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Hammond couple sue over 'robosigning'

chicagotribune.com | March 15, 2015

By Teresa Auch Schultz

A Hammond couple claim in a federal lawsuit that they were victims of "robosigning" and other predatory mortgage practices that left them facing foreclosure.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in Lake County Superior Court a month ago and was moved to U.S. District Court in Hammond on Tuesday, Pedro and Elisa Rico bought their Hammond house in 1996.

The couple were up to date on their payments, but their lender, Green Tree Servicing, LLC, approached them about refinancing in 1999.

The lawsuit says Green Tree used their son, who was a minor at the time, to translate the terms of the new loan for them, which they thought included a fixed rate over 15 years.

The Ricos say they didn't learn until a year ago when they received a notice that it actually included a balloon payment of $40,000 due in August 2014.

The Ricos are claiming Green Tree and Bank One used other deceptive practices, such as having documents signed by a notary when they weren't there and providing false information for Elisa Rico to join the deed on the house so the couple would qualify.

Robosigning, when an employee of a mortgage servicing company signs foreclosure documents without reviewing them, was one of the issues that lead to the burst in the housing market several years ago.

Overall, their interest rates went up because of the refinance, according to the suit.

Representatives with Green Tree and J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, which bought Bank One, could not be reached for comment.

The mortgage was sold twice, first to the Bank of New York Mellon and then to OCWEN Loan Servicing. Representatives for these companies also could not be reached for comment.

The lawsuit claims OCWEN took three payments from the Ricos' bank account without their permission and modified the loan without ever speaking to them. OCWEN then threatened them with foreclosure in January, the lawsuit claims.

The Ricos are asking for their 1999 refinanced mortgage to be revoked and for compensatory and punitive damages.


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CFLA was founded by the Nation's Leading Foreclosure Defense Attorneys back in 2007 to serve the Foreclosure Defense Industry and fight pervasive Bank Fraud. Since opening our virtual doors, CFLA has rapidly expanded to become the premier online legal destination for small businesses and consumers. But as the company continues to grow, we're careful to hold true to our original vision. For us, putting the law within reach of millions of people is more than just a novel idea—it's the founding principle, just ask Andrew P. Lehman, J.D.. With convenient locations in Houston and Los Angeles, you can contact Our National Account Specialist and General Manager / Member Damion W. Emholtz at 888-758-2352 for a free Mortgage Fraud Analysis or to obtain samples of work product, including cutting edge Bloomberg Securitization Audits, Litigation Support, Quiet Title Packages, and for more information about our Nationally Accredited and U.S. Department of Education Approved "Mortgage Securitization Analyst Training Certification" Classes (3 days) 24 hours for approved CLE & MCLE Credit (Now Available Online).

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