Our Client Stories
FRLS Helps Elderly Woman Fight Off Predatory Lender From Tampa
ST is a 77-year-old woman who suffers from permanent spinal and brain damage following a car accident.
Her life was already challenging, but, a few years ago, it became even harder after she was forced to refinance her mobile home and had to deal with a predatory lending organization from Tampa.
As with ST, this company habitually gave out loans to vulnerable individuals at high interest rates.
The first part of their predatory scheme involved funneling payments and origination costs to several shell companies owned by lender’s family members that did “title and inspection” type of work. Those companies did not provide actual services, but served as a way to funnel the loan monies back to themselves.
The lender “force-placed” insurance on the property of people like ST, even though the property was already insured. This both caused the insurance policy already on the property to be cancelled and added inflated fees and premiums to the loan. This caused the borrowers to fall behind further. The lender would play the role of a compassionate, ethical business work out “forbearance” agreements that would allow the client to catch up on payments but result in additional fees added to the loan and ultimately require the payment of the additional interest that accrued during the forbearance.
Lender did this to the client numerous times over the life of the loan.
Then, as the loan neared maturity, the lender once again force-placed insurance on ST’s property and filed an action to foreclose for non-payment and for failure to maintain insurance.
Thankfully for ST, FRLS was able to intercede in time and file responses, counterclaims, and discovery. Once the threat of long litigation became evident, the lender agreed to modify her loan.
As a result, about $14,000 was forgiven off the balance of the loan, the interest rate was dropped by 3%, and the life of the loan was extended to lower the monthly payment by $200.00.
FRLS is not providing ST’s real name to protect her privacy. Her story is compiled by our legal staff.
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June 26 Event Assists Seniors with Legal Needs
“Resourceful Strategies for Older Adults” presented by Florida Rural Legal Services in partnership with Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida
Fort Myers, FL (June 12, 2018)— Seniors face an array of unique legal needs, including issues such as advance directives, elder abuse, and probate issues. To help Southwest Florida seniors and their caregivers better understand their legal options, Florida Rural Legal Services is presenting a half-day workshop, “Resourceful Strategies for Older Adults,” on Tuesday, June 26. The event is presented in coordination with the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida (AAASWFL) and is funded through the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.
The June 26 workshop will be held from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the Riverside Community Center in Fort Myers (3061 Riverside Dr.). Seniors and caregivers interested in attending should reserve a seat by calling Florida Rural Legal Services at 239-334-4554.
The event will assist FRLS and AAASWFL in identifying and addressing the legal needs of vulnerable seniors in Southwest Florida.
“We will discuss topics that are important to Southwest Florida’s older adults,” explains Lorraine Barker, paralegal at FRLS. “These include bankruptcy, divorce, domestic abuse, advance directives, nursing homes, and financial obligations after the death of a spouse.”
Florida Rural Legal Services is a nonprofit law firm that provides civil legal advice, representation and education for people with limited incomes, including elders and migrant workers. FRLS provides free services to those that qualify. More information is available on the firm’s website: www.FRLS.org.
The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida is a nonprofit organization serving Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee and Sarasota Counties. AAASWFL is the state’s designated Aging and Disability Resource Center for Southwest Florida. The organization is committed to helping adults ages 60 and over and people with disabilities to live with independence and dignity in their own homes and communities. More information is available at www.aaaswfl.org or by calling the toll-free Elder Helpline at 966-413-5337 (866-41-ELDER)
Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida, Inc.
Charlotte I Collier I DeSoto I Glades I Hendry I Lee I Sarasota
15201 N. Cleveland Ave. Suite 1100, North Fort Myers, FL 33903 I Office 239.652.6900 I Fax: 239.652.6991 I www .A AASWFL.org