Homeowner claims bank stole items in foreclosure
Trespassing or protecting their interest? A Southwest Florida homeowner, in foreclosure, claims Bank of America broke into his property, stole his personal items, and then changed the locks.Photo: Video by fox4now.com
NAPLES - Trespassing or protecting their interest?
A Southwest Florida homeowner, in foreclosure, claims Bank of America broke into his property, stole his personal items, and then changed the locks.
"I put money into these units, new floor, new bathrooms, " Paolo Ferrari says proudly.
He owns 3 units in this Naples condo complex.
And 2-weeks ago, when he showed up to check on this unit, which had been sitting empty, he had been locked out. The locks changed, and a note taped to the door stating Bank of America had determined the property to be vacant, that it intends to protect the proerty against deterioration, and that the locks might be changed.
"In the meantime a flat screen tv, a router, a microwave disappeared from the unit, and i don't know what happened, " Paolo recalls.
...In all, about $3,000 worth of stuff.
A Bank of America spokesperson tells us it take steps to make sure no one can get into vacant homes. And if the bank does take a homeowner's personal property, it puts it into storage. In Paolo's case, the bank does not believe any of its representatives entered the home.
Paolo doesn't buy it. He says the bank even left a window open. So he called the police and his lawyer.
"If the average individual did this, they would be thrown in jail. They would have trespassing charges against them, says Paolo's attorney Todd Allen.
Allen tells us even if the property is in foreclosure, the bank has no right to enter it until a judge gives the title to the bank... something that hasn't happened here.
"Until they foreclose on it, they really have no legal right to that property," adds Allen.
Client and attorney have countersued Bank of America under Florida fair debt collection rules.
"It's evidence of banks trampling all over the rule of law in this state. I don't know that it will change until consumers stand up," says Allen
The bank is researching the case. Paolo simply wants a loan modification to avoid foreclosure.