The Missing Homeowner: Could This Florida Foreclosure Nightmare Happen In Ohio?

Bankruptcy Attorney

Ohio is not the only state in the USA that has many stories about banks that have abused the foreclosure process, or even banks that commit outright fraud. One of the most obvious examples of foreclosure abuse and possibly fraud occurred in Sarasota, Florida. William Berta is a homeowner in this city who has resided in the same home for a number of decades. Mr. Berta owns a small local business, he receives a check at his residence each month from the Veterans Administration, and he has continued to pay the water bills and other utility bills for the residence. For many this would be a clear sign that Mr. Berta is not missing, or even hard to find for anyone who is looking, but that is not what Wells Fargo claimed when the bank went to court for foreclosure proceedings.


According to Wells Fargo William Berta had abandoned his home and could not be located, despite the fact that he had not moved and continued paying utility bills for the home. The bank convinced the judge that Mr. Berta could not be located so that he could be served with court papers to appear at a hearing, and the judge subsequently allowed the bank to foreclose and ordered the home sold at auction. When the process server arrived at the residence Mr. Berta was notified in person that he was missing legally, and that he had abandoned the property some time ago. This was obviously news to Mr. Berta, who was still living in the home when the process server arrived.


In an ironic twist Mr. Berta had been in contact with the bank about past due mortgage payments, and honestly believed that he was negotiating with the bank using a federal mortgage counseling business to lower the mortgage payments and resolve the problem when he was served with the court orders by the process server. In a convenient turnaround Wells Fargo has announced that Mr. Berta can keep his home as long as he meets the criteria for one of the mitigation programs offered by the bank, but there was no effort on the part of Wells Fargo to do this until the public became aware of the deception practiced by the bank.


Nightmare foreclosure stories are happening all across America, and consumers in Ohio are not exempt. Many mortgage lenders will not negotiate or refuse to work with homeowners. This story shows the depths that the banks will sink to try and repossess or foreclose on the homes of consumers. Often a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing is the only way to force banks to negotiate or work with consumers, and unless this step is taken you could find yourself in the same situation, and in real danger of losing your home and everything else you have worked hard for.


The bankruptcy attorneys at Richard West Law can help provide a free debt consolidation consultation to help you find the right answer for your unique debt problems and circumstances. If you are facing foreclosure or are struggling to make your monthly mortgage payments we can help. Visit or call (513)771-8700 or (937)748-1749 to get the answers you want, and the financial relief you are looking for.