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Bank of America fends off fine, strikes deal in couple’s mortgage case

Bank of America fends off fine, strikes deal in couple’s mortgage case

Faced with one of the heftiest fines on record inOrlando’s federal bankruptcy court, Bank of America Corp. apologized earlier this year for missing court hearings, ignoring a judge’s orders and pestering a local couple for mortgage payments they didn’t owe.

But then the bank put its lawyers to work.

Now, after months of arguing that it had never received “adequate notice” of those earlier court proceedings, BofA has fended off the $220,000 fine by accepting a mortgage modification it had first approved 21/2 years ago but had been ignoring ever since, court documents show.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Karen S. Jennemann, who imposed the fine on BofA in March, lifted the sanction last month and approved a joint settlement between the bank and the Orange County couple that confirms the previous mortgage deal. It also calls for the bank to, among other things, pay the couple $72,000 in cash relief and $10,000 to cover legal fees.

The judge’s order, signed July 17, appears to end the baffling case of Warren Hougland and Mary Grant-Hougland. Court records show the bank approved the mortgage-relief plan in January 2011, inexplicably rescinded its approval in May, then kept trying to collect the older, higher mortgage payments despite court orders to the contrary.

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