Attorney Linda Tirelli, a rockstar in the arena of foreclosure defense, has just filed an adversarial bankruptcy suit in the Southern District of New York naming the following as defendants: Bank of America, Nationstar, U.S. Bank, and Recontrust. As many former and soon-to-be-former homeowners know, this group is a veritable rogue’s gallery of home/wealth/livelihood/sanity thieves and scam artists. The fact that Tirelli is going after this financial mafia family is heartening, because Tirelli gets results.
So I read through her complaint, filed on November 29, 2016. You can read it here. What follows are my first impressions and sections of the complaint that stood out to me.
I am thrilled to see that Tirelli is going for the jugular with this complaint, and not shying away from what her client (and millions of people who are or have been in the same situation) truly deserves. Namely, Tirelli is seeking to void the lien and to void the debt. On top of that, she is also seeking punitive damages. As we’ll see below, she has very good reason to seeking these remedies.
The Facts: When Countrywide is involved, look out
The “debtor” (I will only put that word in quotes this one time, but please feel free to add them in your mind every time you see them from this point on) is named Helen Racanelli, who “borrowed” (same deal with the quotes) $508,000 from Countrywide prior to the 2008 crisis. She sought a modification from Countrywide in October 2008 and per Countrywide’s instructions, sent them a check for almost $5,000 as part of the modification process. Countrywide refused the payment and returned it to Racanelli. That started Racanelli down the road to the eventual Chapter 13 bankruptcy she sought earlier in 2016.
The evidence marshaled against the defendants
I am interested in this case for a number of reasons, but there are two in particular: 1) it calls out fraudulent, “ta-da” endorsement of promissory notes, and 2) it involves such an endorsement bearing the names of Michele Sjolander and Laurie Meder. I have personal experience with those very same characters and a ta-da endorsement that was used to take my house back in 2012. I have written about this a number of times, notably in the posts “BANK OF AMERICA’S MAGIC WAND” and “NO ENDORSEMENT, NO NEGOTIATION–NO NEGOTIATION, NO SECURITIZATION.” So I read the following passage from the complaint with great interest:
26. The Court should further know that according to the FDIC public website, Countrywide Bank NA became an inactive institution on April 27, 2009. MERS could not have acted as a nominee for Countrywide Bank, FSB, an inactive institution, on August 9, 2009.
27. Defendants also attached a copy of the original note with a dual blank endorsement bearing the rubber-stamped signature of Michelle Sjolander and Laurie Meder (“the endorsements”) to the proof of claim.
28. BOA, as servicer for U.S. Bank, caused agents and/or employees to affix the endorsements to the back of the original note as part of a “90 day delinquent note endorsement process” involving systemic surrogate signing for notes more than 90 days delinquent.
29. BOA’s agents and/or employees affixed the endorsements by rubber stamp in anticipation of filing the foreclosure, years after origination and years after the closing date of the trust in an effort to perpetrate a fraud upon the court.
30. As discussed supra, BOA, its agents, and its corporate representative prepared false evidence and testified falsely to defraud federal bankruptcy courts and state court judges into believing the endorsements were affixed within days of origination by document custodian employees authorized to use Ms. Sjolander’s or Ms. Meder’s rubber signature stamp.
In this section, it is almost as though I am reading from the complaint I filed in my own losing case against a couple of these same defendants. Other victims of foreclosure fraud likely feel the same way. I also found—and included in my complaint–that same info from the FDIC about Countrywide being an inactive institution and had the same experience of parties acting supposedly at the behest of Countrywide after Countrywide was supposedly inactive. And of course as I already mentioned, I had the same blank endorsement bearing the names of Sjolander and Meder, about which I was able to depose Sjolander, which you can read here: Robo-stamped | Full Deposition of Michele Sjolander Executive Vice President of Countrywide Home Loans.
I absolutely agree with this next bit:
32. Rather than dismiss those cases, pay attorney’s fees and new filing fees to refile the cases after endorsing the original notes, BOA engaged in fraud upon the court setting up a cover story that the surrogate signed endorsements of Michelle Sjolander, David Spector, Laurie Meder and Christina Schmidt were affixed within days of origination by document custodian employees acting under proper authorizations.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
I was incredibly encouraged to see that Tirelli cited the testimony of Bank of America employee Linda DeMartini—in the case of Kemp v. Countrywide—that Countrywide/Bank of America did not endorse notes in the normal course of business and that she had “never seen an actual note that has an endorsement on the bottom.” According to DeMartini, the only time endorsements were bothered with was when they were needed as a defense at trial. It’s really incredible that this explosive testimony has not already taken down Bank of America’s foreclosure machine.
Incredible report on Fannie Mae and the effect of UCC-9
Tirelli continues her damning deluge of evidence by describing an incredible report that I had not heard about until reading this complaint, and I try and make it a point to keep abreast of such things:
46. In 2001, New York State adopted the Uniform Commission on Laws Recommendations to Amend Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code to include the sale of promissory notes in the law governing secured transactions and to codify the common law rule that the mortgage follows the note.
47. These 2001 amendments codified that, upon proof of purchase of the debt evidenced by the signed agreements from the closing of the securitized trust documenting a complete chain of title for each loan, the mortgages would follow the note for all the loans in the securitized transaction, without need for further evidence.
48. In 2006, in response to allegations of widespread improprieties made at a Fannie Mae shareholders meeting, the international law firm of Baker Hostetler issued a report to Fannie Mae to address the allegations (“the BH Report”). On February 4, 2012, the New York Times published this report online. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/02/05/business/05fannie-doc.html?action=click&contentCollection=Business%20Day&module=RelatedCoverage&pgtype=article®ion=EndOfArticle&_r=0 See Request for Judicial Notice Tab A.
49. The 2006 BH Report to Fannie Mae concluded at page 35 “that foreclosure attorneys in Florida are routinely filing false pleadings and affidavits regarding the Plaintiff’s – MERS or servicers – interest in the proceedings and regarding lost, missing or destroyed promissory notes. The practice could be occurring elsewhere3. It is axiomatic that the practice is improper and should be stopped.”
Tirelli goes on to make a great point about the Article 9 amendment:
“61. Despite the clear changes to New York and Florida law confirmed by the BH report, the Defendants BOA and Nationstar, on their own and/or as agents of Defendant US Bank N.A., as Trustee, continue to misrepresent to this court and courts throughout this nation that Article 3 of the UCC controls and that the effect of a note endorsed in blank as alleged here provides them with sufficient evidence of standing without regard to Article 9.”
Tirelli even alleges—correctly, I might add—that the so-called “uniform” promissory notes that are used to secure mortgages throughout the country are arguably not negotiable and therefore cannot be securitized:
64. The Debtor avers that the Note is a non-negotiable instrument as the parties contracted out of the UCC definition of “Holder” in ¶1 of the promissory note which states: “… Lender or anyone who takes by transfer and who is entitled to receive payments under this Note is called the “Note Holder.” Therefore, a party in possession of the original note with a blank endorsement would still need to prove it took by lawful transfer and had entitlement to receive payments. Article 3 of the UCC says even a thief can enforce a blank endorsed note. This note does not permit such a result.
65. The Debtor further avers that the Note is a non-negotiable instrument pursuant to ¶6 of the promissory note which provides any loan charge later found to be illegal may, at lender’s option, result in a reduction in principal. Accordingly, the reader must refer to the outside source in order to determine the value of the instrument.
66. The Debtor further avers that the Note is a non-negotiable instrument pursuant to ¶11 of the promissory note which provides there are additional protections for the Note Holder in the mortgage if the borrower fails to keep its promises. Accordingly, the note is governed by and subject to the various provisions of the mortgage that affect the amounts due under that note.
67. Specifically, the mortgage defines the term “loan” at §(G) as all amounts due under the note and mortgage. The mortgage further provides at page 6, ¶2, the application of payments goes first to interest, then principal, then amounts due under ¶3 of the mortgage, then late charges, then any other charges under the mortgage, then to reduce the principal. This renders the note subject to the mortgage and affects the amount due under the note.
68. The Debtor further avers that the Note is a non-negotiable instrument pursuant to page 5, ¶5 of the promissory note which provides the lender may force place insurance and page 16-08254-rdd Doc 1 Filed 11/29/16 Entered 11/29/16 11:12:46 Main Document
Pg 15 of 52
7 ¶9 which provides any amounts lender pays to protect the property all become additional debt secured by the mortgage that accrues interest at the note rate.
69. Moreover, at pages 6 and 8, the mortgage provides the lender may use any “insurance proceeds” or “miscellaneous proceeds” to reduce the amount due under the note. This also renders the note subject to the mortgage and affects the amount due under the note, all and any of which destroy the notes negotiability.
70. Even if the note were a negotiable instrument, the “mortgage follows the note” doctrine has been codified by Article 9 of the NYS Uniform Commercial Code. The exclusive statutory means to prove purchase of the debt is by N.Y. U.C.C. Law § 9-203(b) (McKinney). Only then does the mortgage follows the note under N.Y. U.C.C. Law § 9-203(g).
Bombshell Sjolander info
I always wondered what the rest of the story was with Sjolander after my case ended. I never heard much of anything else that went on. Apparently a lot, as can be seen here. She’s been deposed quite a bit and here are some highlights of that testimony that Tirelli provides:
146. According to the testimony of Ms. Sjolander and Ms. Garner, only Ms. Meder and Ms. Sjolander were authorized signors legally allowed to endorse original notes.
147. Plaintiff’s corporate representative conceded in a sworn videotaped deposition that both Ms. Meder and Ms. Sjolander lacked any present intention to adopt the signatures on the original note at the time they were made.
148. Teams of unauthorized signors used rubber stamps to affix Ms. Sjolander and Ms. Meder’s signatures outside their presence and control.
149. These teams were not the same people identified in the authorization agreements produced in discovery to explain the use of rubber stamps to affix the signatures of Ms. Sjolander and Ms. Meder onto endorsements on original notes.
150. Ms. Garner and Ms. Sjolander both testified falsely under oath that these rubber stamped signatures were affixed to the original note within days of origination in March of 2009.
151. BOA engaged in a systemic practice using rubber stamps to surrogate sign endorsements onto original notes years after origination.
152. BOA engaged Sourcecorp to scan original notes after going through a “90 Day Delinquent Note Endorsement Process” where the surrogate signing occurred.
153. This systemic surrogate signing practice first began with notes already in foreclosure with a complaint that alleged a lost note count.
154. In those cases, BOA’s counsel was in possession of the unendorsed original note before filing the lost note count and attached to that complaint a copy of the original note in their possession which had no endorsement. Years later, Plaintiff surreptitiously surrogate signed undated endorsements onto original notes.
155. The sworn video-taped deposition testimony of Ms. Sjolander and Plaintiff’s Corporate Representative, Marie Garner, that these endorsements were “surrogate signed” by document custodian employees using a rubber stamps outside the signor’s presence within days of origination is false.
In short, Tirelli doesn’t miss an argument that can be made against these greed creeps and their heretofore unhindered marauding of the wealth and well-being of the American middle class.
Just sample the rest of the subject headings that Tirelli addresses:
E. The Robo-Signing Scandal and the Various Settlements that Followed
F. MERS Is Still Being Used as an Instrumentality of Fraud
F. [sic] BOA’s Fraud Upon the Court Began in 2008 and Still Continues
The beautiful thing is that these bastards will have to respond to each of these allegations in their answer, which will no doubt be convoluted and full of tortured logic—in short, incredibly interesting to read. Tirelli is essentially attempting to put the entire mortgage banking system on trial here, and her past successes are any indication, things do look too good for the system.
oh boy this is good let me share go Linda go
I have been following Linda Tirelli (I put my attorney in Baltimore in touch with her to no avail). After a five year long battle where I lost my house, my ancestral waterfront property, my 401k, my family (no one talks to me because I “lost” the property-I am the youngest of 9) AND my dignity – the fight was over in 2015. We had nothing left. The worst part of all after being forced to move out in a freak snowstorm (March 15, 2015) with my husband’s very frail 81 year old mother (who was on oxygen 24/7) was that he had to “show” the house that we built to the asshole (Gregory Dorn – 2000 Wilson Point Road, Baltimore, MD 21220) –look it up! He battled us in court for five years to get it. He approached us in 2009, literally 30 seconds after we faltered and tried to get a modification. He knew someone or something- but I could never prove it and he swore under oath saying “I just always wanted to live on the water.” I still cry when I think or write about it. Which is why I have gotten off most of the foreclosure fraud blogs. Thanks for listening.
On Mon, Apr 2, 2018 at 2:26 PM, LIBERTY ROAD MEDIA wrote:
> JoAnn Esler Kennedy commented: “oh boy this is good let me share go Linda > go” >
That stinks! May the Lord convict Gregory Dorn and bring him to repentance. Sue for illegal foreclosure. May God provide for you to do that somehow. I have been helping my 2 friends fight. They both won and now the banks have come back again. But they will lose again, Jesus will see to it! God bless. PS – I am one of eight, so I understand.
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Reblogged this on Deadly Clear and commented:
Excellent! Now, as long as the judge’s mutual funds aren’t heavily invested in MBS or bank stocks there might be a fair and balanced decision.
Like a lot of other readers here I could have written this story. Let me get this straight – Sjolander and Garner lied under oath. I guess that’s ok now too. Like you we lost our battle along with our 401k, dignity, any sort of relationship with my remaining siblings (there are 6) and the respect of what I thought was a friend or two – after all we’re deadbeats who didn’t want to pay our mortgage – right?
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This is my work that I brought to Linda so I could work with one of the best litigators in the country fighting in front one of the best Judges. Please do not take these arguments on your own. This is not something I would share with just any attorney. Linda and I have trained together for years with Max Gardner.
This is going to make a difference only if brought before the right judge with lawyers trained to fight against the largest financial institutions in the world. They tried to put me in jail for raising these issues. They will never go down easily. Be prepared for all our war. I devoloped these arguments after years of battling in the trenches.
If you have these issues please call Bruce Jacobs at (305) 358-7991. My website is debtwarriors.com. This has been a difficult fight for several years. Please do not take this lightly. If made before the wrong judge in the wrong case you will so far more damage than goood.
I’m hopeful this case turns out better than your record in the Florida 3rd DCA, Mr. Jacobs, as your record there isn’t anything most folks I know would be proud of, or try to protect.
I might have missed something as my research wasn’t exhaustive. I stuck with foreclosure cases in the 3rd DCA, and not going pat 2010. If you have some positive results out of the 3rd DCA you’re welcome to add them here.
DATE Case No. Result
16-09-28 3D15-2132 PCA for bank
16-07-13 3D14-2993 Reversed for bank. Nuanced, and should be read.
16-03-30 3D14-2507 PCA for bank
14-12-10 3D14-737 PCA for bank
14-02-26 3D12-2978 PCA for bank
13-12-04 3D12-3209 PCA for bank
13-11-20 3D12-1560 Reversed. Not nuanced, and should be read.
13-07-31 3D12-1071 PCA for bank
13-06-26 3D12-3161 PCA for bank
13-01-02 3D11-2547 Reversed. Nuanced, and should be read.
12-12-05 3D11-2798 PCA for bank
12-05-30 3D11-3176 PCA for bank
You left out my case before the Fourth DCA.
Click to access foreclosure_shifts_from_summary_denial_to_reversal_with_opinion.pdf
Proves my point. It doesn’t matter how good of a lawyer you think you are. It matters what judge you are in front of. A PCA is only supposed to issue when the law is well settled. Read my body of work before the Third DCA. Decide for yourself if the law was so well settled against me that a PCA should issue.
Jesus Randall -have you never heard the term “accent the positive?” Have you never heard of the “Rocket Docket” in Florida. I had judges here in Baltimore Maryland who steadfastly refused to look at any evidence of had concerning forgeries, back dating, the fact that the now defunct HomEq took $9,000 (yes I took this out of my 401k) in order to get a modification. In a forensic loan audit that $9,000 which was wired overnight to California could never be found. We were never credited with that payment. After that we received a letter in the mail about our ‘modification’ making the house payment about $700 more than the first payment – and then they closed up shop and disappeared. They were the servicer for Barclays and Sutton Funding (both one in the same). Out loan was immediately sold to Countrywide but HomEq remained the servicer. As all of you here know – it was a nightmare which bore out shame, guilt and utter despair. We also had evidence of 2 or 3 sets of documents used in court. We pleaded fraud on the court- they didn’t care! I am pretty sure if I showed up in court with fake, fabricated and forged documents I’d be lead away in handcuffs. Not one judge looked at or considered our evidence which backed up our claims.
That is probably the worst prong of this entire foreclosure ponzi scheme (which I share with you) … the loss of family and friends, due to “fighting the good fight” and wanting truth and justice for ourselves, and for [those] very family and friends too, since this economic scheme was wrought upon all, and, will continue for generations too, if [us losers] can’t eventually win this fight to receive a proper remedy. (and hopefully justice along with it)
I look forward to [Tirelli’s] complaint being litigated, but, in my opinion she has handicapped herself with her desire for punitive damages and the like, which automatically demanded an adversary proceeding (“AP”), which in turn adds another two years [minimum] to her fight due to the laborious and ridiculous rules concerning “Discovery” (unnecessarily), when [legal-fishing-expeditions] are available options, which offer much greater expediency and more focused results too, namely, the dis-allowance of [any] foreclosure based upon a security instrument, like a deed of trust..
Long and drawn out litigation, like the kind in store for [Tirelli] based on the [many] allegations of her complaint, is sometimes de-railed due to laborious rules and procedures which may [be] interpreted (twisted or corrupted) by the bench to suit a nation of men rather than a nation of laws … and, that is my fear for [Tirelli’s] complaint. That, and, the fact that it will be an additional 2-3 years [minimum] before [we others] will get to potentially benefit from its ruling or outcome, strictly due to its (“AP”) status..
God Bless us all.!
I can prove Chase Bank committed fraud upon the court in WA St Supreme Court records. Email me Byronandjean@comcast.net for proof, it is now public records.
Byron L. Barton
I am right now in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Los Angeles. Fraud all over my documents stemming from a 2005 Countrywide Loan. Was told by my Bk “Attorney” and “Trustee” not to bother fighting my servicer (Rushmore Loan Management Services, and US Bank for RMAC Trust, Series 2016-CTT)….as , “The Judge will not go for that defense of fraud on your documents…that you borrowed the money, and you have to pay “someone” back…might as well be them”. This is the answer I got in my hearing from BK attorney and Trustee when I brought up wanting to inspect the lenders “proof of Claim”. (which still has not been filed….not until 6/8/17), in the meantime we have to pay these FRAUDSTERS a mortgage payment , and an additional “trustee” payment for months!!!!! I have not even seen the Proof of Claim yet!!!! We have Countrywide, ReconTrust, Bank of America and Nationstar Mortgage…among others on our loan documents. Massive FRAUD in our original loan documents….including an “Assignment of Deed of Trust” in Feb 2010 conveying our home from a BofA employee signing as an agent of MERS to Bank of America!!! If anyone in Los Angeles has the same…email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Yeah it is the same all over. The judges do not care. We demonstrated fraud and forgeries all over the place. We fought for five years, not one judge in Baltimore County cared or would even look at our proof of forgeries, etc. After five years we not only lost our home, but my ancestral waterfront property, our dignity, my family (no one is speaking to me because I lost the property) oh and our 401k in payment to various attorneys and other services who were going to help us save our home. At the age of 60 we had to start all over again. Give up now you will never win. Not in your lifetime.
I’m in Chapter 13 also as are most everyone I know fighting their cases. I plan to do an adversarial proceeding since the BK judge will probably lift the relief of stay and throw you back into state court. Haven’t read it yet but I understand this article/case to be an adversarial proceeding in BK court. Good Luck. We’re all fighting the good fight.
Judge ordered us to find an attorney in chap 13 bk court, one that will fight in State court….our home was illegally foreclosed on 9/21/17. Massive FRAUD in each document within chain of title. US Bank for RMAC Trust, Series 2016-ctt NOT even our trust or trustee!! Good ‘OL Aztec Foreclosure Corp. did the dirty work of selling our home…
It seems to me inconceivable that so many people with virtually identical stories and documented evidence haven’t been able to leverage their numbers to deliver an effective blow. The drip, drip, of onesy-twosey successful cases scattered around the country – each litigated in a vacuum with the good fortune of finding that rare judge who recognizes when their being gamed helps only those cases. The disregard for the rule of law by BoA and my now sub-servicer, Bayview Loan Servicing has allowed both to blatantly lie with impunity. I’d hate to think my 7-year journey down this rabbit hole has been for nothing. It’s one thing to get scammed. It’s another stand by and watch it happen unable to do anything substantive to stop it. There’s got to be a way to leverage all this for a different outcome.
So after thousands of hours of research on my own, I have a appointment with Ms. Tirelli on March 30. SO EXCITED to be talking about this with someone who gets it. I have had two lawyers and neither were helpful in anything except buying time. I’ve had the comments – you borrowed the money, so…. Yes. I borrowed the money. Straw buyer, stated income, over inflated value, bad loan – all that. And I paid it. Until the fateful day I called BOA and said I was laid off and going to be late. They said “don’t pay – you’ll qualify for a mod. There’s bailout money for homeowners”. My bank advised me on what to do. They didn’t say “maybe” or “possibly” get a mod. They advised me, I listened and then got thrown into the snake pit. That was in 2008. MERS – BOA inactive, assigned from American Brokers Conduit to Resurgent then to Shellpoint. 16 mod apps. Danielle Sterling forged endorsement. All the bells and whistles. Shellpoint didn’t come into the picture until 2014 and summons and complaint didn’t come until 2015. Should have been time barred in NY but here I am three years later. Still in the house though and I’m getting a consultation with the best in the business. I have learned a lot about our government and really feel like our rights have been violated. The one thing that made mortgages so attractive to be bundled as securities was that they were supposed to protected. It was like getting a wolf to watch the chickens. As our president would say #SAD.