all rights as nominee for the Lender.” (MERS Memorandum of Law at 7).

These designations as “nominee,” and “mortgagee of record,” and the Debtor’s recognition thereof, it argues, leads to the conclusion that MERS was authorized as a matter of law to assign the Mortgage to U.S. Bank.

Although MERS believes that the mortgage documents alone provide it with authority to effectuate the assignment at issue, they also urge the Court to broaden its analysis and read the documents in the context of the overall “MERS System.” According to MERS, each participating bank/lender agrees to be bound by the terms of a membership agreement pursuant to which the member appoints MERS to act as its authorized agent with authority to, among other things, hold legal title to mortgages and as a result, MERS is empowered to execute assignments of mortgage on behalf of all its member banks.

In this particular case, MERS maintains that as a member of MERS and pursuant to the MERS membership agreement, the loan originator in this case, First Franklin, appointed MERS “to act as its agent to hold the Mortgage as nominee on First Franklin’s behalf, and on behalf of First Franklin’s successors and assigns.”

MERS explains that subsequent to the mortgage’s inception, First Franklin assigned the Note to Aurora Bank FSB f/k/a Lehman Brothers Bank (“Aurora”), another MERS member. According to MERS, note assignments among MERS members are tracked via self-effectuated and self-monitored computer entries into the MERS database. As a MERS member, by operation of the MERS membership rules, Aurora is deemed to have appointed MERS to act as its agent to hold the Mortgage as nominee.

Aurora subsequently assigned the Note to U.S. Bank, also a MERS member. By operation of the MERS membership agreement, U.S. Bank is deemed to have appointed MERS to act as its agent to hold the Mortgage as nominee. Then, according to MERS, “U.S. Bank, as the holder of the note, under the MERS Membership Rules, chose to instruct MERS to assign the Mortgage to U.S. Bank prior to commencing the foreclosure proceedings by U.S. Bank.” (Affirmation of William C. Hultman, ¶12).

MERS argues that the express terms of the mortgage coupled with the provisions of the MERS membership agreement, is “more than sufficient to create an agency relationship between MERS and lender and the lender’s successors in interest” under New York law and as a result establish MERS’s authority to assign the Mortgage.

Okay, so that’s much of what MERS has to say about why it’s practices are fine and dandy, now let’s take a quick look at what the judge in this case has to say about the assignment of the note, among other things…

Noteholder Status

In the Motion, the Movant asserts U.S. Bank’s status as the “holder” of the Mortgage.

However, in order to have standing to seek relief from stay, Movant, which acts as the representative of U.S. Bank, must show that U.S. Bank holds both the Mortgage and the Note. Mims, 438 B.R. at 56. Although the Motion does not explicitly state that U.S. Bank is the holder of the Note, it is implicit in the Motion and the arguments presented by the Movant at the hearing.

However, the record demonstrates that the Movant has produced no evidence, documentary or otherwise, that U.S. Bank is the rightful holder of the Note.

Movant’s reliance on the fact that U.S. Bank’s noteholder status has not been challenged thus far does not alter or diminish the Movant’s burden to show that it is the holder of the Note as well as the Mortgage.

Under New York law, Movant can prove that U.S. Bank is the holder of the Note by providing the Court with proof of a written assignment of the Note, or by demonstrating that U.S. Bank has physical possession of the Note endorsed over to it. See, eg., LaSalle Bank N.A. v. Lamy, 824 N.Y.S.2d 769, 2006 WL 2251721, at *1 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Aug. 7, 2006).

The only written assignment presented to the Court is not an assignment of the Note but rather an “Assignment of Mortgage” which contains a vague reference to the Note.

Tagged to the end of the provisions which purport to assign the Mortgage, there is language in the Assignment stating “To Have and to Hold the said Mortgage and Note, and also the said property until the said Assignee forever, subject to the terms contained in said Mortgage and Note.” (Assignment of Mortgage (emphasis added)).

Not only is the language vague and insufficient to prove an intent to assign the Note, but MERS is not a party to the Note and the record is barren of any representation that MERS, the purported assignee, had any authority to take any action with respect to the Note. Therefore, the Court finds that the Assignment of Mortgage is not sufficient to establish an effective assignment of the Note.

By MERS’s own account, it took no part in the assignment of the Note in this case, but merely provided a database, which allowed its members to electronically self-report transfers of the Note.

MERS does not confirm that the Note was properly transferred or in fact whether anyone including agents of MERS had or have physical possession of the Note. What remains undisputed is that MERS did not have any rights with respect to the Note and other than as described above, MERS played no role in the transfer of the Note.

Absent a showing of a valid assignment of the Note, Movant can demonstrate that U.S. Bank is the holder of the Note if it can show that U.S. Bank has physical possession of the Note endorsed to its name. See In re Mims, 423 B.R. at 56-57.

According to the evidence presented in this matter the manner in which the MERS system is structured provides that, “when the beneficial interest in a loan is sold, the promissory note is transferred by an endorsement and delivery from the buyer to the seller [sic], but MERS Members are obligated to update the MERS® System to reflect the change in ownership of the promissory note. . . .” (MERS Supplemental Memorandum of Law at 6).

However, there is nothing in the record to prove that the Note in this case was transferred according to the processes described above other than MERS’s representation that its computer database reflects that the Note was transferred to U.S. Bank.

The Court has no evidentiary basis to find that the Note was endorsed to U.S. Bank or that U.S. Bank has physical possession of the Note. Therefore, the Court finds that Movant has not satisfied its burden of showing that U.S. Bank, the party on whose behalf Movant seeks relief from stay, is the holder of the Note.

So, the judge is saying things that are very similar to what we’ve all heard before, most recently in the Ibanez Decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court, and in the New Jersey court decision, Kemp v. Countrywide, among numerous others of late. How was the note assigned, was it endorsed properly, can the trustee even produce any evidence that the trust is the holder of the note?

What it would seem to come down to is quite simple, I think…

Does the trust that thinks that it owns the loan, actually own the loan, and can the trustee produce any evidence that it does own the loan?

If the loan was not properly transferred into the trust, and if there is no evidence that the trust owns the loan in question, then it would seem that the investor bought a mortgage-backed security without the mortgage-backed part, and my guess would be that the investors at this point don’t care about the mortgages… they will want their pound of flesh from the bankers whose massive securities fraud has robbed them of untold billions and destroyed the global financial system.

I’m not a lawyer, but with the first investor lawsuit against Bank of America – Countrywide having been filed just a couple weeks ago, and saying basically that the investor was delivered mortgage-backed securities without the mortgages, that’s how I’m seeing it start to stack up.

Now let’s look at what the judge says about the mortgage itself… you see… it’s supposed to follow the note, but when MERS is in the game, it simply doesn’t.

Mortgagee Status

The Movant’s failure to show that U.S. Bank holds the Note should be fatal to the Movant’s standing.

However, even if the Movant could show that U.S. Bank is the holder of the Note, it still would have to establish that it holds the Mortgage in order to prove that it is a secured creditor with standing to bring this Motion before this Court.

The Movant urges the Court to adhere to the adage that a mortgage necessarily follows the same path as the note for which it stands as collateral. See Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Perry, 875 N.Y.S.2d 853, 856 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2009).

In simple terms the Movant relies on the argument that a note and mortgage are inseparable. See Carpenter v. Longan, 83 U.S. 271, 274 (1872).

While it is generally true that a mortgage travels a parallel path with its corresponding debt obligation, the parties in this case have adopted a process, which by its very terms alters this practice where mortgages are held by MERS as “mortgagee of record.”

By MERS’s own account, the Note in this case was transferred among its members, while the Mortgage remained in MERS’s name.

MERS admits that the very foundation of its business model as described herein requires that the Note and Mortgage travel on divergent paths. Because the Note and Mortgage did not travel together, Movant must prove not only that it is acting on behalf of a valid assignee of the Note, but also that it is acting on behalf of the valid assignee of the Mortgage5.

Footnote 5 – MERS argues that notes and mortgages processed through the MERS System are never “separated” because beneficial ownership of the notes and mortgages are always held by the same entity.

The Court will not address that issue in this Decision, but leaves open the issue as to whether mortgages processed through the MERS system are properly perfected and valid liens. See Carpenter v. Longan, 83 U.S. at 274 (finding that an assignment of the mortgage without the note is a nullity); Landmark Nat’l Bank v. Kesler, 216 P.3d 158, 166-67 (Kan. 2009)

(“In the event that a mortgage loan somehow separates interests of the note and the deed of trust, with the deed of trust lying with some independent entity, the mortgage may become unenforceable”).
Yes, you read that last part right. The mortgage may become unenforceable. That’s really the 800-pound Gorilla in the room, isn’t it? Do they own it or not, and if they broke the laws, who wins?

Many people get all upset about the idea that a homeowner could not have to pay their mortgage because the laws were broken related to the transfer of the note and mortgage, but I’m starting to think they’re just a bunch of crybabies. The law is the law and if it says that someone doesn’t owe their mortgage, well… good for them.

We’re a nation built on laws and forged by lawyers, and there have been a lot of unpopular decisions that rightly stood because they upheld our nation’s laws… Brown v. The Board of Education comes immediately to mind, but there are many.

We need our plaintiff’s lawyers, our judges and our courts, if we’re going to live through what’s ahead of us. We certainly can’t depend on our legislature or our executive branches… they have, for the most part, been bought and paid for… our system is corrupt with the money of lobbyists. Only our laws and our courts can see us through this, and I’m willing to abide by whatever they say follows the law.

Okay, so here’s just a bit more from Judge Grossman’s analysis and conclusion…

MERS asserts that its right to assign the Mortgage to U.S. Bank in this case, and in what it estimates to be literally millions of other cases, stems from three sources: the Mortgage documents; the MERS membership agreement; and state law.

In order to provide some context to this discussion, the Court will begin its analysis with an overview of mortgage and loan processing within the MERS network of lenders as set forth in the record of this case.

In the most common residential lending scenario, there are two parties to a real property mortgage – a mortgagee, i.e., a lender, and a mortgagor, i.e., a borrower. With some nuances and allowances for the needs of modern finance this model has been followed for hundreds of years.

The MERS business plan, as envisioned and implemented by lenders and others involved in what has become known as the mortgage finance industry, is based in large part on amending this traditional model and introducing a third party into the equation.

MERS is, in fact, neither a borrower nor a lender, but rather purports to be both “mortgagee of record” and a “nominee” for the mortgagee.

MERS was created to alleviate problems created by, what was determined by the financial community to be, slow and burdensome recording processes adopted by virtually every state and locality. In effect the MERS system was designed to circumvent these procedures. MERS, as envisioned by its originators, operates as a replacement for our traditional system of public recordation of mortgages.

MERS argues that it had full authority to validly execute the Assignment of Mortgage to U.S. Bank on February 1, 2008, and that as of the date the foreclosure proceeding was commenced U.S. Bank held both the Note and the Mortgage.

However, without more, this Court finds that MERS’s “nominee” status and the rights bestowed upon MERS within the Mortgage itself are insufficient to empower MERS to effectuate a valid assignment of mortgage.

There are several published New York state trial level decisions holding that the status of “nominee” or “mortgagee of record” bestowed upon MERS in the mortgage documents, by itself, does not empower MERS to effectuate an assignment of the mortgage.

However, the rules lack any specific mention of an agency relationship, and do not bestow upon MERS any authority to act. Rather, the rules are ambiguous as to MERS’s authority to take affirmative actions with respect to mortgages registered on its system.
That’s pretty clear, I think. MERS, you’re going down.

In addition to casting itself as nominee/agent, MERS seems to argue that its role as “mortgagee of record” gives it the rights of a mortgagee in its own right.

MERS relies on the definition of “mortgagee” in the New York Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law Section 1921, which states that a “mortgagee” when used in the context of Section 1921, means the “current holder of the mortgage of record . . . or their agents, successors or assigns.” N.Y. Real Prop. Acts. L. § 1921 (McKinney 2011).

The provisions of Section 1921 relate solely to the discharge of mortgages and the Court will not apply that definition beyond the provisions of that section in order to find that MERS is a “mortgagee” with full authority to perform the duties of mortgagee in its own right.

Aside from the inappropriate reliance upon the statutory definition of “mortgagee,” MERS’s position that it can be both the mortgagee and an agent of the mortgagee is absurd, at best.

Okay, so some of that gets a little technical, I agree, but the last sentence is about as straightforward as it gets… MERS’s position that it can be both the mortgagee and an agent of the mortgagee is absurd, at best. And wait… there’s just a little bit more…

Adding to this absurdity, it is notable in this case that the Assignment of Mortgage was by MERS, as nominee for First Franklin, the original lender.

By the Movant’s and MERS’s own admission, at the time the assignment was effectuated, First Franklin no longer held any interest in the Note.

Both the Movant and MERS have represented to the Court that subsequent to the origination of the loan, the Note was assigned, through the MERS tracking system, from First Franklin to Aurora, and then from Aurora to U.S. Bank. Accordingly, at the time that MERS, as nominee of First Franklin, assigned the interest in the Mortgage to U.S. Bank, U.S. Bank allegedly already held the Note and it was at U.S. Bank’s direction, not First Franklin’s, that the Mortgage was assigned to U.S. Bank.

Said another way, when MERS assigned the Mortgage to U.S. Bank on First Franklin’s behalf, it took its direction from U.S. Bank, not First Franklin, to provide documentation of an assignment from an entity that no longer had any rights to the Note or the Mortgage.

The documentation provided to the Court in this case (and the Court has no reason to believe that any further documentation exists), is stunningly inconsistent with what the parties define as the facts of this case.

However, even if MERS had assigned the Mortgage acting on behalf of the entity which held the Note at the time of the assignment, this Court finds that MERS did not have authority, as “nominee” or agent, to assign the Mortgage absent a showing that it was given specific written directions by its principal.

This Court finds that MERS’s theory that it can act as a “common agent” for undisclosed principals is not support by the law.

The relationship between MERS and its lenders and its distortion of its alleged “nominee” status was appropriately described by the Supreme Court of Kansas as follows: “The parties appear to have defined the word [nominee] in much the same way that the blind men of Indian legend described an elephant – their description depended on which part they were touching at any given time.”

For all of the foregoing reasons, the Court finds that the Motion in this case should be granted. However, in all future cases, which involve MERS, the moving party must show that it validly holds both the mortgage and the underlying note in order to prove standing before this Court.

February 10, 2011

Hon. Robert E. Grossman United States Bankruptcy Judge
~~~

It’s very important to realize that the judge’s findings related to MERS in this case are NOT BINDING ON ANY COURT.

As foreclosure defense attorney Thomas Cox explains:

“Judge Grossman’s findings about MERS are not binding on anyone, because they did not resolve any issue in the case where Rooker-Feldman blocked that inquiry.”
Cox says he won’t be surprised if the MERS/securitization/foreclosure industry spin mentions this point since the law prohibited the judge from going behind the judgment to see how U.S. Bank got the mortgage, then it also prohibited making binding findings about the MERS issue.

Cox further points out…

“On the other hand, with that being so, I am highly doubtful that U.S. Bank and Select Portfolio Servicing could appeal from those MERS holdings because their position in the case was not affected by them. While the judge did allow them to intervene, since the judge’s opinions about MERS are not binding on any court, I do not see how MERS could effectively argue that it suffered a legally cognizable harm. If and when Judge Grossman, or some other judge, in some other case uses the rationale laid out by Judge Grossman to nullify a MERS mortgage assignment, only then will a trustee and/or MERS have any ability to appeal the issue.”
Okay, so that about covers it, I’d say. Below you’ll find the Judge Grossman’s decision in its entirety, and hat tip to attorney Thomas Cox of Portland, Maine for bringing this decision to my attention, helping me to understand it, and continuing to go after the bastards with the strength and tenacity of a Mainer.

Mandelman out.

In re: Ferrel L. Agard, Debtor
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From Living Lies Weblog, By Neil Garfield: FDIC Employee Quits and Goes Public With Complaint Against Chase, WAMU, Citi and two law firms


FDIC Employee Quits and Goes Public With Complaint Against Chase, WAMU, Citi and two law firms
Posted on March 25, 2015 by Neil Garfield
https://livinglies.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/fdic-employee-quits-and-goes-public-with-complaint-against-chase-wamu-citi-and-two-law-firms/
 
For further information and assistance please call 954-495-9867 or 520-405-1688
=======================

See Eric Mains Federal Complaint
https://livinglies.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/fdic-employee-quits-and-goes-public-with-complaint-against-chase-wamu-citi-and-two-law-firms/eric-mains-federal-complaint/

See Mains – Table of Contents.petition 2 transfer
https://livinglies.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/fdic-employee-quits-and-goes-public-with-complaint-against-chase-wamu-citi-and-two-law-firms/mains-table-of-contents-petition-2-transfer/

On Monday Eric Mains resigned from his employment with the FDIC. He had just filed a lawsuit against Chase, Citi, WAMU-HE2 Trust, Cynthia Riley, LPS, WAMU, and two law firms. Since he felt he had a conflict of interest, he believed the best course of action was to resign effective immediately.
His lawsuit, told from the prospective of a true insider, reveals in astonishing detail the worst of the practices that have resulted in millions of illegal foreclosures. Some of his allegations cast a dark shadow over claims of Chase Bank on its balance sheet, as reported to the public and the SEC and the reporting of both Chase and Citi as to their potential liability for wrongful foreclosures. If he is right, and he proves these allegations, much of what Chase has reported as its financial condition will vanish from its financial statements and the liability side of the balance sheets of both Citi (as Trustee) and Chase (as servicer and “owner’) will increase exponentially. This may well have the effect of bringing both giants into the position of insufficient reserve capital and force the government to take action against both entities. Elizabeth Warren might have been right when she said that Citi should have been broken into pieces. And the same logic might apply to Chase.

He has also penned the phrase “wild goose Chase” referring to discovery of the true creditors and processing of applications for modification of loans. And he has opened the door for RICO actions against the banks and individuals who did the bidding of the banks as well as the individuals who directed those actions.


His Indiana lawsuit is filed in federal court. He alleges that
1. WAMU was not the actual lender in his own loan
2. That the loan was part of an illegal scheme from the start
3. That his loan was subject to claims of securitization but that those claims were false
4. That the REMIC Trust was never funded and therefore never had the capacity to originate or buy loans
5. That the intermediaries never followed the law or the documents for securitization of his loan
6. That the REMIC Trust never did purchase his loan
7. That Citi was therefore “trustee” for an unfunded trust
8. That Chase never purchased the loans from WAMU
9. That Chase could not have been the legal servicer over the loan because the loan was not in the trust
10. That Chase has filed conflicting claims as to ownership of the loans
11. That the affidavit of Robert Schoppe, whom Mains worked for, as to ownership of the loans was false when it states that Chase owned the loans
12. That the use of WAMU’s name on the loan documents was a false representation
13. That his loan may have been pledged several times by various parties
14. That multiple payments from multiple parties were likely received by Chase and others on account of the Mains “loan” but were never accounted for to the investors whose money was being used as though it was the Banks themselves who were funding originations and a acquisitions of loans
15. That the industry practice was to reap multiple payments on the same loan — and the foreclose as though there was balance due when in fact the balance claimed was entirely incorrect
16. That the investors were defrauded and that foreclosure was part of the fraudulent scheme
17. That Mains name and identity was used without his consent to justify numerous illegal transactions in which the banks repeated huge profits
18. That neither WAMU nor Chase had any rights to collect money from Mains
19. That Citi had no right to enforce a loan it did not own and had no authority to represent the owner(s) of the loan
20. That the modification procedures adopted by the Banks were used intentionally to force the borrower into the illusions a default
21. That Sheila Bair, Chairman of the FDIC, said that Chase and other banks used HAMP modifications as “a kind of predatory lending program.”
22. That Mains stopped making payments when he discovered that there was no known or identified creditor.
23. The despite stopping payments, his loan balance went down, according to statements sent to him.
24. That Chase has routinely violated the terms of consent judgments and settlements with respect to the processing of payments and the filing of foreclosures.
25. That the affidavits filed by persons purportedly representing Chase were neither true nor based upon personal knowledge
26. That the note and mortgage are void from the start.
27. That Mains has found “incontrovertible evidence of fraud, forgery and possibly backdating as well.” (referring to Chase)
28. That the law firms suborned perjury and intentionally made misrepresentations to the Court
29. That Cynthia Riley “is one overwhelmingly productive and multi-talented bank officer. Apparently she was even capable of endorsing hundreds of loan documents a day, and in Mains’ case, even after she was no longer employed by Washington Mutual Bank. [Mains cites to deposition of Riley in JPM Morgan Chase v Orazco Case no 29997 CA, 11th Judicial Circuit, Florida.
30 That Cynthia Riley was laid off in November 2006 and never again employed as a note review examiner by WAMU nor at JP Morgan Chase.
30. That LPS (now Black Knight) owns and operates LPS Desktop Software, which was used to create false documents to be executed by LPS employees for recording in the Offices of the Indiana County recorder.
31. That the false documents in the mains case were created by LPS employee Jodi Sobotta and signed by her with no authority to do so.
32. Neither the notary nor the LPS employee had any real documents nor knowledge when they signed and notarized the documents used against Mains.
33. Chase and its lawyer pursued the foreclosure with full knowledge that the assignment was fraudulent and forged.
34. That LPS was established as an intermediary to provide “plausible deniability” to Chase and others who used LPS.
35. That the law firms also represented LPS in a blatant conflict of interest and with knowledge of LPS fraud and forgery.

Some Quotes form the Complaint:
“Mains perspective on this case is a rather unique one, as Main is an employee of the FDIC (hereinafter, FDIC) who worked in the Dallas field office of the FDIC in the Division of Resolutions and Receiverships (hereinafter DRR), said division which was the one responsible for closing WAMU and acting as its receiver. Mains worked with one Robert Schoppe in his division, whom the defendant Chase Bank often cites to when pulling out an affidavit Robert signed. This affidavit states that Chase Bank had purchased “certain assets and liabilities” of WAMU in the purchase transaction from the FDIC as receiver for WAMU in 2008. Chase Bank uses this affidavit ad museum to convince the court system in foreclosure cases that this affidavit somehow proves that Chase Bank purchased “every conceivable asset” of WAMU, so it must have standing in all cases involving homeowner loans originated through WAMU, or to put it simply that this proves Chase became a holder with rights to enforce or a holder in due course of the loan as defined by the Uniform Commercial Code. Antithetically, when it wants to sue the FDIC for a billion dollars… due to mounting expenses from the WAMU purchase transaction, it complains that the purchase agreement it signed didn’t really entail the purchase of “every asset and liability” of WAMU… Chase Bank claims this when it is to their advantage in a lawsuit to do so.

Mains worked as team leader in the DRR Dallas field office
[The] violation of REMIC trust rules occurred because the entities involved, for reasons of control, speed of transaction, and to hide what they were actually doing with the investors money


Unfortunately for the investors, many of the banks involved in the securitization process (like Wahoo) failed to perform the securitizations properly, hence as mentioned above, the securitizations were botched and ineffective as to passing ownership of the notes or underlying collateral. The loans purchased were not purchased THROUGH the REMIC. … The REMIC trust entity must be the one actually purchasing the mortgages directly.
This violation of REMIC trust rules occurred because the entities involved, for reasons of control, speed of transaction, and to hide what they were actually doing with the investors funds once received, held the investor funds in the “lender” banks owned subsidiary accounts, instead of funding the REMIC trusts with the money so that the trust could then purchase the loan from the “lender”, making it an actual buy and sell transaction.”

Remember 2013 JP Morgan Settlement


Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Justice Department, Federal and State Partners Secure Record $13 Billion Global Settlement with JPMorgan for Misleading Investors About Securities Containing Toxic Mortgages
 

*CORRECTION: The release below previously stated that New York is receiving $613.8 million in this settlement, however, the number is $613.0 million. This correction notice was posted on Nov. 20, 2013.*

The Justice Department, along with federal and state partners, today announced a $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan – the largest settlement with a single entity in American history – to resolve federal and state civil claims arising out of the packaging, marketing, sale and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) by JPMorgan, Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual prior to Jan. 1, 2009.  As part of the settlement, JPMorgan acknowledged it made serious misrepresentations to the public – including the investing public – about numerous RMBS transactions.  The resolution also requires JPMorgan to provide much needed relief to underwater homeowners and potential homebuyers, including those in distressed areas of the country.  The settlement does not absolve JPMorgan or its employees from facing any possible criminal charges.

This settlement is part of the ongoing efforts of President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force’s RMBS Working Group. 

“Without a doubt, the conduct uncovered in this investigation helped sow the seeds of the mortgage meltdown,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “JPMorgan was not the only financial institution during this period to knowingly bundle toxic loans and sell them to unsuspecting investors, but that is no excuse for the firm’s behavior.  The size and scope of this resolution should send a clear signal that the Justice Department’s financial fraud investigations are far from over.  No firm, no matter how profitable, is above the law, and the passage of time is no shield from accountability.  I want to personally thank the RMBS Working Group for its tireless work not only in this case, but also in the investigations that remain ongoing.”

The settlement includes a statement of facts, in which JPMorgan acknowledges that it regularly represented to RMBS investors that the mortgage loans in various securities complied with underwriting guidelines.  Contrary to those representations, as the statement of facts explains, on a number of different occasions, JPMorgan employees knew that the loans in question did not comply with those guidelines and were not otherwise appropriate for securitization, but they allowed the loans to be securitized – and those securities to be sold – without disclosing this information to investors.  This conduct, along with similar conduct by other banks that bundled toxic loans into securities and misled investors who purchased those securities, contributed to the financial crisis.
                                    
“Through this $13 billion resolution, we are demanding accountability and requiring remediation from those who helped create a financial storm that devastated millions of Americans,” said Associate Attorney General Tony West.  “The conduct JPMorgan has acknowledged – packaging risky home loans into securities, then selling them without disclosing their low quality to investors – contributed to the wreckage of the financial crisis.  By requiring JPMorgan both to pay the largest FIRREA penalty in history and provide needed consumer relief to areas hardest hit by the financial crisis, we rectify some of that harm today.”

Of the record-breaking $13 billion resolution, $9 billion will be paid to settle federal and state civil claims by various entities related to RMBS.  Of that $9 billion, JPMorgan will pay $2 billion as a civil penalty to settle the Justice Department claims under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA), $1.4 billion to settle federal and state securities claims by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), $515.4 million to settle federal and state securities claims by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), $4 billion to settle federal and state claims by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), $298.9 million to settle claims by the State of California, $19.7 million to settle claims by the State of Delaware, $100 million to settle claims by the State of Illinois, $34.4 million to settle claims by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and $613 million to settle claims by the State of New York. 

JPMorgan will pay out the remaining $4 billion in the form of relief to aid consumers harmed by the unlawful conduct of JPMorgan, Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual.  That relief will take various forms, including principal forgiveness, loan modification, targeted originations and efforts to reduce blight.  An independent monitor will be appointed to determine whether JPMorgan is satisfying its obligations.  If JPMorgan fails to live up to its agreement by Dec. 31, 2017, it must pay liquidated damages in the amount of the shortfall to NeighborWorks America, a non-profit organization and leader in providing affordable housing and facilitating community development. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of California and Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Justice Department’s Civil Division, along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas, conducted investigations into JPMorgan’s, Washington Mutual’s and Bear Stearns’ practices related to the sale and issuance of RMBS between 2005 and 2008.

“Today’s global settlement underscores the power of FIRREA and other civil enforcement tools for combatting financial fraud,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Stuart F. Delery, co-chair of the RMBS Working Group.  “The Civil Division, working with the U.S. Attorney’s Offices and our state and agency partners, will continue to use every available resource to aggressively pursue those responsible for the financial crisis.”

“Abuses in the mortgage-backed securities industry helped turn a crisis in the housing market into an international financial crisis,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California Benjamin Wagner.  “The impacts were staggering.  JPMorgan sold securities knowing that many of the loans backing those certificates were toxic.  Credit unions, banks and other investor victims across the country, including many in the Eastern District of California, continue to struggle with losses they suffered as a result.  In the Eastern District of California, we have worked hard to prosecute fraud in the mortgage industry.  We are equally committed to holding accountable those in the securities industry who profited through the sale of defective mortgages.”
                                
“Today’s settlement represents another significant step towards holding accountable those banks which exploited the residential mortgage-backed securities market and harmed numerous individuals and entities in the process,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Zane David Memeger.  “These banks packaged and sold toxic mortgage-backed securities, which violated the law and contributed to the financial crisis.  It is particularly important that JPMorgan, after assuming the significant assets of Washington Mutual Bank, is now also held responsible for the unscrupulous and deceptive conduct of Washington Mutual, one of the biggest players in the mortgage-backed securities market.”

This settlement resolves only civil claims arising out of the RMBS packaged, marketed, sold and issued by JPMorgan, Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual.  The agreement does not release individuals from civil charges, nor does it release JPMorgan or any individuals from potential criminal prosecution. In addition, as part of the settlement, JPMorgan has pledged to fully cooperate in investigations related to the conduct covered by the agreement.

To keep JPMorgan from seeking reimbursement from the federal government for any money it pays pursuant to this resolution, the Justice Department required language in the settlement agreement which prohibits JPMorgan from demanding indemnification from the FDIC, both in its capacity as a corporate entity and as the receiver for Washington Mutual.   

“The settlement announced today will provide a significant recovery for six FDIC receiverships.  It also fully protects the FDIC from indemnification claims out of this settlement,” said FDIC Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg.  “The FDIC will continue to pursue litigation where necessary in order to recover as much as possible for FDIC receiverships, money that is ultimately returned to the Deposit Insurance Fund, uninsured depositors and creditors of failed banks.”

“NCUA’s Board extends our thanks and appreciation to our attorneys and to the Department of Justice, who have worked closely together for more than three years to bring this matter to a successful resolution,” said NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz.  “The faulty mortgage-backed securities created and packaged by JPMorgan and other institutions created a crisis in the credit union industry, and we’re pleased a measure of accountability has been reached.”

“JPMorgan and the banks it bought securitized billions of dollars of defective mortgages,” said Acting FHFA Inspector General Michael P. Stephens.  “Investors, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, suffered enormous losses by purchasing RMBS from JPMorgan, Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns not knowing about those defects.  Today’s settlement is a significant, but by no means final step by FHFA-OIG and its law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who committed  acts of fraud and deceit.  We are proud to have worked with the Department of Justice, the U.S. attorneys in Sacramento and Philadelphia and the New York and California state attorneys general; they have been great partners and we look forward to our continued work together.”

The attorneys general of New York, California, Delaware, Illinois and Massachusetts also conducted related investigations that were critical to bringing about this settlement.

“Since my first day in office, I have insisted that there must be accountability for the misconduct that led to the crash of the housing market and the collapse of the American economy,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Co-Chair of the RMBS Working Group.  “This historic deal, which will bring long overdue relief to homeowners around the country and across New York, is exactly what our working group was created to do.  We refused to allow systemic frauds that harmed so many New York homeowners and investors to simply be forgotten, and as a result we’ve won a major victory today in the fight to hold those who caused the financial crisis accountable.”

“JP Morgan Chase profited by giving California’s pension funds incomplete information about mortgage investments,” California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris said. “This settlement returns the money to California’s pension funds that JP Morgan wrongfully took from them.”

“Our financial system only works when everyone plays by the rules,” said Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden.  “Today, as a result of our coordinated investigations, we are holding accountable one of the financial institutions that, by breaking those rules, helped cause the economic crisis that brought our nation to its knees.  Even as the American people recover from this crisis, we will continue to seek accountability on their behalf.”

“We are still cleaning up the mess that Wall Street made with its reckless investment schemes and fraudulent conduct,” said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.  “Today’s settlement with JPMorgan will assist Illinois in recovering its losses from the dangerous and deceptive securities that put our economy on the path to destruction.”

“This is a historic settlement that will help us to hold accountable those investment banks that played a role in creating and exacerbating the housing crisis,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.  “We appreciate the work of the Department of Justice and the other enforcement agencies in bringing about this resolution and look forward to continuing to work together in other securitization cases.”

The RMBS Working Group is a federal and state law enforcement effort focused on investigating fraud and abuse in the RMBS market that helped lead to the 2008 financial crisis.  The RMBS Working Group brings together more than 200 attorneys, investigators, analysts and staff from dozens of state and federal agencies including the Department of Justice, 10 U.S. attorney’s offices, the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), HUD’s Office of Inspector General, the FHFA-OIG, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Federal Reserve Board’s Office of Inspector General, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and more than 10 state attorneys general offices around the country.

The RMBS Working Group is led by five co-chairs: Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Stuart Delery, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Mythili Raman, Co-Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement George Canellos, U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado John Walsh and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Learn more about the RMBS Working Group and the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force at: http://www.stopfraud.gov. 

Related Material:

Toxic Loans – Settlement for Investors, SCREW THE BORROWERS!!!


Settlement can be found at:

http://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/471201471413656848428.pdf

This Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”) is entered into between the United States
acting through the United States Department of Justice (“Department of Justice”), along with the
States of California, Delaware, Illinois, and New York and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,
acting through their respective Attorneys General (collectively, “the States”), and Citigroup Inc.
(“Citigroup”). The United States, the States, and Citigroup are collectively referred to herein as
“the Parties.”
RECITALS
A. The Department of Justice conducted investigations of the packaging, marketing,
sale, structuring, arrangement, and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”)
and collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”) by Citigroup between 2006 and 2007. Based on
those investigations, the United States believes that there is an evidentiary basis to compromise
potential legal claims by the United States against Citigroup for violations of federal laws in
connection with the packaging, marketing, sale, structuring, arrangement, and issuance of RMBS
and CDOs.
B. The States, based on their independent investigations of the same conduct, believe
that there is an evidentiary basis to compromise potential legal claims by California, Delaware,
Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York against Citigroup for state law violations in connection
with the packaging, marketing, sale, structuring, arrangement, and issuance of RMBS and CDOs.
C. Citigroup has resolved claims filed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
as Receiver for Strategic Capital Bank, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as
Receiver for Colonial Bank (collectively, “FDIC”), alleging violations of federal and state
securities laws in connection with private-label RMBS issued, underwritten, and/or sold by
Citigroup. The terms of the resolution of those claims are memorialized in a separate agreement,
attached as Exhibit A.
D. Citigroup acknowledges the facts set out in the Statement of Facts set forth in
Annex 1, attached and hereby incorporated.
E. In consideration of the mutual promises and obligations of this Agreement, the
Parties agree and covenant as follows:
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
1. Payment. Citigroup shall pay a total amount of $4,500,000,000.00 to resolve pending
and potential legal claims in connection with the packaging, marketing, sale, structuring,
arrangement, and issuance of RMBS and CDOs by Citigroup (“Settlement Amount”). As set out
below, $4,000,000,000.00 of that amount will be deposited in the United States Treasury and the
remainder is paid to resolve the claims of the States and the FDIC, pursuant to the subsequent
provisions of this Paragraph 1.
A. Within fifteen business days of receiving written payment processing instructions
from the Department of Justice, Office of the Associate Attorney General, Citigroup shall pay
$4,208,250,000.00 of the Settlement Amount by electronic funds transfer to the Department of
Justice.
i. $4,000,000,000.00 of the Settlement Amount, and no other amount, is a civil
monetary penalty recovered pursuant to the Financial Institutions Reform,
Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (“FIRREA”), 12 U.S.C. § 1833a. It will
be deposited in the General Fund of the United States Treasury.
ii. $208,250,000.00 and no other amount, is paid by Citigroup in settlement of the
claims of the FDIC identified in Recital Paragraph C, pursuant to the settlement
2
agreement attached hereto as Exhibit A, the terms of which are not altered or
affected by this Agreement.
B. $102,700,000.00, and no other amount, will be paid by Citigroup to the State of
California pursuant to Paragraph 6, below, and the terms of written payment instructions from
the State of California, Office of the Attorney General. Payment shall be made by electronic
funds transfer within fifteen business days of receiving written payment processing instructions
from the State of California, Office of the Attorney General.
C. $7,350,000.00, and no other amount, will be paid by Citigroup to the State of
Delaware pursuant to Paragraph 7, below, and the terms of written payment instructions from the
State of Delaware, Office of the Attorney General. Payment shall be made by electronic funds
transfer within fifteen business days of receiving written payment processing instructions from
the State of Delaware, Office of the Attorney General.
D. $44,000,000.00, and no other amount, will be paid by Citigroup to the State of
Illinois pursuant to Paragraph 8, below, and the terms of written payment instructions from the
State of Illinois, Office of the Attorney General. Payment shall be made by electronic funds
transfer within fifteen business days of receiving written payment processing instructions from
the State of Illinois, Office of the Attorney General.
E. $45,700,000.00, and no other amount, will be paid by Citigroup to the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts pursuant to Paragraph 9, below, and the terms of written
payment instructions from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Office of the Attorney General.
Payment shall be made by electronic funds transfer within fifteen business days of receiving
written payment processing instructions from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Office of the
Attorney General.
3
F. $92,000,000.00, and no other amount, will be paid by Citigroup to the State of
New York pursuant to Paragraph 10, below, and the terms of written payment instructions from
the State of New York, Office of the Attorney General. Payment shall be made by electronic
funds transfer within fifteen business days of receiving written payment processing instructions
from the State of New York, Office of the Attorney General.
2. Consumer Relief. In addition, Citigroup shall provide $2.5 billion worth of consumer
relief as set forth in Annex 2, attached and hereby incorporated as a term of this Agreement. The
value of consumer relief provided shall be calculated and enforced pursuant to the terms of
Annex 2. An independent monitor will be appointed to determine whether Citigroup has
satisfied the obligations contained in this Paragraph (such monitor to be Thomas J. Perrelli), and
any costs associated with said Monitor shall be borne by Citigroup.
3. Covered Conduct. “Covered Conduct” as used herein is defined as the creation,
pooling, structuring, arranging, formation, packaging, marketing, underwriting, sale, or issuance
prior to January 1, 2009 by Citigroup of the RMBS and CDOs identified in Annex 3, attached
and hereby incorporated. Covered Conduct includes representations, disclosures, or nondisclosures
to RMBS investors made in connection with the activities set forth above about the
underlying residential mortgage loans, where the representation or non-disclosure involves
information about or obtained during the process of originating, acquiring, securitizing,
underwriting, or servicing residential mortgage loans included in the RMBS identified in
Annex 3. Covered Conduct also includes representations, disclosures, or non-disclosures made
in connection with the activities set forth above about the CDOs identified in Annex 3, attached
and hereby incorporated. Covered Conduct does not include: (i) conduct relating to the
origination of residential mortgages, except representations or non-disclosures to investors in the
4
RMBS listed in Annex 3 about origination of, or about information obtained in the course of
originating, such loans; (ii) origination conduct unrelated to securitization, such as soliciting,
aiding or abetting borrower fraud; (iii) the servicing of residential mortgage loans, except
representations or non-disclosures to investors in the RMBS listed in Annex 3 about servicing, or
information obtained in the course of servicing, such loans; or (iv) representations or nondisclosures
made in connection with the trading of RMBS, except to the extent that the
representations or non-disclosures are in the offering materials for the underlying RMBS listed in
Annex 3.
4. Cooperation. Until the date upon which all investigations and any prosecution arising
out of the Covered Conduct are concluded by the Department of Justice, whether or not they are
concluded within the term of this Agreement, Citigroup shall, subject to applicable laws or
regulations: (a) cooperate fully with the Department of Justice (including the Federal Bureau of
Investigation) and any other law enforcement agency designated by the Department of Justice
regarding matters arising out of the Covered Conduct; (b) assist the Department of Justice in any
investigation or prosecution arising out of the Covered Conduct by providing logistical and
technical support for any meeting, interview, grand jury proceeding, or any trial or other court
proceeding; (c) use its best efforts to secure the attendance and truthful statements or testimony
of any officer, director, agent, or employee of any of the entities released in Paragraph 5 at any
meeting or interview or before the grand jury or at any trial or other court proceeding regarding
matters arising out of the Covered Conduct; and (d) provide the Department of Justice, upon
request, all non-privileged information, documents, records, or other tangible evidence regarding
matters arising out of the Covered Conduct about which the Department or any designated law
enforcement agency inquires.
5
5. Releases by the United States. Subject to the exceptions in Paragraph 12 (“Excluded
Claims”), and conditioned upon Citigroup’s full payment of the Settlement Amount (of which
$4 billion will be paid as a civil monetary penalty pursuant to FIRREA, 12 U.S.C. § 1833a), and
Citigroup’s agreement, by executing this Agreement, to satisfy the terms in Paragraph 2
(“Consumer Relief”) and Paragraph 4 (“Cooperation”), the United States fully and finally
releases Citigroup and each of its current and former subsidiaries and affiliated entities
(collectively, the “Released Entities”), and each of their respective successors and assigns from
any civil claim the United States has against the Released Entities for the Covered Conduct
arising under FIRREA, 12 U.S.C. § l833a; the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729, et seq.; the
Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3801, et seq.; the Racketeer Influenced and
Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961, et seq.; the Injunctions Against Fraud Act, 18
U.S.C. § 1345; common law theories of negligence, payment by mistake, unjust enrichment,
money had and received, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, misrepresentation, deceit,
fraud, and aiding and abetting any of the foregoing; or that the Civil Division of the Department
of Justice has actual and present authority to assert and compromise pursuant to 28 C.F.R.
§ 0.45.
6. Releases by the California Attorney General. Subject to the exceptions in
Paragraph 12 (Excluded Claims), and conditioned solely upon Citigroup’s full payment of the
Settlement Amount (of which $102,700,000.00 will be paid to the Office of the California
Attorney General, in accordance with written payment instructions from the California Attorney
General, to remediate harms to the State, pursuant to California Government Code §§ 12650-
12656 and 12658, allegedly resulting from unlawful conduct of the Released Entities), the
California Attorney General fully and finally releases the Released Entities from any civil or
6
administrative claim for the Covered Conduct that the California Attorney General has authority
to bring, including but not limited to: California Corporate Securities Law of 1968, Cal.
Corporations Code § 25000 et seq., California Government Code §§ 12658 and 12660 and
California Government Code §§ 12650-12656, common law theories of negligence, payment by
mistake, unjust enrichment, money had and received, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of
contract, misrepresentation, deceit, fraud and aiding and abetting any of the foregoing. The
California Attorney General executes this release in her official capacity and releases only claims
that the California Attorney General has the authority to release for the Covered Conduct. The
California Attorney General agrees that no portion of the funds in this paragraph is received as a
civil penalty or fine, including, but not limited to any civil penalty or fine imposed under
California Government Code § 12651. The California Attorney General and Citigroup
acknowledge that they have been advised by their attorneys of the contents and effect of Section
1542 of the California Civil Code (“Section 1542”) and hereby expressly waive with respect to
this Agreement any and all provisions, rights, and benefits conferred by Section 1542.
7. Releases by the State of Delaware. Subject to the exceptions in Paragraph 12
(Excluded Claims), and conditioned solely upon Citigroup’s full payment of the Settlement
Amount (of which $7,350,000.00 will be paid to the State of Delaware, in accordance with
written payment instructions from the State of Delaware, Office of the Attorney General, to
remediate harms to the State allegedly resulting from unlawful conduct of the Released Entities),
the Delaware Department of Justice fully and finally releases the Released Entities from any civil
or administrative claim for the Covered Conduct that it has authority to bring, including but not
limited to: 6 Del. C. Chapter 12 (the Delaware False Claims and Reporting Act), 6 Del. C.
§§ 2511 et seq. (the Delaware Consumer Fraud Act), 6 Del. C. Chapter 73 (the Delaware
7
Securities Act), and common law theories of negligence, payment by mistake, unjust enrichment,
money had and received, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, misrepresentation, deceit,
fraud and aiding and abetting any of the foregoing. The State of Delaware agrees that no portion
of the funds in this paragraph is received as a civil penalty or fine, including, but not limited to
any civil penalty or fine imposed under 6 Del. C. § 1201 or § 2522.
8. Releases by the State of Illinois. Subject to the exceptions in Paragraph 12 (Excluded
Claims), and conditioned solely upon Citigroup’s full payment of the Settlement Amount (of
which $44,000,000.00 will be paid to the State of Illinois, Office of the Attorney General, in
accordance with the written payment instructions from the State of Illinois, Office of the
Attorney General, to remediate harms to the State allegedly resulting from unlawful conduct of
the Released Entities), the Illinois Attorney General of the State of Illinois fully and finally
releases the Released Entities from any civil or administrative claim for the Covered Conduct
that it has authority to bring, including but not limited to: Illinois Securities Law of 1953, 815
Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/1 et seq., and common law theories of negligence, payment by mistake, unjust
enrichment, money had and received, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract,
misrepresentation, deceit, fraud and aiding and abetting any of the foregoing. The State of
Illinois agrees that no portion of the funds in this paragraph is received as a civil penalty or fine.
9. Releases of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Subject to the exceptions in
Paragraph 12 (Excluded Claims), and conditioned solely upon Citigroup’s full payment of the
Settlement Amount (of which $45,700,000.00 will be paid to the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts, in accordance with the written payment instructions from the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts, to remediate harms to the Commonwealth allegedly resulting from unlawful
conduct of the Released Entities), the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
8
fully and finally releases the Released Entities from any civil claim for the Covered Conduct that
she has authority to bring, including but not limited to: M.G.L. c. 93A, M.G.L. c. 12, and
common law theories of negligence, payment by mistake, unjust enrichment, money had and
received, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, misrepresentation, deceit, fraud and aiding
and abetting any of the foregoing. The payment to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts shall be
made to a trustee chosen by the Commonwealth, which shall hold the monies and distribute them
as directed by the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General for consumer relief,
compensation to the Commonwealth and its entities, and pursuant to M.G.L. c. 12 § 4A,
implementation of this Agreement and related purposes. Funds or portions of the funds
remaining in the trust after 90 days, at the discretion of the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney
General, may be transferred to the Massachusetts Treasury. The Commonwealth of
Massachusetts agrees that no portion of the funds in this paragraph is received as a civil penalty
or fine.
10. Releases by the State of New York. Subject to the exceptions in Paragraph 12
(Excluded Claims), and conditioned solely upon Citigroup’s full payment of the Settlement
Amount (of which $92,000,000.00 will be paid to the State of New York, in accordance with
written payment instructions from the State of New York, Office of the Attorney General, to
remediate harms to the State allegedly resulting from unlawful conduct of the Released Entities),
the State of New York, by Eric T. Schneiderman, Attorney General of the State of New York,
fully and finally releases the Released Entities from any civil or administrative claim for the
Covered Conduct that it has authority to bring, including but not limited to any such claim
under: New York General Business Law Article 23A, New York Executive Law § 63(12), and
common law theories of negligence, payment by mistake, unjust enrichment, money had and
9
received, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, misrepresentation, deceit, fraud and aiding
and abetting any of the foregoing. The payment to the State of New York shall be used, to the
maximum extent possible, for purposes of redeveloping and revitalizing housing and home
ownership and rebuilding communities in the State, and for programs intended to avoid
preventable foreclosures, to ameliorate the effects of the foreclosure crisis, to provide funding for
housing counselors and legal assistance, housing remediation and anti-blight projects, for code
enforcement, and to enhance law enforcement efforts involving financial fraud or unfair or
deceptive acts or practices. The State of New York agrees that no portion of the funds in this
paragraph is received as a civil penalty or fine.
11. Releases by the FDIC. The release of claims by the FDIC is contained in a separate
settlement agreement with Citi, attached as Exhibit A. Any release of claims by the FDIC is
governed solely by that separate settlement agreement.
12. Excluded Claims. Notwithstanding the releases in Paragraphs 5-11 of this Agreement,
or any other term(s) of this Agreement, the following claims are specifically reserved and not
released by this Agreement:
a. Any criminal liability;
b. Any liability of any individual;
c. Any liability arising under Title 26 of the United States Code (the Internal
Revenue Code);
d. Any liability to or claims of the FDIC (in its capacity as a corporation, receiver, or
conservator), except as expressly set forth in the separate agreement with the
FDIC;
10
e. Any claim related to compliance with the National Mortgage Settlement
(“NMS”), or to compliance with the related agreements reached between the
settling banks and individual states;
f. Any liability to or claims of the United States of America, the Department of
Housing and Urban Development/Federal Housing Administration, the
Department of Veterans Affairs, or Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac relating to whole
loans insured, guaranteed, or purchased by the Department of Housing and Urban
Development/Federal Housing Administration, the Department of Veterans
Affairs, or Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, except claims based on or arising from
the securitizations of any such loans in the RMBS or CDOs listed in Annex 1.
g. Any administrative liability, including the suspension and debarment rights of any
federal agency;
h. Any liability based upon obligations created by this Settlement Agreement;
i. Any liability for the claims or conduct alleged in the following qui tam actions,
and no setoff related to amounts paid under this Agreement shall be applied to any
recovery in connection with any of these actions:
(i) United States, et al. ex rel. Szymoniak v. American Home Mortgage
Servicing, Inc. et al., No. 0:10-cv-01465-JFA (D.S.C.), and United States
ex rel. Szymoniak v. ACE Securities Corp. et al., No. 13-cv-464-JFA
(D.S.C.); and
(ii) United States ex rel. [Sealed] v. [Sealed], as disclosed to Citigroup;
j. Claims raised in Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Bank of America, N.A., et
al., Civ. No. 11-4363 (BLS1)(Massachusetts Suffolk Superior Court); and
11
k. Any claims related to the alleged manipulation of the London Interbank Offered
Rate or other currency benchmarks.
13. Releases by Citigroup. Citigroup and any current or former affiliated entity and any of
their respective successors and assigns fully and finally release the United States and the States,
and their officers, agents, employees, and servants, from any claims (including attorney’s fees,
costs, and expenses of every kind and however denominated) that Citigroup has asserted, could
have asserted, or may assert in the future against the United States and the States, and their
officers, agents, employees, and servants, related to the Covered Conduct and the investigation
and civil prosecution to date thereof.
14. Waiver of Potential FDIC Indemnification Claims by Citi. Citigroup hereby
irrevocably waives any right that it otherwise might have to seek (and in any event agrees that it
shall not seek) any form of indemnification, reimbursement or contribution from the FDIC in any
capacity, including the FDIC in its Corporate Capacity or the FDIC in its Receiver Capacity for
any payment that is a portion of the Settlement Amount set forth in Paragraph 1 of this
Agreement or of the Consumer Relief set forth in Paragraph 2 of this Agreement, including
payments to the United States and the States made pursuant to Paragraphs 1 and 2 of this
Agreement.
15. Waiver of Potential Defenses by Citigroup. Citigroup and any current or former
affiliated entity (to the extent that Citigroup retains liability for the Covered Conduct associated
with such affiliated entity) and any of their respective successors and assigns waive and shall not
assert any defenses Citigroup may have to any criminal prosecution or administrative action
relating to the Covered Conduct that may be based in whole or in part on a contention that, under
12
the Double Jeopardy Clause in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, or under the Excessive
Fines Clause in the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, this Agreement bars a remedy sought
in such criminal prosecution or administrative action.
16. Unallowable Costs Defined. All costs (as defined in the Federal Acquisition Regulation,
48 C.F.R. § 31.205-47) incurred by or on behalf of Citigroup, and its present or former officers,
directors, employees, shareholders, and agents in connection with:
a. the matters covered by this Agreement;
b. the United States’ audit(s) and civil investigation(s) of the matters covered by this
Agreement;
c. Citigroup’s investigation, defense, and corrective actions undertaken in response
to the United States’ audit(s) and civil and any criminal investigation(s) in
connection with the matters covered by this Agreement (including attorney’s
fees);
d. the negotiation and performance of this Agreement; and
e. the payment Citigroup makes to the United States pursuant to this Agreement, are
unallowable costs for government contracting purposes (hereinafter referred to as
“Unallowable Costs”).
17. Future Treatment of Unallowable Costs. Unallowable Costs will be separately
determined and accounted for by Citigroup, and Citigroup shall not charge such Unallowable
Costs directly or indirectly to any contract with the United States.
18. This Agreement is governed by the laws of the United States. The Parties agree that the
exclusive jurisdiction and venue for any dispute relating to this Agreement is the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
13
19. The Parties acknowledge that this Agreement is made without any trial or adjudication or
finding of any issue of fact or law, and is not a final order of any court or governmental
authority.
20. Each Party shall bear its own legal and other costs incurred in connection with this
matter, including the preparation and performance of this Agreement.
21. Each party and signatory to this Agreement represents that it freely and voluntarily enters
into this Agreement without any degree of duress or compulsion.
22. Nothing in this Agreement in any way alters the terms of the NMS, or Citigroup’s
obligations under the NMS.
23. Nothing in this Agreement constitutes an agreement by the United States concerning the
characterization of the Settlement Amount for the purposes of the Internal Revenue laws,
Title 26 of the United States Code.
24. For the purposes of construing the Agreement, this Agreement shall be deemed to have
been drafted by all Parties and shall not, therefore, be construed against any Party for that reason
in any dispute.
25. This Agreement constitutes the complete agreement between the Parties. This
Agreement may not be amended except by written consent of the Parties.
26. The undersigned counsel represent and warrant that they are fully authorized to execute
this Agreement on behalf of the persons and entities indicated below.
27. This Agreement may be executed in counterparts, each of which constitutes an original
and all of which constitute one and the same Agreement.
28. This Agreement is binding on Citigroup’s successors, transferees, heirs, and assigns.
14
29. All parties consent to the disclosure to the public of this Agreement, and information
about this Agreement, by Citigroup, the United States, the States, and the FDIC whose separate
settlement agreement is referenced herein and attached as an exhibit to this Agreement.
30. This Agreement is effective on the date of signature of the last signatory to the
Agreement (“Effective Date of this Agreement”). Facsimiles of signatures shall constitute
acceptable, binding signatures for purposes of this Agreement.
15
For the California Department of Justice:
California Attorney General
California Department of Justice
455 Golden Gate, Suite 1000
San Francisco, CA 941 02
Phone: (415) 703-5500
Dated: 7 I!J I/ [ I I

For the State of Illinois:
LISA MADIGAN
Attorney General State of Illinois
500 South Second Street .
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-1090
Dated: -vr, I’1 I L1)’ 2A> /,,( —–f—-‘——–.,
For the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:
Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Martha Coakley
GLENN KAPLAN
Assistant Attorney General
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
Phone: (617)727-2200
Dated:
By:


Department of Justice

http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/July/14-ag-733.html

Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, July 14, 2014

Justice Department, Federal and State Partners Secure Record $7 Billion Global Settlement with Citigroup for Misleading Investors About Securities Containing Toxic Mortgages

Citigroup to Pay the Largest Penalty of Its Kind – $4 Billion

The Justice Department, along with federal and state partners, today announced a $7 billion settlement with Citigroup Inc. to resolve federal and state civil claims related to Citigroup’s conduct in the packaging, securitization, marketing, sale and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) prior to Jan. 1, 2009.  The resolution includes a $4 billion civil penalty – the largest penalty to date under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA).  As part of the settlement, Citigroup acknowledged it made serious misrepresentations to the public – including the investing public – about the mortgage loans it securitized in RMBS.  The resolution also requires Citigroup to provide relief to underwater homeowners, distressed borrowers and affected communities through a variety of means including financing affordable rental housing developments for low-income families in high-cost areas.  The settlement does not absolve Citigroup or its employees from facing any possible criminal charges.

This settlement is part of the ongoing efforts of President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force’s RMBS Working Group, which has recovered $20 billion to date for American consumers and investors.  

“This historic penalty is appropriate given the strength of the evidence of the wrongdoing committed by Citi,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “The bank’s activities contributed mightily to the financial crisis that devastated our economy in 2008.  Taken together, we believe the size and scope of this resolution goes beyond what could be considered the mere cost of doing business.  Citi is not the first financial institution to be held accountable by this Justice Department, and it will certainly not be the last.”

 The settlement includes an agreed upon statement of facts that describes how Citigroup made representations to RMBS investors about the quality of the mortgage loans it securitized and sold to investors.  Contrary to those representations, Citigroup securitized and sold RMBS with underlying mortgage loans that it knew had material defects.  As the statement of facts explains, on a number of occasions, Citigroup employees learned that significant percentages of the mortgage loans reviewed in due diligence had material defects.  In one instance, a Citigroup trader stated in an internal email that he “went through the Diligence Reports and think[s] [they] should start praying . . . [he] would not be surprised if half of these loans went down. . . It’s amazing that some of these loans were closed at all.”  Citigroup nevertheless securitized the loan pools containing defective loans and sold the resulting RMBS to investors for billions of dollars.  This conduct, along with similar conduct by other banks that bundled defective and toxic loans into securities and misled investors who purchased those securities, contributed to the financial crisis.                                  

“Today, we hold Citi accountable for its contributing role in creating the financial crisis, not only by demanding the largest civil penalty in history, but also by requiring innovative consumer relief that will help rectify the harm caused by Citi’s conduct,” said Associate Attorney General Tony West.  “In addition to the principal reductions and loan modifications we’ve built into previous resolutions, this consumer relief menu includes new measures such as $200 million in typically hard-to-obtain financing that will facilitate the construction of affordable rental housing, bringing relief to families pushed into the rental market in the wake of the financial crisis.”

Of the $7 billion resolution, $4.5 billion will be paid to settle federal and state civil claims by various entities related to RMBS: Citigroup will pay $4 billion as a civil penalty to settle the Justice Department claims under FIRREA, $208.25 million to settle federal and state securities claims by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), $102.7 million to settle claims by the state of California, $92 million to settle claims by the state of New York, $44 million to settle claims by the state of Illinois, $45.7  million to settle claims by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and $7.35 to settle claims by the state of Delaware.

Citigroup will pay out the remaining $2.5 billion in the form of relief to aid consumers harmed by the unlawful conduct of Citigroup.  That relief will take various forms, including loan modification for underwater homeowners, refinancing for distressed borrowers, down payment and closing cost assistance to homebuyers, donations to organizations assisting communities in redevelopment and affordable rental housing for low-income families in high-cost areas.  An independent monitor will be appointed to determine whether Citigroup is satisfying its obligations.  If Citigroup fails to live up to its agreement by the end of 2018,  it must pay liquidated damages in the amount of the shortfall to NeighborWorks America, a non-profit organization and leader in providing affordable housing and facilitating community development.  

The U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of New York and the District of Colorado conducted investigations into Citigroup’s practices related to the sale and issuance of RMBS between 2006 and 2007.

“The strength of our financial markets depends on the truth of the representations that banks provide to investors and the public every day,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh for the District of Colorado, Co-Chair of the RMBS Working Group.  “Today’s $7 billion settlement is a major step toward restoring public confidence in those markets.  Due to the tireless work by the Department of Justice, Citigroup is being forced to take responsibility for its home mortgage securitization misconduct in the years leading up to the financial crisis.  As important a step as this settlement is, however, the work of the RMBS working group is far from done, we will continue to pursue our investigations and cases vigorously because many other banks have not yet taken responsibility for their misconduct in packaging and selling RMBS securities.”

“After nearly 50 subpoenas to Citigroup, Trustees, Servicers, Due Diligence providers and their employees, and after collecting nearly 25 million documents relating to every residential mortgage backed security issued or underwritten by Citigroup in 2006 and 2007, our teams found that the misconduct in Citigroup’s deals devastated the nation and the world’s economies, touching everyone,” said U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch.  “The investors in Citigroup RMBS included federally-insured financial institutions, as well as a host of states, cities, public and union pension and benefit funds, universities, religious charities, and hospitals, among others.  These are our neighbors in Colorado, New York and around the country, hard-working people who saved and put away for retirement, only to see their savings decimated.”

This settlement resolves civil claims against Citigroup arising out of certain securities packaged, securitized, structured, marketed, and sold by Citigroup.  The agreement does not release individuals from civil charges, nor does it release Citigroup or any individuals from potential criminal prosecution. In addition, as part of the settlement, Citigroup has pledged to fully cooperate in investigations related to the conduct covered by the agreement.

 Michael Stephens, Acting Inspector General for the Federal Housing Finance Agency said, “Citigroup securitized billions of dollars of defective mortgages, after which investors suffered enormous losses by purchasing RMBS from Citi not knowing about those defects. Today’s settlement is another significant step by FHFA-OIG and its law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who committed acts of fraud and deceit in the lead up to the financial crisis, and is a necessary step toward reviving a sound RMBS market that is crucial to the housing industry and the American economy.  We are proud to have worked with the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in the Eastern District of New York and the District of Colorado. They have been great partners and we look forward to our continued work together.”

The underlying investigation was led by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard K. Hayes, Kevin Traskos, Lila Bateman, John Vagelatos, J. Chris Larson and Edward K. Newman, with the support of agents from the Office of the Inspector General for the Federal Housing Finance Agency, in conjunction with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force’s RMBS Working Group.

The RMBS Working Group is a federal and state law enforcement effort focused on investigating fraud and abuse in the RMBS market that helped lead to the 2008 financial crisis.  The RMBS Working Group brings together more than 200 attorneys, investigators, analysts and staff from dozens of state and federal agencies including the Department of Justice, 10 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), HUD’s Office of Inspector General, the FHFA-OIG, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Federal Reserve Board’s Office of Inspector General, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and more than 10 state Attorneys General offices around the country.

The RMBS Working Group is led by its Director Geoffrey Graber and its five co-chairs: Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Stuart Delery, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Leslie Caldwell, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement Andrew Ceresney, U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado John Walsh and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Learn more about the RMBS Working Group and the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force at: http://www.stopfraud.gov .

I Was Depressed, But Am Much Better Now…


After I read some posts on others’ blogs, I really do feel much better. Wanna know which ones I read? Here they are:

“NO ENDORSEMENT, NO NEGOTIATION–NO NEGOTIATION, NO SECURITIZATION” On Liberty Road Media: http://libertyroadmedia.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/no-endorsement-no-negotiation-no-negotiation-no-securitization/

and I read this and it helped too!:

Ineptocracy from here:
http://tomfernandez28.com/2014/06/20/ineptocracy-3/

Of course this Helped a lot!:

http://www.newser.com/story/188674/miss-usa-doesnt-know-her-state-capital.html
but I actually read that here:
https://wordpress.com/