Hat tip to OC Renter for sending along another episode of Michael Pines, foreclosure-chaser:
A Newport Beach man was arrested Wednesday after an attempt to regain possession of the home he claims his family was wrongfully evicted from 16 months ago.
Rene Zepeda, 72, was accompanied by his attorney and several Newport Beach Police officers as he made his way to the back yard of the spacious home at 19 Crystal Cay and, wielding a hammer, broke a window to gain entry. Officers promptly arrested Zepeda and attorney Mike Pines for trespassing and carted them away in a police vehicle.
“They told me I’d get arrested, but I don’t care,” said Zepeda before his arrest. “It’s my house. I have to do something.”
His attorney said the action was part of a revolt against “illegal” foreclosure and eviction practices that have cost countless people their homes, and he will advise other clients to commit the same act of civil disobedience until change is effected. “These homeowners have been out of their house for more than a year,” Pines said. “That’s long enough. They deserve to get back in because it’s legally theirs.”
Located in the gated and luxurious community of Crystal Cove, the 5-bedroom, 4,400-square foot home is on the market for $3.8 million. It’s an unlikely symbol of the brewing confusion surrounding foreclosures.
Rene Zepeda and his wife Otilia purchased the home in 2008 after “years of sacrifice and hard work,” she said. Rene claims the lender, Bank of America, then raised the interest rate on their mortgage, causing the family to fall behind on payments.
Attorney Pines argues that because the foreclosure was hastily pushed through, the homeowners were denied the right to a jury trial and to present evidence in court. Public records show that the home was foreclosed on July 8, 2009; Pines says the couple has been fighting a legal battle ever since and finally resorted to this dramatic gesture because the house is now for sale.
Gary Kishner, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, said the homeowners lost the home 15 months ago after not making payments on the mortgage and that Chase now owns the property.
“After two illegal break-ins and squattings in a two-week period last November, a court order was obtained and sheriffs secured the property once again,” Kishner said. “Police assistance was needed today once again because of trespassing and criminal damage to the property.”
Zepeda and Pines were promptly bailed out, and Pines said prosecutors would have to prove they were trespassing. “Newport Beach needs to know that they have to pick sides,” Pines said. “It’s either the homeowners or the financial institutions.”
Am I think only one thinking that this whole mess is about to blow sky high? The robo signers, fraud, Mozillo walking away scot free, taxpayer anger, government protecting the banks, bandos, lawyers, etc..
This kettle seems like it is about to boil.
The rule of law? A quaint idea of the late 20th century america.
it sounds as if desire overcame reason and he toook on more than he could handle. Why would he be wanting an ARM at 72? Presumably he is retired and his income is relatively fixed. He probably could not have afforded the place in the long run. He could have gotten something nice for a lot less and been spared this misery.
Rene Zepeda himself did not read and understand the material he was signing, so in a way he is is his own robo signer. He could afford a $3 million dollars house, so he should not be too stupid to understand the ramification of a 2% interest.
I hate these deadbeats but at least they’re forcing banks to do SOMETHING with properties other than just sit on them.
In case folks did not track back to the prior articles, the investors of the SimiValley home has a website out explaining their side of the story.
Just keep repeating: “They put Martha Stewart in jail, and not Angelo Mozilo”
Not much symathy for deadbeats. But its the homeowner that makes the payments or owns the home and the bank tries to take it that I have sympathy for. They need to mine the equity to cover for the other homes that are not paying the mortgage — to make the mbs security look like its functioning to the investor.
I recall paying title insurance when I bought my home? What happened to that process?
If they take my house for no justified reason, then I’ll wear my Texas “Come and take it” t-shirt… lol
Rule of law applied equally to all citizens? It’s rarely happened. When it has, the people and institutions with the power get mad as hell and change the laws to give them more power.
That’s what’s happened over the last 35 years. The entire criminal housing Ponzi scheme was concocted by powerful financial interests and the national government to provide new sources of untold wealth for rich people who had previously transferred American corporate assets to poor countries overseas so they could get even richer.
I know. Free enterprise. But somewhere along the way it becomes a b**ch.
You and I, the people in the middle and the bottom? As always we’re caught up in some rich person’s delusion of what should be theirs (answer-all that I can get away with).
Since we no longer are willing to do ambitious, productive work in this country, that might by the way lead to generating new wealth, my question is what Ponzi scheme will the rich come up with next?
Sorry for the rant. I’m not against rich people. What I’m against is the concentration of power-in the govt. or the private sector. I favor real checks and balances and breaking up monopolies.
The next scheme or fraud will be cap-and-trade. Already happening in Europe. Lots of fraud. I think it may be time to buy some forest land and get paid not to chop it down.
Daniel @11 – The cap-and-trade scam is to get paid to plant trees on forest land, then when they burn down you get paid to plant new trees at those exact same locations. When the forest burns, nearly all the “sequestered” carbon is released. It is a completely ludicrous market.
I wonder if Angelo Mozillo sped up his settlement because of his involvement in the robo-signer scandal. It seems he got the better end of the deal there. Countrywide was a massive player.
This is so beyond the pale of reason and rational thinking, maybe it’s time *I* stir the pot. I can find some moronic, opportunistic attorney and have them file a discrimination suit on behalf of all renters, against the US gov’t…naming Mr. Obama as the lead defendant.
LOL! That’s so f***ed up, it just might work.
The real story here is that Pines is looking for publicity, fame and contributions. He’s spotted an angle and he’s going for it. At some point, a judge will smack him down, but by that point he’ll be a house hold name.
If pines were smarter he would realize he is playing to a national audience. If he started carrying a Bible and started spouting off about driving the moneylenders from the temple of Murkin democracy he could get O’Donnell behind him.