More loan mod lies…

A Mistake That Stole Christmas? A Foreclosure Story

Like many Americans, Jennifer Ryan-Voltaire is trying to get ready for Christmas in her home outside Boston.

She and her family have their tree on display. “We’ve decorated the outside of the house,” she says. “We’re trying to get into the spirit of things, despite what’s going on.”

Wells Fargo recently foreclosed on the family’s home and owns the property.

“We’re trying to make it as fun for the kids as possible without them knowing or having to worry about what we’re going through,” says Voltaire, an office manager at a medical practice.

She hasn’t told her three kids that they don’t own their house anymore.

Across the U.S., state prosecutors are investigating whether the nation’s largest banks have been improperly foreclosing on thousands of homeowners. The banks say they do not seize people’s houses without justification.

The Voltaire family bought the house, situated in a middle-class neighborhood, four years ago. They’ve always made their payments. But after Voltaire’s husband had his hours cut back at work a year ago, they couldn’t afford their loan anymore.

So they applied for and got into the Obama administration’s loan modification program, which starts out with a trial period. Voltaire made lower monthly payments while faxing in proof of income and other documents to Wells Fargo. But she says the bank kept losing the paperwork.

A paperwork debate dragged on for more than six months. But Voltaire says she always re-sent anything the bank wanted and she thought everything was in order.

An Auctioneer In The Front Yard

But one day this past July, Melissa Mercogliano — Voltaire’s cousin who lives across the street — saw an auctioneer from the bank standing in the front yard, selling the house in front of a crowd of about 30 people.

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