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The Great British Mortgage Swindle

The literal old French translation of the word mortgage is death pledge.

In Britain the mortgage market is worth more than one point three trillion pounds. But how many of these mortgages are fatally flawed?

Renegade Inc. met up with filmmakers, Michael O’Bernicia and Michael O’Deira to discuss the issues related to their film, ‘The Great British Mortgage Swindle’ – a hard hitting documentary that exposes how the justice system in the UK is completely rigged to protect the banks from the consequences of their myriad of alleged illegalities. The film sets out to demonstrate exactly what those alleged illegalities are.

The great deception

As an eighteen year old, O’Bernicia intuitively understood that the financial system overseen by banks was predicated on deception, but was unsure of the mechanics involved. According to O’Bernicia, the genesis of ‘The Great British Mortgage Swindle’ followed 15-20 minutes of initial research. By 2008, the filmmaker found enough evidence that the banks were ignoring laws disadvantageous to them but were simultaneously ensuring others were applied in their favor to the detriment of the people in the event the said people needed them as a form of remedy. As part of his research, O’Bernicia was unable to find a single mortgagor who had won a case against the banks in one of Her Majesty’s Courts.

Creating money from thin air

O’Bernicia began to understand that the financial system was afoot prior to the 2008 crash. The notion that banks create money out of thin air, then lend it at interest, is the bases of the mis-selling fraud he, and others, have contributed to exposing. 

The filmmaker explains:

“I went to answer a question and that question was, “What does the so-called financial bubble – or the housing bubble – what does it consist of and what its cause?”,  So first and foremost when somebody goes into a bank and they ask for a mortgage and sit down with the mortgage broker, very quickly the mortgage broker will give them the documents that they need to give to a conveyancing solicitor who they engaged. And the conveyancing solicitor will soon sit them down and say, ‘OK, this is the situation. You have to sign this mortgage deed in order to secure the funds to buy the house. So if you do that now it will all go through.’ So they sign on the dotted line and that document is taken by the bank and deposited in a private account. They then pretend to lend that money back to the customer, at compound interest, for 25 years. In other words, the mortgage deed that is signed is the credit that’s created. They then pretend to lend back the credit at compound interest for 25 years.”

O’Bernicia referenced a Supreme Court judgement to highlight the illegality of signing a mortgage deed to a non-owned property:

“That point was hammered home significantly in a case called Southern Pacific mortgages in 2015 when in the Supreme Court – the president of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale – ruled that despite the common practice of the entire conveyancing industry for many years, it was in fact entirely right that nobody has either a legal or equitable right to sign a deed to any property prior to becoming the owner of it”, says O’Bernicia.


“….they’re given these deeds to sign and take home or they’re sent the deeds in the post. [They are then]…told to sign and send them back to the conveyancing solicitor who then adds a witness to the signature. But they weren’t there at the time and place of execution. So again, it’s another fraud on virtually every mortgage deed. The witness was not there at the time it was signed and they have to be.”

Interjecting, O’Bernicia’s filmmaker colleague, Michael O’Deira added:

“What [the banks] are doing is taking possession of these mortgage deeds – which are charges and as such security interests. It forms also the promise to pay, the promissory note is the agreement that gets signed in the US. Over here – as Michael has explained – there’s a little bit more subterfuge, a few more fails over it because it is a multi-level swindle.”

O’Deira has a slightly different way of explaining the fact that banks create money out of thin air:

“They’re creating credit on the back of the mortgagor’s promised to pay back the principal plus certain amounts in compound interest over the next 25 years. The promise to pay is what creates the money”, he argues.

Citing professor Richard Werner, the filmmaker claims the banks don’t have that money to hand when that mortgage application goes in:

“As Werner has outlined in some detail – [the creation of the required funds] is largely a case of simply tapping a few fingers onto a computer screen”, says O’Deira, who adds:

“I was having a conversation with a chartered accountant the other day who had contacted me over his property portfolio and he’d become aware of this religious belief that the banks have actually loaned…money. It’s the biggest delusion of all and it operates on an earth wide level. It controls everything. As Nathan Rothschild’s himself said, ‘It doesn’t matter who’s on the throne of England as long as I control the money supply.’ It’s all very well thinking, right, so-and-so can be in charge of credit creation if that guy is whiter than white – blemish free – but if you’ve got someone who is psychopathic in nature and wants to control huge swathes of humanity then what better industry to get into than banking …”

The Midas touch

The monetary mechanics which allow what appears to be the creation of money from thin air through which huge swathes of humanity are controlled, is commonly referred to as the Midas touch. O’Deira recognizes that the system would never acknowledge that the money illusion exists in the way the filmmakers contend. Instead, their critics are eager to tarnish them with the familiar ‘conspiracy theorists’ epithet: 

“It has happened occasionally”, says O’Deira. “We were talking about the use of that term this morning. I think it’s increasingly a redundant expression because we’re talking about the facts of money and its creation – monetary mechanics. Conspiracy theory is a shorthand term to deny something that’s actually taking place. There’s evidence to back that up.”

Material circumstances

O’Bernicia interjected by relating a real life experience that was central in helping to shape his outlook: 

“I think that I was prepared for [the flak]… in a way that perhaps nobody else involved in the film was prepared for….because I had already seen everything stolen from my family when I was 18. That was my wake up call. It was the last day of my A-levels and my morning was spent overseeing our eviction from our home of eight years because of my dad’s personal bankruptcy which occurred during the first ’80s recession. He’s managed to stave off losing the house for seven/eight years.”

O’Bernicia continued:

“Basically that morning I was on my own because my mother was suffering so much mentally with the trauma of it all. My sister was a lot younger than me so my dad took them away… from the brunt and I agreed to bear it. I was prepared for all the things that you would expect when you’re getting evicted from your house. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the spite and sheer downright nastiness of the official receiver driving up at the end of the day when I’m standing there waiting for my granddad to pick me up and take me back to their house….until we got somewhere else to live. This man [the official receiver]…winds his electric window down and says to me, with a smirk on his face, ‘Just make sure that everything’s out that house because if it’s not then we’re just going to bin it.’ And so, in the inimitable words of my forefathers I said, ‘You’ve got ten seconds to leave or I won’t be responsible for my actions.’ He went after three. From that moment I knew something was drastically wrong. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was but I knew that we were all being played.”

For O’Bernicia, the injustice highlighted above was the catalyst for his subsequent research. The eviction process enacted by the aggressive actions of the High Court reaffirmed further, the filmmakers sense of injustice. The British legal system was understood by O’Bernicia, to be part of the problem. Only one mortgagor – O’Bernicia’s case – has won against the interests of the banks.

What, in the view of O’Bernicia, does that say about the wider legal system?:

We proved beyond doubt that unless you’re willing to throw everything you’ve got at fighting a seemingly never ending war of attrition to get a result against a bank, in a court, the only way you can do it is by being so determined and so clever that you trick them into a position where they’re going to do something that they’re not going to see the consequences of”, says O’Bernicia, who added:

“In our case the judge fell into the trap where to get rid of us he had to admit one thing which no judge had ever admitted in a case involving a mortgagor – the Law of Property Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1989. At the time, the judge claimed it did not apply to mortgages. That changed in 2014 when we proved that it did. But since then…the judge who gave the verdict to us….attempted to help the bank win by declaring that they still had the right to create another mortgage in the name of the trustees and to have it registered. So the judge who gave us the results still tried to give a result to the bank, simultaneously.

O’Bernicia continued:

“Last summer at a meeting with Thames Valley Police Commissioner – Anthony Stansfeld – I was handed a file of evidence which proves beyond any doubt that there was a deal done by the banks with Parliament whereby they promised that no serving MP would be declared bankrupt provided no judge found fraud against any of the banks.”

State sponsored terrorism or state corporate extortion? 

O’Bernicia is adamant that the justice system in the UK is completely rigged in order to protect the banks from the consequences of what he regards as their criminal actions:

“If they were following the law they would be legal actions but because they break the law so many times in each case they actually forfeit their legal rights and their equitable rights because they’ve committed fraud from the get go”, says O’Bernicia.

The filmmaker argues the said fraud takes many forms that, according to him, often involve the theft of houses, despite litigants having proven their cases in court. This happened to Michael O’Deira, who takes up the story: 

“I was evicted twice – both of which feature in the documentary. The first time was when I challenged the Bradford and Bingley – as they were the time – to prove that they had a valid charge over my home of… I think it was 16 years at the time. And also to demonstrate that they had a valid contract with me, that they’d fully disclosed everything about how the loan was created and to demonstrate that they’d actually loaned me anything in the first place. So the film documents our first meeting back in the autumn of 2009 right through [to the time]…I was evicted on the 4th of November 2010 after a series of appearances at all levels of the judiciary.”

O’Deira continued:

“The following year I was homeless. I was living in a friend’s house which was under threat from another mortgage company. Again, the same judge issued a possession order on the house. What that second eviction demonstrated was the extreme lengths the judiciary, the bailiffs and the local constabulary….will go to enforce the Great British Mortgage Swindle. And it is extreme…I would regard it as nothing less than state sponsored terrorism.

O’Deira counters that the use of the word ‘terrorism’ is an overreaction by citing an eviction in the film:

“[The person evicted]…is in the house with his mother in Coventry and the High Court Enforcement officers swoop on the house – supported by the local constabulary. They get angle grinders to break in, drag his mother out of the house, down the stairs – to such an extent that you can see in the film – she’s really severely bruised”, says O’Deira, who relates this to his own personal experience:

“They did the same to us. They came at 8:00 in the morning – the day after I’d had a birthday party. They turned up on the street with 21 police officers and the whole area was cordoned off.”

The filmmaker also claims that the use of the word ‘terrorism’ is further justified on the basis that:

“some of these mortgage companies were…bailed out by the British people – to the tune of billions, tens of billions of pounds. And secondly in the case – particularly of the Bradford and Bingley – it’s now run by an organisation called UKAR which is a Treasury backed institution that’s being set up to wind down the mortgage books of the Bradford and Bingley and Northern Rock – both of which collapsed in 2009.”

O’Deira rejects the contention that having willingly signed up to a mortgage agreement, he ought to be liable for debts accrued resulting from such an agreement:

“I had a conveyancing solicitors advising me about what to do and how… I wanted a legal mortgage. At that time I thought I simply wanted a loan in order to buy the house. So I approached my friend who was a conveyancing solicitor and I expected that he would organize that….The whole thing was legal. But even at that stage – I think it was on the day I moved into the house – I just had this gut instinct that…. [I had been conned]…by the solicitor and by the bank. I’d studied economics at A level and I’d like to think I had a good grasp on these things. But at school you’re never taught about the mechanics – how it works – the illusion that is behind money and its creation.”

O’Deira elaborates further:

“They don’t want people knowing this information. The information in ‘The Great British Mortgage Swindle’ has the potential to have a very big impact on people, on their consciousness and on their understanding of the world around them.”

The victims of the mortgage system – in which people are left with nowhere to go as a result of legal judgments that don’t go their way – is, according to O’Bernicia, endemic:

“We both get a lot of requests from people for help with mortgage problems and from those on the brink of eviction”, says O’Bernicia. “Unless you understand that you can only put off the inevitable for so long and that it’s so likely that they come with the heavies and steal your house. Unless you understand that that’s what happens to virtually everybody, then I can’t lead you hand-in-hand into certain machine gunfire because that’s what you’re going to face. You have to be prepared to duck the bullets. If you don’t know when they’re going to be fired and how fast and furious they’re going to come, you haven’t got a hope in hell.”

O’Deira adds:

“Perhaps a better way of looking at it – rather than saying it’s state sponsored terrorism – is that it’s state corporate extortion. I’ve made this point in court and they just said to me, ‘Well how is it extortion?’ and I said quite simply, ‘Because if I don’t pay what the bank are asking for, they’ll violently steal the house.'”

Possible Solutions

In the view of Michael O’Deira, society needs to come clean about money and how it’s created:

“Full disclosure needs to be ascertained in order to show how loans are created and whether they constitute something genuine. But that means that certain entities, individuals and corporations would lose their income streams. 

O’Deira adds:

Most people are renting a property and often those properties have a buy to let mortgage over them that the landlord is servicing, so the bank puts up the interest rates. Who gets it in the pocket? It’s the individual that’s renting. And one solution might well be…the idea of mortgage strikes – hit them where it hurts in the pocket …Mass actions of people making the correct application to have charges removed at the Land Registry [would potentially result in]…the whole thing [falling] apart. The courts wouldn’t have anything to enforce, the banks would have no means of collecting on the – all be it – fake debts.”

According to Michael O’Bernicia, the Land Registry is important as a player because “it’s the only way that you can go around the rigged system to get a result”.

An increase in liquidity into the real economy – and thus its potential renaissance – would, arguably, be the direct consequence of a utopia predicated on the mass write-offs of fraudulent mortgage debts. It would, also – in the view of O’Deira – “represent a massive re transfer of the wealth of the people back into the hands of the people.”

For O’Bernicia, it would represent the biggest transfer of wealth of all-time. “The flip side is that there needs to be a period of transition where we transform the banks from having power over all of our lives – in almost every aspect – to being the simple administrators of the accounts that hold our wealth. In simple terms….at the moment…the banks steal the credit created by the customer. Well, instead of transferring it into the banks account it must be transferred into the customers. Then they’ve created the money that they need to buy the mortgage and then they can sign the deed and everything’s perfectly legal and aboveboard.”

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