ROOSEVELT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A suburban Long Island woman says she is facing eviction from her home after falling victim to a mortgage fraud from two companies now under state investigation.
Emergency room technician Essie Bates has lived in her Roosevelt, N.Y., home for 34 years, but says she may only have hours left in the home she shares with her grandchildren.
“I can’t believe it has come to this. I can’t believe that sheriff actually came to our door,” she told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan. “They gave us 72 hours to get out.”
Bates said when her mortgage payment ballooned, her nightmare began. She contacted Templeton Group in Westbury and paid them $3,000 upfront for a loan modification. But then, she said she couldn’t get in contact with them.
“Got nervous, sending text messages, they weren’t returning my calls,” she said.
Templeton took her money but soon folded without helping Bates and her family, she says.
Bates says she was desperate and contacted another company: Farmingdale-based Home Affordable Direct.
“They promised me everything would be fine, they could work it out no problem, they had the legal team, the staff that could do it,” Bates said.
From her hospital salary savings, the homeowner handed over two lump sums to help her get her mortgage back on track.
Home Affordable Direct closed shop and could not be reached by CBS 2.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is going after both agencies, saying it is illegal to demand an upfront fee, outraged that middle class New Yorkers continue to be victimized.
Long Island Housing Partnership, a nonprofit, is offering free counseling and mortgage services to hundreds now in financial trouble.
“At the point they come to us, it is sometimes too late because places have been closed down and there is no recourse to get their money back,” Carol Yopp with the nonprofit said.
Bates has a message for the financial advisers she trusted.
“If you know you could not help me, call me and let me know so I can make some other arrangement. Don’t wait until the sheriff comes to my door to put me out,” she said.
Bates says she is praying for a miracle and her home has been seized by the bank. Foreclosure and auction proceedings are underway, McLogan reported.
Repeated calls to lawyers representing the two companies have not yet been returned.
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