July 14, 2013

Agent Scammer to the Slammer for a fixed 15

Let’s have some more news about our favorite people: realtards. Or at least one particular realtard who was particularly clueless. Pro Tip: If you’re going to pull off a classic Ponzi real estate scam, don’t do it to your own friends and family. Pick people who won’t be continually reminded of you. They’re less likely to notice there’s a problem, and even if they do, they’ll keep forgetting to do something about it.

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for passing this story along.

San Jose real estate agent who scammed friends and family gets 15-year sentence

130713-ponzi-mugshotBy Eric Kurhi, San Jose Mercury News
Posted:   07/10/2013 06:10:02 PM PDT; Updated:   07/11/2013 12:12:36 PM PDT

SAN JOSE — A real estate agent has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for using a Ponzi scheme to bilk friends and family out of more than $2 million, which she spent on luxury cars, expensive clothes and fancy furniture, according to prosecutors.

Jill Marie Silvey, 51, was convicted earlier this year in Santa Clara County Superior Court of 52 fraud-related felonies. Her scam involved convincing at least 20 investors to lend their money to homeowners whom Silvey had dealt with before. The homeowners would then send the investors monthly interest payments.

Unfortunately, there are still plenty of real estate agents out there not going to jail. Some of them might not have even scammed anybody!  This a good time to let us know your agent stories, both good and bad.

PG notes “She reportedly asked if we could refinance the sentence to a 5/1.” 

Comments (2) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:03 am






April 7, 2013

A Day of Rest Should be Observed with Real Estate

Today is Sunday, and that means… no A-Z Blog Challenge today. The schedule’s been set that we do a new letter every Monday through Saturday, and on Sunday you can go to church or look at Open Houses.  Or in the case of this story, courtesy of Burbed reader nomadic, you can combine both.

Judge Rules Against Bay Area Church Leaders In Real Estate Case

130406-vallejo-marqueeVALLEJO (KPIX 5) – A California state judge has ruled against two leaders of a prominent Bay Area church accused of bilking parishioners in an alleged investment scheme.

The judge ruled that General Assembly Church leaders Lacy Hawkins and Michael Parker operated a real estate investment company without a license, in violation of securities law.

KPIX 5 has been investigating Lacy Hawkins and Michael Parker’s involvement in the business deal, that church members said cost them millions of dollars. General Assembly Church has locations in Union City and Vallejo.

Hundreds of parishioners mortgaged their homes and drained retirement accounts on the promise of investment returns as high as 30 percent. Some said they were even promised salvation.

Yes, it’s not enough to have a religious leader in a fraud case, it has to have a realty component. And this one’s actually pretty interesting. Seems this was one of those We’re Here To Run Your Life For You kinds of churches, where you can’t even wipe your nose without permission.

130406-vallejo-churchAnd the Supreme Leader pretty much was ordering parishioners to buy into their real estate trusts or tout them to each other.  The investment vehicles weren’t exactly transparent about the real estate in them.  Unless you count the Woodlands of Ascension project they bought in Louisiana. Which was, mo konmprann, swamp.  Leadership blamed lack of progress on Katrina, but the Army Corps of Engineers said the land was always swamp.

The victims are claiming they were brainwashed into investing with the church’s leaders. We’re imagining just what kind of techniques were used. Maybe “Buy now or you’ll be priced out forever and that, my friends, is the definition of HELL.” 

Also the church leadership quickly realized that paying the real estate agent (who was part of the church) regular commissions for flipping properties was a loser… for them. The agent went from $20,000 a month to $1600 biweekly, as straight salary.  Meanwhile, the church reported to the IRS that they had paid him the commissions, so he owes more than a million in taxes.

The investment’s books were not open to the membership, either, so they didn’t realize that the vehicles were classic Ponzi schemes.

This is an Open Thread. Are you attending religious services this weekend, Open Houses, both, or neither?  And we’ll be back with the next letter in the Challenge tomorrow, G for God. Or Grab. Or both.

Comments (2) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

October 28, 2012

Innocent Ingenues, Allergy Antagonists or School District Scammers?

Here’s a great story we found via Inside Los Gatos, and by “great” this time we actually do mean “great.”  It’s got a number of hot buttons, so fire up your righteous outrage!

Los Gatos Family Continues to Fight School

Edwards family says school won’t let their kids attend because of nut allergies. Los Gatos Union School claims the family doesn’t live in the right district

By Stephanie Chuang, NBC Bay Area, Tuesday, Oct 23, 2012, Updated 9:15 PM PDT

Edwards family says school won’t let their kids attend because of nut allergies, school claims the family doesn’t live in the right district

In a story we first told you on NBC Bay Area last Friday, the tension between one South Bay family and the Los Gatos Union School District (LGUSD) is coming to a head.

Tuesday morning, the Edwards family walked 9-year-old Ella and 7-year-old Sarah into the Van Meter Elementary school office – only to be greeted by the superintendent and two police officers.

“That’s when my heart sank, when I heard there were police officers just to prevent my girls from going to the school they belong in,” said Shuly Edwards, the girls’ mother, before she began to cry.

121026-vanmeter-ella-sarahThis story has a mom claiming her daughters have been kicked out of five different schools because of their nut allergies.  It has a district superintendent retorting the family is scamming the district because they actually live elsewhere.  It’s got threatened lawsuits. And of course, it’s got video of the girls being cute on cue. 

Due to all the highly pressurized and flammable contents, we hope this will lead to a veritable flamefight lively discussion. And just to pour some gasoline on the fire, we’ll get you going with some of the ruder observations from ILG’s own commenters.  Below is the first video, with more background on the Edwards’ nut allergy claims.

121026-vanmeter-policeHere are some of the juicier rumors from Inside Los Gatos. (Burbed provides the comment summary as-is and without any implied warranty for accuracy. Some material appearing herein may not have been meant as a factual statement.)  The photo at right is also from the blog.

  • This family has a home in Campbell mom’s sister is renting from them
  • The same family was asked to leave Mulberry School (private) because of unreasonable food demands of others; mom is a troublemaker.
  • The same mom was in a different news story about her chronic migraines (Confirmed!)
  • Van Meter Elementary already has a nut-free lunch table
  • Family provided two addresses and the first one was fictitious; were investigated for 5–6 weeks.  They have until next Wednesday to provide all paperwork or they’re out again.

We laugh at the foolish reporter in the follow-up video (top) for comparing Los Gatos Elementary to Moreland and Campbell school districts. Stephanie Chuang asked administrators at the latter two if they had ever called police to resolve a residency dispute.  As all readers of Burbed know, only Real Bay Area cities have Real Bay Area schools worth lying to get your kids into.

Comments (26) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:12 am

August 12, 2012

Send not to know for whom the house Tolls… it took thy deposit

120808-producersRemember the basic premise of The Producers?  If you oversell interest in a Broadway show, and then deliberately produce the worst musical you can, none of your investors will complain when they lose all their money… and you keep their 40,000% ownership.  So our intrepid producer duo went off in search of the worst script they could find, and… hilarity ensues.

So why hasn’t anyone tried this idea with real estate as well?  Maybe it’s because not enough in the industry figured out the same trick: in a market downturn you can make more money not selling houses than you can selling them.  Read on to know it Tolls for thee.

How did Toll Brothers survive the housing slump? By keeping buyers’ deposits

By Matthias Gafni, Contra Costa Times
Posted:   07/27/2012 09:12:51 AM PDT, Updated: 07/27/2012 05:00:58 PM PDT

120808-tollbros-lotAs newly minted empty-nesters, Daven Sharma and his wife, Anu, spent 2010 searching for a spot for their dream house with views of San Francisco Bay. They found it in the Hayward hills, within a Toll Brothers development.

Shortly after plunking down about $100,000 in deposits, the couple’s dream fizzled. The Sharmas lost not only the house, but their deposit, attorney and arbitration fees — and a sense of justice.

Critics say and records show that Pennsylvania-based Toll Brothers — the nation’s largest luxury homebuilder, with developments in Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties — has made it a regular practice to collect forfeited deposits from prospective homebuyers. In fact, it was the builder’s No. 1 source of profit during the down years of the housing market, according to a Maryland class action lawsuit.

From fiscal years 2006 to 2011, according to its own SEC reports, the publicly traded company retained $123 million in forfeited deposits from 3,300 prospective homebuyers.

120808-tollbros-sharmaRead that again: during the housing slump, the number one source of profit was forfeited deposits.  At least that’s what one lawsuit says.

There are 155,000 results for the search Toll Brothers LawsuitThis website has quite a story to tell.  While it’s about severe construction problems, the other part of the story is the lengths their attorneys would go to to avoid fixing the house.  Ellen Nevens has been fighting Toll Brothers for twelve years.  That’s a lot of time and effort to build a house badly and then not fix it.  It would be much easier to not build it in the first place. 

And that’s what happened to Daven and Anu Sharma when they put a $98K deposit on a Hayward hills homesite in a Toll Brothers community.  The Sharmas found out what many others have previously experienced: the sales contract has little flexibility on loan funding.  And if, or maybe we should say when, the loan isn’t funded, the contract says no loan means Toll keeps the deposit.  The Sharmas indeed lost in arbitration, plus they had to pay another $5600 in fees.

120808-producers-posterJim Daman had to sue to get some of his $104K deposit back on a home in Danville.  When Toll Brothers didn’t build his house within the promised six months, he watched its market value sink.  He eventually settled for $70K.   Compared to the Sharmas, he did well.  Someone the corporation won the arbitration, claiming that customization had been done and they had outlays.  Yet the photo of the dirt lot above is all that was in place when the Sharmas cancelled their contract because their current house didn’t sell.

Here’s the contract language that one attorney called confusing, Daman called “99.9 percent in their favor” and another tried diagramming on a whiteboard to understand it:

Buyer’s failure to fulfill any of such conditions or the termination or expiration of the mortgage commitment after it is received, for any reason, shall not release Buyer from its obligations under the Agreement.

120808-tollbros-arundelA latter attorney notes that Toll offered some of his Pennsylvania clients loan commitments with conditions that made no financial sense, such as amounts far larger than the agreed sales price.  When buyers balked, then Toll would keep the deposit, claiming they were in breach.

“They can make more money by not building the house,” he said.

While the Sharma’s Arundel Drive homesite is not listed, this nearby home on Stonebrae Road is.  It looks quite lovely when photographed with a sunset, and it’s “within the gates of TPC Stonebrae Country Club.”  According to the virtual tour, the builder is not Toll Brothers, but a firm called True Life Communities who seem to be avoiding any hint of describing themselves with specifics.

But given the story of the Sharmas and their Arundel Drive site being so nearby, we assumed it was the same community.  (In fact there are several different builders.)  And if you buy this house you’ll have quite the run of neighbors to entertain!

120808-stonebrae-satellite

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:19 am

March 17, 2012

A dozen plus tenants in a million-dollar hood

Foreclosure rattles upscale San Jose neighborhood, and tenants

By Pete Carey, San Jose Mercury News
Posted:   03/14/2012 05:53:36 PM PDT, Updated: 03/15/2012 10:14:37 AM PDT

120315-lacastellet-partitionsThe two-story home in the East San Jose foothills could belong to any well-to-do family, but step through the door and you’re inside a million-dollar suburban foreclosure quagmire.

More than a dozen adults and their pets have been living in a warren of rented rooms in the foreclosed house, turning a tranquil cul-de-sac into what one upset neighbor called "a nightmare for all of us living on that block."

120315-lacastellet-laundryAccording to attorneys for the tenants, the former owner was renting out rooms — including the laundry room and a living room split in two — in the months after the home was foreclosed by the bank. They claim she never told tenants about the foreclosure. Now the tenants face eviction in a hearing to be held Thursday in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

San Jose police officers have responded 16 times since September to resolve disputes and disturbances at the five bedroom, four bath home on La Castellet Court, where houses are valued at $1 million or more. The city’s code enforcement department says it has an open case on the house.      

120315-lacastellet-staircaseRemember the Cubicle House?  This owner simply took that idea one step further now that rentals beat office space.

For all of you who have been criticizing the idea of The Real Bay Area versus The Part That Is Not, this should definitively settle those arguments.  Things like this simply Do Not Happen In The Real Bay Area.  If someone in Los Altos Hills were to notice 15 cars parked along the street in front of the 4,000 square foot housing tumor next door, Code Enforcement would not merely say they have “an open case on the house.”

And in Palo Alto, every one of those vehicles would have collected parking tickets within 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Anyway, our intrepid reporters have tracked down the house in question.

120315-lacastellet-redfin

Unfortunately for purposes of journalistic outrage, the Streetview photo does not have the aforementioned excess vehicle collection.

120315-lacastellet-streetview

Zillow can show us the neighborhood values.

120315-lacastellet-zestimates

Homeowners here certainly may have paid over a million for this area, but Zillow has a disturbing lack of faith in their reported valuations.  The expressway-like street against the backyards is Aborn. 

And if you’re wondering why the FB felt the need to fill this home chock-a-block with tenants while hiding from Bank of America, wait until you hear the bubblicious price paid for this place: $1,580,000 on Halloween of 2006. 

Comments (16) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

February 26, 2012

Fine for appropriating a non-RBA house: $1,895

Restitution ordered for man convicted of stealing house

120224-tate-courtBy JESSICA M. PASKO – Santa Cruz Sentinel, Posted:   02/03/2012 02:06:34 PM PST

Photo at right: Raymond Tate (on right), convicted house thief, appearing in court with attorney Steve LeBerge, in 2009.  (Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel)

SANTA CRUZ – A Santa Cruz man convicted in 2010 of stealing a Ben Lomond home will have to pay $1,895 in restitution to the rightful owners, a judge ruled Friday.

Raymond Tate sentenced in May 2010 to five months in County Jail and three years’ probation for felony charges of filing false property records and conspiracy. According to court records, Tate was able to use a typographical error on the deed for a Hubbard Gulch Road to pose as the owner of the house and file false documents with the county recorder to support his case.

While the rightful owners were on vacation in 2009, Tate sold the home to someone else. When the owners returned, they found their belongings moved to the garage, the locks changed and a stranger living in their house. The occupant, Daniel Judd, said he bought the house from Tate and later admitted he was part of the plot to take the home. Judd is currently on probation in Santa Clara County.

Burbed will take a hard-hitting stand in opposition to house theft, whether or not in the Real Bay Area.  However, we are obligated to point out the advantages of owning an RBA house, should you be so unfortunate as to find it stolen.  There is absolutely no way that someone guilty of grand theft housing (as opposed to this petty larceny) would be given such a slap on the wrist.  Read further into this story, and you will discover that the legal owners of the house claimed $5,700 in actual damages.  The reduced amount awarded no doubt reflects the non-RBA discount applied to all homes that are not Special enough.

120224-hubbard-gulchThis is the house in question, in case you have any concerns about its worthiness.  It’s a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath red-tag special, for which the proper owners paid $50,000 for in 2007.  It was also sliding down a hill.  Perhaps it was not sliding when the previous owners paid $130,000 for it just two years earlier.

The disputed house on Hubbard Gulch Road (Shmuel Thaler/Sentinel)

You won’t learn this in the article above, which is woefully deficient in what is otherwise a fascinating story.  But The Sentinel does list several of its previous articles covering all the house wrangling.  Click on through for a twisty little maze of real estate fraud.

(more…)

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

February 19, 2012

SF Foreclosures: They’re Doing it Wrong

Here’s some cheery news for your Sunday open house visiting!  This might make you think twice about offering anything on a short sale, REO, or previous foreclosure.

Audit Uncovers Extensive Flaws in Foreclosures

By GRETCHEN MORGENSON, Published: February 15, 2012

An audit by San Francisco county officials of about 400 recent foreclosures there determined that almost all involved either legal violations or suspicious documentation, according to a report released Wednesday.

120216-ting

Photo, right: Phil Ting, Phil Ting, the San Francisco assessor-recorder, found widespread violations or irregularities in files of properties subject to foreclosure sales.  Annie Tritt for The New York Times

Phil Ting, the San Francisco assessor-recorder, found widespread violations or irregularities in files of properties subject to foreclosure sales.

Anecdotal evidence indicating foreclosure abuse has been plentiful since the mortgage boom turned to bust in 2008. But the detailed and comprehensive nature of the San Francisco findings suggest how pervasive foreclosure irregularities may be across the nation.

The improprieties range from the basic — a failure to warn borrowers that they were in default on their loans as required by law — to the arcane. For example, transfers of many loans in the foreclosure files were made by entities that had no right to assign them and institutions took back properties in auctions even though they had not proved ownership.

120216-fraudWell, that’s San Francisco for you.  That doesn’t mean foreclosures in the nation’s other 3140 counties and county-equivalents should have any problems at all.  You see, bankers in San Francisco were so terrified of the terrible impact Prop 8 had on gay marriage and real estate values, they didn’t want to look at what they were signing.  For three whole years!

Good thing the $26 billion foreclosure settlement between five huge banks and 49 state attorneys general is already signed!  Who knows what kind of trouble there would be if this sort of report had been released beforehand.  Why, San Francisco homeowners wouldn’t be getting their share of the $147 million (provided they managed to hold onto the house while the banks were doing everything possible to claw it away, in which case $2,000 each ought to cover it).

This is an Open Thread.  Are you more or less likely to buy in San Francisco after reading this story?

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

January 15, 2011

Who’s Buying All Them State Buildings? Nobody’s Sayin’

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>Hidden in emergency budget legislation, 7.3 million square feet of noted state office complexes were put up for sale, including several in San Francisco.That resulted in the oddity of all seven justices recusing themselves from deciding whether the sale could proceed. (Their offices in the Earl Warren building, part of the SF Civic Center, would be included, photo right.)  The deal was halted only 2 days before closing on December 15th, as Arnold’s reign came to an end.  And the more reporters dig to find out who benefits from this sweetheart deal, the more muck they find.

24 buildings on 11 sites, including landmarks such as the Ronald Reagan building in Los Angeles, plus others in San Francisco, Sacramento, Oakland, and Santa Rosa are being sold. The deal is with a mysterious group of investors who don’t wish to be identified, or claim they’ve dropped out when contacted.  The buildings cover 43 percent of all state government office space.

Identities of Investors in State Property Sale Grow Cloudier

Many have dropped out of contested deal, and those that remain are tight-lipped

By ELIZABETH LESLY STEVENS on January 12, 2011 – 3:12 p.m. PST
The Bay Citizen

Most of the members of a shadowy investor group that agreed to finance the sale of tony state office buildings last year appear to have dropped out of the deal, and those that remain are tight-lipped about their involvement in the transaction, which is being challenged in court as an illegal gift of state assets to a group with political pull in Sacramento.

Departing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger tried mightily in his waning days in power to close the controversial sale of 11 premier properties.

The deal, now being challenged in a state appellate court, is in limbo. The new administration of Gov. Jerry Brown asked the court for a month to review the matter, and now arguments are scheduled to begin in February. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office reported in November that the deal would end up costing California taxpayers $6 billion in the coming decades, but the approximately $1.3 billion net proceeds of the deal are already factored in to the state’s budget for the coming year. If the deal falls apart, the cash-strapped state’s deficit will swell by another $1.3 billion.

The deal had been scheduled to close on Dec. 15. The legal challenge, brought by lawyer Joseph Cotchett and former San Francisco City Attorney Louise Renne, convinced the appellate court to issue a stay just 48 hours before the sale was to have closed.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>Color me surprised.  A bunch of former officeholders finding ways to sell themselves some primo office properties hiding behind lawyers and corporations?  Stalwart building authority members who objected to the deal got sidelined?  Who would have predicted that?

And what a lovely problem it’s left California with: sell our buildings to these crooks, and have to rent what we owned.  (Bonus!  And get evicted in favor higher-paying trophy retailer!)  Or, invalidate the deal and dig up another $1.3 billion for that out-of-whack state budget.  Plus everyone standing to benefit will then sue when they don’t get their cut.  Be sure to read the first link in the article for more background if you haven’t been following this local example of how crony capitalism works.  (Photo above left, State PUC building is part of the 24 building deal.  Adithya Sambamurthy/The Bay Citizen)

But that’s just one secretive sell-off of public assets.  Burbed reader nomadic sends in what could be the answer, but it only raises more concerns.  Matt Taibbi suggests that large chunks of our infrastructure, including “a whole bevy of Californian public infrastructure projects,”are being bought by “sovereign wealth funds.” SWFs are extremely large amounts of cash, in particular from oil-producing nations.  One of the SWFs was offered the entire Pennsylvania Turnpike.  (They demurred, but Taibbi names other public works projects that have been sold off, including the Chicago Skyway and their parking meter revenue.)

Around this time, state and municipal executives began putting their infrastructure assets up to lease — essentially for sale, since the proposed leases in some cases were seventy-five years or longer. And in virtually every case that I’ve been able to find, the local legislature was never informed who the true owners of these leases were. Probably the best example of this is the notorious Chicago parking meter deal, a deal that would have been a hideous betrayal even without the foreign ownership angle. It was a blitzkrieg rip-off that would provide the blueprint for increasingly broke-ass America to carry lots of these prized toasters to the proverbial pawnshop.

Sounds familiar.  Maybe that’s why this California First LLC group is being so secretive?

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

January 8, 2011

Massachusetts to Banks: Foreclose This!

After reading about the truly depressing tale of the Foreclosure Express Courtroom (the Rocket Docket) in Florida, here’s some good news provided you aren’t a bank or a bank shareholder.  Thanks to Burbed guest editor DreamT for passing this news item along.

Two Banks Lose in Foreclosure Cases

By ROBBIE WHELAN, ALAN ZIBEL and VICTORIA MCGRANE, The Wall Street Journal

housingThe highest court in Massachusetts ruled against Wells Fargo & Co. and U.S. Bancorp in two foreclosure cases that cast doubt over whether some home loans were properly handled when packaged into securitizations.

Justices in the state’s Supreme Judicial Court upheld a lower court’s decision to void foreclosure sales of two homes in Springfield, because owners of the loans couldn’t prove that the mortgages had been assigned to them. Both loans were assembled into mortgage-backed securities sold to investors.

Photo, above right: A Wells Fargo branch in San Francisco. Shares of the bank fell 2% on the ruling, and other banks saw share-price losses as well.  — Getty Images

Bank stocks fell on worries that Friday’s ruling could make it harder for financial firms to foreclose on mortgages that wound up in securities. The defeat also might provide ammunition to mortgage-bond investors who have accused and even sued servicers for what the investors claim is systematically shoddy loan documentation.

….

The Massachusetts case is a closely watched example of what some mortgage experts describe as “show-me-the-paper” cases over widely used procedures for transferring loans after they are made. Individual loans often are sold to an investor, with the new owner’s name left blank in loan documents to minimize paperwork hassles as the loan subsequently changes hands before being combined with other loans into mortgage-backed securities.

These cases only apply to Massachusetts, though.  Banks in California and nonrelevant parts of the country can continue to foreclose on homeowners without proving they actually own the mortgages in question.

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:12 am

December 26, 2010

Not Your House? Not Our Lien? We’re Foreclosing Anyway, Sucks to be You.

So, now that another Christmas has come and gone, it’s time to take stock and count our blessings.  Here’s a blessing you didn’t know you had: Be thankful a bank isn’t foreclosing on you for a house you don’t even own.  Because if they were, good luck proving it isn’t yours.  Or maybe it is your house, but another bank who doesn’t even own the note is foreclosing despite your perfect payment record? Or even better yet, how about a bank foreclosing on your house when you paid cash for it?  Welcome to another episode of Bankers Do the Darndest Things! 

Thanks to Burbed reader nomadic for this cup of Christmas cheer!

Caught by mistake in foreclosure web

By MICHELLE CONLIN, AP Real Estate Writer Wed Dec 8, 6:28 pm ET

In this undated photo provided by Alexa Marconi, Christopher Marconi stands outside his home in Garrison, N. Y. On Oct. 20, 2010, Marconi was in the sChristopher Marconi (photo, right) was in the shower when he heard a loud banging on his door. By the time he grabbed a towel and hustled to his front step, a U.S. marshal’s sedan was peeling out of his driveway. Nailed to Marconi’s front door was a foreclosure summons from Wells Fargo, naming him as a defendant. But the notice was for a house Marconi had never seen — on a mortgage he never had.

Tom Williams was in his kitchen thumbing through the mail when he opened a letter from GMAC. It informed him that the bank would confiscate his house unless he immediately paid off his mortgage balance of $276,000. But Williams had never missed a mortgage payment. And his loan wasn’t due to mature until 2032.

Warren Nyerges opened his front door in Naples, Fla., to find a scraggly-haired summons server standing on his stoop. He plopped a foreclosure notice from Bank of America in Nyerges’ hands. But Nyerges had paid for his house in cash. And he’d never had a checking account, much less a mortgage, with Bank of America.

By now, you may have heard the stories of bank robo-signers powering through hundreds of foreclosure affidavits a day without verifying a single fact. But most of those involved homeowners who had stopped paying their mortgage. They were genuine defaulters. Now a new species of homeowner is getting pushed into foreclosure hell.

Main ImageSeveral US Senators noted problems reported to them of people doing everything right and getting notices of default, with no way to reverse the foreclosure express without hiring lawyers.

One woman in the article said Bank of America not only picked through her personal property but cut off her utilities, poured antifreeze down her drains, padlocked her doors and confiscated her pet parrot.  Angela Iannelli said it took her 6 weeks to get B of A to clean her house.  She was current on her loan payments.

Jose and Maria Perez  of Seguin, Texas are suing B of A for scheduling their house for a foreclosure sale, despite the fact that their loan is current, with a different bank.  Former employees at banks have testified they knowingly foreclosed on the wrong people, or masqueraded as bank VPs when they had no experience whatsoever… because bank officials told them to do so.

So why is this happening?  Is it just sloppiness, or, as this AP article suggests, is it because the banks have a financial incentive to foreclose and then slap on a bunch of fees, which are the first debts paid when the house is sold?  Ya think?  Does a banker charge interest?

There’s plenty more, so get out your boxing gloves, head down to the boxing ring, find the nearest banker and enjoy Boxing Day.

Comments (11) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am