by Brian Mahany
More and more homeowners are securing victories within the court system. Unfortunately, only a tiny fraction of struggling borrowers can afford competent legal counsel. Many homeowners are behind on their payments because of illness, disability or lack of employment. Obviously if they had funds they could pay their mortgage and wouldn’t need a lawyer. This post is dedicated to Ana Casas Wilson, a 49 year old woman suffering from cerebral palsy ( and the misfortune to have a loan with Wells Fargo).
When Wilson was denied a HAMP mortgage modification, she decided to take her battle to the streets. In her case, from a wheelchair in the driveway of a Wells Fargo senior executive’s home. For her efforts, Wilson was arrested. But the publicity she created by exposing Wells Fargo is priceless.
Wilson says that she fell behind but qualified for the federally funded HAMP program and can make the payments. That didn’t stop Wells Fargo from foreclosing on her childhood home, however.
HAMP stands for the Home Affordable Modification Program. It was created and funded through the federal TARP program, the same program that gave billions to bail out Wall Street and big banks. Whereas the big banks got billions, HAMP was designed to use a small portion of the bail out money to help struggling homeowners. The program is available to help those that need a little financial help through lowered payments and those that are disabled.
The HAMP program requires banks and mortgage servicers to offer relief to delinquent homeowners. Wilson says that she was improperly denied a modification and continued to face foreclosure even though she was able to make payments. According to published reports, a Wells Fargo spokesperson said that the bank is committed to helping people stay in their homes. We say Bull Shit! The spokesperson also said that once a person is serious delinquent, it is often impossible to catch up.
We have been seeing several of the major banks (Wells Fargo and Bank of America to name two) simply refuse to take the payments. It’s a vicious cycle that spells doom for homeowners.
Recently we have begun a lawsuit against Bank of America on behalf of a homeowner much like Wilson. Despite receiving the first two of three HAMP trial payments, with no reason given, the bank simply refused the third and continued with foreclosure.
In Wilson’s case, she took her battle to the pavement. Wilson and approximately 80 other protestors showed up outside the home of Wells Fargo’s CFO, Tim Sloan. Wilson was arrested after going up Sloan’s driveway in her wheelchair to deliver her check that the bank had already refused to accept. A video [no longer available] is available from the website of the San Gabriel Valley Times.
If you have been the victim of forged documents, improperly denied modifications or other forms of predatory foreclosure practices, we’d like to hear your story. Currently we are seeking clients for possible class actions against Bank of America, Bank of New York and Wells Fargo.
The only things big banks fear are disabled homeowners in wheelchairs on national TV and multimillion dollar judgments. We can’t help with the former but we can and do sue America’s lending elite. Presently we have the nation’s largest federal false claims act case in the nation against a lender, HUD’s $2.4 billion suit against Allied Home Mortgage.
Mahany & Ertl is a full service law firm. As a general rule, we do not handle foreclosure defense work. Instead, we sue lenders and servicers in state and federal court for their wrongful and illegal conduct. If you think you have a case that meets our criteria and feel that you have been denied justice, give us a call.
Mahany & Ertl – Giving Homeowners a Voice. Offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Detroit, Michigan; Portland, Maine & Minneapolis, Minnesota. Services available in many states.