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How Bank of America is deceiving Nevada homeowners

How Bank of America is deceiving Nevada homeowners

CREATED Jul 1, 2011

Contact 13 is learning more about the Attorney General's lawsuit against Bank of America.

Chief Investigator Darcy Spears has been exposing the bank's misdeeds for half a year.

Now, Darcy gives us an inside look at just what State investigators found B of A doing to deceive Nevada homeowners.

"Do you still feel like you're spinning your wheels and getting a whole lot of nowhere with them?" Spears asked JoAnne Licko, who's been fighting for months to help her brother save his home from foreclosure.

"A whole lot of nowhere!" Licko agrees.

Despite dozens of news reports and scrutiny by officials across the country, Bank of America continues to mistreat its customers.

"At least 20-percent of the loans in our state are serviced by Bank of America, so the impact is incredible," says Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto.

After collecting complaints for a year and a half, her office is suing B of A for deceptive trade practices against Nevada homeowners.

"It was time to force their hand because I don't think that Bank of America would have come to the table. They're treating my office just like they treat the homeowner."

Beverly Turner says she and her family were treated like trash.

"You kind of laugh at B of A's pledge to help people that has come in so many letters that you've seen," Spears said.

"Yes," Beverly answered fervently. "We're here to help you... Help you out of your home! So I'll tell anybody out there, be careful. When you hear Bank of America... run."

B of A made the grave error of evicting her in the midst of negotiating a loan modification, then offered very little help to make good on their mistake.

So Beverly had to walk away from the home where she raised her family.

Both she and Joanne Licko have filed formal complaints with the Attorney General.

Check out what other consumers have reported to Masto's office.

"I've been denied by Bank of America because they told me that the investor who holds the note on my home refused to modify, when in fact, in the course of our investigations, we've talked to that investor and the investor said, 'I didn't know anything about it.'," Masto explains.

"Or, I was told by Bank of America that I had to be in default before I would be eligible for this HAMP program, when that's a totally false statement."

They also have cases of families who've had to cash in their children's education fund to try to meet the requirements of a loan modification, only to have the bank foreclose on them.

Others say B of A told them their modification was denied because they didn't make trial payments.

"When the borrower did, in fact, make trial payments and Bank of America cashed the check and we have proof of it!" Masto says incredulously.

The A.G. says the bank's egregious pattern of conduct has had additional consequences here in Nevada.

"We have over 200 companies we are investigating--criminally investigating--for some form of loan, foreclosure or rescue scam. Because I don't see that direct contact between Bank of America and their borrowers, now this cottage industry of loan scammers are out there."

She also says B of A is partly to blame for the increase in bankruptcies for Nevada families.

And though other banks share in that, as Contact 13 has been reporting, B of A A is by far the worst of the lot.

We've been trying to question Bank of America about all this directly, but they say the man we need to talk to is on vacation for two weeks.

Last week they sent a written statement saying how disappointed they are in the A.G.'s lawsuit because they believe they're working cooperatively with all states to address foreclosure-related issues.

From our State's perspective, that's obviously not the case.

It's not too late if you want to get your complaint in to the Attorney General. Click here for more information.

They tell Action News their investigation is ongoing.

Channel 13 works to bring you information that helps keep your family safe from scams and rip-off artists. If you have any story ideas, please email them to 13Investigates@KTNV.com or call 702-257-8440.