Surprise homeowner says banks error almost causes foreclosure

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

PHOENIX -- For Jose Murrillo his house is not just a house, it is a home.

“It's been 24 years now that we have lived in it so we've got a history in it,” Murrillo said.

Because his home means so much to him, Murrillo said he has made it his priority to pay his $750 mortgage payment every month to Bank of America.

“I pay my bill on the third of each month because I'm on a fixed income, so that's when I get my checks,” he explained.

In December, Murrillo received a disturbing notice from Bank of America.

“I received a notice on December 11th saying that they were going to foreclose on my mortgage due to seven payments that I was behind on in 2010,” Murrillo said.

He knew something had to be wrong and immediately went to Bank of America to pull his mortgage history.

“I have all the proof and all the paperwork,” he said. “They still say that I have not made the payments."

Murrillo said he has tried to tell Bank of America that a mistake must have been made on their end, but he felt like he was talking to a wall.

"After so many years here and paying for 23 years and now all of a sudden they're saying, 'We are foreclosing on you,' it was a shock, really,” a frustrated Murrillo told 3 On Your Side

Bank of America looked into the matter for 3 On Your Side and found some partial payments and a few payments that were missed by Murrillo.

Murrillo said the missed payments are news to him. Although he did make a few partial payments, he always doubled-up to bring his account current, so he isn’t quite sure where the problem is.

"Right now I am between a rock and a hard place and I really don't know which way to go,” Murrillo said.

Murrillo believes part of the problem is in the way Bank of America recorded his house payments. 

For instance, some of his payments that he paid in person at the branch are posted as regular payment, while others are posted as miscellaneous. This does not make sense to Murrillo.

While Bank of America continues to review Murrillo’s account, 3 On Your Side couldn't help but mention his problem to Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, who just reached a $25 billion settlement against Bank of America and other banks regarding foreclosure abuses.
“It’s a prime example of the problems we're talking about, but we're also willing to help him,” Horne said.

The attorney general's office contacted 3 On Your Side late Thursday and said Friday's scheduled auction of Murillo's house has been put on hold. So right now, the foreclosure process has been stopped.