David Dayen’s Chain of Title Book Confirms What You Always Suspected: The Game is Rigged

chain of title

“The personal sacrifices Lisa Epstein & Michael Redman make to become activists will leave all but Szymoniak permanently altered, and uncompensated for their efforts.”


David Dayen’s Chain of Title Interview Confirms What You Always Suspected: The Game is Rigged

Chain of Title should be required reading in every college-level business ethics class in America. At a time when “business ethics” is an oxymoron, perhaps the current generation that adores Bernie Sanders might better understand the dangers big banking monopolies hold. David Dayen’s book, Chain of Title, unearths a system with the power and collateral to stonewall millions of homeowners from obtaining one very simple answer: Who owns my mortgage?

If you haven’t been able to wrap your head around why the federal government has failed to prosecute one banker for the foreclosure crisis there is a very simple answer that Chain of Title alludes to. The federal government has a dark secret: the trusts are empty and the falsified notes cannot be traced back to their true owners so they must be “recreated” if a default occurs. This means that the investors, the pensions and the trusts own nothing. It also means that the banks now own everything- including the U.S. federal government. It hardly matters that we have separation of powers if the bankers and elite control all three branches.

Salon contributing writer David Dayen and winner of the coveted Ida and Studs Terkel Prize, illuminates how home buyers have ended up illegally evicted from their homes as the result of dishonesty, greed, and deception at the hands of mortgage lenders, servicers, investment bankers, and unscrupulous lawyers. Dayen states that Alan Greenspan “viewed regulations the way an exterminator viewed termites.” If this is true, then 2 Presidents viewed homeowners the way a sunbather views 300 million gnats at the beach.

What is truly amazing about this book is how Dayen, who has never gone through foreclosure himself, is able to recreate the desperation, optimism, and naiveté of homeowners fighting foreclosure while concurrently examining the systematic collapse of the economy. The insight into his three protagonists borders on the voyeuristic and compels the reader to proceed voraciously. The reader keeps rooting for the underdogs to prevail-but in the end, it never happens. Through Dayen’s expose you can literally smell the black mold on vacant houses, and feel the desperation of those who lack the tools and resources to fight back- but try with all their might to do so.

Dayen’s writing explores the possibilities for the housing crash while remaining detached from the outcome.  For example, he writes, “There is a rot at the heart of our democracy, rooted in a nagging mystery that has yet to be unraveled. It gnaws at people, occupies their thoughts, leaves them searching for answers in the chill of the night. Americans want to know why no high-ranking Wall Street executive has gone to jail for the conduct that precipitated the financial crisis. The oddest thing about the predominance of the question is that everyone already assumes they know the answer. They believe that too many politicians, regulators, and law enforcement officials, bought off with campaign contributions or the promise of a future job, simply allowed banker miscreants to annihilate the law in pursuit of profit.”

Dayen’s story begins when two of the protagonists start corresponding via discussion posts on Neil Garfield’s Living Lies blog, and come to the conclusion that they are being deceived by unscrupulous loan servicers. The homeowners will eventually meet other activists along their journey including Lynn Szymoniak and decide to take on the Foreclosure Machine. The personal sacrifices they make to become activists will leave all but Szymoniak permanently altered, and uncompensated for their efforts.

The homeowners include Lisa Epstein, a cancer nurse; Michael Redman, an auto dealership employee; and Lynn Szymoniak, a lawyer who investigates insurance fraud. Dayen chronicles their almost futile and life altering battles to save their homes from illegal foreclosure while acting on behalf of millions of homeowners without voices to complain. The author begins with Epstein’s case, followed by Redman’s; one-third of the way into the narrative, the two of them meet Szymoniak, who then pool their meager resources to raise public consciousness about banks who forge, fabricate and robosign to create the appearance of standing.

Dayen profiles hundreds of other individuals, many of them crooks, cowards, or corrupt men and women, many of whom had the authority to halt the fraudulent activities but were unwilling to do anything that would undermine their position or social standing.  Although the efforts of the whistle-blowers educated millions of homeowners wrongfully facing foreclosure—ultimately hundreds of thousands of houses remain empty and only now are people starting to put their lives back together with a paradigm shift- that their government doesn’t care. Dayen relates how prosecutors, judges, and the Department of Justice have caved to powerful mortgage industry donors while illegal foreclosures continue.

Whereas politicians and the banks have been indifferent that a mortgage is properly endorsed and assigned, Dayen believes that the technicalities matter and are there to protect the homeowner and investors. Without a clear chain of assignment from one entity to the next, there is no way to determine how the loan is transferred except to rely on banks who are not noted for their honesty or accurate business records.

Exposing the lies of the banks becomes a moral crusade for the three main characters and their decision to pursue justice will create an emotional smorgasbord, which Dayen meticulously reports. Chain of Title settles on the fact that the banks’ behavior not just indefensible, but criminal and duly executed with precision. This book won’t tell readers anything they don’t already know- but it will help the victims of foreclosure to recognize that the United States is now full of hard working Americans who were sucked into the vortex of banking greed- and who will never again believe in the rule of law or their leaders. This is a yet undiagnosed disease in the general public and the long-term repercussions are not yet known.

Dayen describes a bank pursuing foreclosure without legal signatures as “flailing away like a boxer in the dark”- and this is a feeling that also captures the feelings of many homeowners who continue to fight illegal foreclosure. Not sure where their well-funded opponent will come from next or what tactic will be used, the homeowner will flail away like a boxer in the dark hoping that some tactic will create sympathy or even due process from the court or cause the bank to retreat back to their hellish cave.

After reading this epic novel, it can’t be avoided that a free-market economy will function best when people have the ability to prove they own what they own and owe who they owe.

If we don’t return to the rule of law soon, the average American’s confidence will be undermined and alternatives will be sought.  It is amazing that the greed of banks, to save a recording fee, or pass around notes like bubblegum cards could undermine an entire industry- but that is exactly what has happened. Ominously, the first housing crash has yet to be resolved and it appears that the second wave, or what we call 2008 Part II is on the horizon. David Dayen’s book will be read well into the next century- and hopefully Americans will one day say, “How could people standby and let that happen?”  We won’t, but sometimes the wheels of justice take time.

How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud
By David Dayen



Want more?


The Majority Report: How 3 Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Foreclosure Fraud w/ David Dayen


“It is happening again”: David Dayen on the epidemic of foreclosure fraud and the rigged economy that sets it in motion


How Eric Holder’s Law Firm Helped Make The Mortgage System Worse – David Dayen Part 2


Foreclosure Fraud: This is Obama’s Biggest Failure


How 3 Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Foreclosure Fraud – David Dayen On Chain Of Title


David Dayen: The Great Foreclosure Fraud


Radio Replay: The Everyday Heroes Who Took on Wall Street


Denbeaux & Denbeaux Podcast – Special Guest David Dayen Author of “Chain of Title : How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud.”


Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud



3 Responses to “David Dayen’s Chain of Title Book Confirms What You Always Suspected: The Game is Rigged”
  1. Debra Riley says:

    I have a question. We are 99% sure that this is the situation that our mother’s house is in. (Washington Mutual -> Chase -> SPS) Online I found the original mortgage note with WaMu but there have been no court papers filed since then with any updates. Does this indicate that the Note was never formally transferred to the new companies? Or if it was filed, would it be in a different state?

  2. Mike Drouin says:

    The heart of the matter lies in the question of weather a mortgage contract even exist or the Note is even enforceable ….. If the sole purpose of the entity is to DECIEVE the homeowner into thinking they are in a Mortgage Contract when in fact a ” securities contract ” was brokered between them and Investor using money that existed in the REMIC , then the entity is not the owner of the NOTE and therefore cannot transfer anything . It is an ILLUSION OF OWNERSHIP . This is Felony theft by deception !!!! and Felony theft by conversion . In my State , NH a promissory Note is considered ” personal property ” to the one who created it , and it is against the law to use someone’s personal property for self gain . Also , the violation of the UETA occurred under this deception because the swindlers were suppose to get your expressed permission in order to electronically transfer your signature which is require during securitization , but how would they get your permission when they didn’t even want you knowing about the contract you were in ???? Not only was this illegal but they protected it by a multi-layered canopy of LIES . The truth is surfacing and soon the Homeowners are going to have their day to repay these Criminals !!!!

  3. Big ba---s says:

    Americans believe if they owe someone for a home loan then they must, monthly, pay someone. The crooked banks play on that honesty by giving them someone to pay or be foreclosed on.
    Many get letters from several financial institutions saying they are the ones you should pay. The homeowner just pays one they feel is the right one as they owe someone. What if they are paying the wrong one? Would that company give the money back if the right one was found?
    I think not, so its best to not pay anyone that cannot prove in court that they are the right one by showing they have the original note.
    Have a lawyer write them by federal express a demand for a “signed and notarized statement from an officer of that bank” or financial institution along with a copy of the ORIGINAL note stating the original is in their possession and give them 30 days to get your request back to you or you will stop sending any more payments until they can prove to you they are the right one to receive it. State you have read this good book and are nervous about banks now.
    This is only common sense since no one should pay anyone anything that cannot show you owe them something or you would be getting request for payments from everyone that is crooked and knows how stupid you are.
    After the 30 days, record your letter, sue them or all of them involved company and individually and record their letters demanding payment and quit paying anyone. Do keep paying your homeowners insurance and taxes and keep the receipts showing you are paying them yourself and record them and keep copies. Who is paying the taxes and insurance goes a long way with a jury and judge.
    Demand a jury trial as is your American right and wait.
    They would be a fool to go to court and will most likely disappear or make you great offers to drop the suit. Don’t drop it, trust the jury to make it right, AS they already have in awards from BIG, BIG, banks already.
    Be aggressive, not ashamed of your circumstances. They are the ones that should be ashamed.
    Good Luck!!!

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