Impact 5: Homeowner accuses bank of intimidation

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Heather Andrews and her two daughters have so many memories in their Wellington townhome.

"We spent so many Christmases in the home," Andrews said.

But now those memories are scarred by the details of an alleged murder in North Carolina.

"My youngest daughter isn't comfortable, she says she doesn't feel like this was her home. "

Notices claiming her home was being managed by Five Brothers showed up about two months after Andrews missed her first mortgage payment.

She wasn't living there at the time.  Her family moved into a new home about a mile away the year before. The property was for rent.  She was replacing tenants who stopped paying. They got behind, and so did Andrews.  

That's when Andrews says her mortgage servicer, Green Tree, hired a third-party to change the locks.

"I never saw a service notice or even a certified letter or anything," Andrews said.  "The first knowledge of any of this stuff was here at the property."

The lawsuit claims Five Brothers Mortgage Servicing and Securing changed the locks, taped up the toilets and posted a sign-in sheet inside the home.  On the back, blacked out, were details about an alleged homicide in North Carolina.

"I called the number on my cell phone and I got a recording and I said 'this is my property I don't know who you are, there are no proceedings against me, why are you trespassing?' "

But it happened again, about a week later. The locks on the back door were changed, and a second notice taped up, with more details about the same alleged murder.

"Now I know the name of somebody that was murdered, they were murdered with a screwdriver, stabbed in the chest, how the body was moved where the body was pulled to, who the witnesses were," Andrews said.

But the Hickory, North Carolina Police Department tells us they can't find any record of this case.

Andrews' attorney, Robert Parr, thinks the notice, printed on recycled paper, was an intimidation tactic to pay.

"Lenders are using these types of almost guerilla tactics to take and secure consumers properties," Parr said.

Andrews is suing Bank of America, Green Tree, and Five Brothers.

"Hopefully that type of public awareness will create will put enough pressure where lenders are forced to abandon these types of tactics and will not be using them in the future so that other members of the Palm Beach community, or the Florida community, won't have to experience what Mrs. Andrews experienced," Parr said.

Andrews' lawsuit claims Green Tree accepted responsibility for hiring Five Brothers to secure the property.

Green Tree spokesman Brian Corey told us he could not answer our questions about the lawsuit without written permission from Andrews.

He then stopped e-mail communication with us after repeated questions about the company's relationship with Five Brothers.

A spokesman from Bank of America tells us it wasn't servicing the loan when these events unfolded. NewsChannel 5 has called and e-mailed Five Brothers and we are still waiting for a response.

If you think you're a victim of these intimidation tactics you can file a complaint with the Florid Attorney General's office. We've provided a link here. http://www.stateofflorida.com/Portal/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=57

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