Stealing my children's home

Stealing my children's home

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Cheryl Williams started this petition to Wells Fargo and

In 2002, my two young daughters, my mother and I moved to Tennessee. We found a beautiful home in a great family-oriented neighborhood where my kids could grow up with lots of friends and room to roam. When we purchased the house, we got a better interest rate with Wells Fargo Bank by putting the mortgage in only my mother’s name because I am self-employed, and lenders don’t usually like that. We were both on the deed as co-owners, and the down payment funds came from the sale of my old home. We settled in our new home and enjoyed living in the beautiful state of Tennessee.

My mother died rather unexpectedly in November 2011. My kids and I were devastated - she was very close to us, a major part of our daily lives. When she passed, I sent Wells Fargo a death certificate to notify them of her death but that I would be continuing to make the mortgage payments like I always had. No response…but they started sending my payments back, marked “unable to locate account with information provided”. I sent them letters with names, property address, even both of our social security numbers… but they kept returning payments. I requested that a separate account be set up, like an escrow account, that I could make payments into until this got straightened out. They refused. I asked repeatedly to be put on the account as “successor in interest”. According to FEDERAL LAW (it is part of the Mortgage Servicing Rights and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act/RESPA), a family member who has a legal interest in the property (which obviously I did, I was the co-owner) has the legal right to be named “successor-in-interest”. This would allow me to discuss the account and basically have all the same rights as the original borrower (my mom). Wells Fargo was LEGALLY REQUIRED to do this – yet they would not, no explanation. In short, they refused to recognize my rights as the owner of the house, and they wouldn’t take my money.

I have spent EIGHT YEARS going back and forth with them – phone calls, emails, writing letters that they occasionally responded to. Several times, I actually convinced someone to investigate: that would set off a series of letters from a Wells Fargo representative stating “our investigation has taken longer than expected, here is the new date when we expect to have answers for you”. That new date was usually three weeks later – but on that date, I would get ANOTHER letter with another new date about three weeks in the future, and so on. After a few months of that, I’d get a letter telling me that I am not authorized to have any information about the account…and that they hope that answers my questions! Honestly, I should post all those letters because they are really kind of funny, in a pathetic sort of way. I never could get any resolution – any they still wouldn’t accept payments from me. At one point, Wells Fargo informed me in writing that they would no longer be responding to my letters or communicating with me because they consider the case closed.

The stress of all of this has been horrible - the nightmares I have had are like low-budget horror movies. I’ve been treated for anxiety and depression and turned into a very cranky person whom I do not like.


But wait! It gets better. Wells Fargo is apparently able to communicate with the dead! In 2013, the address and contact information on the account was changed to some stranger’s address in Oak Ridge: neither Mom or I knew the owner of the property (just a small, private home) and I was pretty sure Mom had not recently relocated. Wells Fargo refused to correct this error, so every letter, statement, and holiday card regarding the account – with confidential information - was being mailed to this stranger’s house – yet they wouldn’t send me anything. The loan was transferred to Caliber Home Loans for servicing in 2016 – they also refused to correct the information, stating that they HAD to go by the information that Wells Fargo gave them. Wells Fargo claims (and yes, I have this in writing) that the only way this information could have been changed on the account was by my mother – and this would have taken place two years AFTER she died. A miracle, no doubt.


Fast forward to December 2018: I received notice that Wells Fargo is foreclosing on the house. They had refused for eight years to let me refinance it or simply buy it out, and they still would not allow me to “catch up” the mortgage because they did not recognize me as an owner. I did have an attorney working on this for me – he completely dropped the ball and didn’t get an injunction filed in time, so our house went up on the auction block in January 2019. In February, they started the eviction process and got their order in June. I immediately appealed the eviction in Circuit Court (cost me over $11,000 to file that appeal, but that’s a different story) The hearing on my appeal is scheduled for this Monday, March 9. Barring a miracle, my six children and I will be evicted from our home Monday and given ten days to relocate.


Apart from this situation, it’s been a busy eight years for my little family and me. I became a foster parent (always been a dream of mine). My girls and I started fostering two little boys in 2013 and adopted them in 2015. We added another to our family two years later. All three of these little guys were born drug-exposed (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, if you care to do some reading) and are special needs, with mental, emotional, developmental, behavioral, sensory and physical issues. They all had very traumatic beginnings. We do a LOT of therapy. All three are homeschooled due to their special needs. We have also been lucky enough to foster another adorable little guy whom I brought home from the NICU summer of 2018: we expect to finalize his adoption in April. I wouldn’t share so many details about the boys if it wasn’t important: these boys ALL have sensory issues, and one is severely autistic. This home is their safe place: the only stable, secure home they’ve ever known. Having to move will be devastating to them: much of the progress that they have made over the past few years will likely be wiped out, and we will be forced to start all over again. When I adopted these little guys, I promised to provide them a stable home where they would be safe, with a family who loves them more than anything. I committed to taking care of them 24/7. Now, thanks to the negligence and illegal practices of Wells Fargo and Caliber Home Loans, that stability and security is being taken away from them.


(As a side note: as a proud mama of six, I would LOVE to be able to share pictures of my babies. Due to the circumstances of their backgrounds, I can’t do that for their own personal safety and security. Take my word for it, they are all beautiful!)


I have contacted everyone I can think of. (Even wrote to my hero, Erin Brockovich, but she didn’t answer either – probably busy getting much-needed clean water for Michigan residents!) The same government agencies that create these laws, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or the Justice Department, will do nothing to enforce them. Government representatives refer us to those same inactive government agencies, with the incorrect assumption that action will be taken. The answer is always “hire an attorney”. I have spoken to or contacted upwards of eighty ( yes, 80) attorneys, and as soon as they hear the name “Wells Fargo”, they claim conflict of interest. There are THOUSANDS of people in this country who are in similar situations of wrongful foreclosure, and very few can find an attorney who isn’t afraid to go up against the big banks: we are told that doing so would be the equivalent of “career suicide”. So….I am representing myself. Did I mention that I went to school for social work, not law school? That I am a single mom trying to raise six children and meet all their various needs as well as working to support them? IF we can find a suitable rental home that is big enough for all of us and all the therapy equipment and supplies we require, it’s going to cost me THREE TIMES what the mortgage payment was. I am not independently wealthy by any means, so it's going to be next to impossible. 


That's our story. NO, I did not just stop paying my mortgage. This has never been about the money, or the lack thereof (although paying atrocious attorney’s fees to an attorney who did NOTHING was a bit of a bite) I have pleaded with them to allow me to resume the mortgage. By losing our home, I will be losing about $150,000 in equity – more than half the value of our home. I am fifty years old with four kids under nine, plus two to put through college. I worked VERY hard to get to where I am, completely on my own. My financial future is shot, and I am terrified for us.


If you are still reading at this point, PLEASE help us get our home back. I am asking that the foreclosure sale of our home on January 10, 2019 be declared invalid due to the fraudulent actions of Wells Fargo Bank and Caliber Home Loans. YES, it is very definitely possible to reverse a foreclosure – particularly since we still live here (at least for a few more days). I would love nothing more than to start making normal mortgage payments on this house again and would happily refinance the balance left on the mortgage – or just assume the original loan, with the mortgage and deed in my name. My kids deserve to grow up in our home, in our Mayberry-like neighborhood – they should not have to suffer because of the illegal and unethical actions of these big banks. Please sign my petition and SHARE it with everyone you know. My children and I greatly appreciate your support. God Bless.

 

 

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