The family of a Vietnam Purple Heart veteran is scrambling to leave their San Mateo home of 40 years before a deadline of 6 a.m. Tuesday. They’ve lost their home to foreclosure despite desperate attempts to save it, paying out tens of thousands of dollars.
The family accuses those who promised to help them save their home of taking advantage of them instead. It’s too late to stop the foreclosure, but they hope their story will help others.
The heartbreaking task of packing up belongings accumulated over 40 years is well underway for Delores Sexton and her husband Robert.
“It’s so hard to leave,” said Delores. “We’ve been here so long.”
Adding to the stress, Robert is undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia.
Delores has known Robert since she was 9 years old and they’ve been married 46 years.
The couple began falling behind on their mortgage payments several years ago. He says Wells Fargo declined a loan modification,
But in 2015, Endeavor sent him a letter stating he, “may be eligible for a loan modification” and offered to help him apply.
Robert says he paid out close to $20,000 for attorney fees, program fees and for a forensic loan audit to endeavor and other companies it recommended.
Robert says it was a huge mistake, “I’m embarrassed, but I feel worse for my family because I let them down.”
We contacted Endeavor, which told us it was no longer in business.
We also contacted the Foreclosure Defense Company which said it received the case from Endeavor.
Foreclosure Defense told us it prepared a lawsuit against the lender to advocate for the family’s behalf, but never filed it because the family failed to complete a necessary affidavit.
Robert told us he gave the company everything it wanted.
Foreclosure Defense also said it prepared a loan modification package, but the state Department of Consumer Affairs said it is not licensed to do that.
Foreclosure Defense sent us a report it asked a self-described “certified forensic loan auditor” to complete.
Attorney Maeve Elise Brown of the nonprofit Housing and Economic Rights Advocates has seen these types of reports before.
“When they hear the words forensic loan audits,” she said. “They think somebody is going to finally get to the bottom of this horrible experience.”
Brown says she’s never seen a forensic audit that helped anyone.
A recent report from the California public interest group found 11,000 federal complaints about mortgages from veterans.
“We saw financial institutions or evidence that would suggest financial institutions actually try and seek out service members,” said Emily Rusch, executive director of CalPIRG.
As for the Sextons, a longtime neighbor has offered to take them in until they get back on their feet.
“We’ve always been a happy family. Hopefully we can catch our breath,” said Delores.
Robert added, “I’m packing yeah, but I’m not going to give up.”
Their immediate concern is finding a place to rent. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help them get back on their feet.
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