By Keith Griffin
After a struggle of two years, Ramon Lopez has finally received good news: he can keep his New Britain home. Lopez almost lost it to foreclosure after being scammed by a California law firm that took $5000 from him and never worked on his case.
The good news comes via his lawyer William Rivera who has been working closely with Lopez for the last seven months to keep the 58-year old and his family in their home of more than 16 years. Rivera credits the coverage CTLatinoNews.com first gave the story back in July that led to the involvement of the state Department of Banking and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
According to Rivera, Wells Fargo Bank initially refused to negotiate mortgage payments with Lopez who was dealing with medical issues, reduced hours at work, and his son’s death and had turned to a shady California law firm called The State Law Group that took his money, promised to help, and did nothing, which ended up putting the home in foreclosure. Because of the media’s repeated coverage, Wells Fargo finally relented and accepted Lopez into a special program. “I’m ecstatic. Now the family gets to unpack their boxes,” Rivera said.
He needed to come up with $5000 and make payments on time in February, March and April. Once he does, he’s back into a regular mortgage. The ironic thing, Rivera pointed out, is Lopez will be making smaller monthly payments than he did before all the troubles started.
“This is 95 percent done and is a far cry from being evicted,” Rivera, a New Britain attorney, said. “Wells Fargo had started the eviction and he was on his way out.”
One factor that helped Lopez get square with Wells Fargo is The State Law Group refunded the bulk of his $5000 it took for doing nothing. The firm has a habit of refunding clients’ money after Connecticut regulators get involved.
While all has worked out well for Lopez, Rivera said the problem of Latinos getting preyed on by mortgage-aid firms is still widespread. “They’re still getting scammed,” he said. “And it’s hard to freeze the eviction process once it gets started. He had better odds of winning Lotto.” Lopez’ eviction process was stayed by a sympathetic housing court judge. “There was some luck here,” Rivera added.