Bank of America Forecloses on Santa Clara Woman After Telling Her to Miss Her Payments

bank of america foreclosed on cancer patient
Annette Lake lost her home after Bank of America told her to miss three payments so she would qualify for a remodification. Lake needed to remodify her loan after being diagnosed with breast cancer. | Photo by Tracie McFarlin, St. George News

SANTA CLARA – Bank of America foreclosed on a Santa Clara woman’s home, despite her doing everything she was instructed to do in order to prevent it.

Annette Lake resided in her house in Santa Clara from 1986 until May 24, 2011, when Bank of America foreclosed on her home.

Just after her divorce from her husband was finalized in 2008, Lake was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was laid off from her job during chemotherapy treatments. She began having a hard time paying her mortgage, though she never missed a mortgage payment.

In 2009 Lake learned that the government had given banks money to assist people experiencing hardships. She called Bank of America, the holder of her home loan, to learn if she could refinance her loan so that her payments would be more affordable.

“They told me they couldn’t assist me because I was paid up to date,” Lake said. “I had to be behind on my payments before they would give me assistance.”

Bank of America representatives told Lake she needed to miss three mortgage payments in order to be eligible for assistance. Lake then missed three mortgage payments, as Bank of America instructed her to do.

After missing three payments, Lake’s home loan was remodified and her mortgage payments were lowered to $728.50 per month, which she paid on time each month. But in late June 2010, the day after her mother died, Lake came home to find a foreclosure notice posted on her house.

She called Bank of America and asked why her house was being foreclosed. The Bank of America representative told Lake her house was being foreclosed because Lake hadn’t been making her mortgage payments.

Lake told the representative that she had been making her payments every month.

The representative did some research and found that Lake’s payments had been received but not handled properly. However, her checks were being cashed and clearing her bank, she said.

“The payments had been on someone’s desk and not been processed,” Lake said.

The representative told Lake that her mortgage payments would be processed immediately, her account would be credited, and an extension would be put on the foreclosure of her home.

“They said they would reinvestigate my loan but that I need to call every one to two weeks to make sure they’re still doing their job,” Lake said.

Bank of America credited Lake’s account for the payments she’d already made.

In December 2010, Lake received a letter in the mail telling her she was declined for Bank of America’s home loan remodification program. Lake didn’t understand how this could happen, since, as far as she knew, her home loan had already been remodified several months previously.

Lake continued calling Bank of America every week to try to straighten out the issues with her home loan. She said she was rarely able to talk to the same Bank of America employee twice, which added to the frustration.

“Every time I call in I get a different person and we have to go through the total complete thing all over again,” Lake said. “How can anything be accomplished if nobody’s paying attention to what’s going on?”

Though Lake continued paying her mortgage payments, Bank of America attempted to foreclose on Lake’s house again, and on May 24, the efforts were successful. Lake and her 19-year-old daughter moved out of her house, which has now been sold by Bank of America. Lake and her daughter moved into Lake’s father’s basement, where they share a bedroom.

Most of Lake’s possessions are in three storage units. Lake’s ex-husband has her dogs, she said.

The entire experience has given Lake a different outlook on life.

“I honestly understand how people become homeless and how they give up and say they don’t care,” Lake said. “You get to the point where you don’t care. I get it. You just feel like saying, ‘Fine, you win.’”

Though she’s already lost her home, Lake is hoping to participate in a class action lawsuit against Bank of America.

“I know I’ll never get my home back,” Lake said. “But hopefully there’ll be some repercussions, some reciprocation.”

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2011, all rights reserved.

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  • jeremy June 9, 2011 at 7:12 am

    There was an article on yahoo news were they foreclosed on a homeowner who paid cash for his house he ended up suing boa winning. They refused to pay so he foreclosed on them through legal ways to collect a debt. The police went into there branch and started moving stuff out of the bank a must read.

  • Charlotte June 9, 2011 at 7:40 am

    I am in tears!!! This sounds like my mother’s story… I helped my mom to the point that Wells Fargo ripped our family apart. Several times we explained our story over and over and on deaf ears it fell. We started fundraising, we did yard sales, and we called everyone and anyone for information to save her first home! My mother put $30,000 CASH down to start her home… Just the other day, it was sold at auction for $47,600. This is ridiculous and the banks need to be put in their place!!!!!

  • Laura June 9, 2011 at 8:37 am

    WOW!!!!! This is a very scary story!!! We can’t let this kind of stuff happen!

  • Marty June 9, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Sad story, everyday you can read about the same thing happening all over this country. We bailed out the banks, yet they are a beast that are extremely hard to slay. The old adage that money talks and the rest walk is so true. Banks are out of control and the government will never do anything to stop them.

  • Judy June 9, 2011 at 8:57 am

    The same sort of thing happened to me with Bank of America. I had a nagging feeling to back out of all of it. According to this story I am so glad I did. Missing payments on purpose to qualify for a modification is a scary and rediculous idea. Unfortunately we don’t always have a choice and are forced to try anything. So sad that her health couldn’t be her only stress.

  • TRUST NOT BIG BANKS June 9, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Beware of Bank of America & most large banks! They cannot be trusted! If you really need help, go to NACA.COM. They have a HomeSave Program. It’s run by volunteers and it’s free of cost! I suggest you move all your accounts away from the BIG BANKS and use independent local community banks or credit unions! You will be glad you did! Middle America continues to be economically challenged by the adverse policies, programs and changes in the BIG BANKS!

  • Jack June 15, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Many may think Bank of America has only been doing this for the last couple of years, but there is certified evidence out there that confirms Bank of America have been doing this for more than a decade and I also have evidence to show Bank of America has been profiting from STOLEN “loan data” since as far back as 1997.

    Ms. Lake has every LEGAL right to get her home back plus damages. Hopefully a qualified and honest attorney will take her case and get her out of that class action.

  • Mr. St. George July 11, 2011 at 12:43 am

    Do you still trust big corporations more than big government?
    If you think big government is bad…try living in a world where big corporations have ultimate control.
    Under Republican fascism, that’s the goal!!

    Want to take back the US and make it a decent place again?
    Keep Republicans out of government!

  • Kathy August 9, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Didn’t she ask for a loan modification rather than a loan REmodification?

  • Owen September 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    It happens every day – we were told “miss three payments” also. We did, and our credit went fro 826 to nothing – and every month we miss it goes down again. When we called, after the three months, they denied ever telling us to miss payments. They said we have to be caught up for 12 payments before we can discuss refinance. We were three years (the whole loan life) without missing a payment, until they told us too. I was informing them monthly of our declining financial situation, even told them, “we have two months left – one month etc.” We got no help. We want to join a class action suit against BOA!

  • Ray Campos October 4, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Ive read what has happened to all you good people out there. Unfortunately the same has happened to my family and I. I too would like to get involved with the class action law suit against BOA. . . Can somebody point me in the right direction or offer information on the class action lawsuit. I thank you for your time and efforts. . . . .

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