Steve Dibert, MFI-Miami
Wanda Jo Engel, and her adult children, Steve, Debra and Josh Engel are suing JPMorgan Chase, EMC Mortgage and LPS Field Services for wrongful death, wrongful foreclosure, trespass, gross negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The family is also suing Chase alone for fraud, fraudulent inducement and deceptive trade practices.
According to Wanda Jo Engel, JP Morgan Chase killed her husband, a retired minister by giving him a stress-induced heart attack. Chase then seized the home within days of his death and wrongfully evicted her all because they accepted the bank’s offer to refinance their home that they had faithfully made a payments on for 22 years. They followed the advice of the Chase loan officer at their local Chase branch, Michael Paretti. According to Courthouse News, Michael Paretti “instructed the Engels to ‘miss a payment’ to help them qualify for Chase’s refinance program and obtain a lower mortgage rate and a lower monthly payment.“
That is when this downward spiral into the seventh layer of banking hell began for the Engels. According to the complaint,
“Trusting Mr. Paretti’s counsel as a Chase representative, the Engels missed a single payment as instructed. After skipping the payment as advised by Mr. Paretti, however, the Engels received a letter from Chase advising them that they were not eligible for a loan modification and that the mortgage had to be brought current immediately; the Engels were distraught, confused and afraid.
Then, Chase began sending demand letters to the Engels. These demand letters advised the Engels that their home was up for foreclosure, then that the home had been foreclosed upon, then an eviction notice was sent, and finally, a personal representative of Chase physically went to the Engel home, knocked on the Engels’ door, and enforced the eviction notice.
After the Engels began receiving Chase’s letters, they made numerous attempts to meet with Chase representative Paretti. On several of those attempts, Debra went with her parents to Chase bank and they waited in the lobby for hours for someone to help them. On one of those occasions, Mr. Paretti eventually met with them and handed them a piece of paper with a figure on it; Mr. Paretti said ‘just pay this amount.’ Harry and Wanda paid the ‘amount,’ but nothing changed and this process – of visits, long waits and empty promises – was repeated several times before the notices of foreclosure and eviction were received.
After the Engels receiving the eviction notice, Harry Engel changed dramatically. He was overcome with stress and fear from the thought of failure for losing his and Wanda’s home of more than 20 years.
“On July 1, 2010, Mr. Engel got up and dressed but the stress of the foreclosure/eviction again overwhelmed him and he collapsed onto a chair,” the complaint states. “Mrs. Engel immediately called 911, but Mr. Engel died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Mr. Engel passed away on July 1, 2010, within days of receiving the eviction notice.”
The Engel family claims that Chase has changed the locks on the still vacant house managed by LPS Field Services.