In Bradenton, Florida, the Sarasota Herald Tribune
- Pedro Torres and his wife purchased the Bradenton home they were renting in 2007 because it reminded them of their native Puerto Rico. They were told their monthly payment would be $670, but it turned out to be $800, about half of their income from Social Security. The couple, both over 65, struggled so much to make payments that Torres collected aluminum cans for food money. Torres and his wife, Ederlinda Soto, likely would have lost the home to foreclosure over the $103,000 mortgage.
- But when a Gulfcoast Legal Services attorney(1) found numerous problems and fraud in the loan, the lender offered to give them the home for a single $1,000 settlement payment.(2)
For more, see Bradenton couple prevail in mortgage imbroglio (Pedro Torres and his wife, Ederlinda Soto, struggled to pay their mortgage, which they thought would be $670 a month but ended up being $800. An attorney discovered so many problems in their loan document that they now own their Bradenton home free and clear).
(1) Gulfcoast Legal Services is a non-profit corporation providing free legal aid to income eligible residents of the greater Tampa Bay area, with offices in Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota and Hillsborough counties.
(2) According to the story, the retired couple's mortgage contained problems common to loans approved during the height of Florida's real estate boom, said their attorney, Dawn Marie Bates-Buchanan. Torres and Soto reportedly got the low settlement offer from an attorney for California-based Accredited Home Lenders because the loan would likely have been voided if the case had gone to trial, Buchanan said. Also, Accredited could have faced up to $2,000 sanctions for each violation under truth in lending and unfair business practices laws, the story states. Accredited's attorney reportedly called Buchanan and said, "Basically, 'What do you want?'" she said. "My answer is, 'I don't want them to have a mortgage.'" Now, Torres and Soto are continuing their lawsuit against the mortgage broker and the sister and brother-in-law who helped arrange the loan, the story states. Gulfcoast Legal Services reportedly took the case because the couple is over 65 and has low income. The legal fees would have been unaffordable otherwise, something that leaves many Spanish-speaking victims of mortgage fraud unable to fight. UndoMortgageLoans TILAdelta