Jack and Ginny Ralston’s problems with their Chase Bank mortgage started three years ago when they separated for a year due to marital difficulties. Because supporting two household caused a severe strain on their budget, Ginny, who remained in the home during the separation, reached out to Chase for mortgage relief. At that time, Chase told her to send in three slightly reduced payments as part of a “Trial Period Plan” loan modification. However, after she made the payments, Chase went back on its word and put her right back to the same payment as before. Although it was a struggle, Ginny was able to soldier through and make the mortgage payments through the period of separation with Jack, and eventually they reunited, making life easier.
In the fall of 2013, the Ralston’s fell behind on their mortgage payments again. Knowing that they had financial issues, Chase made no real effort to assist them through the troubled times. Instead, it chose to file a foreclosure action, seeking that the Ralston’s home be sold to satisfy their $57,000 mortgage. In its rush to foreclose, Chase missed a critical step which was a precondition to foreclosure. That is, it failed to send the Ralston’s a notice informing them they had the right to reinstate the mortgage by paying the past due payments. Had Chase done so, the Ralston’s could have come with the required sum and avoided foreclosure.
However, it may very well turn out that Chase’s victimization of the Ralston’s will work in their favor. I say that because a careful inspection of a copy of the promissory Note allegedly signed by Jack when he took out the loan in 2004, attached to the foreclosure Complaint, reveals an apparently bogus signature by a Chase employee endorsing the Note over from the original lender to Chase. Unless Chase can produce a Power of Attorney from the original lender granting the Chase employee authority to execute such documents on its behalf, which I highly doubt, then what we have is a classic case of robosigning, a practice which Chase has admitted to, and agreed to pay billions of dollars in restitution for having engaged in.
The term robosigning covers the broad practice by the Wall Street Banks in using false and fraudulent documents in foreclosure cases, a practice itself necessitated by the extremely sloppy document retention and maintenance practice in the first eight years of this Century as they rushed to put millions of home loans into pools and sell them as stock certificates. In the Ralston’s case it just might be that Chase’s putting them through the ringer, will boomerang on it where in the end it will be Chase which is put through the ringer by virtue of its own fraud. That indeed would be sweet justice.
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Kate Eyster and Lauren McGookey contributed to this article.
Copyright 2014 Daniel L. McGookey