California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Wells Fargo Sued for Fraud on HELOCs

Wells Fargo Bank is the target in a new class action lawsuit that accuses the mega-bank of fraudulently claiming that the property values of its customers had declined and using that as a pretense to shut off home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).

Homeowner Michael Hickman, of Westmont, Ilinois filed the lawsuit on behalf of himself and other Wells Fargo HELOC holders. The lawsuit claims that Wells Fargo used computer models to “appraise” the homes instead of licensed appraisers and that the bank did not give its customers sufficient notice of either its intent to “re-appraise” or what the consequences would be. It then required customers contesting the computer appraisals to pay for their own appraisal to show that the computer appraisal was incorrect in order to seek reinstatement of the HELOC.

In Mr. Hickman’s case, after Wells Fargo froze his HELOC, it then “offered” to flip him into a high-interest credit card. Bait-and-switch, anyone?

Note: This author opines that computer modeling is a wildly inaccurate method of appraising homes and can be easily manipulated to obtain the outcomes desired by those who employ them, especially when the algorithms are not made available so they can be validated. Home values can fluctuate significantly between neighborhoods and it is highly improbable that any programming either takes into account such variations or that it would even be possible to program the variations into the model.

Michael Hickman’s attorneys are Jay Edelson, Steven Lezell and Evan Meyers, all with KamberEdelson LLC. KamberEdelson has previously sued JP Morgan Chase, WaMu, and Citibank in class actions over similar HELOC cancellations or suspensions.

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© Copyright 2007-2017 Monique Bryher

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The information and notices contained on The California Real Estate Fraud Report are intended to summarize recent developments in real estate fraud, mortgage fraud, short sale fraud, REO fraud, appraisal fraud, loan modification scams, loan modification fraud and other real estate related crimes occurring in Los Angeles and California. The posts on this site are presented as general research and information and are expressly not intended, and should not be regarded, as legal advice. Much of the information on this site concerns allegations made in civil lawsuits and in criminal indictments. All persons are presumed innocent until convicted of a crime. Readers who have particular questions about real estate fraud, mortgage fraud and appraisal fraud matters or who believe they require legal counsel should seek the advice of an attorney.

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