Wells Fargo Sends Crew To Foreclose On Home That Doesn’t Even Have A Mortgage, Shrugs

There isn’t really a great way to make it up to homeowners that don’t even hold a mortgage when you’ve sent a crew to break into their house and take everything out of it, but we suppose “sorry” is an okay, if lackluster, start. A California couple says Wells Fargo made a huge mistake by trying to take their home and now they’re not being very helpful in getting the family’s belongings back to them.

Alvin built the home with his father when he was a teenager, reports CBS Los Angeles, and has a lifetime of memories invested in the house. Not to mention all of his family’s possessions, many of which are lost or broken after a crew hired by Wells Fargo broke in and took everything away. They shouldn’t have done that, as the home doesn’t even have a mortgage. It was all a big mistake, says the bank.

A spokesman for the bank released a statement apologizing, saying:

“We are deeply sorry for the very personal losses the [redacted] family suffered as a result of their home being mistakenly secured and entered by a contractor hired to address a different nearby property. We moved quickly and have been in contact with the Tjosaas family to resolve this unfortunate situation and right this wrong.”

That’s not really enough for Alvin and his wife, he says, but they’re trying to move on despite the upheaval in their lives.

“When you put your heart into something…it makes me real sad. I’m just glad I have my sweetheart. We’ve been together a long time,” he said.

Sending a notice of foreclosure to the wrong home? Sure, that could happen. But actively hiring a crew to go to the entirely wrong address and break into the home is a new level of horrible.

*Thanks for the tip, Ed!

Owners Lose Possessions After Home Near Twentynine Palms Is Mistakenly Foreclosed [CBS Los Angeles]

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  1. TuxthePenguin says:

    “Sending a notice of foreclosure to the wrong home? Sure, that could happen. But actively hiring a crew to go to the entirely wrong address and break into the home is a new level of horrible.”

    I am quite sure that we’ve read about this sort of thing before. IIRC, there was a story here about a house being bulldozed by mistake because the bank got the wrong address.

    And still no story on the lower unemployment rate?

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      They didn’t post my happy American Airlines story, either.

      • ScottCh says:

        Some months ago I sent them a very UNhappy Americian Airlines story (along the lines of “24 hours of airport H*ll”) and they didn’t print that one, either. I still can’t believe it. Whole groups of passengers were tossed off three different planes in a row trying to get across the country to San Francisco. Total travel time was about 26 hours. So we’re even! Just sayin’…

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      I read an article about the unemployment rate that says it shrank to 8.1%
      because the workforce shrank, we have the lowest workforce participation since September 1981, and 96,000 jobs were added as 368,000 people left the workforce.

    • Gertie says:

      Lower unemployment because a record number of people are saying “screw it all” and are not even bothering to look for work any more. It’s not good news.

    • Robert Nagel says:

      At least it wasn’t a demolition order. Next time they will have to hire a crew that can read numbers.

      • evilpete says:

        Just wait till a bank sends a clean up crew to a house with a gun and a homeowner that shoots trespassers..

        • Geekybiker says:

          Yet when it happens the story will somehow be about how guns are evil and we should take them from all law abiding citizens, not about how the bank illegally made a forced entry into their property.

    • Mark702 says:

      The article I read about the unemployment said the drop was due to about 400,000 people age 18-25 who have given up employment search for time being. They’ve essentially lost hope.

  2. HogwartsProfessor says:

    This needs to stop. There has to be some way for them to put a procedure in place to check, recheck, and double check that they have the right address, the right house and the right people. AND MAKE THEM FOLLOW THAT PROCEDURE, with stiff penalties if they don’t. Otherwise, it’s just legalized burglary!

    • oldwiz65 says:

      Banks will still get away with it; they own quite a few politicians.

    • Sarek says:

      Yeah, why wasn’t the crew been arrested for breaking and entering, burglary, etc.? Because that’s what it was, plain and simple.

      • msbaskx2 says:

        But who made the mistake? Did the bank send the crew to the wrong house? Or did the bank send the crew to the right house, and the crew made the mistake by going to the wrong house?

        It makes all the difference.

        • kanenas says:

          Why would it be wrong to hold the people who did the breaking, entering and robbing criminally responsible?

          • nightshade74 says:

            Why? Mens rea.

            • kanenas says:

              Well, what’s the difference in criminality between one or more street thugs breaking into your home and stealing your stuff and one or more bank-employed persons breaking into your home and stealing your stuff?

              The fact that in this case, it isn’t street thugs doing the crime, shouldn’t make it any less of a crime.

        • Difdi says:

          In many states, burglary is a strict liability offense. It simply does not matter if you believed you had the right to break in if you actually didn’t.

          The lack of intent usually reduces the severity of the crime, but it remains a crime.

          Does that suck for a crew that is handed the wrong address? Sure. But the person who handed them the wrong address is also going to prison. Criminal conspiracies are like that. it adds a truly amazing incentive to make sure you send the crew to the right address.

          And by not enforcing the existing laws, all you end up ensuring is that banks have no incentive to correct their flawed procedures.

      • PhilipCohen says:

        There has to be a criminal intent; this was simply a “mistake”, a civil matter …

        Now, if you want to see some criminal intent …

        “Shill Bidding Fraud on eBay: Case Study #5”

        http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=167554

        • Difdi says:

          Mens rea is a thing of the past for the most part. The feds have been passing laws that don’t require mens rea for a conviction for decades now, and the states have followed suit.

          It’s called a strict liability offense. It simply does not matter why you did it, only that you did it.

          • RvLeshrac says:

            Technically, it matters why you did it for sentencing.

            The liability is to reduce the likelihood that someone can use a “reasonable” excuse to get out of a conviction.

    • RobertWBoyd says:

      In this case, I don’t even see how it is “legalized” burglary. It’s just plain burglary.

    • tinyhands says:

      The punishment should be that the Tjosaas family gets to take all the belongings from the Wells Fargo CEO’s home.

  3. one swell foop says:

    Try to take my stuff, find yourself on the wrong end of a shotgun. Hire a crew to remove all my stuff while I’m at work? Find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit if I don’t have everything back in its original condition within 48 hours, placed where it was. There still may be a shotgun involved.

    Period.

    • Lyn Torden says:

      Shotgun? May be? In several states, that’s a certainty, except if may be an AK-47 or something else. And it may get fired first, before the questions are asked. And the response from the cops might be “sorry, we don’t clean carpets”.

    • PunditGuy says:

      It isn’t legal to use deadly force to protect property in every state. In Texas, you’d be good to go.

      • cyberpenguin says:

        And New Mexico

      • Snowblind says:

        There has to be a reasonable threat. Breaking down the door and entering without permission is a reasonable threat, even if the claim is “we just want to evict you”. You have no way of verifying that if they are breaking down the doors.

        Shooting them in the back while they tried to leave would be a case for criminal prosecution.

        Personally, they should require a uniformed officer of the law, sheriff or whatever, to accompany the crew and monitor them.

        That way there is a reliable witness to speak to the owners to make the proceedings go smoother and/or stop the proceedings if the homeowner raises reasonable objections.

        Like… say… “This is 2113, not 2133 Hollyhock lane!”

        • Bill19014 says:

          I’ve heard far more stories of police than agents of banks breaking into the wrong homes, either going to the wrong address or having a bad address on the warrant. If the police are accompanying bank representatives when they hit the wrong house, you now have an armed home invasion taking place, and the cops are almost never held accountable for this kind of thing. And if you do manage to shoot one of the cops or bank contractors, you’ll end up dead or in jail. So it seems to me that requiring cops to accompany these guys might just make the problem worse rather than better.

          • Difdi says:

            In Texas, even shooting a cop won’t result in a conviction if the eviction team goes in at night.

          • MarkFL says:

            “So it seems to me that requiring cops to accompany these guys might just make the problem worse rather than better.”

            Except that if the cops are involved, it’s less likely they’ll go to the wrong house. After all, judges are not known for issuing “robo-warrants,” and when serving warrants, police tend to be careful to get these kinds of details right. Not saying it never goes wrong, but it’s a lot rarer than banks seizing the wrong homes.

            • Bill19014 says:

              I think you might find otherwise if you researched it further; there are many accounts of wrong-door raids by police than you might think. And you may also find that judges have been found to have “rubber stamped” the warrants when these things do happen.

              • MarkFL says:

                Like I said in the original post, I’m not saying it never happens.

                In the case of a police raid at the wrong house, not only is there potenial liability, but there’s a good chance it tips off the people who the cops really wanted, so there is an additional consequence.

                • RvLeshrac says:

                  Hahaha, liability. Ahahahahahahaha.

                  They shoot people during no-knock raids at the wrong houses, and are let off without even the slap on the wrist.

      • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

        And Florida. Heck, you don’t even have to be home to protect your ‘domain’
        Ask Mr. Zimmerman.

  4. Emerson says:

    My question is… how much money would the banks save if they did things right the first time?

    Just saying.

    • MarkFL says:

      They would probably have more concern about this if it weren’t other people’s money.

      I’m not even talking about TARP. The entire banking/mortgage system is based on other people’s money.

  5. dolemite says:

    I say, if a bank does something like this, the penalty should be the value of the home paid to the family within 2 weeks. I bet banks would double check their paperwork a bit more then.

    • oldwiz65 says:

      There should be criminal prosecution as well as civil prosecution. Arrest a few bank officials and let them spend time in jail until the homeowner’s belongings are returned and compensation is paid.

      • sagodjur1 says:

        I agree. Banks can make record profits to the point that settlements for scenarios like this are a drop in the bucket to their bottom line. They won’t put measures in place to ensure this doesn’t happen until they have to bail out their executives from jail.

        If we want to pretend that corporations are people, the government should be able to seize the property of the bank that was used in the commission of the crime of breaking and entering and theft, and the executives who oversee foreclosure procedures are the cogs in that machine.

      • Difdi says:

        You can wind up convicted and imprisoned on a criminal conspiracy charge for connections to a criminal act that are FAR more tenuous than the ones in this case.

        Hit the bank corporation for a fine in the amount of the assessed value of the improperly foreclosed house or the principal of the alleged mortgage (whichever is higher).

        Then send whoever forged the paperwork, whoever failed to verify the paperwork, and whoever carries out the illegal order without verifying it’s legit to prison.

        It’s the only way to stop this sort of thing from happening again in the future.

        • MarkFL says:

          “Then send whoever forged the paperwork, whoever failed to verify the paperwork, and whoever carries out the illegal order without verifying it’s legit to prison.”

          Ooooo…this sentence triggered a thought in my head. What if the person who is supposed to verify the paperwork, along with a bank officer, were required to accompany the eviction crew, with the caveat that the people inside might possibly be armed and within their rights to shoot to kill if the bank is in the wrong.

          That ought to encourage a thorough check of the paperwork.

    • JohnDeere says:

      thats no where near enough. triple at least.

    • Torgonius wants an edit button says:

      There should be jail time, but for the right people.

      If the bank gave the correct address, but the contractor went to the wrong house, then the fault lies with the contractor, not the bank.

      If the bank gave the wrong address, THEN the bank hangs.

      • RandomHookup says:

        So ultimately, it will be a clerk who typed the wrong information…heading off to jail?

        • Lyn Torden says:

          That and the people, all of them, that are supposed to look over documents to be sure there is no wrongly typed info.

        • nybiker says:

          I don’t know if it should just be the clerk, but as Lyn Torden writes, all of them that are involved in the checks and balances.
          An example: my mom is refinancing a loan with that wonderful bank known as bank of america (yeah, I know, but it started when it was countrywide). Anyway, they ask for various pieces of documentation; one of which is a letter that explains why my mom’s address is listed as ‘nn 100 Street’. Her real address is xx-nn 100 Street and somewhere along the line somebody somewhere entered her address and missed the first 2 digits of the house number. As they didn’t tell us where they saw the info, I don’t know who to inform about the boo-boo. We just have to write up a letter and send it to B of A explaining the mix-up. So, maybe, this type of mix-up caused this or other ‘burglaries’?

    • Ed says:

      No. The penalty should be it MUST come from the CEO’s paycheck. 100% garnishment until it is paid off, so in this case, probably 30 minutes of his/her time taken. But I’d bet then the CEOs would get their act together.

      • lyontaymer30 says:

        And this is why CEOs get paid the big bucks. When something goes wrong it’s always their fault lol, even when they had nothing directly to do with the situation.

        • Difdi says:

          A CEO is the corporation, embodied. They are ultimately responsible for everything the corporation does, good and bad. It is the duty of the CEO to ensure the corporation obeys the law. It is likewise the responsibility of the CEO to stand trial if the CEO can’t be bothered to do that.

          This is why they are paid so much. Because they risk so much. Or so the theory goes. In practice, the CEO will never be held personally liable for criminal corporate behavior, so they have no incentive to run a clean business.

      • MarkFL says:

        I would have no problem spreading the penalty among all of the bank executives. At the very least this would discourage some aspiring vice chairman from setting up his boss.

  6. oldwiz65 says:

    This is CRIMINAL behavior, and banks do it anytime they want. If any normal person did what the bank did it would be a felony and they would be in prison for years. But because it was done by agents of a bank, it is not illegal, and the bank will suffer no consequences. If the police complain the bank will “apologize” via a few fat envelopes delivered to the right cops. The local DA would get paid off as well if it tried to investigate. It never ceases to amaze me that corporations can perform criminal activity and get away with it. Bribery and corruption are so widespread.

    • dullard says:

      Where do you get this drivel? This is clearly a civil case and not a criminal case. Am I condoning what Wells Fargo did or the sloppy procedures that caused it? Absolutely not, but it still is a civil matter. Should there be very substantial damages paid to the homeowners? Absolutely. Should there be procedures in place to avoid what happened here? Absolutely.

      But to conclude from this that the bank will suffer no consequences and that the police and District Attorney would get paid off is pure nonsense.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        It is both criminal and civil. Breaking into a home is a criminal offense. The civil trial would come after the conviction to determine damages.

        • dullard says:

          Where is the criminal intent? Entering the home under the circumstances described here does not show criminal intent. Mere entry itself does not mean a crime has been committed. The entry must be accompanied by criminal intent. Check out criminal intent to see what is required (see Burglary).

          • JEDIDIAH says:

            If you’re there to take stuff then you’ve got plenty of criminal intent.

            You should follow your own advice.

          • Lyn Torden says:

            The contractors may not have criminal intent. The bank sure does if it did not implement proper procedures to make sure such a thing cannot happen.

            • Not Given says:

              Maybe, but what were they supposed to do with the things they took and what did they really do with them? If they were supposed to deliver them somewhere and they took all the good stuff for themselves, that’s criminal intent right there.

          • Abradax says:

            I might not mean to kill that person with my car, but I am still charged with vehicular homicide, a criminal act.

          • pmormr says:

            Intent is a legal term that has meaning a bit different than you would expect. It’s not that you intended to do the harm that was caused, it’s that you intended to do the act. Example, I throw a ball at your face, causing you injury. Intent is established by the fact that I intended to throw the ball, not to cause you injury.

            It’s the same situation that car reposessors go into: if you repossess a car on a legitimate order, it’s perfectly legal. If you repossess the wrong car, it’s grand theft. I would have simply called the police, reported a breaking and entering and had them arrested immediately for cleaning out my house. The bank can right the wrongs through the legal system, the contractors would likely receive no penalty because the paperwork was incorrect, but they would sit in jail until the bank confirmed that. I would then sue the bank for conversion in civil court and push punitive damages.

          • Samuelm456 says:

            You are completely wrong. Their intentions are MOOT. They are guilty of breaking and entering, grand larceny, destruction of property…this is not a civil action, this was a bank BREAKING THE LAW. Doesn’t matter if they screwed up.

            • Samuelm456 says:

              responded to wrong poster, doh!

            • nightshade74 says:

              Mens rea, Mens rea, Mens rea.

              mensrea”

              Specifically b&e requires intent. It is not a strict liability
              crime.

              • RandomLetters says:

                “Mens rea is traditionally divided into four separate categories: general intent, specific intent, recklessness and criminal negligence.” That quote is from the page you linked. I think (IMO) they would definately meet criminal negligence (they did have to break into the place after all) and maybe recklessness.

                • nightshade74 says:

                  Maybe — but I was specifically replying to a comment saying “You are completely wrong. Their intentions are MOOT. They are guilty of breaking and entering”

                  However this sounds much more likely to be a civil matter.

          • RandomLetters says:

            The criminal intent is breaking into the home. The bank shopuld have provided working keys to a door for them to enter the property. A professional crew should have stopped and called the bank to find out what the problem was. BY your definintion I should be able to stop and any house, kick in the door and use the restroom with there being no crime committed since I didn’t intend to do anything else.

            • Snowblind says:

              Just as a curiosity, where would they get the keys?

              I am not required to turn a copy of the keys over to my mortgage company so they can evict me.

          • MrEvil says:

            I’m no lawyer, but I’m pretty sure there are people who have served and are serving jail time due to criminal negligence, not criminal intent.

          • PunditGuy says:

            > Mere entry itself does not mean a crime has been committed.

            Trespass. http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/602.html Section M.

            Holy cow, has nobody taken it upon themselves to clean up the California code?

          • Difdi says:

            In many states, burglary is a strict liability offense. It simply does not matter whether a burglar had criminal intent, only that the act was committed.

            Lack of intent results in a lesser sentence, not an acquittal.

      • Chmeeee says:

        Breaking and entering is certainly not a civil case. If you’re not sure, try it yourself and let us know how the courts treat you.

        • HomerSimpson says:

          But that’s…different. We’re talking about job creators (banks) here, so they must not be punished!

  7. Overheal says:

    How isn’t that a criminal offense?

    Shouldn’t matter a damn if it’s a bank. That’s robbery, breaking and entering.

  8. donjumpsuit says:

    The bank offered them $260k to compensate for their loss. I am going out on a limb here, but I think that’s just and fair for loosing a few old appliances and their fathers WWI uniform and flag.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      By your logic any robber could theoretically avoid criminal charges/jail time by simply paying off their victims. DUI and hit someone? Broke their leg? It’s not assault by vehicle or negligence – it’s just a $50,000 check.

      • donjumpsuit says:

        If you want to steal all my possessions (those that aren’t irreplaceable are probably estimated at a grand total of 15k with depreciation considered), and those that are irreplaceable like newspaper clippings, yearbooks, photos, and an old coffee mug that means a lot to me, that sucks big time.
        But if you want to do it, and then give me a quarter of a million dollars, go ahead. Do it.

        • crispyduck13 says:

          Well that may be your opinion, but in this country the feelings and wishes of a victim do not change the legality of, and punishment for, the act.

        • MrEvil says:

          Seriously, where do I sign up to let my apartment full of possessions get stolen in exchange for a quarter million bucks?

      • Bsamm09 says:

        Did the bank knowingly send them to the wrong house? It’s not like someone at the bank got up and said that they needed a bunch of stuff from that house and hired a crew to clean it out and bring it over to his house.

        They made a mistake. They should definitely pay for the mistake in a big way but it is not criminal. Is every car accident vehicular assault? No.

      • George4478 says:

        You know that happens all the time, don’t you?

        “Charges dropped pending (or following) restitution to the victim.” — a common feature of news articles

        “You hit my car. Repair the damage and tossing $500 and I don’t call the cops.”

        “You got drunk and trashed my bar. Pay for the damages or I call the cops.”

        Monetary restitution in lieu of criminal charges has been around since, well, forever.

      • AstroPig7 says:

        A burglar having $50,000 to pay off a victim is about as likely as Facebook giving a damn about their users.

        • crispyduck13 says:

          It is rare, but it is exactly what this article describes, except with 250k instead. I was using an example to illustrate what donjumpsuit was suggesting, that a payoff negates a crime. It does happen, and it may help in hiding it, but ultimately the crime was still committed.

          • AstroPig7 says:

            Oh, I know, it’s just so unlikely that I don’t think it’s worth considering. I should point out that I consider crime by a corporation different than crime by an individual (i.e., one tends to have enormous cash reserves and therefore would be barely scratched by pecuniary damages). The crimes are the same, but the punishments should be severely different.

          • donjumpsuit says:

            Look, I am with you guys. I want the big banks to pay, and this is a violation that is a direct result of them being unforgiving about missed payments, or the refusal to negotiate the terms of a current mortgage and just forcibly evict. If it was me I would be screaming bloody murder that some big bank just came over and stole all my stuff.

            Then after lawyering up, they offered me a quarter million. Yea, time to shut up and enjoy purchasing all new furniture and appliances.

            Does it sucks some heirlooms are gone. Yes, but I guess everyone different. Maybe this family had a shrine in their home dedicated to their late fathers uniform, and now that it’s gone, they are on the doorstep of death. Or more likely, the uniform sat in a box waiting to be passed onto a grandchild, without too much interaction on a day to day basis.

            In my life, nothing is irreplaceable. It’s just life man, get over it.

    • byroan says:

      Which store should they visit to purchase his WWI uniform and flag?

      • aaronx says:

        It’s gone — they’re more than likely not getting it back regardless. It sucks, but that’s the reality.

        Quarter of a million dollars seems like a reasonable price to pay. At least until Doc Brown and Marty McFly get their sh– together.

      • George4478 says:

        They can’t, even if they gave him eleventy billion dollars. So what’s your point? They should give him nothing since the uniform cannot be replaced? Or that $260k is not enough?

      • evilpete says:

        I’m sure the bank replace everything they have receipt for

    • pegasi says:

      oh yeah, and who guarantees they don’t get stuck having to pay any taxes on that money?

      • donjumpsuit says:

        I am not a lawyer, but I doubt taxes need to be payed on a lawsuit that compensates for a loss. They could claim that they lost 260k worth of possessions and were justly compensated, thereby balancing it at zero on a tax return.
        Again, this isn’t a financial gain. It is a good question though, I wonder if people have to pay taxes on a wrongful death suit, or injury, or etc.

        • MrEvil says:

          Actual damages aren’t considered income as they’re an award by the court to cover an actual loss. However, I bet a punitive damage award would be considered AOI (any other income) on your income taxes.

    • Lyn Torden says:

      No it isn’t. The irreplaceables should not be lost. The bank needs to be responsible for whatever it takes to get things back. There should not have been ANY process to destroy such property.

    • poco says:

      A WWI uniform? Worn by a close family member? That’s irreplaceable. You’re talking about a nearly hundred year old museum artifact with a family connection. There’s literally no amount of money that could compensate for that.

  9. Harry Greek says:

    It’s simple – file breaking and entering charges against the bank and repossessing company.

    What happens when I try to withdraw money from an account that is not mine? I get 100 years in prison for robbing a bank.

    It’s funny how corporations get away with so much, yet a regular person is raked across the earth for anything, even if it is a mistake like this one.

    THIS IS ‘MURICA!! Just wait until Romney gets in the White House – then all the human garbage claiming to be American, in this damned country, can witness true corporate evil in action.

  10. Quirk Sugarplum says:

    “…his family’s possessions, many of which are lost or broken after a crew hired by Wells Fargo broke in and took everything away.”

    What? You lost my Picasso that was painted on the back of a copy of the Declaration of Independence and framed with pieces of the True Cross? I reckon you boys need to run on back to the bank and hunt me up a whole heapin’ mess of zeros and a 1.

  11. Hoss says:

    We need to demand that a Sheriff or other law enforcement be present to certify that the right property is being entered, in every case. This shit is criminal

    • Lyn Torden says:

      Absolutely. That and to stop the process if the homeowner’s story sounds plausible. “We don’t have a mortgage, so clearly there is a mistake”.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      I thought the presence of law enforcement personnel was a legal requirement for this sort of thing.

    • Bill19014 says:

      If you do some research, you’ll find plenty of examples of police committing “wrong door raids”–and when that happens, people have been killed. And many, many dogs. Police are almost never held accountable for this kind of behavior (Google “Cheye Calvo”), so your proposed solution might well make the problem worse.

  12. lvdave says:

    Sounds like Wells Fargo has been taking criminality lessons from BoA..

  13. crispyduck13 says:

    This is B&E plain and simple. The owners should have filed a police report and if the police/DA did not follow up with charges against the bank and/or the contractors who fucked up then we know they are being paid off.

    How many average people avoid jail time for crimes with the “woops, my bad” defense??

  14. DanKelley98 says:

    Indeed this is Criminal activity by Wells-Fargo as well as by the goons hired to break into the home.

  15. cdoc says:

    This article should be shoved in the face of every genius who thinks the way to “economic recovery” is to reduce the regulations that banks have to comply with. Based on this it is pretty obvious that we need a law that makes this a criminal offense. The only way to get the proper attention on this is to put people in jail for criminal negligence and/or breaking and entering.

    • JollySith says:

      Since what the bank did was illegal in a criminal sense and also violates several banking regulations how do you suppose creating more regulations would help?

      • crispyduck13 says:

        The solution would be actually enforcing the regulations already in place, with punishments that actually hurt.

        • JEDIDIAH says:

          Quite. The obvious conclusion here is that corporations don’t deserve any special treatment. Despite the whining of social conservatives and robber baron wannabes, corporations need law and order as much as people do.

          Enforce the rules we have. Certainly don’t scale them back. The mortgage companies especially have proven themselves untrustworthy. They should be treated like felons in lock down rather than being given a free pass. They need to earn the reinstatement of priveleges.

          You have to threaten these companies and provide case law cites just for them to do their legal duty and file paperwork properly.

        • RandomLetters says:

          Death by stapler would really hurt.

        • cdoc says:

          Seriously?? What regulations? There is a 0% chance of anyone serving jail time for this incident. The problem is their lawyers put arguments that the breaking and entering that occurred isn’t criminal. We need specific regulations to criminalize that activity. The judges will just tell you that they are “following the law”.

          That “enforcing regulations already in place with punishments that actually hurt” statement would require new regulation to apply harsher penalties.

    • shepd says:

      Here’s the dirty secret you don’t want to know, but need to:

      Regulations exist to support existing big business. The more there are, the better supported they are.

      When you reduce regulations you enable other players to enter the market, which helps the consumer, and hurts existing big industry.

      Big business clamours for regulations to bolster themselves, and the worst part of the sick system is they have convinced most that regulations exist to “keep them in line” and “stop bad things from happening”, when the truth is they’re there to support monopolies and make the entrance fees higher.

      Did you know WalMart lobbied hard to get Minimum Wage in the US raised? I bet you didn’t. Why would they do that? Because before the increase, WalMart paid more than minimum wage, and the new minimum wage was the bottom wage they paid. Raising Minimum Wage didn’t hurt them, it helped them–it made mom and pop stores, who paid the old minimum wage, lose employees they couldn’t afford to and end up out of business.

      • MrEvil says:

        Walmart’s ability to destroy local businesses is greatly exaggerated. If anything WalMart helps local businesses by keeping people close to home rather than allowing them (and their money) to flee to the nearest large city.

        • shepd says:

          Hey, don’t think I hate on WalMart, and I agree, they have a positive affect on the local economy. A rising tide lifts all boats.

          However, WalMart’s reasoning for upping the minimum wage was purely out of self-interest. :)

  16. SoCalGNX says:

    WF does all sort of nasty things to homeowners. They also feel that getting the PMI from the home and reselling it is a better deal for them than working with a qualified homeowner on a refi.

  17. evilpete says:

    What do they mean “gone”.

    The ‘clean up’ can go to the dump and dig

  18. Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

    Aww Mary Beth, Laura’s should be the person who does all the shrugging in here… : P

  19. SilverBlade2k says:

    If I was the homeowner, I would have filed a lawsuit within the hour. Unreasonable? It wasn’t reasonable for a crew to come into the home and steal everything.

    I’d go to the hilt – a multi million dollar lawsuit *AND* compensation for the stuff stolen.

    Basically, go in guns blazing to show that they can’t do this.

  20. Kate Blue says:

    So explain to me again how the free market keeps this kind of stuff from happening?

  21. Samuelm456 says:

    I would press charges. I would sue. I would hire the most expensive lawyer I could find and be like, go to fucking town on this bank. They broke so many laws by what they did – an apology is no where NEAR enough. Not to mention the precedent they set with these actions.

    I mean, this is insane.

  22. kanenas says:

    Hopefully the next time this happens to the “wrong house,” the owners will be present, armed, and good at shooting.

    Yes, I am not only implying, but actually suggesting in a sincere and serious way that those persons who break in and illegally enter someone else’s property should be shot and killed.

  23. soj4life says:

    This careless activity will only stop when the bank executives and employees in collateral departments are charged with destruction of property and also as accessories to trespassing.

  24. NorthAlabama says:

    i can’t help thinking if it had been the Tjosaas who had broken into the wrong home that a shrug and a “sorry” would have been enough to keep them out of jail…

  25. KyBash says:

    Jail the CEO!

    Personal property was destroyed and trespassing occurred because of their negligence in formulating and implementing a corporate policy which prevented illegal acts. That’s aiding and abetting by (some legal term I don’t remember at the moment).

    Make him (or her) go through the whole process — thrown into a cell with anybody and everybody rounded up lately and have them sit there 48 hours before they can get bail set.

    If that happened a few times, I’m sure the whole banking industry would shift gears very quickly.

  26. duncanblackthorne says:

    Two words for these homeowners: Criminal charges. Go to the police and demand there be an investigation and criminal charges, starting with the crew that broke in and stole everything, and move it right on up the line to whoever it is as Hells Cargo that cut the orders to do so, and so on, and so on. Call local TV and newspapers, get them involved. Make ALL the noise you possibly can. That’s the only way you’re going to get justice from these bloody bastards.

  27. axiomatic says:

    Now imagine if the homeowners shot and killed one of the foreclosure crew for B&E. Well Fargo has really screwed up here and needs to fix this for the homeowner and revise processes so this never happens again.

  28. T. Bone says:

    I sure hope a bank don’t send a crew to my house they will get lead poisoning if they break in and a bill to clean up blood stains.

  29. Thrashbear says:

    I must confess that I am quite disturbed by some of the comments here. Let’s think this through objectively, shall we?

    What this situation boils down to, as I understand it (and someone correct me if I am wrong), is a simple clerical error. Someone, somewhere, transposed a couple of numbers on the address line of the work order to execute the eviction. The work crew that carried out said order (likely an independent contractor) had no way of knowing they were at the wrong house, they were simply doing what they were hired to do.

    I see no criminal intent here, nor do I see any criminal conduct, either. The was no malice, no rich fatcat with his fingers steepled and laughing maniacally as his company destroyed an innocent homeowner’s life. What I see is a tragic mistake that any one of us could have been involved in under the right (or wrong) set of circumstances. Yes, even you and me.

    Let’s begin with the work crew. A bunch of mopes earning ten bucks an hour hired to do a simple job: carry stuff out to a dumpster. They weren’t paid to think, they were paid to work. They had absolutely no way of knowing they were in the wrong house. Even if the crew leader called in to the front office to confirm the address, that would have done nothing because the original order was wrong as well. Even if the sheriff had been there to oversee the eviction, they, too would have been under the impression that it was a legal foreclosure. Even if someone had the presence of mind to say aloud “Hey, this house still looks occupied”, remember that a lot of foreclosures are squatted, so it would be reasonable for the crew to assume such.

    Commentors are calling for the jailing (or God forbid, death by homeowner) of anyone and everyone under the sun involved with this situation. The crew, the clerk, hell, even the CEO who had nothing to do with the order. Put yourself in their shoes. These are the same average, working-class Americans JUST LIKE YOU, swept up in a horrible mistake. That’s all. A simple mistake.

    What can be done now? The bank seems to be doing what it can by making it right within the scope of its power. A quarter mil payout is a good start. A personal apology from the CEO would be nice, if it hasn’t already been made. They recognized the screwup and are doing right by the homeowner. The bank does NOT have the power to bring back the heirlooms that were destroyed. The work crew did have an opportunity to do its part by making a beeline to the dump where the possessions were taken, and start digging. I wouldn’t put it past the crew workers to snitch some of those items for themselves; if that’s the case, they can do right by returning what they can. It’s reasonable to assume the clerk who kicked the numbers is out of a job at this point.

    Granted, it is a mistake that could have been prevented. Safeguards were ignored or simply not in place. A legal remedy can be made so that a mistake like this does not happen in the future.

    The way I see it, the comments here are a lash of frustration out at the big bad banks for screwing over the country and sinking us into this recession. Fair enough, I get it. But a dose of logic shows that this is not the case here.

    Reason. It’s what’s for dinner.

    • KyBash says:

      The criminal conduct is operating in such a manner as to unjustly deprive others of their property.

      If this was the first time it’d ever happened, then yes, it was a mistake, fix it and move on.

      But this is the 19th such ‘mistake’ I’ve read about!

      Banks have always calculated that damage control afterwards is cheaper than observing reasonable safeguards in advance.

      It’s time for them to be made accountable for their actions.

    • shepd says:

      The CEO is the one who deserves jailing. He is responsible for his employees conduct that is directly related to the business. ie: He isn’t responsible for one of them selling illegal drugs at work, because that’s against company policy.

      However, he is directly responsible for hiring an incompetent clerk. Incompetence is how we get clerical errors. Either that or other job issues (Long hours, high stress, not treating employees like humans, etc). You, as the CEO, are responsible for those errors.

      At the same time, because there isn’t a direct intent, the CEO should be dealt with lightly, a few days in prison would do the job, along with the permanent criminal record. The CEO will be out of jail and paying FULL ATTENTION to the business after that.

      Do we jail the driver of a car if he falls asleep at the wheel and runs over someone? Yes. We just don’t jail him for murder–we jail him for manslaughter.

      The CEO shouldn’t be jailed for anything more than B&E.

      • KyBash says:

        Aiding and abetting B&E by negligence.

        With current laws and regulations, are convicted felons allowed to be managers in banks?

        Have a few of them lose their jobs, and lose their golden parachutes gone because they’d be profits from criminal activity, and I bet things would turn around real fast!

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      I would see “death by homeowner” as a very likely tragic outcome of this scenario.

  30. Leohat says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I’d like to introduce America’s newest multi-millionaires, the Tjosaas family.

    .

  31. Sparky says:

    The original CBS Los Angeles article is uninformative and poor journalism.

    When did this happen? Why didn’t the family find out until after it happened? There’s a reference to the home being the family’s “desert oasis,” implying that it;s a vacation home, but the article never actually says that.

    Who is the contractor? What was the nature of the mistake?

    And why isn’t it possible to trace and restore at least some of the family’s possessions? Even if they were sold, Well’s Fargo couldn’t give good title.

    Thanks but not thanks, mainstream media.

    • Sparky says:

      “No” thanks.

    • Maxedaddy says:

      Its actually pretty clear. Wells Fargo is apologizing for their error. Unfortunately your own questions seem irrelevant. They had their possessions stolen by Wells Fargo end of story. If you want answers you are going to have to call Wells Fargo. Good luck with that.

  32. grundge69 says:

    Looks like Wells Fargo might of tried to foreclose again on the Tjosaas:

    http://www.knssradio.com/pages/14189500.php

  33. bben says:

    Things like this make my blood boil – some of those lost possessions have absolutely no monetary value – but have immense sentimental value to the family. I prop0ose that the President – not some lackey have his house impounded by the police, his family tossed out, and the Tjosaas family allowed to remove anything they want from his home – no matter the sentimental OR monetary value. As that is exactly what was done to this family by the organization that CEO is supposed to be in charge of.

    I’m sorry from a peon at the bank designated to ‘fix it’ is not sufficient to ‘fix’ anything. Something needs to be done at the top to inconvenience the head man or why should he care about this kind of thing? Bank CEOs have repeatedly shown the normal people of this country that they really don’t care about us only about the money they take in that pays their insane bonus.

  34. ve4gap says:

    You know I never thought things would get this bad in the United States…

    ..I’m really glad I live in Canada. This hasn’t happened here…yet.

    If I ever hear a story of it happening in Canada and I’m putting up an electric
    fence and landmines in my yard! And booby trapping doors! -_-

  35. limbodog says:

    “We moved quickly and have been in contact with the Tjosaas family to resolve this unfortunate situation and right this wrong.”

    I’d like to know exactly how they moved to resolve this wrong.

  36. Chris Long says:

    The Second Amendment free gun ownership laws would have prevented this outrage — nothing else.

    Come in my house illegally 00 get carried out on a gurney. Then maybe your employers will get it.

  37. JonBoy470 says:

    So the house belonged to their parents. The guy owns it with his siblings, and doesn’t live there. It’s apparently been cleaned out twice! http://www.knssradio.com/pages/14189500.php

    Google Maps fucking exists! GPS fucking exists! Getting the correct address of the property you’re going to secure is fucking “Forclosure 101″

    It is really only a matter of time before this bucket of FAIL plays out where the property owner is home, is armed, and decides he’s protected by whatever castle/stand your ground/make my day law his state of residence has on the books. Body bags will be involved…

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      I really am expecting to hear this one day. Contractor breaks into home, resident freaks out and dies due to some accident or injury, or injures or kills the contractor.

      Later it’s discovered that some bean counter transposed numbers on a foreclosure order.

      Murder/manslaughter/negligent homicide charges, wrongful death suits and then reform.

  38. sd65 says:

    From what’s written in the later article (http://www.knssradio.com/pages/14189500.php), it doesn’t seem like MBQ’s summary is accurate. Wells Fargo gave the correct address to the cleanout crew, but whatever mapping software/service they used sent them to the wrong place. A second cleanout crew had the same problem finding the address.

    The address WFB provided was clearly correct since the sheriff was able to direct them to the correct home using it.

    WFB is still responsible (which they admit), but I don’t see how the hatred on this thread is warranted (and the last sentence of the summary is flat out wrong.)

    • JonBoy470 says:

      The clean-out crew is performing an action that is perfectly legal when performed on the correct home, and breaking and entering (and possibly burglary) if performed on the wrong house. “Castle” laws on the books in many states would immunize a property owner from prosecution for actions taken to protect their property in such cases.

      It’s in everyone’s best interests to double and triple-check these things…

  39. cjmr says:

    Even a GPS might not help.

    My GPS software has the odd house numbers and even house numbers swapped for two towns I drive in regularly.