Friday, January 11, 2013

County Sheriff Sits On Over $100K In Foreclosure Sale Surplus Proceeds Belonging To Booted Homeowners That Can't Be Found

In New Casstle County, Delaware, The News Journal reports:

  • The New Castle County Sheriff’s Office has more than $100,000 that belongs to the owners of eight homes that were sold earlier this year because of tax delinquencies and a foreclosure.

    The government, however, can’t find the people to give them the money.

    The money is excess proceeds from the sales, which took place over the past six months, Sheriff Trinidad Navarro said. He suspects the owners of the homes have no idea they are entitled to the difference between what was owed the government or mortgage company and the amount of the tax sales.

    In most cases, homes lost at sheriff sales are sold for less than what is owed. But that’s not the case for the eight property owners Navarro is trying to find.

    “They assumed the sale meant a total loss of their home,” Navarro said. “In these cases, there was money left over and I want to get it to them, because it’s not the government’s money. It’s theirs.”

    The sheriff’s office has returned more than $60,000 to people since Navarro took office last year. In March, he found Lamarr Cannon, whose home in Garfield Park was sold at sheriff sale in October 2011 because he owed about $8,000 in county and school taxes. Cannon’s dad gave him the house and the mortgage had been paid off years before.

    The house sold for $34,000, so Navarro handed Cannon a check for almost $26,000.

    Before Navarro took office, the county would simply transfer excess proceeds from sheriff sales to Delaware Superior Court, which operates Project Rightful Owner, a project that tries to get the excess money from the sales to the people who are entitled to it. The court program has disbursed nearly $4.9 million since 2005, Superior Court officials said earlier this year.
  • Navarro said many people are skeptical that he’s telling the truth. He’s actually found some people who are owed money, told them to come to his office to start the process of getting it back and they’ve never shown up.

    “I understand why,” he said. “We warn people to be alert for scams all the time and it’s not very often that someone calls you telling them they are owed money.”
For more, see Funds sit, wait to be returned (County sheriff hopes to distribute $100,000).

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