When the Stress of Foreclosure Becomes Too Much: A Texas Sergeant’s Suicide

roundrock

Even Law Enforcement is impacted by Foreclosure.

http://www.statesman.com/news/news/crime-law/round-rock-police-to-give-update-on-shooting-death/nsFKS/

An Austin, Texas sheriff’s deputy who committed suicide outside his home last month had been facing foreclosure.

Travis County Sgt. Craig Hutchinson told dispatchers there were prowlers in his yard before he was found mortally wounded July 25, authorities said.

Investigators initially said Hutchinson was shot while confronting suspects, but police in Round Rock, north of Austin, said that the fatal shot came from the 54-year-old deputy’s own service weapon.

SunTrust Mortgage filed a notice with the Williamson County clerk’s office on July 11 announcing that Hutchinson’s home was eligible for a foreclosure sale and proceeded to foreclose.   Hutchinson’s home was valued on tax rolls at about $241,000, and was sold as a result of the foreclosure process.

Officials this week wouldn’t comment on his personal finances. Sadly, Hutchinson planned to retire this year after 32 years in law enforcement. He also earned approximately $99,000 a year.  Theoretically, he brought in about $68k after paying federal taxes (Texas has no state tax).  This would be around $5,667 a month, a weekly pay of $1,308, and an hourly wage of $32.69.  Hutchinson’s mortgage payment would have been within his means.

However, if Hutchinson was to have a family emergency and miss even one mortgage payment, catching up on his mortgage would be very difficult when late fees and other fees were added.  It could have been that his servicer gave him erroneous information or had promised a modification they revoked at the last minute.  Unfortunately, we don’t know the entire story and can only speculate what would drive a well-respected law enforcement officer to take his own life in his front yard- with his own service weapon- with less than one year until retirement.  Did Hutchinson commit suicide to make a point?  Clearly he was a man in pain to have engaged in such a public display of distress.

 

The majority of Americans now live hand-to-mouth.  After paying for cell phones, internet, television, escalating food and fuel costs, inflated health care costs, leased vehicles and other expenses- there is very little left over at the end of the month.  We are a nation that lives on borrowed funds and this makes all of us vulnerable to the creditors who control the house we live in, the car we drive, and our access to healthcare.  Job loss, divorce, health issues, or relying on a servicer’s advice can create a financial tail spin.  Most Americans are one paycheck away from disaster.
The servicers are well aware that most people are living on the brink.  Disinformation or bad advice from a loan servicer can quickly end in a foreclosure.  The servicers are also aware that the majority of Americans can’t afford a small retainer to retain an attorney, let alone finance a lengthy and expensive lawsuit.  The odds are that the homeowner will eventually walk away and give up if the servicer can posture and play dirty for long enough- and they are usually right.  At Lending Lies our numbers show that less than 5% of all homeowners fight back against a fraudulent foreclosure.
Mortgage servicing has evolved into a predatory industry.  The servicer can make a couple of dollars per month servicing a mortgage, or they can make a financial landslide in profits if they can engineer a default.
For example, a client the Lending Lies Team spoke to this week sent us his past five years of mortgage statements.  The statements showed decreasing balances, escrows that varied by thousands of dollars within three statements, and late fees, drive-by fees, and miscellaneous fees that amounted to over 20k dollars in the last year!  The homeowner and his CPA could not make heads or tails out of the servicer’s statements.  The judge said to figure it out and bring him a number- but the statements were completely illegible.  Thus, even though the homeowner was trying to get a new loan they couldn’t get an accurate payoff number.  The client was infuriated that their only option was to pay whatever amount the servicer demanded even though the servicer could not explain the charges and fees assessed.

It is time to get back to local banking and using regional credit unions instead of mega-banking cartels who have no interest in preventing foreclosure.  When local banks are used, there is an investment in community and an accountability that is not seen with impersonal and predatory loan servicers and lenders.

 

If Sergeant Hutchinson is like any of the clients we talk to on a daily basis at Lending Lies, he was tired of fighting an unresponsive or unhelpful loan servicer.  He was tired of the third party drive-bys, notices nailed to his front door, illegible statements, predatory fees and the public humiliation associated with living in a small town where it is broadcast that you can’t pay your mortgage.  It is likely that he suffered from debilitating anxiety and even panic attacks.  The stress on his marriage, family and even work performance may have been overwhelming.  Ultimately, he likely experienced a major depression.

   People suffering from major depression do not think logically.  Law-enforcement personnel who are combating foreclosure are likely not at their professional best.
Depression and PTSD impact the ability to make rational decisions.  Sergeant Hutchinson was likely a victim of a wrongful foreclosure.  It says a lot about our society that a bank’s profit is more important than working to find an equitable solution.  When is enough going to be enough?

 

12 Responses

  1. Never ever give up! I feel for this gentlemen. But that lets them Win.
    Standup a fight! We are the 5% !!!!

  2. johenrion, I feel the same way as you do.

  3. Rhody, don’t even bother to go there when you mention the FBI. Same with DOJ. Same with AG’s such as Holder.
    I think it’s been proven for quite some time now whose side they’re on…and it isn’t ours.
    This is no longer ‘our’ govt.
    It belongs to the 1%.

  4. truthwriter,
    Careful what you say about the mafia.
    From what little I know of them, they have higher morals & ethics than the banks & may not appreciate the comparison.

  5. I feel sympathy to the same extent as has been shown me, and uncounted others, by banks attorneys, courts, and law enforcement.

  6. Johenrion you are right. We must develop a collective strategy to stop the fraudsters. Our govt was designed to serve us. Instead we pay them to let the thieves get away with murder. Isn’t there a law that if a certain number of signatures are presented the prez must do something? Move on.org or change.org? We must hit our sold out legislators where it hurts. Any and all suggestions welcomed.

  7. I owned a 111 acre Farm mortgage free in Otsego County, NY that was illegally forecIosed on due to County taxes owed. They started foreclosure proceedings on my Farm when I only owed one year of back taxes when they started foreclosure proceedings in January of 2013. It takes four years of back taxes owed before they can foreclose on and sell a property at auction.

    On Aug 18, 2014 we went to the Otsego County, NY Court and lost the right to pay our back taxes. The Court decided that we would have to put $20,600 in escrow while we were in litigation pending an Appellate Court date. He allowed our property to be auctioned off on Aug 20, 2014 with a stay on the convenience of the deeds.

    On March 23, 2014 we went with our Attorney to the Appellate Court Third Division in Albany, NY. On April 5, 2015 our Attorney passed away. On April 7th, 2015 a decision was handed down by the Appellate Court Third Division and we lost again. I would like to note that the Otsego Attorney’s husband is a NY State Supreme Court Administrative Judge. How does one beat a rigged system of so called justice.

    The Attorney that took over our Attorney’s firm was useless and I called at least twenty Attorney’s and no one would take our case. I finally found an Attorney and he filed an article 78 which stated their County resolutions and that it takes four years to foreclose on a property. It also allows a property owner to pay all back taxes and late fees at the day of the auction.He also added that two properties in Otsego County, NY that were aloud to pay their taxes late and gave them copies of their checks that showed that they had missed the June 30, 2015 tax deadline. We also proved that the Otsego County Treasurer back dated their payments. Fraud?

    We are now preparing for Federal Court. This has become very costly and we hope that with the grace of God we will prevail.

    I am a Navy Veteran and still serving in the Air National Guard. I have had six surgeries since 2010. My Wife has struggled with MS for 20 yrs. They did not show any compassion towards us. We had to watch our Farm being auctioned off by corrupt Otsego County officials. They are using aggressive foreclosures in order to create revenue for the County. They were more concerned about discouraging a bidder who came to their auction than a property owner that owned and paid taxes in their County for thirty years.

    The message that Otsego County is sending is that if you are a Veteran, sick, disabled or lose your job. You will lose your property. I know what stress is and I suffer from PTSD. I will never stand down.

    May Sgt Craig Hutchinson rest in peace. This could have been avoided. The banks could have worked with him.

    Please check out out Web site http://www.savetheforcefarm.com
    We have set up a Fundly
    https://fundly.com/save-the-force-farm/

  8. o, this is all part of the plan to downgrade america into a socialist society where we come to rely on the govt for most or all of all of the necessities to live our life. 1/5 of all the houses in the last crisis were bought up by investors and big investment companies and most of those homes were an avg property where most of us average people would own/afford. Now they are commodoties of wall street speculators where the rental income is their securitization scheme until they get tired of being slumlords and flood the market with wrecked housing like they did in the last downturn. developers need to build new housing for the avg joe, but some cannot get financing because these big banks are controlling the lending and holding the properties they stole from us. JP Morgan Chase is #1 in these investment properties (and thats why they are stealing my house or trying to). The banks wont lend maybe because their rental scheme is giving them their profit at the moment. These big banks seem to be untouchable. Why is that>? Imo, they are mafia that no one can touuch out of fear of something (their lives perhaps?) These banks need to go down and hard and yes I will never look to them for a loan. The banks are corrupt and govt is backing them. Look at the big picture. A few more bankers need to suicide themselves. They know what they have done and continue to do. They do not care about any lives and all the ones they have wrecked for their greed. I hope the lord is coming soon to deal with them.

  9. This is a heart-wrenching story. How Sgt. Craig Hutchinson was able to carry on for so long in a high stress job, while also fighting foreclosure, shows his strength. I am sorry that he hit a point where he saw no other way out.

    Deaths by foreclosure of of people I knew:

    =One block away from my childhood home, a friend I had known since elementary school shot himself as the sheriff arrived to evict him after foreclosure.

    -My cousin shot himself because he knew his life insurance would be enough to pay off the mortgage after he was gone.

    A father with an insurance policy in place long enough for suicide to not be an issue, may believe he is worth more to his family dead than alive. The loan servicing companies, banks, and Mr Potter are in agreement on this. Is this Pottersville or America?

    Hearing these stories and knowing people who died this way, causes me to recall the Vietnam days, when everyone seemed to know someone or knew a family that had lost a son, brother, cousin, father, or husband there. We seem to be in yet another undeclared but deadly war.

    Is death by foreclosure killing off a lot more people than we know? How many suicide deaths by foreclosure have there been? Is anyone keeping track of the numbers? What about the deaths that may not seem connected to foreclosure, but are, such as strokes, heart attacks, and other health issues that are exacerbated or even brought on by the unrelenting stress that foreclosure brings?

    It is said that whatever does not kill you, makes you stronger, but a lot of people are dying…

  10. This is sad to read. Why can’t the FBI help the homeowners who are facing fraudulent foreclosures? It’s time for the FBI to step in with their resources to crack down on fraudulent securitization done by the banks. False and fraudulent securitization is not difficult thing to understand as people talked it in many ways for a long time. Making the banks to pay fine is not going to help the people. They get only $10 to $15 as compensation as there are a very vast number of people who are victimized by fraudulent assignment of mortgage and no possession of promissory note to be eligible as holder in due course. People must get their homes on quite title if there is fraud involved by the pretender or fake mortgagee. This is the only solution to the ongoing and never ending fraudulent foreclosures. The USA foreclosure is becoming a shameful thing in the world that people may be looking at Americans in a confusing or amusing way.

  11. This is so sad and I pray for his family. I too am from Texas . Harris County to be exact. I am one of the lucky America’s Wholesale Lender (I will not use victim) because I am choosing to be a winner even though Bank of America and Bank of New York Mellon manufactued papers to claim they sold the property. I was evicted on November 15, 2015. I chose to continue my fight. Bank of New York is just as criminal as Bank of America. I not only was evicted Nov but lost my job too because Oil and Gas Industry collapsed. Well, I’m a survivor and a warrior. I will not give up. Thank God on April 3, 2016 Bank of America lost their rights to the America’s Wholesale Lender trademark. Silly Bank of America chose to sue for trademark infringement and was foreclosing on home’s under the fictitious Lender calling it out as a Corporation. Oh and even as of today, Bank of America is still using MERS ® to do Assignment of Deed of Trust for America’s Wholesale Lender. Criminals 100%. They know America’s Wholesale Lender is not a Corporation but a trademark because they admitted it under the lawsuit for trademark infringement. But nothing is stopping them from the fraud even after they lost their trademark rights April 3, 2016 (See USPTO website for factual information). To this officer, I pray I defeat Bank of America in court in memory of your broken heart. God Bless.

  12. We must come up with something, a way to raise all our voices at once. Has anyone established a national database of mortgage victims. These stories are so like my own but break my heart to hear so many and so cruel. I learned these servicers tactics in my work as a Realtor, negotiating with the servicers on behalf of my real estate clients. I know full well their devious, stalking, predatory techniques. They wear you down and step on you. Their goal is to find those most vulnerable, those already struggling but desperate to hold on. Then they move in for the kill. On my own mortgage, I must follow up each month because even though I leave with a receipt that say my payment on my mortgage loan was made, BAM, it gets put into anotther category and I’m already working on 30 days past due. I’d would never know, if I didn’t check. All they want is to move you to that 61 days when they can put you on notice, start adding fees and file a Lis Pendens. They know if they rack up a few thousand dollars in fees, even if they are incorrect and down right wrong, no one has the money to fight them and make them do the right thing. Now I’ve heard theres an uptick in the number of reverse mortgages in trouble. I can only imagine what easy prey elderly men and women will be when the servicers put them through their physcological warfare routine. We must do something more to raise awareness. There are a lot of really bright and talented people people on this blog. We need a massive brainstorm of ideas to draw from to get going. To all my fellow war wounded victims of the greatest fraud ever, how can we best tell the world what has happened us and show them just how many of us there? We need to tell them how their tax dollars are being spent, supporting the very ones who caused us to lose our homes, livelihoods, retirement plans and any wealth years of hard work and frugal living may have created, gone …. all gone.

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