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Is Wells Fargo Guilty of Murder?


by Brian Mahany

The title of this post is admittedly provocative and designed to really get people thinking. The story you are about to read comes from several mortgage blogs and from news reports published by the Huffington Post. Their headline read “Norman Rousseau, Foreclosure Victim, Commits Suicide During Wells Fargo Lawsuit”. What you are about to read is tragic.

Norman Rousseau was a home owner in California. Enticed by an ad to reduce his payments, he refinanced his mortgage with Wells Fargo. He claimed he was promised a lower interest (no one refinances in the hopes of getting a higher rate). Apparently there was some miscommunication because Wells Fargo increased his interest rate.

Later, Wells Fargo would claim that the Rousseau family missed a mortgage payment. They didn’t but it would take some time before the bank admitted the error. In the mean time, that alleged default would set off a cascade of consequences. Anyone who has ever missed a payment or been accused of missing a payment knows that most banks immediately impose fees, jack up the interest rate and pretty much destroy your credit. By destroying your credit rating, it becomes impossible to refinance or borrow money to fix the missing payment.

The Rousseaus ultimately sued Wells Fargo. According to published reports, at one point Rousseau was locked out of his own home, although the bank would pull back on that decision too. Apparently, Norman Rousseau had enough. According to CBS News, in the middle of the night the husband and father shot and killed himself.

Wells Fargo has tried to do some damage control, although I have not found an apology anywhere. They agreed to postpone the eviction of the family and said it tried to find “affordable options” for the family.

While we have no first hand knowledge of this case, the dozens of emails and letters and calls we receive from their clients paint a much different picture of Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Bank of New York and several other large lenders. Unfortunately, we think Wells Fargo’s claim that it tried to find affordable options is nothing more than a steaming pile of manure.

We started this post with a strong title and conclude by leveling serious charges against these lenders. Earlier this week I had lunch with a high ranking former Bank of America executive. He says the bank isn’t too big to fail, it’s simply too big to manage.

Did anyone in the bank conspire or want to see Norm Rousseau die? Of course not. But the policies in place are guaranteed to fail and some homeowners are at the end of their ropes. Literally.

Rousseau isn’t the first tragic victim to take his own life. The Huffington Post reports two victims in Connecticut (including an 85 year old woman) and a senior Ohio couple.

Our law  firm doesn’t defend people in foreclosure. We sue banks, mortgage lenders and loan servicers that engage in fraudulent or predatory foreclosure practices or wrongfully deny HAMP modifications. We recently learned from one Bank of America employee of a system of modifications practices that are designed to simply string desperate homeowners along. We have learned the same thing from a Chase employee as well.

If you feel you were wrongfully jerked around, lost your home to forged documents or if you believe your mortgage was improperly assigned, give us a call. We want to hear your story. (And any more mortgage company employees that wish to come forward, we want to hear from you as well.)

Predatory foreclosure practices is not a victimless crime. Before you reach the end of your rope, give us a call.

For more information, contact attorney Anthony Dietz at adietz@mahanyertl.com. If you need immediate help, contact attorney Brian Mahany at brian@mahanyertl.com or by telephone at (414) 704-6731 (direct).  All inquiries are protected by the attorney client privilege and kept confidential.

Mahany & Ertl – America’s Fraud Lawyers. We proudly give homeowners a voice. Offices in Milwaukee, Detroit, Portland (ME) and Minneapolis. Services available in many jurisdictions.

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