About 16 months after Habitat for Humanity volunteers rehabbed his Stevenson Ranch home, a military veteran is suing JP Morgan Chase over what he claims was an illegal foreclosure.
Tom McDivitts, a 10-year Army veteran and trained nurse, filed suit against JP Morgan Chase after, he says, the bank gave him no opportunity to follow through on a program he signed up for that he thought would help his family keep their home.
The McDivitts worked hard to save the home that the family purchased in 2001, said Mark Young, attorney with Donahoe and Young, the firm representing the McDivitts.
McDivitt said his family had financial trouble after his wife, Stacey, became ill.
“We reached out for help, and had to declare bankruptcy so that we could keep our head above water,” he said.
When he contacted the bank, he began a HAMP program, he said, which he thought would let the family keep their home.
The Home Affordable Modification Program is “part of the Obama Administration’s comprehensive plan to stabilize the U.S. housing market by helping homeowners get mortgage relief and avoid foreclosure,” according to the program’s website.
For those in financial trouble, like the McDivitts, the program offers assistance to avoid foreclosure and ways to lower the monthly payments to prevent families from losing their homes.
However, the bank used it to engage in a practice called “dual tracking,” according to the lawsuit. This is when a bank works with a customer who is behind on a mortgage while going forward with foreclosure proceedings on the same home.
The practice is considered illegal in California under a bill signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in July 2012.