Fraudclosure | How a $140 Bill Snowballed Into a $50,000 Nightmare

How a $140 bill snowballed into foreclosure

For Dominick Vulpis, a $140 sewer bill has become a $50,000 nightmare.

Vulpis didn’t know he had a big problem with the four-year-old bill until last December, he said, when he was served with papers notifying him that he had lost his Middletown, N.J., home to foreclosure. Neither he nor his wife were notified of the foreclosure process until the final judgment was granted last December, he said.

“It was never brought to my attention until it was too late and we were served with papers saying we had to move out of our house,” said Vulpis, a 60-year-old plumber. “I may pay a bill late, but I pay them. I’m not trying to beat anyone for $140.”

Incredibly, that $140 debt snowballed to the loss of his home after the town sold the lien on his property to an investor, an increasingly common practice as cash-strapped cities and towns try to raise badly needed revenues to close widening budget gaps.

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