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Inviting attorneys into the homebuying process

The Interview: Diane Cipollone, Maryland Mortgage Fraud Prevention Project manager

June 06, 2010|By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun

A: If you recall the Atta Poku case [Kwaku Atta Poku, who lost his Columbia home to foreclosure though he never missed a payment]: He refinanced his loan, he was never in default, but the settlement company never released the lien. The title company never went back to the first lender and paid off the loan to get a lien release. That's part of what we're going to do — we're going to make sure that everything that was supposed to be done, either at closing or post-closing, gets done.

Q: How can buyers and homeowners participate in the Maryland Mortgage Fraud Prevention Project?

A: They can call Civil Justice at 410-706-0174. … The other way the homeowner can reach us is to send an e-mail to mfp@civiljusticenetwork.org.

Q: So, what happened to your first Civil Justice client, the one whose property tax wasn't rolled into his monthly payments?

A: He found out his loan wasn't escrowed when he got a property tax bill, and he hadn't saved up $3,000 and he was going to default. … Because he came soon enough, before he defaulted — he came as soon as he got that tax bill — we were able to refer him to a reputable lender. He refinanced into an FHA mortgage and then it was escrowed. He continually sends me thank-you notes.

jamie.smith.hopkins@baltsun.com

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