Action Report: Grandmother says she was wrongly evicted from hom - - The News for South Mississippi

Action Report: Grandmother says she was wrongly evicted from home of 40 years


Imagine having worked your entire life to buy a home only to be evicted after 40 years. A Gulfport grandmother says it happened to her, and she's been trying for years to figure out what went wrong.  

Dorothy Boddie, 84, said her troubles began when she got a home improvement loan and ended up dealing with an attorney, who is now in prison for fraud, and a loan company now banned from doing new business in Mississippi.

The last thing Boddie expected was to be evicted from the home where she had lived for 40 years.

The house on 27th St. in Gulfport was paid off, but in 1998, it needed repairs. Boddie said her troubles began when she took out a fixed rate home improvement loan.

"I signed it with the Mortgage Outlet in Marietta, GA, and the attorney that was handling it for me was Stephen Colson of Gulfport," Boddie said.

A year later, Boddie said she learned the loan was transferred first to Delta Funding, then to another company, Ocwen Federal Bank in Atlanta.

"It went to Ocwen, and my payments went from $366.75 to $548, and that's when I started questioning what happened."

Boddie said she never got an answer. She said an attorney told her the government had shut down the company.

"Didn't miss any notes at all," said Boddie.

Then in 2001, Boddie said she received a notice that she had defaulted on the loan. Court documents from 2003 show Boddie's home was put up for public auction and sold for $30,225.  

In 2004, Boddie turned to Gulfport attorney Ben Galloway to save her home. Galloway sent letters to Ocwen, the last place Boddie sent her mortgage payments. Galloway said he was trying to find out the payoff amount on the loan but said Ocwen never responded. 

A year later, on July 20, 2005, Harrison County Chancery Court records show Wells Fargo of Minnesota owned the home and ordered Boddie to vacate the premises.

"You've worked all your life and everything is gone," said Boddie. "Katrina left it and we went back and they took it. Somebody else got it and went right on in and started renting it out," Boddie said.

What Boddie didn't know when she took out that loan in 1998 was that she was getting tangled up with some people and companies that soon would raise eyebrows with state and federal investigators.

Stephen Colson, the Biloxi attorney who handled Boddie's loan, pleaded guilty to defrauding two banks in an operation that began in 2004. Boddie's case was not part of that investigation.

The bankruptcy court described Colson's actions as a kind of Ponzi scheme. In 2014, Colson was sentenced to federal prison in Montgomery, AL and was ordered to repay almost $8 million. He's set to be released in 2018.

Ocwen became the subject of a nationwide probe by federal, state, and banking authorities in 2012. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau investigation determined Ocwen engaged in illegal foreclosure practices and provided false information about foreclosure proceedings to property owners who were trying to find a way to keep their homes. The agency ordered Ocwen to refund $125 million to nearly 185,000 borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure.

I contacted officials with Ocwen Loan Servicing. They sent me this statement regarding Boddie:

We empathize with any individual or family facing foreclosure. We made numerous attempts to work with Ms. Boddie to find a solution, including opportunities to enter into a payment plan, repurchase her home, and relocation assistance. Unfortunately, she did not accept any options we offered.

Boddie says she didn't receive any assistance from Ocwen. Boddie said she's going to keep fighting, not for herself so much, but for her disabled grandson, who's 40 years old.
"When I die, I want to make sure he has somewhere to go," said Boddie.

She thought her home would be something to leave him.

"When you know you're right, don't stop. Keep going."

After I contacted Ocwen, the company reached out to Boddie. She says Ocwen told her they will review her case and will try to find a solution.

On April 20 of this year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued Ocwen Loan Servicing alleging the company illegally foreclosed on homeowners, failed to send accurate monthly statements and ignored customer complaints.

Wells Fargo did not respond to our request for comment on Boddie's case.

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