by: Craig Lucie Updated:
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A DeKalb County veteran and his wife said their home went into foreclosure and was sold without them knowing.
John and Lydia Smith have lived in their Lithonia home for 10 years. It’s their dream house. They asked for a loan modification, which they were told would take 45 days. It's now been more than two years, and the couple says their home was sold right out from under them.
“They really didn't help me at all," John Smith told Channel 2’s Craig Lucie while wiping away tears from his eyes.
From 1978 to 1981, John Smith served in the Army stationed in Germany. He and Lydia have been married for 20 years and moved from New York to get away from the fast-paced lifestyle.
“As you can see, he cries, I cry. We love each other. We've been together for too long for us to be in this situation. And we always pay our bills. We never had any problems until now,” Lydia Smith said.
John said in April 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs cut his benefits, so he asked Chase Bank for the modification on his VA loan.
According to the lawsuit they have filed against Chase Bank, they said the bank increased their mortgage payment instead.
“They just kept me, and led me along on the way so that I could get further and further in debt so that they can just come in and take the house,” Smith said.
The Smiths said they tried to work with the VA and the bank, and never got a clear answer on what was happening with their loan modification.
"Then the couple got an eviction notice on their door," they said.
“They sold it right from under us. We had no idea what was going on," Lydia Smith said.
They hired Latrice Latin to represent them.
“I’m seeing it quite often, actually,” Latin said.
Latin said there are laws in place the banks have to follow when there is a VA-funded loan involved. Latin says those laws are not being followed.
“You are supposed to set up an interview with the veteran and supposed to meet in person to see what the hardship is. They never did an interview with them. They never had any type of meeting, never assessed them to see what remedy there was to keep them from losing their home,” Latin said.
A representative with Chase bank called Lucie on Tuesday afternoon and said the Smiths have not paid their mortgage since 2008. They said the home went into foreclosure two years later.
They also added that all processes were followed, notices were put in the newspaper and they never heard back from the couple.
The Smith's attorney said they tried to pay Chase their mortgage in 2008 when they asked for a loan modification, but their bank told them not to while their modification was going through.