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06-26-2011, 10:22 PM
Tampa Bay retiree comes home to find all his belongings gone after bank forecloses on WRONG house

By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 2:31 AM on 26th June 2011

A Florida retiree has filed a lawsuit against a company that cleans out houses in foreclosure, after they mistakenly emptied his home.

Eighty-two-year-old Benito Santiago Sr returned to Tampa from vacation in 2009, and found his residence padlocked, and his life's possessions gone.

But as public records show, the home was not in foreclosure.


The retired antiques dealer claims Field Asset Services Inc took his property and changed the locks at his single-family home at 4205 W Humphrey Street in autumn, 2009, according to a lawsuit filed this month in Hillsborough Circuit Court.

Mr Santiago has filed suit against the company, and mortgage lender Countrywide Home Loans, owned by Bank of America, for damages.

A police report obtained by the St Petersburg Times shows Mr Santiago had returned to his home with his son, Benjamin, after spending time in New Mexico.

But they arrived to find a sign on the house that read Field Asset Services; the home was padlocked and his belongings - including pictures of his deceased wife - were gone.


Signed and delivered: The sign mistakenly put in front of the home of Mr Santiago's home

He called the number on the lock and spoke to representative there.

Mr Santiago's son said the company at first acknowledged a mistake was made.

However, in February, an attorney representing Field Asset Services sent Santiago's attorney a letter denying the matter.

Company attorney Chris Helling wrote: 'FAS has found no record of servicing the property belonging to your client.'

But Santiago's attorney, J Scott Murphy, claims in the filings agents from Field Asset Services were hired by Countrywide Home Loans to carry out cleanup services to a condominium next door that once used the address 4255 W Humphrey Street before the alleged mix-up occurred.

Mr Santiago's son believes his father's mailbox could have contributed to confusion. He noted the address had been mistaken before by landscapers and unwanted visitors, as one side displays the number '4205' while the other is missing the '0'.

Mr Santiago valued the furniture, an antique wagon wheel and other belongings that were taken at 'at least' $100,000.

Hillsborough County sheriff's Deputy David Feenaughty estimated in an October, 2009 report, however, that Mr Santiago's possessions were worth $29,100.

The report reads: 'At this time, it appears that a cleaning company for foreclosures (Field Asset Services) may have mistakenly arrived at the residence in error on 9/17/09 and removed its contents.'

The retiree said the issue has upset him so much he has moved in with a friend.

He told the St Petersburg Times: 'Everything was taken out of the property. I feel nervous. I'm not going back.'

Carlin Phillips, a Massachusetts attorney who specialises in cases of wrongful 'lock-outs', said she has taken on hundreds of cases in the last year as foreclosures sweep the U.S.

Based on his experience, it appears unlikely Mr Santiago will ever see his possessions returned.

'We have never gotten one piece of property back,' he told the Times.

Field Asset Services Inc and Countrywide Home Loans have yet to issue comment on the case.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2008180/Tampa-Bay-retiree-comes-home-belongings-gone-bank-forecloses-WRONG-house.html#ixzz1QRmC3O5C

06-26-2011, 10:30 PM
There is sadly no way to make this man whole again, and — given that he's 82 — very little time to try. I hope he gets one hell of a settlement. This is every bit as inexcusable as amputating the limb of a healthy person.

06-26-2011, 10:31 PM
I prefer this story:


Collier County, Florida -- Have you heard the one about a homeowner foreclosing on a bank?

Well, it has happened in Florida and involves a North Carolina based bank.

Instead of Bank of America foreclosing on some Florida homeowner, the homeowners had sheriff's deputies foreclose on the bank.

It started five months ago when Bank of America filed foreclosure papers on the home of a couple, who didn't owe a dime on their home.

The couple said they paid cash for the house.

The case went to court and the homeowners were able to prove they didn't owe Bank of America anything on the house. In fact, it was proven that the couple never even had a mortgage bill to pay.

A Collier County Judge agreed and after the hearing, Bank of America was ordered, by the court to pay the legal fees of the homeowners', Maurenn Nyergers and her husband.

The Judge said the bank wrongfully tried to foreclose on the Nyergers' house.

So, how did it end with bank being foreclosed on? After more than 5 months of the judge's ruling, the bank still hadn't paid the legal fees, and the homeowner's attorney did exactly what the bank tried to do to the homeowners. He seized the bank's assets.

"They've ignored our calls, ignored our letters, legally this is the next step to get my clients compensated, " attorney Todd Allen told CBS.

Sheriff's deputies, movers, and the Nyergers' attorney went to the bank and foreclosed on it. The attorney gave instructions to to remove desks, computers, copiers, filing cabinets and any cash in the teller's drawers.

After about an hour of being locked out of the bank, the bank manager handed the attorney a check for the legal fees.

"As a foreclosure defense attorney this is sweet justice" says Allen.

Allen says this is something that he sees often in court, banks making errors because they didn't investigate the foreclosure and it becomes a lengthy and expensive battle for the homeowner.

06-26-2011, 10:32 PM
Tucson mayoral candidate on odd spree of house claiming

A Tucson mayoral candidate from a fringe political party has seized dozens of foreclosed homes in metro Phoenix, changing the locks, kicking out real-estate agents and posting "Do Not Trespass" signs.

Marshall Home, who claims many foreclosures are illegal, has filed documents in the past two weeks with the Maricopa County Recorder's Office showing he has supposedly taken ownership of at least 21 homes belonging to government-owned mortgage giant Fannie Mae. But none of the documents shows any money has changed hands, and Fannie Mae says it has not sold the houses.

Real-estate agents and experts say Home's documents, a type of real-estate form called a special-warranty deed, aren't valid.

"Fannie Mae has not authorized the transfer of the properties in question to the organization," spokesman Andrew Wilson said. "We will pursue appropriate legal action and involve law enforcement as necessary."

But for now, Home's Independent Rights Political Party Trust is claiming to own the houses. Several of the homes have people living in them.

"Lenders are gangsters, and they can't prove they own these homes. So they have no right to foreclose," said the 80-year-old self-professed billionaire from his real-estate and political office in Tucson on Tuesday. "I plan to continue to take homes from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I would buy them, but those groups can't produce the notes showing they are the rightful owners to sell or foreclose on them."

He said he plans to continue to seize houses from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac even if he's not elected. The chances are slim he will become Tucson's next mayor.

He has filed several lawsuits against what he considers unlawful foreclosures in Arizona.

Registered as a Democrat, Home is a controversial mayoral candidate. His opponents are trying to have him expelled from the race because he has a criminal record, and some say he is not fit to serve as mayor.

Tom Ruff, real-estate analyst with data firm Information Market, examined the 21 special-warranty deeds Home's group filed in Maricopa County.

"He knows how to file a real-estate document that looks legitimate," Ruff said, "even if it may not be."
House seized

Last week, Phoenix HomeSmart real-estate agents Brett Barry and Roland Cleveland got a call from their brokerage telling them Independent Rights Political Party Trust had sent a letter saying it "acquired all rights" to the house at 6032 E. Skinner Drive in Cave Creek. The agents were hired by Fannie Mae to maintain and market the property and had heard nothing about a sale of the home.

The notice told the real-estate agents they had 72 hours to remove their signs and lockboxes, so they rushed to the house wondering what was happening and why hadn't they been informed. But they were too late. Home's group had taken their lockboxes, installed new locks and posted signs saying the house was under video surveillance and any trespassers would be "dealt with to the fullest extent of the law."

A special-warranty deed, stamped by the Maricopa County Recorder's Office, also was posted on the window of the home. The deed said the Federal National Mortgage Association, Fannie Mae, had conveyed the property to the Independent Rights Party. It was signed by Home and his notary, but there were no signatures from Fannie Mae on it.

Cleveland immediately sensed something was wrong.

"We called the people who hired us and work with Fannie Mae, and they didn't know anything about a sale," he said. "It appeared right away the document was fraudulent."

On orders from Fannie Mae, Cleveland broke the new locks, tore down the trespass warning and other fliers and put new locks on the home. He now watches the house closely every day.

"It's crazy," he said. "How does someone just declare they own a home without paying for it or obtaining a clear title?"

A warranty deed is a document filed for almost all home sales conveying a property from the seller to the buyer. But a special-warranty deed is only used in unusual circumstances. In a typical transaction, a title agent makes sure the property has no liens or ownership issues and all the paperwork is correct before both the buyer and seller sign the documents, which are then filed with the Maricopa County Recorder's Office.

All types of documents can be filed with the Recorder's Office as long as they are notarized. Not all documents are scrutinized before the county agency accepts them because that's not its job. But Home said Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell did reject some of his filings, though he would not say why.
More seizures

Home said his group also has claimed control over foreclosure houses in Tucson and other parts of the country, including Florida and Las Vegas.

Besides his political party, Home runs a company called Stop Foreclosure Underwriters. Home said he receives requests from homeowners for help taking back their homes and files the paperwork in response. He and his employees or members of his party post the signs and handle the paperwork to take control of a government-owned home.

Home said he took control of a 145-unit condominium project for a man in Florida.

"We've seized hundreds of homes from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," Home said. "Those groups have no legal right to them."

Home said he likes to have someone living in a home his group seizes because that makes it more difficult for the federal agencies to reclaim the houses and evict tenants.

The Cave Creek house Cleveland and Barry are in charge of is empty, but the agents are checking it regularly for unwanted tenants.

The houses that Independent Rights is claiming ownership to in metro Phoenix span from Scottsdale to Peoria.

Besides suing Home, Fannie Mae must contact local law enforcement and prosecutors to stop him from taking over its foreclosure homes.
Angst at lenders

Home is tapping into a growing sentiment among homeowners angry with lenders who won't work with them on loan modifications. Instead, the homeowners are often dismayed to see the lender foreclose, then resell the house for a bargain price, sometimes a price the original owner could have paid. Some of Home's critics call him an anarchist. He has said the government doesn't have the right to require licenses of any kind, whether business, marriage or driving. Home himself said he drives but doesn't have a license.

Home said he is running for mayor in part to try to stop fraudulent foreclosures, but he could be kicked out of the Tucson election this week because he hasn't lived in the city for the requisite three years and has a criminal record for assaulting a federal court officer.

He said that won't stop him from taking back foreclosure homes from Fannie Mae and fellow mortgage backer Freddie Mac.

"I haven't been contacted by either entity nor has either one done anything to stop me," Home said. "I look forward to a call from one of them so I can explain why I am legally in the right to take over taxpayer-owned homes."

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/06/17/20110617tucson-man-taking-foreclosed-homes.html#ixzz1QRomuRGy

06-26-2011, 10:36 PM
This stuff gets crazier by the day.