Lois called the other day to tell us of her mortgage woes with her loan servicer, Ocwen. The story she relayed seems to demonstrate a pattern of deception on Ocwen’s part, as it is at least the third time we’ve heard it, or something very similar to it. The problem is simply this: since Ocwen took over the servicing of her loan recently, Lois has unable to get a month statement from it showing how her payments are being credited or how much she owes on her loan. So even though Lois is current on her payments, (Ocwen has been dutifully accepting them), she has no idea whether it, as the party in control of her mortgage, is recognizing this fact. Obviously, this puts Lois in the very precarious position of not knowing whether the next piece of mail she gets from Ocwen will be a foreclosure notice.
This case is eerily similar to others we’ve seen recently. In one case, our client’s loan servicing changed to Ocwen about a year ago. And even though our client has proof positive that she made every payment on time, it only took Ocwen two months to declare that she was behind, and start adding on substantial late charges to her loan balance. Later, Ocwen stopped sending her monthly statements altogether, leaving her, like Lois, in a state of mortgage limbo. We have taken the lead in calling Ocwen out on its misconduct in this case, but are awaiting its response. Should Ocwen fail to heed our warnings, it will certainly be making a big mistake.
In yet another case, our client first came into our office several years ago, claiming that Ocwen was charging her late fees on payments she made on time. Over the years, the amount of unwarranted charges grew to over $9,000. And even though she complained numerous times about the charges, Ocwen continued to pile them on. Eventually, it put her into foreclosure, a case we are now defending her on. Soon we will be filing counterclaims against Ocwen for fraud and wrongful foreclosure. And as with the other cases, Ocwen’s pattern of misconduct will be exposed to the light of day.
In Lois’ matter in the meantime, we will recommend to her that we go after Ocwen aggressively by sending it a qualified written request requiring it not only ante up Lois’ monthly statement, but also every other document pertinent to her loan, including a copy of the current Note, Mortgage and Payment History. When we receive these documents, we will scour them intently for fraud. Should we find overcharges, as we suspect we will, Ocwen will be sorry that it ever decided to mess with Lois. The lesson in these stories is that if you are a homeowner making loan payments to Ocwen, take pains to make sure that your payments are being properly credited to your account so that you will not be paying more than you owe on your loan.
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Kate Eyster and Lauren McGookey contributed to this article.
Copyright 2014 Daniel L. McGookey