RICHMOND, Va. – Kicking someone when they're already down – it's happening all over the state to folks who are losing their homes when they probably shouldn't be, according to Jay Speer with the Virginia Poverty Law Center. He says mortgage foreclosure fraud has become so widespread that he and other groups have filed a brief with a federal appeals court to bring attention to the issue. Speer says banks and mortgage companies are filing invalid documents at the courthouse.
"They're foreclosing on people's homes with false information, or information that they have no clue whether it's true or not."
Another issue he cites is lenders advising homeowners to stop paying their mortgages in order to qualify for a loan modification, only to find themselves being foreclosed upon, anyway.
"On the one hand you're working with somebody at the company to modify your loan and then you find out they're still foreclosing. It's not just that companies should be doing this out of the goodness of their heart, but they have contractual obligations."
Speer says that Virginia is a non-judicial foreclosure state, which means that you can foreclose on a person's home without first taking them to court. He adds that without judicial foreclosure, it is very difficult for homeowners to fight back.
Attorneys General from all 50 states are part of an investigation into mortgage foreclosure fraud. Thousands of cases are currently being considered nationwide.
Monique Coppola, Public News Service – VA
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