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No HAMP For You! NYC Homeowners Sue Over Mods

Four homeowners from Queens and Brooklyn filed a federal class action lawsuit against Aurora Loan Services – a subsidiary of Lehman Brothers – for allegedly not considering their loans for modification under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Under HAMP, the US Treasury allocates capped incentives to participating servicers for the modification of loans on the verge of foreclosure. Aurora receives a potential cap of $447m under HAMP. The Legal Aid Society in New York City represents Doreen Edwards, Olubukola Keshinro, Garry Brewster and Maria and Thomas Vellucci in the lawsuit filed Friday. The suit also charges: Timothy Geithner, the secretary of the Treasury; Herb Allison, the assistant secretary of the Treasury; Edward DeMarco, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA); the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) [stock FNM][/stock]; Michael Williams, the CEO of Fannie Mae; and Eric Schuppenhauer, the vice president of Fannie Mae. In the suit, attorneys for the plaintiffs claim that those parties allegedly failed to ensure that homeowners were afforded their full due process rights as stated in the US Constitution. The suit cites that Aurora allegedly violated the Fifth Amendment that states, “No person shall…be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…” The plaintiffs request a preliminary and permanent injuction, preventing Aurora from engaging in unjust and unreasonable practices and seeks a court order to Aurora to provide a meaningful notice of HAMP denial, the specific reasons and a process to challenge the denial. According the most recent data released by the Treasury, Aurora has started trial modifications on 33% of its eligible portfolio for HAMP, the third highest of any participating servicer. “By launching HAMP, the Obama Administration took a significant step to stem the devastating effects foreclosures have on families and their communities. However, in order for the program to achieve its purpose and prevent foreclosures, mortgage servicers must be required to properly implement the program,” said Oda Friedhelm, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society’s Civil Law Reform Unit and lead counsel for the case. A spokesperson for Aurora was not immediately available for comment. The Treasury declined to comment on the case. Write to Jon Prior.

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