ERMA, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Imagine paying your mortgage on time every month, and your bank takes your home away anyway.
It may not make any sense, but this mortgage mess is happening.
Holidays, birthdays, baby’s first steps — since 2004, Kim Shibles’ beloved Erma, New Jersey home has been the backdrop for everything.
“I would like to have back what they took,” she told CBS2’s Kristine Johnson.
She was forced out of the house in 2016, after the bank foreclosed.
“It turned my life upside down,” she said.
What’s worse her attorney Josh Denbeaux said it happened without Shibles ever having missed a mortgage payment.
“She paid every single month,” Denbeaux said.
“We have the largest financial institutions in our country and they are absolutely fleecing America,” Linda Tirrelli said.
It started in 2010.
“They solicited me for a modification through the mail,” Shibles said.
Shibles said Bank of America sent her an offer she simply couldn’t refuse, the chance to modify her loan by as much as $600 a month.
“It was a godsend actually,” Shibles said.
It was part of HAMP or the Home Affordable Modification Program, required of the banks by the government after the $700-billion bailout.
In many cases it left the homeowners who applied worse off said Tirelli, an attorney who specializes in mortgage abuse.
Rather than streamline the loan modification process, several former bank employees testified they were actually encouraged to sabotage it.
Forensic accountant Jay Patterson serves as an expert witness in cases involving loan modifications.
“They send in paperwork, paperwork gets lost, they say they never got it, just keeps going on and on,” he said.
The end result? Homeowners like Shibles who were told they were approved, were months later told they did not meet the requirements.
Not only that, but they would have to reapply and were on the hook for the difference in the modified payment and the original mortgage.
“I’ve been lied to, I’ve been deceived. There’s no words to say what they’ve done. It’s been so wrong,” she said.
“To them it’s just spreadsheets. Miss Shibles is not a spreadsheet, her family is not a spreadsheet, why can’t our society protect this woman?” Denbeaux said.
After foreclosure, Shibles’ home was sold so she has not chance of getting it back.
A lawsuit she filed against Bank of America is in the process of being appealed, and due to this litigation Bank of America could not comment.
If you’re thinking of applying for a loan modification, experts said, show all of the documentation to an independent mortgage specialist.