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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Imagine paying your mortgage on time every month, and your bank takes your home away anyway.
It may not make any sense, but it’s happening to some homeowners.
Since 2004, Kim Shibles’ beloved home has been the backdrop for everything from holidays to proms and more.
“I would like to have back what they took,” Shibles said.
That is until she was forced out of the house in 2016, after the bank foreclosed.
“It turned my life upside down,” she said.
Her attorney, Josh Denbeaux says it happened without Shibles ever having missed a mortgage payment.
“She paid every single month,” he said.
“We have the largest financial institutions in our country and they are absolutely fleecing America,” mortgage abuse attorney Linda Tirrelli said.
It all started in 2010.
“They solicited me for a modification through the mail,” Shibles said.
Shibles said Bank of America sent her an offer she simply couldn’t refuse – the chance to modify her loan by as much as $600 a month.
“It was a Godsend actually,” she said.
It was part of HAMP, or the Home Affordable Modification Program. It was required of the banks by the government after the $700 billion bailout.
In many cases, it left the homeowners who applied worse off says Tirelli.
“If there was money to be made in the loan modification process, don’t you think the banks would streamline that process?” Tirrelli said.
Rather than streamline the loan modification process, several former bank employees testified they were actually encouraged to sabotage it.
“They send in paperwork, paperwork gets lost,” Forensic accountant Jay Patterson said.
Patterson serves as an expert witness in cases involving loan modifications.
“They say they never got it, they send it in again and they might send it in 20 times and this process just keeps going on and on,” Patterson said.
The end result is homeowners, like Shibles, who were told they were approved were months later told they did not meet the requirements.
Not only would they have to reapply, they were also on the hook for the difference in the modified payment and the original mortgage.
“I’ve been lied to, I’ve been deceived,” Shibles said.
“To them, it’s just spreadsheets, Miss Shibles is not a spreadsheet. Why can’t our society protect this woman?” Denbeaux said.
After foreclosure, Shibles’ home was sold so she has no chance of getting it back.
A lawsuit she filed against Bank of America is in the process of being appealed, and due to that litigation, Bank of America would not comment.
If you’re thinking of applying for a loan modification, experts say first, it’d be wise to show all of the documentation to an independent mortgage specialist.