Well, most other states who entered a national settlement with Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, GMAC and Wells Fargo on behalf of mortgage fraud victims, cannot claim to have the spine of Scott Pruitt, the Attorney General of Oklahoma.
Scott did not enter the national settlement but chose to fight through the battle on behalf of Oklahoma residents who had been victims of deceptive mortgage practices of big banks. The banks had to settle with Oklahoma separately.
And on Monday, a Tulsa family received their $20,000 check resulting from Pruitt’s courageous act. The family had lost their home in a sheriff’s sale while the bank kept assuring that their mortgage would be modified.
According to experts, Oklahoma victims of mortgage fraud in this case would be receiving at least 10 times what those in other states would receive in a similar situation. Diane Clay, spokeswoman for Scott Pruitt said “This is a vindication for the risk he took … He took a lot of criticism for it.”
On Monday, Pruitt presented Zach and Melissa Zuniga of Tulsa with a $ 20,000 check while more such checks are expected to be issued each week up to and through January. While, in Oklahoma, victims of mortgage fraud by the banks would be receiving sums ranging from $5000 to $20,000, Clay confirmed that outside Oklahoma, some victims may receive payments as low as $840.
The settlement is for victims of “dual tracking,” where on one hand the banks assured victims that their mortgages would be modified, while on the other hand they moved for foreclosure of the properties. In the case of the Zunigas, the family had only 14 days to leave their house of 23 years, and three days after their home was sold, received a third modification package.
In a statement Pruitt said, “These families endured horrendous conduct, lost their homes in many cases and deserve more than an ‘I’m sorry’ and a few hundred dollars.”
In states like Nevada and California, tens of thousands of people lost their homes due to unfair foreclosure practices by the same banks, but would likely receive only a few hundred dollars each.