Wells Fargo Has Blood on Its Hands: Desperate Man Commits Suicide After Shocking Foreclosure Mistreatment
Photo Credit: AFP
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Norman and Oriane Rousseau were one more couple pushed by a huge, greedy bank to the brink of homelessness. On Sunday, desperate and with nowhere to go, Norman Rousseau shot himself.
This is the story of what happens when an average couple is up against a giant, wealthy, powerful bank. Unfortunately the result is what the result always is when people are on their own against the wealthy and powerful: the bank ends up with all of their money, takes their house to sell and throws them out onto the street. In this case the bank is Wells Fargo.
The quick version of this terrible story is that Norman and Oriane Rousseau of Newbury Park, California were scammed into a predatory mortgage. But they made their payments anyway, always paying with a cashier’s check in person at the same branch. Then one day the bank misapplied their payment and said they still owed the money. This started a long, nasty process that led to the bank evicting the Rousseaus from their home.
Here’s the shocker: right at the start the Rousseaus came up with proof that the bank had received the payment and had cashed the check. But the bank continued to claim it had missed the payment, gave the Rousseaus the runaround, started applying fees, and used it as an excuse to foreclose on the house anyway.
The Rousseaus fought back, the bank dragged it out for so long and pulled so many tricks, getting its way every step of the process, until this last Sunday Norman Rousseau finally gave up and shot himself in despair – two days before the scheduled eviction, Tuesday, May 15. (The Rousseau’s lawyer just said he was able to win a 2-week delay.)
It is a tragic story, but when you dig into the details it becomes much worse.
See for yourself. The court case filed by the Rousseaus puts on the record the facts as they state them. The complaint reads as one more story like so many others that we have been hearing about the abuses by banks and banksters and the tricks they pulled on people. Never mind the big “ National Mortgage Settlement” – this story shows that the abuses are still going on, with the same tragic consequences.
The following describes the facts in the lawsuit filed in Norman Rousseau and Oriane Rousseau vs. Wells Fargo Bank in the Superior Court of California, County of Ventura.
In March 2000, Norman and Oriane Rousseau put 30 percent down to buy a house at 580 Wilshire Place, Newbury Park, CA. In the following years they were solicited to refinance their loan. In October 2007 they met with the loan officer and “stated that they were only interested in obtaining a conventional 30-year, fixed-rate loan, and explained their desire to have consistent payments over the life of the loan.”
They were “assured … that they could significantly reduce their monthly payments, by more than $600 per month, with a lower interest refinance loan.” The bank assured them that the Payment Option ARM was “the new industry standard” that had “historically low rates that were continuing to decrease” and in “the worst case scenario [they were] assured that historical data for the index indicated that changes in interest rate were slight, and if an increase should occur it would have a negligible effect on their monthly payments of no more than a few dollars.”
They should “expect to refinance within the next two years to take advantage of even more favorable interest rates and as the steadily rising housing values increased the amount their equity in the property.”