9 Investigates: Chaos in nationwide foreclosure relief program



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - In October 2010, WFTV first reported on a single Winter Garden subdivision, where 18 home owners were in foreclosure at the same time. One owner on the edge was Nancy Luna, who was confused and fighting Bank of America.

“I don't know if they're moving forward with foreclosure or with a loan modification,” said Luna.

Now, hundreds of thousands of Florida home owners, like Luna, are entitled to bank payouts as compensation for fraudulent and sloppy foreclosure practices. But getting the money has not been easy, as some local attorneys have seen firsthand.

“At first glance, it looks like it can't be real,” said real estate attorney Karen Wonsetler. “We have people come in and say this seems too good to be true.”

Part of the confusion stems from how people find out about the payouts: first, a small postcard, and then a letter which, some say, looks like came out of a home ink-jet printer.

Even more confusing: The letters bear the name of the very bank the home owners have been fighting in their foreclosure.

Then, last week, there was a major technical glitch. Thousands of checks bounced in the first wave of home owner payouts.

In theory, the Independent Foreclosure Review requires 13 of the county’s biggest banks to pay out $3.6 billion nation wide. It goes to those banks’ borrowers who were in foreclosure in 2009 and 2010. They’ll receive anywhere from $300 to $125,000 in compensation.

But critics say, even the individual payouts so far seem haphazard and calculated inconsistently.

Home owners should also be aware of fraud.  Legitimate letters associated with this program will bear the name Rust Consulting. That is the “paying agent” being used by the banks and the Department of Treasury to disperse the money.

More Information: Nationwide Foreclosure Relief Program