Countrywide, one of my favorite villains, fessed up to cheating homeowners, in foreclosure, and even including those who had successfully completed Chapter 13 cases, out of tens of millions of dollars.
The United States Trustee office, which is part of the Department of Justice, oversees bankruptcy cases throughout the country.
Like most government bureaucracies, not known for their speed.
Even they got on board on this one.
You don’t pay $108 million dollars for doing things the right way.
Countrywide was number one in mortgages in the U.S., when acquired by Bank of America in 2008.
One of the worst acquisitions in history.
The settlement involves some 200,000 homeowners, so, I figure they missed quite a few of those screwed by Countrywide.
As always, it seems, they nail the people already in trouble.
Behind on your payments?
Having job, illness, other problems?
Countrywide (and others) found you the perfect candidate to overcharge.
The famous property inspections.
Someone drives by your house to see if anyone is living there, you get charged, the mortgage company makes money:
When homeowners fell behind on their payments and were in default on their loans, Countrywide ordered property inspections, lawn mowing, and other services meant to protect the lender’s interest in the property, according to the FTC complaint. But rather than simply hire third-party vendors to perform the services, Countrywide created subsidiaries to hire the vendors. The subsidiaries marked up the price of the services charged by the vendors – often by 100% or more – and Countrywide then charged the homeowners the marked-up fees. The complaint alleges that the company’s strategy was to increase profits from default-related service fees in bad economic times. As a result, even as the mortgage market collapsed and more homeowners fell into delinquency, Countrywide earned substantial profits by funneling default-related services through subsidiaries that it created solely to generate revenue.
(from the Home Equity Theft Reporter site, http://homeequitytheft.blogspot.com/)
Pushing you into foreclosure generates more fees for them, and is more profitable, than if you make every payment on time.
Let’s say you file bankruptcy to stop that foreclosure sale.
They still get you.
You make all your payments for your 3, 4, or even 5 year bankruptcy plan, and next thing you know, you get a foreclosure notice.
Because, they accrued a bunch of junk fees on their books while you were in bankruptcy.
They never notified anyone, not you, not your attorney, not your Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee.
Criminal charges could still come.
Something I have been awaiting for years.
Michigan Bankruptcy and Foreclosure News