Returned mortgage payments and a seized home


Jeff Bradley -- Home Depot employee by day, DJ by night -- claims he never missed a payment on his Epping home because the mortgage company refused to accept his check back in 2006.He managed to stay in the home until May 14, 2011. That's when he watched as an agent of the bank took his stuff - including his grandmother's 1890 player piano and his vinyl record collection - and threw it in dumpsters."It's all gone," he said. "Everything is gone."Bradley lived in the home at 4 Lois Lane for a decade before he refinanced the property through Ameriquest in November 2004 to pay the bills after his then-wife was injured in an accident.The trouble started in March of 2005, when Ameriquest sold the loan to HomEq, now part of Wells Fargo.HomEq claimed Bradley never credited his first two payments to Ameriquest. Nor did it use the escrow account to pay his insurance, he said."They kept on charging me late fees, but I was never late," he said.The company started sending back his checks in the fall of 2005, and then started foreclosure proceedings.That's when his attorney, Ruth Hall, got involved. Hall, an attorney in Union, was then working for Community Legal Services Inc. (not to be confused with NH Legal Assistance), a nonprofit group that offers unbundled legal services so they can be more affordable.Hall managed to stop an auction scheduled for April 2006 and then withdrew from the case, as planned. Bradley proceeded on his own and got the court to dismiss the case in January 2007 while he worked to refinance with another bank.All Bradley had to do was to call HomEq and ask for a woman by the name of Lynn. But Bradley insists he was never able to contact Lynn or anybody else at the company who could give him a payoff figure to refinance. Neither could other banks that were willing to take over the loan, he said.By March 2011, Wells Fargo lawyers were also trying to reach Bradley through Hall, who hadn't represented Bradley for years, to let him know that his house could be foreclosed on again.Hall, however, couldn't reach Bradley, who was dealing with a shaky marriage -- made more shaky due to the stress over the foreclosure -- and a father in ill health. Bradley's wife moved out of the house at the end of April 2011, while Bradley was in Hampton putting his father into a nursing home.The House was padlocked on May 1. The foreclosure deed was filed on May 18 and not recorded until July 20.Meanwhile, on May 14, 2011, according to Bradley's complaint, a neighbor called Bradley to tell him that his stuff was being thrown in a dumpster. Hall got them to stop, but within a week, it was all gone -- his furniture, two televisions, computers, sound equipment. Bradley claims he never was notified about the foreclosure and never was evicted.The house was sold at foreclosure for $175,000, then sold again to Just Another LLC and H&M LLC, for $98,000 and $106,000 respectively, and then sold to -- it so happens -- a acquaintance of Bradley's for $170,000.Hall, back on the case, filed suit on March 30. It was too late to get the home back, Hall said, but she found there were problems with the assignment of Ameriquest to the Wells Fargo subsidiary -- "all the usual technicalities that lawyers look for with delight," she said.Hall is hoping it will leave him with a cash award. The suit doesn't give a figure, but "$400,000 to $500,000 would be a reasonable remediation," she said."Wells Fargo had no right to do anything with the property," particularly before the deed was even filed, "but where does that leave Jeff?"Calls to William Philpot Jr., Wells Fargo's attorney, were not returned, but in his filings, Philpot denies any violation of laws, such as unlawful eviction, and a few of the facts, such as that the "plaintiff and his wife made repeated attempts to contact the person indicated" at Wells Fargo.But most of the response consists of insisting that Bradley is suing the wrong company.The deed, says the response, was not Wells Fargo Bank, NA, but "WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., as Trustee for the Pooling and Servicing Agreement Dated as of October 1, 2004 Asset-Backed Pass-Through Certificates 218-2012-CV-00162 Series 2004-MHQ1." And the trustee couldn't really know about charges against the bank, Philpot says.Indeed, Philpot filed a motion to change the name of the case, but Hall wouldn't go along with it and filed an objection.That's where the case stood, as of May 25. -- BOB SANDERS
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