Hat tip to jp for sending this along, excerpts from Housingwatch’s article:
The Earls, who admit to having fallen behind on their mortgage at one point due to a loss of income in Danielle’s business, say that they were working with the bank to catch up on their payments. However, she says, whenever they made a payment it was not being reflected on statements, even a $12,500 catch-up payment was not credited to the balance due. Ultimately, there was a $25,000 discrepancy between what they thought they still owed in arrears and what the bank said they owed.
The Earls originally purchased the house for $500,000 in March 2001. Due to some refinances to take out equity, they owed at least $880,000 on a no-interest mortgage loan by the time of foreclosure.
Garvin was not only the listing agent but also the acquisition and sales partner for his client, Conejo Capital Partners, the investors. He says that he purchased the home in good faith for $697,000 in January on behalf of his client, at an auction on the courthouse steps.
After gaining possession from the Earls through eviction in July, his clients spent $40,000 rehabbing the home. Carpets were replaced, appliances updated, and granite countertops added. “The living condition was disgusting,” he says. But once cleaned up, it went under contract to new buyers for $800,000.
Danielle Earl (pictured) says that she and her husband have been foster parents to 43 children over the years and they currently home-school most of their school-age children (six of whom are adopted). So she admits that the walls were probably a bit scuffed and in need of a paint job, and some of the carpet was worn. But, she says, she and her family only had a day to collect their things and have movers haul it away, so it’s not like they were leaving the home in a show-ready state. About arriving back home Saturday, she says: “It was such an emotional moment. Everyone started hugging each other and crying.”
Since possession doesn’t necessarily mean ownership, the Earls still have a battle on their hands, says Pines, who says they were denied a trial by jury to argue why they never should have been foreclosed upon — and their eviction from the 2000-built home was unwarranted.
“The bank used the usual fabricated and forged documents to foreclose,” the Earls wrote in their court petition, in which they describe signatures by bank personnel that do not match, from document to document — an indication to them that documents were not properly reviewed and were fabricated.
“We needed to get back in before the investor and the real estate broker moved in a new family,” says Pines. “I didn’t want to allow the situation to become worse, and we show up and we have to try to throw them out. Danielle and Jim would not have wanted to throw them out.”