Monday, August 22, 2011

F'closed Homeowner Victimized By 'Mysteriously Disappearing' Loan Proceeds In Refinance Foul-Up Settles Suit; Score To Provide Downpayment On New Home

In Baltimore, Maryland, The Baltimore Sun reports:

  • A Howard County man who lost his townhouse in a refinancing foul-up six years ago has settled the matter before trial, giving him enough money for a down payment on a new house, a lawyer in the case said.

  • Kwaku Atta Poku, 59, a Ghanaian immigrant who runs a taxi business, settled with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and a third party in the spring, a few months before his lawsuit seeking $34 million in damages and compensation was scheduled to go to trial in U.S. District Court.

  • "I'm very grateful at least they got me something to start my life over with," said Atta Poku, who said he could not give any specifics about the settlement terms. Gerald M. Richman, an Ellicott City lawyer who acted as Atta Poku's co-counsel in the case, said he could not disclose details, but he said the settlement would "permit [Atta Poku] to make a significant down payment on a house." He said the lawyers in the case agreed to forgo their fees and accept only compensation for expenses.


  • The federal agency became the defendant in the case when Washington Mutual Bank declared bankruptcy, Richman said. The bank insisted at first that the original mortgage was not paid off in a refinancing in 2001. Atta Poku's lawyers argued that the bank had mishandled the transaction, failing to ensure that the new loan was used to pay off the original mortgage of $97,500.

  • Atta Poku continued to make his monthly payments, but could not prove that he had paid off the original loan. The bank foreclosed in 2005, eventually putting him, his wife and four children out of their house. In a court hearing early this year, the title company engaged in the refinancing agreed that Atta Poku had done nothing wrong.

  • Early this year, after several of Atta Poku's lawsuits were dismissed on technical grounds, a federal judge ruled that Atta Poku was entitled to a trial. The proceeding was scheduled to begin this month, but the parties held a settlement conference by phone in May and the case was dismissed in June.

For the story, see Howard immigrant who lost home to mistake settles case (Atta Poku never missed a mortgage payment, fought in court for more than five years).

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