Bank of America employees were told to disappear records, falsify documents and blatantly lie to its’ customers
July 10, 2013
Homeowners have filed a multi-state class action lawsuit against Bank of America (BOA) for scamming them into foreclosure.
Last week, six former BOA employees revealed in a sworn statement to a federal court in Massachusetts that they were given financial incentives for deliberately foreclosing on peoples’ homes.
According to Salon, BOA employees in the mortgage servicing unit “systematically lied to homeowners, fraudulently denied loan modifications, and paid staff bonuses” for foreclosing on peoples’ homes.
On June 1, 2012 Obama expanded the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) to help struggling homeowners.
HAMP was supposed to lower homeowners’ monthly payments so that they could afford their payments and sustain their home for the long-term. Instead of providing homeowners with the modifications to their loans, former employees say BOA used it as a tool, attempting to squeeze out as much money as possible from the struggling borrowers before eventually foreclosing on them.
Under the program’s guidelines, borrowers were supposed make “three trial payments before the loan modification became permanent.” Instead, the borrowers were left making trial payments for up to one year and were then rejected for “permanent modification.” Homeowners were left owing the difference between the trial modification and the original payment.
The BOA employees were told to lie to customers telling them their files were incomplete or missing, when they weren’t. Or, customers were told their file was “under review,” but would then be thrown out for being more than 30 days old.
Former case management supervisor William Wilson said, “I personally reviewed hundreds of files in which the computer system showed the homeowner had fulfilled a Trial Period Plan and was entitled to a permanent loan modification, but was nevertheless declined for permanent modification.”
Some employees even went as far as falsifying electronic records and also blatantly removed documents from the homeowners’ files to make it look like the borrower had failed to submit the required information.
Simone Gordon, a former BOA employee, said managers created quotas for lower-level employees, and a bonus system for reaching those quotas. Employees “who placed ten or more accounts into foreclosure in a given month received a $500 bonus,” said Gordon.
BOA employees even received gift cards to places like Target and Bed Bath & Beyond for their “good work.”
Reportedly, employees who refused to lie to customers, didn’t meet the quotas, or questioned the bank’s ethics, were fired.
The U.S. Department of Treasury, the entity in charge of overseeing HAMP, failed to discipline a single bank for their blatant misconduct and refusal to follow the program’s guidelines.
Ex-employees listed specific names of top BOA executives that were involved in directly authorizing these fraudulent transactions.
“The delay and rejection programs were methodically carried out under the overall direction of Patrick Kerry, a Vice President who oversaw the entire eastern region’s loan modification process,” wrote William Wilson.
Other executives included John Berens, Patricia Feltch and Rebecca Mairone, who is now working for JP Morgan Chase, and happens to be under investigation for a separate financial fraud case.