Real Estate & Property Law

Bank Sends Foreclosure Notice to Woman Who Made $70K in Payments for House She Didn't Own

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A Pennsylvania woman is suing her lender and a former lawyer for Ohio Bar Title Insurance after learning she has made nearly $70,000 in payments for a house she doesn’t own.

Sheila Layo claims the lawyer, closing agent Richard Hallock, never recorded the deed or mortgage for her Scranton townhouse after the August 2008 closing, the Scranton Times-Tribune reports. After living in the home for nearly four years, she sought to refinance and learned that she doesn’t own it. Nor did she receive a title insurance policy, according to the story.

When she contacted the lender, Peoples Neighborhood Bank, the suit says, Layo was told she would have to pay for a new closing if she wanted the deed filed. Ohio Bar Title refused to pay through its errors and omission coverage, Layo says.

Layo stopped paying the mortgage, prompting the bank to send the foreclosure notice. Hallock has pleaded guilty to felony theft in another matter and is a defendant in a suit by Ohio Bar Title, the article says. He has been suspended for three years.

The article quotes York, Pa., real estate lawyer William “Chip” Mackrides. “This case is a perfect example of why people have to hire their own attorney when dealing with this much money,” he said.

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