Derivatives shell-game leaves mortgages "orphaned" — stop paying your mortgage, keep your house

Worried about your mortgage? How about just not paying it? Some banks were so enthusiastic in playing subprime derivatives shell-games that they've literally lost the notes on the mortgages they "own," and can't prove that deadbeat homeowners owe them any money. An estimated $2.1 trillion worth of these mortgages are "orphaned" with no apparent owner.

Joe Lents hasn't made a payment on his $1.5 million mortgage since 2002.

That's when Washington Mutual Inc. first tried to foreclose on his home in Boca Raton. The Seattle-based lender failed to prove that it owned Lents' mortgage note and dropped attempts to take his house. Subsequent efforts to foreclose have stalled because no one has produced the paperwork.

"If you're going to take my house away from me, you better own the note," said Lents, 63, the former chief executive officer of a now-defunct voice recognition software company.


(via Karmabanque)