Salon: Sorry you lost your home- Americans deserve more than an apology for the foreclosure fraud epidemic

A foreclosed home is shown in Chicago June 29, 2010. It may not make the blood boil like murder or rape, but mortgage fraud is a crime that cost an estimated $14 billion in 2009 and could be hampering an already fragile recovery in the housing market. The FBI has been fighting back, assembling its largest ever team to fight it. They have their work cut out for them, though, as a tsunami of foreclosures is making classic scams easier and spawning new ones to boot. Photo taken June 29, 2010. To match Special Report HOUSING-USA-FRAUD/  REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW BUSINESS) - RTR2HCLL

A foreclosed home is shown in Chicago June 29, 2010. It may not make the blood boil like murder or rape, but mortgage fraud is a crime that cost an estimated $14 billion in 2009 and could be hampering an already fragile recovery in the housing market. The FBI has been fighting back, assembling its largest ever team to fight it. They have their work cut out for them, though, as a tsunami of foreclosures is making classic scams easier and spawning new ones to boot. Photo taken June 29, 2010. To match Special Report HOUSING-USA-FRAUD/ REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES – Tags: CRIME LAW BUSINESS) – RTR2HCLL

http://www.salon.com/2016/08/09/sorry-you-lost-your-home-americans-deserve-more-than-an-apology-for-the-foreclosure-fraud-epidemic/

 

“I lost my home of 30 years to fraudclosure.”

“I have been fighting this bank for over five years now. I am finally losing everything to their fraud.”

“We feel captive in our own home.”

 

This is a sampling of what I have awakened to practically every day for the past few months, since my book “Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud” came out. Hundreds of people have emailed me, sent me letters, attended my public events, to relate their personal horror stories of foreclosure and dispossession. They come from across America, from different social and economic backgrounds. Some lost everything, and some haven’t given up.

 

They contact me, a non-lawyer who has only written about and not participated in their struggle, because they have been abandoned, by a government that chose sides against them after the crash of 2008. They seek answers that I mostly don’t have and support I mostly cannot provide. Outside of referring them to legal aid, I cannot solve their foreclosure problems. I cannot convince a judge disinclined to rule in their favor, or a bank disinclined to see them as anything but a financial asset to be plucked, to change their minds. I can only note in sorrow that the massive netting of fraud laid by the mortgage industry over a decade ago continues to capture people like them.

 

But despite my lack of assistance, they typically express to me their gratitude, for one simple reason: just by giving voice to similar nightmares, I have instilled in them hope that they aren’t utterly alone in their misery, that they haven’t been singled out by a vengeful nation, that somewhere out there they have an ally and a confidant.

 

I wrote my book for them, for everyone who suffered as a result of the largest consumer fraud in American history and the greatest economic collapse in nearly a century. They shouldn’t be forgotten. In fact, somebody should apologize to them for having to bear the weight of the financial collapse on their shoulders, even while that suffering was exacted through outright fraud. It might as well be me.

 

In “Chain of Title”, I detailed how three foreclosure victims uncovered an unparalleled pattern of deceit: mortgage companies systematically using false evidence in courtrooms and county offices to take people’s homes away. This routine document fabrication covered up the unspeakable crime of breaking the chain of title on millions of home mortgages, confusing the underlying ownership and damaging 350 years of functioning property records law.

 

It was a work of history, depicting events mainly in 2009 and 2010. But that history lives on in my email inbox, to this very day.

 

Julian Soncco of Phoenix, Arizona, told me how his bank, GMAC Mortgage, broke into his home and changed the locks while he was supposed to be under bankruptcy protection. He received a favorable judgment on two occasions but has still never recovered his home. “In this country,” Soncco wrote, “no such person, no matter how much power they hold, should have the right to take or rob a family from their home without any just reason.”

 

Michael Powell of Albuquerque, New Mexico, said he survived two foreclosure cases over the past five years, with a third attempt possible. “People would look at me like I was crazy when I’d talk of bogus documents and robo-signing,” he wrote. Diane Bauman of Baldwin, New York, described a foreclosure case against her by JPMorgan Chase going on six years, where affidavits suddenly turned up in the last month, purporting to fix defective documents.

 

Kim Bolin of St. Louis, Missouri, was told to stop making payments while she negotiated a modification, and then was put into foreclosure simultaneously. The lender submitted as proof of ownership an assignment dated 2013 from the original lender Intervale Mortgage, which went out of business in 2008. Kim, her husband and her three kids expect to be out on the street in the next two weeks. “The feeling of failing your kids is unbelievable,” Bolin wrote. “I now have a heart condition that is causing rapid breathing and a rapid heart rate – the only reason they can find is the huge amount of stress I’m living with every day.”

 

6 Responses

  1. The FBI has been fighting back, assembling its largest ever team to fight it. They have their work cut out for them,

    I am very glad to read the above. Why is it that when we complained to the FBI about blatant fraud on the assignment of mortgage on our home with clear proof, we did not hear anything? Anyone has the same experience?

  2. Providing for the welfare of the general public

    is a basic goal of government….in full support of David’s book and empathy of his and Neil’s years of positive support of our rights including “property”….a/k/a…or soon to be ….
    PWGP

  3. The Answer is, if you have a paid off home but would like some liquidity instead, You would actually need to create a mortgage against the money you take out against your home, NOT a HELOC. And of course, Perverse Mortgages are ONLY recommended in one is going to die very shortly, or is going to fix up their home and then sell it for a lot more money to offset the costs to getting a Perverse Mortgage.

  4. Neil, you can add another group of aggrieved homeowners to your list. Imagine paying off your home, and then a while later deciding to take out a HELOC.

    Then ten years later the homeowner is struggling with cancer but continues to make their payments, except now the payment has tripled because the HELOC needs to be paid off and is in reset mode.

    One would think that that homeowner could simply RE-HELOC with a replacement HELOC. The Replacement HELOC simply pays off the first HELOC, and new HELOC would be interest only for the first 10 years. since they were never late on a payment.
    NOPE, doesn’t work that way.

    You see, that would be a supremely simple and life affirming method of saying thanks to a homeowner who paid off their home and could still afford to make interest only payments. Keep in mind, the HELOC is only for 25% value of the home, so if the homeowner ever had to default, there would be plenty of collateral left in the home.

    Interest only HELOC’s have also gone away anyways, but before they did, REHELOC’ing an existing HELOC based on payment history was just not an option.

    Turns out NOBODY wants to go behind a first HELOC either! Again, it’s the banks screwing over homeowners simply because the homeowner took out some money against their PAID OFF HOME!

  5. so true

    ________________________________

  6. Republic Bank of Chicago v. FBOP Corp. and Micheal E. Kelly 2016 Ill. App. (1st) 141588-U, Released April 29, 2016; Contracts Third Party beneficiaries, standing Chicago Law Bulletin Thursday July 28, 2016 issue.

    From: Livingliess Weblog To: kennedy_thorne@ymail.com Sent: Tuesday, August 9, 2016 12:48 PM Subject: [New post] Salon: Sorry you lost your home- Americans deserve more than an apology for the foreclosure fraud epidemic #yiv7722691564 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv7722691564 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv7722691564 a.yiv7722691564primaryactionlink:link, #yiv7722691564 a.yiv7722691564primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv7722691564 a.yiv7722691564primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv7722691564 a.yiv7722691564primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv7722691564 WordPress.com | Neil Garfield posted: “http://www.salon.com/2016/08/09/sorry-you-lost-your-home-americans-deserve-more-than-an-apology-for-the-foreclosure-fraud-epidemic/ “I lost my home of 30 years to fraudclosure.”“I have been fighting this bank for over five years” | |

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