“Kevin Matthews had all his possessions stolen from him, and nobody under this agreement will go to jail for that theft.”
David Dayen over at Firedoglake has an interesting addition to the debate on the 27 page AG settlement. There is a field hearing of the House Oversight Committee in Baltimore this morning and he got to interview the star witness, Sgt. Kevin Matthews.
From the interview…
Here’s what I can add to this. This morning, there just so happens to be a field hearing of the House Oversight Committee in Baltimore. In fact, it just started at 9am ET. Rep. Elijah Cummings, who represents the area, called the hearing, which will feature the mayor of Baltimore and the Governor of Maryland, among others, to examine the foreclosure crisis and the abuse carried out by mortgage servicers. I got a chance to talk with the star witness yesterday.
His name is Sgt. Kevin Matthews, and he served in Iraq in 2005-2006. He was wounded in the line of duty and returned to the US a disabled veteran. He bought his home in 2008 and then lost his job a year later. He exhausted all of his funds to keep up with the mortgage payments, but eventually went into default. In the second half of 2009 he sought a variety of modification packages with his mortgage servicer, USAA (GMAC Mortgage actually serviced the loan, but Matthews interfaced with USAA). “I basically got the runaround,” Matthews said.
In February of 2010, Matthews received the notice of intent to foreclose within 45 days, but by then he had been approved for disability from his injuries. He had a local housing agency put in for a modification for him, reflecting this new information, in April 2010.
The crucial piece of information here is that Matthews had a VA loan. “With a VA loan, foreclosure is supposed to be the last option,” Matthews explained. “By contract, they cannot foreclose until all options are exhausted: a modification, deed-in-lieu, or a short sale.”
But instead of reacting to the new information in the modification package received in April 2010, Matthews’ servicer simply ignored it, and made good on the foreclosure sale on May 21, 2010. Under the law governing federally-funded VA loans, the servicer was to rescind that sale date as they pursued a modification. “They got the package but never pushed back the sale date,” Matthews said.
Here’s where the story takes quite a turn. Matthews was away at school on June 8, 2010, and he returned home to find the locks changed on his house. The servicer had gone into the house and taken all of his belongings out, in preparation for the foreclosure sale. This violated Maryland law, because the servicer needed to file a writ of possession to remove Matthews from the home. “They stole my stuff, stole my kid’s stuff,” Matthews said. “They took everything in the house. They took my lawn mower.”
You can check out the rest of this report here…
If this is what is happening to military personnel, you can just imagine what is happening to the “civilians” facing foreclosure…