COMBO Title and Securitization Search, Report, Documents, Analysis & Commentary COMBO Title and Securitization Search, Report, Documents, Analysis & Commentary

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is no surprise except that the story is being carried on front pages. Besides multiple foreclosures on the same property by unrelated parties each stating they are the owner and holder of the note, you have actions by parties to change locks, empty the house and otherwise take control BEFORE they start or complete foreclosure proceedings and sales.

To chalk such things off to accounting errors or clerical malfunctions is absurd. Before the GRAND ILLUSION of SECURITIZATION, it was a rare bird that some bank took possession of property before it foreclosed because once upon a time, the bank KNEW whether the house was foreclosed. it was pretty simple.

No, the reason this happened is not because of errors related to the volume of foreclosures. The reason it happened is because the SECURITIZATION IS AN ILLUSION and the parties in the illusory securitization chain can’t keep their stories straight.

In a Sign of Foreclosure Flaws, Suits Claim Break-Ins by Banks


TRUCKEE, Calif. — When Mimi Ash arrived at her mountain chalet here for a weekend ski trip, she discovered that someone had broken into the home and changed the locks.

When she finally got into the house, it was empty. All of her possessions were gone: furniture, her son’s ski medals, winter clothes and family photos. Also missing was a wooden box, its top inscribed with the words “Together Forever,” that contained the ashes of her late husband, Robert.

The culprit, Ms. Ash soon learned, was not a burglar but her bank. According to a federal lawsuit filed in October by Ms. Ash, Bank of America had wrongfully foreclosed on her house and thrown out her belongings, without alerting Ms. Ash beforehand.

In an era when millions of homes have received foreclosure notices nationwide, lawsuits detailing bank break-ins like the one at Ms. Ash’s house keep surfacing. And in the wake of the scandal involving shoddy, sometimes illegal paperwork that has buffeted the nation’s biggest banks in recent months, critics say these situations reinforce their claims that the foreclosure process is fundamentally flawed.

“Every day, smaller wrongs happen to people trying to save their homes: being charged the wrong amount of money, being wrongly denied a loan modification, being asked to hand over documents four or five times,” said Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

Identifying the number of homeowners who were locked out illegally is difficult. But banks and their representatives insist that situations like Ms. Ash’s represent just a tiny percentage of foreclosures.

Many of the incidents that have become public appear to have been caused by confusion over whether a house is abandoned, in which case a bank may have the right to break in and make sure the property is secure.

Some of the cases appear to be mistakes involving homeowners who were up to date on their mortgage — or had paid off their home — but who still became targets of a bank.

In Texas, for example, Bank of America had the locks changed and the electricity shut off last year at Alan Schroit’s second home in Galveston, according to court papers. Mr. Schroit, who had paid off the house, had stored 75 pounds of salmon and halibut in his refrigerator and freezer, caught during a recent Alaskan fishing vacation.

“Lacking power, the freezer’s contents melted, spoiled and reeking melt water spread through the property and leaked through the flooring into joists and lower areas,” the lawsuit says. The case was settled for an undisclosed amount.

More common are cases like Ms. Ash’s, in which a homeowner was behind on payments, perhaps trying to work out a modification, when bank crews changed the locks.

In Florida, contractors working for Chase Bank used a screwdriver to enter Debra Fischer’s house in Punta Gorda and helped themselves to a laptop, an iPod, a cordless drill, six bottles of wine and a frosty beer, left half-empty on the counter, according to assertions in a lawsuit filed in August. Ms. Fisher was facing foreclosure, but Chase had not yet obtained a court order, her lawyer says.

The break-in was discovered when a Canadian couple renting the house returned from the beach.

Chase officials said such behavior by its contractors, if determined to be true, would be considered unacceptable and corrective action would be taken.

Banks and their contractors insist that the number of mistakes is minuscule given the hundreds of thousands of new foreclosure cases filed each month. Bank of America, for instance, says it works with third-party contractors to inspect and maintain more than one million properties each month and has enhanced its controls in the last year to prevent mistakes.

Alan Jaffa, chief executive of Safeguard Properties, which inspects and maintains foreclosed properties for mortgage servicers, acknowledged that a handful of mistakes had been made. In most instances, he said, his company provided a valuable service that protected properties and neighborhoods.

“There is a stigma that we go in, kick the door in and throw grandma out head first and board up the windows,” Mr. Jaffa said. “We are doing a lot of good out there.”

But Alan M. White, a consumer law expert at Valparaiso University in Indiana, says: “Volume is not an excuse for violating someone’s rights.”

A clause in most mortgages allows banks that service the loan to enter a home and secure it if it is in default, meaning if the mortgage payment is 45 to 60 days late, and if the house has been abandoned, authorities said.

Banks do so to protect the property from vandalism or damage for which the bank could be liable.

4 Responses

  1. Banks deliberately and strategically foreclose on homes that are not delinquent, don’t have a mortgage, or that they don’t own. That is a fact!!!!! It’s hugely profitable.

    They do it because they can. They carefully pick their victims, elderly, moderate or low income, singles, anyone who cannot put up a significant defense.

  2. I know a woman who has two banks trying to foreclosure on her home even though she filed a lawsuit against the first bank (AHMSI) and then the second bank (CitiBank) filed an unlawful detainer action against her as if she was a renter. Unbelievable. She still does not know who owns what. AHMSI continues to try to get her to leave by offering her money–more money if she leaves earlier. What happened to the rule of law especially in California.

  3. MOre break in stories form South Florida foreclosure ATTY Matt Weidner

  4. White’s comment about volume being no excuse reminds me of doctors who have so many patients they cut off the wrong limb every now and then because they don’t bother to look at the chart or it’s the wrong chart.

    No excuse.

    I have a feeling from reading this post that third party contractors are behind a lot of these antics and banks will claim innocence. For instance, we had realtors climbing our gates and banging on our door, claiming to be the new owners. They also mailed us stuff on bank letterhead, with a phony officer signature, trying to appear official. I am sure that bank officer has no knowledge, if he even exists! Agents are trying to scare people out of their homes by using language to the effect that sheriffs will show up if they do not move out and giving them bogus deadlines.

    I think in these times, agents for the banks, including attorneys, are hungry for commissions and will stoop as far as they can to get them!

    We recently found evidence of the bank’s attorney using photocopied signatures of a bank official to support the WF Declaration/affidavit of foreclosure, etc. I think that is some kind of forgery.

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