US Soldiers Losing Homes to Illegal Foreclosures

Here is a story to shoot your blood pressure through the roof:

“While Sgt. James B. Hurley was away at war, he lost a heartbreaking battle at home.

In violation of a law intended to protect active military personnel from creditors, agents of Deutsche Bank foreclosed on his small Michigan house, forcing Sergeant Hurley’s wife, Brandie, and her two young children to move out and find shelter elsewhere.

When the sergeant returned in December 2005, he drove past the densely wooded riverfront property outside Hartford, Mich. The peaceful little home was still there — winter birds still darted over the gazebo he had built near the water’s edge — but it almost certainly would never be his again. Less than two months before his return from the war, the bank’s agents sold the property to a buyer in Chicago for $76,000.”

And it only gets worse from there.

The Sergeant (retired, disabled) has been on a legal odyssey that is in its 7th year. He is battling Deutsche Bank Trust Company and Morgan Stanley subsidiary Saxon Mortgage Services.

Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Hurley’s lawyers are seeking punitive damages against the two giant banks. The NYT reports the specifics of the Servicemembers Act:

“Under the law, only a judge can authorize a foreclosure on a protected service member’s home, even in states where court orders are not required for civilian foreclosures, and the judge can act only after a hearing where the military homeowner is represented. The law also caps a protected service member’s mortgage rate at 6 percent.”

Big banks routinely violated the act. Wells Fargo and Citigroup were cited, as was JPMorgan Chase (they regularly overcharge servicemen, despite the law).

But as bad as Chase has been, they seem to be trying to make amends. Not so with the weasels who run Deutsche Bank and Saxon in the Hurley case. They seem to be fighting the Hurley’s tooth and nail.

There are many reasons never to bailout banks, but here’s another one: Too many seem to be run by spineless weasels, and they hurting men and women serving in armed armed forces. (Aren’t there any ex service people working at these banks that can get this taken care of promptly?)

Shame on Morgan Stanley, and shame Deutsche Bank.


A Reservist in a New War, Against Foreclosure
NYT, January 26, 2011

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