For Some Homeowners, Foreclosure Comes by Mistake
Many forced to hire lawyers, file lawsuits to stop the process
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2010 7:14 AM CST
A Jan. 10, 2009 file photo shows a bank repo and foreclosure for sale signs outside a foreclosed home in Houston.   (AP Photo/David J. Phillip/file)

(Newser) – The foreclosure mess gets messier: A growing number of people are finding themselves embroiled in a foreclosure fight even though they've never defaulted on their loans—in some cases, they didn't even have loans to default on. An extensive AP story looks at some of the cases, including a man who found himself listed as a defendant in the foreclosure case of a woman who had hit his car years earlier, a man who was forced to fight foreclosure even though he paid for his house in cash and had a copy of the cashier's check to prove it, and a woman who found her belongings ransacked, utilities cut off, doors padlocked, and even her parrot confiscated—even though she was up to date on her payments.

During the Capitol Hill foreclosure hearings, senators claimed to be flooded with complaints about mistaken foreclosures; former bank and law firm employees have admitted to pushing through such foreclosures knowingly. "This is the worst I've ever seen it," says an attorney; another lawyer calls it "a widespread problem throughout the country." Victims talk of being bounced from employee to employee and getting nowhere with the banks, despite having evidence (and, in one case, an admission by the bank that it lost the customer's loan paperwork). Many have been forced to hire lawyers and, in some cases, file lawsuits. Click for more on the robo-signing mess.