Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hispanic Soldier’s Home Foreclosed While She Was Serving Abroad


“I couldn’t believe it,” Capt. Tania Garcia said. “I was in shock.”

Excerpts from the report…

Army Capt. Tania Garcia said she was on active duty in South Korea when she got the news.

Garcia’s Realtor informed her that her south Orange condominium had been foreclosed upon. Suddenly, a soldier serving abroad had no home to return to.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Garcia said. “I was in shock.”

More shocking news was ahead. Court files from the foreclosure showed an affidavit had been filed that stated Garcia was not in the active military and that the notice of foreclosure was served on her husband.

Two problems: Garcia said this week she was on active duty — and she is not married. Now, Garcia is fighting to win back the home she thinks was taken from her unfairly.

Garcia’s condo initially was bought back by Flagstar Bank and then resold… (No, it was Fannie Mae!)

Garcia’s real-estate broker, Celia Ruiz of Casa Latino Real Estate, said she worked with the bank during the short sale, in which the lender allows a home to be sold at a price often far below the amount owed on the mortgage. She has e-mails from a bank employee stating the sale was approved.

Five days before the scheduled sale, Ruiz said, she received the bad news. Ruiz was flabbergasted.

“I’ve done a lot of short sales,” Ruiz said. “I have never seen a property go to foreclosure while we are working on a short sale.”

The “non-military affidavit” included in the court file attested to the fact that Garcia was not in the active military, and a military status report from the Department of Defense was attached, stating: “Based on the information you have furnished, the DMDC [Department of Defense Manpower Data Center] does not possess any information indicating that the individual is currently on active duty.”

If a person is on active duty, the military must be served notice of the foreclosure to make sure the person is aware of it, Kaufman said. Garcia said there was “no way” that the bank could claim to be unable to contact her.

Still in the service, Garcia shipped off to Iraq on Friday with the legal battle serving as a constant distraction in a place where, she said, distractions cost lives.

“When I was not in this country, I was working to protect my country,” she said. As she prepared to leave again this week, Garcia was hopeful that she would return to find the situation resolved.

Read the article in its entirety here…

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