Now that the economy seems to be soldiering on, we tend to forget that just a few years back the banks were basically endless conveyor belts of foreclosures. But the aftershocks of the mess are still sounding. John Lebeau's case puts that in stark relief
Last week, the North Palm Beach single father of two posted a YouTube video online, a last hard-to-watch Hail Mary plea for help as he faced eviction after a messy (and fraudulent) foreclosure. Now, with the video now creeping up on 1,000 views, the family has been removed from the property.
We spoke to Lebeau earlier this week, and he laid out the situation. "It's pretty simple," he said. "I had a contract, the other party in the contract didn't fulfill their terms of the contract when I did. The contract terms were simple . . . Instead, they choose to illegally foreclosure on me, not having recognized the contract."
After losing his six-figure job after the 2008 financial collapse, Lebeau fell behind in his mortgage payments. He was offered a mortgage modification through a federal government-administered program.
The terms were that he had to make three trial payments, at which point permanent modification would be granted. Lebeau says he made the three payments, but his lender went ahead a duel-tracked the foreclosure anyway, ignoring the agreement. Despite his efforts to fight back against the fraud, a judge went ahead a ruled in favor of the bank.
Lebeau learned that his house had been sold out from under him. An investor showed up at his house last week demanding $17,500 in back rent and lawyer fees - money Lebeau couldn't come up with on two days notice. Despite offering to work out a payment plan, the sheriff posted an eviction notice to Lebeau's door.
"My family, my pets, and all my possessions ordered out of our home of 12 years on two day's notice," the 54-year-old says at the end of his video.
When New Times talked to Lebeau, he was conferring with lawyers who had seen his video and were interested in helping fight back against the fraudulent foreclosure. "Hope's a tough word. I don't want to be sitting here twiddling my thumbs," he said. Lebeau did sound determined to wage whatever fight was necessary to keep his house and make noise about the fraud he -- and hundreds of thousands of other American homeowners --- endured. He was also nervously watching the door, waiting for the sheriff's return.
"In truth, I say this to my kids all the time, I'm surprised I haven't had a heart attack yet."
An update on Lebeau's YouTube posting says the family was evicted Tuesday morning. Check back for updates.
Follow Kyle on Twitter @kyletalking.