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The $75,000 House In Maine That Started Fraudclosure Furor

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Her name is Nicolle Bradbury. She is 38 years old.

She lives in a town called Denmark, Maine.

And it was her house that set off the national foreclosure freeze by which the nation is currently gripped.

Bradbury bought the house in 2003 for $75,000. Then she lost her job and eventually stopped making her $474 monthly mortgage payments.

That was two years ago.

Bradbury, who along with her two teenage children, lives on welfare and food stamps, contacted a nonprofit group called Pine Tree Legal Assistance for help. A lawyer named Paul Cox, who called in small-business loans for a bank before he retired, took Bradbury's case--and noticed that the documents from the lender, GMAC Mortgage, were approved by an employee named Jeffrey Stephan, whose title was “limited signing officer."

Mr. Cox deposed Stephan, who admitted that he had prepared 400 foreclosures a day for GMAC which had not been reviewed by him or anyone else--what people are now calling "robo-signing."

That led GMAC to halt foreclosures in the 23 states. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and others immediately followed suit.

“Had GMAC followed the legal requirements, she would have lost her home a long time ago,” Geoffrey S. Lewis, another lawyer handling her case, told the New York Times.

It appears that Bradbury has conflicting feelings about her situation.

“A lot of people say we just want a free ride,” she told the Times. “That’s not it. I’ve worked since I was 14. I’m not lazy. I’m just trying to keep us together. If we lost the house, my family would have to break up.”
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