Plum man files suit over home foreclosure
The millions of mortgages that were bundled into giant investment pools and traded like stocks shouldn’t be subject to foreclosure, according to an unusual lawsuit filed Wednesday.
That’s because when banks chose to turn mortgages into investment products, they gave up the right to take the house, attorney Luke Lucas argues.
His lawsuit in U.S. District Court focuses on one Plum man’s mortgage. But if its theory were accepted by courts, it would have huge implications for the entire mortgage market.
Mr. Lucas sued on behalf of Jayson Schott, 34, who in 2004 got a $97,500 adjustable rate mortgage from America’s Wholesale Lender. The rate went up, and he went into default.
Bank of America, which bought America’s Wholesale Lender, filed for foreclosure in 2008. But according to the complaint, the loan had long since ceased to be a mortgage.
That’s because shortly after its inception, it was “securitized” — combined with thousands of other loans into an investment vehicle called a Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit, or REMIC. That was done, according to the complaint, in order to make it a tax-exempt product that investors from all over the world could buy into — like a stock.
That longstanding process became more prevalent last decade.
Because mortgages and stocks are separate under U.S. law, Mr. Lucas said, the loans ceased to be secured to the house. So the foreclosure, which has been stayed, was invalid.
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