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Wells Fargo, You Can Run But You Can’t Hide: A Homeowner's Testimony

Wells Fargo, You Can Run But You Can’t Hide: A Homeowner's Testimony
Tue, 11/8/2016 - by Lainey Hashorva

Wells Fargo seems to have its greedy cheating hands in everyone’s pockets these days, including Dear Uncle Freddie Mac and Aunt Fannie May, the government entities that are on many millions of mortgages as the primary investors – “owners,” so to speak, of the mortgage loans.

It's not the only one, of course. Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and others are also serving countless mortgage loans from Freddie and Fannie. Many homeowners have tried to refinance or modify their existing mortgages since the crash of the global economy, brought on by these very banks and Wall Street investment firms. Millions of people lost their jobs, homes, businesses, investments and retirement funds in the crash, as did all levels of industry and retail, small and large. This caused a perpetual ripple effect of fear and collateral damage, with more job and benefit cuts, insurance hikes, short sales, foreclosures – and consumers not consuming in a consumer-based society.

Not good. Fear begets fear begets paralysis, followed by more downward spiraling emotionally, economically and globally as visions of growth, productivity and recovery slip away. The U.S. government put programs in place that would supposedly assist homeowners to modify their mortgages on individual homes and/or rental properties, helping the economy and Main Street get back on its feet.

Sadly, the servicing banks did not comply with their agreements via the TARP bailout and the SIGTARP (Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program) guidelines when it came to playing fair with consumers who applied for the Home Affordable Modification Program, aka HAMP. This would have stabilized the housing market and calmed the ripples to aid consumers, helping them get back to consuming and thus reviving the U.S. economy.

One homeowner I recently spoke with, Therese Crowley of Illinois, fell into the proverbial rabbit hole when she put her faith in Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Banks don’t cheat, right? Why would they lie? Why wouldn't they want to assist the very customers they service by helping them get the assistance they need to stay in their homes? Maybe it's because they have more to gain when their customers lose. So figured Crowley, our latest Homeowner Hunger Games contestant...

Lainey Hashorva: Please tell me a bit about your work background, and what brought you to apply for assistance through the HAMP or HARP programs with Wells Fargo?

Therese Crowley: I was a Series 7 (securities industry) employee registered in the 1980s, and have been a managing real estate broker for more than 20 years in Illinois. After two back to back surgeries in 2008-9 – with 800 FICO scores and 62 percent LTV on my home – I was inundated with large medical bills coupled with the collapse of the real estate market. Current on my mortgage, I proactively reached out to Wells Fargo for a home loan modification in an effort to reduce my expenses. What I encountered was nothing short of a nightmare that is ongoing today as I mark seven years in this fight for my home. I stepped into the very carefully laid trap of Wells Fargo – which led me into a now my sixth year of litigation.

On all four of my applications for a loan modification over the course of 12 months (in 2009-10), Wells Fargo personnel, up to and including the executive office of John Stumpf, repeatedly used false data entry in the loan software, made misleading and fraudulent representations to me, and when identified, Wells employees refused to correct it and simply continued with ongoing delays. According to their own employees, I would have certainly been cleared for a modification had they used the correct data and followed the guidelines. Yet Wells continued to issue denial letters, falsified data in appraisals stating I had $120,000 in equity, delays and requests for more documents. They said I "failed to meet investor guidelines," and that in fact was fraud and a misrepresentation. My “investor” is Fannie Mae. With each application, it got worse. Wells said, in writing, that my home was below the mortgage amount, when Wells had multiple appraisals reflecting a minimum of a 68 percent loan amount to actual value (LTV.)

Wells Fargo added monthly credit card debt into their calculations of my income and expenses. I had no credit cards! Wells used incorrect property tax data, more than 2.5 times the amount. When they had the current county tax bill, they used incorrect income numbers even though they had all my bank statements and income information that I had submitted per their request. In March 2010, the bank notified Fannie Mae that they were foreclosing on my home as of April 1, thought I was current on the mortgage! This was against the law in Illinois, not to mention unconscionable theft. I learned that based on the false statements the bank made to Fannie Mae, Wells Fargo was able to collect on the default insurance of nearly $115,000.00, all under false representations to the government, as my mortgage was not in default.

I was told by Wells Fargo that I was denied a modification by Fannie Mae, though months later I discovered that I had in fact been approved twice through the Chicago office of Fannie Mae. I have the documents that verify the approvals, tho the false statements by Wells Fargo – both to me and the government entity, Fannie Mae – reflect the opposite. While my applications were under review by Wells Fargo, and unbeknownst to me, Wells had conducted four or more hard credit checks which brought my 800 credit score down below 660.

When your credit is harmed and diminished, it puts you in a tight box. I was unable to obtain alternative mortgage options as I was in this trap carefully constructed by Wells Fargo. I was livid! It was so overwhelming. When I confronted Wells Fargo, they tried to coerce me into signing an in-house “proprietary modification” which included an additional $15,000, though there was no accounting or justification for that, and it made no sense.

LH: What steps did you take to follow your hunch and obtain the information that verified your loan had been approved and offers of modification were actually made by the government, ie. Fanne Mae?

TC: Once I contacted HUD and the office of Fannie Mae, I discovered the offers they had made to Wells Fargo on my behalf as to the approval of the modifications Wells had denied me. It was then that I contacted an attorney and began litigation against the clear fraud that is apparently so rampant at Wells Fargo. When the HUD Counselor told me to get a lawyer, I prayed about it. Given I had so much evidence of the fraud, I knew I had to stand up. I had to fight this. And every time I have gone to court, I see the countless homeowners who are losing their homes – families and veterans, completely devastated. I wonder how many never thought to ask the questions that would potentially have revealed the fraud in their files. That is in part what drives me. My hope is that other homeowners that have been subjected to this egregious fraud can benefit from our exposure and work on this – those of us that have the wherewithal to fight back.

LH: What checks and balances do you feel the average consumer, who may not have your knowledge, background and expertise financially, should do to protect themselves and/or to investigate their own denials by the bank as to a restructure, refinance or modification of their home loans?

TC: Keep notes and records of everything! Copies of all correspondence, keep a phone record and notes of every phone call, follow up with a letter, and ask them to put their explanations in writing. If in doubt, call HUD (Housing and Urban Development) and ask for help; they have excellent housing counselors. Also seek out housing counselors in your area. Make sure you have a single point of contact at the bank. Make sure you ask questions and make them explain it to you clearly and in writing. Consumers need to be sure that the figures utilized by these banks for the applications are accurate – including verifying the appraisals and accounting. Additionally under HAMP there are certain guidelines the servicer must follow when determining the application.

LH: New rules in place may vary by state. Many states have newer servicing rules for the banks to adhere to, but we know that again and again these mega-financial institutions continue to make their own rules, disregard the oversight and pummel those that try to fight the system. It takes guts and stamina. Most people roll over and hand over the keys feeling hopeless.

TC: Yes, this has been devastating to me personally and financially due to the huge legal costs to defend against their fraud. Professionally my reputation was crushed [with] the real estate business being entangled in litigation with Wells, as Wells methodically destroyed my credit leaving me no option to pursue other refinancing. I have had to endure the many physical and emotional effects of stress as well. The banks seemed to label homeowners "deadbeats." Well, I am not a deadbeat. I have worked hard and paid my bills on time and had a great reputation before all this. They also claim the homeowners are trying to get a free house. In my case, it sure seems that Wells was going to extraordinary lengths to take or steal my house, under such egregious acts of fraud, never mind the money they collected from Fannie Mae under false representations. The daily overriding threat of a gargantuan institution attempting to steal your home under fraudulent methods buries you in so many painful moments and ongoing repercussions. It is just too hard to explain it all sometimes.

LH: Well, that seems to be the game, right? Crush the opponent upon entry into the arena, bury the evidence, collect the insurance and sell it again to the next victim.

TC: All I did was apply for a modification and little did I know it would become the hardest fight of my life.

As of today, Therese Crowley has been and remains in active litigation for over six years against Wells Fargo Home Mortgage for justice, to restore her credit, to keep her home and maintain her wellbeing as she continues to live under the threat of wrongful foreclosure. With the evidence of rampant fraud and criminal activity that has been expose regarding business as usual at Wells Fargo, citizens can only hope that government unrigs this game and restores legitimacy to banking, mortgage servicing and the immeasurable losses suffered by so many. The forged accounts, excess fees and business practices executed by Wells Fargo are crumbs in comparison to the trillions of dollars the bank acquired by defrauding the government and American consumers.

Comments

I've been fight WELLS FARGO AND BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON BANK TRUST for ten years and coming up on the eleventh year. I have VERIFIED Identity Theft from the major investigating agency, including but not limited to the DESIST AND REFRAIN ORDER issued to the fraudulent and FORGED Promissory Note and Deed of Trust created by an insider (Prospect) Broker CRAIG RONALD DIMOND et al. These parties are dangerous and crooked, but the DA and other enforcement agencies failed to listen to the evidence provided. Someone in a high seat is PROTECTING the contrive fraud, but the conspiracy is well embedded and concealed within the planned system. This is clear acts of R.I.C.O... its not a secret anymore. The Bank continues to utter counterfeit instruments, because there is no ACCOUNTABILITY that will PROSECUTE VIOLATORS OF GRAND THEFT OF REAL PROPERTY. Instead, they want to CRIMINALIZE the victim and call the Homeowner "Deadbeat".

Every loan with Wells Fargo was designed to fail. The homeowners put up savings to buy a home. Hard work, years of struggling with high rents while raising families. The purpose of buying a home is more than the American dream. It is a place to call home. To be stable, have your children stay in one school. Grow up with kids in the neighborhood and become apart of a community. A greedy bank has you believe they have provided you with the loan that achieves this. In return, you pay interest and closing fees and pay a mortgage and after 30 years, your free and clear on your property. You paid for it. You worked all your life to do this. For those who lost jobs, honest workers, not dead beats. Tax payers. The bank has not fronted you one cent. The bank used other people's money and tax dollars to give you a loan. That same bank wrote loans with intent to defraud you out of your money, your home and make more money by steeling it out from under you. And they say your after a free house. The victims of fraud are entitled to a free house and damages. You played by the rules. You have clean hands. The dishonest and deceptive business practices of Wells Fargo and other banks doing business with deception and dishonest practices for personal gain with intent to do you harm are not being prosecuted. Why? Because of the wealth? Rich or poor, we have laws and the laws are only being enforced for some and not others, then who do you think is responsible for this? The lawsuits should not just include the bank but for every enity that you have filed a complaint with and they have a blind eye on the bank abusive practices. This should include the Court, the judge, the OCC, the attorney general,and so on. Start your lawsuit, show the law, show the violation, show who allowed the violation to be used to take your property. I have been in litigation since 2009 and I will not give up until I have justice.

I paid off my home in 2007! Wells Fargo without a proper ruling in an active Federal case that they are the legal beneficiary, just foreclosed on my home, and bought it back even though they have NO LEGAL Standing! This is also way past the 6 year statute of limitations. They are crooks and Warren Buffett is behind it as well. His Berk Shire Hathaway real-estate company than sells the homes. They are all crooks and need to be in jail! I will NEVER leave my home! Try to take it by force! #WellsFargo #WarrenBuffett #BerkShireHathaway #Nazism #Illegal #Crooks #Fraud #Foreclosure #Dishonest #Constitution #FREEDOM #DontTreedOnMe

Dan Szmania: Wells Fargo illegally foreclosed on me as well and secretly sold the property while we were in the middle of negotiating a modification. I am planning to file a class action lawsuit and am looking for others who have been victimized by Wells Fargo. Please contact me by e-mail @ ssfironline@gmail.com or my attorney, Earnest Ianetti by phone @ 973-324-1003 or by e-mail eianetti@ianetti.legal. I look forward to speaking with you. This could be extremely advantageous for us both. I would like to hear from EVERYONE who has victimized by Wells Fargo.

I would join your class action suit. We need to make a lot noise now when they are trying to get their reputation back. A series of stories, something that will display their criminal conduct.
I am going to a Mandatory Settlement Hearing with Wells Fargo next week, I have no idea what to demand for damages. The judge ruled they were guilty for Unlawful Foreclosure, violating the Homeowners Bill of Rights, and Dual Tracking. Any ideas? I would like take them to trial but I don't have the money. Tried Go Fund Me, that didn't work.
Every time a homeowner wins everyone wins.

Dan Szmania: Wells Fargo illegally foreclosed on me as well and secretly sold the property while we were in the middle of negotiating a modification. I am planning to file a class action lawsuit and am looking for others who have been victimized by Wells Fargo. Please contact me by e-mail @ ssfironline@gmail.com or my attorney, Earnest Ianetti by phone @ 973-324-1003 or by e-mail eianetti@ianetti.legal. I look forward to speaking with you. This could be extremely advantageous for us both. I would like to hear from EVERYONE who has victimized by Wells Fargo.

Additionally Wells Fargo approves 2nd mortgages for homeowners not pointing out before the homeowners sign that the interest on the 2nd mortgage accrues daily not monthly but daily this was considered predatory lending and loan sharking in the 1970's but in today's business environment 25% interest is no longer considered loan sharking as it was in the 70's. I want my bell bottoms and flowers in the hair back. I don't know how our kids are going to make it they had better live simply and off the grid if they don't want to be cheated out of everything they earn or they will be like hamsters on a wheel. The richer will get richer and the number of major cities in America where only the rich can afford to live will be everywhere not just Manhattan and San Franciso, they are going to take all the prime property and shut the upper middle, the middle and lower class out you will have to be super rich to live in those areas and you can only visit by paying dollars as a tourist or mopping floors and putting out trash while you are there working.

When we closed on one of our houses our 2nd home purchase we paid the home insurance and taxes for a full year up front during the closing, Wells Fargo billed us for these amounts in our monthly payments and never gave us credit to our escrow for the homeowners insurance we paid at the title company during the closing. When I contacted Wells Fargo they said they had no record of the amount being paid. We provided them with a copy of the closing statement as well as a copy of the check written to Wells Fargo by the title company The check had been cashed and we provided Wells Fargo with a copy of the back and front of the cashed check, the copy of the cashed check we requested from the title company who had mailed the original check directly to Wells Fargo. Also the check copy had our loan number written on the front of the check where it seemed that the personnel at Wells Fargo received the check, noted what loan escrow account it was suppose to be deposited to but never credited our escrow account for it. We have written them and called them and faxed them on several occasions what they ended up doing was selling our loan to a smaller bank called Midland Mortgage. When we contacted our new mortgage holder in writing they said that it was nothing they could do about it and sent us legal jargan indicating that we were bound by law to pay the loan as they directed. We rent that home out now. Our current home was financed by a different mortgage company after a few months the loan was sold to Wells Fargo how I hated that, here years later they will not give a modification on the loan under HARP Criteria indicating that we do not qualify, they assume we do not understand the guidelines being that at one time the homes were in a lower income area but that is because the average age of the population in the area is over 60 and retired but individuals keep their historic homes up and there are a lot of business owners in the community many who run businesses from home and the values of the homes have doubled since the drops in 2008 and 2009. Wells Fargo has a business prescence in our neighborhood I wish they would move on. They assumed that I did not understand how escrow accounts worked with the rip-off of our insurance money on the other home I assured them that I have an accounting degree from a top Texas business school and fully understood escrow accounts and the entire closing process. They have survived over a hundred years by cheating people, they probably robbed their on stage coaches and collected the money from the insurance company back in the day.

We originated our Wells Fargo loan, March of 2006, interest only 10/20 loan. We did everything right, purchased below appraised value, put 20% down of our own money. We were told we would be able to streamline into a fixed 30 year at any time as long as we made our payment and keep good credit scores. We have always made our payments on time for 10 years and had high 700 to 800 credit score. Starting in 2008, we attempted to refinance to a fixed mortgage rate. But with the collapse of the housing market our house was worth about half what it was in 2006, making it impossible to appraise above the owed amount. With that we couldn’t sell it and no other mortgage company would refinance us with a property worth less then we owe. That left us with only being able to work with Wells Fargo. At which point we contacted Wells Fargo in attempts to do a streamline refinance, to change, modification or to convert our mortgage to a fix rate at current rates. We have made several attempts every year since then. Right up until February and again in April of 2016, to work something out with Wells Fargo. To no withal, we have not been able to obtain a modification or refinance, all request for help have been denied on all accounts. Told over and over, are payments are current and we can afford our current mortgage payment as the reason for denials for refinance and modifications.
Do to my health I lost my job in April of 2016, coupled with our interest only mortgage maturing in June our payment jumping from $2768 to $3786. We , As much as we would love to stay in our home and retire here, our continuing financial struggles and both our health declining makes it so we cannot sustain a home mortgage of $3786 to Wells Fargo. In June, we missed our first payment to Wells Fargo and applied for modification, which Wells Fargo denied; we appealed and they denied that, saying we could afford the $3786 mortgage payment and that should come first.
Wells Fargo pushed us into either going to foreclosure or Short sale our home. Well, short sale it is, they have accepted an offer $130,000 below what we owe on our mortgage. I feel like our house was just stolen right out from under our feet. We have lost our $120,000 down payment and another $80,000 in first year renovations.
We have been told over and over that HARP and Modification were set up to help owners just like us but they haven’t down one thing for us or in our best interest.
We sincerely appreciate your understanding and help in this matter. If there is anything further you should need from us, please contact me personally.

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