A California widow nearly lost her home to overzealous Bank of America foreclosure proceedings, even though her late husband had taken out an insurance policy to protect her against that very thing, and even as she dutifully paid the premiums on the insurance policy, The Charlotte Observer is reporting.
When George Mitchell purchased a home in Rialto for himself and his wife, the lender encouraged him to take out an insurance policy against the mortgage. It would protect his widow against losing the home if he were to die, immediately paying $100,000 toward the principal.
And when the former trucking company manager died in 2003, the policy should have been paid out to Bank of America on the spot, according to the widow’s lawyer. Paying $100,000 against a remaining $120,000 balance on the widow’s mortgage would have left her with $20,000 to pay; nothing for a widow with limited income to scoff at, but hardly insurmountable.
Unfortunately, Laura Coleman Biggs didn’t know about the mortgage insurance policy. The insurer, whether intentionally or unintentionally, neglected to pay off on the policy. Bank of America continued to collect the widow’s mortgage payments, according to The Bellingham Herald, even as she continued to make payments on the insurance policy – payments listed as “fees” in the small print buried at the bottom of her monthly mortgage statements.
When the widow fell on hard times in 2011, she fell behind on her mortgage. A third party – Select Portfolio Servicing – began pursuing collection and foreclosure against the widow on behalf of Bank of America. All the while, the insurer continued to collect insurance premiums on a mortgage insurance policy that should have been paid out a decade before.
By Christmas 2013, the widow was in danger of losing her home. That is, until the L.A. law firm of Edward Lopez took her case pro bono. Legal administrator George Bosch began poring over the mountains of paperwork – and one line, listed as miscellaneous “fees,” stood out. He called Bank of America wanting answers.
“Silence on the other end of the phone. They didn’t want to answer the question.”
Eventually, thanks to her legal team’s diligence, the entire picture came into view: between a bank that views customers merely as account numbers, a series of deliberate obfuscations, and far too many instances of the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing, all leading up to a widow nearly losing her home.
On February 12, Briggs’ legal team filed a lawsuit against Bank of America and other parties involved in the case “acted together and maliciously to ignore the insurance policy designed to keep [Mrs. Briggs] in the home.”
This is the second time in as many days that a story about Bank of America’s foreclosure efforts has gained the attention of the national media. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, a Wichita, Kansas dad is also facing foreclosure on his home as he cares for his two dying young daughters.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of the widow who nearly lost her home to Bank of America foreclosure proceedings seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
[Image courtesy of: Shutterstock/TheaS]