Today on MSNBC http://www.msnbc.msn.com/ on the FRONT PAGE
here is an exerpt from the story. The judge dismissed the foreclosure because MERS could not produce who owned the mortgage!
D-Day vet's tale parallels mortgage meltdown
Ex-corpsman, 84, blames 'greed, greed, greed' as he faces losing his home
By Mike Stuckey
Senior news editor
updated 6:57 a.m. ET, Tues., Feb. 17, 2009
CERRITOS, Calif. - Questions linger here, as ripe and nagging as the odor that once wafted over this former dairy capital: Who is trying to seize the home of Ray Vargas, child of the Great Depression, D-Day veteran and loving husband who just wanted to do right by his dying wife? And are they entitled to it?
In bankruptcy court documents, the party attempting to foreclose is identified as Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., or MERS, a small Vienna, Va.-based company employed by lenders to streamline the resale of mortgage loans and servicing rights. In that role, MERS claims an interest in tens of millions of U.S. home loans and the legal right to foreclose on those in default.
But MERS never gave Vargas a loan. It never collected money from him or recorded his payments. It had no ability to modify his loan.
What it did have was a copy of a document that named it a “beneficiary” of the mortgage on his home and a “nominee” for the lender and “lender’s successors and assigns.” But it has never identified the current holder of the loan.
'It makes me sick'
While such documentation has allowed many foreclosures to proceed around the nation, the judge in Vargas’ case threw MERS for a loop, ruling that the company had no right to attempt to seize his home on behalf of unnamed plaintiffs.
“No such unidentified parties are permitted in a motion before the court,” wrote Judge Samuel L. Bufford. Bufford’s October ruling kept the foreclosure on hold and opened the door for Vargas to sue MERS in an action aimed at clearing his home of the $826,549 in debt he says is the result of fraud, forgery and abuse of process.
“It makes me sick,” said Vargas, 84, a deeply religious man who believes God is guiding him in a mission to expose wrongful foreclosure. “Greed has no bounds. That’s what the whole problem is: greed, greed, greed.”
Vargas' case has captured the attention of hundreds of attorneys and others immersed in the nation’s mortgage meltdown, which saw foreclosure filings on U.S. homes hit 3 million last year. In the first six weeks of this year, foreclosure began on another 296,000, according to the Center for Responsible Lending.
Legal icon is a new and somewhat surreal role for Vargas. The Chicago native who got his first job at 8 in the depths of the Great Depression has always been a realist.