Chris and Maria Friscia are going public with what they believe is foreclosure fraud by their bank. (Carrie C. Causey/ Herald Weekly photo)
CORNELIUS – After raising children at their home and running a successful business, a Cornelius couple is risking it all to stand up to a bank they believe is committing fraud.
Chris and Maria Friscia claim that after calling Bank of America out for alleged forgery and stopping their mortgage payments, more “illegal” actions were made to documents to start the foreclosure process. They are at risk of losing their home and have spent thousands of dollars fighting back. To warn others of the alleged foreclosure fraud by falsifying documents, the couple has created a Facebook page and hung signs on their lawn proclaiming, “We exposed Bank of America fraud & forgery on our note. Now they are illegally foreclosing on our home. Stand with us!!”
“It’s disgusting,” Chris said, citing other cases this has happened. “This isn’t just us. If it was just me, I understand it would be a selfish motive. This isn’t about me.”
Multiple phone calls were made to representatives of Bank of America, who said they wanted to look into the case before making comment.
Chris and Maria moved into their home in 2003 with their two kids, now aged 21 and 14. Three years later, they refinanced with the mortgage company Countrywide. Bank of America bought the company in 2008.
Starting in 2010, companies, including Bank of America, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Ally Financial and Citigroup, were called into question regarding foreclosure fraud. Federal investigations found the banks signed foreclosure-related documents without a notary and without knowing if the facts were correct. In 2012, the National Mortgage Settlement required banks to pay a total of $25 billion in relief to distressed homeowners and to the government.
Concerned about their own mortgage, the Friscias requested their original bank note in 2011. They received a photocopied version that contained Chris’ initials in a spot that had originally, erroneously been left blank. But Chris said, he was never contacted and deemed the new initials a forgery.
“If they had just called and said ‘hey, can you sign this,’ there wouldn’t have been a problem at all,” Maria said. “But anything forged is a breach of contract making it null and void.”
Maria said they stopped making payments on the house, but keep the funds in a separate bank account.