Home was sold at auction behind their backs
Timeline of events in Heckman v. Suntrust et al.
The timeline below is based on court documents, interviews and allegations in a March lawsuit by Elliston residents Trinity and Jessica Heckman against Suntrust Mortgage, Fannie Mae, Nationstar Mortgage and Professional Foreclosure Corp. of Virginia.
- June 2006 — Trinity and Jessica Heckman purchase their home in Elliston for $134,000. They get a mortgage with Flick Mortgage Partners and the payment is about $1,100 per month. The loan is later taken over by Suntrust Mortgage.
- November 2006 — The Heckmans allow Suntrust to begin automatically withdrawing $550 mortgage payments from an account at BB&T every two weeks.
- February 2007 — A Suntrust rep phones the Heckmans and warns them they’re behind on their mortgage. Jessica tells him about the automatic withdrawal agreement. He says he’ll check into that, and calls back a week later, apologizing for the inconvenience.
- November 2007 — Suntrust sends the Heckmans a letter indicating the Heckmans are in default. Jessica checks her bank statements again and realizes Suntrust has been automatically withdrawing the payments from her account, but that in September it had redeposited more than $6,000 to it. She offers them that money but Suntrust wants $12,000 to get current.
- November 2007 — The Heckmans apply for a mortgage modification through Suntrust and agree to raise their monthly payments to $1,400 while that application is being processed. Suntrust says this will forestall the foreclosure.
- December 2007 — In The Roanoke Times legal ads on Dec. 20 and Dec. 27, the Heckmans’ home is advertised for a foreclosure auction scheduled for Jan. 4, 2008. Jessica calls Suntrust and they tell her not to worry; they’ve canceled the sale.
- Jan. 4, 2008 — At Suntrust’s direction, Professional Foreclosure Corp. of Virginia auctions the Heckmans’ home, on Jan. 4, 2008. FannieMae pays $117,500 for it. The Heckmans are unaware of the sale.
- Jan. 22, 2008 — Professional Foreclosure files a deed in Montgomery County Circuit Court naming the owner of the home as Fannie Mae.
- February 2008 — Jessica Heckman finds an eviction notice on her door that gives the couple two weeks to get out. She calls Suntrust and they tell her it’s a mistake and not to worry.
- May 2008 — The Heckmans’ mortgage modification is approved, and the modification is recorded in Montgomery County Circuit Court in October 2008. The Heckmans’ payment climbs to $1,444 per month.
- December 2010 — Suntrust transfers the mortgaging servicing to Nationstar Mortgage of Texas. The Heckmans continue the $1,444 payments.
- August 2012 — Nationstar sends the Heckmans a $1,000 check. It tells the Heckmans that was for escrow overpayments, and later the company cuts their monthly payment to $1,333.
- March 2013 — Nationstar has a title search done on the Heckmans’ home. The title search reveals the house was sold at foreclosure in 2008 and that Fannie Mae is now the deed holder. Nationstar does not inform the Heckmans.
- March 2014 — The Heckmans apply to Nationstar for a refinance to lower their mortgage interest rate and their monthly payment. Nationstar denies it because the Heckmans lack flood insurance. They discover that’s because Nationstar had stopped paying the flood insurance premiums in 2012; and that’s the reason Nationstar sent them a $1,000 check and then reduced their monthly payment.
- November 2014 — Nationstar raises the Heckmans’ monthly payment to $1,855 to account for a new flood insurance policy. The Heckmans consult a lawyer, and in looking into that, he discovers their house had been sold at a foreclosure auction in 2008. He advises them to cease all payments.
- January-February 2015 — Nationstar declares the Heckmans are in default on the mortgage.
- March 2015 — Attorney Jonathan Rogers files a lawsuit alleging fraud and breach of contract against Suntrust, Nationstar, Professional Foreclosure Corp. of Virginia and seeking the return of the house from Fannie Mae.
People in Virginia who lost their homes because SunTrust Bank foreclosed on them could be eligible for payment, under a $550 million SunTrust national mortgage foreclosure settlement.
There are approximately 3,050 qualified borrowers who lost their homes between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2013.
They’re urged to respond and get a packet from Attorney General Mark Herring that includes a one-page claim form. That form must be returned by June 4th.
The AG’s office says SunTrust agreed to a $550 million national settlement with the federal government, Commonwealth of Virginia, 48 other states, and the District of Columbia after investigations alleging numerous violations in its servicing of mortgages and its foreclosure practices.
Aug 6 (Reuters) – SunTrust Banks Inc said on Wednesday it is cooperating with the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in New York on a broader industry investigation into expenses charged by law firms in connection with foreclosures.
In a regulatory filing, the Atlanta-based regional bank said the expenses relate to foreclosures of loans guaranteed or insured by government-controlled mortgage companiesFannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or by the Federal Housing Administration.
SunTrust said the investigation relates to a private whistleblower lawsuit that was filed under seal and remains in early stages. It said it has had a “dialogue” with Bharara’s office to resolve the matter, but did not reach an agreement.
Michael McCoy, a SunTrust spokesman, declined to elaborate on the filing. Betsy Feuerstein, a spokeswoman for Bharara, declined to comment.
In June, SunTrust reached a $968 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve claims over other questionable mortgage practices.
The Federal Reserve officially released the order related to SunTrust’s (STI) $160 million penalty announced in October 2013, regarding the lender’s unsafe and unsound processes and practices in residential mortgage loans servicing and foreclosure processing.
The process was waiting to be completed after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and attorneys general in 49 states and the District of Columbia announcement in June over a $968 million mortgage origination settlement with SunTrust to cover mortgage servicing and foreclosure abuses.
SunTrust Mortgage (STI) agreed to pay $320 million to resolve the criminal investigation into the company’s Home Affordable Modification Program by the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to the DOJ, SunTrust misled numerous mortgage servicing customers who sought mortgage relief through HAMP.
“Specifically, SunTrust made material misrepresentations and omissions to borrowers in HAMP solicitations, and failed to process HAMP applications in a timely fashion,” the report said.
“This resolution will provide much-needed restitution for victims,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “It will make available substantial funds to help other homeowners avoid foreclosure. And it will result in the kinds of systemic changes needed to ensure that this will not happen again.”
Breakdown of enforcement action against SunTrust Bank
Pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the CFPB has the authority to take action against institutions engaging in unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices. Today’s proposed court order, filed in federal district court in the District of Columbia, would require SunTrust to correct their practices and provide relief to harmed consumers. Under the terms of the order, SunTrust must:
- Provide at least $500 million in relief to underwater borrowers: Over a three-year period, SunTrust must provide more than $500 million in loss mitigation relief to consumers, including reducing the principal on mortgages for borrowers who are at risk of default and reducing mortgage interest rates for homeowners who are current but underwater on their mortgages. If SunTrust fails to meet this requirement, it must pay a cash penalty equal to at least 125 percent of the shortfall.
- Provide $40 million in refunds to foreclosure victims: SunTrust must refund $40 million to consumers whose loans it serviced who lost their homes to foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2008 to Dec. 31, 2013. All consumers who submit valid claims will receive an equal share of the $40 million. Borrowers who receive payments will not have to release any claims and will be free to seek additional relief in the courts. Eligible consumers can expect to hear from the settlement administrator about potential payments later this year.
- Pay $10 million to the federal government: SunTrust must pay $10 million to cover losses it caused to the Federal Housing Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Rural Housing Service.
- Homeowner protections: Today’s order will require SunTrust to establish additional homeowner protections, including protections for consumers in bankruptcy. Like other servicers, SunTrust is subject to the CFPB’s new mortgage servicing rules that took effect on January 10, 2014. The agreement only covers SunTrust’s violations before the new rules took effect, and does not prevent the CFPB from pursuing civil enforcement actions against SunTrust for violations of these rules.
The proposed SunTrust consent order is available at:http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201406_cfpb_consent-judgement_sun-trust.pdf
A copy of the SunTrust complaint filed today is available at:http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201406_cfpb_complaint_sun-trust.pdf
The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendants have actually violated the law. The proposed federal court order will have the full force of law only when signed by the presiding judge.