Lawsuit Alleges that MERS Owes California a Potential $60-120 Billion in Unpaid Land-Recording Fees

George Washington's picture

Washington’s Blog

Former hedge fund manager Shah Gilani notes:

creating MERS, these institutions actually changed the land-title
system that this country - for much of its history - has relied upon to
determine legal ownership status of land titleholders.

Not only did the lenders sidestep (read that to mean avoid) paying billions of dollars in fees to local governments, they paid themselves from the fees that MERS collected.

is facing class-action lawsuits and civil racketeering suits around
the country and their members are being individually named in all these
suits. One suit alleges that MERS owes California a potential $60 billion to $120 billion in unpaid land-recording fees.

suits against MERS and all its members are successful, unpaid
recording fees and fines (that can be as much as $10,000 per incident)
would make every one of them insolvent.

MERS is a shell company, with no employees. However, its parent does have employees.

As Bloomberg notes:

MERS Inc., which holds the liens, has no employees, and MERSCORP, the parent, has only about 50, [the MERS spokeswoman said].

lawyers will undoubtedly argue that the "corporate veil should be
pierced". In other words, they'll argue that MERS hasn't followed
normal corporate formalities (or is inadequately capitalized), and so
the big banks which own it should have to pay any judgments against it.
I am not sure who will win that argument.

But Plaintiffs' lawyers will probably also name the banks themselves directly as co-defendants.

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george22's picture

there have been a variety of state courts that have done the heavy lifting and know that mers is a fraud. judge arthur schack of ny state supreme court in brooklyn has been ruling for years against the frauds committed by mers and the banks. here is a sample of one of his decisions, known as the "mers twilight zone" decision.

referring to a mers mortgage assignment, that does not state that it was signed by an officer of mers, nor did a power of attorney accompany the assignment (it was basically signed by who knows, the night shift cleaning lady?):

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sherryw's picture

If the mortgages are not recorded at the county office, how are the property taxes being collected?

working class dog's picture

When the US is paying 10.00 per gallon for gasoline like Norway, you will see the public react, the G20 meeting from looking at the surface of the reports, tell me tax cheat Geithner,

and Helicopter Ben are selling out the US again. They are giving more power to the 3rd, 4th, and 5th world countries to continue screwing the americans. These co-opted Treasury and Fed pimps should be tarred and feathered and shipped over to China, where the communists can have their way with them.

fredquimby's picture

Noway uses 100% renewable energy to power itself.

The $10.00 a gallon is what helped finance this now 0% reliance on Arab oil.



working class dog's picture

When all the US dollars come flooding back, which will happen when China and the other foreign purchasers of  treasuries call in thier loans, you will see a replay of the 1922 Weimar republic crash, this will happen within 10 years. In the meantime, borrow as much as you can, because the borrowers made out when the Weimar republic crashed, so did the lenders,

Who lost the savers! Do not pay down your mortgages like the media is preaching, the banks know what is coming, and they are pushing this get out of debt bullshit! Make double mortg. payments etc. The TBTF know what is coming.

ptolemy_newit's picture

Seems like Buffet, Munger will be going to jail?

‘Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some Judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both’.

working class dog's picture

claw back the bonuses from the Mers participants, and distribute the ill gotten gains in equal shares back to each taxpaying citizen, not the tranfer payment crowd with no reported income. How much would the bonuses from the inception of Mers to the present amount to for each TAXPAYING CITIZEN, not trusts corps. or other bullshit taxloophole entities.

Let the cards fall where they must, and in two years we will have flushed the scumbags down the toilet and new scumbags will eventually take their place, but at least the process can reload and start again.

Charles Mackay's picture

MERS mortgages are invalid.  MERS will be forced to pay what ever fees, penalties, and fines the states assess. Otherwise all those MBS and REMIC pools will be essentially worthless.

In fact even if MERS is somehow upheld as a legal constuct, MBS and REMIC do not follow federal regulations concerning clear right to foreclose at the present time, and therefore may be subject to additional federal taxes (although on this point, the federal government may be able to just 'overlook' this).

StychoKiller's picture

The Banks are gonna have a train pulled on them!  First, the State's attorneys, then the CDO/MBS holder's Attorneys, then the Foreclosed homeowner's Attorneys, followed by the Attorneys of EVERY homeowner with a clouded title!

Just where is the Attorney General and the FBI in all this?  Is the entire Federal Govt watching pr0n these days?

Obiwan's picture

Your post is lucid.

This is the pathway to take back our country: The States will reclaim thier power and resources.  The Cyclops has over-reached and now eveyone is starting to see and despise it.  We will be making liberal us of the 10th (and perhaps 2nd) Amendment in the days ahead.

gwar5's picture

Individuals may be too small to fight the banks but a scorned state, that is also broke and needs a scapegoat, can be a real bitch you don't want to mess with.

UninterestedObserver's picture

Yeah but the cool thing is whether they were pigs or not they still were owed the recording fees

scam_MERS's picture

Definitely not defending MERS here (note my username), however, counties (here in CA, at least) didn't complain about the "missing" recording fees until now, since they were pigs at the trough collecting higher and higher taxes based on the soaring value of the homes when they were sold. Since Prop 13 locks in the value of homes until sold (with a small max. 2% yearly increase) the counties were happy as pigs in 5#!7 with the new values. Now, when homes are sold way below their peak value, you have a battle on your hands to get a property you just purchased reassessed at the value you bought it at. They didn't have any problem at all reassessing the homes on the rapid rise upward, but going down? No, no, no! You have to file an appeal and fight them tooth and nail for a correct assessment. Good luck with that. It's in their interest to say the home is still worth $600K even if you bought it for $350K (it's true value in today's market). They don't have to prove it is, you have to prove it isn't.

the grateful unemployed's picture

first of all prop 13 only kicks in after a number of years, and secondly it is not that hard to get your property reassessed. not sure at all how MERS made an end run around the title companies, but the fees are usually packaged, and included in the mortgage.if Mers was charging the borrowers, and then not doing the necessary legal work, then send them to jail, like everyboy else who broke the law, hahaha

J C Bider's picture

I don't think that things will get swept under the rug.  This is a big fight about money.  The Federal Gov has already gone over to the dark side and is controlled by TBTF entities and will roll over and try to give them what they want.  But the states are waking up and see that their money is gone and they now want it back.  When it was only the tax payer against the banks, we had no hope.  Who cares about tax payers except to get more money from them.  And here is the rub.  The states want some money and their tax payers are broke.  So they have started following the money chain and find that it is now sitting in the bank's coffers.  Now that the states are entering the fray I think that we will see some interesting thing happen that the power elites did not anticipate.  States have laws and courts and jails that they can use that us tax payers don't have.  The rage of the people can be ignored on the Federal level, but it gets turned into action more easily on the state level and local level. 

The people who run the states live in the local economy and are on the receiving end of the same shit as all the other people in the state.  In addition they probably don't have 2nd. and 3rd. homes in far off beautiful places where they can live free from the dirt of the people they serve.  I think that they are beginning to recognize that if America rises, with all the guns that we have, they are likely to be the first ones in the line of fire so they are starting to look for bad guys they can focus the rising anger on.  The big guys thought they could get away with ripping everyone off but I think that finally, when the whole world finds out that you have ripped everyone off, including them,  there is nowhere to run where you are not a hated entity. 

The US is a very militant nation.  Our people like to fight with and kill people.  Look how much we love making war all over the place, how many guns we have, and how many of our own citizens and family we kill daily.  Bush got this national need for vengence focused onto the Muslims while Greenspan and the banks completed their successful takeover of the government.  Once the full population realizes that the TBTF entities knowingly did more destruction to them personally than any terrorist ever did, I think that their vengence scope will shift and they will turn and look for revenge.  Middle class people get very violent when everything they value has been taken from them and they feel that they have more to gain by fighting than in taking the shit laying down.  Men without work get angry and agressive and we are going to have a lot of people, especially men, out of work for a long time.  If the states get going after the banks this aggression will have an outlet and will feed the state's commitment to carry the process forward.

A Man without Qualities's picture

I see it as a simple choice between the banks and the soul of the nation.  The leaders need to realize how much damage will be done by bailing out the banks, and making them above the law again.  There is no way they can make this go away quietly.  State governments seem to have grown tired of being screwed by the same crooks again and again, we must hope Washington realizes there is a rising tide of anger that they cannot ignore for ever.  

I consider the banking industry in its current form to be tapeworm inside the gut of the American economy, and there will be no recovery unless it is treated.  They are trying to fool people by pushing up the markets, to disguise how perilous the situation is, but looks like few are buying it.

Treason Season's picture

Yes very articulate comment J C. A bit Garrison Keillor, a bit Trav7777. Folksy but vengeful. Keep at it.

hardcleareye's picture

I have read your post twice, I had not thought of this has an option.  I wonder how realistic this scenerio is?  I wonder how the media will feed into this?  This is why I enjoy this site.  Good point, thanks.

Ned Zeppelin's picture

All this mortgage stuff can and will be cured by legislation post-elections, when again all those who voted for "change" will be reminded who the real constituents are. Tea Party, Ddemocrat, it don't make no difference people. 

Milestones's picture

--"any law contrary to the U.S. Constitution is void. All offices are bound by that document" Marbury v Madison Cranch 2 1803.

As the 14th amendment concerns it self with due process, an is part of the Constitution I think it would be very difficult to legislate away this particular problem.  Milestones

hidingfromhelis's picture

"Article 1, clause 8 of the Constitution grants Congress the exclusive right to coin money, issue currency, and regulate its value."

Well, that one didn't seem to really matter in the end either, did it?  Since when do our legislators care about the constitution?

StychoKiller's picture

When enough constituents show up, excercising their 2nd Amendment rights, Congress and the Senate will do the right thing (or get ventilated!)

tony bonn's picture

god bless the plaintiffs.....and they will need all of the help they can get as the bankster judges are all for mers and the criminal element.

mers is a rico-vulnerable operation clearly meant to sidestep laws and payment of taxes. it did so in an illegal way making the crime even more enhanced.

fuck mers

Mercury's picture

$120 billion!?? Are you fucking kidding me? I'm willing to get worked up about MERS as the next guy but this is bureaucratic paper shuffling and record keeping here. Necessary but important stuff maybe but $120 billion? Please.  If Californians are stupid enough to turn Robo-signing-gate into a lifeline to keep their crapulant municipal government in lollipops for a few more months they will deserve what they will inevitably get.

Talk about a desperate and ravenous beast looking to stick it's blood funnel into anything that smells like money. Time to outsource 3/4 of Sacramento to India. I think this state government has lost it's legitimacy.

Milestones's picture

Mercury-maybe not. If this gets filed under RICO charges I believe amoung other things like confiscation there is also treble damages. Not sure,--beewn a long time since I reviewed RICO statutes.    Milestones

Mercury's picture

Well even if treble damages are baked into that figure $30bil still seems like a lot of money to file a bunch of records (30fees + 3*30penalty = $120bil).  It also doesn't seem like the state of CA is the party most deserving (although perhaps legally they are) of that kind of windfall in this disaster.

skipjack's picture

Bureaucratic paper shuffling ?  Are you nuts, or deliberately obtuse... 

No, it's filing false affidavits in a court and due process fraud, enlarged to rico because they're all doing it. 

If you are willing to throw away the 5th Amendment, then good luck to you.  You may as well drop trou, bend over and say "ah" and expect no vaseline, because the time will come when they will fuck you over too.


Are you really willing to disregard the 5th Amendment ?

Selah's picture

"Are you really willing to disregard the 5th Amendment ?"

It doesn't matter what he does... The Government disregard anything when it is in their interest, which is the interest of the Central Bank. WFD

Mercury's picture

Call me cynical but I think the only thing most CA municipal honchos are hearing is "blah, blah, blah, MERS, blah, blah, and we may be able to fine them 120 billion dollars!"

Forget about to what extent MERS et al committed fraud, my point was that it just seems like that figure implies a lot of money and/or red tape to legitimately perform a routine bit of business and that's why government is such goddamn ball and chain in this country.  How much for a lemonade stand licence in CA....40 grand?

hidingfromhelis's picture

Don't worry, the Interstate Notarization Act v2.0 (voice vote only, of course) will take care of that pesky little recording issue as well.  State/county/municipality rights and jurisdiction?  Contract law?  Pffft!  After all, it was just a few bad apples that caused this whole clusterfucktastrophe.  Shame on you Linda Green and Roman Urban!

apberusdisvet's picture

C'mon folks; this is all going to be swept under the rug.  This Administration does not believe in the Rule of Law; deals will be made; no one will go to jail; move on before you get your hopes up.  Massive POMOs or TARP to infinity will rule the day, and "deals" will be struck in the name of "national security", just another Paulson/Bush/Dodd/Frank/FED epiphany that their retirements/resumes might be in jeopardy.

myshadow's picture

I don't think so.  This is going to be impossible to sell to anybody.  If there is one thing this totally polarized country can agree on is NO DEAL.

Our deaf, dumb, blind DoJ will have to do something.  It will have to be someone(s) with a little more throw weight that fabulous fab. I do think they will have to be dragged kicking and screaming to do their job.

There hasn't been a peep out of them about BP, and yes, they dropped AIG but the magnitude of this is so great there ain't a rug big enough.

I have been impressed at the silence of the future govenor of NY through all this

RockyRacoon's picture

The only hope is that this has now landed in a lot of back yards!  Literally.

J C Bider's picture

I agree with you Imp Sim except that I do not think we have a Federal Government anymore.  What we have is an entity that has been taken over by GS and other big banks and corprations and is now run by and for them alone.  These corporations consider themselves global entities, not American companies anymore.  They now have been treating the US just like they treated many smaller countries for many years.  They came it, stripped the resources out of the country by controlling the goverment with bribes, and then when the country was bankrupt, they pulled up stakes and went on to their next victim.


This has worked for a long time because there was always somewere else to go to strip for resources.  Now we may have finally reached the end of the road.  Who else is left to strip?  Europe is a basket case along with us.  Eastern Europe has little to strip.  Russia and China are under the control of people who will shoot you rather than let you stip them.  Africa is alread bare.


I think the the US was the last and biggest Golden Goose and now that she is pretty much killed, maybe the power elites will get to see what it is like when you have killed off what feeds you.  Isn't this what we are doing to the Earth too?  As consumers we have been complicit in our own demise.  When you are on the Titanic, everyone pays for the stupidity and arrogance of those in charge.  At least this time I think the power elites will go down with the ship that they sank along with the rest of us.

RockyRacoon's picture

Excellent!  'Cept for one thing.  There is plenty left to mine.  The U.S. has plenty of natural resources and there is much left to plunder.  They are not done by a long shot. The only hope is for the people to stop them.  Fat chance -- not until we are a hollow shell.

BennyBoy's picture

Breaking News---

Obama pardons the banks and all their employees.

Oops, those are state crimes.

Not national ones.

f16hoser's picture

Oh, Oh, WTF you gonna do now Obama? This should just about do it I think! If you don't owm PM's by now, you better hurry. What a great time to be a lawyer! Work every where. You can't swing a dead cat W/o hitting a crooked banker!



myshadow's picture

I think this is why jeff sessions and leahy sent that little bill the President vetoed.

justbuygold's picture

Nothing to see here....move along ...move along

J C Bider's picture

"There is no more dangerous animal than a cornered government."

Yup, Yup, Yup!  The states need money to keep from folding.  They can't get it from their people because the people have no money anymore.  The states can't borrow because their tax base has bombed and the banks won't loan to them.  So where do they go?  Lo and behold, there are piles of money sitting in those TBTF banks.  So now the bank, who used to be the successful preditors have now become the prey.  So many corporations have moved off shore now that they no longer belong to the local economy and become even more of a good target.  When you shovel shit for a long time it will finally come back to bite you when the wind turns.  I think the wind is turning quickly.

And if enough people stop paying their mortgages to far off unknown entities, then maybe they will have some money to keep the local economy and state tax base going a bit longer.



Implicit simplicit's picture

There is a huge battle brewing about  constitutional interperatation between the states and the goverment.

It has been building up with mis-interpertations of federal power by the goverment of the constitution.

Once again, the RE mess at the top of the Ponzi scheme has pushed the federal goverment(and the other fed.) to usurp state power. The states are starting to fight back finally.

This is the most important battle about freedom this century. It will determine how far the American people are willing to be pushed into an oligarchial fascist nation. 

cossack55's picture

I say "Nullify, nullify, nullify".  If you think I'm FOS, Dr. Thomas Woods will explain it to you.'s picture

i think your assessment is spot on, J C . now say it a little louder i don't think anyone in Alaska heard you. they would be fools to miss this gift. let the rodeo begin, cowboys†

StychoKiller's picture

Speaking of cowboys, try and find "Cowboy Bebop" on DVD(s) -- I think you will find the anime interesting, especially Faye Valentine.

ArmchairRevolutionary's picture

It would be interesting if counties started going through their records and sending notifications to home owners about the status of notes.  Something like:

Dear Mr. Homeowner, given the recent concerns regarding mortgage fraud, we thought you would be interested to know that it appears no mortgages have been properly recorded with this office against the property titled at location ...  Best regards, County Recorder"

Seriously, every county that does not have one of the major banks in their jurisdiction has a lot to be gained by doing a little research.

treemagnet's picture

MERS is qe2.  Mae and mac already own nearly all the toxic MBS from the first go round.  Still TBTF, so just transfer the debt to the public...again.  Like rinse, lather, and repeat.  The elites get bonuses, politicians save day, socialism is advanced, its miller time bitches!  I think the market HFT's start leapfrog gamesmanship on the way down.  I know alot of great companies will make great earnings and there are good, solid, positive things going on ....but like my Grandpa used to say to me, "son, it only takes one "ah shit" moment to wipe out ten "atta boys".  And since we have ten ah shits to atta boys, I'm a bear.

kaiserhoff's picture

An attractive and successful young woman once described academia to me as a multi-period game of reputation.  Rarely true for professors, but it works here.

It won't be easy selling financial services when half the world is lined up to sue your ass for fraud.  Wonder what the next super-squid will look like?  I expect it will contain far too many of the usual suspects.

doolittlegeorge's picture

"sue the government" eh?  Good luck.  I am enjoying watching "Agency X sue Department Y."  Is it me or is the revolving door "picking up speed and flinging lawyers muy rapido."  Takes a lot of energy to "fling an attorney from DC to LA" you know (even if all he wanted was to get from K street to Dupont Circle.  As they say "oooops.  Sorry 'bout that!")  According to media reports United Technologies is working on an "Over the Horizon" elevator variant "so that we can minimize the cost of flinging singles."