Q: I have seen your column in my local paper and I thought you might be able to help us with a situation that my husband and I have run into that is a major case of fraud. I wanted to alert you and your readers to what is going on.
We bought a house 5 years ago and have a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage set to adjust last month.
We received a letter from the mortgage servicer we now have. It stated our mortgage was set to adjust but would stay at the 6.125 percent – the same interest rate we currently had.
Normally someone would say “Yeah, it’s not going up,” but my husband is in the business and remembered what he had signed up for and still had all the title papers and looked it up.
In fact our rate should be adjusting down to 4.125 percent! He contacted the lender and after talking with them for over a month, getting the original documents from the original holder of the loan before it was sold to the current loan servicer and getting the papers from the new lender that they were looking at, it is very clear that the current lender’s papers from the Addendum have been forged with both my husband’s and my signature!
This could be a savings of about $300 a month for us! Not to mention, that if our lender did this without loan, it’s likely they did it with other consumers’ loans.
I think this is a major case of fraud. I also wonder who has perhaps lost a home because their loans were didn’t adjust downward as they were supposed to.
How do we find out who else this has happened to and what all can we do? Our loan servicer took it to some committee and will not do anything so far.
A: You will need to do one of two things – and perhaps both.
You’ll need to contact your state mortgage regulator to ask for their assistance in investigating this possible case of loan fraud. The mortgage regulator may ask you to contact the state Attorney General’s office (which isn’t a bad idea either). Government intervention might get to the bottom of what has happened to you.
Next, you will need to contact a real estate litigator to discuss the possibility of suing your original lender for fraud. If you don’t know a good real estate litigator, I urge you to contact your local Bar Association and ask for the head of the real estate committee. Discuss the situation with that person and ask for a recommendation to two or three different attorneys who might be able to help.
This will take some work, but if fraud has occurred, I’m sure it hasn’t happened to just you. You should also make sure you find your copies of your loan documents so that you can prove what you were originally promised.
I talked to a real estate attorney about your case and he suggested you look at the mortgage you signed at your settlement. He indicated that you should make sure that the documents you are looking at are actual copies of the documents from your closing.
He also said that your lender would have provided you with an addendum to your mortgage that would have outlined the interest rate and the manner in which it changed. If you signed that addendum at the time of your closing or settlement, someone at the settlement company or closing agent would have to have been working with the lender to change the documents.
In other words, the fraud might extend to the title company as well as the lender.
Otherwise, you might find that the document you signed and the document recorded might be the same. You can usually get a copy of the recorded mortgage by requesting a copy from your local recorder’s office or clerk’s office. In some states, you can even obtain the document online.
Once you get the document, compare it to the one that you have and see if it matches yours. If it does, you can produce that document to your loan servicer as evidence of the switch.
If the document doesn’t match your documents, then you will have to review the loan documentation you received from your lender from the time you applied to confirm the interest rate that you should have received.
If all of the documents match what you think you should have received including the copies in your possession, you will have to sit down with the attorney to determine your next course of action.
Let me know what happens.