Upon returning home from a visit with her son in a military hospital abroad, Lilly Washington was surprised to find a “for sale” sign had been planted in the yard.
The Phoenix woman had been in the middle of a loan modification with Bank of America when she left for Germany to visit her son, according to local news station Fox 10. The bank had assured her in writing that they would wait for her return and finish the modification process, Washington says, a reason she was shocked to later find the bank had gone ahead and foreclosed on the home.
Making matters worse, the bank cleared her house of all of her possessions, Washington told a local ABC affiliate. Included in that emptying was the Purple Heart her son received during his time serving in Iraq.
Washington is now suing both the bank and Fannie Mae. "Bank of America lied to me and stole my house without my permission," Washington told ABC 15.
BofA said they didn’t have any record of correspondence with Washington in a separate Fox 10 report.
Other Phoenix-area homeowners came out to support Washington, hosting a Barbeque as well as gathering outside her home in an aim to get the attention of elected officials to help out other struggling homeowners. Arizona has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country, with one in every 377 houses in foreclosure, according to RealtyTrac.
This isn’t the first time BofA has been accused of incorrectly foreclosing on military families. The bank is one of ten lenders that said in November they were together reviewing more than 5,000 foreclosures on homes belonging to active-duty service members to see if they were carried out improperly.
Some have also accused the bank of wronging military families in other ways. John McDevitt, an Afghanistan war veteran, claimed he was mistakenly charged more than $25,000 by an Athens nightclub. After investigating the charges, BofA concluded that McDevitt would have to take the claim up with the nightclub if he wanted to get his money back.