Kemah woman says mortgage company foreclosed despite payments

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Aug 5, 2009

GALVESTON � A Kemah woman alleges a mortgage processing and servicing company foreclosed her residence even though she was on time with her payments, recent court documents say.

Christina Melinder accuses Ocwen Loan Servicing of breaching a loan modification agreement she entered with the Florida-based business back in February.

Melinder explains in her lawsuit that Ocwen neglected to properly apply and account for her loan payments on 315 Miller Ave. in Kemah's Laguna De Lavine subdivision and assessed improper charges and default-related fees which were not authorized by the loan's terms prior to formalizing the deal in question.

The case was filed in Galveston County District Court on July 27.

The plaintiff bought the home in December 2002 with a mortgage loan in the amount of $112,500. She made a payment that reduced the principal balance to around $30,000 in August 2004.

The original petition argues the defendant did not record the payment thus subsequently continued to charge interest for several months.

"Ocwen failed to give the plaintiff proper credit for payments as and when they were made," it states.

Melinder contends Ocwen proceeded to impose various improper fees, costs and charges on her loan without warning, adding the defendant charged for improvements that were non-existent.

"Ocwen also charged fees for using certain payment systems," the suit says. "The charges and fees were not legally due or exceeded the amount actually due. These fees and charges were improper, fraudulent and not allowed under the mortgage loan agreement."

The case shows that the defendant made a valid offer to Melinder to modify her loan.

Ocwen reportedly sent the plaintiff a letter at the start of the year informing the plaintiff was selected to receive a special "streamlined loan modification" that would permanently lower her monthly mortgage payment.

Melinder accepted the offer, which required the plaintiff to pay $448.38 on the first day of the month through 2033.

"Thus the loan modification agreement became a valid and enforceable contract," the suit says. "The modification provided that upon modification, the plaintiff's note will become contractually current."

It insists that Melinder strictly complied with the terms of acceptance set forth in the Ocwen's offer, but the defendant � through the Brown & Shapiro law firm in Pasadena � improperly and illegally initiated legal proceedings for foreclosure because of alleged non-payment.

"The plaintiff suffered natural, probable, and foreseeable consequences as a result of the defendants' breach," the original petition says.

Melinder sent a notice to Ocwen of the disputed debt in response.

However, the defendant failed to investigate the dispute nor halted the foreclosure, the suit says.

Ocwen is ultimately faulted for violating state law while Brown & Shapiro was named a co-defendant.

The plaintiff seeks monetary damages, a reverse in the foreclosure sale, and a jury trial.

The law offices of Goforth Lewis in Houston are representing the plaintiff, and Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox is presiding over the litigation.

Case No. 09CV1306

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