Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button
Technorati button
Reddit button
Myspace button
Linkedin button
Webonews button
Delicious button
Digg button
Flickr button
Stumbleupon button
Newsvine button

Letter: Stop foreclosure sale of home

I am writing to ask you to help my friend keep his home. I cannot believe that in America with the government helping people refinance to keep their homes — that a person with 23 years home equity (1989) has a foreclosure sale sign on his lawn. He no longer owns the home he and his late wife had made mortgage payments since moving to in 1989, and he alone has worked to make payments since her death from cancer in September, 2009, after two years’ battling recurrences, and receiving hospice care.

It is troubling that a homeowner have over 20 years equity and down payment in a home and still become a victim of foreclosure home loss. A quasi- federal agency now “owns” his home. How can this injustice be? How is it that refinancing has not been arranged to help keep him in his home? It is an injustice that he who has paid for and lived in this house 23 years be told to vacate, and a new owner move in. How can this injustice be? How can this nightmare be stopped, his home be restored to him?

With his wife’s death in 2009 and loss of her financial assistance in making mortgage payments, he asked the bank to refinance the mortgage to give him manageable terms. He is employed and could make payments if the bank worked with him. The City of Beverly refinanced its loans; why not he? The bank did not work with him. January 2012, in a three minute public auction foreclosure sale of his property, the bank mortgagee holder of the mortgage “bought” the property itself. The person running the auction said this might make it “easier” for the homeowner to keep his home. A quasi-federal agency’s foreclosure sale sign placed on his lawn July 2012 says his home is for sale.

Do everything you can to help my friend keep his home. He played by the rules, worked hard over 23 years to meet his mortgage obligation and did until recently. He cared for his dying wife, asked for the bank’s help for manageable terms after her death. He was only 7 years away from owning the house out right, seventy-seven per cent through the term of a 30 year mortgage (1989). Help restore the ownership equity he has paid for to this his home of 23 years. Right the wrong taking his home ownership away and perhaps even his home.

What has happened to the American Dream of home ownership and his experienced reality of home ownership? It is criminal for anyone else to live in his house — to take his American Dream of home ownership away now. His dream has become a nightmare. What has happened to the United States of America — if its government representatives — allow this injustice the loss of his home to another — take place? What does it say about its banks, financial institutions, and realtors who profit from these occurrences? He has lived here 23 years, been a stable, good part of a neighborhood for 23 years. I can not sit back, watch this happen, so I write you. Do not sit back either. Help him stay in his home. Restore his home ownership. Help him get the bank assistance/manageable terms he needs.

Of concern is the bank’s failure to uphold its fiduciary relationship to him. A fiduciary is “a person to whom property or power is entrusted for the benefit of another”. Banks and realtors act as fiduciary agents to enable people to own homes — not to prey upon and profit on later financial misfortunes of those people. Why the bank did NOT work with him to refinance to manageable terms allowing him to continue on his path to full home ownership is beyond me. Instead, the bank foreclosed, bought the property itself at “public auction”, and within six months “sold” it to, a quasi-federal home ownership agency. If the bank had given him more manageable terms, it would have benefitted BOTH. Banks and realtors are benefitting from the loss of his wife and financial means to continue the mortgage payments agreed upon while the two were both alive.

The loss of his wife, her added health costs, loss of her income — all negatively impacted his ability now solely to continue making mortgage payments at those higher interest rates. Why didn’t the bank lower the interest rate? Any new homeowner will probably have interest rates of 3 percent or less. Why not he, who with his wife had made payments for more than 20, at interest rates higher than today’s? Why should banks, a quasi-federal agency, realtors, prospective new owner of his home profit, make money, benefit — and he lose? It is so very wrong. Help him regain ownership of his home. Restore his and other Americans’ belief that if you work hard, play by the rules, you can realize the American Dream of home ownership, true freedom and justice for all.

Please reply to this letter. Respond to his need for your immediate help.

The above letter, abridged here, was sent to Rep. Tierney and to Sen. Brown, end of July, August.

My friend now has six days to move out so a new owner can move in. Your offices are still investigating the situation. It is urgent that you act to stop the quasi-federal agency’s sale of his home until the investigation into wrongdoing on the bank’s part is completed. For a bank not to refinance a mortgage requested by a capable homeowner, foreclose on that homeowner knowing the present terms are a financial hardship for him to meet, and then buy his home at public auction is unjust, a conflict as fiduciary. The bank held the power to help him succeed or to doom him to fail. Instead of helping him succeed to eventually own his home free and clear, the bank made his failure certain by not refinancing his mortgage to manageable terms. The bank chose to take his home, sell his home, and leave him with nothing despite 23 years of monthly payments/equity. Rep. Tierney/Sen. Brown act to delay his eviction/home sale pending the outcome of the investigation into bank’s wrongdoing. — Rosemary Maglio, Pleasant Street, Beverly

Article source:

What do we do about all the ‘empties’?

What’s to be done about the vacants?

Oh sure, Chicago and its less affluent suburbs long have had problems with empty, boarded-up buildings. What the urban wonks call “disinvestment” has been going on since the ’60s.

But what’s happening now is something different. It’s on a much larger scale and, left unchecked, will undermine progress the city is making in other areas such as school reform and job creation.

Chicago is now the nation’s No. 1 “foreclosure city,” according to, an online service that counts foreclosures nationwide. As of last week RealtyTrac reported the city had 22,169 dwellings in serious mortgage delinquency headed for default and an additional 9,240 already repossessed by lenders and up for sale.

Not reported are the additional thousands — bungalows, three-flats, walk-ups and what have you — where delinquent mortgage-holders have handed the keys to lenders who, in turn, are letting the residences rot without trying to resell. The housing market in many neighborhoods is that bad. Some familiar with the situation figure Chicago now has at least 40,000 vacant dwelling units.

The problem feeds on itself. Who wants to buy into a block with a half dozen empties? Especially empties torn apart inside by scrap-metal thieves or, worse, taken over by squatters living in stink without utilities.

Lately there has been news about a “bottoming out” of the housing market and the beginnings of a “comeback” in the Chicago region. True enough. SP/Case-Shiller home-price index reports the average home price in the area rose 2.7 percent in July, stronger than the national gain of 1.6 percent.

But housing markets are hyperlocal. Not all boats are being lifted.

The nonprofit Woodstock Institute found that more than a quarter of all mortgaged homes in Cook County — some 245,486 dwellings — were “underwater” going into 2012, meaning borrowers owe more than their homes are worth. Of course they do, what with the average home price off 39 percent since 2006. In predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods — the ones heavily worked-over by subprime lenders — values have fallen more dramatically and the underwater rate — a predictor of future foreclosures — is closer to 40 percent.

To fight the blight, the city has strung together a Micro-Market Recovery Program that focuses its housing and urban redevelopment tools on subsections of nine neighborhoods. The idea — a good one — is to show private investors what’s possible with a little pump-priming.

But progress has been slow, as has production by the city’s other major effort to rehabilitate vacant buildings — the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The city has won about $170 million during three annual rounds of federal NSP funding, but its nonprofit program manager, Mercy Portfolio Services, found out fast how hard it is to market a rehabbed bungalow or two-flat on a distressed block … much less recover the $150,000-or-more put into each. The program has wisely refocused on rentals and is inching its way toward buying and rehabbing up to 2,500 units.

Even if these tax-funded demonstrations succeed, the vast scale of the problem will require a dramatic return of private investment to turn these neighborhoods around.

But how?

Discovering who exactly owns a vacant can be hard, what with distant mortgage bond investors, and banks lying low to avoid admitting their “asset” is nearly worthless. Obtaining a clear title is harder, what with unpaid utility bills, code violations, mechanic’s liens and defaulted second mortgages. Illinois’ judicial foreclosure system, moreover, is painfully complicated and slow.

Credit is another problem. Just because banks caused much of this disaster doesn’t mean they’re eager to solve it by making loans to buyers. Not when it’s safer to borrow cheap money from the Federal Reserve and buy Treasury notes.

All the same, Mayor Rahm Emanuel needs to do something. He can open another 50 charter schools, announce more corporate relocations and beam wireless Internet from Howard to 135th Street, But if he doesn’t get a handle on those 40,000 vacants, the cancer will spread and viable neighborhoods will be dragged under.

The mayor needs to lean on the state Legislature to loosen abandoned property acquisition laws. He needs to lean on banks to help clean up their mess.

By all accounts Rahm Emanuel is a world-class leaner. With a lean here and a lean there, he might end Chicago’s run as No.1 … in foreclosures.

John McCarron teaches, consults and writes on urban affairs.

Article source:,0,1728070.story

On the House: Web help to avoid foreclosure

You know that mortgage modification you’ve been trying to get for a year, the one where the servicer keeps losing the paperwork and no one is able to tell you anything when you call?

If you are willing to be patient – OK, you’ve been a real brick about this so far – there may be hope for you and the millions like you who are trying to find an alternative to foreclosure.

It’s called Homeowner Connect (, and is designed to offer another option for consumers who are unwilling to contact their servicers directly and who want to have some control of their applications for help, as well as a guarantee that their documentation is retrievable if it is misplaced.

If this sounds like an answer to a prayer, you can thank the bureaucrats who crafted the National Mortgage Settlement, which mandates a consumer-friendly Web portal.

Five of the largest mortgage servicers paid $25 billion to settle state and federal investigations that found they routinely signed foreclosure-related documents outside the presence of a notary public and without really knowing whether the facts they contained were correct.

Homeowner Connect is a “neutral” portal connected to servicers’ systems, said Cam Melchiorre, president and CEO of Hope LoanPort, a free Web portal available to housing counselors nationwide that provides access to servicers representing 80 percent of the mortgage market.

The difference between Homeowner Connect and Home LoanPort is that the latter is designed for use by HUD-approved mortgage counselors assisting borrowers with applications, while the former allows consumers to handle their own applications.

Borrowers using the new portal, available at the moment only to customers of GMAC Mortgage, can find HUD-approved counselors and call on them at any time during the process.

GMAC Mortgage funded development of the site and is the first servicer to adopt it. Melchiorre expects most of the nation’s servicers to be on board with the new website in six to nine months, he said during a recent teleconference from Washington.

“Consumers will be given the opportunity to see the status of their applications without using the traditional [means] that have been weak and confusing,” he said.

The mortgage settlement requires that the status of these applications be updated automatically every 10 days, which “establishes transparency in the life cycle of these submitted applications,” Melchiorre said.

The consumer “has one consistent audit trail and continuity,” he said. “Even in the cases in which applications are denied, there is at least documentation that the consumer did receive the benefit of every option available.

“It solves the stubborn problem of lost documents – not that it will prevent them from ever getting lost,” but the centralized, shared database will make that more difficult.

Home LoanPort is partnering with MortgageKeeper Referral Services, a Web-based database application containing information on more than 6,000 nonprofit groups and government agencies. MortgageKeeper offers distressed borrowers access to additional local services, such as employment services and agencies offering help with food or rent, all free, he said.

Melchiorre expects that the new website will encourage more borrowers to seek out approved mortgage counselors, thus “protecting them against scammers.”

The site was launched a month ago, but not actively marketed, Melchiorre said. So far, there have been 5,000 hits on the site, and “200 borrowers whose loans are serviced by GMAC Mortgage have created application packages.”

“On the House” appears Sundays. Contact Alan J. Heavens at 215-854-2472 or, or follow on Twitter @alheavens.

Article source:

Foreclosure hammers York County people who lost jobs in rotten economy

The pictures of her life were stacked against a wall Friday afternoon.

Pictures of her husband who died a decade ago, a son who died just last week. The funeral bill remains out there for that, too.

Other stuff was boxed up and ready to move out.

Pearlie Mae Whitlock, 66, talked on the phone with a faceless someone somewhere, the voice coming from a debt collection agency. She got off the phone and “hoped for a miracle.”

Because at 11 a.m. Monday, Whitlock’s home will be auctioned off after foreclosure.

“I had a good job at Leiner when I bought this house, but they closed,” Whitlock said.

Leiner Health Products shut down in 2007 amid a federal mail fraud investigation, putting Whitlock and more than 500 others out of work.

“I had no job; I got sick,” she said. “And now they are gonna sell my house to some stranger.”

Whitlock is not alone in York County. At Monday’s sale, at least 65 houses – 65 dreams – will be sold. Last month, 106 homes were sold to the highest bidder, the highest number in recent memory for a single month.

Foreclosure sales are back up, way up, after the state Supreme Court and lenders put the brakes on foreclosures and dropped sales in mid-2011 to just a handful after the recession crippled homeowners.

Judge Jack Kimball, the master-in-equity for York County, handles all foreclosures in the county.

The effect of the Supreme Court’s requiring lenders to investigate the possibility of foreclosure intervention and lenders’ going over books far more carefully after scandals involving loans that had no real signature, , he said, is coming to an end.

Those foreclosures that have been hanging out there for a year or more are now orders for sale.

“Those cases that hadn’t been heard are now being heard,” Kimball said Friday.

There is not a thing that Kimball can do about it. His job as judge is to handle the foreclosure legal proceedings, no matter what the circumstances.

‘Not bitter, but sad’

On a street off Rawlinson Road in Rock Hill, in a nice subdivision, a house will go to auction Monday.

A dentist and his wife, a nurse, used to live there, neighbors say. The dentist was afflicted with multiple sclerosis, and the family’s money was afflicted because of it.

The house was supposed to be their retirement. It turned out to be their doom.

“I helped her carry her husband out to the car – he was about 70 pounds then – so they could go to the bankruptcy,” the neighbor across the street said. “It was the worst thing anybody ever saw.”

Starr Albert once lived in a house on Tysons Forest Drive in Rock Hill. She worked a sales and customer service job at Bowater until August 2009, when the terms “corporate mergers” and “downsizing” meant her job was no more.

Albert was in her 50s, had lived in the house for years, and after just over a year, even with loan modifications, she lost the house.

Monday, Judge Jack Kimball will have to auction off her house, too.

“I had a great paying job; I worked hard, then it was gone,” Albert said Friday. “It took me a year to find another job. And then it wasn’t nearly what I was making. I couldn’t make my payments. I lost my home.”

Some politicians talk about the economy as if it is charts and graphs. They’ve never met Starr Albert, who is not a chart but a face and a person.

About six weeks ago, Albert went back to her old house and stood outside and looked at it. Inside were the memories of children raised.

What was left of her heart broke.

“I’m not bitter, but I am sad,” Albert said. “Jesus Christ did not have a house, but God has a place for me.”

That place is not her home with the flowerboxes. It is a rented place for this lady in her 50s who was a homeowner with a good job until the economy was wrecked and the people who owned homes paid the price.

Karen Griffin, 59, has always worked. She and her husband have lived in their Rock Hill home for 14 years.

Her husband is now disabled after a car crash. She helps care for a 15-year-old grandson with muscular dystrophy. She has fought cancer herself, six surgeries.

Her church tried to help Griffin keep her home, to no avail.

On Monday, she said, “my house will be sold at that auction in York. At 59, I have to try and start all over again.”

‘My piece of America’

Back on the other side of Rock Hill, Pearlie Mae Whitlock waits in the home she bought for $59,000 when she could make a monthly payment of $565. Even loan modifications weren’t enough for Whitlock to stay current with her mortgage, even as she went to work in a nursing home.

Whitlock worked first at the J.P. Stevens Industrial Mill in Rock Hill, starting when she had to quit school to work and help her family.

“I was a weaver,” she said.

The mill closed. The people who owned it wanted to pay employees in foreign countries making pennies a day, rather than paying people such as Whitlock a decent wage.

Then she worked at the old Cone Mill in Pineville, N.C., just across the state line. That plant closed and the jobs went away.

Then Whitlock worked at Leiner, which made vitamins and medications.

She qualified for a mortgage and bought a house.

“It was the first house I ever owned, this house,” Whitlock said. “I was so proud. My little piece of America.”

The Leiner plant closed in 2007, Whitlock has worked part-time jobs and fought illness and age and the bank and debt collectors.

Whitlock has lost all battles except the battle for hope.

“I have in this house a place to set and a place to sleep and a table to eat from, and that is about it,” Whitlock said. “But it is mine. I worked in my life.”

It is hers until 11 a.m. Monday, when somebody will bid at auction in a courtroom. Whitlock will pack the stuff of a lifetime of work and a marshal will come and lock the door.

One of Whitlock’s grandsons was at the house Friday with his mother. They live in Pineville.

“You can come live with us, Grandma,” called out the grandson.

“Looks like I will have to,” said Pearlie Mae Whitlock.

She then closed the door of her home, a home she will own another few hours, and resumed her prayers for a miracle.


Andrew Dys 803-329-4065

Article source:

Indiana sues mortgage aid companies

SOUTH BEND — You want to modify your home loan to stop foreclosure and a company offers to help for an upfront fee.

You pay the fee.

And your home winds up in foreclosure while the company that took your money disappears.

On Wednesday, five out-of-state foreclosure consulting companies were sued by the state of Indiana for allegedly ripping off homeowners in St. Joseph, Elkhart, Allen and LaPorte counties.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed five lawsuits — three in St. Joseph Circuit Court and two in Elkhart County — charging four companies and one law firm with violating the Credit Services Organization Act, the Mortgage Rescue Protection Fraud Act, the Home Loan Practices Act and the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act.

American Home Relief Foundation of Delaware, CC Brown Law of Utah, Legacy Holding Group of Arizona, and Right Away Doc Preparations Inc. and Property Solutions Center, both of California, “… promised to modify customers’ home loans in exchange for an upfront fee but didn’t complete the job or provide a refund,” Zoeller charged in the suit.

“It’s illegal in Indiana to take an upfront fee without filing a surety bond with the state attorney general’s office,” Zoeller said, standing on the front steps of the St. Joseph County Courthouse moments after filing two of the suits Wednesday afternoon.

“None of these five (companies) filed surety bonds with my office,” he said.

They are accused of scamming $2,490 from two St. Joseph County residents; $10,164 from a St. Joseph resident and an Allen County homeowner; $6,820 from two consumers in St. Joseph and LaPorte counties; $795 from an Elkhart County homeowner; and $1,500 from another Elkhart County resident.

“Once your home is foreclosed, that’s a public record,” Zoeller said, noting that mortgage consulting companies scour foreclosure listings daily looking for targets.

Each of the victims listed in the suits paid upfront fees to the defendants on the advertised promise of a home loan modification.

Zoeller said such advertisements promising home loan modifications – which could include lowering interest rates — “are almost always a scam.”

“Please don’t pay upfront fees to people who say they can help you with your mortgage,” the state attorney general cautioned.

Zoeller recommended that consumers in need of help with home loans should try to work with their mortgage company, or seek assistance from area nonprofit groups set up to help homeowners with mortgage issues.

In South Bend, homeowners can call the Notre Dame Clinical Law Center, said Notre Dame law professor Judy Fox.

“We represent you for free,” Fox said.

Contact the Clinical Law Center at 574-631-7795.

Since 2006, the attorney general’s office has filed 140 lawsuits against foreclosure consultant companies in more than 30 counties across Indiana.

Zoeller urged those who may have been victimized by a mortgage relief scam to file a complaint with the Indiana State Attorney General’s Office.

Staff writer Jeff Harrell:

Article source:,0,2807663.story

$20 million in funding announced to help families in New York avoid foreclosure


Join our E-Mail list!
Send an e-mail request to,
with the word “Subscribe” in the
subject line.


For site information and
viewing tips, click here.

All content copyright © 2003-2007
Statewide News Network, Inc.
Contents may not be reproduced
in any form without express written consent

Article source:

Preventing default and foreclosure clinic set up in Capital Region

Here are the most recent story comments.View All

The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of FOX23 News – The 10 O’Clock News – Always at 10 – Now Also at 11

Article source:

Ex-Mamtek CEO fights extradition to Missouri


The former chairman and CEO of a Missouri sweetener company who is accused of using bond revenues to avoid foreclosure on his Beverley Hills home is refusing to be extradited from California to face securities fraud and theft charges.

Ex-Mamtek U.S. Inc. head Bruce Cole remains jailed after declining to be extradited to Missouri at a Thursday hearing in Orange County, Calif.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports ( that California Gov. Jerry Brown must now ask the court to order Cole’s extradition.

Cole is accused of redirecting for personal use $700,000 from a $39 million bond fund intended for the development of a plant in Moberly, Mo., and misleading investors about Mamtek’s financial health.

Cole’s next court appearance is set for Wednesday.

Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune,

Article source:

Brentwood man arrested on suspicion of multimillion-dollar foreclosure scam

SACRAMENTO — A Brentwood man was arrested Friday on suspicion of masterminding a multimillion-dollar foreclosure scheme that defrauded more than 1,000 homeowners and caused many involved to lose their homes, attorneys said.

Alan David Tikal, 44, was arrested at his home on a mail fraud complaint alleging he was behind a multistate scam that defrauded distressed homeowners, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and state Attorney General Kamala Harris.

More than 1,000 homeowners who paid upward of $3.1 million were victimized by Tikal, 95 percent of whom are California residents, the complaint states.

According to court documents, Tikal kicked off a large-scale mortgage rescue scam beginning in January 2010 that was still operating at the time of his arrest.

Tikal reportedly pulled off the scheme by convincing homeowners that he could satisfy their pre-existing mortgage debt and replace it with a new debt to his company, KATN Trust, claiming the new loan would be for only 25 percent of the original principal.

Victims made regular payments on their new loans to KATN trust and paid thousands of dollars in upfront fees, according to the complaint. Tikal and his employees reportedly instructed the victims not to pay their original mortgage and to ignore all correspondence from the original lenders, resulting in many of the victims losing their homes to foreclosure.

“As the foreclosure crisis

continues, we are seeing a rise in scams that target struggling homeowners,” Harris said. “These predators rob innocent families of their life savings and their piece of the American dream.”

Tikal will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan in Sacramento at 2 p.m. Friday, Harris said. Tikal faces a sentence of up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Contact Erin Ivie at 925-847-2122. Follow her at

Article source:

A Look at Foreclosure Assistance and Mortgage Modifications

John E. Miller

Although the number of foreclosures filings has declined across much of the country, there is still a large number of people facing foreclosure throughout the nation. Similarly, despite rising home prices, many families are still struggling with underwater mortgages.
Loan Modification Green Sign

Let’s take a look at what Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are doing to assist homeowners seeking to avoid foreclosure while also taking a look at mortgage modification numbers for the second quarter of this year.

Foreclosure Assistance

A recent report shows that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has increased their number of actions to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosures. Specifically, for the second quarter Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac performed 129,000 foreclosure prevention actions.

Since 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have completed approximately 2.4 million actions in an effort to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure. In fact, approximately half of these actions have been significant loan modifications.

Overall, these foreclosure prevention actions have help close to 2 million families stay in their homes; however, others still question whether Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (who were bailed out by taxpayer money) could of done more to prevent foreclosure for many who have already lost their homes.

Along with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the five major banks that were key players in robo-signing and were part of the mortgage settlement agreement have also been taking actions to meet their end of the foreclosure settlement relief efforts, especially since there are incentives for these lenders to do more to assist struggling homeowners within the first year.

Mortgage Modifications

A huge part of foreclosure assistance on the lender part involves mortgage modifications. These modifications can help keep homeowners in their homes by reducing their monthly mortgage payments significantly. In fact, much of the mortgage settlement agreement involves encouraging lenders to offer mortgage modification for those with underwater mortgages and for families facing foreclosure.

A recent report shows that over the last year, private lenders have increased the number of mortgage modifications by 22%, while government lenders have decreased the number of mortgage modifications by 53%. Apparently loan modification standards for private lenders are more flexible, especially when it comes to the ratio of income to debt. As a result, private lenders have increased their mortgage modifications while government lenders are having a hard time trying to determine how to best cut their losses.

In the end, many states are finally seeing foreclosure assistance due to the mortgage settlement agreement and private lenders who are offering mortgage modifications with less strict qualification guidelines. Although many will receive assistance, many believe that these initiatives and the mortgage settlement agreement are simply not enough help to put a significant number of struggling homeowner back on their feet.

Article source: