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Wells Fargo whistleblower joins Zeeland woman’s mortgage fight

Posted at 10:28 PM, Sep 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-27 23:50:07-04

ZEELAND, Mich. -- Gretchen Molotky is a successful single mom who made a living in real estate, only to see the market she once worked in betray her.   Now, she's just days away from losing a home she says is her entire life savings.

Molotky's twisted nightmare of lost paperwork, lost payments and foreclosure is a mortgage mess.  It's a case that a Wells Fargo whistleblower is tackling one by one, hoping to make the system accountable for this kind of tragedy.

Beth Jacobson made national headlines in 2012, working with the Department of Justice and exposing Wells Fargo's efforts to target low income African American communities in Baltimore for shoddy sub-prime loans.

Jacobson was the top producer for sub-prime loans within Wells Fargo before the housing market crash. She now fights wrongful foreclosures across the nation.

Her case in Baltimore led to a $175 million settlement.   Now, she's backing Molotky's claims, saying this West Michigan mom isn't alone in her struggle.

"It seems to me whenever there is a foreclosure and the services have this big gap, that this is a person, and it's somebody's house," Jacobson said.  "This is their life you are affecting."

Molotky's whole life is packed away in boxes, sitting in her 'nest egg' that's set to break Oct. 3.

"If it was any other case we would have multiple smoking guns," said Paul Ledford, Molotky's attorney.  "But it hasn't seemed to matter.

Her proof of payments and proof of insurance were lost in a twisted mess for nearly a decade.

"To this day we don't know who owns her loan," Jacobson said.  "Who gave Wells Fargo authority to even foreclose?  Was it U.S. National Bank?  Was it Fannie Mae? Was it someone else? Or did nobody give them authority to foreclose?"

FOX 17 reached out to Wells Fargo about Molotky's case.  They provided the following statement:

We're unable to provide further comment on this case as it's still in active litigation.  That said, we would just like to reiterate that all of Ms. Molotky's claims so far have been rejected by multiple courts.

The Problem Solvers also contacted U.S. Bank, who actively sought Gretchen's foreclosure.  They pointed FOX 17 back to Wells Fargo.

"It's bang your head against the wall frustrating," Ledford said.

Then, there was what appeared to be a glimmer of hope: contact from Wells Fargo requested a mortgage payment.  Was the foreclosure fixed?  The answer was no.

"When someone buys it -- buys the note at a sheriff's sale, the mortgage is extinguished and it doesn't exist anymore."

Yet Wells Fargo not only requested payment after the sale, but accepted it.

"You're allowed to steal?," Molotky said. "I thought we weren't allowed to steal here in the United States?"

Molotky and Beth crunched the numbers, finding upwards of $32,000 in lost payments.

"I would say back to Wells Fargo or any of those companies: That is your job. You are the servicer. 90 percent of your job is tracking money and making sure it gets applied to the right place. It is unconscionable to think a company whose job it is to account for money has somehow lost $32,000," Jacobson said.

Molotky's proof of ownership and missing payments, lost in a system that since the mortgage meltdown is supposed to have checks and balances to prevent things like this.

Jacobson says the problem is enforcement.  Tens of thousands of dollars spent in a fight Molotky has waged for nearly a decade, could be a total loss.

"The sad thing is when you look at all of this and we are even to the basic point of who owns this? The judicial process has moved forward and put a road block in the way and denied her. So there is real chance she could lose her house," Jacobson said. "The banks will keep on doing what they are doing because they have the money to afford this. I mean, the only thing that has negatively impacted Wells Fargo right now is the bad press."

Part 1 of this Problem Solvers Investigation

Part 2 of this Problem Solvers Investigation