Gretchen Morgenson has been a true journalist throughout this entire crisis. I encourage anyone who has not read her work to take the time to do so here.
Her latest report in her Fair Game Series, Finally, Borrowers Score Points, she covers things that us Foreclosure Fraud Fighters such as Lisa Epstein of Foreclosure Hamlet and Attorney Matthew Weidner have been reporting for quite some time.
The full article can be read here.
It is nice to see these articles hit mainstream. It helps solidify what us “conspiracy theorists” have been screaming about for years now.
Back in 2003, Antoinette and Lenord De La Fuente filed for bankruptcy protection after they fell behind on their Washington Mutual mortgage. Court filings show they proposed a restructuring plan that called for 60 monthly payments to the bankruptcy trustee, who would in turn distribute the money to their creditors. The bankruptcy court agreed to the couple’s plan in June 2004.
The couple dutifully made their payments. Wells Fargo took over their loan in June 2007 and the next January sent the couple a letter accusing them of being delinquent by $8,400. Wells told them that they had until mid-February to come up with the money or the bank would start foreclosure proceedings.
The court documents show that the borrowers tried unsuccessfully to argue that Wells was wrong. But Wells refused to back down; afraid they would lose their home, the couple struck a forbearance agreement and received a loan modification in April 2008.
This loan modification violated the borrowers’ repayment plan. “Wells Fargo frightened the De La Fuentes into making payments to Wells Fargo in violation of the confirmation order,” Judge Bohm wrote.
In June 2008, the couple hired a lawyer to investigate the dispute with Wells; they filed a lawsuit against the bank that August. About a year later, Wells offered to settle with the couple. In a court-approved settlement, Wells stated that the couple were indeed current on their $66,572 mortgage and owed no outstanding fees or charges. Wells agreed to pay the couple about $30,000 for their legal fees.
With that, the couple thought their problem with Wells had been solved.
But in November 2009, Wells told them their mortgage balance had mysteriously increased to almost $71,000, even though they had made all of their payments. Two months later, Mrs. De La Fuente noticed that Wells had reversed several of the mortgage payments she and her husband had made. When she asked Wells why, she was told her loan was in bankruptcy status; if she wanted to resolve the problem, she would have to pay almost $9,000. Late fees were also accruing.
The couple and their lawyer went back to court and accused Wells of violating the settlement agreement. After hearing testimony, the court agreed. It also didn’t buy the argument of Wells that errors, including a computer glitch, caused the couple’s problems.
“The court certainly agrees that ‘mistakes happen,’ ” Judge Bohm wrote (SEE OPINION BELOW). “However, when mistakes happen not once, not twice, but repeatedly, and when actions are not taken to correct these mistakes within a reasonable period of time, the failure to right the wrong — particularly when the basis for the problem is a months-long violation of an agreed judgment — the excuse of ‘mistakes happen’ has no credence.”
Judge Bohm also punted Wells’s claim that its problems with the couple were anomalies. He cited three other federal cases — one in Florida and two in Louisiana — in which Wells improperly collected money from borrowers, applied payments inappropriately, overcharged borrowers or failed to keep accurate records. The judge imposed $11,825 in fines on Wells and required it to pay $4,544 in lawyer’s fees to the De La Fuentes.
These are the sort of things that happen en masse in “Foreclosure World.” It is great to see more and more judges and journalists doing what is right and not trying to cover up the biggest Ponzi Scheme that this world has ever seen…
I think the Scales of Justice are about to tip…
Be sure to read Judge Bohm’s Opinion below…