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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

‘Mistaken foreclosures' on rise

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Homeowners' lawsuits in several states allege they were victims.

Friday, December 10, 2010 09:50 am
Christopher Marconi was in the shower when he heard a loud banging on his door. By the time he grabbed a towel and hustled to his front step, a U.S. marshal’s sedan was peeling out of his driveway. Nailed to Marconi’s front door was a foreclosure summons from Wells Fargo, naming him as a defendant. But the notice was for a house Marconi had never seen — on a mortgage he never had.By now, you may have heard the stories of bank robo-signers powering through hundreds of foreclosure affidavits a day without verifying a single fact. But they were genuine defaulters. Now a new species of homeowner is getting pushed into foreclosure hell.

These homeowners paid their mortgages — or loan modifications — on time. Some even paid off their loans. Worse, those on the receiving end of a bad foreclosure claim tell similar stories of getting bounced from one bank official to the next with no resolution while the foreclosure process continues apace.

“This is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” says Ira Rheingold, an attorney and executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates. Homeowners in Florida, Nevada, Texas and Pennsylvania have filed lawsuits alleging that they were victims of mistaken foreclosure. In many of those cases, the bank went so far as to haul away belongings and change the locks on the wrong homes.

One such suit was filed in March by Pennsylvania homeowner Angela Iannelli. She was up to date on her payments when, she says, she arrived home in October 2009 to find that Bank of America had ransacked her belongings, cut off her utilities, poured anti-freeze down her drains, padlocked her doors and confiscated Luke, her pet parrot of 10 years. It took her six weeks to get the bank to clean up the house.

Iannelli’s lawyer says the parties are in the process of “mutually resolving the issues” and the lawsuit is “in the process of being discontinued.” Bank of America did not immediately respond to a request for comment on her case.

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