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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Is this the next phase of the extermination of the middle class?
Posted by Jill | 10:59 AM
Now you don't even have to fall behind on your mortgage in order to have the bank take your house. In fact, you don't even have to have a mortgage:
Charlie and Maria Cardoso are among the millions of Americans who have experienced the misery and embarrassment that come with home foreclosure.

Just one problem: The Massachusetts couple paid for their future retirement home in Spring Hill with cash in 2005, five years before agents for Bank of America seized the house, removed belongings and changed the locks on the doors, according to a lawsuit the couple have filed in federal court.

Early last month, Charlie Cardoso had to drive to Florida to get his home back, the complaint filed in Massachusetts on Jan. 20 states.

The bank had an incorrect address on foreclosure documents — the house it meant to seize is across the street and about 10 doors down — but the Cardosos and a Realtor employed by Bank of America were unable to convince the company that it had the wrong house, the suit states.

According to the complaint, here is what happened:

Last July, the couple's tenant called the Cardosos in a panic. The single mother of two teenagers accused the couple of lying when they told her she could rent the house as long she wanted. Three men were there to clean out the house and change the locks, she told them.

Charlie Cardoso talked to a real estate agent for Bank of America, who said he would inform the company that it had the wrong house. The couple thought that was the end of the ordeal.

It wasn't. A landscaper Bank of America hired in August to mow the grass on the property broke a fence to bring in his equipment. The tenant got spooked and moved out just before Christmas.

On Jan. 5, a friend of the Cardosos who was helping the tenant pick up belongings found men putting a lock box on the front door. The workers said the house belonged to Bank of America. The friend called the Cardosos.

When Charlie Cardoso called the bank, a representative told him there was a mistake, the problem would be fixed, and he would get a return call. The call never came. The lock box remained.

Four days later, Cardoso and his son drove to Florida, missing the homecoming of another son who was returning from Iraq for a two-week leave.

Cardoso had to prove to police that he owned the house. The next day he broke in through a back door and used bolt cutters to remove the lock box. The water and electricity had been turned off, and pipes had frozen.

The couple filed suit 10 days later.

"Unclear"? I'd put twenty bucks on the table right now that if the Cardosos look at their credit score, it will have dropped a few hundred points.

Now cue the Usual Suspects screaming about "frivolous lawsuits" and "tort reform." If you aren't entitled to damages when a bank can take your house on which they don't even have a mortgage, get rid of all your belongings, and wreck your reputation and credit rating, then I don't know when the hell you are.

Life in this country is every day becoming more of a Terry Gilliam nightmare:

Funny how the Information minister looks a lot like Dick Cheney.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Knew a fellow construction worker in Denver in the 1970s who called me up early in the morning to come bail him out of jail. His wife was in another jail. Bailed her out. They had to wait another day to get their children back from childrens services.

He moved into a bad neighborhood into a great old Victorian mansion he was restoring.

Drug dealers moved in across the street.
He called the cops.

The warrant had the wrong address. He was handcuffed and put in a police car when he pointed at the drug dealers across the street calmly loading up a van.

Cops destroyed the house trying to find drugs. Wife had a prescription drug bottle that her mother had given her that she hadn't taken but kept in a medicine cabinet so her mother could see it when she started snooping around.

He got a suspended sentence for "interferring with officers."

His wife got probation for "possession of prescription drugs."

They lost their home to repossession because they were both fired from their jobs before they even went to court and their savings went to the lawyer. They had to declare bankruptcy. I loaned them the money to hire a lawyer for the bankruptcy.

Now if we could just get a tiny amount of justice in this country.

Anonymous CharlieO said...
Guaranteed that even if the Cardosos "win" the lawsuit they will "lose". And I'll lay you several months wages that they won't get a cent from this and the legal costs -- to them -- will be enough to force bankruptcy.
BoA knows that. They won't settle and will push out any court trial as long as possible -- at several hundred dollars an hour for the lawyers. And don't even consider the appeals cost.

I'm sure the suit is being handled on "contingency", which means their lawyers will get most of whatever money they might happen to win. [I doubt that they can get millions in compensation, and even if they could, 50% goes to the lawyers!!!!]

The Cardosos will be truly and fully "retired" -- to whatever dump they can still afford -- by the time this thing is "settled" -- ie, dies an unnatural death. And the stress of the fight is likely to kill one or both of them.

And filing suit against a bank won't do their credit score any good. Hope they don't need to borrow any money -- ever.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"The single mother of two teenagers accused the couple of lying when they told her she could rent the house as long she wanted." Great tenant ! It probably was the first thing out of her mouth.