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Wells Fargo Sanctioned By Court For Bad Foreclosure Practices

mortgage modification attorneysJustice Yvonne Lewis, sitting in Supreme Court in Kings County recently sanctioned Wells Fargo for “wantonly flagrant” bad faith involved in a residential foreclosure lawsuit. Justice Lewis in her decision stated that Wells Fargo had repeatedly frustrated the efforts by two brothers, Francis Ruggiero and Michael Ruggiero to obtain a mortgage modification.  They continually demanded more and more financial information.

The Ruggiero brothers owned a home in East New York.  They refinanced their home in 2006 with Wells Fargo.  They fell behind in their mortgage in 2007.  In May of 2007, Wells Fargo initiated a foreclosure action against them.

Court Settlement Conference

At a court settlement conference, the parties agreed to a three month trial mortgage modification.  The Ruggerio’s made the first payment under the modification and then missed the next two.  At subsequent settlement conferences, the Ruggerio’s claimed they had not been given a trial mortgage modification.  Wells Fargo claimed they needed more information for a final determination on their mortgage modification for the Ruggerio’s.  Wells Fargo, at the foreclosure conference, requested the Ruggiero’s make further payments under the temporary mortgage modification.  However, every time the Ruggerio’s made the payments, they were rejected by Wells Fargo.

In the end, Wells Fargo denied the mortgage modification application.  However they offered to modify the mortgage for $2,672.70 per month.   This was $600 a month more than the amount under the trial modification by Wells Fargo.

There were further additional settlement conferences before the court.  The Ruggiero’s submitted a further package of financial information to Wells Fargo but Wells Fargo took no action concerning this new information.  Eventually, Wells Fargo said it would not offer a loan modification, but would reconsider if the Ruggiero’s again submitted a financial package.  In the end Wells Fargo never approved a mortgage modification for the Ruggiero’s.

Lack Of Good Faith By Wells Fargo

Judge Lewis in her ruling stated the case is “replete with pervasive indicia of the plaintiffs lack of good faith, evidenced by conflicting information, a refusal to honor agreements, unexcused delays, unexplained charges and misrepresentations and sets forth, in no small measure, a failure to deal honestly, fairly and openly.”  The Judge went on to state, “more to the point, it is irrefutable on the proof adduced that the defendants, despite being subjected to ten to twelve arbitrary submissions, successfully established their occupancy of the subject premises, successfully completed the plaintiff’s trial HAMP period, and submitted all required documentation in order to accord themselves a modified loan agreement in the amount of $2,061.50 which the plaintiff in turn, arbitrarily and capriciously increased by $611.20 under false pretenses without any justifiable basis, and  ingenuously denied.”

Justice Lewis went on to state that the monetary penalty’s she was imposing on Wells Fargo was necessary because of Wells Fargo failure to comply with the HAMP program.foreclosure advocate for homeowners

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