On Your Side: Mortgage Fraud?

By: Jeff Anderson Email
By: Jeff Anderson Email

Richmond County, GA -- It's called mortgage servicing fraud. It's happening all over the country and it could cost you your home if you become a victim of it.

It works like this:

You're paying your mortgage on time every month, but without you knowing, the company that collects your money begins to add on all sorts of fees.

Pretty soon, those fees add up too high for you to pay and then, poof, you're being foreclosed on.

The following two homeowners have not had their claims proven in court, but tell us they nearly lost their homes because of what they didn't know.

Rodney Hale is living what most homeowners would consider a nightmare.

He tells 12 On Your Side, "I feel like there's so much equity in here and they're just trying to take advantage of it anyway they can."

He's talking about his mortgage company, Wells Fargo. A company he feels is trying to unfairly take his home away.

Not too long ago, Rodney requested a payoff. That means he wanted to know how much he still owed on his home.

That's when the surprises started rolling in. The principle amount was right, but those weren’t the extra fees.

"Still to this day I don't know what those other fees are," he said.

There were nearly $5000 dollars of them in all; the main one being the vague "recoverable corporate advance."

"They won't tell me what it is," he said.

But Rodney is far from the only one with this problem. Bernard Simmons is in the same boat. "They threatened me with foreclosure," he said.

Bernard's troubles are with a company called Wendover Mortgage. He recently was told he had missed a payment. "But they couldn't prove it," he said.

Still however, he was told to pay several hundred dollars or he could lose his house.

So, he asked for an itemized record of his account.

Records show he missed a payment in December of 2004, which Bernard says he absolutely paid.

When asked if the company could explain when or why, he says it couldn't.

We should tell you that neither of these companies have been convicted of any wrong-doing in these cases, but the FTC has investigated these kinds of claims with a separate company before.

Back in 2003, the FTC charged a company called Fairbanks Capital with charging illegal and unauthorized fees. Fairbanks settled for $40 million dollars.

We did contact both Wendover Mortgage and Wells Fargo about Rodney and Bernard's cases. Both companies say they are looking into the situations, but right now they stand by the extra charges.

Either way, these are two men who just want their nightmares to end and their peace of mind returned.

"I feel like they're trying to rob me. They're trying to take something from me that is just about paid for," said Bernard.

"I'm just trying to get the house paid for so I got something to give my kids," said Rodney.

Again, neither of these cases have ever been proven in court.

12 On Your Side has been trying to reach both mortgage companies for the past two weeks.

Just today we were able to get some answers for Rodney and Bernard.

Both those homeowners now tell News 12 the mortgage companies are listening and it appears they are trying to make things right.

Some things you can to do to keep this from happening to you:

  • Keep all your mortgage statements.

  • Every year, ask for a transaction history.

  • In addition to that, you can always call 1-800-FTC-HELP to file a complaint.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Stephen Location: San Diego on Apr 14, 2009 at 06:25 PM
    This is very common and has been for decades. Guaranty Bank tried to foreclose on me, even though my payments were current and falsely reported me late to the credit agencies to prevent me from refinancing away from them. They told me over the phone that "There is nothing you can do about it". I filed a complaint with the FTC, who promptly investigated them and issued a Cease & Desist Order ( one of many they have received over the years)to the bank. Servicers have a whole menu of frauds they pull on a regular basis and they get away with it because if you sue, they falsify their records and tell the judge in the back room that you're a total deadbeat. Ask any attorney. Happens all the time.
  • by marvin Location: conyers on May 30, 2007 at 06:54 AM
    Litton loan serving, balloned up fake fee;s over 14,000.00 and then wanted to forclose on their fee,s, And because they certain attorney's in their back pocket to carry out there threat's of forecloser,These type lenders must be stopped,It's not just fraud it's exsortion buy a serving company,This is how they pad there profit margin, along with there bottom line.
  • by :( Location: Florida on May 20, 2007 at 12:33 PM
    good luck getting help from the FTC or the FTCI, I needed help and didn't get it. I need help with predatory lending and mortgage servicing fraud. Good Luck to them with Well fargo I hear they are a real mightmare also. O -
  • by Mary Location: Augusta on May 14, 2007 at 04:45 PM
    My mortage is with Wells Fargo also. I am having the same problem. We need to get together to file a class action suit against this bank. We are hard working people that don't desever to be hassled like this. Keep all of your mortage receipts!!!!!
  • by William J. Rose Location: San Diego on May 12, 2007 at 03:26 PM
    Temple-Inland pulled the same thing on me. I was late one month, and they began double-billing me. When I refused to make double payments, the tried to foreclose, so I sold the house at a loss, rather than let them steal my equity. They still reported a foreclosure to the CRAs. I sued them and the judge never looked at my evidence that my loan was current and slapped ME with a judgement for their legal fees. I ended up homeless. My home, was 2/3 paid for.
  • by Jeff Anderson-Reporter Location: WRDW on May 11, 2007 at 08:49 AM
    There are a number of different factors into what you will owe in a mortgage payoff.

    Many of them can differ loan to loan and mortgage company to mortgage company.

    There could be prepayment penalities if you are paying too early (depending on the terms of your mortgage).

    The bank will also charge you some amount of interest depending on the actual date you pay off the loan.

    Depending on the state, there are also some taxes that can be assessed.

    You may want to consider hiring an attorney to look over the payoff statement before you pay anything.

    That being said, there is a chance that you have some unauthorized charges on the your payoff statement.

    Feel free to email me at jeff.anderson@wrdw.com if you would like to talk more specifically about this.

  • by FS Location: Augusta on May 11, 2007 at 07:30 AM
    What fees are mortgage companies legally allowed to charge for a payoff?
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