Categorized | USA

US troops homes illegally foreclosed



The investigative arm of the US Congress says American mortgage companies appear to have illegally foreclosed on the homes of active duty military service members.

According to a report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Thursday, two of America’s largest mortgage firms unlawfully seized the homes of almost 50 active duty members of the US military, The Huffington Post reported.

The GAO noted that many of such instances occurred because the mortgage service companies did not bother to check on an individual’s service status before they foreclosed.

The wrongful foreclosures were discovered during a review of only about 2,800 loans that experienced foreclosure last year.

The finding has led to calls for national standards for foreclosure processes and better government oversight.

“The idea of wrongfully forcing service members’ families from their homes while their loved ones are risking their lives to protect our country is not only unconscionable, it’s illegal,” Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) said.

His remarks come as several senators have written a letter to banking regulators, including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

“We have seen countless examples of servicers giving borrowers the run-around and continuing the foreclosure process when a loan modification has already been obtained,” the letter read.

It added, “Perhaps the most egregious cases of servicer wrongdoing have been violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act by wrongly foreclosing on active duty service members. Correcting these problems and ensuring they do not reoccur should be a priority for all of your agencies.”

Members of the armed forces on active duty are covered by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

The law is designed to protect them from financial distress, and restricts the foreclosure of properties owned by active duty members of the US military.

According to California-based data provider RealtyTrac, more than 2.8 million homes received a foreclosure filing in 2009, and nearly 2.9 million residences got one last year.

This comes as millions of foreclosures in the United States have not been reviewed by banking regulators in recent years.

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