Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bank Forecloses On Elderly Woman Over $49 in Unpaid Taxes

And the taxes were actually paid...

Joe Wright
Activist Post

There are some stories that are so over the top as an example of the brazen disregard for human dignity that they defy imagination. But, we know that truth is stranger than fiction . . . and this latest event is certainly proof of that.

Foreclosure fraud has become institutionalized within a corrupt banking structure; it began at the top with banks such as BoA and has trickled down into nearly every community. For example, one couple had their home in Tampa foreclosed on even after they had paid off the full amount in cash. Countless others have been victims of mortgage payment modification schemes.

However, the predatory nature of what is happening to 75-year-old Aron Ezilla Ridge in Travis County, Texas might in fact be what one news outlet is calling "The Saddest Story You Have Ever Heard." This story involves a mortgage company, but it also has a scary link to property taxes that should raise questions about the very nature of home ownership.

Back in 2010, at the peak of "Foreclosure-Gate," a few members of the banking consortium went on record to deny their responsibility for creating a system that might have given mortgage holders a raw deal:
Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, whose bank is implicated in the scandal, said this week in a conference call that there have been no accidental evictions. “We’re not evicting people who deserve to stay in their house,” the multimillionaire banker declared. 
“If you didn’t pay your mortgage, you shouldn’t be in your house. Period,” Walter Todd of the investment advisory firm Greenwood Capital Associates, told Reuters. 
“Everyone’s responsible for following the law. If we all don’t have to pay our mortgage, should we just stop paying taxes, too?” said Anton Schutz, president of Mendon Capital Advisers. (Source)

Interestingly enough, even if you follow the law (and pay your taxes) as the above paragons of ethics assert, apparently your home can still be taken by sleight of hand and/or bureaucratic ineptitude. Such is the case with elderly and infirm Aron Ezilla Ridge, who is debilitated in a variety of ways as Courthouse News reports:
Ridge is partly blind, has diabetes, congestive heart failure and had surgery for colon cancer several years ago. 
"She needs a wheelchair to leave her home and is largely housebound at this point in her life," the complaint states. "She can read but her reading level is approximately at the 6th grade level and her ability to read is, of course, further limited by her failing eyesight."
Regardless, she had paid off her mortgage 20 years ago, but needed repairs for which she did not have the immediate cash. She entered into an agreement for a "reverse mortgage" of $39,000 with a nationwide mortgage lender called James B. Nutter & Co.

A reverse mortgage is geared toward those who are 62 years and older, and essentially serves as a revolving credit line with title still held by the homeowner rather than with the lender as it would for a typical mortgage. Instead of the borrower making payments, the lender pays the borrower with the promise that the loan is to be paid at the time of death or sale.

It hasn't been so cut-and-dried for Ms. Ridge who is now the plaintiff in a case against James B. Nutter & Co. after payment of her property taxes came into question.
Ridge says she was told by the Travis County Tax Assessor's office in 2000 that she did not need to pay property taxes because the value of her home was below homestead and senior exemption caps. 
But she received a property tax bill in 2011 for $20.31. She says she was able to drive to the assessor's office and pay the taxes in full and on time. 
In April 2012, the assessor's office informed her that her home was valued at $60,743 and that her taxes were estimated at $46.87, according to the complaint. 
Ridge says she did not receive a tax bill, but later received a receipt stating that $49 in taxes were paid in late 2012. 
"She assumed that the receipt meant she was again exempt from property taxes," the complaint states. "She did not call the tax office to see why she had received a receipt without having received a bill."
This confusion, which has every indication that it was created by an outside party, gave an opening for Nutter & Co. to pounce via the "acceleration clause."
In January this year, Nutter's attorneys told Ridge her reverse mortgage had been accelerated, and that she had to pay off the entire loan "or the lender would exercise its right to enforce the lien on her home." 
Ms. Ridge's home officially went into foreclosure Jan. 30th, 2013.

Unbeknownst to many older homeowners who take out reverse mortgages (especially those who have a 6th-grade reading level), an acceleration clause is there to ensure immediate payment. However, it is supposed to only be triggered upon the sale of the home, or death. Nutter & Co. are invoking this due to supposedly unpaid taxes. Ironically, Financial Web defines this clause in the following way:
At that point, the proceeds from the sale of the house, or the life insurance policy will have to pay for the remaining balance on the reverse mortgage. Many lenders also have an acceleration that is tied to fraud as well. (emphasis added) [Source]
The wording of Ms. Ridge's exact contract would have to be examined, but it seems way outside the normal, ethical boundaries to invoke an accelerated payment due to unpaid property taxes . . . and even that fact is in question. This certainly appears to be one of those contracts "tied to fraud" that is mentioned above.
"The only property to which the application could possibly refer were the taxes for 2012 - which were not due until January 31, 2013. Yet defendant intended to enforce its right to foreclose on Ms. Ridge's home because she had not paid $49.00, which at the time the application was filed, was not due yet."
It's hard to imagine this situation getting any more convoluted . . . but it does. Not only is the lender looking for immediate payment of the original loan of $39,000, the company seeks that amount, plus interest, fees, and subsequent attorney's fees that total more than the actual appraised value of her home. In essence, she couldn't even sell the home (or die) to pay off what is being demanded.


Ms. Ridge has signed on with an attorney who appears to be taking this very seriously and is going on the offensive in just about every way possible. Courthouse News lists the following that is being sought on her behalf:
. . . actual and punitive damages, an injunction and declaratory relief for wrongful foreclosure, breach of contract, negligence, real estate fraud, unjust enrichment, attempted conversion and violations of the Unfair Debt Collection Act and Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Let's hope this sad story has a happier ending. We'll keep you posted. Please use the comment section below to tell us if you, or someone you know has been faced with a similar predatory lender.

Main source for this article, with additional must-read information:
http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/03/22/55963.htm

Other sources highlighting reverse mortgage scams:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/27/reverse-mortgage-foreclosures_n_1631626.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/business/reverse-mortgages-costing-some-seniors-their-homes.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0111/5-reverse-mortgage-scams.aspx

Read other articles by Joe Wright Here



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28 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is nothing worse than these filthy degenerate bankers. Anyone involved in the banking industry needs to look in the mirror and decide if you are really human. Go get some honest work. You and your kind are destroying the planet.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article. I'm going to make sure my father's friend read this, as he was thinking about doing one of these 'reverse mortgages'. Can't believe how utterly brutal and heartless these bankers have become.

Janet Phelan said...

The increasingly commonplace predation upon and lack of concern for our elders is well exemplified in this article. Let's hope it raises a firestorm of protest!

Jo Bo said...

This is what happens when you take away the guns.

Anonymous said...

My former mother-in-law had her house sold right out from under her due to an absurdly low amount of unpaid property tax. She has lived alone for many years in the house her late husband bought (and paid off prior to his demise) in which she raised her six children. She has been borderline functional for the past few few years now, but she was still independent enough to prevent any of the kids from looking after the details of her financial life. Somehow the county swooped in and were permitted to seize the house and sell it for less than it was worth, thereby uprooting an old lady in the last years of her life and putting her in some group living situation (when she has lived alone for years. Not only that, regulations evidently enable the county to sit on her portion of the proceeds of the sale for a year, basically cutting her off from the ability to take charge of her own life again using her own money. When this situation was brought to the attention of some of her children, they attempted to pay the tax bill so that their mother could be left alone to live out the remainder of her life in the home she's lived in for 40 years.
I think somebody at County ought to be doing time for preying on the elderly (assuming it's one bad apple and not a systematic policy).

Gloria Jean Sykes said...

Good change the Bank doesn't even own the note and rushing the foreclosure action was a way to deny Ms. Ridge due process. That said, Mr. Wright should look into court sanctioned abuses of the elderly and disabled through guardianships across America. My mother is being held hostage while my sister, through her attorneys, have de-possess her of all of her assets (over a million dollars cash), her home and all of her personal property. To do this, my sister had to have me evicted from the family home where I lived with Mother through filing fraudulent documents. Nevertheless, growing old in America -- and if you own a home or have wealth -- you can be certain the banks, courts or evil adult children will snatch every penny, brick and chair you own for their personal financial gain. Sorry for the rant, but what hapened to Ms. Ridge is happening every day under the guise of America's probate courts....

Activist said...

Thank you very much for the comments.

Yes, Gloria, what you describe is quite horrible. Janet Phelan has appeared on Activist Post many times discussing this issue. You can find her work here: http://www.activistpost.com/search?q=janet+phelan

J.W.

Anonymous said...

It makes me sick when I see Henry Winkler aka Fonzi on the tube talking seniors into a reverse mortgage. He makes the elderly think that a reverse mortgage is fun and you recieve a check and now you'll have money for Bingo on Wednesday nights. Hidden in the details of the contract are numerous landmines that explode in your face as soon as you miss a tax bill, and who knows maybe missing any utility bill causing universal default, like credit cards do.

Anonymous said...

" James B. Nutter & Co."
Must remember that name and spread it all over!
"You must be nutty to use Nutter"- (to remember).

I don't trust anyone anymore. If I needed money for improvements- I'd just do without. As soon as you improve, they just raise the value and charge more taxes anyway.
Save money and let's all quit improving and live in dumps.

greyseal said...

there does exist a different type of foreclosure most people don't know about.The other form is for a chattel mortgage, this is the type that all the banks, and lending institutions use, it's based on pawn laws.
Google; Secured transactions, the history of chattel mortgages.In a proper foreclosure,a court of law decides the amount owed, and would bar this fraudulent attempt to steal this house.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, I hope this goes well!.. If not, lets all enlist the help of anonymous and lets crash everything that is dear to this bank!.. This bank and others need to be thought a lesson and if this dont go well, we just know exactly what to do!.. Getting sick and tired of what the bankers to to the poor..! If this case don't go well, there is gonna be hell to pay!

We are anonymous!..
We are legion!..
We do not forgive!
We do not forget!
(All banks) Expect us!

Anonymous said...

The banks are destroying the middle class, family by family, community by community. These rich assholes think they own the world, now don't they? What have they done to deserve the power they have been given? Paid off politicians...gamed the housing industry and cashed in personally...

I attempted to go through a modfication from Chase Bank. It was clear from the beginning that the contempt in the voice of the 40 different people I had to speak to in 3 months time that this was going to end badly. I sold everything worth value and paid off the unpaid balance (do not pay mtg during mod, they said).

I just hope I am alive the day the bankers are held accountable (and every politician is sentenced under Nuremberg laws).

Fuck you Jaimie. you haven't earned a dime you have. You should be in the gutter with a cheap bottle of wine in a paper bag along with the rst of the losers calling the shots in this world of banking.

R3 said...

Texans let bankers prey upon old ladies and do nothing to defend them? Where is Chuck Norris? Oh yeah fiction

Anonymous said...

There's a special place in hell for people who oppress the poor and weak (read about Lazarus and the rich man, Luke 16:19-31).

"The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, to kill those who walk uprightly. Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken." (Psalm 27:14-15)

"He who oppresses the poor curses his Maker, but he who honors Him has mercy upon the poor." (Proverbs 14:31)

The people who do these things will get their just deserts -- if not in this life, then certainly in the next. You can count on it.

Anonymous said...

Considering that banks loan nothing but pens to sign notes, by what authority can they sieze anything more valuable than pens? If houses increase in value as they deteriorate, builders would build deteriorated homes so who is kidding whom about values increasing? When the Fed said their system works us "only with credit" and taxes cannot be paid with credit,
haven't they admitted that no one pays any taxes and that our misleaders spend NOTHING?
With credit existing only in minds, wouldn't they have to control most minds to work all of us with credit? Don't most people believe the lie that government spends money? Don't you?

Anonymous said...

exact same thing is happening to me now--only worse-there are no less than EIGHT banks and fraudster so called taxing authorities trying to rob and kill me or at least take every stick of furniture and piece of underwear I own and throw me out into the street...and i am 65, can barely walk, have to work three days to get paid for one day-and have no money to hire a lawyer-and here they are all crooked anyway--and no family to help me either--welcome to amerika--LAND OF THE FASCIST CORPORATISTS!

Anonymous said...

Let's do a bit of critical thinking here.
First for the record, all mortgages are fraud.

The banks gives you credit.
Credit is a fictitious concept.
It has no form, thus it has no value.
It is whatever the bank wants it to be.
It is whatever you believe it to be.
The banks give you a "concept of value."

You buy a house with your "concept of value" because, someone is selling for a "concept of value." The house has value but, the bank acquires the house in title because, both the buyer and seller believe the bank has "brought to the table" something of value. A mortgage based on credit has no form thus, no value. A mortgage based on the transfer of gold or silver WOULD have real value because gold and silver are real and quantifiable.

So with a set of paperwork tricks, the house that has value becomes an asset the bank takes control of, just from giving something that has a "concept of value"....credit.

Nothing of real value is given by a bank. They get interest payments based on a non-existing principal....REAL value from people that performed REAL labor that has quantifiable value. So, banks are able to play the "concept of value" game and acquire property and real wealth from deceiving people with this "concept of value." angle.

Gold, silver, land, houses, and useable products all have real value because, you can see them and touch them and trade them.

So, when banks can use credit as something that has a "concept of value"....unknowing people will surrender their real wealth and property and get nothing of value in return. Basically they were "taken" by the bank.

What a scamming system!

Having nothing but a bullshit concept of value; getting everyone to go along with the concept; colluding and lying on a mass scale; then acquire title to everything that has REAL value! All the while setting up more people to get involved with the same scam because, "that's just the way things work!"

Amazing....

Anonymous said...

they are nothing more than downrite thieves

Debbie Simmons said...

I have heard of a group of UCC Lawyers called OPPT (One's Public People's Trust). They claim to have foreclosed on the Rothschild's banking industry or empire. They have their website which is meant to have legalise filings on all fraudulent banking systems. Please hear them on You Tube as if it can help this woman then go for it!

Anonymous said...

I love the last comment about mtgs being fraud. I just happened to be thinking about that at 3 a.m. My friend lost everything when the car companies crashed a few years ago. Three homes and all the goodies that go with them. Someone profited from his loss, you can bet!!! The National Realtors Association is in cahoots with these a-hole bankers, telling everyone that the key to happiness is owning a home! B.S. They are all money pits unless you pay cash - and even then, the govt. can get you with your property taxes. We own nothing. We are slaves

Anonymous said...

Share the information.

Anonymous said...

The only solution to the financial and economic crisis is to abolish the privately held central banks and restore monetary authority to the national treasuries to create and extinguish honest debt free money based on a 3 legged stool of precious metals, barter exchange contracts and labor treasury certificates for goods produced, services rendered and work performed.

Internatioinal trade and balance of payments could be conducted with barter exchange contracts. Thus no trade deficit, no debt.

Introduce a revaluation bill limiting paper currency debts to 1% of their gold dollar value of $2,000 an ounce, reevaluating the currency and issuing new currency at a 100-1 exchange rate, pro-rating all prices, incomes, debts, and charging a progressive exchange rate fee of 10% of 1 million dollars, 20% of 10 million, 30% of 100 million, 40% of 1 billion or more.

This would be a more equitable distribution of wealth where the scales of economic justice would be more evenly balanced.

Based on the consumer price index of 1913 $1.00=$1.00 2013 $1.00=.05 cents. The dollar has lost 95% of it's purchasing power since 1913. 5% of a million dollars is only $50,000 in 1913 dollars.

Everyone needs to throw their cards on the table and reshuffle the deck.

If inflation is not brought under control the dollar will soon be losing 99% of it's purchasing power. Just move the decimal point over to places to the right and add to zeros. The $100.00 dollar bill will be the new dollar.

Anonymous said...

Had a friend got into a bind because of the stock market flat spot several years ago (It affected his retirement payments) and so he wrote to one of these reverse morgage companies for their video.
I looked at this video and saw the traps involved in this thing by what I saw and DIDN'T see.
Those people are slime-coverd bastards and are hell bound.
I lent this friend the money to bring his house notes up to date and pay off the house morgage and he sold it and paid me back the money.
I am really disapointed in Henry Winkler (Fonzie) and Fred Thompson (wonder how much they were paid to read the script about something they knew nothing about) and will forever consider them to be Benidict Arnolds reincarnated.
Charles Smith

Kevin Mullis said...

I want to kick Fonzie square in the nuts!

Gary McCurry said...

If it's one thing I can't stand it's a liar and a greedy mf, period, may they all rot in hell!

Anonymous said...

Oh the moneychangers - the moneychangers... Jesus whipped the moneychangers..... with good reason - they had it coming then and now. These folks are the worst scum of the earth...no feeling, no compassion, no humanity, no civility. They are vacant and vapid, blinded by their own greed. There has to be a special place in hell for guys like this.

Sherrie Questioning All said...

I am glad she got a lawyer! Outrageous! The blood sucking scum banks are only about FRAUD! I hope she wins MILLIONS over this! I hope the lawyer goes for the gut!

Anonymous said...

The sad thing is, having worked in the industry I know that problems like this are really not even a matter of some heartless banker taking an old lady's home because they're cruel and evil. It's entirely a matter of employees at all levels within the company being oblivious to the specific needs of their individual customers.

Each worker drone might look at a hundred different loans a day, with each loan just as uninteresting as the previous one. They very likely have production goals to meet, a quota of accounts to handle per day.

So no real attention is given to any particular account; you just flip the switches, so to speak, and move onto the next one.

You become a robot, another cog in the machine, grinding away at whatever task you've been given, as quickly as possible, in the hopes you'll get some 'incentive bonus' on your next paycheck. Not even realizing that out there somewhere you've just ruined someone's life.

Technically, unpaid property taxes are a valid reason for a mortgage company to foreclose - otherwise the tax collector could foreclose instead and the mortgage company would completely lose their collateral for the loan. So the mortgage company will typically rush to foreclose instead and pay the taxes themselves.

That's all fine and dandy, if there is an actual risk to the bank. But for $49, there was no risk. If the mortgage company was that concerned, they could've just paid the bill without foreclosing and charged it off as a loss. But instead, this old lady had the misfortune of having her loan servicing by the brain-dead employees that run corporate America. This. Is. Capitalism.

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