Local family caught in mortgage mess

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WHAS11.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 6:42 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 13 at 1:55 PM

(WHAS11) -To one extent or another, everyone is feeling the effects of the subprime mortgage meltdown which triggered the global financial crisis.

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The era of fast and loose mortgages encouraged lots of bad behavior, and one local family got caught in a perfect storm of mortgage mess-a storm that is about to rip their house away from them.

All Angela Porter wanted was a first house for her family. Now facing eviction, what she got was a nightmare, set into motion when she met Wavy Curtis Shain.

Four years ago, Porter answered an ad by Shain to get help improving her credit score. She was an easy mark.

"He said, 'Well, Ms. Porter, I could help you. I can help you get this house, and you don't have to worry about it,'" explains Angela.

She didn't know it, but that's when her worries began.

This was 2005, which was the height of the subprime frenzy of risky mortgages.

We started talking to Porter one year ago, as she was trying to unravel what Curtis Shain, the owner of Derby City Title, had done.

Porter says one of the frauds included Shain temporarily depositing $7900 in Porter's bank account to misrepresent her finances at the house closing.

He also withheld money for title insurance that was never issued and listed a different sale price on the seller's mortgage document, leading to the seller suing Porter. Finally, Shain forged Porter's signature on a variety of documents, including the deed.

Derby City Title delayed filing the deed for two months. Porter would later discover that the house was still in the seller's name, which basically means she owns the loan, but not the house.

Porter reported Shain to the Attorney General and the FBI.

Two weeks ago, the Justice Department charged Shain with nine counts of wire fraud and one count of bank fraud in connection with other schemes.

His attorney tells me Shain has been cooperating with the Feds for two years. But none of this helps Porter keep her house.

By mid-2006, Porter was already fighting foreclosure. Her mortgage had been sold, but she says America's Servicing Company didn't send her notice to send them the payments until Porter was already behind on the payments.

And Porter says ASC tacked on exorbitant fees, even as she sent in double payments to get back on track.

ASC, which is a subsidiary of Wells Fargo, denies Porter's allegations, saying a settlement reached this month releases ASC from any claims.

A spokesman told us, "The Derby City Title people did perpetrate a fraud but it did not impact Ms. Porter."

The settlement rolls back the clock to 2005. So, Porter will owe nothing because the mortgage doesn't exist. The Mortgage Servicing Company has agreed to remove the negative scores from her credit rating. In exchange, she has agreed to vacate the house. But she is desperate to hold on to it as long as she can.

"Now we're in limbo," says Angela, "We've got no place to go. My credit is still shot. I can't go out here and buy a house. I can't even get an apartment because most of the time they want to do a credit check."

And as long as Porter's credit score is still scarred by ASC, her attorney says she should be able to stay in the house.

"We've basically placed them on notice that until such times, they've complied with the terms of the settlement agreement, that we do not need to vacate," explains Bob Silverthorn, Porter's Attorney.

Silverthorn, himself a closing attorney for 14 years, can't believe everything his client has been through.

Curtis Shain may have started the mess, but the slicing and dicing of mortgages makes it difficult to hold anyone else accountable. And Silverthorn says the confusion isn't easily fixed.

Porter says she can make the mortgage payments, but for years she didn't for years because she didn't have title and because she made the mistake of paying a "foreclosure fixing" company to negotiate a loan modification. It's one more twist to this perfect storm of a mortgage mess.

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