Monday, April 30, 2012

Brennan v. Wells Fargo- Is Fraud and Forgery Destructive To The Federal Bankruptcy Process?

This is an impossibly long transcript of a hearing held in a Federal Bankruptcy proceeding. It took me quite a while to get through it….doing so just made me queasy. The thing that really just boggles my mind is how, through crafty lawyering, and mountains of paper and pounding, pounding, pounding, you can start to see alchemy and sorcery and black magic being put to work right in the middle of a court proceeding.

The truth is simple. It’s easy, my brain doesn’t hurt with the truth. But lies become so complicated. And when the lies become so big and monstrous, I suppose in this country now, we just walk away from such things.

To give you some idea just how hard fighting these battles is, I want to share with you a case against the banks that has been raging on since 2004…..Here are some excerpts from a recent court ruling:

The evidence shows that two law firms handled all or substantially all of the bankruptcy cases in this district from 1996 – 2008 for Wells Fargo – the Brice Vander Linden firm and the McCalla Raymer firm. The Brice Vander Linden firm has admitted it filed “presigned” affidavits and has provided a list of many of them. Those affidavits are included in plaintiff‟s list of 631 affidavits. The affidavits it handled also included affidavits that exhibited most if not all of the other infirmities listed. The McCalla Raymer firm does not admit to filing any presigned affidavits. However, all of the other infirmities appeared in its affidavits.

The Brice Vander Linden firm commenced its representation of Wells Fargo no later than 1996. From 1996-2003, it used (at least part of the time) presigned affidavits from Wells Fargo representatives which it filed in conjunction with relief from stay motions. These presigned affidavits were provided by Wells Fargo and were sanctioned by Wells Fargo‟s own Guidelines dated May 27, 20032 which authorized the procedure. It is not clear how long the presigned affidavit process was used except that Hillary Bonial, the lawyer from Brice in charge of bankruptcy operations, knows it ended on April 15, 2003 when the Brice Vander Linden firm sent an email to Wells Fargo stating that the firm was terminating the procedure. The Brice firm itself terminated the process, at least in part, because a bankruptcy judge in California called the process into question. Another Brice client, Mitsubishi, had been providing presigned signature pages to Brice and an affidavit with a presigned signature page was discovered to have been filed in Judge Klein‟s court. Wells Fargo never told Brice Vander Linden to stop using the procedure. After terminating the policy, the Brice firm provided full affidavits to Wells Fargo by email, using what it called the “corrected execution” procedure. Wells Fargo employees were responsible for reviewing, signing and notarizing the affidavits and returning them by overnight mail to the Brice firm. The Brice firm did not attach any documents that an affidavit stated were attached unless it determined it was not a document available on Wells Fargo‟s computer system. If a document came from a third party, some evidence indicated that the Brice firm forwarded it to Wells Fargo.

Employees signed numerous affidavits every day. One employee described receiving and handling 80-100 affidavits before lunch each day. She averaged about 2 ½ – 3 minutes per affidavit for collating, stapling, checking content and signing. One employee admitted she didn‟t read any of the affidavits she signed. Others testified they read the financial information. When confronted with affidavits with wrong names, wrong job titles, missing or incorrect attachments, they expressed surprise. If the affidavit stated that the debtors‟ bankruptcy schedules indicated a property value of a certain amount, the employees testified that they did not verify that fact because they had no access to PACER.

Many affidavits had mortgage and note attachments which appeared to be attached after the preparation and signing of the affidavit. Many affidavits had Lost Note affidavits attached that said a copy of the mortgage and note were attached. Other affidavits stated that the Mortgage and Note were attached to the motion for relief from stay but were not.
The employees signing affidavits testified in numerous instances that the date of their signing of the affidavit was not filled in by them. Notary employees also often testified that they did not fill in the dates on their notarizations. Someone else had done it. Employees signing affidavits did not always sign the affidavits in front of a notary. The affidavits were placed in a file folder and delivered to the notary by the affiant or another employee

Wells Fargo employees, high and low, and its attorneys testified that they saw nothing wrong with their affidavit preparation, signature and notarization procedures. If the financial data in the affidavit was correct, they testified that the affidavit was okay. Their focus was solely on the financial data. The rest was “technicalities.”

But in the end, the real relief sought by the warriors for truth and integrity and the rule of law was denied. The machine prevails, yet again.



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