Tag Archives: foreclosure

Local vet urges changes in Dept of Veterans Affairs rules on foreclosures

SPARROWBUSH – Any day now, DJ Gonzalez will be escorted out of his home, and the doors will be locked behind him.

Gonzalez, a 62-year-old Vietnam War veteran, is on the verge of homelessness, due to a string of circumstances that could befall anyone: divorce, health problems and tight finances.

Disabled and unable to work full time, Gonzalez said Social Security payments weren’t enough to keep the home on Academy Avenue where he has lived since 2005 when he purchased it for $164,900, with a loan backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

As the former manager of the Empowering Port Jervis community center, Gonzalez knows how to help people who have fallen on hard times, he said.

Now, being there himself, he wants to address the holes in the system.

In April 2016, the VA bought Gonzalez’s foreclosed home from the mortgage company for $58,800, according to Jennifer Toth, a loan guarantee officer with the VA.

Gonzalez purchased the home for $164,900 in 2005 – near the height of the housing market – but the 2016 appraisal for the home was $70,000, Toth said.

The VA paid the mortgage company an additional $41,650 because it was responsible for up to 25 percent of the loan, she said.

Read on.

How a Cruel Foreclosure By BofA Drove a Couple to the Brink of Death

 

A married couple resorted to self-harm after being physically and psychologically terrorized by Bank of America over their house—until a judge fined the bank $46 million.

“Franz Kafka lives… he works at Bank of America.”

Judge Christopher Klein’s words kick off an incredible ruling in a federal bankruptcy court in California last week, condemning Bank of America for a long nightmare of a foreclosure against a couple named Erik and Renee Sundquist. Klein ordered BofA to pay a whopping $46 million in damages, with the bulk of the money going to consumer attorney organizations and public law schools, in hopes of ensuring these abuses never happen again—or at least making them less likely.

The ruling offers numerous lessons in the aftermath of a foreclosure crisis that destroyed millions of lives. First of all, the judge specifically cited top executives as responsible, not lower-level employees. Second, the sheer size of the fine—for just one foreclosure—is a commentary on the failure of America’s regulatory and law enforcement system to protect homeowners, despite the financial industry’s massive legal exposure.

Read on.

Bank Of America Ordered To Pay $46M Over Improper Foreclosure

Bank of America must pay $46 million for improperly foreclosing on a California couple’s home in 2010. 

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Christopher Klein levied [PDF] the judgement against the bank this week, calling Bank of America’s actions in foreclosing on the couple’s home “heartless” and “brazen.”

In all, Klein ordered the bank to pay $46 million, most of which will be divvied up by law schools and consumer advocate agencies, with the couple receiving about $1 million.

Klein noted in the 107-page ruling that the fine should be enough to spur change with the bank’s mortgage practices, and not be seen as “petty cash or chump change.”

Read on.

90-year-old woman foreclosed, evicted from home of over 60 years

NJ.com:

LAWRENCE — It wasn’t supposed to end this way.

Gloria Turano thought she’d be living on Skillman Avenue when she died, in the ranch home her late husband Louis built for them in 1953. She never wanted to leave it, and the decades of memories of raising a family it holds for her.

“I thought the undertaker would take me out of here,” the 90-year-old Turano said with a smile recently, sitting on a couch in the home’s den.

But as she spoke, the house was not hers anymore.

It belonged to Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored mortgage company, which bought it for $100 at a sheriff’s sale last year after a reverse mortgage company foreclosed on it – shutting down a loan Turano took in 2004.

She borrowed the money to help her pay her property taxes – in an effort to stay in the home. The taxes would be the loan’s undoing.

The money ran low, and Turano’s attempts to contact the lender, Financial Freedom, and refinance or work things out were never answered, she said.

She fell more behind in the taxes, and then legal notices started coming to the home from the lender around 2012 and 2013.

Maine robo-signing scandal resurfaces with Treasury nomination

A woman at the center of a foreclosure robo-signing scandal at OneWest Bank in 2009 – and now part of the controversial confirmation hearings for a new Treasury secretary – signed off on mortgage documents in Maine.

The scandal is attracting new attention because Steven Mnuchin, President Trump’s nominee to head the Treasury Department, denied in a Senate confirmation hearing that OneWest, the bank that he headed from 2009 to 2015, engaged in robo-signing. Critics of Mnuchin are hoping that the controversy over robo-signing, along with allegations that the nominee hasn’t revealed all his financial records, might derail his nomination.

Read on.

Mnuchin Lied About His Bank’s History of Robo-Signing Foreclosure Documents

TREASURY SECRETARY NOMINEE Steven Mnuchin lied in his written responses to the Senate Finance Committee, claiming that “OneWest Bank did not ‘robo-sign’ documents,” when ample evidence proves that they did.

Mnuchin ran OneWest Bank from 2009 to 2015 in a manner so ruthless to mortgage holders that he has been dubbed the “Foreclosure King” by his critics.

The robo-signing scandal involved mortgage companies having their employees falsely sign hundreds of affidavits per week attesting that they had reviewed and verified all the business records associated with a foreclosure — when in fact they never read through the material and just blindly signed off. Those records, in many cases, were prepared improperly, but the foreclosures went ahead anyway because of the fraudulent affidavits.

“Did OneWest ‘robo-sign’ documents relating to foreclosures and evictions?” Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn., asked Mnuchin as a “question for the record”.

Mnuchin replied that “OneWest Bank did not ‘robo-sign’ documents, and as the only bank to successfully complete the Independent Foreclosure Review required by federal banking regulators to investigate allegations of ‘robo-signing,’ I am proud of our institution’s extremely low error rate.”

But even that review – which was not really so “independent,” since the banks hand-picked and paid for their own reviewers – found that nearly 6 percent of the OneWest foreclosures examined were not conducted properly.

Read on.

Treasury Pick Steve Mnuchin Denies It, But Victims Describe His Bank as a Foreclosure Machine

TREASURY SECRETARY NOMINEE Steve Mnuchin kicked off his confirmation hearing Thursday with a defiant opening statement, mostly defending his record as CEO of OneWest Bank. He cast himself as a tireless savior for homeowners after scooping up failed lender IndyMac. “It has been said that I ran a ‘foreclosure machine,’” he said. “I ran a loan modification machine.”

But in stark contrast to his fuzzy statistics about attempted loan modifications, the victims of OneWest’s foreclosure practices have been real and ubiquitous.

A TV advertising campaign that’s been running in Nevada, Arizona, and Iowafeatures Lisa Fraser, a widow who says OneWest “lied to us and took our home” of 25 years, right after her husband’s funeral.

Read on.