No home is safe from foreclosure, even the ones already paid for. Bank of America decided last year to seize a home in Spring Hill, Florida, owned by Charlie and Maria Cardoso of Massachusetts. The Cardosos had purchased the home with cash in 2005 and were renting it out to a single mother when workers hired by BofA showed up in July 2009 to kick the renter out of the home, saying the bank was foreclosing.
Charlie Cardoso talked to a local real estate company that assured him BofA had intended to seize a different home down the street, and that the mistake would be corrected. Instead, the bank scared the renter out of the house and placed locks on the doors. Cardoso was forced to drive from Massachusetts to Spring Hill and break into his own home, all in an effort to get control of his home back.
In January, the owners filed a lawsuit against BofA accusing it of trespass, conversion, negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, interference with contractual relations, defamation and libel.
As it happens, the Cardosos are not the first family this year to sue Bank of America for illegal home invasion. On January 11, Dr. Alan Schroit of Houston, Texas, filed suit against BofA over an October 31, 2009, incident in which Schroit, his wife and friends arrived at their vacation home in Galveston to prepare for a party, only to discover the doors locked and a poster announcing the seizure of the house. Agents of Bank of America had also turned off the power to the house, which was particularly unfortunate because the Schroits had stored 75 pounds of Alaskan salmon and halibut that had turned putrid, stinking up the house. The Schroits had no relationship with Bank of America.
In yet another case, this time in Wheelwright, Kentucky, Christopher Hamby returned home on October 5, 2009, to find locks on his house because of a mistaken repossession by agents of BofA. The bank and its agents offered to pay for a locksmith to repair Hamby’s front door, but refused any other compensation.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Bank of America Forecloses on House That Couple Had Paid Cash for (by Tony Marrero, Tampa Bay Times)
Mass. Couple Sue Bank of America Alleging Erroneous Foreclosure Attempt (by Sheri Qualters, National Law Journal)
Law Suit Accuses Bank of Seizing Wrong House (by Laura Elder, Galveston Daily News)
Man Sues After Bank Takes Wrong House (by Jarrid Deaton, Floyd County Times)