Tag Archives: REMICs

Officials Cover Up Housing Bubble’s Scummy Residue: Fraudulent Foreclosure Documents

Great article by David Dayen!

VERY DAY IN AMERICA, mortgage companies attempt to foreclose on homeowners using false documents.

It’s a byproduct of the mortgage securitization craze during the housing bubble, when loans were sliced and diced so haphazardly that the actual ownership was confused.

When the bubble burst, lenders foreclosing on properties needed paperwork to prove their standing, but didn’t have it — leading mortgage industry employees to forge, fabricate and backdate millions of mortgage documents. This foreclosure fraud scandal was exposed in 2010, and acquired a name: “robo-signing.”

But while some of the offenders paid fines over the past few years, nobody cleaned up the documents. This rot still exists inside the property records system all over the country, and those in a position of authority appear determined to pretend it doesn’t exist.

In two separate cases, activists have charged that officials and courts are hiding evidence of mortgage document irregularities that, if verified, could stop thousands of foreclosures in their tracks. Officials have delayed disclosure of this evidence, the activists believe, because it would be too messy, and it’s easier to bottle up the evidence than deal with the repercussions.

“All they’re doing is making a mockery of our judicial system,” said Bill Paatalo, a private investigator and one of the activists.

Like many other anti-foreclosure activists, Paatalo got involved with the issue through a case involving his own property — in Absarokee, Montana. Like many homeowner loans purchased during the housing bubble, Paatalo’s was packaged into a mortgage-backed security.

The process worked like this: The loans were eventually sold into a tax-exempt REMIC (Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit) trust; the REMIC trust received monthly mortgage payments from homeowners; and the payments were passed along to investors in the mortgage-backed securities.

The trust where Paatalo’s mortgage ended up is known as “WaMu Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates Services 2007-OA3 Trust.” When he faced foreclosure, the trust, as the nominal owner of the mortgage, was the plaintiff.

In doing research for his own trial, Paatalo discovered that all “foreign business trusts” established outside of Montana have to register with the Secretary of State in order to transact business, under Title 35-5-201 of the Montana code. Trustees must file an application, along with legal affidavits affirming its trust agreement and identifying all trustees, and pay a $70 filing fee.

WaMu Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates Services 2007-OA3 Trust — based in Delaware — didn’t.

That means that the trust could not acquire property in Montana — precisely what it was alleging it did in Paatalo’s foreclosure case. An affidavit from Tana Gormely, a deputy for the Business Services Division in the Montana Secretary of State’s office, confirms that the 2007-OA3 trust “is not registered with our office as required by law.”

Read on.

Cashmere v. State of Washington Dept of Revenue: Recent REMIC case in Washington

This is a Sept 25, 2014, Washington State supreme court ruling on REMIC taxes not exempt because Cashmere did not receive any interest in mortgages or deeds of trust to back its investment.

Cashmere v. Dept of Revenue (PDF)

Michael Gamsky testified that REMIC investments are not secured transactions because issuers do not pledge any property as security for the investments. He explained that investors who purchase REMIC certificates are beneficiaries of a trust and they have contractual rights under the pooling and servicing agreement, but they are not secured investors.

After reviewing the evidence, the superior court granted summary judgment to DOR. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Cashmere’s investments were not primarily secured by first mortgages or deeds of trust because Cashmere had no power to institute foreclosure proceedings. Cashmere Valley Bank, 175 Wn. App. at 418. Thus, the bank’s investments were not secured and the deduction did not apply. /d. at 418-19. Cashmere petitioned for review, and the Washington Bankers Association filed an amicus curiae memorandum in support of review. We granted review. 179 Wn.2d 1008, 316 P.3d 494 (2014).

Cashmere Valley Bank v. State Department Of Revenue

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Read more: http://www.certifiedforensicloanauditors.com/articles/10.14/recent-remic-case-in-washington.html#ixzz3GT5Q4aR6

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AURORA LOAN SERVS. LLC V SCHELLER | NYSC – NEITHER AURORA LOAN SERVICES LLC, NATIONSTAR MORTGAGE LLC NOR THE REMIC HAVE ANY INTEREST WHATSOEVER IN THE MORTGAGE SOUGHT TO BE FORECLOSED

AURORA LOAN SERVS. LLC V SCHELLER | NYSC – NEITHER AURORA LOAN SERVICES LLC, NATIONSTAR MORTGAGE LLC NOR THE REMIC HAVE ANY INTEREST WHATSOEVER IN THE MORTGAGE SOUGHT TO BE FORECLOSED

It has not been determined as to whether or not Defendants’ loan is or was held by a trust, by Aurora Loan Services LLC, by Nationstar Mortgage LLC, by a combination of them or by none of them. This is clearly a triable issue of fact which cannot be disposed of summarily but instead requires further searching examination. As a consequence, the Court must, at this juncture, necessarily limit its inquiry to the sufficiency of the allegations in the proposed Second Amended Answer, particularly when the same is juxtaposed with the complaints that have been filed in both matters. Plaintiff counters Defendants’ claims by asserting that the proposed Second Amended Answer is palpably insufficient. This Court strongly disagrees with that posture. Defendants allege, inter alia, that the acceptance of the asset, viz. the note and mortgage at issue, by the Trustee was actually accomplished in a manner other than that either prescribed or permitted by the Pooling & Servicing Agreement or PSA, which is the controlling instrument for the REMIC. If the allegations of the foregoing counterclaim by Defendants is borne out by the facts, then it inexorably follows that the acts taken by the Trustee were clearly ultra vires and therefore would necessarily be void ab initio. For well over one hundred years, it has been the law in New York that where the transfer of a mortgage to a third party is effectuated in a manner that contravenes the express terms of a governing trust, the transfer is ultra vires and is void, Kirsch v. Tozier 143 NY 390 (1894). Indeed, it follows logically that where the Trustee’s acts are ultra vires, all successors and subsequent assignees are charged with constructive knowledge of the express terms of the trust and hence cannot claim to be bona fide purchasers thereafter inasmuch as they would either know or would have reason to know that any interest transferred would be subject to the operative terms of the trust, Smith v. Kidd 68 NY 130 (1877), McPherson v. Rollins 107 NY 316 (1887).

 

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David Reiss: REMIC Armageddon on the Horizon?

David Reiss: REMIC Armageddon on the Horizon?

Brad Borden and I have warned that an unanticipated tax consequence of the sloppy mortgage origination practices that characterized the boom is that MBS pools may fail to qualify as REMICs.  This would have massively negative tax consequences for MBS investors and should trigger lawsuits against the professionals who structured these transactions. Courts deciding upstream and downstream cases have not focused on this issue because it is typically not relevant to the dispute between the parties.

Seems that is changing. Bankruptcy Judge Isgur (S.D. Tex.) issued an opinion in In re: Saldivar, Case No. 11-1-0689 (June 5, 2013)) which found, for the purposes of a motion to dismiss, that “under New York law, assignment of the Saldivars’ Note after the start up day [of the REMIC] is void ab initio.  As such, none of the Saldivars’ claims” challenging the validity of the assignment of their mortgage to the REMIC trust  “will be dismissed for lack of standing.” (8)

If this case holds up on appeal, it will have a massive impact on many purported REMICs which had sloppy practices for transferring mortgages to the trusts. That is a big “if,” as the case relies uponErobobo for its take on the relevant NY law. Erobobo, a NY trial court opinion, itself reached a controversial result and is hardly the last word on NY trust law. The Court also acknowledges that additional evidence may be proffered relating to a subsequent ratification of the conveyance of the mortgage, but for the purposes of a motion to dismiss, the homeowners have met their burden.

For those few REMIC geeks out there, it is worth quoting from the opinion at length (everyone else can stop reading now):

The Notice of Default indicates that the original creditor is Deutsche Bank, as Trustee for Long Beach Mortgage Loan Trust 2004-6. The Trust is a New York common law trust created through a Pooling and Servicing Agreement (the “PSA”). Under the PSA, loans were purportedly pooled into a trust and converted into mortgage-backed securities. The PSA provides a closing date for the Trust of October 25, 2004. As set forth below, this was the  date on which all assets were required to be deposited into the Trust. The PSA provides that New York law governs the acquisition of mortgage assets for the Trust.

The Trust was formed as a REMIC trust. Under the REMIC provisions of the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) the closing date of the Trust is also the startup day for the Trust. The closing date/startup day is significant because all assets of the Trust were to be transferred to the Trust on or before the closing date to ensure that the Trust received its REMIC status. The IRC provides in pertinent part that:

“Except as provided in section 860G(d)(2), ‘if any  amount is contributed to a REMIC after the startup day, there is hereby imposed a tax for the taxable year of the REMIC in which the contribution is received equal to 100 percent of the amount of such contribution.”

26 U.S.C. § 860G(d)(1).

A trust’s ability to transact is restricted to the  actions authorized by its trust documents. The Saldivars allege that here, the Trust documents permit only one specific method of transfer to the Trust, set forth in § 2.01 of the PSA. Section 2.01 requires the Depositor to provide the Trustee with the original Mortgage Note, endorsed in blank or endorsed with the following: “Pay to the order of Deutsche Bank, as Trustee under the applicable agreement, without recourse.” All prior and intervening endorsements must show a complete chain of endorsement from the originator to the Trustee.

Under New York Estates Powers and Trusts Law § 7-2.1(c), property must be registered in the name of the trustee for a particular trust in order for transfer to the trustee to be effective. Trust property cannot be held with incomplete endorsements and assignments that do not indicate that the property is held in trust  by a trustee for a specific beneficiary trust.

The Saldivars allege that the Note was not transferred to the Trust until 2011, resulting in an invalid assignment of the Note to the Trust. The Saldivars allege that this defect means that Deutsche Bank and Chase are not valid Note Holders.

WALL STREET RULES APPLIED TO REMIC CLASSIFICATION

By Bradley T. Borden & David Reiss 

(Bradley T. Borden & David Reiss are professors atBrooklyn Law School.1)

“They take aggressive positions, and they figure that if enough of them take an aggressive position, and there’s billions of dollars at stake, then the IRS is kind of estopped from arguing with them because so much would blow up. And that is calledthe Wall Street Rule. That is literally the nickname for it.”2

Investors in mortgage-backed securities, built on the shoulders of the tax-advantaged Real EstateMortgage Investment Conduit (“REMIC”), may be facing extraordinary tax losses because of how bankers and lawyers structured these securities.  This calamity is compounded by the fact that those professional advisers should have known that the REMICs they created were flawed from the start.  If these losses are realized, those professionals will face suits for damages so large that they could put them out of business.  That is, unless the Wall Street Rule is applied.

The issue of REMIC failure for tax purposes is important in at least three contexts:

(1) in any potential effort by the IRS to clean up this industry;

(2) in civil lawsuits brought by REMIC investors against promoters, underwriters, and other parties who pooled mortgages and sold mortgage-backed securities; and

(3) state and federal prosecutors and regulators who consider bringing criminal or civil claims against promoters, underwriters, and other parties who pooled mortgages and sold MBSs.

Be sure to check out the rest here…

REMICS | DID THE IRS CAUSE THE FINANCIAL CRISIS?

As the dust from the financial crisis begins to settle, we learn that the lack of IRS enforcement of themortgage-backed securities industry bears blame for the financial crisis. The financial crisis began when lenders started making bad loans on a large-scale basis in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Big banks purchased these bad loans, bundled them into trusts, and sold interests in the trusts to investors worldwide. The interests in the trusts are mortgage-backed securities. The investors (financial institutions, pension and retirement plans, insurance companies, state and local governments and individuals) did not know the loans were bad, and paid inflated prices for the mortgage-backed securities. Now that the practices of lenders and banks are coming to light, borrowers and investors are seeking to recover losses through lawsuits. And it is obvious that better practices, as required by tax law and enforced through IRS audit, would have prevented or mitigated those losses.

Mortgage-backed securities are a vital part of our economy. A person who borrows to buy a house gives the lender a mortgage note. The lender often sells that note to another bank for cash. That cash allows the lender to make another loan. This process makes more money available for lending, helps keep mortgageinterest rates low and makes homeownership available to more people. Banks that purchase mortgagenotes bundle them, place them in trusts and sell mortgage-backed securities to investors. Banks use the cash they get from investors to purchase more mortgage notes. Thus, mortgage-backed securities support the real estate market, and doing away with them is not an alternative. Instead, we must ensure that they are properly formed and include quality mortgages — IRS oversight would have helped make this happen.

Rest here…

Wall Street Rules Applied to REMIC Classification

Thomson Reuters News & Insight.