When is a bank in business to burglarize homes? How often does this happen?
If you think this can’t happen, we had a similar situation happen to other clients of ours. If you’ve had a wrongful foreclosure and especially a break-in, please contact us immediately. We can help.
Alvin Tjosaas is 77 years old. He and his wife Pat live in Woodland Hills, California.
Alvin, along with his sister both own, and are the caretakers of their late parents’ two- bedroom home in Twentynine Palms, California. The two-bedroom house had been built by Alvin and his parents back in 1961 when Alvin was a teenager. Alvin, a retired mason knew every inch of the house. He remembers how his mother had mixed all the concrete by hand. The house was cherished and held many memories.
The house is completely paid for – there was no mortgage. The house never had a mortgage. The house was paid for in cash and was over 50 years old. Alvin and his sister owned the house free and clear.
Alvin traveled the 200 miles every few months to the home. He’d perform any maintenance that was required, and worked on his hobbies in the garage. He was in the process of re-plumbing the house and had most of his tools in the garage when he received a disheartening call.
On June 1st, a neighbor called and asked if they had authorized people to clear out his house. Alvin was devastated. They thought a burglary had taken place – which is exactly what happened. They never thought the burglar would turn out to be the Wells Fargo bank.
Wells Fargo had wrongfully pursued a foreclosure eviction on the home. Wells Fargo hired a contractor’s crew to clean out on the “foreclosed home”. Alvin later learned Wells Fargo used a satellite photo and had given the contractor’s crew the wrong address!
The crew broke into the Tjosaas’s home and took most of their possessions. The rest of their possessions were broken and destroyed.
The crew stole the elderly couple antiques, appliances, tools and sentimental items including Alvin’s prized and irreplaceable possession – his late father’s World War I uniform. The garage had been full of heirlooms and all of Alvin’s mason tools. His 3 tractor mowers and 3 golf carts had been stolen too. Everything was gone.
Not only did this crew break into the home and steal everything – the crew smashed and broke the windows, the walls had been ripped apart – the home was in ruins. The crew vandalized the home.
Distraught over what they thought was a burglary and vandalism, they began the slow process of cleaning the ransacked house.
Three days later –the crew was back. This time the sheriff was called. The sheriff showed up and escorted the crew off the property to the correct address, located on another road. I have to wonder why the sheriff didn’t arrest the crew? Why weren’t charges filed against the bank? Because it was a mistake?
The Tjosaas’ did go to their family attorney who ‘had trouble making contact with a Wells Fargo representative’.
The couple began cleaning up the mess and asked Wells Fargo to have another subcontractor replace the broken locks on their home.
Incredibly – Wells Fargo sent another crew to the Tjosaas’ home over Labor Day weekend! Again, Wells Fargo gave these contractors the wrong address.
This time the propane tanks, tires, rims that belonged to vintage cars had been pulled out and placed on the lawn. The Tjosaas’ also found beer bottles, and bongs indicating a bank affiliate (or someone) may have been squatting in their home.
Alfredo Padilla of Wells Fargo issued this statement: “We are deeply sorry for the very personal losses the Tjosaas family suffered as a result of their home being mistakenly secured,” said Alfredo Padilla of Wells Fargo. “We are moving quickly to reach out to the family to resolve this unfortunate situation in an attempt to right this wrong.”
Tom Goyda, vice president of corporate communications for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage said the company had foreclosed appropriately on another property near the Tjosaas house and the error was made when the contractor went to the Tjosaas house in error. And this makes it ok?
After their story hit the media and beginning to spread, the bank offered $260,000 for their losses. The Tjosaas haven’t responded.
This elderly couple’s prized possessions and antiques are gone. The bank sold them. They can’t get them back. These were three generations of family memories, most of Alvin’s and his late father’s tools. These items are irreplaceable.
A United States bank sent a group to break into a home and steal all their possessions, trash the home, not once, but TWICE!
The deputy sheriff offered this; “Good news, we know who took (your possessions) …Wells Fargo. Bad news, your stuff is all gone.”
Keith A. Gantenbein, Jr. is a Colorado foreclosure defense attorney located in Denver and servicing all of Colorado. He also handles bankruptcies, mortgage negotiations, lender liability, real estate, civil litigation, contracts and landlord/tenant. If you think you will be facing foreclosure, or are in the foreclosure process, or have had a wrongful foreclosure, contact Keith Gantenbein at (303) 618-2122 for a one-hour consultation where he will discuss your situation and go over all your options with you.