3 ON YOUR SIDE (3TV) - Imagine buying your home 18 years ago, making every payment on time, only to find out you may now lose your home.

One Avondale family says that's exactly what's happening to them.

[WATCH: Avondale family says they're getting kicked out of home despite having house paid off]

They are furious because they've made every mortgage payment and have actually paid off their home in full, but now they say a stranger is trying to take it from them.

Hortencia Cruz and her husband Jesus say they're proud of their home.

They purchased it while it was being built 18 years ago and it's where they raised their children.

"Since that day we've been living here. My daughter was little, like 4 years old," said Hortencia.

"This is my childhood home. I've grown up here since I was 4," said their daughter, Daisy Cruz.

For the Cruz family, it's not just a house; it's their home. And through hard work and discipline, they made every mortgage payment until it was recently paid off in full.

So imagine their shock when a strange woman knocked on their door and said the house actually belonged to her.

"My dad told her, 'Go away, you're a scammer,' and so she left right away," said Daisy.

But it wouldn't be the last time the woman showed up unannounced. She actually came back another day and demanded that the Cruz family leave the home because she owned it.

Upset, the Cruz family called the police and even snapped a photo of the interaction.

But Avondale police claimed it was a civil matter so there wasn't much they could do.

However, the strange turn of events got even worse when a process server showed up and told the family they had to go.

"He gave me this letter and he said you have 30 days to leave," said Hortencia.

The Cruz family was shocked. They were being threatened to get tossed from their own home that they bought 18 years ago and paid off. Troubled, they installed security cameras around their home that captured even more official notices being posted to their door.

One notice was a demand for $155,000.

"We found this letter on the door saying we owe them $155,000 for the time we have been living here," said Hortencia.

And, you won't believe the most recent court notice they got.

That "woman" actually filed an eviction notice and is taking them to court to boot them.

The Cruz family say they are left baffled as to what in the world is going on.

"Like, I don't know if she wants to live here knowing her mortgage is paid off or if she wants to like sell the house. I don't understand," said Daisy.

Time for answers, so 3 On Your Side showed up at that eviction hearing.

We wanted to find out who this woman was and why she's convinced the Cruz's home is her home. So, 3 On Your Side found her in the courthouse and tried to get to the bottom of it.

"I'm Gary Harper with 3 On Your Side. Tell me about this house on Alvarado Street you say it's your house?" Gary Harper said.

[READ MORE: Part 2: Case of stranger trying to 'steal' Avondale family's home goes before judge]

 


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

 

Locations

Recommended for you

(25) comments

trsalemme

Its a scam attempt. Why are some of you getting bent out of shape? It happens all the time. People look up info on properties, till they find one they can work a scam on. They count on people just giving up, and not fighting back

3OnYourFace

The judge and Gary Harper finally have met their match, judge can't even handle this simple case and has to punt it to another court. Judge can't do real work of comparing signatures and getting notarized deeds and sort this out, too difficult for her. Gary Harper has broken an unspoken covenant as a reporter and is giving this nut lady a stage and instead of refunding her the $155,000 she claims she is owed, he is trying to have her unlawfully take possession of a home. Gary Harper has gone bananas, he lost track of who the bad actor is. He is confused, possibly senile.

Clarence

Looking at the county recorded documents, the builder warranty from 2001 is made out to "Jesus and Hortencia Cruz - Husband and Wife", not Jesus and his daughter Hortencia. A Jesus Cruz did leave property to a Hortencia and several others, but not property in Avondale.

Wearenotperfect

If this is true then I commend you for your accurate investigation of the facts. The majority on this comment site fly by the seat of their pants!

Agustus Gloop

Arizona's Family Knights of Righteousness Rule # 12: Speculation and innuendo are acceptable alternatives to facts

turbowolf

There is indeed a home owned by Jesus & Hortencia Cruz in Avondale. It was deeded to them in 2017 and the property is in a trust.

robertscomputer

Depenfs how many crooks are involved and how close they get to taking it to determine when I start shooting as many as can and gat as many before they get me this includes a shootout with the police or sheriff , one or two going to see Gid by days end, yep.[huh]

Zeric

A quick title search makes this look pretty straight forward. The last refi was in 2010, they paid if off in 2017. Property was purchased new through DR Horton in 2001, title was insured by Fidelity, a large and reputable company. It will be interesting to see why this 3rd party thinks they have some sort of legal interest, I don't see in the documents. Perhaps there is some typo someplace that would take a thorough going over to spot, but as someone else said, this is something the title company should be able to address. Not really sure why they felt they needed to involve the media at this point, I certainly would not want the publicity for this. Now everyone knows who they are and where they live etc.

Shredder

If they bought this house 18 years ago as a new build, and got a mortgage on it through a reputable lender at that time, they would have been required to obtain title insurance after a complete title search had been done. If they were issued a clear title policy, then it is up to the title company to take care of this problem and incur any of the costs that may be associated with it. I feel that this is just another "poor me, oppressed, predatory" article aimed at the purported injustices claimed by many minority people. Shouldn't even make the news.

Zeric

it's insured by Fidelity title. Not sure why they went to the media, seems straight forward. Loan paid off in 2017. It's all in the public records, doesn't take long to search.

JustinP

Find out who issued the title insurance policy 18 years ago (even if not in force today) and make them come in and cover it. If no title insurance, that be a bad decision.

Marley

Need more details, but if they paid off house in 18 years vs. typical 30, could be a host of scenarios, as already mentioned. Property tax liens, additional names on deed, etc.

az154321

I'm going to go out on a limb here. But I *think* that they had some sort of creative financing done on this home they purchased, and I'm going to think a "rent to own", or Seller Carry-Back financing and they paid their payments, but it never went to the bank? Can't wait to see the whole story.

Tired

Interesting take!

Shredder

Yes, az154321, there's something fishy going on here. Possible uninsured refinances over the years, liens or other encumbrances that were levied after the initial title policy was issued.

Jumajai

They probably didn't pay their property taxes and someone purchased their tax lien from the county. If the property owners do not pay the person/company that purchased their tax lien in "X" amount of days (I believe it is 6 months), the holder of the tax certificate can legally force you out of the home.

CptUSA

Only idea that makes sense. Once their escrow ended they didn't pay on their own or the county didn't send them the bill but the old mortgage co. which would ignore it.

Jumajai

I just looked up the information regarding purchasing tax liens. The delinquent homeowner has 3 years to redeem his interest in the property. The delinquent homeowner will have to pay back the money owed along with interest.

turbowolf

County currently shows $0 owed in property tax and the tax for 2018 was paid in full.

Wayne kenoff

Is this real? Any judge that rules in this psycho’s favor, should have their position revoked

Wearenotperfect

Whoa, slow your roll! Why don't we wait to find out what her claim is before you start condemning everyone and their pets.

Marley

Especially if they be brown.

Wearenotperfect

You still upset because the white menace is not living up to your expectations?

LovesNatch

TLDR

Swiss_cheese

yeah they try to steal our home too I told to him to get out of my property and now he's spamming with 3 or 4 phone calls a day

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.