ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Months after Bank of America wrongly foreclosed
on a house Warren and Maureen Nyerges had already paid for, they were still
fighting to get reimbursed for the court battle.
So on Friday, their attorney showed up at a branch office in Naples with a
moving truck and sheriff’s deputies who had a judge’s permission to seize
the furniture if necessary. An hour later, the bank had written a check for
“The branch manager was visibly shaken,” attorney Todd Allen said Monday,
recalling the visit to the bank last week. “At that point I was willing to
take the desk and the chair he was sitting in.”
After the moving company and sheriff’s deputies get their share, the Nyerges
should receive the rest of the money this week, ending a bizarre saga that
started when they paid Bank of America $165,000 cash for a 2,700-square-foot
foreclosed home in Naples in 2009.
About four months later, a process server knocked on their door and handed
Warren Nyerges a notice of foreclosure.
“This is a big mistake,” he recalled saying. “You must have the wrong house.
We bought a foreclosure and don’t have a mortgage.”
That started 18 months of frustrating phone calls, paperwork and court
hearings. Whenever Nyerges called the bank, representatives told him to
“come up to date” with his payments. When he called 25 different law firms,
no attorney would take the case. When he went to court, the lawyers for the
bank filed incorrect motions and were woefully unprepared for the hearings.
“It was mind boggling,” said Nyerges, a 46-year-old retired police officer.
“To try to unscrew the screw up, it’s not as easy as it sounds.”
Eventually the Nyerges found Allen. They fought the foreclosure and won,
proving that they owned the home outright.
During his research, Nyerges heard that his name got transposed from
purchase agreements onto the prior foreclosure.
“I don’t know if that is a fact, because no one really had the facts,” he
In September 2010, a Collier county judge ordered Bank of America to pay the
couple’s $2,534 attorney fees. But by last week, the bank hadn’t paid up, so
Allen got a judge’s permission to seize assets.
In an email to the Associated Press on Monday, Bank of America spokeswoman
Jumana Bauwens apologized to the couple about the “delay in receiving the
“The original request went to an outside attorney who is no longer in
business,” she wrote.
The law office of David J. Stern, which handled the Nyerges’ case for Bank
of America, told judges across Florida in March that it will end its
involvement in 100,000 foreclosure cases.
The Florida attorney general’s economic crimes division is investigating
three law firms, including Stern’s, over allegations that they created
fraudulent legal documents, gouged homeowners with inflated fees, steered
business to companies they owned and filed foreclosures without proving the
bank actually had legal interest in the loans.
According to employee testimony filed with Florida authorities, Stern’s
employees churned out bogus mortgage assignments, faked signatures,
falsified notarizations and foreclosed on people without verifying their
identities, the amounts they owed or who owned their loans.
The attorney general is also looking at whether Stern paid kickbacks to big
Allen sees the Nyerges case as symbolic of the foreclosure crisis. Courts
are backlogged, and banks and their attorneys aren’t scrutinizing
And Nyerges said he’s still upset with Bank of America.
“They couldn’t even spell our name right in the apology,” he said.