OK Attorney General Presents Tulsans With Check In Mortgage Settlement

Monday, October 15th 2012, 2:24 pm
By: News On 6

The check is in the mail—that's the word from the state's Attorney General's office.

The money is going to more than 100 Oklahomans, who were forced into foreclosure during the economic crisis in 2008.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt said checks will be mailed every week until the end of January.

But Monday, a Tulsa couple was one of the first to get their money.

"This is a $20,000 check from the Oklahoma Mortgage Settlement fund to assist you as you go forward, Pruitt

Melissa and Zach Zuniga were handed a big check on Monday.

The Tulsa couple received $20,000 from the Oklahoma Mortgage Settlement Fund.

"I can definitely say that, for a family of five and with one on the way, it will absolutely change our lives at this point in time," Zach said.

More than 100 Oklahomans can expect a similar check over the next three months.

The money comes after the economic crisis in 2008 that sent thousands of homeowners across the country into foreclosure.

"Real harm occurred to Oklahomans across this state, harm that ultimately led to some families losing their home, harm that led to some families being on the verge of foreclosure," Pruitt said.

The state reached an $18 million settlement with five of the nation's largest lenders.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt says the banks tricked homeowners through practices such as dual tracking where the homeowner is encouraged to become delinquent on their loans, so the mortgage can be adjusted, while at the same time the bank has them on track to foreclosure.

Another trick is called robo-signing. That's when signatures appear on bank documents without proper review.

"We were in a corner and had no way of getting out of it," Zach said.

The Zunigas were victims of dual-tracking and were forced out of their home of 23 years, because their bank claimed it lost their paperwork, and then told them their loan was paid in full.

It was eventually sold at a sheriff's sale.

The couple was thrilled to learn of the settlement.

"Just basically pay off the minimum amount of debt that we have, keep money in the bank, and just go from there," Zach said.

The state has partnered with the Oklahoma Bar Association and Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma to help families with their mortgage problems and keep them in their homes.