Who owns your home? Lost paper trail allows borrower to keep her house

Those complex financial instruments known as mortgage-backed securities, which famously caused so much damage in the banking sector and the nation's economy when the housing bubble burst, are causing another problem for some mortgage lenders: the inability to prove that they have a legitimate claim to homes entering foreclosure.

This little problem led to a curious scene in White Plains, N.Y., federal court earlier this month when Judge Robert D. Drain eliminated more than $460,000 in mortgage debt on a delinquent borrower's property after PHH Mortgage failed to prove its claim to the property, as reported by The New York Times. In essence, the judge's ruling made the mortgage disappear.