Jack Booted Thugs Kicking Down Doors, You May be Next – Lawsuits Say Banks Changing Locks of Distressed Homes Before Foreclosures are Filed

This violation of everything needs to stop and it needs to stop now.

I can see the next stage of this warfare in where people living in these homes, that these thugs are criminally breaking into, shooting the intruders and killing them dead…

How will the “authorities” handle the situation?

Will it be a homeowner defending their home, or will it be a murder charge against the homeowner?

You see, you still are the legal owner of the property until a judge says otherwise.

I am sure we will find out this question in the very near future…

I just pray it is not someone I know…

From the Post…

By Kimberly MillerPalm Beach Post Staff Writer

Lawsuits say banks changing locks of distressed homes before foreclosures are filed

The home repo business is booming as lenders break records this year to take back properties from delinquent borrowers.

But some homeowners and attorneys complain the banks, and the property preservation companies hired to change door locks and clean homes, are overzealous in their work.

In a handful of recent lawsuits statewide, homeowners say their locks were changed before a foreclosure had even been filed, that personal property and financial papers were rifled through or taken, and that charges are being levied for lawn maintenance and trash removal when HOAs already take care of those services.

Often, homeowners say they can’t even figure out who has been in their home as banks contract with nationwide property preservation groups that subcontract to local companies, which are not state regulated or required to receive special licensing.

In one suit, a man with a criminal record of drug and burglary charges who is working for a property preservation company is alleged to have taken a laptop computer, several bottles of wine and a cordless drill from a Punta Gorda home while there to change the locks.

He also helped himself to a cold beer from the refrigerator, leaving it, along with his fingerprints, on a counter top, the suit says.

“They are emboldened because they are getting away with it,” said St. Petersburg attorney Matt Weidner, who is representing the Punta Gorda homeowner.

Mortgage contracts typically contain a clause allowing banks to enter and secure an abandoned or vacant property when the loan is in default. In doing so, the banks hope to maintain the property’s appearance, prevent vandalism and avoid stolen appliances.

While a local real estate company or bank representative is supposed to make the initial determination if a property is vacant, the final judgment often falls to property preservation companies, which look for clues such as knee-high grass, moldering phone books on the front porch, and a trashed interior as signs they can enter.

“We’re the eyes and ears for the bank,” said Craig Davis, owner of the 2-year-old Jupiter-based Field Service Experts, which is not named in any of the lawsuits referenced in this story and has no state complaints against it.

By the very nature of their work, property preservation companies are bound to draw homeowner ire, owners say. Davis, who did architectural and computer work before turning to property preservation, is careful not to enter homes that appear occupied. He takes pictures of the interior of homes he does enter to protect himself from accusations of theft.

Still, Davis acknowledged that new companies taking advantage of the foreclosure explosion may make mistakes in their eagerness to impress the banks.

“Sometimes they can be pretty gung-ho,” Davis said.

The locks on Jillian Winterberg’s Vero Beach home were changed in February, a full month before Wells Fargo filed for foreclosure.

Although Winterberg isn’t living in the home full time, she has a lawn service, pays the utility bills, and has all of her belongings there.

After the February lockout, she got an attorney and got back into the home.

Then, the locks were changed again Aug. 21.

“They’ve authorized complete strangers to go into my home and do this,” said Winterberg, who filed a lawsuit in Indian River County against her mortgage servicer Wells Fargo and the preservation company First American Real Estate Information Services Inc.

Fannie Mae, the owner of Winterberg’s house, said it is looking into the case and couldn’t comment late Friday afternoon.

First American Real Estate Information Services Inc., which was once part of Santa Ana, Calif.-based First American Financial Corp., has since separated and is now under the national company CoreLogic, which acknowledged the receipt of e-mail messages from The Palm Beach Post, but did not respond to a request for comment.

“It was quite difficult for me to find out who was locking my client out of her property,” said Winterberg’s attorney Kevin Rollin. “They’d put a sticker on her door, but the contact information wasn’t filled out.”

Attorney Matt Weidner’s lawsuit names Sarasota-based First Property Preservation Inc., which is doing business as Good Choice Preservation, as the company that used a screwdriver to break into his client’s Punta Gorda home. The home was in foreclosure, but occupied by renters.

The suit claims that not only were things stolen, but that the employee with the criminal record returned a second time and threatened the renters saying he was going to take all of their belongings.

Good Choice Preservation President Jim Good said he does criminal background checks on all of his contractors. The man in question, Good said, was likely helping one of the contractors.

“Lawsuits don’t even phase me anymore,” he said. “People always say something’s missing. Usually, it’s a flat-screen TV.”

Yea because it is most likely true…

Continue reading here…

And as always, get involved in the comments of the original post…

Tell them your story…



14 Responses to “Jack Booted Thugs Kicking Down Doors, You May be Next – Lawsuits Say Banks Changing Locks of Distressed Homes Before Foreclosures are Filed”
  1. AliceN.Wunderland says:

    What I find disgusting is that Mers instituted the requirement for the Property Preservation Company be assigned at closing of the fraudelent loans. This, to me, is more proof that they absolutely intended for the loans to fail.

    This also opens up the question of the relationship of the PPC owners with the management of the lender. I imagine a lot of them are family related. Just a feeling i have. I would caution employees to beware and understand the risk involved in entering an occupied home. People are waking up and realizing they have been used. The ‘deadbeat homeowner’ line is well worn out.

    Another site I read had a post by someone (PPC) who does yard maintenance. When the person got to the house to do the yard maintenance it was already done by someone else that was just leaving. Evidently that house had two PPC’s assigned to it. A call to the lender resulted in them saying to do it again and send the bill. All these costs are added to the final foreclosure costs. Anyone doing this needs to document everything. Homeowners need to document, get names and take pictures.

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  3. Someone who pays their morgage on time. says:

    This is the craziest site I have ever seen. We are actually in the property preservation business. The REAL problem with Americans is that everything has to be someone elses fault. The truth of the matter is if you dont pay your morgage then you don’t own your house. That’s pretty plain and simple. Not to mention that it is in every contract that all of these people have signed when they bought their homes. There comes a point where you have to stop pointing the finger at everyone else and turning everything in to a conspiracy theory. “Big banks” are the devil? With out them no one could buy a house in the first place. If you hate banks so much then don’t borrow money from them. And most importantly dont point the finger at us. We are suppling jobs for people and simply just doing our jobs. So calling us “Jack Booted Thugs Kicking Down Doors” just goes to show how ignorant you really are. This is a black and white topic, if you don’t pay your morgage you don’t own your house, if you don’t pay your car payment they repo your car do they not? We are trained professionals and when we go to a property we do so with kindness and respect for the families situations. People will always need someone to point the finger at but in this case it should be yourselves. Things happen and alot of situations are unfortunate but when it comes down to it the rest of the country can’t suffer and let people stay in their homes up to 2 years with out paying a dime. To those of you on this blog who aren’t in foreclosure who do you think will take the blunt of all of those staying in their homes and not paying anything? My only point is threating us because we have a JOB to do is ignorant it is far from our fault that people are in the position they are in for whatever reason that may be. To all the people who want to threaten us that is fine. We are normal good people who have been sent to do a job and THAT’S IT. We aren’t some crazy people running around trying to “break into your houses”, the truth of the matter is that until you have paid your house off it is not yours, like I said earlier if you don’t like that then dont go to a bank to get a morgage and borrow money. Because the property belongs to them until you pay for it PERIOD.

  4. Bill says:

    They are welcome to try. However, they will run into a 80 pound German Shepherd and a home owner armed to the teeth. Things will get pretty ugly at that point.

  5. housemanrob says:

    I am not in foreclosure either, But I have heard about illegal breakins too. I own 3 100+lbs dogs with fighting spirit that I swear will tear any of these property preservation company people a NEW ASSHOLE. Even more important?……………….. I’VE Got old “BETSY”. She’s got plenty of bird shot so these sorry bottom feeders will be pickin’ LEAD OUT OF THEIR ASSES for 6 months!!!!!! protect your property. it’s time for God, guns and guts…. it is what made our country great!

  6. Dr Justice says:

    This article is just another evidence of how much this country is morally bankrupt.
    Because of greedy bankers, mortgage brokers, and of course Wall Street.
    The millions of dollars these financial institutions received on loan fees should be paid back to homeowners.
    Because I don’t see anyone mentioning that homeowners paid big money to these financial institutions to be able to either buy or refinance the homes.

  7. Alina says:

    I keep coming back to this quote from Bastiat because this is what is happening right now:

    “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it.”

    Frederic Bastiat

  8. Willow says:

    When the first shot is fired by a homeowner in defense of their home from invaders and intruders, no matter who hired them, it will be the tipping point in a civil class war and armed conflict. It stands to reason that if the banks do not believe they need to follow the law, the police do not enforce the law of unlawful breaking, entering and theft (a first class felony in every state) and the courts do not uphold the law, then one must assume that there is no law to uphold; that all bets are off.

    Equal Protection means that the law applies to everyone, no exceptions. Thus, if a bank can not prove it holds right, title and interest in the property, does not have a valid legal order to take back the property, then anyone they hire to undertake the confiscation of property is committing a felony. It is the fruit of the poisonous tree. Every homeowner, who still has title to the property, would have the right to defend “his castle”, so to speak, from invading forces. This is going to leave the police in a quandary. Just who are the bad guys? They aren’t going to know anymore.

    More importantly, the police are funded by taxpayer money. When a police force evolves from a public service to a privately paid force, people are going to result to self-help and you will have all the makings for civil unrest and outright war. This is devolving quickly in an outright disaster. Civil unrest and civil war follows a pattern. The facts and circumstances may be a by product of time and place but the pattern itself is historical and evident. When the people do not feel that they can rely on obtaining fair and impartial justice then, to them, there IS NO justice to be had within the system; the system breaks down and all hell breaks loose.

    It’s sad to say that if this kind of behavior continues at all levels and homeowners have no other recourse except self-help to defend their homes, it going to get ugly. Fast.

  9. Matt says:

    These companies are usually smaller LLC’s (or some similar corp.) that hire out the “inspectors” as 1099-ers. These inspectors have little to no training and usually no real estate-related experience. Furthermore, I’m sure some companies don’t do the background checks.

    Due to general backups & people just screwing up stuff (believe me I saw my share), vacancies slowed down in terms of coming in and changing locks…now it was more of a 2 month deal of reporting and verifying such before the next step was done.

    I worked for one for a while. Easy job? Absolutely. But inspectors were still screwing things up…which was pretty amazing. Nice lead source though!

    Now, Bank of America wants meter readings/photos while at the house, unless you make direct contact with the homeowner…it’s a play on “debt collection” since they want you to “interview” the homeowner…ha! But the meter readings while allegedly are to “improve results” are I’m sure just another way to secretly gather info. against you.

  10. Virginia says:

    In Hawaii, they are certainly changing locks after a non-judicial foreclosure before a Complaint for Writ of Ejectment is filed. This is a Fannie and Freddie issue. We need to get Fannie & Freddie OUT OF THE FORECLOSURE business. And the way to do that is to write to every Congressional Representative and US Senator and demand that taxpayer dollars no longer be used to help Fannie & Freddie foreclose. Don’t assume your Congressional delegation understands the fraud issues, or MERS or failures of perfecting titles, etc.

    Every client that we have is asked to write a letter to Congresswoman Mazie Hirono and tell their story. The Congresswoman provides an authorization form so that she can ask questions or obtain documents on their behalf. As this unfolds she sees the patterns of abuse.

    I urge all of us to write, email and phone, even ask for an appointment in you home state or go to Washington, DC and meet with your politicians. Get to know the housing staffer. Prepare a concise presentation, even take a petition – but ask them for their assistance. Suggest they call a 2 year moratorium to foreclosures and evictions – but get rid of Fannie & Freddie – retire them ASAP. Fannie and Freddie are desperate to keep this going – even to the point of requiring deficiencies. The fingers should be pointing at them for lack of oversight – not the borrowers who provided the collateral to feed their greed. It wouldn’t surprise me if their officers also had some off-shore accounts… as they say, “follow the money…”

    • Ragingdebate says:

      XYZ Citizen to Senator: “Please get Fannie out of the foreclosure business and restore the rule of law!”
      Senator Durbin to Citizen: “The banks own the place.”

      Like the Senators don’t ever watch the news or know whats going on with predatory abuse right? Boy do you need to understand who has really run this country the last forty years.

  11. yrsumpeosoclueless says:

    Anyone kicking anyones door in, better be ready for a 357, that is what they will find on the other side of my door !

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