WAMU Illegal Entry Into Home: Case Study

Foreclosure is considered a civil issue, because it is basically a contract dispute. But with most contract disputes, both parties are considered innocent until proven guilty, not so in Foreclosures — especially in non-judicial states such as Oregon. And in most civil contract disputes, there are no innocent victims. This story focuses on a dangerous practice, that is all to commonly employed the effort to accelerate a sale in a non-judicial mortgage resolution, and seemingly a patterns in practice which one hopes will serve as a wake up call to consider legal reforms. In non-judicial foreclosure states, such as Oregon, the lender does NOT need to go to court to take possession and sell the home to be foreclosed. Think of the possible ramifications:

1. Lenders Lock People out of their homes without properly reviewing the records, paperwork and formal communication between the homeowner and lender. The contract, the written correspondences and even the phone call records are NOT being reviewed carefully and good families are being victimized without the right to protect themselves!  In the all-too-prevalent lender “A” takes over lender “b” economic situation we are in today, and in this state of an unprecedented high volume of foreclosures, anyone with common sense can see that the likelihood of these lenders getting very confused is damned near 100%.

2. Who shows up at the door to do the job of law enforcement or licensed locksmiths? Well just a little investigative reporting shows the frightening lack of professionalism or even basic ethical practices that are commonplace with WAMU. WAMU uses a company called LPS out of Solon, Ohio to do their long distance strong arm work. And the lack of respect to the law and the the potential for harm to innocent victims makes us think of what happened in the Mid East when private contractors where basically being paid to do soldiers work, and walked the streets with a 007 license that soon became the mechanism by which many atrocities and possibly murders were committed for a fee. Simply put, there is a reason why law enforcement and military personnel are so carefully trained, and even with their training errors occur and there are innocent victims.

In our story, the LPS company sent a person to drill out and re-key the locks on a family’s primary residence when they were in loan modification application status with WAMU the very early stages of foreclosure. The man that came out, we have just learned, came with his young son, apparently a 10 to 12 year-old boy, walking around the property and probably here to help dad in the family business. For many, many reasons this is a grave and serious error. Both from the perspective of putting the child into potential danger and as an example of the contractors who showed up to do the job were completely ignorant of the law and the common sense practices of what can occur in situation such as these. The homeowner, whose home was in fact being illegally broken and entered into, could have easily reacted with violence to protect their home when he found a man trying to force open doors behind which his wife nurses her babies, and changes her clothes. That would have exposed several people to physcal harm, including the contractors own son! From a dad’s perspective not a smart job to take your 10-year-old son along on. In Oregon, OR-OSHA (the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division) administers the OSEAct and enforces Oregon’s occupational safety and health rules, these rules are to establish minimum safety and health standards for all industries. And one would hope that rules are in place to keep common sense alive and young children out of such potentially dangerous situations. Potentially exposing children and adult residents to phyisical harm and compromising their safety. From the perspective of the safety of the homeowner, from the above true illustration and example, it is obvious that no regard is placed on quality control of the contractors sent to do a job of a nature that places into the hands of the contractor authorized to break into the property, temptation and opportunities that should only be entrusted to properly trained, qualified, insured, bonded and accountable professionals. With valuables on hand, busting unannounced into private property where individuals are not dressed, where children are contained safely behind a locked door and then can be allowed to run into the street, issues of child safety, sexual abuse, theft, and more are likely to occur when the contractor are not qualified responsibly!

In this era of Banking Collapses, mortgages are passed around like a bad cold. Some homeowners’ mortgages have changed “official lenders” several times. The bank in our example is WAMU, and one can’t help but muse over the fact that WAMU became financially insolvent well over a year before the homeowners in this story. In fact, these homeowners paid their mortgage on time or early every month since March 2004 when they purchased their home. And prior to their first late payment, the couple pro-actively contacted WAMU to ask for advice on what they can do to avoid a problem when the economy started to have an impact on their family business. The first official lender was Long Beach Mortgage.Long Beach Mortgage had an affiliation with WAMU and the lender officially became WAMU for several years until WAMU’s management managed to create such losses that the company was bought out by JP Morgan Chase. In the phone conversation with WAMU the homeowners were always asked if they were residing in the property to which they always answered “Yes”. The WAMU representatives always stated that they would first respond to the loan modification package before resorting to a foreclosure. The details of exactly what happened to this family are beyond the scope of this article, but that story is available on: Foreclosure? Will WAMU Get a Bag of Coal this Christmas! This story is NOT an isolated incident. The volume of stories of lender initiated inappropriate actions that fall into the category of illegal breaking and entering without just cause appearing across the country is mind boggling and heinous. Reforms in legislature on a state and federal level should be considered to give these families and their innocent children the right to a lawyer. These kids will be victimized by a one-sided legal battle and not giving anyone the tools to fight for these children is unconscionable.

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