Let’s jump in the wayback machine regarding some of the big banks and their robosigning/alteration/forgery/paper terrorism/document-manufacturing for a second before we get into the deposition testimony from a “senior operation specialist” with JPMorgan Chase promised in the headline.
Remember Linda Tirelli’s uncovering of the Wells Fargo document-fixing manual? LRM covered that here:
From that article:
“In a filing in New York’s Southern District in White Plains for a local homeowner in bankruptcy, attorney Linda Tirelli described a 150-page Wells Fargo Foreclosure Attorney Procedures Manual created November 9, 2011 and updated February 24, 2012. According to court papers, the Manual details ‘a procedure for processing [mortgage] notes without endorsements and obtaining endorsements and allonges.’”
And remember how Linda DeMartini of Countrywide/Bank of America testified in Kemp v. Countrywide that she had never seen a note with an endorsement on the bottom (despite the fact that she had worked there 10 years and worked in the litigation department) and that Countrywide routinely manufactured allonges solely for litigation purposes (as opposed to doing so for supposedly legitimate negotiation/“securitization” purposes)? LRM covered that here:
From that article:
a) DeMartini Testimony Transcript
In the case of Kemp v. Countrywide (BK case from New Jersey, 2010) a Bank of America/Countrywide employee named Linda DeMartini testified to two important points: 1) she had “never seen an actual note that has an endorsement on the bottom,” and 2) to her knowledge, the only time endorsements were prepared was when they were needed for litigation purposes (this was fleshed out under questioning from the judge). By the time of her testimony in Kemp, DeMartini had worked for Bank of America/Countrywide for 10 years and at the time of her testimony, she worked in the litigation department at Bank of America as an operational team leader (according to her testimony, she had been in that position for approximately a year). So DeMartini was clearly competent to testify to the matters to which she testified, and even Bank of America must have thought so as they flew her from California to New Jersey to testify in the Kemp case.
Remember also that Linda Tirelli suggested that it’s not just Wells Fargo that manufactures or “fixes” documents—all the big banks do it:
She said on Fox News:
“This is business as usual for all the big banks,” Tirelli said, referring to the manufacture of mortgage documents out of whole cloth in order to establish legal standing to foreclose on homes.
And let’s not forget the tale of Lorraine Brown of DocX, convicted of participating in the manufacture/falsification of more than 1 million mortgage documents, which LRM covered here:
From that article:
According to the New York Times, Brown “admitted to participating in the falsification of more than a million documents.” Yes, you read that right–she participated in the falsification of more than one million documents. And these documents were produced at the behest of banks that hired Brown and her company to produce admittedly false documents that were then filed in county land records all over the country and used as evidence in court cases.
Let’s also not forget about Elizabeth Warren’s questioning of the OCC’s Daniel Stipano, in which he admitted (or at least didn’t deny and didn’t make any attempt to correct Warren’s assertion) that the OCC knew of illegal activity by banks related to foreclosures:
“Sen. Warren: All right, so let me ask it from the other point of view. You now have evidence in your files of illegal activity, I take it, for some of these banks. I get that from the evidence you’ve released about the charts, who’s going to get paid what, so if someone believes that they have been illegally foreclosed against, will they still have a right under this settlement to bring a lawsuit against the bank?
Mr. Stipano, OCC: Yes.
And lastly, let’s not forget the wording of the consent orders between the OCC and the banks, in which at least Bank of America was found by the OCC to have had problems with endorsements, among other things:
“…[Bank of America] litigated foreclosure proceedings and initiated non-judicial foreclosure proceedings without always ensuring that either the promissory note or the mortgage document were properly endorsed or assigned and, if necessary, in the possession of the appropriate party at the appropriate time.”
Just setting the stage here–checking out the ghosts of Christmas past, as it were. When you read the info from this deposition, the connection will be obvious.
QUOTES FROM THE DEPOSITION
OK, we can get out of the wayback machine now and have a look at deposition testimony of one Vermyrtis Jones, a 23 year-old “senior operation specialist” employed by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. On April 30, 2014, Jones was deposed in the Wisconsin case of Deutsche Bank National Trust Company vs. Donna B Ray et al Dane County Case Number 2012CV002466. The deposition took place in the offices of Duke Copeland Court Reporters in Monroe, Louisiana.
And what do we discover in this testimony? Well, that Linda Tirelli was right—this is “business as usual for all the big banks”—at least as far as creating allonges, voiding existing endorsements, and/or creating new endorsements to take the place of existing ones (or to create endorsements that should have existed but didn’t). Thanks to Jones’ sworn testimony, apparently we can now add JPMorgan Chase to the list of banks that appear to do this type of thing.
Read these quotes from the 93-page Jones deposition while keeping in mind the above information regarding Wells Fargo, Countrywide/BoA, et. al above. Think of the quotes from this deposition in that context. The “Q” in these quotes is questioner Reed Peterson, attorney for Defendant Donna B. Ray and “A” is the deponent, Vermyrtis Jones.
In an attempt to make this easier to navigate, blue-highlighted and numbered short summaries regarding what each of the quotes are referring to appear above each quote. Number 7 was particularly intriguing.
1. REGARDING A COMPUTER SYSTEM CALLED “OPUS” AND CREATING NEEDED DOCUMENTS:
“A It’s a system that we use to create allonges, lost note affidavits, voids and extras. So basically, that’s just our main system that we use, and we go into there to verify what needs to be created. And during that particular time when I was working for asset sales, I was working all LNAs exceptions.” p. 15
“A No. I went from asset sales to chain of title, and that’s where I’m working at now, but our procedures was to create an allonge and also go over to custody to clear exceptions, which is voids and extras. Voids and extras is meaning you may have an endorsement on the allonge or–I mean–excuse me–on the note, or you may have an allonge already in the file that custody’s asking for, and if you see that already in the file, there’s no need to create an allonge or stamp the note from like Chase Bank USA, N.A. to blank.” pp. 16-17
2. IGNORANCE OF BASIC ASSIGNMENT OF MORTGAGE TERMINOLOGY AND CONVEYOR-BELT, FILL-IN-THE-BLANK NATURE OF LOST-NOTE AFFIDAVITS:
“Q Explain the procedure for researching a lost note affidavit as far as exactly what blanks you’re looking to fill in the affidavit and where you looked to fill in those blanks.
A We look to see if it’s the deed of trust or the mortgage. They’re going to ask you that because there’s a blank spot there. You’re looking for the principal amount, the interest rate, the buyer’s name, the county, the book page, the instrument number, and that’s it.
Q Okay. What is the book page?
A I don’t know.
Q All right.
Q And when you say you don’t know, what you know is that there was a place that you would have to go into JPMorgan’s computer system to look for a specific bit of information, and then that information you would enter into the lost note affidavit. Is that correct?
Q But as far as what it was, you have no idea, or what it meant, you have no idea?
Q Okay. You had mentioned another piece of information that you look for that I didn’t–and maybe you can help me out after the–whatever we were just talking about. I can’t remember–
A The instrument number?
Q The instrument number. What is that?
A I don’t know.
Q Okay. Same thing, you go into the system, find a bit of information, and transpose that into the lost note affidavit. Correct?
Q Was that information on recorded mortgages?
A Yes.” pp. 23-24
3. JONES SAYS SHE HAS SIGNING AUTHORITY FOR MULTIPLE ENTITIES:
“Q You mentioned, I think, four or five entities that you have signing authority for when we first started this deposition. Do you have signing authority for more entities than the ones you initially named?
Q Do you have any idea how many entities you have signing authority for?
Q Let me try to narrow that a little bit.
Q Okay. More than ten?
Q More than a hundred?
Q More than fifty?
A I don’t know.
Q More than twenty-five?
A I don’t know.
Q Are there certain entities that you normally sign
Q Which are those?
A Chase Bank USA, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., Chase Home Finance, Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corporation, EMC, Wells Fargo.
Q Any others?
A State Street.
Q So in your work, there are certain entities that you know you have signing authority for, and you don’t need to go into POTS to check to make sure you have signing authority. Is that fair to say?
MR. RIPLEY: Object to form. You can answer.
A Well, I’m not going to say that. I always go and check my work, check my systems to make sure if I can sign for that particular lender.
Q But if you had an allonge you had to sign and you were signing for Chase Bank USA, N.A., would you go into POTS to make sure that you had authority to sign for Chase Bank USA, N.A. on that particular day?
Q Every time?
A Every time.” pp. 37-39
4. JONES PRINTS OUT AND SIGNS ALLONGES WITH A PEN IN BLACK INK:
“Q Well, let me take a step back because we just talked about allonges where signatures are placed on there–on the allonge electronically. Correct?
MR. RIPLEY: Object to form.
Q That allonge is created using an electronic image of your signature. Correct?
MR. RIPLEY: Object to the form.
A No. I guess the misunderstanding was electronic signature. I actually sign the allonge with the pen myself. There’s no electronic. If the image is imaged in iVault, I see my signature out there, but there’s no passing–like no other step as far as the image being signed with my signature. I sign the allonge with my own signature with the pen. No electronic signature for me. Like a system that has a system out there for my signature, no, I do it myself. I print out the allonge that I created, I get a pen, and I sign it myself.
Q So every allonge that bears your signature and is the original allonge is going to have a signature created by you using a pen. Is that correct?
Q JPMorgan then does not create allonges by placing a scanned image of your signature into the allonge. Is that correct?
Q Are you aware of a process used by JPMorgan to create allonges by inserting a scanned image of a signature into the allonge?
Q Are you aware of documents called signature tables?
Q Are you aware of any process to manage scans of JPMorgan’s employees’ signatures?
A No.” pp. 42-43
[later in the proceedings, Peterson asks what color ink Jones signs with]
“Q And I don’t have the original allonge here, but if I had the original allonge, it would have your original signature on it. Correct?
Q Would the original signature be signed in a particular ink color?
Q What color?
Q Do you sign all allonges in black?
Q Is that part of JPMorgan’s policies and procedures?
A Yes.” pp. 80-81
5. JONES DISCUSSES CREATING ENDORSEMENTS AS WELL AS ALLONGES, EXPLANATION OF “VOIDS AND EXTRAS”:
“Q No. Let me ask that a different way. Every exception that comes to you is a request to determine whether an endorsement or an allonge is needed. Correct?
Q And that’s sent by custody. Correct?
Q Custody has custody of the collateral file. Correct?
Q Do you go to custody for every exception that you receive?
Q So why would you go to custody to see if the documents had an endorsement or an allonge already in the physical file when custody is telling you that that’s needed?
A Well, we have a procedure that we do as far as endorsements or allonges that we create–it’s called voids and extras, and it’s meaning that it’s an endorsement out there or there’s an allonge already out there. I’m not saying that every exception that we do we go over there to custody to verify that, but it’s just a procedure that custody opened up, and we rely on custody to see if there’s an endorsement or allonge already out there. And if it is, who to say somebody might go over there and void it out. Then that’s when we take upon ourself to go ahead and create the allonge because if it’s voided, it’s no good. Now they need a current allonge or endorsement that needs to be placed in a file.
Q This sounds really confusing. Is it confusing on your end?
MR. RIPLEY: Object to the form.
A No.” pp. 46-47
6. 25-50 “VOIDS AND EXTRAS” PROCESSED EVERY DAY:
“Q How many voids and extras would you receive on average in a given day?
A Twenty-five to fifty.
Q Twenty-five to fifty.
Q So in a given day, on average, you would receive approximately fifty allonge exceptions and twenty-five to fifty void and extras exceptions. Is that correct?
Q On average, when you went to custody, how many files were you pulling?
A I wasn’t pulling–pulling the files. Custody would already have the files pulled for me, and they would place those files on a gondola.
Q Okay. So they’d be prepped and ready for you to look at when you got there?
Q You said you went to custody on average every other day. When you say you went there every other day, on average, was your work assignment to go there every other day?
Q So it really wasn’t on average? I mean, that was your routine was every other day you would go to custody?
A Yes. Myself and another employee.
Q How long would you spend at custody on that day you went?
A It just depends on how many files I have. Just say if I have twenty-files that’s pulled for me, about an hour and a half a day.
Q Okay. Would twenty-five files be normal?
Q So of the voids and extras that you would receive in a two-day period, anywhere from fifty–twenty-five to fifty percent would require you to go to custody to review the files. Is that about right?
A Yes.” pp, 48-50
7. JONES DISCUSSES “VOIDING” EXISTING ENDORSEMENTS TO REPLACE THEM WITH NEW ONES:
“Q Okay. So we’ve talked about two instances where nothing really needs to be done, the file–the collateral file is correct. Right?
Q But the collateral file is not always correct. Right?
MR. RIPLEY: Object to the form.
Q Which is why you have to go to custody and do the extra research. Right?
Q So what happens if the endorsement on the note is not correct? What do you do?
A If the endorsement’s not correct, sometimes we may void that endorsement and create an allonge to take place of that endorsement, if we have signing authority for it.
Q For the allonge?
A For the endorsement, the original lender or whoever gave it to that particular company.” p. 58
8. INTERESTING—A “SWIRL” ON A NOTE PURPORTEDLY MARKS IT AS THE ORIGINAL:
“Q Near the top right corner of “Exhibit 1” there is what appears to be a snail. Do you see that?
Q Are you familiar with that?
Q Okay. Internally, you call that a snail, don’t
A Well, they change it. Back in the day it was a swirl or something like that, so–
Q Now what’s it called?
A I’m not for sure.
Q Is there any meaning to the swirl that you know of?
Q What meaning is assigned to that swirl?
A That this is the original note.
Q What company places that swirl on the note?
A I know the department is custody.
Q Okay. And that’s custody at JPMorgan. Correct?
Q So this is a marking specific to JPMorgan.
Q That swirl is JPMorgan’s way of indicating a document is an original. Correct?
Q Do you know who is authorized to place that swirl on notes?
Q When you review the collateral files as part of your work process at custody, do all the original notes that you look at have that swirl on them?
Q Have you ever placed a swirl on a note?
Q Have you ever observed a swirl being placed on a note?
Q Are the swirls placed on notes only for specific lenders?
A I don’t know.
Q So it sounds as if a swirl is placed on what is believed to be the original note and sometimes it’s not. Is that correct?
Q As far as whether an employee of JPMorgan attended the closing for a loan in which the named lender is Chase Bank USA, N.A., you have no knowledge whether that happened, do you?
Q So do you know if the swirl is always on the first page?
A Yes. For the ones I reviewed and seen, it’s always on the first page.” pp. 73-75
There are many other interesting exchanges in this deposition, but these are some highlights. You can downloaded the deposition here: Jones, Vermyrtis 04-30-14-JPMC